Chosen

 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)

Christmas was only days away and we still didn’t have a tree. Living on a college-student’s budget with our first baby on the way, we were scraping by and couldn’t bring ourselves to spend $25-50 on something we didn’t need. It seemed kind of trivial when I told God how sad I felt that we couldn’t afford a Christmas tree. Then I felt guilty knowing there were others who needed so much more.

On our way home from a friend’s house the Sunday night before Christmas, my husband, J.J. and I noticed the tree lot near our apartment had marked all their trees down to $10! Grins stretched across our faces as we made plans to buy one Monday night as soon as J.J. got home from his part-time job.

The next evening we walked down each row of the tree lot looking for just the right spruce to fit in the corner of our one-bedroom apartment. Feeling sentimental and slightly maternal, I realized that picking our first Christmas tree was going to be almost as difficult as choosing our child’s name.

I took way too much time. The sun went down quickly, the tree-lot started to close and the spotlights shut down. There we were, standing in the pitch dark without a tree.

My creative and very patient husband pulled his car into the rows of trees and flashed on his high beams.  Suddenly, the bright lights dispelled the darkness and standing in front of me was the most precious tree I’d ever seen. Although it had some droopy branches and a gap on one side, I pointed at it and told J.J., “That’s the one I want!”

Later that night, with my hands wrapped around a cup of hot cocoa, I sat on our couch looking at our little tree. I remembered how sad I felt earlier when the darkness made it impossible to see the trees. Yet, when the beams of light illuminated the lot, my heart filled with hope.

Etched in my mind was a picture I wouldn’t forget, a memory that drew me back to another time marked by darkness – a time when I wasn’t choosing, but needed to be chosen.

Just when it felt like all my dreams had died and my hope was gone, the Light of God’s unfailing love punctured the clouds of darkness and depression surrounding my mind. It happened on another cold winter’s eve in January 1989 while I was sitting in the balcony of a church hoping to hear something that would fill the empty places in my heart. Feeling His Spirit tugging on my heart, whispering words I longed to hear, I sensed God saying, “Renee, you are the one I want.”

He’d been trying to tell me for years, but I had allowed the wounds of my past and the words of others to convince me that no one would ever want me.

At some point, I think most of us have felt like the little Christmas tree and me. Scarred by disappointments, we wonder if anyone would ever choose us. With gaps that make us feel like candidates for rejection, we hope no one will notice our inadequacies. And like the fate of my spruce pine, it seems the only way we’ll get chosen is if all the good ones are picked first.

First Peter 2:9 reminds us that through Christ we are chosen! God sent His Son to light our darkness and fill the gaps in our hearts. Sweet friend, I pray that you will hold onto the truth that God sees you today, and He wants you to hear Him declaring with all His heart, “You are the one I want!”

Dear Lord, that spruce pine and I have a lot in common. Even with my gaps and broken branches, You chose me and made me part of Your family through Jesus. Thank You for sending Your Son to bring Light in the dark corners of my life and to bring endless hope to my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Today, I’m also sharing this post on Karen Ehman’s blog as part of her 12-days of Christmas giveaways, and giving away a special gift pack that includes:

  • A signed copy of my book, A Confident Heart
  • A “Living in the Security of God’s Promises” – printable
  • A Bath & Body Words Christmas treat
  • A Starbucks gift card

To enter once, click “Share Your Thoughts” below. To enter twice, enter below and hop over to Karen’s blog to enter again.

 

Comments

  1. I’m wrapping up a study on your book A Confident Heart this week with women from my church. Thank you for sharing yourself and what God has taught you. It’s been the best small group I’ve ever been a part of because women are choosing to believe Truth and pursue God. I am so grateful.

  2. A real tree! I love the time together with family to decorate it, and then sitting in the dark and turning on the warm glow of the Christmas tree lights.

  3. What a powerful message! Thank you for reminding me that God chose me.

  4. After spending time with the Father I read this and it just reinforced what the Father had put in my Spirit that He did choose me. Thank You for being faithful to the Holy Spirit in sharing this. Many blessings to you and yours.

  5. Kellie Hoskins says:

    Your message really touched my heart. You are such a gifted writer. Thanks for sharing!

  6. How we need reminded of being chosen by Him! Thanks for that reminder and encouragement.

  7. I loved the analogy of being like the little tree no one would want and of the light shining through the darkness. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Love this story :) thanks for sharing with us

  9. Would love to win a copy of your book to give away to my friend!
    Blessings,

  10. I can hear your voice as I read your message. Thank you for the reminder that God chose me. I needed to hear that today.

  11. Thanks for sharing and for the giveaway.

  12. Chrystal Wood says:

    I feel this way very often. Especially now as we are living with my parents that are not church goers and my girls are picking things up that is not of God. I feel like a failure often and a bad mother. We don’t have insurance and that just adds to the failure. I’ve been job hunting for over a year. I finally found something but it is making very very little but its a job. My husband does work but his hours are all over the place. I needed to read this today because we are really trying to give up all our control and our plans and dreams for His plans and dreams to be fulfilled in our lives. Even if I don’t win I ask you pray God will work in our lives to glorify Him in all we do!!!!!

  13. I needed this post today. Feeling rather low today due to a few things going on and I was really blessed by your words. Thank you for being used of the Lord to share His love with others and encourage weary hearts.

  14. Thanks for sharing you story It really what I needed to hear.

  15. I feel like that little tree with its gaps and scars. My kids and I have had a very difficult year and I see myself in the mirror aging faster than Mary Kay or Oil of Olay can keep up with. I am so thankful to be reminded that Christ chose me and that I chose to answer his call.

  16. Annette Dorval says:

    Renee, I wish I could carry you in my pocket to remind me of this all the time! I can get so wrapped up in my “trials” that I forget that the loving, Almighty Creator is also behind the trials and is helping me through them. I see my friends going through such heavy times and I can’t do anything but pray for them and offer an encouraging word. I’ve read your book and love it! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us.

  17. Beth Henry says:

    I believe your message was written today to speak to me. I received it in my inbox an hour after I had a breakdown crying out to God as to why my husband no longer wants me and wants a divorce. I am reminded that God has chosen me even if no one else has. Thank you Renee for this powerful message of hope for me! God bless you and have a wonderful Christmas!

  18. Going through a stressful time and needed to hear that. Thank you.

  19. Thanks Renee for always reminding me that I am beautiful and God loves me so much. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  20. This resonates with me in my current situation – thanks for the enlightenment.

  21. I have a friend who was brought up with a kind of works theology. I have tried for years to convince her that she was indeed chosen by God and that nothing that she has done in her life has changed that. With your kind permission, I will be sharing your post and your site with her. Maybe she will believe you (with a little push from me). Merry Christmas!

  22. I love how real and applicable you make this simple truth to each of our lives. Yet it is so profound. I cannot be reminded enought how precious we are because He chose us. Thanks, renee. God bless you richly during this beautiful season.

  23. Thank you for reminding us that God wants us no matter what gaps we have or how droopy our branches are.

  24. I am so thankful that God doesn’t need us to be perfect before He wants us. Heaven knows I would never make it! It’s by grace alone that I am His.

    Thank you Renee for this encouragement.

  25. Elaine Segstro says:

    Your devotional reminded me of my past when I so longed for acceptance and affirmation. I am chosen and precious in His sight.

  26. Absolutely loved opening my email to read your latest story. The title caught me immediately…..I have felt exactly this way all my life as well, still do most of the time…..made many bad choices due to my lack of confidence and self esteem…..assuming that no one wanted me around…..to make the long story short, I finally heard God speaking to me too, and amazingly the turning point came through a group my girls were attending, called “Chosen”!!! We’ve moved to a new town now and my girls were the inspiration in my heeding God’s call to start a “Chosen” group! So, here I am “chosen” by God to let young girls know they are “chosen” also…..He has a special plan for all of us and I never, ever would have thought He could use me!

    “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” Col. 3:12

  27. I’m glad we don’t have to be perfect to be chosen by God.

  28. Angella Lewis says:

    Beautiful…and just what I needed to hear tonight…thanks & God Bless! :)

  29. Thank-you for a wonderful and a much needed visual message. Sometimes , especially around the holidays,when we are going through trials and don’t feel wanted or loved it’s a message like this we can cling to. I know that while I may not be wanted and loved by some I am loved and I am chosen by God just like you chose that little Christmas tree, blemishes and all.
    Blessings to you and yours this Christmas and the New Year too!

  30. Thank you for word. It lifted my heart and reminded me once again how I’m chosen.

  31. Thank you for sharing this story and also for the Christmas prayer/poem you sent out – I loved it!

  32. What a beautiful story. God’s love and acceptance of our flaws hidden in the darkness brings tears to my eyes every time I think about it. He is so forgiving, understanding, loving, patient and compassionate. I wonder why it takes some of us so long to wrap ourselves in His warm embrace . It is such a wonderful place to be.

  33. Thank you for your very encouraging words. :D

  34. Thanks for the encouraging words.

  35. Why is it so hard to remember this on a daily basis? Thanks for the reminder.

  36. This a very beautiful story. I’m glad God gave you a light in your life.

  37. This is the 2nd time, I have read the scripture about being a chosen race, a royal priesthood, etc. God knew I need the reminder that I am chosen by God to be his. Some days I feel like that little imperfect tree, but by His grace I am learning to accept that He chose me to be his daughter. Thanks for the reminder.

  38. thanks for sharing, renee…a beautiful story :)

  39. When fear & insecurity set in it is hard to feel good much less chosen; but I believe you are right. I need a job or I won’t get into Jan. I would appreciate prayer for peace, hope,& faith in action.

  40. gailyn shepherd says:

    Amen ! JESUS chose us when HE went to the cross so that those who believe in HIM will be with HIM forever. HIS precious HOLY SPIRIT lives in HIS children and we are to share that hope with others who are down , depressed, injured or diseased as well as those who just don’t know HIM. Let us all bless someone this season who is left out, unloved, abused or who has lost a loved one.

  41. Thank you so much for your words of encouragment. I too carry many scars inside and out, but Jesus loves and heals in spite of ourselves. My wish is to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment and then I will be whole.

  42. Joan Brookins says:

    We decorated our tree this evening with only the Christmas tree lights on. We’ve started a new tradition by getting two memorial decorations, one for my father and one for my husband’s brother. Each year we will add family members who have gone on ahead of us.

  43. Thanks for reminding me that God chose me. Been struggling with feelings of inadequacy the last couple of weeks so the reminder was much needed.

  44. Thank you for this. As we go into Christmas I wk remember this story and the fact that I and chosen not because I am perfect but despite the fact that I’m not.

  45. Thanks…. could use this…

  46. Michelle Watkins says:

    Such a sweet story. Thank you for sharing!

  47. PAM SCHAEFFER says:

    Thank you so much for your thoughts, Renee. It is so wonderful to know the truth that God loves us, broken branches and all. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  48. Connie Holcomb says:

    I love your heart and your spirit! I can’t get enough right now! Thanks for teaching me God’s truths!

  49. What a great lesson, thank you so much for sharing, it is something I really needed to hear. I am going to have to keep it handy, so that I can read it when I am feeling like having a pity party!
    Ellie :)

  50. I am humbled to be remind how precious it is to have a heart that God has given Light …thank you

  51. Jodi Andrews says:

    Thank you for the reminder I am chosen. Reading your story reminded me that all of humanity feels the need to be “chosen” and not

  52. Jodi Andrews says:

    Thank you for reminding me that I am wonderfully chosen, and remind me that everyone I meet has probably had moments when they felt unworthy but are equally loved. I treasure your writings. Thanks

  53. Really hit home today because recently my boyfriend/ ex husband of 8 years have ( I think) finally put an end to our ” on again off again ” relationship. We were dating then married then divorced then attempted to reconcile, and now off again. I’m have mixed emotions because I’m sad that he’s not here yet when were together I’m sad because its such a stressful relationship. I know that I’m just sad now because I feel alone, unwanted and like there is something wrong with me and I’m the only one that doesn’t see it. Reading this today reminded me that I am wanted by the greatest man that ever lived. Best of all he accepts me and all of my imperfections. Thank you for this reading.

  54. This was perfect. An hour ago, I got off the phone with my ex-husband of 5 years (this week), having him tell me that I am still not good enough, and not doing things the right way. I have a part of my heart telling me, that he is wrong, and that I am doing the best that I can do with 3 pre teenagers, my elderly Father, and being a single head of household, working 2 part time jobs trying to keep a roof over our head…but when I get off the phone with him, I have a pain in my heart saying, your still not good enough! So, I am so thankful that I decided to clean up my email, and there you were, telling me that God does want me, that I am okay, I am worth something. I have so enjoyed your online study, and reading your emails. Last Friday, I got to hear Luann in person speak about how wonderful P 31 is. Thank you for always reaching out, when I need you Renee.

  55. Thank you for this, Renee! I first heard you on the radio on my way to work in the morning and just your voice was (is) so sweet and encouraging to listen to, that I decided I wanted to look up your blog and sign up for your e-mails. Now I eagerly await your e-mails in my inbox and I feel so refreshed and closer to Jesus after I read your wise words. Thank you, thank you, thank you! You are a blessing!

  56. Thank-you for sharing this story of encouragement. It is truly so awesome to realize that you are special and loved just the way you are by our Heavenly Father .

  57. As I nurse and cuddle my newborn each day, I read her devotionals, as well as posting from your website. Your words of encouragement have spoken truth and hope into my life for over a year now and I thank you greatly for your willingness to share your heart. I am encouraged today to remember that I AM chosen by God, something I need to be reminded of frequently. I also realized the responsibility I now have to raise my new daughter to understand the truth of a Heavenly Father that chooses her as well. Thank you!
    PS your blog makes me want to watch A Charlie Brown Christmas :)

  58. Artificial tree but I love the whole experience of looking for a real one at a tree farm and then the smell of them

  59. Marla Imhoff says:

    Hi Renee, God always seems to find us when we feel forgotten and alone in the dark, and on standby due to our imperfections….but then He reminds us that it is about His choosing us….and that makes all the difference in our worth. I’m so glad when I hear echos of His voice that come in various ways. He choose us, He comforts us, and reminds us that we are His delight….I’m so grateful to let His truth replace the lies and appreciate your honesty too.

  60. This story made me smile! Thank you for sharing! :)

  61. Thanks for your reminder that God CHOSE me. I often forget that I am a daughter of the King, beloved to Him. Powerful words today…. Words to ponder…. Thank you…

  62. I really needed to hear this right now. I’ve been feeling dejected & rejected and this really spoke to my heart. Thank you for your words!

  63. Thanks for sharing. I’m in the midst of trying to overcome some sense of rejection from people closest to me.

  64. I still have in my mind that lovely image of the light shining on that tree, my husband would write a whole story about that poor tree being constantly passed by because it wasn’t quite perfect, a little quirky, and then the light shines on it and he is chosen :-)

  65. Katie Allen says:

    Thank you for an inspiring message!

  66. What a beautiful reminder that we indeed are chosen to be “bought”and brought into our Fathers everlasting family……..your devotion reminded me of how often I expect perfection and that God is just so accepting of us just the way we are and showers us with His love and grace.
    Thank you for reminding me of how precious we all are to Him xoxox

  67. Dennisha M. says:

    So thankful for this msg. It reminds me that I need to rest in the Lord.

  68. Thank you for sharing what God has taught you. I have heard God speaking to me so often through your words. Thank you for this blessing.

  69. Thank you so much for the reminder of how dear we are to God! I always felt I was chosen by default for everything in my life and settled for second best. After my divorce several years ago I jumped head first into my church and have not looked back. God has brought me to places I never dreamed I would be. I have lead 2 small groups of “A confident Heart” and watched womens lives change before my eyes, including mine. I most recently finished a small group on “Unglued”. Proverbs 31 has blessed mine and countless other womens lives beyond belief. I no longer live in the “shadow”. Blessings to all!

  70. Joanna McInnes says:

    This message was just the message I needed to read & I’m sure many others would be blessed by this too! I have for many years struggled with rejection, self-loathing, and trying different things to fill this void; when knowing deep in my spirit that only coming to God with my broken life, would fulfill! Your wonderful, God-inspired messages Renee, have helped me to hope in God again and give me a new perspective on things that I’ve been going through; that I didn’t see before! This particular message says to me: God can make the broken beautiful! This happens when we give God our lives and take our hands off!! I’ve started to realise this in the last 15 months!! Can I encourage any other person who may read these lovely messages Renee and friends post; please take time to read them and open your heart to Jesus! Believe me, you won’t regret doing so!!

    Jo McInnes

  71. Kristy Lynn says:

    This is just the message I needed to hear today!! Just as you explained how you felt in the balcony of that church needing to hear God loved you and chose you, that is where I find myself. I have gone through so many hurts and trials, including the death of my husband while we were separated, that I don’t know who I am anymore. I don’t know my purpose or what I am supposed to do now. I struggle with knowing if someone could ever really love me because I didn’t get married until I was 33 and had already had two daughters outside of medlock. My life has been one giant struggle and I know God has been there to love me and see me through holding me through all of it but I just have such a hard time knowing what is next.

  72. Thank you for reminding all of us that we are chosen and so special to God. I hope I can be such a blessing to someone this Christmas season that they will see just how special they are too!

  73. Thank you for a great reminder at a difficult time of the year.

  74. Thank you for this thoughtful, powerful message today. I am reading A Confident Heart and have intentions of buying that book for several friends. I too feel like that small, insignificant tree that no one wants. Thank you for reminding me God never throws us away or gives up on us. We, on the other hand, tend to give up too quickly when things don’t work out when or how we think they should. I’m praying that I will just trust and let God take care of the big picture. Thank you Renee. I’m so grateful you heard God ,but I’m even more grateful you listened and believed. Be so blessed today.

  75. Thanks Renee you are truly a blessing. It’s good to be reminded that God loves us inspite of our flaws. He chosen us and there is nothing we need to do. There is no works great enough for God to choose us since he already has out of his love and through this salvation. It gives me a sense of peace and hope knowing God will meet our needs we are on his mind and heart. I really enjoyed seeing you at the conference her in Raleigh. I really wanted to win your gift pack you had such inspiring words. I have been throwing away paper for any thought that does not line up with God’s. Hope to read your book soon. Blessing to you and your family. I hope your son foot is much better.

  76. I feel the same way. When I finally, really turned to God, my darkness was bad and my life shattered. Now I know if God could choose me, in the state I was in, He must really love me. Thanks for all your encouraging words.

  77. Josie Lytle says:

    God is so faithful! I love watching what he does all around me!! Merry Christmas to all!

  78. I have been out of work since April of this year and although I have applied for so many jobs, I too have felt “picked over” each time I wasn’t chosen for a position. I have tried my best to not let the rejection be so hurtful however with each new book I read such as yours or Lysa’s or Perry Noble’s and now Karen Ehman’s Let.It.Go; I am so much stronger in the Lord and I have grown to put my faith on my calling for Him. I know God will lead me to the job He wants for me. Have a wonderful Christmas. Nancy

  79. What a great prize pack your offering!! & great story!

  80. Renee,

    Thank you so much for sharing. So often that’s the way I feel. I feel like there is no one out there who lvoes me, not even God. I don’t know how he can love me if no one else does, but your blog really helped me this morning. Sometimes I feel so distant from God, like I want to pray and read my Bible but i just can’t “find the time” so to speak. I have been asking God to set me on FIRE for Him and His Word but it just doesn’t seem to be happening.

  81. Renee:

    Thanks so much for sharing. I am that little sad Christmas tree too. But in God’s eyes I am perfect! Thank goodness for what He believes I am. I wish I could remember it every minute of every day! You are always so encouraging and speak words to how I feel. I would love to meet you as I am sure we would be immediate friends. Your ministry is making a BIG difference in my life!

    Tobi

  82. Renee,
    I know all too well how it feels to be surrounded by the clouds of darkness and despair. However, to know that God loves me, in spite of all of my imperfections, brings about feelings of hope and love. God’s love is so awesome and precious. One year ago tomorrow, God showed me that He has chosen me when He allowed my 1 year old daughter at the time and myself to walk away from a car accident that left my SUV totaled after flipping on the highway 5 times. I know God to be faithful, I’ve tried Him and I know above all the promises He fulfills everyday. Thank you Renee for being a vessel that is being used by God to uplift and encourage God’s children. I love your book and can’t wait to pass it one of my friends. It has been a true blessing in my life.
    Tia

  83. Jennifer Robbins says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. Merry Christmas!

  84. Thanks.

  85. Renee: Thank you so much for this timely message. I love your hear and am always enlightened by your insights. Chosen is a marvelous word to describe the depth of the Father’s love for us and the lengths to which He went to show His love for us. If we keep this in mind as we go through our days, even the greatest challenges can seem easier. Thank you for brightening our days.

  86. Karen Seigh says:

    I understand where you are coming from in your devotion today. I accepted Christ as my Savior when i was in Junior High but walked away from him after high school. I was in a very bad place when God sent my husband to rescue me from drugs and alcohol. Our faith has deepened over the last ten years. We have studied the Bible and gotten to know Christ in a whole new way.

  87. Enjoyed reading your story – very enlightening!!!! Merry Christmas!

  88. Thank you for the reminder. I am a new creation, I am chosen, I am loved!

  89. Your post gave me encouragement. No money for gifts this year. Praying God would provide for this. If not, then I will praise Him who knows better than myself His will for me. Blessings

  90. Michele Macias says:

    Great post – such a good reminder when we get so busy with all the external things of Christmas!

  91. Such a beautiful breath of hope. In a world filled with “comparrisons” and peer pressures, we so desperately need this message. Women (young and old) need to hear and believe this hope…God chose me. He loves us enough to shine His light on us and give us a role in His incredible plan. Thank you,Renee. Your messages never fail to be exactly what I need for the day. I am so very thankful to call you a “sister in Christ”.

    ~Danita

  92. thank you for always letting us in on your personal life!

  93. May God bless you for sharing and ministering to us.

  94. LOVE this post, thank you for sharing. I have so been feeling inadequate these days, and have been missing the real reason for the season, trying to get back to being real during Christmas!!
    :)

  95. Thank you for this post. I feel a gap, things in my life are not going the way I “want” I need to remember it is Gods plan I need to look for and wait in his arms. I can feel him on monment and gone the next. I always remember you saying put your name in the scripture and make it personal. That does help me so much. thanks, Have a Blessed Holiday

  96. Karen in PA says:

    Thank you Renee and God Bless You.

  97. I so needed to read this today!! My life is so stressfull I can hardly see straight. I am losing my health insurance and probably my job. My feelings are still hurt from comments my husband made last night. There are family issues beyond my control. I find myself wondering where God is in all of this and then your post reminds me that He chose me, I am His!!! I need to look away from the stress and look at Jesus because He’s right there!

    Thanks and Merry Christmas Renee!!!

  98. Thank you for this post today! I the world we live in today, it`s too easy to forget that God loves us no matter what. Even if we have a few gaps in our ” branches” we are always prescious in His sight.

  99. Thank you for reminding me that I am chosen by God.

  100. Thank you for sharing. In that stressful place right now, this is so timely! Would love to have your book!

  101. Thanks for sharing this…ah, yes I too have been chosen! What an awesome feeling to know that God so loves me He gave his Son for me!

  102. Donna Hemlow says:

    I love this story. Many of us from time to time wonder why Hindu people or people worshipping Buddha are not chosen as well but I believe that somewhere along the way these people have been given more than one opportunity to turn to the Truth which is Jesus Christ. As a chosen people, we are called to make disciples and to show others Jesus ONLY through genuinely loving others.

  103. Our first Christmas (with my now ex-husband), we were living in Okinawa Japan. I was only 18, first time away from home. One day I went to the post office to check the mail, and there was a 4 foot box there for us. My parents had sent us a Christmas tree for our apartment. I made cross-stich ornaments and made a star out of cardboard and tin foil. It was the most beautiful tree, we ever had.

  104. Thank you Lord for seeing me in a way I could never see myself. Thank you for loving me even though I don’t feel lovable. Thank you Lord for your unfailing love.

  105. So often we look for “perfection” with decorations, presents, food, etc. We need to remember, that Jesus came for the “imperfect.” We are His chosen! Thanks for the great reminder!!!

  106. Thank you Renee,
    Your words/devotions come at just the right time for me as I struggle with the holiday season, family loss and never feeling good enough as my family always has a put down.
    Blessings on your Christmas, j

  107. So glad to be one of Gods chosen, sure don’t deserve it. Glad He sees the potential.

  108. What a powerful message. Just like that tree, he accepts us the way we are.

  109. I discovered this today while searching for online devotions. My heart has been touched and I look forward to reading each day. Thank you for serving God by reaching out to women.

  110. Barbara Prince says:

    Renee, I loved the story of your tree. As I think back over the years I remember trees that were almost perfect and trees that were perfectly awful, yet each of them were beautiful to us. As we would tenderly work with them adding a bulb here and there, an ribbon or two is always nice, and some artificial snow works wonders. We made each tree a lovely sight, just as our Loving Creator takes each imperfect person, who come to Him, and turns then into a saint of God. The tree can not dress itself up for Christmas and we can not dress ourselves up for the Christ of Christmas.
    Heavenly Father, continue to work in our lives making us a beautiful bride, fit for our heavenly King.

  111. Thank you SO much for sharing the life lessons you have learned from our Father. A friend loaned me your book…it was such a blessing, and one day hope to have my own to re-read many times over!

  112. I would like a copy of your book confident heart, I have been trying to share your website with the people I go to church with. How, much is your book? your story reminds me of my daughter she is overweight and I know she feels that way unfortunetly she does not go to church anymoreshe is going wayward but she does live with us. She is sort of lost, she has not found a boyfriend because she feels too low self esteem please pray for her. she works hard but is very lonely. ,

  113. Thanks for sharing this story, it was really fitting today. He truly is the light of life!

  114. Thank you for sharin! Praying for my loved ones to have the light of Hope shine into their hearts!

  115. I needed to hear this today so much! After so much rejection from my husband of 25 yrs and divorce and recently a boyfriend because I’m not like other woman and just sleep around with anyone. It was good to be reminded God wants me and loves me!!!! Thank you<3

  116. Dear Renee,

    Your story resonated with me in a very deep way. I too have always felt rejected and not chosen, though God has been seeking me out always. I thought I had to be perfect, not only for God to love me but for a great man to choose me. Therefore, I am now healing and learning to receive “HIS” unconditional acceptance. Thank you for your wonderful book, your e-mails, your devotionals, and everything you offer to us through your ministry. Love you and appreciate your transparent and vulnerable heart.

    Love, Giselle from Miami

  117. Many times I am in awe that despite all my short comings and quirky ways that God woyld choose me to share His love, grace and mercy with….just so humbled and in need of reminding daily of this awesome and preciuos gift that I sometimes take for granted. Thank you for sharing your words.

  118. What a wonderful message for me today. Somehow the busy days start to overwhelm and those ugly feelings creep back up – even in the midst of celebrating the birth of Jesus!

    thank you for always sharing your heart

    kim

  119. I would love to enter the special gift package for Christmas.

  120. I am waiting on God right now to bring forth a promise.

  121. Alexis McQuown says:

    I was brought to my knees in tears as I read this just moments ago. I recently gave my testimony for the very first time in my life at our Ladies Night of Lights at our church. I trembled and gulped as more and more women piled into the event. I begrudgingly accepted the invitation in the first place to share, but brought into a combination so many recent studies, words spoken to me, and Christ’s nudge urging me my story was just as significant to Christ Himself as anyone else’s. I am not sure if His words through me that night made a difference in anyone’s hearts…I can only pray it did…for at least one. But as I read this today, I felt as though the ink of my words had been transferred to this writing…it’s exactly what my heart professed to the room of women. It was soulful enough to write out and speak the words myself; but to hear a heart that has been on the same wave as mine…only God can do that.

  122. T.J. Ellis says:

    I feel as though A confident Heart was written for me! Though I have never met you! It seems our hearts and are connected great post!

  123. Hi Renee,
    We have never met, nor will we probably ever meet. But, as life and possibly God has challenged me in faith over a two year period, I can’t help but to feel as though you have known me this entire struggle. Better yet, maybe that is His testament of deep love to me of how intricately He can craft your words to be His words and His message to a joyfully and yet utterly broken daughter of His kingdom. It is great to be reminded that I am chosen, you are chosen, each one of us who belongs to such a marvelous King is chosen. Beautiful, isn’t it?

  124. Thank you for your passion and heart to share and encourage and bless us all. I am blessed with every devotional.

  125. marci goodale says:

    Thank you!

  126. Mariann Ramsey says:

    I read these beautiful comments and sayings and they are truly beautiful… Iam writing this as I sit… Watching my beautiful 3 year old sleep…so much sadness has happened to our family lately…I feel weird writing this …. Maybe I should talk to a therapist but I am compelled to talk to other women who have the same conviction I have for our Lord… I used to be upset with God when horrible things happened… And they were not necessarily in my life… But I realized that we are given a gift… To chose how to behave in his name….
    My family has recently dealt with a situation that has forced us to do many things we didn’t want to ….move, deal with hefty emotional stress, change our whole way of being… I
    We are blessed with good friends and never ending love with family that gets us through…. I want to bless to those in need of a friend and a helping hand… I understand how hard it is to forgive and love in such a world that condemns it….God’s love to you all

  127. I love reading your devotions. They always seem to be speaking to me. I am reading your book a “Confident Heart.” You have so many spiritual truths written in the book, I read some and dwell on your thoughts. I pray to my Heavenly Father. Actually your book has helped me to see God as my true Heavenly Father. My earthly father was not the type of parent God would approve of and the example he set in my life and mind has been a difficult one to overcome in seeing God as a Heavenly Father figure. The comparisons were to srastic. I am coming to know God as a Heavenly Father, a companion, a friend, a Lord and Redeemer, but I still struggle with see myself with any value. Due to a devasting event that happened within the past year, this struggle is over whelming. Your book is giving me hope, and thoughts to ponder and pray for.

    I still struggle and wish I had a friend like you, with your wisdom and heart to talk with. I feel truly one with you in so many ways. Thank you for your love and true concern that comes forth from your bloggs and pages in your book. I know you do not know me but I pray for your happiness and continued support. You are a lady truly loved by God. You are blessed.

  128. Melissa Greene says:

    I can’t tell you Renee how much your honest reflections on your own life give me so much perspective and hope for my own! I struggle with so many of the same things you did and try thank God for you. You and your different writing have become a staple in my life. Thank you for all you do and I can’t wait to one day read your book

  129. I’ve always felt a little like the unwanted, crooked Christmas tree because of low self-esteem. It really surprised me when I received an email telling me that I was being considered for a job that I had been praying for for 3 weeks. I got the job and this blessing has really strengthened my faith and hope in Jesus and I now feel more able to trust in him completely and leave the consequences to him. This is really helpful when I’m dealing with people and situations that only God can change.

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