{Chapter 8} You are God’s Masterpiece

wellspring_of_life_860

Art Source: Brianna from wordplusdesign.com

“When God looks at you, He sees someone He loves. In Isaiah 43:4, God says, “You are precious and honored in my sight . . . and I love you.” When God looks at you, He also sees someone He knows. David said in Psalm 139:1, “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.” You are not just one of millions of others, but are uniquely you. You are God’s prized possession, a valued treasure of great worth.” ~ Chapter 8, A Confident Heart

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Our word for the week: MASTERPIECE

Our verse for the week:
“We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10, NLT

Be sure to print it and post this week’s download everywhere! You can download in a PDF or in MSWord.

According to Distionary.com a masterpiece is:

  1. a person’s greatest piece of work, as in art
  2. anything done with masterly skill
  3. a consummate example of skill or excellence of any kind

Let’s Connect: As you begin or continue to read Chapter 8 {depending on your personal pace}, I’d love for us to share thoughts about the first few sections of the chapter. Are there sentences or verses you’ve underlined? Thoughts you’ve highlighted? How are you doing?

Click “Share Your Thoughts” below. Can’t wait to hear and pray over you today. Even though I don’t get to comment all the time, I am reading and praying over your comments. As time allows in my day, I’ll leave a note when I can. 🙂

 

About Renee

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, story-teller, heart-encourager and grace-needer. She's also a wife, mom, friend, daughter and author of A Confident Heart, a Retailers Choice Award winning book that became a best-seller and has been published in six languages, with over 150,000 copies sold. Renee is speaks around the country at women's events and and serves on the writing team for DaySpring’s inCourage blog. For twenty years, Renee served in leadership at Proverbs 31 Ministries and as former co-host of the ministry's radio program, “Everyday Life with Lysa & Renee.

Comments

  1. Rebecca says:

    I am one who has always compared myself with others!

    • Rebecca says:

      My entire post did not post??? So here it is……I love what your friend Genia said about when I compare myself to others, I am comparing my inside with their outside. That makes so much sense to me now! I shared this with a friend of mine this past week and it helped her also!
      My marriage is in shambles but this book is helping me so much. It hurts to face these things sometimes but I know God will heal, I may not know how or when but I know He does know and I rest in that!
      Thank you, thank you thank you for this study! Praying that God will continue to bless you and your ministry!

      • Rebecca, praying for healing in your marriage!

      • Im praying for you and your marriage Rebecca.

        Jesus, only You know just what Rebecca and her husband need. WIll you step into their brokenness and bring healing, hope, clarity, oneness and your unfailing love. Surround them with wise counsel and those who might offer insight to know how to take what the enemy intends for destruction and use it for reconstruction in their marriage. You are their Healer and the Restorer of all that they have. In Jesus Name, Amen.

      • Rebecca,
        My husband and I have gone through a hard season as well for almost 3 years now. We actually seperated for 11 months in 2011 but I moved back home at the end of 2011. We are still definatly struggling but God is good and faithful and I am praying for complete restoration for your marriage. God Bless!!

  2. Tammy Haymon says:

    I read the first three or four pages of chapter 8 this morning and feel like it’s too late for me. If I’d known this 25 years ago, it could have a made a difference. Now, it’s like, yeah, I know, but it’s too late to do anything about it now….

    • It is never too late, Tammy! God has a purpose for you! Don’t let the enemy make you feel defeated! That is what this study is all about.

      Remember, Philippians 1:6 I am confident God will complete the good work He started in me.

    • Tammy,
      It’s never too late with the Lord! Sometimes, I think I believed this lie of Satan about this as well. God doesn’t say “it is too late”. He says, “He loves you!…and has great things ahead.”

      Praying that none of us believe Satan’s lies! That is the way he keeps us from moving forward in the strength and power of the Lord!
      Lynne!

      • Oh Jamie! Thank you so much for posting Philippians 1:6 in response to that comment! This morning while reading that chapter, the enemy was having a hay day with my heart telling me the same thing; “it’s too late…you’ve wasted what little talent you had…. “and I wrote on an index card, “Please show my Gideon heart where my talents are, and with your help…I will give it a try” and guess what scripture was on it? Philippians 1:6!!!! I have always loved to sing and write; since I was a little girl I have loved those things. If ever I get a free minute (not very often with 3 kids lol) I sing my heart out! I have been told that I have a good singing voice, but I am so incredibly insecure in front of people that I run away from anything that involves me using it…unless it’s in the car, shower, or any other room in my house…ha. I just recently got asked to write articles for this online blog ministry and accepted the invitation but have been a hot mess every day questioning whether or not it’s good enough. I know better, but old habits and lies believed just like to hang on, don’t they? Anyway, this was my favorite chapter so far and I am feeling extremely encouraged by both the book and your response to Tammy!

        • I’d also like to say on a side note, that my house is beginning to look a little “beautiful mind’ish” with all of these scriptures everywhere! lol

        • Laura, your welcome 🙂 Sing with your kids, I always do and I have never been told I can sing, I just enjoy it and enjoy listening when my 6 year old is singing praise and worship songs around the house. I am 37 and feel that I am really just now starting to let God take the lead in my life. I figure this, my insecure thoughts and the enemy has kept me from being the woman God wants me to be thus far, why waste another day?

    • Hi, Tammy! Have you received Christ as your Lord and Savior? It is never too late with God. He is timeless. He loves you greatly and deeply! He desires the very best for you and would never give up on you. Please don’t give up on yourself. Remember, God gave His one and only Son for you and me. Jesus was beaten and died in our place, and that is not in vain. He lives to ever-intercede for each and every one of us. Don’t listen to the lies of your flesh, the enemy and the world. It’s not easy, but with God nothing is impossible. We probably all battle the “It’s too late; I’m too far gone, ” thoughts, but they are lies from the pit of hell. Fix your eyes, heart and mind on Jesus and the wonderful, everlasting love He has for you. Let His love for you define you; His intimate knowledge of you bless and keep you, and guard your heart. Let His mercy and grace shower over you and strengthen you. (I am also speaking to myself, as I am a bit down and questioning 🙂 . Remember 1 Peter 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 RESIST him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” (NKJV) God is so very good! Let Him love on you, spend time in His Word, reveling in His promises for you. It won’t always be easy, but He will always be with us. God bless you richly!

      • Sharon says:

        Cindy, thank you for sharing your heart. Your words really spoke to me. Your heart’s passion for others really came through and I needed to hear these words today. I’ve been a Christian for a long time, but for the first time as I read Renee’s book, I am finally starting to grasp what it really means to have a personal relationship with Jesus. I am 54 years old and I can’t remember a day that I haven’t struggled with why am I here. I am tired of living a defeated life. Just going through the motions day by day. Thank you for the Bible verses you shared. I needed to be reminded that God loves me even if I don’t love myself, or if others don’t except me for who I am. I am in a job that I don’t feel qualified for, but for financial reasons, I think I have to stay. After reading the chapter “Discovering the God-Given Desires of Your Heart”, I am hopeful that there is still time for me to find my calling. I’m also thankful for this forum where other’s struggle with the same issues. I thought I was all alone.

        Have a blessed day!

        • Thank you for your encouragement, Sharon. What you have shared here really blesses me. Praise God for you! Let’s keep our eyes, hearts, and minds fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith!

      • Thank you so much for sharing such powerful encouragement Cindy!! I know many will be blessed by your words!

      • Priscilla says:

        Just reading some of the comments this afternoon. I really needed to hear what you have stated, Cindy.
        I know I have disappointed The Lord and am having a hard time dealing with it. I can see I have believed Satan’s lies and need to focus on Jesus and His love for me.

    • Tammy I have felt the same way but I continue to hold on to God reminding Him this is not the way my life was meant to be. My best days are ahead of me. As long as you have breath…its never too late for you because everything you need is on the inside of you. I pray the same Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead rises up inside of you and gives you new life. All things are possible to those who believe and all we need is faith of a mustard seed.

    • Tammy, as others have shared, it’s not too late. Jesus wants this to be the first day of the rest of your life. The day you say “no more, I will not live any more in this place of defeat and comparison. I will take hold of all that Jesus has for me and I will let my life become an offering to Him as I realize the worth, purpose, gifts and calling He has on my life.” Im praying for you today with all my sisters in Christ here who believe in you and the plans God has for you!

    • Tammy, It is never to late…God has a plan for you, .God loves you, he made you. I pray that God will wrap His loving arms around you and help you thru this struggle. There are so many things in Renees book that have totally just touched me and helped me. Since I read 1Peter5:6-9 Humble yourselves under the might hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by brotherhood in the world.” I have run into the scripture in so much of my readings…..Satan is a liar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You are beautifully made….A Masterpiece, God knitted you together in your mother’s womb… Our minds are the greatest battlefied we encounter…Rebuke satan, and turn your thoughts to God……Jesus died on the cross for our sins, so that we could live. He conquered death and the world, satan….Victory came at the cross. In chapter 5 page 93 Turning is crucial for us as we learn to live beyound the shadows of our doubts…Turning toward God, so we can listen to what He says about who we are and what we can do….Turn towards His truth and His Light, Tammy….Psalm 139:14 says I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made Marvelous are Your works… I go back and read the scriptures on pages 107 and 108. Gods’ promises Renee has in Chapter 12…. Tammy we all fall short of the glory of God daily….Get up dust yourself off and ask God to help you through… Remember John 1:12..I am God’s child!!!!!!!!! Surrender yourself all daily.(I do this in prayer every day and it has so helped me) .. I know God hears you….our greatest gift is Prayer……….God is always there listening all we have to do is get on our knee and seek him…sending you hugs and many prayers sister…

    • Tammy Haymon says:

      Thank you so much, ladies, for taking the time to post words of encouragement for me. I read several of your posts numerous times because it takes that for the words to sink in. I have been a Christian since I was 9 years old and sang solos in church and led worship for years. I love the Lord with all my heart. But I have a hard time believing He loves me.

      I am struggling with past career choices that have led me to where I really don’t want to be today. I put it all on the line a few years back and went back to school to do what I thought God had placed on my heart. Now several thousand dollars and two years later I have nothing to show for it but a piece of paper and broken dreams. Now the only choice I have is to work at whatever job I can find and help put my two teenage sons through college in the next ten years or so. There is no money left for me to do anything else. It really seems that God has forgotten about me and since I was so sure that I heard his voice in this, I am left feeling confused and disillusioned.

      Thank you for your prayers as this something I struggle with daily. I am trying hard to believe and am so enjoying Renee’s words of encouragement and truth in the book. But it is just SO hard to believe the good stuff.

  3. Carla R. says:

    I love your book. About 18 months ago God started me on a very similar journey of discovering how I am uniquely made by Him for a specific purpose. I have spent most of my life feeling like Im a square peg being pushed into a round hole. I continue my quest to discover who I am… not who I think I need to be or who others think I need to be but exactly who God says I am and how He made me. I joke with my friends and say I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up but He keeps leading me on my path of discovery and Im looking forward to this chapter as He already reminded me this morning what He has already revealed to me about my unique design and I know there is so much more to discover 🙂 I have found it so soul invigorating to take the time to dream and discover what makes me come alive… what I enjoy… what Im passionate about etc. Thankyou for the reminder today that its okay to embrace that I may be a square peg. That I don’t have to keep pushing myself into round holes… that I can embrace who God made me.

    • Amen, Amen, Amen Carla!! You are on the path to discovering who God created you to be. Guard your heart and delight in HIM with all you have and He will lead you to the plans and purpose He has for you – right where you are in the big and little things that are part of your every day life. Cheering you on!

  4. Maureen says:

    I love this book. I have it on my Kindle but I bought a physical copy (and one for a friend:) because I want to read it over and over and rifle through it, which is hard to do on a Kindle. I wondered if anyone has a similar situation to mine. It may be off topic (i have read the whole book and my husband is asleep so i can’t sneak up to check what Chapter 8 is about:) I have a 16 yr old daughter who is my life. Her dad died when she was 14 months old and we have a very close relationship. I remarried 8 years ago to a wonderful man who is great with her. She is still jealous of him and whenever he goes out of town and then returns, there is a “re-entry” adjustment because she had had me all to herself. If i spend time with him, she is jealous, if i spend time with her, i feel like a bad wife. I just want to run away. I have googled different blogs, etc. but i thought you all are a better group to ask. I love them both so dearly and i feel like i disappoint them both.

    • Keep praying for your family, don’t give up. It can be hard for a child to accept a step parent. Sometimes it may help to spend time as a family, but also build in times where you spend time just with your daughter, or just with your husband. Also allow them to spend time alone together. But even if you’re spending time alone with her, you can still mention your husband. This can help your daughter see you and your husband as a couple and that once she is gone to college, your lives will continue. Give your feelings of guilt to God, and see if He leads you to talk about them as a family. You’re not a bad mother or wife, and the two people who care about you the most wouldn’t want you to think that! God bless!

    • Trust in the Lord’s timing. I too am 25 years into my marriage and just coming to understand that God has a plan that is perfect for me. He has a plan for you. Do not throw away your confidence. You will miss out on His plan to complete His work in you.

    • Christina says:

      Maureen – I know just how you feel! My son is 11 and I married my husband when Stephen was 4. I feel just like you at times! Stephen gets so jealous if I spend time alone with my husband so that makes me feel like a bad mom! And if I spend time alone with Stephen I then feel like a bad wife. I feel caught in the middle between these two!

      I will pray for your family! Would you also pray for mine?

      • Maureen says:

        Christina ~ thank you so much for your response. I will definitely pray for you and yours. How do you deal?

        • Christina says:

          Maureen – I don’t deal with it very well! I just try to plan “family” time a lot! It’s a little better since Stephen has started to get his own interests. Danny is great with Stephen and never gets upset with the time I spend with him but Stephen will say that I love Danny more if I spend alone time with him!

  5. Right from the beginning of Chapter 8 I wanted to start posting about what is written. So many times I feel like I don’t know who I am, I feel like I have no dreams for the future or “what I want to be when I grow up.’ I always wanted to be a wife and mom, that has been a constant in my life, and God has blessed me with a wonderful family. I have compared myself with others who have this drive to go to school, to seek out a professional career and I have felt like I am wasting my life because I don’t have that drive, I don’t have a passion for a career. I have really struggled with this and a few months ago I was praying and asking God to show me what I should go to school for and why I don’t have a passion for a specific degree and He told me that is not His plan for me. I know God has a plan for me and I just need to be faithful to obey when He speaks. Thank you again for this book and study, Renee. I am anxious to continue reading Chapter 8!

    • Oh sweet Jamie!! An education and a career are not the end all be all. Don’t feel like you need to want those things because others do. Or that you are less because you don’t. I couldn’t wait to get out of school and I am so glad that I didn’t have to go back and do more to find God’s purpose. I think sometimes we forget that God’s purpose isn’t found in a job or position. It’s found in our passion {we will talk about this too in chapter 8.} It’s found when respond to His promptings to love on, give to, believe in, bless and serve those who are right where we are – in our workplaces, community, church, family.

      The world tells us we need to be more and do more and have more – but that is a lie form the pit. It will lead to nothing but constant striving and no contentment b/c no matter how much we do or have – it’s never enough.

      We’ll talk about this more this week but for now, focus on the first few sections of this chapter and journal your thoughts, feelings and answer the first 2 questions in the back of the chapter. This is one of my favorite parts of the book and Im praying it will be a big encouragement to each of you!

  6. I really loved the new look at the story in the Bible about the master and his three servants. He gave the different amounts of talents according to their abilities. The servant who only got one talent just hid it man the ground. I can relate to this so well! Sometimes, I’m ashamed of what I have, and I’m running away from who I am. As a child of first generation immigrants, I’ve always felt like a second class citizen when growing up. I always wanted to hide the fact that I was so different from my classmates. as an adult, God has been showing me that my heritage and my ability to fluently speak my home language are terrific assets that can be used to advance His kingdom. He has been bringing me to international students who needs to be poured into. For the first time, I’m learning to discuss the Bible in my home language! I don’t mow where God wants to take things, but it’s becoming clear to me that there is a lot of “fertile soil” and He wants me to sow generously. Some days, I still get a little jealous of other people’s talents, but the Spirit now reminds me that I have some wonderful talents too and I shouldn’t waste them.

    • I love what you shared Julie and how far you have come in your journey of struggling with that insecurity {which is something we all feel but it shows up in different ways} and then how you are coming to see your value, what you have to offer that is unique and how God can use it. Keep letting Him use you and lead you sweet friend. You are a beautiful offering to Him and others – and esp us here in the study!!

      • Thanks Renee! It is a wonderful blessing to be doing this study with you and the other ladies. May God bless you tremendously for your obedience and using the talents He has given you!

  7. Courtney says:

    Renee, I would first like to thank you again for this study. On this journey, I am feeling renewed and healing some wounds.

    Chapter 8 was another ouchy! Throughout my life, and even today, I still wonder what do I have to offer and what is my spiritual gift? I sometimes feel God skipped me when handing out talents! I am a competent person, just not a creative one. I mean, tell what you want and how you want it and you got it! Forget about singing! Only I like hearing my loud and off key voice! I love public speaking… Only if I have a script to guide me. Never really been good at writing. My thoughts seem to hide when it’s time to put them on paper.

    This led me into the comparison trap. If only I could paint like… If only I could sing like.. If only I can write like…. If… If… If…! But, God made no two people alike. We all have our own talents and gifts. I am learning once I try to stop trying to get someone else’s talent, I may find my own. I am praying that through your words and my desires I find my calling so I can perform it to uplift the kingdom.

    And, I guess having the melancholy personality trait doesn’t help. If I try something new and it doesn’t quite live up to my expectations, I fold and become depressed. I’ll tell myself negative things like I knew this wouldn’t work… I knew I couldn’t do it…. I’m hopeless… A lot of this comes from my mean sprited Aunt who always told me I would never be anything. Suddenly, that teenage girl with low self esteem emerges. These are the times I need to Isaiah 43:4 and make myself available to His direction..

    • Thank you so much for being transparent and open with your thoughts and struggles. I have a feeling many in our group can relate. It’s so easy to think… if only I could…. then God could use me. But it’s such a lie. And it’s exactly what the enemy wants you to believe so you won’t’ let God use you just as you are. Does that make sense?

      Why not let Him use you just as you are – right where you are – with the personality and strengths He’s given you. 🙂 And it’s time to silence the critical aunt and listen to the voice of your shepherd telling you what HE wants you to do today to offer that one thing only you can offer. ANd then hear Him whisper – well done good and faithful servant. 🙂

      I am going to be sharing more on this topic on our Thursday night Conference Call. Hope you can be there or listen to it later. {It will be recorded} 🙂

  8. Could someone list the phlegmatic qualities. I am reading this on a notebook and it cut off most of the text. Thanks so much.

    • Phlegmatic Desires PEACE
      Needs times of quiet, reduced stress, feeling of worth, respect

      Strengths Relational Challenges

      Calm Stubborn
      Adds balance Uninvolved
      Witty Procrastinates
      Low-key Unenthusiastic
      Considerate Hard to motivate
      Reliable Denial
      Makes Peace Careless

      God bless you richly!

  9. Patricia W says:

    The message in this chapter went off like a megaphone in my head. I do spend a lot of time taking care of others, which I do enjoy doing. But this chapter made me realize that it’s ok for me to search for my self-worth in other areas. God is calling me to do special things for Him and I need to make time to find out what those things are. Thank you for bringing this to my attention Renee.

  10. Kelsey says:

    The section on comparison is really helpful to me. I find myself comparing what I do to others often, but had never thought that I am comparing my insides with their outsides. This is powerful for me to remember and put those comparison thoughts into perspective.

    • It helped me put it all in perspective when Genia said that. It’s so true isn’t it??!!

      • Kelsey says:

        Absolutely! It’s important for me to remember that no matter how someone appears on the outside, I don’t know what is on the inside and what struggles they have.

  11. I think what has struck me is that in spite of all my losses and brokenness, ( maybe even because of them) the Lord still has a purpose for me. A purpose I cannot see or am yet to understand. In doing the “Getting to Know yourself ” part of the chapter caused me to choke up a bit. Things have come into my life (debilitating illness) and I have been left totally changed from them. My personality has changed and through this total brokenness and transforming work God is doing that he still chooses to have a plan for me and a purpose. I truly struggle with that..I have nothing left of myself. He must provide it because I have been stripped down and laid to waste. This disease continues to rob me of my independence and ability to do normal things with my kids. They have lived with a mom thats not like any of their friends moms I can’t do physically what others do….and yet He has a plan for me, for redemption , restoration, and completeness. Getting to know myself now after the last years of this disease hits me with a fresh burst of grief because it has truly changed who I am..and to think of having dreams and hope is still far off when today I want to just be a normal mom, who can hold her kids, prepare dinner for her family, and play with her kids. I guess my dreams are for the normal things everyone else gets tired of doing.

    • Kristy says:

      (((Great big HUGS))) W!
      God has no waste baskets. He has a purpose for you. He has a purpose to use you for His glory and His Kingdom *despite* this disease… and maybe even, *because* of this disease. Don’t let sorrow over “failing” your kids rendor worthless the amazing lessons you ARE teaching them in just being you. They are learning a deeper sense of compassion, understanding, and love than many children may ever get. Just watch and see, I would not be a bit surprised if one of your children (at least) chooses a profession in healthcare or medical services. God uses us despite us, which usually means, He uses us sometimes when we are most unaware. Just you being you, in your good moments and bad moments, might be planting the seeds of future inspiration and love into your children that could go on to completely change someone else’s life entirely. God is big and God is God. His plan for your children is complete and whole, just as His plan for YOU is complete and whole. God will not allow things of this life take away from Him, who He is, or His desire and plan for the nations. There is a passage in Joel 2:25-27 that I love. It says,
      “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
      the great locust and the young locust,
      the other locusts and the locust swarm…”
      He is aware of your struggles, of your grief and the constant “losses” you are always grieving new and old (great locusts and young locusts), and He isn’t done.
      As I reading through your message the words “Broken and transforming work” and “stripped down and laid to waste” jumped out at me… “stripped down and laid to waste” brought so many of the old testament scripture where God promises to rebuild that which has been demolished and lost. A caterpillar literally is broken down to “goo” while in the chrysalis. It goes through a period where it is no longer caterpillar, yet also not butterfly. It’s in an inbetween stage of waiting and trusting Creator’s process. It can do nothing on it’s own in that state. But that isn’t the end of it. Creator has so much more in store for it with no intentions of ever leaving it there. It must be completely broken down before it can be completely transformed! But after the process is complete there is nothing left of the “old life”, and it is blessed in ways of life that it never had a hope to know before! Hold onto Him. He has plans for you that are so much bigger and better than this, and most likely they will come to pass *because* of this. You walk a journey that is hard and so very different from the vast majority of “us” out there, yet often times God uses us right where we are. Perhaps His plan is to use you to encourage and come alongside others who struggle with this disease. Perhaps the special ministry He has for you isn’t going to be reaching far and wide and broad like we tend to think of as “women’s ministry”, but only you have the potential to speak at a depth with people of unique suffering, a depth that I am sure would be appreciated on a far more intimate, life changing level, than someone else who is “able bodied” and always has been. Hang in there. I am praying for you. Because He has goodness for you. He has specific love from within Himself to bring into you, and through you. Your kids are His kids and He has good things in store for them, in the very areas you grieve He is already filling to full! Trust the process. When you can only see dirt, trust there is life within that soil ready to break ground at the perfect timing of His call forth. He isn’t done with you yet, and I am praying for peace and reassurance of who you are TO Him, and who you are WITHIN Him!

      • Kristy,
        Thanks you for taking time to write such encouragement . This has been a very lonely process without much understanding because I “look fine.” God has revealed himself to me in a way I wouldn’t trade for the world. I’ve really struggled with my thoughts…. thinking I must have really done something wrong for this to happen to me, I must deserve it. I’ve had family walk out of my life, christian family because they thought I was making this up and was to needy. I know that is not how God looks at me, but it is a daily renewal of my mind that must take place. A true leaving behind and moving forward. God has given me a word and it is to stop looking back and look forward he is doing a new thing. I covet your prayers.

  12. Renee,

    I want to thank you for writing this book. I had asked for it for Christmas and started to read it soon after. I wasn’t far into reading it when I received the e-mail saying that you were doing an online study on it. I was excited to join but also hesitant because I have never done an online study before.

    God has been doing some amazing things in my life over the last 2 years but especially since January have I been growing in leaps & bounds. This book and study have fit so perfectly into it. I have doubted myself and my abilities so much in the past. I, in fact, have hated myself especially what I have looked like. I have played the comparison game too. This has been changing and I have never been so confident in myself. The confidence though has come out of my realization of whose I am and how much God values me.

    This morning I read: “Doubts filtered my idea through reality: Who am I to think I could write something women would want to read?” I had a similar incident this past week. As I was reading the book, a thought came to me that maybe I should lead this study for the women at my church. Doubts have assailed me making me think “who am I that I would think of leading the women in my church through this study?” There are so many women of high calibur at my church. I mentioned this to a friend yesterday and she stopped me mid sentence to say “but you are one of them”. I stopped to think about that and agreed. I don’t think I would have before this study. One thing I love is sharing what God is doing in my life. I’m not sure if I will end up leading this study but maybe one day I will lead a study.

    God bless! 🙂

    • Edith, you can! Your thoughts reflect mine exactly; however, I led a couple studies years ago…..before I went back to teaching. Taught for 8 more years and am retired now. I’ve wondered about doing the same thing, but feel a little out of practice. Then I let thoughts like “Why would other women want to do this study? They look confident to me. I’m just weak.” I know those are “against me” thoughts and I am replacing them with the truth of God’s promises. Just remember what Renee said about being faithful with what God has given you. He will take it and bless it if you are faithful to whatever he has called you to. Blessings to you.

  13. As a never married woman well into her late 30’s (the only one among every single group of friends I have had since grade school on) it is hard to not give up hope. Acheiveing a dream such as marriage also depends on another person being part of the plan. I struggle with attending church as clearly even the Christian churches rarely recognize that there are never married singles that are beyond college age and “young professional” age. Families and chidlren are continually recognized and sermoned too but it is hard at times to not compare oneself to other women my age when God said “it is not good for man to be alone”.

    • Christina says:

      Jess – Don’t give up hope! If it is God’s plan for you than you will meet the right man! I was 36 when I married my husband! I had almost given up! It was when I decided and learned to be a happy and productive Christian single that I met my husband! I will be praying for peace in singlehood for you!

    • Stacey says:

      Jess, I so know what you mean. I am 42 and still single as well with not very much experience in dating. Some days I just feel like I dont’ fit in anywhere. Most of my family and friends are married with children and I don’t like to go places by myself so I mostly stay home and keep to myself.

    • Jess, don’t give up. I understand how you feel although I am a divorced woman, I too want to be married and share my life with someone. I have been single for about 16 years now and I am 50 now. It’s Ok to go and do things for yourself. It might seem awkward because you see other people with someone but you have to learn how to be with yourself before you can be with someone. Take this time to really learn who you are. When you’re comfortable with yourself you will have so much more to give when that special person comes along. Enjoy your singleness now with the Lord and he will show you so much about yourself, your likes and dislikes and most of all how to love yourself just as you are. I am apprehensive of going to the church I attend because the majority of my brothers and sisters are married and it makes me feel awkward sometimes but when I begin to worship the Lord i forget about that and enjoy my time fellowshiping with all of them. It was tough for me for a long time feeling like a failure because my marriage didn’t work but in the midst of losing that relationship God was waiting for me right where I was broken and all ready to share his love and fill me with his joy.

  14. Tammy I have felt the same way but I continue to hold on to God reminding Him this is not the way my life was meant to be. My best days are ahead of me. As long as you have breath…its never too late for you because everything you need is on the inside of you. I pray the same Spirit that rose Jesus from the dead rises up inside of you and gives you new life. All things are possible to those who believe and all we need is faith of a mustard seed.

  15. Wonderful book….I have it on Kindle…I want a print copy though so I can make more notes/markings!!
    Please pray for me/hub’s health issues, which are quite serious now. Also, pray for daughter, single Mom, in her job, health, finances, housing, and her son getting ready for college.

    Thanks for your great ministry.

  16. Natasha says:

    WOW! I just read the first 2 pages of Chapter 8 this morning and already I can’t believe it how much similarity there is with my life. I know exactly how you felt, Renee, during your “team-building activity”. I’ve been there! I too try to be who others wanted, needed and expected me to be. I am a constant candidate for the burnout and never feel like I will ever be able to measure up to other women. It seems like when I enjoy doing something or learning about something and picture my self doing it, I get excited, but few minutes later I have to dismiss the whole idea because I know that I will never be able to be good enough at it, have enough skills to pursue my goal and I am afraid to fail. And it is so true that I do compare how I feel on the inside with other people who look like they have it all together on the outside. I really don’t know what is going on with them on the inside. We are all so good at covering up our true feelings and insecurities and wearing masks. It gives us false impressions.

  17. Christina says:

    Renee – you had to have written this book for me!! I am 43 and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! I also compare my life to others and wonder why I can’t seem to be as “together” as this woman or that woman! “Comparison leaves us insecure, confused, and discontent.” So true! I love when Genia said “Every time I compare myself with someone else, I can never measure up because I am comparing my insides with their outsides.” That sentence spoke to me. When I compare myself to other women I deny who I am and what I have to offer! Just because I don’t dress like a Barbie doll everyday or weigh the “perfect” weight does not mean that I am not beautiful! Or if I don’t drive the right car or live in the right neighborhood or live in the biggest house doesn’t mean that I am not just as important!

    Thank-you!! 🙂

  18. TABITHA JONES says:

    I started reading Chapter 8 this morning and I have made notes all over the pages. I really like what your friend Genia said, “Every time I compare myself with someone else, I can never measure up because I am comparing my insides with there outsides.” I guess I do compare myself with others, I just never looked at it like that. I have always said I wish i could do … I wish I could be.. and I have heard my children do this and know that they just started it because they have learned from me. Lord help me to do better in this area.
    I have really been struggling with what God wants me to do. He has let me know that he wants me to be a spoke person for him. I was telling a friend the other day that I felt the Lord leading me to do this but I am not a speaker. I love to be among people and hear them testifying but I go to testify and can not seem to get the words out I want to say, so I just don’t see myself speaking to ladies. She made a statement that day that has really stuck in my head, she said”you sound like Moses”. I just let it pass but when I got home it kept coming to my mind, I guess I am like Moses, I don’t want to be the center of attention. I ask that you ladies pray for me that I will listen to God and will take him at his word and do what he wants me to do. I have been a Christian for 30 years but this past year I have really gotten so close to the Lord. He has really been all I think of and I study the word more than I have ever before.
    Thank you so much for this study it has come into my life at just the perfect time.

  19. Christina says:

    Renee, loved the phrase, “disease to please”. Most of my life has been spent trying to please everyone else, but ME ! Always trying to figure out what everyone wants from me and always comparing me to my more talented, successful, smart sister. This book was sent to me directly from HEAVEN !! I have never been more excited to read a book and watch your videos. I come from a long line of physical abuse, fear, imprisonment as a child, verbal abuse, and suicidal tendencies. It is through God and people like you that have got me through my brokenness. “God can use her brokenness to do something beautiful, because the cracks allow His light to shine through and his living water to pour out !” Thank You…..

  20. HOPE that is the word I need for today !Medical issues and still no answer as to what is going on. Please pray for HOPE that I can get that HOPE from the LORD sometimes He seems so far away and I can’t seem to hear from HIM thank you for the book I’m trying to let go and let the LORD have control but I seem to keep trying to figure out what I should do ! Thanks for prayers

  21. nancy kimball says:

    My prayers are with you Tammy that the Lord will help you and guide you — I have been through 2 divorces and a death in my life — that of my husband– through him and through prayer I have learned to Be still and let the Lord in and to help me with my prayers. I meditate and pray every day and have become a reborn Christian– It is never too late to have the Lord come into you life and help you. He is with you and will always be there to hold you up and carry you through all the ups and downs of your life. I will pray for you Tammy that your marriage will get better and that you will pull through. He will not let you down and will not fail you. We are al children of God and we all have our burdens to carry —
    Being a disabled nurse I have seen everything and done everything for others that have needed my help. I have cared for the dying and the patients that are in pain. I know what it is like to have to deal with pain — I recently had back surgery for a pinched nerve and now I am able to walk and to help others through the gift of prayer and laying on of hands. I will see that the Lord will come to you and I will hold you in my prayers so that you will receive his coming. Ask the Lord to come into your life Tammy and he will hold you up.

  22. Renee, I felt beautiful today, when I read your email…I am God’s Masterpierce. How awsome “God made me!”…….I love your book. I go back to it over and over for help and scripture, as I have more and more with my bible… I fall short everyday, I pray and ask God to seek me and find my errors, and conviction comes when so needed. I am not perfect, I am ‘failing forward’.. but I know that God is there to help me dust myself off…. I love the verse on page 137 Eph 2:10 it starts with (You are) God’s masterpiece. He has created (you) anew in CHrist Jesus, so (you) can do the good things he planned for (you) long ago”….I have been thinking about what God wants me to do and praying…I want to find what God “spiritual purpose” God has for me. I have found myself reading more and digging into scripture found my self just having these conversations with God…I read the whole chapter 8 in one day…I feel God has placed something upon my heart for me todo…I am praying about it and will let you know what happerns….Thank you Renee…God bless you and all the sisters…Anna

    • I love how He made you feel beautiful through today’s email. You are Ann!! Praying for Him to give you clarity as you seek Him about what He’s placed on your heart to do :). Your life is an offering to HIM!!

  23. TJ Ellis says:

    I want to apologize for not being more interactive here. I love reading the post and comments here. I am a much slower reader than most. I have been so blessed by the book! I have been fighting lies a lot lately, and struggling with fear that lack of education, physicality, issues and my past will hinder me in the ministry God has for me. Knowing that God knows me, and calls me a masterpiece is reason to smile all day long!

    • No need to apologize TJ :). But we are glad to hear from you today. Love knowing you are here and how I/we can pray for you. When you struggle to believe God can’t use you, ask Jesus to remind you of all the people in the Bible that He used although they seemed like the least likely He’d choose. He doesn’t choose the wise or the perfect, He uses those of us that are ordinary yet willing to depend on Him and point others to HIM – the one that gives us joy, fills our gaps, loves us unconditionally and delights in everything about us.

      YOU ARE His MASTERpiece!! You are just who He wants you to be. Now let Him use you today to let someone know they are loved, chosen, and special. The more you know that about yourself, the more you can graciously give that gift to others.

      Hugs and prayers
      Renee

  24. Marisha says:

    one of the many thoughts/statements from the chapter that jumped out for me the most was this “God never intended for us to compete with each other; He wants us to complete one another, celebrating and encouraging each other’s strengths while discovering who He created us to be.”
    I think if more people saw each other that way…that we are supposed to complete, not compete, and celebrate each other, so many relationships would be different (friendships, work-stuff, etc.) Thank you for pointing out this truth! I pray that it will always be true for my interpretation of people.

    • I agree. I think it could make SUCH a huge difference in so many ways!! I think this study and the encouragement we get to share here is part of His completing process 🙂

  25. Tiffany says:

    I started chapter 8 last night. I must say that I am one who always compared myself to others. I always felt like I wasn’t as pretty as her, not as smart as her, wish I had her life, wish I had her friends, etc. I just didn’t feel good enought compared to everyone else. It’s funny because I sat there for 10 minutes looking over the Personality Plus charts trying to figure out which one fit me. I thought that I was the PHLEGMATIC: DESIRES PEACE fit me but my husband said that he thought I was MELANCHOLY: DESIRES PERFECTION. I know that I will get alot from the chapter.

    • Hi Tiffany,

      You might be a little of both. My husband is 60/40 Phlegmatic Melancholy. It’s a natural blend so I bet you are too. 🙂

      It’s a great personality to have – I married one 20 years ago. Smiles.

  26. TJ Ellis says:

    Thank you also Ladies foe letting me know I’m not alone in the comparison trap. Your comments have blessed me.

  27. Rhonda says:

    This wknd my relationship of 9 months ended. The one I knew was going to end (or continue) w/ me [finally] being able to walk down the aisle. I’m still not giving up hope that it still might one day, but the feelings that go w/ all that, and the ‘unknown’ or ‘what now God?’ are heavy. Then I got the email from Renee last nite and it said, “When you say, ‘I feel worthless’ ” “God says, ‘you are precious and loved by ME!’ “…I like to think of it as my “God moment”. God was pursuing me.
    I am learning [or wanting to learn] to be completely whole in God. Focusing on Him. Leaving my relationship to the One in control. How I long to be a wife and mother. But, in my group of friends…I’m the ‘last man standing solo!’ To hear a friend say, “I hope to be done having kids by the time I’m 30.” I say, “honey, I’ll be happy to just be MARRIED by 30!” 🙂 God does promise to give us the desires of our hearts, right? So that means I keep trusting…praying…seeking His will for me now, and leave the rest up to Him. I know God is enough, but is it wrong to also desire somebody w/ skin? I love the quote at the beginning of Chapter 8. I know what I’m passionate about, I know what makes me “come alive”. But learning how to do that ‘solo’ AND the fact that I’m a phleg/melancholy is a challenge for me.
    Renee, thank you for being a channel thru which God has ‘pursued’ me multiple times, thru this study!

    • 🙂 Your note makes me smile so much that God is pursuing you. I had the hardest time getting that to post last night but kept sensing God telling me to not give up. He knew 🙂
      You are loved Rhonda. You are so loved and pursued. Let yourself be sad and grief this hard break up, but don’t stay there. He’s got plans for you that the enemy would love for you to miss. Don’t get distracted. Stay close to Jesus and let Him love you through this and into the next thing He has for you!! You are a MASTERpiece!

  28. carolyn rivers says:

    I completed the book however I needed a reminder that I am a masterpiece from god and I was hand picked for greatness. Today is hard because I moved to ga and I don’t have a job. It is so easy to get distracted from god and our blessings.

    • Praying for you Carolyn. “May the favor of the Lord our God rest on YOU; establish the work of Carolyn’s hands for her {Lord}– yes, establish the work of her hands.” Ps 90:17 In Jesus Name, Amen.

  29. Jeanette says:

    I love that chapter 8 addresses “the comparison trap”. We measure how we feel inside to how others look on the outside. What an error on our part! I am slowly learning to embrace the reasons God has make me who I am. Thank you, Renee for exposing something that could be toxic if not recongnized.

  30. Maryann says:

    I loved the comparison trap on page 136-137: every time I compare myself with someone else, I can never measure up because I am comparing my insides with their outsides. Comparison causes us to compete with one another—god never intended that for me or for anyone else. The only way to break free from this trap is to embrace the reason you are who you are!!!! Loved that! So much freedom in those words. God uniquely planned my life–He is such a personal god– how could I have doubted ever. Amazing!

  31. Patty Fitzpatrick says:

    I believe I only commented once during this teaching. However, felt as if I had to share today. I finished Chapter 8 this morning and answered the questions. God’s timing is perfect. Last week I had lunch with a dear friend who has been blessed with having her own ministry–one of teaching and encouraging others. People from all over the country attend. As I sat and listened to her share how God planted the seed and how it came to fruition, I began to be very intimidated–especially when she invited me to one of her upcoming workshops regarding prophetic gifts. Without thinking, I said yes. Another friend who was with us could see that I was feeling a bit uncomfortable. And, of course, old Mr. Competition entered the conversation and Mr. Pity as well. Being the mature Christian that my friend is, she assured me that we all have a part in the Kingdom–regardless of what it is–sound familiar, Renee . . . 🙂

    In any event, during my devotions the next morning, I was convicted by the Holy Spirit. I was so ashamed that I had “tried to narrow the playing field,” with my words. A gentle touch on her hand and a smile would have conveyed that I was happy that she was able to provide this Godly training for others who were led to participate. And then . . . here comes Chapter 8!

    I live an hour from my friend and with two grands graduating this month, work to be done in my house, and having out-of-town company, I’m not be able to attend her workshop. I sent her a message apologizig for saying yes too quickly and that I may attend in the future when the opportunity presents itself. She understood perfectly.

    One more thing. As I was recording my responses to the questions–especially No.1, this thought really resonated with me. God, as my Creator, gifted me with unique abilities and talents. Am I wiser and above Him to question what He has given me? It would be like returning a gift to someone who really loves me. This puts me in mind of Is. 64:8 . . . But now, Oh Lord, You are our Father, We are the clay and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.”

    Thanks for confirming something I really needed to take to “heart.”

  32. This was just perfectly timed for me. I have been separated for 6 months after my husband told me that he was having an affair and no longer wanted to be married. I have prayed and prayed for him to be repentant and for restoration but Friday I found out that our divorce is final. I am in a place I never wanted or expected to be. I (and everyone close to us) thought that we had a great marriage and were doing well. This weekend I was again confronted with the reality that he has chosen this woman over me and feels completely justified in leaving our family (we have 2 children) because it makes him happy. I have really been battling with feelings of worthlessness and that I’m not good enough, not respected or valued while he dotes on his girlfriend and lives it up. So I desperately needed to be reminded of my value in Gods eyes. I know that I can’t base my self worth on the two of them, but I need constant reminders of Gods love and my value to Him-that’s all that matters. So thank you for the posts, the book, & the encouragement.

    • I really feel for you Tara as I relate to your story and am still struggling with rejection and yet holding on to the hope that God can change my situation but at the end of two years my husband can divorce me and i don’t get much say in it. I have to hold on to how God has helped me get this far with four children and put the right people each step of the way in my path. And be grateful I have my faith as I couldn’t have done it without God’s strength. I have been able to see the good already even though i am still going through it which is amazing in it self. How I have regained my confidence, found myself for just me, and actually caused me to grow closer to God. Satan wants broken families and marriages as God is opposite to that and it is the hardest thing to let go and trust God when all seems to be going wrong. God works all things together for good is something i try to hold onto.
      I pray and hope that you will be able to stick close to God no matter what and that he fills your empty places at this time.
      Take care
      Babsxx

    • Inez C. says:

      My heart goes out to you because I know what you are feeling. My divorce was final in 1999 after having been married 24 years. But I have learned since then not to look on it as like your life has ended, but a instead look on it as a new lease on life and one that will include what God has planned for your life. Remember that when one door closes another will open. As for me I have been married going on 9 years and my new hubby is totally opposite from my previous one. God will bless you just trust in Him and He will guide your path and will be with you all the way.

  33. Priscilla says:

    “God never intended for us to compete with each other; He wants us to complete one another, celebrating and encouraging each other’s strengths while discovering who He created us to be.” This thought on p. 137 got my attention. What a blessing to complete one another and not compete against each other!

  34. It is interesting to see in the chart that when we are running on our own, we tend to see and do things from the weakness side , but as we draw from Gods guidance and fill our hearts and minds with his truths we operate more and more from the strengths side, Amazing how He changes our outlook and out come. You have truly bless me with this study,

    • That is so true, i haven’t figured which one i am as i can see bits in all of them but it made me think how i am now ( more on the negative side) and i have to change and see myself as God does so that the positives are stronger and I can become the person he created me to be.
      If that makes any sense!

  35. I just lost all I was typing up about my recent events and it is frustrating. But here goes; Basicaly i struggled last weekend when my husband came to visit kids and I really thought i was about to give up, then the next day at church which i only went to because of a friend getting baptised, God got me. I had prayer for renewal and I felt refreshed, and was reminded that it was a new day and even though i could hardly believe i was there after the blip i had the day before I could stand there and start a fresh, my eyes focused on God.
    I have put my worth and value in my husband and am a succer for comparing myself to others, instead of looking to God and focusing myself on him, the author and perfector of my faith. I have spent the last year renewing my relationship with God and recently it has been a real battle of my mind.
    But nothing is allowed to come between me and God and i am determined to press on towards the goal, I will keep refocusing on my creator. I really love alll the definitions of a masterpiece and we so need reminding of who we are in christ! I need lots of prayer in this time i am in, this season and want to embrace it and let God work through me. I also know that if the enemy is giving me such a hard time how much greater is God going to use me. He has so much for me, more than i could ever imagine.
    I want to declare I’m in it for the long run. He is my God, my father, my healer, my redeemer. In Him Will I Trust!
    As i have been stuck by feeling I have to please others and wonder if I have ever grown up and what on earth have i done for the last 33 years of my christian walk, I want to learn more about who I am and the way i tick and dig deep into what really is my hearts desire,what has God given me…..Thank you Renne for your inspiration and sharing your life with others, and writing this book. I pray many more women of God get inspired and wake up to who they are in christ and not as we see ourselves or the world sees us.
    I believe God is going to use each woman on this coarse/ journey in new ways they never would have imagined as they give their trust to God alone and focus on Him.
    I can wake each day now and think,” Today is a new day” and it has more meaning than ever before. “The mind is a battlefield” is a daily reality and don’t get me wrong i have good days. But God didn’t create me to be depressed and so I will keep feeding my mind and thoughts on him and worship him as it is powerfull and releasing to give him praise.

    • Linda S. Aranda says:

      I love your testimony today. God set you up and now you are starting fresh. Praise the Lord. I will pray for you for sure. God Bless you Babs~ :)!

    • Thank you, Babs, for sharing these encouraging and affirming thoughts! Wow! Praise God! God bless you richly as you move forward in His loving arms, in the grasp of His righteous right hand. My word for this year is CLING! Your words enhance my thoughts on Cling for the year 2013. Yay! It’s all about Jesus!

  36. Debbie says:

    Seems like many women compare their insides to the more seemingly beautiful and confident outsides of other women. It’s funny because one of my favorite lines is ‘everyone has a story and we should take time to understand it’ then I do not take the time to understand it before I think “well, she seems to have it so together”. At the age of 54 I am finding the little girl inside who wants to know the Father who loves her “this much” and, even more, beyond my wildest dreams! I am in the beginning stages of finding me, with the help of a counselor and this study (this study was first and prompted such a desire to stop doubting who I am and to begin believing it). Unfortunately my husband and children grew in our relationships with each other with the damaged, doubting, uncertain me. I know that there will be very difficult times ahead, but believe that God really will grant me the desires of my heart as I begin to know His desire for me. God is good!

  37. Angela says:

    I needed this today. Started the day having one of those feelings. I struggle regularly at work feeling that I am never good enough. I want to be promoted to manager so bad but I just cant seem to get there. I compare myself to those who seem to be on that path. I can’t help but ask why I don’t get the same opportunities. No matter how hard I try it is like I’m invisible. But later in the day I just had to pray and turn it over to Him. Maybe what I want isn’t the path I’m supposed to take. Maybe I need to be content with the position I’m currently in. After my prayer at lunch the rest of my day went much better. This weeks lesson was apparently the message I needed today.

  38. Going through this study I have read many ladies saying something like “this chapter was so written for me.” I think to myself something like “it was a good chapter, but didn’t feel as if it was written for me.” Until I read this chapter….. now I can join in the rest of the ladies and say that this chapter was so written for me!
    Although I am currently working on the whole comparison-issue, I still find myself comparing myself to other ladies. I highlighted a lot in this chapter, but the one thing that struck me was on page 137 where Renee writes, “God never intended for us to compete with each other; He wants us to complete one another.” WOW, huge! The Lord has allowed me to have a humbled spirit and a new view on others, and that is…. We are all sinners, I that I am no better than anyone else. I have also realized that each one of is uniquely packaged and that we all make up the body of Christ. The Lord continues to give me the strength to be appreciative of other people’s gifts and talents. I have to mindfully choose not to allow Satan to play mind-games with me. I rely a lot on Isaiah 26:3 “Those with sound thoughts You will keep in peace, in peace because they trust in You.”

  39. PILLAR says:

    Every since I was a child, I would hear parents compare their kid with me, in front of me. I may have been a kid, but I did have functioning ears, thank the Lord. But that root of trying to literally “measure up” drove me to “prove myself” throughout my life. And even if I did achieve, no praise would be sufficient to cover the insecurity of that potential comparison game that could take place.

    But then another twist……heavens forbid instead of receiving praise, I would hear another parent still trying to praise their kid to make themselves feel more “secure” instead of even acknowledging my achievement. And I, knowing their need for self-praise, would not dare to even mention anything more about myself to “outdo” them, because I knew how they were feeling – insecure.

    But it could still potentially leave me with a downcast spirit…why? Because that was the test of whether or not I do things “UNTO GOD OR UNTO MEN”. When I find my worth in Him and praise Him for what I could accomplish through His grace, alllllllllll the other “comparison games” would shrivel to dust, where it belongs, rather than polluting my heart and mind. I would have nothing to “prove” because glory belongs to GOD, and I am made by HIM.

    “God never intended for us to compete with each other; He wants us to complete one another, celebrating and encouraging each other’s strengths while discovering who He created us to be.” – Beautifully said Renee!!

    I realize that these traps in our mind ROB us of opportunities to use our spiritual gifts, amongst many other things. Isn’t it sad? We are actually cheating ourselves from becoming all we can be because of the “SHADOW” of fear, of doubt, of whispers and thoughts of others. We should FOCUS – like horses wear BLINDERS as they run their race so they aren’t distracted by the other horses next to them or other potentially fearful situations. And with that FOCUS, pursue the desires of our hearts as a tool to becoming more like HIM.

    “But just as a target is designed to narrow the aim of an arrow, God uses the desires of our hearts to narrow the focus of where He wants our lives to make a mark for eternity.” – That truly helped me so much this week Renee, no more people pleasing, no more selfish pursuits but make the choices to live a goal oriented, purposeful life, lead by God Himself – one decision at a time.

    • Thanks so much for sharing! I like the analogy of horses wearing blinders during a race to stay focused instead of distracted by the competition. It saddens me that so many parents are using their children to find security instead of looking to God. They may not realize that their actions hurt not only their own children, but other children as well. But I’m so thankful to see that God has brought you to a place of focus on Him. May He bless you abundantly today!

  40. I do not know how to say thank you AGAIN. I am so deeply grateful you have shared your heart with us. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 is being lived out in each page of this book. THANK YOU!!

  41. Linda S. Aranda says:

    I love what I’ve read so far. I cried a lot when I read this because I have always thought everyone was better than me and never thought I could even come close to comparing myself. It’s really awesome to know that God knows me and I don’t have to compare myself to anyone. I don’t cry but today hit a major spot and i couldn’t stop crying. I really think this chapter hit a place I never realized was that strong. I have a long way to go but I do know that I am not where I was and am able to go to Chapter 12 and read all the things I am and know that no matter what I think or feel, God doesn’t think or feel that way. Thank you Renee.

  42. I love the reading, hearing, seeing, knowing I am HIS masterpiece…it makes me feel like without me his puzzle would not be completed. I say that because of knowing my parents did not want another child, and being told I was a mistake, even though they kept me, it still leaves that thought…
    So I was made by the Masters hand in my mothers womb…created for His purpose and plan…so ladies I am that perfect piece of the puzzle of The Lord…and no one or nothing can take that away…

    Blessings
    Patty

  43. Oh, Renee
    Your the best…this book and study has sown and shown me how to be bold be strong and courageous !
    Thank you

  44. After reading this chapter it comes to me that we have been made to compete since we were kids. Comments like; why can’t you be more like them, do you see what they did, that wouldn’t look good on you, they are so smart, etc. No wonder we grow up comparing ourselves with others. So we put ourselves down. I might find myself wishing I could be more like someone, but now as an adult I am starting to find I like myself more today. And with friends and my fiance I do complete our relationship. Our separate personalities are what makes US. It’s to bad it takes so long sometimes to realize this but I guess that is part of growing up. Question? Do you think men really struggle like women in competing with each other.

  45. Angela says:

    Renee,

    Thank you again, As the chapters continue the more I read I feel lke your speaking about me. I can definitely relate to your situation in each chapter.
    I feel after reading this book it has given me Hope and Determination.The light bulb went on. I am concentrating on the prayers, questions at the end of each chapter and watching the video’s. I finally feel I can build a relationship with God. I can live a good life. I don’t have to compare myself to anyone or listen to doubt. I can replace what I hear in my head with God’s Messages.
    God Bless

  46. “When I don’t know what my heart’s desires are, I will spend my life fulfilling the desires of others.”

    This really stuck with me! For a long time I was a “people-pleaser” , which is kind of wrong as there is no way to please everyone! Since I was sort of drifting along, without a purpose, it made more sense to go along with everyone else than to go with my heart!

    Now that I’m a recovering attempting-to-please-people person, it is a little easier to see what things God is preparing for me to accomplish, and what things are for someone else!

    • Hi, Karen:

      I like your statement that you are a “recovering atttempting-to-please-people person. 😀 I am, too. Your last sentence is good, too. Great! Thank you, and God bless you richly!

  47. I love “She (a confident woman) knows God can use her brokenness to do something beautiful, because the cracks allow His light to shine through and His living water to pour out.” I have never thought of it like this before, and don’t know that I am quite there yet, but the potential is enough to keep me pressing on:)

  48. WoW! good chapter again. Several things stood out to me. not comparing my insides to others outsides,
    -to embrace the reason you are who you are p137. Early in life I fell into the “spending my life to fulfill the desires of others” pg 143 As I was quite often told ‘help mom, poor mom”, then” help sis, poor sis needs help; then it was help bro, poor bro he needs help” ” you must take care of them”. =equaling to the loss of myself…-life was about me being in the shadows of others; being their caretaker. As I did move into the more who I should be, it was hard and I was harsh with family at times as I needed to cut the ‘ole habits cords….. then I sought years working towards and in the area of my talent, hoping believing and striving…yet life stepped in and made big changes that seamed to take it all away and I too began to wonder did I have this info right? was that from God or not? Having the sense of loss is rather discouraging. As I have been reading through genesis and exodus there are plenty of life stories that seemed to go in a different way. I have been so encouraged by the sharing and the encouragement in here. Keep at it ladies. Eph 2:10 stood out today ‘God prepared in advanced for us to do”…..

    • Thanks for sharing! I can relate that sometimes, people just expect us to help them with everything. There are things they are fully capable of doing themselves and yet they want help. I struggled with codependency for years without even realizing it, and had a hard time with boundaries. God has helped me to have healthier boundaries, and to take care of myself so I can give to others more freely. I’ve learned that if I tap into His strength, I can do a lot more than if I just try to serve others on my own. Now, I try to pray before offering help, to make sure that I’m acting within the will of God. May He bless you in your journey as you discover your talents and wait upon God’s timing.

  49. Elizabeth says:

    I don’t know how to dream around other people’s expectations… First of all I don’t fit personality profiles. My favorite subjects in school were math AND English!!! I love people. I enjoy being with people but if I don’t have some time by myself then I feel like I want to jump out of my skin. I am EXTREMELY organized with my time and with people and my groups I’m involved in. ( Other people always comment on how “together” I am.) Yet my housekeeping is a mess!!!! But I have my financial files and organization stuff perfectly organized and filed… I love leading, especially when no one wants to take charge. But I also do tons of stuff behind the scenes that just needs to be done… WHAT AM I???????

    And then… I homeschool and take care of my husband with his very demanding job . I took care of my father for 5 years ( lived with us some) before he died all the while homeschooling my 3. As my oldest is flying the nest and the other 2 are not far behind, I’ve realized I want to follow my dreams.. But what are they? I have such varied interests and what CAN I do? My husband is fine with my hobbies as long as they don’t interfere with him and what he wants to do. He wants to be able to take tons of mission trips and family vacations so I can’t take some kind of paid position because I couldn’t be gone that much. I would love to sing and speak places, but he wouldn’t want me to travel without him and he would only want to travel as a family or to our missions…. I’ve lived my life around his career…. When is my turn??? Or is that not a submissive attitude? Plus our parents are getting older and will need our help. How do you do what YOU want to do while still serving all of those people around you????? I’ve just about given up dreaming because nothing I want to do seems possible with the demands of everyone else….

    • barbara wiggers says:

      I can your relate to your frustration Elizabeth, I only just rediscovered doing things for myself and what I enjoy( which is what good has come out of my circumstances ) and I hope you can make time for yourself to do what you want and voice your concerns. If you are doing something you feel fullfilled in you will be a better person for your husband and family. I hope you find yourself because I am still finding myself after doing everything around my husband,children and friends and forgetting about myself.

  50. Diane W says:

    I love our word for this week, “MASTERPIECE”. It jumps out at me and has really meant a lot. I memorized Ephesians 2:10 a few months back and I love that verse, but writing the word down in caps and seeing this here and there in my house seems to take on a whole new meaning. It makes me smile!!!

  51. My very FAVORITE part of chapter 8 is on page 143. “As we find our deepest delight in our personal relationship with God and allow His Word to shape our thinking and plans, the Lord promises to shape our desires as well. There is a connection between our delighting in God and discovering our heart’s desires.” The part about allowing His Word to shape our thinking and plans gave me a new perspective on Psalm 37:4.

    I echo all these women about your words speaking straight to them, Renee. This study has impacted me so much and is totally redefining my thought life using the promises of God’s word. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  52. angela taylor says:

    Hi Every one been away a while been real sick, but I still read my chapters. Chapter 8 really hit home, I do live my life according to others needs. I don’t think I have anything to offer with special gifts. Iam going to get the book you talked about Renee. Even if I don’t win one from you. I have done the spiritual gift assessment and I find it saids I am Giving, mercy, helps,serving, with some administration. I really don,t see my self like this.I still cannot get it thoughtmy head that God loves me after all I have done. I think I’m forgiving for some of the things I have done but how can he forgive everything? I done some really bad things and now I’m being ask to talk to middle school and high school kids about drinking and druging and what it can do to your life and what it has done to mine in the past before I gave myself to God. I don’t know what to do. I have been praying about it but don’t feel like he is telling me anything as of yet. Anyone got any advice for me?

  53. angela taylor says:

    Oh by the way the song made me cry and think how God really sees me. thanks I need that today of all days. right on time God is. In Christ Love

  54. The verse about being God’s masterpiece just came across my path in another book. I confess I haven’t had the diligence to post any of the other weekly words around my home, although I kept them in mind. This week I decided to do morning devotions with my four older kids as I am fighting the fear of sending them into the world each day, so I liked the idea of posting that we are His masterpiece around our home.The kids loved it, and here it is again. The marvelous thing about being His masterpiece to me isn’t that we are so grand, but that He created us, on purpose, in detail, for a purpose. No matter what is going on in the world around us, we are right where He has led us if we follow Him. We are doing just what He created us for, and He will equip us for anything He leads us into.

  55. Norma H says:

    I have heard that sound countless times…and never have I paid any attention to the message it gives. This really struck home with me today. I’ve been spending a lot of time in Isaiah lately, and am truly learning about the Lord’s emotions for me. As a divorced, single mom, it has been easy to feel ‘not good enough’ and that I have nothing to offer. This whole study has been showing me my true worth, that which is found in my Saviour alone. I have struggled with this chapter. Being so caught up in ‘life’ for so long, I don’t even remember what I truly love anymore. I have no idea what I really enjoy doing. This chapter has forced me to start to re-evaluate where I spend my time. Maybe it’s ok to say no to the supposed obligations and put some focus and energy into figuring out what really is important to me after God, and my daughter…

  56. My favorite part so far is—–“When God looks at you, He sees someone He loves. When God looks at you, He also sees someone He knows”

  57. Susan G says:

    This is such an important chapter in learning how not to compare ourselves with other women…their talents, their abilities, their gifts…and ‘heaven forbid’, even the way they look. 🙂 I think this needs to be the forefront on our minds every day – that God made us unique – and that we are supposed to be ‘us’, not anyone else. We have that talent, or gift or ability that we are supposed to have to balance out the Body of Christ, to use our gifts to fulfil our role in life. No one can do our job either! 🙂
    Thanks Renee, for such a great reminder and teaching us how to view ourselves as Christ views us
    Blessings to you all as we strive together to be the women God created us to be! 🙂

  58. Rachel S says:

    I have compared myself to others for such a long time. I remember the first time was in 3rd grade! I have felt like I couldn’t possibly be like the people I admired, and I see, finally, God isn’t asking me to. One of the questions at the end of the chapter asks how to change this way of thinking, and it is going to take a lot! How are some of you overcoming this challenge? I am praying for God to reveal the personality He gave me and that may help me to focus on who He created me to be. I want to like that person!

  59. Inez C. says:

    I have been busy listening to some gospel music while doing some of my chores this week and God has been speaking to my heart through the music. Had to wipe the tears away a few times, but this isn’t the first time that it has happened to me. God has been reminding me of the many blessings that I have received over the years and calling to mind the ministry that I was a part of many years ago. Through the reminder many of my questions were answered and for the first time I was able to understand and sweep up the pieces and carry on. I have learned to make web pages and have a web site that I have posted many stories and poems on and going through the files tonight sorting them out so that I can organize the site better. I came across a web page that I put together in the early 2000 and the title of it is The Masterpiece. I need to make a few changes in the graphics and hopefully will be able to share it in another message here. I am really enjoying and learning from this study, but haven’t posted except for a couple comments here and there. Thank you Renee for taking up the call.

  60. Here is a link to the page The Masterpiece that is on my website.

    http://www.angel45-2b.com/themasterpiece.html

  61. Chelsea Thode says:

    Renee,
    I loved the section in Chapter 8 titled, “Discovering the God-Given Desires of Your Heart”. There were so many gold nuggets in that section that I had to reread it a couple times. I think it all was summed up when you wrote the lesson you received from the Beth Moore study about the “closer I got to Jesus, the more clearly I understood His purpose for my life.” That is so right on. He has such a way of speaking directly into our hearts and to know Him is to know what He wants for us and through us.

    Thank you for writing this chapter.
    Chelsea

  62. Debbie Jo Vondrak says:

    Who am I? I was the one who did what others expected of me–even what they didn’t expect, but what I decided they expected. Me? Who am I? I am asking God that question–and am excited to see what his answer will be!!! God’s masterpiece….it doesn’t get any better than that!!! Thank you, Daddy God, for loving me 🙂

  63. Maureen Chiasson says:

    I love the reminder that we all have gifts and the lists of personality types and gifts we have. As women we have all learned to compare ourselves to others. While it is good to have role models, we need to be the best we can be. I spent years learning this nugget of truth.

  64. My thoughts have been tumbling around for days now – dreams and hopes from my 20s are fading and I’m realizing that many may not be possible. Now in my 40s perhaps I need modified dreams. Somewhere I stopped dreaming. My hope is secure in Christ, but my future seems teetery like I’m standing in the middle of a seesaw. I’m praying God shows me where he would like me. In caring for everyone else in my family for years now, I don’t begrudge the time, but I’m no longer certain where I fit into God’s plan. I’m heartened to think of myself as God’s masterpiece….such a treasure!

  65. I started this study in April and then put it away thinking that I would start over and complete in June. In late May I was inwardly nudged to get started immediately. There have been so many things that I have identified with and need to focus on more intently. Chapter 9 has been especially touching. I don’t see myself as a worrier and my favorite verses of scripture are Philippians 4: 6-7. Yet the song “Search Me, Know Me, Try Me and See…” keeps playing over and over in my mind. Also the book, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, comes to mind. I know that God is using your study to show me that I’m not “fine”, that there are things hidden away that I need to deal with, and to give me a greater hope, perfect peace and a confident heart through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit.

  66. That’s a good post.He argued that the “primary office” of a newspaper is accurate news reporting: in his words, “comment is free, but facts are sacred”

  67. don’t find love; let love find you – YouTube: PLEEEEEASE WATCH IN 720P!! first i want to THANK YOU for 500+ subb… <a rel="nofollow"

  68. Takin it down now i a good time with my peeps def love them true friends are hard to find love them

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