When We Belong To Jesus

WhenWeBelongToJesus

We had what felt like a storybook Christian romance. Mike was tall, dark and handsome. He had a successful business and he loved Jesus. But to top it all off, instead of asking me for a date, Mike asked if we could “court.”

Our lives were connected on so many levels. We lived on the same floor of the same apartment complex. We attended the same church. And we had several mutual friends. We loved when people told us we made a great couple, in life and in ministry.

Eventually we started praying about marriage and talked to our pastor. Not long after, Mike proposed.

But two weeks into our engagement he looked into my eyes and said: “I’ve made a horrible mistake. You are not the one God wants me to marry.”

I was devastated and wondered what I’d done to make God change His mind.

After counseling and walking through a painful process of forgiveness, I eventually recovered. Much to my surprise, Mike showed back up in my life and asked me to consider rebuilding our friendship.

I was shocked and hesitant. But I also wondered if God wanted to redeem our story. Eventually I gave Mike a second chance. We spent time with friends and took things slowly. But in time, the topic of marriage came up. He proposed again. And he dumped me again!

That time I got smart and kept the ring, holding it as collateral to get Mike to counseling with me. In our first session, the counselor explained that Mike had a fear of commitment. Having a name for it helped me feel better, but Mike felt embarrassed and ashamed.

One night I woke up with a deep sense of concern for him, so I drove to his apartment. Sitting in the parking lot, I felt compelled to get in his van and pray for him. Afterwards I opened my eyes and noticed his journal sitting on the console.

Though I shouldn’t have opened it, I turned to the entries he had written when he called off our engagement. I came face-to-face with why he didn’t want to marry. There were many things about me he wished were different.

After reading Mike’s journal, every time I stood in front of a mirror, doubt whispered: No man will ever want you. You’ll never be good enough.

Rejection. Betrayal. Abandonment. Our greatest fears can become reality. Maybe your father abandoned you, or your husband betrayed you. Maybe your best friend broke your trust, or your teenager has shut you out.

The deep pain from broken relationships can make us doubt our value. We begin to see ourselves as disposable. Easily replaced. Not good enough.

One morning, I woke up and felt the heavy weight of rejection. Opening my Bible, I read through the book of Isaiah and landed in chapter 54. There, God showed me He is my Maker, Husband and Redeemer – the One who bestows the honor and acceptance I long for.

As devastating as it was, I learned two life-changing lessons from the pain:

I have to choose to separate myself, and my worth, from a man’s decision to want me or not.

I have to hold others’ words and preferences up to God’s Word and choose which one I will rely on.

Although people’s preferences will change, God’s desire for us won’t. Others might not think we’re good enough, but God always will. And even if someone decides they don’t desire us anymore, God most certainly does!

The truth is, when we belong to Jesus we are loved and accepted forever. We are covered in His goodness, and His goodness makes us good enough!

*****

The more we grasp God’s love for us, and let Him really love us,
the more confident and secure we become.

LetGodLoveYou.ContestTitleOnly

To help you experience the depth of HIS love, I’m hosting “Let God Love You” {love} fest and contest! Here’s what you can expect and how you can enter to WIN: (The giveaway is now over, but would still love to hear from you!)

  • I’ll be sharing a few devotions from my new Confident Heart Devotional to help you experience the depth of HIS love right here on my blog all month!
  • My publisher and I are giving away 2 Prize Packs that both include: a $50 gift card, 2 signed copies of my devotional book and an 8×10 print by one of my favorites ~Emily Burger Designs!CLICK HERE to find out how you can enter to win by sharing the {love} on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter! BUT first enter to win….

     TODAY’s GIVEAWAY
    Share your thoughts about today’s post in the comments, and let me know who you’d give a copy to, if you won 2 copies of my new Confident Heart Devotional. I’ll be giving away 2 copies. Winners announced next week. Enter and share with friends today!

Today’s post includes a partial excerpt from my NEW A Confident Heart Devotional book. Used with permission from Revell Books.

 

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. I’d give one to my friend, Stacy. She’s not a big reader but maybe the devotional would help her with that. I read you book, Confident Heart, and the Truths you share are so necessary!

    • I read your book and found it very encouraging. Jesus Christ has been my personal Savior for fifty-three

      years now and He is the best friend I will ever have in my life, now and forevermore.

  2. I would give one to my step daughter in hopes that she will find the Love from God that she keeps trying to find in bad relationships and just keeps running! She needs to hear truths and it doesn’t work coming from family, we just keep praying!

  3. I would give away both copies…one to my mom and one to my sister-in-law. On Valentine’s Day, I downloaded a copy of the devotional to my Kindle and LOVE it. I think both of these special women would benefit from the devotionals presented.

  4. I read your book “A Confident Heart,” because I needed to be healed! I needed to KNOW that God loved me despite the sexual abuse I suffered during my childhood by my own father, the physical abuse I suffered, and the verbal abuse I suffered and the abortion I went through ALONE!!! . I was a BROKEN individual who was always told how I was NOT good enough, how I was a mistake. A friend gave me your book to find God to listen to his word and to KNOW how much HE LOVES ME! Renee, your book literally changed my life. I can’t tell you who I would give your book to. However,I want to be able to go to my book shelf and pick up your book to pass it on when I come across that person that needs to be healed. That person that needs to know how much they are LOVED and how much they mean!! I want to be able to tell that person when they feel like they are trash that they are recyclable !!!

  5. I would give one copy to my daughter, whose best friend has recently broken her trust, and my niece, who, like me, always struggles with self-worth. Thank you for the give away! Your devotional and book are wonderful! I have them both!

  6. I read your book and it helped me see that I was worth something to God. I would give one to a friend and pray that they would find the help that I found with your book. Matt. 19:26 With God all things are possible. Your book helped me learn to Trust in the Lord with all my heart.

  7. I was just about to pin this one when I was brought up short by the implications of the statement vs reality.
    We are loved and accepted forever . [period]
    Whether or not we accept that love of God is our choice.
    But God never changes in His love and acceptance of us.
    Jesus came to embody and portray that love and acceptance of us so we would see it in action,
    but it doesn’t change the fact. Whether we accept it or not. Whether we realize it or not.

    That’s the beauty and reality of it being Good News for ALL people…

  8. Cynthia Power says:

    I have a friend who has a young son and has been divorced for a shorter while than I have. I’d share a copy with her! I’d be hopeful it would help her avoid some of the bumps in the road I endured. Oh how I wish I’d had this 18 years ago when my divorce was still fresh. I thank God that He never gave up on me!!!

  9. Today’s posting has really resonated with me because I lived the same experience except It was my husband, not fiance, who twice cheated and then dumped me. Unlike having to investigate what the problem was, my husband had no qualms about repeatedly telling me in detail what was wrong with me. It has been devastating. I need to win so I can be a better example to my daughter to what a strong, godly, confident woman is.

  10. I love your book. I would give one copy to a sister who was blown away when I told her to stop putting herself down that she was “fearfully and wonderfully made by God” and to stop and think when she puts her beautiful self down as The Creator of the Universe made her and we do not want to give satan the victory over our thought life. I told her when she puts herself down, she is giving satan the victory and God made her uniquely precious. She said, “Wow, you have really given me something to think about.” I felt badly for her and want to spend more time showing her just how much God loves her. She lives in Florida and I live in Texas but if she read this book, it would be a start with some very good scriptures for her to memorize. The second person I would give the book to is the young Christian lady I met at church who I mentor every other week.

    Sweet Blessings for all you do. Please come to Dallas, Texas!!

  11. I loved the book, and if I won the devotionals I would give one to my BFF to encourage her…because she really needs it and I love her and am grateful for her friendship.

  12. Miss Mary T says:

    Renee, I had already commented on another post and wasn’t sure if I should again but I did not want to miss out on the opportunity to possibly win the devotional and share it with my daughter. My very first OBS was “A Confident Heart” with you last spring. I have said it many times, the book and the study were life changing leading me to a deeper relationship with Jesus and introducing me to OBS. I would love to read the devotional!

  13. I downloaded a kindle copy of your devotional, and it is helping and encouraging me so much. I would give away the copies to young moms I volunteer with, who need to know how loved and accepted they are, no matter what has happened, or what lies they may have believed in the past about themselves.

  14. Whew – was I meant to read this today. Thank you, God. I’m 52 and just experienced my first Valentine’s Day with a man. I was so excited and didn’t want to do anything real romantic for him and remembered he said he didn’t have any good cookware, so I bought him two small saucepans as a starter to a new good set. He had been telling me for months about how he felt I was the woman for him and spoke of the future.. Imagine my surprise when he told me he didn’t like the gifts and that I went overboard, only thinking of myself and how I would feel giving them to him and not how he would feel. He then broke up with me. He started setting all sorts of rules on gift giving and other rules and I found myself realizing that I didn’t want anyone setting rules on how I am to love them and even express that love. It took me half a day to let the lump out of my throat and then bow my head and try to laugh and remember to praise God even in that moment. He wants to return the saucepans. After reading this, I think I will let him so I can purchase this devotional!

    • You sound like such a thoughtful, smart woman. And I’m trying hard to think nice thoughts about Mr. Saucepan-returner. But. Girl.Friend. Im thinking you need to let him take those saucepans and his not-so-sweet attitude back. 🙂

      • Thank you, Renee. I have no intentions of taking the sauce pans back – they are his – as well as the limitations he chooses. What I do catch myself doing is praying more for him. He has much deeper issues that only God can heal. Me – I have lovely women of faith, like you – who help bring me back to the light brimming with hope!

  15. Annette Dorval says:

    I would give a copy of your book to my mother. My father passed away several years ago and I think she is still healing. Your book has been a tremendous blessing to me, thank you!

  16. Elaine Segstro says:

    I would love to give a copy to my dear friend Trudy. I loved your book, and look forward to reading the devotional!

  17. Laurie Ashley says:

    I’d give one to my adult daughter. She has a five year old son and works very hard every day take care of his needs. She is a very Godly young lady and I am so proud of her for not just picking up the first guy that came along, she is still waiting for the one God shows her is right. She teaches her son all about Jesus and taught him to pray at an early age.

  18. Wow what an amazing post, I am not sure who I would give it too there are so many women in my life that could really use it.If I was to be blessed with the devotionals I would prob. pray and ask God for guidence on who needed it the most.

  19. PAM SCHAEFFER says:

    Renee,
    Today a friend was asking me to recommend a Bible study for her to lead, and I said “A Confident Heart” by Renee Swope. This was before I read this e-mail. So, I would give 2 copies to her to use for herself and for the Bible study. This study would be so encouraging to her as she is going through a very challenging time.
    I already have a copy of the book and also purchased the devotional which I am reading each day. Both have been such a blessing to me. Thank you so much.

  20. LeAnne Vincent says:

    I would share the other one with my best friend Cristina who is having marital struggles, to direct her back to truth of herself and who she is in Christ
    LeAnne

  21. Your book has been such a blessing to me, especially Chapter 4. I would give a copy of devotional to my dear dear friend Kammy, who is stronger than she thinks she is.

  22. I’d share a copy with my friend and pastor’s wife…she didn’t expect to ever be a pastor’s wife when she married and it is sometimes challenging.

  23. My husband and I are separated. I could really use your devotional right now… I just read today’s message, and know it was for me. I would give the additional copy to my friend Barb. She struggles as I do, being divorced, now living alone. Her entire family has passed on. We are both 62 years old. Thanks for the kind offer.

  24. I’d give loan one to my sister & one to my niece, then loan them out again to whoever it would bless. I was widowed for 5 years & God showed me in that time that He was the only One to fill the gap in my heart.

  25. Nicci Ramirez says:

    WOW:

    “• I have to choose to separate myself, and my worth, from a man’s decision to want me or not.

    • I have to hold others’ words and preferences up to God’s Word and choose which one I will rely on.

    Although people’s preferences will change, God’s desire for us won’t. Others might not think we’re good enough, but God always will. And even if someone decides they don’t desire us anymore, God most certainly does!

    The truth is, when we belong to Jesus we are loved and accepted forever. We are covered in His goodness, and His goodness makes us good enough!”

    **TEARS!!!** THANK YOU!!! Me and my sister need this devotional…

  26. 1 Corinthians 14:12 “So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. Corinthians 14:12 “So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.ear Renee ~
    I’m sorry for the pain you suffered. I can’t imagine how hurtful it must have been to read the words of someone you loved & trusted, as they convey, in black & white, all the ways you didn’t “measure up” in their eyes. For what it’s worth, I’m thankful that his true character was revealed before you were committed to him by the vows of matrimony.

    I’m so very grateful that you put yourself elf “out there”, exposing your hurts & sharing how God has used them to make you more reliant on Him tha any man. I know I’m not the only one who struggles with having, keeping, & walking in Godly Confidence. Your transparency has helped me grow so much in this battle.

    Whether I’m selected for the give-away or not, I plan to share the devotional with my niece, who repeatedly struggles with abandonment issues & continues to get sucked into the vortex of bad relationships, swallowing the lie that her fulfillment will be found in a man; insteadof grasping the fact that true & lasting fulfillment can come only from “The God-Man”, Jesus Christ.

    As for the other copy… There is a sweet young lady at our church who has humbled herself & come to the Ladies’ Prayer Ministry to receive encouragement for an ongoing battle with accepting the full pardon that Jesus purchased on her behalf, even though she knows that “Jesus Paid It Al !” I don’t know her very well, but I can not express how many times I’ve thought of & prayed for her after reading one of your devotionals. God has blessed me with the opportunity to bump into her a few times recently & I don’t believe it was a fluke. I hope to be trusted by her enough someday to share with her a copy of your book and/or devotional.

    Thank you for keepin’ it real! The rest of us need to know that there are others who are in the battle with us.

    God’s Blessings on you, your family, & this much needed ministry!
    ~ Jackie
    1 Corinthians 14:12

  27. I would give one to my daughter. She struggles so much with self-esteem, this would bless her!

  28. THIS SOUNDS LIKE A GREAT DEVOTIONAL FOR WOMEN LIKE ME WHO HAVE STRUGGLED WITH LOW SELF ESTEEM!

  29. I would give the other book to my mother in law, Cindy. She always encourages me and I’d like to encourage her for once.

  30. I have read “A Confident Heart” twice and continue to glean valuable insight from it, so I imagine the devotional to be just as beneficial. At first I thought I would give a copy of the devotional to my daughter, but on further thought, I’m thinking my mom. Even at 75+ years of age she struggles with being secure in who God made her to be.

  31. Amanda McCord says:

    I have read your book twice and gained new insight each time. I love your message and transparency. Your genuine love for women and helping them grow to be who God intended them to be is evident on each page. I have purchased 2 copies for family members and would love 2 more to give away as gifts to friends!

  32. I have finally purchased your book, after considering it for awhile. I look forward to reading A Confident Heart, and ask for many prayers as I seek confidence in God for my life. Thank you for writing encouragement and hope for all of those out there that need it.

  33. Melissa Scott says:

    This would be a perfect devotional for my 18 year old daughter and I to do together. I would give the extra copy to her. In an age where perfect models of women and products to get that way are in our faces all day long, my prayer is that she see her worth and beauty in the eyes of The Lord. Being single does not have to mean that you are alone. God is always with us and as a single woman and mother of 4 I don’t need to be married. God is my confidant, my best friend and my mate. He will never leave me or forget about me. I am confident of that.

  34. Thank you Renee for your free devotional it is perfect reading for my circumstances. I have had someone trying to change me into what they want. I have never been in a relationship like this before. I have felt crazy at times wondering what was wrong with me. I now study Gods Word every chance I get and I know that Gods unconditional love and that I was uniquely made in the womb are proof enough for me that I am ok and on my way. I would love a copy of your book for myself and a friend who is also going through alot of doubt due to her husband leaving her after 22 yars of marriage.Thank all of you wonderful Women who contribute to Proverbs 31 You have inspired me more than you will ever know God Bless You Beverly

  35. Holly Fleener says:

    You are so right, Renee. Only God has the right to tell us who we are and how valuable we are. After all, He made us, and is the only one who really knows us. It’s what He thinks that matters most. Thank you for sharing your story and for sharing encouragement with us all!

  36. Patti Coiner says:

    My sister has gone through a hard divorce. She really needs to feel loved. She needs this book desperately!

  37. Josie Lytle says:

    If I won I would give one to my granddaughter who is 16 and so “in love”. I feel she is headed down the wrong path and would like to help bring her back before she gets too hurt. Thanks. Josie

  38. I have struggled for years with self esteem issues. The Lord is healing me. I would like my friend, Cindy to start healing and feel worthy too.

  39. Janet Atchison says:

    After reading your story today it hit home how Jesus isTHE only one we truly can turn to in our wait to return home. Struggling in a relationship that very much a co- dependent one and that co-dependency is on me yet I don’t ever seem to live up to expectations. Kids that live in a world of “it’s all about me!” even though you teach them otherwise, can make one feel ever increasingly alone and sad. Your book would give uplifting where it is needed desperately. I would give the other copy to my sister who experiences a lot of the same things from her own children. We both love our Lord and Savoir very much!!!

  40. Once again I am blessed and amazed by God’s timing–his love and care for me! I’ve been struggling, disheartened by (what I perceive as) rejection from my step-son. This morning I’ve been reading scripture for comfort and have surely been met by our mighty and loving God. And now your story. He is SO GOOD! Thank you for sharing.
    My second book would go to my 16 year old daughter, whom I strive to protect, and strengthen through God’s truth. There unfortunately is so much rejection (or again, perception of it?) at this age. The book would be a great blessing. If I don’t win them, I’ll definitely be purchasing them!
    Thank you for your ministry!

  41. Marisa Ford says:

    If I won, I would give both of my copies to two of my daughters who I want to become more defined by God’s love rather than the love of man. I will be purchasing another copy for my other daughter ( if I don’t win, will be buying 3 copies for them anyway). I am loving reading the ebook and striving to be more confidently defined by his word instead of Man’s words. Thank you for sharing your experiences which many of us can relate to and show us that it is possible to be better than before.

  42. Krystal Kirk says:

    Today’s post gives me confidence in moments of self-doubt. My husband will be deploying in a few months and I know I must depend on Christ’s love to help me through it.
    If I were to win I would share a copy of A Confident Heart Devotional with my older sister who is trying to recover from an addiction to pain medication. I pray for anyone else with family or friends battling addictions. I ask that God strengthen you in times of doubt, and I ask that God lifts the chains of bondage from them so they can walk in His light and let their lives be a testament for what God has delivered them from.

  43. I would share mine with my friend Debbie. I have read your “A Confident Heart” book and it really helped me to gain a deeper relationship with God. I have always struggled with being “confident” and not letting others bring me down, but the book changed my whole outlook on life. I cannot point to another resource that has impacted me as much as this one. My friend is going through a very difficult divorce right now. Rejection and hurtful circumstances from her husband of 26years, and her adult son is doing the same thing. She is a very faithful person, but I see her self esteem dwindling everyday. She could really use your wise advice to trust in God and know that she is loved by the only one true person that matters!! I truly believe it would be the strength that she needs to get through the days ahead.

  44. God's Girl says:

    I have a precious sister who has been struggling in her sobriety, and I would lover to surround her with daily reminders of who God says she is and how much He loves her.

  45. I would give one copy to my friend who has been treated poorly by her family and her husband and as a result she has very low self esteem even though she is a Christian.

  46. My sister Eve gave me a copy of your book over a year ago and I have read it three times, did the Bible Study on-line with you and took wonderful notes, and shared what the Lord was teaching me to the ladies at church. I would give away both copies to a couple of ladies who are struggling with the idea that we can worship a living God who truly loves us unconditionally! We humans love with an imperfect love, but God loves perfectly! Amazing!

  47. I would share with one of the wonderful ladies in my Bible Study group.

  48. Vivian Ricks says:

    Thank you Renee for sharing part of your devotional. We have been discussing some of these same things in our women’s Bible Study. I will certainly share this with the gals on Tuesday. I have found that so many women struggle with insecurities about their self-worth and value. I pray that many women will be touched by your devotional and turn their eyes to our Heavenly Father to complete them and fill their hearts to overflowing. There is great peace in knowing that:

    “Although people’s preferences will change, God’s desire for us won’t. Others might not think we’re good enough, but God always will. And even if someone decides they don’t desire us anymore, God most certainly does!
    The truth is, when we belong to Jesus we are loved and accepted forever. We are covered in His goodness, and His goodness makes us good enough!”

    I plan on purchasing A Confident Heart Devotional for myself,daughter, and sisters. If I were to win a copy of your book, then I would give it to one of the ladies in my Bible Study.

    Have a blessed day!

  49. I have two dear friends I would give the copies to. I would like to read it after one of them finished it, but they are both going through a difficult season of life and I think this may lighten their hearts.

  50. What a powerful message. I still have a hard time putting my worth and value on God and not on a man. Thanks for the reminder that I AM good enough and that HE will always love me.

  51. Meredith Leigh says:

    I’m 25 and brand new in my walk with Christ. I have always been a skeptic and surrounded myself with like minded people continually keeping me in the dark. I started attending Elevation last fall and everything changed. I’m being baptized tomorrow and I was the last person who thought that would happen. I’m know there are so many people deserving of your book but I would so appreciate being considered. I’m reading books that are written by authors who are believers so that I can imitate behavior that I admire. I’ve lost a lot of friends since I claimed Christ and it’s lonely in this transition. I know I could gain such an immense amount of knowledge from your book and even if I don’t win the book you can bet I will save up for it!!
    Blessings 🙂
    Meredith

  52. I would share with my daughter & hopefully we could keep each other accountable

  53. Karen Loper says:

    Years of dealing with homebound health issues- I constantly battle the “I am not worthy” self doubt feeling. I loved the Confident Heart book and love the opportunity to win the journal. I would give a copy to my niece who started her walk with Christ late her Junior year in high school and is now 20 yrs old. She is going through all the “welcome to adulthood” challenges and relationship issues. Thanks for sharing your awesome talents in sharing God’s word through your work…. Karen

  54. Maria Vives says:

    I’m in the process of reading your book, and although not finished yet, feel like it was written for me. I can identify in so many ways. Thank you so much for writing this book. One question – has it been translated in Spanish yet? I’d love to share with some friends. Thanks again and God bless!

  55. Kayla Rose says:

    Renee,

    Thank you for sharing this. There are so many woman who is some way can relate to this. I am on my journey to worth in Christ alone. This isn’t why I felt compelled to comment, however. At 28 years old, I have never experienced this type of rejection from a man, let alone a man I thought I thought I would spend the rest of my life with. Still, I can empathize with what you went through emotionally and spiritually. What struck me the most about your story is that it sounds exactly like the story of what my older brother (30 yrs old) is currently experiencing. It was this past fall that we were catching up over the phone (this was over the course of a few phone calls). He was basically telling me the same story you described in your blog. Over a period of about a year or two of friendship and dating that he had at 2 or 3 different instances asked this girl to be in a relationship with him only to “dump” or “take a break”. I could understand his reasons he described to me were well intended, and what he thought were Christ centered intentions (ie. he wanted to grow closer in his relationship to God). In most of our conversations this past fall he was talking to me about how he was trying to “win her back” and even propose to her at one point. I had been reiterating a message to him to try to get him to also understand her perspective ie. She feels repeatedly rejected by you and has lost your trust. Although he heard what I said, I’m not sure he completely understood it. (this is me face palming…) Anyway, in all seriousness, I don’t know exactly where their relationship is today. I know they are a least friends and attend the same church, bible studies, etc.

    With all the aforementioned details about my brothers situation aside, I think the message you speak about in this blog is profound for all women… Pursuing a relationship with Christ and finding our worth in Him instead of other human’s approval. What I think would be even more powerful would be to expand more on the male side of this topic. As you identified above “fear of commitment”. To me, that seems like a very worldly problem, but clearly even our most God fearing men experience this in their relationships. I’m going to share this blog post with my brother and let him form is own understanding, course of action for reacting and understanding it. If you or anyone who reads my comment sees this and has a good suggestion for using this example with the men in their lives (sons, brother, boyfriends, fiancés, husbands, etc…) please please share!

    Kayla

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