When You Need Help Unpacking

Welcome Encouragement for Today friends. If you found your way to my cyber-home through my P31 devotion, I’m so glad you stopped by! I pray you are sensing God’s pursuit of you today even as you stop by my blog. No matter where you are or what you are going through HE is there with you. Here’s a little something I wanted to share today:


Is there baggage that is weighing your heart down and keeping you from God’s best for your life?

We’ve all felt the weight of loss, the fear of failure and the hurt of negative comments from people in our past or even in our present. It could be someone like a parent who criticizes us, or a friend who rejected us. When we let life’s hard stuff and other’s harsh words sink into our hearts and stay, it can cause us to believe we’re not worth anything.

That kind of insecurity can make us doubt our selves and make us settle for less than God’s best for us.

Are there things that have happen of words people have said to you – or about you – that have crippled your hope in God’s ability to do great things through you?

God wants to send people to help us know and believe what He says about us – instead of all the critical words we’ve listened to for so long. If you’re looking for a friend you can trust with the things of your heart – a friend who will help you unpack your baggage, I hope you’ll consider joining my upcoming online study of A Confident Heart – starting April 1st.

These are the things we’re going to work on together as we take hold of all that Jesus says about us and has planned for us.

Click here to find out more.

Click here to sign up.

It’s time for us to become all He created us to be!! Let’s learn how to live in the transforming power and lasting security of God’s promises! I’m so looking forward to Jesus doing a new thing in our hearts and in our lives – together!

PS. Over 1000 of you have signed up already and I’m so excited! I would  love for you to click on “share your thoughts” below so I can pray for you by name today :).

 

Just in Time for My “A Confident Heart” Online Study

is offering A Confident Heart for $6.99!!

When God Looks at You

Photo: When God looks at you, He doesn't measure the size of your hips or the size of your house, He measures the size of His love for you - and it is immeasurable!! </p><br /><br />
<p>If you're tired of listening to doubts and criticisms that have kept you from living in the confidence of God's love and the security of HIS promises, I hope you'll consider joining my online study starting April 1st. Find out more here: http://reneeswope.com/online-biblebook-study/

When God looks at you, He doesn’t measure the size of your hips or the size of your house, He measures the size of His love for you – and it is immeasurable!!

I pray that you…grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the Love of Christ {for you}. Eph 3:17 & 18

If you are tired of listening to the doubts and insecurities that keep  you from living in the confidence of God’s love — and the security of HIS promises, I’d love for you to join my online study starting April 1st.

Click here to find out more. 

And if you sign up, will you slip me a little note in the comments so I can say “hi” and pray for you by name today?! Just click “Share  Your Thoughts” below.

Does Your Heart Need A Confidence Boost?

While I was writing A Confident Heart two years ago, God gave me the deepest desire to not only write but to create a safe place for community, heart-sharing and encouragement each women who wants to take that brave step toward becoming all God created her to be! A gathering place filled with hearts being set free from doubt and discouragement.

  • Women who are discovering just how valuable they are.
  • Women who want to live empowered by the Holy Spirit.
  • Women who are willing to do the c ourageous thing of believing God.
  • Women who want to seek and see that it’s possible to have confidence in Christ!

And I would love for YOU to be one of them when my next Online study begins April 1st!Whether going through it for the first time, or walking through the truths in each chapters for a 2nd or 3rd time, I’d love to encourage you and give you the confidence boost your heart needs wherever you are in your journey.

And… Just in Time for My “A Confident Heart” Online Study

is offering A Confident Heart for $6.99!!

When: April 1, 2013

What’s Needed: A copy of the book, a notebook, a Bible, and a ready-for-God- to-do-a-new-thing in you attitude!

What To Expect:  I’ll send an email with our reading plan and assignments for the week each Monday, and then post here on my website/blog about the topic of the chapter 2-3 times that week. We’ll interact and share our thoughts together here, too. And I’ll have some guest posts, plus FREE video teaching segments, as well as music videos and more.

How to Sign Up: In my top right sidebar, under my invitation to join, you’ll find a link that will take you to my sign up form. Click on it, enter your information that’s how you sign up! You will hear from me in late March with details about the start of our study April 1st.

At Your Convenience: Because we’ll meet online, you can check in at your convenience any time of the day and week.

Helpful Links:

I’m so looking forward to setting aside time each week for you and me! Praying for and anticipating the new thing God wants to do in our hearts and in our lives – together!

Sign Up Here

 

A Note to Email Subscribers {& online study friends}

Hi friends!

If you are signed up to receive my website and blog Email Updates, I’m truly honored to have you as one of my subscribers.

I value your time and realize your inbox is probably really full. So, it means a lot that you would invite me into your already crowded space and busy days :0).

For the next several weeks, I’ll be leading an online study of my book.  Even if you aren’t part of the study, as a subscriber you will receive my blog posts. I’m praying God will speak to your heart in a special way by what is shared – even if you aren’t reading the book. He did that with so many last time!

I just wanted to let you know what to expect in the coming weeks – some of my upcoming posts may look familiar. But each week I’ll have a guest or two sharing their stories, and something new to keep it fresh and encouraging for you, too. I’d love to have you continue as a subscriber and journey with me closer to the heart of God during the next two months – and for many more that follow.

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For April 1st Online Study Participants ONLY

This past week I sent a  Confident Heart Online Bible and Book Study confirmation email to everyone who signed up for the study that starts tomorrow, April 1st. And if  you are one of them, I have a few questions to make sure you get all communications:

Did you receive an email from aconfidentheart@gmail.com with my website banner at the top – like graphic above?

If YES – you ARE successfully signed up for my Online Study group list.

If NO – click here to sign up here and enter your email very carefully.

If you are reading THIS  POST in an email – with my head shot only in the top corner – you are already an EMAIL SUBSCRIBER.

If you cannot say YES to both please take a minute to do these BOTH OF THESE things today:

  • SIGN UP to Receive Website Email Updates here {enter your email very carefully}
  • Sign up for my Online Study Email Updates here {enter your email very carefully}
  • PLEASE ADD aconfidentheart@gmail.com and renee@reneeswope.com to your email account as an approved sender. And please check spam these next few days to make sure you are receiving emails.

Important Reminder: If you are waiting on your book, you can read the Foreword and chapter One on Amazon by clicking “Look Inside” here.

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Got any questions before we get started? Are you excited, nervous, ready?? Just click “share your heart” below. I’ll be reading comments and answering questions this weekend as time allows. {If you are reading this via email, click here to return to my website to leave a comment or ask a questions.}

{week 1} A Confident Heart Online Study (April 2013)


Hi friends! I am so excited to start this “Confident Heart” journey with you!

We have almost 8000 women from around the US and the world signed up! I’ve been closing my eyes and picturing us gathering together in small groups (cause I’m a small group kinda girl). Anyhow, it’s so amazing to be here with YOU learning how we can live beyond our doubts by finding our security and confidence in the power of God’s loves and promises!

The first thing I want you to remember is: This is YOUR journey.

You’ll be reading the chapters. You will be asking and listening for God  to speak to your heart. You’ll be the one who takes time to highlight sentences, promises and quotes you want to remember.

You’ll be looking for ways to apply and live what you are learning. You’ll be answering reflection questions and interacting with the group.

You’ll be doing the faith-work of not only believing in God, but really believing God.

I’ll be shepherding, leading, praying, encouraging, connecting and pacing us. I’ll be sharing more of my story – and inviting co-leaders who are helping me with the study to share theirs.

I’ll be praying for you, encouraging you, believing in you and challenging you – but you will make the heart investment and be the one who gets out pretty close to as much as you put in.

Here are a few IMPORTANT reminders:

What’s Needed: A copy of the book{it’s on sale for $6.99 at Lifeway.com} a notebook, a Bible, and a ready-for-God- to-do-a-new-thing in you attitude!

When We’ll Meet: Because we’ll meet online, you can check in at your convenience any time of the day and week.

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(Day 1) Assignment

Read the Acknowledgements. This will give you a peak into my current personal life and I’ll be asking you to share about yourself later this week too. 🙂

Read Chapter 1.

  • If you don’t have your book yet, you can click here to read Chapter 1 .
  • Highlight verses and sentences that grab your attention or tug on your heart.
  • Write down what you sense God is speaking to your heart in the margins of your book or in a journal/notebook.
  • If you’ve already read chapter 1, share your thoughts here. And then take time to look up the verses mentioned in the chapter prayer and answer the questions at the end of the chapter.

Connecting in Community: Click “Share Your Thoughts” below and let’s all answer this question:

What sentences in Chapter 1 resonate with your heart or speak to you in a personal way? How did you relate to my story in this chapter?

{If you’re reading this via email, click here to return to my website/blog and connect with us in community. 

 

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PS. Be sure to check Your INBOX: Our first Online Study email was sent last night. In it I explain how our online study will work. Just want to make sure you got it. If you can’t find it, here’s a link to it online.

{Week 1} To Be Known Is to Be Loved – chapter 2

Jerem 3.5

Photo Source

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We’re going to read chapter 1 and 2 this week, so today I wanted to lead those of you who are ready to go with me to the next chapter.

From Chapter 2, A Confident Heart
“Jesus knew Sam’s (the Samaritan woman’s) story and He knows yours. The Greek word for “know” is yada. It means a deep emotional experience; a bonding between two people when one truly feels the emotions of the other. Jesus knows your pain, fears, doubts, and disappointments. He understands your dreams and desires.

Although some of us feel uncomfortable that God knows so much about us, it is good to be known, to be listened to and not judged. Jesus is the only One who can meet our deepest needs to be accepted and delighted in simply because of who we are. We can offer nothing but our presence, and He will desire us just the same…”

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Our word this week is  “Known”

Our verse of the week is Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” (NIV)

This week’s video message is below. Please click the arrow to watch it  – all the way through. You’ll be so glad you did.

(from video script)

I WANT TO BE KNOWN
I want someone to look at my face
And not just see two eyes, a nose,
a mouth and two ears
But to see all that I am, and could be
all my hopes, loves and fears…

And YOU know me
You actually know me
all of me and everything about me
Every thought inside and hair on top of my head
Every hurt stored up, every hope, every dread
My past and my future, all I am and could be
You tell me everything,
You tell me about ME
And that which is spoken by another would bring hate and condemnation
Coming from Youu brings love, grace, mercy, hope and salvation
I’ve heard of One to come
who could save a wretch like me
And here in my presence, You say
I AM HE

(read full script here)

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Today’s Assignment:

  • Read this week’s memory verse (Jeremiah 1:5). Ask God to remind you all week that He knows the way you long to be known, pursued and loved!
  • Start or continue reading chapter 2. If you already did or you are just starting, read it slowly and highlight or underline sentences that resonate in your heart. Journal your thoughts if you want the lessons to stay with you.

Connect in Community:

What about today’s video or sentences in Chapter 2 resonate most with you?

  • Please click “Share Your Thoughts” below this post and do just that.  (REMEMER: If  you are reading this via email, you will need to click here to go to my blog to watch the video and share in the comments section.)
  • Optional: If you are on Facebook and/or Twitter, I’d love for you to share your favorite quotes on our Confident Heart Community Facebook Page and/or share them with me on Twitter (@reneesswope) I’d love to retweet them! Also let’s use #AConfidentHeart as our hashtag. 🙂

I’m fine…really.

How hard is it for you to let people know how you’re doing? I mean how you’re really doing.

I think most of us tend to keep our guard up and shy away from lettings others in. But, we long to be able to let our guards down and depend on other, especially when we’re in need of help, prayers or encouragement.

As I shared in Chapter 2, “Sometimes I think we tell people we’re fine even when we’re not, because we want to beOr we hope that by saying we are fine, eventually we will be. Other times we act like we’re fine because others expect us to be. And I love how so many of you admitted you also have days when hormones or grumpy-ness trump all good manners and anyone within ten feet knows you are not fine. In fact, what you really meant in code is that you are Frazzled, Irritated, Neurotic, and Exhausted!”

Today, I want you to meet and hear from my friend, Melanie from Only a Breath. She’s the one who created our really cute Online Study blog button (see my sidebar if you want one)! Today she challenges us to take off the “I’m Fine” mask and be real with God, each other and especially ourselves about how we’re really doing.

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… She walks the hallway, fighting back tears that threaten to well up again. It’s been a long night, filled with betrayal and disappointment. Her future is uncertain. Back at the office, she tries to maintain normalcy. When eyes met, she is faced with another routine, “How are you?”

“I’m fine”, she answers, with a plastic smile that hides her pain.

… Across town, a young father shakes hands with the fourth interviewer that month. “Thank you for your time.”he says. On the way home, his wife calls to see if there’ s any hope for the job they’ve been praying for…for so long. They have mouths to feed, children to raise, a car on its last miles… “It will be fine”, he assures her. As he hangs up, he hangs his head in despair.

… A young, single mom cuddles her baby on the park bench. She holds her boy close, surrounded by happy couples with smiling children. She never expected to raise her child alone. The pain is sometimes too much to bear. Will she ever feel that she belongs? That she is wanted? Loved? Beautiful?

We will be fine she whispers into his soft ear, surrounded by whisps of fine, brown hair.

“I’m fine…”

“We’re fine…”

“Doing great…”

In Chapter 2, Renee invites us to take off the “I’m fine” mask. But she also acknowledges just how scary it is to expose the pain that keeps us up, haunts us like nightmares, and threatens each breath of hope.

… but we’re fine.

Or are we?

Could we take off the mask that we, especially as Christians, live the “fairy tale”? We are certainly blessed, in every circumstance guarded by the Father, but honestly, in the deepest parts, we aren’t fine.

I’m not fine.

If I took off the “I’m fine” mask, would you think less of me, or would you think I’m … human?

We don’t have it all under control, and I can’t help but think that when we act like we do, we basically tell God that we don’t need him.

We’ve got this.

By pretending we’re “fine” we tell others something must be wrong with them if they are hurting… because we certainly are not hurting.

We’re fine.

What if we let someone else in? What if we said, “I’m hurting, and the details aren’t important, but would you please pray for me? I would really appreciate that.” Could that help them, in return, reach out to someone else when they are hurting?

Do we need to grant one another permission to not be fine?

Could we come broken before the Father, and cry out for His mercy and strength? He did promise to never leave us or forsake us. Even when we don’t feel it, could we still cling to His promise and claim it?

He knows we’re not fine.

Could the trials be the very thing that break the strings holding on our mask, allowing it to fall to the ground so we cling to Him a little tighter?

The truth is…

We aren’t fine… We are forgiven.

We aren’t in control… We are held by the hands that control our very heartbeat.

We aren’t invincible… We are made to look to the only One who can heal the broken.

As a sisterhood of hearts seeking our confidence in HIM, let’s take off our masks today. At least here with each other. And maybe with just one other person we meet this week. I have a feeling someone needs to see the battle wounds and scars we carry in order for them to stop pretending and seek His help too.

And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

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Thank you so much Melanie, for reminding me and all of us again today that God’s grace is sufficient.  God and His grace can be my sufficiency… if I let HIM be.

Today’s Assignment:

  • Continue or finish reading chapter 2 and answer end of chapter questions. Then come back and share with us what God is showing you about how His perfect love changes everything – especially the pressure to be it all, do it all and know it all – all at the same time.

Connect in Community:

  • Please “Share Your Thoughts” below this post. (Remember if you are reading this in an email, click here to visit my website and connect with our ACH community! 
  • If you are on my site, click “Share Your Thoughts” and do just that. (This is such a valuable part of this study. My favorite part!!)

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The Power of Praying God’s Promises

Praying God’s promises — it’s changed me.

That’s why I included a prayer at the end of each chapter, weaving together Scriptures from that chapter and others I sensed God wanted us to engrave on our hearts.

Praying God’s Word has been one of the most life-changing ways I’ve learned to live in the security of His promises…and isn’t that what we all want?

“One way God tells us that confidence will come is when we ask Him for what is already part of His will. ‘This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us’ (1 John 5:14 NASB). So there you go: we can be confident we are praying God’s will when we pray God’s Word!” p.25

But that’s not all.

Romans 10:17 tells us that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” so let’s pray these promises out loud again and again.

Yes, even if it seems weird. Find somewhere you can be alone to speak these truths so you can hear them, and let them echo in your thoughts.

Trust me, it makes a difference. “When we pray God’s words out loud, and hear them, the Holy Spirit engraves them on our hearts and writes them in our thoughts. We internalize God’s truth and our faith grows as we are transformed from the inside out!” p.25

Let’s join our hearts and pray Chapter One’s prayer {together}:

Lord, I pray that You would give me a confident heart in Christ. Take me beyond believing in You to truly believing You. Help me rely on the power of Your promises and live like they are true. You say blessed is the one who trusts in You and whose hope and confidence are found in You. Those who hope in You will not be disappointed, because You work all things together for good for those who love You and are called according to Your purpose.

When self-doubt tells me I can’t overcome my insecurities, I will believe Your promise that all things are possible to whoever believes. I will not throw away my confidence, because You say it will be richly rewarded. I will persevere so that when I have done the will of God, I will receive what You have promised. My confidence is in Christ and I am no longer one who shrinks back and is destroyed, but one who believes and is saved! In Jesus’ name, Amen.  {See Jeremiah 17:7; Isaiah 49:23; Romans 8:28; Mark 9:23; Hebrews 10:35–36, 39}

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{Special FREE Gift & GiveAway}

 

Chad Lawson, my friend, award-winning composer and pianist, has graciously shared his beautiful, Spirit-filled Song of Prayer below. 

Even though it will probably be hard at first to sit still and just listen, please pause to soak in this God-gift.  This was filmed while Chad sat and listened to the Holy Spirit. He simply played what God laid on his heart. You’ll see the joy of Christ in Chad’s smile but more than anything, you will experience the peace of God’s presence through his music.

If you’re reading this via email please click here to visit my website to watch. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this – I promise.

You can find and download A Song of Prayer on iTunes for  ($1.99) or Amazon ($.89)

{Special Give-Away}
3 Special Order Song of Prayer CDs

To enter to win one: Click “share your thoughts” below this post and describe how you felt or what you sensed God whisper as you listened to Chad’s Song of Prayer.

Remember, if you’re reading this via email please click here to visit my website and participate. All entries must be put in the “share your thoughts” section.

{Week 2} Word of the Week, Roll Call & a Giveaway!

 

This graphic is part of our verse for the week.
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Our Verse for the Week: “Satisfy [me] in the morning with your unfailing love, that [I] may sing for joy and be glad all [my] days…for I have put my trust in you.” Psalm 90:14, 143:8b, NIV

Our Word for the Week: SATISFIED (Download in a PDF or download in MSWord). Please print it and post it everywhere so you can remember that God’s love can satisfy the thirst of your soul!

Roll Call!! {and a giveaway!}
Let’s  get to know each other this week! All who participate will be entered to win a $15 gift certificate to our Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Store.

Just answer these 3 simple questions: Where are you from (state or country), what is your agewhat do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I’ll go first: I’m 46 and live in North Carolina. In my free time (which I wish I had more of) I love to sit on our back porch and read, and relax or play games with my family. I also love to watch a movie with my husband.

Click on “Share Your Thoughts” below to give your answers. {If you are reading this via email, click here to return to my website to participate}.

Letting God Fill Our Empty Places

Oh how I am LOVING reading so much about each of you. Gosh I wish we could all meet!! What an amazing group of women of all ages and from all places God has gathered here in HIS name! Makes me just about burst with joy! And now, I’m so glad today is here. Some days my written words come easily. Other days I just have to show and tell you what’s on my heartToday is  one of those days.

{If you are reading this via email, click here. You can only see the video on my blog, not in an email.}

Please {like pretty please even if you don’t normally watch video posts} click the arrow to “hear” today’s message from my heart to yours. I don’t want another day to go by without you knowing this…

{Are you a note-taker? If so, I created “Video Message Notes” in a PDF and in MSWord just for you. Even included blanks to fill in. 🙂

Let’s Connect {and how to enter today’s drawing}:
I’d love to hear your thoughts about today’s message… and this is an easy way to enter today’s giveaway too. Just click “share your thoughts” right below this post and do just that – share your thoughts. {I love to read them! And pray over you when I do.} I’ll be there reading and sharing my heart with you too.

For More Daily Encouragement join my Confident Heart Facebook page.

Receive My Posts in Your Inbox
If you aren’t already a subscriber, sign up in my right sidebar where it says “Receive Email Updates” — and you won’t miss a thing! I’ve got more giveaways, short video messages and lots of encouraging posts I’m working on for the coming weeks.