Fear Not For I am With You {FREE printable + giveaway}

FightCourageously

 

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God,
and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

My 8-year-old son walked into my room before school one morning and declared, “Mom, I don’t want to have any anxious thoughts today!”

“I don’t want to worry about you not being home when I get off the school bus. I don’t want to worry about my teacher not liking my science project. And I don’t want to worry about Dad getting in a car accident! I wish I could be like other kids because they never worry.”

Listening to him describe his fears made my stomach ache. Anxious thoughts had been a companion ever since I was a child, so I knew just how he felt.

However, I assumed my fears stemmed from hard things in my childhood during my parents’ divorce. My anxiety had solid reasoning behind it. My dad left before I was ever born. And by the time I was 2 years old, their divorce was final.

For as long as I could remember, I feared my mom would leave me too. Fear of rejection and abandonment followed me into every relationship I had for the rest of my life: with friends, boyfriends and even my husband.

Somewhere along the way, I accepted worry as a disability and settled into believing I didn’t get to decide how it impacted my life.

Now here I stood with my son who’d declared he wanted a day off from worry! And I was determined to help him get it. I wanted to rip those threads of fear out of his thoughts and make sure he knew what to do with them.

I couldn’t take my child’s fears away, but I could equip him with truth to face them courageously and fight them victoriously. I told Andrew, “You get to decide what to do with your worries.” And I shared three powerful truths to help him:

Truth #1: Other kids do worry; they just don’t talk about it on the playground.

Truth #2: Worry and fear must be a normal because God tells us not to, over 100 times in the Bible.

Truth #3: God doesn’t just tell us not to worry or fear, He tells us what to do when we do!

Then I read 2 Corinthians 10:5 to him, “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” But a puzzled look on his face told me Andrew needed to know how to do that, so I described it in terms he could understand:

“Andrew, when you have a thought that makes you feel anxious, you can decide to catch it like a baseball and see if it’s worth keeping.” I then cupped my hand like I was holding a ball and told him to look at it and ask, “Is this something Jesus would say to me?”

If the answer is “no” — then throw your thought back into the outfield!

For instance, worry says: “Your mom isn’t going to be home when you get off the bus.”

“Would Jesus say that?” I asked.

“No,” he replied.

“Then it’s outta here!” I told him, as I threw the invisible ball across the room.

Worry says: “Your teacher isn’t going to like your science project!”

“Would Jesus say that?” I prompted.

Again, “No.”

“Throw that one away, too!”

We talked through each worry, processed his fears, and I helped him decide what to do. Then we prayed and asked God to replace each worry with a promise that would give him confident peace. Finally, we thanked God for ways He’d protected Andrew in the past, reminding him how good He is at being God.

After our collective “Amen” I looked up and Andrew had a big grin on his face. Then he said, “Thanks Mom!” as though all his worries were gone.

My sons are 17 and 20 now, and there have been many days I’ve wanted to take away their worries. I’ve been tempted to fix problems and sticky situations. But I’ve learned that doesn’t strengthen their faith or their ability to decide what to do when hard times come.

Instead, what our kids need most is for us to be there: to talk through their struggles, listen to their stories, pray through their worries and be willing to share God’s truths that have helped us decide how to face ours.

There is nothing more powerful than our hearts hearing our lips proclaim our trust in God’s truth. Again and again. So I created a FREE printable to help us do just that! I pray it will lead your anxious thoughts to Jesus as you hold those worries in your hands and ask: Is this what Jesus would say to me? If the the answer is no, YOU GET TO DECDE that it doesn’t get to stay!

ReneeSwope.FearNot-Printable_Small.CLICK HERE to download my “Fear Not For I am With You” FREE printable.
If you can’t see the image displayed, click here to go to view it on my website.

ConfidentHeartDevotional

Confident Heart Devotional GIVEAWAY
Enter to win a gift-pack that includes my A Confident Heart Devotional book and my favorite prayer journal from DaySpring.  Perfect for summer and life on the go – my Confident Heart Devotional book is filled with powerful stories, practical life-lessons and biblical insights to help you and your loved ones overcome fear and worry through the power of God’s truth each day!

ENTER TO WIN:
How much doesfear or worry impact your daily decisions and joy (or your child’s)? Click “Share Your Thoughts” below this post on my blog, and do just that. Your comment will be your entry to win!

***If you are reading this via email, please click here to enter the giveaway on my blog.***
ALL entries must be entered on my blog. Thanks! 

When I am afraid {FREE printable & giveaway}

Welcome Encouragement  for Today friends! I am so glad you are here! In my devotion today I shared one of the many ways I have learned to process my worries and fear, and how God used my own struggles to help my son overcome his.

And I also wanted to share a printable to download and keep for those days when you and your loved ones feel afraid.

ReneeSwope.FearNot-Printable_Small.
CLICK HERE to download my “Fear Not For I am With You” FREE printable.

These verses have been woven into countless conversations I’ve had with Jesus about my fears and worries, and my kids’ too. I love these scriptures because the first one includes God’s words speaking to me, and the second one is phrased as my declaration and prayer back to Him.

There is nothing more powerful than our hearts hearing our lips proclaim our trust in God’s truth. Again and again.

I pray this printable is a blessing today as you let it lead your anxious thoughts to Jesus!! Hold those worries in your hands and ask: Is this what Jesus would say to me? 

If fear is saying something to your heart that Jesus would not say to you – then the answer is NO! And YOU GET TO DECDE that it doesn’t get to stay! I’m praying for each of you who stop by today!

ENTER TO WIN: A Confident Heart Devotional GIVEAWAY
ConfidentHeartDevotionalEnter to win my A Confident Heart Devotional book and my favorite prayer journal from DaySpring. Perfect for summer and life on the go – my Confident Heart Devotional book is filled with powerful stories, practical life-lessons and biblical insights to help you and your loved ones overcome fear and worry through the power of God’s truth each day!

How much does fear or worry impact your daily decisions and joy (or your child’s)?  Click “Share Your Thoughts” below and do just that. Your comment will be your entry to win!

Do You Ever Wonder How “She” Does It All?

How do some women have time for exercise, prayer, Bible reading, family, work and ministry every single day – and I’m just hanging on by a thread?

There are days when I feel like I can barely get my family fed, send kinds off to school in clean clothes, and get myself to work on time (barely).

My friend, Crystal Paine  {also known as Money Saving Mom} is one of those women who is super smart, super down-to-earth and super productive with her time, but she’s also really invested in her relationships. For years I was convinced Crystal had a secret formula for finding 36 hours within the same 24-hour period we both got each day. And I wanted to know her secret, so I asked her!

Over the past few years, she’s shared so many tips and tools that have really helped me!! But I’m not the only one who has asked Crystal.

But I’m not the only one who has asked Crystal how she does it all. She gets asked that A.LOT. So, Crystal decided to create a 14-day course around the tried-and-true habits she has used as part of her own morning routine FOR YEARS!! And it’s now available for a super-low launch day SALE price!!

This course is not a one-size-fits all! Crystal knows every single woman’s life and roles are unique to her. Instead, Crystal walks you through powerful principles and practical tools and shows you how to apply them to YOUR life, YOUR situation, YOUR family, so that YOU can make over YOUR mornings!

I just signed up, and can’t wait to start the course. Want to join me? It’s only $13 through midnight {less than $1/day}! But that price ends at midnight! So hop on over and get in on the low price for this amazing course today!

3 Steps to Get God’s Peace {Printable & GiveAway}

WhenWorryComes

When life gets overwhelming, do you ever feel like you might suffocate under everything you need to do? 

Does worry ever weave it’s way into your heart and consume your thoughts with concern?

If I’m not careful, worry can wear me out and make me want to quit… just about everything!

In my Encouragement for Today devotion  today, I shared about one of my melting points from a few years ago. And how I took my husband’s advice to write down everything on my plate so I could ask God what needed to be cut back.

I listed my commitments and concerns, deadlines and dates on my calendar with every appointment, event, conference call and meeting I could think of for the next six months.

And I prayed: Please God, show me where I need to make changes.

I assumed the Holy Spirit would suggest adjustments in my schedule, but that’s not what happened. God didn’t tell me to make cut backs at work or in ministry. He didn’t show me our family had too many activities. He didn’t challenge me to take a sabbatical, although I was hoping He would.

Jesus showed me it was worry not my workload that was making me weary. 

You see, without realizing it I was spending as much time thinking and worrying about concerns, commitments, circumstances and deadlines as I did working on them.

It was not only how I spent my time, but how I spent my thoughts that left me depleted.

But it wasn’t until I brought it all to God, and wrote it all out, that I recognized what was happening. I wonder if that’s why Peter tells us: “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

The apostle Paul tells us the same thing, and shows us how:

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need and A him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7, NLT)

But it’s not easy. Honestly, our natural tendency is to take control. And we have an enemy who suggests we do. His whispers sound something like this:  “Don’t be calm about anything; instead worry about everything. Tell God what He should do. Then take control if He doesn’t listen. And your concerns will consume your heart, eroding your peace with worry and doubt!

But we don’t have to listen to the lies. Instead let’s listen to God’s promises, and take these 3 steps to get God’s peace:

3 Steps To Getting God's Peace (1)

CLICK HERE to Download “3 Steps to Get God’s Peace”

 If you can’t see the image displayed, click here to go to view it on my website.

ENTER TO WIN
Click “Share Your Thoughts” and do just that on my blog today. Your comment will be your entry into my “Heart-and-Soul Spa” gift-pack GIVEAWAY that includes my A Confident Heart Devotional book, my favorite prayer journal from DaySpring and a $10 Bath & Body Works gift card! {If you are reading this via email, join us on my blog to enter to win!}

Heart & Soul GiveAway {Comments pt 2}

ENTER TO WIN
Click “Share Your Thoughts” and do just that on my blog today. Your comment will be your entry into my “Heart-and-Soul Spa” gift-pack GIVEAWAY that includes my A Confident Heart Devotional book, my favorite prayer journal and a Bath & Body Works gift card! {If you are reading this via email, join us on my blog to enter to win!}

 

3 Truths To Hold Onto When Our Plans Don’t Go As Planned

20150415_ReneeSwope_imperfections-EDIT

I had it all planned:
when they would all arrive
what I needed to do beforehand
how I wanted my heart to feel when they got here

Not wanting to turn into “the frazzled friend” I can become when planning a get-together, I banned myself from Pinterest and my own desire for “perfect.”

I planned ahead and recruited help from a friend. Together we would be prepared. Simple appetizers and decorations. A few pretty touches. My biggest desire? I just wanted to be ready early, with time to spare and room to breathe.

I wanted to enjoy this night. I wanted to feel calm and happy when guest arrived. I wanted to greet each friend face to face and let her know she was not only welcomed, she was wanted.

But even the simplest of plans don’t always go as planned.
A crisis at work kept my husband from being able to help me get the house clean. Traffic was horrible and my friend/co-host got stuck on the other side of town, unable to come early to help with setup. I was on my own, with three hungry kids piling into the kitchen asking when dad would be home to take them out for pizza.

I was not calm. I was not happy. Things weren’t getting done and I was coming undone.
My kitchen was a mess. Food wasn’t ready. And just as women started arriving, my tech-savvy-son told me our computer wasn’t compatible with our television, which meant streaming the inRL sessions (a highly anticipated part of our evening) was looking like another fail.

Deep disappointment and a slight sense of panic came crashing in.

Why do I even try??  I so desperately wanted to enjoy this night. These friends. And then I remembered…

CLICK HERE to join me on the (in)Courage blog today, where I’m sharing three powerful truths I learned that helped me 1)reset my perspective 2) see my imperfections as a gift 3)enjoy the party!

By His side, I’m led. {a Promise & a Prayer}

Wisdom&Vision

The longer I live, the more I realize how much I desperately need Jesus.
On my own, I’m overwhelmed, confused, torn in a million directions.
By His side… I’m led.

Jesus, as I walk into a new week please keep me close.
I need Your wisdom and vision to see my circumstances
(no matter what they may be)
through Your perspective and grace.

 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously
to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.
James 1:5, NIV

EasterWreath_Psalm118

http://reneeswope.com/2015/04/resurrection-hope/

I want what I want… and I don’t want to wait for it.

When I Give God Control

Patience is not a strength of mine.

I want what I want… and I don’t want to wait for it.

Some days my inability to wait without complaining is painfully obvious.

Like one recent afternoon I sped up, instead of slowing down, when the light turned yellow.

And my son asked why I did that. Before sifting my thoughts through a filter of wisdom, I told Andrew I didn’t want to stop and wait at the red light.

Not good. Not good at all. Where is the duck tape when you need it?

That same week I heard myself grumbling to JJ about waiting on God for direction in a decision I was trying to make.

I didn’t like how it sounded after it came out of my mouth.

I know better and I want to do better.

After all, my oh-so-patient Father calls me to live “with humility, gentleness, and patience.” (Col. 3:12)

But patience isn’t possible unless my heart is closely connected to HIS.

I have to attach my hope to the fact that He is in control.

Stoplights are good for the  soul.

And I can trust Him.

When I give God control, His ways and timing are always better than mine. @ReneeSwope {Click to Tweet}

A Promise & A Prayer {new every morning}

GreatIsHisFaithfulness

Jesus, I’m so grateful for Your love and compassion
that never fails. They are new every morning.
Not just on my good mornings, or mornings that follow good days.
But every single morning. Your faithfulness is so much more than I deserve.  

 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23