In case my other email ended up in spam :)

So sorry to be writing again today, but I found out my posts went out at the same time this afternoon and had so many photos they are likely to have ended up in spam. ūüôĀ And I just want to make sure you know {DaySpring} is offering 35% off until midnight tonight. If you want to and have time to shop, just use MONDAY16 (at checkout) to get 35% off  through midnight tonight, Nov 28th!

Happy week after Thanksgiving! 
xoxo, Renee

Shine Your Light {+ my favorite things for 35% off} Monday ONLY!

My favorite place to shop online {DaySpring} is offering 35% off on Cyber Monday. And because girlfriends always tell each other about the best deals, here’s to Monday night shopping and sharing a few of my favorite things!

***
Use MONDAY16 (at checkout) to get 35% off the following items
through midnight tonight, Nov 28th!

screenshot-2016-11-23-19-10-33
$23.40 (with 35% off code)
ORDER HERE

screenshot-2016-11-23-19-11-28
$24.70 (with 35% off code)
ORDER HERE

screenshot-2016-11-23-21-24-49
$19.49 (with 35% off code)
ORDER HERE

These next few items won’t qualify for 35% off since they’re already
 $15-30 off regular prices, 
but they’re AMAZING products I love
and deals I just had to share! 

screenshot-2016-11-23-19-04-28

Shine Your Light Pillow Cover
only $10 order here 
($15 off reg price)

screenshot-2016-11-23-19-06-47
 ONLY $10 order here
($20 off reg price)


 ONLY $25 – Order HERE
($35 off reg price)


 ONLY $15 – Order HERE
($29 off reg price)

I love all of these, but there is so much more! Hop over to DaySpring
before midnight Monday, Nov 28th to purchase beautiful ornaments, gifts, cards, coffee mugs, home decor, wall art, and jewelry that all point to Christ! 

So excited to share this news with YOU! {open Monday before midnight}


Hey friend! I got Christmas cards ordered this weekend and now I’m looking for stocking stuffers and teacher gifts! I was thinking you may be too, so I wanted to tell you about DaySpring’s Cyber Monday 35% OFF sale! I’m even more excited than usual  because you can now get
A Confident Heart gift items for only $5 – $8 plus 35% off! That’s crazy amazing!  

Simply enter MONDAY16 at checkout to get 35% off!

A Confident Heart - 31 Scripture Cards

31 Scripture Promise Cards ONLY $3.25 

A Confident Heart Postcard Set

6 Quotes & Promises Postcard Set  ONLY $3.25 

screenshot-2016-11-28-15-19-57

100 Days of Promises, Prayers & Quotes
ONLY $5.20 

Won’t these be great stocking stuffers and gifts
for teachers,co-workers, Bible Study leaders, community service
workers, college students, friends and more?!  

screenshot-2016-11-28-14-32-46

Enter MONDAY16 discount code at checkout to get 35% OFF!!

Thank you DaySpring for these great prices and products
that point our hearts to Jesus!

My favorite place to shop + 30% off EVERYTHING at DaySpring!

I love how DaySpring points our hearts to Christ
through beautiful gifts, home decor, wall art, Christmas
cards,  coffee mugs,  jewelry and more!

Enter FRIDAY16  discount code at checkout to get 30% off!
Take advantage of this amazing discount before it ends tomorrow!

screenshot-2016-11-23-20-59-55

30% off EVERYTHING @DaySpring {including Shepherd on the Search}!

This post includes affiliate links.
Read our disclosure here. 

Hey friends! I just found out DaySpring is offering an early black Friday 30% off coupon through Sunday, Nov 27th!  Click here to access the sale and be sure to use coupon code: FRIDAY16 at checkout to get 30% OFF!!

Here are a few of my favorite things from DaySpring!

These first few items are already marked down $15-30 off regular prices,
so they won’t qualify for another 30% off but they are amazing deals.
And they are such beautiful Christmas additions. I can’t wait for mine to arrive.

screenshot-2016-11-23-19-04-28

Shine Your Light Pillow Cover
only $10 order here 
($15 off reg price)

screenshot-2016-11-23-19-06-47

Shine Your Light Table Runner 
 ONLY $10 order here
($20 off reg price)

screenshot-2016-11-23-19-06-58

Shine Your Light Wooden Candlestick Holder Set of 3
 ONLY $25 – Order HERE
($35 off reg price)

screenshot-2016-11-23-19-12-25

Everlasting Light- Star Tealight Holder
 ONLY $15 – Order HERE
($29 off reg price)

***

More of my FAVORITE THINGS!
The following items are not already marked down, so they qualify for
30% off coupon code FRIDAY16 (use at checkout)
through Sunday, Nov 27th!

screenshot-2016-11-23-19-10-33

Hospitality Wooden Tray
$25.20 (with 30% off code)
ORDER HERE

screenshot-2016-11-23-19-11-28

Gold Polka Dots Burlap Tree Skirt
$26.60 (with 30% off code)
ORDER HERE

screenshot-2016-11-23-21-24-49

Bless This Food – Plank Wall Art 
$21.oo (with 30% off code)
ORDER HERE

I love all of these but there is so much more! Hop over to DaySpring
now to purchase beautiful ornaments, gifts, cards, coffee mugs,
home decor, wall art, and jewelry that all point to Christ! 

screenshot-2016-11-23-20-59-55

Enter FRIDAY16 discount code at checkout to get 30% OFF!!

 

Shepherd On The Search: Finding Christ in Christmas {+ a giveaway}

Affiliate links in this post. You can read my disclosure here.

What is your favorite part of the Christmas story? One of mine is when God sent angels to shepherds in a field, to tell them Jesus had been born. And when the shepherds heard the amazing news, they set off on an journey to search for baby Jesus.

Tweet: I want to be like the shepherds, looking for Jesus every day that leads up to the celebration of His birth. http://ctt.ec/Xl0dY+I want our family to be like the shepherds, looking for Jesus each day leading up to Christmas. So we’re taking our daughter Aster on an ADVENTure this Christmas with Shepherd On The Search, an newDaySpring Advent Activity set.

 

the-set

I love how this set includes a cute plush toy shepherd, a box that looks like a manger and the story of the shepherd‚Äôs search is captured in a beautifully illustrated children‚Äôs book.

bookwithaster
The ADVENTure will begins at our house on December 1st {Aster’s birthday} when we hide our shepherd and let our girl go searching for it in some silly place. And, I have a feeling she and her daddy are going to be hiding it from me as we move the Shepherd closer to the manger each day of December.

Whether you’ve got children, grandchildren or know someone who does, I can’t think of a better tradition than playing hide-n-seek with a shepherd and making Jesus the focus of our Christmas fun this year!

ENTER to WIN a companion Christmas CD
Shepherd Cmas CDShare your thoughts and let me know if you plan to join us in this Christmas ADVENTure. Simply leave a comment below (click here if you are reading this via email) I’ll be giving away Christmas Reading Music CD to one of you! And I’ll let you know how to can get more ideas and fun activities to do with your Shepherd on the Search!

When Thanks Is Hard to Give

ps95

I dropped my body into my favorite chair and stretched out my legs, hoping the soft embrace of my chaise lounge would comfort more than my tired bones.

After two months, and more than 10 assessments with¬†our 8-year-old little girl who has¬†special needs, my husband and I met with her school’s IEP team and developmental specialists to discuss results so¬†we could develop a therapy and educational plan for the next year.

The first meeting lasted two hours. The second meeting lasted three. And I’m not exaggerating.

Nothing prepares you for times like these.

During the¬†first meeting, I took endless notes so I would’t forget¬†anything.¬†I wanted to remember all the medical terms and glean insights from observations they’d made during Aster’s evaluations. I listened as¬†her specialist shared how some¬†scores went¬†down instead of up, and¬†I¬†remember feeling¬†a surprising sense of¬†peace and strength.

After a year of extensive weekly¬†and daily¬†exercises and¬†occupational therapy, Aster’s¬†visual memory and perceptual processing had decreased, which caused a lot of concern.¬†But there were areas where she had made progress, so we¬†tried to focus on those. Still, before I left, her specialist wrote¬†a referral for us to see¬†pediatric neurologist for¬†more testing next month.

On the way home I felt numb. And then I cried.

A few days later we¬†had our second meeting with Aster’s¬†IEP team at school. Peace and strength didn’t show up this time. In fact, tears filled my eyes as I listened to the school psychologist give an overview of¬†the tests our brave girl had taken and how¬†inconsistent scores made it hard for them to draw a clear conclusion. I understood.

The past six years have felt like¬†a¬†puzzle we can’t solve, so we just keep trying to find¬†all the pieces.

Five presentations and three hours later, I had eaten almost all the chocolate covered short-bread mini star cookies I brought to share. We signed forms and thanked each person there for being incredibly thorough and developing the best individualized education plan they could for our daughter this year.

I walked out of that meeting with a stack of papers and information I did’t know how to process. And¬†I went¬†home where I let the weight of it all sink into the cushions of¬†my chaise lounge.

I knew I needed God.

I needed Him to hold me and help me not sink into sadness. I needed Truth to untangle my racing thoughts and over-analyzing tendencies. But I was tired and didn’t feel like reading, journaling, crying or praying.

I don’t know why but I opened my Bible anyway. And there it was; a verse I did not want to see:

Let us enter His presence with thanksgiving; let us shout triumphantly to Him in song. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods. (Psalm 95:2-3)

How in the world was I supposed to do that? I didn’t have thanks to give and triumphant was no where close to how I felt.

But I kept reading.

Come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the sheep under His care. (Psalm 95:6-7)

I found thanks I could give.

But it wasn’t until I let God¬†remind me, through Scripture, Who He is and how much I am kept under His care. How closely He holds my little girl because¬†He is her God. I am His sheep and she¬†is His lamb.

Jesus¬†is my daughter’s¬†Shepherd and her life is in His pasture, not mine.

I¬†stayed in my comfortable chair that night and knelt my¬†heart before my Maker. I claimed His triumph over my¬†daughter’s¬†unknown¬†future¬†and I thanked Him for being a¬†good Father by¬†providing support and resources we need, surrounding us with people who look like¬†His hands and feet, and¬†helping me see thanks that I¬†could give when it was hardest to find.

What can you give thanks for today? 

My Pattern of Thought

transformed
It’s usually very subtle. Sometimes I’ll think about something I want to do or sense God calling me to, and I’ll just get that awful, insecure feeling. Out of the blue, uncertainty will wash over me as doubt whispers to my heart, You can’t do that. You’re not good enough.

Too many times I’ve gone along with the doubts, without realizing what I was doing I agreed with my insecurities.

For years, I didn’t tell anyone about my self-doubt. I figured if they knew all the reasons I doubted myself, they’d notice flaws I had worked hard to hide. And honestly, I thought I was the only one who struggled with doubt.

But¬†I never called it doubt. Maybe you don‚Äôt either. Sometimes I called it worry — worry I was going to disappoint someone, worry I might make a mistake and get criticized for it, worry I’d start something but not be able to finish.

Other times I would call it fear — fear of not measuring up, fear of rejection, fear of looking prideful by thinking I could do something special for God.

It makes my stomach turn to think about all countless times my feelings became paralyzed by fear or worry, but the source was often hidden in my own self-doubt.

There has¬†been a pattern in my thinking that led to a¬†pattern of my un-believing…

Click here to keep reading and join me as we learn how to let God change the patterns of our thoughts over  at (in)Courage.

~Renee Swope, author of A Confident Heart

 

When You Feel Like You’re Not Enough

08052016_ReneeSwope_YouAre

Have you ever had that awful, sinking feeling of not being enough . . . not smart enough or good enough?

For weeks I had felt inadequate and incompetent about everything ‚ÄĒ from the way I parented to the way I served God in ministry to the way I organized my time and my life. It got so bad one day,¬†I literally begged God to pleeeaaasse take away my feelings of insecurity.

He didn’t answer the way I hoped, but instead He showed me what I needed to see in the most unexpected way. That afternoon, while I was putting on make-up in my bathroom, I turned around to put something away and noticed a huge nine-foot shadow on the wall behind me. I’m only 5’2″ so the humongous shadow caught me by surprise.

As I stood there looking at the shadow it dawned on me: I could only see the shadow when I turned away from the light. Not only that, I had created the huge shadow by blocking the light from above my mirror.

In that moment, I sensed God showing me something I will never forget: My insecurities create shadows of doubt over my heart and soul when I turn away from the Light of God’s truth about me.

Shadows are created all around us when something blocks light and so it is with the shadow of doubt.

When we focus our thoughts on how inadequate we feel, or what others think about us or how we’re performing compared to someone else, we cast a shadow of doubt in our minds by blocking the light of God’s Truth in our hearts.

But we were not designed to block the light. We were created to live in the Light by focusing on what God thinks about us instead of what we think about ourselves.

Jesus said, ‚ÄúI am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life‚ÄĚ {John 8:12, NIV}.¬†When we follow Jesus closely and completely in our thoughts, turning away from doubts and lies, we can find lasting security and confidence in Him.

Feeling paralyzed by uncertainty and insecurity is not where God wants us to live. Instead, He calls us to purposefully shift our focus from our feelings of inadequacy to the promises of His sufficiency in our lives.

When Jesus spoke to the people in John 8:12, He called them out of darkness. And each day He calls us as well, to walk in truth {Light} as we replace feelings of low self-confidence with lasting soul-confidence.

So the next time you¬†feel like you‚Äôre not enough, pause for a minute¬†to¬†recognize you‚Äôre standing in the shadow of self-doubt, and turn your heart toward the Light¬†by¬†focusing your thoughts on God‚Äôs¬†truths instead. Click here to keep reading¬†3 powerful¬†truths¬†and¬†a prayer we all need to¬†replace our¬†feelings of “not enough” with God’s¬†promises! I’m hosting this conversation¬†over at (in)Courage today, and I’d love for you to join us there!

~Renee Swope,
author of A Confident Heart

Never Alone

JESUS IS THE ONLY ONE

 

Alone again. That’s what she must have thought as she walked to the well all by herself that day.

But she wasn’t alone for long. Jesus was there. Yet, she didn’t know who He was and she couldn’t help but wonder why He was talking to her, a Samaritan woman.

When He spoke, she heard gentleness in His voice. 

Kindness and humility in His simple request for a drink.

In His eyes she saw acceptance, not judgment. Love, not hate.

Many of us know her as the Samaritan woman, but I like to call her Sam to make her feel more like the real woman she was. A woman who struggled with hurt, rejection, and loneliness.

Jesus was on His way to Galilee that day, but Scripture tells us¬†‚ÄúHe had to go through Samaria‚ÄĚ {John 4:4}. Yet theologians would tell us Jews considered Samaritans to be the scum of the earth and would do everything to avoid them by traveling around Samaria ‚ÄĒ but not Jesus.

He had to go through Samaria. Perhaps it be because He knew Sam would be there.

Women normally traveled together to the well, in the cool of the day, to avoid the heat of the sun since they carried heavy jars filled with water back to their homes. But Sam went by herself.

Many believe that instead of avoiding the scorching heat of the sun, she went to the well at noon to avoid the scorching pain of others’ rejection and judgment. Sam had been married five times, and was living with a man who wasn’t her husband.

When Jesus met her, Sam was running an errand, and running from those who knew of her failures, shame, and imperfections. Pursuing her with His perfect love, Jesus timed it so she would run into Him.

He initiated conversation and asked her for the one thing she had to offer, water. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.

Sam stopped and listened. She let Him speak words of assurance and acceptance into the broken, insecure, empty places of her heart.

Jesus intentionally pursued Sam in one of the loneliest parts of her day and in the same way, He is there in the midst of our sometimes lonely, imperfect lives. He is there when our disappointments and failures leave us empty and make us doubt our worth and purpose. (keep reading here)

I don’t know about you, but this summer I have had¬†many days when I felt¬†alone and just need to know someone sees me. Knows me. Pursues me. Jesus is showing me, He does. Let’s keep talking about this over on the¬†inCourage blog, where I’m hosting today’s¬†conversation and praying for friends like you in our online community. Join me there.¬†