A Gift Every Woman Needs for Christmas

Today, I have a gift I want to give you. I’s a gift EVERY WOMAN NEEDS! And it’s tucked inside this short video. I recorded it last week for a friend’s Christmas give-away, but after I finished it, I just knew God wanted me to give it to you too! So, instead of reading about it, please click the arrow below so I can tell you about it.

I’ve got a question and a give-away for you, but first here are some things I want to share::

Printable Christmas Prayer
For those hopping over from my P31 devotion today, welcome! That story I share in the video is the year that led to the writing of my Christmas prayer. If you’d like to receive a FREE printable version of it, please enter your email in the box below and click signup.You’ll receive an email within 24 hours that include links to download the prayer as a printable 4×6, 5×7 or 8×10 you can frame for yourself and give as gifts.


Confident Heart Online Study
I also want to invite you to join me and women from all over who will gather here beginning January 16th to read through my book, A Confident Heart. We’ll walk through each chapter together and discover how we can overcome self-doubts and strong or even subtle insecurity by learning how to to live in THE security of God’s promises! I’m so excited about all God’s laying on my heart for our study, and I’d love for you to be part of this special community where we’ll share encouragement, prayers and stories of all that God is doing in and through us!

To join us, enter your info and click Sign Up..

To find out more details about online study, click here.

Enter Today’s Give-away
How you are going to give yourself grace this Christmas? I’ll share my answer in the comments below. You can share yours and any other thoughts you have about video message or the topic of my devotion and you’ll be entered to win this gift pak just in time for Christmas:

  • Copies of my book (for you & two friends)
  • 3 Sets of Confident Heart conference calls (optional)
  • $10 Starbucks gift card
  • Godiva Chocolate Bar

Click below this post where it says “Share Your Thoughts” and do just that. Then be sure to share this post with friends (see those tell-a-friend buttons? They make it really easy). If you do, leave another comment and tell me. You’ll be entered twice! {Update: Congratulations Angel Miller (your were selected in our prayerful yet random drawing for a winner. We’ll email you details! Thank you all for entering. Be sure to sign up for email updates in the sidebar so you don’t any future give-aways!)

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, β€œEveryday Life with Lysa & Renee.


  1. I’m giving myself grace in not sending Christmas cards this year. And Im choosing not to feel bad that our Christmas tree isn’t up yet. All our nativities are and that is the centerpiece of our celebration. Hopefully the tree will get put up and decorated “lightly” this weekend. Grace, grace, and more grace. It’s what I need and what I’m receiving from Jesus this Christmas!

    • I’m giving myself a big break this year. For the first time ever, i’m not doing Christmas in my home. I gave the honors to my eldest daughter. We’re having Christmas at her home. Such a big weight off my shoulders. She really loving the honors of having it at her home too. As well as Thanksgiving was at her home. This is a many of first time this year for her and my 18mo twins grandbabies too.

    • I am giving myself grace today by focusing on the precious gifts that the Lord has given me… my children! I have an 8yr old and 6 yr old son and we recently adopted a baby boy. I have been trying to keep up with life as if a newborn was not affecting my schedule. WRONG! I am choosing to slow down and enjoy this precious time (even when it is hectic and sleep deprived). Every time I look at our sweet new addition I am reminded of God’s grace. Thank you Lord for your kindness and love and for blessing us with your son!

    • Kelly Kohler says:

      I am giving myself grace by reminding myself that this is going to go down in the memory books as the ‘Christmas that was’. In the future my family and I are going to see the rough patch we are going through now as our memory of how we made it through, endured and grew in our faith and trust in the One this season is all about. No matter that my house is not decorated, cookies are not made nor a single gift bought. Our hearts are (hopefully)being filled by a love that surpasses understanding.

      • I so love this post Kelly! We are struggling also this year. It will be just my daughter and me Christmas morning. Trying to remember that Christ will be there with us..as HE always has been.

    • I am giving myself grace, but letting go of shopping for everyone and being more intentional about sitting in HIs Presence. Spending more time with others and being intentional about quality time and not material things.

    • I am spending the holiday season traveling to be with family, and celebrate this glorious season of Jesus birth, with those I love. Introducing my family to my boyfriend and meeting his family and bring happiness and worship into their lives with the message of our Saviour. This will be the best holiday season every.

    • Perfect timing on this message. Grace is an amazing thing and God has given me grace so often in life. As I drove home from dropping my son off at preschool, to later have to go back and see his Christmas play; I began my conversation with God & reflection on all the things I’m grateful for in my life. Whereas the past few weeks I’ve been thinking about all the ‘stuff’ to do. Today, I woke up knowing it was simply time to slow down and appreciate my blessings and what the true meaning of life really is. As I reflected on my drive, I thought of all the people who have helped me in some little or big way along the way these past few years of life. I teared up thinking about genuity, love and grace given to me on so many occasions. I felt humbled and grateful. I came home sat down with my coffee and saw your message on FB. What perfect timing that God has to affirm He is and should be our focus. Simplicity permits grace and today I am especially thankful for this message about Grace. This month, I gave myself grace by canceling ‘travel’ for work and opting to work remote from home so that I could be …home where I should be with my children. I don’t feel guilty. I feel peace. Thank-you Renee.

      • Venecia Wynne Hubbard says:

        Lisa- Thank you for posting this video on Facebook and connecting me with a wonderful Christian resource. I respect and admire you for your dedication! You encourage and support people, organizations and beliefs with a sincere heart and warming smile. To see you seeking growth as a Christian woman is so uplifting! May God bless you and keep you- as you firmly plant yourself in a solid foundation to benefit your life and that of your family and friends.

        • Venecia –Thank you so much!! You are awesome! I too appreciate your posts on FB when they show up in my news feed. The respect and admiration is mutual.=D Wishing you many blessings full of love and grace through-out this month and next year. <3

    • Thank you, Renee, for having the courage to share your heart with us! You have helped me tremendously and I know many others as well!

    • This year I am giving myself the gift of grace by only decorating a tree…no other decoration required! I’m going to extend grace as I learn how to be okay with not buying presents for everyone. And I’m accepting grace in the knowledge that I don’t have to make this Christmas like all the past ones.

    • Nancy Silvers says:

      Thank you Renee–I too am giving myself grace by not allowing myself to rush to decorate our home just because everyone else has there’s done. My daughter, Alma, my only child, has not spoken to me in 2 1/2 years because of wrong choices I made when she was a child (she will be 32 on 12/31) I am giving myself grace by accepting God’s forgiveness for my sins and knowing that HE forgives me and gave HIS only son so that my sins are forgiven. By God’s grace and through HIS promises I know that HE is working in the unseen world and I thank him each day for the healed relationship between me and Alma–even though I don’t see it in the seen world. I am giving myself grace by giving money I would normally spend on family to other’s that have no money to bless there children due to financial and health reason. I am giving myself grace because that is God’s will for me in Christ Jesus!

    • I’m giving myself and my family Grace this by not stressing out on buy those expensive gadgets but instead by sharing with them the awesome good news of Christ during christmas, by starting new traditions rather then every year run aroud looking to please them with expensive gifts that truely are not needed. This year I didnt put up our christmaas tree until last week, but however quickly put up an Advent Wreath on thanksgiving to prepare for the 25 days of Christmas and have been doing activities with them every night, also took them to a live nativity to help with the 25 days of Christmas. This is the first year that we have found CHRIST & GRACE, so to share all the good news is awesome and especially very special to experience it all with my family. My husband and I decided that we would send our little extra tioletries to our church to help out where needed. AWESOME IS our SAVIOUR with all his overpouring GRACE!!!!

    • Thanks Renee for the encouragement. I love the holiday season, but I will continue to focus on Him. The greatest Gift.

    • Nicole Fairfield says:

      We are not doing Christmas cards this year either. I am seeking to find the true meaning of Christmas. I have not done any shopping for my family and I do not want to wrap another gift. I walk through the stores and do not see one thing I wish to have for myself or any inside my home. I would love more than anything to have the social view of Christmas taken from our home and celebrate it as it should be.
      We do have our little wooden house up and in each door we have placed a piece of candy and a bible verse form the Christmas Story. Each morning one of our five children take their turn in opening a door, and removing the verse. They have the whole day to carry it with them and learn it. They may also look up the verse in their bible or all the bibles and learn the one they like the best. At dinner we say grace and then the verse will be read. After dinner they will get the kiss, that was left in their door for the day.
      I love it. This is what makes my day. We are also having our 3rd annual Carenet Christmas party. I love it because it is a time for fellowship and spending time with those God has blessed us with. Everyone brings an item for Carenet. Then I get to take all the items to Carenet. They will give them to those who choose life for their unborn child and to make a better life for themselves. As these women come and watch child birth videos and get involved in bible studies and go to all of them OB appointment they earn credit and that credit it what gets them the items we donotate to them. I love this!

      • Renee,

        Thanks for this great opportunity – I pray that whoever wins your drawing will be blessed tremendously through the study… and will bless others through working through the study with two friends. What a smart way to encourage relationship building through the giveaway! πŸ™‚

        Thanks for the opportunity!

    • Hello Renee,I love your site.I would love this gift to send to my best friend who does not alot of money for your books.She all of these things you are offering.Thank you for all you are doing for all the women of the world.Love,Elva

    • dawn Leblanc says:

      a good book AND good coffee! need I say more? =)
      great blessing to recieve

    • I set a goal to finish up the holiday rush of shopping and wrapping so I can sit at His feet and enjoy the blessings of the year with family and friends. Life has been crazy for all of us, but it is time to slow down so I can hear what God is saying to me!!!

    • Carla Taylor says:

      As I listened to your video the troubles that has already taken the joy from my daughtercame to mind. she is in nursing school and getting married this going May. She will be done with college at the same time. Her boyfriends parents got a divorce this past year. His mother is remarried and his father has a live in girl friend and her children. My daughters boyfriend was asked to move out since he was getting married in May anyway. Our family took him in. He lives at our house but they dont live together. they have different rooms and rules they abide by with no problem. May daughter tried to plan their Christmas with all these new families. I told her Christmas was not to be this way. Christmas was a time for us to be thankful to God for our Savior Jesus. It was about Peace and Joy not about making everybody happy. In return for her tring so hard to please everybody she got a text from her boyfriends Father telling her not to even come to his house she was not welcome if she could not come

    • Last year my spirits were not high during the christmas season; I didn’t even decorate. This year all is well, but I think that I have given myself that rest; or grace in what I am giving to others. I am choosing to give not the “perfect” gift, but ones that I want to give and I’m going to be o.k. with the fact that it may not be one that they “totally love”. I have truly learned it’s about the giving and I have confidence in the things that I am giving that they are blessed by God. My goal for next year is to constantly work on having a confident heart in everything that I do because I know it will be the work of God. Thank you for your message!

    • Thersa Moore says:

      I tend to want everything to be perfect. Thank you for reminding me that I don’t have to have everything done; I just need to slow down and enjoy my family.

    • True humility requires us to empty ourselves and be filled with Him. This is where we discover the reality of God’s presence and power. When we choose to humble ourselves, we deal with the very core of our sinful nature. Then, we are in a place where God’s grace and mercy can be poured our on us. Lord , help us to understand that your strength is perfected when we choose to humble ourselves. Forgive us for depending upon our own strength and not Yours. Help us to understand, that we must decrease so that You can increase in us especially during this holiday season.

    • Betty Jacobs says:

      I love the message of your video. I am terribly hard on myself and making sure that all school parties are taken care of, every child has their gift for whichever activiity we are headed to, baking, cleaning, and still trying to remind my family of the reason we are allowed to share this season!

      I cannot wait to have a confident Christmas!

      God Bless you!

    • This advent season has been one of expectation… of hope, joy, peace, and love… and getting back to the simplicity of Christmas… looking to the infant-King and being like a little lamb…. silent, and bowing before Him in rest…
      Sticking with a “less is more” theme…Finding those special few decorations and candle holders to strategically place around the living room. A tree with special ornaments…
      Reading the Christmas story is first before any other gift is open…and those gifts are not as many this year either… simplicity… we really don’t NEED anything…
      Joy in Jesus,

    • I’m giving myselg grace by not feeling obligated to have my Dad for Christmas. I will instead visit and celebrate with him at the nursing home. He isnt comfortable having me care for his incontenace and since thanksgiving was a disaster, I think this will give each of us a more pleasant time together. Having a hard time overcoming the guilt, but that’s what God’s grace is for is’nt it.

    • I so think your video was written just for me today! I so need focus on God’s grace. I am giving myself grace today, staying in bed to red while recovering from strep throat! I also felt God saying earlier this month that one Christmas tree was enough, not the two as I usually put up. My Christmas card list was reduced to those only out of town! And I am sure there is much more I can trim, with keep God as my one and only focus! Thank-you for your beautiful message!

    • Robin Nippard says:

      I’m giving myself grace this year by drowning out the chaos of life and listening to God’s leading in the days leading to Christmas with all the “worldly” things to do leading up to Christmas day! I wasn’t planning on writing up Christmas cards for all my co-workers, just the ones I was close to, but the thought, “remember the reason for the reason: giving” was laid upon my heart, so I wrote up a card for all my co-workers. I have been praying for the Lords will in my practicing one random act of kindness every day in my small attempt at changing this world & as challenging as that sounds, the Lord has been answering my prayer in that area doing small but meaning good deeds for others. For the first time since I can remember, I can actually say I don’t want a “thing” for Christmas, all I want is to “rest” in Him, celebrate Him and what that means for me/us. I believe the power of prayer is huge and I’m spending more time praying and leaving my concerns in His hands and in His time, not mine. I praise the Lord for the work that He’s doing in all of our lives. God is good all the time, God is good!

    • This video has really touch my heart! The way you explained that emptiness in your heart this season is how im feeling and i hate it. But Gods grace and mercy is so awesome because the scriptures that you shared are the same ones God had been showing me Matt 11:28 & Jer 29:11. Thank you so much for being obedient to the Holy Spirit! May the Lord bless you & your family this holiday season!
      Oh by the way, I’ve only put up my tree and decorated my fireplace and thats all im doing. And you know what, I feel great!!!!!

    • It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and to forget what its all really about. I am giving myself the grace of slowing down and enjoying what all I really have and by doing so will be able to share grace with those around me. During this time of year, I often wonder how many people ask “what do you want for Christmas this year?”,,wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone would just say “GRACE”???!!!. Yes,,I AM giving grace to myself as well as sharing it with others this Christmas season and hopefully far beyond it. Thank you Renee. Grace to you and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

    • Just what I needed today Renee, thank you! I’ve had long hours at work this week and events and night so I’m stressing on how I’m going to get the sugar cookies baked for Saturday. I started a tradition with my nieces and nephews as soon as my daughter came along (3 years ago), to have them decorate sugar cookies when we get together for the gift exchange. I have another event tonight, so that only leaves Friday night to make the cookies. Your post has made me realize that we normally forget the real reason for the season amid all the hustle and bustle. I’m not hoping that grace will forgive me for buying sugar cookies instead of making them and using that time to study God’s word, another thing that gets pushed back due to daily events. Thank you Renee!

    • Hi,
      I’m giving myself grace this season by not feeling bad about how un-nerved I am facing this coming season. It’s scary to me. But I’m trying to embrace it. And trying to embrace it, I wish I could just embrace it and sound very faith-y, but I’m not really feeling that way. So I’m giving myself grace to not even be great at accepting the season I am in.
      Thanks for sharing Renee πŸ™‚

    • Renee, I’m living in the same place of grace – not sending out Christmas cards. I’m choosing to invest that time in my family and my Jesus. Filling up with Him and them gives me an infinitely merrier message to share!

    • Sherry Davis says:

      I also gave myself grace this year in not sending out Christmas cards. Just something I could not do this year. I also only decorated ‘lightly’ this year and it looks very nice actually. I am just about finished with A Confident Heart study and it has been amazingly wonderful. WOW, what freedom we have in accepting God’s wonderful GRACE!!!!!!

    • Im learning to let go and let God.. That is hard for me . Im learning when things dont work out for Christmas and when your kids cant be with you. . God will work things out ♥ i’m learning to let God have control =) Im learning to not be dissappointed ..God always comes through in his timing .

    • I shared ! =)

    • Thank you so much Renee for sharing your beautiful poem A Christmas Prayer. I also am looking forward to joining online to share in reading your book, A Confident Heart. May the Lord’s Grace continue to Bless you and your Family.

    • I am giving myself grace this year by only putting up a single strand of lights for Hanukkah,that lights up the living room nicely, it reminds us of God’s light surrounding us in the dark. I am slowing way down, focusing on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as my daily refreshment and sustenance. I am not planning any big events, although we are planning on attending several parties that are focused on Him. Trying each morning to spend that precious time with God, He remains my focus throughout the day, and my joy is more constant and abiding. His is truly the joy of my strength! πŸ™‚ He is the light of the world, the light of my world, and He gives me more Grace than anything.

  2. I too, am letting myself “off the hook” this year with respect to the usual decorations. At present, my house is in disarray while my brother in law is laying much needed new flooring throughout my house. Due to living on a very tight budget-the assistance from this family member is most appreciated. The trade-off however is waiting patiently as he can only work the pro bono project when he has a day off from his job.
    While visiting the cemetary to place flowers for my father’s gravesite yesterday-an awesome thought occurred to me as I was spending time in my thoughts with God. The cemetary sight is surrounded by beautiful evergreen trees. I gathered a few branches while there to place on the mantel for “light” decorations. This will also serve as a reminder to me of my special visit with God in the midst of my sadness. 12-13-11 marked the 3 year anniversary of my father’s death after having committed suicide. This date, two days after my birthday, and of course-12 days prior to Christmas Day brings on much sadness for me. However, my GREAT REDEEMER is here with me seeing me through these days as He does every other day providing sufficient GRACE!

  3. I am giving myself grace with much less Christmas baking.

  4. I am giving myself grace by letting everyone truly help with the decorating, the joy of how our children remember the traditions and letting go of my expectations and taking the time daily to enjoy God’s gift of grace in my life.

  5. I am giving myself Grade this Christmas by not expecting perfection. We don’t have the perfect tree, but we do have the perfect Savior. I pray that I will remember this as I wrap, bake, and prepare. I’m also planning my son’s 2nd birthday two days after Christmas and I’m reminding myself about God’s grace in this as well. Thank you for your beautiful post and your reminder. Just before I read your post- I said to my husband frantically- when are we going to shop, none of the presents are wrapped, and we need to clean and so on…….. And then I went to God and he gave me rest and your message!

    Merry Christmas!

  6. I love your thoughts about grace and letting yourself off the hook to more fully enjoy the beauty of the precious moments of the holiday season. I experienced grace by letting my very young kids (2, 4, and 6) help me decorate the tree. Usually I get so uptight about where the ornaments are placed and worry that they will drop them. This year I relaxed and let them enjoy the stories behind each ornament (some are from my childhood) as they got to place them by themselves on the tree wherever they wanted. Seeing their little faces light up with delight as they made the tree beautiful was so much more festive, and “in the Spirit” than me frenetically placing them while calling the kids down. My tree was overloaded on the bottom and unevenly spread, but I could see the joy of being together, sharing stories from childhood and the Bible, and having fun as a family were far brighter memories than perfect decor.

  7. I love this time of year so much but it can lead to overwhelmed feelings. This year I am trying to enjoy things more and if I don’t send out cards, it’s ok! I want to enjoy my family and help them have happy memories of Christmas – centered around our Savior – not memories about mom being a stressed out mess! ( : I hope you are having a wonderful December too!

  8. This prayer was just what I needed. This time of year is extra stressful for me because I teach and have to do testing for report cards while the students are extra excited about Christmas coming up. It gets overwhelming and I plan on carrying a copy of this prayer with me. Thank you for sharing this wonderful gift.

  9. This Christmas I not only desire grace but am working very hard to give grace to my family as well. With the busy season, work, homework, laundry…etc I continually forget to drop my expectations and just be thankful for what people do in my life and/or who they are. So I’m going to slow down and take a deep breath and desperately try to remind myself…”it’s okay” Have a blessed day!

  10. Annette Meyer says:

    I’m giving myself grace this season by letting my grown children take a more active role in our family gatherings. I ‘m not the one doing all the cooking and baking this year! πŸ™‚ This has allowed more time to truly enjoy this Christmas season.

  11. I am giving myself grace this Christmas by living each day of the holiday season to it’s fullest & not rushing ahead. Each day I take some time to enjoy the holiday. Maybe a little baking, or some decorations, playing a carol or 2 on the piano. Each day, is special, a gift to enjoy from God. As I am blessed I hope to bless others. Thank you.

  12. Lisa Cullen says:

    I’m giving myself grace by letting others help me during this difficult season in my life. I’m giving myself grace by letting God take control of my life!

  13. Lisa Cullen says:

    I’ve tweeted!

  14. stacy lick says:

    Wow. Until I read your devotion and watched your video today, i didn’t realize how much I have NOT given myself grace tbis year. My husband is working out of town and I am stressed and frazzled already. Thank you for the glasses I needed to refocus and set my priorities in perspective!

  15. Melissa Reynolds says:

    I came to your blog this morning empty and committed to reconnecting with Christ so that I would focus on what Christmas is really about. This was perfect! I intend to give myself grace by realizing that it’s ok that I can’t hold it together all the time and that I can’t figure out what is best for everyone. Thank God He can do both and I pray that every time I start to feel overwhelmed, doubtful, or scared, I will remember to quickly run to the cross. Thank you!

  16. In speaking with my 25year old daughter who seemed so stressed out .we spoke about expectations . I told her if we have big expectations and they are not met we become disappointed. So we need not only to receive grace but also give grace when those expectations are not met. We will be much happier and less disappointed and we can see God does to meet our need.

  17. Thanks for the message! I am giving myself grace by not stressing over where my adult children will spend Christmas day…with me or their dad or their in-laws. I will be here whenever they are able to come over and celebrate Jesus’ birth with me.

  18. This is my first Christmas without my mom I am trying to give myself grace and allow myself the sad feelings that I am having. While others are planning holiday get togethers with family, my family is spread out and will not all be together during the holidays. I am praying for a peace around that and focusing on the true meaning of Christmas…not the stuff…not the decorations….not the get togethers….but Jesus!

  19. Christmas seems to hectic on the day so I try to make the days leading up to be peaceful and draw to Jesus. I try to really focus on Christ birth by spending time in the word before my day begins I have to get up early but it is worth it.

  20. I too have been longing for God’s presence. As I balanced my checkbook, I realized that I need to surrender my finances to God. My time and my diet to God. Although I haven’t felt the Christmas rush, I have kept myself busy enough that my time alone with God has been compromised. Your devotion and prayer touched my heart because I have been missing that quiet presence and time to reflect on the Christmas miracle.

  21. Ernema Boettner says:

    Renee, Thanks for the reminder today. I am tired of trying to meet so many people’s needs this Christmas. I need God’s grace for me to be me and not to have unrelaistic expectations. I need to rest in his plan, presence and promises. And today is just the day to do just that! Your devotion is very timely just like God has planned it especially for me! Blessings to you and yours. Bing

  22. Thank you for this devotional and video. It is so important to remember and unwrap God’s grace each and every day. This year I’m encouraging my daughters to give gifts to those less fortunate through our local Angel Tree gift program. They are truly enjoying the process of choosing, making, buying and wrapping these gifts for others that they will never meet. May God bless everyone’s Christmas!

  23. I love the words (and the reminder) to “unwrap His presence each day” and I can do that when I give myself God’s grace to take the time to sit and experience Emmanuel, God with Us. What a great way to start out my day!

  24. Brenda Cook says:

    This devotional touched my heart as Christmas is always at my house. My family is large with my parents being in bad health. All the planning is my responsibility and each year I am so stressed trying to make everything “perfect” This year I will have surgery on Dec. 16th and everyone knows they need to pitch in. I am not going to worry about the perfect Christmas, I am accepting God’s GRACE and taking care of me.

  25. I need God’s grace EVERYDAY. It is very hard to not expect too much of ourselves, especially during special times of the year– holidays, birthdays, etc. We should try to remember the story of Mary and Martha. I definately tend to be more like Martha and need to remember what truly is the most important thing.

  26. I am giving myself grace by forgiving myself and trying to like myself where I am in my journey today, instead of being hard on myself and having too high of expectations. I will just keep trying and just keep praying. Thanks for sharing!

  27. I am giving myself grace by forgiving myself and trying to like myself where I am in my journey today, instead of being hard on myself and having too high of expectations.

  28. Thank you for reminding me to be still and quiet in His presence. It is so easy during the Christmas season to “make” ourselves so busy that we forget the real reason we are celebrating Christmas. Thank you for sharing your talents with us, I am going to post your poem throughout my home. Merry Christmas.

  29. I am giving myself grace everyday throughout this season by just learning to relax and take it easy. I have simplified Christmas every year and cut out things that may be considered “musts” to most.

  30. Carla Schroeder says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing about grace today with me. This is exactly the advice and wisdom I needed at the right time to have a meaningful time every day during the Christmas Holiday! I am sure that because of keeping grace with me, many more people will also be touched by God’s Holy Spirit working through me! May God richly bless you, Renee!!

  31. Marcia Beasley says:

    I will spend more time meditating on the Word of God.

  32. Deborah May says:

    “Invade my soul like Bethlehem” touched my heart this morning as I read your poem. It made me wonder how often the presence of the Lord is knocking at the door of my heart during the holidays and I have consciously let Him know I had no room in the inn so to speak. I appreciate your video and Lord knows how much we all need GRACE! I have heard the acronym for Grace, God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. For the holidays I have changed it to God’s Really Amazing Christmas Encouragement. Thank you for being there for all of us.

  33. Love this post. It is so true and we all need Grace. Even more so this time of year. I know even now I let myself get caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas and forget why we are really here. This past week I have made myself stop and focus on him. It has truly calmed my heart and my anixety.I love God in all that he brings, that he knows before i know. It is hard to just give it all to him and trust in him but this time of year you just have to. I thank you fo rthe encouraging words. I need that this week. We have had alot of health issues in our family and it is making it very hard to be in the spirit of Christmas. You helped give me a reality check reminding me that it is not the holiday but our savior we need to be celebrating.

  34. Thank you for reminding me to focus on the most important thing. Immanuel . His grace is with me everyday, but I often forget to really ponder what that means. I love your poem & I’m going to share it with friends!

  35. I have been on my knees a lot lately but sometimes the busyness of the season on top of the regular daily routine does get to be a bit much. Thank you for the devotion & reminder to take time out for devotions & prayer. It truly is the only way my day will go right. Thanks for the give away too-I would love to share the book with my sisters & mom-we would all take turns reading it (I have 3 sisters:). Thanks again!


  36. I shared the devotion thoughts with all three of my sisters via e-mail for my second entry:) Thanks!

  37. I am giving myself grace by not stressing over having the decorations up early and everything having to be perfect. I am going to focus on Jesus, the reason for the season.

  38. Thank you so much for the devotional and for your honesty and encouragement. I am giving myself Grace to just be in the moment. Get out of my head, with the planning, to do lists, and activities. And instead, njoy the moment that is right now, whether it be the quietness of my home as my girls are at school or in the craziness of four excited kids all talking at the same time, telling me about their day. The Grace to show them (and myself) acceptance and love during this busy and beautiful Christmas season. Praise God for His never ending Grace!

  39. With me laid off from work I have become closer God and have realized that more isn’t always better so this Christmas season my family will be celebrating more of reason for the season then all the commercialized things. I have prepared my children for a small Christmas and I think they are ok with it. I have just prayed and asked God to bless our family for the season and lets just enjoy having the ones we love around for the season. That is my grace. To have the true meaning of Christmas and not get all caught up in everything else. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

  40. Thank you so much for the wonderful reminders. I need a little more grace this year, for sure. My daughter and her husband have not been home for Christmas the past two years, but they are coming home this year for a very brief visit. My initial “to-do” list for their visit was pretty ridiculous, as I wanted everything to be absolutely perfect this year. I have since given myself a little grace on those expectations because I was not in a good place with all that added stress because it had taken over my priorities above all else for a time. Advent and Christmas are so much more meaningful for me when I stay focused on the coming of Christ over all, while still attending to some holiday activities and chores. When I turn those two things around in priority, things are just not good. Scheduling regular time with God for bible reading and prayer helps to keep my focus on what really matters, and the Christmas season is no time to let that slip.

  41. I am trying to slow down this year & enjoy each moment such as, watching Christmas movies, enjoying the sights & sounds of Christmas etc.. I’m not even half way done with my shopping yet, but I’m not stressing. Instead, I’m praying & asking God to help me each step of the way!

    Merry Christmas,
    Janet W.

  42. Melanie McKinley says:

    Thank you for the devotional. Just what this weary heart needs. In the midst of the holiday bustle I will have surgery, our families christmas, his families christmas and my families christmas – whew!! I have yet to buy a present and feel totally unprepared this year. I have longed for Jesus to be the center of our Christmas. For a while now I have been trying to find ways to keep his presence first and foremost; its tough though, usually what I end up feeling though is lacking in Grace instead of abounding in Love. I look forward to your study at the beginning of the year. Have a very blessed and merry Christmas!

  43. Grace………. He gives so abundantly, so richly, and so freely.
    I am going to remind myself, every time I have that, “I’m in over my head” feeling, to take a deep breath and remember His promises to take my burdens.
    If we deeply breath in His grace, we’ll be able to give it to others.

    Thanks for the reminder. πŸ™‚

  44. God brought me on a long journey with Christmas…I must admit…I swung the pendulum out to the edges…but He has now brought a gentle swing…and I have come to realize… I can’t hammer down…and proclaim…this is it…this is how I will celebrate…because life is fluid…and so must my traditions…

  45. Meagan Ranbarger says:

    Thanks for the encouragement and grace. I too try to put many expectations on myself. I am trying to show myself grace this month by asking God for HIS plans for each day. My to-do list is far too long and my time and energy short. I am only going to attempt to accomplish the things that God lays on my heart each morning and trust in Him for the power to do those things. I don’t really know what my Christmas or gifts or home are going to end up LOOKING like, but I know I will FEEL peaceful with the knowledge that I have obeyed and pleased my Savior. 1 Sa 16:7b “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

  46. I was just thinking yesterday that it just doesn’t feel like Christmas to me. Your video and devotional helped me remember that without Jesus, it really isn’t Christmas. I will show myself grace by not worrying that things may not be how they usually are each year but that what is important is and will always be the same… Jesus! Thanks Renee.

  47. Michelle Taylor says:

    GRACE. Such a big word. Such a needed word. I need grace everyday. Most of the time I feel so unworthy of the grace that I know God has in store for me. I am the mother of 7 children. 5 girls (4 of them teenagers) and 2 boys. 2 of which have birthdays the week before Christmas. I feel like I’ve been washed and hung out to dry by the end of most days. This year I decided to do things a touch different (I guess you could say this was me giving myself grace). Our church has 3 gatherings this month, we have 2 birthdays, our company dinner all requiring me to make and bake food, plus some other visits that has pulled my stress string till its taut. So, I decided to stop and tackle each gathering separately. Not to stress if the cake was a touch sideways, or if I forgot a 2-liter. God has made himself more real to me this year than ever. I’ve been teaching my 4 year old boy about what it means to give gifts and why we do this. He knows about Jesus, even that He died on the cross. So, I wanted to add this to his store of knowledge. I don’t know where I’d be if God didn’t give me new grace everyday. He is so awesome that way. Thank you for the video and the words of encouragement.
    I am passing this on to my 2 oldest children, and then also to my sister and mother.They will enjoy this.

  48. We’re doing children’s decorations this year. instead of stressing that they will break a precious family treasure, i’m leaving those in the boxes and covering our tree with things they’ve made. they love it and so do i! plus it’s less pressure to look ‘perfect’!

  49. thank you for your Prayer to The Lord! this Christmas through all of our trials, I am growing in The Lord, leaning on Him with all of my Heart. Trusting in HIM and not myself. He Loves me so. My family and I are apart from each other however what we are going through had to pass through my Fathers hands before it came to me. I am thankful to The Lord for His Favor, His Grace, Most of all His Mercy and Forgivness, and The Special Way He has been providing for me and my family, I am grateful to Him. but I do fail when it comes to spending quality time with HIm, making it very difficult for me to hear from Him. I end of falling asleep on Him without spending the time i want and need to spend with HIM. I also am waiting on THe Lord to bring my husband safely home to be with us,and give us a second chance , in His time according to His Perfect Will. I will be sharing this devotion with my 2 very special sisters. I am truly blessed for my sisters, mom and my brothers, family and all friends. i am truly grateful to THe Lord. Merry Christmas Renee to you and All of YOur Family! God Bless you.

  50. I am re-discovering myself, my home and my heart. I have let myself go this year and I am tired of living in the dark. I have just recently stumbled upon Proverbs 31 and I am loving it!

  51. Cheryl Downey says:

    Because I’m not working right now I’ve been able to focus more on my relationship with God. I plan on continuing even when the kids are home from school. I’m also looking forward to my daughter coming in on leave from the Navy for Christmas but I’m not going to stress over it…just enjoy her company. πŸ™‚

  52. I’m going to give grace to me by not to participate in any group to perform at Christmas event held at church
    on 23 this year, which is national holiday in my country. Rather than making myself busy for practicing, I will slow down and allow myself to rest. Thank you so much for your message, Renee!

  53. My grace started last year when I didn’t include our annual letter in our cards. So freeing to not stress over it. This year I got it done the first week in November and condensed two years worth of happenings into one simple letter. Grace this year is not going to every single thing that is on the calendar! Our families live out of town/state so we will be with good friends during the holidays at various times and so we decided to nix gifts for the adults and instead of trying to cram one more thing in between now and Christmas, after the first of the year we’ll go out to dinner together and just have fun being with one another. I was just telling my kids this morning on the way to school, before reading this post, that we have the best present ever to open every day the gift of Jesus! What a reminder as I get ready to have a pretty busy schedule over the next few days. Thank you Renee for reminding us that we don’t have to set such high expectations for ourselves and to just spend time with the Lord enjoying Him this Christmas!

  54. Thank you so much for the Christmas prayer…….I can’t wait to share this with my friends and family. We do get caught up in the expectations of this season. I have felt like I was doing something wrong if I didn’t a a certain feeling. I need to be reminded there is abundant grace for all of us and remind ourselves it’s not about us.

  55. its my 53rd birthday ….DEC 25th…..i will enjoy my day with the Lord and family

  56. I’m allowing myself NOT to give EVERYONE a gift. I have so many people in my family and people I am close to, so my list of giving tends to be longer than my wallet is deep! I was excited that I sent out Christmas cards to everyone for the first time EVER, so that is my gift this year.

    <3 Heather

  57. I’m letting the children do the decorating this year. We also agreed to keep gift buying low. We choose to rest this season and enjoy our time together as a family.

  58. Jessica Reno says:

    I’m giving my self grace to not stress about the little things…or the big things. I’ve done no shopping yet, no Christmas Cards out, no Family picture yet. I’ve been so busy with travel for work, planning our Wedding Vow Renewal (happened Nov 25th…YAY!) and all the “kids” stuff that I have been needing to just rest in the Father’s arms. SO I am going to not worry about Christmas cards this year and just take a break and rest in His arms.

  59. Jessica Reno says:

    I shared this on my facebook wall…I have lots of girlfriends who need to know this and do it!

  60. I am giving myself grace this year by not going overboard with gifts. I have cut way back this year. I am not giving to very many people and my children are not receiving as much. First and foremost because I cannot afford to but secondly, my family is realizing that it is not about the big expensive gifts, it is about the true meaning, Jesus and spending time with your family. And, I am not spazzing over this either. God has put me in a good place, I have peace and confidence.

    Have a very Merry and Blessed Christmas!

  61. I am the kind of person who likes to give gifts to my good friends and to our families but that is not always possible. Especially this year due to my hubbies lay off and his continual search for a job. It really frustrates me because we both are givers and he is trying so hard to find a job. If it wasn’t for God’s word and knowing that He is providing, I think I would be so depressed. I refuse to give in to depression.

    Thank you for your message today.


  62. Angel Miller says:

    This year I am allowing God’s grace to just rest in my home! I am giving myself grace that I don’t have all if my Christmas decorations up yet or my goodies baked. I am also showing myself grace by not worrying about all the medical bills that have piled up after almost losing my husband 3 months ago to a massive heart attack! There is definitley more to life than doing, doing, doing! I am taking the time this Christmas to just “be” with my family! It is by God’s grace that we will get through and enjoy this Christmas season and then move into the season of planning my daughters’ wedding and it is by the grace of God that my husband and her Daddy is still here to celebrate the next step in her journey of life πŸ™‚

  63. Renee, thank you for this message! I’m giving myself grace this year by spending less money and having a Homemade Christmas- the kids made paper chains for garland, $5 wreath on the front door, and homemade goodies for teacher presents. Not jumping into the shopping frenzy has helped me to slow down and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas. Hope you have a blessed Christmas!

  64. I’m giving myself grace this year to realize that I can’t do everything. I’ve got two toddlers – and live 10 hours from home… so with traveling and taking care of the kids – my husband and I have decided to give each other money toward a big purchase for our Christmas gift this year. It saves on having to think about, shop for, and wrap “the perfect gift” for my spouse!

  65. I’m sharing this with my friends on Twitter!

  66. I’m giving myself grace this year by focusing on what I am able to give and not on what I could not spend due to finances. I am giving myself grace that it’s ok to not have found a job by Christmas because I know God has bigger and better plans for me than all the applications I’ve sent out so far. Happy Birthday, Jesus!

  67. Angel Miller says:

    I also shared this on FB πŸ™‚

  68. Rebecca Siharath says:

    This Christmas season I will give myself some grace by not getting discouraged or overwhelmed if I don’t do everything perfect. I will remind myself this holiday is not about me or material things, but about the son of God!! Merry Christmas!!

  69. No Christmas cards going out this year. Buying for less people. Spending less money. Not baking as much. And I still feel overwhelmed and behind! I think I will just “let it go” and do what I can.

  70. We have scaled WAAAAAY back this year. Very simple decorations, making only a couple of cookies, not sending our Christmas cards or my usual handmade ornaments, not giving gifts to everyone on the planet, etc. We are in the midst of a cross-country move and I’ve been trying to tell myself that all the cutting stuff out is “Ok”. I’m glad it really is. πŸ™‚


  71. I am giving myself grace this year by focusing on experiences with the kids instead of perfect decorations, perfectly decorated cookies, perfectly wrapped presents. We’re also buying less gifts and sending out less cards. Just less stuff all around and more time and memories as a family.

  72. Michella Thompson says:

    Thank you for the reminder about giving ourselves grace this year. It is so easy to get caught up in all the “to do lists” and not stop and rest in His presence. This message spoke to my heart today and I will choose to focus on Him in an intentional way throughout the next few weeks. I love this time of year and the Christmas celebrations, but want to be sure I don’t let perfectionism and tasks crowd out the true meaning of the season. Thank you for sharing your heart and may God richly bless you in the coming year!

  73. Thank you for your message today. It is in the hope of winning the 2nd book for my daughter. We were recently reunited and it is my prayer that she too knows who she is in Christ. That would be the best Christmas present. I cannot wait to share my coffee and chocolate as we develop our friendship while reading your book. Merry Christmas and thanks for giving HOPE.

  74. I am giving myself grace this Christmas by simply enjoying this time! Rather than gifts and baking, I am focusing on prayer and reading scripture. It has given me a peace that is normally absent during this busy time.

  75. I’m giving myself grace to not stress over every little thing this year. I am allowing myself to spend time with friends and family and truly enjoy the season

  76. I totally needed this. I get so anxious this time of the year. No matter how much planning I do, it just does not matter. I need God’s peace instead of resting in my plans and organizational ability (which sounds great – but the execution, not too much). Satan is going to do whatever he can to sabotage my plans, which is why I need to rest in God’s plans and order my day and my heart according to Him. Now if I can just do that every day.

  77. I am experiencing God’s Grace this year by not stressing out about the fact that we just do not have the funds to have the same Christmas we usually do. We have no tree up, and I’m okay with that. My nieces and nephew will have a great Christmas, will get more than they need, and the adults, well, we can suck it up. We have already received the best gift ever, that of God’s Love, Salvation, and really, just the chance to be together this holiday season, and enjoy each other’s company. God will provide for our needs, and the wants, they will just have to wait for another time. Also, I’ve told my husband that he does not need to buy me anything, and this year, he knows I really mean it. It’s going to be a great Christmas, filled with the most important people, and that’s what I’m excited for!

  78. Wow! Amazing grace is in the form of no tree up yet, no goodies baked, no cards-photo-letter ready to go, still have shopping to do, etc!! All our kids are grown now and the season feels different. Add to that the lack of snow for a white Christmas and it doesn’t “feel” like Christmas here in northern MN. I’m a little sad for the change and excited at the same time. We’ve always know that Jesus is the reason for the season but now we have the opportunity to show that in how we celebrate Christmas! Think I’ll start some new traditions! Merry Christmas!

  79. I am giving myself Grace by freedom from perfection. We did a lot of construction in our home this year–both in bathrooms, bonus room and the rooms of our hearts. With table saws and building materials blocking the entrance to our attic in the garage, my three Christmas trees and 18 tubs of decorations are held captive. I’ve accepted that there will be no decor this year, given myself and my home grace and freedom from perfection, and spend my moments loving my hubby and our new bathroom instead of nagging him about boxes of bulbs and bells. (Plus, I’m looking forward to NOT having to pack it all up on January 2nd!)

    This has been a year of God building confidence and grace–knowing that I am good enough in Him and that He has made me perfectly, cellulite, pre-menstral crabbiness and all. He is good, and in His goodness I am good enough because He makes good things!

  80. I enjoy all that you share with us so freely and I am looking forward to more of your insight. You have blessed me in ways that I didn’t know possible. Thank you so much.

  81. Shared on FB; and I’ve started thinking about the third person who will enjoy reading your book (when I am the chosen winner!). LOL. Merry CHRISTmas.

  82. Jessica Rohlman says:

    Giving myself grace if I am not perfect this year. Family calendars may not be finished or perfect, I may not make all my candies this year, and my house doesn’t have to be spotless.

  83. I’ve also shared on Twitter! πŸ™‚ Merry Christmas!

  84. Great Message! Thank you! Aloha.

  85. I am giving myself grace this year by trying not to be overwhelmed by all the hustle of Christmas. We are actually staying home and not traveling to visit family. We have planned to important events for our family. A birthday party for Jesus and serving the less fortunate Christmas Dinner on Christmas Day.

  86. Love the daily guidence, such a help and blessing, hopeing to win the giveaway, to share the books with friends to help encourge, Praying I will be chosen, Thank You for this opertunity.

  87. Jessica Hadden says:

    I’m giving myself grace this year by scaling back the gifts & purchases this year. It’s my son’s first Christmas and I am trying to start traditions that don’t involve tons of plastic toys under the tree, but rather meaningful celebrations that create lasting memories & glorify the “reason for the season.” Thank you for the beautiful message!

  88. I am giving myself grace, by not stressing on how much “stuff” my 2 year old gets for Christmas, but rather focusing on how much LOVE we can give to other people. Today marks three years that I lost my 14 month old child in a car accident. I am also giving myself grace every Christmas with the guilt that lives in my heart, as the “accident” was determined to be my fault. This tragedy made me realize how important it is to show love to others and help others, as it may be your last day on this Earth. RIP Malachi 10/05/07-12/14/08 Mommy misses you.

  89. I am giving myself grace by enjoying being instead of doing. Too often, I miss the moments of being with people because I am too busy with the tasks I feel I must be doing to have a ‘successful’ holiday. The Lord has been teaching me about the most important thing ~ the relationships with which I am blessed! Merry Christmas!

  90. I am giving myself Grace by realizing that running here, there and everywhere this Christmas season is not helping my family focus of the greatest Christmas present of all, Jesus Christ! So I have told all of our extended family that our family of five will spend Christmas morning focusing on our family of five!

  91. I am giving not only myself grace, but also to my sweet family. I tend to be kinda high strung and I am resolved to not get bent out of shape if something is not perfect. It not only gets me down, but puts a damper on the mood of my home. Also, I am letting Bob Evans help me out with my Christmas dinner. He is such a great guy! Merry Christmas!!!!

  92. Christina Gunter says:

    I am giving myself Grace this year by helping the less fortunate more than myself. I have headed up the Angel tree at our church this year and it has really helped me stay focused on God’s provisions to all. He has given so much to us, and I am thankful for that. Also He is showing me everyday that he provides love through strangers to the community where it is needed most. We are all Children of God no matter are age and even if we have nothing, we still have God’s love. I am so thankful that I have been able to show this to others!

  93. Pamela Schutzler says:

    I saw your picture on a friends FB page. I am glad I clicked on it. I really needed the GRACE that I feel right now. Even if it is only for right now. I am going to get up from the computer and work on just what I can do now and not worry about what needs to be done late. Thank you for your words.

  94. Patti Wasil says:

    Thank you for the reminder that Grace is something we can have and not feel quilty. I think we as women always have guilt feelings. The holiday season is a perfect reminder – did we do enough, did we buy enough, is there enough ?????? It can easily get out of hand. Thank you again for the reminder.

    Love Patti

  95. Amy Hassett says:

    I’ve given myself permission to take my time. Christmas this year is “no pressure”, and letting others share in the “work” in preparing for the family gathering. grace… such a beautiful word, a wonderful gift… thank you for the reminder…

  96. Giving myself the gift of not fussing over unnecessary stuff. Baking less, but WITH the kids. Messier but a lot more fun.

  97. P.S. I shared with this with all of my friends and family on FB.

  98. Renee, Literally MOMENTS before I watched the devotional video (and I had to still myself for SIX WHOLE MINUTES to watch it!) I had JUST shared Psalm 46:10 on my Facebook page for myself as well as others, in attempt to Just Be. Your words have, once again, resonated. I thank you for your obedience. I hope someday to tell you just what your words have meant in my life these past several months. Giving your book as a gift this holiday season would be truly special and meaningful. God bless.

  99. I am giving myself grace by removing the expectations of Christmas. The pressure of finding the perfect presents, the baking, the house being just right. I want to enjoy the reason for the season, JESUS! I want to spend quality time with my family.
    Have a very Merry Christmas and God Bless!

  100. Give myself grace this Christmas…this is something I am trying to figure out. I have not had a chance to slow down with working and trying to prepare for the vacation to see family. I plan on enjoying the holidays with our family because we only see them twice a year or so. I like to go to my hometown church Christmas morning because I have not been there in years since I moved out of state.

  101. Thank you so much for your message. This has been a difficult year for us. My mother-in-law passed away the end of August. So this is the first year we have had Thanksgiving and Christmas without her. Over Thanksgiving, I put so much pressure on myself to make sure my husband had an enjoyable day and was not stressed, that I had a miserable time. I’m praying for God’s grace to be with us during the Christmas season. That His grace will feel our hearts where there is emptiness. I’m giving myself grace to be sad and grieve the loss of my mother-in-law as well as allowing my husband to do the same.

    Thank you again for your message.

  102. I shared on my fb wall and am looking forward to joining your for your Confident Heart study!

  103. Erika Joseph says:

    I am giving myself grace this year by not stressing out about gifts for everyone this year. My kids are young enough that they don’t care if they get a bunch of presents or just a few. My husband and I are in the midst of buying a house, so we aren’t buying a bunch of presents.

  104. This is very true. I know with small children in the home- it’s so hard because you want to shower the ones you love with what “you” think will make them happy. Just as this post talks about, that will just leave everyone with an empty heart. I do need an extra helping of Grace, and not feel bad that I will probably fall short of the expectations that I have set for myself. Trying to remember that God loves me- just like I am!

  105. Wow, I love to hear the grace that others are giving themselves this year. I’m giving myself grace to not send out Christmas cards and all the rigamarole that goes with it, like pictures etc.

  106. Thank you for your encouraging words, Renee. You have reminded me to be still and take time throughout my day to focus on God and the Grace He has for me. ……I am giving myself Grace this year by doing very little baking, sending Christmas letter’s via email, focusing more on helping others that are struggling this year, to be sure that they have a Merry Christmas and experience the love of Christ. My family is with me on this therefor I am doing less shopping for us because it’s not about us. Christmas isn’t about the gift, but what is in the heart. I desire to share my heart with others. God Bless you this Christmas, Renee.

  107. I told my friends on facebook. πŸ™‚ I love that I found this blog and that God is using you in a Mighty Mighty way. Blessings to you and your family.

  108. I have decided to have a Mary Christmas this year…. instead of my usual Martha Christmas!

  109. I was excited to share on Facebook and Twitter as well! πŸ™‚

  110. There are tears streaming down my cheeks. God led me to this message very clearly this morning and I needed it!! I have clinical depression and right now it is swallowing me up. I told a friend that I hated Christmas. I will spend today finding ways to take and appreciate God’s Grace and then cut myself some slack. Thank you!!

    Ps… I will be sharing this with that same friend via e mail and sharing on FB!!!

  111. Grace. That’s what I need to get through a Christmas season where, for the first time in a long time, I am feeling the “guilt” of not being able to give presents this year (I am currently unemployed). I know gifts are not the most important part of the season, but it is still a challenge. Thankfully, God DOES know the PLAN He has for me…and I can trust in that.

  112. I’m showing myself grace by not stressing and totally trusting in Him that I will get to see my daughter during the Christmas break. We have 4 dollars to our name, and my current plan about going and getting her fell through due to this, so I am totally trusting in Him that He will make a way. I truly enjoy your devotionals and your Bible studies. Thank you for sharing His Word with all of us! You have been a blessing in my life!

  113. Andi Bishop says:

    I am letting myself off the hook in that this will be a quiet Christmas for us this year. In past years it has been rush through everything from rushing to make a Christmas Eve Service at Church so we make it to one family gathering to rush through that to make it to family gathering number two…to go home and wake up Christmas morning to rush my kids through the morning festivities to rush to get to family gathering #3 and then rush to family gathering #4….I opted out of some of these family gatherings this year (with a lot of anger from others) so that we as a family (my husband, myself and our 4 kids) can get out of our Christmas Eve Service what we should…the celebration of His birth, so that we can enjoy our time together for the family gatherings we will do…He is the reason for the season, He is the one we need to stop and celebrate and not be obligated or pressured to rush through our time to reflect and cherish that.


  115. As a working mother of two and a doctoral student who is desperately trying to finish up a dissertation by the end of the month, I get so caught up in the guilt trip of not being there for my kids and not having the house perfectly decorated. Thanks, Renee. I needed that reminder this morning. HIS Grace is sufficient for me.

    Hugs across the miles, Carla.

  116. I am giving myself grace this year by letting dishes sit in the sink overnight and laundry stay in the dryer for a couple of days. Little things for some but these are huge for me and are really teaching me that my family is OK with these chores not getting complete right away and that they would much rather spend time with me than watch me run around trying to get everything done. I am being intentional about our cuddle time and time together as a family. I love the scripture of Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. In fact my 7 year old wrote it out on my white board as a reminder to all of us. Love it when God uses our children to speak truth to us.

  117. I enjoy the Christmas activities and love giving gifts to those I love. But most of all something that often hits me is: “Immanuel – God WITH US!!” Love it! And not only during this time of year, but always.

  118. Jennifer Fulmer says:

    I am allowing God to bless me with his grace this Christmas by resting in the fact that He does not expect perfection from me. I’m trying to take one day at a time, trusting that He’ll give me the time and the patience to do the things He would have me do, and I’m trying to only commit to those things that I absolutely have to do so that this year is not so stressful and overwhelming. I’m making sure that I am not skipping my daily time with God and church activities so that I can get everything I think needs to be done done. I’ve had a lot more time this year to be more spontaneous with my family, to actually enjoy the Christmas activities that we find time to do, and to keep Christ at the center of the season.

  119. Brandy Austin says:

    The words that you shared just help me see Christmas for what is. I am encouraged to hear the message of hope from God’s word, that i can just go to God and He will give me rest! Merry Christmas!

  120. I am showing myself grace this year by allowing new traditions to be started in my new family. We are a blended family with a new baby. Lots of changes and strife in the last 2 years and I just decided that it’s time to get back to basics.
    I will no longer run around ragged trying to buy things that will make people in my family happy. Instead, we will plan a weekend to go away, see holiday displays and make new family memories.

  121. We will be moving to a new station over the holidays with a visit to our hometown, which is a great opportunity to give myself grace about making everything so “perfect” for everyone for Christmas. We have each other and we are celebrating the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ, so that is plenty perfect!

  122. Gina Sanchez says:

    Thank you so much for sharing that video. I needed to hear that. As a single mother of 3kids (2 teens -1chronically ill & a 10 yr old) I’ve surpassed many of the expectations people have put on me because of the statistics and odds against me. Because of that I’ve almost placed sky high expectations on myself this holiday season but theyve been directed in the wrong place. Remembering the real reason for CHRIST-mas is and should be my top priority but like others I’ve gotten caught up in the gifts and gatherings. This year I have to diligently remind myself to maintain in the spirit of gratitude to the one who has carried me and met me all those times I’ve fallen short of strength, patience, finances, wisdom not just during the holiday season but throughout the year. Though the world calls me a single mom, I’m really not.. He is my other half, my best half. Thanks for reading..

  123. I am a young, single woman who recently joined staff with an amazing ministry to reach college female athletes, which means I am in the process of raising up a team of ministry partners to help fund my outreach. Praise the Lord, He is the great provider and all of my basic needs have been met, but I do not have even an extra penny to my name. Thus, buying gifts for my loved ones this year is nearly impossible. I love people through giving gifts and although it is extremely difficult, I’m giving myself grace to not feel guilty about not being able to buy people big, wonderful gifts this year. My prayer is to be a light to my family, that Christmas is about so much more than presents under the tree… its about the gift of eternal life. Merry Christmas.

  124. Jennifer Fulmer says:

    I shared on FB πŸ™‚

  125. Hi, Renee! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and your experiences with us. I hope you are being blessed just as we are! I would love to win a copy of your book for me and my friends, theres nothing better than giving a meaningful gift! Its hard being a single mom and between trying to get a college degree, work and raise a child, i mean, a teen, to find time to calm down and accept that things that i would love to do might not get done for this Christmas…

  126. Brandy Austin says:

    Just shared your gift giveaway with friends on facebook.

  127. Betty Worden Frisbie says:

    Today’s message,Renee,could not have. come
    a better time. I have had the worst case of the flu I’ve ever had and I was sitting in bed this morning feeling sorry for myself when I checked my email and heard your video. In thinking back over the plans I made for this holiday season I realized I was feeling sorry for myself because none of my plans had come to fruit. Last night I missed the cookie exchange at my mothers house my plan had been to work for two weeks before the children let out for Christmas vacation at the public school where I substitute. I plan to have extra spending money to pay some bills that desperately needed to be paid in January. after listening to your video I realized that I had made the mistake of putting all of my expectations around my plans and not God’s. Tears came to my eyes when I realized that he knows the plans he has for me and I realized I needed to give myself the grace of the recovery time I truly need. I realized I had left him out of all my Christmas plans. Thank you for your timely message and God bless you

  128. Wow! What a wonderful gift,GRACE! Thank you

  129. Tiffany Jones says:

    I will give myself grace and not overwhelm myself with trying to outdo myself in spending money on materialistic things for my family and friends. I have so many who I would love to give a present to and I always come down hard on myself thinking that one gift isn’t enough or a guilty feeling of I could have done more… Not realizing I’m not even defining that true meaning of this holiday. And that is to honor the king my heavenly father. Every year my pastor tells the church that our gift to God for christmas should not be a smaller amount than to those which we spend some much money on with gifts. I honestly got a wake up call from this video.. I don’t want to have an empty heart after all the celebrations. That would make me feel even worst than from the moments I will feel for not being able to do for people like I want. WELL this year GOD will be getting the greatest gift of them all. I will be marking down all of my gifts for people and I will give God the most expensive.. He is so deserving of it. He’s the one who supplies every single one of my needs and loves me unconditionally.. How could even think to give him leftovers. NOT THIS YEAR and I mean it. Thank you Renee for this beautiful reminder of GRACE and the power of those words. I thank you for helping me to understand that empty feeling inside of me after doing what I thought was good deeds and that was because I hadn’t fulfilled my duties as a child of God by honoring him with the best gift of mine xoxo

  130. I am giving myself grace to focus on the important things this Christmas season – Time spent with Family & Friends. Carving out quiet time with the Lord. Showing love to others. Praising & thanking God for sending Jesus. I am giving myself grace to not feel guilty or worry about the other things I just find I don’t have time for.

  131. I let my kids put up the tree and didn’t allow myself to fuss over it. It looks great! I’m reminding myself to stop and take moments through out the day to breathe and reflect and pray. I’m remembering the reason for Christmas, and it’s not to spoil my kids rotten. As a military wife I’m under a great amount of stress. And I’m forgiving myself some of my “moments” and attempting to find that grace on a daily basis. Thank you.

  132. This year, for the first time in over 23 years, I did not decorate the tree. I let my children do it. This is also the third year we have not bought gifts for extended family. (our children still receive 3 gifts) My husband lost his job a few years ago and was unemployed for 9 months, which fell over Christmas. God used that year to teach us what He wants us to do at Christmas. Since then, we celebrate the reason. Each year we add a new way to celebrate Jesus. Each year we teach our children to give in honor of Jesus instead of expecting to receive. For the past couple years, Christmas has been not stressful. Christmas has been a restful time with my family celebrating the greatest gift we have received, Jesus!

  133. I am giving myself grace by laying it ALL at the altar. I have sacrificed my entire life raising kids and grand children. I did so voluntarily. I put my life on hold. Well, after 21 years of not dating I have decided it is time for ME! I met a man that told me I need to lose 50 pounds (I am 15 pounds over weight), my baby girl just had a baby last week so I have been cooking for her and watching her four year old, my son is in Iraq and seems emotionally drained and my daughter that is still living with me does little to help me. So, despite my desire to live for ME now, I am still devoting my time, attention and energy to help the people in need. His grace, wisdom, peace and joy are all I need to get me through!!!! His will be done!

  134. Paula Carter says:

    I need to hear that this am, GRACE and to rest in his PLAN for ME . Thanks GOD is great and using you in a mighty way . Thanks for your time and your love for Jesus and using the JOY in your live Jesus Others Y ou

  135. Paula C Balandron says:

    I LOVE that my Daughter is raising her Children Knowing the TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS..& that is NOT about gifts they get..BUT The Gift GOD Gave US..& They are learning its better to give than receive..& most Christmas’s they pass up getting presents from their parents..& have them give what they would have gotten to those less fortunate..Warms my Soul..TY JESUS!!!

  136. Thank you so much Renee. This is exactly what my heart needed to hear today amidst the Christmas chaos. I shared it on my facebook wall and know that it will bless many others also.

  137. I gave myself grace by putting up less decorations this year, and not giving out so many gifts. I usually try to buy something, even little, for so many people and it gets overwhelming. My daughter was also looking for ways to earn extra money for Christmas, so I gave her lots of little chores and had her help with Christmas cards, etc. It was such a load off of me, she was more than willing to help, that the little bit of $ I gave her was well worth all of the help. She does usual chores around the house, but this was all extra things that I just hadn’t been able to get to myself. It was a “win-win” for both of us!

  138. Oh I was so touched by this that it brought tears to my eyes… I hold a Ladies accountability group at my house on Monday mornings and this would be such a blessing to friends. Ohhh how we need grace!
    I already won the Gift~ Jesus Christ! I am just overjoyed this morning I needed to hear this!
    Thank you for all you do in touching lives.
    Merry Christmas ~ And God Bless You

  139. I am giving myself grace this year by just doing the best I can and reminding myself that presents aren’t the important thing this year but to give more of myself to others. Time with my kids and family is more meaningful to them than lots of presents.

  140. I am giving myself grace this year by spending more time treasuring the time I get with my family instead of worrying about trying to please everyone the whole time. Thanks for the best reminder for the season.

  141. Myra Bankston says:

    I will give myself grace by trying not to stress about thinking that everything should be “perfect”. I have not put out as many decorations this year as I usually do. I received much appreciated help from my daughter & daughter-in-law in decorating the Christmas tree. I will also graciously accept help from them in bringing food to our family dinner. I will also try to slow down and spend more time on my devotionals. I will email this to my daughter and daughter-in-laws. Merry Christmas to everyone!

  142. Shamecca Causey says:

    I’m giving myself grace by not stressing about little things. I’m going to enjoy my Christmas and keep in mind the real reason for the season. I’m going to relax and just be at ease for a change.

  143. I really do enjoy starting new traditions that involve more so the “Christ”mas side of Christmas and I had heard on a radio station that this family had been getting their children only three gifts a piece (the same amount that Jesus got on his first birthday) for their children every year since they were born . I found that to be an awesome way for our kids and us to remember why we celebrate Christmas. I’m excited to take on that new tradition as our own and excited that I won’t be running around the stores as much! I feel like I will actually get to experience the grace that you spoke about instead of just saying ” that’s nice hope it happens for me too”… Thanks Renee! πŸ™‚ merry Christmas to you as well!

  144. Starbuck’s hot chocolate, Godiva’s chocolates and a really good book to read, and copies to share. What woman wouldn’t love that for this Christmas season.
    Our family tradition is that when you reach the age of 16 your Christmas present is a donation to the charity of your choice. This is intended to keep the focus off of caring about yourself and your wants,and focusing on other’s needs.
    I’m looking forward to reading A COnfident Heart, whether a free copy or a purchased one.

  145. Beyond inspired by your devotionals you post on proverbs 31 ministies… I asked Santa for Christmas I want you’re book a confident heart… I’m so inspired by how god speaks thru you and I have so many friends that would be honored to receive your book as well… I can’t thank you enough by inspiring me with your word…

  146. Amanda Javier says:

    Honestly I’ve never thought about Grace in this way, probably because I’m 19, but watching this video really spoke out to me and made me think in a new perspective on the idea of it all.

  147. Janette ong-kim says:

    I will enjoy life just relaxing and not make too many plans. I will limit my project goals so it’s manageable. I will say “no” a lot lol

  148. I had surgery the first of Oct. It didn’t heal up and so I had to have another surgery 2 weeks later. Long story short, it’s already Dec. and it still hasn’t healed. I’m taking Christmas and trying to heal from the inside out and be grateful for what I have and where I’m at. Plus, I’m home bound so I can’t go anywhere if I did want to. I need God’s GRACE more than ever.

  149. I think I need to give myself grace this year because we can’t give our children as many gifts this year, because money is tight because we have a new baby (she will be 7 months in a few days). I have tried to teach them that it’s not about gifts, it’s about THE gift, so I think they will be ok with it. I will try to focus more on the real reason for the season and get my older 2 involved in teaching this to their new baby sister.

  150. Thank you for this Renee. I feel so pressured every year to be the one that has to plan everything for the family. We have a fairly large family. My grace started on Thanksgiving this year. My husband and I went on a short trip to Anchorage the weekend before thanksgiving. Well of course this time of year up in Alaska the weather goes down hill fast. I started to stress out about getting back to my home town, Kodiak. My husband kept saying don’t worry about it but of course I was trying to make him understand how important it is for me to be back to prepare. I couldn’t believe he wasn’t being more understanding…..funny ha!! You would think by now I wouldn’t be using that excuse to get stinky with him, but I did. The phone calls started coming on Monday afternoon asking what the menu was and what’s everyone’s assignments. After i told everyone that I wasn’t doing dinner this year because i wasnt sure we’ld be home in time I was at such peace that my husband and I enjoyed our extra three days of our minny vacation. You know what….Thanksgiving still happened, we all had a great time and I wasn’t in charge what so ever. I didn’t realize until thanksgiving day what God was doing for me. He forced me to take a break and He revealed to me through those chain of events that He’s in charge and to keep my eyes on Him. I intend to do that very thing this whole Christmas season and I feel more free this year than ever before. Oh, and we didn’t get home until the Wednesday afternoon before thanksgiving.

    I really love how God works. He is so gracious. Have a Marry Christmas Renee.

    Love from a sister in the Lord. Lori Ryser

  151. I’m giving myself grace by slowing down and talking to my 16 month old about Christmas, trying to remember to squat down and show her the pretty tree more than I harp “no touch,” and reading her little “The Story of Christmas” book to her at least once every day. She has learned to say Mary, Joseph and Jesus in her own sweet way. No gifts have been purchased quite yet, there are no outside lights up on our house this year, and our Christmas cards aren’t even ordered but we’re spending time with her, teaching her about the reason for all of these lights and decorations. πŸ™‚

  152. I am giving myself grace by not stressing about decorating the house. We have a tree and that is about it. No one else seemed to care as much as I did and in all honesty, I have decided not to waste the precious time on something that doesn’t matter or make a difference this year. Instead, we are cleaning out closets to donate to other families, working at the food bank, and making cookies for neighbors.

  153. i am buried up to my neck between my job, my home and my church. there are many things i am a part of that leave little time for me. i have to remind myself daily that “but for the grace of God” i would not have the ability to go day to day and accomplish the tasks before me. the gift of grace for me this year is being able to take off the entire week between Christmas and New Years. my husband and i agreed that will be our down time to work on our home projects that we have been wanting to complete.

  154. Love the Christmas prayer sharing with my friends. Also hope to start Confident Heart study!! I got my book, now a couple friends need so we can study together!! Merry Christmas!!

  155. I gave myself a break from sending out a Christmas picture – no coordinating with someone to snap the picture, no having to be dressed & primped just so, no multiple takes, no ordering photos, no sutffing pics in Christmas cards…..aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

  156. Hallie James says:

    Thank you Renee! I am giving myself grace this year by spending more time with the in-laws and trying to be a better daughter in law instead of the perfect party hostess. I am also going to stop when things gets crazy and set my compass back North to the reason for this magical season!
    I also shared on facebook!

  157. Your video came at the perfect time for me. Just had a conversation yesterday with my daughter-in-law about ALL the expectations on women..not only THIS time of year but daily. How we as women compare ourselves and feel guilt and shame and disappointment that we aren’t as “good” as our girlfriends. I went to our Sunday School class Progressive dinner on Saturday night, and all the homes were beautifully decorated with LOTS of presents WRAPPED under the tree. I have not even bought presents to wrap to put under a tree, so once again I start “judging” myself and wondering why I can’t be a SUPER woman..work full time, care for my mom, husband, children, grandchildren, keep the house in order, cook wonderful meals, clothes always cleaned, house beautifully decorated,……everything in order and perfect….and of course sleep a little bit too…Your video was just what I needed. I need to claim the wonderful Present of God’s son and receive His grace on a daily basis. Thank you for this gift to me this morning.Blessings this Christmas season.

  158. I’m going to give myself grace in not worrying about the little things. I’m going to focus on my family and spending time with the ones I love.

  159. Hi Renee! Thank you so much for your words of wisdom! This year, for the first time in a long time, I am noticing the grace God affords me. Glory! Can’t wait to participate in this study. Praying unabashedly for a win but if not am saving my money to buy the book. Will be back after I post on Twitter!
    In His Name,

  160. I learned to give myself grace by not allowing Christmas to be about gifts. I can’t always afford things for my kids and I used to feel very guilty about it. I’m trying to teach my children grace by reminding them that we are supposed to be celebrating the gift of our Lord Jesus Christ and that nothing that we can give one another measures up to that. I spend plenty of time beating myself up over other things…this year I actually had the tree up more than a week before thanksgiving. I have always dreaded Christmas in the past. I will never be a perfect parent, spouse, house keeper…but all God expects is for me to try to do the right thing by him.

  161. Donna Payne says:

    Thank you for that reminder that we can rest in God’s grace. That is something I have been struggling with lately and been trying to love myself the way that God loves me. And then to pass that love on. What a terrific way to enter into the Christmas season. Thank you for sharing.

  162. Tiffany Dick says:

    I’m a stay at home mom since September, so God’s blessed me with time and by His grace I’ve not filled it all up yet! I’m experiencing grace in being able to have ample time for prayer/devotions and also work through a bible study with a neighbor. Our Christmas season has been very peaceful and I think part of it is because of these things, but also letting go of the Christmas cards, deciding to give to those in need rather than stress about the perfect gifts for family who really have more than enough. We’ve tried really hard to shift our focus to Christ and God’s heart this Christmas instead of Santa, presents, baking and the craziness that quickly follows!

  163. I am going to give myself grace by focusing on God this season and not on pleasing those around me! It is not my job to be everything to everyone in my family during this season but to focus on the joy and love we were given!

  164. I am giving myself grace to enjoy Christmas this year even though it’s not going to be exactly like it is every year. Some family won’t be here Christmas day, most of us are on a tight budget. I’m going to relax and just enjoy time with family, and not worry that there aren’t tons of presents. Because really it is about Jesus’ presence, not worldly presents!

  165. Barbara Cole says:

    Having just completed the online Bible study “A Confident Heart” with Melissa Taylor, I’m already learning to rest in God’s promises. I am preparing to share this book and study with other women of our church in the new year as we lay the foundation for a women’s mentoring ministry.
    Instead of rushing to complete my list of things to do, this year I am slashing the list and slowing down to look for God in the ordinary. I want to take advantage of those divine appointments He has prepared for me so I may show His love and grace to others.

  166. I shared this giveaway on FB!

  167. Tweeted to 159 followers … at least one of which is someone I follow since that’s how I knew to come here! πŸ™‚

  168. I will give myself grace ths year by just embracing what this season truly means. My 15 yr old daughter decorated the tree, without me ” re-arranging” the ornaments. She was just beaming. She took joy in being allowed to decorate her way. I just sat and fed off of her excitement. We also started Advent devotions this year. When finances are low, it brings God and sharing His love with people the focus as opposed to the stuff we buy.

  169. Thelma Broadaway says:

    Grace… is a gift from God. Relax during Christmas and enjoy Jesus’s Birthday with your family. Family time is MORE important than any gift you can purchase.

  170. I shared this on Facebook! Thanks for the holiday spirit!

  171. I am allowing myself time to feel God’s Grace by eliminating much of the craziness of the season. No Christmas cards, no excessive candy making and baking, not trying to be super woman. I am making time to spend with friends and family. I am focusing on honoring my husband and son with as much positive energy and prayer as I can muster. I am eternally grateful for the life and blessings God has given me. Merry Christmas and many thanks for all you do!

  172. My family is giving each other grace this year as we have decided not to exchange gifts… just enjoy being together and celebrating the birth of God’s greatest gift to us…his son. It doesn’t matter what is under the tree, it is about the people together around it. Merry Christmas and Blessings to you all.

  173. YES! Grace, Grace, AMAZING GRACE that saved a wretch like me; I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see! I am so thankful for the gift of Grace! Thank you for sharing; I, too, enjoy my manger scenes and they are the first part of my Christmas decorating. All the other is just bells and whistles. I pray you have a GRACED FILLED Christmas as you rest in Him!

  174. I am going to give myself grace by not having to have the “perfect gifts” for my kids. They have enough stuff, that’s for sure! I always want to get that perfect gift, but the real gift I can give them is centering Christmas around the true meaning – Jesus! We have been having worshipful Christmas music playing as much as possible and it has led to a very peaceful, instead of stressful, Christmas season!

  175. Lorri Soileau says:

    I am giving myself grace this year by slowing down and enjoying the season with my family. It really doesn’t matter if every kind of cookie or baked good doesn’t get baked or if every stocking stuffer is not bought. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to get everything done. This is the first year that all my kids are out of the house and what really matters is the time we spend together. Jesus is the reason for the season and although I enjoy all that goes a long with the season it is truly not worth getting stressed over. I just want to enjoy my time together.

  176. I so enjoy reading the emails that are sent to me everyday from Proverbs 31 Ministries. It really helps me stay focused. I am giving myself grace with much less perfect expectations this Christmas. Looking forward to spending Christmas with my wonderful family.Jesus is the reason for the Season. I also shared on Facebook.

  177. at first i was like “yay! giveaway” and jumped right over but you video really spoke to me. you reminded me to pause be in rest with God. i love how you are gracing yourself with not doing Christmas cards. that was the one thing i hurried to finish and i was just going to do a card and not a mini letter but still did it all. i think its true we as women don’t tend to give ourselves a lot of grace but after listening to this i am looking for opportunity. thank you!

  178. Thank you so much for sharing your heart. There is something peaceful about spending quiet time with God then going away feeling refreshed in His presence and to know His grace.
    Just don’t remember if I posted before or now, but I really enjoyed listening to the message.

  179. lindsay Keaney says:

    Gods grace has been sufficient for me! This year I have had to choose Joy and Grace this Christmas. My 17 year old son has been missing for over a month. So this Christmas will not be the same for my daughter or I. When the state police called saying they needed a recent picture of my son for them and the Missing and exploited children my heart wanted to sink into despair, but God has given me strength to choose joy and keep going and doing all that he wants me to do. We are going to celebrate the birth of Jesus because He isworthy of that celebration whether or not my family is together for Christmas.
    Thank you for all your encouragements Renee!

  180. I am giving myself grace this Christmas by striving to seek the manger more fully this year. It has been a year of changes and as my kids are teens this year and will not be with me on Christmas morning I’m trying to make the best memories for them. Just spending time and trying to show them it’s all about where you are with God not what’s under the tree.

  181. Janet Brownlee says:

    Thanks SO much. I needed to hear that today. Resting in His promises and giving myself much grace so I can truly, thoroughly, enjoy my family and celebrating Christ’s birth.

  182. Wow, God knows what we need when we need it! I am a full time children’s pastor, and the mother of three little boys, ages 7, 5, and 10 months. It is never a problem for me to give grace to other’s when life is crazy and they need it! But I have a very hard time giving grace to myself–I always want to give 100% to my husband, children and church and I struggle when I can’t do it! Even as I write this, I know it will be hard for me to give myself grace, but I’m going to try! I will not feel bad if the Children’s church Christmas program and party do not go off perfectly! I will not carry guilt because we are not hosing a Christmas party at our house this year! It will be ok if the tree topper sits beside the tree instead of on this year (That’s the husband’s job!) πŸ™‚ Even though my little guys say that our house has no Christmas Spirit because we have no lights on the outside, I will be happy with just my wreath! They can do the lights when the get older! I will take time to get in the Word and prayer, I will crawl around on the floor with my baby, I will play board games with my fellas, while laundry piles up and the dust balls roll by—-and NOT FEEL GUILTY!!! I accept Grace to embrace what;s really important this year!

  183. I am giving myself grace this year by letting go of all those “have to”s and focusing on the one important thing this season: my relationship with my King and Creator. I love all the trappings of the season and was heartbroken when circumstances in my life dictated that I wouldn’t be able to afford any of them this year. However, He reminded me that the most important thing is not the things, it is the relationship. I am finishing up this season with a joyous heart because my Savior is walking alongside of me.

  184. This Christmas will be my first Christmas without my mom. My mom passed away in Februrary and this year I have looked at Christmas in a different light. Everything has seemed to just come together. Shopping for gifts has been extremely easy this year. God has made my list for me and laid everything out in front of me. Last week, I thought wow I only lack four gifts being through, everything is wrapped and under the tree. I haven’t been stressed one time. Then Sunday morning during the worship service our preacher said something that made be realize why things have been so different, He said put Christ first and buying presents second. If you are more worried about the gifts and not thinking about Christ it is a struggle, but let Christ take control and everything will come together (not exactly the way he said it, but close). I realized that in previous years I have not been as close to God I should have been, but since mom’s death – I have found myself much closer to God and spending more time in prayer. My life’s focus has change so much during the past year.

  185. Janet Brownlee says:

    Shared your message on Facebook!!

  186. Nicole Fairfield says:

    How do we enter to win this wonderful giveaway? I am sharing todays post with my friends!

  187. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!! Thanks for sharing your heart πŸ™‚

  188. jennfer hinshaw says:

    I loved the message from the video. I really needed this to remind me that it isn’t all about the amount of money you spend but the quality time spent with family cause we are not promised another day with them.

  189. I am giving myself grace today by reminding myself that it isn’t about the gifts, decorations, baked goodies, and all the other stuff on my to-do list! In fact, it doesn’t matter if that stuff doesn’t get done in the grand scheme of things (though it may result in a few unhappy people).

    This is about Jesus coming into the world to re-unite mankind with God. If I really remember that… who cares if I get the 6 batches of brownies & 3 pies made in time. Sometimes that is hard to remember, amidst the rush & chaos of things, but… really, it’s all about Jesus, plain and simple.

    • Thank you for reminding me about God’s Grace. This year is especially hard on my family and having God with me and knowing that his grace is for me is wonderful. I keep telling myself…Be still and know that I am God. We often get caught up in the extra small stuff to realize what is really important in our lives. God is first and then my family. I am so blessed to have my needs met by a wonderful God who provides living water and the bread of life.

  190. Hello there
    This year, like every year for the last five, I refused to give myself to the craziness of the season. This is something we have done to ourselves, not anybody else. I refuse to give in running around for a present, to worry about what to make for dinner, to send cards, anything like that. But to make sure I call those I love and tell them so. To let them know I love them and appreciate them every day, not just Christmas. And also very important, that I try to help someone every day of my life, not just at Christmas.


  191. Darlene Bulthuis says:

    My heart is overflowing with thanks for His unspeakable gifts to me this Christmas. Your devotional was the timely reminder I needed to realign my soul as I look forward to what He will accomplish through my weaknesses & inability to meet other’s expectations of Christmas. I am far to sick to be & do all I wish I could–& this season is the one where expectations are magnified & even idolized. May His provision be my sufficient grace I so need. Thanks for the attitude check.

  192. Give
    Align with God’s plan
    Concentrate on and celebrate the birth of Christ
    Enjoy time with family and friends

  193. I’m giving myself and my family grace this year by not stressing about bringing homemade stuff to functions. I’m bringing a store bought food item to a party this week, because I wanted to fellowship with friends and not stress about baking! God bless you all and may your burden be light!

  194. I’m giving myself Grace by taking the time to enjoy the season, the decorations, the joy of every step of the holiday process. Never did it before…it takes time but well worth it!!

  195. My husband and I have been married four years, and we don’t have any children yet. I want to develop this mindset of grace and the true meaning of Christmas now, so that we can raise our children in a home that truly celebrates Christ. Thank you for this reminder of what Christmas is all about and for giving us tangible ways to seek His grace this holiday season!

  196. I just shared this on fb; I pray it is an encouragement to anyone who views it!

  197. Elicia Rice says:

    I am giving myself grace this year by taking an extra week off homeschooling my kids so we can just enjoy each other without stress and schoolwork!!

  198. Too many people get caught up in gifts and festivities and forget the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus’ sacrifice of His life that mankind can live set apart and free from sin and its affects. I no longer give gifts during this season, but give throughout the year. We get so caught up in doing that we forget to rest our bodies and spend time with God. My gift to myself and God is taking the taking time to rest my body, mind and spirit and seek to be more closely united with my Daddy, Father God.

  199. Thank you so much for sharing this with us all this morning. I was sitting down to write out Christmas cards today and now I have decided to give myself Grace by letting it go. Thank you for the gentle reminder today of what this holiday season is really about…God’s Grace…God bless you and your family!!

  200. I give myself grace by telling myself that next year will be better so whatever happens this year. I look forward to better things to come in next year.

  201. Thank you for following the promptings of God and sharing this. You have no idea how much God touched me through this message.
    This Christmas, I am giving myself grace by ignoring the petty “to-dos” surrounding the days before and after Christmas so I can enjoy some time with my husband who’ve I’ve only been able to see 5 days in the last 3 months. He lost his job twice this year and was blessed to receive another one even though it’s over 20 driving hours away from home. We have three very young children and it’s so easy to get caught up in the stress and business of taking care of them AND trying to meet every one else’s needs and expectations during the holidays. I will give myself grace by ignoring the hustle and bustle while he’s home so that we can enjoy the time we have with each other.
    Merry Christmas!

  202. I found myself so disappointed after the Thanksgiving rush. As I head into the Christmas rush, I am going to place all my focus on God and the gift of His Son. God NEVER disappoints!

  203. Cathy Piger says:

    Great reminder to not get caught up in the hustle and bustle, and keep time with the lord a priority. Even a moment in the closet.

  204. Renee, your story has given me hope. This year my family cannot be together for the first time ever. My sons are serving in the military in South Korea, one daughter lives in Phoenix, so it will be my husband and 21 year old. The grace that I have received from God is peace and rest. This year there isn’t the busyness of the Christmas season. As much as I will miss my family, I realize that this is an opportunity to be still. To mediate on the gift that God sacrificed 2,000 years ago. There will be a little sadness on Christmas morning, but it is a time to pray for others, praise the King and listen to Him.

  205. I’m giving myself and my family grace by just enjoying the moments each day. I’m not stressing about what I’m not doing. I’m extending grace to my family and not coming down on one of my children if they act out. We, as mothers, expect/want/hope/crave for our children to behave because it’s the holidays. But I have to remember that Dec 25 is just another day when it comes to children’s behavior. If they disobeyed on Dec 24, they just as well may disobey on Dec 25. I want to correct them with grace and love but not with anger. Blessings to you, Renee.

    Thank you for such a sweet giveaway.

  206. Grace…what a powerful word! This year grace is needed as a with a home with four little ones the tree is kind of slanted, the cookies – well you use your imagination, and the presents that were wrapped are a little torn around the edges. Grace. Thank you for helping me refocus on the true meaning of it all – Jesus Christ!

  207. hello

  208. Tanya Pitcher says:

    Wow do i ever need God’s grace this Christmas season. It has been really hard for me the past couple of years not being able to give to my family like i would like. But the Lord always sees us through. Thank you for the wonderful video to remind us what Christmas is about. Tanya

  209. I want a copy for myself….but the most important reason I want to win is to share the word. I have started a Women’s Ministry at my home church. Before I started this women came to share things they have not shared with others before. We need a Confident Heart…we lack it more than I knew. God has laid it on my heart to help women you may being going through what I have overcome. Learning there is a God and when feeling so alone he is always there. When feeling unloved that no matter what others say His love is an unfailing love, a love that last forever. We just need to let Him in.

    I sooo want to win! Would be a great start for my ministry πŸ™‚

    Merry Christmas to yall

  210. Encouraging others by posting on Facebook.

  211. Thank you for reminding me about God’s Grace. I am so blessed to have a relationship with a God who provides living water and the bread of life. I tell myself “Be still and know that I am God.” I sometimes get caught up in the small unimportant stuff and forget what is really important in my life. It is easy to do but I am reminded that God has grace over us and is with us always.

  212. I am blessed to have found this post via Prov 31. I am sharing it with several. I think I’ll do the online bible study too!

  213. Thank you for the message! I really needed to hear it! I had been sick and felt bad that I had not put up the first Christmas decoration, yet. I needed the gift of grace!

  214. Michelle Thompson says:

    I am giving myself grace this year by saying it’s perfectly ok not to buy for every extended family member this year (we are only buying for the kids), I am also keeping my calendar pretty clear for this season, only a get together with friends this weekend. I started my shopping earlier this year so I don’t have a lot of last minute shopping to do, it should all be done by this weekend, Lord willing!

    Have a Very Merry CHRISTmas!!! I loved your devo today and your poem I signed up to get a free copy.

    God Bless!!

  215. I am giving myself grace this Christmas by lowering my expectations! Instead of focusing on everything being perfect (which by the way is completely ridiculous, especially in my blended family of 7!) I am focusing and re-directing my families focus on the miracle of Jesus’ humble birth. Instead of making a huge pile of gifts under the tree, my husband and I gave our 5 children money to use for Operation Christmas Child. They each will receive a few simple gifts under our tree. Already this season is more of a blessing than a burden and I am so full of Joy.

  216. Grace is so wonderful. After going back to work part-time this year I am needing God’s grace as I feel so guilty when my kids say they miss me. Thankfully, the job is over in a month and I’ll be home again. But when you son writes you a letter at school because he was crying, OUCH!!!!! I’m am allowing myself to not get so much done, not spend time with people I “should.” I’m just focusing on what is important!!!

  217. Grace IS what we need! Thank you for the reminder – I need to be seeking HIM for His rest, His presence, and His grace. I sure would love that Starbucks card to go and steal some time with the Lord in peace! =) I also loved when you said that your manger scenes were up Renee – truly the heart of Christmas! Thanks for your insights!

  218. Sharon Dehnel says:

    I’m giving myself grace this year by focusing on Christ and His blessing in my life rather than what has happened in my past during this time of year. I am focusing my family on a new way of doing gifts this year. We will focus on 3 gifts per person rather than a lot of different things. I am excited that my oldest son will be able to spend Christmas at home with us this year.

    I love the topic of this book and think it would be a great small group study with some of the other ladies from my church.

  219. I am giving grace this year by not worrying about the food,gifts, decorations and the hustle and bustle. I am focusing on my blessings. Not whether I have this or that. Also by not putting attention to having to please others. I want to focus on Christ. The other STUFF will fall into place. I am also opening our home to people who have no where else to go.

  220. I am giving myself grace by decorating less, by living one day at a time, and not stressing out over time restraints or busyness. I am spending time in the Word truly anticipating the presence of Christ with me.

  221. Rita Bartlett says:

    Our only child was married in September. She and her husband were intentional about the focus being on God. They were successful. It was a blessed day that brought our Father much glory. Besides spending April through September on wedding details, we had many of our loved ones going through tough times. At one point I was feeling so overwhelmed that I cried out to God for wisdom in which needs were priority and how to help. He gave me the strength to do what needed to be done AND the grace to let go of things I felt needed to be done. Among other things, He reminded me that being available to people is more important than a clean house. Well, it is mid-December. Life is still crazy busy. Many of my loved ones are still going through tough stuff. I’m giving grace this Christmas by encouraging them to focus on Christ instead of traditions. I’m receiving grace this Christmas by reevaluating and simplifying. Sunday my husband and I went with our daughter and her hubby to get Christmas trees. We enjoyed our time together and took pictures of them decorating their first tree. As for our tree…this year we didn’t hang any ornaments on it. We just hung the lights. It looks beautiful. Lord willing, there will be other Christmases to bring out all the ornaments. If not, oh well. Christmas is about celebrating Christ’s birth not getting so caught up in details that I have no time or energy left to rejoice over the light of the world.

  222. Jaime Riley says:

    I’m giving myself grace this year by focusing on Jesus and his birth. I am no trying to do everything myself this year. I am letting my kids help out more. We are planning on spending more quality time playing games and just enjoying each other’s company.

  223. Grace is a person and I am so confident that grace will be added to my being as I focus on walking in the spirit, turning to Him in all things, big or small. The gift of Jesus is my only need. I have sent your prayer poem to many on my e-mail list as I feel it will impact their lives as it has mine. Your writings have inspired me to enjoy the Lord daily as I begin my day with the Word and let Him have His way in all I do and say.

  224. I am giving myself grace by focusing more on my kids and teaching them the true reason for the season. Instead of getting frustrated with how they slow me down and don’t do things exactly how I would like, I am trying to involve them more so that they can experience the joy of giving.

  225. Thank you for the message. We try to keep things simple at Christmas to help keep the real reason for Christmas in our minds and hearts. (I like your ABC book in the background … one of our kid’s favorites!)

  226. Shannon Perovich says:

    My Grace this year is coming in the form that I am going easy on myself about having to accomplish all the Christmas traditions, baking, cooking, cards, decorating and not stressing about gift giving. Instead I really want to focus on the reason for the season and instilling positive values in my children. I need super amounts of Grace this year and am soo grateful for Gods Amazing Grace.

  227. Shannon Perovich says:

    I posted this to facebook

  228. Shannon Perovich says:

    I posted this to Twitter

  229. I have been there too. Where the crazy over rules the Reason we celebrate. I have toned down and relaxed all the way around. We do not over do our schedule with holiday parties, we pick the ones that will mean the most to us. We don’t go crazy shopping for gifts (I hate shopping). I make as many gifts as I can doing the things I love to do:) We remember Christ in every preparation that we do, from decorating to celebrating to just feeling the love!

  230. My gift is physical, emotional and spiritual fitness. My plan is to exercise, rest, read, study, vist, relax, enjoy, work, play, laugh, pray, cry, forgive, share, and love.

  231. Thank you so so much for this reminder! I’m currently in a season of trial and it can feel all the more overwhelming amidst all of the other stressors the season of Christmas can bring. So thankful for the reminder to come to my sweet Savior, because He is the only One who can give rest to the weary!
    A merry and blessed Christmas to you Renee!

  232. Deanna Nalley says:

    Your book is on my Christmas list!!!!!!! PLEASE enter me in the drawing!!! I would love to win your book!!! Thanks for your heart for HIM and others!! Merry Christmas!!!

  233. My hope and my future revolve around grace, with mercy trailing close behind. So glad I can’t out run them!

  234. I am giving my self grace in that I am also not sending Christmas cards either. My husband and children put up the tree and decorated it while I was at class last night. The stockings will be hung with care in the knowledge that rest will soon be here. I am giving myself a gift this year. I will not be motivated or moved by guilt anymore. If I can I will, if I can’t, I can’t. Guilt has stolen so much of His peace from me. Peace like a river and no guilt over the boulders which causes the water to spray and part. I did not put the boulders there and I will feel and accept no guilt or condemnation for what was, what is beyond my control, and what h not happened yet. Peace be with you this sewon of joy.

  235. I am giving myself grace this Christmas by giving myself “Me and Jesus” time, instead of worrying if the house is clean/decorated/etc. When I am stressed or upset, I tend to clean and tidy things up. Not anymore. I will run to my Savior like I am supposed too, soak in His goodness, and let His love de-stress me instead.

  236. I am giving myself grace this Christmas by not expecting perfection. And I am not beating myself up when things do not get done. This is truly helping me to enjoy the Holiday more, and remember the true meaning of Christmas. Christ birth..

  237. I am giving myself Grace this season by not sending Christmas cards and by not allowing stress to take over. I am taking each day as it comes, and seeking the Lord first. A beautiful birth mom is giving me the best Christmas gift I could ask for – a baby girl! She is due January 13th! and I can’t wait!

    Thank you, Lord, you are so good and faithful.

  238. this time of year has become tough for me in the past few years…. I am overwhelmed with the commercialism of Christmas and being everything to everyone thanks to the reminder of giving myself GRACE !!

  239. Grace that it doesn’t have to be perfect…the cards can wait…the crafts can be a bit messy, the floor can be a bit dirty…just spend time basking in the glow of Jesus with my boysies and let His grace flow over my family.

  240. Julia Taylor says:

    WOW Renee! This is great- caused me to pause for a moment and ask if I am giving myself any grace this Christmas season. My children are ages 1, 5, and 7, and I work 25 hours a week outside the home and still want to “do it all” and maintain a Christ-centered home and Christmas. I feel like I’m so overwhelmed this year with the balancing act- reading the responses from these ladies helps to gain some perspective. I think I need to give myself grace with the expectations I set for myself. I’m eager to read your book A Confident Heart. Thank you for the ministry you offer. Merry Christmas!

  241. I am giving myself grace to not think that the house has to be perfect before my company arrives. Now if my husband would give himself grace in that area. πŸ™‚

  242. stephaniedavis says:

    I decided for Chirstmas that we as a family would be showing Grace and God’s love to a family that was has fallen into a dark and hard time…. we only bought gifts for that this family and bought TONS!!! We included a family devotional, bibles for everyone and a sign like yours “GRACE” with a copy of a book that has helped me with showing GRACE and Mercy. Although, I am not doing something to show myself Grace and I thought they could use more love this Christmas so they could have a God-filled Chirstmas.

  243. This is hard to do, but so important, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing with us. I am trying to slow down this Christmas, let go of the stress, and instead focus on my family.

  244. Thank you for your message! I am giving myself Grace this year by allowing God to meet me where I am for a change. I have always worried about getting the right gifts, spending enough money, getting cards out, decorations up and the list goes on. Even worse, year after year it feel like my family is being swallowed up by the commercialness of Christmas. This year, I decided that it will get done when it gets done. Yes we have a tree up (finally) and some decorations around the house, but no lights this year. God put on my heart that it’s ok not to compete with the Jones’s! As for the commercialism, my kids have decided to make some presents rather than buy them. We are raising them to be Christ-centered so we talk a lot about what Christmas really means and how we might be able to serve others rather than satisfy ourselves. Thank you for your ministry!

  245. My grace for myself is in giving inexpensive gifts to a couple that have everything but don’t typically want what we can afford to give……this year, their gift is personal and lovingly put together and is now in God’s hands as to how they will react.

  246. I want to thankyou for this reminder. I heard you speak in Ohio @ a womens day away and been so blessed by your message! It’s always been a struggle for me to see my self worth in Gods eyes and has effected many areas of my life because of it. Really trying to slow down and enjoy my 3 children and husband this year and not worrying if everything is not perfect. Keep speaking out, because I know its a huge struggle for so many!

  247. Shared this on my facebook page too. Would love to win this for my sisters. I have the book but I know they too would benifit from it! Thanks so much!

  248. This is probably one of the hardest years for me, for my husband lost a great job in July and one of my sons is in rehab for being a her ion addict. I believe God took me to your website today ( I have never known of) to remind me what Christmas is truly about, and that He is giving me the Grace to be happy, and thankful and to have peace in His Presence everyday…He also fills my heart with so much Hope for my husband, my family and that He will heal my son.. Thank u for your words of encouragement..I will definitley make your website part of my daily readings of Jesus.
    Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

  249. Melissa Chambers says:

    Renee you are a precious gift from God and this message came at God’s perfect timing. I am home sick and panicking because Friday is my work Christmas lunch and then my Bible Study’s Christmas party is Friday night but God needs me to rest, to sleep soundly and be strong to serve and love him. I shared this on Facebook with a specific friend who I know needs this message! Thank you God for your Grace and not giving us what we deserve but washing us clean and loving us no matter what!

  250. I have not allowed myself grace this season, and my world has been crumbling around me the last few days. I opened up my email and clicked on the link to this page and while listening to you I reaized that I need to accept the grace that God is so willing to give to me. I am going to try and see myself in the same light that he sees me in. Trying to remember that I am fearfullyl and wonderfully made, and that I was made for his glory and not to please those around me but to please God and his kingdom. I had a friend tell me today that I am very distorted in the way that I see myself and that i need to stop and let those negative, doubting thoughts leave and let the love and blessings God be mine. Listening to that video was a great reminder of the Grace that i need to allow myself, thank you.

  251. Melanie Raisch says:

    Thank you so much for this message. It spoke to me so much. I think as a women we feel we need to take care or everyone and everything, but we forget ourselves and we get our focus off of Jesus,

  252. Renee, Hi!enjoyed seeing your christmas video. I woukd like to give myself grace by making it through christmas with out getting too stressed and trying to stay calm through it all.I am very determined to get your book.

  253. Kelli Lemke says:

    I have really tried not to get caught up in the commercial aspect of Christmas and really encourage my family to do the same. Several around me dread Christmas because of the wordly view but I have really been trying to encourage them to remember why we celebrate Christmas. My grace to me is to slow down. I do pretty good until I forget to say no occassionally. Thank you for sharing your story with us. Another reminder to remember that every detail does not have to be done. We have to remember to focus on what is important and that is Christ’s birth.

  254. I am giving myself grace by not beating myself up if the kitchen is still a wreck when I got to bed, because I’m so tired I can hardly keep my eyes open. The laundry should have been done, but instead I was chasing after two little ones under the age of 3. I want to take more time for me, and not feeling guilty that there was one more thing on the list that just had to get done before the lights get turned out. I want to give my husband more credit and appreciation that I give him already because he has done so much for us in more ways that I can imagine.

  255. Renee thank you for you obedience and sharing with all of us your walk with God. I look forward to reading, meditating on your material and the other ladies of P31. The readings are always on time for me.
    The Christmas Prayer is what I need. I, too, am basking in God grace. Thank you for your unselfish commitment to share with us.

  256. Janet Alboszta says:

    I remember the day my husband said to me,”you have such high expectations and then you always get disappointed.”, well I was mad,and hurt….until I thought about it. Then it all made sense. I had played out scenarios of holidays,birthdays,and even normal days,to the point of what others would say and do,and when that didn’t happen I was indeed..disappointed. Hmmm, I guess he was right. And who knew I was trying to insert my will into God’s plans all along, I bet He laughed at me and shook His head. I am ever so grateful for God’s gift of grace. So much so that I adopted a dig from the shelter and named her Amazing Grace, and let me tell you,she sheds her grace on thee and everywhere! To all my sisters in Christ,have a very merry and blessed Christmas,all the while remembering that we are not the author of our lives,and to let the script be written by our Father.

  257. Janet Alboszta says:

    ** I adopted a dog,not a dig! Haha πŸ™‚

  258. Janet Alboszta says:

    Shared the link on Facebook. Great video Renee,thank you!

  259. I am giving myself grace this Christmas by not getting caught up in all the craziness. No cards, no lights outside. a few years ago we started the three gifts. It was the best decision ever. I want my children to always remember what Christmas is all about and its not in the gifts.
    It’s been a very difficult year for our family. We are going into a bad year because of something horrible that happened . I appreciated and needed this so much.
    Merry Christmas!!

  260. Thank you for that prayer! I am going to use it for one of my Christmas gatherings with friends!

  261. I am letting myself off the hook for not finishing a project before Christmas and purchasing a small gift instead. The project can wait until after Christmas when times are less stressful and I can give more focus..

  262. Kimberli Fortner says:

    What a wonderful message Renee! Thank you for helping me understand God’s scriptures better. It’s no coincedence that I was just looking up the definition of “grace” today. God has put that on my heart for a reason and I know He will help me to understand why. Maybe I’m trying to hard to earn my salvation, and He’s letting me know I have unmeritted favor from Him through His love and grace.

  263. Jill Hutchins says:

    I will myself a break if everything is not “perfect” this holiday season. I am doing my best and I have to remember that……

  264. It’s so difficult to ‘rest’ or allow ourselves grace when society constantly bombards us with images of what we ‘should be’ providing for our families… especially our children… for Christmas. I am ashamed to admit that Christmas has become little more than a tremendous source of stress for me and fills me with dread as I try to figure out how to afford presents to put beneath the tree.

    I’m praying for a season where God’s presence and the presence of my family all in one place becomes the true focus of our Christmas.

  265. I did your book study with Melissa, but I love the book so much, I have signed up to do it again! So excited to study A Confident Heart with the author! πŸ™‚

  266. I’m going to give myself grace this Christmas by not getting caught up in the rat race to buy the perfect present for everyone. I always struggle this time of year because I love giving gifts to people that are thoughtful and essentially “prove” that I listen to their wants, needs, and hobbies. This year I’m going to just give a small amount of presents and focus on not blowing my budget. We give presents to represent the ultimate present that was given to us. And I don’t want my desire to prove anything to take away from Jesus.

  267. I shared on Facebook, Renee! Thank you!

  268. Venecia Wynne Hubbard says:

    Renee, Thank You for your video. Grace! What a word! Not just β€œgrace”, but β€œthe grace of God!”
    As Christmas is approaching I am so thankful that I can understand what it means and why it matters.
    This holiday season when I think of the word β€œgifts” I want to think instead of the word, GRACE! Because THAT is what GRACE means – a GIFT, unearned, priceless, that’s free, and yet also freeing! There probably is not another word in our English language that is so little understood, as the word Grace!
    Grace is a GIFT: A giving-ness that God has towards us – just constantly blessing, and giving, when we do not deserve anything.
    Grace is a Great Attitude: Grace is God looking beyond our sinfulness, our selfishness, and loving us anyway. It is just being accepted by God when we shouldn’t be.
    Its Importance: If God had no grace, Jesus would never have been born, God would have just judged this world, and condemned everyone in it to an eternity in hell, and would have just left us to self-destruct!
    But thankfully, God DOES have grace – great grace! And it is the foundation for a Christian Christmas!
    Grace IS Christmas!

  269. Hannah Lopez says:

    Thank you for this timely message. I have just stumbled upon this website recently. I have had a hard time focusing on God as I have a just now 6 month old, I feel most days are only about her and I have been feeling very overwhelmed and frustrated as MY expectations and plans aren’t working and sadly, my time with God has been decreasing, not increasing as I had hoped.
    We celebrated christmas with my family in early december as all of us were able to get together (the first time in 3 years!) My parents, 8 siblings (4spouses), 2 neices, 1 nephew, my husband daughter and me –20 total!!! It was a blast, but I’m realizing my type A personality won’t let me do it all, especially with the challenges of having a very structured new baby.
    Thank you for the words “rest in HIS plans, not ours(mine)- I forget this frequently and have such a harder day. When I take the time to stop and rest and listen, it is when my heart feels lighter and my mood brightens- because it is about Him and caring for the wonderful gift he gave me
    I’m sharing this on FB!

  270. I’m letting my kids do more this year… decorating, planning, etc… and by giving less stuff and more of me, my time, my love… which I’m already seeing is building confidence in each of them.
    This is the first year I actually enjoyed putting up the tree and decorating it… it’s also the first year I didn’t do it by myself… and it looks better than it ever has!!!!

  271. sandi ackerman says:

    I walk slowly and enjoy the lights. I sit and enjoy a hot cup of something and listen to what God wants to share with me as the snow is falling. I am trying to learn to live more in the present and also knowing what a wonderful Present we received at Christmas. Also, I am being reminded not to compare.

  272. Barbara Attaway says:

    Renee, thank you for your uplifting message and encouragement for us to seek grace. This year I am focusing on helping those less fortunate and getting away from the commercialism of Christmas by making many of the gifts I am giving to family and friends.

  273. Christina Anguiano says:

    I have decided to give myself grace this year by not giving every single person in my family gifts this year. I’m a single mom and often go broke around this season trying to get everyone in my family gifts. Well I’ve decided not to do that this year and just really focus on the True meaning of Christmas. We often get so bogged down in the giving of gifts, that we lose what Christmas is all about. I want my daughter to know and understand what Christmas is all about, not just giving and receiving gifts.

  274. Zohary Ross says:

    I’m giving myself grace by allowing myself to accept His grace and not finding my value in how perfect our Christmas is/looks but rather enjoying the season, having more fun and sharing His love and grace with my husband, children and family.

  275. I am giving myself grace this year, by allowing myself to the season with family and not stressout over howeverything looks, also by teaching my grand children what the season is all about….Jesus…..

  276. I am focusing on the gift of Jesus for Christmas this year, more than ever before. I am being allowed this gift through grace, as I told my family and friends that I would not shop on demand this year. Throughout the year as I see gifts for a friend or family, I have given freely. This has allowed me the time this year to bake and relish in the Christmas season without the hustle bustle of shopping. I just did not realize I was giving myself a gift at the same time. Thank you for pointing that out!!

  277. Thanks for reminding us to go to the manger of our hearts. Invite Jesus into our hearts and as we do, the natural overflow should be of His love and grace this season. Help me be intentional to fill my heart and mind with Him and not things of this world. Help me to stop and reflect the beauty of this season and thank God for His precious gift!

  278. Thank you so much for your posting. Thank your for letting the sprit and God’s grace lead and direct you. I haven’t decided what I will do this Christmas, the most important thing is to use my God given talent to pray for others. Gods grace sustains us in a way that is unexplainable. To feel the presence of God and His love for is makes life worth living. Gods grace wraps us up in a warm cotten blanket, while we sit by the fire sipping hot cocoa. Gods grace is before us protecting us from danger. God grace is behind us erasing our past and foreving our sins. Thank you so much and May Gods grace continue to sustain you in your lies journey.

  279. I really enjoyed your poem, The Manger of My Heart. Thank you so much for reminding me how important the Gift of Jesus really is and thank you for doing God’s will in the lives of women. Being the chair of our womens ministry at church, I share your love for the hearts of women to know God’s plan for their lives. May God bless you this Christmas and continue to bless you this coming new year.

  280. Thank you so much, wish you a very Mary Christmas

  281. I am really not interested in the drawing, but I just had to say thank you for being God’s vessel today. I have been meditating on Matt. 11:28-29 for about 5 days now and started writing down some of my thoughts on rest and what that means and looks like. I about fell out of my chair when you mentioned that in your video. And it being one of the Gifts we can have in Christ. God used you as confirmation to me that I was on the right track. Thank you for your willingness to be vulnerable and sharing what Our God is showing you. I hope you have an amazing day today.

  282. Thank you for touching my heart today. I been feeling like soemthing is missing in Christmas this year. After reading and listening to your video I was reminded that God given this greatest gift of all His Son.

  283. Renee,
    Thank you so much for what you shared in your video on Grace. I participated in Karen’s giveaway last week. I listened to your video on Sunday. I can’t tell how much the Lord has used what you shared. First, it helped me to truly appreciate our gift of Jesus. I pictured myself unwrapping Him as I would a present. Reflecting on that…unwrapping the Word, sitting with Him, my gift. Resting in His plans, His presence, and His promises – all tied up within our gift. Jesus.
    After listening to your video on Sunday, I was able to help a friend through a family crisis, resting in Jesus, resting in His presence.
    Christmas blessings! Jodie

  284. I still have decorating and baking to do, but twice this week I called two different friends and took a walk with them. Just 1 hour out of our day, but I feel so much more energy and spirit having spent that time with two wonderful women, especially when one shared a powerful story of God’s work in her life.

  285. I am giving grace this year by asking that my husband allow me to sponsor a child through Compassion International instead of putting something under the tree for me.

  286. Shared on Facebook

  287. I am also opting for a slower Christmas this year and focusing more on my kids. I have decided not to do any crazy mall maddening shopping trips. My tree is minimalistic. My husband and kids decorated the yard

  288. I’m giving my self grace this Christmas with the gifts God has already given me… Focusing on my little boy kaleb, and may go on a Christmas adventure camping in the snow… Reading gods word I front of the camp fire being alone with him it will be a Christmas to remember alright πŸ™‚

  289. carrie rowan says:

    I am intentionaly looking for God in my everyday things alowing myself the grace when i slip up .
    i am giving this hoiliday over to him who is able to bring the true meaning of jesus and not alowing my expectations to get in the way of enjoying this time of year. i dont have to have it all together i may not make the best dinner ever but i am going to have peace and enjoy being together with famliy.

  290. Sharing with all friends

  291. I simply need to give myself grace that I don’t meet perfection. Too often, I expect myself to get everything right and when I don’t, I beat myself up. I need to just turn to Jesus and realize I only need to be concerned with what He asks of me. I would love to win your Confident Heart book. While I’d love to participate in the study come January, I simply cannot justify buying another book for any reason at this point and time. Too bad I don’t have family members that ask me what I’d like for Christmas gifts either. It would be on my list. I look forward to reading it some day.

  292. Wow. Giving myself grace. I hadn’t thought of that and it is just what I need!
    Thank you!

  293. Hi Thanks for the encourging word, this Christmas I am giving myself grace, by fellowshipping alone with God, my husband is working out of town, and this a great time for me to draw closer to the Savior, Christ Jesus.
    God Bless You for all Proverbs 31 ministry ladies

  294. I’m sharing this on FB – so many friends who, like us also need to step back, slow down and remember the reason we are even doing all this in the first place. For Him who has given us everything. The greatest gift ever, never to be topped, salvation.

  295. Great reminder to not stress over all the details that weigh us down at Christmas, but to slow down and enjoy focus on the birth of Christ and making memories!

  296. I’m giving myself grace this year by not baking Christmas goodies! Normally, I stress out and spend a full day making a mountain of candy, sampling it, and giving it away. It has been a tradition for years but I dont need the extra stress or pounds it causes! I also have made the decision not to race around the malls like a “mad woman” buying this and that. My focus is going to be on enjoying this month! The tree is up with only lights on it and (its really ok!!) and its beautiful! No stress!!

  297. I am going to give myself grace this Christmas by not buying so many presents. That is hard for me because I love buying “my girls” presents. When they were younger it was so much fun! But at 21 and 17, you can’t pick things out for them anymore – which takes all the fun out of it… This is really hard for me so if I think of it as “giving myself grace” maybe it will take some of the edge off it all!!
    I would love to win this package. I participate with a couple small groups and would love to do A Confident Heart with at least one of them. As you know, I loved the study and wondered how you were managing to get in my head and in my life as much as you did… Thanks for writing this book!! It is definately life-changing!!

  298. I am giving myself grace this season by staying away form the malls, spending less time — and money — looking for the ‘perfect’ present. I am making a lot of my presents by hand this year!
    Thanks for the giveaway…

  299. I am giving myself grace by limiting the recipes I am making for gifts. I am also cutting back on those I give to…which is super difficult for me as I am a giver. Being that I already have the book, I would give away all 3 copies to friends of mine. This is an awesome book and I am looking forward to doing the study…

  300. I’m giving myself grace this year by not working as much and enjoying time with my family and not feeling guilty about it. Also, by stepping up to try to make peace with the in-laws and accepting the fact that it is all that I can do and I am not responsible for the outcome. Prayer is all that I can do, and leaving it up to God, and acknowledging that I am only responsible for me and not other adults and their actions. My focus is going to be my family of four that lives inside my house, and those others who want to partake and bring us joy.

  301. I shared on facebook!

  302. No Christmas cards being sent out. No decorations up except the small tree and that’s all that’s going to happen this year.

  303. I didnt think i needed to give myself grace until i saw your video today……..now i know i need it and will try to think of away to get there. :-/

  304. I thank the Lord that He is a gracious God. I will receive His grace. I hope I win the Christmas give-away.


  305. I am spending more time studying the word of God.

  306. Thank you so much for sharing this Renee….

    Grace… so much goes into this…
    I know that as a mom of 3 young children.. I need to show more grace to them at times..
    But esp to myself in the expectations I have for myself and things esp this time of year…
    Letting go of things and letting God direct our time…
    Be with family and just enjoy this season of celebration of His birth…..

    I really needed to hear this message today….

  307. I’m giving myself grace (and hopefully spreading the grace to others) by not stressing over buying Christmas gifts for family and friends who really don’t need anything. My gifts this year are donations to a local charity that provides assistance to those down on their luck who are having trouble making their heating and electricity payments. Thank you for your website and your work to spread the word and grace to others.

  308. Holly Fleener says:

    God’s grace truly is an amazing gift that we all need. We truly don’t deserve His favor, but I’m so glad He gives it to us. Grace can also be His power to redeem any situation or circumstance to bring about good. Boy do we all need that! Thanks Renee for reminding us to seek Grace this Christmas season.

  309. Holly Fleener says:

    I shared your video on facebook.

  310. I love your thoughts about grace and letting yourself off the hook.I’m a perfectionist. So this year I am giving myself the grace to let go of everything having to be just, and that some may not be coming home, but that I will be wishing them a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New year, and to enjoy and be safe. And I am wishing this for everyone!

  311. Julie Mc Dowell says:

    I am giving myself grace this year by focusing on spending time and being connected to those that are important to me. I am not going to worry so much about all of the details that don’t matter and focus on creating memories and building relationships with loved ones.

  312. Momma Mewha says:

    I cannnot be responsible for the response of others; critisms, judgement,whatevs. His grace is sufficient. Sometimes I wish others would rest in His peace too. Thanks for the great point to bring reflection on this Christmas.

  313. Julie Mc Dowell says:

    Shared the info with my friends on facebook. Thank you for the video and the reminder to put the focus on Him and on things of true importance. Hope you have a blessed Christmas with your family!

  314. Thanks for your video! It was a timely reminder to slow down and recall the true meaning of Christmas! Again, thanks for reminding me to seek Grace this year and give myself some grace also.

  315. I shared your video on facebook.

  316. If this is a duplicate, please delete. I don’t think I have entered, but I would say I am giving myself grace when it comes to getting everything done. I am doing whatever I can do with the help of God!

  317. I am giving myself God’s grace by allowing God to be in control of when my husband and I will be matched with our forever child in our adoption journey. I will give myself grace in the waiting and find contentment with today and what I have and not what I want…a child.

  318. Jen Barnes says:

    I am showing myself grace by keeping a shorter to-do list so that I have the time to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas with my family and friends in relationship, not in the rush of getting things done.

  319. Michelle Rupprecht says:

    This Christmas I am going to celebrate with not worrying about what others think about my tree, not going to worry about anything. I am going to put my worries in Gods hands and going to enjoy my family.

  320. Charlotte Askew says:

    I am giving both me and my husband grace this year at Christmas. My husband is taking chemo for colon cancer and the busyness of visiting with family (lots of them) and the long travels combined with my overload of cooking and preparing for these trips is just too much for him both physically and mentally. This year we will visit with a couple that are in their 80’s and just spend some quiet time with them. Good grace for all 4 of us.

  321. I am giving myself grace this Christmas by not sending out Christmas cards and only getting gifts for those closest to us. I need to stop and slow down and remember what the real Reason for the Season is!

  322. I’m giving myself grace by not worrying that the tree is not up yet nor any of my decorations. I’ve had sick children, one right after another, and I haven’t felt too good either. We are all getting better now, but I’m still not going to stress or worry about decorations. I like the idea in the video of having pauses in our day to remember Emmanuel God with us. Thanks Renee for offering another chance to win your book!

  323. I am giving myself grace by not worrying that it will just be me and my two children celebrating Christmas this year. We will make it a great day knowing the true reason for the season. Thanks Renee

  324. Kassie Jackson says:

    I’m a 1st grade teacher. During this time of year is a little stressful to get everything done before our break. This year I’m trying to give my self some grace and enjoy this time of year with my students and not try to rush everything. Merry Christmas!

  325. Renee, where did you find the G R A C E cutout…I love it!!

  326. I am giving myself grace by not sending Christmas cards or stressing about not buying gifts. I lost my job 2 months ago, and trying not to worry about bills.

  327. Thanks so much, Renee, for the perfect timing of your post. I have a tendency to stress about anything and everything as if the stressing changes anything. Just like so many others, we are going through tough times at work, financially, etc. Our expectations of ourselves are so unrealistic to begin with. I need peace and rest. I’m giving myself grace this year to simply be and enjoy family and friends and the real reason for this Christmas season and to grow in my faith journey. Have a wonderful Christmas!!

  328. Thanks for the video. It is too easy to get caught up in the secular parts of Christmas. I relate to you going to your closet to find peace and quiet and hear God’s voice.

  329. LaKeta McSellers says:

    This message hit me hard!! I’ve been trying so hard not to focus on the gift giving, shopping pressures, party pressures, and so on, of the season. My plan has been to focus on what really matters, Jesus. He is the reason for the season right? Well, now I have this lovely poem that you have shared to help me to ease my anxieties. Thank you Renee. Have a Merry CHRISTmas!!

  330. I shared the video. My friends will love it.

  331. Julia Sutherlin says:

    I am trying to give myself grace for all my imperfections: not eating healthy, not spending as much time with my kids as I would like, not praying for my husband as much as I should and not feel guilty about keeping the season simple. I don’t want to compare what we do as a family with what others do but it can be hard.

  332. Julia Sutherlin says:

    I also shared the link πŸ™‚

  333. I am giving myself grace this year by not stressing over gift giving and all the commercialism that Christmas has become I feel we have lost touch on the real meaning of the Christmas season . Renee God has truly blessed you with a great gift thank you for being an inspiration to so many women. I bought your book twice “” A Confident Heart ” I read it then gave the one I read to my sister I enjoyed it so much I bought another one for my other sister I do need to purchase it once again so I can have a copy of my own that I can read and reference it often. Thank you again
    have a blessed and Merry Christmas to you and your family

  334. I am giving myself grace by not feeling pressured into giving my family big expensive gifts this year but some homemade goodiesmade out of love. A lot more fun especially involving my kids in being creative!

  335. Shared on Facebook as well

  336. I am giving myself grace this Christmas starting today. I am going to bask in the feeling of feeling loved with all the wonderful birthday wishes I received from FB friends today. I am giving myself grace with knowing that it is enough this year. It has been a hard couple of years and I am just going to let things happen how they will. I am realizing that I cannot control much at all. I have to know that my sweet daughter is loved by God as much as I am and that He will be with her when I can’t over the holidays. (I have to let her spend time with her Daddy on Christmas Eve). This is a first for me. Grace,grace, grace, God just give me the grace in excepting that you loved me enough to send Your Son to die for me. And if i was the only person, You would not have changed a thing. For that I am truly grateful.

  337. Tereasa Wemple says:

    This was so beautifully written it really touched my heart. I shared this on facebook.

  338. shawnia holler says:

    I am so excited to do this bible study! I am counting the days down. I have invited a few friends to do it with me. Renee thank you for all you do! You truly help me in many areas of my life. May God bless you in all you do. With Love Shawnia. Phil.4:13. I shared with friends on FB about. The bible Study.

  339. Trish Milstid says:

    I so much need His grace every moment. Missing my mom. All the shoulda woulda and couldas keep running through my mind.

  340. Michelle Wittman says:

    Renee, Thank you for sharing your message of GRACE. So often, I feel empty on Christmas day because I feel like I missed ‘Christmas’, the true meaning of Christmas, due to the hectic “to do list” of the season. This year I made a choice to have my “to do list” completed by the 14th so I could focus on God’s gift for the season. πŸ™‚

  341. i am giving myself grace this year by just giving in to life. i am the 4th one down this week being sick. i’m not super woman. tonight i’m suppose to be baking sugar cookies with the family but we’re all sick & that is not happening. But it is okay. life happens and stressing about what i’m not able to do is not going to help.


  342. Janet Jackson says:

    I want to learn how to give myself Grace! I give it to everyone else but when it comes to myself I don’t. Thanks for this opportunity!

  343. This year my husband and I will be spending Christmas with our grown children and three grandchildren. The grace part will be having the get together at my daughter’s house and not our own. Also leaving all the meal planning to her and my daughter-in-law. I think I will really enjoy concentrating on the grandchildren and not on kitchen duty. I’ll bet they want help cleaning up! Lol!

  344. I am needing to give myself grace right now–grace to allow myself to get through the depression I am struggling with, without beating myself up about struggling. God is here, right where I am at, and I can laugh or cry, and he is there to share whatever kind of moment I am having. Like I have said before, he loves me when I feel like Tigger, and he STILL loves me in the times I feel like Eeyore. God is good.

  345. Boy oh boy, did I need to hear what you “held up.” *sigh* GRACE. I do this to my heart each and every year–except the year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and walking with God through treatment…that year, I had no expectations, no rush, rush, hurry, scurry mentality–I just wanted to BE. My family and I did and when we look back, that is the “best” Christmas ever.
    4 years later, I’ve managed to let my heart creep back to ” If I only had this” or if “my house looked like hers” or “why do I always WAIT to shop so long?” I get crazy I tell you!
    I need to give myself grace. I need His presence. His promises..His power…(that wasn’t on your list was it?)
    Thank you Renee.
    Blessings to your heart this Christmas

  346. Onto the book of face, your video went!
    Be encouraged!

  347. Nancy Maris says:

    I realize that the grace the Lord has given to me/us is difficult to accept for many of us, including me. After watching your video and reading the emails sent to you, it is apparent we continue to need to seek the Lord and His peace, His love, and His grace ever more diligently. Thank you for your thoughts, prayers, and amazing writing talent! Bless you and your family this Christmas!

  348. So true that we are the hardest on ourselves sometimes. I am truly in the need of grace and I know that I can find rest in presence of the Lord. Thank you for the reminder to slow down a little and embrace the true meaning of Christmas.

  349. ahhhh…grace!

    My one word for 2011 was GRACE ~ choosing to rest ~ keeping my eyes on HIM.

    Embracing the joy, the pain, the uncertainty and CHOOSING TO rely on the PROMISES OF GOD!

    Be STILL and know that I am God. ~ Psalm 46:10

  350. This Christmas finds me just asking for grace for those close to me who are experiencing major heartache and health issues. Thus, I have decided to give myself room to not do all the trimmings this Christmas, and just some little touches of decoration will enough. I even bought gifts where they gift bagged my presents! But the greatest blessing has been giving to others who are in need.

  351. Cherie Moore says:

    Hi Renee,
    Your message is so right on time for me at this time of my life. God knows the details…I am so looking forward to this study in January. Thank you so much for writing this book and know that many, many women will be blessed. I have shared on facebook with friends and family and know lot’s of women that will be interested.
    God Bless You and Yours This Christmas and Always

  352. Faith Kibiku says:

    Am giving myself the gift of grace by remembering that it was during Christmas a year from now that i received the gift of Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior.
    Christmas for me had always been a time when the family got together and we enjoyed a good meal ,but last year i had to work during Christmas so i dint go home for the holidays and i ended up being sick and alone and i thought i was dying but i got better and gave my life to Christ and the journey has been amazing.
    So this Christmas i will remember even more the gift of Our Lord Jesus Christ .

  353. One year ago I lost my husband, 46 years old. My young children looking to me for answers, I started on a journey that was enveloped in Gods plan for my life. Hard pressed to see that plan through the tears I began to walk close to my Lord, closer then I had ever. In the last several months I have overcome an illness that is undiscribable, through it I was made to REST!

    This grace you speak of is so very real, and so very necessary if we are to be raised up as true daughters of the King. Without finding our place at the feet of Jesus we can not give within the capacity he wants for us. I am blessed beyond measure, through it all!

    Sandy G

  354. I am giving myself grace in the area of gift giving. Stepping away from the need to feel that everyone in my life needs a gift, isn’t JESUS the gift anyway?!

  355. Colleen G. says:

    I am giving myslef grace this year by taking the day as it comes. I get done with what I get done and “try” not to get frazzled and enjoy the moment.
    -Colleen G.

  356. holly hiltz says:

    I am giving myself grace this Christmas by remembering “the reason for the season”. No crazy last minute shopping or trying to squeeze one more thing in. Instead, we are just going to work on loving each other well and serving God. One of my dearest friends just had her 5th son after losing her husband a few months ago. Instead of fretting about all the details and obligations of the holidays, we have decided to just hang out with her and all of our kids and just love on her. This also reminds me that busy and spending are not the ways that God desires for us to celebrate his Son…

  357. Judi Splint says:

    I would love, love, love to win the three books. It would be so awesome to go through your study with a couple of other women. I can only imagine the growth; the bonding, and the healing. Powerful!
    I love that you are so generous. Whoever wins, will be a very lucky lady, indeed.

  358. Judi Splint says:

    Sorry; I forgot to respond. I am going to give myself grace this year by not beating myself up if someone doesn’t seem to like the gift I bought them; if the meal doesn’t turn out just perfect; whatever it may be….I am NOT going to beat myself up over it. I will choose to love….both myself and others. Their presence is the most important; their presence and mine.
    Merry Christmas!!

  359. Renee, what a beautiful thought. The comments are amazing. So many wonderful women out there that you are impacting. I am an intercessory prayer warrior, it is only through God’s wonderful grace that I can do this. I have allowed myself to have grace lately by cancelling or postponing obligations that are important, but not urgent. I go to bed earlier than I normally would so that I can get up refreshed and ready to meet with our Lord between 3:30 and 4:30 am. Since I have to be to work by 7:00 am, I shower and dress before I spend my time with the Lord. I really need that extra few hours to prepare for the day and what better way to prepare than to be in the Word and in prayer. Though, I do have to say that I need to remember to purchase waterproof eye make up next time, I always have to start over! LOL. May God continue to bless you and keep you strong so you may continue to share. Thank you so much for your wonderful words, your vision and your willingness to share. ~Deb

  360. I am going to give myself grace by not trying to please everyone over the Holidays. Thank you for your message. Looking forward to your online bible study!

  361. I have to allow myself not to get caught up in the money spent at Christmas. I don’t have it this year and am making some things for my husband this year. Sometimes it’s enough just to offer myself to others.

  362. I just shared this via Twitter, my third post!

  363. Julie Howard says:

    GRACE……honestly I haven’t taken hold of this word at all in the past few months. I have beat myself up over things that are not even important. The biggest lesson I learned was yesterday. I have stressed about not being able to give many gifts for lack of finances. Then yesterday when I got home, a tennis racket that had been thrown on our roof by one of my boys was placed in a Christmas bag along with two tubes of tennis balls and the card was signed “Santa’s helper”. πŸ™‚ The smile on my kids faces and the joy that it gave them to see what someone else did for us hit me right in the stomach. I thought to myself and asked for God’s forgiveness for being so focused on giving a “monetary” gift instead of just a gift of doing something special for someone that they weren’t expecting. So today, I accept God’s grace into my life in the area of giving. Not monetary giving this time but giving of myself to Him to be used to bless others. What a beautiful word…..GRACE!

  364. Thank you for your thoughts and reminder to give ourselves grace. I’ve been trying to slow life down to enjoy the true gift of Christmas this year…and it is tough…with all those expectations others and I have for the season. But I have decided to not make a full-blown Christmas dinner this year. Christmas cards may get cut as well. I just got the Christmas decorations up…and I’m trying to cut details that aren’t necessary to my family & I…so that we can see and experience the true gift of Christmas! I can already see the stress melting and feel the joy filling. Thank you again!

  365. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. And I love your Christmas prayer. I pray you and your family have a blessed Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

  366. I’m receiving Grace to slow down and spend more time in the moment with my children. Focusing more on Christ than on running from one activity to another. I want to enjoy the spirit of Christmas without so much rush and shopping.

  367. Dear Renee,
    Thanks for that special message today. I am from Kenya. This has been a particularly difficult year for me to get through. I will be spending Christmas with my two children – Nathan and Ryan – away from my husband, their father. It is the first year apart after a painful separation and I know it will not be an easy one. I am praying for grace from our sweet Lord, to steady my frail heart and help me leave all my cares behind. There will be less gifts for the children but hopefully enough love to go around. It would be a great blessing to receive a gift copy of your book this holidays as I start a new leaf, with a Confident Heart in Christ.

  368. I’m gathering grace this Christmas by making our church services our priority. We’re taking birthday cake and my kids are excited about the possibility to share Jesus’ birthday cake with their friends at church (my husband’s quest to stay home all day has been overruled). My kids got an early Christmas present, new Bibles, and have been reading US the Christmas story. They found it all on their own and have been blowing me away with what they already know about the Bible and how to find things in it. Thank you God… and Happy Birthday Jesus!

  369. Thank you, Renee, for your message! It truly spoke to my heart as I had begun to focus on some of these things in my life. Christmas feels a bit different this year in that I have not been so focused on all the outward stuff. We just barely put up our tree last night (and it is not decorated yet!) and our family is scaling back gift giving this year. I want to focus on God’s GRACE and be filled with his presence more than anything else this year. What a gift that will be!

  370. Dale Katherine says:

    I sat down with the purpose this morning of “getting it together”. Thank you for starting my time with the reminder of extending grace to myself in this time of so many expectations. I have so many hopes for our family time together this season but want the overwhelming theme to be receiving God’s gracious gift and bringing Him glory in all that I do and say. I want my family to see Him in me but for it to be natural and not me stressing to do this. I will post the word “GRACE” around the house as a reminder to focus on God and rest in his amazing grace. (no tree and minimal decorations at this point here too:-)

  371. Dale Katherine says:

    I shared this on facebook with my awesome sisters, (so blessed to have 2 older sisters who love me and have been my greatest mentors and friends even though we live so far apart). We are hoping to do this Bible study together over the internet…perfect for long distance sisters:-) 3 books would be awesome!

  372. I am giving myself grace this year by not sending Christmas cards as well. Also, I am trying to focus on Jesus and the true meaning of this wonderful holiday instead of all of the gifts and such. I am allowing grace for myself as well as other people.

  373. I wasn’t able to read your devotion until this morning and I know that it was God’s timing! He was already working on my heart on this exact topic and I had just prayed this morning to be reconnected to Him. I felt grieved that at this time that should be all about the Lord Jesus had become a time of year where I feel the furtherest from Him. We all need to take a deep breath and re-focus on Him. He promise when we seek first His kingdom all these things will be added unto us…Thank you for the beautiful words that can help me this year and every Christmas to come keep my focus on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!!

  374. I am giving myself Grace by not sending out Christmas cards as well. My first time ever. I also am not going to second guess myself in the gifts I give my loved ones. I love them and desire to show them this through the gifts I buy them and then I don’t think the gifts are good enough. Please…give me your grace Lord and the Grace to give it to myself. You are the most treasured Gift that we all need to receive.

  375. Heather Marie says:

    Thank you so much for the permission to share grace to myself as well as to others. I forget that I can do that! The relief I have now as I start my day and all of its struggles, pain and disappointments is tremendous and now I can look forward to the future with hope that it won’t always be this way… God is near to me.

  376. I am giving myself grace on little details. I am the kind of person who likes to have EVERYTHING planned out to a T and not leave anything up in the air. This weekend, however, we have scheduled my daughter’s 1st birthday party on Saturday, followed by a family Christmas in my home. Then Sunday we are having another family Christmas in my home and my husband has to work until 2. That leaves me alone with 2 little ones to prepare everything. I have been feeling very overwhelmed and lost in all the plans – so I am giving myself grace on little details. We’re going to have birthday cupcakes for Christmas dessert. We’re going to have frozen rolls rather than the homemade rolls I usually make. I’m going to use my crock pot. And I may have a pile of dishes while we visit after dinner. But I’m going to enjoy this weekend. I’m going to enjoy being together with family and friends to celebrate the birth of my baby girl and even more, the birth of our Savior. And I’m really liking the idea of birthday cupcakes for Christmas dessert – it is a celebration of Jesus’ birthday after all!

  377. Grace! That word keeps coming up time and time again πŸ™‚ I’m giving myself grace by focusing on my children and allowing them to lead the holidays and our activities. We’ve decorated, we’ll bake together, but I will not rush the next 10 days. I will also take time between Christmas and New Year to study grace. It has come up too many times this past year to avoid it any longer!

  378. I am going to give myself grace this year by spending some time alone with him first thing on Christmas Morning, which is not what I usually do. With all the hustle and bustle of the day I often don’t get any moments alone with him on Christmas Day. I am planning to sit with him in solitude and rest before I start the day. Thank you so much for the reminder to open my gifts (His plans, His presence and His promises) first and then to share them with others throughout the day! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  379. I shared this link with my mother and 4 of my really good friends who I believe need to hear your message as well. I am so blessed by my family and friends and we need each other to encourage us and remind us of all of His blessings each and every day! Thank you again!

  380. Your message was exactly what I needed this morning and really blessed me. I shared it with several friends I believe will also be blessed because of it. I so appreciate your obedience to the Lord and His words of encouragement spoken through you.

  381. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences & encouraging comments in the video. It has blessed me today.

  382. Thank you for sharing your past experiences & encouragement in the video. It has blessed me today.

  383. I am going to share this on Facebook with my friends.

  384. Thank you , Renee … the video is a perfect gift to share with girlfriends and “boy”friends. I watched the video on my break at work and it helped because there are times during the work day that we need to remember to give ourselves grace.

    Thank you again, Renee.


  385. I’m giving myself grace this year in that my Christmas cards are store bought and going out late this year. It’s only 10 days until Christmas and though they’re bought they haven’t even come out of the box. And that’s okay. Usually, I do them first before the tree and presents, but I wanted to see my tree up. Christmas cards are next as soon as I find the time and energy : )

  386. This year I can honestly say that the Christmas is all about the gift of Jesus as our Savior. In the past I have stressed, rushed and exhausted myself before Christmas even began. This year, all that matters is that Jesus is with us and he fights for us. It’s an honor to know that he prays for us. My 6 year old told me last night, that Jesus is the best gift ever and that who ever believes in him will have eternal life. She has no problems sharing the message with her classmates. What an example to follow! So blessed this Christmas because of Immanuel in our hearts!

  387. Bought your video “Unwrapping His Christmas Presence” and loved your testimony! How may women need to hear about the freshness of God’s gracious presence to give us hope and rest! I know I do! I’m like the one looking in a mirror (God’s Image!!!) and as soon as I look away (from His Word, Jesus Christ!!!) I fall prey to Satan’s lies and lose confidence in who He created me to be! Oh! I can hardly wait to do your study with my girlfriends! Merry Christmas Renee!

  388. Jennifer Klemple says:

    I am giving myself grace by not putting as much pressure on myself to do everything this Christmas season. We probably won’t send out Christmas cards and we are really watching what we spend since we are also remodeling our kitchen somewhat. We don’t have our tree up either but we will get to it. My husband has been so busy lately so I am trying to be patient. I can’t wait to do your study. I have already started the book. It is awesome!

  389. Jill Kuiper says:

    I am giving myself grace today by allowing myself to seek help medically for the depression I have been dwelling in for over a year. I know that I no longer need to have everything together at all times, and it’s okay to acknowledge I cannot do it all. Being a perfectionist has not been easy, but I’m realizing that He has graced me to be flawed. I have hope that my weariness will end, and I will be still in His presence! Thanks for letting us follow you!

  390. Shared on Facebook too

  391. Stephanie M says:

    Hi Renee,
    I have just finished reading Breaking Free by Beth Moore. God has led me to your book a confident hear. I cant wait to stat. I am so thankful for your blogs about Christmas. See we have had a lot of changes this year and one of them being down to one income. I have two boys and have been trying to explain to them we will have a different focus this year and it will be on giving. This will be a new experience for them but I know God is asking that we do this. Im excited to see God use my family to bless others! Thanks for sharing.

  392. Thank you so much for this timely voice of truth into my heart and day. As a lady in ministry as you are life can rush ahead and balance between home and ministry can be a challenge~right now where I do ministry in the kitchen we are undergoing a major re-tiling and repainting renovation. Keeping focused on the Word and being realistic in my expectations of myself and others is a struggle, but His Spirit urges me to look to Him who loves regardless me of how many tasks get checked off my “to do” list in a day. This season e-mail cards have saved time and still spreads the joy of Jesus from our hearts and home to others~great time saver!! πŸ™‚ Merry Christmas to all! May His GRACE continue to capture each of our hearts this season.

  393. I am trying to give myself grace by just enjoying the Christmas season. Last Christmas was difficult because my aunt passed away December 13th and we had her memorial service on December 20th. Her’s was the 3rd death in my family since May of 2010 so it was hard to get into the Christmas mood. This year, as I drive home from work in the dark. I listen to my Christian Christmas cds, enjoy the lights that I see, and worship the Lord. I still miss my Aunt Lolly, Uncle Allen, and cousin David that all went to Heaven last year. But as I soak in the music & the lights, God reminds me that they are celebrating Christmas with Him in the best place of all!!!

    The other way I want to give myself grace is to take the time to read “Two From Galilee” a love story of Mary & Joseph by Majorie Holms. I’ve had the book for years and haven’t allowed my self the time to read it. I hope to start the new year with doing the online “A Confident Heart” Bible study.

  394. Shared this on Facebook

  395. Giving myself just enough grace to get thru the holidays without my late spouse. Jesus WILL fullfill the rest that I’ll never be able to do.
    Pray for those who mourn this season… thank you!

  396. Thank you so much Renee, for that sweet reminder; so needed as the days grow full and time is getting short. Just listening to your gentle quiet spirit brought a calm sense of peace in my heart. Your message has strengthened my resolve to MAKE TIME for Jesus, being intentional about structuring the events in each day. There is really no substitute for sitting quietly before Him, reflecting on who He is and all He has accomplished. One thing my husband do (& I regret to say we got a late start on this), is to watch one of our (24) Christmas DVD’s each evening; last night we watched The Nativity. I’ve been listening to Christmas music on my ipod @ work, so my heart was in the perfect place to respond in joy and wonder to that beautiful story. I read some of the comments here & was also reminded that these holidays are difficult for many. May God bless all of these precious sisters.

  397. My sister sent an email a while back inviting us to do this study. Deb, Dale Katherine and I think it would be so cool to win the books so we can do the study together. Thank you for doing this. Blessings.

  398. Thank you so much Renee! Your messages inspire me and give me hope for this difficult season I am in right now. My husband and I wanted to give gifts to 3 young children who would not other wise have anything under the tree and we were blessed to hear our 9 yr old tell us that she does not need anything this year in fact she wants to give away several toys she has in her room. Thanks be to God.

  399. Love the prayer–

    Grace — I think I need to put that on my counter, wall, and mirror.
    Thank you for the reminder.

  400. This is such a great thing you are doing sharing during these 12 days of Christmas, and I would personally love to be able to share your book with others. Loved your message on GRACE

  401. Karen Friesen says:

    Just watched your interview on 100 Huntley, encouraged by a dear friend who had watched it. We have decided as 4 friends to read your book as a book club study, we discovered that we all share the same insecurity because of not feeling wanted by our parents. We were never physically abused by our dads but were made to feel like we were a burden. Because of this we have a brokenness as women, trying to find our identity as 45+ women. We look forward to reading your book and sharing with other women to help them walk in freedom! Thank you for sharing your heart with the world!
    Karen Friesen

  402. This year GRACE has been given to me by God through my family. I took a part time job to be closer to family and of course that meant budgets had to change. As a family we decided for the adults not to swap gifts this year. What a blessing for a family to understand and make it easier for each other. At moments it still hurts to not be able to afford to purchase gifts for everyone like we would normally, but what a blessing it is to call up a family member and be able to say come over for dinner. We talk, vent, laugh, share, and enjoy our time together!!!!!

  403. Your words of encouragement give me such freedom and to explore ways to experience grace without feeling bound by expectations of others and especially of myself! Your book would be such a wonderful addition to my library. God uses so many people to impact my life and you are one of them.

  404. You have touched my heart so much. You truly inspire me. I love love your Christmas Prayer. I plan to have grace during this Christmas season. I have had such a stressful year this year with my job going thru a merger and I didn’t even take down my Christmas tree, yes you heard correctly. I decided that I would remove that stress from myself. We had limited time to take off. I want to enjoy my family, my church, and the reason for the season. What a blessing to be able to be in the House of the Lord on Christmas morning. Renee you are a true blessing and I want to thank you for helping me get thru my day. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us.

  405. grace to simply enjoy the season and not get caught up in gifts, big meals, being every where. but to simply experience it all through my children’s eyes

  406. Carolyn O'Neal says:

    As I sit here in my home in Texas and listen to the rain fall, I am experiencing God’s Grace. We have had such a drought and I know that we do not deserve the rain, but because of His grace, love, and mercy, He is showering our land right now with rain. For me, I need His grace as I struggle with my addiction to food. Just today AFTER I downed a bag of peanut M&M’s I immediately started the verbal abuse. “How could you be so stupid”, “why do you do this when you are already so over weight”, and on and on it goes. I know that God loves me just as I am, however, I need grace to love myself. I hope to be able to join the study and with the gift of your book, I will not have an excuse, Thank you for your vulnerability as you share your own struggles with your weight. It helps when you know that others struggle. I know that I am never alone, because God walks with me, but it is easy to feel alone in this battle. Thank you for sharing your heart.

  407. I am sending Epiphany Cards-rather than Christmas Cards….I am not decorating the whole house. The tree is up, and the kid’s Fisher Price Nativity is out (my kids are 3 and 6, so my ceramic one stays in the attic). I am not going to lament the few cobwebs when my parents and brothers come for Christmas Eve dinner πŸ˜‰

    I am sharing to facebook as well!

  408. Thank you Renee for this wonderful reminder… I have been wrapped up in the stress and pressure of planning and preparing for the Chirstmas season, and I have forgotten to unwrap the greatest Gift given to us that first Christmas, Jesus. Thank you for encouraging us to find rest in His presense this Christmas.

  409. Thank you for sharing this!! It was wonderful!! I am giving myself grace by not getting caught up in the hustle of Christmas. Taking it easy and making memories!!

  410. Hi, thanks for the message about grace. I sure need it and am thankful for God’s gift. We don’t have the decorations up Yet, and I am struggling with even being interested in Christmas this year. Your message helped me get better perspective.

  411. I am giving myself grace by letting go of some holiday expectations and being available to more spontaneous, simple time with my little children and husband. I also need grace (and motivation) to finish up some large tasks I have started that weigh heavy on the kitchen counter πŸ™‚

  412. Thank you, Renee, for the gift of your video. It is true that we can get lost in the commercialism of the season, so I really appreciate your reminder to feel God’s grace.

  413. Thank you for your reminder about God’s grace. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve already cut back a lot on what I normally do for Christmas (not hosting the Christmas party, not baking six types of cookies, etc..) in attempts to “simplify.” But I’ve done this without embracing God’s grace, and not surprisingly, I feel just as burdened and empty as in previous years. With nine days until Christmas, I am going to start again–try to be still in God’s presence and celebrate His amazing grace.

  414. Laura Hegemann says:

    It is the season to seek Grace! I think everyone gets caught up in the hustle and bustle even if you aren’t doing the big shopping thing. My sixteen year old is out for Christmas break, so I have things planned every day in the week leading to Christmas. Baking cookies and sharing them with grandparents, visiting a relative in a nursing home, work on a home cooked meal together for my husband, and just spending some quality time with family. Thing are always so fast paced, I feel the need to slow down and just spend time reflecting on the the Lord ‘s Grace and how blessed we are. Bur also doing what Jesus would do, share his Love and Grace with others. Merry Christ,
    Mas and many Blessings,
    Laura Hegemann

  415. Renae, I have loved reading your book, “A Confident Heart” and I enjoyed your video message about Grace..I am recuperating from surgery and have been struggling to get everything done…Thank You for reminding me Who this season is about. I would love to be able to share this book with a few friends! Thank you for writing the book and answering God’s call on your life!

  416. Renae, I also shared the link on my Facebook wall…. perhaps there are others who need to hear your message of Grace and God’s presence…

  417. Thank you so much I needed this and do need so much with God confidence in my life!

  418. Even thought I was not able to follow along weekly with the group to read “A Confident Heart”, I was able to finally read the whole book. And the book was excellent. Thank you for your ministry.
    The book was full of truth and very practical. I will keep this book as a reference book to go back to and recommend it to other women.

  419. You know you should read your devotion over and over again and each time it will become so much more real and you’ll get a deeper understanding of what God shared with you to share with us. Grace is such a beautiful word that stands for motherhood and womanhood. Without it we couldn’t manage to take care of all we have to do and still take time for ourselves. Life is just to busy to stop as I’ve heard so many times and smell the roses, pray for ones that God has brought to our mind. Your terrific and so is P31.
    Love you, Sharon

  420. Thank you so much for an inspiring look at the true meaning of Christmas! As women of god we need to share and help each other win the battle of the flesh. God’s Grace is such a wonderful gift and embracing that gift truly brings us closer to Him. I, too, tend to get caught up in the fury surrounding the holiday season. But your message warmed my heart and brought me the perspective I needed at just the right time. God Bless and Merry Christmas!

  421. Oh my goodness – I’m searching everywhere for Grace – trying to enjoy this holiday season for once πŸ™‚ And I am πŸ™‚ Such a blessing!

  422. God know my name says:

    Thank you Renee, for sharing the gift of Grace from God, It is what my weary heart is needing right now.
    Your message really spoke to me. I pray that all who are weary will find rest in God and comfort in his promises and love.

  423. Hi Renee, I sent an email to my friends about the gift we all need and the giveaway. Somehow I missed that detail the first time, that we could do that and get another entry. I don’t have facebook or twitter, but I did send several emails. I really need a copy of your book!
    Merrry CHRISTmas!

  424. I wish I had connected with you years ago but this year I really need the encouragement, fellowship, support and His grace more than ever. , I haven’t sent Christmas cards, put up any decorations, gotten a tree, baked or gotten more than a handful of gifts since my husband died 10 years ago.This time of year used to be so wonderful. I looked forward to each of those things as I prepared for the celebration of the season of His birth, with my husband, his family and friends. I have no children, my family isn’t close, and I lost my job 3 years ago. thank you for giving me the one thing I need to focus on – Him instead of me.

  425. SUE TURNER says:


  426. I am so excited you are doing a give away again . . . I keep signing up and praying it will be my turn this time :o) – – My grace is coming in the way of me telling my mom I can not do Christmas dinner this year due to 6 lil ones finding Santa gifts, unwrappng all their presents and leaving the most glorious mess on the living room floor. Truly is the most beautiful mess. Also to the special service at church we will be attending on Sunday Christmas morning as well. I said ‘no’ to my mom . . . I’m starting to wonder if I overstepped the ‘grace’ boundaries . . .

  427. Thank you for sharing your heart & your prayer poem. It is a real encouragement to me to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas. I also really enjoyed your video clip & the much needed reminder of remembering His plan, presence & promises. I am going to e.mail your devotional & prayer poem to the ladies in my tuesday morning bible study. Iam also going to share with them info on your online study, maybe this way many more women can join that would of not been able to come out to the bible study. Again thank you so much for all your time & effort you put in.May the Lord Bless you &Keep you & make His face shined upon you & give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26

  428. Nora Hannaford says:

    a good book and good coffee! great blessing to give and receive…. You are a blessing. =)

  429. I am out of my comfort zone and comforts of home this year. Whereas I would be deep in baking and my house full of decorations, I am staying in the home of another and content to just take a break in grace this Christmas season.

  430. Alma Doria Garza says:

    In the midst of the craziness. We need to hear encouragement. It is amazing how we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this world. Someone asked me at church today, if I was done with my Christmas shopping and I have not even started. I have been a little financially challenged. However, yesterday thru our Church and Make A Way Charities. My two children and I received blessings. I was speechless. and so thankful. God is awesome and always meets every need especially when we wait and trust in Him. Thank you for sharing this. I really needed to hear this. God bless you and your family,

    • Carla M. Beam says:

      Renee, The Lord has initiated a weekly Bible study in my home regarding His Word in conjunction with your book A Confident Heart.
      He and I spend much time together in prayer for the precious women who faithfully come for breakfast, worship and study each week. And without surprise on my behalf, He shows up each and every week to pour out His love and Holy Spirit on our gathering.
      We have seen a woman delivered of the results paralyzing pain of childhood abuse. One woman shared of the brokenness she experienced as a result of the broken marriage of her parents. I was once and for all finally released into my destiny after praying the Jabez prayer and believing a friend, who sent me a message 9 years ago urging me to claim Jer. 29:11 for my life. Some of our women have learned to claim the promises in God’s Word for themselves because you followed God’s plan for your life by writing this anointed book. God is working in and through your ministry Renee.
      I ask that you would join me in prayer that our Bible study members and I will fervently seek the will of our Father as He releases us to minister to the hurting and the brokenhearted.
      I believe there is work to be done around every corner.
      My request of Our Lord is that I don’t miss my calling. He has made it quite clear that we are all called. However, I believe that that calling is suited specifically to each individual. So please pray for patience and dilligence as He reveals His will for each of us, yourself included.
      It is so tempting to see a ministry need and throw ourselves at it full force. But I so desire to be in ministry where the Lord can be most effective through me.
      Your book was an early CHRISTmas gift to the members of our group. And hands down, this has been one of the most meaningful gifts many of them have ever received.
      Thank you for following the will of our Lord upon your life. We are all the richer for having read and shared your book. May God richly bless your ministry Renee Swope and Proverbs 31 women.

  431. Alma Doria Garza says:

    Opps I forgot to say Thank you for the poem. I am going to share it and bless as many as I can. God bless.

  432. I’m giving myself God’s gift of grace and taking off the pressure of baking dozens of Christmas cookies that we do not need to eat! I’m also going to stop feeling badly that my family or my husband’s does so little together any more and celebrate my own little tiny family.

  433. Carla M. Beam says:

    Renee, The Lord has initiated a weekly Bible study in my home regarding His Word in conjunction with your book A Confident Heart.
    He and I spend much time together in prayer for the precious women who faithfully come for breakfast, worship and study each week. And without surprise on my behalf, He shows up each and every week to pour out His love and Holy Spirit on our gathering.
    We have seen a woman delivered of the results paralyzing pain of childhood abuse. One woman shared of the brokenness she experienced as a result of the broken marriage of her parents. I was once and for all finally released into my destiny after praying the Jabez prayer and believing a friend, who sent me a message 9 years ago urging me to claim Jer. 29:11 for my life. Some of our women have learned to claim the promises in God’s Word for themselves because you followed God’s plan for your life by writing this anointed book. God is working in and through your ministry Renee.
    I ask that you would join me in prayer that our Bible study members and I will fervently seek the will of our Father as He releases us to minister to the hurting and the brokenhearted.
    I believe there is work to be done around every corner.
    My request of Our Lord is that I don’t miss my calling. He has made it quite clear that we are all called. However, I believe that that calling is suited specifically to each individual. So please pray for patience and dilligence as He reveals His will for each of us, yourself included.
    It is so tempting to see a ministry need and throw ourselves at it full force. But I so desire to be in ministry where the Lord can be most effective through me.
    Your book was an early CHRISTmas gift th the members of our group. And hands down, this has been one of the most meaningful gifts many of them have ever received.
    Thank you for following the will of our Lord upon your life. We are all the richer for having read and shared your book. May God richly bless your ministry Renee Swope and Proverbs 31 women.

  434. Renee, just had to say that I shared your poem with the entire fellowship of church this morning. It really came just in time to make me realize that I needed to take things lighter and let God handle the situations. I am giving myself God’s gift of grace by not worrying about who is or who is not showing up at the house. and alot of other minute details. Maybe my blood pressure will go down. from 190 over100. Thanks for your ministry and drinking Starbucks is my way to treat myself along with a good book to read and study.

  435. Dawn Tuller says:

    I need Grace for everyday for sure, not just the holiday season. Thankfully Jesus gives it abundantly – I pray that I will be able to give it also.

    PS – I’m trying to re-subscribe with my new e-mail address and I can’t sign in anywhere. I’ve bought the book for the study in January, but since my sign in isn’t working I’m afraid I’ll miss it. Help!! Thanks.

  436. Hopefully I’m not too late for this giveaway. Renee, I loved your video. It’s just what I needed to hear as I’ve been running around like crazy finishing up work and school, trying to get “ready” for Christmas and not feeling like I’m accomplishing the job. I am going to give myself grace by also not sending out Christmas cards. I have this week off, and look forward to sitting quietly with my Jesus so I make sure I remember just why we celebrate Christmas.

    Good bless you!

  437. I really needed your Christmas prayer. I have been so preoccupied with material things and worrying about my grandson. I forgot to thank God that my grandson is safe in my house. I moved to live with my daughter in a new home and have a new craft room. I have time to be in His presence and thank Him for his wonderful promises. God is a faithful shepherd and I so want to be a good sheep. In fact, I am. He died for me. Blessings to all during this holiday season in which we are assured of God’s continual care.

  438. Should have been a good lamb but sometimes when all the chattering is going on in my head – I feel like there is more than one of me. lol

  439. Thank you for your message. It was just what I needed to hear today. Your messages always inspire me!

  440. Matshidiso says:

    Thank you so much for being such an inspiration.Your devotions really help me a lot.I’ve been going through a rough patch but everytime i read them my soup is revived.God bless u and your family.Blessed christmas and new year

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