3 Ways To Kick Condemnation To The Curb {KC2TC}


Have you ever wished you could know the difference between conviction and condemnation? Are you tired of feeling weighed down with guilt and shame?

If so, you’re not alone! I believe condemnation is one of our most common and crippling heart-struggles. And I’m determined to kick them to the curb! I hope you’ll join me.

In my Proverbs 31 Ministries devotion today, I share the major difference between condemnation and conviction.

Condemnation is usually a broad stroke of shame that sweeps across our thoughts with generalized statements about who we are in an insulting and accusing way.  The tone of condemnation is always accusing, questioning, confusing and will leads to feelings of guilt and self-hatred.

Conviction is specific and won’t condemn us for who we are, but will be more focused on something we’ve done. The Holy Spirit’s conviction always includes wisdom and instruction to lead us towards resolution, not shame.

Condemnation focuses on the problem. Conviction offers a solution.

  • Take a minute to write down the most frequent shaming, blaming or accusing thoughts you have that make you feel condemned.
  • Using the contrasting examples between conviction and condemnation below, re-write the statement and replace your words of condemnation with convicting yet loving truths the Holy Spirit might say.
  • Be sure to offer yourself forgiveness plus a solution that reflects God’s goal of restoration and His tone of grace.

Instead of the lie: “You’re such a failure as a [wife, mom, daughter, friend],” the Holy Spirit might say, “You were really critical the way you talked to _________. You need to say you’re sorry and ask forgiveness. Then say something to build them up instead of tearing them down.”

Instead of the accusing label: “You’re so hypocritical!”  The Holy Spirit might say, “You judge others for gossiping, but you’re doing the same thing when you talk about your neighbor at work. Apologize for what you said today and share a few things that are positive about her.”

These are two steps to help us kick condemnation to the curb, and there’s more but….

** Due to technical roadblocks and major scheduling challenges, my “3 Ways to Kick Condemnation to the Curb” is not quite finalized. But no worries!! I’d LOVE to SEND it to YOU via EMAIL today this week.   Just ENTER your EMAIL below!

Also, BE sure to ENTER my GIVEAWAY and SIGN UP for the FREE download of God’s Promises too!

Swope_ConfidentHeartDevotional_CVR.inddENTER to WIN 
I am giving away 3 Summer Devotional Gift Packs!! Each one winner will receive my “Confident Heart 60-Day Devotional”  book, a prayer journal and my “Don’t Throw Away Your Confidence” message on CD! Enter to WIN by simply clicking “SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS” below and let me know how I can best help you overcome guilt and condemnation, and if you want to join me in my quest to kick condemnation to the curb! #kc2tc


FREE Download of God’s Promises
Using powerful promises from God’s word, learn how to replace condemning statements you think with loving (and sometimes convicting) truths God wants you to know! Simply enter your email, confirm your sign up, and you’ll receive the download in your inbox this Friday, July 11th.


Swope_200x200Want a daily devotional that’s easy to read, easy to share with a friend and filled with wisdom to get your heart grounded in God’s truth and grace? The “Confident Heart 60-Day Devotional” is all that and more! Click here to ORDER a copy for yourself or a friend today!


Surprised by Motherhood


Her small hands peel back the covers to see if my eyes are open. Gently, I feel her fingers against my cheek as she loudly whispers, “Time to wake up mommy!”

I smile {with my eyes closed} and roll over.  It will take more than her sweetness to convince this tired mama to get out of bed. Hours of driving, sitting on wood bleachers, shouting and cheering for her big brother’s basketball games at a tournament the day before… has worn me out!

I tell Aster it’s still dark and that she needs to go back to sleep. Disappointed yet determined, she walks her little self over to the window, feels her way along the curtains to find the plastic wand so she can pull them back and show me it is NOT still dark. 

Not only is it NOT dark, it is time for breakfast and she knows just what we can eat!


Look Mommy!” She says, as she points her finger to the parking lot. “Wake up and eat popcorn. Seeeeeeeee. There’s a popcorn tree. When you shake it, popcorn falls off!”

Ahhh. Motherhood. It doesn’t come with much sleep, but it does come with popcorn trees! And so many other surprises.

Aster is one of God’s biggest surprises so far in this motherhood journey of mine. Only He could know how much I needed this girl of mine.

God birthed Aster in our hearts and brought her into our family four years ago, just as our boys crested the waves of teenage manhood. Obviously I needed a little more adventure, a lot more carpooling and a huge dose of unconditional love.

And God made sure I got it! All wrapped up in pink bows, giggles, snuggles, sleepless nights, developmental delays, sweet kisses, celebrations,  questions,  fears, happy tears, laughter and memories. So.many.memories.

Today I have a surprise just for you! Im giving away five copies of my new favorite book for the heart of moms, and those who mother in  other capacities: Surprised by Motherhood written by my friend Lisa-Jo Baker. I’m reading it now and  it’s so much more than a book; it’s dessert and friendship for my soul! Today, Lisa-Jo’s publisher has offered to give away 5 copies to five of you!! But first {this}! For days when you wonder if what you do matters, when it feels like the same thing stuck on repeat 365 days a year! Let this be your reminder:  you are braver than you know because you mother!

SurprisedByMotherhood BookcoverWhether you are a mother, have a mother, or have mothered in other capacities and felt inadequate for the job… this is a needed reminder that there is nothing ordinary about being a mother.

Enter to WIN: Simply click “Share Your Thoughts” below and do just that, or share your biggest “surprised by motherhood” moment or memory. We’ll randomly choose five winners and announce them here next week.

The God of Every Story

There’s something about the end of the year and Christmas that stirs up stories in my heart.

Stories that make me laugh.

Stories that make me grateful.

Stories that make me shake my head in disbelief. {i.e. head-on collisions with monkey bars}

Today, in my Proverbs 31 Encouragement for Today devotion, I told the story of my melt-down Christmas several years ago. It wasn’t my best day, but God intersected that story and used my hard place to show me more of His heart and His perspective. He redeemed that day and it completely changed the way the story ended. {If you’d like to enter the giveaway and download the Christmas Prayer, I’ll share how at the end of this post.}

Do you ever think about your story and wonder what it would be like without Jesus?

Today, I’ve invited my very good friend, Melissa Taylor, director of P31 Online Bible Studies, to join me as we share a story God’s been writing for a while – in our lives and the lives of countless other. And, because you’re here today with us, I have a feeling you are part of this story too!

I wish I could sit with you over coffee and hear your story today.

I would love for us to talk about how “we” can link our ARMS, our HEARTS and our PRAYERS together and ask God to do something immeasurably more through us. Will you seek Him with us for prayer and provision as we raise money needed in our ministry to keep bringing Jesus’ hope, truth and love to women and families around the world.

 It’s a big number [$300,000]. An intimidating number. But it’s not too big for God.
Will you be part of God’s story with us today?

Every amount MAKES A DIFFERENCE: $5, $10, $25, $50, $500

Every gift MATTERS.

If you feel called to give, I’d love to be able to thank you.
 Click “share your thoughts” and let me know in a comment under this post.

Also, just this week a Foundation offered a MATCHING GIFT!!
You can find out more at these links below:

Give a One-Time Gift

Become a Monthly-Partner

My Gift to YOU: Download my Christmas Prayer to print or share.

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us.  Ephesians 3:20

OrnamentChrist-Centered Christmas GIVEAWAY worth OVER $35!

Whether you give or not – I’d love to hear from you today!

Is there a way God has used Proverbs 31 Ministries to impact your life and shape your story?

Each of you who leave a comments or story under today’s post will be entered into my Christ-Centered Christmas GIVEAWAY worth over $35! It includes a copy of my NEW Confident Heart Devotional book, A new P31 Women’s Devotional Bible, and Laura Story’s new CD –  “The God Of Every Story.”

Be My God … So I Can Just Be Me

It started with a cough. A few sneezes. Then a horrible headache. For days, I denied it was anything serious. Tried to convince myself I was not really sick.

Pushing through the coughing, wheezing, sinus pain and aches, I resisted slowing down.

Who else would do it all if I couldn’t?

 There were deadlines and expectations to meet, laundry to do, and emails to return. We needed groceries and meals for our family of five.

A few nights of not sleeping {and a couple of hours in Urgent Care on Saturday}, my self-determination caved in. I had a respiratory virus that was being exacerbated by allergies and asthma.

In this unexpected, unwanted, “forced-slowing-down” God’s made it clear –

I have issues: unrealistic and unhealthy expectations of myself.

My heart towards me doesn’t represent His heart for me.

I have these knowing moments.

But then I fall back into pushing myself. I don’t recognize the imbalance until I’m down for the count. I have more than a respiratory virus. I have a soul virus He wants to heal.

Why is this so hard?

I don’t have the answers, but I’m asking the questions. Bending my will, asking Jesus to be my comfort. My expectation. My measure. My drive. To be my God… so I can just be me: tired, behind on my deadlines, needy me.

And this song is playing on repeat. God’s speaking. Thank you Laura Story for capturing my soul-struggle with words and melodies that melt me into His arms of Grace. I hope you’ll take just a minute to listen {and then enter below to win a copy of Laura’s new CD}. You will be so glad you did!

Swope_ConfidentHeartDevotional_CVR.inddHow does today’s post or Laura’s song speak to your heart today? 

Is there some way you need to let go of your expectations of yourself or a situation and ask God to be God so you can “just be you”? 

“Share your thoughts” below for a chance to win one of Laura Story’s new albums on CD.

 I’ll pick three winners to each receive a CDs and a copy of my NEW Confident Heart Devotional book


Laura’s newest full studio album is officially available on  iTunes. Laura is currently on tour with Steven Curtis Chapman and the Glorious Unfolding Tour. And she’s coming to Charlotte December 6th for a Girls Night Out we’re doing together with 91.9FM. More details coming soon!


Connection Calls PROMOWant to join me and Melissa Taylor TONIGHT on the Real Life: Confident Heart Connection Calls ? We’ll be talking with Laura about her life, her faith, the story behind “So I Can Just Be Me” and other songs on her new Album “The God of Every Story”? Find out more and sign up here!

It’s A New Day


 Today is a new day sweet friend – and I’m praying that with the new mercies He brings,

You would know the truths of His Word and depths of God’s love for you!

And that as you head into a new week, you would remember…

YOU ARE all that He sees in you and says about you!

You are Loved.

You are Beautiful. 

You are Chosen.

You Belong.

You were created for acceptance and Jesus is wooing your heart to receive His. 

This week I’d love to speak some “you can live with confidence and hope” encouragement into your heart!

Will you join me on the 

“It’s A New Day” morning Show

with Eric & Heather? I’ll be there MONDAY, September 16th


from 7:30am -9:30am EST

We’ll be talking about the next segment in our FREE Confident Heart VIDEO series…

AND we’re opening the phone lines for call-ins!
I would love for YOU to call and share your thoughts or questions! 

Click here to listen online Monday @7:30am EST!

Click HERE to watch our most current video.

Click HERE to watch any video segments you’ve missed!

Join Me for Session 3 & A Give Away!


 Session 3 of our Confident Heart Video  series launches today!


Then CLICK ON TODAY’s COMMENTS and share your thoughts {or ask questions} you have about today’s video.
I’ll be here off an on all day and would love to chat with you & pray for you!

Everyone who joins the conversation will be entered to WIN
a copy of my book & my NEW Confident Heart DVD.


Don’t Miss a Single Video: Sign up HERE for FREE Confident Heart FREE VIDEO reminders.

* I’ll announce last week’s DVDs winner’s with this week’s winners on Friday!

My Confident Heart video series is being hosted by the “It’s a New Day Morning Show with Eric and Heather” on New Life 91.9FM in North Carolina, 89.7 WMHK in South Carolina, WORD FM in Pennsylvania and 98.5 LiftFM in New Jersey 🙂 Live in one of these states? I hope you’ll connect with them on the It’s A New Day Facebook page!

Seeing God’s Gifts in Our Everyday Moments & Messes

Fields rolled by and I wondered which farm was her’s. I took photos just in case this was the one.

It wasn’t. But we were getting close to the gravel road that would lead us to our resting place. After speaking at a women’s event in Ontario all weekend, I was traveling with my friend Leah to the Farm to visit with my sweet friend, Ann Voskamp.

I couldn’t wait to see Ann and meet her family. Each one as unique and wonderful as I had imagined. Two boys hid (and giggled) under the porch while we visited. Her girls sat on the swing and listened. Flowers bent in the breeze behind the white picket fence.

And a zip line waited for us in the backyard. I didn’t know about it until dinner time. Listening to each child describe their father’s creation and how much time it took to build, voices echoed excitement. So I decided to ask if I could try it.

Smiles stretched big across their faces. No one there knew that this city girl is a farm girl at heart who loves a little adventure.

I even talked their mama into trying it for her first time!!

The next day we sat on the porch, eating apple slices and talking. We talked about the power of naming things like self-doubt, anxiety and fear, as well as the beauty He brings that we easily miss. How naming them can bring clarity to our thinking and invite God into our everyday moments.

Then we talked about framing the moments and messes so we can see God in them and worship Him there. Will you join us on the porch?



Lord, we want to see You. We.Need.To.See.You. Open the eyes of our hearts and our souls, slow us and show us how to frame the gifts You give us each day – the moments, the messes, the simple, the sacred.  In Your Name Amen!

Join Us On The Porch
Slip a note in the comments below this post by clicking “Share your thoughts.” As a special gift, when you join Ann and my conversation you will be entered for a chance to win one of three copies of A Confident Heart or a copy of Ann Voskamp’s New York Times Best-Seller, One Thousand Gifts.




When You Don’t Know What It Is…

 I hated feeling so uneasy and uncertain. Lost within my own heart. If only I knew what was making my emotions so wobbly. If only I could name it. Then I could figure out what to do about it. One morning, Jesus whispered it’s name in the quiet of my heart.  It was doubt. It wasn’t fear. It wasn’t worry. Self-doubt was making  me question everything I thought, felt and said. Naming it helped me know how to pray. Naming it led me to confessions I needed to make and promises I could claim. Naming it made me feel like I could finally stand up to it. Two summers ago, I got to visit the Farm and sit on the porch with my friend, Ann Voskamp. We talked about the power of naming things- the hard and the holy everyday grace things. How essential it is to our healing. We shared how doubt and fear had overshadowed our lives for so long, but how we both found hope and freedom once we learned to name them. Would you join us on the porch? {Be sure to turn up the volume. A tractor passes by and it gets kind of loud.} If you’re reading this via email, click here to view the video on my website.

“When you don’t have a name for something, you’re haunted by it’s shadows…But when you can name something… It loses it’s mask and you can find a strategy to deal with it.” (One Thousand Gifts)

Just days after Ann and I chatted on the porch, I received these two notes. “Renee, I just finished reading the first chapter of A Confident Heart . Thank you so much for writing a book like this and knowing exactly what it’s called that I’m going and have gone through all my life and didn’t know what it was called. ~ Sharon “I’ve always doubted myself, but like you I called mine different names. It felt so good to know and hear that I am not alone and that I can find my God-Confidence. ~ Megin


Lord, thank you for showing us just how much we need to name that doubt, that fear,  that worry – so we can find a strategy to overcome it with You! There is power in Your Name, and power in naming the things that hold us captive. Give us wisdom and insight to name them, and courage to claim and walk in the overcoming power that is ours in Christ. In Jesus Name Amen! Join Us On The Porch Slip a note in the comments below this post by clicking “Share your thoughts.” As a special gift, each of you who join Ann and my conversation will be entered for a chance win one of three copies of A Confident Heart and one copy of Ann Voskamp’s New York Times Best-Seller, One Thousand Gifts.

Meet Us On the Porch Again This Week? Ann and I kept talking, and we’d love for you to join us on the porch again on Thursday, when we’ll share more. If you’d like a little reminder, enter your email in the box in my sidebar that says

RECEIVE EMAIL UPDATES and I’ll slip a note in your inbox when it’s posted.