About the Author

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, heart-encourager, and grace-needer. She's the best-selling author of "A Confident Heart" and her new book, "A Confident Mom" is releasing Fall 2021. Renee is also the familiar voice of a friend to women around the world as former Proverbs 31 Ministries' radio co-host and executive...

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  1. Renee, your post is so timely to my situation! As Gods words is so often timely! I am due to start the rest of my Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies a patg I believe God has called me to do. Because everything fell into place last year when I started part-time with a busy life, being a wife and mother to 3 growing children the Lord provided me with a job out of nowhere and acceptance into the Masters. Now he has blessed me with a scholarship and to cut back on my job to one day a week. He has answered my prayers I think, to do three papers in the first semester to allow me time in the second semester to undertake possibly overseas and my husband is now ok with this. I’m scared, I am not sure I can take on such a workload with the kids too and I hope I have interpreted his will properly that this is the way to go, his path for me.

    I like Joshua cannot do this alone AT all, and in the same breath I feel it will be ok because God is with me. I’m not sure where this will lead but I know God is with me and it is because of Him and His strength and His will that hopefully I can complete this Masters and serve in his name.

    I honestly sometimes think is this all in my head, the possibility to do this and work for peace to help people…the doubts come in I’m not good enough, what can I offer anyone? I’m 38 with 3 kids, what am I thinking??? But inside I inherently know and believe have faith this is where I’m supposed to be, I just need to try my best and the leave the rest to God.

    • #meant to say complete my practicum in the second semester with an NGO or United Nations affiliated organisation and then we write a 18,000 word report on it.

    • Jas,

      One of the things that gives me courage and hope when God calls me to the impossible, is that ALL through the Bible HE did the same thing with those He called into a place of spiritual influence. They weren’t anything special but what made them qualified was His presence with them, and His power at work through them. And you know what? They all doubted themselves, so we’re in good company and have all the confirmation that we are heading the right direction: inadequacy, self-doubt and a BIG GOD!!

      Praying you’ll be encouraged this week as you keep walking forward in your God-sized assignment!

    • I am 63 years young. I have lived alone almost all my adult life. Married, divorced twice. I have lived alone since I was 32 years of age, except for pets and a gift from God, which I will tell you about next. I have lived in my Mother’s home now for almost 3 years. I was forced to move here after a downsizing with my 18+ year old Joshua, my dog..a gift from God..this I know. He was the life that was given to me to save my life from a living hell. He passed away 3 days after our move from a home that was his safe place. A home I wanted to buy. I grieved 24/7 for almost 2 years. I have gone back to work. Taking a job where I am making approximately 5K less a year. But, I needed a job and it was what I knew…but, it was also where I had been downsized twice. So, I made a promise to God and myself..that I would clear my debt..get money saved up and when I move out be in a position where I can again stand on my own two feet without the need of any help from anyone except my God. I have prayed about it, asking God why it is so hard..I have dealt with an abusive, alcoholic brother who also lives here. I have given my Mother almost as much money as I have needed to pay off and my job started off with 3 females that would have done everything to get rid of me. And honestly, since I was downsized twice front this industry, I still do not feel 100% secure of my future, as much as I want to see my future here and working from home, again. A new home where I can feel safe and secure and adopt my new fur baby, Caleb. Things are not happening as I hoped and prayed for. I do not have all my debt paid off nor a down payment for a new home or to pay for a mover, etc. And I do not understand why I have given, hoped, believed, prayed, cried, kept putting one foot in front of another and yet..I do not feel close enough to step out and take that leap of faith. What would I say? “Don’t worry, God’s gonna pay you!” I want to believe certainly that He will keep His promise but, I am losing out here. I’m scared! I do not, cannot stay here any longer…my nerves are shot! Tell me what to do…

      • Hi Cindy,
        I certainly cannot tell you what to do but if you do not feel safe in your mothers house with your brother there then you need to look for alternative accommodation. Easy to say I know but perhaps a small place as a temporary step do the numbers can you still afford to pay debt and save for a deposit. Maybe you need to reassess your dreams ie size of house etc. meet with a financial planner/ a friend good with numbers or websites etc and plan. See what you can afford then set your goals whether 2 or 5 years, you will get there. God will and does provide but in his time not ours. At least you will feel better knowing you have this concrete plan in place and again something I am learning is you can only live in the present time. Don’t twist yourself up about the future (still do your plan) and then leave the future to God. We only have each day, one step at a time, day at a time. It will be ok.

  2. Isn’t it just incredible that the “bad news” of our incompetence or our inexperience or our fear are really the very GOOD news by which God shows his incomprehensible power!
    I am in awe of women who adopt a second family, but so thankful when it happens because my youngest son’s best friend was adopted from Ethiopia as a tiny boy. They were friends before they even spoke the same language, and now they’re 16.

    • Incredible indeed — “the “bad news” of our incompetence or our inexperience or our fear are really the very GOOD news by which God shows his incomprehensible power!”

      I love that your son’s best friend is adopted. It’s a beautiful gift!!

  3. Renee,
    I have found myself in the “face of the impossible” on more than several occasions. I admit that my tendency was often to do like Jonah (and run), or like Moses (and give excuses for my shortcomings), or to just plain doubt my ability. Fortunately God doesn’t call us to be “able”, He simply calls us to be “available”. God also doesn’t give us grace in our imaginings….He only gives us grace when we step out in faith and say “Okay, Lord, here we go.” Then He showers down grace and mercy like a waterfall. He makes us “able” and He gives us the strength to make it through. I can honestly look back and say that God has never ever abandoned me or forsaken me. It helps me go forward knowing He is true to His promises. God bless you for stepping out in faith and not your ability.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev, I shook my head with yeses and amens as I read your comment. When I felt terrified and overwhelmed with doubt God clearly told me I didn’t have to feel able, He just wanted me avail-able. I could be that, for Him. And He provides the rest. Every day I am still dependent on Him for this assignment, and He is faithful when I rely on Him and not myself. I love that you see the same in your story. Thank you for sharing so honestly!!

  4. Thank you for your words this morning. Our home caught fire last January and we lost everything. Our new home is almost ready after 13 months, there have been so many challenges along the way, especially a recent one, regarding getting the co and the builder concerned aboyt getting the heldback insurance money so we can finally move back in. The Lord is asking for us to wait at every turn. Please pray for us to remain like Joshua. I know the plans He has for us must be very great.

    • Oh Sharyn, I cannot imagine how hard this journey been and how long this wait has felt. Im sure longer than just over a year. I am praying for you now, and God is bringing Isaiah 42:16 to mind for you and your family:

      “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.” Isaiah 42:16

  5. Thank you for this Sunday morning encouragement. Joshua is one of my “go to” books to learn about courage and perseverance.

    I have experienced impossible many times but when I step back and look at those times, I see God written all over them.

  6. We became parents in our late forties and raised two siblings who were 6 and 7 years old. Brother and sister who had been neglected and exposes to abuse. We went to several years of counseling and anger management classes. Through the grace of God they were very smart talented and athletic children and graduated from high school with scholarships. Our daughter is married with a little girl now. She has completed coursework towards a certification as a medical coder. Our son works and attends classes for computer technology.
    We continue to pray everyday for their success and that they will believe that God’s love is real for them. Also we are grandparents to Paisley Marie the new love of our lives.

    • Theresa, what a beautiful story of God’s redeeming love and grace! Im so glad you shared it. What an amazing gift you and your husband were and are to these kids who are now grown ups with a hope and future!! God’s grace to you and yours!!

  7. Renee,

    This post reminds me of Ruth & Naomi. God did not abandon them-although it may have felt that way. He was there guiding their steps. It was by faith that Ruth went back with Naomi. God stepped in & put her in Boaz’s field. She could have ended up anywhere. Think also of Queen Esther. She had to bravely go to the king without being summoned. She had to tell him that Haman was plotting to kill her people. It was only by God’s strength that she was able to do that. Back in 2016 I had a time when I knew only God could help me. My aging dad’s dementia got bad & he was hospitalized. It was a painful time for me. God was with me & gave me the strength to endure that & move on. I’m stronger for having gone through that with God!

    Blessings 🙂

    • I love all the examples from scripture that you shared Beth. All the beautiful parallels of God’s provision for those who seek Him in the middle of their own impossible He is so good!! And your own story of such a hard season, and His presence that gave you the strength to go through it and grow stronger from it. I love how He redeems our losses and works even the hardest most painful times together for our good and His glory. Thank you for sharing!!

  8. I recently commented on looking back on my life, I felt I had a lot of shortcomings but I now realize it was supernatural strength and love that saw me through, time for the walls of Jericho to fall,

    • Amen!! Isn’t it amazing how God can use the things we wish were so different or better, to show how He was with us all along and it was in our lack that He was able to show up for us! Im glad you see the good in it now. 🙂

  9. Renee, the Lord has led me through hills and valleys throughout a long life of seeking Him and his ultimate pattern for my life. There were days that stretched into weeks of desert whereby I dispared I would never be used in a significant way. (oh, ye of little faith, right?)
    I weapt in my prayer corner, into my dish water, and down the front of my T-shirt as I prayer-walked my way around our little town seeking the Lord for guidance. I so wanted to make a significant contribution to His kingdom.
    The usual opportunities came my way. The teacher of a church Connection Group, facilitator of Saturday morning in home, women’s Bible study, (who, consequently studied The Confident Heart, by none other that yourself,) and various and sundry other opportunities to contribute. Still there seemed to be something more.
    Having enjoyed/endured homemaking, being a Mom, the perpetual grade parent, three entrapreurial endevors , (that fell flat), and grandmothering four precious “Baby Grands,” STILL there seemed to be something more.
    After a long life of soul searching, prayer, Bible Study, and having reached my sixtiath year, our precious Lord, Who has the best timing, recently whispered into my spirit exactly what He desires to produce. He painstakingly developed within me a blueprint for selecting meaningful scripture, praying this scripture and tying it to a ficticious life story. This is to come together in a short story collection.
    I share this blue print because there is possibly someone else out there who He has in mind as His scribe. If so, I hold this loosly in my hands.

    Thank you Renee and all your colleagues for allowing our Lord to whisper into your spirit. He has used each of you, among those of other ministries, to help us relinquish our own desires into His precious hands, to reconsile our differences and respond to His call upon our lives.

    • What a beautiful reflection of a life well-lived Carla. It might have all seemed ordinary to you, but it was some of the most sacred, holy and beautiful offerings there could be. I love how He’s giving you a new song in your heart and a creative outlet for the longing of your soul. I pray you enjoy this new season and your delight in Him grows stronger and sweeter each day!

  10. Thank you for these encouraging words of truth today.
    I really needed to read this.
    I have a medical test coming up and I need His strength and courage, as I trust Him.
    I know He is with me and has great plans for me…just as He did for Joshua!
    Bless you!

    • Yes, He does Susan!! Praying for you now: “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17, NLT

      • Thank you so much for your prayers and this awesome verse! You made my day!
        God is so good!
        Hugs to you!

  11. Renee your words never fail to speak to my heart. The question you pose is the one in my heart today. Thank you for sharing your story (and that of your little girl) and Joshua’s and the encouragement we have in God’s presence and promises. God is using your words to minister to me in a very private and painful and confusing season. Thank you. Blessings, Kristin

    • Oh sweet Kristin, I am pausing to pray for you right now. I’ve been in a very private, painful, overwhelming and confusing season that has felt like such a wilderness so I know how hard that is. I pray that theses words He gave me to share will keep you company today and this week. That you will know He has never left your side, and He never will.

  12. Renee,
    What a timely message for me right now! My daughter, who we were also blessed with through adoption, has struggled in school due to sensory issues, ADHD, Aspergers and the social/emotional roller coaster ride of anxiety/depression that comes with it all. I am an elementary media specialist who has worked full time during most of her school career (she’s now in 10th grade), and I am truly exhausted at fighting battles with 504s and IEPs that do not seem to help or take away the stress. I feel I need to take a break from my current responsibilities in order to focus more on her and possibly homeschool her. With a son in college and with her medical needs, I still need to bring in an income, but I also need the flexibility to home school her and take her to band and physical therapy. It’s a faith walk at this point in waiting on God to point me in the right direction then provide the means. It is the courage I gain in knowing we serve a might God that works all things for the good of those that love Him and who are called according to His purpose. Thank you, Renee, for reminding me of this. Love, Carol

    • Carol, thank you for sharing your story and how I can pray for you and your daughter. Our girl has lots of sensory struggles, along with severe anxiety, developmental delays, learning disabilities and a very extensive IEP. We have done non-stop therapy of some kind, usually more than one at a time, for the past seven years and it is so much. I know you are both exhausted and Im praying the Lord will give you the direction you need with your job, your own soul care and your daughters needs too. One day at a time my friend. Don’t let this consume all of you. God is constantly reminding me SHE is his and I am HIS, and we both need Him more than anything. Im learning to slow down and listen for His lead when my heart wants to rescue her. It all feels so weighty but He is writing their story and we can’t mess it up. #preachingtomyheartandyours #withyou

  13. Oh Renee how I needed to read this. I am just beginning to homeschool my granddaughter due to a divorce & my daughter having to move into an apartment in a very poor area of Philadelphia b/c it’s all she can afford. The school was a scary place where the children get yelled at all day by teachers, lunchroom help and even at recess. When I realized what was happening, only b/c my granddaughter’s personality was changing for the bad, I felt the need to step in and rescue her. So a month ago we pulled her out of the school & I’m homeschooling her. I have never been a teacher so it’s been overwhelming. The lesson planning is all laid out for me but trying to figure out what to teach with what book & find the information they refer to has been exhausting to say the least. She is 6 so it’s just first grade PTL but I’m 60 so it was a loooonng time ago that I did this kind of learning. I’m praising God for the blessings that come along with spending so much time with her & all the fun we have however it’s very challenging to have to parent her & not just be her Nona. My health is not 100% I live with a lot of pain so that puts a real damper on my stamina. Prayers appreciated I don’t feel equipped for this at all. It’s been a very long 4 weeks.

    • Mair, what a huge heart you have and what a big gift you are giving your precious grand daughter!! Im praying for you to feel God’s peace wash over you today as you remember she is HIS and He will give you what you need each day as you seek Him. And please remember to mostly have fun!! That’s what she needs most as she learns in kindergarten and first grade. Praying for you!!!

      • Thank you so much for the prayers. Oh we are having fun we laugh all the time b/c Nona (I) mess up a lot so we are having fun with it and when she learns something we have a minor party & celebrate. She’s an amazing little angel and I feel so blessed along with the overwhelming feelings ☺️ I just keep telling God He has to do this b/c I’m clueless

        • I Am is the one who will do it, the great I Am, He will guide you each day. Keep seeking Him and you will find Him, as well as what to do each day and who to talk with or meet. He helped me greatly in my homeschooling and in my teaching roles he later gave me. Your granddaughter is truly blessed by your heart for the Lord and for your family. Keep praying and your granddaughter will learn the greatest lesson of her life-to trust the Lord.

          • Hi Ladies,
            Just wanted to thank you again for reaching out to me in a time of desperation. Overwhelmed doesn’t begin to describe how I was feeling. Inadequate and stupid were the words screaming at me BUT God kept giving me the strength to push forward and keep trying. It took much longer than I would have liked it to (almost a month) to get a routine going and to understand what I was doing but we got through and are doing well now. She still doesn’t like “school” mostly b/c of the year she spent in that horrible school but I’m trusting God to erase those memories and that Hadley will come around to enjoy learning. She is so smart and sweet and funny so the memories for me have been a true blessing to cherish.
            So again I thank you for encouraging me at such a desperate time b/c I wasn’t even sure I was doing the right thing since she has to be separated from her mommy for 5 days and nights. As if the divorce wasn’t difficult enough and her dad not being interested in seeing her very often, now this. In her very short 6 years this precious soul has been through more grief than most adults have seen their whole life. I just praise God for letting me be there for her through it all 🙂
            Blessings ladies
            Mair

  14. This is so good – I’m just anxious about a whole range of things – finding a new car I might have to buy or repair the old one; I’m desperate to move but how and where to; being on my own in later life. It all feels too much and without vision. And I have whole lot of hopes that I feel God has given me throughout my time of being a Christian that haven’t come to pass and I feel he has passed me by.

  15. Renee,
    Thank you. I so needed this today. God spoke through you to me today. God bless your ministry.