I am SO excited about today’s post.
Renee Swope is not only someone I get to serve along side with at Proverbs 31 Ministries, but she’s also someone I really look up to. She’s been with me through thick and thin in ministry, always has an ear to listen and she makes me feel like I can do anything.
And today she’s HERE [squeal!] on this little corner of the world, to share an inspiring message with us and host a special Valentine’s Day giveaway!
The Things We Do For Love by Renee Swope
I had everything I wanted yet felt empty and confused. Although my life was full of relationships and accomplishments I’d worked hard to gain, none could fill or fulfill me.
Frustrated by my aching emptiness, tears streamed down my face as I thought about the guy I dated through high school and college. Our future plans had crumbled under the pressure of me expecting him to be all I needed. I had been crazy about him — a little too crazy.
I’ll never forget the time a friend mentioned my ex-boyfriend was heading to our hometown for the weekend. We worked near each other, so Friday afternoon I parked by his office and waited for him to leave.
We both “happened” to be at the same fast food restaurant, at the same time and bumped into each other. After getting my order, I got in my car and followed behind him, hoping he’d see me, realize he couldn’t live without me and signal to pull over so we could talk.
Seriously, what was I thinking? As you can guess, he never stopped. I was hopeless and humiliated.
A few weeks later, I was taking a walk around my college campus. My eyes drifted to the buildings, dorms and other landmarks of memories. Suddenly my mind filled with a collage of faces, reminding me of my efforts to win the approval of advisors, friends and professors — hoping their affirmation could fill my emptiness.
Although I was graduating soon, had a few great job offers and achieved success in many ways, my heart still felt restless. And I couldn’t help but wonder: Why was all that I had never enough?
A thought rushed through my soul, stringing together two words I had never put next to each other, and I sensed God answering me.
Renee, all you have ever wanted is unconditional love.
Unconditional love? I didn’t know there was such a thing. Then God whispered into my soul: You’ll never find the love you long for in anyone or anything but Me. I AM the unconditional love you’re looking for.
The thought of God loving me without any conditions was inconceivable, yet something deep in my soul told me it was true. I’d been looking for love that didn’t have to be earned. Love I didn’t have to fear losing.
Honestly, it was hard to see how God’s love could fill the emptiness in my heart. It took time, but I came to understand that God created me with a need for fulfillment so He could meet it.
Proverbs 19:22a, says, “What a person desires is unfailing love.” That word “desire” comes from the Hebrew word ta’avah, which means: to greatly long for, deeply desire or crave. Interestingly, unfailing love is mentioned over 30 times in the Bible, and not once is it referencing a person. It is only attributed to God.
God gave us a desire for unfailing love because He knew it would lead us back to Him.
His love draws us to Him. Only we can stop God from reaching the deep and hidden parts within us that need Him most.
Let’s invite Jesus to look into our hearts today so He can show us what, who and where we might be looking to be fulfilled. Then let’s ask Him to fill us with the promise and reality of His unfailing love instead.
When I say… I’ll never be satisfied.
God says… Let My unfailing love satisfy the longings of your heart.
“What a [woman] desires is unfailing love.” Proverbs 19:22
Wow Renee, thank you so much for sharing this!
Ok guys, and now I have some really exciting news. Renee has graciously offered to give away 2 signed copies of her new book, A Confident Heart Devotional.
Enter to win two signed copies of Renee’s new A Confident Heart Devotional book by sharing in the comments:
If you won 2 copies, tell us about the friend you’d give one to!
Winners will be announced here on the blog on Monday.
After you leave your comment here on the blog, head over to Renee’s blog to enter this amazing contest!
ENTER the Let God Love You Contest:
Find out how you can WIN a $50 gift card, 2 additional signed copies of Renee’s devotional book, and a beautiful 8×10 print from Emily Burger Designs at www.ReneeSwope.com
I would give a copy of this book to my friend Linda. She is a Christian, but she holds back on a lot of things, mainly because of her husband. Out of respect for him. He goes to church with her, but he somehow holds her back from being herself. Having read the book and done the study, I truly think this book would give her the confidence to be herself in church with her worship etc. Thanks in advance if I win a copy (2) Have a blessed day! 🙂
I participated in the Confident Heart OBS recently and absolutely LOVED it. I grew so much in my walk with God and I gained a lot of confidence. I have a friend I work with whom always has to be perfect at everything. She clings to new people she meets looking for that “best friend”. I would love to give her this devotional so she knows and understands that she can cling to God for approval; that He can be that best friend she is looking for.
If I won I would give the extra copy to my 21 year old daughter in hopes that she would really get it a whole lot sooner than I did. Even when life is great and you have family and friends that love you, you will not find true love, peace and joy until you realize that God is the only one who can give you that true and unconditional love that will fill all the empty places in your heart. When you seek God with all your heart you will find the love and peace you are searching for.
I would love to win this book!! If I won two, I would give one to my sister. She is such a blessing to our family. Thank you!
Good morning Nicki! Renee’s “A Confident Heart” OBS last spring changed my life and I would love to read the devotional! If I won 2 copies, I would give one to my daughter who is just beginning her journey in a relationship with Jesus! I know that this will help her in learning to be a woman who is confident in Christ! Thanks for the opportunity! God bless!
I would give one to my amazing sister. She is a military wife and mom of almost three kids. She serves in her church, loves the lost and show Jesus to her kids in daily homeschooling. But even with all that, I think it can be easy to lose yourself. To remember that God chose us to be exactly the wife and mom her family needs. She is enough. And she needs to be reminded of that daily. I love her and miss her so much!
Good Morning Nicki…I would give one to a friend who has been struggling so much since the holidays.She is going through a very difficult time right now.Thank you so much..Blessings,Barbara
I’m just wondering…can’t a person also find that unconditional, unearned love from their parents? I know that my son doesn’t have to earn my love and I always tell him that I love him unconditionally. I may not like some of the choices he makes but I still love him. I have a family member who is always doubting her self-worth because of her past and I know she would benefit from the book that Renee is giving away.
Great post!!! I can really relate to this blog post as I’ve had to learn this the hard way. If I won a 2 copy I would give it to the person God places on my heart to give it to for whatever reasons God wants it to go to them.
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity! I would love to read this book & give one to a friend. Happy Valentine’s Day!
What a great reminder.
If I won two copies, the second copy would go to a dear friend who has really struggled over the years and is still trying to figure out who she is in Christ. It would be a great encouragement for her.
I would give the devotional to my friend Kris. Kris is one of my BFFs even though we have not ever met in person and I believe whole heartedly that God brought us together. We do workouts programs together, bible study together, and she is there for me when I ever I need her and loves me no matter what. I would LOVE to bless her with this devotional!
If I won 2 copies I would give one to my dear friend, Cathy. She’s always been solid as a rock for me. She’s finding herself in uncharted territory with a new move and feeling lost. I believe a study together like Renee’s would encourage her and help her find her footing again.
I would give a copy to another fragile heart who needs to hear she’s not alone.
Renee’s book sounds so fantastic….I really need to read it! I would give the second copy to a dear friend of 40 years …a former pastor’s wife who is such a blessing to me!
Love your blogs. 🙂
I love Renee as well…her book was awesome and so perfect for our women’s small group bible study last year!
If I won 2 books I would give both away – one to Allison, and the other to Paula.
Blessings to you,
Hi Nicki,I am hopping over to you from Renee Swope’s Blog to thank you, along with Renee, for sharing an excerpt on her “A Confident Heart Devotional”book. I got the e-book FREE on Valentine’s Day and I love it. I hope a lot of people read it. It’s a very encouraging and helpful message on God’s LOVE! I’m trying out for the contest to win two autographed copies of “A Confident Heart”. Thanks again for sharing. Susan Smith-Allen
I met Renee a couple of years ago at a church she was speaking at and I have read her book 2x and am really looking forward to her devotion. I would give one to the Library at church.
I loved Renee’s book “A Confident Heart” If I won, I would give away both copies, since I have so many I would love to share Renee’s book with. One I would give to my co-worker/friend Renee and the other to my dear friend Heidi. Can’t wait to see Renee’s devotional. LOVED the book. And Nicki, I’m loving you in the Made to Crave going on now 🙂
I would share with my sister. I would love to see her let go of self doubt and find confidence in Christ.
Hi Nicki! Thank you for sharing Renee’s givaway blog. It was my first bible study and I loved it. Then on Friday I got the devotional ebook. Way Cool! Heading back to her blog but thank you!!
If I won the Confident Heart Devotional, I would give a copy to my niece. I completed the study through Proverbs 31 Ministries OBS and it really impacted my life. So much so, I sent her a copy of the book. My niece and I are a lot alike but for different reasons. I was disowned by my father when I was 19 and she had her own family issues with feeling like the second class daughter from the moment of her sister’s birth. I have no idea why exactly. It just is the way it is. This feeling has translated into a tough exterior with a soft frightened center. She has overcome so much from abuse to addiction to drugs. She made some big mistakes in her life, but I know that God can use those very things as her strength. It all starts with love though. At her age, I looked for love like the song says “in all the wrong places.” She simply cut her heart off altogether. I would love to see God open it up again. Thank you!
Hi! You are a new blog to me. Renee Swope sent me. 🙂 I’d share the book with my friend’s wife who is struggling right now in marriage and has a not yet 1 year old baby and another on the way, plus a few children from a previous marriage. She could really use this I think. 🙂
Sent here from Renee Swope’s blog…(but I gotta say, I didn’t know you had a blog, but I read/listened to you throught the P31OBSs and think you are a gifted Bible teacher! Now that I know your blog exists I will have to check it out more.)
I’d give a copy to my pastors wife. She didn’t expect to ever serve this role (pastor’s wife) and needs these truths spoken to her.
I would give one to my niece, who is a single mom and trying to be a good Jesus Girl!!!
Spoot onn with this write-up, I absolutely feel this web site needs a lot
more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the advice!
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