Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Shadows...good one

Renee Swope August 31, 2011
Living Beyond the Shadow of My Doubts
Renee Swope

"You are a chosen [woman], a royal [priest], a holy [daughter], God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV)
I stood in front of my bathroom mirror getting ready for a large event while begging God to zap me with confidence, or send Jesus back before it was time for me to speak. I had been struggling with paralyzing self-doubt that week, and it was making me question everything.
Although I was honored when the event leader called months before, now I questioned why I'd accepted the invitation. And my internal dialogue was relentless...What if I forget what I'm going to say? What if my points aren't that powerful? What if they don't connect with my stories or laugh at my humor? What if...?
When I turned around to put something in my suitcase behind me, I noticed a huge nine-foot shadow on the wall. I was surprised how big the shadow was and how much it distorted the image of my five-foot, two-inch frame.
All of a sudden, I realized my uncertainty had also created a huge shadow—a shadow of doubt. It was distorting my thoughts and overpowering my emotions.
As I stood there looking at the humongous shadow, I sensed God whispering to my heart: Renee, you can only see the shadow because you have turned away from the light. Turn back toward the light.
Slowly I turned back toward the lights above the mirror, and realized I was no longer standing in the shadow. And, I also realized I had created the shadow by blocking the light.
Shadows are created all around us when something blocks light. And so it is with the shadow of doubt. When we focus on ourselves and how inadequate we feel, or what others are thinking about us, we cast a shadow of doubt in our minds and block the light of God's Truth in our hearts.
Yet, we were not designed to block the light or to be the light.
We were created to live in the Light, by focusing on what God thinks about us instead. I love how John the Baptist is described as "a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light." (John 1:7-8, NIV)
The same is true for us. Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12b, NIV) When we follow Jesus closely in our thoughts, we find our confidence in Him.
As we shift the focus from our feelings of inadequacy to His promises of all-sufficiency, we can exchange our lack of self-confidence with lasting God-confidence. And in doing so, our lives become a witness, testifying of the One who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9, NIV).
Are you ready to become a more Jesus-dependent, God-confident woman whose assurance is found in Him alone? If so, when you find yourself standing in the shadow of self-doubt, instead of wishing for more self-confidence, pray for lasting God-confidence! Then turn towards the Light so your heart can focus on and live in the security of His promises:
• When you feel inadequate, remember God says: You are CHOSEN.
"'You are my witnesses,' declares the Lord, 'and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.'" (Isa. 43:10a, NIV)
• When you feel unable or unstable, God says: You are ABLE.
"The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights." (Hab. 3:19, NIV)
• When you feel unworthy, remember God says: You are LOVED.
"You are precious and honored in my sight, and...I love you." (Isa. 43:4a, NIV)
Lord, Your Word says I am a chosen woman, a royal priest, a holy daughter, a woman belonging to You. Help me remember that You have called me out of the shadows of my doubts to tell others about the Light and hope I've found in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Application Steps:
What are your most common thoughts of self-doubt and how do they make you feel? (inadequate, uncertain, indecisive, etc.) Click here for a list of powerful promises to replace them.
"When we focus our attention on ourselves, we turn our attention away from God. We leave no room in our thoughts to listen to what God is thinking about us, because we have given that place away to be occupied by other people's opinions." — from A Confident Heart
Power Verses:
Luke 24:38, "Why are you frightened?" [Jesus] asked. "Why are your hearts filled with doubt?" (NLT)
Romans 8:6, "The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace." (NASB)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Emma wanted to go to work with Daddy, and she found her perfect escape!

Can you have too many pictures of your baby girl in her daddy's lunch bag? I think not!

Such a cutie!  ...and no, she didn't end up going ;0  She had a grand 'ole day with Mama at home instead.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ann's 40th

I was back tracking through the last month's worth of postings...I knew it'd been a while since I'd posted photos of events or things we've done, but wow - a whole month of my ramblings with sporadic Emma pics?!  I think it may be a while for some of you to even see the 'udpates' because you were afraid of running in to my wordiness again ;0  (yes, I have heard the - too many words, scroll to the pictures comment!).


July 16, my sister Ann turned 40!  At the beginning of the year, my mom, sister Diana and I were sitting around talking about birthdays this year and realized her big day was on a Saturday and immediately we began the mental preparations for a surprise bash.  As we approached, we enlisted the help of her BFF, Ezabel and off we were in to preparation over a few months.

Here are a few pics that we put on suckers, which were used as centerpieces, taking us back in the day ;0

with Nana...
...looking like Jayce
...on the beach with Dad
good 'ol softball days!
with Mom & Lita
portrait of the sisters ;0

Sadly, I think this is one of our last 'family' shots we ever took...makes me want to make sure we always take them now!
in Mexico riding a donkey (I'm sure going from some one's house to someone elses)...and the 80's hairdo

And here's our invite that we sent out with one more cutie of a pic.
And here's the party through photos.  I was so busy getting this and that ready and moving on from one thing to the next that I didn't pick up the camera much and forgot to just nominate someone to be snapping...but we did get some pics in randomly throughout the evening!

...eagerly waiting as we got the 'around the corner' text ;0
...and the entrance...
Emma's so good, she just got tossed around from person to person and was loving it!
bff-cousin Dago ;0 who I've learned is pretty private and doesn't go around people a pretty special of him to come!
our tired girl who did not have bath and bottle at 7 pm (considering the birthday girl arrived about 6:30).  don't forget: she was NEVER a cuddly baby!  She just started doing this about 3 months ago or so.
...getting a little cake fix ;0
the happy couple whose getting married 10/1!  Pics of their wedding to come!
Isaiah...getting so big! Eating the sucker with wrapping ;0
and big-boy Jayce standing up on everything!
'friends' ;0

We've learned that a couple of people spilled partial beans as the day approached...but the when (time) and where remained a mystery.  She was only about an hour and a half late to her party because she was not wanting to leave the beach, where she spent the first part of her day.  All in all, she had a great day!  Thanks to everyone that was able to make it!

 click here for all pics (and more emma pics;0)

Monday, August 22, 2011


Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. 
Isaiah 41:10

Nope, I'm not feeling overwhelmed or discouraged today.  It was nice to re-read something I'd come across about a month ago when I was feeling both of those things.  It encouraged me in another way :)  

I've fallen off of the scripture memory wagon over the past couple of months, but am jumping back on with this one.  I can see it coming in handy for me ;0

Please pray with me for some friends.  One friend that I think is going through a difficult, life-changing decision/situation, another that is searching herself for the woman God's designed her to be, and another whose walking through the decision of quitting work to be at home with her two kiddos, and all that brings about to her life and marriage ;) 


Friday, August 19, 2011

Tiny Dancer

...OK so, when I envision 'dancing' it isn't quite like this, but at least she hears music, feels it and when she chooses to clap or make noises along with songs, she is pretty coordinated ;0  Mama's proud:)

In the middle of playing with her dolls, she heard the music playing in the background and was so excited!  When I turned it up, she got SUPER excited (I think she likes the sound of the crowd as much as the music and singing ;0), so I had to reach for the flip...enjoy!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ms Flexible

We keep hearing people be surprised at how flexible Ms Em is.  I just figured all babies are pretty bendy :)

The other day (okay early July), we were on the changing table...well, not me of course ;0 ...ANYWHO, I was getting a pump of my lotion antibacterial after I tossed the dirty diaper in the trash, and had to look down for some reason.  When I looked back up, this is what I saw: 

...Look closer...

YEP - she decided to suck on her toes ;0 And when I grabbed the camera, she decided to try to smile while keeping her toes in her mouth.

Such a cutie!!

This week has been busy-busy-busy!  But a good one!  I'm processing my day yesterday and hope to share about it soon :)  Hope to start catching up on the pics by Monday!

Friday, August 12, 2011

The chatter box

I know I haven't had time to upload pics, and had the chance to grab the flip to record hope this makes up for our picture-less week :)

This is a typical conversation between Emma and I.

Sure has come a long way from this!  She has finally gotten the hang of pushing the toy around (she didn't like it much at first), and when she runs in to a road block, she'll usually re position it and herself so she can continue on!  Too bad I distracted her, you could have seen her in action ;0  We've got a smart (and determined) one on our hands!

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Slow Down and Inquire

Just finished a some devo time and the topic today was to slow down and inquire, coming from Joshua 9.  This has probably been one of my most repeated lessons (thank you, Lord, for your endless patience with me ;0) since last year Mayish.

I thought it was funny to reflect on all my projects/commitments or as the devo called them 'attachments' that I've got going on.  Only one of which I sat and prayerfully considered.  The rest I felt like I had to say yes to.  Yet, here I am, feeling like I can't catch a break because I have too many projects lined up ahead as I'm coming off of Emma's birthday party extravaganza ;0  Ok...wasn't an extravaganza, but the first time I'd done a solo event in a while!

So nice to know that I can still pray about all these 'attachments' now, and if I must turn something down, the Lord will guide me to it and the person I have to turn down and it'll be all good :)

What's on your to-do or project list?  or is there a relationship you're 'attached' to that perhaps the Lord would like for you to inquire with Him over before continuing?

Stay tuned for updates on pics from July events, as well as Emma's bday party!  This week, I'm focused on finishing up my cousin's wedding invites (the one project I prayed over and accepted gladly;0).  As soon as I turn those over to he and his lovely bride-to-be, I'll have a little time for picture posting.

Friday, August 5, 2011


My precious little girl!!