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on July 21, 2011
I feel like someone finally jumped in my head, and my heart and painted over my insecurities with God's word. "A Confident Heart" allowed God to peel the onion of my insecurity one layer at a time, addressing things I never even dreamed were impacting my confidence, like fear and worry. This is one of the books that I will pick up year after year to remind me of the power I have even in my most broken and hollow moments. ~Catherine C
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on October 11, 2011
I first met Renee Swope in an elevator at my first She Speaks Conference.

If I remember correctly, I was bolting up to my hotel room to touch up my lipstick before a publisher appointment.

I was struck by her sweet smile and the hint of mischief in her eyes. Later in the weekend, she shared a stirring message about living beyond the shadow of doubt.

I'm not one who remembers message topics years later, but I remember that one because it spoke straight to the desperate need of my heart.

I heard Renee's message just as I was embarking on a terrible, horrible, beautiful, life-changing quest for wholeness.

The last few years have been a bumpy road of milestones and setbacks. I've been so low I wanted to die and as steady as an elephant's back.

Recently, I read Renee's beautiful book, A Confident Heart.

As I absorbed each page, I felt like it was a chronicle of all the lessons I've learned over these years of healing. Chapter-after-chapter, I found myself nodding in agreement with Renee's hard-won wisdom and perspective.

Using her own experiences, Renee takes her readers from the shadow of self-doubt to the sunshine of security in Christ.

Doubts seem true in the shadow.

I can't do this. Things will never change. My life will never get any better. Change is too hard.

Renee wrestled with all those doubts and more until she came to realize that "doubt and hope cannot live in our hearts at the same time."

Renee explains that it's ok not to be perfect because we serve a God who is. His love won't fail even when we do.

We don't have to pretend to have it all together. Guess what? No one else has it together either!

However, it's not easy to be honest about our doubts and insecurities. "We fear that if people know we doubt ourselves, they'll start doubting us too." Those of us who struggle with insecurity tend to be expert pretenders, but eventually, we just can't do it anymore. And that's just where God wants us.

He wants us raw, restless, and real.

Like the Samaritan woman Renee affectionately calls "Sam", the only way God can "satisfy the thirst of [our] soul [is] to help [us] see it."

Only Christ can quench the thirst we have for true love and acceptance. Once we quit trying to fill our well with counterfeit water, God is free to pour into us from His limitless supply.

God guarantees us a hope-filled future no matter how hopeless our past seems.

He finds a way to make every painful experience from the past into something beautiful, useful, and redeemable.

We must let God rewrite our stories.

Renee writes, "The Holy Spirit showed me I needed to remake my memories by seeing how Jesus had been there all along, and then replace the lies my wounds had led me to believe with new truths He was teaching me through Scripture."

Like Sam (and Renee), we can allow God to make our mess into His message.

There's only one way to live beyond the shadow of our doubts. We must change our focus from self to God. "Turning leads to transforming...and transforming leads to believing as God's thoughts [about us] become our Truth."
Turning away from self
Turning away from doubt
Turning away from darkness
Turning toward God
Turning toward Truth
Turning toward Light
When doubt whispers "I'm not good enough," we must remember that we get our "good enough" from God, not our own efforts.

When doubt whispers "I'm such a failure," we can take hope in the truth that our failures don't have the final say; Jesus does.

When doubt whispers "I don't have anything special to offer," we can be assured that we have unique abilities gifted to us from God Himself.

When doubt whispers "I can't stop worrying," we can rest in the strong arms of God's powerful promises.

When doubt whispers "I can't follow God consistently," we can let God's "grace cover our guilt" and turn us from "wimps to warriors."

We can live beyond the shadow of doubt! The more we know our God, the more we will trust Him, believe Him, and obey Him.

Sister, if you are drowning in doubt, fear, and insecurity, you don't have to live like that any more. Jesus wants to make you well. He is able! He did it for "Sam." He did it for Renee Swope. He did it for me.

Renee's beautiful book, A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself and live in the Security of God's Promises, is a tool God can use to lovingly guide you to assurance, peace, and security.

Not only does the book contain strong, biblical teaching, Renee provides a wealth of practical resources to help you along the way.

My favorite is a listing of the names of God. I will be using that list in my prayer life, lots.

She also provides information about the personality types and the spiritual gifts to help readers understand how they are made and how they are gifted by the Holy Spirit.

The entire book is chock-full of life-giving Scripture readers can cling to and share with others.

I encourage you to pick up copies of A Confident Heart for yourself and someone you love. It would make a wonderful small group study.
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on September 6, 2011
Are you tired of living with your fear-filled thinking, self-doubts, and your own negative-feedback? Then I encourage you to read A Confident Heart: How to Stop Doubting Yourself and Live in the Security of God's Promises by Renee Swope. Through ample examples of her experiences and struggles in these areas, she leads us to see ourselves in Christ instead of in failure.

Each chapter portrays a valuable principle along with examples of Renee's struggles. The chapters end with Scripture-based prayer leading us to recovery and health. Included in each chapter, is a list of pointed questions that make us search our deepest thoughts and feelings on the covered topic.

Not living in confidence, causes us to pretend we are something we are not, because we think that is what others expect of us. I was struck by Renee's insight on this:

"Pretending leads to hiding and isolation. What we need is someone who will pursue us and accept us even though we're flawed. Yet most of us doubt anyone would ever stick with us if we let them get too close. So we put up walls and hide our struggles, even from God, hoping, we'll convince Him and everyone else that we're fine. Eventually, though, we find ourselves in the shadows of doubt, convinced that we aren't worth knowing or pursuing. Slowly we begin to believe we have to be perfect to be loved and accepted." p. 32

Renee points out this in regards to the conversation between Jesus and the woman at the well, "He helped her... see that each broken relationship (with past husbands) had convinced her she was not worth staying for."

How many of us have broken relationships with family and old friends? Those broken relationships often set us up for the next failed relationship which only continues to reinforce our lack of self-worth.

The solution? Renee says, "We were made for love that isn't measured by our last accomplishment but marked by God's measureless grace." (p. 62)

She recognizes that, "When you have been wounded, the risk of getting hurt again seems more costly, and perhaps even more likely, doesn't it?" p. 72

Many of us will have to remind ourselves of Renee`s perspective on family when we become entangled in a web of self-doubts that we have born for years. "We'll also need to realize our family of origin does not define our identity.....Whether we had a great family or not, our hearts will only find lasting confidence when we find our identity as children of God." (p. 90)

Learn more about Renee and her ministry at [...].

I received a copy of A Confident Heart from Revell/Baker Publishing.
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on January 3, 2013
It appears I am the first official 1 star review. The other 1 star review had something positive to say - so I truly feel alone. But I had a completely opposite reaction from the 5 star reviews to this book, and I want to write it for anyone who may be feeling the same way, and wondering if they are the only ones.

I surveyed the positive reviews trying to understand why I did not feel the same way, and was immediately frustrated by the people who gave this book a 4 or 5 star review with not even reading the book. The only three star review states: "Just started reading this and will update as I go along. Excited to start as I have heard Renee speak and now have the opportunity to read her words." Unhelpful. Then, a BUNCH of 4 and 5 star reviews stating they're just starting the book and an online study with the author and they're excited. (An entire study group of people wrote this identical review). Also unhelpful. One review actually stated that they were asked to come online and rate the book before the study. I tried to find it again to post it, but the process took too much time.

It's been a few months since I read the book. It was a library loan, and I don't have it physically as I write this review to quote specific parts that I did not enjoy, but I'll list my main frustrations.

It asks a lot of questions. Paragraphs begin and end with questions, and I just don't find that form of writing helpful. It reminds me of gimmicky commercials on TV. Do you have insurance on this car? Are you worried about a loved one? Are you tired of being in debt? They're distracting. And it makes the content feel manipulative, in a way.

I could not relate to the author or content. Despite many people saying that it was "real", it actually felt contrived. For me, it was "fluffy". It just missed something, depth. I struggled to finish it and did so primarily on the premise that I wanted to finish what I started. It's months later, and nothing stuck. Definitely not my style, but that's the beauty of literary diversity.
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on October 10, 2011
An outstanding book for anyone, especially those with self-esteem and self-worth "issues". I could identify with Renee from the first chapter. Definitely a book I will read over again. The study questions are probing and help you evaluate your own life and experiences. Renee helps the reader to see herself through God's lens, not the warped lens we are so accustomed to using (our own). Reading the book is good, putting it into practice and taking a hard look at your own life is better. I definitely recommend this book!
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on July 20, 2011
Renee Swope knows what she's talking about. In A Confident Heart, Renee shares the truth about living free from doubt with beauty, vulnerability, and grace. Reading this book, I don't feel like someone is preaching to me. Instead, it's like Renee and I are sitting together in her cozy living room and I'm nodding my head with every word she says.
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on April 13, 2014
Religious books are very hit or miss for me, and I wasn't really sure if I wanted to read this book. Did I really need another Southern Christian woman telling me my life is incomplete because I don't have a master husband and children to raise? So I began this book as a heavy skeptic.

Swope is far from perfect. She calls her husband cuss words in front of her children. She is quick to quit and walk away from challenges. She suffers from anxiety and depression and has been medicated at moments in her life.

She also believes that she is exactly the way God wants her to be. Women today are under a lot of pressure. To have the perfect family. To have the perfect career. To look a certain way. Act a certain way, and have it all at once. Swope claims that we don't have to be any of that. God created us to live our lives the best way we know how and to use our experiences to help each other. We can throw all of that other stuff out of the window and just say, "God is enough." That takes a lot of pressure off.

And she admits that you will not perfectly live into that mantra every day. Anyone who seems to, well, you don't really know what is going on inside someone else's head. And anyone who says they do, is a liar. That also takes a lot of pressure off. We aren't going to be perfect. All that matters is that we focus on the gifts we have (because we all have them, and we should get to know them) to make our lives and the lives of others as amazing as possible.

I also like that this book doesn't claim that if you just give everything over to God he will make you wealthy, or always happy, or anything like that. God doesn't promise those things, and Swope doesn't either. The simple message is that if we take the time to know ourselves and know God, we will have the confidence to tackle our passions, which is all we are meant to do in the first place.

My favorite quote from the book,something I struggle with, page 138: "Isn't it easy to completely neglect our dreams and desires to meet the needs of everyone around us and call it self-sacrifice? It sounds godly, but in doing so we risk shutting down a place in our soul where God's dreams and gifts are waiting to be revealed. It's not self-seeking but God-seeking to intentionally get to know and become the woman God created you to be."
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on December 7, 2013
Thank you Renee for a jumpstart on my faith. This 8 weeks was a transformation that I got into a little late, but better late than never. Thank you so much for sharing your life experiences and much more. My confidence, and self-doubt isn't wiped clean, but I know where to find the answers when that doubt creeps in and I start thinking "GOD isn't enough." (the bible, and a relationship with GOD-prayer) If I lose everything else today, and have no place else to go, there IS one thing that STILL remains that seems to have been reiterated throughout your book over and over- NO ONE- NOT ONE, can take our IDENTITY in Christ away from us.

The world can take everything else away from us, but in the end, when we are struggling with doubts, and worries, and think we have lost the fight, know that we haven't because Renee's encouraging words that will erase our self doubt (if we are steadfast in a daily relationship with GOD the father, and his Son, Jesus Christ) will inspire you if you are a new believer in Christ, or have been away for so long, and feel like all hope has been lost (that's me).

Even if you didn't get a chance to enjoy this most recent P31 (Proverbs 31 Ministries is an online Women's Minisitry that Rocks) online bible study, I encourage you to allow Renee Swope an opportunity to transform your life as she has mine, (even if I am far from where I would like to be) and get a copy of this book. You will enjoy it. I haven't been going to church regularly, and stepped away from church for quite a while, but now I feel renewed, and refreshed, and find a need to be in the presence of other believers on Sunday morning thanks to the jumpstart that Renee has given me. That's why I know if it was possible for me to find renewed hope, it is possible for you too to find a renewed hope of encouragement and confidence. Don't let worldly things get you down.

Allow Renee Swope to inspire and transform you as she did me. In my opinion you won't be disappointed.
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on April 11, 2013
It's not everyday when you read a book that is at sharp as a scalpel. This book cut my chest right open and exposed my eyes to a lot of my heart issues that I was ignoring or never saw. Swope wastes no time and dives into the deep issues of doubt that every woman faces in her life. Her chapters are filled with scripture that help the reader get grounded in what God says over us and how to break the lies the enemy has planted in our heart. She hits hard on identity, but not in a way you would expect. Here is a snip it of chapter 6, "I'm Not Good Enough":

"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?"He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraida because I was naked;b so I hid." And he said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" Gen. 3:7-11

God asked who had told them they were naked. In other words, "Who told you that something is wrong with you?" By asking this, He acknowledge that there was someone casting shame on them, and it wasn't Him. He wanted to know they had an enemy whispering lies into their hearts causing them to move away from Him and from each other...

...Rarely do we stop to ask, "Who is saying these things?" What is causing me to doubt myself? Is it me? Is there something from my past that led me to believe this? Or is it the enemy of my soul disguising his voice as my own?..."

Throughout the book Swope drops these little thinking bombs and as you begin to process stuff with the Lord you can feel your heart being strengthened, or should I say becoming confident! If you want to dig even deeper into what Swope is teaching, she has reflection and discussion questions you can go through at the end of each chapter. Because of these questions in some ways I wish I did this book in a small group setting. Don't get me wrong I think this is a wonderful book to read on your own, but I think in a group you could really dig deep and get some fruitful discussion going. I went through most of the question and it made each chapter become more applicable.
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on February 22, 2015
This book is a MUST for anyone who is struggling with their 'humanity' and their 'worthiness' in God's eyes! We are bombarded daily by all of the bad things that go on in our World, and sometimes we lose focus. AND, dare I say it? - even our FAITH dwindles sometimes. That does not mean, however, that we are FAILURES in our walk with Christ. We are to remain strong within our own hearts, and God will always be with us to help us through whatever we face, if we will only LET HIM. We are His voice, His hands & feet here in this World, so we must project that without having to even open our mouths at times! That said, staying in the word, and reading books like this one - which help to LIFT us when we're down - is key to our testimony and to our ultimate achievement of God's will for our lives, and for the lives He allows us to touch with His word by His Holy Spirit. WE ARE NEVER LEFT ALONE....DO NOT DOUBT THAT FOR EVEN A SECOND!! 'For if God be WITH US, who can be against us?" !! Stay strong in the LORD, and don't be afraid to ASK FOR HELP from others when you need it! God be with you as you make your way into the Kingdom one step at a time! See you there!
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