Just to Be Close to You

If you found your way here through my devotion “Up Close and Personal”, featured today through Proverbs 31 Ministries and Crosswalk, I’m glad you stopped by. My blog is where I share the journey of my heart. I hope you’ll stay a while, and come back any time you just need a place to connect your heart to God and other women in your journey.

As I mentioned in my devotion, that day as I scraped paint, I had lots of time to think. I thought about how much I can be like my house and how far God has brought me. I thought about the years I worked so hard to live my life in such a way that from a distance, everything about me looked “fine.”

Yet on the inside I was struggling with things I didn’t want anyone to see…shame from my past, fears of my future, insecurities that paralyzed my heart. Living up to others expectations and losing my identity with each dreaded attempt to keep others at a distance. Dark shadows of doubt surrounded my heart, and the darkness of depression threatened to swallow me whole.

I wanted to be known and to be loved for who I was. I wanted someone to see past the exterior façade and look into the secret places of my heart. Yet, I feared if others knew me they could never love me. So, I buried myself in non-stop activity. I did everything I could do to keep me from having to process my pain. Then to make sure no one got too close, I pulled away from relationships with those who knew me best and loved me most. I created what I feared: I was alone.

By the time I was 22, I was exhausted. I couldn’t pretend anymore. I ran out of paint. The columns of my life started crumble. The sills around the windows of my heart began to rot. I needed help but I’d pushed everyone away. The only one who I could talk to was God so I cried out for Him to takeover my life.

Over time He revealed Himself to me – through sermons at a nearby church I’d visit, through books I read, but more than anything through His Word. I read stories that echoed the struggles and desires of my heart. I read words that gave me hope; that told me that I was not alone. Words that led me to a Savior who wanted an up close and personal relationship with me. A relationship where even with my flaws and failures I felt accepted. A relationship where I could be known and loved!

It’s what He came to offer each of us. He came up close because He wanted to know us personally. John 3:16 says that God loved us so much that He sent His Son into the world so that we could know Him and believe in Him. Verse 17 explains that God sent Jesus to save us, not to condemn us. So, no matter where we’ve been or where we’re headed, He meets us right where we are.

I want to encourage you to read a story that reveals the depth of God's desire to have an up close and personal relationship with you. It’s about a women at a well who met Jesus while she was running errands – and running from others (4:7-30, 39-42). Even if you’ve read it before, I hope you’ll read it again in light of today's devotion.

Beginning this weekend, and through next week, I'm doing a mini on-line study, where I'll share something each day that I've learned from this story. I'll have questions and things we can ponder together as we uncover some treasures of truth hidden in this up close and personal conversation between Jesus and a woman just like you and me. It's my favorite story because with and without words, Jesus says, "I came all this way, just to be close to you!"

I'll be giving away a CD
on Monday.that includes my personal testimony woven in with a teaching on the woman at the well, called Searching for Satisfaction. To enter the drawing, leave your email or share your thoughts.

  • Are there things that keep you from letting others and even God get close to you?
  • What does it evoke in your heart when you hear that Jesus wants an up close and personal relationship with you?

To enter the drawing or to simply share your thoughts or questions, click "comments" below. Be sure to leave your email so I can contact you if you win.



43 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never believed i was alone, but today you helped me realize that i needed to acknowledge that i needed an up close and personal saviour, the only one who would never desert me, no matter what. I acknowledge that i focused on other things and areas and not my God who previously i was very close to but now i am afraid that if i go close to him he will take away from me the only human friend who understands me. Please pray for me as i invite Jesus to be my up close and personal friend, at any cost.

Thanks a million for your writings i am sure going to visit you more often. Thanks once again. God Bless.

Blogger KimAmburn said...

I struggle with letting others truly get to know me, because I'm afraid if they do, they won't like me. It's uplifting to hear others have simliar fears. I going to my bible right now to read the passage you recommended. Thank you!

Blogger Joyful said...

Oh Renee....I could have written this post. God is working so hard at removing my mask. The other day I felt "up against a wall" so to speak and almost retreated, even wanted to close up my blog and start a new one..."Incognito"..afraid that the more people really discovered who I am that they wouldn't love me. The lure to 'darkness' is often present..especially to those who have done time there before, but God has brought me way too far to allow Satan to drag me back. And so...I keep seeking Him. Just a couple of days ago I wrote how lonliness has become my greatest enemy, but also my best friend. Your words have stirred countless thoughts in my heart. My response? A deeper desire to be "Up close and personal" with the Lord.
Love to you today,
Joy

Blogger BethAnne said...

This is a good word for us all today!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can identify with this devotion because I like others am guilty of not allowing others to be close to me for the same reasons(i.e. they might use it against me or not like the real me). God has always been there with me and I am learning to trust. Through thick and thin He is there leading me guiding me and correcting me in a loving way that only my Father can!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey Renee,
thank you for the heartfelt devotion and blog entry. I love your writings! I am at a point in my life where I feel constantly frustrated. I know that God is with me and cares for me in a personal way, yet my life seems and feels far from it. I am really yearning for genuine friendships yet for some reason that is not happening. There is a lot going on in my life and although I turn it all over to God, I continue to feel weary because nothing changes. What do you do when you cannot find the words to pray? I've struggled a lot with this and would love your advice on prayer.

Blogger Tammy Nischan said...

Wow! You hit the nail right on the head, or should I say "the brush right on the column!" Thank you for the reminder that having friends who are willing to help me through my weaknesses is a good thing! Thank you for reminding me that in order for God to really make me a better person I have to allow him to work "UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL!" I hope I get to meet you at the conference in June!!! Much love and respect for your ministry! Tammy Nischan

My email address is:
tammynischan@yahoo.com just in case I win a prize!!!! :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Renee,
I have to tell you that God has been using your devotions and your blog to talk to me. What do I feel when you tell me that Jesus wants to be up close and personal, that I am accepted and loved with all my flaws and imperfections? Fear...to really sit and listen to what He will say to me about me, and about Himself. I have been pushing others away, afraid too of what they will think if they really get to know me. And yet, God has placed some very faithful and patient prayful friends in my life, and I am so thankful for them. Thank you for your devotions and blog, I am being blessed and gently led.

hamijoh@msn.com

Blogger MrsProverbs31 said...

So many being reached through this piece. God bless you! See, it is so hard for me to accept the fact that no matter what I think or feel there are others who feel the same as me. Thanks for sharing your heart and experiences with us. We are never alone, though the enemy sure likes to make us feel that way. Thanks be to God who gives us victory through Christ Jesus, Our Lord.

Oh, here's my email in case I win: pastor-wife@hotmail.com

Anonymous heather said...

Thank you Renee for this timely devotional and post. I have been on this same journey of fear to let others in much less God, to see what I am really like and what is really going on.

Transparency is really hard. It is really scary. I know. I just published a post that took me a long time to write, and even longer to decide to post it. God bless you in your striving to be up close and personal with Jesus, and with others. You are making a difference in the lives of many!
Heather
hkudla@gmail.com

Blogger tiggerdaisy said...

I love people and I have many friends. And even though they see the real me, I keep them at arms length. Perhaps the only person on this earth who I let know my deepest darkest secrets is my husband, so he is the person closest to me. Over the past few weeks though, I've been feeling a need to draw closer to God. I'm praying that I get closer and closer without hesitation or stumble. I want to be closer...I need to be closer. As a matter of fact, I think I will need to be closer until the day I meet my Savior at the pearly gates! The more you have of God, it seems the more you want. And that's one over indulgence I think he wouldn't mind me having! :)

Renee, I am looking forward to your woman at the well online mini study. I love reading your blog...you give me honest, real, heartfelt pick-me-ups every time you post. Thank you very much for that!

Rebecca
tiggerdaisy@gmail.com

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Renee
I have a hard time sitting still to listen to what God has to say to me. I read the bible but I have a hard time understanding what I read, I am a very visual person. Your devotion have really ministered to me in such an awesome way I love getting them every day.
Thank you And God Bless
wdashley7@msn.com

Blogger Christy said...

I had a conversation yesterday with a co-worker that lead me to say (much to my surprise) "why are you letting your insecurities keep you from doing what you want to do?" that was answered with "i'm not insecure." my response was "why are you letting your pride keep you from dealing with your insecurities that are keeping you from doing what you want to do?"
I'm pretty sure that conversation was directed right at me! Like I said I was surprised I even said those words. I'm really not that bold. It was like I had to say the words to actually believe the words. Just saying them in my head wasn't enough.
And then you write this blog today..
I've been hurt so many times through my own actions and the actions of others. I've retreated and built up walls. I've worked hard to tear down those walls of self-protection. It has been hard to let go of that to allow God to protect me.
Just when I think I've made progress, new areas that I'm keeping back are brought to the surface...more paint gets scraped off. It is a constant work in progress for me.
When I first met my husband and began to realize that he was interested in me,I was a little shocked (why would he like me?), I was curious(i hadn't shown any direct interest first), and I was overwhelmed to be pursued. I TRY to keep those same feelings alive in our marriage relationship. I don't try hard enough to keep those feelings fresh with my love relationship with Jesus. But I should. I need to revisit my salvation story everyday and see how He loves me!

Thanks again Renee! Your writings does this heart good.

Christy
cnjleake@yahoo.com

Blogger Michelle said...

I loved the devotion and post. Knowing Jesus wants a personal relationship with me is comforting becaue I do not have to worry about my insecurities with him. I look forward to the mini on-line study. My email is promotesafety@gmail.com.

Anonymous Carrie said...

I have definitely struggled with intimacy and chosen a lot of surface, people pleasing friendships in the past. Over the past 7 years God has had me remove the facades and it has been lonely at times but my intimacy with the Lord and my husband have sky rockedted because of it. I refuse to go back to the shallow, the surface. Deep diving is so much better! God has blessed me with friends who stuck with me during the transition and with many new friends who I started without facades and have been loved for being me - the one God has called me to be. Thanks for your vulnerabililty in sharing with all of us!

Carrie Kittinger
kittingers@cox.net

Blogger Lisa said...

Thanks so much for the message. God spoke directly to me regarding my fears. I see that I use my "busy" to buffer my real self from others.

Blogger JAIME:) said...

the layers that my struggles consist of are many and deep. i have loved and walked with the lord many years and yet because i was a christian allowing others to see that i might be weak or struggling or sad or lonely was shameful. therefore, deep depression set in, dark and hopeless. where was my joy? everyone around me believed me to be a strong, wise, compassionate person. there in a heartbeat to help others with their problems. there to give them godly wisdom as to how much god loved them, that they were not alone, that in their imperfection god was made perfect. i also was so insecure that people would not like me-so i did whatever to fit in and whatever person they needed me to be. but to let anyone close enough to see that i was so sad that i was ending up addicted to pain pills just to numb my deep sadness was out of the question. what a sinner i was. what a liar i was. what a hypocrite i was. i was to prideful to let anyone see my "true" issues. and the biggest lie of all was that though i knew god knew me inside and out-that he saw that i was self-destructing, that he was standing beside me, walking right next to me and waiting for me to cry out to him-i BELIEVED i could not be helped. what if i told someone and they committed me to some rehab place? what about my little girl? my husband? my reputation as a christian? no way was anyone going to get close enough to me to know the real me.
this devotion is crucial and so so so important for anyone who is struggling with letting others in. no matter what your struggle or fear is that might be exposed. the enemy seeks to destroy and devour and where better to to toy with us then when we are alone. so, yes, indeed. from a distance-i am a gifted, warm, lovely woman that others seemed to look up to and come to for comfort-but god loved me too much to let me continue in my little facade. he brought wisely discerning women into my life who were given the vision to see right through me and know i was not okay. my insides were chipped, faded, and rotting. and so now though i am not finished with my journey-i am learning to be healed. i am learning that being exposed is being humble. and with true repentance, comes true humility and healing. my god wants me close to him. he is the lover of all my imperfections. i will never again be able to hide my inner fears or struggles because god has given me accountability that will always love and accept me. i was fortunate-no-i was loved so much by my god that he would no longer continue to let me hide. it is not easy. it will never be easy. but at least i don't have to work on hiding anymore. because of all this-i will continue to grow closer to god, and to those few around me who will always say "how are you REALLY doing?"
so as for this devotion, i see that i am those posts, i am the window sills-that were hidden by beautiful trees and shrubs. but someone had to come onto my property and leave me a notice-go to god so that you can be stripped and broken down. then you will be restored and bright and beautiful.
thank you so much for being a willing vessel for god to speak through-always in his grip.....jaime

Renee-
Thank you for such a gut-wrenchingly honest entry and for the "make me stop and think" devo on P31. It is sad for me to admit but too often I think what I is evoked in my heart when I hear that Jesus wants to be up close and personal with me is...."Take a number,please! I have too much to do!" Honestly, sometimes I fear that ministry minded women are so busy serving God that we don't have time for the God we serve. Your piece today is a wonderful reminder for me to keep in balance and keep connected to the source--Jesus Himself. Don't enter me in the drawing. Having you for a dear friend is prize enough for me. See you in June!
Blessings,

Karen

Blogger Sonseeker said...

I struggle keeping Jesus and my family at a distance. I want to break the cycle of putting the chains of back that Jesus has already freed me of and have a deeper relationship with Christ and my family.

Blogger carmen said...

carmen said... I was 33 years going through a divorce when Jesus started to revealed Himself to me through my trials. I was so broken in more ways than one,being sexually abused,raise in foster homes, singel mom and so much pain inside my heart, now I can honestly tell you that Once I came to the well Jesus filled my cup and now at 46 He stills continues to fill my cup. I get up early in the mornings at 4am so that He can fill me up and I can then share with other His love for them. It is only through my brokenness and my inadquacities that he continues to amazed me. I would'nt want this relationship with my Savior to ever end. My prayer is that I continue to surrender my marriage that He has blessed me with this 12 years and my daughters so that I can bring Him glory through it. Nothing else matters to me than to be a reflection to this dark world of who Jesus is to me and wants to be to those who come into my life so that they too can know HIM like I do CLOSE AND PERSONAL there is no other way but to surrender all to Him . Thanks Renee.

Blogger Amy L Brooke said...

I've always struggled with the need to keep up the facade.... I learned it from my parents and carried it on into adulthood. I'm better now to an extent. But even now, sometimes when I share something with someone I wll apologize or say, "Oh that was so silly (or stupid) to tell you." I think the thought here is that if I dismiss it first, it won't hurt so much when they do it.

But I do it with God to. I know there have been times when I even though I know God's love with me is personal, I have the sense that I just slipped in the backdoor and if He noticed me he would send me packing. Realistically, I know that isn't so -- but that is what I think sometimes.

Thanks for writing and opening up this discussion.

Blogger blessedbrunette said...

It's funny how sometimes God has to take all of our "security blankets" away from us so that He can actually be our our best friend, but most of all our "Father". This has been my experience lately..He has GREAT plans for me, and my family, but He had to get my attention, my FULL attention! I now know that He has called me..called me to completely Seek Him, but I didn't know how..so He is showing me. And I have to say, "Thank You Lord, Thank You for loving me so much that you would take the time to teach me and to hold and mold me!"

You see, I've lost my house, my marriage, my car, my furniture, my job...everything but my incredible son, Jacob. We went from living in one of the most elite neighborhoods, driving a Lexus, having all the comforts of life (weekly Spa visits etc.) to the homeless shelter, and now being on foot. Most people think I've lost my mind..and at times I thought I was going to! But now I know He has me..HE FINALLY has me! He Loves Me SO much, and has such great plans for me, He had to get my attention! I can honestly say that I have been SO Blessed, I have never known life could be so wonderful! And it's all because of HIM..Hallelujah!!! So, if you are struggling today, give Him Thanks, because He wants you to turn to Him, He wants you to know Him, He wants to know you..He wants to help you, He wants to be the center of your life, He wants to talk to you, He wants you to talk to Him, He wants to LOVE you..like you've never been loved before.
How thankful I am Lord..How thankful I am.

Blogger MaryMac said...

Your devotions help me turn back to Jesus during struggles with trying work situations. When I DO stop and turn my frustrations and troubles to God, the "Way" becomes smoother. Returning to school in my "middle" years brought me much closer and aware of the blessings from trust and faith in God and Jesus Christ. The friends that stand with me, support me, and help me through trying times truly came to me through Jesus knowing what needs my life required. Thank you for your insites. They inspire me and help keep me moving forward on the path to teach the Good News after ordination.

Blogger gallerhea said...

Thank you for your candid words about getting up close and personal with God.

I have been hurt after sharing my heart with a "friend." I revealed my hurts and struggles, only to be told I was crazy.

I have been a Christian almost all my life, with some periods of rebellion in between, and I have told others that Jesus loves them, no matter what their stuggles, what they have done, or how many times they have messed up. However, I have had a hard time accepting the truth of Christ's love for myself. I feel ashamed and inadequate.

Please pray for me. As life gets overwhelming, I will not find victory in hiding my struggles, any more than Adam and Eve profited from "hiding from God" when they knew they messed up.

Thank you.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been in church my whole life but only developed an intimate relationship with Christ two years ago. There is nothing like it...so extraordinarily awesome! He lavishes me with His unfailing love. The anticipation of what lies ahead is thrilling. He has pulled me from out of the pit and given me a new identity. His greatest work is on our inner man...I am truly changed...praise the Lord! I love it how He calls us the apple of His eye...every one of us! Believe Him!

spow56@aol.com

Blogger Lacy-frills said...

I have to admit that I've been receiving Encouragement for Today for months now, and haven't managed to read very many at all. I have filed them though so I can go back to read them. Today however, I read it through and thought, "yes, I used to be like that, but am I still like that?" I've been separated from the outside world for 15 months now because I contracted Guillain-Barre Syndrome so I've been in lots of neurological pain because of the broken signals to my brain from the regenerating nerves in my limbs. I'm doing really well now and have almost full use of my arms and legs but this past 15 months has been a wonderful time of separation from my extremely busy life to having no responsibilities and not being able to even cook my own meals. My husband, daughters and Mother have been wonderful helps. Yes, I've been in pain, but I couldn't do much else, so I really concentrated on getting in touch with God again, getting up close and personal. I've been able to study God's Word and recently bought the Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of John on DVD. I'm going to play them and play them until I've memorised lots of passages! This time of seclusion meant I had to resign all my roles and positions in the outside world and it has been the most wonderful release! God is doing a new thing in me. I feel like it is a second chance to live again. I'm a different person now to who I was just 18 months ago. I know everyone doesn't have to be excluded from the world like this to be changed by God, but for me, my illness has turned into the most wonderful blessing. But, the test will come when I can get back into the world and I meet old acquaintances. But I just don't feel like I want to put up my defenses again, or put up walls. I kind of feel like I'm in a different world, like I've come out the other side of a tunnel.

I am touched by your message Renee because I hid the real me and was a bubbly personality, but have never had a close friend, and school wasn't a happy time for me, and I put up this facade and hid behind it. How could God love someone like me who had nothing to give Him, was just a useless frame of flesh and bones? But as God and I have become closer in our relationship, I've learned to know that He is the One who can lead me into a great and purposeful life, despite my opinion of myself. I don't need to 'do' anything, just stop and ask Him "what will I do here, or now, Lord?"

So, I guess I'm saying, yes, God can and will get up close and personal with all these dear ladies I've read comments from today. He will never make you feel ashamed, and He will always encourage you to come to Him, warts and all! He just doesn't care about anything you've done or the insecurity you feel, He just wants YOU, and if you allow Him, He will lovingly cleanse you and change you and you will really start to like yourself and even love yourself, because you will see the “Jesus” in you. You will be overcome with joy and humbled by the tremendous love He has for you. You can never earn His love, because it is a free gift, one that sometimes takes a long time to accept. Just come to Him as you are, repent of anything you know you need to get out of your life, and give Him access to get inside you. He'll enjoy cleaning you up on the inside, and encouraging you to allow Him to live your life for you, by living through you, just let Him have all your concerns. He never thinks you are a hopeless case, because you aren't. You are full of potential, you just have to take the first step, and let Him in. You can't surprise Him with anything you confess because He already knows it, and is waiting to wash it away forever.

As I was reading the messages that told me there were women in the world who aspired to be the Proverbs 31 woman but felt they were hiding themselves from people and were therefore lonely like me, I wondered if anyone would like to be a prayer partner or even just a friend? I know I need to be accountable to someone to encourage me in my walk with God and I have always been an encourager to others, so I’d enjoy having a like minded friend I could encourage and correspond with. I'm 51, happily married (to a non believer) with 3 adult daughters and 3 young grandchildren. My email is lynetteb@optusnet.com.au

Thanks Renee for being God’s instrument of encouragement, for being human and being able to sympathise with so many of us and reach into our innermost being and open the door to allow us to come out from inside our prisons. God richly bless you, and I’ll be reading my issues of Encouragement for Today from now on because they really are, Encouragement for each of us today and everyday.

Lynette

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOman at the well..God has been speaking to me so strongly since I saw Lisa speak last week at McLean Bble Church and now this...I have referred to myself as "the woman at the well;" someone who believed, but not in the way He has desired me to. My past has been filled w. such shame due to things that have been done to me and choices I have made in the past. I have just begun listening to Him and REALLY hearing His word. His presence touches me deeply and I am filled w. awe. I am grateful and my heart is filled w. much joy to finally begin to understand the salvation Jesus promises me. I am so blessed..Thank you for creating a safe place to share my thoughts and feelings

Blogger Laura B said...

Renee, I recently went through a tough time when someone very close to me hurt me and violated my trust. As a result, I disengaged emotionally as an act of self-preservation; I didn't even really know that's what I was doing. The Lord used a series of things to bring it to my attention and soften my heart in that area. I had to search my heart and forgive again, and God gave me the desire and opportunity to openly discuss everything with the person who offended me. During this time, I also realized that it had affected my closeness with God. I can't even begin to describe how it feels to walk in the freedom and liberty of giving it all to God - knowing that He pursued me, and set my feet back on a firm foundation. I'm so glad He loves us enough to pursue us - and He keeps on loving us.

Anonymous lwolf said...

Over the past two almost three weeks I have really learned that we need to make our selves open enough especially for Jesus. When you close yourself off to the world especially those who you love and love you. It eventually catches up with you and your life falls apart right out from under you. Infact this past week at my Bible study we were even shown an illustration using the the game Jenga. The more you let temptations into you life, or you just close up and dont live a life dwelling in God your foundation gets weaker until eventually it all falls.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unable to attend a lot of Retreats and Church gatherings now, I have found Christian fellowship and teaching has opened up for me on the web and T.V.here in my own home
I really need the companionship of other beleivers and to share with them.
I was so glad you appeared on my computer, please keep sending out your messages.

Blogger Mama3 said...

This post has touched me. I have been dealing with my brick wall for over 30 years. I was sexually abused throughout my childhood and I still have the perportrator in my life. I am married for 15 years and have 3 beautiful children. My husband tolerates a lot. Our relationship is more brother and sister like than husband and wife. I have always had the Lord in my life but moreso over the past year. I know I have to take down the wall but I am so sared. I am praying that in time I can do this so my children do not grow up thinking this is how a mariage is suppose to be. I want them and myself to freely experience love . I can love others but I do not accept it from others very easily always feeling dirty and unworthy. I am looking forward to your study and hopefully in time I will be able to walk with Jesus and break down this wall and see the beauty hiding behind it and embrace it. Thank You Marissa

Blogger Vickie said...

Vickie

This year my goal was to have a closer and more personal relationship with our Lord and Saviour. Your description of the house needing repairs was excellent. From a distance it looks okay but up close you can see the necessity for repairs. This is how I feel about myself. Thanks for sharing this information and I look forward to your online study. May God continue to bless you!!!!

purplemom8@comcast.net

Anonymous Kendra, the Good Life Diva said...

I've served as a volunteer in our church for many years. I lead and coach other leaders. I co-lead a group for stay at home moms before I started back working full time. I started and lead a thriving book club for 4 years. I love entertaining and spending time with my girlfriends. Outwardly I may look as if I'm this really transparent person, however, I just realized last year that , unfortunately I haven't been.

Last year was really challenging for my husband and I financially. We have always been people who lived below our means, but some business decisions we made really put a strain on us. During what was one of the most stressful times in my life, I didn't talk to anyone (other than my husband) about what was happening. It was a lonely time. My relationship with the Lord was strengthened, but my relationship with family and friends was weakened. God in His wisdom, grace and His mercy revealed to me through my quiet time, my Pastor's sermons and even a few televangelist (believe or not) that I needed to be more transparent about my life. I needed to allow people to look closer at my life, because through my life he could help others. In obedience and through tears I began to share with some of the ladies that I really trust what was going on. I can tell you through that simple act of obedience I haven't felt this free in a long time. The blessing that's also come from it is that I now serve in a leadership role in the women's ministry of my church. I believe God wanted me to know that in order for me to be effective in women's ministry I had to be willing to be "naked and not ashamed". Kendra

My email address is
eabless2002@yahoo.com

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Renee,
I have found your writing twice in the last couple days, and both times tears just broke like a dam finally caving from all the stuff inside. I keep hearing about empty vessels and trying to find intimacy with men (I have been married three times-twice to my first husband.) My "kin" family stays away... and I stay away from them. The most painful is my only sister has cancer and I'm afraid of the usual rejection I feel around her. God help us. Shame and fear have me on the mat... I've got to be filled with Jesus' love again. Thanks Renee... can't wait to follow your B. study about the woman at the well. I'm there.

Blogger Debra said...

Thanks for sharing.

Blogger Debra said...

Thanks for sharing.

Blogger Tammy R said...

Love the story of "the woman at the well" Looking forward to the bible study.

Blogger LuvtheWord said...

Sometimes I just find myself not having much time and energy left over to invest in developing close relationships with people ... and with the Lord. Reminds me that I need to be diligent in asking God to daily guide my priorities and let HIM unfold my day, so that what matters most happens.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes we need to slow down and just do some sanding. I agree with your post and look forward to the upcoming study on the women at the well.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Renee. I just found your blog and enjoyed your writing very much. I'm looking forward to your mini on-line study.
Blessings!
Nikki
My email is nicolestephens@tampabay.rr.com in case I win the prize!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Renee,
What you said a few weeks ago has stuck with me. I think everyone in the world should hear it. "Don't compare your insides with someone else's outsides." This saying has really spoke to me. The lady at the well was shamed by the other women that she made a point to go out to the well at the hottest part of the day, due to women judging her. Sam was being compared to them and being shamed for things the other women may have done too. Who knows?? In life now, there have been times where I have avoided situations, thinking others are seeing me different than what I really am. It is so refreshing and reassuring that God sees our hearts and forgives us unconditionally, no matter the sin. I have sinned, fallen short, been a "Sam" in some ways and have regrets that break my heart everyday. When I give God my heart, my time and read His word, I realize that I am a loved woman by God. He takes me as I am insides and outsides.

I really enjoy reading your blogs. I am touched everyday and believe God is speaking to me through you. It's changing my life. I would really love to know your personal story.
Take Care,
Tennille
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

dtandbrooks@yahoo.com

Anonymous Delicia said...

Im a mom and im single. I have been looking for satisfaction wherever I can receive it. All it did was getting me further away from Gods plans. It hurts so much not to get what I want and when people do not love me the way I want them to. Im learning to rely on God. I have my focus days and then....... My heart is grateful for the sacrfice that was done for me. I want to take Gods relationship with me up close and personal and not be afraid to let others in. Espeacially my daughters. Thank you for sharing about your revelation and I look forward for more challenges. I didn't think There were any one struggling like me. I knew, but I didnt know we can gain strength from each other. There's a book called Sacred Heart and there is a song that was inspired from that book. I forgot the author and the singer, but I heard the song. Its heart changing verse by verse. Thankyou for allowing God to inspire you.

Blogger lslindsey said...

I really enjoy the bible study on your blog. The woman at the well story is so relevant for today. Sin is so rampant, in our faces, all the time. It is hard to stand and not fall into temptations. That is why I like to study His word each day and I thank God for ministries like yours and Proverbs 31. God Bless.
Lynette
lslindsey@wildblue.net

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