A Lifetime Warranty
I've had workers in my house for the past two days hammering, banging, scraping, caulking and fixin' things. It's been so noisy!

I am not so crazy about noisy. In fact, I love quiet. And a whoppin' sinus/stress headache has really made me miss my quiet. I also miss having the house all to myself to get my work done and being able to leave when I need to.

Underneath all that missing and wishing, I keep telling myself to be thankful. After all, this work is being done for free as part of our one-year home warranty.

And this process was optional. We could have let our home warranty expire and waited until things were falling apart and we had to do something. But why would anyone pass up having things repaired at no cost?

So we opted for inconvenience with the promise of our brokenness being fixed. Our warranty came with a walk-through, which meant inspecting the whole house and making a wish list of things that needed to be made new.

Some things were obvious like the leaking toilet, the gap between our counter tops and tile back splash, the hardwood floors that pop when you walk on them and the creaking stairs.

I had to look more closely to find less noticeable things like nail pops and shoe molding in the kitchen that was peeling. I almost missed the hairline fractures in my bathroom, kitchen and laundry room tile.

This morning while I was running, I was thanking God for our home warranty and praying about some things weighing heavy on my heart. God reminded that I have another warranty that guarantees the promise of something new. I can ask Jesus to repair all kinds of brokenness, in the noticeable and not-so-noticeable areas of my life, because I have a lifetime heart-warranty from Him!

God's Word tells me that I am sealed with the Holy Spirit guaranteeing what is to come. He invites me to come to His throne of grace with confidence and ask Him to repair whatever is broken in my life.

I love that I don't have to wait for a scheduled walk-through. I can come to Jesus moment by moment and tell Him what I need. I don't have to make a list and coordinate any appointments or even be at home for Him to do the work.

He's available right now.

Right where I am.

With mercy and grace to help me in my time of need.

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16

A Promise Kept

In my Encouragement for Today devotion, I shared a story about my son Andrew, and how God used him to help me see what love is.

It's knowing that God cares, He listens, and He will be there for me - no matter what! It's knowing that He wants to spend time with me. That He really likes me. That He's protecting me and that He believes in me.

Jesus' last words were woven into a promise. He said, "... I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matthew 28:20 (NASB)

He said He'd be with us no matter what! No matter what we do or where we go. It's a promise He made and a promise He's kept.

There are so many promises God makes and keeps. One of the most life-changing ways Ive experienced the power of God's promises is to personalize them. Ever since I was a baby Christian, I'd put my name in scripture to help my heart know that God wants to speak directly to me.

I've also seen what a powerful gift this can be for someone else. I did this recently for my husband, and today I am going to give them to him in a keepsake box, (shh, he doesn't know yet). Each day when he opens up the box, he'll be able to reach in and pull out one of God's promises to him, with his name in it. Here are the one's I am including:

“JJ, fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

“JJ, you are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you.” Isaiah 43:4

“JJ, you are very valuable to Me, see, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16

"JJ, do not worry. “The LORD will surely comfort (you) and will look with compassion on all (your) ruins; he will make (your) deserts like Eden, (your) wastelands like the garden of the LORD.” Isaiah 51:3

JJ, let Me lead you. I want you to go out in joy and be led forth with peace.” Isaiah 55:1

“JJ, I want to provide for your needs. I want you to trust Me enough to say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.’” Psalm 23:1

“JJ, I want you to rest in My arms. The beloved of the LORD rest secure in Him, for He shields him all day long, and the one the LORD loves rests between His shoulders." Deuteronomy 33:12

“JJ, I will fulfill My purpose for (you); because My love endures forever. I will not abandon the works of My hands.” Psalm 138:8

JJ, I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

“JJ, call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD , "and will bring you back from captivity. Jeremiah 29:12-14a

JJ, come to me, (when you) are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

“JJ, forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19

“JJ, I have made known to you the path of life. I will fill you with joy in My presence.” Psalm 16:11

These promises are for you, too. Maybe you could copy and paste this list into a document and replace JJ's name with your name. Then put them in a special place and go to it each morning, asking God to give you the promise He wants you to hold onto that day. Or maybe there is someone you know who needs God's promises personalized for them. It's a gift they will never forget!

What are you doing this weeeknd?
I'm speaking in Roxboro, North Carolina this Saturday, April 25th, and I'd love to meet you! If you are close by, please join us for a day filled with fun, teaching and amazing worship lead by Charity Helms.

We're gonna laugh, and maybe cry, in a good kind of way. We're gonna get real and dig into God's Word for some serious spiritual renewal and practical inspiration! Each message will encourage and stretch our hearts so that we can leave holding God's hand and trusting His heart each day as we continue our...

Walk to Remember

What if you could wake up each day with a sense of promise and purpose, knowing that your life makes a difference!? Let God direct your steps, lead your heart and guide your thoughts as you learn to follow Him with all of your spirit, mind, soul and strength! Join Renee for a walk to remember down the streets of Galilee, Bethany, and Samaria to see how Jesus lived and loved. You'll leave encouraged and equipped to:

  • Find meaning in your everyday moments

  • Let go of yesterday's regrets, and take
    hold of God's promise and purpose for today.

  • Develop a dynamic relationship with
    Christ based on transparency and trust.

  • Make spiritual deposits in your marriage,
    your friendships and in your kids.

A Walk to Remember Women's Conference
Long Memorial UMC

8:45 am - 2:30pm
Women's Conference
Roxboro, NC

To Register: Contact Amy Bradsher at lehrerin@charter.net

I know Angie's going to be there! We'd love to save you a spot at our table for lunch!

What would I have missed?
Thanks for your prayers. Our flight home was quite eventful. During our connecting flight from Dallas, our plane's interior lights started blinking uncontrollably. The pilot announced that we'd lost a generator! But explained that the back-up generator would be sufficient, and that they were making adjustments. When he came back on a second time he assured us there was no need to worry - this was something they'd practiced many times - in the SIMULATOR!!!!!!!

We did get home safely, in the wee hours Monday morning. And we're quite happy to be loving on our families, still on this side of Heaven.

The weekend was filled with nothing-but-God moments! One of the sweetest came when a beautiful woman, Caprice, walked up to me and thanked me for leading her to Jesus. She had prayed to receive Christ during the Saturday night message.Then another, Corrine, thanked me as she hugged my neck and cried. It was absolutely precious that they were so excited and came to tell me.

Amazing doesn't even begin to describe the retreat. In addition to our two new sisters in Christ, there are some seriously "living confidently in Christ" California Jesus-girls out west.

Again and again, God showed me how good His heart is and how worthy He is of my life and my trust!!! Oh, what I would have missed if I had kept saying no to God's calling on my life.

I would have missed seeing Him in ways I never had.

I would have missed seeing Him in places I've never been.

I would have missed seeing Him in people I'd never met.

I would have missed feeling His love and assurance in ways I've never known.

When I finished writing my post Friday morning I went for a quick run. I thought I'd have to run on the streets of the little town where we were staying, but God lead me to a trail that lined the top of an overlook mountain with this view:

In a glorious whisper, I heard God say, "Renee, look what you would have missed!"

These pictures don't even capture the beauty! Oh, what I would have missed if I had kept saying no to God's calling on my life. It took years to say yes, but I'm so glad I finally did!

That day I saw the blessing of obedience in the gift of a gorgeous ocean view that drew me deep into worship. At one point I had to stop running and lift my hands in praise for the gift He'd given me to enjoy a breath-taking view of His creation!

And you know what I realized? That God wants me to see the blessings I would have missed if I had not said yes to following His heart instead of my own each and every day. Not just in ministry but right where I am everyday...

What would I have missed if I had not said yes to Jesus?

I would have missed the confident smile I see in my husband who could have been crippled by criticism early in our marriage.

I would have missed the peace I see in my mother's eyes when I don't get defensive about her comments and questions.

I would have missed the closeness of my child's friendship built from times that I overlooked an offense instead of lecturing him.

The list could go on and on...so what would you have missed?

More I would've missed...

Your Faith Has Saved You
I'm sitting on the other side of "my world" this morning, looking out the window at the Pacific ocean. Leah and I spent yesterday in two planes and three airports, traveling across the country to speak this weekend in Southern California.

I LOVE the women who planned this event and I can't wait to see what God has planned. We leave in a couple hours to drive to a retreat site in the mountains.

I am so honored and thankful to be here! Especially now that I am here - safely.

I had to smile this morning as I thought about yesterday. Me clenching the armrests of my seat bouncing through extreme turbulence, reminding God why I was on a plane. How years ago I finally said yes to His calling to speak and teach His Word that He's engraved on my heart.

I wanted to make sure He remembered that I hate to fly and that the bouncing and jerking and announcement from the pilot for all flight crew and passengers to immediately fasten their seat belts was not helping!!

I felt inclined to remind Him of my obedience. My stepping out in faith because I love Him.

"Remember that deal we made God? Or maybe I made. That I'd trust You and do something really scary - like travel and speak - and that You'd protect me. Because I really do love You. And you know I really do love my family, too, and being a mom and a wife and uh, many other things."

Then I started reminding myself - my heart, mind and soul - why I do what I do.

Because I can't not do it.

Not anymore. I can't not walk in faith. I can't live in fear. I've been there and it kept me from saying yes to God's call on my life to speak - for 10 years.

I have to live in faith. I have to walk in freedom now that I know I can.

Jesus sacrificed His life so that I could. He gave so much more than I can comprehend. Nothing I give or sacrifice compares.

And the truth is, God's most powerful work in my life, in my healing and growth in my relationship with Christ has come as I have stepped out in faith, believing and trusting Him - and taking risks to do so.

Living by faith....being sure of what I hope for and certain of what I cannot see.

Certain of my Saviour who goes before me and stands beside me. Who is familiar with all my ways. Who has a plan for my life - however many days that is.

This morning I was reading the story of the sinful woman in Luke 7:36-50, who took huge steps of faith when she walked up to Jesus in a room full of Pharisees and anointed His feet with tears and perfume. She wasn't afraid of what it would cost her, although it was a big risk and a huge sacrifice.

Why? Because she was sure of what she hoped for, certain of what she could not see. Yet with each step of faith - she did see - grace, mercy, freedom and forgiveness.

She gave all that she had emotionally, spiritually and physically. But it wasn't her sacrifice that saved her. It was her faith.

Faith alone. No bargaining or reminding needed.

Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace." v. 50

Today as I pray and prepare to go speak, I once again put my trust in the One who knows me. The One who loves me. The One who has called me, and the One who sometimes allows this adventure of faith to get a little wild along the way!

In peace,

Made in the secret place
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth...Psalm 139:15

My cousin sent me this in an email. I'd read it before, but when I read it this morning it sunk into a place in my heart that needed to smile and be reminded that I have great worth because I am wonderfully made, and so are you!


By the time the Lord made woman,
He was into his sixth day of working overtime.
An angel appeared and said,
"Why are you spending so much time on this one?"

And the Lord answered, "Have you seen my spec sheet on her?

She has to be completely washable, but not plastic,
have over 200 movable parts, all replaceable
and able to run on diet coke and leftovers,
have a lap that can hold four children at one time,
have a kiss that can cure anything from a scraped knee to a broken heart... and she will do everything with only two hands."

The angel was astounded at the requirements.
"Only two hands!? No way!
And that's just on the standard model?
That's too much work for one day.
Wait until tomorrow to finish."

"But I won't, " the Lord protested.
"I am so close to finishing this creation that is so close to my own heart.
She already heals herself when she is sick
AND can work 18-hour days."

The angel moved closer and touched the woman.
"But you have made her so soft, Lord."

"She is soft," the Lord agreed,
"but I have also made her tough.
You have no idea what she can endure or accomplish."

"Will she be able to think?", asked the angel.

The Lord replied,
"Not only will she be able to think,
she will be able to reason and negotiate."

The angel then noticed something,
and reaching out, touched the woman's cheek.
"Oops, it looks like you have a leak in this model.
I told you that you were trying to put too much into this one."

"That's not a leak,"
the Lord corrected,
"that's a tear!"
"What's the tear for?" the angel asked.

The Lord said, "The tear is her way of expressing her joy,
her sorrow, her pain, her disappointment, her love,
her loneliness, her grief and her pride."
The angel was impressed.
"You are a genius, Lord.
You thought of everything!
Woman is truly amazing."

And she is!

Women have strengths that amaze men.
They bear hardships and they carry burdens,
but they hold happiness, love and joy.
They smile when they want to scream.
They sing when they want to cry.
They cry when they are happy
and laugh when they are nervous.
They fight for what they believe in.
They stand up to injustice.
They don't take "no" for an answer
when they believe there is a better solution.

They go without so their family can have.
They go to the doctor with a frightened friend.
They love unconditionally.
They cry when their children excel
and cheer when their friends get awards.
They are happy when they hear about
a birth or a wedding.
Their hearts break when a friend dies.
They grieve at the loss of a family member,
yet they are strong when they think there is no strength left.
They know that a hug and a kiss can heal a broken heart.

Women come in all shapes, sizes and colors.
They'll drive, fly, walk, run or e-mail you
to show how much they care about you.
The heart of a woman is what makes the world keep turning.

They bring joy, hope and love.
They have compassion and ideals.
They give moral support to their family and friends.
Women have vital things to say and everything to give

However, if there is one tiny flaw in women, it's that they forget their worth.


I don't know why I felt like God wanted me to share this, but I did. My prayer is that YOU will remember your worth today!

No matter how unseen you feel at times, you are not hidden. You are uniquely crafted by God's very own hands and you matter! You have been carved out for a purpose that only you can fulfill. You are wonderfully made because you are God's work, His masterpiece created in Christ to fulfill the plans He has for you today!

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14

Giveaway Winner!
It was so hard to choose a winner from Thursday's comments. I wish I could give each of you a copy! But since I can't, I let Random.org do the choosing.

The winner of the Learning to Live Financially Free giveaway is kimlord@comcast.net. She left the 15th comment and Random Integers picked the number 15.

Congratulations Kim!

A Psalm 4 Tough Times
Written by Marybeth Whalen
Author of "Learning to Live Financially Free"

“Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
Be merciful to me and hear my prayer.”

Lord, you saw that list of layoffs my company is talking about. I don’t know what the future holds and I am worried about what that could mean for my family. I know that we should have had some savings built up for times like these… but we just never did. Lord, help me to make changes in the future so I am not faced with this situation ever again.

“How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods? Know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord will hear when I call to him.”

Lord, I admit that I once sought the false god of money. I looked to it as a means of security, identity, and status. As I have watched my financial house crumble in these tough times, I know now that I was foolish. I know that I should have placed my trust in You and You alone. Thank You for not giving up on me and for still listening when I call to You. It is a great comfort to know that You are sovereign and that Your promises will stand.

“In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent. Offer right sacrifices and trust in the Lord.”

Lord, when all the dreary financial forecasts first started coming in, I admit it: I was angry. I wanted to blame someone—anyone—even You, Lord. I wanted to shake my fist and say, “How could You let this happen?” And yet, deep down I knew that this situation grieves you. That you wanted us to make smart financial choices but we just… didn’t. I know now that I need to live differently than I have been all these years. I want to start tithing regularly and trust You fully with my finances.

“Many are asking, ‘Who can show us any good?’ Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”

Lord, everyone around me keeps talking like our country is going to collapse. And yet, I know that no matter what, You will take care of me and my family. Instead of wringing my hands and pacing the floor, I am going to turn over my worries about the economy to You. I am going to lay my burdens in Your hands and rest peacefully. Through You I can still have joy no matter how tough things get. Because Your joy outlasts anything money can buy.

(Passages quoted from Psalm 4, New International Version)


Don't you just love this Psalm 4 Tough Times!?. I was so glad Marybeth let me share it here with you. This is something we can all relate to. I also love how it shows us the power of reading God's Word and then relating it to our lives, our stories, and our struggles.

I wanted to share this with you and also tell you about Marybeth's new book Learning to Live Financially Free. It was just released, and I'm giving away a copy! Here's a little bit about it:

In this timely new book based on their own financial challenges, Marybeth and Curt Whalen offer hard-earned wisdom and hope to families who struggle with debt and the consequences of financial mistakes. What makes this book different is that it's not just advice; it's one family's experience. The Whalens draw from their first twelve years of marriage and financial struggles to create a resource that provides a helpful hand and a hopeful word for couples who need to get and keep their finances in order and nurture their marriage at the same time.

After reviewing the book, Denise Joiner in Willis, TX wrote, "I won this book on a blog giveaway, and read it rather quickly. I couldn't get enough of the VERY helpful tips that are mentioned. I usually feel guilty when talking about money, but this book helps you to realize money is a tool NOT a problem. I loved it. I've passed it on to a friend, and plan on passing it on to MANY more. I plan to buy a few morefor some friends that are getting married this year. I loved it! Thanks Curt and Marybeth

To win a copy of Learning to Live Financially Free, just leave a comment below this post today with your email. I"ll be announcing the winner Monday.

And for more chances to win
you can take a financial quiz here and find out your score here where two more copies are being given away.

Spring Blessings,

Lean On Me
It's Spring Break! So far we've been on a stay-cation, along with almost everyone we know.

I love being home. And I love, love, love being with my family. But I had to confess to God this morning that I was struggling a little with the timing of our Spring break.

It's because I finally had a big break-through in my writing and got into a new, very prayed-for groove with my chapter descriptions for my book proposal. The words were finally flowing. I was such a happy girl!

And then I had to stop.

It's so hard because I don't know if I can get back into the groove next week. And this is the same place I was in earlier last week, talking to God about the progress I wasn't making on the book I thought He wanted me to write.

I'd been sick the week before. I'd been traveling the weekend before, and I had a sick child who needed my love and attention. I didn't have time to write, but lots of time to think about what I should be writing. That's when all my ideas tangled up into big knot in my brain making me confused and unclear about any of them.

So I told God, "Writing this book is beyond my current life capacity. I'll do this when I'm 50 and my kids are grown, but I can't do this now."

And then I said it again and again. "I can't do this. I can't do this. I can't do this."

Strangely, it felt good. Like God knew I needed to say it over and over. The frustration and overwhelming feelings of not being able to do it started melting away.

I sensed God agreeing with me - I can't do this. Not me, myself and I. This book (and so many other things I do) is way beyond me. I can't do it - but leaning on Christ in me - I can.

I remember God giving me a picture of what completely depending on Him looks like during our ski trip last year.

JJ and Andrew had skied beginner slopes all day while Joshua and I skied the intermediate slopes. That afternoon JJ decided to come ski with us but he didn't realize there wasn't an in-between level from where they had been to where we were. And there was no way off the slope except down!

Andrew kept falling again and again. He was so frustrated and tired. He couldn't! And he wouldn't! So, I decided I would "ski" him down the mountain.

I had Andrew stand in front of me with his skis between mine and wrapped his arms around my elbows. I told him to stay centered and lean on me. All I had to do was hold his weight and steer us down.

It was insane! I had no idea how much his weight and my lack of control would make us go faster down the steepest slope I ever skied! Honestly, we almost died several times. You should've heard me screaming "JESUS help us." And HE did!

When we came to the bottom, I told Andrew how proud I was of him staying focused, centered and trusting me so we could make it down together.

He answered, " Mom, you did all the work. I just had to lean on you."

I couldn't help but see the parallel between Andrew's dependence on me and my dependence on God.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. ” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

I saw it then and I see it now. God has given me something, actually many things ,I can't do on my own. I have to completely depend on Him and lean on Him. It was true last week and it's true this week. And it will be true next week.

God wants us to depend on Him. He is there to carry us. To lead us. He does the work in our lives when we stay centered in Him, lean on His understanding and let Him carry our weight.

He makes our paths straight as we depend on Him to guide us along the steps and the path He has established for us - the steep, the dangerous, the adventurous, the
beautiful and the impossible.

The steps of a (woman) are established by the LORD, and He delights in (her) way. When (she) falls, (she) will not be hurled headlong, because the LORD is the One who holds (her) hand. Psalm 37:23-24

Rising Again Because He's Risen in Me
This week I added an new email tagline: "Rising again because He's risen in me."

It came to me after my posts last week about getting up again. Jesus really is the only reason I can!

It is also the perfect reminder for as I prepare for Easter. I can rise again because He rose for me and He's risen in me!

Did you know that
His resurrection power is available to us who believe.? That same power that raised Jesus from the dead can raise us up from our discouragement, our despair, our doubts, our discontent, our dejection, our disappointments.

His resurrection power fills us. Transforms us. Completes us.

And it's available to us!

"I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms..." Ephesians 1:18-20

That is one of the most powerful truths and promises of Easter! Jesus rose from the dead because God gave Him resurrection power. Then when Jesus met with His disciples in the upper room, He breathed His resurrection spirit into the lives of those believers. And He wants to do the same for us. We are sealed with the promise of His Holy Spirit!

This week, our family is preparing our hearts for Easter and looking for ways to talk about the power and promise that is available to us on a daily basis because of what Jesus did for us. I want my kids to know that Jesus didn't die on the cross just to get us out of Hell and into Heaven, but He died and rose again to get Himself into us!!!

We are going to start reading parts of "Six Hours One Friday" by Max Lucado starting today through next Monday. And we'll be doing our Easter tradition of remembering His resurrection by baking resurrection rolls Easter morning.

Here is what that entails...

• 1 can refrigerated crescent roll dough
• 8 large marshmallows
• ¼ cup melted butter
• Cinnamon
• Sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Give each person one triangle-shaped section of crescent roll. This represents the tomb.
2. Each person/child takes one marshmallow which represents the body of Christ.
3. Dip the marshmallow in the butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar mixture. This represents the oils and spices the body was anointed with upon burial.
4. Lay the marshmallow on the dough and carefully wrap it around the marshmallow (not like a typical crescent roll up, but bring the sides up and seal the marshmallow inside).
5. Make sure all seams are pinched together well--sealed tightly like Jesus' tomb was (otherwise the marshmallow will "ooze" out of the seams).
6. Bake about 12-15 minutes.
7. Cool.
8. Break open the "tomb" and it will be empty!

Not sure how old your kids are or if you have any. But if so, I wanted to tell you about some SIMPLE ways to LINK your family together spiritually through SPLINK at D6!

Splink is
a FREE weekly email packed with ideas to help connect your family spiritually. Splinks can also help you use teachable moments to pass along spiritual truths and life lessons while making memories or just having fun together. Sign up now.

And before I go, what are your Easter plans? Do you have any favorite traditions to share with us?

Getting Up Again
"...though a righteous man falls seven times,
he rises again"
Proverbs 24:16a

In the same way I don't like failing, I also don't like FALLING either. It's painful, embarrassing and sometimes makes me want to quit trying.

But God is teaching me about getting up again when I fall. He reminds me again and again that if I don't, I'll miss seeing Him and experiencing the amazing things and plans He has for my life.

That almost happened last year during a ski trip with my family. I stood at the top of a mountain breathing in the beauty of God's glory that morning, thanking Him for providing this trip for our family through a ministry event. Joshua stood beside me begging me to ski down a Colorado blue diamond slope with him

I can't even tell you how amazing it was - and how fast I was going. It was insane but seeing my very happy and daring son standing at the bottom watching and cheering me on made it worth it.

That is, until I lost control and shaped my body into a human pretzel! I tried to stop but instead came crashing down into a barrier of un-groomed snow. I fell so hard my skis went flying, my neck jerked back, my head slammed into the ground, my legs were twisted and buried in a foot of snow, the wind was completely knocked out of me and I couldn't get up!

I decided that was it - no more skiing for me! I had fallen hard and it hurt - really bad - both my pride and my butt! I was too tired and I didn't think it was worth it to risk another fall.

I laid in the snow trying to breathe and figure out how to break the news to Joshua that the fun and adventure were over for me. I was calling it a day and heading for the warm lodge to get some hot chocolate.

That's when God whispered to my heart, "Renee, you will never see all that I have for you if you are not willing to get up from a painful fall and keep going."

Oooh, I hate it when He says something so poignant when I'm in pain. Yet I sensed He had something more for me. But I had to be willing to trust HIM by getting up again.

So I got up, dusted myself off and started skiing again. I'm so glad I did! We had the most incredible day. You see, while I was falling God knew that JJ and Andrew were perfecting their skills and were ready to ski with us which they hadn't done before. I got to ski with my whole family for hours and hours and see some of the most beautiful and breath-taking views I've ever seen.

But more than that I saw God. I saw His provision and His desire for me to trust Him because He WANTS to bless me.

If I had quit, I would have missed seeing God's glory reflected in those mountains in a way I'd never seen before!

I think about that day often - when I'm ready to quit. How easy it is to fall in life and get hurt and not want to get up and try again. Yet, what will we miss if we are not willing to get up, get back on our feet and trust Him by trying again? And again.

If you need encouragement to get up again and keep going, I've got just the thing for you! Next week there's an amazing on-line conference from the comforts of our own homes, to connect and inspire women in their walk with Christ and in all that He's called and created them to be! If you can't make the conference you can download the sessions as part of the registration!

I've got
FIVE FREE TICKETS to give away to A Woman Inspired On-line conference! All you have to do is leave a comment below this post with your email and you'll be entered. I'll announce the winners tomorrow afternoon!

And even if you don't want to win, I'd love to hear your thoughts on getting up again. I'll be praying God whispers to your heart that He's worth it - and so are you!


The ticket winners for A Woman Inspired On-line conference are...

Timestamp: 2009-04-05 02:11:35 UT - Random numbers:

2 - Chrissy
1 - Angie
7 - Jenny
4 - Lindsey
27 - Elaine

Learning to Fail Forward
I admire (maybe even envy) people who aren't afraid to fail. You know, those people who see personal setbacks as just another goal to conquer. People who don't even consider defeat when they blow it.

I wish I was that kind of person. But honestly, I am not so crazy about failure.

Failure is painful. It's embarrassing. And sometimes (many times) it makes me want to give up, mainly on myself.

God is teaching me a lot about failing. God is giving me a little push these days - to fail forward.

This week He's been challenging me to determine in my heart and mind that I am a work in progress and move forward even when I have a setback. Reminding me that I am a woman who is becoming all He created her to be.

A woman who is growing.

A woman who is getting better and better each day.

A woman who is not perfect - but trying to perfect her surrender to God's plans and power at work in her.

Failing forward...after I shoot harsh words across the room when my child announces that the only yogurt in the empty refrigerator has an old expiration date and there is nothing to eat now. (The large yogurt container on which I had blacked out the date with a permanent marker so his brother would eat the yogurt that had just been opened for the first time and was perfectly fine.)

Failing forward...after I criticize my husband and realize I have failed to honor my man - again. Instead I've added to an already stressful day for the husband and father who just brought home groceries.

Failing forward...after I don't take the time to encourage, to sit, talk and listen to my always-giving-and- forgiving-mom who stopped by, because I was busy doing something.

Failing forward... after I tell God again that writing a book is too stinkin' hard so I can't do it because surely I don't have what it takes.

Every time I fail to be the woman God calls me to be, or the woman I expect myself to be, God reminds me of the progress we've made. Because, even though I may not be who I want to be, I am not who I used to be!

And I get that much closer to who I am meant to be - every time I fail forward.