About the Author

Renee Swope is a Word-lover, heart-encourager, and grace-needer. She's also a wife and mom of three Joshua (27), Andrew (24), and Aster (13) and the best-selling author of "A Confident Heart" and her newest book, "A Confident Mom," released in February! Renee loves making memories with her family, creating beautiful...

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things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. Renee,
    Constructive criticism is often a tough pill to swallow. I admit that I tend to get my feathers ruffled in self defense before I’m willing to embrace words I may need to hear. Welcome to the human condition. But, you are right…I am SO very thankful for a loving God who covers me with His grace and mercy and who forgives me of all my sins. Yet, He loves me too much to leave me the way He found me. He calls me to walk in the footsteps of His Son, my Savior. Those are HUGE sandals to fill, but I am called to work out my salvation. Saved first…work it out, second. Great post and reminder this am. I bet your house looks awesome 😉
    Bev xx

    • I agree, Bev, constructive criticism is hard to hear. Those many days of work on our home gave me lots of time to think about it and recover from the unsolicited input of our HOA. It was the sweetest gift when the Holy Spirit showed me the parallel between their notice and His nudges. He truly redeemed that exhausting weekend work in more ways than one!

  2. nicely written. I agree I think life throws us these curve balls and as it’s personal it’s so hard….but I love how you found appreciation in it..that you were happy someone let you know about the damage and it didn’t let things get worse.
    relationships are harder. I tried and tried to be friends with a woman I knew for years. she’s snarky , jealous out right rude and mean. but a christian !! I finally felt I had to tell her that her attitude was hurting her life..her friends her family . of course she would not listen . I pray that she sees the damage up close and personal and hears my heart and concerns although uncomfortable.

    • So sorry for the way things turned out with your friend. You’re right, it’s a lot more challenging in personal relationships. I’m just so thankful for His grace and kindness to love me enough to show me what I need in my own heart to become the best version of me.

  3. I had a sustaion onr time to do with a friend. I could have said you know what I not going to your 50th Birthday lunch now. I was only being nice why I couldn’t eat a big meal during the day. My friend is saved. Only for another friend that is also saved she said please come. I was going to text my friend tell her that her words hurt me. She can do without me at her 50 Birthday lunch. When I was nice explained why I can’t eat big meals during the day. Then I got words that were not nice back. As she was not one bit amused that I couldn’t eat a big meal during the day. But when I got there. There was another lady we know at this persons 50 birthday lunch. She was only having something small for lunch. I had my sandwich that day. I looked over and said too myself did she tell her for as well. That I will never know. But with the grace of my other good Christian friend and Jesus I did what was right. I told my other friend yes I was hurt by her and I texted her back nicely to say I see her at birthday party later. Left it at that. Told my other friend I had prayed to God. Asked God to help me forgive her before I went to my friends birthday lunch. But I told my friend that if she did that again. I still be friends with her. But if she ever had any thing special like that again. That she asks me too. I tell her why and tell her I am still friends with her and that I have forgiven her. So we have to be careful what we say. If we need to say it to help someone and it does. We wone them. If not leave them with Jesus. But don’t say something to hurt them. As your words can wound that person. Think before you speak. My friend does not know that she hurt me that day by her words. I deleted the text. So when things get to us like words in texts spoken or in a letter. We got to hand them over to Jesus. Do what he wants us to do. If right to say something say it. If not say nothing. Just pray for the sustaion leave it with Jesus at the foot of the cross. Then if needed forgive the person and move on. As if you don’t the only person it eats us is you. As the other person who hurt you with their words if it a person who said something that hurt you. They probably are not giving you a second thought. Excellent reading as usual. Love Dawn Ferguson-Little xx

  4. Renee,

    We had a similar thing happen this summer when we were working on a small kitchen remodel and had some wood stacked up against the side of the house. It seemed like no big deal to us, but we got a warning to get rid of the debris within 30 days (or else!)

    My husband and I really had to humble ourselves (after our initial reaction of anger) and not only remove the clutter from the side yard, but go above and beyond by tidying up the rest of the yard.

    Loved this post!


    • It is SO humbling isn’t it? We’d been doing a lot of interior renovations, and not going through our front door for months (garage entrance convenience) so we had no idea there were repairs needed. And isn’t it just like Jesus to give me a bonus spiritual lesson with my slice of humble pie!?

  5. I always need a good 24 hours to process things like this. Maybe it’s a letter from the HOA, maybe it’s my husband asking me to take a second look at something I’ve done or said that may not be right. Taking pause in these moments and praying about it helps us to see our situation more clearly instead of our knee jerk reaction toward anger. Great article.

  6. I. LOVE. THIS!!! thank you for sharing! it’s amazing how the Holy Spirit will allow you to see things and learn lessons in otherwise ordinary situations.
    although deep down i’ve known it for a bit, i’m realizing how prideful and stubborn i am (shock, gasp, awe). i don’t like for people to tell me i’m wrong unless i ask them and are prepared to receive it. you have to give me several moments to process the words. apparently, i’m not as perfect as i once thought…i too make mistakes (clutches pearls and faints)! Lord, show me me and help me be receptive and willing enough to humble myself and make the necessary changes you point out so as not to cause more damage in the long run. in jesus name, amen!

    • LOVE your honesty and humor Karyn! And I am so grateful for the way God redeems really hard situations like this one by showing me something really good about Himself in the midst of it. 🙂

  7. Wow- This story reminds me of a song from the 80s or 90s called “When the Carpenter Came” by Gordon Jensen.

    When The Carpenter Came

    The rain was falling down
    my roof began to leak
    So I called a Carpenter
    Whose shop was up the street

    I told Him to come quickly
    He promised that He would
    It wasn’t long till I heard Him knock
    on that front porch He stood

    With Wisdom in His eyes
    And a toolbox in His hand
    I told Him I was desperate
    and He seemed to understand

    I didn’t know what was in store that dark and rainy day
    When The Carpenter
    when The Carpenter came

    I asked Him to come in
    He set His tools down on the floor
    He seemed to know His way around
    Like He’d seen the place before
    Right away He went to work
    And He knew just what to do
    In no time flat
    He fixed the roof
    And I thought that He was through

    But then He tore down one whole wall
    Didnt ask me if He could
    At first I was furious
    But then I saw the rotten wood
    He told me not to worry
    He’d build it back like new
    He said it might take some time
    But He’d stay to see it through

    With Wisdom in His eyes
    And a toolbox in His hand
    I thought He came to patch things up
    But He had bigger plans
    After all He’s done for me
    I won’t forget the day
    When the Carpenter
    When the Carpenter came

    He’s still at work today
    And He says that He won’t stop
    Until this house is perfect
    From the bottom to the top
    I’ve learned that I can trust Him
    So I’ll wait perfectly
    And if it takes forever
    We’ll that’s OK with me.

    With Wisdom in His eyes
    And a toolbox in His hand
    I thought He came to patch things up
    But He had bigger plans
    After all He’s done for me
    I won’t forget the day
    When the carpenter
    When the carpenter came

    You can hear him singing it on YouTube also

    Thanks for the memories, Renee! And it’s so true how Christ works in us!

  8. Renee,

    Just finished Robin Dance’s “For All Who Wander”. She talks about a time when she felt like letting go of God & all. But God would not let go & pulled her back up onto solid ground. We are all flawed humans living in broken Earth. Life happens down here. We take detours off the path. Mistakes happen & we find ourselves in a mess. Thankfully God who made us in His image won’t leave us cracked & run down. He will stay with us & chip away at the ugly, dirty material. He will get into the deep, dark crevices of our lives mining & pruning us till all that’s left is a pure image of Almighty God. I’m letting the carpenter do His best work on my vessel.

    Blessings 🙂