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White Roses Shall Always Be My Friend

White Roses.  Yellow Rubber Duckies.  Blue Gingham.

Regardless of where I see these three things, they immediately take my mind to a beautiful yet painful place.

272805_3537826975971_103275466_oOn this day, 13 years ago, we both met and lost our precious son in a series of events that we could never have imagined or wished on anyone.  Yet, God, as He is so good to do…met us there in that valley and showed us grace and comfort to walk through that rugged terrain.

Losing children was not new to us, for we had suffered three miscarriages before Jonathan.  But his death was so senseless in our human minds.  A life lost that should not have been.  A bad judgement call by a physician was what our human brains screamed…for we always need to make sense of things that don’t make sense and so, often, we look for someone or something to blame.

Truth is that God had a plan and slowly we learned to lean into that reality and trust Him as we had so many times before.  For there are no mistakes with God.  Just circumstances that help shape us.

Yet, the loss was devastating and the pain so intense that at times we struggled to breathe.  Some days, even now, 13 years later, the grief is so strong it takes my breath away.

Each year on his birthday (and so many other days in between), we find ourselves taking flowers to the cemetery.  I spend time telling him all that he’s missed in his brother and sister’s lives that year and remind him of all that I’ve missed in being with him the past 365 days.

Perhaps it’s the milestone of turning 13 that seemed to make this birthday especially hard.  Something about this particular year seems more difficult.  I knew it was coming and busied myself on purpose.  Yesterday was Sunday and I knew my soul needed church and preaching but I also recognized that being with people can sometimes feel like the loneliest place to be.  So, I waited in the car until the service started, then I slipped in and slipped out during the last prayer.  So grateful to be with my church family and hear sermons that I knew were God-inspired and rich in truth.

Sometimes that’s what we have to do.  Make a plan so we can carry on as normal yet protect our spirits at the same time.

I fully recognize that God gives everyone a puzzle.  A life story to write.  A plan to fulfill.  Mine is no more difficult than the next persons.  The devil is so skilled at making us feel isolated and magnifying our issues to the point that we can become self absorbed and even bitter at the very God who created us, loved us, died to redeem us, and is waiting on the other side of the beautiful clouds for us.

As I looked into the sky this afternoon at the cemetery, I asked God to allow Jonathan to see me and to let him know just how much he is missed.  But more than that, to know just how blessed I feel for having shared nine beautiful months with him.

You see, I am the only human being to have felt him move.  The only human being to know what it felt like when he had the hiccups, when he was stretching out and turning over and kicking his adorable legs.  I was the one who could sing to him and know he was hearing my voice from inside my body.  I was the one who first held him once he was delivered from the safety of my womb.  And I was the last to touch his precious face before the casket, that would be his crib instead of the one I had decorated for him, was closed the day of his funeral.

He was mine.  God hand picked me to be his mother and Mike to be his father.  Of all the parents in the world, He graced us with that privilege.  How blessed I am.

So often, I’ve wondered what his personality would have been like, how his voice sounded and if he would have been funny like Emma or sarcastic like Spencer.  I’ve longed to watch him grow up.  I’ve hurt for all that I’ve missed.

Yet, I’m also envious that he is enjoying Heaven without me.  He’s already walking beside the crystal sea that I have pictured in my mind for years.  He knows what the angel choir sounds like and He plays with Jesus!  How amazing is that thought!

His body is here, his spirit is with Jesus and his soul lives in my heart and has left my life richer because he spent nine months with me.

Emma loved rubber duckies when she was a toddler.  She chewed on them long before we discovered chewy tubes!  We had them everywhere.  Her bathroom (that would have been shared with Jonathan) was decorated in blue and yellow rubber ducky theme.  Jonathan’s nursery theme was to be blue gingham.  And white roses were in abundance at his funeral and have become my favorite flower since then.

Screenshot_2015-08-24-22-48-55-1Those three things have become synonymous with Jonathan.  So, we had a college student from UNC Chapel Hill Art department design his tombstone with a rubber ducky on it in honor of Emma and the life they would have shared together.  I still have a few blue gingham items and I enjoy white roses every chance I get.

We have been so blessed by the friendships in our lives.  So many have walked this journey with us.  But, other than Mike, the one person I always turn too in my grief is my mother.  She was there for every loss. is the one who has walked through so much of my parenting journey with me and the one person that I call from the cemetery every single year.

Once again, today when I called her, she listened, she cried, she encouraged and then she shared with me about a young lady at her church who lost a baby yesterday.  It was a good reminder to pull myself up from the pit of grief and reach out to another to whom the grieving process is fresh and raw.

Isn’t the Lord good to give us opportunities to use what we have experienced?  It doesn’t lessen the hurt.  In fact, it’s painful to draw from that hurt to be a blessing to someone else.  But it’s rewarding as well.  Just to be able to walk along side another family and be able to understand a little of the journey they are beginning.

So blue gingham, yellow rubber duckies and white roses shall forever be my friends!  Sometimes we must focus on the little things and find beauty in those things that were present in the valleys with us.

Happy 13th birthday to a boy who changed me forever!

Thanks for reading my heartbeat,

Renee Parris

The Beautiful Gift of Prayer

When life looms before us like a majestic mountain and daily tasks seem insurmountable.

When heartbreak finds its way into our souls or relationships are less than we had hoped they would be.

When grief calls or illness visits or just when a day can be too full and the heart is overwhelmed.

Any of these can be a cause for needing someone to whisper our name to Jesus.  Then Jesus whispers our name to the Father.  Soon, all of Heaven is on our side.  Praying for us.  Cheering us on.

Whispered Your Name

One of the greatest things we can do for one another is to pray.  The opportunity to go before the holy throne of God on behalf of another.  It might be God’s most gracious gifts to us aside from salvation.

The Bible speaks much of prayer.  So many examples of God listening to the prayers of His people on behalf of one another.  Even Jesus asked for prayer when He walked on earth’s soil and felt the burden of His destiny before Him.  He wanted His disciples praying with Him and being in His presence when He cried out to His Father.

Prayer binds the hearts together in a mysterious way.  I’m convinced we can learn more about each others’ hearts by listening to how someone prays than by having a thousand conversations.  Listening to someone speak to Jesus reveals much about their relationship with Him.

In Esther 4:16, Esther asked for her people to fast and pray three days for her…she knew what she had to do and she recognized her need for prayer warriors and for God to grant the request of many for her to be brave and for the heart of the king to be soft toward her.

Often we face life alone because we are too embarrassed to ask for prayer – for what would others think if they knew we didn’t have it all together? Or we don’t recognize the power of having people pray for us. Perhaps we think we can scale the mountains on our own.

Many, many have been the times I’ve begged others to pray for me. I know God answers prayers for I have witnessed it multitudes of times in my own life.  I’ve watched Him perform miracles for which there were no earthly explanations.  I’ve seen Him show up in the midnight hours and comfort as only He can.  He works like that, you know!  He comes in still and quiet and mends, heals, restores, slides mountains out of the way, and leaves us speechless.  Takes our breath away!

What a gift to bestow on those around us.  To take their requests, their needs, their petitions to God on their behalf.

To all who have whispered my name to the Father…thank you!  It is your greatest display of love to me.

And to my readers, may I declare, if you’ve got a need, I’m in your corner! I will take your requests to the Father for you. I’m always a message or a text away!

What if we all pledge to be prayer warriors for one another?!  What if we decide to not just talk and share our needs with one another but to talk to God on behalf of one another.  To really pray when we say we will.  How often do we casually say, “I’ll be praying for you.”  But then, we forget or just fail to do so.  May we be true to our word and mention the names of others to Jesus.  May we ask that God really grant the comfort, healing, or help that our friends and family need.

God is gracious.  He does hear and will answer.  Perhaps not exactly as we request, for His ways are so much higher than ours and He knows what is best.  But I truly believe how and when He answers has much to do with who and how often those requests are made known.

Esther recognized her need for support and she understood the power of prayer and fasting. What an example. I’m so glad God chose to share her story with us in His Word.

May we gift the beautiful gift of prayer to those around us.

The Gift of Peace

Peace.  Such a beautiful word.

Growing up in the mountains, it seemed we were never far from a creek or stream that flowed down through the crevices of the hills.  Shaded by trees and flowing through the forest floors, these streams were like havens and secret places that provided hours of childhood play.  The music of the water rushing downward filled the air.  It was peaceful and serene.

When storms came and the streams filled with more water, the sounds grew stronger and lovelier.  The rain somehow brought peace.  It washed away debris and left beautiful music behind.  The storms brought peace.

Peace is something that is difficult to explain but when experienced, it is amazing.  It keeps the heart calm and the spirit even.

Great peaceWhen life gets hectic and schedules seem too full, we long for peace…a rest for the soul.

Lately, it seems, the news has been filled with many stories that can evoke fear, worry, uncertainty, and panic if a person chooses to dwell on them for an extended period of time.  I have found that my spirit can only handle so much of the news.  I’m not sure if there is more evil in the world now than in previous times, or if it just that we are privy to more of it through the air waves and media outlets than previous generations.  We can read historical accounts of atrocities that have taken place in our world but typically only those experiencing them would know of them in real time.  Today, we can know in minutes of tragedies that occur halfway around the globe from our homes.

I ponder that and wonder if God ever intended for our spirits to bear that much negativity.  It’s no wonder that suicide, depression, and anxiety are on the rise.  We have more modern convenience than any previous generation yet we are unhappy.  Why is that?  We ponder too much on worry instead of peace.

The Bible has much to say about peace.  In fact 420 times, the word peace is mentioned in Scripture.  One of my favorite verses is Psalms 29:11 “The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.”

Peace is a blessing for sure.  And when my soul is weary, my spirit heavy, and my mind filled with worry, I remind myself that God will bless me with peace.

What is troubling your soul today?  Regret, disappointment, betrayal, grief, fear?  Rest in knowing that God longs to bless you with peace.  After the storm, peace will arrive…during the storm, focus on the sounds of water rushing and know that peace is on the way.

A burden is heavy to bear alone.  That same burden transferred to the hands of God becomes light and peaceful.  It is a waste of effort for us to bear a burden that God is so wiling to bear for us.  Many are the times that I pour out my soul to the Lord and ask Him to carry my burden and grant me peace.

He longs to do the same for you, my friend.

Renee Parris

You Try to Hide But I See the Real You

My friend,

I see you hovering in the corner hoping no one notices the pain underneath the smile you pasted on before coming into the room.  I hear the silent cries you whimper out before joining the group of laughing friends.  I feel the heaviness of the burden you set down at the door so you could pick up the weight of another among us.  I sense the depth of loneliness you feel inside this crowded room.

DSC_2931I guess what I’m saying is that I see youYou try to hide but I see the real you.

DSC_2917The version of you that you hope no one notices but yet wish someone would.  Because it would be easier to just be real and not pretend.  The weight of pretense is enormously heavy.  But the risk of being real can be terribly frightening.

fall 07 319 (170)That real and often disguised version of you?  The you with the broken heart, shattered dreams, and life that is less than you imagined.  The you that has suffered loss, broken promises, and buckled under life’s weariness.  That’s the one I see when I look into your eyes clouded behind pretense.

357What do I see when I look at you?

  • I see raw and unabashed beauty. The beauty of a mosaic made from broken pieces of discarded works of art that we call dreams.
  • I see a heart that is pure. Wonderful intention even though, in some moments, has been exchanged for less than stellar choices.
  • I see the gift of grace displayed. Bestowed on those you love but often withheld, by you, for yourself.
  • I see the spirit of forgiveness. I watch how you keep going on loving those who have disappointed you.
  • I see enormous strength. Things that would break weaker vessels have created strength in you.
  • I see faith displayed in bravery. You may not feel brave, but your perseverance in the face of heartache shouts bravery.
  • I see a soul that is lovely. One that is making a difference in the lives around you.

DSC_2920I just want to tell you that the real you is beautiful, unique and one of God’s gracious gifts to the world.  He dreamed of you, chose the perfect moment to create you in secret, waited for months to share you with the world, and has been cheering you on for all these years.

511So chin up my friend.  You are quite amazing.  You are a beautiful, complicated, and treasured mess.

DSC_2901There is nothing, absolutely nothing that has been done to you or even by you that God can’t redeem and turn into a beautiful offering.

DSC_4943God can take some pretty awful situations and turn them around as beautiful molding places in our lives.  His studio specializes in restoration of broken and damaged canvases.  He meticulously restores to usefulness what others would throw away.  And the work He has begun in you?  Oh, He will finish it and it will be a masterpiece.  Just you wait and see.

DSC_4954You, the real you, are beautiful.  Let no one tell you otherwise.

Renee Parris

Own Your Life Book Study: Chapter 3

Continuing our study of Sally Clarkson’s gem Own Your Life, today we are discussing how to set ourselves free from the voices of those who would distract us from the voice of God.

The voices that are whispered into our souls shape us in profound ways.  We slowly grow into the mold we are cast by those who influence our lives.  This chapter reminds me how important the words I bestow on others are in shaping their self image.

Chapter 3: Listening to New Voices – Owning Your True Identity

This chapter reminded me that I am precious to God: Created individually, on purpose and for a specific role in His story.

I am a Princess of the King!  So are you!

Beauty Within

Disney has made a fortune keeping the images of a Princess before us.  We are awe struck by their beauty.  Their grace captures the little-girl-dream in us of being center stage.

Yet, each Princess is unique.  Only Cinderella can don the blue dress and lose the glass slipper.  Only Belle can capture the heart of a rude and ruthless beast.  The story of Snow White cannot be embodied by Ariel.  Each Princess has their own role and they can only be center stage in that one tale.

We all long to be important.  We want to matter.

In Chapter 3, Sally Clarkson shares about Owning Your True Identity.  Accepting who we are in Christ and not who we are according to others opinions of us is not an easy feat.

Whether true or false, we are shaped by the voices of those around us.  Their words and opinions etch identities in our hearts that we believe and embrace.  Oh, we can overcome negativity that is poured into us, but not without a struggle.

Highlights from Chapter 3:

Sally shares the story of a new friendship made with a woman who was quickly a kindred spirit.  Friendships are a gift – especially those that go into the deep places with us.  It is a rare gem to find a soul trustworthy of our deepest secrets and dreams.

Of her friend she said, “Our life circumstances were so different, but our adventurous soul personalities were so very similar.”

Her new friend was extremely successful and had lived out her childhood dream of living in New York City and owning businesses there.  However, in her heart was a dark place etched by the negative opinions of her by her own mother.

Sally’s friend said, “I remember my mama’s disappointment in me from the time I was about eight years old, and it has followed me my whole life.”

Sally says, “My own story is similar in many ways to that of my new friend.  I wasted many years thinking that if I just tried a little harder or accomplished a little more, I would someday be acceptable to those who had criticized me as I was growing up.”

“I know so many women who lug around the dark places of their past and live under the burden of condemnation.”

Not only do voices from our past affect us, but media, society and even Christian culture can set standards that we feel we must ascertain.  We feel a need to measure up…but to what?  The standards aren’t even consistent.  Yet we feel defeated and rejected if we can’t keep up.

“If we can’t check off the boxes, we never feel as if we measure up.”

“Most women come up feeling short of the mark they are supposed to reach.  Only God offers deep-down inner acceptance and approval.  Only His ways bring vibrant health.”

“I frequently meet women…who also carry baggage.  They have lugged it around for so long that they do not even recognize how burdensome it is and how much energy it steals from their lives.”

“Owning your life must begin with a healthy view of yourself that is based on what God thinks of you.  Once you listen to His voice, your self-perception will change.”

“Deciding to like yourself is a choice to validate God’s design on your life.  You have an ability to sparkle as you are in ways no one else will ever be able to match.”

“We would never tell a zebra that its stripes should have been polka dots, or a buffalo that it should flit around as delicately as a butterfly.  And yet the world tries to fit us into a common mold which leaves 99.9% feeling that we fall short.”

“Nothing we have ever done in the past and nothing we will ever do in the future can change the way God sees us.”

“Owning your self-image is a work of grace that leads to the beauty of true womanhood.  It is essential to becoming healthy and strong.

Personal Take-Aways and Challenges:

So, what is the answer?  We need to allow God’s voice of acceptance to be louder than the voices of our past or of those around us currently.

Identify Voices

Read aloud and let sink into your soul Scripture verses that proclaim God’s love for you and His design for your life.  He loved you before you were born (Psalm 139:13-14.)

And regardless of our past choices and past voices, we are reminded in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that we are made new again when we come to Christ.  So if, between birth and salvation we have made messes (and we all have), we are born new again in Christ.

So, His image of us never changes.  That is amazing to me!

A lingering question of my heart from this chapter is this: Does my voice whisper acceptance or rejection, life or death into the hearts of those I love?

When people leave my presence do they feel accepted and loved for who they are or do they feel that they don’t measure up to some ridiculous standard I have set for them?

My prayer is that I will speak affirmation and that it will seep deeply into the crevices of the hearts of those who hear my words.

Each of us is a princess.  We are unique.  Each of us is a masterpiece.  Remember, with all your individual talents, personality traits, interests, quirks, and dreams – you are His masterpiece.

How are you owning your life?  Whose voice is the loudest in your soul?  I pray it is God’s voice and that you hear often His words of acceptance.

Renee Parris

Where are the Voices for Freedom of Speech?

Freedom of Speech. Three simple words comprised of 15 letters of the English alphabet.  For over 20 centuries, blood has literally flowed from the veins of good men and women to protect these three words that are so flippantly thrown around on the airwaves and in social study classes. It’s not just a phrase or a tag line. It is a principal upon which our government was established. It is the core of we are as citizens.  We are free to express our opinions and beliefs regardless of how and by whom they are received.

DSC_8943YET…there is no freedom of speech if the hearer must approve of what the speaker says. When my voice must be quieted because what I say offends you, the freedom dissipates. When my words must flow through the filter of those who disagree with what I say, there is no longer freedom.  Common sense and respect for our fellow citizens dictates appropriateness and respect but the freedom to speak cannot be hushed.  We simply cannot allow it.

My heart is sad for those filled with incredible hatred. I pray for their peace and for God’s love to penetrate those who try so hard to resist Him. The devil is destroying our country from within…that’s what he does…he divides families, churches, citizens…for if we fight each other we will be distracted from the real issues.

Does it really matter who won’t make a pizza for whom, who can and cannot say they are Christians on their private social media accounts, when the real issues are babies being murdered, young girls being sold as sex slaves, people literally dying everyday from starvation and evil armies trying to attack innocent people.

Can we really be SO selfish and self-centered that who approves of us and who is or isn’t willing to serve us that we completely lose sight of common sense?

The Bible says to “Be angry and sin not.” It’s time for God’s people to be angry and stand up for those whose voices are being quieted by bullies, and a few loud mouths. MOST people just want to live their lives, love their families, provide for those in their care, and enjoy this earthly journey. Most are not hateful and vindictive. So why, someone please explain to me why, a few people with too much money (that could make such a difference if used properly) and way too much hate can silence the majority? Am I the only one who is weary of stories day after day after day of injustice.

This post is not directed at any one person or group of people. I am, unashamedly a Christian. I love God and am humbled and amazed that He would die for me so that I can live eternally in Heaven. By nature of my DNA, I would be considered the middle child, the peace maker. I detest conflict. I love harmony.

The lens through which I view life sees no difference in people based on where they were born, what the tint of their skin is, what they know and believe about sexual orientation, what they have been taught about God and religion, or what values have been instilled in their lives. My friends include people from every corner of the world and point of scale on the morality measuring bar.

One of the richest experiences of my life was a summer spent in the gay community caring for a dying friend (a post for another day), moments providing care for foster children of different races and ethic backgrounds have taught me a lifetime of lessons about acceptance, and my passion for traveling and mission based journeys has opened my eyes to ways of worship beyond the walls of a church auditorium. While my mind on salvation is incredibly narrow and based solely on the Bible teaching, my heart is wide open for those human beings I am sharing this beautiful earth with at this point in History.

Soon, our story will be told. The people alive in the 21st century will be the History lessons studied in schools and reflected on as a learning benchmark for those who come after us. Sadly, I fear what they will learn and remember. I fear they will look at our generation as one that was too harsh, too divided, too full of hate to have made progressive contributions to the world. A society that got so focused on their personal needs that the greater good was harmed and sacrificed.

God’s righteousness will prevail…He is such a patient God but as much as He is patient…He is just.  How He continues to love those who despise Him is beyond my comprehension. But love is God…it’s Who and What He is. Mind baffling and pure, holy love.

This post was bathed in prayer and written from a heart of love.  These words, spoken with freedom, may or may not be well received.  That part of this journey is not mine to take.  My part is to speak freely.

Renee Parris

Own Your Life Book Study: Chapter Two

We are continuing our study together of Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson.

The more I read and study this book, the more I am convinced that every person I know should read this book.  Regardless of your profession, education level, or age, this book has something for everyone.  I’m blessed to have read this gem.

Chapter 2: Controlling the Chaos – Owning Your Priorities and Commitments

This chapter spoke deeply to me.  Got right in there and nudged at the dirt in the corners of my heart.  The Holy Spirit likes to do that…clean out the crevices.

In Chapter 2, Sally Clarkson shares about Owning Your Priorities and Commitments.  This is a tough area for most women.  We find our days busy and over scheduled and our nights exhausted and restless from all we have done yet all we have left undone in the same period of time.

Busy or EffectiveAt the beginning of each year, I seek God’s direction for the year and ask Him to point out a very specific area of my life that needs more attention than the others.  I know if I list too many resolutions or goals, I will become overwhelmed and resigned to leave life as it is for fear of failure once again.  So, I pray and ask God to give me one theme that could reach into several areas of my life and make me more of what He wants me to be.  This year, 2015, the message came back loud and clear: Busy versus Effective.  Ouch.

We can pride ourselves on how much we do and all that we are involved in, but is our life filled with busyness or effectiveness?  God has been working on me and I’m seeking to eliminate the drainers as Sally calls them and reexamine my schedule…yet again!

Highlights from Chapter 2:

A woman, running late to a meeting, said these words to Sally:

“Today, all the chaos consumed me and left me empty.  If you could write a book about how to have peace in the midst of the chaos of everyday life, you would sell a gazillion books.  That is how everyone I know is living – in utter, busy chaos!

Her words haunted Sally.  These are some of her responses:

“I wanted to tell her that she didn’t need to find peace in the chaos, instead, she needed to move, step-by-step, toward a more reasonable and centered life.”

“God has equipped all of us to live more simply, to move toward order, and to live with intentionality.”

“I have watched many women battle compulsive busyness.” 

“The end result? Depression and isolation. Many women wonder how they will get off the merry-go-round of life.  Even in Christian circles, women live with deep weariness and what I call sawdust souls-an inability to experience any lasting joy.  Their spirits are dry and depleted, but they aren’t even sure how to get close to God, or how to have intimacy with family and friends.”

“Busyness falsely promises productivity.”

In order to bring calm to the chaos, we must be able to identify where the chaos comes from.  We need to listen to the voices that influence us and rid our lives of the voices that don’t line up with the voice of God.

“Unless we return to God’s original design for us and listen to His wisdom, the confusing voices of culture, even Christian culture, will lead us astray.”

“In the absence of Biblical convictions, people will go the way of culture.”

“Many of us struggle to bring God’s light to influence culture; instead, we have allowed culture to inform our values, our work ethic, and our ideals.  Consequently, the values and habits of the world and Christians’ choices are often indistinguishable.”

“We were made for love—in fact, loving God and loving others sums up all the law!”

“Our calling is to bring light—like Jesus—so that when we step into the worlds of others, we bring His peace to every person and enlighten the dark places of the world.  Coming into contact with us should be like coming in contact with Jesus.”

Personal Take-Aways and Challenges:

So, what is the answer?  We have to identify the drainers.  We need to know what steals our hearts away from God’s design for our lives.

Before we can make changes, we need to be honest about our priorities.  We can say we are committed to a daily walk with God, serving our families, loving our communities, ministering to those in our paths, yet if our habits and commitments keep us too busy to do those things, then we are deceiving ourselves.

Perhaps it’s time to be brutally honest with ourselves.  Often it is our self that we lie to the most.  Putting our schedule down on paper is a great way to be able to see where our time is going.  What eats up our day?  Could it be social media, idle phone or text conversations, too many hours away from home?  It will be different for each of us, but we each get the same 24 hours a day and those hours are filled with something.  Whether it is idleness or excessive busyness, the drainers will find a way to consume our hours.  We must be intentional about identifying where the time is going if we want to change how the time is spent.

Daily FreshnessWithout a Biblical foundation, we are empty.  There is no substitute for quiet time spent with the Lord.  And the way He speaks is through His word.   If my soul is void of the freshness of His word, daily, then I am empty and have nothing to give to those in my life.

A haunting question of my heart is this: When people come into contact with me, do they feel as if they have been in contact with Jesus?

What drainers can I eliminate so that my quiet time is more consistent?  What commitments can I let go, so that the people I say I love most actually feel my love?  What busyness can be traded in for effectiveness?

Each day my story is being written.  So is yours.

Building someone else’s dream leaves our stories untold.  Embrace the script God has for you.  Love the people God has called you to serve.

Be honest, brutally honest, about what adds value to your life and be willing to set aside what doesn’t.  Even good things can hinder our effectiveness.  It doesn’t have to be sinful, sometimes it’s just not expedient.

How are you owning your life?  Well.  I trust.

Renee Parris

A link to purchase this amazing book:

http://www.amazon.com/Own-Your-Life-Intention-Generous/dp/1414391285/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1420299444&sr=8-1&keywords=own+your+life

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