One day, while visiting my brother and his family, my brother’s wife began discussing her experiences of being a leader of a small church group for women. She related how she had been sensing a calling to do a woman’s ministry but did not believe she could run a meeting like that. Encouraging her to do so was her pastor. He had recommended a book to her for the group to study. The name of the book she used is called, A Confident Heart, by Renee Swope.
Months later, after she concluded the home group study course, I asked her how the meetings went. Her reply was: “It was a tremendous success.”
She then told me that she recently told her pastor she was thinking of starting another home group session in the fall using the same book. Apparently, she continued, word of her intentions quickly got around and has received a large amount of interest from friends and other women wanting to join. My sister-in-law had not even advertised it officially! Hmm. I wonder if her pastor had something to do with all of that? Anyway, she now is considering starting two separate groups and limiting each to about fifteen persons per group.
Well, my curiosity got the better of me. I ordered the book, read it, and now want to urge you to read it also.
I have never read a book that was entirely geared for women. Yet, I found it difficult to put it down after starting it. The book has 220 pages.
Here are a couple of excerpts:
— “Everything the world offers is temporary. What God offers is eternal.”
–“The first three chapters are very important and foundational. They examine who God is and who we are to Him.”
A very interesting insight is found starting on page 34 about the Samaritan woman’s discourse with Jesus in John 4. That portion of the book was well worth reading! How was this Samaritan woman’s encounter relevant to what Christ is doing for women – if not all Christians – now?
The book also goes into some detail on how many women were raised by dads who were distant, quiet and withdrawn from them for whatever reason. On page 42 it says:
“I [Renee] discovered that God was not created in my father’s image, but that as God’s child, I was created in His image instead. I was made to know Him and be known by Him – and so are you.”
Yet, many Christian women, perhaps sensing this, continue feeling insecure, insignificant and unloved.
This book continues by briefly acknowledging some of the other issues many women face: divorce, broken engagements, unhealthy relationships, insecurity, and infidelity that have been contributors to many of women’s sense of worthlessness.
The book is about God who deeply knows us yet still accepts us even when we think we have “failed” to love Him. It is about how He loves us. It is about His grace.
The words, unconditional love, were discussed in this book stating that God’s love does not depend on what we do.
Renee says the following on page 52:
“I have been looking for love that could not be taken away. Love that wouldn’t fail, even when I did. Love I didn’t have to earn. Love I could never lose. I didn’t know what to do.”
On page 55:
“God put a longing for unfailing love in our hearts because He knew it would lead us back to Him.”
The entire book is NOT a list about the promises of God, but, on page 61, Renee refers you to check out chapter twelve (the last chapter) of her list of thirty-one promises of God to encourage you.
Here is promise number one:
When I say, “I can’t figure things out.” God says, “I will direct your steps.”
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.”
I will stop here and let you obtain a copy of this book to study for yourself – if you have not yet already done so. It will not be a waste of time, nor money.
This book is loaded with a large number of scriptures – many which Renee discusses and which she used in helping her overcome her difficulties which she candidly shared with her readers. Her openness and candor about her shortcomings were very startling to me to say the least!
After finishing the book, I told my sister-in-law how much I enjoyed it. I then proceeded to ask her if I could visit one of her group sessions in the future. I was not surprised by her reply that due to the highly personal and emotional sharing from the participants that would occur, it would not be good if I were present.
If any of you ladies in Christ have led groups before or you sense that God may be calling you in this capacity, I strongly suggest you get a copy of the book. I also highly recommend that you prayerfully answer the questions at the end of each chapter.
My sister-in-law, who is Colombian, told me that the Spanish edition of the book that she used has a nicer cover than the one I have. You can see the cover of it below.
One final bit of information: as of the time of this writing, Amazon.com has received 632 reviews for this book. 531 are 5-star reviews (excellent), 84 are 4-stars, and 11 are 3-stars. Combined, they averaged out at 5- stars. That is an excellent survey. I did not agree with the one negative 1-star review that I read. I believe there are things in that reviewer’s life that she and God are still working on.
Whatever you decide, at least read this book and share what you learned with a friend.
May God bless you and may He continue building in all of you a great and confident heart.