Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007

Laurel woman encourages new relationship

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Brenda Ahearn⁄The Gazette
Jacqueline Renee of Laurel self published her stories of inspiration.
Jacqueline Renee believes people need a daily boost, something to motivate, inspire and energize.

And no, super-caffeinated drinks aren’t her solution.

Renee, a Laurel resident, self published ‘‘Inspirational Appetizers,” a book of 40 uplifting short stories laden with Biblical messages, in May, hoping to give readers a jolt of religious wisdom every day.

Whether the daily readings convey a message of love or discipline or selflessness, Renee never intended for her readers to stop with the inspirational blurbs. A larger text, she said, should be next on readers’ to-do list.

‘‘It’s designed to stir up your appetite and motivate you to go to the Bible,” said Renee, 46, who self published ‘‘U Complete Me” in 2001 and ‘‘He Restored My Soul” in 2003. ‘‘The main meal is the Bible.”

A lifelong Christian and a longtime member of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden — among the largest churches in Prince George’s County — Renee said her evolution as a writer has paralleled her progress as a Christian.

One lesson she learned quickly was the shortcomings of a ‘‘religious person,” a label she avoids in every facet of her life.

‘‘When I think about a religious person, I think about a person who has been in church for years, but they won’t pick up their Bible again until the next Sunday when they’re back at church,” said Renee, who teachers Sunday school at the Glenarden church. ‘‘More importantly, we are to spend quality personal time with God. ... You get to know about God and know about his character that way.

‘‘That to me is a big difference. God wants us to have the relationship with him like we have with each other.”

One reading in ‘‘Inspirational Appetizers” focuses on the Biblical story of Ruth, a woman whose husband died at an early age. Ruth was encouraged to promptly marry another man and start a new life, but she declined, instead fostering a relationship with God with the help of her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth’s decision paid off years later when she finally remarried a ‘‘mighty man of wealth,” according to the Bible.

Renee, who recently graduated from a women’s discipleship program at First Baptist of Glenarden, said she crafted ‘‘Inspirational Appetizers” to spur readers toward a more spiritual life.

Reading short stories relating real-life situations — handling finances, helping friends and family, maintaining composure through life’s rough patches — to Biblical stories is an invaluable combination, Renee said.

‘‘God has created us all for a purpose and the only way to find out that purpose is to have a relationship with God,” Renee said.

For more on Renee’s published books, visit www.jreneebooks.com.