Just In Case You’re Wondering Who You Are…

Just In Case You're Wondering Who You Are...

The other day I was speaking to a group of women and said, “I want to know who you are, but better than that, I want to know if you know who you are.” As a result of that question I’ve been pondering my own answer.

Almost every day of my life I ask God if I’m doing enough – if I’ve pleased Him. I can tell you that even when I know I’ve lived my purpose for the day, I rarely feel good about it. My personality is to critique every move I’ve made and word I’ve said. I relive my daily agenda listing all I could have done better rather than take two seconds to appreciate any accomplishments.

I tend to be hard on myself. You too?

I’ve been thinking about my own transformation from childhood to the grownup world I reside inside. I wish I could stoop down to the height of the little blond girl I used to know so well and tell her to lighten up, she’s going to grow up to kill it. She’ll sing and laugh and even be able to bang out a song that makes sense on the piano she always dreamed of playing. She’ll be loved by a great man that God sent just for her, and she will have amazing, healthy, God-serving kids. I want to put her on my lap and tell her that grief will come but it’s joy that will remain. Life won’t be easy but she won’t do it alone and no matter what comes her way Jesus will always be faithful. I want to snuggle her in and say, “You’re bound to make mistakes, kid, but don’t fret, you’ll learn from them and be stronger as a result.”

I remember her fear so well. Sometimes, I still feel it. In those moments I think she can easily whisper something helpful to me. “Hey there, it doesn’t last. The fear will pass and you’ll be fine. You aren’t dying, so quit thinking that panic and anxiety will put you in an early grave. It comes and goes but Jesus helps and He won’t ever leave. Just breathe; you’ve got this! We’re growing up to be better than okay.”

That child had dreams that this adult loves to reminisce. Every single one was God inspired and, throughout adult years, morphed into different shapes and sizes to meet His plan. I intend to work harder at remembering I don’t have to be so tough on myself. Everything is working together for good just like the apostle Paul was faithful to write in Romans 8:28.

When God breathes big giant dreams, the enemy tries to tell you why there’s no way they can be lived. Lies, lies, all lies.

Friend, maybe you’re like me. And if you are then I strongly suggest you reminisce the little child you once knew so well. Think about what she might tell you and what you might tell her. Think of all the ways the hand of God protected her and molded her.

Perfectionism has the ability to perfectly destroy women. Let’s put an end to that! (Click to tweet)

Just in case you need reminded of who you are…

You are chosen! (1 Peter 2:9)

You are His workmanship! (Ephesians 2:10)

You are a child of God! (John 1:12)

You were bought with a price! (1 Corinthians 6:20)

You are an ambassador of Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:20)

You’ve been saved by grace through faith! (Ephesians 2:8-9)

You can do all things through Christ! (Philippians 4:13)

You have plans and purpose! (Jeremiah 29:11)

You are forgiven! (Colossians 1:14)

And, friend, the list goes on and on!

Love,

Jennifer

Because The World Needs You…

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.-Matthew 5_16 subheading

For as long as I can remember,  I’ve heard a familiar idiom escape the lips of older, wiser people: “The world is going to hell in a hand basket.” It sounds like such grownup terminology, doesn’t it? And the older I get, as I turn on the news in hopes of informing myself on politics and real live important issues from around the globe, everything in me wants to shout those very same words because, after all,  they feel true. But I can’t.

Somewhere deep inside there’s this tiny little well of hope that bubbles. It’s a voice that speaks, a heart that beats, and a place where faith and optimism chooses a dwelling place. If all of us could just take some time to reconnect with that little wellspring down deep how we see the world would undoubtedly change.

Don’t get me wrong, we won’t see all roses. More likely,  some of the picture will include edibles hanging heavy from branches – just like we learned way back in Genesis surrounding the fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The question becomes, will we bite or not?

Here’s what I’m trying to say: From almost the very beginning the world has been a messy yet joyful, confused place. There’s always been rich and poor, healthy and sick, optimists and pessimists. And in all this, there are some who choose to speak negativity, some who choose to wear designer blinders, (By the way, I’ve owned a pair or two of those.) and then there are some who decide to let their wellsprings bubble up and over, pouring out the healing powers of community on others who need it.

It comes down to this: the world needs you! Your gifts, your talents, your voice, your heart. The world needs your dreams and inspiration, it needs your passion and pursuit. There is no one else exactly like you and so someone out there is waiting for what only you can give.

God created you and He leaves NOTHING He creates. He hovers and breathes the breath of life even when you don’t feel it or want to feel it. Here’s the catch, you have free will and free choice. He’s already chosen you, but will you choose Him? Will you choose to be the light you were created to be?

The world needs your light, friend.

You can help feed, clothe, encourage, love , and teach. You can use your art as inspiration and your freedom in Christ to help build bridges and fill gaps. You can pray.

Sometimes, we need to stop confessing what’s bad so that we can get busy showing the good of God. With our hands, with our feet, with our hope, and with our love we can be light in all that appears dark.

 Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart,
and so find favor and high esteem
in the sight of God and man.

-Proverbs 3:3-4

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

-Matthew 5:16

Love,

Jennifer

 

If You Need Some Encouragement…

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying, _Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield. your exceedingly great reward._

Hi, Friend. I have a short word of encouragement for you. Tonight, as I was reading my Bible, I came across a portion of scripture I highlighted long ago…

After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield. your exceedingly great reward.”

– Genesis 15:1

You know that I’m a big believer in context first and life application second. Meaning: learn the back story and then apply it to your own life. However, today, we aren’t going to look in detail about the story surrounding the above scripture, because I know that some of you are going through really hard times and you just need a small dose of encouragement.

I want to take a minute to remind you that God is your shield, even if it doesn’t feel that way. I understand that your worried about what tomorrow holds, because today was hard and you don’t want to wake up and do it all over again. I get it.

I’ve had some dark days. I know what it is to hurt and search desperately for the promised shield. As humans, we want evidence; we need proof. But as children of God we depend on faith and hope like we depend on air and water. So, take a drink of water and a deep breath. It might sound corny, but it’s a physical action to remind yourself that you choose to put your faith and hope in Jesus.

God’s never let you down and He won’t start now. He is your faithful reward, your shield of protection, and everything you’ll ever need to fight fear. The command do not fear is listed in the Bible approximately 365 times. Everyday of the year you can remind yourself that you don’t have to be afraid. God is for you. He. Is. For. You. And He is your shield.

Love,

Jennifer

You Can’t Kill A God Dream!

You Can't Kill A God Dream!

I’ve been staring at a blank screen for days. The blinking cursor mocks me as it seems to cry out, “You have nothing to say!” But that’s not true. I do have something to say; I’m just not quite sure how to say it.

My one word for this year is change. I’ve been leery to share it because truthfully, change is scary and it isn’t always good. Many of us don’t like saying the word because it disrupts the flow of comfort and makes us gravely aware of our limitations. Do you know what often accompanies change? Loss of control. Yeah, I know, everybody’s favorite. Here’s the thing: We often forget that we’re only limited when we think in terms of what we can accomplish without Christ rather than what we can accomplish with Him. And, as difficult as it is, relinquishing control into the hands of God needs to become priority in everyday life.

And so even though I have a million thoughts stirring in my heart begging to be typed out and sent into the blogosphere, I’m only compelled to type one important fact tonight:

With Christ ALL things are possible. (See Matthew 19:26)

The dreams stored in your heart – you know, the ones you’re ready to forget because they don’t make sense and you think you’ve somehow missed God… Well, I’m willing to bet you haven’t missed Him at all. Those dreams belong to you alone. They’ve been planted and uniquely designed specifically for you.

You can’t kill a God dream! (Tweet that)

I’m going to say it again! You can’t kill a God dream no matter what you do. It will always rise up in your soul and beg for freedom. And it’s you that has the power to give that dream wings, because God gifted it to you. Forever it will pursue you.

In my own life, I’ve been worried about God whispering the word change into my heart, but what I know for sure is that if I’m unwilling to accept change, then I can’t ever move from where I am, even if I like the view. God’s view is always better, always more exciting, and always sure to lead me to my purpose.

I know you might be afraid to let your dream go uncontained. Believe me, I’ve been in situations where I’ve needed discipled and instead felt disabled. I’ve felt death to dreams before I realized this: When we give our dreams flight they might go different directions than we think they should. That doesn’t mean they are wrong, we’ve missed God, or that they won’t come to fruition. It only means our planted dreams were given to us by the creator and He will blow them in the direction of His choice, in His time, in His way.

Our dreams often look so much different than we’ve imagined them.

My point in all this is that you can do anything with Jesus by your side. Uncage your dreams and give up control by allowing God to use His breath to blow them in the direction of His making. Don’t live afraid of the work it takes, the time that may pass, or anything at all that seems nonsensical. God is a God of mystery.

Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His.
21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.

-Daniel 2:20-22

We serve a God who is in charge of change within the trajectory of life. He does what He sees fit; sometimes it’s hard and sometimes joy-filled. Regardless, when we stay open to His commands we walk in a path of life where deep and secret things are revealed. He carries us and plants hope inside as He excavates the dark parts meant to be filled with light. He renews us and allows the humble to rise up through hurt and loss. He sweeps up broken pieces while working for us and never against us. He is the God who plants dreams and receives glory when we allow Him to work them together for our good.

With God ALL things are possible.

ALL. THINGS.

Do you have a dream in need of wings?

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

 

The REAL Reason We Hate Mondays!

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered.

-Psalm 32:1

I think the reason so many of us hate Mondays is not JUST because we are leaving behind weekend fun, but because we tend to carry baggage from the previous week into the new one. I know I’ve talked previously about carrying baggage from one year to the next, but maybe we need to start simpler – one week at a time, one day at a time, maybe one hour at a time or less! I suppose it all depends on our circumstances.

I recently had a conversation with someone about how hard it is to let certain happenings roll off our backs. I’ve always admired people who could easily leave hurtful words and actions behind as if they weren’t important at all. I struggle with wrongdoing against me, which is ridiculous because forgiveness spotlights the cross and reminds us we can be free because of the sin Jesus left nailed to it.

He is alive and sin remains dead with no power at all. It’s nailed to the cross forever!

It seems that if my focus is on He who overcame, then I can surely overcome human error. And, if I want others to forgive me, then I better take hold of these principles and make them part of everyday life. It’s then the heaviness of all those ugly words, actions, hurt feelings, and resentment can be cast aside like trash in the dump.

Here’s a challenge for our Monday: Let’s evaluate what inner trash we need to take to the dump! Forgive who needs forgiven. (Whether they ask for it or not. OUCH! I know, friend, I know.) And, ask forgiveness for ourselves.

Let’s determine to leave behind what Jesus already nailed to the cross and start fresh in His truth and love.

YOU can do this!

WE can do this!

Have a great Monday!

Love,

Jennifer

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Why I Need To Apologize

Why I Need to Apologize

I’m writing to you as the snow gently falls outside my window. For me, snow brings beauty to life and allows my soul to hear the quiet whisper deep down inside.

Isn’t it something how we often wait for God to shout instead of listening for His whisper?

Recently, I had a conversation with someone I barely know. When it was said and done my heart hurt for her. She’s lonely. I know many of you would expect me to say that when we have Jesus there’s no need to be lonely, but as I process the leftover emotions from the cry of that woman’s heart, I can’t bring myself to be cliché.

Yes, God is always with us and He will never leave us, but in our humanness on this side of heaven, we all have a need to know and be known – not under a bright spotlight with applause, but by a tangible human being that speaks audibly and wraps warm arms around the ache.

I’m not really sure why it is that some who call on His name struggle with loneliness, why those of us who are surrounded by crowds still feel empty… And let’s be honest, those who know Jesus well can talk a pretty good game about all the reasons it’s wrong to feel empty when we have a loving God. I’m sorry if you’ve ever felt ripped off by that kind of advice. Sometimes Christians discount emotion forgetting He created it within us. Emotion isn’t the problem, it’s our choice to allow it rule that causes issue.

I sincerely apologize if you ever felt like someone told you it was going to be alright when you know they couldn’t promise that it would be. Maybe I’ve told you that. And, I’m sorry if you’ve ever experienced loss and people wanted to preach “trust God” as if you didn’t already know that’s the right thing to do. Perhaps they assumed you weren’t trusting Him at all, or didn’t want to, which in my opinion is worse.

I need to preach that Jesus is the only answer, because He is, but I also know it’s a process to get there – a process to know the intimate portions of Him that lift the soul. It’s a process to come to the realization all on our own that it will be okay, not because this too shall pass, because it very well may not, but because He is God and will always be on the throne. It takes quite a steep climb to comprehend that the only food our souls require is knowing we serve a God who will always reign.

Over the years, I’ve found myself crying on my knees before Him, on my face before Him, crawled up in bed underneath the covers before Him. The truth is, I’ve rarely received answers from any of those postures. It’s been the quiet, still, small voice deep down inside that seems to speak the loudest when I’ve made decisions to stand up, get out of bed, and face the world with His light. And it’s His voice, and that light, that’s led me to understand my purpose and actually be thankful for some of the pain I’ve been through. Not all of it, friend. I’m being honest… I’m on this journey too. But it’s those honest feelings that keep me dependent on Him, and He’s never let me down yet. His word tells me He never will.

The moments I’ve prayed to Him without ceasing while living out the action I knew I had to perform, is when I’ve felt the calm only He can give.

If you’re stuck and have no idea how to get free, let me tell you what I do:

I breathe in and out. Put one foot at a time on the floor and take one small step before attempting another. I Do what I know I should, and keep trusting in Him even when I don’t hear, see, or feel Him. Why? Because my heart knows He’s there and my faith tells me His seat on the throne is enough. It’s always been enough.

The journey to freedom comes from the knowing He exists and that He’s not going anywhere. It’s conditioning ourselves to listen for the whisper in the midst of the noise, and to keep on keeping on.

The Lord builds up Jerusalem; He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He counts the number of the stars;
He calls them all by name.

-Psalm 147:2-4

 

Love,

Jennifer

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2016 Goals: See Christ Instead of Me and Break Up with Ben and Jerry

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With the arrival of 2016 comes the chanting of change. Everyone has new goals, motivations, and mindsets. Some of these resolutions sit on the side of spiritual matters, but most are about health and wellness. Or, perhaps we should we just get real and say we dream of smaller waists and department store dressing room […]

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What It Means To Contend With God

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So we’ve seemed to wander straight through the door marked 2016. Here’s what I’m curious to know: did we leave the baggage of 2015 where it belongs, or did we carry it with us? A few months ago, I remember reading a news story about a young man who didn’t pay the baggage fee for […]

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Finding Your Place (And an Announcement!)

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We’re almost ready to say goodbye to another year. I don’t know how 2015 treated you in particular, but I’m sure some of us are ready to turn the page with excitement. A new year means new possibilities and new hope. Friend, we can’t live without hope. There’s just no way to wake up in […]

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How To Write His Story With Your Life

How To Write His Story With Your Life...

The other day we were on a school field trip when my son pointed to the wall and asked, “Hey, mom, is that a fossil? What a cool mark!” I smiled at his observation, but the moment seemed to trigger something in me. After that, I couldn’t stop thinking about different kinds of impressions – […]

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