What the Heart’s Spill Sounds Like…

waterfallOver the last few days I’ve been wondering what it might be like to completely spill my heart to someone. I’m talking about unleashing the dam and letting it all go. There are many reasons I don’t make a habit of doing that. First of all, I don’t want to burden anyone. And, second of all, I have a hard time openly conveying the tender places of my heart.

Consequently, I spend a lot of time spilling my heart out to God. Yesterday I wondered what the spill might sound like to Him. Does it sound like much needed rain after a drought, or a damaging hurricane?

For years, when I asked, begged, and pleaded for another child, I often felt like God was sick of my cries. I wondered if my heart sounded like the droning of a desperate woman. To anyone human I’m sure it did. However, I’ve learned that it’s often the frantic cries from broken places that pulls us closer to Him. He desires us to share everything.

We serve a God who longs to hear the sound of our hearts. (See Romans 12:12)

A quiet and listening spirit is one thing, but a quiet heart has the potential to become hard, and it’s imperative to know and understand the difference between the two.

To pray without ceasing is a high calling, and yet it’s required of every one of us. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) To do that means spilling the heart loudly and earnestly – never giving up. We must intercede for others, for ourselves, for the falling world around us. Small things, big things, and the crazy things that swirl in the heart and soul must be given to Jesus. It’s an offering.

Even angry words and questions why have their place from time-to-time. It’s a fine line, but it’s one we must walk every now and then. As long as we are careful not to become stuck there, it’s okay.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son. (See John 3:16)

Besides the obvious, what does that mean for you? I’m talking about in addition to salvation and the hope of eternity. Specifically, what does it mean for you? Have you ever thought about that?

Jesus is the mediator between God and man. We learn that from 1 Timothy 2:5. So, today, I’m reminded that the Love of God and the cross He willing put His son on facilitates the spill of my heart . Our mediator makes the Father accessible that we may pour out the contents of the heart. And because of the cross, grace covers every word and the Father receives it.

  • He hears me because He gave His Son.

And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

-1 John 5:14-15

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.

-1 Peter 3:12

  • He’s faithful because He gave His Son.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

-1 John 1:9

If we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.

-2 Timothy 2:13

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.

-Hebrews 10:23

I could go on and on about this, but I want to encourage you to allow your heart to spill out to God. He will receive every word and give you comfort, supply hope, and provide wisdom.

Friend, don’t ever think God is tired of hearing your pleas. Don’t believe feelings that are based on pure emotion rather than truth. Too often we allow the enemy to remind us of our faults when all Jesus wants to do is remind us that He died for every one of them.

You are free and covered in grace. (See Ephesians 2:8 and John 8:36)

When I was a little girl my grandfather died. I remember running into the kitchen where my aunt was standing, she held out her arms and I buried myself in her chest while crying. She said, “It’s okay, let it all out.” I often think of God doing that as I lament to Him.

So, friend, it’s okay, let it all out to Him.

Spill every drop and He will meet you there.

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Place Where Comfort Exists…

blackberriesI’ve been thinking about the requirement of comfort. Have you ever thought of comfort as a requirement? Our souls are in need of God to pick up the pieces. I’m sure we are designed that way.

Those of us who are constantly seeking Christ are expecting Him to show up and answer prayers, take away pain , and wipe tears no one else can.

Last Sunday morning I was asked to sing special music at my church. As I sat down at the keyboard and adjusted my microphone, I felt a nudging to speak a word. I needed to explain the song I was about to sing and discuss what brought me to a place of surrender. A place where I could finally confess, “It is well.”

I began by saying that the last year has been the hardest of my life, and, friend, it has. I talked about how in nearly twenty-four years of marriage my husband and I have had to endure a lot, but this has been different. It’s been so painful, and I’ve had a much more difficult time bouncing back.

Paul is an incredible support to me. He loves me, comforts me, and gives me all he has. Over the last year I’ve watched him pour himself out to me in ways of support that I didn’t know existed. And much of the time, I had been simultaneously praying that God would answer my prayers, soothe me, and heal my grief.

He was. Inside the arms of my husband.

I think that sometimes we are so caught up in the big giant signs and wonders that we miss the comfort of the moment. The nights I cry and he prays out loud for me , the moments he holds me in his arms and won’t let go until the tears dry. I’ve taken much of it for granted, but the truth is I’ve seen God work for me through him.

I’ve learned that receiving love from others is somehow proof of a loving God.

I’ve seen God move through my friends as they’ve offered advice and tender words of hope. I’ve received beautiful emails from readers as they’ve read about my struggles with grief. Even though I’ve tended to retreat in many areas, I’ve been healing slowly from the love given to me by others. And I have no doubt that God has placed each person in my life for a specific purpose.

Friend, if you are grieving and begging God to comfort your soul and give you relief, I want to encourage you to open your eyes to the love around you. The warmth, kindness, and giving nature of those who are willing to invest in our lives are usually sent by a God who is working slowly and perfectly to repair every broken place.

Whoever your community of comfort is, embrace them, love them, and thank God for them. He is working for you, and He will NEVER stop.

You are so loved.

Take comfort in that.

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

When You Put Mother and Hood Together! (My Guest Post on The Laundry Moms)

http://www.thelaundrymoms.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/when-you-put-mother-and-hood-together_558x284.jpg

Hi, Friends! I’m being featured on The Laundry Moms blog today! It’s a place all about motherhood, and when they contacted me to write for them, I was thrilled to be able to share a little about being a mom and the purpose that all mothers are called to.

Will you join me there for some spiritual encouragement and motherhood hope?

See you soon!

Love,

Jennifer

Do You Want God to Validate Your Feelings?

20150507_101607It’s been a year. The rhythm of words are falling at a slow drip these days, and the joy I want to feel seems to be a bit repressed by memories of trauma from last July 16th.

That day brought suffering for us and pure joy for him. I know all this, and yet I still long for a selfish ending. Many more years of life with him and the ability to use phraseology such as “my parents” again would taste so sweet while rolling off the tongue. It’s an indescribable feeling when familiar words escape our vocabulary because there isn’t a place for them anymore.

I’m very quick to say that we cannot allow ourselves to live by what we feel. We have to hold strong to what we know to be true, and believe, in the midst of whatever might be crumbling around us. That thinking has been a lifeline for me over the past 365 days.

I’m learning that feelings must be based on truth for them to be validated by God.

I know that’s a hard sentence to swallow because we all want to think of God as a gentle God of mercy and grace who pours love and will validate every need. But what about the God who sent David to defeat foes? What about the God who turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt? What about the God that said He was going to put a rainbow in the sky to remind Himself not to destroy the earth? Again!

We not only serve a gentle God of mercy, friend, we also serve a God that says, and I’m paraphrasing, “There is only ONE WAY and it’s through My Son. It’s Mine.”

I seem to serve the God who has spoken deeply inside my soul to not give in to feelings of despair and grief, and to start having the courage to live what I believe. I feel like He’s shouted it to me just like a parent who is a little tired of dealing with their child’s messy room. He wants me to overcome, and sometimes that means pushing me a little harder through means of conviction within crisis.

It takes more courage to live what we believe, especially when it’s unpopular, than to conform.

I cannot pick and choose what I like about Jesus and mold Him to suit me. I have to allow Him to mold me. And if I don’t… Well, you fill in the blank.

Yesterday, I read the following passage out of Proverbs 16:32

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

To rule our spirit means submitting to God in ALL things. Even when someone dies. Even when we “feel” like we’ve lost everything. Because, the truth is that we will never lose God and He is supposed to be our everything. That doesn’t mean loss won’t hurt and that He won’t comfort us, because He most certainly will, but we cannot allow horrendous circumstances to redefine who God is and meter how much He loves us. He’s unchanging. Bad things happen to good, godly people, and He is still the same God despite every second of it.

I used to think worship was sitting at the piano and pouring my heart out. I confused it with attending a service at church and studying my Bible. In some respects it is.

However, for me, I’ve learned that choosing to rule my spirit according the word of Christ, and confess “it is well” even when it didn’t feel like it – even when I wasn’t sure it ever would be, is obedience. And choosing that kind of obedience when you’re lying in the middle of the hardest places, in the fetal position, is worship in its purest form.

It isn’t easy, but sometimes we need to recall the tough God who says, “It’s me or nothing” to remember who we are in Christ. When we bear in mind that we belong to a God who can move mountains because of His strength and ability to do ALL things, when we remember the God of David who allowed him to take down the giant Goliath of Gath, then we can feel secure. And that particular feeling of security is amazing because it’s based on truth.

So go ahead, confess it is well out loud, at the top of your lungs, even if you aren’t sure. Because, do you know what? God is sure. He knows the end.

Have the courage to allow God to rule your spirit and put your feelings under submission. It’s a choice. Not always an easy choice, but a choice that is within your control. And, yes, I’m preaching to myself today…

Love,

Jennifer

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Trusting the Driver

Roller CoasterIf you read this blog regularly, then you know my writing schedule has been nonexistent. I wish I could say it’s because summer is here and the kids are home. Those things definitely factor into the chaos, but I’m one to work with chaos because as much as I say I like order, orderly chaos is probably more accurate.

The truth is, I’m just not feeling it.

It’s not that I don’t want to encourage you, or share what’s on my heart, but I’m a little upside down right now. I feel like I’m on a ride that’s completely out of control, and I have a severe case of motion sickness.

There’s been a lot of days over the past year that brought me to the place of wanting to question God. Days when my lips have shaken because the whys and hows want to roll off my tongue and escape into the universe. Surprisingly, I’ve been pretty good about containing those questions.

It’s actually a little perplexing, because I’m not exactly at a place of acceptance either. I’m sort of in between.

Earlier today, I was scrolling through my Facebook wall when a friend shared a post from Bethel Music. It was a picture with a quote from Melissa Helser that said, “If you know His nature, you will not question His motives.”

I quickly moved from a place of trembling lips filled with question, to sincere gratitude for His nature. You see, I’m thankful I know Him. I’m grateful I’ve had the chance to cling to Him. In all sincerity, I’ve run to Him because I knew deep down there was nowhere else to run, I’ve studied His word out of sheer desperation, and I’ve learned who He is because of tragedy. He met me there, spoke to me through an age old book, and has mercifully allowed me to learn His nature so that I can be secure in Him without seeking hope in the shaking world around me.

Last week, I had a dream that I entered a roller coaster with friends. When the ride actually began, I was all by myself inside a dimly lit building holding on for dear life as the ride moved faster and faster on a very thin track. In the dream, I immediately began praying and crying out to God until I finally screamed, “LORD, BE THE GOD OVER EVERY LAW OF MOTION!”

That desperate prayer startled me awake in a state of laughter. Anyone who knows me understands that I’m no mathematician and Sir Isaac Newton and I would have zero in common. The thought of me praying those words was hilarious.

However, as my day started, I wasn’t plagued with leftover upset feelings from a nightmare. (Don’t you hate those?!?!) I just kept reciting the frantic prayer all day long. Lord, be the God over every law of motion… Lord, be the God over every law of motion…

My son had an eye doctor appointment that morning, so I found myself in the waiting room reading through the actual laws of motion and thinking of all the spiritual analogies that can accompany each one. That night, I sat for a couple hours with my Bible open wide as I researched scripture references about motion and God’s leading. (There’s only a bazillion!)

Though my heart for scripture and desire for understanding the Word wants to delve into every area God might be leading me into, I think the Lord wants me to simply buckle up for the ride and trust the Driver. He holds the controls, and it’s my job to hold confidence in Him – even when the motion sickness kicks in.

I don’t know who I’m writing this for today. Maybe it’s just for me. Perhaps it’s therapy to share all this. What I do know is His nature. I know that I can trust Him. I don’t have to ask why or how, because He knows and my confidence has to be found there – inside His knowledge of my life.

Friend, I’m not saying any of this is easy or that I won’t spend time under the covers lamenting to God about whatever it is that hurts. I’m not perfect. But I know Who is, and so I’m trusting.

Are you with me?

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

 

Feeling the transition…

True StillnessWho loves to avoid difficult situations? By the way, I’m waving my hand wildly over here. Certain positions we find ourselves in are not always comfortable, and figuring out how to move to a place filled with peace despite our circumstances can be tricky.

It’s a one-day-at-a-time process. We have to allow ourselves to feel the transition even if it isn’t pleasant. It’s imperative that we look to Jesus and say, “It’s Yours. Even if I still feel it, even when it hurts. It’s not mine; it’s Yours.”

Casting our cares can be frustrating because we often think that when we submit our burden, breathing becomes easy. I hate to cut off the flow of oxygen, but it doesn’t work that way. Just like there is a Lover of your soul, there is also an enemy of it. And when we submit everything to the Lover, the enemy works round the clock to waver our trust in the One who frees us.

I want to encourage you with this: If you’ve given your burden and you know deep down that you are holding nothing back from your Savior, then just keep going. Keep walking, praying, and living your life out loud. Peace is found in knowing that even when it hurts, we are doing the right thing.

True stillness of the soul comes from trusting God regardless of how we feel. (Tweet that.)

God is on the throne. He always has been. He always will be.

Love,

Jennifer

Waiting for Change

For When Your Heart is Bursting for that which you do not know

Hi, Friend! Just in case you haven’t noticed, I took a little blogging break over the last week and a half. We went on a family vacation where I desperately needed to recharge. It was wonderful. Thank you to those who reached out via email to ask if I was okay. It’s nice to know […]

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Your Broken Pieces Matter

broken pieces

There is often a misrepresentation of what is considered a “successful life.” We feel forced to post happy pictures and clever status updates. We need to be viewed as people who have it all together, but the problem is that many of us cannot define “it” and are working to make sense of what feels […]

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Rise and Stand

Rise and Stand

In Acts 26, we hear the story of Paul’s conversion. After God knocked him to the ground, He gives a command. “But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of […]

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I Told You Life Isn’t About Rainbows. I Was Wrong…

RedLetterWords Rainbow_n

There have been many instances when I’ve said that life isn’t about rainbows. Accepting Christ doesn’t mean everything is going to fall in place and morph into the fairytale we’ve dreamt about. I was wrong. On May 25th, I was sitting outside on my deck watching the twins play on their swing set. I grabbed […]

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