He is Risen!

"Courtesy of freedigitalimages.com"

“Courtesy of freedigitalimages.com”

I pray today carries with it new breath as you reflect on the Life which was raised up for you. May colorful spring blossoms represent hope and freedom birthed from the price He paid on the cross.  May today be different from yesterday as you walk in His love and purpose for your life. You are loved with an everlasting love and He proved it to you the moment the stone was rolled away. He did it for you, friend, He did it for you!

He is Risen!!!!

 But the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him. Behold, I have told you.”

-Mathew 28:5-7

Love,
Jennifer

 

How to Turn the Light on Inside of Your Darkness…

"Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

“Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

What often seems like our darkest days will turn into the light of life. Today is Good Friday, and I can’t help but think of how dark the day must have been for those who watched their Lord suffer the agony of crucifixion. His innocence and power screamed from the cross when He drew His final breath, and those who followed Him were left with only memories of teachings and promises, which seemed as if they would never be fulfilled. On Good Friday grace was still undefined. However, three days later the light switched on.

Three days later, grace hummed a melody so pure that would have the power to change every soul from that moment until the end of time. You see, nothing can silence the power of the almighty. No one can steal the power of His grace from your life. The definition of grace has been solidified and can never be changed.

According to Merriam Webster the following is the first full definition of grace:

Grace – unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.

The key word in that definition is unmerited. We’ve done nothing to deserve it and yet He did it anyway. He died. He suffered and died to steal the keys to death and hell for all eternity. A dark day turned into the most beautiful light we will ever behold.

And this means that not only are we able to spend eternity with Him in heaven, but He will also work for us and through us here on earth.

Your darkest days have opportunity to turn into light because of the power of the cross and the grace bestowed on you. If today is a dark day, don’t give up. Reflect on His grace and remember what He did to gift it to you.

Have a blessed day, friends. May your darkness turn to light and may you glorify the risen Lord. He may have died on the cross, but He didn’t stay there. He rules and reigns at the right hand of the Father. And because of His scars, you have grace! Believe Him, accept Him, and turn the light on!

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

-Romans 10:9-10

Love,

Jennifer

The Hope in Our Scars (And a Book Update!)

Our ScarsIf you know me at all, you know some of my story. You understand why I encourage from the place of a woman who has been through her share of sorrow. And if you don’t know me, then I should probably tell you that I experienced secondary infertility which transformed into a fifteen year battle accompanied by miscarriage and stillbirth.

Since I started this blog, not quite two years ago, I’ve shared about my upcoming book, Nothing to Hold but Hope. It has taken a long time to align all the details, but it is finally going to debut before summer begins! Over the course of the  last five years I have literally lived the definition of Romans 8:28.  Freedom and truth live deep inside it.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

-Romans 8:28

Today, I want to communicate that no matter where you are on your journey, Christ loves you. He has crafted a beautiful design for your life. Throughout my struggles I’ve learned that the messy, imperfect, battered, and bruised pieces make me unique. It is the same for you.

Our scars are lines in a story that have opportunity to shout the beauty of our Savior. (Tweet that!)

We cannot expect to live a life free of suffering when Christ Himself could not escape it. However, we can learn there is a much larger plan than our eyes can see. We can hope, rest, and trust in it. Our hope is sure and built on a solid rock.

Today, I pray that everyone who reads my words on this tiny piece of the internet will think of the power in the word hope. I pray hope beckons you. I pray it calls your name so loudly that you will not be able to ignore or deny it.

Friends, if you feel like you’ve nothing else to hold on to, you always have hope.

Grip it tight!

Love,

Jennifer

Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150Today, I’m linking up with Holley Gerth to encourage through Coffee for Your Heart!

 

My Hope for You Today…

rainbow blog picToday, I hope you find unexpected surprises and beauty beyond your circumstances. In faith, walk wherever the Lord leads you. Even if you’re not sure you are ready to take the next steps to get there, go anyway. I pray you crave His will for your life and that today will be a new day filled with new boldness in Him! Step out and be brave,  friends!

May the Lord cause you to flourish, both you and your children. 15 May you be blessed by the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

-Psalm 115:14-15

Have a beautiful Sunday!

Love,

Jennifer

What We Must Continue Teaching Our Kids…

Pray Hope LoveYesterday, just less than 20 minutes outside my community, there was a stabbing at a high school. 21 teenage victims were scarred forever, literally. Hundreds of others now live in fear that it might happen to them someday.

As parents, during the early years, we spend so much time instructing our children to avoid strangers that teaching them to beware of their fellow classmates never occurred to us.

Until now. Until yesterday.

We’ve always focused on teaching kindness and inclusion. We shout the golden rule in hopes our children will display it. Who knows? Maybe it will prove beneficial to them during their lean times in life. You know, sort of, “What comes around goes around” type thinking.

It seems to me that kindness begetting kindness went out in the 1950s.

And then with coffee cups in hand we turned on the news and saw our own kids fighting for their lives from wounds inflicted by someone who looked a lot like them. Someone who walked the same halls, sat in the same classes, and fought with the same adolescent issues. Innocence is stolen and fear becomes one with pure souls. The future is now tainted for everyone. We no longer sit on the sidelines feeling awful for the parents and students somewhere else far, far away. Now we cry for our own.

Today we awoke and the world looked different. Darker somehow.

This morning, parents everywhere in the small suburbs outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania kissed their children goodbye while tears pooled in their eyes. While the big, yellow, buses drove further and further in the opposite direction, each mother, father, and grandparent silently prayed to God their babies would return unscathed. And school-aged children everywhere looked around suspiciously at their peers walking next to them down the halls.

Hate creates hate and silence is the loudest and worst noise of all…

So, what now? How do we teach balance between love and skepticism of our fellow neighbors and still manage to cover it all under the blanket of Christianity? I read my Bible this morning, and I didn’t see anything about what to do in the 21st century when kids walk down the corridors of their schools stabbing other kids. My earthly eyes can’t find where Jesus spelled it out in black and white, and I’m confounded over it all.

For me, there is only one thing to do:

I will keep teaching my children to love while trusting God will give me the wisdom to impart discernment to their little souls. I will teach them, by example, to pray for everyone, good and evil alike. I will keep preaching hope to their souls via the only One who can give it to them.

His name is Jesus.

We need Him and even when He seems absent, like in the hallway of a high school in Murrysville, Pennsylvania, He is not. I don’t understand it, and never will this side of heaven, but I know He is real and no matter what, I will continue to teach my kids to scream love towards the high walls of hatred. How else can the walls fall down?

And trust me; I’m not saying they ever will. I’m just saying we have to maintain hope.

Hope is the only light in the midst of all that is dark. (Tweet that.)

Sunrise_Hope_JenniferKostick

We must continue to teach love.

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.

-John 15:12

 

I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, Lord, as you know. 10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help. I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness from the great assembly. 11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me.

-Psalm 40:9-11

Somewhere beyond the darkness there is Light and in that Light lives love. It is there I rest my hope. And something tells me that “somewhere” isn’t as far away as it seems…

Please continue to pray healing, as well as freedom from fear, over the victims of Franklin Regional High school.

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

 

Humility or Pride? (Then and Now)

"Image courtesy of  FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

“Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net”

Recently, I’ve been looking back at some older posts. They serve as a journal of sorts. When I was reading I couldn’t help but reflect on all God has done in my heart over the last year. Just last Friday, I wrote about taking ownership of gifts. I couldn’t have done that last year. I just wasn’t ready, but God was doing something in the inter-workings of my very soul that would change the trajectory of my ministry.

It came through recognition that everything is about Him and nothing is about me. He is gracious enough to use me- all of my tarnished, broken, and bruised pieces. He puts them back together and allows freedom to flow. I wrote the following post last April 16th. I’m excited about the truths God is revealing to me. If you struggle with insecurities and wonder what  you can possibly do to honor God with your gifts, this post is for you.

 

Last week, I shared one of my favorite words of wisdom from the Bible. In John 3:30 John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” I’ve been thinking about those words frequently. In fact, I’ve been repeating them to myself on a daily basis.

I’m working on many different projects surrounding my ministry to women. I love learning all that God is teaching me, and I love sharing it with other women, as well. However, there are many days I do not wake up feeling confident in what I have learned. And I don’t always feel like I should be teaching anyone anything. I’m just going to be very honest and say it… I struggle with insecurity. I have a difficult time walking in my gifts for fear the gifts I have aren’t enough to honor God the way He deserves. Through this, God has taught me a very important lesson. I’m not being humble in my insecurity; I’m being prideful.

If my eyes are focused on what I can’t do, it becomes impossible for me to focus on what God CAN do (click to tweet).

Whether or not I think my gifts are valuable enough has nothing to do with anything. God determined my worth, and what I was intended to do for His purpose, when He sent His only Son to die for me on the cross. I was bought with a price. (1 Corinthians 6:20) He expects me to offer my gifts to Him. I am valuable in His sight, and so are you…

If you are like me and have been living with insecurities over your gifts and callings, if you are worried that what you have to give is insufficient, I want you to remember you were bought with a price. God has something wonderful for you and in order to fulfill whatever it is, you need to stop looking at what you can’t do, and start looking at what God CAN do.

You were created for wonderful things, and if He has called you, then you can rest in knowing He values your gifts and wants you to use them for His glory.

This is what He is teaching me. What is He teaching you?

Love,

Jennifer

Coffee-for-Your-Heart-150Today, I’m linking up with Holley Gerth to share some encouragment through Coffee for Your Heart!

Tickets for The Mercy Retreat are on sale now. Come spend a weekend with us and our keynote speaker, Christin Ditchfield! Christin has a new book out entitled, What Women Should Know About Facing Fear.

Five Minute Friday: Writer (A New Land)

Deuteronomy Promise

I remember a time last year, when playing games with friends, that someone asked a frantic question while trying to earn points for their team, “What does Jen do?” the answer shouted out was, “She’s a writer!” I wanted to look behind me for the “real writer.” I thought, “There must be another Jen in […]

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Why Are You Allowing Your Voice to Be Silenced?

Grace at Pink Mic

I think it was my 5th miscarriage. To tell you the truth, I’ve had so many I can’t remember which one it was… It had been a very long day. My body felt as if it had been through the war, probably because it had, and I just wanted to escape the cold and antiseptic, […]

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Let’s Go Give!

When I was a little girl I would have given away just about everything I owned. I loved giving to people. I would spend all my birthday and Christmas money on others to the point where even my, very giving, grandmother would question me. She thought I might regret my goodwill with the reality of […]

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What You Need to do When You’re Waiting

I’ve never been the type of churchgoer who took a seat on any given Sunday morning, listened to the sermon, and exited the building not to be seen again until the following week. I’m not saying keeping quiet and just attending service is a bad thing. But it isn’t me. I’ve always been the type […]

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