Mercy Unravels (Hope is Coming)

Hope is Coming(1)Mercy unravels afresh as I study events from creation to Christ’s birth. It’s part of Advent- taking another look at that strong Hand that kept reaching out to save flesh when we were destitute and, by all means, should have been left that way. He wouldn’t allow it. You see, we have this Mighty Father who resides not just somewhere beyond the clouds, but right here with us.

The other day I awoke early while the house was still and opened up the words in my big, red Bible. It’s a crimson color that reminds me of my saving grace. Oh the blood.

As I sat with my cup of coffee in the quiet of the morning, I was taken to a place where God walked in the cool of the day looking for the man and woman He created. The ones that hid… The ones that failed.

I was transported to a time when Abel’s blood cried out from the ground and Cain just couldn’t bear the punishment of it all. And then I saw it – brand new, fresh mercy from the Holy One who gave a new son, a new birth, with the promise of a new beginning.

Seth was born to Adam and Eve.

The two who fell from grace found it again after sin, after death, after hope seemed lost forever.

This new son’s descendants would reproduce the line that, in due course, would lead to Jesus.

God is the God of new hope, new life, and perfect plans. He knew before the world began what must happen to draw us to Himself. And though we are a people who continue to eat of the bad, run, and hide… He still allows us to taste the good.

He is the good.

Whatever you’ve done, wherever you’ve been, He is there waiting with His strong hand to draw you near. If you’re looking for hope, then please look for Him.

You are loved with an everlasting love. It’s full of mercy that unravels like a rope to grab hold of and find safety.

Seth was born to give grace that would carry on, and on, and on, and on… It’s for you, for me, for us all.

Do you realize how precious you are to Him?

Believe in His mercy. It’s all for you.

Hey friend, hope is coming!



To catch up on this Advent series, Hope is coming, click here.

To find out more about Adam, Eve, and their sons, read Genesis chapter two through Genesis chapter five.

A Covenant Keeping God (Hope is Coming)

A Covenant Keeping God

This is the first year my family is celebrating Advent using candles in a wreath, a Jesse tree, reading nightly devotionals… the whole nine yards. There’s something shut up in my bones that wants to bring Jesus alive in a new way for my children, family, and friends.

By the way, you don’t have to go to great lengths to take part in Advent. You can be unique in your own celebration of His coming. There’s no need to purchase anything. God honors worship from a pure heart, and Advent is all about worshiping Him and the authentic splendor of His arrival.

Traditionally, every Sunday throughout the Advent season, a candle is lit. The first one represents hope.

The genealogy of Christ, from the beginning of creation all the way to His birth, represents hope from sin that tries to ravage our souls like cancer. It serves to remind us how God used ordinary humans, both men and women, to bring about life for ALL.

I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever; with my mouth will I make known Your faithfulness to all generations.For I have said, “Mercy shall be built up forever;
Your faithfulness You shall establish in the very heavens.” “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David:‘Your seed I will establish forever,
and build up your throne to all generations.’” Selah

-Psalm 89:1-4

The Jesse tree claims its name from King David’s father. God made a promise to build up David’s throne to all generations, and if you know anything about King David, then you know he was not only a man after God’s own heart, but he also made terrible, sinful mistakes in the midst of it all. Let’s face it, every Christian can relate to having a heart to please God and still find ourselves wrapped up in moments of satisfying the flesh instead.

Here’s the hope: Even in the midst of our sin, God is faithful and unchanging. When He speaks a promise it’s forevermore with no end. Though David didn’t always do right, God knew the condition of his heart and kept a covenant concerning him. When future generations birthed from that very same bloodline chose to ignore our covenant keeping God, He sent His only Son to fulfill the promise.

And isn’t that just like our God? As long as we have breath He will continually pursue us presenting hope-filled opportunities to reconcile us with Him and His unchanging, ever-faithful, Word. The Word became flesh… (See John 1:14)

No matter how difficult today is, I want you to know you serve a covenant keeping God. A God who doesn’t give up on His chosen generation. And, friend, every generation is chosen. He created us all on purpose for a purpose.

Your life matters and your God is waiting for you to grasp hope in a brand new way!

Maybe this season is a hard one. Maybe you were dreading the holidays because you miss someone desperately and hope feels dead. Let me tell you this…

Hope can never die because our Jesus is alive! (Tweet that)

On this second day of advent let’s hold tightly to the promise of our covenant keeping God… Hope is coming!



PS: It’s not too late to enter the giveaway for Ann Voskamp’s book, The greatest gift. Click here for details.


Hope is Coming! An Advent Series and Giveaway!

HopeIs Coming

Hey, I have something to tell you: Hope is coming!

The anticipation of what this means begs my flesh to stand down that my heart might beat in holy rhythm. My soul is desperate for it. Yours too?

Like spiritual glue, hope holds the pieces of my life together. In fact, I wrote a book telling my own story of holding tightly to it through one of the deepest, darkest seasons of my life. When I felt stripped of everything else, hope remained faithful.

The best thing about hope is it constantly reinvents itself according to the situation for which it’s needed most, and at the same time, it’s a source of stability because its foundation is unchanging. Isn’t it something how the chief cornerstone makes all things new? Hope is the most beautifully abundant of all gifts, and I often find myself catching glimpses of it in the ordinary, mundane of every day. It exemplifies a mysterious tangibility, as if it waits for me to reach out and grab it, beckoning me to share it with others. And, friend, I cannot for the life of me think of a better way to express hope than correlating it to Advent season.

The word Advent comes from the Latin – adventus, which means coming or arrival, and is actually derived from the Greek – parousia, holding the same meaning. Though there have been many opinions and explanations handed down throughout centuries from scholars working to explain the history of what this word was intended to represent, for me it embodies hope.

Hope came to a fallen world and will one day come again. (Tweet that)

If it’s possible to worship together through an online space, then I want to do that. Beginning today, this first Sunday of Advent, all the way through Christmas Eve, I want to take a few moments each day to take a deep breath, brush the glitter from the Christmas decor off our hands, and focus on the hope of a coming Savior.

Every December, my life consists of directing two Christmas musicals, shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating, and praying I can make Christmas meaningful for my family and others. To be honest, it’s overwhelming. I know you can relate…

Here’s the crazy part: As chaotic as life is for me this time of year, I don’t want to change anything. I have no desire to decorate less, bake fewer cookies, or hideaway from the endless hustle and bustle. I’m not writing a series about simplifying what we do to celebrate. I’m writing to encourage worship of our Savior within every moment of preparation. I want each action to shout, “Christ is Coming! Hope is on the way!”

With every fresh cookie baked and ornament hung on the tree, with every dollar spent and gift wrapped, all I want to do is adore Jesus is in all of it. It’s my heart’s cry that every part of this season would be an act of worship.

What do you say, can we worship together?

Last year, I read a beautiful book that changed the way I think regarding the days leading up to the birth of Christ. I really want to share it with you! So to begin this journey, I’m having a giveaway!

In a way only she can, Ann Voskamp wrote a book about Advent season entitled The Greatest Gift. I’m overjoyed to give a copy away. To enter, just leave a comment on this post anytime starting today, November 29, 2015, through Thursday, December 3, 2015. A winner will be randomly selected and announced here on the blog Friday, December 4, 2015.

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.

-Hebrews 2:1

Our salvation and reconciliation with our Father God began with the first coming of Christ. Let’s take this life-giving advice from the writer of Hebrews and heed the things which we’ve heard, lest we drift away and lose focus in the middle of all the festivities. A birthday celebration awaits, let us not lose sight of Hope.



PS: When you subscribe to via email you receive my eBook, Mercy Waits, FREE! To learn more about me, click here.

Day Two: A Covenant Keeping God

Day Three: Mercy Unravels

Day Four: Maybe This Time

Just Be Willing…

CASTLEShe had no idea I was listening, but I couldn’t help myself. She was walking step-for-step next to me while telling her friend she was on the way to her dying mother’s bedside. Her sister had just called to deliver the news.

Have I mentioned how shy I am? It’s bizarre. I can lead worship, speak, or do practically anything on a stage involving ministry, but one-on-one with strangers in Walmart… forget it.

The panic in her voice was overriding what I could tell was an otherwise peaceful, velvety tone. Anyone witnessing this would quickly understand she was breaking. Fast.

I prayed. It’s all I could do. I kept thinking that if I was someone else – different in personality somehow, that maybe I would have the guts to tell a perfect stranger I was praying. After all, maybe no one else had ever told her that.

Condemnation quickly swept over me like one of those waves in the ocean that catches a person off guard. The kind that snatches you back in for just one more swim, against your will, when all you really want to do is get to the beach.

There is no condemnation in Christ.

As I loaded my purchases in the car, I kept wondering what I could have done differently. That is until that still, small voice which is ever so faithful to interrupt the condemning voice of shame spoke softly and said, “I put you there to pray for her, just pray.”

Just pray.

After forty-two years, I’m finally grasping the concept that it’s in moments I feel worst about myself that God is working to do His best.

I wasn’t meant to grab that girl, tell her I was praying, and become fast friends. I wasn’t meant to make any type of tangible mark on her life with my own hands. I was meant to pray for God’s hands to leave the mark.

It’s all about Him.

We don’t often think our minuscule trips to the store for paper plates, crayons, and milk will lead to a move of God, but God never stops moving. Even at Walmart! He’s constantly throwing people into our paths to bring beauty to the everyday monotony of life.

Maybe you’re home changing diapers and wondering if you’ll ever get your chance to do the things you were called to do. Well, I can say with all certainty that you’re doing them right now and probably don’t even realize it.

Whenever we find ourselves praying for the passing ambulance or smile at the miserable lady in the produce aisle, we have to believe we are making a difference.

This life is meant for something so much bigger than we can even begin to comprehend.

Every silent prayer whispered from our hearts is meant to mark the life of someone who needs it. We don’t have to be on stage to make a difference… we just have to be willing.

When we are willing, God’s will prevails. (Tweet that)

Don’t ever think the prayers you pray aren’t important or that your ministry isn’t “big” enough. God is at work and your purpose is greater than you know.

No matter when.

No matter where.

Just be willing.



PS: I’m beginning a series on Advent November 29th. I hope you will join me!


How I Beat Fear (And THREE Winners Announced!)

How I Beat Fear

It’s the Saturday before Thanksgiving and this year many of us find ourselves glued to screens with images of chaos. If you have a television, it’s impossible to deny living in a world where terrorists lurk and nations tremble.

Still, in all this, Christ abounds.

Truly my soul silently waits for God; from Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.

-Psalm 62:1-2

Fear is familiar to the flesh.

Sometimes, fear is so common that its visits seems comfortable. Many of us are used to living with it. I’m someone who has struggled greatly with panic attacks, anxiety, and fear throughout most of my life, so I get it.

Over the last few years, I have slowly but surely experienced freedom from the kind of fear that wants to steal my life, soul, and God-given gifts. Often, especially in turbulent times such as these, I have to make a concentrated effort to wage war against the familiarity of fear. When I see others suffer, from the people of France to the refugee crisis, everything in me hurts.

Here’s what I do to beat fear:

I tell my flesh to submit and command my soul to wait silently for God alone. Because, friend, you have to tell that old familiar visitor, “NO!” Shout it inside your mind and let it echo throughout your heart into the deep of your soul.

It takes practice.

I tell a story in my book about the weeks following the loss my baby daughter. I would go to church, raise my hands in worship, and sing through the ache. Who knows? Maybe those around me thought I was processing my pain well. I wasn’t. I was making myself go through the motions of praise, hoping that it wouldn’t be long before I unlocked the part of myself that actually wanted to praise the God I loved so much, but could not for the life of me understand.

His mystery holds a beauty each soul longs to know, and at the same time, it’s downright frustrating.

For me, the way to remind myself to put down fear is to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise – despite the condition of the world – despite the condition of my personal life- despite every type of chaos coming my way.

We MUST tell fear it is no longer welcome, and the best way to do that is to practice praise.

You can beat fear!



PS: I want to thank my friend, Christin Ditchfield, for writing such an amazing word of encouragement for us! I have randomly selected three winners to receive an assortment of Christin’s books! (By the way, I have my kids choose from a hat… we are SO fancy here!) The winners are: Deborah Jameson, Tonda, and Ann Geier! You will each receive an email confirming your gift!



More Than Enough

More Than Enough - Christin Ditchfield for Jennifer KostickDear Friend,

I’m excited to share a guest post from my friend Christin Ditchfield! She’s not only a successful, best-selling author, she’s a beautiful woman of God who openly shares her heart with women all around the world. She has a word of encouragement for us today, and I pray it speaks to your soul the way it spoke to mine.

I’m hoping to bless someone by giving away a book bundle with some of Christin’s best titles! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post between today and Friday, November 20th. I will be announcing the winner On Saturday, November 21st. I promise that when you get to know Christin, you WILL be blessed!





“Hope deferred makes the heart sick…”

In my twenties, I used to quote this verse to God a lot. I guess I was not-so-subtly hinting:

“This is YOUR fault. This desperate ache… this gut-wrenching pain. It’s no wonder I feel this way. Your Word even says so — so I have a good excuse for wallowing in my misery and self-pity. If You don’t want me to, if You care about me at all, You’ll do something. Soon. Quickly.”

I could have been referring to many different things. We all have to grow up and face the harsh realities of life eventually – and while our stories may not be the same, we can be sure they all include many kinds of disillusionment and disappointment.

But in this particular instance, I was referring to my childlessness … caused primarily by my singleness… though my doctor kept warning there were signs of trouble ahead, and if I wanted a family, I needed to start immediately.

I won’t recount all the thoughtless and often cruel, but well-meaning (?) things people at church said to me, from my late teens through my twenties and thirties. The ones who tried to be encouraging, the ones who asked nosy questions or made ridiculous suggestions, the ones who’d never had a real conversation with me, but thought they knew what “my problem” was.

Or all the trite clichéd Christian books that promised if I (pretended to) stop looking, wait patiently, fix all the things that were wrong with me, and find a place of perfect peace, contentment, and spiritual maturity, God would bring the perfect man to me.

Or the real grief, heartache, and loneliness I wrestled with — not for two or three years, like so many singles ministry leaders (before they got married — bless them). But for decades. Feeling rejected by God. Cast aside. Overlooked. Wondering why I was denied the blessings He gave so freely to just about everybody?

Hurt and frustrated that – because I didn’t have a husband or children – others seemed to see me as less of an adult, less of a woman.

Like that one church that uninvited me as their retreat speaker when they found out I was single, because I couldn’t possibly have anything to say to married women.

I wasn’t planning to speak on marriage. I was planning to speak on the things we all have in common: Disappointment, hurt, heartbreak, pain. Hopes deferred. Whatever those hopes may be. And what I’ve learned:

That the answer isn’t in a magical or Scriptural formula that will fix the problem or make the pain go away. God hasn’t promised anyone a husband (or a better husband) or a baby (or another baby). Or a more supportive family. Or a friend or a house or a job or a book contract or a ministry. Or physical health, wealth, weight loss, beauty, popularity, or anything we think will bring us happiness or fulfillment in this life.

And if we think everybody else has those things, sisters, we need to look again. MOST people on this planet don’t have a fraction of the blessings you and I take for granted every day.

As for those women who do have it all? I can tell you, after twenty-five years of women’s ministry, stepping off the platform to hold sobbing women in my arms, it’s almost never as good as it seems. Or they may have what you want or what I want, but it’s not THEIR unfulfilled dream…

Whatever IT is you think will make you happy, that thing you just can’t live without – if I may, I’d like to encourage you today: Let it go. Give it to Jesus… for real, not because someone told you that if you do, He’ll give it back to you. Or that He’ll give you something bigger and better in its place.

He might not.

Jesus doesn’t promise to give you what you want. He doesn’t promise you bigger and better. He promises you Himself.

It won’t always feel like it, but you WILL find that He is enough. More than enough. Worth every battle, every trial, every tear you have cried. When you get on the other side of this, the closeness and intimacy with Him, the depth of your relationship with Him… that’s the real gift.

I’m in my forties now and I won’t lie to you. There are moments when my childlessness still knocks me off my feet with a tidal wave of grief. But I’ve learned to tread water, to reach out for the support of my loving friends and family, and to count all the wonderful blessings of the very rich, full life and ministry God has given me.

And when I can come up for air and breathe again, I know that I wouldn’t trade knowing Jesus the way I do – which has come (in part) through that very heartache and suffering – for the life I once begged Him to give me.

ChristinDitchfield2014Christin Ditchfield is an internationally syndicated radio host, conference speaker, and author of more than 66 books, including What Women Should Know About Letting It Go: Breaking Free From the Power of Guilt, Discouragement, and Defeat. She blogs at


What We Are NOT Made For…

Inspiration right outside your door

The following words from Oswald Chambers have been echoing through the corridors of my mind. “We are not made for the mountain, for sunrises, or for the other beautiful attractions in life – those are simply intended to be moments of inspiration. We are made for the valley and the ordinary things of life and […]

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Why I WILL Drink From A Red Cup…

Image courtesy of

Disclaimer: This post is more controversial than I normally write, so please don’t be offended. Hear my heart. I also realize that Starbucks supports agendas I don’t agree with. However, This is about another issue. Dear fellow Christians, Isn’t it interesting how when December approaches everyone wants to rally for the words Merry Christmas? All […]

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Because Trust and Peace are Companions…

Let the Peace of God Rule

Let the peace of God rule in your hearts… -Colossians 3:15 Allowing the peace of God to come in and sweep fear, anxiety, and overactive “what ifs’ from our lives sounds lovely. Unfortunately, more often than not, letting His peace rule seems to make climbing Everest nothing more than enjoying a day on the jungle […]

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The Confidence We All Need

The Confidence We All Need

This morning after taking the kids to the bus stop, I intended to catch up on some reading for seminary. Instead, I took one look around and realized I needed to get the house in order. Toys were strewn about and first grade papers were taking over the kitchen table. When it was all done […]

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