What Everyone Needs to Hear

80's Hair

Back in 1980something I went through a phase when, almost every Friday night, I would hang out with friends at a roller skating rink. Roller skates… wow. Do you remember those? They had four wheels, and a fancy stopper positioned on the front. We would ride them over wooden floors with fancy black lights overhead making our fluorescent clothing glow. And it didn’t matter how fast we skated around the rink, our hair never moved. We teased it high on our heads with pride and then sprayed it with a whole can of Aqua Net.

One night while sitting on the bench during a couples skate, a popular boy skated over to me, grabbed my hand, and pulled me up and out on to the floor. He even knew my name. I was in shock that he actually knew who I was, let alone speak my name. At the end of the night I felt like I could take on the world.

I was an innocent bleached-blond-haired teenager who felt like she was “somebody” with the mention of her name. After all these years, many things have changed. Innocence has faded due to a degree earned at the school of hard knocks. (Unfortunately, running out of Aqua Net isn’t the biggest tragedy I’ve faced.) I am still bleached blond, however, it’s much tamer now and I try to stay up on the roots. There is one significant commonality between who I am today and who I used to be: I still have a need to be known. I want to hear my name. The difference is I have a desire that God would be the One to speak it.

Over the weekend, while spending some time in the word, the following verse tugged at my heart.

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

-Psalm 23:3

He is there leading each one of us down our own unique paths of righteousness. They aren’t always easy to follow. Each one tends to be narrow and the terrain is sometimes very challenging, but I have some life-giving news for you: When we live a life glorifying His name, the paths lead to Him. And when we find ourselves before Him, we will hear Him speak our names.

I know I have a long time left on this earth. I have a lot of living to do, and I’m looking forward to all the beauty He will show me from today until it’s my turn to go home. But deep in my heart, I hold the promise of audibly hearing my name come from powerful, beautiful, lips of love and majesty.

I hear people talk about heaven having streets of gold and mansions. I don’t spend much time thinking about that. I think about all the empty places in my soul being filled with the words, “Well done good and faithful servant.” And every night before bed, I ask to dream about hearing my name on His lips. It gives me strength for today and hope for tomorrow.

May you live a life glorifying Christ. May your hope be found in His name, and in the joy you will experience when He someday speaks your own.

A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold.

-Psalm 22:1

Love,

Jennifer

My eBook Mercy Waits is FREE to new subscribers.

Two Steps in Helping Overcome Shame and Condemnation

overcomerHave you ever awakened to a new day filled with fresh mercy, but you just can’t see it? As soon as your eyes open there begins an assault of thoughts in your head that say you aren’t who you’re supposed to be. You’re not enough…

I fight it. I know it all too well.

Here is what I’ve learned:

  • If I ever feel that I’m not who I’m supposed to be, it’s because I’m focusing hard on my own definition of myself rather than God’s. I’m not seeing who I am in Him.
  • If I think I’m not enough, then I’m not seeing the extent of His goodness. I’m not seeing that I have worth because He is worthy.

It’s all about Him and should never be about me.

I’ve always been the type of person who views myself with an extremely critical eye. I tend to focus on what I could have done better. After my stepfather died I spent every second of every day trying to figure out why I didn’t see the warning signs. And then I practically drove myself crazy wondering how I was going to live with guilt that said I didn’t do anything to save him. Eventually, I recognized it’s not that I didn’t, it’s that I couldn’t. I wasn’t meant to.

This life and all the details that surround our biggest sorrows and greatest joys are not about us. They are about Christ. And if we can learn to see ourselves the way Christ sees us, then we will be spared heartache birthed from our own critical eyes. We have to come to the point where we understand that it’s possible to stop the infliction of shame and guilt. We were never intended to suffer it.

We bear too many burdens that we were never meant to carry, we worry more often than we should, and we fight battles we were never suited to fight. Why? Because we try to take everything into our own hands rather than hand the weight over to God. We draw attention to ourselves and the present battle, rather than on the God who already won every battle. Oh, friend, if we changed are war strategies to falling on our knees and letting God do what He must, life would be so much easier. Control is detrimental to the soul. It hurts way down deep.

  1. The first step to overcoming thoughts meant to cause shame and condemnation, is to recognize that God is not only strong enough, but good enough. Recognizing that He’s all we’ll ever need helps in the action of letting go of what we aren’t meant to hold. When we can cling tight to who He is, instead of those burdens, then we’ll start the process of being free from thoughts that attack us.
  2. The second step is to remember who we are in Christ. By doing this we can finally begin to see who He intends for us to be. When we rely on His word, we can stand on His promises knowing that He is a big God who moves mountains for us every day, even when we can’t see them moving.

I know I say this a lot, but I believe it’s a key component in learning how to live in the fullness and grace of our Lord Jesus. So here it is again, friend. You have worth because Christ is worthy.

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

-Romans 8:1

Love,

Jennifer

If you missed my television interview and would like to see it, you can click here.

 

Because Even a Tree Has Purpose…

JohnAdams_PeaceFieldWhen I walked through the front door of the house I looked around in awe. Just being able to stand where they stood, and gaze at the furniture where they sat, had me blurry-eyed with hot tears. I could only imagine the conversation, grief, and laughter that must have taken place there. I looked around at the portraits of their family and listened carefully to how each person connected. And then I walked outside.

There’s just something about a tree that makes me almost jealous. Maybe it’s the way its roots force deep down into the ground spreading out, taking ownership. Perhaps it’s the way it stands tall and stubborn presiding over everything. Even after the dead of winter new buds bloom proving its unwillingness to succumb to challenge.

As I strolled the garden I looked at the tall tree hovering – the one their son John Quincy planted. After all these years it reigns glorious, almost as if it’s standing guard over the precious memories of Peace Field. I think about how that tree must have been privy to political discussions helping to guide the young nation, all of the children that must have run around it playing games of tag and hide-and-seek, and the tenderness it must have shared of secret moments filled with kisses, private pain, and words meant for only two hearts.

And then the Lover of my soul reminds me of an even greater tree. One with a story far better than any other tree ever had, or ever will have.

I’ve never walked where Jesus walked. And with the present state of the world, I’m not sure I ever will. But I have a Book that speaks truth. And it tells me of another tree that aided in the saving of my soul.

Now, I don’t know the back story of that tree – who it watched or fed or held on a branch. I don’t know who came to chop it down or how it ended up to be chosen in death to be a gateway for life. But I do know this: The King of Kings carried it, He was nailed to it, and He proved that love will always live and never die because He Himself already suffered and died on it. And when He rose again, He not only saved every person, who chooses to accept Him, from death, but He also proved that each Living thing created by God holds a purpose. Even a tree destined to be chopped down.

Sometimes we feel void of having any purpose at all. We feel as if there is no rescue from the sorrow that plagues us because we’ve already been “chopped down” and feel empty inside. But God…

But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

-Genesis 50:20

Look at what happened to Joseph of the old testament as he was hated by his brothers, sold into slavery, imprisoned, and abandoned. Those words in Genesis 50:20 were his as he assured his brothers he would not seek revenge. He held tight to his purpose, knowing it was bigger than he ever imagined, and came from a God who deserved glory regardless of his own pain.

Friend, today, I want to tell you that you have a purpose. I feel strongly that you need to hear this. You are loved, you were created for more than you can imagine. You. Have. A. Purpose. So fulfill your ministry. The apostle Paul tells us those words in 2 Timothy.

But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

-2 Timothy 4:5

We will all face afflictions. Not one of us is exempt. However, in the middle of it all, we have a purpose. We are to keep marching onward fulfilling the purpose He’s given. It’s a gift. It won’t be free of tears, fear, or pain. But joy will come. The other day, I shared the following scripture. It’s so full of hope that I have to share it again.

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.

-Psalm 126:5

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord  and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season,  whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

-Psalm 1:1-3

Be blessed, dear friend.

Love,

Jennifer

My eBook, Mercy Waits, is FREE to subscribers!

My Book Nothing to Hold but Hope is available on Amazon!

To inquire about booking me to speak at an event, click here.

What a Wise Person Once Told Me

Nothing to Hold but Hope Cover

Life is hard. There is no other way to say it. We all face circumstances we never thought we would and weren’t prepared for. The beautiful in all of it is that no matter what we come up against, the name of Jesus is our rescue. He brings hope, because He is hope. He gives life, because He is life.

I can attest to every word I’ve spoken to you, because I’ve experienced horrific circumstances and have overcome because of one name: Jesus. I have life, because I held onto hope. Literally.

When it comes to writing this blog, my only purpose is to reach out and prayerfully help those who are searching for hope amongst devastating circumstances. When you type in this web address, it is meant to lead you to a home of encouragement and truth. I write for you. And if you’ve been through any type of grief at all, especially sorrow coming from miscarriage, stillbirth, or infertility, then we are no doubt kindred. My book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, was written to help you find solace in every tear you’ve ever shed.

My first television interview for the book airs tomorrow. And though I’m not big on promotion because my intention is ministry, I’ve been reminded by someone very wise that the more women who hear my voice, the more I can help. And maybe, God willing, those women will begin to share their stories, because, friend, the grief and pain of infertility and pregnancy loss is much too silent. I hope to band together and change that.

In April, we will begin a Nothing to Hold but Hope Healing Project on the blog. It’s a book club where some of us, who have walked and are still walking this path, will share our stories. But even more than that, it will be a source of encouragement to so many brave warriors who are still fighting and need hope.

So, though I’m not a fan of promoting myself, I am a fan of supporting women who need their voices heard. And for me, it begins with my story. I’ve lived it and understand what it’s like to lose baby, after baby, after baby.

If you would like to watch my interview, it will air on the show “Real Life” via Cornerstone Network Tuesday, February 24 at 9:00am, 1:00pm, 8:00pm, and Wednesday, February 25 at 1:00am. To check the programming schedule, click here. It will also be available to watch online at www.ctvn.org.

Be blessed, my friend, and may you hold tightly to hope!

You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in Your word.

-Psalm 119:114

Love,

Jennifer

My eBook, Mercy Waits, is FREE to new subscribers.

Some Joy for Your Weekend

Joy will come_nHi Friend. I don’t know where you are in the world, but if you’re anywhere close to where I am, I hope you’re staying warm. It’s a wintery weekend, and you’re on my mind. My prayer is that you will be encouraged as you read the following scripture…

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

Psalm 126:5-6

Every time I read those words I want to breathe them in deep. They are hope and truth. I’ve sown my share of tears, and God has never disappointed me with the joy that always seems to follow.

Whenever new trials come my way I remember the beauty in that passage. Notice in verse six that it uses the word doubtless. There is absolutely no doubt that we will come again with rejoicing. We will. It’s a promise. Whatever challenges we’ve been through, are going through now, or will go through tomorrow will never be enough to stop the joy that will spring forth as a result of our tears. I believe God honors every tear we pour out to Him. Not one is wasted.

Without a doubt, the harvest of joy belongs to you, friend. You can count on it, because you can count on God. I’ve seen His faithfulness, and though I don’t always understand why we have to suffer those tears, I do know that His love triumphs over all. His love wins. His promises are enough. He is enough. Don’t worry, days of rejoicing are on their way.

Joy is coming.

Love,

Jennifer

my eBook, Mercy Waits, is FREE to new subscribers.

My television interview for my book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, airs Tuesday, February 24th. I will share more about that on Monday.

How to Look Through Eyes of Expectancy

Eyes of ExpectancyShe saw every mountain as moveable. Why? Because stone eventually cracks and turns to rubble when chiseled long enough.
She saw every hurdle as reason to get in shape and learn to jump higher.
She saw every valley as rest from the steep climb.
She saw impossibilities as possibilities.
And she saw it that way because she chose to look through eyes of expectancy.

Do you want to look through eyes of expectancy? Yeah, me too. I want to be that girl in the poem. But do you know what? I think there are pieces of her in every one of us. I believe hope is inborn. However, there is one catch, we must learn to access it.
So when difficulties plague us and disaster creeps its way into our lives, then what? How do we keep from losing heart?

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

-Psalm 27:13

Friend, we have to believe. We have to remain present in every circumstance believing that everything the Lord has promised is true. And when we don’t feel like it, we must make the choice to do it anyway. Choosing to believe is choosing hope.
But, first, there is something that leads to belief. It’s called love.

Do you know the apostle Paul said that when we know the love of Christ we will be filled with the fullness of God? He tells us it passes knowledge. And then he goes on to say that Christ can do anything we ask Him to do. And what he says next is huge… what He can do is according to the power that works in us. (See Ephesians 3:14-20) When we choose to know the love of Christ, He works in us. His power works in us! And so loving Him leads to believing in His rescue, which leads to expectancy.

Hope – to desire with expectation of obtainment.

There you go friends… Love + Belief = HOPE

And to love Christ is to have the fullness of God, which means there is nothing you can’t do, because there is nothing He can’t do! No matter where you are today or what you’re going through, I want you to access hope. Press into the love of Christ. Make the choice to believe in Him. When you do, hope will follow.
I have an exercise I want us to do together. I’m going to rewrite the poem that we saw at the beginning of this post, and instead of writing the word she, I’m going to leave it blank. I’m asking you to insert your own name in that blank and then read through it carefully and intentionally.

__________ saw every mountain as moveable. Why? Because stone eventually cracks and turns to rubble when chiseled long enough.
__________ saw every hurdle as reason to get in shape and learn to jump higher.
__________ saw every valley as rest from the steep climb.
__________ saw impossibilities as possibilities.
And __________ saw it that way because she chose to look through eyes of expectancy.

The eyes of expectancy are the eyes of Christ. You can access hope today, friend. It’s a choice. You are loved and there is hope for you!

Love,

Jennifer

My eBook, Mercy Waits, is FREE to new subscribers!

My Book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, is available on Amazon.

Stay tuned for details as to when and where you can see my television interview telling you all about it.

For When “Better or Worse” Means Something Completely Opposite of What You Think…

Years ago, on television, I watched a wedding take place in front of Cinderella’s castle in Disney World. And isn’t that how every little girl once pictured romance? The bride, groom, white horses, and the perfect sunset to ride into… Wasn’t that our definition of love? In this culture, we seem to get caught up […]

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For When Your Hope Needs Renewed

New Hope

This morning, I was reading in the book of Job. Let’s face it, we all feel a little like Job sometimes. Am I right? In chapter 19, we are told he is trusting in his redeemer. However, he says the following in verse 10… He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone; […]

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The Sacred Amen

The house is quiet. Everyone is sleeping and the only sound is the tap, tap, tap of my keyboard as I write to you. It’s been quite a day. I spent much of it praying for people who are enduring tragedy – the kind I know all too well. Galatians 6:2 tells us to bear […]

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Why the Little, Teeny, Tiny Feminist Voice inside Wants to Scream…

mind_n

There are some writers who love to stir up controversy. I will tell you right now that I’m not one of them. I want to stir up encouragement. I desire to tell you how I see everyday life through the eyes God has given me. And, whether we agree or disagree, I hope to speak […]

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