Why I Want God (And a Winner is Announced)

I Want God_nI read Lisa Whittle’s book, I Want God, during a weeklong trip at the beach. The entire week before we left, the book called to me as it sat on my dresser ready to be packed inside my suitcase. I couldn’t wait to read it. However, I knew there was going to be a lot to digest, and I wanted to be in a place where I could read a little bit at a time and then reflect on it.

Lisa’s words did not disappoint.

Most of us have come to the realization that we need God, but wanting Him is entirely different. I’m glad to have the opportunity to share it with you because those typed out letters on each page form more than just words. They connect us to the passion of a woman who truly wants God and needs to communicate that message to her readers. It’s a soul awakening.

Many of you told me why you want God, so I thought I would let you know why I want Him.

I want God because He paid a high price for my life and knows me by name.

I want God because of His faithfulness to love me despite my flaws.

I want God because He sees the best in me when I see the worst.

I want God because He’s God, and that’s enough for me.

The winner of the book is Amy! I will be contacting you soon, Amy!

Have a wonderful weekend!

I’ll meet you back here on Monday.

Love,

Jennifer

For When All the Little Things Go Wrong…

gracephotoOh, friend, It’s been quite a day so far and it’s only 2:53pm on Tuesday. I don’t know what else is going to happen, but if it’s anything like my morning then someone hold me!

Here’s a quick rundown…

I had to drag myself out of bed at 7:15 this morning. We usually wake up around 6:55; the twins catch the school bus at 7:39. Need I say more? I think I may have taken them to the bus stop with my pajamas on and my hair sticking straight up in the air. Honestly, I can’t even remember. I was that tired.

A little later in the day, I tweeted something to a major author which included a ginormous typo. She must have scanned right over it, because before I caught it she had already retweeted it. I know you’re probably thinking it isn’t a big deal, but to this girl who struggles to do her very best and has issues with proving her intellect, (to herself) well, she I felt sick to my stomach.

Note to self: never watch an episode of Parks and Rec while tweeting!

Under normal circumstances I would have grabbed a bag of chocolate and ran for cover, but I’m trying to get fit. Again.

Instead of my beloved M&M’s, I reached for the lettuce and made a nice big salad. It was very large because even though I want to treat my cholesterol right, I’m also thinking, “Let’s not get crazy here.”

I carried my salad to where I was going to sit but forgot to grab my drink, so I put it down on the arm of the chair. (Do you understand what I’m saying about needing to prove my intellect?) When I returned, I sat down on the chair, knocked the extremely large plate off kilter, and everything flipped over on my lap.

I should mention that my salad was a little out of the ordinary. Whenever I’m trying to eat well, I start each day with a whole head of romaine lettuce, a sliced banana, and a teaspoon (or two. or three. or more.) of peanut butter on top. It sounds crazy but it’s yummy! I should also point out that my mom has been staying with us and is obsessed with keeping up on laundry. I love this. However, she’s not home today, so when she returns later this afternoon, heads straight to the laundry room, and sees the lap area and bottom of my jeans…

I promise, mom, it’s only peanut butter!

There is so much more to this day, but I won’t bore you with it. I think you get the point.

Believe me, I know that in the scheme of life, these are nothing more than inconveniences. I’ve had far worse days. Life changing days. And, yet, I still beat myself up over silly things that make no difference in the long run.

God knows my heart and He knows that a typo in a tweet is not going to affect my writing career. He also knows I make messes, and I’m bound to make more. (Both literally and figuratively.) And He loves me regardless.

I don’t know what your struggles look like. It’s possible you’re like me and wrestle with how you appear to the rest of the world. Maybe your issues are completely different. But there is something I do know: No matter what you’re facing, there is a God who loves you and wants you. He calls you His own and He knows you by name.

I’m also certain that He doesn’t want any of us to concern ourselves with things that don’t impact eternity. He sees the heart. And I believe He wants us to prepare our hearts so that we might make a difference with His love. The old saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” It’s true.

We have worth because Christ is worthy. No matter how many mistakes we make, we have worth. Searching scripture will tell us how much He loves us. He won’t ever stop.

I also want to say that if you’re worried about large mistakes, He will forgive. As far as the east is from the west His love and forgiveness stretches throughout the universe and touches each of our souls. When you seek Him, you will find Him. He’s always waiting because you are everything He wants!

The purpose He pours into each of us is much greater than we can imagine. We need to work out the big things, laugh at the little things, and just keep going.

Love,

Jennifer

Hey, I’m having a giveaway! Come check it out!

 

 

 

 

Jesus said There Would Be Days Like This… (And A Giveaway!)

Saturday morning, Paul and I walked the trails at a nearby park while watching our children ride bikes. I followed behind one while he stayed ahead of the other.

As parents, we keep watch and protect. It’s our job.

The sun was shining bright, but it was windy and there was a chill in the air. The kids asked for a break, so we stopped to rest and took a photo. I forced a smile. I usually love a cool breeze on a bright, sunny day. Something about it gives me a sense of freedom, but I was feeling anything but free. Grief is persuasive. It keeps inviting me on long walks. It’s desperate to grab me by the hand and lead.

Bike riding break pic IMG_6148

And then I remember that the wind is the spirit of God and that His breath is the force behind it. He’s always moving; He’s always breathing.

There is an old song with lyrics proclaiming, “Mama said there’d be days like this.” Well, I specifically recall that Jesus Himself said…

“…These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

-John 16:33

Yes, Jesus said there’d be days like this. Days when we’re tired, worn, and grief-ridden. Days when others would hate us because of our love for Him. However, He didn’t just tell us we would experience trouble and then walk away. He gave us a solution. He overcame death. Through His triumph, He continues to deliver brand new mercy. We have grace. We have hope.

I didn’t attend church with my family on Sunday. I rarely ever miss, but I needed to fall on my knees in an empty house and tell Him everything. Out loud. I needed to open up the Bible in a place so quiet that I could hear the thin, worn pages turn to the words He had for me. And then, I needed to take a walk in the sunshine, turn my face to the sky and say, “Okay, I surrender. Again.”

Sometimes, we just need space to navigate through grief. We need a moment to breathe in the fresh new mercy, remember hope, and shake off the hand of grief that wants to lead. We need time to speak a resounding NO to anything that isn’t Jesus led.

I told you that my husband and I watch and protect our kids while they ride. Guess what? We have a God who watches and protects us throughout this crazy ride of life. However, we don’t always feel it.

Saturday, while on the bike trails, my daughter stopped peddling halfway up a hill. The bike began moving backwards and she screamed as she was headed back down the hill with zero control. My husband ran to catch her. She didn’t fall. In fact, she didn’t experience one scrape, but she was scared to death. Even though she was safe, fear held her tight and she didn’t feel protected.

Yesterday, I didn’t feel the freedom I know He died to give me, but that doesn’t change the fact that it exists. Whether I feel it or not, I am free. And I am safe, even when fear and grief want to overtake me.

I believe when we throw off the heavy bands that try to hold us back, peace comes and He sends the angels to minister.

After Jesus faced temptation from the enemy, the angels ministered to Him.

“Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.”

-Matthew 4:11

I often pray that He will send His angels to minister to my children, to those I love, and even to me. Because let’s face it: We need Him.

I not only need Him, I want Him. (By the way, there is a fantastic book on this subject. It’s entitled, I Want God by Lisa Whittle. It’s a must read!)

Friend, If you are having a difficult time navigating through grief, you are not alone. You have hope. His name is Jesus. I’m praying He will send His angels to minister peace to you. You have a future and a hope. (See Jeremiah 29:11) No matter what you are facing, don’t let it paralyze you with fear.

You might feel like you are headed down a steep hill, one hundred miles per hour, backwards. Friend, let go of the handlebars. He’s going to catch you. Surrender. Shake off the heavy bands. Want God, friend! Want God! He wants you.

Since I mentioned Lisa Whittle’s book, I think it’s a good day to have a giveaway! It’s been a long time since I’ve hosted one. Just leave a comment on the blog telling why you want God, and you will be entered to win a copy of the book. I will announce the winner Friday, April 17th. (The winner will be chosen at random.)

Have a beautiful day!

Love,

Jennifer

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

My book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, is available via Amazon!

 

 

My Short-lived Connection with Laura Ingalls…

Apparently, it’s monsoon season where I live because it hasn’t stopped raining in two days and last night we lost power for eight hours. We had candles lit everywhere and for a brief moment I felt a kindred connection with Laura Ingalls. However, it was short-lived because as I looked around the room, I realized we were all using either a laptop, iPad, or cell phone. There was great praise to God going forth for fully charged devices.

Poweroutage blog picIMG_6138Technology has brought numerous opportunities and has afforded many of us comfortable and convenient lifestyles. I have no idea what, or who, I would have been back in “The Little House on the Prairie days.” My hands tend to become cramped while writing with an actual pen. Could I have been a writer then? God knew what He was doing when He chose my entrance to take place in 1973.

But, sometimes, I long for a candlelit, quiet, early to bed, early to rise kind of lifestyle. It’s often I want to hear from God, but am I letting so much noise inside that I’m having difficulty discerning His voice?

I can’t divulge details, but not that long ago I was praying about something very specific and God answered. Guess what? I didn’t hear Him the first time. I completely ignored something that turned out to be an answer to prayer. Thankfully, He kept leading me until I finally saw it.

Was my life too noisy at that moment? Or was it doubt that kept me from hearing? I have no idea. All I know is that I need to make room for the still, small voice.

Everyone’s convictions are different. Your type of “noise” might be much different than mine.

I have no idea what we may end up doing as a family, or what I might choose personally, to cut down on the noise, but I do know that the only way to cultivate any relationship is to make time for the person with whom you want to be close.

I want to be close with God.

And no matter how much I grow in Him, I want to be closer still.

Recently, I began thinking about how much time I spend assembling my children’s Easter baskets. First, I think about what I’m going to pack inside them. Next, I take time going to the store and invest a healthy dollar amount to make sure they have enough. After that, I sit and divide candy and other fun surprises evenly to make sure everything looks just perfect. (Oh, friend, Pinterest can be both a blessing and a curse!)

Soon after, I started wondering if I put anywhere near that same effort in my quiet time with Jesus? After all, He is the whole reason we celebrate that glorious day. We have life because of His death and resurrection.

I do spend time with my Lord on a regular basis, it is breath to me, but I know that I can always offer more. As an American, my lifestyle is very comfortable. Now, please here me out… I don’t believe there is anything wrong with comfort, unless, of course, it hinders us from our relationship with God.

My goal is to make more room. My heart can be quite messy and loud at times. I want to clean the clutter and quiet the noise so that when He chooses to speak, I will not only hear His voice, but listen to it.

That is what He’s showing me today.

Would you like to share what He’s showing you?

Have a beautiful weekend!

Love,

Jennifer

My book, Nothing to Hold but Hope is on sale in Kindle form via Amazon for only $0.99! The Paperback is on sale for $6.49! Only two days left!

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

 

 

 

 

 

For When Moments of Clutter Cause Us to Lose it!

Yellow RoseElisabeth Elliot said, “When you don’t know what to do next, just do the thing in front of you.” Amen, Elisabeth, Amen.

Some days we awaken and have no idea what to do. Our situations overwhelm us. Death and grief have a way of stopping us in our tracks. But we have to keep moving. We have no other choice.

And it isn’t just the big things that stop us. It’s the little things too. Friends, my closets make me want to hide under the covers! I’m in the process of cleaning, purging, and finding my way back to peace when I need to reach for something. If one more things falls on my head while trying to reach for a fresh roll of toilet paper, I’m going to lose it!

Do you remember the “Friends” episode when Monica (who is a total neat freak) has one messy closet she keeps locked and hidden? That is until Chandler uncovered her secret…

We all have moments of clutter in life. And I’m not just talking about my linen closet, gift wrap closet, or my… well, take your pick!

I’m talking about the places in our hearts and lives that we need to open and clean out. We can’t keep anything hidden and locked up from Christ. It’s time to let Jesus have His way, so that He can heal.

God’s been speaking to me about ridding some things from my life, and I’m working on it. It’s not always easy, but there is something so beautiful about obedience. I want to please God.

Elisabeth Elliot also said this…

“Does it make sense to pray for guidance about the future if we are not obeying in the thing that lies before us today? How many momentous events in Scripture depended on one person’s seemingly small act of obedience! Rest assured: Do what God tells you to do now, and, depend upon it, you will be shown what to do next.”

-Elisabeth Elliot

I know this might not be anything earth shattering or groundbreaking, but I have to share it. The whole point of this blog is to encourage you. I want to speak of what He’s doing in my life. If I haven’t lived it, I won’t be telling you about it. Everything I say comes from my own heart’s experience…

So here it is: There are mornings I wake up and have no idea what to do next. So I do what I know. I brush my teeth. And then I do the next thing, and the next thing until I’m doing what matters. Sometimes we need to go through the motions in order to reach the place of what really makes a difference.

After I lost my daughter to stillbirth, I didn’t really want to go to church. I didn’t want to sing, clap, or raise my hands in service, but I came to the place where I did it anyway. I didn’t always feel like it, but I knew I had to praise God again. I just kept going through the motions until I finally uncovered the secret places of my heart and allowed Him to begin the healing process.

The life we live while here on earth is meant to form a permanent bond with an everlasting Savior. When we finally figure that out, and act out of obedience to Him, He will show us what to do next. In the end, all things work together. (See Romans 8:28)

We don’t need to keep our hearts hidden. We must allow them to overflow. Whether they pour out praise or a mass amount of tears from grief, anger, and swirling questions of why, we have to let God have His way.

He will do His part, but we have to learn to do ours.

We have to obey.

Friend, if you are having a hard time figuring out where to begin, listen to Elisabeth and just do the thing in front of you. Begin your quest for obedience and He will show you each step.

I know, because I’ve been there.

And guess what? I’m there again! Different circumstances; same principles apply.

I’m praying for you today!

Love,

Jennifer

My eBook, Mercy Waits, is FREE to new subscribers

For a limited time only, the Kindle edition of my book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, is on sale via Amazon for only $0.99!

The Paperback is on sale for only $6.49!

 

 

God Honoring Moments…

coffee and Bible_nHave you ever remembered something you’ve said to God in the past that made a difference in your future with Him? I’m talking about words that changed your prayer life so beautifully,  that you know He received that particular plea like an offering of fire in the rain. If you have, then you know those are powerful moments. The kind that knit us closer to Him.

I spent many days praying, “God, please make a way where there is no way.” And He did just that.

And then there are times I  spend with God when nothing comes out of my mouth. Trembling lips seem to be my only offering. I’ve come to find that He honors those moments exactly the same as when I’m able to pray with confidence.

I’m thankful He interprets the language of my heart and not the words from my lips. (Tweet that)

Lately, I’ve been starting out every morning the same. I open my eyes and say, “Lord, I commit this day to You. Whatever You want for my life, help me to accept it, trust in it, and love You through it.”

Those can be difficult words, friend. I have to continually remind myself that I want what He wants… despite my own desires. However, the longer I serve Him, the more I realize that He places my true desires deep in my heart. They come from Him.

I’ve been weeding out certain behaviors in my life that aren’t pleasing to Him. I want to see the fullness of God in my life, but I’m also reminded that He loves me as I am. He might whisper to the deep places of my soul that there is some changing needing to take place within the confines of my heart, but He loves me. He wants me. He accepts me. He honors my time with Him.

And He feels the same way about you.

I’m convinced that He honors our love for Him. He covers our weak moments of doubt, with grace, just as much as he covers our strong moments full of fervor. He knows our only hope comes from Christ, and He loves that we believe in Him. He honors the humility it takes to have faith in a God we cannot see but know exists.

We believe. And I know it makes Him smile.

So I’m choosing to live accepting of His plan and expectant of His answers.

It’s not always easy. It seems like yesterday I was in a hospital bed holding a lifeless baby girl. I remember how hot the tears were that ran down my face when I knew I would never bring her home. And there’s been more heartache since that day…

It wasn’t easy to accept that He allowed me to face such grief. However, the more I learned about Him, the more I grasped that He Himself suffered on the cross. We serve a God who knows what sorrow is.

But we also know that all things work together for good for those who love Him. (See Romans 8:28)

All Things.

Even moments that bring us to death’s door cannot shake us, because He’s at the threshold keeping watch.

Today, I need to tell you that He honors your belief in Him. He honors the courage it takes to stand on the side of a God you cannot see. He loves you and loves the moments you spend talking with Him. He loves when His children call on Him.

He will honor you, friend. He hears you and He knows…

Talk to Him, give Him every moment, and keep believing.

He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor.

-Proverbs 21:21

By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.

-Proverbs 22:4

Love,

Jennifer

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

The Kindle edition of my book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, is on sale via Amazon for $0.99! Would you do a girl a solid and spread the word?

 

I Have Some News!

Hello, friend! I hope you had a wonderful Easter! Today’s post is a little different from the norm. I want to fill you in on some new things happening around here… My book, Nothing to Hold but Hope, is on sale through Amazon! Starting right now, for one week only, you can purchase the book […]

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What the Gospel of John Taught Me…

John

Just the other day I sat down in a dimly lit room full of silence and opened up the gospels. I was aware of the sound each worn, thin page made as my fingers opened up to where I knew I had to read. I compared each story, sifting through the passion of each writer […]

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For When You’re Tired of “The Steps”

For When You're tired of the steps_n

There are so many blog pieces that try to give us steps to overcome certain issues in life. 5 steps to do this, 10 steps to that, How to blah, blah, blah… I’m sure if I look back in my archives I have a few like that as well. However, if there is anything I’ve […]

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Wounds that Spill Love

Gracie sky IMG_5986

I’ve been pondering all things holy: His death, resurrection, and reason for saving us. This time of year I can’t help but think about those torturous days two thousand years ago – how they changed the eternity of each one of us breathing. And I can’t stop reeling over the fact that the power of […]

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