Monday, March 11, 2013

Beauty Within

There is an old saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder." I take this to mean that beauty is subjective. What one person thinks is lovely, another might think otherwise. Still, no matter how beautiful one person, or even many people might make you feel, it only takes one voice to make you doubt. One awful, critical voice that tell you that you're not good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough. In most cases it would be fairly easy to cut that negative person out of your life, who needs toxic people anyway. But what happens, when that critical voice is hidden inside of you? What happens when every time you look in the mirror, you see imperfection. What happens when your jeans fit a little too tight and you think that everyone around you, "thinks your fat." What happens when you talk too much, too loud, or unfiltered and you wonder, "why did I do or say that?" You can't get away from that voice. The funny thing is, that voice tells you that you are the only one who struggles, and that all of your friends have it together.

Here is the wonderful truth......there is another Voice. His is the voice of truth, and He tells a different story. He tells us that our beauty should not come from outward adornments, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of our inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. WOW! Is that not the complete opposite of what the media, Hollywood and advertisers tell us. Wear this and everyone will think you're gorgeous. Do this "Hollywood diet" and you will look like a movie star.  Still time and time again, we end up feeling empty, unattractive, and alone with "the voice."

In the book of Luke, Jesus claimes to be the fulfillment of the Isaiah 61 prophecy.
                     The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me 
                    to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, 
                    to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,
                    to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, 
                    to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion.
Salvation belongs to our God!! This it to wonderful to not shout AMEN!!

But, the part that comes next, that's what really gets to me.
                      He cameto bestow on us a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of 
                    joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. 
                   His Word says that WE will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD 
                   for the display of his splendor.

Did you catch that??? Jesus came to "bind up" our broken hearts. We are free because He ransomed us. In place of the ugly shackles of death, we have been given a "crown of beauty" by the Maker of the Universe. He has anointed us with the oil of joy. We no longer have the come into agreement with that ugly spirit of despair. And check it out, when we come face to face with our Lord and Savior, we will be called Oaks of Righteousness. He has planted us, YOU AND ME, for the display of His splendor. 

So, when that ugly voice comes creeping into your thoughts, tell it,  "Sorry, I am a beautiful princess, crowned by the King and put on display for all to see." Truth is right, and it will win every time. Walk in that truth my friend, and remind your friends from time to time who they really are. They might just need to hear it. 

That's all for tonight.

Blessings,
Jennifer


 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

When God speaks in stereo

Have you ever experienced the phenomenon that I like to call, "God talking to you in stereo"? This has happened to me on many occasions where I will hear the same topic talked about in church, on christian talk radio, at bible study, and it may even be a topic randomly brought up by a friend.  Currently I am experiencing such "stereo",  but it is a topic unlike any before. It's on the topic of abortion.

Now, abortion has been a hot topic in the Christian community for a long time, but I have never been more aware of this issue then I am right now. Interestingly enough, it wasn't even me who identified the "stereo", but it was my husband Brent who brought it to my attention. His comment regarding this made me realize two things. One, that my husband really listens to me when I ramble on about my day. And two, I need to seek the Lord and open my heart for what He is preparing me for.

Although I have never had an abortion, I know many women who have. I probably know several women who have had an abortion and who have never told me, or for that matter anyone. Tonight I sat and prayed with my three beautiful girls for the thousands of women who live with regret and shame over the decisions that they've made in this regard. We prayed for the young girls who are currently finding themselves contemplating this possibility. We prayed for the healing of broken hearts, broken bodies, and broken spirits.

I am so thankful that we have a Redeemer who is close to the broken hearted. He saves those who are crushed in spirit. I'm so thankful that even in our darkest hour we can trust in Him instead of leaning on our own understanding.  You see topics like this force me to become increasingly aware of the fact that every decision that we make effects more people then we know. Our joy, our pain, our laughter, our tears......our choices, they effect people.  When we say things like, "It's my life, I'm not hurting anyone else.", that is simply NOT true.  Doing drugs, getting drunk, having sex outside of marriage, gossiping, watching porn, lying, having an abortion; these things effect the lives of everyone around us.

I'm not sure where the Lord is leading me on this journey we call life, or why this difficult topic keeps coming my way, but I am commited to learning from my mistakes, to growing as I go, and to tuning in when the Lord is speaking to me in stereo. He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me, so, I'm holding on tight, ready to go where He leads.

Lead on sweet Lord, lead on.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Shifting Gears

Have you ever had one of those days, when you think that you know what direction that you are headed, and then all of a sudden something happens that makes you rethink everything? The funny thing is, if I really think about it, it's not as if this one thing is really the center of it all. The Lord speaks to us gently, slowly, preparing us for change, but we don't always see the writing on the wall until it is right in front of us screaming, "This is it!!!"  Still, it's not always easy to switch gears.  Some things are easier than others. Truthfully, when it's just me, I can generally switch gears on a dime. But when it effects my kids or my husband, well, that's another story.

So, today I am seeking wisdom. Wisdom from the Lord, wisdom from my friends, and at some point, I hope to be able to process with and seek wisdom from my amazing husband. Tonight I wait, seek and listen for the still small voice of the Lord. He is generous and trustworthy to lead me where I need to go. He knows my needs and the needs of my children. Jesus says in Matthew, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." I want that!!! Whatever decisions I make and whatever gears I need to shift, I want His yoke. I want to learn from my gentle Savior. In Him there is rest. In Him there is not fear of "messing up", or "choosing wrong".

I guess in the end there is this. Thank you Lord for this day. Thank you for the opportunity to trust you. Thank you for the freedom to choose but for the desire to seek direction. I am open to your leading, so lead away.  AMEN!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Parenting is hard

As the mother of three tween (one almost teen) girls, there are days when I'm not sure that I'm going to survive their journey to adulthood. Don't get me wrong, my girls are wonderful, sweet amazing girls who love Jesus and who are growing daily in their walk. BUT......they are kids. They fight, they talk back, they don't clean their rooms, and they leaves messes wherever they go. I think that sometimes I forget that I am a parent. Kids don't come out of the womb perfect. They don't know how to run and jump and skip unless we teach them, and they certainly don't know how to make a batch of cookies just because they've watched you do it a million times. Still, I forget. I need to teach them to be good to each other. I need to shepherd them through social trials and insecure moments. When I say, what were you thinking, and they say, "I don't know!", that's most likely the truth.

Some days I miss their diaper butts, and their innocent baby teeth smiles, their tiny hands and their sweet short prays. But those wonderful times have passed and new wonderful times have come. We laugh A LOT! We talk about grown up things and they are beginning to really understand. They have their own wonderful and even wise thoughts. They stand in awe of the Creator that we have always taught them about, and they love to serve in His name. We play games, we dance, we sing and we pray. It's wonderful to remember that there is so much good.

As a parent, sometimes I find myself operating out of fear. That maybe the choices that they are making mean that I am not doing a good job. But one day, I had a wonderful friend tell me that kids need a place where they are comfortable to mess up and learn from it. We are training them to be a blessing to the world, not perfect people at home. If they are pefect at home, then most likely they are acting out somewhere. This helped me to realize that when people complimented me on my great kids, that was conformation that I'm doing a good job, instead of making me feel lame because I have great kids and yet I still struggle.

So, I'm still learning not to jump into the mud pit with my girls when they fight. I'm learning that there is so much I still need to teach and not expect them to know. I'm learning that hard days help me to rely on Jesus more. And I'm growing more and more certain and thankful that He will fill in the gaps where I have fallen short.

All of this to say, if you are a parent like me, and somedays you wonder if you will ever survive, remember, you're not alone, you will survie, and you are doing a GREAT JOB!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Going for a ride

January 23rd, 2013. Who knew that life would move so fast. It seems like only yesterday I was dreaming about being a wife and a mother, longing to taste the sweetness of the unconditional love that comes from those two sources. Well, here I am, mother of 3 beautiful girls, married to my high school sweet heart, and although I love them dearly and they love me, there is no such thing as unconditional love coming from my "dream" source. It has certainly been a long journey from 13 to 36, filled with trials and treasures galore, but my greatest treasure, and my sweetest discovery is the knowledge and true understanding that Jesus Christ is my ONLY source of unconditional love. Realizing that the Creator of the universe loves me, and that His love is not contingent on my behavior or appropriate choices has set me free in more ways then I can express. Don't get me wrong, I have a long way to go, but in this season of life, I have just jumped on the back of an unbridled horse and the Lord is taking me on a ride that I have never experienced before. It is sure to be scarry at times, when I choose to "look at the wind" as Peter did, but I am certain that my God is trustworthy, He is faithful, he will never lead me anywhere that He has not gone before me, and He will certainly never leave me nor forsake me. I don't want to miss a moment of this journey and I don't ever want to forget what He's done. So, here I am, jotting down my thoughts, my journey, all the while doing my best to glorify Him. Maybe this might bless someone else, and maybe this is just for me, but I have been prompted and I am obeying. Mount up dear friends because our God is taking us for a ride.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Word is Alive

There is nothing that I love more than when God speaks to my heart and then uses me to speak into others. I know that the only thing that I have to offer the world is what God is doing in and through me. So, here we go. When God speaks to my heart then I will share it. Whatever He chooses to do from there I am confident will be amazing.

Tonight I listened to a podcast. The question that struck me the most was:
Do I allow the bible to do a work in my life?

He was teaching from Hebrews 4. Below I will recap the highlights that really spoke to my heart.

The Word is like a surgeons scalpel cutting sin out of my life.

God's Word does not need to be defended, it is a Rock and stands on its own.

I was charged with not making the same mistake as the Israelites when they were to afraid to claim the promise land.

God promised them rest and His promise is for me as well.
Future rest in heaven (vs.8-9)
Past rest because we do not need to work in order to receive salvation. (vs.10)
Present rest as we bask in the beauty of God's blessing right now.

Why did they fail to believe?

They believed wrongly. They believed that they had to fight the giants in their own strength. (Do you ever feel that way? I know that I do.)

Wrong thinking leads to wrong behavior because our choices are determined by how we think. (I don't know about you, but my daily battle is won or lost in my mind)

My thoughts enslave me, bind me up and lead me to wrong choices.

vs. 12 is the remedy for that. "For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

You get out of the pattern of sin by changing your thoughts.

Knowing the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)

The Word frees us from wrong thinking. It is alive and active. It's always doing something from those who read it. It is sharper than a double edged sword. It penetrates and reveals who we really are. It slices through and reveals our deepest thoughts and intentions.

(So often we ask the question "why"??? I turn to verses like Isaiah 40:25-31 and Romans 11:33. These and many like it answer the question of Who is in charge when we are wondering why things outside of our control are happening.)

vs. 13 tells us, "Nothing in ALL creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account."

APPLICATION
!. Treat His Word as medicine not poison. It brings healing to you.
If you feel your daily reading feels stale, read a different version of the bible each year.

2. Allow God's Word to perform work in your life. If you want healing you have to let Him cut into you. God brings hurt so that He can eventually bring healing.

(My prayer is that this week you would allow God's Word to penetrate your heart. Read it with fresh eyes and a fresh heart and always come to the word prayerfully. The Holy Spirit desires to move mountains in your life. Are you ready to let Him?)

I love you all!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Homesick

Are you a homesick believer or are you content in this world? Often times when things are going well we forget our need for God. On the other hand when we are being broken we either cling to Jesus or give into the pain and depression forgetting the eternal prospective that we get to enjoy.


Before his crucifixion Jesus shared many things with his disciples and at the end he said, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."(John 16:33)
After this he looked toward heaven and prayed. In his prayer he said, "I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." (John 17:14-18) Jesus was interceding for us while he was with us just as He continues to do now. But in his prayer for us he acknowledges that we are not of this world but we are in it to do a good work.

Often times we get distracted by the things of this world and we lose track of what we are really here for. We forget that this is not the place where our eternal treasures are stored no matter how hard we try. This is not heaven. No matter how much we try to collect treasures, they will never satisfy and in fact they can and will distract us from the direction that God desires to take us. I am not saying that God does not want us to have abundance. However, His Word says, where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Mt. 6:21) He calls upon us to, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Mt. 6:19-20) Each one of us must ask ourselves, "What do I treasure?" The truth becomes evident in our everyday decisions.

So I ask you again, are you homesick? Are you looking towards heaven and embracing all that God wants to do in and through you before you go? He is preparing each one of us for battle. He is breaking away chains that have held us down for longer than we can remember. He is freeing us to live fully for Him during this crucial time. The process hurts, but the blessings on the other side are abundant.

I encourage your to seek out and listen to what God is trying to speak into your life right now. Heed his calling and his direction, and trust Him to carry you through the storm. On the other side there is a beautiful rainbow of promise.