Friday, November 11, 2011


Today it seemed like - ok, the writing is "on the wall" and God is saying...BE THANKFUL.  So I decided to do a short blog about being thankful - and not just because Thanksgiving is around the corner (although that is rather ironic I admit).  I tell a little more about my journey of why I am doing the blog...You can check it out -  Attitude of Gratitude

Monday, October 31, 2011

What Will I Choose To Fear?

"The fear of God is the death of every other fear; like a mighty lion, it chases all other fears before it." – Spurgeon
 You may have heard me say this before, but I have this phrase that often shows up in my journals: "Fear seizes and paralyzes me."  I don't always even know what I am afraid of, but I know that I feel paralyzed.  

So when I read this quote by Spurgeon a light bulb came on.  I began to think - "so if I currently am experiencing fear, does this mean I do not fear God but I fear something other than God?"  A sense of understanding started to settle upon me.  Then I read this quote on my friend's Facebook status:
"Courage in not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."
When I read this I realized that what I had been doing was giving leverage to the things I was fearing.  I was saying - this thing that I am fearing is more important than fearing God himself.  I believe having courage or being confident in the Lord is not having an absence of fear - for that would not be human and I am DEFINITELY human - but it is using the knowledge that God gave me to choose that what I am fearing need not swallow me whole.  Instead to choose fearing God - not in a scary halloween fear way - but in a reverent, God is holy and all powerful and knows what's best sort of way.  This choice is not always easy, because often the things that I fear are so much more "in my face" - but when I believe that God is for me and not against me, and when I lean wholly into Him, I know that the Spurgeon quote will start to resound more loudly in my life.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Cockroaches in My Life

One of the things I am not fond of in my new Florida life is my exposure to cockroaches.  The bug at first paralyzed me - I couldn't even move when I would see one.  Fortunately, every time we would have one in our apartment Josh was home and could kill them.  That is until a few weeks ago when I moved something and there it was, and there we were, me and my kids, having a stand off with the cockroach.  I did kill it, but I wiggled and made some crazy noise while doing it.  So gross.

For 3 weeks straight we had pest control come and spray.  Finally after week 3, we haven't seen a cockroach for a few weeks.  Until last night.  And honestly, never would have thought this, but I think God is using this disgusting cockroach matter to show me something in my own life.

So obviously you see the issue - no matter how many times we’ve had pest control come and spray – the cockroaches just keep coming back.  I think God is wanting me to see that I've been doing some "pest control" in my own life.  I’m just temporarily taking care of surface problems, while these awful critters are still alive and active, finding their way back in.

It makes my body tense, not able to relax and enjoy our home when I am on constantly looking around for cockroaches.  In my relationship with God,  he wants me to feel at home, able to relax with him, but I am looking around for little things (or big) to go wrong, thinking what will drop next. I feel defenseless against the “critters” and instead of just saying – it’s just how it is, they are just bugs that really can’t harm me (I think), it’s part of the experience of life here on earth, I am tense and fearful.  Or I wonder if I am doing something wrong (like not vacuuming enough or whatever),

Maybe God just wants to use things in life to say – "Jen, we've got a situation that keeps coming up. You've tried to get rid of it your way, why not try to ask me about it." And I also sense that he is telling me that even though I am scared, nearly paralyzed, that he is wanting me to trust that he's got it under control even if I do still see "critters" I don't like from time to time.  Allowing him into my every nook and cranny is scary, but I think it will be worth it (!) - I mean perhaps one day I could stop calling pest control all together, but if not, I know there will be no cockroaches in heaven!! (ok that's not theologically sound I admit - but you get the point)

Psalm 103:12-14

New Living Translation (NLT)

 12 He has removed our sins as far from us
      as the east is from the west.
 13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
      tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
 14 For he knows how weak we are;
      he remembers we are only dust.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

What is Anchoring You?

When I was going through some hard seasons in life I clung to Isaiah 55:12-13, calling it my anchor.  For it was during that dark time of life that I was believing God by faith alone that I would be led out of darkness and back into His marvelous light. As I was flipping through my Bible a few weeks back I ran across those highlighted verses again and was struck by the word "cypress" because that word is now in part of where we live.  

I got to thinking that even though I thought I had come out of that season of darkness, which is true that I was experiencing joy again, that perhaps God is wanting to do more of work in me.  There are more thorns to remove so the cypress can come up.  And even though I feel like it is just season after season of storms - I know that my anchor truly is God and I need not be afraid to face the storm raging even within.

Isaiah 55:12-13
"For you shall go out in joy
   and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
   shall break forth into singing,
   and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress;
   instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;
and it shall make a name for the LORD,
   an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Sojourn.  It's a word I don't use often, yet I find myself relating more to this term lately. To sojourn is to stay as a temporary resident.  When we committed to come to Orlando, we committed to something for one year.  We find ourselves in temporary residency.

And yet in my heart I know that I want "home" - I want to feel settled.  I do think God placed that desire in us for a reason.  I am not crazy to desire home or to want to feel settled.  It speaks to my inner need for something that this place, or any place I ever live, cannot ever truly fulfill.

No matter how settled I may ever get, the fact of the matter is this:  we are ALL sojourners.

Psalm 144:4

English Standard Version (ESV)
 Man is like a breath;
   his days are like a passing shadow.

Our real home is not here on earth.  We all have a God shape void in our heart that can only be filled by Him.  And yet, so many times we are trying to fill that with so many other things that leave us longing, and give us empty promises.  

So I am going to try to attempt to embrace this sojourner lifestyle.  It seems biblical.  Keeping my eyes fixed on eternity and striking a balance between creating home and not making this earthly home my everything.  In his grace, by the power of His Spirit.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Ocean Ponderings

There is something so powerful about the ocean.  First there is the vastness of ocean, the seemingly never-ending water. Then there are the waves.  Standing in the ocean, the force of a wave can literally knock you over.  If you are able to stand firm against the strength of the wave, beware of the sand being sucked from beneath you as the undercurrent of the wave flowing back out could just as easily take you for a ride.  The sheer sound of the waves are enough to call you to attention, and are what keeps my children from entering the ocean's waters.

While it's true that the sound of the crashing waves is thunderous, this is one of the many things about the ocean that draws me there.  I love that rhythmic sound, the warmth of the sun, the beauty of the colors - tans, whites, blues.  When I am at the ocean I am struck by the vastness of God and his power. It's peaceful and yet I also can't help but to think about the irony of how life can feel at times like standing in those waves.  Transitions can knock me over - and there are many things pulling ever so subtly like those undercurrents.  Standing firm can seem like gearing up for the next wave to hit and can be exhausting.

Thankfully I was reminded that God cares about everything I am experiencing.  He created everything - the waves, the birds, the jellyfish, the grains of sand, and me - and knows exactly what I need.

I can't go to the beach without thinking about these verses: (Psalm 139:1-18)

 O LORD, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say,"Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,"even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.