Regarding David and Foolish Faith

It has been another interesting season for me. One where the Lord has been showing me how little faith I have had in Him and how faithful He has always been to me. This season has brought and is bringing many obstacles and I’m sure many of those obstacles are of my own making. It has been a season of re-building faith for me and the Lord has been surprising me at every turn and this weekend was no exception.  

I have been slowly reading through the Old Testament and this last Saturday I was reading through 1Samuel (one of my favorite books) and stumbled into the story of David being anointed, even though he was the youngest and thought to be the least qualified, and then of course David volunteering to go up against Goliath and subsequently beating and killing Goliath with one stone and a sling.

 I read the story and then was off to go about my day. I was talking to the Lord in the car, as you do, and had the revelation that I was David. So much so that I actually yelled it in my car, like a lightbulb went off in my head. I felt so proud of myself and my self realization that I was the little girl with three stones and a sling and the big giant of life was against me. Poor defenseless little ol’ me and I was just going to have to stand up against the giant that is life, with the Lord by my side and hope that He helps me defeat said giant.

So, once I got home I was excited to go back and read about David whom I now identified with and couldn’t wait to see how cool the both of us were. As I cracked open the word the Lord knew exactly what He was doing. He brought me back to truth, to the reality of His word and to show me what David and Goliath was really about.

Boy was I wrong. David and Goliath was not just a story about a giant and a little unprepared man/boy who didn’t know how to fight or fend for himself. It wasn’t about big bad life coming to attack the poor defenseless commoner to build up their faith and grant them some confidence. This wasn’t a “David and Goliath story” as the world so affectionately references it. Nope this was much deeper.

It hit me right where I needed it. Right where my faith should be but really where my faith has not been.

This is a story about a shepherd boy who had, So. Much. Faith.

This was about a shepherd boy whom everybody overlooked but who was totally qualified in the way that he had spent time with the Lord, he believed in the Lord, he had faith, he had come up against opposition before, alone with his sheep in the fields and had fought against wild animals and had won. This is a story about a man/boy whom nobody believed in. Not even his father and brothers. But David didn’t even think twice. The opinions of others didn’t matter to him. He knew who he was and better yet who’s he was.

He came in from the fields with the sheep to be anointed by the kings son and didn’t ask why. He overheard talk of Goliath and was so angered that he volunteered to go up against Goliath saying:

“Your servant used to keep sheep for his father. And when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after him and struck him and delivered it out of his mouth. And if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard and struck him and killed him. Your servant has struck down both lions and bears, and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, for he has defied the armies of the living God. And David said, the Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine.” 1 Samuel 17:34-37

David didn’t flinch. He was shocked and angered by Goliath and his threats. That such a man should threaten the children of God. David may not have been classically ready for this fight. I mean he didn’t even know how to wear or really move in chain mail to the extent that he decided to forgo the protection because he literally couldn’t move in it. Some might say that was foolishness or naivety but I think he was a fool for the Lord. He had faith enough to know he wasn’t going to need the external, tangible protection.

So David takes his three stones and his sling and goes to battle. Goliath mocks David, obviously, and as Goliath steps to the battle line David has to, I’m assuming, run to the battle line and takes out a stone and his trusty sling and with all the foolishness and faith and gusto of a young man he flings a single stone at Goliath and kills him! But not before he tells him “The battle is the Lord’s, and he will give you into our hand.”

I mean… Dude had some great faith!

I read this story for the second time that day and sat back and realized that I wasn’t David but I needed to become like David. I needed to go back and really see what God was trying to tell me, which was to just have faith. Have faith that If He tells me to go up against the giant that is life with nothing more than three stones and a sling, with no outward protection, that I need to run to the battle line with foolish faith and know that my God is faithful and His will will be done no matter what state I am in.

Because this isn’t a story about me. This is a story, this life of mine, is a story about God. My life, should be, much like the Bible is, a story that at every turn points to God and who He is. Not who Jenn is, not who David is or even who Goliath is. But my story should always point to who God is. When up against an obstacle or in the middle of a storm my story should always point to God “For the battle is the Lord’s”. This is not my battle, this is what I need to be reminded of on a minute by minute basis.

It’s been so neat to go back and be reminded of God’s faithfulness to me in so many different ways and in so many different seasons. Even in this season of faith building, which is uncomfortable and inconvenient I have been so amazed at who God is in my life and who He has always been. I have been strengthened by the truth of His word and the stabilizing force that it is in my life. Now I need to take the next step and run up to the battle line knowing, not hoping, but knowing my God is faithful and all I need to do is to place my faith in Him. Like David, I need to have foolish faith.  


Being okay with being alone and okay

When I was at the ripe old age of twenty, a little movie called “I am Sam” was coming to theaters and immediately I knew I HAD to see it. This movie was right up my alley and with all the passion of a twenty year old I was going to see it in theaters no matter what! None of my friends, at the time, were interested in accompanying me to said movie (yes, I know. Don’t worry I have new friends). My stubbornness willed me forward and I decided to go solo, not without some trepidation mind you. I was determined to prove that I was serious about this (why THIS?! I have no idea. Again, I was twenty, so maybe that’s all the explanation you need.).

It was opening weekend and I was actually dropped off at the theater by one of my “friends”, I bought my ticket which was no biggie and then I went inside. I cautiously picked an aisle seat and kept telling myself to give off the appearance of waiting for someone and that worked for a while. My plan of fake it till you make it quickly crumbled as the theater started to fill up and a couple asked to sit in the seats next to me. I had to come clean and knew that they knew what everybody else would now know. What I had been trying to hide.

I was alone.

Cue sweaty palms and heart palpitations.

Was everybody behind me now staring at the back of my head whispering to their companion (because they obviously weren’t alone) how the tall, young girl had nobody to share a movie with?

In my little mind I would soon die of embarrassment. But to continue my ruse I sat up tall, face to the screen giving off the impression that I was okay. I kept that up until I was actually okay.

The lights dimmed and I forgot I was sharing an armrest with a large, male, stranger. I was so okay that I cried through almost the whole movie. I cried because it was a good movie and because I was alone and felt free to do so. The movie ended, credits started to roll and I was the first one out of my seat and out of the theater. The magic of being alone was gone but not lost.

That one step of freedom, as small and silly as it was, has informed so many of my decisions throughout the years. Decisions to go and just do, whether I’m alone or not. Whether I have a partner to share it with or not. I’m not going to let life pass me by because I don’t have someone to come along with me. I’ve had to relearn this lesson and I’ve sometimes given into that little voice in my head that says I cant overcome this hurdle because I am alone or I can’t take on this task because I’m doing it alone.

There is no denying that the Lord has made us to desire companionship and has designed us to live in community. I also think there is a great lesson to be learned from being okay with being alone. Sometimes the chatter and background noise of being surrounded by people all the time can be distracting.

I’m sure parents of little people can attest to that.

Unless you are a severe introvert most of us try to avoid being alone. In fact for some of us single people, being alone becomes a curse and something we desperately try to avoid it and try to get out of.

I’m pretty stubborn and that can be of great disservice to me and people around me but at times my stubbornness propels me to do things I normally wouldn’t do.

I’m okay most of the time being alone. I love taking a book to a coffee shop and sitting alone to read and write, I’ll go to the beach or a park alone to read and pray. If nobody else wanted to go I was fully prepared to go to San Francisco by myself this Summer and I’ve traveled by myself to London because it was an opportunity I didn’t know if I was ever going to get again so as much as I feared traveling to another country by myself I did it! I don’t want to miss out on something just because I’m single or wait to do something until I’m married or have a family or can talk a friend into doing it with me. I think my stubbornness, at a younger age, taught me this lesson.

Being able to be okay with being alone or being okay with where God has you is an important part of our walk with the Lord. If we’re not okay with where God has us, if we are not willing to move forward in our singleness or in whatever station the Lord has us in we cannot fully see or understand or tap into all that God has for us in this place right now.

It’s a silly example, but if I wouldn’t have gone to that movie that day by myself I would have missed out on a great, freeing experience. If I wouldn’t have gotten on that plane to London by myself I would have missed out on an amazing trip. If I were to let fear or doubt or disappointment or dissatisfaction or singleness (fill in the blank for yourself here) stifle me or keep me from doing and being I would have missed out on so many blessings that the Lord has had for me over the years.

I’m not perfect and there are plenty of things I’m sure I have held myself back from because of any of the above fears or more aptly stated, any of the above lies. This area of life, of single life, of barren life has been pressed on my heart lately, these very lies that keep us from really living fully for the Lord. How these things can take hold of our lives and really keep us from truly serving the way we really should. So let’s start by moving passed these things that tend to rule our lives and lets start actually living for Christ and not just waiting for Him to change our circumstances so that we can finally start living for Him. Let’s live for Him now, while today is still today.

This is not what this post is about.

My opinion is not always the most popular or the most common. I understand that and that’s why I don’t always share it but I was grieved this week. I was struck by the weight of death and eternity. My heart was heavy with the weight of sin and it’s retaliation on a life that is not surrendered to Christ. 
This week, as I’m sure you’ve heard, Hugh Hefner died. 

Yes, that’s what this post is about.  

Hugh Hefner died.  

Hugh Hefner, the man that made his millions off of pornography and exploiting women’s bodies for mans pleasure (I’m sure there are many different takes on that sentence but this is how I see it, when it’s stripped down to the core of what his empire was built on.). The man who capitalized on one of man’s most base and animalistic desires. The man who had a huge hand in and in my opinion almost single handedly normalized pornography (I mean he turned his mansion and his “bunnies” into a reality show). A man, who, again in my opinion, talked women into the idea that posing nude and being paid to do so, for men to then gawk at their photos and sexualize them in a magazine was empowering and talked them into thinking that it was their idea and they were in control of the situation. 

As you can see, I am not a fan. But this is not what this post is about.  

This post is about a man, a human, an unrepentant sinner who, as proven this week, was not rich enough or powerful enough to escape death.  

As I scrolled through Instagram and saw the report of his death there was a weight that fell on my heart. A weight of eternity. The idea that this man who from the outside, to the world, looked like he was living a dream. He had fame, notoriety, to the world he was a pioneer in his industry, he had many famous friends, he lived in a mansion and constantly had young beautiful women at his beck and call. That’s what the world saw and judging by the posts I’ve seen the world has envied and loved this man for all of those things.  

I saw something different when I heard of his death.  

I wasn’t going to comment on it, it felt a little weird. But then I saw the Christian response. I saw the blogs and posts about a sinner and about celebrating a death. People all but rejoicing in his death. People slamming him and being thankful that he is gone. As I stated above, I was not a fan of his and think that the things that came out of his “work” are horrible and deplorable and honestly if I sit and think of what must have gone on at the mansion and at his magazine I would become physically sick to my stomach. But again, that’s not what this post is about.  

I saw an old man alone in his bed in the middle of the night. When the mansion was finally quiet and the room dark and it was only him, alone with his thoughts. I thought of an old lonely man with a gaping hole inside that was never fulfilled no matter how hard he tried. No matter how many millions he earned. No matter how many magazines he sold or how many girlfriends he had. There must have always been an emptiness. Laying there alone staring into the darkness must have been unbearable at times. The weight of sin, even though he may not have known or admitted that’s what it was, must have been horrific.  

I thought of a man that couldn’t find rest in life and who surely did not find it in death. A man who, if he didn’t repent in his last days, will never find rest. A man who most likely now realizes what he’s done. A man who most likely now understands the weight of his sin and how he has brought others down with him. The thing is he can’t do anything about it now. I think of this man and I am saddened. I don’t rejoice in his death. I am weighted down by it. I am hit with the reality of it and the finality of it. I don’t rejoice in his death because he was a sinner and “got what he deserved”. I grieve in his death because he no longer has a chance to accept Christ. He no longer has the chance to feel what it is to be truly loved or truly forgiven. He no longer has the chance to experience true grace and true freedom.  

Some wont understand this post and some wont agree with it and that’s ok. Ezekiel 33:11 tells us “ …As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn, back, turn back from your evil ways…” He is, of course talking about the Israelites here But we also find in the New Testament Peter talking to believers saying in 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” I don’t believe that God wants us to rejoice in the death of a sinner, in the death of someone who has not repented. There is no hope there, there is no salvation, there is nothing to rejoice in. 

I believe what this should prompt us to do is to pray harder and share more with those that have no hope. With those that don’t yet know Christ. With those that have not yet felt the true love of our savior or who don’t know what true freedom and grace feel like.  

Admittedly this is an awkward and weighty post, I agree. It feels out of place on my little blog but there was something about this situation that I just couldn’t stay quiet about. So thank you for listening. 

A cloud, some fire and a little mana.

This post is full of thoughts that have been thought before. It’s full of connections that have been connected by others and probably in a much more eloquent way at that. This post is specific to me and where I am and probably not revolutionary to you. But the contents of this post have breathed life into some dead and dry places in my own life. As I sat at my desk today working and coming down off of that vacation high I was reminded of what the Lord had shown me. I almost let go of the lessons and words and pictures stored in my mind as I got back to reality. I almost let the stress and screams of life rob me of the life giving rest and reflection the Lord had gifted me just a week ago. So here I am to hold onto these things and to make sure that I don’t forget.

Sometimes we need to step back from our lives and take a break or at least take a breath and take a peek inside.

Sometimes we need a forced perspective to see what is really going on in our lives and our hearts. I have been in a season of transition and honestly just a season of confusion at times. I have changed jobs and ministries within the last year and found myself wondering what to make of it.

What to do or where to go or where not to go?

Where does God have me?

Where does He show up in this?

How am I serving Him and making disciples?

Why do I feel so stagnant?

Why do I feel so alone in this?

Is this it? Is there more?

Do I need to just succumb to this place right here? Because if so, I don’t like that answer.

All of this and more has been going on in my head and heart. But the Lord knew. He knew I needed a change and He knew that I needed to be refreshed right now, right where I am. I was able to get away for a few days and had a friend come stay with me. Honestly, just having her here made me step back from my day to day, while I was still in my day to day, and really see things for what they were and what they were not.

As we left town we decided to just kind of go with the flow this trip. No forced schedule or timeline. We would drive and get where we were going when we ended up there. This is so not me but I knew I needed to do it and it was so good for my soul.

Like so good.

Taking the long way and driving up the coast was so majestic that I kind of forgot about everything else and I was able to just be consumed in God’s beautiful creation. We drove through mountains as the clouds lifted off to reveal the very blue sky underneath. We drove up the coast and through farmland, through city and through small towns and it was everything.

Thankfully long car rides produce long conversations. One of those conversations was about the Lord and His leading. God’s provision for the Israelites came to mind for me. The next morning as I sat outside reading the word that is exactly where I was. I was in the thick of it with the Israelites. God was leading them by cloud and fire. God spoke to me as I sat there in the morning light.

He spoke to me of deserts and clouds and fire and mana and fear and stagnation and… well, He just spoke to me of all the things that come with all of those things.

He showed me that I have a tendency towards wandering much like the Israelites. He doesn’t leave but I become complacent and I try in my own power to do and to be. But most of the time I’m just wandering, wanting to be in His will or just waiting for His will to supernaturally be poured over me but really I’m just stuck in a desert being fed mana and hating it. Exodus speaks of God providing mana and giving specific instructions to the Israelites to gather just enough for each person in their tent and not leaving any left over. The Israelites take enough for their tent but then they don’t eat it all and they don’t get rid of the remaining mana. They’re either really bad at taking full direction (same Israelites, same), straight up disobedient or they go into survival mode and try to think ahead. Either way this results in some rancid mana. 

They didn’t trust and obey God.

 I sat there and read and thought, that’s me.

I fear, I don’t trust, I walk around the desert hot and grumpy, complaining all the way and I don’t trust God to move or show up. So, I do on my own and end up with rotten results. Just like the Israelites ended up with rotten mana. I end up with results that leave me wanting and confused and this has become a pattern for me, one that I have yet to break.

As I went through the rest of the weekend I didn’t fear or want or worry. I just went where the day took me. I rested and sought the Lord. I recognized that it is my wandering and not the Lord that frustrates me so.

I need to realize that God will provide for my need.

I prayed on this trip to be led by the Lord by cloud and fire, to have open ears and eyes to what He has for me today, not tomorrow but for today. I prayed to end my wandering so that I can run freely in His will for me, so that I can run in the fullness of the life He has for me. I need to trust that His mana is better than anything I could ever conjure up for myself. I need to understand that I’m not just biding my time waiting for the next thing to happen but I need to sit in the fullness of the life he has me in right now. I prayed that I would bathe in His light and life giving breath that sustains and surrounds me.

I needed to take a break from my life and understand where I am and what that means. Where that means my heart is. I needed to come up for a breather and remember it’s ok to be human because that means that God is God. That boundaries I have set up for myself are not necessarily the same boundaries that the Lord wants for me. That a night of just laughing with friends or long car rides filled with voices singing at the top of their lungs is good for the soul and can breathe life into some dead spaces within. That what I have said no to isn’t necessarily what God has said no to. That I need to open myself up to what the Lord has and not just bow down to my fear and waste my time trying to store up what I think I might need for tomorrow.

Maybe this all just sounds like the ramblings of a crazy person but I think there are many of us wandering, discontented in the desert. Many of us are frustrated with where life has us. Many of us don’t realize that we are just wandering in circles just biding our time. Many of us are not living in the fullness of the life the Lord has for us. We just keep circling the same cactus wondering when we will be rescued from the horrid landscape (no offense to you desert lovers out there). Just as the Israelites, we keep ourselves there. We could be out of the desert a lot sooner if we would stop complaining and dragging our feet. If we stopped and took a breath and moved forward instead of in the same circle we’ve been moving in. Let’s dust off our clothes, say goodbye to the cactus and move in a different direction, move forward and live, today, in the fullness of the day the Lord has for us.

A Word Fitly Spoken

I was going through some old paperwork this past weekend and found some old study notes of mine.

They were from a time I was asked to speak at one of our woman’s retreats breakout sessions.

My topic was on how to be a single woman in ministry.

As I was putting my notes together I was simultaneously complaining to a friend about the “stigma” of singleness. Venting about singleness and the stereotype it holds or how I felt people treated me. You know, because I’m a sinner.

Ultimately I was hurting inside and bitter and angry at where God had me in my life. I had a longing that was not fulfilled and I felt less than. Nobody was forcing me to feel this way, I had an issue inside that needed to be dealt with. My friend, as she always does, listened and somehow understood my plight and then she spoke:

She told me that she prays for me and she wants me to be married, she wanted to see me navigate that part of life. But… and that was a big but, she also said that she didn’t know God’s will for my life and nowhere in His word does He promise that any of us will be married or have kids. She told me she doesn’t know if I will ever marry.

I sat there and took in the words. These words were spoken with such love and care, with such purpose and clarity. They hit me right in my chest where I felt them settle and start to work.

I sat there on my bed that night and I sifted and worked through many feelings. I sat and prayed with my face to the ground, not because I am super spiritual but because that’s where the Lord took me. And after all of that the overwhelming feeling I ended with that evening was that I was free.

There was a freedom in the truth she spoke.

I’ve had many different people tell me many different things about singleness and marriage. I’ve heard many different people tell my single friends many things about singleness. I’ve gone to conferences and have listened to podcasts and sermons and have read books about singleness. Sadly, up until about five years ago, on that night, in my room, over the phone, through a friend who was hundreds of miles away was the very first time anybody had spoken words of truth about my singleness.

Those are the words that started to heal me and free me from an expectation I was holding myself to.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold Is a wise rebuke to an obedient ear.” Proverbs 25: 11&12 

My friend, that night, listened. She listened to not only me but she also listened to the Lord and spoke words of truth that I’m sure were not easy to speak. But words that were needed to be said none-the-less. She didn’t try to make me feel better or to sugar coat things. Out of love she got right to the heart of it and it was exactly what I needed.  
I, in turn, also spoke words of truth to these young twenty-somethings at the retreat the next weekend and I’m not so sure they were ready to receive it. I get that, I’ve been there. As their big eyes looked back at me, the girl who was supposed to give them some sense of hope or some insight on how to navigate around singleness (I know this because I have sat in studies with this exact expectation) was telling them that we are not promised marriage. That we should not be waiting to serve the Lord until a man comes into the picture. That God wants our whole life now. That our relationship with God is our own and that our focus should not be on finding a man but on serving the Lord and His people. I said these words with love and compassion because as hard as they were to speak they were even harder to take in.
I have no idea if any of those girls needed that truth at that moment or if any of them have even thought about it after that afternoon. I do know that God healed me through that lesson and placed my expectation and perspective right where it needed to be.  
I don’t believe these words are just for the single folk. I believe there are many of us in various stages of life that are waiting. Waiting for something else to happen before they move on to fully serve the Lord. Waiting to have kids or to get a promotion, to get into a nicer or larger home, for the kids to grow up or for work to be less stressful. We often times get stuck in life waiting for the next thing before we move forward with the Lord. I’m not saying that there aren’t seasons in life that we should step back and wait on the Lord to move us forward or that raising kids and a family are not important. What I am saying is most of the time our lives are not going to go as planned. Sometimes we need to let all of that fall into the background and just serve the Lord. Whatever that looks like in your life and I think we all know deep down if we aren’t living in that space.
All of that to say:

Friends, this life is not our own so lets speak truth in love and follow hard after the Lord.

A Mother’s Love

I sat in church the other day and saw the red ribbon sticking out of my bible. I turned to the page and saw the book mark labeled “A Mother’s Love is forever”. 

Am I a mother? No.

Why do I have this bookmark? It’s a silly story but during my many years as a youth leader I led many groups at Summer and Winter camps. Some years are more memorable than others and one year my group of kids found the ribbon in the mini chapel and it became sort of our unofficial (and our inanimate) mascot. I have kept that ribbon in my bible for years now and it’s a reminder of what a blessing ministry is in my life.

But sitting in church the other day it reminded me of something else.

I am a single girl with no children.

Unless I get married and the Lord wills or unless the Lord leads me to adopt there are no signs that I will ever have any children to raise of my own. But as I looked at that ribbon I was reminded of the youth that the Lord has allowed me to mother through the years. I am reminded that the Lord gave me years of teaching pre-school and mothering pre-school age children five days a week at least eight hours a day. I am reminded of myself as a teenager and young adult and the women that came alongside of me and mothered me in times when I needed it. I am reminded of what God has called us, as women and us as the church to do. Which is to mother. I don’t believe that we are all called to be parents to our own physical children. We do not live in a perfect world so sometimes these things don’t happen the way we would like. I also believe there are some women out there that do not have a desire or a calling to have children and that’s okay. But what God has called us to do is to raise up the younger woman. As I started going through Titus this is something that has been impressed upon my heart even more.

“The older women likewise, that they be reverent in behave, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things – that they admonish the young women to love their own husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5

My heart, instinctively, has always desired to minister to those women who are younger than me. My heart has always been, or at least since before I can remember, to mother and protect those that are younger than I. Maybe it’s because I was the first daughter, granddaughter and niece in the family and I babysat all those that came after me. Maybe it was because I am the oldest and therefore birth order predicts that I would be a nurturer and really just a bossy pants. But as I get older I see that the Lord has taken that desire to mother and has turned it into a tool to serve His kingdom.

I may not have children of my own but I have cared for sick and hurting children, I have sat up and cried with and prayed with teenage girls who are going through trials and I have sat up nights praying, interceding for young men and women in our youth group. I have been thrown up on and have bandaged cuts and scrapes, I have rubbed homesick backs and soothed restless babies. I have potty trained more kids than I can count and have changed more diapers than I care to know. I don’t say this to pat myself on the back or to get some kind of accolades but I say this to remind myself of what the Lord has allowed me to experience.

The girl with no children.

I’m not saying I know what it is to be a parent but what I am saying is that as long as the Lord allows I will continue to pour into those that are younger than I because it is my duty and because it is my heart, my passion, my desire and I believe part of my calling.

I know the subject of barrenness, whether you physically cannot have your own children or because the Lord has not led you into that season yet can be a very touchy subject. It can be and is very painful and I don’t claim to know anything or have any answers or to really know the first thing about it. What I can say is that from a single girl who always wanted to be a mom, if I stop and look I can see all of the children the Lord has allowed me to mother in one way or another and when I do that I am overwhelmed by His forethought and generosity in that. That He gave me a heart to mother and then provided me the opportunity to do so. Maybe not in the way I would have thought but in the way He saw perfect for me. That He would use me to be even the smallest part of someone’s life younger or older.

I may not understand the depths of a Mothers love but I have experienced the depths of my heavenly Farther’s love for me. My prayer and desire is that the tiniest fraction of that would pour out of me.

Measuring up

I always get a little nervous when I have somewhere to be and I know that I’ll see people from my past. Not because I don’t want to see them but simply because, life. Life moves and goes on as it does. People change and move and grow and get married and have kids and careers and start exciting new ventures and move to far off exotic places. You know, life.

I was getting ready Saturday morning to go somewhere, where I was going to see quite a few people that I had lost touch with and no longer see. Some whom I haven’t seen in like years! I started to panic. Like a real anxiety stricken panic. As I got ready, in true Jenn fashion, by pulling out 75% of my closet and then leaving it on my bed or floor to find the most appropriate outfit. I started to realize all of the people I could potentially run into and I started to focus on the one question that is almost always guaranteed to be asked. “What are you doing now?” Or “what’s new?” Or “How are you doing?”. Yes, how are you doing strikes me with fear and trembling. Especially when I haven’t seen someone in years. I started thinking of how I would respond.

My thoughts went something like this:

People: Hey Jenn! It’s been so long! How are you? What are you up to now?

Me: (tiny beads of sweat forming on my forehead) Oh, you know, same old thing. I still live in an apartment with a roommate. I’m still not married and I have no kids yet. But hey! I work from home in my pajamas now! So, there’s that. I mean some days I don’t even shower!

People: Uh, Oh, wow! Well, I’ve been busy getting married, maybe you saw my wedding featured in Martha Stewart Weddings? Anyways, I have also birthed children whom I now have the very important job of raising up to be good people who love Jesus. On the side I started my own business of making a very specific kind of jewelry from my garage that I sell on Etsy and business is booming!

Me: Oh… Awesome! So, I’m gonna go find a large purse to stick my head in now. See you in another ten years and hopefully I’ll have something more exciting to share. (Runs away arms flailing overhead to her car to bury herself in her purse and cry shamefully all the way home)

And that’s best case scenario!

As one would, I started to succumb to my panic. A friend called as I was putting on makeup and she prayed with me and tried to calm my nerves. She actually stayed on the phone with me until I got to where I was going. I tried to reason with myself that today was not about me. In fact today was very much about a family that I love and has absolutely nothing to do with me. I pulled up to the place and parked my car, my friend still on the phone encouraging me and really wanting a play by play at this point and I started to feel better.

Until I saw some people.

And fear reared it’s ugly head again and started whispering lies into my ears. Lies about not being enough, about not really being an adult or really doing anything with my life at all.

I mustered up the courage to get off of the phone and to run inside. I dodged some people and was embraced by a couple others and thankfully was saved by the bell as the actual thing I was there for was about to start. I walked up and found my seat and sat, thankful that I didn’t have to interact for a while.

I made it out in one piece without embarrassing myself too much and really dodged the questions I feared most. But that wasn’t the issue. The issue lays deep within my heart. Deep inside something is broken, my view is skewed and inaccurate.

Later that evening after I was calm another friend called and I spilled the whole story and panic. She spoke words of truth over me. She lovingly pointed out that life is not measured by a husband and family. Life is not measured by a career. I should not be measuring my life by anything but Gods word. I need to stop thinking about life in earthly mile stones and start taking it day by day as God has outlined in His word:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field , how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘what shall we eat?’ Or ‘what shall we drink?’ Or ‘what shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Matthew 6:25-34

Do. Not. Be. Anxious.

The very next night I started a new book that is based on the book of Titus. As I sat reading Titus I thought “this, this is what I need to measure my life up against”. Believe me I am failing at 90% of what is being outlined in Titus but there was a calm that washed over me as I read the qualifications of being an elder and how older women are to teach the younger. How young men are to conduct themselves and how we, as believers are to be ready. How we are to live our lives out day to day moment to moment. We are not to be measured or to hold ourselves to some kind of earthly barometer. Shame on me for doing so. I can rest in the fact that everyday I am growing and learning and following the Lord. That I can look to His word and take this life that He has given me one step at a time in sync with what He has mapped out perfectly for me. Not for the girl next door or the people I used to know but for me. I can grow in and learn and measure myself up against His word and within the boundaries He has set for me. No, my life doesn’t look conventional and maybe I haven’t moved to a different state or started my own business or have gotten married or had children but so many intangible things have changed and moved and gone on in my life. Things that are not measurable by earthly standards, things that have changed inside of me. Lessons the Lord has taught me and changed me through. Lessons and trials and changes that have changed the core of who I am to, hopefully, become more of who He wants me to be. Maybe I don’t have a grand and exciting answer but I can say that I have grown to know and love the Lord more and more as I walk with Him and that’s all that really matters I suppose.