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.

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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.

Forgetting thankfulness

I have sat down so many times in the last two weeks to write a blog post. I have so many drafts sitting in Word, half done. I have voice messages on my phone that are hoping to turn into some kind of curated work. The thing is, every time I sat down to actually write, it all came out a jumble. Like some kind of rubble I was trying to sift through. Like I was looking for the missing item to help my words make sense. No matter how hard I’ve tried I haven’t been able to find the right pieces to fit everything together. 

I started this blog up again to be vulnerable.

To be a place where we can connect.

Maybe you know where I am? maybe you’re here too or have been here or are approaching this same spot. Wherever that is. What I really don’t want is for this to be some place where I try to eloquently spin what the Lord has really been doing to save face or to try to make things more presentable. The truth is, when we get down to it the question is, are our lives ever really presentable? If we really dig in and really mine for what is going on inside we are not “presentable” humans. We are rough around the edges and crusty (yeah I said it), we are flawed and self absorbent. No matter who we are or what title we may or may not hold we are a mess inside and that is why we need a Savior. That is why God sent His only Son to come to earth to be fully human and be tempted as we are. That is why the same Son had to allow Himself to be murdered on the cross. That is why Jesus, as He hung on the cross said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” As His murderers cast lots for His clothes and hung Him up between two criminals. “They know not what they do” as we, today, know not what we do. Because of that death on the cross. That oh so costly and painful death on the cross has made us a free people. A people free from death and covered by grace. So much so sometimes that I think we forget how much of a mess we are and how much we need that cross. How much we still don’t know what we do. I want this to be a place where we can connect in being humans that are not presentable. To be the humans that we are that need a savior and that don’t have it all together. All of that to say that after two weeks of sorting through a jumble of words I was prompted to simply share. So here I am, standing in front of the classroom with my toy to share for show and tell hoping that you can connect in some way or at very least not laugh at my measly offering:

The last few weeks have been, well, for lack of a better word, interesting. I am in this weird stage in life and I’m trying to navigate through it. I have been praying and questioning and on my knees and crying out trying to somehow get somewhere. I don’t know where but that’s what it feels like. Climbing and striving for something and I don’t even really know what it is. All I know is I’m trying to get somewhere that is not where I am currently. I go from lamenting and despairing to the Lord to then asking for forgiveness for acting like a petulant child crying over blessings that He has given me as I sit in a home He provided at a job that He gave me. It’s been a push and pull and when I say that I mean it’s been me pushing and pulling and trying to wiggle my way out of something.

The week got better and Friday came and I couldn’t wait to log off of work and step outside and have some freedom for the weekend. Last night as I got in my car to go home after being out with a friend the lines of the song that came on the radio were “ Oh these hands are tired, Oh this heart is tired, Oh this soul is tired. I’ll keep on, I’ll keep on.” The song went on and I sat there letting the words wash over my soul. These words were what I felt like on the inside, tired. I drove home talking to the Lord (which is not unusual) about the week and my desires and asking why and what and how and asking for forgiveness for even asking for anything and then I got home and walked into my kitchen, still talking to the Lord and I stopped. I stopped and as if there was nothing more to be said I said thank you. That was it. I thanked the Lord out loud in my kitchen, multiple times. As I said those words and nothing else I felt lighter inside. These were the words I had somehow forgotten these last few weeks. I had run through every other prayer. But I had forgotten to just thank Him. To just be thankful. Thankful for the struggle of life that keeps me turning to Him. For the place that He has me in. For my job and for my home and for my friends and family. And my goodness I do not thank Him enough for my salvation. For sending His Son to die on the cross for me because I am a sinner and could never get to heaven on my own.  

Saying the words were somehow freeing. I wasn’t asking for anything, forgiveness or otherwise, or fighting through anything I was just saying thank you. Thank you to a God who is so deserving and so deserving of so much more than just a thank you. So as I thanked Him with my words I will continue to try to thank Him with my life, with my actions, with my attitude. I will continue to be right here where He has me and serve Him here, whatever that looks like. So as the week starts again on Monday morning and as the pressure and stress and discontent rears it’s ugly head again (as I’m sure it will) I will be thankful and I will keep on.

So the moral of the story and from one sinner to another, when things are hard or when things are easy and even when you don’t feel like it, just say thank you.  

The Struggle

Sometimes it takes a late night conversation to make you realize that you’ve lost faith in hope.

The other night as I talked to a friend we struggled with the same idea of some of our desires never being fulfilled, never being met. I realized, as I spoke to my friend and she shared her heartache with me that I’ve lost faith that God can still do these things in my own life.

 I lost faith that He is still on the throne, I’ve lost faith that He is still sovereign and I’ve lost faith that I can still hope in these things as long as my hope is placed firmly in Him and as long as I’m walking in His will. We ask for these things (whatever your “thing” may be) and somewhere along the way I stopped asking. I stopped thinking that I should even think that I might be able to have some of these things. I started to believe that I have to sit quietly and not even ask because it was too much to ask for.

I started to believe that I just had to stay right here, where I am and never be moved and to just suck it up so to speak. The idea of that, as I’m sure you can surmise or maybe have experienced, is somewhat depressing and so I’ve stuffed these desires down. I mean deep down, down many layers of who knows what but it’s down there somewhere. Hope will sometimes peer its little head but its dashed by whatever thoughts I have or whatever lies I have been prone to believe or by whatever restrictions I put on my God.

Now, this is where I start to get a little squeamish. To what end do I have to allow this stuff to come up to the surface? Do I continue to stuff those things down? Or do I let them float up and feel them? The weight of them? The hope in them? The disappointment in them? Feel the uncomfortableness of them?

I think we need to bring these things up and allow them to make us feel all the feels.

I think sometimes we need to wrestle with God regarding them. This may be a controversial statement but I think it’s a necessary thing. Last year I was part of a small group of women in my church that went through an inductive bible study. One of the things we learned and that really stuck with me was that when we are stuck on something, when we cant figure it out and we just want to throw our hands up in surrender and wave our white flag that’s when we are on the verge of learning just what we need to. As humans we want to just breeze through things without feeling anything bad or uncomfortable. And I think sometimes we stuff these “things”down so far that we forget. Or we just don’t want to waste the time and energy to wrestle with God because maybe, like me, you have lost faith that God can or will even do anything. Sometimes we need God to touch our hip, just like He touched Jacobs, to break us. We need these things that we struggle with and wrestle with to break us down so we can get to the heart of the issue. So that we can get to the uncomfortable point before the breakthrough.

The other night as I talked to my friend and she shared heartbreak with me we both spoke of just not knowing what the future is going to hold and where the Lord is leading us, the Lord touched my hip. He told me that I don’t have faith in Him. That I don’t have faith that He can do what I think He cannot or maybe what I think He will not.

How dare I think He cant do something. He’s God, who do I think I am? That I, or my situation, or the state that I am in life would be too much for Him to overcome? It’s a ridiculous thought and even as I type the words it seems ridiculous.

I need to work on my faith in all areas, I need to know He is enough. As I sat in church service last Sunday and we sang worship the words, “Jesus you are enough” rang out. As those words drifted through the speakers and as I sat in my seat that line floated down to me and quieted my soul right then and there. These words made me stop and really listen and hear them, “Jesus you are enough”. I had to stop and ask myself Jesus are you enough? Not really asking if He is enough because I know that He is. But asking myself, if I really believe He is enough that He is more than enough for me. That whatever He has to bring to me, that whatever He has for my life is more than enough for me.

Because He will meet all of my needs because He has met all of my needs thus far.

Because He has met all of my desires that were founded in Him thus far.

Because where I am and what I have in life has everything to do with Him and Him being enough and Him meeting my needs and my desires.

So I have to sit back and I have to let those words sink in. I have to wrestle with God and I have to allow Him to come in and touch my heart and my hip and give me a limp. I want to have a testimony of what God has done. If wrestling with Him brings me to the realization that He is enough then I’m game.

The reality is that when I seek Him, He will carry me through. We may be wounded and we may be scarred but He will bandage us, He will put us back together. He will love us even when we are in the state of hurting and feeling and struggling and wrestling He’s right there by our side the whole way. So, I can struggle and I can wrestle and we can call each other and cry on the phone and speak words of truth into each other’s lives. We can go back and forth with scripture and still come up not certain as to all the answers but as long as we’re seeking God I think we’re in an ok place I think we’re fine. So keep seeking the Lord. Keep turning to Him. Keep wrestling.

Keep struggling.

Don’t quiet those things but bring them up to the surface. Search His word, invite in fellowship and accountability. Be where He has you but also wrestle and struggle in that place if you need to because its in that place that we grow and learn and desire more. It’s in that place that we grow closer to Him and it’s in that place that we remember that He is faithful and my faith and hope is safe in Him.

My Big Neon Sign

I am a cat-less cat lady or a grandchild-less grandmother (another post for another day) and I’m okay with that. I gladly identify with those things. What I struggle to identify with is being in my mid-30’s and single.

Yep, I said it.  

It’s out there and it stings a little and some days it stings a lot.  

You know those things that are so vulnerable in your life? Those things that you don’t want to give life or breath to because once you do there’s no taking them back. Even though people know said “thing” about you, you hope it isn’t what defines you? Or you hope that you can distract from it? But you know that once you mention it that’s all people will think when they see you? Like a large neon sign that follows you around. Like on one of those medication adds that lists all of the hazardous side effects and you think “why the world would anybody make this or try to sell it or consider taking this?” And then you remember big Pharma and ….

Oh, sorry tangent. 

So back to the big neon signs following you around pointing out your vulnerable truth. One of mine is singleness. I think that there are more women out there that are my age or younger or older that feel the same way. And that is why I’m writing and hanging my big neon sign above my head for all to see. So that any of you out there that feel the same way can find comfort in knowing you’re not alone. You have community and other sisters out there that are in the same boat. I want to share in this experience with you all or maybe just you, yes you, but either way I want to share.  

I remember being in my mid to late 20’s being surrounded by amazingly Godly friends who, one by one got married and then one by one started having babies. These same amazing women invited me and continue to invite me into their lives but at some point I started to realize I was walking a path alone. My community, our lives were quickly becoming so different. It got harder and harder to connect mentally and even just physically, meaning it’s hard to even plan to see my friends because our lives can be so vastly different at times that connecting becomes a challenge. (Funny side note. I was reading Lauren Grahams book today and she totally talks about this!! In my head I was like, I would totally be friends with Lorelei Gilmore!! Sorry, back to your regularly scheduled blog post) When I say my friends are the best I mean it. I know they are there for me through anything and just a text away. But I was missing a connection. I needed to connect with other single women my age, in my same life phase and I was finding it, well, hard to find. I searched the blogosphere and found one. One blog that I could connect with. One girl that spoke my single language who wrote words about feelings that I could relate to. I would sit at my desk and read the latest blog entry and many times cry because it was real and vulnerable and I understood it and it understood me. 

I want to be that.  

I am at a place in life where I think I can be that, or at least I feel like the Lord asking me to be that. I am ready to wear my neon sign in solidarity with or for women who aren’t ready to.  And I’m ready to do so clumsily.

That’s what I hope this blog is.  

I hope it is me wearing my sign so that you can see it and relate and be relieved of your burden of singleness or barrenness in any area of life. That area that is unfulfilled or that you feel your growth is stunted in. You see, I think this area of “singleness” is in many women’s lives not just the single girl. I think it’s also in the girl that feels alone in marriage or in parenthood or in her career or the woman that is having trouble having her own children or even for the girl who desires deep and true friendship. For Whatever state of “singleness” you find yourself in, my hope is, my heart is, that this would be a place of respite from the loneliness of it.   

I also know better. I know that marriage is not a happily ever after. Just like I’m sure you see that children or new friends or a new career won’t fulfill you either. I get that. I see that. I don’t want that. I know I wont ever have that outside of Jesus because He has to be enough. I also know that even with Jesus that feeling of barrenness and singleness is real. I know that as a mom of young children you can feel alone and can get lost in the day to day of raising and caring for little lives, you can forget what an important job that is at times. I know that some days can just look like mounds of laundry and maintaining your sanity through tantrums and potty training. I know that you can feel just as alone or lonelier in a marriage. I’m not trying to diminish any of those things. I think what I would like or what I’m trying to get at is that we all need to bear with each other in love and understanding. 

Ephesians 4:1-3 tells us “Therefore, I the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling you have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the spirit with the peace that binds us.” 

I think we so often forget this. We need to remember this. We need to live like this. All sides, all opinions, all walks of life. We are women that God created. In different walks of life. In different stages. I think it’s safe to say we all want to be known and loved for who we are. For who God made us to be and in that we are not different. We are the same. Let’s work to understand and bear each other’s burden of “singleness” whatever that looks like for you or the women you serve with or your friends or neighbor. Let’s remind each other we are not alone. 


P.S. this picture above is just a testiment to how awesome my friends are. I sent this post to a friend before I posted to get feedback and she sent this back to me. So much love. I love you my Deanna Schrantz😍

Life is not a romantic comedy but I am Eve.

Life is not a romantic comedy. As much as I would love it to be so, it is not. I think I would get annoyed at some point with a drama or a musical all that dancing and brooding would tire me out but a romantic comedy,that would be great. A fun soundtrack, a love interest that would make grand romantic gestures just to win my affections. My quirks and failings would be charming and cute. In the end everything works out and you don’t have to deal with real life after the happily ever after. In fact you can relive the whole thing over again by pressing play! Sounds kind of amazing right? I mean I really think  people would understand me as a person better if I was a character in a romantic comedy but that’s besides the point.

I am getting to a point just bear with me I get sidetracked sometimes, which you would find endearing if this was a Romcom.

Reality is, life is not a romantic comedy. Life is real. Plot twists and story lines will not propel my story forward. It will take much longer than a series of sad scenes for my character to get over a broken heart and the consequences for my failed actions will have a greater, longer lasting affect on me and my loved ones than just a few minutes and a few flashes of despair only to be redeemed by my true love realsing that he simply cannot live without me and so life is restored to order, the sun shines, birds sing and my wardrobe just keeps getting better.

Nope. Not real life.

So how does our character, how do we get propelled forward? How does our plot change and twist? How do we know when to and how to move forward? What steps do I take and how do I know when to step on the crack and when it’s going to break my mothers back? How do I know when to leave my glass slipper and when I just need to leave? How do I know when to pack up my bags and travel hundreds of miles away to start a new life, in a new town, for it to start out horribly and end fantastically? How do I know? How do I choose? I mean is it Eanie, Meanie, Minie or Moe? And if they choose you does that mean you win or lose?

So many things. So many options. So many decisions.

Holding all of these decisions up to the Word of God I look at the women of the Bible. Eve, Ruth, Naomi, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail and on and on. These women, just like us, had to live life, they had to live real life and in fact they had no idea what a romcom was so they didn’t even know how good life could be if only. What I mean is they had thoughts and pondered decisions, they were tempted and wanted and desired things. They all failed but they all loved the Lord. they made bad decisions but the Lord came in and blessed them anyways or should I say despite them. Eve, well we all know about Eve. Eve was tempted, she gave in to said temptation (no I am not letting Adam off the hook but I am focusing on Eve because I can relate), she gave ear to the enemy and talked herself in to sinning. Eve was punished. I think Eve felt some of the highest highs, giving birth for the very first time, EVER! In the history of EVER! Holding the very first newborn all fresh and warm and snuggly. She got to live in Eden and roam the garden with the Lord. On the flip side Eve and Adam for that matter experienced the lowest lows, the first death and that being her own child who was murdered by her other child. I mean the depths of despair that must have brought. And that is just the tip of the ice burg or the arch of the story. I am Eve, I identify with major failings. I identify with being tempted and giving in to the love of things and beauty and knowledge.

All these women had hard decisions, not all gave them over to the Lord and in those moments they lost. They got in the way but the Lord redeemed them and blessed them because they loved Him and their testimonies, their lives would further His kingdom and speak to us here and now.

Maybe none of this makes sense but the clarity I received tonight as I pondered all of this was that when we try as humans as fallen people, when we step and decide and make a move without setting our story before the Lord we fail. This is not a romcom, I am not the center of it all. The sooner we realize that and succumb to that thought and surrender ourselves and lives to the Lord and be who we are called us to be in the moment. To do what He asks you to do and be and move and live, even when we don’t ask or want that life or situation that’s the moment that His story line will be propelled forward. That’s when the Lord will be glorified. That’s when people will know Him. That’s when life no longer becomes about our happy ending or our story line but life becomes about His. That’s when we know we are right where we are supposed to be not worrying about our glass slipper or when we’re going to get our makeover montage but when we know our life reflects Him and that’s all that really matters.

In the end life is not a romantic comedy, it’s even better because my happily ever after has no end, my happily ever after is eternal.

 

 

A restored hope in hope

Hope. Hope has been a word that has been chasing me the last couple of weeks. Let me start off by telling you a story.

When I was in High School my best friend got nominated for the Homecoming court. We were so excited, as high school girls are about most things. I helped her pick out a dress , a long sequins dress a al Beverly Hills 90210, watched as she got her hair done in a french twist Just like Kelly Taylor and got her nails did, french tip style like Brenda Walsh. Unknown

Yes, we were the product of the 90’s.

Anyways, we were excited, just like Kelly and Brenda.

I watched from the bleachers with her family as she was paraded around the football field and propped up on a stage. The names were read off and finally the moment of truth. All of our anticipation had led up to this moment, the moment we both never really spoke out loud but we both knew, the moment her name would be read aloud for all to hear. As she stood on the stage all sparkly and bright a name was read but it wasn’t her own. There was just a deafening absence of a name. Another name was called and a different sparkly girl came forward to receive her spoils and a crowd full of loud accolades. I watched as my friend was escorted off the stage and I ran down the bleachers to meet her behind them and no words were spoken, we just ran to each other (yes, dramatic. What do you expect we were in High School) and hugged and we both cried. We cried because of the loss, the loss of a hope. I cried because of my friends loss and because she cried and because I was in High School and that’s what High School girls do. She cried for all of those reasons but also because she was embarrassed. Embarrassed for being paraded around and stood on stage in front of what seemed like a million people. She cried because she hoped for the win and was crushed in front of a crowd full of people, made to feel inadequate and small, oh so small, in front of everybody. I’m sure by the next day we were out at the mall fixing all of her crushed hopes but for that moment it was tragic and painful.

I tell you this story because I like to tell stories and because this is how I have viewed hope.

I read this quote last week:

“It is ok to hope. It is safe to hope. For my hope is in Christ Jesus.”

When I read that I realized that hope is an issue for me.  I realized that I didn’t think of hope as safe but rather as a liability. And then a read a blog about hope and the fear of hoping because hoping means we put ourselves out there, just like my high school friend did. I think that all of these years I’ve been afraid to hope because I was afraid that my hope would be paraded around in a sparkly dress with a french twist in its hair and french tips and then my hope would be put on a stage only to be crushed and made small and me crushed and small with it. I didn’t want to chance hoping because I didn’t want to chance being put on display for all to see and then being stomped on when my hope was not fulfilled.

A verse the Lord gave me a long time ago is Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart-sick, but when the desire comes it is a tree of life.” For so many years I’ve focused on the first part the part I know to be true “Hope deferred makes the heart-sick” boy does it, I think we can all attest to that. The part I forget and have chosen to forget for fear that I would have to take action is the latter “When the desire comes it is a tree of life.” You see the Lord doesn’t stop at us being heart-sick. No. He goes on to then replace those desires those hopes we have with His hopes and desires for us and when those come to fruition and they will because God put them there then it’ll be a tree of life. Abundant and bearing fruit and life. A beautiful picture indeed. That does mean however that we do have to hope and we have to place that hope in Jesus and sometimes our hopes will fail. Sometimes our hopes and prayers will not come true and we will feel let down and embarrassed we will feel defeated and crushed but then we learn, we learn to put our hopes in Christ and learn to trust that He will do with them as He see’s fit and we have to be okay with that. Let’s hope, those of us who have been casting our hopes aside or pretending like we don’t have any. As we hope let’s surrender those hopes at the feet of Jesus and let’s hope in Him because let’s face it He’s the only one that can turn our hopes in to His desires and then make them fruitful and give them life.

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