Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Overwhelmed By Love

Does anyone else just get so overwhelmed at moments with the fact that God loves you as much as He does? It's like He goes completely out of His way sometimes to just orchestrate one tender moment after another to remind me that He's right there in the intimate details of my personal life. It's as if He's saying Jen I'm not too busy, too tired, or too far away to be so near your heart that I sweep you off your feet by the way I choose to love you. I will choose to be near. I will choose to be kind. I will choose to walk beside you and live within you. WOW!!

I'm sappy tonight over God's TLC. He takes the most tender loving care of my heart and can I just go on the record to say that I am absolutely head over heels in love with this God I'm growing to know.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


What a blessing the past few days have been. It was a road trip extreme but every last mile traveled was one well worth it.

I watched this small church of about 125 members do amazing things. We took the 15 passenger church van, removed the seats and turned it into a cargo van and it was packed completely full of things these sweet people had donated to send to the children in Honduras. We got a playpen and children's clothes, and a changing table, and stuffed animals galore, and it was touching to say the least. Not touching because of the "stuff" but because of the labor of love behind it from this small group of God's people determined to make a difference.

Reminded me so much of the verse in James where he talks about showing your faith by your works, that faith without works is dead and useless. I've fought both sides of that verse...that faith requires works, that faith isn't about works and earning it and I've decided at the moment that this is where my heart rests. When I truly come into contact with the love of Jesus and I begin to get to know Him through a relationship, my life will not be void of works because loving like Jesus is contagious, it's infectious, it's right. When we really grab hold of that great things will happen.

Thank you my brothers and sisters in Tupelo MS for what you are offering to the kingdom of God as you love like Jesus. Some beautiful little brown eyed children will be so blessed by your labor of love. You were a tremendous blessing to me! Thank you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tupelo Here I Come

Leaving tonight for a trip to meet with some sweet people in Tupelo MS. They have been a God send as they have collected children's clothes and shoes and a Christmas tree and a thousand other things to give to the children's home. It has been a delight to have them call and hear them get so excited about all that they've seen come in from willing vessels who are being used in beautiful ways in this ministry.

I'm looking forward to thanking them face to face. My cousin is traveling with me and we're driving through the night tonight to get there. It's gonna be a super short trip as we'll be coming home on Thursday so keep us in your prayers as we travel.

I've prayed a lot this week about the presentation I will be asked to give tomorrow night. Seems a little bit awkward to be presenting on the needs in Honduras when there are so many people within the state of Mississippi right now who are enduring really difficult things. I heard God say at some point today, "Jen they're all my kids and I need you all to be my hands and my feet to take care of all of them." Sometimes we view things as "us" and "them" when it comes to "mission work." I am beginning to believe that's not just wrong, it's ungodly. We're all His. Period.

I've heard several people say "well I don't understand why you feel the need to go over there when there are people right here in this country who need help." Whewwww, I would never disagree with that statement...and I trust in His ability to touch hearts to minister right here in the good ole USA. I just am not sure when God looks He gives one care whether I'm an American or a Honduran or a Lithuanian. I think He looks and sees that I'm a Christian and He says "I have some kids over here who need some help, will you?" I get the choice to come alongside His amazing plans or to stay right where I am comfortable and miss out on the adventure of reckless abandon with Him. I pray that my allegiance to this country never gets in the way of my allegiance to my God and I pray yours doesn't either. There are people here who need help and until my dying day I'll do my best to help them with all that is in me but NOT because they are an American and that happens to be my nationality...because they're human and that happens to be God's passion and what He's asked me to be passionate about.

I want to reframe this whole idea in my mind. I want God to help me just see people. Just objects of His affection wherever they may be. I pray that for all of us.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Retreat and Community

Well we just got back from our annual small group retreat at a little place tucked in the woods called Geneva Hills. What a gift to get to be with these people for the weekend and remember memories from retreats before and make new memories to recall when we're unable to walk right next to each other through life here in a few months. It was precious time.

I watched a dear friend this morning struggle at watching her children make poor choices and I watched another mother who has been through some of the tough having teenagers stuff walk over and just hold her as she cried. I thought, "I like us." I heard and saw people laughing until we had tears running down our cheeks. I heard my friend who had for a while lost the song in his heart sing out last night to the Father and it was as if you could see the angels jump around and join him. I talked with people I love. I watched other people I love sit and talk and just love being together. I watched so many hugs I couldn't count them. I watched hubbies and wives be loving and kind and hold hands and just be cute and love spending time together. I watched younger couples sit near some older couples and talk and listen and learn. I heard us pray together and praise together and oh did we EAT together.

You may find a common theme in several of my posts. I LOVE these people. I LOVE community and what you learn there. I suppose it keeps coming up in these posts because it is so much of what God is teaching me right now. We may learn a whole lot from walking through the church door and hearing good teaching and sitting on a pew...but I am convinced that you really learn about who God is and who God wants you to be when you allow yourself to connect with a group of other imperfect humans who are attempting to walk this thing out and you choose to do life together. You allow people to see the good, bad, and ugly in your walk with Him. You share enough of your heart so that when you have fervently, earnestly, asked God for things near your heart you are able to rejoice together because they've become not just "my" prayers but "our" prayers. You take care of one another's hearts in the way that you talk and behave with information you've been given in honest moments. You choose to fight everything in you which says "don't let them get too close and know too much" and you choose instead this uncomfortable vulnerability that brings with it some of life's richest blessings.

I know that God is teaching me that community is something you work at. It's something you invest into. It's something that you give to and that you are then able to take from. It's giving yourself away. It's learning how to love other people like Jesus and choosing the hard things that requires sometimes. It's asking God to help me think less of me and more of Him and in essence everyone else. It's being weak enough to say I need you, humble enough to say I fail, and aware and vulnerable enough to say I can't do this alone.

It is one of God's greatest gifts to me and something I will take away from this time in my life forever. God's family, a community that loves Him and loves others. I am so blessed to have learned from some really precious people and as we sat around the campfire this morning and shared prayers and memories I was fully aware that each of them were a gift from God to my heart, my life, and my journey with Him.

Thank you Father and thank you to this "community" God has handpicked for such a time as this in my life and my journey. I am one lucky girl.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

One of Those Days

It's one of those days in the world where you don't doubt God's power to change a just wonder if He will. Not can He...of course He can, but will He? Is what I want what's best?

It's one of those days when you look at a situation and you can't trace His hand necessarily so you must choose to trust His heart. Trusting that His love for me and those I love far outweighs my ability to comprehend, whether I understand the happenings or not.

It's one of those days where you see "good" people hurt, and perhaps worse, and the truth of the things you believe wage war with all that you feel. So you choose to believe that faith is NOT a feeling. It's beyond that. It's above the roller coaster of all that we feel. It is something we come to KNOW deep within is right.

I choose to believe Father even when I don't "get it" I will trust that You do!!

{Please pray for my friend Terry today. His war with cancer continues. They found more spots when they went in to do surgery this morning. He and his wife, Margaret, and son Nathan have been near and dear to my heart for several years now. Terry is much of the reason Honduras has become a passion within this heart. They need an army of God's people to rally around them right now. Thank you.}

Monday, September 12, 2005

He's Faithful

I realize for those of you who are faithful to check this, thank you...I've been a little hit or miss with this blogging thing the past couple of weeks. It's just one of those times when I haven't felt the need to write much, I'm not sure why. It's not that there aren't a thousand things going on in life and my heart and all of that just didn't take the time to put them all down on the screen.

Went on a retreat this weekend with my gals that I do bible study with weekly and it was really sacred time spent together. I wouldn't trade it for lots of money. Not all of us got to go, but most of us did, and God was way kind to give us special memories for forever. I've never been part of a community before where our Spirits just experienced such a unity and completeness when we are all together. It's amazing and I love it so very much!

One of the people who has taught me most about prayer and faith and a relationship with Jesus and so much that goes along with that had a really difficult week last week and I've got to be honest it rocked my world a little bit. It was like you saw this spiritual giant with pain and fear and there was this utter realization that none of us escape. Her relationship with God is one that makes most of us envious as she just lives way near Him and enjoys Him as much as a kid enjoys candy. She delights in Him truly. Even though all of that is true, she doesn't escape the trials of life and it seems in some ways like she ought to. Do you ever feel that way? You look on at what someone is going through and think they should not have to endure that, they're doing all the right things, what is going on here?? So we prayed and we prayed and we prayed and God answered. Here's what I we don't escape, we can do all the "right" things and pursue God with reckless abandon and there will still be days when it feels like a storm. There will still be days when the giants in the kingdom will feel like David with his sling attempting to kill the giant instead of be one. In those moments we'll have to trust what we know and run to safe harbor instead of relying on what we feel. I learned that because of her intimate deep relationship with Christ she doesn't expect to escape hard times she trusts the God she knows to be faithful in the middle of them. Once again I learn a books worth of lessons from watching her life.

One other thought tonight and I'm headed to bed...I'm reading a really challenging book right now called Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell. It has been such a great read and caused me to think deeply about some things we've always just trusted to be so. I would love for some of the rest of you to read this and share your thoughts. It's a great discussion book. Prepare to be challenged, strengthened, wrestled with, and taken deeper.

May the God who is faithful reveal Himself more fully to each of us. Blessings.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Believing Him

Had an email conversation with a dear friend today that made me think a lot about where I most often position myself ...

Do you believe God for His best in your life and the situations you now face, or when faced with a crisis do you prepare yourself for the worst just in case He doesn't come through?

Once again today I fall on my knees in awe of a great big God who takes the time to teach and grow me. Help us Lord in our unbelief.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Freedom Most Often Requires A War

The beginning of last month a group that I have met with for the past couple years started a study entitled Breaking Free. If you've read anything else I've posted on here I've mentioned it a few times. It's been so good in so many ways, but this week in particular you could go around our 8 gal circle and identify something in most all of our lives that we feel beaten by in no uncertain terms. Not beaten as if to say we've lost or are losing but beaten as if to say weary and worn from the fight. I'm not signifying a bad day or a hurting moment, I'm talking about prayers for children and husbands and things that are deep and hard.

It made me think that as we are praying and begging God to free us it only makes sense that Satan would wage a war. Thought about all the times we have gained freedom either in this country or in areas of our personal lives or whatever it may be and I can't think of a single time when freedom was gained without a war to accomplish it. It is well worth the fight, but it doesn't make the battle any less brutal or bloody.

So we're finding ourselves in a war trusting God to bring victory and lead us to freedom. In the meantime please pray for my sweet sisters who are fighting to endure the battle for themselves and those they love. Thank You Lord for fighting our battles for us. Help us hang on with both fists to that promise.

Friday, September 02, 2005

No Sacrifice

Heard this song tonight and the lyrics got me. Really isn't fair to call it a sacrifice is it??

No Sacrifice
by Jason Upton
album: Faith (2001)

To you I give my life, not just the parts I want to
To you I sacrifice these dreams that I hold on to

Your thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your love is stronger than mine
This is no sacrifice
Here's my life

To you I give the gifts
Your love has given me
How can I hoard the treasures that you've designed for free?

Your thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your love is staronger than mine
This is no sacrifice
Here's my life

To you I give my future
As long as it may last
To you I give my present
To you I give my past

Your thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your love is stronger than mine
Your thoughts are higher than mine
Your words are deeper than mine
Your love is stronger than mine
This is no sacrifice
Here's my life