Tag Archives: Love

Love is seek and find

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Love is seek and find

I had this funny thing happen the other day. I wanted to spend time with the Lord, but my son and husband were having a “camp out” in the living room where my Bible, devotionals, and journal were. I lay in my bed wandering if I could try something new instead of being stuck in my box of “this is how I do my quiet time.” Upon which the Lord reminded me that I had noticed an old journal and some pens in one of my bathroom drawers. What was is doing there you might ask? I have no idea. Since it was so out of place I remembered it, so I grabbed it and purposed to journal there. As I opened it, I saw prayer request from 2013, and I spent some time in awe of God’s hand as I could see specifically now each one had been answered abundantly. I praise and rejoiced and my faith was once again stirred. Next I noticed that I had written a challenge to myself- get outside more. Funny, that is still, in 2017, the same challenge. Here is what I am learning, to love myself well, which consequently aligns me to love others more, I have to honor what makes me come alive, and one of those things for me is the outdoors. I am making a choice to be intentional about getting outside and doing some outdoor activity multiple times a week.

As I am slowing down to focus on loving myself and others well, I thought it would be a good idea to read the Song of Solomon. It is a book in the Old Testament filled with love poetry between and woman and a man who are deeply and madly in love with each other. However, the book is full of seeking each other out, finding each other, and then having to seek once again. Sometimes, when one would find where other was, the other one wasn’t ready to be found. The book ends with them seeking for each other once again, not the ‘happily ever after skipping down jolly lane’ we expect from a great love story.

At first I thought this was strange but I sought the Lord to teach me something new. He began to show me how love is never finding the one you love and then staying in that blissful place forever. Love is being committed to seek and find, forever. We are always changing and growing and becoming. Along the different parts of that journey, different types of love will be required. I believe this could be a true piece to every relationship, even with myself and with God. As life flies at us, we have to continue finding new facets of God which in turn unveils new pieces of ourselves. Sometimes we find something new and amazing and sometimes we uncover something hard to process. We can choose to show up and love if we choose to invite Jesus into it all. Apart from Him, I think the notion of this eternal game of seek and find would be overwhelmingly exhausting.

I’m just beginning to embrace this notion and trying to live it out. It definitely feels less ‘wrapped up in a neat box with a bow’ than I want it to. But I can tell this type of perspective on love is more genuine than I previously expected and yet tremendously less likely to set me up to be deeply disappointed than what I’ve understood before.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about love or how you plan to love yourself well this year!

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Love others as you love yourself……

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Love others as you love yourself……

Moving at a snail’s pace this year helps me to really encounter the gifts inside of the people I get to be near. It is a beautiful gift to see, you know really see, someone. To see their value, hear their heart’s cry, and engage with who they really are. I love people. I mean that. People are my greatest treasure and the only source of true wealth I know. Taking the time to focus my energy on loving others well is such a deep gift to me.

One of those people I want to love better is me. I want to treat myself kindly. I want to say nice things about me. I want to see what is right about the girl in the mirror. I want to celebrate my imperfect progress and cheer on the woman I am becoming. Maybe that sounds strange, I know it certainly feels it. However, I believe this will be one of the highest and most effective investments I can make on my journey.

I  say that confidently because the fruit of small steps I have taken so far have had a broad reach in how I see, value, treat, and honor everyone else. Isn’t interesting that Jesus commanded us to love others as we love ourselves? Maybe that’s the part that has been missing. Everywhere I look, I see the temptation to hate myself a little more by comparing myself with everyone else. Well, I threw that game away a while ago, and now I’m finishing up clearing out all of it’s remains. Comparison- you are no longer welcome here.

I mentioned last time about a few new things I am adding to my life to help me slow down, but now I want to share about a few things I am lessening. Early last year I read a book where I finally learned the importance of non-productive activities. Meaning that we should all spend some time doing some things that are just fun,playful, or relaxing. I’ve shared before that I really like to work, I also love to learn, so before adopting non-productive activities into my life, I thought when people did those things that they could have been doing so much more! It seemed wasteful and wrong. But it was actually me who was wrong. So I began trying. I used that time in my life for browsing social media and watching Netflix. (Ok so maybe binge watching would be a little more honest.)

This year in an effort to connect more through slowing down, I’m purposing to shift my non-productive activities into life-giving ones. Here are some ideas I have so far- taking pictures, looking at pictures, and creating photo-books. Canoeing, hiking, and being outside way more. Painting, writing, and reading more.

I can’t wait to share with you what has come out of these shifts already.What helps you connect with yourself, with God, and with others?

Rush rush rush

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Rush. Rush from wake-up to the gym. Rush from wake the kids up to get the little one  off to school. Rush from the school to back home to homeschool the bigger one. Rush to pick up the little one. Rush home to make lunch. Rush to have “quality time” before nap time. Oh, I have to work during nap time, rush to get that all set up. Oops, the house is a wreck, quick quick, hurry hurry, clean it up before anyone comes. Rush to clean up after work, and then to get them fed. Laundry, oh theres always laundry. Did you really just spill the entire container of ____________. No we don’t glue that to walls! Now where is my magic eraser? Little brother has a stinky diaper. Is this day over yet? Wait, now I have to prepare for tomorrow. Rush to get it all ready. Rush to fall asleep so I don’t start tomorrow tired.

Rush. Somehow, it has become my lifestyle and I did not even notice the switch. You see, I am not a natural rusher. I like to go slow and take my time. Like so slow, and usually in the left lane, and I make rushing people even more stressed than they were. (It’s ok if you hate me a little more now. I get how bad that habit is. I’m in process people!) Usually, I allow things to go undone so I can cherish the people in front of me (because like all of you incredible multitasking women,God did not give me that gene.) I tend to play on the floor with my kids, create art, build towers, play silly games, and be in the moments. This is the only way I know to be.

But something happened this week. My husband took my older child with him, so I did not have to rush home and get school started. I dropped my little curly headed cutie off, said my, “Good Morning, how are you,” to all the women I wished I had time to get to know, and began rushing back to my vehicle. That’s when the Holy Spirit nudged me, “Where are you rushing to?” I literally just stopped walking, and realized, I had no where to be. (Sure I could always find plenty to do, but nothing I particularly HAD to do at a certain time.) He continued, “Go back to that woman you wished you had time to get to know, and see how she is doing.” So I did, and we had breakfast,and we cried a little (maybe I cried a lot) and it was like finding hidden treasure. I began to ask the question, “Jesus, what’s with this rushing stuff?

He gave me this acronym:

R-esisting

U-seful

S-tillness

H-abitually

He began to show me that He has been trying to teach me to be, “Patient in trouble, and always be prayerful.” Well I’m learning that to me, trouble is anything that feels dangerous because it’s out of my control, which happens to be (ahem) L-I-F-E. So be patient in life, and always be prayerful? He began to show me that rushing through all that has to get done, is a (dangerous) way of coping with the fear that you will fail at it all. He began surrounding me with women who were feeling led of the Lord to “remove a plate,” in their lives so they too, could slow, and release the overwhelm a little. So the next question was a simple, natural progression: What is stillness then?

S-avoring

T-ime

I-nstead of

L-osing

L-ife

So now I’m returning to the land of allowing the Holy Spirit to have control over my moments. I have a plan, but its flexible. Lord, here is what I think I’m doing today and who I am doing it with and for, but You get to write this story. In the midst of these important pieces being handled, if You want to send me help, help me to accept it. If You have a divine interruption, help me to recognize it and let go of my control. If I can let go of something to be more available to my moments, show me and give me the courage I need to lay it down. Help me to let go of the notion of failure/success like those are my only two options. Help me to see, admit, and embrace, that it’s always both. I’m growing, I’m becoming, and that is beautiful.

So friend, I’m not sure if rushing has snuck its way into your life too, but I want to encourage you to ask the Lord. Ask Him to show you where you are missing the beautiful in order to not fail. Or if you are being drained dry anywhere and He wants to fill you up. Maybe see if you need to slow and learn the relief of stillness. I am actually being amazed by how much more I “accomplish” when my rhythm and pace matches the Lord’s. There is no life to be found where He isn’t present, so I’m officially done trying to race ahead of Him. Join me?

Together is the answer

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Yesterday was a day where my phone was blowing up with prayer requests. It is my absolute delight and honor to lift my brothers and sisters up in prayer before the Throne of Grace. I LOVE TO PRAY! I love to be with God, asking Him for wisdom and if He would share His heart and perspective with me. I LOVE being a part of the miraculous taking place on the Earth. I love people, and especially when they are first hand experiencing God caring about them and the details of their lives. I love watching the prayer requests transform over time as the person has experienced God and is sure of His love for them. What an honor to be a part of that journey. It is not a burden. No, not at all. It is one of the greatest joys, thrills of my lifetime.

Two people in particular who had requested prayer in the early hours yesterday has received an answer by the end of the day. What is better in the whole world than rejoicing in the Lord together? Nothing I can think of. So I spent my morning just before the Lord here and there as I went about the duties of my day as a wife, mother, housekeeper, writer, coach , and other things I have been laying my hands to. And as the answers poured in throughout the day, I got to spend my evening rejoicing. I thought, “this is living! THIS IS REALLY LIVING!’ The joy of seeking, waiting, believing, and then rejoicing and/or growing together when the answer isn’t what we wanted is life to me.

Together wasn’t always on my list of desires or even in my opinion, my needs. I was going to take the world by storm, and increase the Kingdom of God, ALONE! I didn’t want to need anyone else, I only wanted to be needed. But now, as I have journeyed through the process of laying my life down daily, and saying the hard yes when He bid me to come closer and leave more and more behind, and actually through doing that finding myself, as I was originally created to be, I am ever aware not only of my increasing need for others to be able really live, but of my desire. What joy there is in relationship, communion, and fellowship. Now I recognize this as the gift it is, and I have actually placed great value on true, genuine, real and raw relationship. THANK YOU JESUS! This is one small facet, for me, through which He is teaching me to love, and to keep loving, and in that way I am being transformed more and more into His image, which is actually the greatest reward!

As I was thanking Him for allowing me the honor of serving His children by praying for them, my heart was moved towards the little girls in the nations on the world who do not value females. I began contemplating how they probably have no notion that they are an individual, that they were created in the image of God, that it is ok to dream. They probably can’t fathom being given a voice, or even an education. Furthermore, do they even know that they can pray to a loving God and find hope in how BIG, ABLE, and WILLING He is? Will they ever know true friendship with no agenda other than love? Even harder to consider, do they or have they ever known love?

I know for a fact that most of the girls and women in the world are treated as objects to be used. The majority of women in the world are oppressed, and kept down by the lies of their culture. Most women are seen as workers and bearers of sons. But if they cannot do either of these things, they are worthless. They also are treated as a means to an end for the fervent sexual appetite of the men surrounding them. Used as you would use a power tool, and then put away on a shelf until the next time, which even more abhorrently, isn’t likely a long break in between being used. Work, work, work. There is no joy, no laughter, no value, no peace. Turmoil, pain, and shame day in and day out.

But there is hope. I believe with all of my heart that HOPE is alive in the blood that was shed for me, for the world. Every time I close my eyes I see their faces. The beautiful shades of brown skin, yellow skin, redskin, white skin, deep ebony skin, and my heart overflows with His heart, His love for each and every person on the face of the Earth. He shows me that we are called to be His hands and feet on the Earth, and Jesus never turned away any who came to Him. I see these faces and I see Jesus and I know that nothing is too hard or too big for Him.

I have a birthday coming, and I have a dream. I have a dream of giving my birthday away and allowing the celebration of my life to pour forth into the world. My dream is to rescue 30 girls for my 30th. I have sweet friends who run an alliance mission where they fund missionaries who are ministering in their own nations, in others words, native missionaries where the majority of the population is unreached by the gospel of Jesus. They have orphanages, and just need proceeds to be able to support the children who need rescued from the painful lives which until now is all they have ever known. For only $25 a month we can rescue a girl from being raped every night and give her the opportunity to know love, to know Jesus, to know friendship, to get an education and be raised up as a missionary for the coming generations. Want to help me help them change the world?

Please visit their website or check out my video to find out more! I really believe the answer is in the together. It is only together that we can change this world! I need you and you need me. And by the way, can I pray for you?

Captured in His Love

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I am sitting in a hotel room by the ocean, balcony door opened and I can hear the waves. The incredible aroma of the salty air is clearing my senses and I am at peace. My babe is sleeping in the same room, and I give thanks in these moments. I give thanks that I have quiet space. I give thanks that I have crazy chaos, because one of the most amazing joys of my life is being the mother to my children. But what I am being overwhelmed with in these moments is how thankful I am that I know my God. I mean I intimately know the One who created the ocean I am being lulled by. How can this be?

I know Him, and He knows me. I know Him and He knows me and we spend time exploring the depths of each other. This love. This love is undoing all that I have done. It is unleashing all that I am. It is healing, moving, leading, guiding, correcting, providing, and enjoying me- the fullness of who I am is truly found in I AM. He is the One who my heart beats for, the One who I long for, the One who see me and completely knows me and yet somehow is still drawn towards me. This must be too wonderful to imagine, to great to comprehend- this must be something I can only receive. As I drink deep of the affections from the heart of my God- I am humbled and in awe of His beauty, His majesty.I am blown away by the gentleness of His fierceness. I am undone. I’ve come unglued. All the glue that held any of me together trying to convince me that I was at all in control of all of this life thing- has been melted in the fire of His great, pure, passionate pursuit of my whole self.

Somehow when I am washed in the coolness and fire of His presence- none of me wants to be in control. All of me wants to be found in Him. I long to move, to breathe in perfect unity with Him. I long that my heart would become more like HIs. I yearn to walk in beat with HIs symphony about me. Who is this God? I’ve been discovering Him for so long and yet somehow feel like I’ve barely scraped the surface. Oh but I want to know more. I am desperate to know more. I need more of Him to continue on. I simply can’t be without Him. He is life to me.

Somewhere between the waves and the birds singing to one another-I hear a voice of correction. Daughter, don’t you know you are worth the interruption? Don’t you know you matter as much as the ones you serve? Don’t you believe that all I say about you is true? Why then, why do you treat your own needs as less than important? Why do you not ask Me to help, or give others the opportunity to help you? As I share this with some trusted- I hear a warning- that is really a form of pride.

Then in the quiet contemplative place- I remember. I remember the marching orders given to me in a previous space and time- the call was only to rest, trust, and worship. To live, and move, serve, give, love and be only out of that place. How did I so soon forget- again. Rest, trust worship- first. Give thanks. Ask for help. Rejoice and again I say rejoice.

As the waves steadily roll in, and the fog lays heavy, I remember-again. I remember the stillness is where I see Him. I remember the calm, the sweet place of trusting even though no circumstance has yet shifted- is where I declare who is my Lord- He is. He is the One I trust. He is the One who does not change nor disappoint. I can trust the Only who is constant always. Oh and as my gaze yet again is filled with Him- I cannot help but to worship Him. Oh He is Majestic, Beautiful, Worthy. My legs go weak. I find my knees bent and my eyes spilling over whenever I behold Him. He is. Oh He is- alive and near and within and over. He is all. He is my all in all. I love Him so.

I see myself reflected in His eyes as He behinds me too. I didn’t know I looked like that? I didn’t know I was made of that! I didn’t know I could become that! I didn’t know I was so desperate. I didn’t know I was so needy. And yet- my portion is the One who I am looking upon and enjoying being with. My needs are filled, my soul is resurrected, and my journey has become secondary again to the One who I journey with. It is Him- it has always been Him. I am His and He is mine.

O Lord- help me. Help me to always place You in Your rightful place.Help me to see myself as Your see me. Help me to ask for help. Help me to ask for everything I need. I enjoy You- oh Lover of my soul. I enjoy your essence, I enjoy being Your reflection. And my heart is so desperate for more of You. I humbly bow low before you and cry out for more of You.You gently lift my head and pour out all of you into all of me again Filled to be emptied and filled again. I need You Lord. I want more of You. I just love You so. My Jesus, My King, My love. it is You- first- always You.

Love and be loved=Success

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Trying to follow Jesus on this Earth proves not to be a task which entails comfort or instant gratification. Quite the opposite. It is a long journey, a process, of strengthening and endurance. It is filled with opportunities to make high quality decisions based on faith in who God is, or to reveal your unbelief and then be built up in that place by His power to be able to move forward with a firmer foundation. There are many times when you step out in a direction and the point of that journey wasn’t at all why you began- but something deeper. Our constant misunderstanding of what God is up to- is the very reason we are called not to lean on our understanding- but instead to TRUST. It is TRUE what the Word says- His ways are ALWAYS higher than our ways- and yet we seek to understand with our finite minds this incredible INFINITE God. Our lack of understanding doesn’t have to stand in our way- if we let go and lay down our need to understand, and we can only do that as we begin to enjoy and rest in the fullness of His great love for us, to move in the broad place of freedom and hope and joy and protection that is only found in intimate relationship with this With-US God whom we can know and love and not have to understand.

Recently I have been learning about how when the devil tempted Jesus- he tried to get Jesus to forget He was loved by the Father. I am coming to see, in my own life, every temptation I face- there is a moment of amnesia about the great love the Father has lavished upon me- I am found lacking in my own strength, my own wisdom, hope- there is actually nothing but lack when I take God out of my equation. If I choose to make decisions in fear and hopelessness and the urgency found in both of those states- I will never be making quality, forward moving, destructive-cycle breaking decisions. Instead, most likely, I will making destructive, pain-birthing, selfish decisions that will not only delay my becoming but could also hurt others.

So what is the disconnect? How can someone be moving fully in the love and liberty of being loved by God in one moment- and in another be in such despair that you can’t find one reason any of this life stuff is worth it? I believe the truth lies in the fact that our enemy comes to steal, kill, or destroy everything that God wants to give us. Our attack will always be directly aimed at what God is doing. The first lie you have to believe is that you are on your own- and in most cases in my experience this comes subtly from a person in your life and their message sounds like wisdom- except that they do not include God in their expectation of who they think you should be. If we begin to mediate on a message of perceived failure in ourselves that was communicated from someone who only values and see success as far as they can see on this earth- and you have been busy investing in the Kingdom of God- in eternal riches- you will begin to see yourself as foolish- a loser, a failure- this is often the first lie I believe when I begin to forget who God says I am.

Truly that is the hope of the enemy- to take our God-given IN CHRIST identity.Our enemy knows that when we take Jesus out of the equation we will find it near impossible to love ourselves. You see Jesus taught us that there are only two commandments we must follow- to love the Lord with all of ourselves- and then to love others as we love ourselves. HMMMM- how many do you know that love themselves, treat themselves with the value and worth that God says they possess? The core hope of any attack from the enemy is to get us to hate ourselves, whether we realize it and can articulate it or not- our actions, beliefs, interactions, and perspectives will show this. If we hate ourselves- we deny ourselves from being able to receive the full measure of God’s goodness and love towards us- and then we are depleted in our love tank- it is impossible to love others.

So let me share something that was absolutely solidified in my life this week. Here is what doesn’t matter- other’s opinions of you. The essence of who you are is NOT defined by the amount of dollars in your bank account. The outcome of your life will not be how big your house was, what car your drove ( or if you even had a car). You aren’t defined by how right you were all the time or if your proverbial ducks were always in a row. The summation of our lives in the end is- did you learn to love? Did you freely receive and freely give love? That is all we are called to do. When we are loving, regardless of our circumstance, we are in the absolute will of God for our lives. Loving others, sowing into their lives, believing in them, praying for them, celebrating with them, supporting them, is investing in a eternal portfolio and the return on investment is greater than anything we can imagine. Choosing to follow Jesus- to seek out His will for your life- to rest in Him and not trust in the sweat of your own brow- is never foolish.  Even when you don’t land where you thought He was calling you- you are always going to land in Him- and that is success.

I AM HERE TO TELL YOU TODAY- don’t quit because the direction has changed. Don’t buy the lie that you are foolish because God has a surprise for you. Don’t judge your worth by the approval or disapproval of others. Get in close to your Father- rest in Him, and ask Him to remind you who He says you are. Ask Him to show you any lie you are coming into agreement with. Ask Him to help you in your unbelief. HE IS YOUR PORTION-and He is more than enough! Lay down your need to understand and be positioned to receive His love- and then organically allow it to overflow out of you onto others. Just be loved and love- (which is what happens when we seek FIRST the Kingdom of God) and all things will be added unto you!

Step out of control and into love.

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I heard this from the Father’s heart recently and I was re-reading it today to find new strength and encouragement. I then felt deeply led to share it with all of you. He is calling us up and out; way beyond our own strengths, abilities, and even imaginations. WE NEED EACH OTHER! I pray these words bring life and clarity in your voyage with Him!

Love,

Jenna

 

You are so beautiful! You are so loved. SO valued and cherished. I can see all that is right about you! I want to tell you of all of your strengths and teach you how to strengthen them. You were not created to be good at everything. Others can fill in the gaps. I specifically designed my Body to need one another. It is all about love- all about relationships. You are currently still learning how to ask for help. It is a process- but all that self-sufficiency that was instilled in you is slowly draining out of your self-proclaimed identity. 
 
Where you are headed, you are going to need help. As you step out with Me further- there will be much void in the places you have filled up until now- and those holes are not meant to stretch you too thin- they are meant for you to delegate, to trust, to lean on others. The holes that you aren’t designed to fill- there are specific others who are- this will teach you more about loving without being in control. It’s not going to go your way- that isn’t what is important- it is going to go My way.