Tag Archives: relationships

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?

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.

Be patient and pray……

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Morning:
New Scripture to memorize: Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! (Romans 12:12-16 NLT)

Today’s Focus: Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying.

The other day I woke up so weary, so heavy-laden, and downtrodden about some current circumstances in my life. I woke up trying to think of how I could fix it, what could be a possible solution, what could I do to cause the others to see the truth? In trying to figure it out on my own, I quickly felt hopeless and defeated. And then the Lord gave me this (see above) scripture. I was to first of all rejoice in Jesus- which took my focus off of me and my understanding. The next step was to be patient.

Is this hard for anyone but me? I want to see things resolved. I want to see a resolution reached and everyone come into agreement somehow and be able to move forward in harmony. I do not LIKE having situations that are not figured out and filed away. YUCK! But the Lord was saying to me- it’s not the time or the season- you have to be patient.

But what is awesome about this verse is we see scripturally that being patient is NOT a passive stance- we are called to be patient AND keep on praying. So I chose His way yet again. I laid down my sense of urgency- I decided to trust in Him and His timing and keep praying for the perfect will of God to be done in this set of circumstances.

You know what? I didn’t get what I wanted out of that process- I wanted resolve- but I got MORE- I found Jesus, and His ways, and another portion of His love for me.

Today will you join me? Will you ask Him to show you where you are trying to hasten His pace? Will you choose Him and His ways? Will you keep praying and choose not to try to FORCE your agenda to happen? It will go well for you if you wait upon the Lord!

Jesus, waiting and waiting patiently is something we cannot do without YOU! Lord, I want to experience every last drop of what You created me for- and I praise You for intercepting my destructive cycles with Your word and Your instruction which brings life. I choose to go Your way and live on Your path. I need more of You Jesus- I need more of You. I love you Lord and today I choose to freely receive all of Your love, protection, blessings, and goodness into my life. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

Been stuck…but trying again.

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Hello Friends! In the face of accusation, I was believing I had nothing worth while to bring and further more that my life wasn’t worthy of being shared and if I’m not even received well by those who have known me the longest, then perhaps I should just be quiet.

But do you know what the Lord showed me? He showed me how Jesus wasn’t even received by those who had known Him the longest. In His own hometown, He could not be free to be His truest self because the familiarity of “knowing” Him kept the people from seeing the real Him. WOW!

The Lord also showed me how Hannah was tormented by someone in her world and it would often reduce her to tears and keep her from eating. Rejection and accusation hurt- but they only get to define us if we come into agreement the message which is trying to convince us that we are less than the Lord says we are.

Thankfully, I serve a greater authority than any other man- I serve Jesus. Jesus gets to define who I am. Although it is difficult- any time I begin to ponder on what these other people have spoken over me (which has silenced my voice for over a month as I have struggled deeply to discern what was true) I have to release them to the Lord and pray that His blessings, His love, and His kindness would be upon them. And then I ask Him to speak to me, yet again, of who He says I am.

One particular night, after an extremely troubling encounter full of accusation which brought deep sadness and heaviness to my heart, I asked the Lord to speak over me all night long who I am to Him. The first thing I heard were the words to this song:

You’re My Beloved, You’re My Bride, To Sing over You is My Delight, Come Away with Me My Love.

I sing over you my song of peace,Cast all your care down at my feet ,Come and find your rest in me

I’ll breathe my life inside of you, I’ll bear you up on eagle’s wings, And hide you in the shadow of my strength

I’ll take you to my quiet waters ,I’ll restore your soul, Come rest in me and be made whole.

And I was lost, yet again, in His love. My soul needed restoring, and I was weak and hurt and vulnerable, and the only place I could feel safe was in the shadow of His strength. I needed so desperately to know I was His and that He STILL delights in me, even though others express utter disgust with me. Do you see how powerful it is to bring your wounded places to the heart of the One who can heal them? Do you see how differently I may feel about the ones who are currently accusing, rejecting, and hurting me if I couldn’t turn to Jesus and ask them to bless, love, and heal them also?

Friends, my mind wants to take control- my thinker wants to defend myself, to lash back and PROVE that I am not any of the things they are saying I am- but what did Jesus do when He was being attacked- He shook the dust off of His feet and kept moving. He blessed and loved and kept His eyes fixed on the Father, staying in His will. He was not delayed, distracted, or defeated by any who did not receive Him, He simply kept focusing on the ones who did.

Although, my heart is still hurting, I am receiving this season of conflict as an opportunity to upgrade my response and to become more like Jesus. And I would love to encourage you today, that if you are being misunderstood, or accusation is being hurled in your direction, or if you are sharing in any of the sufferings of Jesus, accept the opportunity for upgrade. Keep your eyes fixed on Him who is the Author and Perfecter of your faith, and release those who are hurting you to the Lord believing HIs goodness and kindness will minister to their wounded places which are ultimately trying to wound you also. He is always the way!

Aside

So conflict- it can be a beautiful thing when surrendered to God and genuinely handled with love. However, not matter who you are, if conflict arises between you and another, and you choose to look at yourself or others without having/keeping love on- you are opening yourself and the relationship up to an onslaught of attack from our enemy.

Any area in our hearts that is left wounded and untended to will ultimately be exposed when any conflict arises and even gets close to that old wound. The messages of lies that cause those wounds to remain get louder and the new conflict chimes in perfect harmony with all those old messages.

If somewhere inside of you, there is a lie that says you are too much and no one could ever really handle to real you- and someone says gently and kindly, “Hey, how you said that things kind of rubbed me the wrong way,” you will hear- I can’t handle the way you are and you should be different than how you really are.

I could go on and on and on with examples, but here is the truth. We are all in process and NONE OF US have the ability to get it right 100% of the time. We need to extend grace, and hope that when it’s our turn, grace will be extended to us. We all have old wounds, and conflict can be God’s way of bringing that thing to your attention and showing you that now is the time to begin to work through those lies and find out what God says is true about you in that place. We then can replace the lie, with a scripture, and then when the attack comes back, we say “NO! That is not true! God says…..” This is a simple, extremely effective and powerful way to combat the lied of the enemy.

Here is the scripture the Lord gave me recently in the midst of conflict that I was overreacting to because of my wounded places- I could tell there was more pain, more reaction, more yuck than needed, and I knew that I needed healing- but in the moment I could not find that place- I cried out to the Lord and He gave me this word: 

Colossians 3:15

Amplified Bible (AMP)

15 And let the peace (soul harmony which comes) from Christ rule (act as umpire continually) in your hearts [deciding and settling with finality all questions that arise in your minds, in that peaceful state] to which as [members of Christ’s] one body you were also called [to live]. And be thankful (appreciative), [giving praise to God always].

WOW! Applying this truth changed my entire state- my whole atmosphere. Let me break it down how He shared it with me. 

1) Peace is to UMPIRE your heart when any questions arise.

     I knew I was currently not in peace, and that I could not come up with any conclusions about any truth about myself until I reentered a peaceful state.

2) To get there, be thankful, appreciative, and begin giving praise to God.

      I would not be able to enter into a peaceful state, to begin to draw true conclusions until I took the magnifying glass off of my conflict and it’s pain, and chose to magnify God and how AWESOME AND MIGHTY He is!  I began thanking Him for who He is, and all He has done, and out of that- praise was a natural progression. I spent time worshipping Him with my voice, and my mind slowed, and I was able to see from His perspective and recognize those lies that were trying to reattach themselves to my identity were just that, lies. I was able to trust that what God has said is truer than anything I was currently feeling, and I could respond in love out of the place of remembering how loved I am.

Furthermore, through this loving conflict, the Lord has brought to light a few areas I need to be allowing Him to prune off of me. He has given me a few new strategies to protect relationships and shown me some false protections I have been trusting in which is actually hurting me. This conflict, although seemingly came out of nowhere, has been incredibly fruitful and I know the fruit I can see is only the beginning.

So, I urge you today to love others enough to choose not to side step conflict when it needs to happen. Love them enough to be real with them when their actions hurt you, or perhaps seem contrary to their witness. Conflict is not something to be avoided so we can all live in false harmony, love actually says, “Hey, this seem off.” Pray before hand for the Lord to prepare both of your hearts and that nothing spoken gets miscommunicated and that if in your heart there is any motivation other than love, that He would first deal with you and bring your spirit into perfect alignment with His. And then seek Him for the timing and wait upon Him trusting that He is working it all out.

Consider this- the Lord has never and will never do anything out of any motivation other than love- He is love- He is constant- and He is for you. He will never lead you astray! You can TRUST HIM!