A Glimpse of Mi Vida...

It started with a missions trip to Camden, where my life and perspective were changed and where this blog began. Life has been a roller coaster filled with its ups and downs and I'm excited for the adventure and discovering what God has in store, even though I really dislike roller coasters... I am a Lady in Waiting...

Monday, December 8, 2014

Symbolism of 40

Symbolism of 40

A time period of forty (days, weeks, years) is something of great significance within the Bible. Each time period of forty units is related to testing, probation, or being tried. Each period however, does end with a time or area of blessing.

I have truly been blessed.

Tonight I sat with my therapist for my last session.
Our 40th session to be exact. How symbolic.

There indeed has been much testing over the past 40 or so weeks. As I sat across from my wonderful therapist, I couldn't help feel like it was a graduation day, a great accomplishment. I have met all my goals, felt deeply, have been stretched, cried lots, and healed lots.

I went into therapy not for any addiction or life crisis, but truly just wanting to deal with life and grow. I was shocked as I had met all my goals at week 27 and now finding closure at week 40 after finishing a relationship/marriage series and ready for the next chapter of life. To be told that I am ready for marriage and have learned how to process stress and life and circumstances is so exciting and so humbling.

Life hasn't been easy or difficult, I have had some very low moments in my childhood and adulthood and some amazing joyous moments. Truth of the matter is, I once was a daddy's girl. At some point things change and my relationship with my dad changed. But I couldn't take the deep emotional hurt or verbal abuse. Truthfully, it doesn't matter what his addictions or pains are, it is my baggage that had to be dealt with, sorted through, conquered, and left at the feet of the Cross. Not every day is easy, but each new day is better as I strive to find forgiveness and healing. Through therapy I began to see my dad for who he is, not who I wished he was. I began to see him as a lost, hurting, and broken boy. I began to let go of the titles, pressure, hurts, and bitterness. God has redeemed me and brought a lot of healing and restoration.

God has also rattled me cage and has brought me ready to close one chapter and start the next.

My last post on Thanksgiving had me feeling deeply hurt and emotional and I felt like band-aids were being ripped and scars hadn't healed. I was overwhelmed by the response in emails filled with prayers and encouragement, Thanksgiving offers, and several opportunities to rent rooms.

Through much prayer and after meeting and discussing about 5 different options, God has provided me with the most amazing next chapter to start.

Less than two weeks from today, I will finally be moving out of my parent's house.

I am moving into a home, not just renting a room. Upon meeting with this lovely soon to be roomie, I felt such peace wash over me. Her home is everything that I would even envision for my own home to be like. God spoke to us in such beautiful and peaceful ways of assurance. I am excited for the learning and growth that will happen for us and honestly, I think she's pretty amazing.
Read just an expert of her blog and tell me your heart strings aren't pulled through the ways God is using her in full time ministry.


Continued prayer for re-budgeting and finances (I'll be working extra hard on photo shoots and baking/candy making to earn extra money). Prayer for this life transition and closing of a chapter. Prayer for new friendships and relationships into the new year. Prayer for continued patience and learning. Prayer for understanding from my parents (I told them last weekend).

Thank you for your continued support and love, dear friends and readers.
I am so thankful for the next step in becoming even more strong and courageous.

I will move out the week of Christmas, have knee surgery, spend a few days resting at my parent's house and with G.ma taking care of me and then officially live in the new place before the first of the New Year. Get a few more days, followed by hopefully going back to work.

As I close out week 40 of being tried, I am so excited to see God's continued blessings in the coming year and to continue to be strong and courageous each and every day. So excited for this next chapter and new year... cheers to another 40!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Thanksgiving Plea

A Thanksgiving Plea


For those of you out there reading this and that know me very well, know that Thanksgiving is my least favorite holiday because of my family. I write this currently with hot tears streaming down my cheeks.
For years, I spent my mornings serving the homeless and serving at church and each year I would give my family my schedule and each year they would eat without me. The worst was the year that by the time I got home, they ate all of the leftovers. It's pretty sad.

Right now, my dad is lecturing my mom about not jumping into conversations to tell him to stop screaming and yelling at me. I can, not so quietly, hear him say that they never see me because I come and go. Yet he has not come to me to apologize or say anything.

To be honest, the way I cope with not being verbally and emotionally attacked is to not be home. I work a corporate job from 6am to at least 3pm every day and then my afternoons are filled with physical therapy, church, bible studies and just anything I can do to not be around my dad.

We just got in a fight. Happy Thanksgiving to me.

I was on a call earlier and he came into my room to throw mail on my bed, as the tvs in all rooms were loudly on and I was intently trying to listen to the person on the other line, I put one finger up as if to say... ssh one minute. Although no actual words came from my mouth as he swung the door open to enter.
Apparently that set him off and about ten minutes later he moved closer and closer, screaming and yelling more and more loudly. I am rude, seems to be the constant theme. When I ask him to calm down or lower his voice, it only increases the volume. As I try to apologize or explain that he misunderstood my gesture, more mud gets slung my way. I don't know that he can honestly hear anything I have to say.

Years of this type of explosive abuse... the "memories" come rushing back as I try to stay calm and not react. My voice often increases to match his and the cycle continues. I've overcome a lot of pain, hurt, and abuse this year and don't often engage him. But he has started drinking and it only adds lighter fluid to the resentful fire burning within his heart towards me.

This is the second interaction in less than two weeks and I am now taking this as God's slight pull to get out and move to a safe place.
Sometimes I think God can rattle our cages as a way for us to wake up, not that I have done anything wrong but He wants me to wake up to other possibilities.
The reason I live at home, as a 27 year old woman is that I went to a very expensive Christian school and with the exception of paying rent, I pay all my own bills. I am currently doing was Dave Ramsey likes to call snowballing.

So I ask that you pray for me, first and foremost.

Pray that I can find a new living situation swiftly and quickly.
I have a very limited amount of resources and not many financial options.

I make a great roommate. I love Jesus. Am pleasant to be around and can often make you laugh. I love to cook and am told I am a great baker. I can afford some rent, which I'd love to discuss if you have options.
My goal is to be honestly be out by Christmas. I have knee surgery scheduled the day after Christmas and this is not a healthy environment to find any sort of healing or a place where I can recover in a healthy and safe environment. Nor a place where helping me won't be held over my head down the road.

Pray for Satan to stop using my dad as his mouthpiece to whisper, scream, and yell lies at me.
I pray my parent's find Jesus and develop a relationship with Him. I pray to hold on the truths of Chris, that I am His and that

I pray to survive thru lunch with my parents. If I can even manage to make it thru that, I already have dinner with another family calling my name. But I don't want to entirely not be with my parents, deep down I'm just a little girl desiring for her parents to love.

Pray that the tears happen less and less and that my heart, mind, and soul become stronger and stronger as I continue to cling to God.

I pray to remember how Sovereign God is thru this all.

I am thankful for the ability to write and I am thankful for those of you reading this right now and those of you that I already know are praying and will hold my hand thru this process.

If you would like to offer encouragement, resources, or anything, please email me at:
jennlynichole@gmail.com

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Paper Cut

A Paper Cut

Have you ever gotten a paper cut?
I am sure we all have at one point.

You're sitting reading, or flipping through pages of a magazine.
At first you think you're fine, and then it begins to sting and then eventually it hurts more as you realize the depth of the cut. Then the cut becomes an annoyance more than anything.

That pain is how I would describe most interactions with my dad.
I try to avoid him like a paper cut. No one wants one. I am not saying I don't want a dad, but the interactions with my dad often start like a paper cut.

The interaction begins and you think you're fine, then it begins to string and eventually hurt and then you end up just feeling extremely annoyed.

Today is my parent's 29th anniversary.
I woke up and wished them a happy anniversary. It was the first time I'd seen them together in the same room all week. I have a very busy and hectic schedule and my mom goes to bed earlier, while my dad stays up late on his laptop doing "business marketing". So I often don't see them, they do their own thing in the evenings. Sometimes I can catch them in a same room for an hour or so, but for the most part there is little social interaction or quality time spent together.
Most conversations with my parents, primarily my dad, quickly spin out of control and my dad raises his voice and changes his tone. The minute I tell him to stop, it's like a volcano explosion and I typically retreat.

This morning after wishing them a happy anniversary, I asked them about a holiday party I was considering throwing.

Later that afternoon, my mom's whole family and my parents got together for lunch. The conversation quickly became very pointed at me from my dad.
The conversation started talking about my brother possibly being deployed again this year and when my dad sounded surprised that I knew, he began to raise his voice/tone at me. He was there when my mom talked to me earlier this week.
Half of the time I don't remember how the conversation escalates because I'm so busy trying to duck and cover from the mudslinging a majority of the time. My defense mechanism is to retreat because there is less damage and shrapnel verses running towards the front lines to fight.
It ended with him calling me rude for bringing up the holiday party this morning instead of gushing over their anniversary and marriage.
While I think that my parents love each other, they essentially live separate lives emotionally from each other. Seeking fulfillment in mind-numbing tv, gambling, alcohol, drugs, and the internet... amongst other things I'm sure. We have been socially and emotionally disengaged from each other for years.
My dad continues to only have conversations with me regarding business and marketing. Although I continue to tell him I don't want to talk regarding those things.
I don't know which is worse: to listen and attempt not to roll my eyes or, to distance myself to avoid the conversations and interactions all together?
My dad has this dream of becoming a business and internet marketer, but he has little experience and the process is time consuming. He has a full-time job. These attempts are to get out of debt, when in reality he pays into people and programs to make him successful but he never has enough money to really get something off the ground and so it fails. Again and again, he gives away money.

Growing up my dad used to tell me: "you must believe in something, or you'll fall for anything, and eventually become nothing." The hard thing is that, he doesn't believe in God in the way that he should. He falls for business ploys and schemes to help him achieve this unrealistic ideal of the American Dream. Every single month there is something new that he is believing in and when it fails him, he blames me or my mom for not supporting him. It's a vicious cycle.

I went through Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University and am dealing with my own student loans and debt. I am a firm believer in not living or spending beyond your means. Yet my dad continues to be dishonest with his finances and to spend money here and there and everywhere. It adds up.

I am often called the unsupportive  and selfish daughter. The one who went to college who won't support her father. My dad asked me if I had $2500 today at lunch. To which I advised no. Last month he asked if I had $10,000 he could have or borrow. I wouldn't be living at home if I had that kind of money stored up.

I live pay check to pay check attempting to snowball my debt within the next year with my car payments and credit cards and within 5-7 years with my student loans. Apparently I am not a good daughter because I won't "lend" him money or because I went to college and am not stable enough to help him. His partial investment in my education isn't paying out for him and the blame gets placed on me. I learned a lot of what got me where I am financially is because my parents didn't teach me good financial skills, but also because my parents (with the exception of some student loans) don't provide for me like most people my age or that I know in my community. I anticipate little to no financial help with the time comes for me to get married.

The thing that makes this so hard, is that I have overcome leaps and bounds of hurt and pain from the verbal and emotional abuse that I experienced as a child. You can read about those discoveries and healing in other blog posts of mine.
But any time spent with my dad when I am not fully healed is like getting another paper cut or getting a band-aid quickly ripped off.

It's unfortunate.
But I have to remember... paper cuts happen. And they eventually heal and the string stops hurting.

I pray that I can eventually avoid all paper cuts because I have healed so much and been restored that God's grace and compassion for my father is like healing super powers and the paper cuts eventually don't hurt and don't happen.

I ask that you pray for my heart to continue mending. For God to continue to allowing me healthy distance until I can over grace and compassion only. I pray that my dad can come to know the loving Father I know and that he can find healing and forgiveness in the arms of Our Savior.

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

One year ago... November 15th...

One year ago today, I boarded a flight from Haiti and returned back to the States.
I had just finished living in Haiti as a missionary for almost three months.
It is so crazy to think back on how times flies, to think back on all that God has done in the past year.
I cannot believe that we are nearing the end of November and almost the year.
I don't want to jump into another year in review, like I did last year, just yet... I have about five weeks before I can review 2014.

However, I do want to recall the things I have learned in my relationship with God and the things I learned while living in Haiti and how they are still affecting me today.

I have learned the importance of processing my trip and the importance to continue serving, not just longing to be back in a place that was my home sweet home. I call it the holy suffering.

I think the greatest thing I have learned is home is where I am. And Jesus is within my heart, no matter where I am. When I went to Haiti the third time (for three months), I went into my move thinking that I was going to be transformed and grow deeper in my relationship with God because I was in Haiti. While I did grow deeper in my relationship with God, I grew because I had to intently seek relationship with Him. It didn't just fall into my lap because I was in a third-world country. I think in previous trips, we seek God out because that is what we are suppose to do. Our days are filled with serving because that is what it organized for us to experience the most of the trip and of the country. We do devotionals and pray every morning because we are seeking to serve God and we have full schedule of service activities planned. Living in Haiti as a missionary was different. It was life, it wasn't a mission trip entirely. I had to develop me own routine in Haiti and in my life/relationship with God. It wasn't done for me, but is was the perfect example and starting point for what I would need in my life returning home to the states.

Almost three times a week I went running with my roommates in Haiti and it was beautiful because not only was I trying to stay fit but it allowed me to clear my head each morning as I watched the sunrise. I was able to pray over the dilapidated homes, to listen to worship music, to pray for the kids that chased us down the street and to join in fellowship/community with my roomies. As we walked back up the hill to the mission from the street we ran, I would pray for the day but then I would grab some water, a cup of Haitian coffee and my journal and bible. I would put on a my worship play list and just pray over all the things God was doing in my life and in my heart during my time in Haiti. I met with Jesus almost every morning and it was so beautiful because I can look back and read through that journal and see all that God taught me. It also created an example to my roommates and to the Haitian staff and kids who saw me. I was simply meeting with my Father, my King, my sweet Prince, and my Savior.

When I left Haiti, one of my roommates left me an encouraging note. She thanked me for my friendship, for the example I set for her as a Proverbs 31 woman. It was so humbling. We often spent evenings, when we could manage to find an internet connection and would talk about weddings and watch proposal videos online. It was totally cheesy. We often joked about what it meant to be a Proverbs 31 woman and about what we desired for marriage and what life would be life once we were married. The conversation was often divided. I cannot wait to share my learning and life experiences with my husband. It was so humbling to be considered a P31 woman. I pray that I can continue to become a P31 woman and to be an example to other women in the way that I live my life.

Lastly, my time in Haiti allowed me to find some sort of closure. The first two times I went to Haiti, my heart ached to return to Haiti and to live the simple life. During my time of living life and being a missionary, it allowed me to be at peace with returning to the States. God had granted my one wish to be a short-term missionary for more than a month... but for three months. He had fulfilled a deep desire and longing for my life, but He also allowed me to see that I needed a lot of healing and processing at home to take place. As you can read in blogs from this year, you will see that God had done so much healing in the past year that I have been home. I have learned that home is wherever I am and God is with me wherever that is. My time in Haiti also gave me the opportunity to learn about love, to learn how God could stretch my heart and love more and more each day. It also created a great routine and foundation to my relationship with God and knowing how to live the simplistic life. I have currently been Facebook and Instagram free for the past two months as I am on a social media fast for God's direction and for healing. I have cut out tv during the week and have learned so much as I have dug deeper and deeper into God's word as I have been co-leading a new believer's bible study. Also God has even opened up my heart to the possibility of traveling on another mission trip that is not Haiti.

Please be praying for me as I continue to serve in my home sweet home.
Pray that I continue to delve into God's word and for direction, healing, and rejoicing in the simple pleasures of life. Pray for my heart to be in tune with God's will so I can continue to find rest in Him and hear His still small voice. Amen.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Beloved

Beloved.


I am His Beloved.
Oh, how often I forget that? So often.
Today as I was shopping at a holiday boutique, I came across the most beautiful bracelet (You can purchase your own or personalize one here). 



Stamped across it was the simple word that God has been speaking to me for the past year... 
BELOVED

It was meant to be. I call this a little shopping miracle, when God speaks through something and reminds me of His love. Like finding the perfect gift for someone or something that you had prayed about a price point in your head. Or that the item reminds you of the person or of God's goodness or both.
Looking back on my time in Haiti, I am continually reminded that I am His Beloved. I preached on this in Haiti, read my previous entry.

I have struggled with the feeling of acceptance my whole life. The desire to fit in within social groups, but mostly within my own family. I have overcome a lot of hurt, pain, and abuse this year and I am continually reminded that I am God's Precious Child. He calls me His Beloved.
I think one of our greatest human desires is to be known, to love and be loved.
As I was away with a group of women a few weeks ago, I was excited to be surrounded by many other believers and even women within my age range. I wanted to be accepted and included by those I knew, but God had other plans. He wanted me to love and spend time with those I didn't know. He brought me out of my comfort zone. He introduced me to new people and He reminded me, that I am His. The hurt and the pain of the past desire for acceptance was quickly squashed as I prayed and chose to put the work that God was doing first ahead of my own insecurities or own desires to be included.


It wasn't about the approval and acceptance of others but about God... an old devotional hit home:
My Warrior,
Today, I am asking you to search your heart and ask this question: Whom do you seek for approval? Are you living your life for the approval and praise of people, or of Me? I want to save you from exhausting yourself by performing for a world that does not want to praise you.I designed you to desire Me and Me alone. When you choose to live for Me, you will never again be thirsty for attention, because you will be hydrated in My love and adoration for you. Now let me ask you again, My beloved child: Whom do you seek?

Love,Your King, who seeks after you

A friend shared with me and reminded me of Ephesians 1: 3-6, " Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved."


She dated 10/25 and wrote "God chose you. He adopted you. You are accepted, wanted and loved."I wrote, "You are His Beloved" above that. That is the most beautiful title that we could be called and given by our sacred Father.

I pray for anyone reading this, that feels unloved, unworthy, or discouraged. I pray that you would also know that you are His Beloved. That He love and cherishes you so deeply.


~Galatians 1:10~
"I knew you before I formed you in your mother's womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world."

~Jeremiah 1:5~
"Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men. I would not be a servant of Christ."


My Beloved Child,
I want you to experience the benefits and blessings of being mine. I want you to know the power of grace that only I can give you. You won't discover who I really am in your own strength. You can conquer and accomplish much on your own but you will never know the joy of everlasting work until you have been weak. It is in your weakest moment that my strength will become your strength and that my Holy Spirit that lives inside of you will rise up and you will know that I am with you always. If you will embrace your weaknesses and grabbed hold of all I am you will become all you desire to be. Now is the time to let me do great things in you and through you!
Love,
Your Strong and Mighty God

"My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me." - 2 Corinthians 12:9

I pray you would remember that you are His Beloved.

Or if there is another word or phrase that He is speaking to you, that you would be reminded of that in the coming hours, days, and weeks.

Love,
Jennly

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Alabaster Jar

The below is a sermon that I wrote two years ago to preach at while at a brothel in Haiti. I spent weeks researching and praying and feeling nervous over it.
I remember getting to Haiti and they asked me to preach a few days early than planned. I remember panicking because I wasn't ready and was so nervous and intimidated. God was pushing my flexibility and I finally came to terms with following His direction on the mission field and learning to go with the flow and go where God was leading. Luckily the day of my preaching got pushed back to our original date.
My first mistake was that I didn't prepare by printing my sermon before I had left the United States. So there I sat in Haiti with less than five minutes to log onto the internet and copy my sermon notes off line and write them out via bullet points as fast as I could.
The day came to preach the message and it was an hour before and I had knots in my stomach. Literally I felt so sick, shooting pain and I felt like throwing up.
I knew without a doubt that this was spiritual attack. I knew that God was going to move. We began walking into town and towards the brothel.
I remember stepping into the brothel and we were immediately greeted with stares and looks of darkness from the "pimps". There was a lack of disinterest from women as they sat and stared at me and the rest of our group. The women in our group crowded in this little hut that was the "club" of the brothel. Your heart felt so heavy. I was hoping we would lead into worship first but they asked me to preach first. I was surrounded with flies swarming my head and the stenches of the brothel and the noises that surrounded the streets.
I started to preach and it was translated as I went section by section. The women seemed to connect, the tension released. God was moving. As soon as I prayed, we began singing worship and it was the most beautiful sound I had ever head at that time. It was honestly like a choir of angels singing, the weight and heaviness lifted from that tiny room. You could feel God's love and presence and as we sang.

I knew from that moment that when I am doing something in God's will and the devil doesn't want it, that I feel sick to my stomach. Overcome with emotion. It's been my tall-tale sign. Every conversation I've had or decision, I've had to make and I feel that sickness just before I know that the Spirit is about to move, I know that God is about to bless the situation and I began praying for strength and protection from God and rebuking Satan.

Its a beautiful thing to sometimes feel so in tune with God that I know when He is going to bless something in such an unknown way and then to look back on the moment after I have gained that courage to overcome that gut wrenching feeling of spiritual attack and to be like, "Wow, God! You are so good and so amazing. I can't believe you just did that!"

Lord, I pray You continue to give me that discernment to obey Your calling. I pray You give me the courage to keep pushing forward in times of doubt. I pray for protection for the work ahead. I thank You for Your love and grace and for our relationship.

The Sermon:
Imagine with me, a woman. She is running in the night. Running as fast as she can, her heart is pounding within her chest. Her feet are moving so quickly that she can barely keep balance; she almost slips and falls to her face. The sweat drips from her brow but she knew she must get there. She has too because everything and everyone else had failed her. He was her last hope, her only hope. Would it work? Would he know and understand and accept her?

As she ran, in her hand she held a precious stone. A tiny jar filled with oil. She let a sigh of relief that it was still intact, almost in perfect condition since the day she had received it. It was given to her at a young age, meant to be given to one person. Apart of her love and dowry and sharing her life… it was one of the most precious gift that she could give.

She filled her life with many things as she sought to find fulfillment. She desired to be loved and to give her jar away. She was a sinful woman. Sinful like any of us. She had made mistakes, had regrets, had desires and dreams that hadn’t been fulfilled. People in the town knew her and they knew her reputation. They whispered and stared. She felt as though she was unloved, not wanted. She was out of options until she heard about Him.
She had heard of all the amazingly good things that He was doing all over. He was healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, making the lame walk and forgiving sinner. Forgiving sinners. Forgiving sinners is what kept crossing her mind. That was her. She felt as though she was the biggest sinner of them all. But maybe He was the key. The last option. Maybe He could be the one to put together the pieces of her broken heart. Maybe He could make her whole again. He was her only hope, her last hope.

She had made it. She stood outside the door, nervous and anxious she waited. She had heard He would be there at Simon’s. She took a deep breathe in and a deep breath out and composed herself, caught her breath, and wiped the sweat from her face before entering to meet Him. But she questioned herself before entering. Should she really do this? Was He really worthy of the oil in her alabaster jar? It was the only thing of value that she had left in her life. But it was too late to turn back now.

As she entered the room, so many emotions rushed through her and tears began to fill her eyes.
Luke 7:36-50
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
(This was a form of anointment; she was acknowledge him as the Messiah. Also, the kissing of feet and the wiping of tears was opposite of the Pharisees who wanted to sit at the table and be equal. She had a sense that she was unworthy and just wanted to be near him. At His feet was enough for her. It was better than anything she’d experienced before to simply sit at His feet in her presence.)
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”


Can you imagine what this woman was feeling, to enter into a Pharisee's home and approach JESUS with everything she had within her?! Pharisees were extremely prominent people at this time and this woman had a reputation of being a sinner! What would they say about her now??? Could she possible do this? Her emotions pour out as she entered the room, she couldn’t hold back the tears of love and gratitude. With her tears and the oil, she poured out her very heart onto Jesus’ feet while onlookers stared and still talked about her like she was worthless!!! As they dripped onto His feet, she had no tissue or towel to dry her tears from His feet, so she unbound her hair. She forgot everything and everyone except Him.
    
But her Lord, Jesus Christ, saw her heart, her pain, her shame, and her brokenness; in the midst of all her sin, He saw something beautiful that was worth saving, and that's exactly what He did. He saved her. Can you imagine what life was like for her after that moment? The moment she decided to give it all to Christ, life changed forever.

It causes me to think and reflect on my own life and my heart. Am I “head over heels” in love with Jesus? Do I pour out my very best to Him and lay everything at His feet? All of my hopes and desires and dreams. I encourage us to live each day, giving Him our all knowing that He is plans are far greater and better than we could have ever imagined and knowing that His grace, love, and mercies covers the multitudes of our sins.

My prayer is: Lord, I pray that you would work within my heart and my life to do whatever it takes that I might become as dedicated as the woman who poured out her alabaster jar for you. I pray that we would bring glory and honor to your name and to your son Jesus Christ…


The Break Up

The Break Up

I just went through a break up.

Or maybe it's just a break.

Now before you go jumping to conclusions and questions.

What Jenn was dating someone? Who? A break up, when? I want more details.

Slow your roll people.

Well, I am not talking about any relationship other than with Jesus. And no, I didn't break up with Jesus. Actually this break up has allowed me to grow in deeper relationship with Jesus.

I have broken up with social media... Facebook and Instagram and I are on a break.

I feel God moving and stirring in my life and I think my biggest distraction had been social media. I wake up and end each day with it, check it at work, and when I'm bored. Most of my time became consumed with soaking it in, the news, the updates, the gossip, the drama, the versions of a perfect life. It isn't always reality.

At first I was just going to do it for a weekend, as I prayed about life direction and upcoming decisions. When I quiet the noise of social media and television, it allows me to clear out the distractions and noise of life and to truly focus on God speaking and searching for the things He is revealing. I have never been disappointed in this decision. You can read in several of my blogs how He has always revealed such great things and how my anxious soul truly becomes quieted.

Now I find myself enjoying the break. It has allowed me to be more intentional with time, has allotted me a lot more time with God and digging deeper and deeper into His Word. Life goes on without FB and it allows me to be intentional in relationships and communication with others.

I cannot wait to reveal and share with you the things that God has been revealing. I can't wait to share with you how He closed certain doors and the the things I learned in that process. How He opened doors that I didn't expect and how they were the best decisions He had for me.

As I am praying for life direction and decisions, I am excited to tell you that so far the journey has been teaching me patience. It has allowed me to grow as a person and to learn more about myself and even more about God. He has answered some prayers in very beautiful ways.

I am also praying for healing and fasting for healing. For those of you who don't know, I injured knee exactly a month ago today. I went to the doctor the day after the injury because I was in so much pain and could barely walk. The doctor told me I had pulled tendons and to just stay on bed rest and icing my knee for three days. I was on crutches for two days. About ten days went by and I still was uncomfortable walking and met with the doctor, they referred me to a ortho surgeon to see as a specialist. I was blessed to work at a medical clinic and the director I work with, insisted on me visiting two doctors after I couldn't see the referral doctor. They revealed that they thought it was a torn meniscus and insisted I see my referred doctor immediately. Saw the doctor the next day and had an MRI scheduled for the following day. It was a praise to be seen so quickly.

This past Monday, I sat in my car as hot tears streamed down my cheeks. I had just gotten out of the doctor's office and went over my MRI results. He had revealed news that we both were not expecting. I had an ACL tear, a partial tear and sprain to my proximal MCL, a tear to my meniscus, water/swelling in my knee joint and lastly, internal bruising. Reading and writing that again just literally brings me to tears. I have a long road ahead of pain and healing and lots of doctors appointments and quiet truthfully, it's all kind of scary. The doctor told me that I don't have enough current mobility in my leg and knee. I have to regain that strength before I can have surgery, otherwise I won't get that strength or mobility back. I currently cannot bend or completely straighten my leg. I have to go through at least four weeks of physical therapy and then I will have surgery to replace the ligament in my knee with a ligament from a cadaver. It's all a lot to take in. I will have a lot of medical bills coming in very soon and it is all quite overwhelming. But God is good. I had my first therapy appt on Friday and made a lot of progress. It wasn't easy and it was included painful stretches and exercises, but if I continue to push through it, I know that healing with come. I know that God has healing powers to speed up this process if that is in His will, I know that He has gifted my therapists and doctors and I am so thankful that as awful as this all is that God is good and so faithful and this whole process has allowed me to truly take rest in Him.

So I ask you to first pray for healing for my knee and pray for strengthening for surgery and for patience in this process. I ask for you to pray for me as I continue to take a break from social media. So far it has been just over two weeks and who knew that this could be so easy.

Thank you for your prayers and love and support and encouragement in this process.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Continuing to Break The Chains

Last night as my therapist prayed with me I felt peace but the emotion that had stirred was still so heavy. My therapist looked me deep in the eyes and said, I wanted you to journal if there is anything left of these emotions and work through them. Then I want you to spend some time with Jesus. I felt as if she knew my alone and quiet time had been lacking. I want you to spend time with Him and pray and see what He will reveals.

As I sat up in bed last night, I cried more and prayed more and journaled last nights heavy emotions. The sense of anxiety weighed heavy on my heart, the pain and emotion was so raw. That even as I tried to write or seek God's guidance that my heart and eyelids were so heavy that I couldn't clearly think or seek God to the depths that I needed to go. I truly needed rest. So I decided to go to bed. But I remembered as my therapist assigned me the time with God and time to reflect I remembered that this Tuesday, today, I had a late start for work. I didn't have to be in the office until 8am. I knew then that was the perfect time to spend with God since I don't get much sleep, I would be awake at my normal schedule. 

So here I sit in Starbucks just having spent the past hour journaling and praying and so in love with God and what he revealed. 
I ordered a croissant of yummy goodness across the street and a new latte, coffee dates with Jesus. I need to enjoy this time, not thinking about the budget or the calories, but to just give into what sounded perfect.
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I sat down, opened up the journal and the devotional and turned on my favorite worship station. I was ready to read and pray and journal and to dig through the emotions. I figured the process would be awhile. But no, God jumped straight to what He wanted me to do and pray.
The lyrics came on: "There is POWER in the name of JESUS to break every chain."
God wasted no time, He jumped right to the point. He wanted me to break every chain. Every chain of pain that binded me. 

I laid the thoughts of the past at the feet of the Cross. The pain, the hurt, the sorrow, the disappointment- I gave those over to God and asked Him to take them captive.

I prayed more and wrote more as He spoke. 

You are light, when the darkness closes in. You are peace, Oh Lord, when my fear is crippling. My fear was crippling. 

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I hand my future to you Lord, take it and give me peace and patience in this process.

"Greater is He that is in you, than he who is in the world." -1 John 4:4

You are my protector, you fight the battle for me. I need to give you the battle. Even in the midst of war, you fight for Me. 

In His presence I find peace. I think I often forget that and I forget to just sit still in His presence. 

"For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." -Ephesians 6:12

I prayed what the next devotional read

"In your unfailing love you will lead the people you have redeemed. In your strength you will guide them to your holy dwelling." Exodus 15:13 (NIV)
Lord, let my actions aim to please You, not other people. May the pleasure I find in You satisfy my soul. Your view of me surpasses anything else I desire or pursue, so I praise Your Name and rest in You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 63:2-3, "So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open, drinking in your strength and glory. In your generous love I am really living at last! My lips brim praises like fountains." (MSG)

Psalm 37:4, "Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." (ESV)

As I prayed and tightly closed my eyes, I prayed for God to reveal more, something specific, something of truth. I was astounded by what He revealed, because it was something He had revealed to me before... yet again, I was awakened and encouraged by the way God loved me and cherished and delighted in me. I had prayed last night to felt delighted in.
He revealed words that He has spoken before, words which I had thankfully journalled a few months ago.
In the midst of deep sorrow, His light breaks through and redeems me. I press into Him. He fights my every battle. 


Thank you Lord for breaking every chain so I can be free. Thanks for standing in the gap, thank you for walking with me. Lastly, thank you for whispering the words I needed to hear:

YOU ARE WORTH AND WONDERFUL!!!


Thank you Lord for the ability to dig deep, dig deep into the emotional heartache and pain of the past. Lord, I lay these feelings at your feet and I ask you to redeem me. I ask you to continue to fill me with your love and joy. I pray for your peace. I pray that I may fill loved and cherished by you always. I give these “memories” and hurts and pain to you, oh Lord.

Please pray for me as I continue working through such pain and to find healing and restoration. Pray for me to find joy in Christ alone. That I don’t need birthdays or celebrations to feel cherished, but that I would feel loved by Chris alone. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Flood Gates of Emotion

Monday  nights seem to be the heaviest nights of the week for me. Honestly because I have therapy. But as I sit here with a heavy heart and heavy and puffy eyelids, the evening did not start as I had planned.
I sat in my doctor’s office this evening to do a check up on my injured leg/knee. The appointment was a 6pm and I had told the receptionist when scheduling it that I had to be someone where by 645pm. It was the first prayer night after the summer at church. I loved these nights of prayer and worship. As the clock ticked away, I got more and more emotional the longer I waited. Forty minutes later the doctor strolled in and my eyes were filled with tears. I didn’t like the information he gave me as well. He referred me to  an orthopedic doctor/surgeon to have my knee looked at by an expert. He rulled out a torn meniscus or ACL for the most part. He said more than likely it will heal itself in about 6 weeks, but physical therapy would be a good option. It was not the news I wanted to hear, my best friend’s wedding is in 34 days. I have to wear heels. I miss working out, and having energy and being able to do things. As I sat in the car, rushing towards the church, my head filled with thoughts of how much is this bill going to cost and then the next one. How can I continue to hobble around slowly and feel so incapable of doing much and feeling so needy, but refusing to ask for help. Then some peace settled amongst my tear filled eyes…. Rest. But I don’t like rest? Rest!! But it’s hard, and I have a million and one things to do… just rest my sweet child. You and I both know you need it.
As I snuck into the room full of people, I began to sing worship and praise. I went up to have a pastor and friend pray with me. They spoke such truth, which always breaks my heart because I long for truth who I am to be spoken to me by my family. We prayed for feeling of my leg. We prayed for my work place, and for my heart and the future and lastly we prayed for my future husband. Tears filled my eyes and I felt God speaking.
As I sat afterwards with my therapist, I caught her up on my week and then we discussed new goals. I was in an emotional state after everything that had already happen that evening and I began talking about my fear of disappointment in my family for the future. I fear being let down by them again and again. I fear abandonment by them . My greatest desire is to be known and loved. To feel like I am known, like the way a spouse or best friend is supposed to know each other. For years, I felt so lonely. (I know I have fulfillment in Christ and have a great source of church family). But what I’m talking about is truly digging deep into emotion, digging into the pain of the past and feeling the pain that I felt in the moments of the memories that I was going through.
Tears flowed as I recalled the moment my parents stopped giving us gifts for Christmas and just started handing us cash. The feelings of that they didn’t care enough to know me and get me a gift of value and meaning, a gift that showed me they knew me and loved me. A memory of high school and how my friends that I had known for over five years forgot my birthday, I then began recalling every birthday. I have luckily had some good ones in recent years. But each year I am so fearful of not turning a year older but feeling forgotten and unknown and being disappointed. The pain was so raw. Birthdays are so special to me because I feel as though it’s the one day a year about me. The one day I ask for.
As this pain was raw and open, my therapist began praying for me. Praying for healing for my leg and praying for healing of my heart as I work through this all.


Thank you Lord for the ability to dig deep, dig deep into the emotional heartache and pain of the past. Lord, I lay these feelings at your feet and I ask you to redeem me. I ask you to continue to fill me with your love and joy. I pray for your peace. I pray that I may fill loved and cherished by you always. I give these “memories” and hurts and pain to you, oh Lord.

Please pray for me as I continue working through such pain and to find healing and restoration. Pray for me to find joy in Christ alone. That I don’t need birthdays or celebrations to feel cherished, but that I would feel loved by Chris alone. Lord I pray for rest during this time, and to be still so your can strengthen me! 
Pray for me as I rest this week. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Praise: 27 Weeks

Praise: 27 Weeks

I feel like I'm pretty open, at least in this forum of writing/journaling/blogging. It seems to be an outlet for me to express myself and process the things I am learning and going through.

Most people who have met me or have seen me live life would never know that I have experienced some traumatic verbal and emotional abuse for most of my life. Heartbreaking neglect and hurtful and harsh words thrown at me from my parents, the people that are suppose to love and accept me most. For the longest time, I held it in. I surrounded myself in busyness and burying this deep heartache and pain because no one could know. It was the lie I believed. I felt unloved and unlovable.

Well, today I sat across from my therapist like I do every Monday. We talked about my week and the things I had learned, the frustrations, and what I was looking forward to coming up. My therapist wanted to go over my goals that we set towards the beginning of when we first began meeting. Mainly e beginning of my time. She told me our session tonight marked 27 weeks. My lucky number, my age, my golden year. I have never missed a session because my heart for change, healing, progress, and love was so great

As she read through my short-term and medium term goals. I had met each one, some of which exceed in progress in leaps and bounds. My long-term goals are a work in progress... working on complete forgiveness, acceptance, and respect for my parents and family relationships.

She talked about how I had two options:
1) To stop our sessions where we were.
2) To make new goals and continue working together.

I told her 1 was not an options at all and needed to be taken off the table.

I can't help but be so overjoyed. I have found so much peace, forgiveness and healing. I have gained so much confidence and self-worth and self-love. I have deepened my relationship with Christ and others along this journey and am so thankful that Christ has been there through this whole process. I am thankful to CCV for having the opportunity for me to seek help during some dark sorrows and heartaches and to have someone who walked alongside me in the journey. I am thankful for the opportunity to be vulnerable, unfiltered, to laugh, and to cry. I am loved and lovable.

I am so thankful for this journey and to continue to see change in my life and relationships and am excited to see what the next days, weeks, and months look like.

Psalm 107:19-21

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.  He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.  Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.

Psalm 30:2

O LORD my God, I called to you for help and you healed me.

Psalm 147:3

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Jeremiah 17:14

Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.

Mark 5:34

He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

Monday, August 11, 2014

The Holy Suffering: Transition

As I was reading through my devotionals tonight, it didn't quite hit the spot. So I decided to read the evening before's: 
"Choosing to suffer means that there must be something wrong with you, but choosing God’s will— even if it means you will suffer— is something very different. No normal, healthy saint ever chooses suffering; he simply chooses God’s will, just as Jesus did, whether it means suffering or not." 
What does it mean to suffer or to suffer from what? My mind immediately went to thoughts of Haiti . As some friends of mine have just returned from their first time in Haiti, it can't help but bring up the very fond memories of Haiti, of the children, staff and such joy and laughter. While the memories are fond, my love for Haiti causes an ache in my heart as I desire to be there verses here. I long for the simplicity and feeling so in line with God's call, feeling like you are in the center within His' will as you serve the orphan and the widow... literally. In coming back home, there is the transition period which is sometimes a few days and sometimes it is a few months. For me, I was annoyed with the selfishness of Americans and annoyed with the fact that people just didn't get it and didn't take the time to listen to me as I was processing and as was trying to understand what God just did in my heart.

As I have have now been to Haiti on three separate occasions, among at least 3-4 other mission trips I continue to learn more about myself and about the process. Oswald Chambers states it in last nights devotional: "Look at God’s incredible waste of His saints, according to the world’s judgment. God seems to plant His saints in the most useless places. And then we say, “God intends for me to be here because I am so useful to Him.” Yet Jesus never measured His life by how or where He was of the greatest use. God places His saints where they will bring the most glory to Him, and we are totally incapable of judging where that may be." People may view my time in Haiti as a waste because I went with other peoples' money or because I stopped pursuing a career or education or vacation for a moment. But God calls us to love to the ends of the earth. God places us where we can bring Him the most glory. So for two weeks that was in Haiti, then again and then again. But right now I am home and God has me here until He leads me back to Haiti or calls me elsewhere. I think it is important to remember to serve and invest where I am. I don't think that jumping into service should be taken lighthearted because processing the journey of serving in another country is so important, but I think it vital to make a connection point based on the things that God taught you or me in that place of growth, learning, or brokenness. 

For me, I invest in the relationships I have in Haiti by sending notes and care packages, I support the missionaries in whatever way I can whether that be financial or supply-wise. I pray and encourage those I can who are serving or who are in the process of understanding it all. I know when people were praying and weren't, when you're in the mission field you can feel it. You can feel the power of the Holy Spirit moving when you are being lifted up in thought and prayer. Also, I serve in outreach because for me it is where I feel most alive and feel where God is working through me. While I still long for Haiti and the days of tap tap and moto rides, lots of laughter with the kids, and pizza on Fridays... I don't just sit here awaiting until I can go again. I stay active in serving and loving on those in my current end of the earth and I share my stories in hopes that it will inspire, impact or cause the Spirit to move in someone else's life through service or missions.
Good luck to you as you serve or search for where God would lead you next. Pray for me as I do the same!
We all go through Holy Suffering as God teaches us, grows us, stretches us, and heals us. But we suffer through it all for the GREATER good and cause and for our GREATER GOD!!!

"But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." -Acts 1:8

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Letting Go of Hope and Titles

Letting Go of Hope and Titles...

Now before you start to freak out, I am not hopeless or depressed or putting my final manifesto here on my blog/Facebook...

As I've mentioned in the past few posts, I see a Christian therapist to help me with life stuff. It's a really amazing and beautiful outlet and I highly recommend it. It helps me process stress, tough life decisions and helps me call upon my relationship with Jesus to overcome deep fears and abuse from my childhood and upbringing.

These posts usually come as a means to help me to continue to grow and reflect and maybe even in hopes that it helps you reading this.

This week, I sat in the chair balling my eyes out yet again. I've been questioning the term hope over a few of the sessions. Hope to me has always been a word of expectancy, of joy, or the future. Something to put weight in. All those things, the word hope greatly resembles our relationship with Christ but also our "hope" and desires for the future.

One of my biggest "hopes"  is my relationship to improve with my parents/family. I hope they will discover a deep relationship with the Heavenly Father that I desire to know intimately. I hope that they will change. I hope that we will have a better relationship, and I hope that they will learn to love me in the ways that my heart and soul cries for. A few weeks ago, in one of my sessions I began to realize that the hope I had for my father to change was not realistic. That the track record proved to show, the same cycles keep happening. The only change is me and how I react. How do I chose to let things effect me and how to I want to improve?
I sat in the chair describing yet another interaction with my father. Sometimes banter can be fun and witty, but banter with my father and family is unhealthy because it leaves me angry, frustrated, or broken. The banter and what we consider conversation is all I have in relationship with them. In reality as I sat there crying and praying and thinking through things with my therapist and came to realize I don't honestly have much in common with my family. I continue to banter and to accept the "titles" I've been given because it's the only hope that I have. It's the last string of connection to them. That the silence and lack of communication is so deafening to me that I would rather just sit there and argue or go back and forth. In reality the back in forth is so unhealthy and hurtful to me, but I was willing to hold onto the pain in order to feel any sense of relationship and love from them. They've given me titles that I don't deserve or shouldn't fall into: Adult/Parent, Expert, Confidant, Christian, and Judge.

I have had to be the adult and/or parent in relationship with them. Offering the advise that I would give my children sometime. Their behavior is so childish at times, that I have to be the adult voice in a lot of conversation. My parents look to me as an expert in different things and expect me to teach them, show them, and consult them for their own gain. I resent this title because it's my knowledge is often tied together with judgment for right verses wrong and I refuse to offer knowledge on something that I don't see having a good ending or that I don't believe in. Also I am breaking the title of secret keeper. As I work through therapy and open up, I am breaking the lies, secrets, and things that I have held onto for years. It is not  for my mom or dad to share aspects of their relationship with me. Lastly my Christianity has caused me to be have this voice of higher moral authority, and to feel self-righteous. My views of on God, life and the Bible, often cause me to become condemning and judgmental because their actions and words don't match up what I see and know to be true. This is just a summary of these titles for me. But my desire is that I would break the chains of these titles and take on new titles of: Follower, Daughter of the King, Servant, Loved, Cherished, and Faithful.

There is no such thing as forgiveness with no cost. The cost of healing and forgiveness is releasing that hope from my parents and shifting it to my Creator and trusting. All forgiveness requires someone to pay and I have to pay by the sacrifice of relationship with them and pay in the giving up of hope in them. That doesn't mean I love them any less, it just means I am desiring to rid the bitterness, frustrations, and anger and not expecting too much but trusting in God's mighty power to break every chain.

My prayer is that I would break every chain and title because I know that there is power in the name of Jesus...

I pray to just continue to grow in my relationship with God and find closure with those titles and with my family. That I would be okay with the silence, that I would learn to step away from unnecessary conversations. I pray to release the hope and expectancy I desire for and from my family, and just hope in Christ. That I would hope in the work that He is doing in me.

"For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. " -Psalm 71:5

He has a purpose and fulfillment for me. He can HOPE in me. And I pray I fulfill that hope.

My last request is that the Lord help me to protect my heart amidst this process.