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...

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.

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. 

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.

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:


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."