Why Your Dream is Important!

@jenniferkostick

Every time I stand in front of the ocean, I’m more aware of just how powerful God is and how nothing He created was, or is, accidental. We’ve all been given a gift of purpose. Every life has meaning and there’s a specific plan envisioned for each one.

Without a vision the people perish. (See Proverbs 29:18)

Just like God has a vision for our lives, we must have a vision as well. We must be active and obedient in taking steps toward God-inspired dreams. We can’t give up or look back regardless of how difficult the road ahead looks. We have to stand strong, and for inside the moments when it seems impossible, we need to remember nothing is impossible with Jesus. When we can’t, He always can.

And, friend, I’ve had days when I didn’t think I could. I’ve had seasons of feeling He was far, and I was searching to find Him. Believe it or not, those are the times we are actually drawing nearer and nearer to our dreams becoming realities. Those are the moments when our vision aligns with His will, pulling us into our purpose one step at a time. With obedience comes blessing.

Sure, it’s easy to obey when everything looks lovely and the sun is shining on the golden sand beach right next to His powerful waters. But I’m talking about obeying through sandstorms and finding our way through pelting waves. Here’s the thing: the closer you stick to the truth of Christ, the closer He is, even if you don’t feel Him there.

I think we can all agree that the world has gone crazy and those of us who have escaped it thus far are praising Jesus everyday for the blessings He’s given. What I’m suggesting is this: That we thank Him for the blessings which lie ahead, even if we’ve not walked inside the reality of them as of yet. I’m suggesting we throw up our hands in praise rather than fists ready to fight the God who seems too far. I’m suggesting our lives become lights of praise and thanksgiving in the middle of dark, dark places.

Your dream has the power to change lives! (Tweet that)

Let us search ourselves, find our vision, and run toward the will of God. He is big and nothing is impossible for Him. (See Luke 1:37)

Love,

Jennifer

What It Means to Unpack…

BEST

A little more than a month ago, I returned home from a week long trip with my husband. I remember dreading the job of unpacking my suitcase, because I knew it meant laundry and putting away fun, summer clothing and flip-flops only to exchange them with over-sized sweaters and boots. Unpacking inside a beautiful hotel room is way more fun than unpacking inside the laundry room when it’s all over.

Yesterday, I wrapped up a four week speaking engagement with a wonderful group of women. As I’ve prepared each teaching, I’ve been thinking about what it means to “unpack” and how it might relate to reading the word of God.

I’m a firm believer that if we are going to fight battles of this world then we must engage the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We need to insert ourselves in scripture and read it in such a way that it becomes a love letter from God to us. As we fuel ourselves with the word it becomes a mighty weapon against sin, fear, and anything else trying to hold us back from living the lives God ordained for us.

In my mind, I picture someone surprising me with a dream vacation. They hand me a first class ticket, designer suitcase, and send me on my way. When I arrive at my destination, I begin unpacking the items one-by-one. Each article is exactly my style, tailored to fit, and more exquisite than I imagined possible. Friend, that’s what reading the Bible should be like.

We should place ourselves in the history, “unpacking” each person, their real-life struggles, and wisdom. After that, we need to put on what’s in the suitcase knowing every fine piece is a gift from the King.

I’ve had a burden on my heart for those struggling through desperate situations without any weaponry to help fight the battle. The word of God gives us what we need to stay strong, stand upright, and live purposefully. However, if we refuse to “unpack” and choose to read the Bible like we’re in a “laundry room” only seeing it as a job through eyes of obligation and boredom, then we will miss out on what it really is: a living, powerful book meant to set hearts aflame while equipping us with the same spirit as Christ. If we don’t ever unpack the word of God for ourselves, then how will we ever know who God really is?

I might be going out on a limb by saying this, but It’s my opinion that a large portion of the Jesus community tends to only open their Bibles in church. In fact, because of technology, I think we read sermon notes and scriptures on big screens more than we open our Bibles in the pew.

After burying my baby girl, I was a young twenty-something crying to God at the altar when someone asked me, “What scripture are you standing on?” At the time my first thought was, “All of them.” The truth: I was having a really difficult time warring against the depression and grief that wanted to take me down because I wasn’t equipping myself with weaponry for the battle. That moment was a turning point for me, and if you’re facing something without “unpacking” the word of God for yourself, then I pray that maybe today will be a turning point for you.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints

-Ephesians 6:10-18

 

Love,

Jennifer

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5 Questions for the Dream Pursuing Mom…

5 Questions for(1)

Last night, I dreamt about a woman working overtime to turn her lifelong dream into reality. She suffered a disappointment causing her to mentally break apart and disconnect from her family. I tried communicating that her worth isn’t found in accomplishing her dream the way she sees it. It’s about accomplishing it the way God sees it. She didn’t like my advice; I woke up.

I have no idea what the woman in my dream is enduring throughout day-to-day life. (She’s a real person by the way.) I just know that when I have a dream about someone I pray for them. If there’s anything we all need it’s prayer, and though I may not know her current circumstances, Jesus does.

Maybe you’re feeling like the woman in my dream. Maybe you’re working day and night to achieve the vision in your heart and just when it feels like you might have a breakthrough, you end up breaking down. Maybe you’re feeling defeated and it’s carrying over to your personal life. Could it be possible that compartmentalization is no longer an option because the vibrant colors have run together making one big mess?

Often, we are so busy trying to move to the next big thing in life that we lose sight of all the gifts staring us in the face. Our marriages, children, and friendships suffer because we can’t seem to rein in the feelings of needing to be appreciated in a different light.

If we’re not careful, overly feeding our dreams can mean starving the ones we love most. (tweet that)

If this is you, can I ask you to reevaluate? I’m not suggesting you give up your dreams! That’s just crazy talk! I’m merely asking you take into consideration the path you’re on to accomplish them.

Listen, I’m all about pursuing dreams, and I know that compared to most in my industry I’m on the slow track. But here’s the thing: I’m intentional about it. Crazy, right? Maybe. But I don’t want to blink and miss my children’s accomplishments because I’m too worried about my own. I don’t want to slight my husband, as supportive as he is, because I’m busy trying to climb ahead.

This post is probably more for mothers who are writers, creatives, and dreamers like me, but I need to say that as much as I’m all about pursuing my purpose by using the gifts woven into my being, I’m also about slowing down to see if my dreams align with God’s will for my family.

You too?

If you’re wondering how to evaluate your course, I have five questions I ask myself that might help you.

  1. Is pursuing my dream influencing my family positively or negatively?

I recommend asking each member of your family individually. It’s important to find out how they feel about sharing you with your dream because more than anything, or anyone, you need their support most. If the ones closest doubt you, then how can people who don’t know your heart believe in you? They need to be your influencers listed high above the professionals with whom you’re trying to connect.

  1. How can I carve out enough time to accomplish goals without taking over the lives of my husband and children?

Time management is everything for me right now. I’m a wife, mom, full-time seminary student, speaker, Bible study teacher, children’s choir director, worship team member, blogger, and author who is working on a new book. If I don’t make a schedule to organize my time, I will surely drown. I also have to be willing to put down the books, shut the laptop and listen when someone needs me. Can I tell you that’s been a struggle? It has. I easily lose my train of thought and can become frustrated when distractions happen, but my family is more important than my order of thoughts or word count on a page. I’ve learned that God will restore my thought patterns. I just have to be willing to look up.

  1. How open am I to change?

Generally speaking, I’m a rule follower and guidelines are important to me. Lately, I’m pushing myself to follow God-lines rather than guidelines. I have to be willing to change direction and follow where He might lead me. This same rule applies when a child becomes ill, a friend needs to talk, etc.. Interruptions happen, and looking at them from a God-line standpoint rather than trying to tackle my to-do list with perfection helps tremendously. And just so you know, I’m preaching to myself right now. I picked up one child sick from school this morning only to receive a call when I returned home that the other one is now vomiting.

  1. Do I still feel the passion of purpose, even while navigating real life, in the midst of working toward my dream?

In my life, when I feel the drive to keep going it’s usually from God. On my own, I become tired, distracted, and easily defeated. The fact that I’ve been blogging since 2012 and survived self-publishing a book tells me this is a God-ordained plan for my life. I feel it in my bones.

  1. Who needs me in my own community?

What if we all invested as much time into who is standing tangibly before our eyes as we do pursuing our dreams? It is never outside the realm of possibility to pursue a dream and raise a family at the same time. We can absolutely do both! It’s balance, reevaluation, and the ability to restructure that will keep one sane.

I’ve just made a very big decision regarding my blog and new book. My choice to step out of my comfort zone and take a different path is causing reevaluation in my own life. Who knows? Maybe that’s why I had the dream last night.

If you’re struggling with this, I hope my words helped you today. I would love for you to leave some encouragement, with your own story, in the comments below.

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

Casting A Vision Through Darkness

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.-Romans 8_18(1)

When did you stop dreaming? When did you give up your vision?

If I’m not dreaming, I’m not happy. These days, I spend a lot of time turning my face to the heavens smiling at the One who changes impossibilities to possibilities. I praise the God who writes my name on tasks the world says I’m unqualified to accomplish. I stand expectant while respecting His will and knowing it’s ultimately the best plan for my life.

Bottom line: If I can’t cast a vision I feel trapped.

Without a sense of vision I might as well die. I know it sounds dramatic, but I need vision to live an abundant life. In my younger years, it was as if there was a cap closing off the flow of vision. There were days I wasn’t sure I would ever dream again. I lived through five miscarriages and a stillborn daughter. I learned that sometimes dreams die. Literally.

I was twenty when I had my first miscarriage, and I liken it to Eve standing in the garden eating a bite of that irresistible fruit. Unlike Eve, I didn’t do anything to cause the eye-opening effect of seeing the harsh realities of a world filled with not only good but so much evil. However, ready or not, I was faced with the shocking fact that bad things happen to good, godly people, and I was no exception.

It took time for hope to rise high enough to unhinge the obstruction hindering my dreams. I had to learn to muster faith in a brand new way. Overtime, I took back my dreams. After all, they were mine and there was no way I was going to allow the enemy to rob me of my faith in the God who can do ALL things.

When my daughter Courtney was born still at thirty-five weeks, we prayed over her asking for a miracle. As we held her sweet yet lifeless body, we wanted nothing more than for her tiny lungs to fill with breath, begin crying, and stun the medical staff at the hospital. She didn’t. We told God it would be for His glory and tried to convince Him through tears that He should give us this miracle. He didn’t.

Sometimes when you believe in the God of miracles and then feel slighted when you don’t get the one you think you need most, it’s painful and your perception of this great, big God changes.

For a very long time, I allowed my problems to be bigger than my God – The God who created the universe, which includes a sun that shines from 92.96 million miles away and still burns the skin. How could I ever have believed His design was faulty? How could I ever have believed He was smaller than the mountains I faced?

I tell you all this about my life only to encourage you. Friend, you must stand firm on the foundation of faith in a God who knows all, sees all, and has a plan for all things! You must continue to cast a vision for your life even when it seems too hard to think beyond today.

You cannot allow pain from your past, or even present, to dictate the abundance of your future. You have a purpose here regardless of what this evil world, and the enemy trying desperately to rule it, throws your way. And better than that, you serve a God who created you, loves you, and wants a relationship with you. He breathes dreams deep down in your soul and those dreams and visions for your future have the power to restart your heart regardless of the attacks you face.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

-Romans 8:18

God wants to reveal Himself in you and through you! That scripture tells you how much worth you have! You are so valuable to the One who created you.

There is much that can be stolen in this life, but your faith in God is yours alone. No one can take it. Stake a claim to your dreams even in the face of adversity!

Don’t give up; cast your vision!

Love,

Jennifer

I’m thankful to share my words along with many others today at #TellHisStory with Jennifer Dukes Lee.

 

 

 

 

 

Just In Case You’re Wondering Who You Are…

Just In Case You're Wondering Who You Are...

The other day I was speaking to a group of women and said, “I want to know who you are, but better than that, I want to know if you know who you are.” As a result of that question I’ve been pondering my own answer.

Almost every day of my life I ask God if I’m doing enough – if I’ve pleased Him. I can tell you that even when I know I’ve lived my purpose for the day, I rarely feel good about it. My personality is to critique every move I’ve made and word I’ve said. I relive my daily agenda listing all I could have done better rather than take two seconds to appreciate any accomplishments.

I tend to be hard on myself. You too?

I’ve been thinking about my own transformation from childhood to the grownup world I reside inside. I wish I could stoop down to the height of the little blond girl I used to know so well and tell her to lighten up, she’s going to grow up to kill it. She’ll sing and laugh and even be able to bang out a song that makes sense on the piano she always dreamed of playing. She’ll be loved by a great man that God sent just for her, and she will have amazing, healthy, God-serving kids. I want to put her on my lap and tell her that grief will come but it’s joy that will remain. Life won’t be easy but she won’t do it alone and no matter what comes her way Jesus will always be faithful. I want to snuggle her in and say, “You’re bound to make mistakes, kid, but don’t fret, you’ll learn from them and be stronger as a result.”

I remember her fear so well. Sometimes, I still feel it. In those moments I think she can easily whisper something helpful to me. “Hey there, it doesn’t last. The fear will pass and you’ll be fine. You aren’t dying, so quit thinking that panic and anxiety will put you in an early grave. It comes and goes but Jesus helps and He won’t ever leave. Just breathe; you’ve got this! We’re growing up to be better than okay.”

That child had dreams that this adult loves to reminisce. Every single one was God inspired and, throughout adult years, morphed into different shapes and sizes to meet His plan. I intend to work harder at remembering I don’t have to be so tough on myself. Everything is working together for good just like the apostle Paul was faithful to write in Romans 8:28.

When God breathes big giant dreams, the enemy tries to tell you why there’s no way they can be lived. Lies, lies, all lies.

Friend, maybe you’re like me. And if you are then I strongly suggest you reminisce the little child you once knew so well. Think about what she might tell you and what you might tell her. Think of all the ways the hand of God protected her and molded her.

Perfectionism has the ability to perfectly destroy women. Let’s put an end to that! (Click to tweet)

Just in case you need reminded of who you are…

You are chosen! (1 Peter 2:9)

You are His workmanship! (Ephesians 2:10)

You are a child of God! (John 1:12)

You were bought with a price! (1 Corinthians 6:20)

You are an ambassador of Christ! (2 Corinthians 5:20)

You’ve been saved by grace through faith! (Ephesians 2:8-9)

You can do all things through Christ! (Philippians 4:13)

You have plans and purpose! (Jeremiah 29:11)

You are forgiven! (Colossians 1:14)

And, friend, the list goes on and on!

Love,

Jennifer

Because The World Needs You…

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.-Matthew 5_16 subheading

For as long as I can remember,  I’ve heard a familiar idiom escape the lips of older, wiser people: “The world is going to hell in a hand basket.” It sounds like such grownup terminology, doesn’t it? And the older I get, as I turn on the news in hopes of informing myself on politics and real live important issues from around the globe, everything in me wants to shout those very same words because, after all,  they feel true. But I can’t.

Somewhere deep inside there’s this tiny little well of hope that bubbles. It’s a voice that speaks, a heart that beats, and a place where faith and optimism chooses a dwelling place. If all of us could just take some time to reconnect with that little wellspring down deep how we see the world would undoubtedly change.

Don’t get me wrong, we won’t see all roses. More likely,  some of the picture will include edibles hanging heavy from branches – just like we learned way back in Genesis surrounding the fruit on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The question becomes, will we bite or not?

Here’s what I’m trying to say: From almost the very beginning the world has been a messy yet joyful, confused place. There’s always been rich and poor, healthy and sick, optimists and pessimists. And in all this, there are some who choose to speak negativity, some who choose to wear designer blinders, (By the way, I’ve owned a pair or two of those.) and then there are some who decide to let their wellsprings bubble up and over, pouring out the healing powers of community on others who need it.

It comes down to this: the world needs you! Your gifts, your talents, your voice, your heart. The world needs your dreams and inspiration, it needs your passion and pursuit. There is no one else exactly like you and so someone out there is waiting for what only you can give.

God created you and He leaves NOTHING He creates. He hovers and breathes the breath of life even when you don’t feel it or want to feel it. Here’s the catch, you have free will and free choice. He’s already chosen you, but will you choose Him? Will you choose to be the light you were created to be?

The world needs your light, friend.

You can help feed, clothe, encourage, love , and teach. You can use your art as inspiration and your freedom in Christ to help build bridges and fill gaps. You can pray.

Sometimes, we need to stop confessing what’s bad so that we can get busy showing the good of God. With our hands, with our feet, with our hope, and with our love we can be light in all that appears dark.

 Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart,
and so find favor and high esteem
in the sight of God and man.

-Proverbs 3:3-4

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

-Matthew 5:16

Love,

Jennifer

 

You Can’t Kill A God Dream!

You Can't Kill A God Dream!

I’ve been staring at a blank screen for days. The blinking cursor mocks me as it seems to cry out, “You have nothing to say!” But that’s not true. I do have something to say; I’m just not quite sure how to say it.

My one word for this year is change. I’ve been leery to share it because truthfully, change is scary and it isn’t always good. Many of us don’t like saying the word because it disrupts the flow of comfort and makes us gravely aware of our limitations. Do you know what often accompanies change? Loss of control. Yeah, I know, everybody’s favorite. Here’s the thing: We often forget that we’re only limited when we think in terms of what we can accomplish without Christ rather than what we can accomplish with Him. And, as difficult as it is, relinquishing control into the hands of God needs to become priority in everyday life.

And so even though I have a million thoughts stirring in my heart begging to be typed out and sent into the blogosphere, I’m only compelled to type one important fact tonight:

With Christ ALL things are possible. (See Matthew 19:26)

The dreams stored in your heart – you know, the ones you’re ready to forget because they don’t make sense and you think you’ve somehow missed God… Well, I’m willing to bet you haven’t missed Him at all. Those dreams belong to you alone. They’ve been planted and uniquely designed specifically for you.

You can’t kill a God dream! (Tweet that)

I’m going to say it again! You can’t kill a God dream no matter what you do. It will always rise up in your soul and beg for freedom. And it’s you that has the power to give that dream wings, because God gifted it to you. Forever it will pursue you.

In my own life, I’ve been worried about God whispering the word change into my heart, but what I know for sure is that if I’m unwilling to accept change, then I can’t ever move from where I am, even if I like the view. God’s view is always better, always more exciting, and always sure to lead me to my purpose.

I know you might be afraid to let your dream go uncontained. Believe me, I’ve been in situations where I’ve needed discipled and instead felt disabled. I’ve felt death to dreams before I realized this: When we give our dreams flight they might go different directions than we think they should. That doesn’t mean they are wrong, we’ve missed God, or that they won’t come to fruition. It only means our planted dreams were given to us by the creator and He will blow them in the direction of His choice, in His time, in His way.

Our dreams often look so much different than we’ve imagined them.

My point in all this is that you can do anything with Jesus by your side. Uncage your dreams and give up control by allowing God to use His breath to blow them in the direction of His making. Don’t live afraid of the work it takes, the time that may pass, or anything at all that seems nonsensical. God is a God of mystery.

Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His.
21 And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.22 He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him.

-Daniel 2:20-22

We serve a God who is in charge of change within the trajectory of life. He does what He sees fit; sometimes it’s hard and sometimes joy-filled. Regardless, when we stay open to His commands we walk in a path of life where deep and secret things are revealed. He carries us and plants hope inside as He excavates the dark parts meant to be filled with light. He renews us and allows the humble to rise up through hurt and loss. He sweeps up broken pieces while working for us and never against us. He is the God who plants dreams and receives glory when we allow Him to work them together for our good.

With God ALL things are possible.

ALL. THINGS.

Do you have a dream in need of wings?

Love,

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Your Place (And an Announcement!)

Jenniferkostick.com(3)

We’re almost ready to say goodbye to another year. I don’t know how 2015 treated you in particular, but I’m sure some of us are ready to turn the page with excitement. A new year means new possibilities and new hope. Friend, we can’t live without hope. There’s just no way to wake up in the morning and face this world without humbling ourselves to the realization that we serve a good God who has the ability to change everything with one word.

Dear Jesus, please speak mercy over us.

I like to set goals at the beginning of each year. Not so much resolutions like eat healthy, exercise, and lose weight. Although, I’m not hating those ideas… However, I find more fulfillment when I pray about what God might want me to do, and then figure out how He wants me to do it. Seriously, it can seem like rocket science until we realize it’s simply obedience. And, yes, I realize sometimes obedience is not at all simple. But as far as life’s journey goes… He doesn’t expect us to have the map in hand, He just wants us to obey one step at time until we get where He designated us to be.

For me, 2015 was challenging and exciting all at the same time. I spent the year healing from loss and learning to process grief all over again, I became a full time seminary student, and a prominent literary agency found me and asked me to review a book for them. In exchange they reviewed a manuscript for a new book I’ve written. I was given excellent feedback that went as far as a phone meeting with the director of author relations, but essentially was told they can’t sell me quite yet because my platform isn’t large enough. Believe it or not, I wasn’t scarred over the process. If anything, it’s confirmation to keep doing what God wants me to do, which is encourage women.

And, so, 2016 means that I will be self publishing another book!!! I’ll be announcing more about that within the next couple months! I also have four speaking engagements to kick off the year, but most of all, I’m excited to finally appreciate that as a child of God, it’s my Father who decides my path. My platform as it stands right now might mean that a large publishing house won’t pick me up, but God always picks me up. He uses me for who I am, where I am. And friend, I’m excited to be here.

I’ve often envisioned myself standing in front of one of those giant maps at the mall staring at the big red dot that seems to audibly, and unrelentingly, scream, “YOU ARE HERE.” In my silly daydream the journey to get from one end of the property to the other seems exhausting, because let’s face it, those maps are confusing. But here’s the truth I’ve awakened to: It’s not about getting from point “A” to point “B.” It’s about discovering the unique plan created for me and finding my place within it. In case you’re wondering, you also have a unique plan and a very specific place to occupy!

This online space grew by leaps and bounds in 2015. I don’t do crazy advertising, I’m not one to carry affiliate links on my blog, not because I’ve not been given opportunity, but because I want to encourage people in their faith and never want to make people feel as if I’m selling something. It’s bad enough I ask you to buy my book, but I’m called to that. Listen, I’m not judging anyone who does promote affiliate links, it’s smart for branding and growing. And, if I ever feel led to make the decision to try it then I will, but right now, I usually turn those opportunities down because God has impressed me to grow solely through words of encouragement. I say all that to say, it’s a miracle my blog has grown over the last year! Or ever!

To be honest, over the years, making those decisions have been unnerving. It’s scary to walk in obedience knowing that because I don’t network the way the industry tells me to, that I might never grow my platform to the extent I’ve been told it needs to reach. However, when it comes down to it, He calls us to individual ministries uniquely set apart by Him to do what He created us to do. My plan is different from yours, your plan is different from mine, and  it’s exciting!

We all need to reawaken to His distinctive love. (Tweet that)

He’s carved out plans specifically for each life, tailored to individual needs that will fulfill His purposes. Wow!

I don’t know what it is you’ve been called to conquer in 2016, and maybe you don’t know yet either, but what I do know is that God is for you and He wants you to look at the place you’re standing in right now as a place of hope. He has a journey specifically for you and it’s filled with adventure and love far beyond your wildest dreams.

He is the God who will do exceedingly, abundantly more than you ever thought possible. But friend, He will do it HIS WAY. The sooner each one of us grasps that truth with open arms, the sooner we will follow His lead with great expectation of promises only He can fulfill.

Here’s to new hope!

Happy almost New Year!

Love,

Jennifer

 

Because We All Need Friends

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The struggle to lead a still life is exactly that… a struggle. Because the truth is we’re all looking for peace in the midst of some type of turmoil. Grief from death, job losses, marriages, and even the way we feel about ourselves can easily lead us outside the landscape of a still life. We are all on a quest to maintain peace in the thick of a turbulent, fast moving world.

The only way any of us stand a chance is Jesus. He is our hope, salvation, and He makes everything new. He is a God of resurrection and fresh beginnings, and while we are here fighting the good fight, He often sends us help.

Help often comes in the form of wonderful people we call friends. People who share our joy and tears. The ones who care more about the cleanliness of our hearts rather than our houses, and even more importantly, they pray. They pray when circumstances are good and bad.

C.S. Lewis said this, “Friendship is born at that moment when one man says to another: “What! You too? I thought that no one but myself . . .””

We all need someone we can trust and confide in. Someone to help bear our burdens and lighten the weight of present circumstances. Someone who will make you feel better about life just because they exist!

Laughter and chocolate with a sweet friend will help bring stillness in the midst of the storm.

This is the day that the Lord has made, call a friend and rejoice in it!

Love,

Jennifer

PS: If you’ve missed any part of my October Series, The Struggle to Live a Still Life, click here and scroll down for links to previous posts.

Stillness Requires Vision

Stillness Requires VisionEverything that’s human about us requires more than just staying in the same spot. We are eager to move on to the next big thing and usually we have it all planned out in our heads. This is why it’s frustrating when God calls us to a season of waiting and praying.

However, deeply tucked inside the waiting for whatever comes next, bubbles hope.

I love watching my children blow bubbles in the summertime. Each one glistens in the sunlight showing off a rainbow of colors that float into the air just like our prayers.

And I have to think that our hope and prayers, when given with a thankful, repentant heart waiting still in His presence, must translate into beautiful colors reflected off the hope we have in Christ. Our hope glistens in the S-O-N.

Yesterday, I mentioned that God places our desires deep within our hearts and the more we seek Him, the more available we are to His will rather than our own.

I tend to see those desires as tiny bubbles releasing in the air one by one. Those desires translate to hope, and hope leads to visions and dreams of what’s to come.

I’ve said this already, but I’m going to say it again: To be still in God doesn’t mean we can’t move ahead. It doesn’t mean we can’t pursue dreams and passions placed deeply inside our souls. Being still in His presence actually means moving within it. it’s about stepping forward at His pace and never our own.

In order to do that, we must have hope and vision for our future. It’s time to build on a solid foundation of Christ understanding that being still really means listening intently to His voice in our lives, even when we are running full speed ahead. As long as each stride is in Him, we will be okay.

If you’ve somehow lost the vision for your life, if you’ve forgotten how to dream, you must remember hope.

We have a sure hope in Christ Jesus and stillness in Him requires to trust in that hope. Open your eyes to things ahead, and let your dreams bubble forth.

Love,

Jennifer

If you’ve missed any part of my October Series, The Struggle to Live a Still Life, click here.