What It Takes to Boldly Approach the Throne (Part Three)

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This month our study is focused on prayer and what it means to come boldly to the throne of God. If you missed week one, or Week two, you can click on the links to take you there.

Week Three Study Overview:

Today, we will look at a powerful prayer from Paul to the Colossians.

Key Point of Struggle:

How can we ever fully please God?

Key Proof of Comfort:

Oh Lord, You have searched me and Known me. Psalm 139:1

“…To ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and long suffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.”

– Colossians 1:9-12

Prayer has become a lifeline for me. Not just because I know that God is the only One who can do the impossible in my life, and the lives around me, but because it deeply connects me to Him. I need those conversations in my life. I’ve learned I don’t do well without them.

One of my favorite parts of reading anything from the apostle Paul is that we are essentially peeking into his mail when opening up the Bible to the books he authored. His letters were meant to encourage, instruct, and warn newly established churches. What is even more powerful to me is that in these letters he sometimes speaks of what he is praying over the people.

I believe God gives us words to pray over specific people and situations. When I was praying to become pregnant and we were facing what seemed an impossible circumstance, God put on my heart to pray these words: “Lord, make a way where there is no way.” I faithfully prayed that each day until He made the crooked way straight and left doctors who told me it was practically impossible to conceive, slack jawed in disbelief. He recently gave me a new word over my writing and speaking ministry. I know the power of what He chooses to hide in my heart, and so I’m praying this new word each day. No one can tell me He didn’t do the same for Paul. With my whole heart, I subscribe to the idea that God put the words Paul prayed, over the churches he ministered to, deep inside his heart. It’s no surprise to me that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write those prayers so that we can know the power they hold.

This morning when I awoke I began to pray the anointed, power-filled prayer from Paul to the Colossians over those I know and love.

This prayer speaks what seems impossible for the human condition, “…that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him.” I often struggle with the sin of my own heart and wonder if I will ever become who God intended me to be. However, I also know the power of our impossible God, the hope He gives, the mercy He pours, and the blood Jesus shed on the cross to gift me the opportunity of allowing my heart to be read through a filter of grace by the Almighty Himself. We have the power to escape the trap of sin because of forgiveness complimentary of agape love.

Today, I pray this prayer in Colossians over you. God looks at our hearts, searches, and knows us. He reads us through filters of grace and mercy through the Power of His Holy Spirit, which promises to break chains that nothing else has the power to break.

  • This week, I want to challenge you to write Paul’s prayer to the Colossians in your journal each day. Yes, that’s what I said. Write that prayer each and every day while committing to pray it over yourself and one other person throughout the week.

Love,

Jennifer

The Kingdom Building Call (Part Five)

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Week Five Study Overview: Today, we will discuss crisis and speak of how the fire in our bones can become a full-on blazing inferno.

Key Point of Struggle: Crisis! Why must we deal with it, and what do we do when it begins to shake our entire foundation, threatening to extinguish the fire in our bones?

Key Proof of Comfort: We are going to learn a powerful Holy Spirit declaration through John 16:13-15.

To recap, the last time we were with Jeremiah, he wanted to walk away from his calling but quickly recognized he couldn’t. He invited us into a small piece of his world when he revealed this:

Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.

-Jeremiah 20:9

Jeremiah dealt with crisis in the form of people beating him, chaining him, and making a mockery of his ministry. It was entirely possible that the crisis of dealing with flesh and blood, people who did not want to hear his words from the Lord, would also lead to a faith crisis. Jeremiah thought about walking away, but he couldn’t ignore the burning in his bones.

Have you ever felt like walking away?

I have.

I’ve been down roads paved thick with grief. I’ve stood all by myself with God and shaken my fists at an invisible figure. I’ve felt alone with a God who said He’s with me to deliver me but haven’t felt any deliverance whatsoever. And then after making peace with knowing that if I have no God then I have no life, I have once again felt the deep burning inside my bones. It’s how I know He’s there even when I can’t find resolve. I stand on promises and know that inside my bones there’s a kindling which cannot be contained. We live in a world full of sin. Crisis will come, but Jesus had a plan.

In John chapter 16, John shares with us the words our Savior spoke to His disciples. Jesus told them the Holy Spirit would come to be their Helper. I picture, in that moment, Jesus looking into the eyes of a bunch of wide-eyed men who grew more and more confused with every word He spoke. They hung onto each sentence for dear life but could not figure out what any of it meant.  And then crisis came. Their Beloved was captured and crucified. For three days the tomb was not empty, and the disciples were faced with a faith crisis. They had lived in a whirlwind of miracles and love so powerful it could restart hearts. It was a love that didn’t just feed mouths, but souls. They hadn’t known anything like it before and after experiencing it, knew they couldn’t live without it ever again. In my mind, I imagine John, who deemed himself the disciple Jesus loved, tearing through his memories working to solve an unsolvable mystery. I envision John remembering these particular words that Jesus spoke:

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.”

-John 16:13-15

When it was all said and done and death hadn’t beaten them, after they saw with their own eyes an empty tomb and a resurrected Messiah caught up in the sky, they waited. They sat together in an upper room when the Helper showed up and filled up. The breath of God came in the form of wind that would fill every heart with His Holy Spirit Helper – the Helper of all who believes. And to this day, it’s that same Wind that keeps the fire in our bones burning bright.

“For He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.” Those words from Jesus speak to me mightily.  I’ll tell you why:

Let’s talk for a brief moment about the word crisis. It comes from the Greek word Krisis, which means turning point from a disease. And that word Krisis comes from the word krinein which means to decide.

When we find ourselves in the middle of a diseased situation, it forces us to make some decisions. Crisis backs us into a corner and asks us what we’re going to do. And Jesus said, “He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you.”

Do you know what I need to hear in the midst of chaotic crisis? I need to hear the Holy Spirit’s declaration that I belong to Christ, that my identity is in Him and not in the situation that caused my crisis.

I am not grief!

I am not unforgiveness!

I am not a victim!

I am victorious in Christ, because I am the daughter of the living God!

Deep down in my heart of hearts, I know that when Jeremiah contemplated giving up his ministry, he heard the first words spoken to him by God. I believe they played on repeat and reignited the holy burn in his bones.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”

-Jeremiah 1:5

Friend, if you’re in the middle of crisis, I want you to know that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to live inside you and be your Helper. He wants to remind you that you were created intentionally for purpose, and that you’ve been set apart for a life only you can live. You are meant to bring Him glory. Your identity is found in Christ! You are His; the Holy Spirit wants to declare that to you. And you need to declare it out loud!

  • Who are you to God? Search scripture and write about it in your journal.
  • Psalm 143 is a beautiful psalm of David as he seeks wisdom and guidance in the middle of crisis. For deeper study, I encourage you to read the entire psalm, write 143:10 in your journal, and pray it over yourself every day this week.

 

Next week, we will be studying the widely known scripture in Jeremiah 29:11 as we close out our series on the faithful prophet Jeremiah.

When you learn to search the word, the word will come alive to you like never before. The fire in your bones will become an inferno. Don’t underestimate who God made you to become!

Love,

Jennifer

PS: I recently did an interview for Kimberly Taylor at Take Back Your Temple. If you’re interested, you can read it here.

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Your Path of Purpose…

You will make known to me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.-Psalm 16_11

This morning, I reached for my phone and immediately went to my Bible App looking for the verse of the day. I have to say I’m not big on electronic Bibles. I don’t necessarily like using my phone or any other device. There’s something about tangibly turning pages that connects me to the written words. But, sometimes, one just needs a quick word of encouragement.

You will make known to me the path of life, in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

-Psalm 16:11

Last week, I wrote to you about digging into the word of God more and how as a community of believers, I want us to do this together. I talked about October being the beginning of a series relating to purpose, and communicated that I want to know if you have questions or study suggestions relating to that theme as we move closer to that time. The response overwhelmed me.

I heard from some of you in the comment section of the blog, and received some beautiful heartfelt emails from others of you who are struggling with questions and difficult life situations. I’ve been praying for all of you and preparing to address  your thoughts in October.

I found it very timely for the above scripture to be today’s verse of the day. “You will make known to me the path of life…” As a body of believers, we must hold tightly to this. With everything we are we need to find hope in those words, refusing to give up when we feel lost. We often find ourselves searching for answers in the midst of hard battles and usually don’t know which way to go. That’s when the word of God takes over and breathes life into desolate circumstances.

Today, I want to encourage you with Psalm 16: 11 and remind you that the word of God is infallible. What is written in that book is truth in its purest form. God will make His path known to us when we seek Him with our whole hearts. It’s possible that we may not see with complete clarity along the way, but when we’ve arrived at our destination, and we will, His fingerprints will be all over the map of our land.

Friend, regardless of how you’re feeling today, seek His presence. You will find fullness of joy in that place. Seek His hand of direction over your life, there are pleasures there forevermore. The Psalms aren’t just sweet sayings meant to tickle your ears; they are words of life from the Father of love, light, and wholeness. Your path of purpose has been forged long before you arrived on this earth. Together, we will discover what this means throughout our October series.

Be encouraged today!

If you missed my post last week, you can find it here. If you have any questions or study topics to suggest, please leave a comment either here or on last week’s blog post. You can also email me at jen@jenniferkostick.com.

Be confident in His word. He will make your path known!

Love,

Jennifer

Why You Need to Make Praise Your Purpose…

_Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day._-Psalm 71_8

“Let my mouth be filled with Your praise and with Your glory all the day.”

-Psalm 71:8

This entire Psalm is written from the perspective of an older person having already left the days of his youth. The particular plea we read in verse 8 gives us a great example of prayer that should never leave our lips regardless of age.

How often do we exhibit praise and glory to God in the midst of tiring and trying circumstances? How often do we show the love of Jesus in a traffic Jam, or when we’re angry with the next door neighbor? How often do we allow our mouths to be empty of praise and glory unto Him? If I’m going to be honest, I have to say I can easily forget. I often let the sin of my heart, and the tug-of-war between my flesh and the Spirit of God who dwells inside, to battle more often than needed.

We can’t control everything in life, nor should we try, but there are many choices we can make that might kill our pride, but in the end, sooth our spirits in the form of grace.  And by the way, choosing to kill our pride is needed in order to massacre the sins of our flesh looking to consume us. Humility is the key to grace.

James tells us that God gives grace to the humble. More grace! (See James 4:6)

I’m in need of grace every single day of my life. My prayer is that I will become much better at choosing, even in the midst of life’s difficulties, that my mouth be filled with praise and with the glory of God.

We all face circumstances, some major; some minor, that should cause us to look at Psalm 71:8 with new eyes. Putting death to pride and breathing life to humility isn’t easy, but freeing. It’s a challenging request from our heavenly Father reminding us He is for us, not against us.

May each of us allow our mouth to be filled with praise and glory. May we keep in mind that pride is a killer and humility is grace in the form of CPR meant to give us each, not just eternal life, our best life right now. Your circumstances might be hopeless, but the good news is you serve the God of hope! When we fill our mouths with praise, it’s like administering medicine which opens our eyes to His gift of grace surrounding us every moment.

Bottom line: Every negative circumstance shows glimmers of positivity and hope when we praise the Almighty.

Make praise your purpose!

Love,

Jennifer

Because I Can’t Keep Track of All These “National Days”

Because I Can't Keep Track of All These _National Days_

Silly picture, right? I’m not big on selfies, but I thought (And this is so not like me.) a little cup of virtual coffee might be a nice way to start today. Here’s why…

According to social media, every single day is meant to be known for something. Doughnut day, siblings day, you name it, there is somehow newfound significance to a regular Wednesday. As of my Facebook feed this morning, I’ve been made aware one day too late that yesterday was National Best Friends Day. (C’mon, Facebook, you’re better than that!) It was also National Name Your Poison Day… I’ll let that one go.

I’m an introvert, and so I have a very small grouping of people I trust with my life. They are special to me and if the chips are down, I know where I can go. But guess what? Sometimes I don’t. Often, because of my personality, I like to pretend I’m okay, put on a smile, and not let anyone see what’s going on inside. I’m guessing there are many of you shaking heads in a resounding amen right about now. Am I right? Sometimes, this behavior is necessary. Other times, God is saying, “Step out of your box; my children need each other.”

God in all His brilliance designed relationships. From our relationships with Him, to marriage, to friendship – we have examples all throughout the Bible of beauty right smack dab in the middle of difficulty. We’re made to love, reach out, and steady another human. We are called to influence, share wisdom, be cheerleaders, counselors, cry partners, and crazy joy dancers with others. We are made for each other. We truly can be the hands and feet of Christ.

Maybe you don’t have a group of girlfriends. Maybe you’ve been so apprehensive about putting your own needs and problems out in front that you’ve not even trusted your closest confidant with your heart’s cry. If that’s true of who you are, I want to encourage you to reach out to someone today. You don’t have to share your deepest problems or most intimate secrets, you can just take this average Thursday to let someone else know you’re there for them. In today’s day, it’s easy to make someone aware you’re thinking of them. A simple phone call, text message, email, or social media post will do the job. And, if you’re a super introvert like I tend to be, maybe you can open your Bible and pray a scripture over their lives. I can’t think of a better way to support someone in this life than taking them to the throne in prayer.

I’ve often found that my deepest needs are met in the middle of serving someone else. (Tweet that.)

On this blog, I tend to get email and Facebook messages over comments. People usually like to share prayer requests privately. And let me tell you, I love hearing from you! Today, though, I thought maybe we can use the comments and encourage each other. Tell a story about a close friend, cheer for someone else, share a cup of virtual coffee together. Is that corny? I think so, but I like it anyway!

I’m not even sure if there’s a way to post pictures in the comment section because my tech skills are lacking. (Shout out to my husband for keeping this blog running!)

Anyway, someone out there needs to hear from you, and you need to hear from them!

Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

-Proverbs 27:17

Happy belated National Best Friends Day!

Love,

Jennifer

PS: Last year, I wrote this post about belonging to community. You might want to give it a read.

 

You’re Braver Than You Know

YoureBraverThanYouKnow

I’m convinced that each day people live amazing stories without realizing what’s unfolding around them. In every moment, ready or not, the crazy beautiful unfurls. It often spills out in the form of tears, lost dreams, and maybe even includes some cemetery dirt. To find the lovely we have to pursue it, chase after it, lose our breath digging through what no one else would ever wish. It takes knees bent to the ground, audacious enough to be honest about their fury, in order to unearth holy fire.

Almost twenty years ago, I buried a baby girl in a pink casket. It changed my life – mainly because I almost buried myself with her. However, it was through the grieving process I became whole. In my book, I told a story about fighting insanity which begged me to go dig her up in the middle of the night. For a very long time, I thought every dream I ever had was buried in that tiny, pink death box six feet under.

You’re braver than you know.

 The Lord told Joshua to be strong and courageous; we have evidence of it in Joshua 1:9. Those words apply to all of us. When God spoke to Joshua, at the very same time, He was speaking to us. And, He was fully aware of it. It didn’t matter that we hadn’t yet been conceived, or hadn’t faced a fallen world with lots of hard quests to attempt conquering. He knew our names from the very beginning and when He believed in the patriarchs, He was believing in us at the same time. He spoke prophetically to a world full of humans He knew would one day exist.

Mind blowing, isn’t it?

It’s National Infertility Awareness Week and if you know me, then you know that fifteen years of my life was wrapped up tight in sorrow from miscarriage, stillbirth, and secondary infertility. You probably know I began writing because suffering led me to find my dreams again. Actually, it led me to dreams I didn’t know I had.

You may have never suffered infertility or fetal death of any kind, your problems might be entirely different. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter. Suffering binds us close, and when it comes to the language of tears we are all fluent. What does matter is this: there is a God who believes in you and knows you have it in you to be strong and courageous. He knows you have the ability to not only win this battle, but the whole war. Why? Because He’s already claimed victory for you. Jesus died to seal you victoriously with His spirit. Abundant life in every form is waiting for you!

Listen, we get wrapped up in over-thinking problems and losing faith inside fear. It doesn’t have to be that way. You aren’t defined by infertility, death, or grief from any source. You are defined by a living God who says, “You can do ALL things.” (See Philippians 4:13)

We must learn to serve God in the midst of “even if not” Yes, He can deliver you, but even if not, He has a plan. Even if not, He loves you. Even if not, every foe will be defeated! He tends to answer in His way rather than ours. He doesn’t need our advice or help, only our prayers and trust. It was when I learned to trust God in the midst of the even if not, that I became free to believe in the mystery of what might be next. What we cannot see is always more beautiful than what we think we can see. Our vision is more hazy than most of us would like to admit.

To all of you who are hurting, I want to challenge you to believe in the even if not. Trust in what He wills, and believe in the God who has always believed in you! Be strong and courageous! And if you feel like it’s not in your power to be strong and courageous, then good. Because it’s only in His power. Friend, it’s the only way. He is the only way!

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

-Joshua 1:9

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me…”

-John 14:6

Love,

Jennifer

If you would like to read my journey, you can learn more about my book by clicking here.

 

Two Pieces of Wood…

JenniferKostick.com

Lately, I’ve been traveling from point A to point B without knowing how I arrived there. The last couple months of my life have been insane.  The journey of seminary has been beautifully overwhelming and Lord knows this blog has been quieter than ever before, but through the mountains and valleys, I’m finding peace by learning how to manage chaos and embrace a new normal.

Good Friday would have been Dominic’s 60th birthday. As much as I wanted to share with you what God’s been doing, pressing my fingers to the keyboard to type just didn’t seem appropriate. Sometimes we need to be emptied out to fill back up. I’m full again.

Like most of us, I spent Good Friday feeling grateful for the work of the cross. I’m still amazed that two pieces from a tree were large enough to build a bridge to heaven. As I pondered the agony of my Savior, I was able to thank Him for making this world connect to the next.  Because of Jesus, death is never the end, it’s only the beginning.  Yet, even though I’m fully aware of the hope He suffered to give, I’m also aware that in the name of grief, the enemy tries to block hope. And the more I work to process this, the more I realize it’s because tragedy usually chases us to seek Jesus like never before. If grief keeps us away from Him, then hope slowly dies, but if we allow it to pull us closer, then hope becomes the great resuscitator. And, Lord knows, I often find myself in need of serious hope resuscitation!

I know it sounds strange, but losing those we hold dear awakens us to the eternal hope of what lies ahead. If we never faced adversity we might not ever experience dependence on Him, or desperation for Him. Listen, I firmly believe we need to need God through the best of times as well as the worst. And I believe many of us do praise Him in all seasons, but pain tends to show us how much deeper we can trust and how much stronger we can reemerge.  It doesn’t even have to be a major tragedy, one minor disturbance in life and the next thing we know our pull to faith and holiness is magnetic. We are quickly connected to the Father without any realization of how we got to Him so fast.

I was in the word constantly when Dominic was taken suddenly to heaven, and I still found myself gripped by the magnetic pull of seeking Jesus more than ever before. This leads me to believe that hope is found in the darkest of places, not just when things are better than ever and life is going our way. The very best parts of hope are found in the dirtiest, ugliest, and most unexpected places. Real hope is found in the grimy bits underneath the grossest garbage. And isn’t it something, that’s where treasure is found too!  Priceless finds are usually covered in dirt. Friend, when you choose hope, you choose life. When you hold hope, you hold everything!

Good Friday should have been a very bad day for my family. Instead, we rejoiced, each in our own way, because we believe firmly in the hope and magnetic pull of a God that says, “I want you closer, closer, closer still. “ Hello, Romans 8:28! And, in the middle of all my daily chaos and uncertainty surrounding how I’m making it from point A to point B within life’s responsibilities, I want to be overwhelmingly aware of what it is that leads me to my Savior.

Maybe today I can challenge you to do what I’m working hard to do myself. I never want to live one day void of hope, and because of that, even in tragedy, I’m learning to find my voice of praise. It seems to speak loudest inside dark places. Yours will too!  I’ve also been focusing on the vows I spoke to my husband so many years ago at our marriage ceremony.  I believe they should be what we think of when it comes to our commitment to Christ. For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness in health, Dear Jesus, I do.

Never have I ever been so grateful for two pieces of wood.

How was your Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday?

Love,

Jennifer

 

The Question I’m Asking This Holy Week…

Diem

Once again, we find ourselves in the midst of Holy week. It’s a beautiful time for reflection as we think of the cross and its power of grace in our lives. Jesus paid the price, and there is liberty in His wounds. I don’t deserve it, but I’m so very grateful for it.

Throughout this week, I’ve had one particular passage of scripture in mind:

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.

-John 10:10-11

Jesus, the good shepherd, gave His life for me that I might have an abundant life. And so I’m forced to reflect and ask myself this question:

What am I doing to live an abundant life?

For me, an abundant life doesn’t mean comfortable and prosperous. It means serving others and living abundantly in the purpose I’ve been given. On Sunday, my pastor said this in regards to the church the Lord has given him to shepherd:

“We are a movement of people who are radically involved in reaching beyond these walls with the great commission. Perhaps we can be the people God uses.”

-Pastor Russ Horne.

All week those words have been playing on repeat in my mind: Perhaps we can be the people God uses. And in being the people God uses, we will live abundantly within the beauty of His death, resurrection, and ascension to the right hand of the Father.

If nothing else, I want to challenge you this holy week to think about your life, and ponder if you’re living abundantly within the freedom He died to give you. Listen, none of us can ever repay Him or do enough to equal what He did for us, but He doesn’t expect that. The Lord’s brother James, in his book, says, “But He gives more grace…” (See James 4:6)

Oh, friend, He’s always pouring out grace for us. The least we can do is trust Him, love others, and live abundantly within His beautiful promises.

  • He knew your name when He drew His final breath on the cross.
  • He knew your name when He arose in the tomb.
  • He knows your name now!

You’re enough for Him. Now go live abundantly in His name.

Love,

Jennifer

To read about the great commission, see Matthew 28:16-18

Your Hands Were Made for Unusual Miracles!

Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul..._

I look down at my hands and see small calluses on my palms from years of using cleaning products without gloves. I see the story of sunshine and recall teenage summer days without the slightest consideration for sunscreen. I reminisce forty-three years worth of life on these hands, and I sit lost in thought wondering how much I might have wasted them.

These days, my hands spend a lot of time turning pages in my Bible. I need to feel the crinkle of thin paper as I search scripture. Over the weekend, I was reading about Paul’s missionary journeys and I came across this:

Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul…

-Acts 19:11

Unusual miracles. I just can’t get those two words out of my head. God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul. And now as I look down at the hands I own; the hands God gave me, I wonder if He might consider doing the same through these callused, sun soaked hands as He did through Paul’s. I want these hands to work unusual miracles in whatever way that might mean for my life. I want to be used.

We seem to get carried away with the idea that unusual miracles means curing cancer or giving the blind sight, but I think God gives us power and opportunities to perform unusual miracles of which we are completely unaware.

I consider my hands as they make dinner for my family, caress my children’s heads as I pray for them, hold my husband’s hand as we lie in bed. I think of typing these letters to you and holding the microphone at church as I use my voice to minister. My fingers touch the piano and I can’t help but wonder if my song could be praise enough to move mountains without my knowledge.

Through it all, I’ve come to the conclusion that we are ALL living miracles created by a living God who desperately wants to use us. I think of His willingness to breathe life and make us whole while giving us hands to love, live, honor, respect, and pray. I believe we make choices everyday with our hands that cause unusual miracles. And, maybe it’s not years of sunshine on my hands. Maybe it’s years of God’s glory showing in the form of lines communicating the broken and beautiful of everyday. Maybe it’s not age as much as it’s His handiwork.

I’m no one special. I would love to stand on my soapbox and tell you that in the name of Jesus I would be willing and able to do what the apostle Paul did. But, friend, I can’t begin to identify with his trials and tribulations, and I’m not going to pretend I can. What I will say is that I want to be like that. I want to be brave enough, bold enough, eager enough, obedient enough. And most of all, I want my hands to bring God glory. However, I know I can only do that by being willing enough to say yes.

From now on, I’m going to work on waking up every morning with hands stretched in obedience and surrender to whatever He wants to use them for. I’ve never been more excited about serving the God who specializes in unusual miracles!

May we each serve the God of unusual miracles as He tells His story through our lives, may we feel the peace that comes from knowing we have opportunity to be His hands, and may we gaze at our own hands in awe of His capability to work in and through our lives.

You’re worth more than you know, and God can do more through your hands than you ever thought possible!

Love,

Jennifer

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What Will You Choose?

What Will You Choose_

This morning, after sending my kids to school, I noticed I was out of coffee cream. Lord knows coffee helps set the tone of my day, and so at that moment I determined the only time it’s acceptable for me to leave the house with printed yoga pants and a shirt that doesn’t completely cover the bottom half, is in a coffee emergency. Off I went racing to the store with no makeup, disheveled hair, and my yoga attire.

To give you a little more insight into my morning, I have to share that, yesterday, I went from classroom to classroom with rhythm sticks and hip hop music as I worked with each grouping of students on understanding rhythms. This body jiggled itself into needing a serious dose of ibuprofen. I’m moving slowly today.

On the way home from the store, I noticed a teenage girl waiting to catch the school bus. She was drop dead gorgeous! I almost couldn’t take my eyes off her youth and the fact that if she were to dance to hip hop beats all day while tapping out rhythms, her body wouldn’t dare remind her of such efforts. This is what’s lovely in the story of seventeen. Meanwhile, I’m feeling the out of shape story of forty-three. Ouch and ticktock!

To be honest, I felt envious for about half a second. And then I remembered this…

The silver-haired head is a crown of glory,
If it is found in the way of righteousness.

-Proverbs 16:31

To be honest, I think many of us have forgotten the truth in those words. I know I have. To move this nugget of wisdom from antiquity to modernity, I will say I probably spend more time than I should in a salon chair keeping up on my roots. With that in mind, this scripture is more about the heart.

We tend to live fearful of inevitable wrinkles and silver hair. Like most women, I spend each morning primping in front of a giant piece of glass which refuses to lie. It even uses my body to teach me science lessons on the subject gravity! But here’s the thing: the older I get, the better I am at living the life I was born to live. I wouldn’t trade who I am now for all the taut skin youth can offer.

Even though I know I can always make better choices and stand stronger in my calling, I’m okay with who I am and will continue to live a life pursuing the things of God.

I don’t know if I’ll ever truly embrace the lines taking up permanent residence around my eyes. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop coloring my hair, or wishing I was perfectly petite with bosoms in perfect position, but I do know what really matters:

Even to your old age, I am He,
And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear;
Even I will carry, and will deliver you.

-Isaiah 46:4

The same God who heard my prayers when I was a little girl with scraped knees, the same God who wiped my tears when I was a brokenhearted teenager, and the same God who picked me up as a young woman full of grief, is the very same God who will smile on my wrinkles and deliver joy with every gray hair to come. He will give strength in each moment and use my age to propel my gifts. And, friend, He will do the same for you!

One day, when I reach my eternal home, I will be delivered from the curse of aging and death, from sorrow and grief, and the joy I know now will be nothing compared to the Joy I will one day meet face-to-face.

And while I spend what I hope will be many more years walking this journey, I will continue to choose Jesus! And in choosing Him, I also choose wisdom and grace. I choose to use my years sharing hope to women who need someone. I choose to be a shoulder for tears, and a smile for sharing laughter. I choose to be a heart made to spill love, even over those who don’t share the same mindset and ideas. By the way, age teaches that also. To realize not everyone thinks the way I do has been a blessing at times. There have been many days in which I have shouted yes and amen based on the uniqueness and differences of people. I still have a lot to learn, and I want to live with an open heart guided by the Holy Spirit, not my own ideas.

Learning to live our purpose in every phase of life can be exciting. Be encouraged, He will carry you!

What will you choose?

Love,

Jennifer