Tag Archives: Trust

The Word is good and perfect

30 Apr

Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. James 1:16-18 (ESV)

Also, note how The Message words verse 18:

He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.

He brought you to life. He brought me to life…with the Word. It is a good and perfect gift. Are you receiving it with the same fervency you would receive a brand new car or iPad as gifts?

Jen

Meet Bear

20 Apr

While skimming through my past blog posts, I realized that I don’t share too much about my personal life: my friends, my family, my job, etc. Perhaps that’s because I don’t want this blog to be about Jen. I want it to be about what GOD is doing in my life, and I want to encourage others along the way.

But what this post will accomplish is two-fold: you’ll get to know me a little better AND I hope you will be encouraged as a result.

So, without further ado…

Meet Bear

Image

If you noticed the masculine name AND the pink on the collar, do not be alarmed. This is indeed a female dog. With the wild personality of a Bear.

Bear is a 50 percent maltese and 50 percent pomeranian. She is loud. She is slightly undisciplined. She’s an ankle-biter. She’s spoiled. She has allergies. She’s slightly overweight. She loves to go for a walk, but if you tell her you’re taking her for one beforehand, she’ll run and hide. She hates her harness. She despises all of the cute, pink, adorable clothing and Halloween costumes I’ve purchased for her. Her least favorite clothing item is her red Christmas pajamas. She barks at the television whenever a dog or horse appears and makes noise. Sigh. She’s a rebel.

But do you want to know what else she is?

She’s a lover. If I’d let her, she’d lick all of my tears dry. She loves to cuddle. She constantly pants/smiles. She brings me her toys and bones to greet me. She “lets” me rub her tummy several times per day. She knows how to comfort me. She makes me LAUGH.

She is a blessing.

Yes, I know, she’s only a dog. She’s not eternal. She won’t live forever. But she came into my life at a perfect time. I’m so glad that we made her a part of our family in 2009. She has been around for three years of serious growth in my life and a time of being thrust into adulthood. A time when I would need my puppy.

She is a beautiful example of faithfulness that mirrors (even just a little) God’s faithfulness. No, I don’t mean to liken the Lord to a dog, but she never leaves my side. And she loves me, even when I mess up.

She is a gift from God that he brought into my life to bring me joy, however silly that may seem to any of you who aren’t pet owners.

She isn’t my only comfort, but she sure can turn a bad day into a good one. I thank God for her every day. I also thank God for HIS faithfulness every day.

Can anyone else relate?

Jen

God knows better than I do

10 Apr

Do you ever feel like your prayers go unanswered? Have you ever thought that maybe God has something else for you other than what you’ve been asking for? Something that will answer your prayers, but not the way you want him to? Perhaps that’s because he’s got even better plans for your life than what you could imagine.

I’ve experienced this multiple times within the last few years, and even within the last few weeks. In one instance, I’d prayed for so long that God would make something happen in my life that I thought would be simply perfect.

Turns out, it wouldn’t have been so perfect. He answered my prayer loud and clear, saying, “No.” But then I continued to listen. And he began to reveal to me that he had something else…something better, and something that would bring him glory. But it requires trust. Why? Because I have no idea what his plans are for my future, yet I must know that they will be for my good because that’s what his Word says (how many times can a girl reference Romans 8:28-29a before it becomes redundant? I’m thinking about three billion sounds good).

So anyway, here’s another example of how this has happened very recently: I’ve been out of full-time work since November 2011. For the first month, I was perfectly okay with that because I needed to focus on finishing up my last semester of college. But then I graduated, and four more months passed. Still no job. I was applying, I was praying, I was asking around…and yet, nothing. I wanted to be the girl who graduated and starting working full time right away. I wanted things to go smoothly and perfect.

But God knew what he was doing. He knew I was going to be facing a trial after the new year, and that I would need the first three months of this year to focus on my spiritual life and my relationship with him…without any distractions.

But my favorite part was this: he didn’t leave me penniless in the meantime. In fact, he provided all kinds of side work, freelance jobs and babysitting that has carried me through, paid my bills and even allowed me to set aside $800 so far for a new laptop (since I murdered my old MacBook with a glass of water. Dino, may you rest in peace). This time of working from home, babysitting a little and being frugal with spending has taught me complete dependence on God–a dependence I had not yet known.

It’s been beautiful. Even though I could look at this situation and say, “I’ve been praying for a job for almost six months, why is this happening, God?!” I know that he knew better!

So…in sharing all of this, I must also share that yesterday I got a phone call. I got a job. It’s only part time, but it’s my first step toward working full time again and it’s in my field! And I’ve got another interview on Thursday for a potential second job for the summer. He knows what he’s doing! He knows I’m ready and he will equip me as I dive back into “the real world.”

So let me ask you, are you struggling with trusting God today? Are you experiencing a time of unanswered prayers? Let me encourage you to continue to present your need to God, but then do your best to listen. Ask him to give you strength to follow his will and trust him no matter what the answer is to your prayers!

Jen

Britt Nicole and David knew what they were talking about

31 Mar

Nearly a year ago, I found myself home alone and listening to some really fun Britt Nicole songs while I cleaned out the disaster that had been glaring at me from underneath my bed for years. After the high-energy songs had all played and I was almost done cleaning, a beautiful song of Britt’s called “Have Your Way” came on.

I wasn’t expecting it, and it would be an understatement to say that it caught me off guard. Here are some of the lyrics:

Feels like I’ve been here forever,
Why can’t you just intervene?
Do you see the tears keep falling?
And I’m falling apart at the seams.
But you never said the road would be easy,
But you said that you would never leave.
And you never promised that this life wasn’t hard,
But you promised you’d take care of me.

So I’ll stop searching for the answers,
I’ll stop praying for an escape,
And I’ll trust you, God, with where I am,
And believe that you will have your way.
Just have your way.
Just have your way.

You see, at that point in my life, I had been struggling. Struggling because things were, once again, not going the way I had planned. I envisioned myself taking a glorious road toward all my dreams and desires coming true, but instead I found myself fighting to stay happy with my less-than-desirable circumstances. I wanted to force my dreams into reality, and I wasn’t letting God be God. I was trying to be my own God.

So when I heard this song, it utterly broke me. I burst into tears because I was hurting and could related to David in Psalm 13:1-4 when he cries out to the Lord in his brokenness, just like Britt does at the beginning of her song:

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul
and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God;
light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,”
lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.

But on that day it was like I was relating to only the part of the song that involved self-centered pity (“why can’t you just intervene?”). I was asking God, “WHY haven’t you made my dream come true? Where is my happily ever after? Why isn’t this working the way I want it to? How long will I continue to be this miserable?”

At that point in my life, I wasn’t ready to surrender the pen of my life’s story to God. I knew exactly what I wanted for my future, and I was going to do whatever it took to get there. Until then, my prayers would remain Jen-centered: “God, help this to work out. I need this.”

Needless to say, every time that song came on shuffle, I quickly skipped to next song. I couldn’t handle it.

What I’ve realized since then

At that time in my life, I didn’t know how to surrender my life to God, and it was purely out of fear. I was scared of losing the thing I held nearest to my heart–something so precious to me that I simply couldn’t give it up. It was an area of my life I knew I felt the Lord beckoning me to trust him with, but I refused.

Nine months later, I watched as that precious thing was taken from me. The thing I had been clinging to. And let me tell you with all of my heart, I have since learned so much, but mostly that HIS WAYS ARE BETTER THAN MY WAYS (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Words cannot even describe how it felt to have this happen to me. At first, I felt entirely hopeless and heartbroken. But, praise be to God, there is restoration in Jesus Christ and there is healing power in his Word. I have never felt so close to God in my entire life. I had to allow him to break me to get my attention, and the end result is a beautiful picture of complete joy in Christ. No more brokenness. No more fear.

It turns out that the thing I was most scared of happening is the very thing God is using to make me dependent on him and more like his Son. And I’ve never been more thankful for the fact that God is faithful, and he proved that to me by rescuing me from my brokenness.

And now for my favorite part, and the reason that I felt compelled to share this story with you…

It just so happens that a week ago I was driving home from church, once again rocking out to Britt when “Have Your Way” came on for the first time in awhile. At first I was tempted to skip to the next song, but then it hit me: I don’t need to. There’s nothing to avoid.

It’s safe to say that this song has become my anthem! Not one sorrowful tear fell for the entire duration of the song. It is now a song that brings me utter joy, and it reminds me that I can rest because I have trusted God with my whole life, and from every day forward I will continue to surrender and hand him the pen of my life’s story, in all seasons and circumstances and chapters.

Remember David’s Psalm? The one where he cries out and asks God why he has forsaken him? Do you remember how it ends? Check it out:

But I have trusted in your steadfast love;
my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord,
because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Just like Britt’s song, it ends with believing in God, trusting him and letting him have his way! I want to leave you with my new favorite lyric from that song. It’s a line that used to hurt because I couldn’t let go of my own dreams:

Even if my dreams have died,
And even if I don’t survive,
I`ll still worship you with all my life.

Allow me to urge you to surrender control to God today. He loves you, and if you will let him, he will write a beautiful story called your life.

Jen