While I have felt like a crazy woman for the past two weeks, so much goodness has come out of each day. Jesus is too good to me.
Steffany Gretzinger has one of the most beautiful voices to ever grace this earth, and you should all listen to this song (and her entire new album, The Undoing). The beauty and the truth in these lyrics that a dear friend shared with me are just too beautiful to try and put into my own words. It will blow your mind. The greatest time I listened to this song was in an Explorer with a brand new, incredibly lovely friend, and I just listened to these words pour truth into my heart & I felt freedom & tears welled in my eyes. God’s truth has the capability to do that to you.
I’ll be your lighthouse when you’re lost at sea, and I will illuminate everything. No need to be frightened by intimacy. No, just throw off your fear and come running to me. Whoa, ’cause I loved you before you knew what was love. And I saw it all, still I chose the cross. And you were the one that I was thinking of when I rose from the grave. Now rid of the shackles. My victory’s yours. I tore the veil for you to come close. There’s no reason to stand at a distance anymore. You’re not far from home…And oh, as you run, what hindered love will only become part of the story…Maybe, you’re almost home now. Please don’t quit now. You’re almost home to Me.
I have come to the conclusion that waffles from D-Hall (of the Lord), Steffany Gretzinger, and Jesus have the potential to completely transform your day. Completely turn rain into shine (however, I do love a good storm).
Today, I miss my best friend. I miss her sound advice & her beautiful words of wisdom & affirmation. That constant shoulder to cry on and person to give me six-pack abs from laughing so hard is no longer right by my side. No, she’s actually 800 miles away, and I miss her quite terribly. Do not get me wrong, I love a good challenge, but it’s very hard to take these challenges God places before me without my other half. I am slowly learning to navigate, and some days if I’m lucky, I can navigate with grace. Oh, Rinky. I miss you more than words. Your friendship is one I would never take for granted & I really do hope you know that. I think it’s time for you to move to Berry now (because I’m sorry, but I’m not coming to Texas). Come eat waffles & listen to Steffany Gretzinger with me. So as I sit in the very back corner of the library and tear up over these words and feel all nostalgic, know that every word you have said to me, I have stored away. I have saved it for a stormy day, when I need to hear words from you the most. Every note, every prayer in my box, every God-awful, embarrassing middle school picture has been saved. Thank you for listening to me rant & cry & blubber like a baby. You are such beautiful person, inside & out, and I am so lucky to call you a sister in Christ. God knew exactly what He was doing when we met. Often times, I picture Him sitting back and being so satisfied with the course our friendship has taken. I know He looks down and thinks, “Wow. I’ve done them well.” And He sure has. He has outdone Himself & I will be forever grateful for that. I know this is all sappy & I’m feeling all sappy, but just know, I love doing life with you. Everyone deserves a friend like you.
And now that you’re probably done with the first song I posted, you should probably go ahead and turn this one on. It will spark something in your heart that you didn’t even realize was there. My friends are full of amazing song suggestions.
Specific prayers are the greatest. I feel like God gets really excited when I pray these prayers. When I went to Guatemala back in April, God answered specific prayers, and I have always been one for some vague prayers, for some reason I’m still not sure of. There was one little boy. Dubini. Oh, Dubini. This child changed my life, to put it lightly. I don’t think I have ever felt so much joy in my heart, and I certainly didn’t realize you could feel so much joy from someone you didn’t speak the same language as. I could understand some of what he said to me, but most of the time, I wasn’t able to respond very well. My Spanish was extremely rusty when we went. Well, because of his rambunctious little self, he wasn’t going to be able to participate the events we had planned for Friday. I was devastated, especially when he started crying. I thought I wouldn’t see him at all after Thursday night, so I bawled like a baby when we had to say goodbye that afternoon. We were going on house visits that night, and before we left, I prayed so hard. Jesus, please let me see him one more time. I need more time with my sweet Dubini. I need to see him again. I need more time with him. I did more pleading than anything else.
We left to go on visits, and we arrived at the house of Oralia and Alex. Oralia told us she wanted to show us where one of her friends from the ministry lived. We walked a little ways to another one of the homes. We were with a large group of people, and over the tops of heads, I saw this tin door open. Before I could understand what was going on, I saw those big brown eyes and the little smattering of freckles across his nose and I heard that laugh. Dubini. We hugged and he grabbed mine and my friend’s, Gracie’s, hand. He was so proud of his home. He wanted to show us everything and take us to do his chores. In those moments with Dubini, I just found myself continually thanking Jesus. This was not a coincidence.
I remember the ride back to the ministry and how I had told my youth minister that God had never granted me something that specific. He asked, “Well, have you ever prayed that specifically before?” I hadn’t. I hadn’t trusted Jesus like that before, and now a new part of my heart reflected the faith and trust I had put into Jesus’ will for my life. I surrendered.
These specific prayers have come in handy lately. I find that the majority of my prayer time has been me asking Jesus to just challenge me. Jesus, push me to my limits and let me see how much I rely on You. Let me seek trust in You & renew my faith in You. I hate depending on others. I always want to do everything myself because I find comfort in knowing what I can and can’t do, not what others will and won’t do. However, I really began to stretch myself, and I finally came to a point when I said, “Jesus, this is not my own. I am not my own. These are not my circumstances. They are Yours. Please take them. Take me, and make me new. Create in me a clean heart.” And He told me I am worthy. Jenna, I will challenge you beyond what you ever thought possible because you are worth so much more. I am here. Lean into me. Your self worth is not defined by this world because you are Mine. You are a precious and holy child of God. I do see you. I listen. I challenge. You are more than you could ever imagine. You are capable of more than you give yourself credit for. You are beautiful & you should not succumb to this world. I will betroth you to me. I will always hold you. Search into the deepest parts of your heart, and you shall find me. I have been a Father for a very long time, so why don’t you trust Me? You are worthy. You are worthy. You are worthy.
There have been so many of these challenges lately. Challenges of stress and to-do lists and consuming thoughts and self-doubt. But He sets me secure on the heights, and for that I am grateful. He knows exactly what He’s doing, and in my heart, I know where my faith and dependency lies, and it will always be with Jesus. “He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.” (Psalm 18:33). He gets it.
Little tidbit of advice: “We can’t know everything, but I want to.” If we knew what would happen in every aspect of our lives, we wouldn’t have to have a daily dependence on God. My roommate is a very wise woman. We all have dreams. We (girls) all dream of magical weddings and our children’s names and who our future husbands will be and what our college majors will end up being and every turn our lives will take, especially the sharp ones, and which career path we will end up taking (even if we don’t care to admit all of these things). However, if we knew all of these things, that dependency on God is lost, and ultimately, our relationship with God would just be a dim light. How sad is that? But how adventurous is it knowing that every day when we rise, we must depend on God and stay faithful because He knows? He knows the entire trajectory of our lives. He knows everything about you, and He still loves you. Let that sink in today.
This week, I challenge you to wholeheartedly lean into Him because you will begin to understand how faithful He is. This requires daily surrender to Jesus, but great is His faithfulness. When you lean into Him, He will lean into you, and you will realize that your self-worth is defined only by your Heavenly Father. Your self-worth is not defined by academics or friends or how involved you are or your job or by what guys think of you or by what you have done or what you eat or what you think of yourself. Your self-worth comes from Jesus, and if that’s not a huge relief, then I don’t know what is.