So pants my soul for You, O God.

It’s okay. We drink the wrong coffee and get into the wrong cars. It’s community.” – Katie Jo

Hey, it’s true. I have fallen off the deep end just a little bit this week, but that’s totally okay. Sometimes we all just need to jump into the deep end and swim around a little bit to realize we don’t like being this crazy, so then we get out and dry off. I’m still in the process of drying off, but maybe it’ll happen. I’m lucky to have some pretty beautiful people around me who understand doing life this way. We all need a little bit of crazy (at least that’s what I’ve learned in my 18 years here). It’s not fun being “normal,” let’s be honest.


God is teaching me some pretty awesome things lately. I know I’ve written about how silent I think He’s been and how I just haven’t been feeling anything lately, but I think I might have hit a little breakthrough. Even if it was a whisper, it was surely something. Now, I’m not expecting the Lord to move mountains right before my eyes, but I am learning a think or two about being patient and how debilitating it is to place expectations for the things around you.

One of my bosses gave a sermon a couple weeks ago with some awesome imagery that made me turn this concept of expectations over in my mind. She had told us she wanted to try a little social experiment. We should go to our roommates, significant other, best friend, whoever, and give them new terms for our relationship. “We can only talk on Tuesdays. We can’t talk after this time. You have to do this, this, and this in order for us to be together. You have to do this to make me happy. And if not, well, then we can’t be friends.” She told us to let her know how that works out. We probably wouldn’t still be friends, right? Well, this is exactly what we do to God.

Boom. We place God in cookie-cutters of expectations. We expect Him to show up in certain situations. We expect Him to show up in big ways. We expect Him to meet our expectations. We expect Him to solely please us. We expect Him to move mountains right before our eyes. We expect Him to do all of these things, even when we don’t put in the effort. We expect. We expect. We expect. And we have this false assumption that He will do these things, and if He doesn’t, well, then He’s not listening, and obviously He doesn’t care enough to intercede right when and where we want Him to. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

And I think it’s especially hard when you come into an entire new season of life, where absolutely nothing is the same. I think what’s so exhausting is being defined by so many things. Instead of defining myself solely by Christ, I continue to bounce around to other things, which is incredibly stupid, but it happens & I will continue to learn. I have no idea who I am anymore, if we’re being completely honest. Sometimes this is a good thing, I’m not saying it’s bad at all because I’m not going completely crazy and letting loose in college and drinking and partying or anything like that, but I’m just a jumbled mess right now. I am exhausted & seeking definition & falling short. We will all fall short of the glory of God. Rest in that & find comfort in it. Continue to seek your identity in Christ. That is where the satisfaction will lie.

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Anyways! The small way He made Himself known this week:

Psalm 42

Why Are You Cast Down, O My Soul?

As a deer pants for flowing streams,
    so pants my soul for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God,
    for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food
    day and night,
while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”
These things I remember,
    as I pour out my soul:
how I would go with the throng
    and lead them in procession to the house of God
with glad shouts and songs of praise,
    a multitude keeping festival.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

My soul is cast down within me;
    therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
    from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
    at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
    have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
    and at night his song is with me,
    a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
    “Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
    because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As with a deadly wound in my bones,
    my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
    “Where is your God?”

11 Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God.

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I’ve been in this slump of stress and anxiety and frustration and sadness. I think whenever we get this way, we tend to think, “It’s only me. No one can possibly know exactly how I feel,” and in that moment of self-pity, God said, “David knows.” I honestly don’t remember how I came across this, but I found it, and in a whisper, God said, “David knows. He gets it. He’s been there.” I thank God that David, who wrote more than 150 praises to a God who he knows loves him and would never forsake him, understands what I am going through. And surely, if David could fill His life with praise and live to glorify the God of the universe, I should be able to as well.

When we get sad our world can seem so small, but the world is so big, and it’s so beautiful…that’s good news.” – E. Moniz

Heartbreak is hard. And not the “I fell in love with a boy and he smashed my heart to smithereens” kind of heartbreak, but hurting for another person. It sucks, for lack of a better phrase. Hurting for a dear friend & every time you realize how badly it hurts you just kind of burst into tears, whether that be in public or private. I have found myself crying so much this week. It’s a little bit ridiculous, but some days, you just need a good cry. Curled up in bed, in the dark, watching My Sister’s Keeper. Ugly crying. I called up my mom last night and upon hearing the sound of her voice, I burst into tears. Sitting in a rocking chair in the cold October breeze, and I was ugly crying. And then I just started laughing. Crying and tears and a cracked voice and snot and laughter. Belly-deep laughter. And I still couldn’t tell you where this came from. But I can tell you now, that is the best kind of crying. And I can also tell you that my mom understands, and I could hear her laughing on the other end of the phone. I know this probably all sounds so strange, and you’re thinking, “Who is this girl & why does she enjoy crying?” Sometimes it just feels good, okay? Sometimes you need a good cry.

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But then sometimes, maybe you just need a good, impromptu coffee date. With a new friend. Sometimes it takes reliving your own story to really realize what a gracious God we serve. When you have to tell your story, you have to relive it. And while I may not depict the nitty-gritty details or parts with every new person I encounter, today I did find myself telling this wonderful person why I came to Berry, why I felt led here. I know I’ve said it before, but I do love when you get the reassurance that you’re exactly where God wants you to be. You know that you’re not going against His will for your life. That has got to be one of the most comforting feelings. And I love when dots connect and you find people who understand your quirks and like what you like, and you realize the world is pretty small, but then again, it’s actually quite large. And that is so beautiful. To be a part of this small, humongous, gorgeous, God-orchestrated world.

Sometimes it’s good to sort of be knocked over the head with the obvious. Whether that obvious moment be “This is not the car your supposed to get into,” or, “This coffee isn’t yours,” or, “David knows,” I hope you find your obvious in the coming week. I hope you have moments where you know God is there. Moments that stop you in your tracks. Those moments might be at 3 AM when you find yourself crying over Scripture. It might be the moment you look in a mirror and like what God has made you to be, finally. It might be something that makes you truly understand what it means to have your identity be in Christ. It might be sipping a really great cup of coffee one morning before an 8 AM. It might be at sunset. It might be running from class to class. Pause. Find your obvious. Take it in. This is the day that the Lord has made. Rejoice & be glad in it.

“And on that day when my strength is failing, the end draws near, and my time has come, still my soul will sing Your praise unending, 10,000 years and then forevermore. Bless the Lord. Bless the Lord, O my soul, O my soul. Worship His Holy Name. Sing like never before, O my soul, I will worship Your Holy Name.”

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Keep you second guessing.

It is definitely a Monday.

All I want to do is curl into a corner of one of the many buildings on campus, pull out my laptop, sip from my coffee mug, and scrawl out as many words as I possibly can. All I want to do is write. I’ve had this thirst for a few days now. I just want words and words and words. Not Spanish quizzes. Or forgotten Women’s Studies quizzes. Or papers. Or planning or to-do lists or last minute assignments or interviews or articles. Just words.

I think even the sky knew it was Monday, and it thought, “Nope. Not today.”

I almost cut my bangs again yesterday. You don’t understand how close I was. I kept turning over in my mind how awesome they would look (with my hair down or fixed into a bun…am I right or am I right?), forgetting how annoyed I’d be within 20 minutes of cutting them and having them in my face or how bothersome it would be to have to style them every day. I forgot all of those things and almost just chopped them off. I was so close. And I still am. So stay tuned on that one.

Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong— then guide me on the road to eternal life.” // Psalm 139:23-24 MSG

He knows where your heart is today, and maybe it’s not in the best place it’s ever been, but there’s no pit too deep for Him. Let Him in. Let Him into the darkest parts of your heart. He can make you new. Redeemer & Restorer of your soul. I’ve heard when you get to the end of your rope, you should just tie a knot and hold on. I think it’s about time I tie that knot (no, not marriage). He’s pulling you in. He calls you WORTHY. He DESIRES your heart. Think about that. The God of the universe, who placed each star in its place, desires to know YOU. I’m not sure how many times I’ve typed those words, but have you ever really let that sink it? I know sometimes that’s hard for me to fathom, so I’ll keep saying it until it sinks deep.

Maybe your heart feels dark this morning, or maybe it has felt that way for a while. Rest in the fact that He knows that. He understands that & He understands your heart. How many “second guessing” moments have you had lately? Maybe one or two or maybe a bunch? And that’s okay.

A dear friend told me about these questions she asks herself every Sunday night to reflect on the week she’s had.

  1. How have you delighted in the presence of the Lord?
  2. How have you let your flesh get the best of you?
  3. What lie are you believing about yourself?
  4. Are there any situations in which you need to seek peace or reconciliation?
  5. What was your biggest accomplishment this week?

I think these are fantastic questions to ask yourself. Really evaluate your heart because I know that we all need it sometimes, sometimes more often than not.

I’ve asked Him to forgive my doubting heart. Every single day, I doubt. I’m immersed in it & consumed by it. For at least the past month, my heart has been consumed by so many doubts, if we’re being completely honesty. But I don’t think I’m the only person to ever struggle with this, which is comforting. I think that’s why the Lord puts community in our lives. He knows that we need these other believers to understand & to go through these hard times with us. Every day, you get to choose. Will you go through the motions or fight the beautiful fight? I’d like to choose the latter, thank you. And about being immersed in doubt, think about how much more immersed in grace we are…have you thought about it? I mean, really thought about it. It’s earth-shaking. It’s world-rocking. This grace on which I stand is everlasting & never failing. Man. Take that, Monday.

And maybe this is me preaching to myself this morning, but you know what? Maybe that’s exactly what needs to happen. Maybe you needed to hear this too. It’s not much, but just enough to keep you rolling.

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I hope you have a wonderful Monday because you deserve it, and I’ll leave you with this.

My Help & My Deliverer

“I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
    and put their trust in the Lord.

Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.

In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
    but you have given me an open ear.[a]
Burnt offering and sin offering
    you have not required.
Then I said, “Behold, I have come;
    in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
I delight to do your will, O my God;
    your law is within my heart.”

I have told the glad news of deliverance[b]
    in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
    as you know, O Lord.
10 I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
    I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
    from the great congregation.

11 As for you, O Lord, you will not restrain
    your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
    ever preserve me!
12 For evils have encompassed me
    beyond number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
    and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
    my heart fails me.

13 Be pleased, O Lord, to deliver me!
    O Lord, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
    who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
    who delight in my hurt!
15 Let those be appalled because of their shame
    who say to me, “Aha, Aha!”

16 But may all who seek you
    rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
    say continually, “Great is the Lord!”
17 As for me, I am poor and needy,
    but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
    do not delay, O my God!”

// Psalm 40

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Public Service Announcement: T. Swift’s new album is out & “Blank Space” is the best song on there. And many of the songs seem to be the soundtrack to my life recently. Boom boom. That is all the fangirling for today.

Saturday morning (& afternoon) slowdown.

This week. Wow. It’s been a whirlwind.

24-hour prayer vigil, quizzes on quizzes on quizzes, papers on papers on papers, and books on books on books. And the most spectacular photography lesson I’ve ever had (well…the only one really). Mary Claire. This girl’s a gem. So many lessons I’ve had the privilege of learning from her (in photography & in life). “Photography is like painting with light.” She went on about the beauty of capturing moments & how photography makes you realize those moments even more and become more present. She looks at everything in light & sees the world in such a beautiful way.

I’m not sure coffee has ever tasted this good before. You know when you put your lips to a huge mug and just take it all in and think, wow, this coffee really is of the Lord? That’s me this morning. Without a doubt.

Last night at 6, we had our kick-off for the 24-hour prayer vigil. This is one of the first events I really had a hand on in planning with some more of our ministry coordinators in the office. I didn’t know exactly what to expect going into it because I had never done one of these, and if you would have asked me about a 24-hour prayer vigil a year or two ago, I probably would’ve thought you were crazy. However, after sitting in Barnwell from 3 AM to 5 AM, I wouldn’t call you crazy anymore. Talk about some restful, raw, honest prayer. In all honesty, it started off extremely frustrating. I was distracted by everything else I had to complete and get done for next week. I sat in Barnwell for a good 4 hours after we kicked off. Around 10 though, I called it quits. I knew I was coming back at 3, so I was ready to get some rest. The thoughts I had were consuming. Doubtful. Shameful. Awful.

This week was crippling. It felt like things were hurled at me, and I imagine this much like china plates being hurled into a wall. Shattering and loud and shaking. My heart hurt for a dear friend. My anxiety and stress levels through the roof. This might’ve been the hardest week of college thus far. There were so many tears. So many. Stress tears. Sad tears. Refreshing tears. Many times I wanted to crawl into my bed, wrap myself up in blankets, and not get up for at least 48 hours. However, each day I found myself waking up and going and going and going. Usually until midnight, if I was lucky.

I will say though, I wouldn’t trade this week for anything. God speaks in the small things. God knows I get overwhelmed and caught up in such a superficial, earthly life. I found myself back in Barnwell at 3 AM, and I just kind of threw up my hands. Take it, GodWhat in the world do you want from me? What am I supposed to do now? In those two hours, I was so honest with what I said to God. I don’t think I’ve ever done that before. I went around to different stations we had set up for prayer in the little chapel. A station where you would wash your hands of your sin in a wooden bowl, a symbolic way of saying, “These don’t define me anymore, Lord. Take this away.” Then a mirror station where you would pray and write down in expo marker what the Lord sees you as. Free. Covered in His grace. Then a burlap cross covered in clothespins, and you would write down the things you need to surrender and repent from on a sticky note and pin them to the cross. That might’ve been one of the most powerful things for me.

Then I came back to the pews and sat and read and wrote. I needed this. Now, going back through my journal and reading what I wrote last night, I realize how hopeless I must have sounded. How consumed by earthly things I’ve been. Then I stumbled across this verse:

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive & tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, o you of little faith.”       // Matthew 6:30

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Sometimes you want to wallow in self-pity, but then sometimes your friends come screaming at the top of their lungs down the sidewalk and force you to drink one of the best chai tea lattes you’ve ever had. These are the friends that God has blessed me with. 10:30 at night and they say, “No, come to our room. We’ll play with your hair and let you drink our lattes.” It was a beautiful night. I had been so crippled by these thoughts all week long, and then the worship at Campus Outreach just tore me apart. I think it was different letting someone take care of me because that hasn’t happened since I lived at home. I think giving in and letting people take care of you is actually a sign of strength, not weakness. Finally saying, “Yes. I need someone to lean on right now.” I think that’s why God puts people like Clair and Lia into our lives. These are the people who worship with every bit of their being, in every part of their life. These girls’ hearts are on fire for the Lord. It’s insane.

I’m so grateful for the relationships I’ve formed. However, I know my shortcomings come from clinging to these relationships and not to God. I keep grasping at straws, while God sits in the background and says, “Cling to me. I am always here. I might not be able to make you chai tea lattes or play with your hair, but I can offer you eternal joy. I can grant you mercy and grace far beyond your understanding. I can love you, if you allow me to. Let me into that dark and consuming heart of yours, Jenna. Do you know how much you’re worth in my eyes? Stop living by the world. This is all temporary. All of it. I am not. I am everlasting. I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have renewed you. I have chosen you. You are my beloved.

Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Trouble a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
“And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’ For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.”                    // Hosea 2:14-20

I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned this week, that finally sank in: people are facing more battles than you think or care to be aware of. Spiritual battles. Mental battles. Emotional battles. You never know what people are going through because masks are such a common thing in our lives now. Surrender is seen as a sign of weakness. We spend our days comparing God’s love to earthly love when we should be comparing earthly love to God’s love. We see ourselves as unworthy and unlovable because of the way we’ve been conditioned by society. The ways in which we’ve been conditioned to think are pointing out all of our wrongs, not our rights. This is all so backwards. No wonder people suffer from depression and self-doubt and frustration and anger and anxiety on a daily basis. No wonder these become the normal motions we go through in life.

I always love to look at pictures of table settings. I’m not sure why, but I think it may be because I have fallen in love with community. But then I’ve also started imagine it this way: God has given me a seat at His table. He has given you a seat at His table. Turning down God’s will for our lives or doing what we think is better than His ways is like telling Him that we’d rather not sit at the table, but maybe we’ll just sit on the floor and eat the scraps. Thanks, but no thanks. I’m good with these bones and scraps. He has asked you to dine with Him. He has offered you immeasurably more than you could ever ask for or even dream of. Dine with Him! Glorify Him! Sit at the table with Him. Have a conversation with Him. These moments will be the most beautiful moments of your life, these moments of realization. Pull out that chair and sit down. Cling to Him, friends. Cling onto Him with everything you have in you. 

“When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him,“Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’” // Luke 14:15-24

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If there are words for Him, then I don’t have them.


If there are words for Him, Then, I don’t have them. You see my brain has not yet reached the point where it could form a thought that could adequately describe the greatness of my God. And my lungs – have not yet developed the ability to release a breath with enough agility to breathe out the greatness of His love. And my voice – You see my voice is so inhibited, restrained by human limits, that it’s hard to even send the praise up. You see – if there are words for Him, Then, I don’t have them. My God, His Grace is remarkable, Mercies are innumerable, strength is impenetrable. He is honorable, accountable, favorable. He’s UNSEARCHABLE yet knowable. INDEFINABLE yet approachable. INDESCRIBABLE yet personal. He is beyond comprehension, Further than imagination. Constant through generations, King of every nation. But if there are words for Him, Then, I don’t have them. You see my words are few, and in trying to capture the one true God, using my vocabulary would never do, but I use words as an expression. An expression of worship – to A SAVIOR. A Savior who is both worthy and deserving of my praise, so I use words (SELAH). My heart EXTOLS the Lord, blesses His name forever. He has won my heart, captured my mind and has – bound them both together. He has DEFEATED me in my rebellion, CONQUERED me in my sin. He has WELCOMED me into His presence, completely invited me in. He has made Himself the object of my sight, flooding me with mercies in the morning, drowning me with grace in the night. But if there are words for Him, Then, I don’t have them. But what I DO HAVE is: GOOD NEWS. For my God knew that man-made words – would never do. The words are just tools – that we use to point to the Truth, so He sent His Son Jesus Christ as – THE Word. LIVING PROOF. He is the image of the invisible God, the FIRST BORN of all Creation. For by Him all things were created giving nothingness – FORMATION, and by His Word He sustains in the POWER of His name. For He is before all things – And over all things He reigns. HOLY is His name. So PRAISE HIM for His life (SELAH), the way he persevered in strife. The humble Son of God becoming the – PERFECT SACRIFICE. PRAISE HIM for His death (SELAH). That He willingly stood in our place, that He lovingly endured the grave, that He BATTLED our Enemy, and on the THIRD DAY ROSE in victory (SELAH). He is everything that was promised. Praise Him as the Risen King, Lift your voice and sing, for one day He will return for us, and we will finally be – united with our Savior for eternity, ETERNITY (SELAH). So it’s not just words that I proclaim, for my words point to The Word, and The Word has a name: HOPE has a name! JOY has a name! PEACE has a name! LOVE has a name! And that name is JESUS CHRIST! PRAISE. HIS NAME. FOREVER!”

– Isaac Wimberley (Spoken word in Kari Jobe’s “Forever”)


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As you can probably tell from the videos above, I’ve been lying in my bed watching slam poetry for a majority of the afternoon. And I have absolutely no regrets about that.

It sure feels like fall today, and it’s so incredibly beautiful. It makes me want to drink black coffee, listen to Taylor Swift songs over and over again, and just jump into a pile of colorful leaves. We should come up with a name for that feeling.

That’s one of my favorite things in the world to do: name moments and feelings.

And tonight I’m focused on moments & that’s really all I can think about.

“There are moments in life when it is all turned inside out–what is real becomes unreal, what is unreal becomes tangible, and all your levelheaded efforts to keep a tight ontological control are rendered silly and indulgent.” – Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project

Have you really ever stopped and thought about different moments in your life? Destiny-changing moments. What if I hadn’t met her? What if I wouldn’t have listened to God in that moment? What if I had said no? What moments have changed the entire trajectory of my life? I think these might be the questions that come out of being at the library at 11 o’clock at night & desperately not wanting to pick up a textbook or vocab list, or they might just be really fantastic, food-for-thought questions. These are the kind of moments you hear about in Taylor Swift songs or the fuel behind some really incredible stories. Honestly, I think all great things are fueled by certain moments. That hit song had to have been written after a spark in a particular moment. Or that best-selling novel somehow came out of an author in a split-second moment at a coffee shop, and he thought, “Surely, this will be good.” And maybe this is just me rambling like every other blog post you’ve ever read from me, or maybe I struck something.

Think about your big moments. I have mine. Saying yes to Him. Saying this is something I want to fight for. Saying no one will ever feel this way again because of this person. Saying I have something worth hearing. Saying yes to Berry. Saying I want to be crazy tonight. Saying it’s okay to live a little bit. Saying no to someone and being okay with it. Saying you cannot treat me this way. Saying this is something I want to pursue.

You have a story worth telling & a voice worth hearing. Please, I beg of you, do not let anybody tell you differently. You have a beautiful story of redemption, or a few. I encourage you to pinpoint these moments & name them. It really makes them that much more special & I once heard that naming moments and pointing them to God really does glorify Him. It shows Him you see them as important. They are important. And it’s important to share your stories.

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And on another note, something else I’ve realized over the past few weeks & in this moment in particular: I think it’s really easy to pretend or want to be like someone else. The hard thing is to be yourself, especially in a place where the world tells you you’re wrong or you can do better or look better or sound better or act better or be better. Better better better. Especially when you’re surrounded by so many amazing people. I’ve found it extremely difficult some days to sit in my own skin and really like who I am. It is rare that I wake up and go an entire 24 hours thinking, “Wow. You’re a good person, Jenna. Keep on keepin’ on.” I’m not sure if that’s ever happened actually. How many times a day do you think, “I’m enough”? The answer you’re probably thinking of: not many. There is a slew of self-doubting moments and mirror glances and little drawbacks throughout every one of my days. You are enough though. Because God’s grace is sufficient enough. You are doing and being enough. I wish there were a more eloquent way to word that, but there isn’t. YOU ARE ENOUGH. How do I get past these self-doubting, mirror-glancing, hateful moments or stop thinking these horrible thoughts about myself & just realize I’m doing & being enough?

I’m sorry to announce that I don’t have the answer to that question yet, but I’m working on it, so I’ll let you know. However, I do know I’m not the only person to ever feel this way, which is comforting. The cliche or stereotypical answers: Get in the Word. Talk to God. Listen to Him. Lean into Him. And I know these are the correct answers, but I feel like a hypocrite saying them when I can’t believe them. I’ll get there though. I know I will. It’s a learning experience, every single day.

I’m learning more and more about the Lord. How to lean into Him. How to listen to Him. The importance of prayer. The importance of listening. The importance of a relationship with Him & how it’s really not as complicated as I’m making it out to be. God is here. God is now. God is constant. 

And now, I think it’s time to crawl into bed & sleep for a few days (just kidding, but wouldn’t that be nice?). Have a happy rest of your week, sweet friends.

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Mountaintops.

I think a second book might be in the works. Not that pen has hit the paper yet, but the concept is developing in my heart. I think it’s happening, friends.

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God is so good. I walked around campus the other night with my headphones blaring “How He Loves” and just sank deep into God’s grace. There was something in my heart that made me want to climb to the rooftops and let everyone know how in love I am with God & how He feels the exact same way, more so even, about me. How great is it to know you’re desired? I think that’s something every girl wants to hear. And that’s exactly what God says. That longing in our hearts to be desired should not be fulfilled by earthly accomplishments or grades or guys. It’s a longing for the God of the universe. I have a heart for my Maker. The Artist. The great I Am. God says, “I want you. Please let me into your heart. I want you. I choose you. I love you.”

Do you need more than that?

There will be a thirst this world cannot quench. There will be a hunger it cannot satisfy. There will be a longing that will never be fulfilled. That’s because our hearts were designed to be fulfilled only by Jesus & not settle for earthly things. Our hearts were not made to be here. Our hearts were made to meet our Maker. Our hearts were designed to long for our Creator.

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Definitely not a mountaintop moment: saying goodbye to my very best friend. I’ve come to the conclusion that goodbyes probably won’t get any easier. They still aren’t my thing & I’m not sure they ever will be. I just stood at the door and cried & it was possibly the longest goodbye hug I’ve ever had. It reminded me of one of those rainy scenes in a cheesy, 90’s love movie. Think One Fine Day with Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney. Basically all 108 minutes of the movie take place in a rainy New York City, which makes it that much better. Now, replace the single-parent couple with two ordinary 18-year-olds hoping for the world, in a friendship, which was fortunate enough to make it out of high school in one piece. This movie and this rain makes me dreary, in the best way possible though. Rain is for goodbyes.

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetEmbracing these moments.

Before midnight, we had all gathered in the basement, a group of old friends, and just laughed with each other while The Voice played in the background. I sure forgot how weird we got around each other (and I’m perfectly fine with admitting it was perfect). We cuddled with kitties and strummed guitars and contemplated jumping in the pool with all of our clothes on, just like old times. I missed this. I missed the understanding of inside jokes and people from high school we all knew and grew up with. I missed feeling totally and completely known by a group of people. We spent the night (until 2 o’clock this morning), sitting on her bed with a Pitbull and Weimaraner wedged between us after the rest of our friends had gone home. It was just like old times, and we both talked about how we felt like time had kind of turned back to high school. It didn’t feel like I’d be going back to Berry today and she’d be taking her flight to Texas. She serenaded me with a new One Direction song (“Steal My Girl,” in case you needed background music for reading this post) while we sifted through her clothes and chose what she would take with her. I sipped hot tea and cuddled with her hundred pound furry friend and tried on her headbands. We laid and laughed and just took in those early morning moments. How crazy blessed I am to have a best friend who I can just pick up with right where we left off.

After waking up from a few hours of sleep, we sat in a tea shop on a rainy Tuesday and talked about how quickly our lives were moving. We talked about guys and awkward encounters and how weird a concept death is and Jesus and strawberry tea and her love of sugar cubes, among other things. It was really a dignified, grown-up conversation, if you ask me. I embrace these moments with her because they’re becoming fewer and further in between. So many moments this weekend, I just heard God say to me, “Be still, Jenna. Remember this moment. Remember how you feel right now.” And so I did. So many moments with family and old friends. It’s crazy to see my baby brother crawling around the house or my beautiful friend on homecoming court and the beautiful young lady she’s becoming. Just last year we were sitting in a yearbook classroom meeting for the first time on a Wednesday afternoon. And now I’ve watched her grow into the leader of that very same Bible study. From Bible studies to her baptism to her stunning self on homecoming court, I just realized how quickly time is moving, but I wonder if people look at me and think the same thing.

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My supervisor made me nervous when I was getting ready to come home on Friday afternoon. At first, all I felt was excitement, and then she made a comment about how I’d go home and realize how much I’ve changed, how much everyone else has changed, or how much people have stayed the same, which makes your changing even weirder. Boy, was she was right. I don’t necessarily see a difference in myself, but then again, I’m with myself every second of every day. I can notice little things (very, very good things), but nothing drastic. However, I just notice how different everything else with. Sitting in that tea shop. Sitting in a Chipotle across the table from an old friend with whom I share some crazy history. Sitting on the couch with my mom and watching chick flicks. Being at my high school football stadium was probably the weirdest one of all, but it was also nice because I didn’t feel like I still belonged there. Something inside of me was just uncomfortable and unsettled in all of these places, like God was stirring up something inside of me. Don’t get too comfortable because you don’t belong here anymore. This is not where comfort lies. This is not home anymore. These feelings and places, they are not home anymore. I am home. I have been and will always be home. God definitely likes reminding me that He has me where He wants me. I know Berry is where I’m supposed to be, for sure. And I already knew this since last September, but I think this weekend really reinforced that. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be. There is no question in my mind about that. This is what God wants for me, and it is such a great feeling to know that my desires align with His desires for me. He’s changing my heart, and it’s so cool to realize it and be present with this change.

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Tea time with M.

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New hipster shirt, on point.

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Heck yeah, it is. Thanks for this, Target.

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He’s learning the joys of coffee early.


It’s so cool when we remember that we’re in the presence of God every second of every day, every second of our lives. Every single second. Like, the second you realized the path your life was on wasn’t the path for you anymore. Or when that cute guy asked you out for coffee and the butterflies were uncontrollable. Or the time you spent the night with that guy and realized it wasn’t the best idea in world. Or the time you decided not to write that paper. Or the time you looked in the mirror and actually liked what you saw. Or the time you finally toughened up and quit the job that made you miserable. Or when you finally stood up to someone who walked all over you like a doormat. You, darling, are not doormat. You are a child of God who is worthy of love and care and compassion. You deserve the best. You deserve to be loved in all the right ways. It’s so cool when you think about how He isn’t just there on the mountaintops, the highest of highs, the butterflies in your stomach moments, but that He has remained with you even in the valleys. You may only feel His presence on the mountaintops, but He is with you just as much as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Come flood this place & fill the atmosphere. Your glory God is what our hearts long for, to be overcome by Your presence, Lord.”

It’s okay to mess up. Usually we hear things like, “Don’t choke,” or, “You only get one shot at this thing called life, so don’t go and mess it all up.” Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. You do only get one shot at life, and if you do it right, it’s a crazy beautiful mess of grace. New mercies in the morning. Dancing with regret, but living in redemption. Flirting with shame, but filled to the brim with God’s love, overflowing on the good days. Getting sucked into guilt and fear and anxiety, but emerging in a butterfly-like sort of way in restoration. Our God is a God of healing. Such a marvelous mystery. When you’re unsure, just rest in that. Not knowing what will happen next is all part of His beautifully mysterious love story. He has invited you to be a part of the greatest love story ever written.

“My times are in Your hands.” – Psalm 31:15

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Every Single Morning.

i'm still here

I heard a quiet, but resounding, whisper this weekend. “I’m still here, Jenna.” I’m still faithful. I will still fill you with joy. I will be with you. I will not forsake you. I have chosen you. You are mine. I heard Him in the stars and in the coffee conversation and in the prayer with a new friend, Mary Claire (I can hardly form the words to describe her heart for The Lord, so I’ll leave it at incredibly inspiring & simply beautiful). I heard Him in the campfire and the family time and in the shaky hands. I heard Him the entire time. Finally, I see and hear His presence more continually. I see and hear His faithfulness. I see and hear His overflow of love into this world & my heart is full. I keep flashing back to that conversation this weekend and really thinking about it. That fullness and stillness and how one conversation can shake you up, in the best way possible. It felt different truly being poured into for a change. Clicking with new people has got to be one of the greatest feelings in the entire world.

I’ve been seeking inspiration for a long time coming now. I’ve been dry and pouring out of emptiness and desperately seeking fulfilling things. I’ve learned you cannot be fulfilled when you keep running off of superficial things and trying to fill yourself up with those things. You will end up more empty than before. I’ve been searching and searching and searching for inspiration. You look for it & you cling to it hoping that if you keep writing, keep word vomiting, something will surely come out. Pining over Pinterest & photographs & things that spark something inside of you just to find something to write about that will mean something to someone other than yourself.

What inspired me was meeting someone, other than a person from my home church, who truly understands Kairos moments. Mary Claire understood Kairos moments & we were able to share them with each other. A Kairos moment is a moment that the Lord presents to you to do His work. They are moments of impact, moments of action, and moments of destiny-changing opportunity. Embracing these moments and the people with the readiness to do something is called “Living a Yes,” which is a saying from my church back at home. There is one moment in particular this summer that might not have necessarily been a Kairos moments, but it was a moment I distinctly remember. It may be the closest to God I have ever felt in my life, and sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that you’re capable of feeling that closeness.

If I could collect this moment and carry around this feeling with me at every moment for the rest of my days, I would be completely satisfied. I remember that night this summer, lying on a roof and just seeing the stars that God holds in the palms of his hands & I just remember feeling like that veil into Heaven was so thin in those moments. The chasm was so small. And then I remember that the veil was torn & something inside of me just burns for Him. Part of my soul lights up when I think about the stars & the vastness of the universe & how small I am in the grand scheme of things, but how great Christ thought I was and how much He loved me that He was willing, I would go so far to say He desired, to die for my sins so I could spend the rest of forever with Him. Forever, with the God of the universe. My Maker who calls me His masterpiece. He desires me, and I press on with the knowledge that He is within me. I feel so much love in these moments when I realize this. I was made to meet the Author of my salvation, and He seems so distant, but in reality, He isn’t far from each of us.

“Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be— you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky— GOD holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from him. When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up. Then I let it all out; I said, “I’ll make a clean breast of my failures to GOD.” Suddenly the pressure was gone— my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray; when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts we’ll be on high ground, untouched. GOD ’s my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore, throws garlands of hosannas around my neck. Let me give you some good advice; I’m looking you in the eye and giving it to you straight: “Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule that needs bit and bridle to stay on track.” God-defiers are always in trouble; GOD -affirmers find themselves loved every time they turn around. Celebrate GOD. Sing together—everyone! All you honest hearts, raise the roof!” (‭Psalm‬ ‭32‬:‭1-11‬ MSG)

So while I sit here with a medium Nutella latte in the greatest coffee shop I’ve ever known at 10:45 at night, I feel fullness in my heart. I understand that we cannot operate out of emptiness, and we must operate out of an overflow, so I will continue to work on that. I will press on. I will gain understanding. I will listen. I cannot give people my best when I am not full, and I’ve felt so empty. There have been various sporadic moments where I felt extremely inspired and pumped up for Jesus, but those moments are fleeting because I know they don’t spring from Living Water. I have not rooted myself in The Word for the past week or more, and I know that’s where the emptiness comes from. In all honesty, the desire hasn’t been there, but I am happy to announce that I realized I’m not the only one. I spoke with a girl in the office who has studied the Bible and translated it more than any person I’ve ever met, and she said it’s happened to her. So, dear one, you are not alone. If you’re feeling empty today, be reassured that God’s promises lie in His Word. Maybe that’s where the emptiness springs from: not focusing on what God has promised. Faithfulness. Grace. Hope. New mercies every morning. Every single morning, friends.

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We were created to be filled up. We were created to love. We were created to operate out of an overflow. We were made to meet our Maker. 

I think that every day of your life, God will equip you with Kairos moments, moments of impact. You just have to look out for them, and will you be willing to act on those moments? Will you live out what God has called you to do? I think that’s the ultimate question for all of us. I think sometimes we’re so scared that we won’t like what God has planned, so we keep trying to navigate life on our own and construct our own road map when it’s already been done for us. How freeing is it to know that God has each of our eternities in the palm of His hand? Rest in that. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos, but stop today, and really listen to God. Embrace the moments He gives you. Make these moments of potential impact last. Make these moments of impact. And when you begin to question what God has called you to, just remember the wise words of Christine Caine: “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.” Talk about some words of wisdom.

Happy Wednesday, friends.

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