This morning, I woke up and couldn’t show myself grace.

Today was epitome of the stereotypical Monday. This morning, I woke up and couldn’t show myself grace. The minute I heard my alarm go off, all I had going through my mind were thoughts of discontentment and indecisiveness and messiness. I put on at least 5 different outfits. I only drank half a cup of coffee and forgot the rest. I felt unworthy and unqualified and unprepared to take on Monday. I hadn’t looked over any to-do list. I’m sure I still have readings to do for classes in a bit. I think I might be getting sick. My side of the room is a mess. Everything is a mess.

My heart’s a mess. My head’s a mess. My life’s a mess. My mind is going at a million miles an hour, and it feels like I’m being pulled in so many different directions right now. I’m still dwelling on some mindless mistakes from work yesterday, how I didn’t even check my to-do list before I went to bed last night, how I didn’t prepare at all for this week, how my mind is already drifting to thinking about post-college life, how I don’t have any idea how to deal with financial things like student loans and savings and all that craziness, how I have huge assignments due at the end of this week all at the same time, how I have an art exam I haven’t even looked at pictures for, and so many other things that I don’t even know are on my plate that are definitely there and I’ll find them later and freak out all over again, but hey, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

I want to stand here and scream, “NO! This is only the shell of a girl who would like to appear like her life is put together, but it really isn’t! I promise! This is my fifth outfit of the day!” I think sometimes all it takes is acknowledging your own brokenness to be accepting of the closeness God had to offer us, even & especially in our mess.

And all I kept thinking was, “Jenna, show yourself grace.” That was probably my deepest prayer this morning, to show myself grace. I have this tendency to withhold things from myself when I continue to stumble and mess up. If I haven’t been productive, I’ll withhold rest to try to focus myself again. If I’ve forgotten things, I’ll beat myself up over them. And if I reach the end of a day like this and I’m running, I’ll push myself harder.

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But that’s not what God does to us. He doesn’t withhold or beat us up or push us harder for the wrong reasons. He holds on and shows grace and mercy and love and patience. Praise God that He doesn’t require us to clean ourselves up before we come into His presence, otherwise I would never meet with Him. I want to let myself go for Him. I want to rest in Him and run to Him and press harder into Him. That’s my biggest desire because days like these remind me that I wasn’t created to do this on my own. And that’s when I become grateful for the mess and indecisiveness and discontentment. These are all good things.

I want His grace to be magnified in my mess. I want His beauty to be magnified in my mess. I want His love to be magnified in my mess.

Call my name and I will come right back to You. ‘Cause there’s no fear in love. There’s no fear in love. I refound Steffany Gretzinger’s The Undoing today. It takes me right back to last fall and freshman year and cold mornings. It was 49° when I woke up this morning. All I wanted to do was open the windows and make our room freezing and sit in my mess. All I know right now is:

  1. Everything is a mess.
  2. God desires my heart and my mess.
  3. It’s okay to not be okay.
  4. God is still good.
  5. I will make it through this week.

And that’s all I need to know. My indecisiveness does not influence my relationship with God because I serve and love and hold onto a CONSTANT God. We know nothing constant. Everything is always changing in our lives, especially at this age. Our relationship with God and our constant Creator is foreign territory. But we have Him to navigate it. And that’s good news. The One who sustains us is constant beyond our own understanding.

He hands us His victory. He tears the veil for us. He pulls us close. And that’s so beautiful it makes me want to burst into tears in the middle of this office.

So I’ve decided to surrender to this Monday. Monday kicked me around and pushed me to the ground and all of the good personification for what a Monday can do to you. I’ll let you fill in the blank. I’ll make a long, detailed game plane/to-do list for the rest of this week, brew more coffee, maybe dance a little, listen to some country music, open the windows in our dorm room, get more sleep, and I have a feeling that the rest of this week will look a lot better than today did. Today I resolve to be gentler to myself and strive a little less. Tomorrow, I’ll hopefully zone out a little less and be a little less stuffy. I’ll be a little less critical of myself and feel a little more worthy. I’ll be a little less down and a whole lot more grateful.

AND I will appreciate that it finally feels like fall, my God loves me despite my shortcomings and in spite of what I call myself, and His mercies are new every single morning.

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40 hours in Nashville & tonight on my dorm room floor.

This weekend was one for the books. Wow. This weekend was one of carefreeness and beauty and vulnerability in the strongest sense of the word. I think I poured my heart out all over Abby’s car within the 3 & a half hours there and the 3 & a half hours back. Walking around Franklin. Drooling over stationery. Eating and sipping in cute little coffee shops with wacky and sophisticated names. Coffee soda. Anthropologie. Brunch food. So much photography. Beautiful friends. Sticky notes and biker guys. Macaroons. Target (praise the Lord, Target). Country music. Country music. Country music. Broadway. Boy stories. Love stories. Stupid stories. Sonic slushies (lime with Nerds). Cats. Succulents. Walls. I Believe in Nashville. So Worth Loving. Chattanooga. Milk & Honey. Samoa Lattes. Scones. Knee-deep in the what-is-God-teaching-you‘s and the what-did-you-learn-from-that‘s. Crosspoint Church.

Knee-deep in both of our brokenness and all I could do was thank God for His beautiful provisions. 

Oh, and I knew Abby for about a week (if that) before we took off and went to Nashville on this spontaneous road trip, and y’all, it was the greatest thing. Spontaneity and making last minute plans is something the Lord has been pushing in the past couple months. I’m a planner, a thorough planner, but I’ve loved letting loose for a little while here.

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Let me mess you up. Let me rock your world. Feel & hear & taste my sweetness in every part of your life. 

And maybe my resting comes from getting up before 8 o’clock in the morning just to travel around and take crazy adventures or to just sit and be with God and that is a-ok. That is my resting place. He is my resting place. He is my dwelling place. He is my hiding place.

And sometimes I get so obsessed with being in a certain season that I forget that God is an active God, so now I’m just trying to sit and ask, “God, what are You showing me and teaching me right now in this moment as we speak?” because, of course, I would love to always be in a season of recognizing His sweetness and just being with Him, but the reality is, this is a huge, long journey and that’s only part of our relationship. I can’t force myself to not move and just stay in sweetness and miss out on the messiness and heartache and learning moments. I have to keep holding His hand and trusting that where He is leading me is exactly where I’m supposed to be walking, and that’s super beautiful.

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To sit back and realize that everything around you is God-orchestrated will put your soul at peace, stir up your heart, and wreck you in the best way. I sat on my bedroom floor tonight with 5 other girls and watched the Holy Spirit stir something I hadn’t seen in a long time. He always does what we don’t see coming, and I’ve learned that, but it still blows me away. The way that He creates community and sits us all down and makes us take this time of building community and resting in Him as a body is so so so mind-blowingly beautiful. Reading Scripture out loud and praying together and praying individually, knowing that every thought and word we’re lifting up is being heard and acted on in His timing. Wow. Wow. Wow. He is a comfort in this messiness. How beautiful is it that He pulls us together though and says, “No, you all get to bear each others burdens and walk through brokenness and messiness and heartache together. This is what I’ve given you. These are the moments you were created for.” I love that so much. My heart is overwhelmed just to type out those words and feel that gift He has given each of us. We’re created to live together. We were not meant to do this alone. We cannot do this alone. We can come together and ask the questions and delight in the brokenness. That’s the good news.

Tonight was refreshing. Blueberry cobbler coffee and a safe space to sit on the floor with each other and shed a few tears and delight in each other’s company that God had specially orchestrated for us. God is so beautiful. His gifts are overwhelming. My cup overflows. His love overflows. I am thankful beyond words.

How Awesome Are Your Deeds

To the choirmaster. A Song. A Psalm.

66 Shout for joy to God, all the earth;
    sing the glory of his name;
    give to him glorious praise!
Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds!
    So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.
All the earth worships you
    and sings praises to you;
    they sing praises to your name.” Selah

Come and see what God has done:
    he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man.
He turned the sea into dry land;
    they passed through the river on foot.
There did we rejoice in him,
    who rules by his might forever,
whose eyes keep watch on the nations—
    let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

Bless our God, O peoples;
    let the sound of his praise be heard,
who has kept our soul among the living
    and has not let our feet slip.
10 For you, O God, have tested us;
    you have tried us as silver is tried.
11 You brought us into the net;
    you laid a crushing burden on our backs;
12 you let men ride over our heads;
    we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

13 I will come into your house with burnt offerings;
    I will perform my vows to you,
14 that which my lips uttered
    and my mouth promised when I was in trouble.
15 I will offer to you burnt offerings of fattened animals,
    with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams;
I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
    and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
17 I cried to him with my mouth,
    and high praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
    the Lord would not have listened.
19 But truly God has listened;
    he has attended to the voice of my prayer.

20 Blessed be God,
    because he has not rejected my prayer
    or removed his steadfast love from me!

So let that settle with you for just a second. Repeat it in your head. Read it out loud. Read it, over and over again. Cry over it (I did). Sit in it. Rest in it. HE BRINGS JOY.

He has brought us out to a place of abundance.

Shout it. Go on and scream it from the mountains. Go on and tell it to the masses, that He is God. 

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