Monday (afternoon) pick-me-up: go harder than you’ve gone all year.

This past weekend, I went to one of those running stores where they can analyze your stride and the way your feet move while you run so you can find the type of shoe that is best for you. I did this back in high school, but it’s been about 6 years and I’d been feeling some pain while running, so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go get it checked out again.

I was really excited at the thought of figuring out which shoes would be perfect, but I was surprised when I went and the first thing the woman told me was that I stood the wrong way and my running posture was not good at all. I’d been running the same way for years! I don’t run with my feet behind me, but I sort of hunch and keep my feet going in front of me, and when I swing my arms, I basically twist my entire torso. All bad things. I also lock my knees when I stand, arch my back, and put all of my weight on my heels instead of bending a little and evenly distributing my weight. All of these factors though, they contribute to the pain I feel when I’m running or in the days following.

Why am I telling you all of these things?

I got a cool picture of what happens when I’m not self-aware and when I just want to plow through. And it’s not one thing that throws us off, like it wasn’t one thing that contributed to my pain while running. It’s the perfect mess of things that push us where we’re going. It’s a good picture of how we stay busy and keep going even when we’re sinking into unhealthy patterns and don’t even realize it. We can do that during this holiday season, or we can choose grace and self-awareness. It’s better for you and for the people around you.

This morning my boss reminded us that these weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas ought to be our most creative and productive, but often it’s easy to sink into laziness and coast until the next holiday. I do it in some ways. You do it too. Don’t lie to yourself.

So pick something, anything, that you’re going to make a habit for the next few weeks. Are you going to do a hundred pushups every day? Are you going to make the effort to cook yourself breakfast every morning? Are you going to put your phone down and read every night before you go to bed? Or maybe read while you’re making your coffee in the morning? Are you going to run to clear your head? Are you going to take up meditation? Pick something. For your sanity, I know it’ll be for mine too, and it’s good. Cultivate something good during this holiday season.

Because the holiday season can be really difficult. I know I slip into anxious tendencies, with money and time and memories. I haven’t lost any relatives close to me, and I don’t experience a lot of dysfunction in my family, which I am INCREDIBLY grateful for. But I say all this to make the point that holidays can still be difficult and heavy on some days. We can eat a little more which makes us more aware of our bodies or we can spend a little bit too much money and it can make us worry. Or we have issues with the church and a lot of people focus their Christmas season around the church, which can be painful. It’s still hard. And it can get cold and a little gloomy, which takes a toll on our emotions and mental health. I definitely feel that, even when I have every reason in the world to not experience that sadness and anxiety.

So it’s okay. There is grace for literally every single day, and maybe you needed to read that today because it’s Monday and when you woke up there was some rain on the ground. I want to encourage you to tell someone, not for the pity, but as a way of saying, “Here’s how you can walk with me in this season even when it might not make sense. I’m going to be sad and anxious sometimes, but I’m giving you permission to rip me out of that headspace.” We all need those people. I know my people, and I want to encourage you to find yours.

Whoever is reading this, I’m grateful for you, and I’m encouraged by you.

You deserve to be taking up the space you’re standing or sitting in, and you deserve to do good things today. Go serve someone. Go encourage someone. Tell someone you’re grateful for them, but go a step further and tell them specifically why, even though it may feel awkward. They probably need it, and you do too.

I haven’t taken the time to choose healthy habits. An example: I’m in the middle of a 100 pushups a day challenge for the month of November, but I do it to check it off, not to get stronger. So don’t be deceived when you’re on the outside looking in on someone else’s life. I haven’t been writing enough, which means I haven’t been communicating as well as I could be. I’ve been very stuck in my own head. I haven’t been as present as I could be. I haven’t been as gracious with myself, which means I’ve been even less gracious with the people around me.

So I’ll say it again: pick something. Swap Netflix at night for a chapter of a book. Don’t drink the extra cup of coffee; choose an extra hour of sleep. Put your phone down. As cliche as it sounds, take a minute to look around. While you’re in line for something today, keep your phone in your pocket and look around you. Make eye contact with people and speak genuinely. Choose to not let the thoughts and holiday anxiety weigh you down, but choose the light and truth. Take deeper breaths. Take moments for yourself. But go hard, harder than you’ve gone all year. Get the things done that you’ve dreamt about. Do things for other people, and do them with a grateful heart. There’s a balance, but I believe you were meant for better things than you’re currently doing. And you have it in you.

Happy Monday.

The safe space.

I don’t sleep in. Hear me when I say this. I don’t like wasting hours of sunlight. But how fitting is it that at the last house church of the summer, my boss gave a talk on rest, and today I managed to wake up at 11AM, and that was only because of an alarm I thought I wouldn’t need but set just for kicks and giggles? I think my body was saying, “Hey! Slow down. Take a Vitamin C. Make yourself some breakfast, and sip your coffee slowly.” SO with that, here we are. I’ve managed to crawl out of bed, turn on the coffee, and let my fingers find the keys because I woke up with billions of thoughts running through my mind. This past week. Man. It’s been a wild one, but we also live with a wild God, so this just goes to show.

I think my loudest prayer to God in the last couple weeks has been, “Prepare my heart for whatever is coming next, and I will follow You in that,” (and that’s a fantastic prayer, don’t get me wrong) but I think the quietest prayer I’ve prayed has been, “God, help,” when it should’ve been the loudest. These past couple weeks, I’ve learned what it means to be authentic with people without giving all of yourself to someone, and I think that lesson holds a lot of weight. I learned that I overshare not because I have so many brilliant things to say, but that by telling you every detail in a story or every detail of my day, I’m able to hold onto how I really feel about the darkest parts of me and I get to keep those for myself. But I also do that to God. I thank Him incessantly (which, again, is still a very good thing), but I don’t know how to come to Him and tell Him about what’s happened that hurts or what I don’t like or how frustrating it is to be so vulnerable with people and have it cave in so quickly (even though He already knows all of these things, the relationship deepens when communication happens on my end). So I keep holding on to the deepest parts of me and store them up and keep telling you everything about how I picked out this one journal from a cute bookstore because surely I can distract you with my words. But 1. The deeper parts of us have been set in a safe space with God (a super wise person told me those words, and I’ve been letting myself sit in that for a while), and 2. We don’t get to distract God like this. Or maybe if I say enough words, it’ll click for us and you’ll know me. That’s a huge desire woven into the core of who I am, and I think of who you are too: we want to be known. 


If you’re like me, you’re sitting there imagining your safe space with God (and if you’re not like me, just pretend and keep on following). Mine has fresh coffee and a big, comfy couch I get to sink into at the end of the day so I can effectively pour my heart out to God. Every word I get to speak to Him is like writing with a fine point pen on a nice, new sheet of a clean journal, because that’s the best feeling and it’s a feeling of newness. He creates a space of peace and comfort for us in Him, and He surrounds us with songs of deliverance. He knows us in ways that we don’t know ourselves and that is a gift, friends.

I have been continually reminded that I cannot do things on my own strength, and I think this is the first time that’s ever hit me this hard. We require God’s strength for everything we do. We cannot create our own peace or love, but we must operate out of the Lord’s strength to see those things fully. Thank You that I am hidden in You. Whenever the days are difficult and the world is pressing in on all sides, I will dwell in the shelter of Your sweetness. In the midst of this internship with LifeCast (read more about my experience as a student at LifeCast here), I read a devotion on Identity in Christ written by one of my beautiful friends. “This position of sitting with the pigs, hungry and covered in dirt; hiding in the bushes, shaking in the fear, this is how well we can meet our needs apart from Christ and this is who we were apart from Christ. We were slaves to coping mechanisms for the lack, hurt, and shame we felt, whether it be an eating disorder, pornography addiction, perfectionism, unhealthy relationships, etc.”

Slaves to coping mechanisms. That is so accurate. Something that ties into this that we talked about at house church last night was this idea of the Sabbath and how free people get a break, so when we take that rest, we are glorifying God because He has freed us. Slaves don’t get a day off, so that’s exactly what we exemplify when we decide to power through all 7 days, 24 hours, week after week. We don’t need to live a life that’s constantly about pain management and coping mechanisms when the price has been paid for us and we get to walk in that reassurance of freedom.


When the night is holding onto me, God is holding on.

Because I can know and feel so intensely that God is doing a good thing, I have heard the lies louder than anything else. You are unqualified. You are unworthy. You are not beautiful. Why would your words matter? Why would God use you? And that’s when it’s happening. I’ve heard it described as Day 39, when you know you feel the pain and the weight so intensely, but tomorrow could be Day 40, the day when God shows up in an undeniable way. So when the night is holding onto me, I know that God is holding on with more strength and fervor and without ceasing. I want to be able to fully trust Him in all the parts of my life. I want to create a space for Him for the rest of the days of my life. I don’t want to live out of my own expectations of create my own provisions because that is exhausting. It’s like you’re in a tug-o-war match with God and you know He’s always going to win, but that’s the most beautiful submission, to set down the rope and run into His arms.

I want to be so overwhelmed by the glory of God that nothing else can seem to outweigh the thoughts of Him and overwhelm me. I’ve been reading a book called A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman, and it’s a book about living your life in the art you were created for, and the friend who lent it to me knew that it would have an impact on the way I navigated my days (so I thank her a ton for that). And I know what you’re thinking: Jenna, I am not an artistic person. THAT’S OKAY!! Because what I’m talking about has to do with the way you wake up and walk through your days, and we all do that. One of the things she says is, “He comes into us, then out of us, in a million little ways.” She talks about how no matter our profession or the classes we’re taking or the people we’re around or the chores we’re doing, we get to do them all for the glory of God. If that doesn’t make you slow down and think about all the things you do in a day, I’m not sure what will. It’s made me acknowledge and appreciate every detail in day that God sets into motion. How beautiful is that? That we have a God who designs our days and in turn, we get to glorify Him with all that we do! I love that reminder as we approach a new school year. I get to love the people around me well because God loves me so well that He knows every detail about me and handcrafts my days.

img_6519-1

So when you’re walking into this next week and you’re wondering if today will be good or bad, I’m going to choose good and I hope you do too. The moment my feet hit the floor, I remembered my intense hunger and thirst and desire for Jesus, and how He has invited me into this day. What a gift. Ask Him for the joy, ask Him to help you pull the chains off, ask Him into this walk we get to do. Recognize the safe space. And sit with Him. Dance with Him. Eat with Him. Sing to Him. Be with God today. And how beautiful that He gives us community to remind us that we are never alone. We get to be with Him, and we are reassured that we’ll never walk alone. What a promise: that He holds onto us and provides for us and that we will never be alone.

Signature

Sincerely zealous.

A few nights ago, I sat in the passenger seat of a dear friend’s cars, the same passenger seat I sat in 6 months ago while I cried out of desperation and questioned the goodness of God and His love, but this time I sat in the passenger seat and held her hand and cried because of the fire inside my heart and the reassurance that God is GOOD and LOVING and that is something to celebrate. I love that God places me in the same places to show me His goodness and steadfastness in my world that’s constantly changing every time I take a breath. Like, I wanted to roll down the window and set off a confetti gun and sing painfully loudly because OUR GOD IS FAITHFUL. I want to scream that from the roofs of Ford. He is GOOD and He is in it for the long haul. We could learn a thing or two from Him about loving earnestly.

cling

serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous

   

Love your people.

   

Love them with everything in you.

  

This is a post for my people.

   

You are so deeply loved.

And I hope I spend every day of my life showing you that.

Thank you for loving me too.


I woke up this morning feeling completely unworthy and unqualified. This doesn’t happen everyday. But today it did. I always imagine being elsewhere and imagine how much better it will be, and how much better I will be as a person, when I get there. But I call God my Father, which means I’m completely qualified and worthy for anything I’m encountering, especially the things that catch me off guard because He already knows. And I know it’s really easy for me to sit here and say that, but it’s another thing to believe it deep down to your core. That would mean that I…I can’t even imagine, really. I don’t know what that would mean for me or what that would look like. I imagine it would look a lot like freedom, which I’ve tasted. A little bit. Or maybe I haven’t. I don’t know.

I feel God tugging my stubborn heart back into ministry. That’s what Perry and I were talking about when I started crying in that passenger seat, the happy tears and the confetti gun. I think God has knit my heart for some sort of ministry. I just don’t know what exactly. I don’t know if that looks like a future pastoral role or seminary or public relations for a church or making videos of refugees or giving a voice to the stories of God’s people. But it’s something I’m willing to look into now. I don’t know. I just know when I sing the words,

So take courage my heart;
Stay steadfast my soul.
He’s in the waiting.
He’s in the waiting.
Hold onto your hope,
as your triumph unfolds.
He’s never failing.
He’s never failing.
And You who hold the stars,
who call them each by name,
will surely keep Your promise to me,
that I will rise in Your Victory
,

there’s a reason I cripple and cry. I feel God slowly making my heart come undone. Coming undone in the courage He’s steeped my life in. All from Him. Not so much like ripping scales off of the dragon to make him a boy again, but slowly reassuring me that this is my calling and this is who I am. I’ve been created to reassure children of God that they are WORTHY OF TAKING UP SPACE. That is one thing He is teaching me right now. I am worthy of inhabiting the space. I am worthy of walking with my head up. This was the summer I learned to say what needed to be said and start walking without looking at the ground. This was the summer I started to learn to stop being small. Being small doesn’t serve His Kingdom.

Oh my God, what if you wake up some day, and you’re 65, or 75, and you never got your memoir or novel written; or you didn’t go swimming in warm pools and oceans all those years because your thighs were jiggly and you had a nice big comfortable tummy; or you were just so strung out on perfectionism and people-pleasing that you forgot to have a big juicy creative life, of imagination and radical silliness and staring off into space like when you were a kid? It’s going to break your heart. Don’t let this happen.” // Anne Lamott

Stir our affections for You, oh God.

There was a time a while ago when I was stupidly joyful , in the best way possible, like it would’ve blown your mind. I was completely captivated by who God is and who He says I am. I remember writing one time, “He also calls us all the things He calls Jesus. Pure. Holy. Blameless. Righteous. And THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL. It makes me want to run a marathon and dance in the rain and shout it from the rooftops.” Y,all, I wanted to RUN A MARATHON because of my God. And I am delighted to say, those are the same feelings I have right now that make my heart beat out of my chest and send me over the moon. THIS is the stuff of joy. I want to know intimacy with Him. I want to be completely immersed in Him.

When we live in close-knit community and continue to focus only on the way we feel about certain things and allow those feelings to lead us in navigating living in this community, it can be a trainwreck. In my last post, I addressed that love being a choice, especially when it comes to your friends and the community we live in. I talked about the way that love is not a feeling and we don’t qualify love by gauging our feelings as warm or cold, but we get to qualify love by embodying the image of God that we were created in and making His Kingdom more and more of a reality in the moments we all get to share in here on earth.

I want to be so filled with God that every part of my life pours out praise to God and every facet of the gifts He has given me glorify Him completely.

May the days of my life be a display of the goodness of the Holy Spirit.

When I was off of social media for two weeks (a couple weeks back; do this and you won’t regret it), I got to appreciate the beautiful things around me, in my presence right now and not long for the things I thought were beautiful in someone else’s life. It made me present. It cultivated gratitude. And I don’t want to lose that.

So this may have been completely scatterbrained, but it just goes to show you how much He can teach and jam-pack love and goodness into our lives.

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” // PSALM 139:16

“The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” // PSALM 16:6

CURRENTLY I’M… #4

Loving: People.

Learning: About the history of the Church. How to disciple people. How to become a minimalist (on the good days). How to receive grace. And how to do live sound. I LOVE IT. My detail-oriented, logistics-craving brain is being fueled right now.

Reading: Prince Caspian + Wild and Free + Acts (+ a commentary on Acts).

Eating: Blueberries + dried mango + Kind bars.

Excited about: INTERNSHIPS + Community Impact Teams focusing on Identity in Christ. Honestly, just this school year. Correction: life. Im excited about lifeLike, find me some confetti and some pink party hats, and let’s get this celebration started.

Needing: Jesus. Every minute. Every day. Dependency is actually the greatest. And probably another cup of coffee, depending on when you’re reading this.

Thinking about: Everything all at once all the time. Boundaries. The sweetness of the Holy Spirit. Lots of feelings.

Thankful for: my people. Through the awkward and messy and celebratory and joyful and sorrowful. They are here, and they keep showing me how near God is. They make me want to throw a party and write thank you notes every day of my life.

Listening to: The new NEEDTOBREATHE album and it. is. fire. “Testify” and “Let’s Stay Home Tonight” are personal favorites. Also, Hillsong’s Of Dirt and Grace album is phenomenal. Also, more Audrey Assad (“Breaking You”) and some old Grey’s Anatomy soundtracks. And some Luke Bryan. So really I’m all over the place and just feel a lot of joy from singing at the top of my lungs.

So stay awesome and love every minute of this Monday. Maybe throw a little dance party. Buy some more thank you notes. Drink the extra cup of coffee. Maybe have dessert for breakfast. You deserve it. Also, thank Jesus. Happy Monday.

Signature

In a crowd of ten thousand, You don’t miss a thing.

He’s in the middle of all of this & I keep missing Him because I’m too busy looking for Him. And yes, the greatest ideas do come to me when I’m studying an hour and a half before I’m supposed to take an exam, and not while I’m perfectly calm and sitting over coffee, but that is really okay with me.

He keeps showing up. In office hours and documentaries and abandoned warehouses, He keeps showing up. He is more gracious & more patient & slower to jump to anything than I will ever be. And remembering all of this is what gets me lost in the beauty, which is exactly where I need to be to be found. Thank You, Jesus.

Side note for your day: If you ever want to feel incredibly & undeniably alive, walk in the pouring rain. I learned that this past week. That will do it for you. And another side note: it’s supposed to rain all week, so try it out & don’t let storms get you down. You can find Him in a thunderstorm. He will come to us like rain. Slowly & undeniably. 

“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine. When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place, it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1-3 MSG

When You stand, I feel the floor of Heaven tremble…and in a crowd of 10,000, You don’t miss a thing.

I’ve worked long & hard on this one. I tried to comprise all my gifts & glorify Him through this writing. I used everything in me to handcraft this. Here it is. Here’s the state of my heart:

My heart’s a mess. My head’s a mess. My life’s a mess. My to-do lists are a mess. My schedule’s a mess. And maybe that’s because finals are 2 weeks away & graduation is 3, but maybe it’s also because that’s how it’s always been. And I don’t mind sharing that with you, the messy state of my life. I mean, I think that’s why we’re all here together: to share & revel in each other’s messy lives & delight in our time together. And somehow in all that messiness, things have been falling together, in the best way possible. I love doing life, especially with Jesus. I love love love doing this whole life thing.

But in all of this brokenness & delighting in each other’s messiness, we still get to make our own decisions. I value opinions, but I’m starting to let myself understand that just because I value people’s opinions does not mean I will let them make my decisions. And I think the faster you realize that, the faster you will find yourself in a happier place. You have the ability to make your own decisions. I may sound like I’m preaching to you, but I’m also saying this to myself because it’s worth repeating. I once had my favorite teacher tell me, “If you don’t like being walked all over, get up off the floor.” More prophetic words have never been spoken. Just kidding…but as simple as that was, it was the hardest thing in the world for me to actually do. It still is. I have to make the decision ever single day when my feet hit the ground to not let people walk all over me because, unfortunately, it’s not something that comes naturally.

10955448_1651145568442453_1492044925788633120_n

People are just people. Surprise. And we’re all broken. And we can’t just go around carrying every ounce of someone’s baggage. It’s just not possible. Most of the time, you can’t even carry all of your own baggage. It’s crippling. And terrifying. Another surprise, I’m sure. But you can’t let the rough stuff define you. You will spend the rest of your life believing the lie that you are unworthy of what God has called you to. Believe me, some days I still put on those shoes.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31

I’ve heard that verse referenced 3 times in the past 2 days (and I refuse to believe that’s just a coincidence), and before that I’d turned that Scripture over in my brain countless times over the past few weeks. You are of value. You are of value. You are of value. He whispers it in the most random moments, but it resounds. In darkness & in light, this never ceases to be true. It will never cease to be true. You are of value. He knows me. He knows you. He knows us. Currently pushing aside the fears of having an intimate relationship with Christ because risking it is worth much more than sitting in darkness.

Risking it is worth everything.

Signature

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.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

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

photo 2 (4)

Signature

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.

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up: Cultivate Thankfulness

Things you should know about me:

1) I have lived in the South my entire life (all 18 years of it).

2) I’ve gone to church sporadically for those 18 years, until a year ago when I started to go every weekend.

3) Yesterday was the first Southern Sunday I have ever had.

Now you’re probably wondering: What is a Southern Sunday?

Well, I am glad you asked. I’m not sure many people refer to them the same way I do, or even have a name for these special days, but a Southern Sunday, to me, is going to a church service (of your choice) around 10 in the morning, which is followed by a nice, southern, home-cooked meal for lunch. A big meal at that (complete with Arnold Palmers and peach pie). Chicken and rice casserole, green beans, fried okra, and salad.  My heart was so happy when a lovely woman, at a new church I was trying out, came up to me & said, “You’re Jenna! Well, today you have a place to eat lunch!” (And it also helped that I am a poor college student, so that added to the happiness). I’m always blown away by how welcoming people can be, and I still haven’t figured out why yet. I always assume people are going to be closed off, but Jesus always proves me wrong with that one. I love that He is revealing Himself to me through these relationships and people around me.

This was one of those moments when I was able to be present. I sat around that table, while we all fellowshipped together, and just took it all in. This is what life is about. These moments of community that make you happy you’re alive. Maybe you don’t go to church, and you really don’t want to, but community is important. Community lifts you up on your lows & celebrates with you on the highs. It’s these people that make up who you are. Whether you like it or not, you take something from each person you’re around, whether it be a personality trait or a life lesson or something you know you don’t want to do.

These people I’ve decided to surround myself with, and who Christ has decided to bless me with, have made all the difference. Instead of morphing my beliefs and my quirks and my personality, these people have helped highlight and amplify them (even the sarcasm and the stories that I think are funny but actually end with crickets chirping in the background). I have come to find that there will be some people in your life that you just enjoy being in the presence of. No words have to be spoken or actions have to be made. They bring peace to your life and you feel like yourself when you’re around them. Maybe you’ve just met them or maybe you have known them forever. You don’t have to be in love with this person or even think of them romantically. There is just a special type of person that you can be around that will highlight your best qualities. When you remember these moments, you will remember these special people, and how they were there in those moments when you felt the fullest.

I’ve found myself in these moments quite frequently in the past week. Whether it be with a kind, new friend over Swift & Finch coffee or staring up at the stars with those couple of people around me. Or maybe by the Old Mill just listening to a sweet friend strum her guitar and hum a little tune. Or praying with a new friend after Bible study. Or enlightening office conversations. Or watching the sunset from a roof. What do all of these moments have in common, you ask? I found Jesus in every single second. His love abounded in every little moment. I knew what it felt like to be wholeheartedly loved by the God of the universe because I was present.

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

Yes, I have noticed that I released the Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up on a  Sunday night, but I know a few people who start work and school for the first day tomorrow morning, so I wanted to give them a chance to see this. I know I don’t particularly care for reading at 6:30 in the morning, but that’s just me, so you never know.

Alright, so here’s the pick-me-up part of this amazing Monday morning: Be present. Soak in each moment today. Find Jesus in everything you do. Even in the frustration or the anxiety, He is there. You will find Him in your weaknesses or even if it’s the most amazing Monday you have ever had. Seek Him out & you will find. Be your best self today. I know you have it in you.

A couple weeks ago, I was asked the question (or something similar to it):

“If you were always aware that the Holy Spirit was living inside of you, how differently would you live your life?”

Food for thought. How differently would you see yourself? Would you lift yourself up more often than you bring yourself down? How would you treat your body? How would you spend your time? Walk with the reassurance that Jesus lives inside you this morning, friends. I know it may be hard, and at times you may feel unworthy, but don’t be discouraged. Jesus is with you. Always.

Do you need a Monday morning pump up song? Here you go, my friend. Feel free to dance & worship while getting ready.

Looking to feel inspired? Read this.

Do you need a laugh? Watch this.

CULTIVATE THANKFULNESS.

“Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.” – Colossians 3:15-17 MSG

Shine light into the world & have a wonderful Monday, friends.

Signature

Monday Morning Pick-Me-Up

You are

Worthy

Let that word resonate with you for a few seconds. Now, if you started this Monday morning rushing around the house, spilling coffee down your clothes, and running later than usual, just stop for a second. Or if you “woke up” from only a couple hours of sleep because your dorm room sink was overflowing (because I know I did) and you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and frustrated, take a second to rest. Or if you woke up this morning, not feeling rushed or frazzled at all, but waking up and looking in the mirror to think, “Well, this is as good as it’s gonna get,” then give me a few minutes of your Monday morning.

God has placed you exactly where you are for a reason. Let that sink in. God has called you where you’re standing for a reason this morning. Put on “called” and walk around with the reassurance that you are not alone. God sees you as His perfect child of the light. Slink into that “perfection” for the day. God calls you worthy. You are worthy of love from the Most High God. Put on that “worthy” with a cup of coffee in hand and nice pair of shoes on your feet and some of that new lipstick you’ve wanted, but haven’t dared, to try to take on this wonderful Monday morning. Put on those new clothes of “true righteousness” and “holiness” & walk around with that new reassurance of a new self (Ephesians 4:24).

This past week, I reminded a dear friend of mine how God has planned everything out for our lives. How special and cherished does that make you feel? He knows where we will be in 20 minutes, 20 days, 20 months, 20 years. He knows the plans he has for you, plans to give you hope and a future, even when those plans are unclear to you (Jeremiah 29:11). Have patience with Him, dear child. He knows where He wants you. He knows the impact you will have on the world. He knows who your future spouse will be. He knows how many kids you will have & what colors their eyes will be & how they will eat their food. He knows what you find joy in, and He tries to provide as much of it as possible. He knows which relationships will better you and which will bring you down, which is why some relationships must come to an end. He gives us a hiding place when we need it (Psalm 32:7). He knows every little quirk you have. He knows what words of His draw you in the closest to His heart. He knows the way you like your coffee, the way you read His Word, and the routine you have in the morning. He delights in your heart & persistently seeks you out. He cherishes Your time together. He knows your purpose & the days He has set out before you. He formed you before He even hung the stars in the sky. He chose you before He formed the foundation of the earth (Ephesians 1:4). He delights in you. He wants you. He loves you. Let those words sink into the deepest corners of your heart this morning. You are loved by the God of the universe. The King of all kings. Your Heavenly Father. Your comforter.

12-13 Moses said to God, “Look, you tell me, ‘Lead this people,’ but you don’t let me know whom you’re going to send with me. You tell me, ‘I know you well and you are special to me.’ If I am so special to you, let me in on your plans. That way, I will continue being special to you. Don’t forget, this is your people, your responsibility.”

14 God said, “My presence will go with you. I’ll see the journey to the end.”

15-16 Moses said, “If your presence doesn’t take the lead here, call this trip off right now. How else will it be known that you’re with me in this, with me and your people? Are you traveling with us or not? How else will we know that we’re special, I and your people, among all other people on this planet Earth?”

17 God said to Moses: “All right. Just as you say; this also I will do, for I know you well and you are special to me. I know you by name.”

Exodus 33:12-17 MSG

Signature