Why Jesus Doesn’t Need Our Perfect Christmas Everything.

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Lets be very real sisters…”Tis the season for scrolling through all the feeds fa la la la la – la la la la.”

Social media channels of dear friends and stunning strangers are filled with perfectly placed mantles, front door wreaths, and fires blazing in the comfiest of living rooms right?

Holidays are my favorite and the blissful scenes usher in all the emotions.

Sometimes I walk away from the scrolling with a dim spirit that wishes I had “that ship-lap”, “her gifts of textures – HOW?”, and enough money to buy everyone matching plaid jammies.

I’m thinking maybe you do too.

It’s the sparkling time of year where Moms start stressing about Christmas cards and the perfect picture.

We all love getting cards in the mail and covering our home with the faces we love (but sometimes the comparison game wins).

Us gals have to consistently remind our hearts that the season is here for a reason. That reason is NOT about our gifts of perfect everything.

It is not

perfect image,

perfect children,

perfect outfits,

perfect shopping,

or perfect parties.

The only perfect you can bank on is perfect Jesus. The end.

It is the most beautiful time of year. The cozy feel of home and the God-given break for normal routine. It’s all so traditional and memorable.

This Christmas, our family is going without the…

perfectly trimmed everything,

glows of lights and candles,

beautifully decorated trees,

and a calendar full of parties.

It honestly has really been something for me to work through this season – but it is okay.

We don’t have to pretend to love hard times, but we get to choose to embrace them.

I trust that the same God who sent the Messiah to rescue mankind – is fully aware of our living in a motor home, serving at a camp, and praying for our next ministry assignment.

He is in this season with us and with you.

Our living as minimalist as possible has me force quitting the wishing – but turning up the hoping, and I like that.

If I am gaining anything from this temporary living arrangement, it is that there is a difference in what we think we want and what we is actually good for us.

Somehow we are not list making for things this year. We just can’t.

Not even our kids (gasp). I mean they would receive gifts happily but they know that we are not celebrating like everyone else as far as the wishing goes.

And you know what? It is STILL Christmas .

Blessings as you await the perfect gift! The One who gives life-like none other.

How tragic to miss Him in the midst of lighting up everything else in our lives.

“The true light  that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.” John 1:9

Friends…this year, lets recognize the birth of Jesus as more than enough!

 

 

 

When Your Struggle Is Serving Someone Else

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Stories of the faithful wandering in the desert, along with their conversations of “Now what God?” have been traveling with me these past few months.

Thank God for His good company!

Some days I feel like I am living out some Old Testament chapter (I mean…no where close but I’ve felt glimpses.)

Those families trusted the unseen, believed in what was to come, and even in moments of weakness – they consistently rose to the promise of deliverance.

If I take anything from this adventure, I hope that my admiration for those walking in the wilderness has me forever changed.

I also hope that our story has offered hope and inspired others to trust from a deeper well. We can’t help but believe good is ahead with the faithful track record He has left for us.

” I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the Lord.” Exodus 6:6-8

For I am the Lord. Why do we even need more than that?

I am so thankful that there are stories of others before me. There is something calming about knowing someone else has made it to the other side right?

How completely exhausting for them!

All the relocating.

Every hardship endured.

The sickness.

The cheers of defeat.

Fearing the enemy.

I’m guessing there may have been some “enough already God we get it” words spoken.There is power in traveling a rough road because chances are, you are never alone.

The journey that God allows for us… isn’t just for us. Just like the Israelites journey wasn’t just for them.

What a bunch of hard-core, believing people. By their example, I can walk out my own journey to God’s best and so can you.

Sometimes our hard times can be for the benefit of others and not even on purpose… but for a purpose. 

“But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Exodus 9:16

Hands down, one of the greatest encouragements to me as we wait for our next job assignment and home has been those whose faith is stronger because of our story.

We never intended for our stepping out to be “for” others, but God is using our faith to add to the journey of many.

The texts and messages continue to roll in from others who are in some kind of waiting and have gained courage through our family in this crazy time.

I love that God is speaking to me through them.

I promise you, I never once thought during our decision process to leave our church and home that we loved…”We should do this because others need to see that God is faithful.”

I mean, I was hopeful that we could shine a light on His faithfulness, but honestly in the moment I was more concerned with our survival.

The road you are on is not pointless friends…

Chances are that you are paving the way for someone else.

For fear to be conquered.

To deepen your own trust well.

To  continually be reminded that you are never, ever alone in your search for whats next.

Looking back we see God’s faithful love as He leads us to the exact places that will shape our souls to trust Him with less fear and more abandon.

 

 

 

 

When Things Don’t Go Just As You’ve Planned

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It was just the setting I needed to park my camp chair and be still.

Twenty minutes of heaven existed at the RV park with unobstructed views of pine trees and mountain sides.

Please tell me you have prayed for God to move and he did, but it turned out nothing like you pictured?

So often we get hung up on what we think Gods plan should look like and we miss the present joy. Anyone with me?

Maybe your today looks nothing like you hoped it would – or maybe it’s so much better.

Our current living conditions include a 32 foot motor home with our family of seven aboard.

It’s honestly so perfect and comical. We needed a place to live that got us out living life and not just stuck waiting for phone calls and emails to come through.

We’ve all been there…sitting on the couch, taking out a bag of Doritos and drinking Coke because our heart was a mess and we were too nervous to step out into the light of day.

The motor home allows for tight spaces, non stop cooking and conversation, with the sound of rain hitting the roof and the smell of campfire close by.

It literally has me all lit up.

It’s obviously not ideal (enter zero privacy, co sleeping with a toddler, 3 tall teenage boys stuffed into sleeping bags, a little girl missing her toys, and a kitchen smaller than your bathroom) but its most definitely memorable and is adding much to our family story.

In my camp chair moment, God spoke to me over and over again about how this journey to whats next for our family is a gift, a privilege, and exactly what we need.

Why are we so stubborn and slow to believe?

I have found my heart telling God that this would be a lot easier to revel in if I just knew the answers to all of my questions (weak faith I know – total bargain girl over here).

We suffer when we crave answers more than anything else Jesus has to offer.

He always has a way of working our lazy hearts over – right?

We did the unfathomable and stepped out in total faith (sold our home, put life in storage, and left all that we loved without landing a job or a destination) because we heard God clearly leading us.

We listened…we are still tracking down His call.

Am I the only one who make deals with God? 

“God, if you let us get this job – I promise to only rejoice on the hard days and not question your will.”

“God, if you let my doctors report come back clear…I will lose 20 pounds and exercise twice a day and vow to never touch another Oreo!”

“God if you can pay our bills – we commit to never buying any more crap  non essentials ever again.”

“God – if you clear up this argument, I vow I will only pray and not respond in hard conversations (LOL).”

“God, if I can have the heart of my kid back…I will be diligent to take her out to lunch every Saturday.”

It’s crazy how much better we “believe” life might be if only everything were under control and perfectly in order.

It’s just never true for long. There is always more.

There have been plenty of seasons in our lives when things were calm and easy – but we still found a way to be discontent and wanting something different.

The lesson in front of me continues to be more about my appreciation of the journey and less about exactly where we are going to end up.

Oh my word, I fail!

Living in the unknown forces our hearts to let go in order to reach out for God’s itinerary. 

I honestly have no clue what kind of deals you have made, or currently have in the works but please trust me…

There is nothing you could possible want more than being in the direct center of His will for your today.

Nothing will make life sweeter than His love.

Nothing will calm your heart permanently than His presence.

Nothing you could possible ask Him for will heal your wounds but His grace.

And for heaven’s sake NOTHING will speed up or slow down His timeline.

I don’t know about you, but there is comfort in dropping the deal making and receiving what He has on the table today.

He is for you. He is with you. He wants to be everything you need.

Go strong, even if its hard and especially if it means that your neighborhood is an RV park.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Risking is Winning [Even When Its Hard]

 

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Toddler chasing and trying to keep the middle two kids busy and not missing Dad and the older brothers – had me finished.

Stretched out and collapsed into the chair alone, I finally had a moment to close my eyes and give God a few thoughts on this week – as of He was in the dark.

I realize He thinks I’m crazy. Its true.

Nearly two months and two days have passed since leaving our home, church, and community behind in Tennessee.

We have road-tripped the entire western United States making memories along the journey. Some days it feels short, other days an eternity!

Well meaning souls have attempted to counsel about how moving is not a big deal…everyone moves, changes jobs, starts over, “try being in the military”.

We wouldn’t say to a friend who has suffered a miscarriage, ” listen – it happens to 1 in 3 and its not really a big deal…you’ll be fine.”

Chances are, you can’t fix a person by trying to make something they are experiencing easier because it wasn’t hard for you.

Friends, lets not minimize someone elses hardship no matter how graceful we may have waded through it. Amen?

We very much have an army of support and hopeful people waiting and believing right along with us – and we are thankful! Our landing spot will surface as long as we are faithful to wait.

I find myself “in-between” the good of the past and the unknown great of the future, but can’t decide if I love this time or if I am over it.

The upbeat,

confident in Jesus,

and die-hard optimist in this Momma,

embraces this time. Seeing each day as an opportunity to rest from ministry responsibility, to do new things with our kids, and to really search my heart and the heart of God for what He desires from me. That happens on the good days.

The tired,

worn thin,

losing hope,

and disappointed in God Momma,

caves and crumbles under the stress of not having a home, or a church, or a community to set up camp and dig in roots. This is a familiar hard day.

We are learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable for the sake of obeying the Spirit’s leading us in the search.

Is there doubt? Yes. Have people questioned our stepping out? Yes.

Loved this quote I came across this week.

“Why not go out on a limb? That is where the fruit is.” – Mark Twain

Let me be the first to tell you that just like any good thing, the limb allows for major tests of trust.

There are also sturdy moments where we see the beauty in all of this and can smile at what is to come with great confidence in an unfailing God.

But the fruit? It lives out on the limb doesnt it?

Do we always have to risk to grow? I believe yes. The best lasting growth comes from risk taking.

Our kids are living out a complete walk of faith.

It’s not glamorous and they have seen and heard it all. We just can’t fast forward ahead to all the ways Jesus will use this season for His fame in the lives of our five…because He will. He is.

Their frustrated yet determined Dad who is working so hard every day to lead strong and search for the best landing spot for the seven of us.

They see him encouraged and soaring at the bite on a resume or after a strong interview.

They’ve witnessed him low and at a loss for words at a closed-door, even though we believe it leads us closer to home.

They experience a discouraged Mom who just wants to make someplace home, rearrange some furniture, dive into ministry, and fill the table with friends.

There are also days where they catch glimpses of Mom listening outside of the bedroom door as Dad interviews on the phone… cheering with a racing heart!

Each day a chance to trust.

Every moment an opportunity for hope.

Whatever season we find ourselves in this week…maybe we are lovers of comfort and routine and not so much fans of change… but sense a different direction coming.

You do not step out alone!

Jesus knows all these emotions. His heart celebrates and sobbs with ours along the journey to whats next. In that I find great comfort in today – and maybe you can too.

Lets stay out on the limbs friends. Its where Jesus serves the best fruit.

 

 

 

The Holy Moments of Waiting

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Eyes half-open and trying to see through the contacts I slept in, I stumbled over a pile of shoes. Things were already not looking so bright.

I was chasing (well not really…more like tripping) my way down the hall after the toddler  in what appeared to be pitch dark.

You know what that means? It was 5 a.m. people.

In my leaning over to tidy up the entry way I mumbled,”Okay Jesus. You win.”

Which was a silly statement because I was stating the obvious.

He is winning, He has won, and He will continue to win.

I don’t know about you, but whenever I say something to Him like that I get immediate feedback…which I usually appreciate – just not so much early in the morning when I’ve already hit the ground.

I’d rather hear some agreement and even more sympathy!

You?

I love this chapter in Jeremiah verses 5-8. God is giving a message in response to Judah’s sin encouraging them to find dependence in Him alone. Oh man – get ready.

“Cursed is the strong one who depends on mere humans, Who thinks he can make it on muscle alone and sets God aside as dead weight.

He’s like a tumbleweed on the prairie, out of touch with the good earth. He lives rootless and aimless in a land where nothing grows.

But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God.

They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers, never a worry through the hottest of summers, never dropping a leaf.

Serene and calm through droughts, bearing fresh fruit every season.”

Cursed is the strong one. Ouch…you know the one that thinks they can do it on their own?

I desperately want to be that Eden woman who sticks with God.

The one who never worries in the hottest of summers (except I totally do because heat stroke and I loathe the heat index), the one who is deeply rooted (but at times I only sink in half of my roots just to exercise some freedom) and refreshed always, so my leaves never drop off (I do love refreshment).

The word in all of this passage that we must talk about, that does NOT describe me is SERENE. I actually chuckled out loud just now at Starbucks…I’ve never been described as serene.

Confident and courageous and laid back mostly…yes. But serene speaks of peace. Something I lose sight of often when times are a little shady.

His encouragement to me on that way-to-early of a morning was this:

“You will preserve.

I’ve brought you this far.

It would be better for you to run hard until the finish line.

Don’t tire out yet Jenny.

I am the beginning of your story and I will also be the final page. 

My word is sure, I am about to flood you with blessing. Do not bail now.”

It’s usually the end of a long journey that we tire right?

We try our very best to keep our eyes up to make it to the next week, or day, or minute…

For me it is this 8 week road trip full of incredible blessing and beauty. Full of walking in obedience and stepping into opportunities to see if God may be leading us there.

I feel like we are at the end of the adventure and hanging on for final answers.

I am full of hope and nerves sitting on the edge of my seat. I find myself fully trusting Jesus and His word to us about doing a new thing in our lives and ministry.

I also find myself asking the scary fearful question, “What if this doesn’t work out. Then what?” You’ve asked that question haven’t you? We all have.

I’m not feeling excited about persevering any more and I can sense God stretching this out just for the sake of really blowing my trust out of the water.

“Exactly HOW long can and will you walk closely with me?”, He whispers.

Maybe this is you too.

I’m thinking there are loads of us waiting and hoping and dreaming for answered prayer and fulfillment of promises.

What is God asking you to trust Him with y’all?

Surely we can live in a way that shouts His praise because He will win in our lives and He will have His way.

Lets live out whatever journey He has us on like Eden women. Deeply rooted in Him, calm and trusting and continuing to bear much fruit.

Huge challenge? Yes. Am I dying to know? Yes.

The end of a journey is the holiest of moments where hope and trust meet on His watch.

 

 

When Trusting Is the Same As Breathing

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I woke up this morning refreshed spiritually and exhausted physically. Have you been there?

Taking laps around our hotel at 7:30am with our almost 2-year-old running ahead and hot coffee in tow, my spirit was soaring looking out over the beautiful scene set before me. It filled me…but good heavens I was worn out.

There is something hard-core + survival skilling that happens when you are on an extended trip (meaning no end in sight and no place to call home quite yet)! You just have to go for it or you lose.

Every single morning a new opportunity to trust, to search hearts, to open eyes, to deal with the weak places.

A once in a lifetime journey looking for our next ministry assignment with all 7 of our people and our gear crammed quite literally everywhere!

Where the toddler has grown inches while riding in the car and the teenager’s legs reach from the backseat to the driver’s seat.

Faith is risky. It is just the stuff epic God stories are made of.

Some days we are exploring and enjoying mind-blowing new sights while other days are for business. Scouring job boards, sending out resumes and meeting for interviews.

So. Intense.

So. Exciting.

So. Unknown.

So. Unexpecting.

So. Holding my breath.

Other days I feel like we may not find what God spoke to us about for this new season and we will have to just settle for anything because I am weak.

But today…today was different. I feel like we are getting closer.

It seems as if trusting has become the same as breathing. Its just not an option any more.

In my moments between the toddler climbing on the Forestry Fire trucks in the hotel parking lot this morning and trying to pick the berry looking things off of the trees (but not eating them please Jesus), I asked  if He wanted us here in this particular place.

I heard the Spirit speak.

“I am going to follow through.

I’m going to minister to you while you minister.

I will set Kris up for his new role and expand his heart.

I am going to give you the place and the purpose you desire.

I am preparing mentors for your boys.

I will grow you.”

There was another part to His words to me.

“BUT you must be proactive with me. Stay near so you can hear.”

I loved hearing His confirming voice…even though He did not answer my question (typical and expected).

God does that to me. You?

I ask and wait and listen and still the suspense drags on and on. I believe His ways are mysterious and we don’t get to be on the inside always.

We are gaining insight along the way,

we get to calm down in the gaps of waiting,

we trust and stretch out our arms up high to the stunning mountain peak moments and find our hands and knees for those dark valley hours.

Every single day, be it long and undone or heart racing with hope…He brings a new challenge to overcome and we CAN and we WILL with Him near.

So this weekend wherever you find your soul…be it up in a mess of knots or laid out peacefully before the Almighty – we can for sure remain in Him alone.

“By faith Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldnt see, and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved. His act of faith drew a sharp line between the eveil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believeing world. As a result, Noah became intimate with God.” – Hebrews 11:17 MSG

Even when we can’t see, we act on what we were told.

Amen and stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Hard Times Harvest Hope [I’m A Guest Over at (in)courage Today!]

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It was the phone call we had been hoping for.

Two months of interviews with a church, and desperate cries for clarity had been the daily rhythm for our family of seven.

Just days before, two lead Pastors and their wives flew in to spend the day getting to know us. We were sure that God was connecting the dots for this job to be our new reality.

How is it possible to remain consistently hopeful for such an exhausting amount of time?

God was surely ahead of our story and I was right where He wanted me…finding Him consistently present in the unknown.

I have sought Him out in fresh ways and would never wish this season away, but I’m telling you that the stress seemed to dominate our days.

I am learning that the hard times harvest hope.

 When we sow seeds of trust, the Spirit gives us everything we need for living victorious one foot in front of the other.

 The dark days of waiting are where we practice being fully at peace with where God is taking us.

I am surely not amazing at this…you?

 Honestly…I was over all the hoping and trying to keep my family above water.

Well, lets just say that the morning was relaxing and off to a beautiful start.

My people were already playing in the pool and music from the jam box may have woke up all the neighbors earlier than they’d like.

Conversations were all over the map as our teens dreamed out loud about a possible move to Colorado, between cannon balls and sunscreen.

It was in that moment that our oldest noticed a missed call from the church we had been waiting for…..

To finish reading, hop on over to (in)courage today and join me! Hope to see y’all there.

You will want to sign up here to receive daily encouragement from the writers of (in)courage right to your inbox! It’s a perfect way to start your day friends.

~Jen

 

It Turns Out You Don’t Have to Know Whats Next to Move On

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She was just a young teenager the summer we hit the Yukon River for an epic ten-day float trip in the middle of no-where. Literally out in the sticks and rivers with the bears and salmon.

No cell service, no bath houses, no grocery or restaurants. It was the perfect set up for full dependence on God and lots of uninterrupted time with each other.

Did I mention we were on rafts all day on a mile wide river and wilderness camping at night?

A bus full of float supplies, coolers of food, camp gear, and students quickly taught me the best life-giving lessons of any other student trip to date.

A new brave girl came along and happened to be in my tent for the week. She really had no idea what she was in for! Both the rooming with me and what God had waiting for her.

It was actually at some crazy hour in the morning (but in perfect day light – because Alaska) that we finally got our tents up and ready.

After digging holes for the bathroom facilities and then stumbling upon some animal bones (enter all the girls freaking out with who or what may be living on the island) I got them all tucked in for the night.

I couldn’t wait to get to know my new friend’s story and begin a relationship with her… and so in Jen fashion, I dove right in with “So tell me about yourself…”

Bless her heart… she didn’t get the tired leader.

Instead she got the leader who knows that the good heart stuff comes out after 1 a.m. always.

She began to tell me the surface details but then I gave her the…”No – not that stuff, the who are you really stuff” question.

That is when our friendship and trust took root and has remained for the past 17 years.

Sure there have been hard times in both of our stories.

Of course we haven’t kept in continuous touch. There have been wide spaces between our conversations and yet it didn’t even matter.

Fast forward to our family vacation to Chicago last week where I received a text from this precious soul saying she really wanted to talk and felt like God had her at an important crossroad.

I rushed back to our hotel in time to put the baby down for his nap, pulled up a chair next to the 19th story floor to ceiling window facing the city and dialed her number.

What happened next, is what God always does when we are looking for answers or courage.

He allows us to share our hope with another because He knows that our best moving forward trust moments come from looking behind to all the times He has been faithful.

When we shine a light on His faithfulness and provision in the life of another…He speaks to our own lack of faith. Always. 

We talked for nearly 2 hours bringing to the surface the truth of who we are, but mostly who God promises to be when we step out in obedience.

She said, “You know, we are in different but same seasons.”

I loved hearing an almost 30-year-old relate to my 40-year-old life (ha)…but even more than that, I loved hearing surrender in her voice.

That is something I have been lacking.

Surrender. I just want to know whats next. Why can’t I have that answer already?

She was right on – we were walking total faith journeys. Really, really, digging down deep to find courage and a way to trust without fear.

Our situations were very different, her needing to leave a current way of life on her own and me needing to leave a current way of life with a husband and 5 kids. The challenge is a little different but the required faith, the same.

I learned a critical lesson from my tent sister – now adult friend that afternoon.

Because we trust God for our eternity, we for sure can trust him for the next month or years right?

I honestly do not love not knowing what’s next. I don’t.

But in His sneaky Jesus way, I heard the solid and true voice of the One who has my back today and forever saying,

“It is time to move on without a set plan. It’s better for you. Allow me show you how to trust me and even better than that – let me teach you how to find joy out on the cliff.”

So together, my adorable friend and I are walking out on a cliff trusting Him for enough grace to see us through these next steps and enough compassion to hold us together when we maybe feel like crumbling.

I’m sure that if you are breathing, you have something that you need to trust God for.

Sometimes just sharing with another the truth you know about God in their life, will be the very thing that you needed to hear for your own.

It turns out friends, you don’t have to know what’s next to move on.

 

 

 

 

When You Are Tempted to Give In [My chat with God today]

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Phone in one hand and pushing the race car with the other, we went over to pet our neighbor’s cat – like we always do on the daily walk.

After being gone for nearly 10 days it feels so right to get back into a routine and have some space to spread out. At the same time, it caused some sadness because in 3 weeks we would be homeless…then what?

I could feel my throat tighten and my heart begin to race a little too fast for my standing still.

We continued around the loop and I found myself in some intense dialogue with God. It’s okay though, He can handle.

Actually He already knows my heart, my hurts, and my hopes, but part of trusting Him with it all – is actually speaking it like I believe He hears.

I believe He does.

“So now what?” I spit out.

“What do you mean now what?” He pushes back.

“I mean, how do I enjoy this time for much longer? I feel like if you would show us the plan…we could enjoy today so much better.”

I knew the second that came out. He was just looking at me like… seriously Jen?

“I’m TIRED and weary and honestly starting to get worried. Sometimes its tempting to give in.”

Oh boy…this was going to be challenged for sure.

He says gently…”Well – you could give in. But you get to choose not too because you surely will regret choosing fear over faith. I promise.”

“You’re right. Always, but this is not comfortable and I know we said we were okay being uncomfortable because we know it’s you stirring this desire for a new Pastoring position…but can we get on with the show?”

Sometimes don’t you just tell God that your annoyed? I do. Our conversations don’t always have to be picnics and popsicles. 

“The journey is part of the show.” He holds His ground… “I am weaving your story together and these weeks of waiting will prepare you for what I will give to you.”

“I get that…but how do I stay hopeful when provision is unknown?”

Shoot! There is that doubt again.

“So you are saying you don’t know me?” Spoken with authority.

“NO that’s not what I meant.” Spoken as a bratty child.

Now we are moving into the discipline of a Father I can feel it.

“When have I not delivered?” He called me into question.

“Ummm you have never failed me. So what do I need to do?”

“You remain faithful to me,

true to your belief in my plans,

shining a light on me and my promises that I will fulfill. 

That’s what you do. That is what you keep doing.”

How does He do it? In that moment of our conversation, I could feel the Spirit doing battle against the fears I was believing.

“You continue believing me by looking ahead, but not missing today Jenny.”

My driveway came back into view as my daughter pointed out 3 hawks circling overhead…the sign God has given me that He is near and very much at work.

I decided to enter into the rest of my day looking ahead and maybe you need a reset today too.

Don’t be afraid to talk to God as if He were walking around the neighborhood hearing your frustration and feeling your tiredness.

He is.

He will give you what you need, even when your faith is weakened and your light dim.

He shines brightly when we just can’t.

Carry on friends!

 

 

 

What On Earth

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Summer is moving on at its splashing pace as it always does. Our days are full of packing boxes and setting out suitcases and I keep asking myself…

“What on earth is about to happen?”

Have you said that on days where disbelief settles in?

The boys were taking apart the bunk bed yesterday and as they carried it down the stairs to take it to storage I couldn’t help but wonder what this crazy is all about.

At the same time as my questioning kind of wonder, came the other kind of stunned wonder.

The selling of our home that we LOVE.

The closing a 9 year chapter of ministry at a church that we LOVE.

The saying goodbyes to people that we LOVE.

WHAT ON EARTH?

It kinda feels like the birth of our last son Tillerman almost 2 years ago. Laying out on the operating table during a scheduled c-section, we hear our doctor say in her sweet yet confident way…

“Okay y’all its baby time!”

As she pulled out our baby boy my husband yelled, “IS THIS FOR REAL?!”…To which the nurse yelled back, “Yes Daddy its fo real! Now get over here and take your picture!”

Okay, just making sure because sometimes when you wait for something for sooo long it almost seems story-like.

Oh wait…kinda like right now.

There is so much good and so much hard all at the same time.

Buy a new home that we LOVE.

Begin a fresh chapter at a church that we LOVE.

Say hello to new friends that we will LOVE.

Although it feels like time is running out (enter house closing and finishing current job beginning of August accompanied by the deer in the headlight face), it really is because  closing dates are kindly approaching.

I’ve learned over time that you can’t rush the calendar of God. We can’t hurry Him purposefully working out details for our good. It’s not even worth trying…He will have His way and we know it!

Here’s the kicker…

God in His “you can’t make this stuff up” kind of way has made known to us another awesome job description. We don’t see many Family Pastor roles looking for what we desire.

Not only are we chasing this new-found lead… but unknown to us it happens to be in the SAME town my Sissy and her family are relocating too at the beginning of August.

I honestly had no clue where she was moving too. I knew the name of the big city, but not the suburb.

Same. Town?

Cray. Zee.

I know God works in ways we can not fathom.

He could simply  be opening our hearts to this new region.

He could be saying, “I see you.”

He could be placing us back with family after 9 years of living 3000 miles apart.

Heaven knows if this will become our reality.

We are happy to shift our mountain and adventure love to the east coast Smoky Mountains with ocean life nearby, should that be what on earth this is all about!

The hard truth is that this may not be it.

We will work through the process once again and just might not land there. We must hope in what we do not see until He gives us a new focus, and so we will.

Kris and I are reading through a book by John Ortberg called All the Places To Go where he talks in a chapter about the Isrealites coming to the Promised Land. They had to actually STEP into the Jordan River BEFORE God parted the water… I loved that picture.

“If they had waited for proof, they’d be standing on the banks still. Faith grows when God says to somebody, “Go,” and that person says yes.” -John Ortberg

This whole adventure reminds me once again of Abraham and his sold out obedience. I wonder how many times, even in his trusting for the outcome – he asked God, “WHAT ON EARTH is this about?”.

God showed Abe. He’ll show up and lead us once again.

Maybe there are unknowns in your day this week. Those test results, that friendship, your marriage, or a new direction. I get it – but even better, He gets you.

Lets not miss the journey.

Daily struggles of trust are where deep growth is birthed. It’s for real…so take the picture and live out His story for you today.