When Risking is Winning [Even When Its Hard]



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


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!


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



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!]


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.



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


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]


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


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.


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.





Even When [Still Searching]


Within minutes of each other, two texts came through to my phone just as I was sitting down to job search during the most inspirational time of the day: NAP THIRTY.

All this toddler chasing has me crawling on hands and knees to my comfy chair for the ever-needed and very much required hour of power.

Wardrobe boxes were staring me down but I just could not.

Cup of coffee number two in hand and eyes glazed over (because 6:30 a.m. wake up call) I took a deep breath.

I had a momentary celebration just as our realtor gave us the news that our home would go back on the market just in case our buyer couldn’t get his loan.

Enter all the heart palpitations that come with the thought of getting our upside down home back into show worthy style. Something inside of me found my inner tiger and I was immediately up for the challenge.

But why God?

I love the passage in Romans that talks openly about patience and trust.

“We Continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next.” Romans 5:3-4 MSG

So much passionate patience growing over here. It’s worth the trouble, really.

Does this ever happen to you? The moment God trusts you with a setback, He reveals a fresh possibility?

The next text message followed quickly from Kris saying that our next job lead was reviewing his submission and would be scheduling interviews soon.

We may or may not be considered, I have no clue – but I do know that we needed that forward motion and that Jesus continues to carry us in all the crazy.

Speaking of crazy, allow me to give you a screen-shot into our lives…

Boxes everywhere.

Suitcases for 7 packed.

Closets gutted.

Beds taken down.

Mattresses on floors.

Homeschool books sorted for fall (cause who knows where on earth we will be).

Weekend long yard sale complete.

Conversations about all the “what ifs”.

Updating our kids because they are not just along for the ride.

The guys have been working hardcore over here shuttling our life back and forth to storage while I keep the toddler playing in water and eating all forms of snacks.

Stuff is upside down and every where. But you know what? I’m all in. We are all in.

When you say “yes” to the spirit…you say “yes” to an adventure that you could not possibly map out. It’s just the most out of control feeling to not know anything!

The questions keep coming…

“Where are you moving?”

“Why are you moving?”

“When are you leaving?”

“Did you find a job?”

It’s so hard and so right all at the same time!

Those conversations don’t go very far when the answers to all the questions are “We have no idea! But we know God is leading us into something new somewhere else.”

After chasing down a lead in Colorado for the past two months, it all came to a close on Memorial Day. God spoke through it all like He always does and I will post about that later.

Kris continues to finish out his time at church strong and with his whole heart while trying to find the next landing spot. Not easy peasy.

I am doing my best to keep life rollin on the home front while trying to show our kids how to walk by faith…like completely. All while cooking, cleaning, keeping up with their summer schedules, and keeping a toddler happy, fed, and out of danger!

I get to watch Jesus develop the trust of my kids, expand their understanding of this call to ministry, and mature their hearts to what is next.

I. Would. Never. Trade. These. Days.

It feels wrong to complain that things aren’t moving quicker when you believe in a God who sovereignly weaves all things for His purpose.

For now we are pushing forward. Eyes are wide and hope is rebuilding as we search for other positions. Join us while we wait…holding onto the next verse in the passage:

“In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling short-changed. Quite the contrary-we can’t round-up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!” Rom 5:5 MSG




Dear Moms Everywhere {Younger or Older-This is for You}

Howel family 146editOh Mommas out there… who have been to countless doctor visits to hear that precious heartbeat, to see how the baby measures, who have held their breath for ultrasounds, and have given up tubes and tubes of blood work to the lab.

There are SO many joy-filled days when you are caring for that little life inside of you.

Stepping on the scale is generally fun when a baby is coming right?

Stretchy pants abound and roundness of everything is welcomed pregnant.

Motherhood is full of anticipation.

Other times it’s not all happy-go-lucky.

The visits “just because” mean getting on the scale is nowhere near as exciting. Your pants are supposed to fit (and zip). Your roundness should be dissolved and your appointment, while important.. is just maintenance.

Some of us go as far to take off our shoes and sweater and empty our pockets, spit, go potty, and skip breakfast…those numbers are the enemy right?

Maybe the nurse had a scale malfunction? Bless her heart.

I’ve also been on the other side of happy OB visits with the news of loss in that first ultrasound. Oh the devastation. The visits where you cry and the nurse brings you tissue and sobs with you, are not forgotten.

Mothering can be heartbreaking.

The visits where your blood pressure is sky-high maybe because you sprinted up the stairs thinking that would help the scale but mostly because you are stressed out.

Today as I  sat filling out paperwork for my yearly exam, I quickly realized I was checking boxes I never had before. Have you been there?

Boxes like D & C after miscarriage, tubal ligation after the last baby, and even a third C-section were added to my history.

Motherhood requires care.

The years of waiting and expecting babies stared me down. All the appointments over the years for…



post partum,

and loss.

I had been in and out of doctor’s offices and meetings with social workers for sixteen years and in that moment, I gathered up all of the taking care of self and the giving my babies near and far my best – and felt overwhelmed.

Motherhood is a calling.

It is a job, a ministry, and especially a refining tool for our souls.

Somehow in His might, God used my young years, my fun years, and even my wrung out years to grow a family.

He established my heart for my kids before they were ever created and today I felt the weight of that honor.

Thank you annual exam…for helping me reflect on my life through the checking of boxes.

Five kids call me Mom and I feel called to each one in very specific ways.

Mothering is exhilarating and exhaustifying all in the same day.

Thoughtful life chats on the kitchen counter with a teenager while the elementary one is pushing all my mom buttons.

Sidewalk chalk with the toddler while the driving one is talking to me about car tires and future dreams.

Listening to the middle one give me the run down on his 12th birthday party, as pretend to be dialed in but really I block out everything he is saying and finish my coffee.

Boys jamming on drums and guitars and the whole house is jumping but I’m so in love with the music they are making.

Mommas, some days we are tired and teary and other days we are smiling and making memories.

One day isn’t better than the other – they both grow in us something different.

Mothering matters.

Whether you are an expecting mom, a broken mom, a mom of teen or toddlers, or an adoptive mom – each moment adds to the story of your family and stretches your heart.

This Mothers Day, remember that those early visits and appointments began with such intentionality and hope.

The very God who formed our kids is forming us  day in and day out and He always is faithful to finish what He started.

Mothering is a commitment.

We get to take a special seat in the lives of our grown up kids watching them find their purpose and then take steps to trust what is ahead.

That my friends is an amazing role!

The story doesn’t end after the six month check up at the clinic, or after high school graduation – that is really when the adventure takes off.

Celebrate your hard work and embrace the days ahead with the ones who call you Momma.



That Holding Pattern Though



I found a quiet corner at the convention center to gather my stuff and honestly didn’t know quite how to handle being away from my kids for the week!

Is this real? No one needs me? I’m allowed to close out my mothering tabs?

No questions to answer, no math problems or meals to prepare, a break from the everyday routines of breakfast to bath time?

What an unbelievable feeling to not be rushed or over scheduled for days!

I congratulated myself with my 4th cup of free coffee, ear buds in, and purposefully ignoring all the telling of time.

It had been for-ever since I could function on a free brain and we so needed that open space to spread out all our thoughts, dreams, fears, and questions before God.

Even sitting there in that freedom I was a loss for words… crazy talk.

The six-hour drive to Atlanta allowed conversations without interruption and precious hours to catch up with my husband and gather up our lives to this point.

So many hopes and turns just around the bend and we were doing our best to be right where He had us… needing Him.

I began to write about all God was showing me but those easily flowing sentences were not forming.

I sat there for a few minutes and then remembered that I was failing to ask the most important of questions.

Jesus – what do you want to say to me?

Just like that, the words poured across my notebook like a glass of tipped over milk at the dinner table.

He spoke straight into my heart in that exact minute as if He was waiting for me to ask…

“I’m still here holding you and you’ve not run away from me in your time of waiting.

See – I’m creating moments and opportunities while you grow and trust.

I am going nowhere. I’m showing up in your every day – all day – all night.

I’m stirring hearts at your next location.

I am making time to close this chapter you’ve loved so well.

I am ahead of you. My view is all the way into your eternity – so don’t bother with worry. Instead, be brave and smile at the path I am forming for you and your people.

I am parting waters even now as you sit and write these words.

Believe Jenny. Hold on. Don’t run! “

It was in that moment that Jesus taught me a lesson in simplicity of faith.

You see, in my quiet corner I didn’t necessarily have any new insights. What I had been given was the fresh realization that my day-to-day hope was alive and oh so real.

I am very much in a holding pattern, waiting on God to direct some serious traffic.

So. Much. Holding. On.

Holding on to hear from a job, for the house to sell, for our ministry time here to wrap up, and for our family to settle into our new landing-place.

What about you?

Because the truth is…

He is making a way for you.

He is ahead of your today and tomorrow.

He is showing up for you and is with you.

He parts water for you to walk through too…but you have to trust enough to do the walking.

Maybe you can gather up hope and ask the best question out there.

“Jesus – what do you want to say to me?”

If your habits are anything like mine have been…we do more telling than asking. This leaves no room to hear and we miss out.

In my not having anything epic to share, I heard Jesus speak clearly into my life. That is far more valuable than trying to force write a blog post.

So before we find ourselves discouraged about not having anything new…maybe we can be content with God at work behind the scenes making a way and desiring our trust.

Faith is more about the journey afer all… especially how we spend our time in the holding patterns.