Just a little hope

About two weeks ago I was preparing for my Heart for the House giving. It’s an annual event at my church and while not mandatory – it creates space for everyone to invest a bit more than their usual tithes.

Think about it this way – some can give $1 and some can give $100 – but it’s giving to the heart of our church. Maybe this looks like investing more in community, or putting a downpayment on a building if it becomes available so we don’t have to just rent every Sunday.

Anyway that’s not the point of this post.

The point is, I already knew a number God asked me to give. I’m not amazing and I still struggle to hear God’s voice more than I’d like. But suffice it to say that you usually know it’s God when it’s not something you want to do. Ha.

So I did what I knew He was asking and I didn’t feel strong-armed or worried.

But typical God, He wasn’t done asking me to do something.

Now, truth be told, this year has been one of the worst years of my life. And that story will not be written any time soon, unfortunately. But I’ve really suffered this year and felt crippled to write. So when God asked me to do something else, I was not jazzed about it. This wasn’t just a tithe, or volunteering, or anything I’d happily do. Nope, not Jesus.

Because Jesus, well He asked me to buy a wedding planner.

My friend Polly made this planner and I loved the idea, but obviously I’m single AF and there was no need to buy this anytime soon. Add into this, my past year and the total belly flop my heart and my hope has taken and it’s safe to say I didn’t get this prompt at all. While I want to find love and get married, I really feel like my hope is a really pathetic shriveled raisin.

And yet, it was unmistakable that God wanted me to buy this. Because, well, I didn’t want to.

I’ve put it off for almost two weeks now, but today, on Black Friday, I added that baby to cart and we’ll see. I plan on putting it away in storage, but I want to be faithful in everything God asks me to do. Especially when I don’t want to.

 

7 Months Ago

I wrote these verses down 7 months ago and they have been in my drafts since then. Well today is this little draft’s lucky day:

When I took an Evening College course through my church I learned that the purpose of 1 and 2 Chronicles is to retell the past to inspire hope in the present.

I could just sit under that alone. Couldn’t you.

Sometimes we need to remember the past, and how we survived events in our life so that we can look to the present and future with hope.

If God was good then, He will be good now. Amen?

Below were the two verses I was thinking about 7 months ago:

1 Chronicles 10 (MSG)

13-14 Saul died in disobedience, disobedient to God. He didn’t obey God’s words. Instead of praying, he went to a witch to seek guidance. Because he didn’t go to God for help, God took his life and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse.

1 Chronicles 16(MSG)

That was the day that David inaugurated regular worship of praise to God, led by Asaph and his company.

8-19 Thank God! Call out his Name!
    Tell the whole world who he is and what he’s done!
Sing to him! Play songs for him!
    Broadcast all his wonders!
Revel in his holy Name,
    God-seekers, be jubilant!
Study God and his strength,
    seek his presence day and night;
Remember all the wonders he performed,
    the miracles and judgments that came out of his mouth.
Seed of Israel his servant!
    Children of Jacob, his first choice!
He is God, our God;
    wherever you go you come on his judgments and decisions.
He keeps his commitments across thousands
    of generations, the covenant he commanded,
The same one he made with Abraham,
    the very one he swore to Isaac;
He posted it in big block letters to Jacob,
    this eternal covenant with Israel:
“I give you the land of Canaan,
    this is your inheritance;
Even though you’re not much to look at,
    a few straggling strangers.”

20-22 They wandered from country to country,
    camped out in one kingdom after another;
But he didn’t let anyone push them around,
    he stood up for them against bully-kings:
“Don’t you dare touch my anointed ones,
    don’t lay a hand on my prophets.”

23-27 Sing to God, everyone and everything!
    Get out his salvation news every day!
Publish his glory among the godless nations,
    his wonders to all races and religions.
And why? Because God is great—well worth praising!
    No god or goddess comes close in honor.
All the popular gods are stuff and nonsense,
    but God made the cosmos!
Splendor and majesty flow out of him,
    strength and joy fill his place.

28-29 Shout Bravo! to God, families of the peoples,
    in awe of the Glory, in awe of the Strength: Bravo!
Shout Bravo! to his famous Name,
    lift high an offering and enter his presence!
Stand resplendent in his robes of holiness!

30-33 God is serious business, take him seriously;
    he’s put the earth in place and it’s not moving.
So let Heaven rejoice, let Earth be jubilant,
    and pass the word among the nations, “God reigns!”
Let Ocean, all teeming with life, bellow,
    let Field and all its creatures shake the rafters;
Then the trees in the forest will add their applause
    to all who are pleased and present before God
    —he’s on his way to set things right!

34-36 Give thanks to God—he is good
    and his love never quits.
Say, “Save us, Savior God,
    round us up and get us out of these godless places,
So we can give thanks to your holy Name,
    and bask in your life of praise.”
Blessed be God, the God of Israel,
    from everlasting to everlasting.

Then everybody said, “Yes! Amen!” and “Praise God!”

The takeaways I got, and was also challenged by were:

  • Because he didn’t go to God for help
  • inaugurated regular worship of praise to God
  • Remember all the wonders he performed

 

Sometimes I can forget what God has done. Not in a serious way, but just like, life gets busy. I never want to forget. That’s one of the reasons I started this blog. I don’t want to forget all that God has done for me, or feel deceived into thinking God does great things for others and I’m not his favorite.

You’re setting yourself up for a fall if you get into this way of thinking, trust me, I’ve been there.

Instead we need to always regularly worship and praise God no matter the season, remember all the wonders that he performed. If we don’t do this we risk turning to other things for our success. The first passage warns me that because he (Saul) didn’t go to God for help he forfeited what was rightfully his. Maybe I’m wrong but it sounds like God was blessing him with the kingdom, and instead of trusting God and what God gave him, God trusted someone else with it.

I never want that to happen to me.

God isn’t evil. But God wants you to be a good steward of your gifts and leadership. He doesn’t want you to wander around in the wilderness complaining about God and wanting to return to the garbage life you had before.

Let’s remember it’s all about him. And it will never stop being about him. Lest we forget.

12:00 pm Prayer: 4/4/16

Jesus I want to lift up the names of Joanna and DawnChere. These are two women that are dear to me and even more dear to you. I pray that you will fill their wombs this year God. That you will create life where they has not been. I pray that you will show off God. I think it would be wild if you planted twins. I think it would blow them away. You can do immeasurably more than they could ask or I could pray.

 

Have your way today God. And every day.

 

Thank you for your goodness.

 

Amen.

I Still Love You

Those four words sent to me in a text have been in the back of my mind for the past 3 weeks.

If you know a bit about me through previous posts you’ll know that my greatest love and greatest heartbreak involved the same person I dated for over 5 years. Without going into the same old story, I’ve known this person for 10 years of my life and through a long history of ups and downs, being mad, being happy, feeling angry, feeling joyful, feeling betrayed, and feeling safe, it’s hard to have to look yourself honestly in the heart, and admit that you still love that same person you haven’t dated in years.

In theory this is romantic..but in reality it honestly sucks.

Things are complicated. I don’t live in the same state as this person, this person has not dropped his life to run back to me with an engagement ring, and yet those four words are like….stretching a stiff muscle that you tore and stopped moving.

Even though I dated this person for 60% of the entire time knowing him, we’ve seen each other for some of the rest of the 40%.Sometimes one of us has been in town and decided to go get coffee to just kind of talk through problems we had, or to get closure. To just vent about how we feel, honestly, the same things I’m sure millions of other former couples have done.

And yet. I have to be honest. It’s no easier today than it was the day we broke up.

No amount of prayer, Bible, therapy, or medication has completely removed this pain. Now I fully believe the scripture that says:

Psalm 34:18 (MSG)

18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

And I can testify that I’ve met God in a deeper way in my despair. However, there are still days where I feel that heaviness in my heart, or can easily burst into tears.

Those four words can be both joyful and painful. It’s bittersweet.

In a somewhat unexpected twist though, I feel like I understand God’s love a little bit more because of this relationship.

How?

Because sometimes, you can love someone and see value in them even if it’s illogical. There’s been plenty of friends over the past 10 years who have thought I’m just another dumb girlfriend who gets back with a bad boyfriend. Or people who think I am weak. Or people who think one way or the other about choices I’ve made. But at the same time..I know the same can be said for God.

God loves us in an illogical way.

At the end of the day, do I bring actual value to God’s life? God is perfect. God doesn’t actually need me. But he made me and wants me even though I am just a failure and sinner like anyone else. Couldn’t people also have said to God why bother, he/she isn’t worth it? Aren’t you over that person yet?

In Matthew 23 MSG it even compares God to a mother hen:

How often I’ve ached to embrace your children, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you wouldn’t let me.

To me that’s also illogical. To me that’s also bittersweet. To love someone, to ache to embrace someone, and to feel the pain of knowing circumstance stands in your way, or that person doesn’t even love you.

I’m still on this journey. And sometimes I wonder why God hasn’t answered my prayers. I’ve prayed two major things over this never-ending relationship:

  • God please help me not to love him. Change my heart.

Sidenote: This has been much of my life and yes, this scene always makes me cry. Don’t judge me: Grace’s Prayer

  • God please give me the endurance to wait while you bring us back together in your perfect timing.

 

If you can relate to this, you’re not alone. Honestly, I can’t wait to be married one day. I really don’t think I’ve ever been good at being single. But until then, I hope to hurt less. To trust God more. To value His love for me, more than anyone else’s—even family.

I listened to the Abide app’s prayer today and it was perfect. I suggest you download it too. Here are the two parts that resonated with me:

Thank you for loving me when I didn’t deserve your love. Thanks for choosing to love me when there were better logical choices. I am worth something because you love me.

Jesscbnyc Announcement

Hey guys,

I’ve been keeping a secret since November and now it’s official! I will be contributing content for Horacio Printing !!!

For those of you who might now know, Horacio Printing makes awesome planners that help you organize your life. Sometimes life can deteriorate your plans and dreams and this planner is crucial to make sure that you are cultivating the calling and dreams in your life.

The good news is I will be blogging here and there so nothing is changing. Feel free to subscribe or keep an eye on on the Horacio Blog here.

horacio

 

Also the planner has been such a huge success that the 2016 version has already sold out!!! But I have some news. There will be a limited re-release of planners for those who missed out on the first run.

Simply go to this link and enter the promo code “preorder” for a 20% off savings!

xoxo,

Jess

Be true

I saw this quote on Pinterest today and I immediately thought of being a Christian and what that means. In order to guide my thoughts on this I will list out some important Bible verses below:

1.

Matthew 7:24-25 (MSG)

24-25 “These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

If you believe in Christ and have become saved according to Romans 10:9 (that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.) but have not lived it you are being dishonest. Why? Because receiving the Truth is literally giving your dead body the paddles of life. Therefore you should be living desperately for God’s word.

2.

Matthew 5-7 (MSG)

You’re Blessed

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

All of this. If you are truly living the way God has instructed you, you will be the lucky winner of the above-mentioned “blessings”. Yay persecution! Yay defamation!

3.

Deuteronomy 12:32 (MSG)

32 Diligently do everything I command you, the way I command you: don’t add to it; don’t subtract from it.

In other words you should do your best to follow God’s advice. He knows you, He formed you, and He knows what is best for you. Granted we all fail at various aspects of obedience but we don’t need to add anything to God’s word. It stands true. It doesn’t need a pastor’s book to be added to it and regarded with equal weight. We need to strive to live true, honest lives and we can’t do that by listening to other people or ourselves. We are “desperately wicked” as the Bible says. God is pure and without fault, so we’d be wise to try to follow His lead. No?

4.

Galatians 2:21 (MSG)

19-21 What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn’t work. So I quit being a “law man” so that I could be God’s man. Christ’s life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.

This is the perfect ending scripture. We’re not going to ever have it “together” but we should want to try our best to honor God with our lives. We need to be authentic with our questions and struggles but not totally bow down to our feelings and give up trying to live by faith and give ourselves repeatedly over to God. We need to learn grace, show grace, and slowly bit by bit transform into grace.

If you believe in Christ and have become saved according to Romans 10:9 but have not lived it you are being dishonest.

Don’t be dishonest. Be true to what you believe.

Tuesday Inspiration 7.7.15

Sometimes I can forget to take full advantage of my lunch break at work. There’s something so healing about the warm sun on your skin, an ice cream in the park, a walk through the streets. I am creative, I enjoy little things like this, and most days I remember who I want to be.

I want to make an impact on this world.

I want to be a writer.

I want to speak.

I want my blog to be profitable.

I want to visit my Compassion child in Ethiopia.

I want to do a missions trip for sex-trafficking in Thailand.

I want to see all that God has for me.

I want to trust Him more each day.

I want to believe in myself.

Sometimes you just have to get out of your office, your home, your apartment, and take a walk. It puts things into perspective.