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.

 

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

Jesscbnyc Recommends: All Things New 31-Day Devotional: DAY 5

image

Sometimes when your prayers are unanswered you can lose hope. If you’re like me that can easily be more than just sometimes.

I loved this devotional by Charlotte Gambill because it shows us that we all experience frustration and lost hope. My favorite line was “God took me on a journey of getting my eyes off me and on to the people I came across on the journey.”

I love that.

Some of us wonder why we are in our job, single, sick, or struggling but we can fail to remember everything has a purpose and in our journey we can encourage or empathize with those around us.

I want to be a Charlotte. I want to “find a song in my barrenness” no matter the season or circumstance.

Do do you believe? What are you going to sing about before the miracle comes?

Friday Inspiration 7.10.15

Instapray.com

I might have mentioned it before but one of my biggest struggles in life right now is simply believing in love for myself. That might sound melodramatic but it’s 100% and completely the truth.

If you have been following me for a while you might be familiar with my past and heartbreak and if not, no need to re-hash. You can always go through my archives if you’re nosy! Ha.

Regardless I go through times of feeling really down about it and times where it’s out of sight out of mind. Meaning, if there is no one there beside me it’s not hard to not miss what you don’t have. I enjoy work, shopping, church, Netflix, car trips, all kinds of things can occupy my time. But being a single 27-year year old, I do have times where I’m like, shoot, I don’t know if my heart can hold on hoping.

Anyone?

I trust God and doubt all at the same time when it comes to my future husband. I wonder sometimes if there will ever be one. I find myself sappy and cynical and optimistic and depressed at various times in my life. It’s definitely not something I always know how to deal with, outside of prayer, or a nap or what ever. I think when life burns you, you heal, but there’s still damage. You remember it mentally, your heart pangs sometimes with it, and your brain sends you warnings as a preventative measure.

I think when life burns you, you heal, but there’s still damage. You remember it mentally, your heart pangs sometimes with it, and your brain sends you warnings as a preventative measure.

When it comes to dating, I don’t. I’m pretty novice at the whole opposite sex thing even though, I’m not a virgin, and therefore not totally uncultured in attraction, men, and how some of that love stuff works. It’s more like. I don’t like what’s out there. How horrible to admit!!!– but it’s true. I’m a Christian which is good right? I mean I’ve dabbled in some less-than holy activities, albeit not much. And I’ve dated two non-Christians. Both ended badly. One lesson I must admit that I still haven’t learned, and the other was wayyyy too much deja vu to continue past 2-3 months and I wised up quicker than the previous time. The last, eh, was a Christian but never committed. We went on about a year of dates where he was a perfect gentleman, paid for everything, talked to me for hours about everything under the Sun, but just poof. Never wrote back. Never wanted to hang out. Never actually asked me out officially. Haven’t heard a peep from him in three years. So I guess you could say overall that I haven’t maybe had the best opportunities to not….become bitter. That’s fair.

However, it’s hard at times, to be in church, in more of a youth-centric Church culture and time and still be like, man, I don’t know if I believe in human love for myself anymore. To go to church your whole life and never feel womanly or attractive to any of the guys that attend. To never be asked out on a date or asked out for coffee or just ask to be their friend. NADA! I just don’t know. Like, thank God for Jesus. Thank God that I know and am continuing every day to fully know perfect love. But human love? It still makes me skittish.

I came to this realization when a close friend of mine from church invited me to hang out with her boyfriend and his buddy. Immediately my heart was like, excuse my french, hell no. I’ve only been set up once, as a preteen and let me tell you, it was horrible. That was enough for me. I want to choose, right? I want to have some power over who I date. Or I want some magical unicorn of a Christian man to just gaze across the congregation at a service and ask for my number. Is that wrong? Probably not, but none of this has happened for me.

So it brought me back to all sorts of emotions that I guess I didn’t realize were still there waiting to pop the second I was poked out of my cynical comfort zone.

I’m not going to even sugar coat it, she showed me his picture, and felt nothing. I don’t even believe in “types” but if I did, he wasn’t it. You know what I mean? Like there was nothing there. So instant attraction, not there one bit. Then just knowing that in some weird way I was being scoped for being set up, just soured me. Yes I’m single. Yes there is no man interested in me. But do I want to be even 5% set up in any way? No. So I bailed on plans.

Anyway, the actual point of the matter is. It reminded me of my own broken heart. It’s absolutely revolting sometimes to realize you are still broken hearted. Does anyone feel that way? Like you try and try and try for years to heal and you’re sad. And you finally realize that you can’t fix yourself so you give it to God. And He takes it. And you’re proverbially skipping along and wham you find yourself laying in bed with insomnia one night, thinking about an ex and you cry yourself to sleep. And you try again to heal. Or you try again to give it to God and you realize like I did this week that once again you do not feel at all that your broken heart is healed. Ouch. That can be humbling. That can be disappointing.

For me. My heart still feels like 17.

For me. My heart still feels like 17. I still feel like the girl who loved the boy who loved the girl too. I still feel like the girl who years later got a text which turned into a call which turned into finding out that I wasn’t the only one he was dating. I still feel like the girl who watched on the sidelines as a 6 year relationship went up and down and up and down. I still feel like the girl who falls into the same whirlwind every time he’s back in town. I still feel like the girl who tried to get over the boy with a worse boy. I still feel like the girl who didn’t want to be alive some days. I still feel like the girl who questioned for years after a breakup if her mom, if her friends, even loved her because the relationship ruined her trust in everyone, and everything. I still feel like the girl who waits and watches but as far as she can see love isn’t on the way.

I say that because I can’t be the only one who feels this human way. Saved and loved by God, but not convinced of the human version. We’ve all got issues. And it feels really unfair to be wrestling with the same heartbreak 10 years later. To be wondering why it still hurts, or why you want to forgive that person and try again now that he’s better, or why God hasn’t sent you someone to dwarf what you thought was love. Your questions could be my questions. Or they could be completely different. Heartbreak can come from anyone or anything.

I try my human-best to take comfort in the reminder that Jesus knew the Father’s love. But he still suffered as a human suffers. I’m sure he could have been tempted to be loved by a girl even though he never stumbled. He knows our hearts.

I write this today in the hope that this will be another dead thing that God breathes to life. I’ve always written exactly as I’ve experienced life and over time you slowly start to piece things together and see a change.

I hope above everything you realize today that heartbreak is a real thing. And it takes time. It’s disappointing when you feel like you haven’t gotten as healed as you wanted but God is near to the broken-hearted. He promises good for all of us..even when our hearts have a hard time believing it.

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.

Wednesday Inspiration 4.1.15

thelane.com

I read this the other day and finally found the energy after a long work week to post about it. Please keep me in your prayers! I love this blog and I want to stay consistent in my writings.

Anyway, back to the point! Bear with me—it’s rather long but I love everything inside of it.

Romans 10 MSG
1-3 Believe me, friends, all I want for Israel is what’s best for Israel: salvation, nothing less. I want it with all my heart and pray to God for it all the time. I readily admit that the Jews are impressively energetic regarding God—but they are doing everything exactly backward. They don’t seem to realize that this comprehensive setting-things-right that is salvation is God’s business, and a most flourishing business it is. Right across the street they set up their own salvation shops and noisily hawk their wares. After all these years of refusing to really deal with God on his terms, insisting instead on making their own deals, they have nothing to show for it.

4-10 The earlier revelation was intended simply to get us ready for the Messiah, who then puts everything right for those who trust him to do it. Moses wrote that anyone who insists on using the law code to live right before God soon discovers it’s not so easy—every detail of life regulated by fine print! But trusting God to shape the right living in us is a different story—no precarious climb up to heaven to recruit the Messiah, no dangerous descent into hell to rescue the Messiah. So what exactly was Moses saying?

The word that saves is right here,
    as near as the tongue in your mouth,
    as close as the heart in your chest.
It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us. This is the core of our preaching. Say the welcoming word to God—“Jesus is my Master”—embracing, body and soul, God’s work of doing in us what he did in raising Jesus from the dead. That’s it. You’re not “doing” anything; you’re simply calling out to God, trusting him to do it for you. That’s salvation. With your whole being you embrace God setting things right, and then you say it, right out loud: “God has set everything right between him and me!”

11-13 Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this—heart and soul—will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.”

14-17 But how can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims,

A sight to take your breath away!
Grand processions of people
    telling all the good things of God!
But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.

18-21 But haven’t there been plenty of opportunities for Israel to listen and understand what’s going on? Plenty, I’d say.

Preachers’ voices have gone ’round the world,
Their message to earth’s seven seas.
So the big question is, Why didn’t Israel understand that she had no corner on this message? Moses had it right when he predicted,

When you see God reach out to those
you consider your inferiors—outsiders!—
you’ll become insanely jealous.
When you see God reach out to people
you think are religiously stupid,
you’ll throw temper tantrums.
Isaiah dared to speak out these words of God:

People found and welcomed me
who never so much as looked for me.
And I found and welcomed people
who had never even asked about me.
Then he capped it with a damning indictment:

Day after day after day,
I beckoned Israel with open arms,
And got nothing for my trouble
but cold shoulders and icy stares.

I think this is actually a wonderful and timely scripture because of the impending holidays: Good Friday and Easter/Resurrection Sunday. Why? Here you go:

  • “They don’t seem to realize that this comprehensive setting-things-right that is salvation is God’s business, and a most flourishing business it is.”
    • Many people avoid church like the plague. And quite frankly even as a Christian who can blame them? The world shows church in entertainment and the news as a horrible place. Everyone inside is a hypocrite, people are falling asleep in their pews, the preacher lives a double-life, church members are picketing in front of establishments, street evangelists are telling passersby that they are going to hell. I’m not saying there may not be times and places for this especially throughout history. But what I am saying is that I don’t think it’s necessary to beat a dead horse with a lot of these procedures. Where are the people on the street corners sharing God’s love and grace. Where are the bold testimonies about lives of brokenness only restored through Jesus. Ultimately the issue with these sorts of things in church is that religion has made it about us. How bad we are. How fake we are. How hypocritical we are. I’m not saying these things aren’t true but what about talking about Jesus and how good HE is. How loving HE is. How merciful HE is. How unfailing HE is. I’m glad Jesus fulfilled the law. I’m glad that it’s about what HE has done and not what I have, am, or will do.
  • “Moses wrote that anyone who insists on using the law code to live right before God soon discovers it’s not so easy—every detail of life regulated by fine print!”
    • We’re human. We’re going to get things wrong. And back in the Old Testament pre-Jesus people had the law and tried to live right before God by adhering to it. However, this was still about humans. It was about us. It was about what we DID and not who God IS. God’s mercies are new every morning and I believe in keeping with who He really is, He sent His son, Jesus so we didn’t need to strive. We are limited. We are humans. We are sinful. But Jesus isn’t. Jesus is like our VIP pass into grace. We couldn’t be perfected any other way. It HAS to be Jesus. Only. Always. Jesus.
  • “The word that saves is right here, as near as the tongue in your mouth, as close as the heart in your chest.”
    • As someone who used to read and write poetry—that is some beautiful stuff right there. It reminds me that whether or not you’ve experienced and accepted Jesus you are closer to Him than you think. We were created by the breath of God. We are all His children whether we want to be or not. We strive for lesser things in this world, we fall, we get hurt, we hurt, and when it comes down to it, nothing is going to satisfy like Jesus. It’s who we are. It’s how we were made. We were made to be in relationship with our Creator. We were made for eternity. We weren’t made for this. This quote reminds us all that no matter what we’ve done or will do, salvation is here. We need only call out to Jesus. We need only respond to the longing in our hearts that calls for higher things. For greater things. For Heavenly things. Through Jesus’s death and resurrection power we are set free. If you believe in Him, confess with your mouth and believe truly in your heart, you will have eternal life with God. You will be saved. You are finally making it about Jesus and not relying on your own good works or life to get into Heaven. It’s calling out to God and trusting Him to do what only He can.
  • “A sight to take your breath away! Grand processions of people telling all the good things of God!”
    • These are the days we live in. Celebrities are getting saved. Churches are being packed full of new people. My own church, Hillsong, is gaining ground in other countries–opening new campuses, coming out with a movie, continuing to sell their music, and so on. The Bible speaks of these events. Tons of people telling others about the good things of God. Showing the joy and peace and eternal happiness that can be found in Him. And the best thing of all is it isn’t about us. God is so good that He saw us struggle to measure up and sent His son Jesus to make a way for us back to Him. It is Good News because it is Grace. Not Good Works. Not Good Living. Not anything but Him.

I hope this encourages you if you are not familiar with the true message of Jesus and the Bible and are possibly cynical towards Christians or “religion”. I also hope that it reminds you if you are already in a relationship with Jesus of the joy and peace that we already have and are promised forever.

It’s a new day. We can be new creations through God and God alone. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Dwell

According to Dictionary.com “dwell” can have a few different meanings:

verb (used without object), dwelt or dwelled, dwelling.
1. to live or stay as a permanent resident; reside.

2.to live or continue in a given condition or state:

to dwell in happiness.

3.to linger over, emphasize, or ponder in thought, speech, or writing (often followed by on or upon):

to dwell on a particular point in an argument.
4.(of a moving tool or machine part) to be motionless for a certain interval during operation.
noun

5. Machinery.

  1. a flat or cylindrical area on a cam for maintaining a follower in certain position during part of a cycle.
  2. a period in a cycle in the operation of a machine or engine during which a given part remains motionless.

As a verb, dwell means to live, stay, linger, ponder, or be motionless. As a noun, dwell refers to a certain amount of time where you either remain motionless in a cycle or an area where a follower is maintained in a certain position.

I like both versions of the word for different reasons. For example the picture I chose today says “dwell in hope”. This is simple to explain just using the verb. You are to live in hope. Stay in hope. Linger in hope. Ponder hope. Be motionless in hope.

But it’s pretty cool to think about dwell as a noun. The second definition of dwell as a noun would make me read “dwell in hope” like a command for a certain amount of time: “this is a time where you must remain motionless in hope”. But what I really find wild is the first definition about maintaining a ‘follower’ in a certain position.

When you talk about Christianity, “follower” is pretty commonplace. I am a “follower” of Christ. But what if I saw this definition of dwell as God maintaining me, causing me to be motionless, ponder, linger, live, and stay in hope–to stay in a position of hopefulness–He maintains us in a certain position during part of a cycle. That could be a season of life. He keep us in a certain position during parts of our lives–to dwell–not with bitterness, confusion, or worry but in hope.

I did some research on Wikipedia because I’m a visual learner and this is what it looks like to dwell:

“A dwell mechanism is an intermittent motion mechanism that alternates forward and return motion with holding position”. One type of dwell is called a “cam” and two things stuck out at me: 1

. “A special case of this cam is constant lead, where the position of the follower is linear”

2. A cam is a rotating or sliding piece in a mechanical linkage used especially in transforming rotary motion into linear motion.

Sounds fancy but what it sounds like is that if I am a dwell mechanism I am moving forward (linear) whereas if Jesus is the cam He is in constant lead and making the action of the motion possible. Furthermore God is the rotating sliding piece–and He takes my rotary motion–or the fact that I as a follower am circling Him–am in orbit of Him–and then transforms that into linear motion. In short because I am in orbit of Him where He goes I go and where do I go? I go forward. If I dwell in hope I dwell in God. If I profess to be a “follower” I trust that God is in constant lead and my position is certain.

Photo from: Etsy.com

Tuesday Inspiration 1.13.15

Ezekiel 34:11-16 MSG “‘God, the Master, says: From now on, I myself am the shepherd. I’m going looking for them. As shepherds go after their flocks when they get scattered, I’m going after my sheep. I’ll rescue them from all the places they’ve been scattered to in the storms. I’ll bring them back from foreign peoples, gather them from foreign countries, and bring them back to their home country. I’ll feed them on the mountains of Israel, along the streams, among their own people. I’ll lead them into lush pasture so they can roam the mountain pastures of Israel, graze at leisure, feed in the rich pastures on the mountains of Israel. And I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep. I myself will make sure they get plenty of rest. I’ll go after the lost, I’ll collect the strays, I’ll doctor the injured, I’ll build up the weak ones and oversee the strong ones so they’re not exploited.

I love poetry. I love beautifully written words. When I saw this quote a few weeks ago I pinned it immediately. So often we can see storms and think they are only there to rip us apart, to cause destruction and damage. This small quote reminds me that no matter what the storm can wash us clean. It can soften our rough edges. The ocean waves that crash around us can heal our infected wounds with its salt water. The harsh winds can blow us in a direction we wouldn’t have wandered to on our own. The cyclones can uproot what has been planted in bad soil and force us to replant in better land. You see what I mean?

Job 37: 14-18 MSG...are you listening? Have you noticed all this? Stop in your tracks! Take in God’s miracle-wonders! Do you have any idea how God does it all, how he makes bright lightning from dark storms, How he piles up the cumulus clouds— all these miracle-wonders of a perfect Mind?

I love this verse because it reinforces the idea of our perspective in storms vs. God’s. We see a dark storm. He sees bright lightening. Light in the darkness. One of my favorite quotes in literature is about water. While I don’t attribute power or authority to the elements of the world, I do think the message within it is worth investigating:

“I can see you have a great deal of water in your personality. Water never waits. It changes shape and flows around things, and finds the secret paths no one else has thought about — the tiny hole through the roof or the bottom of the box. There’s no doubt it’s the most versatile of the five elements. It can wash away earth; it can put out fire; it can wear a piece of metal down and sweep it away. Even wood, which is its natural complement, can’t survive without being nurtured by water. And yet, you haven’t drawn on those strengths in living your life, have you?” – Memoirs of  A Geisha

In other words, God formed us. The same God who can control all of nature and its storms created us. If we are made in His image than we have the same ability to control these storms–to be undaunted by these storms. I desire to be fluid like water. “To change shape and flow around things, and find the secret paths no one else has thought about — the tiny hole through the roof or the bottom of the box.” In other words to get through obstacles that no one sees a way out of. We are able to do this as children of God–not in our power but His.

Source undefined. Found on Pinterest.com

Friday Inspiration 12.26.14

Isaiah 9:6 MSG

2-7 The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
    light! sunbursts of light!
You repopulated the nation,
    you expanded its joy.
Oh, they’re so glad in your presence!
    Festival joy!
The joy of a great celebration,
    sharing rich gifts and warm greetings.
The abuse of oppressors and cruelty of tyrants—
    all their whips and cudgels and curses—
Is gone, done away with, a deliverance
    as surprising and sudden as Gideon’s old victory over Midian.
The boots of all those invading troops,
    along with their shirts soaked with innocent blood,
Will be piled in a heap and burned,
    a fire that will burn for days!
For a child has been born—for us!
    the gift of a son—for us!
He’ll take over
    the running of the world.
His names will be: Amazing Counselor,
    Strong God,
Eternal Father,
    Prince of Wholeness.
His ruling authority will grow,
    and there’ll be no limits to the wholeness he brings.
He’ll rule from the historic David throne
    over that promised kingdom.
He’ll put that kingdom on a firm footing
    and keep it going
With fair dealing and right living,
    beginning now and lasting always.
The zeal of God-of-the-Angel-Armies
    will do all this.

Christmas is over but the joy from remembering the birth of Christ doesn’t have to be. I like this verse because it reminds us that all of us at one point have walked through darkness. We’ve felt despair, loss, grief, depression, hopelessness, pain, confusion, etc. Some of us have seen the light and have come to salvation through Christ and His grace, but other’s are still wandering unnecessarily.

My prayer is that everyone will come to a knowledge and acceptance of the Good News so that they can travel through life less weighed down and more free. More full of life and joy and peace. Jesus was placed on the Earth to counsel us, to be our authority, our defender, and our hope. Through Him there are no limits to what we can do as His children.

So often people say the phrase “I love you to the moon and back” “I love you more than the stars in the sky”. But our God loves us in a capacity that is further than any star, planet or any other celestial creation. I hope that we never lose sight of His great love and sacrifice for us beyond the holiday season.

Found on lambchopps.com.au