Walking On Glass

I wanted to write this down the day I awoke from this dream but it’s been very busy for me the past month and I haven’t been able to write anything I’ve wanted to! Apologies on that.

So here we go.

I haven’t had a recognizable “God dream” in a while. But I definitely think that this was one of them.

On one Monday night in March I had a very short dream. I was walking barefoot outside and sort of..taking in my surroundings and enjoying the fresh air and scenery. I was alone but in the distance I saw a small group of people I knew and sat down on a rock. I put my one leg, or rather ankle, on top of my knee, somewhat cross-legged, and saw something shimmering on the sole of my right foot. I began to inspect and realized it was a shard of glass. I pulled it out. I realized there were lots of them, some big and small, some made me bleed, some hurt, some didn’t. And then I woke up.

I reflected on a few things in the Bible and random thoughts and this is what I came up with:

  • Feet shod with the gospel
  • Pilgrimage
  • Exodus 3 barefoot because standing on Holy Ground

 

Here are some random links Google discovered for me:

I still can’t figure out exactly what I think of it, and was waiting so long to post it, but I don’t want to wait any longer. Would be cool if you had any thoughts on it. If you do, post below!

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

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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?

A Genuine Thank You

I just wanted to type a big THANK YOU to all my followers. Since I started blogging two years ago I’ve grown in ways I didn’t imagine. Through a season of anxiety, a bad job, and all sorts of emotions, I’ve learned along with you all, that God can do anything. He can help me want to write again. He can prove Himself faithful through His word. He can show me that over the course of two years of posts, what I can learn from Him and share with you.

There have been a few changes along the way, and I’m thankful that you guys are still reading along. I used to do a lot more venting in the beginning. A lot more daily inspirations using pictures from Pinterest. And now I feel like God is preparing me for new things to try on the blog. I want to share with you resources I’ve found helpful, review some things you all might want to try, and most importantly share my journey and ups and downs while listening for Jesus.

Love you guys and looking forward to all the posts to come.

xo,

Jess

Hump Day

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I’ve been finding two of my co-workers challenging the past month. It seems whenever they make jokes, I am the subject and it is with a judgmental, condescending tone. I am fully aware that this could be a “guy” thing. I work with all men. However, my patience, to be honest is thin. It is in times like this that I am forced to remember what God thinks of me. That God sees my heart. That God knows my motivations and my heart and I know I am doing the right things. I have not brought this behavior on myself. I am not deserving of condescending words or mockery or anything of the sort. There are times in life where you reflect and with being honest with yourself come to realize you are at fault, but I can honestly say I’ve reflected and I know it isn’t me in this situation.

Sometimes it seems like when you are at your best, thriving, in my case at work, that the Enemy uses other people to try to make you question yourself. Luckily over the past several years I’ve gotten better at recognizing his voice and how he can make situations or people throw darts your way. Luckily over the past few years through the grace and love of God, I’ve learned to value myself more and more importantly see what God thinks and feels for me in a way I’ve never before. I love this quote because it reminds me that no matter what my limitations are, in feeling attacked, or teased, or annoyed with what is happening, I can rest in knowing my God has none. He is limitless. He is above all things. And I am grateful to be His child. In so many situations I have been exhausted, unable to make things change, have been anxious, or drained and in these moments I’ve been able to see God be God. To fill in the gap.

I just want to encourage you that no matter what hump you face on this Wednesday, this “hump day” God is always on the other side. He will get you through anything. Trust me. There were times and situations that threatened to destroy me, that I saw no solution to, that I was even at times mad at God for giving me or allowing. And in each scenario He has proven Himself faithful. He has lovingly even given me praise in my jobs, in my leadership roles, in my life despite all the times I yelled at Him or felt abandoned by Him.

Granted there are still areas I wished were different but they don’t seem as dire in the wake of all the answers He’s already given me.

Be of good cheer.

Life Happens

It’s been a hard few days. My brother who I’ve mentioned previously is schizophrenic was having a very irritable few days, my mothers side of the family has been trying to make my mother and I feel bad for going to London for a vacation and church trip we have been planning for a year, my father broke a glass bulb throwing it at my mom during a fight, it’s like really? There are times when life can seem to collapse all around you.

It’s important during these times to not allow life to drown you in drama. God is still on the throne. God is still my Father and He has great plans for me. He has great plans for you too.

I pray simply that God keep me strong and also motivated. I pray that I continue to make Him proud. I pray that this year will be better than the last. I pray that my blog will honor Him and encourage you.

Much love,

Jess

Wednesday Inspiration 12.17.14

I found myself a little discouraged the other day after a conversation with a friend. Long story short my friend confirmed in somewhat of an indirect way that someone I already suspected wasn’t a fan of me in fact doesn’t like me. Now I know we’re not always going to be someone’s cup of tea, and I don’t expect to please everyone. Sometimes without meaning to, you just rub people the wrong way. I remember Robert Ferguson saying something a few weeks ago about how Kane, one of our pastors, rubs him the wrong way because Kane is so much more jovial than him. So as you can see, that’s kind of silly, right? It’s not like Kane said something mean to Robert, or did anything serious to offend him. Sometimes people just don’t gravitate to you, and that’s okay. We all have different personalities and interests and sometimes they clash.

But it still didn’t sit well with me for some reason. I don’t need this person to be my friend, or come to my birthday, or invite me places but I guess because I’m so touchy-feely and all, I always want to make things better and to try to include everyone.

If I’m totally honest I’ve often found myself being very…judgmental about how I believe Christians should be. These aren’t bad things but mainly things like: “I don’t understand why they are excluding him/her”, “I don’t understand why this person is so stand-offish”, “I don’t understand why that person looks down on that other person”, “I don’t understand why that person is always giving me the evil eye” etc. In other words, sometimes my idealism or whatever it is, is a bit…unrealistic. I know Christian or not we are all still human and we’re not always going to get it right. But I also want people to strive to be better. If we are set apart from the world and what the world does and thinks, then we should be acting and speaking and thinking differently. We’re not perfecting this any time soon but we should be actively learning how to do this. Not following our “feelings” all the time and instead using the Bible and God’s word and voice to show us what the best course of action is.

I randomly Googled today at work and found an article that talked about this. One of my favorite quotes was:

Part of the problem is that we misunderstand the word love. The kind of love that we need in order to love people we don’t like is agape love, God’s kind of love. Now, agape love is not a feeling. Though we may experience nice feelings as a result of agape love, it does not depend on how we feel or how others feel about us. We can express agape love whether the feelings are present or absent, whether they are good or bad. This kind of love is not a feeling.

[Source: http://bit.ly/1wZIuPB]

I like that.

When I was younger I felt like a lot of people didn’t like me and for many years this made me unhappy with myself because I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. I think we all go through this at one time or another. Part of this had to do with events that occurred while I was growing up and being bullied and whatever else, but as I matured I learned that whether people liked me or not, I’m going to make a conscious effort to be good to them anyway. Trust me, I’m no saint. This isn’t a post about how fantastic I am. I’m truly not. Being good to people is sometimes accomplished through gritted teeth. It gets easier in some ways over the years and harder in some ways but ultimately I wanted to follow that old saying “Treat people the way you want to be treated” or as the Bible declares “Love your neighbor as yourself”. I want my actions to be in pursuit of what was right, no matter what the situation was/is or how someone was/is treating me.

All of this to say that, I think it’s okay for people not to like me. But I think if you’re a Christian you don’t have to like someone to love them. The article put it clearly by saying:

“agape love says, “I love you in spite of…”, in spite of the things about you that I may not like. We don’t have to feel guilty about not liking everyone. It’s okay! But we are commanded to love others”.

I think this is really important and something that is near to my heart. I never want my feelings about someone to ever have a negative effect on them or their relationship with God and Christianity as a whole. I’m not the end all be all, but I want to do my part to speak life and kindness into the people I work with, volunteer with, or come into contact with in any way. And sometimes it’s just as simple as deciding to still smile, hug, or talk to people whether they are a fan of you or not.

Father thank you that no matter what people might like or dislike about me that Your love and affection for me is constant. I pray for anyone reading this, who might have felt as I so often did in the past that I wasn’t liked. Help them to realize that the opinions of man are lower than the opinion of God. Heal their broken hearts and help tear down any walls around their hearts that prevent them from connecting to people. I also pray for those who struggle with certain people. We’re only human and it’s not always easy to get along. But I also know that you enable us to love because you first loved us..and you didn’t wait to see if Jesus “liked” us first before calling Him to love us first. I pray that as a community of believers that we make the tough decisions even when our flesh or comfort tells us to avoid what or who we do not like. Remind us daily what Jesus said in Matthew 22 which is to: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them. Amen.

Photo Credit: GeniusQuotes.net

Wednesday Inspiration 12.10.14

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Tonight I had my company holiday party. People brought their small children, wives, etc and it felt more like family than work. I’m truly endlessly joyfully grateful for this job. So many times I felt discouraged and depressed at my last job. I felt beaten down and often felt like my very worth was in question. I was torn down verbally each and every day. I felt abused literally at work. It was pure torture. Words cannot express this. I felt like I was truly at my wits end. Like I couldn’t endure smother day. I needed out. And weeks and months and years would pass. And you know what?, this job is proof that God is faithful. He brings the best. He knows what is ultimately for our good and the very greatest has yet to come. I find myself smiling as I write this. Smiling as I lay in bed getting ready to fall asleep. Trust me when I say that God is faithful. I’ve seen the darkness and I’m finally experiencing the light. You’re not even ready for the Ephesians 3:20 miracle that He’s sending your way. Praise God!

Photo Credit:
http://tumblr.hannahrosebeasley.com

Tuesday Inspiration 12.9.14

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Psalm 63:3 (MSG)

2-4 So here I am in the place of worship, eyes open,
drinking in your strength and glory.
In your generous love I am really living at last!
My lips brim praises like fountains.
I bless you every time I take a breath;
My arms wave like banners of praise to you.

It’s been a long day and I’ve been having some flashbacks to some painful experiences in my past for whatever reason. But I love this Psalm. And no matter what sad things I’ve remembered today, this verse still makes me happy. Sometimes at church during worship I look up to the ceiling and pretend that I can see Jesus looking down on me. He can see me and I can see Him. No matter how painful my 20s have been I think I can finally see Jesus with 20/20 vision. In His generous love I can finally live. No matter what pain I’ve endured, or no matter what happiness I’ve felt, He’s still bigger and better than anything good or bad.

I hope this simple verse reminds you that no matter what negativity might be thrown your way today — that you have the ability to still look Heavenward and know God sees you, and loves you and because of that you can still have positivity and joy.

Photo Credit: worshipgifs.com

Thursday Inspiration 11.13.14

Galatians 5 MSG:

23-24 Legalism is helpless in bringing this about; it only gets in the way. Among those who belong to Christ, everything connected with getting our own way and mindlessly responding to what everyone else calls necessities is killed off for good—crucified.

25-26 Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.

I love this reminder. So often it can be disappointing to see Christians behaving badly. What I mean is that, we’re not meant to police everyone and everything. There’s a difference between leading people to the light and pushing people into it. There’s a difference between shining the light to guide someone out of darkness and turning a flood light towards everyone and interrogating them with it. I don’t think Christianity was meant to be excessively judgmental and law-abiding. Granted everything we do as new creations in Christ should be a journey into becoming more like Him and behaving better. But I also think people fail to remember grace. Just because we’re saved now doesn’t mean we’re suddenly positioned high enough to look down on others. Or to abuse scripture or laws in order to beat people over the head with it. Or to justify our actions or prove our own righteousness.

I like the fact that the MSG translation talks about being saved as more than a head or a heart thing. God and salvation in general might make sense to you in your mind, and feel good in your heart..but these are still bodily reactions. Because our souls were saved and because that is a matter of our essence–our Spirit— we need to be all in when it comes to God and live it out as opposed to relying only on our feelings or thoughts. These things are fleshy. We need to avoid comparison as well. None of us are on a scale–this isn’t a competition. Each of us have our own lives to walk out–our own journeys with God–our own unique purpose. God knows how long certain sins or habits will take to overcome. Your colleague might not. Your pastor might not. Your bible study leader might not. I think it’s dangerous to rely on the opinions of others in equal measure to the authority of God. God’s word is always true—your human peers’  opinions are not. While I think it is valid to fruit-inspect and not just blindly believe everyone I also think people are going into each other’s orchards with a chain saw. You aren’t responsible for God’s authority and judgement. He is. As it says in the Bible:

Deuteronomy 32:35 MSG:

Don’t you realize that I have my shelves
        well stocked, locked behind iron doors?
    I’m in charge of vengeance and payback,
        just waiting for them to slip up;
    And the day of their doom is just around the corner,
        sudden and swift and sure.

Ultimately God is the judge. We’re called to be the light. We’re called to spread the good news. I’m not saying you can’t confront but we need to follow Jesus’s way which was to always protect people first, to always be gentle first, and then correct. It’s all in the approach and it’s all a matter of the heart. Are you reacting to someone our of pride? Out of disgust for someone’s actions? Out of judgement? Out of validating your own good works and salvation at the expense of someone else’s? You should always be acting out of love. Easier said than done in some cases—trust me—but it’s something to put as a high priority. Love your neighbor as yourself and love the Lord with all of your heart/soul/mind. Both of these involve being full of the Spirit and relationally sound. I encourage you to focus your attention on filling yourself with as much of God as possible. By being full of Him–You can’t be full of yourself. You are kept in humility and are able to therefore treat others with the same compassion Christ has had for you.

Photo Credit: http://bogdankipko.com/