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

Found in the shadow | United in the light

“We have found each other in the shadow and we have been united in the light”

[Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32735289]

Someone shared this video on Facebook today and it blew me away. Two women, each with a skill, each with a weakness, working together to finish a product. I was already captured by the video and then out of nowhere, this beautiful quote: “We have found each other in the shadow and we have been united in the light”.

I’m in awe.

For me this feels like the Christian journey, my Christian journey, and yours. Sometimes you find yourself in shadows. You find out who you are in the darkness. You find out who Christ is in the darkness. You can identify others who are lost in the darkness. And it is God’s hope that we as His people are united in the light, and that us personally one-on-one God are united with Him in the light.

I’m writing to you as I normally would. No preparation, just inspired in the moment, no drafts, no edits, no filters. I want to write a tangent now, just to see what God might want to reveal to me and you. Free form. So here it goes:

God you are good. You are faithful. There are times where we become lost in our own darkness or there are times where the darkness around us becomes too heavy. We become deceived in the darkness because we forget that we have access to your light. You are the light of the world and you have illuminated us all with your Holy Spirit. God I am grateful that you found me in the shadow. We have found each other in the shadow. I am covered in the shadow of your wings. I need never fear the darkness or the shadow because you are always with me. You never leave me or forsake me. You are my God. Though there are seasons where we fall victim to the darkness help us to remember that we have been united in the light of your love and grace. One day when we come into glory with the Father you will banish darkness. Jesus endured the pain of the Father turning His face away. Jesus became covered by the darkness so that darkness would never be known to us. You gave us Your light. We are united with the Father because of Jesus who found us in the shadow so that forever we will be united in the light.  

Amen.

Awake

I’ve been really struggling to find the energy to post lately. I have plenty to say, don’t get me wrong, but between allergies and work I’m spent. Today after an amazing service and a timely message I feel empowered. I took a nap, prayed for a friend in need, and I’m hoping with your prayers that I can pump out a few posts tonight, not just for my blog’s sake but because I want the things I share to encourage and support you, my blog family. Continue if you are already to pray for me and this page and that no allergy or exhaustion will keep me from sharing the words that are on my heart and are inspired to draw you closer to God and His unfailing love.

In the time we live in, it is so important to be awake. Not just physically but alert to what you need to do or say.

Much love.

You’re Blessed

I have so much to catch you all up on. I’m so excited to share some things I got out of conference! After work last night I was ready to dive in but it became a situation at home and there wasn’t time. Apparently my parents had gotten into a fight, and he had gone out for several hours. Now for context where I live, with my parents, there is a large parking lot, shared by our apartment, another apartment, and two businesses. One of the businesses uses our parking lot for their fire pit, seating area, and has loud drinking parties on the weekends or really, whenever they can, which God bless them, is more often an annoyance than anything else. But for the most part, I can have my headphones on, or tv on, or whatever and before you know it, it’s over. Or I’m so tired from work that I fall asleep and the rowdy noise doesn’t affect me.

However last night, I was ready for bed. I didn’t care in the moment that I didn’t post my blog, I didn’t care that my parents had gotten into a fight (even though my mom gave me all the details), I was just emotionally and physically spent and ready to go to bed early.

I heard my dad’s car pull in, and before you know it, he was joining in with the laughter, and chanting, and whatever else was happening outside. And honestly, in that moment, it bothered me.

For those of you who are new to my blog and some of my personal life, my dad growing up was a flagrant alcoholic and drug addict. It was not peaches and cream. I spent some time of my life sleeping in other people’s houses when my parents were separated, I saw my dad drunk and rowdy, I witnessed my dad escorted out by cops, the whole deal. Luckily he is done with drugs, but on occasion he still drinks. Not always to excess but it’s not exactly something he’s given up when he has a few glasses of wine every day. You get me?

Anyway, the one business downstairs loves the drama of my household. They know our dirt, they will spy on what we’re doing i.e. tell my dad “did you know they brought a piece of furniture in yesterday”, “did you see they had shopping bags with them?”, and basically things like that where they live to get a rise out of people. Where they hope it’ll rock the boat between my parents. I chalk it up at this point to just being a Christian. Like my dad, they pretty much think it’s hilarious that we believe in Jesus and have been going to church our entire lives.

So back to last night.

My dad comes home and joins right in. I don’t know what they were saying or doing but when you’re in your late 20s and you hear your own father sounding like he’s an immature teen boy, it’s not exciting. In that moment I felt embarrassed not entirely for him, but selfishly for myself. Like, “wonderful, that’s my dad”, “wonderful that’s my dad making fun of me with our neighbors”, etc.

As I’m getting older, I think God has gifted me with partial deafness. I’m dead serious. There are times where my dad is cursing, or saying something horrible, and I literally can tune him out. I hear nothing. And I think after hearing and seeing awful things, God finally was like, “yeah, no, my daughter doesn’t need to hear that anymore”.

But from the tone of it and the chanting, even though I was in my safety net of divine deafness, I still felt some degree of nakedness and shame. Like not only was this happening, but it was outside my bedroom, and I was aware of it. I think Satan loves this. If something terrible is going to happen to a Christian, he is more than happy to give you VIP seats to the event.

I am reminded this morning of this verse in Matthew (MSG):

Matthew 5 

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.

I don’t know about you but sometimes reading that…can go one or two ways. Sometimes believe it or not it’s a comfort to know there’s not something wrong with you. People go through the same things and it’s not specific to you. But also there is the other way of, “God, this doesn’t sound like a blessing”. In the world we live in people write #blessed if they get to go on an international vacation, they #blessed if their husband surprised them with a Tiffany bracelet on their anniversary, people don’t #blessed when their dad is hanging out with drunks in your parking lot and making fun of you. Right? Haha. It’s a strange world sometimes isn’t it?

I didn’t write this to say, woe is me. I always aim to be as transparent as possible. I’ve found that in being open, you can speak into people’s darkness. I’m sure someone reading this has a similar parent, or both parents, or has mocked someone for being a Christian, or feels like they aren’t blessed because nothing is going right in their lives. But I’m realizing the less things are going right in your life, the better you are probably doing. Satan isn’t going to torment someone who isn’t fighting the fight, he’s going after those of us who are in it for the long haul.

Even though it feels disappointing, and defeating at times, I feel calm after posting this knowing that in some small way I am honoring my Father in Heaven. I was His before I was my dad’s. I was His before I was my mom’s. Be of good cheer today knowing that in your battle “all of Heaven cheers” as you honor God. You might not see me but I’m running that race alongside you.

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.

Karrueche Tran

“Dear God, Please keep me strong. To keep me strong, keep my head up and to put my best foot forward and to love regardless of whatever situation I go through. You know always love and be kind. To stay strong and keep the faith.” – Karrueche Tran

I don’t follow much in Hollywood and the Entertainment Industry when it comes to celebrity gossip. I work in a field where I so see a lot of headlines, but I don’t catch everything that’s out there or follow everything that’s out there.

Someone on my Facebook page posted an article about this girl Karrueche Tran and since she usually posts good articles I clicked on it. Long story short Karrueche Tran dated the singer Chris Brown who after some time, cheated on her. Through the power of the internet I was able to see that she did an interview and it inspired me to post today.

I don’t know much of anything about Karrueche Tran which I think is a good thing because I can be objective. I feel bad for this girl. I feel bad because I can relate. In my past I dated a guy who totally destroyed my trust through his use of drugs and other women while we were together. You suffer sometimes silently as a result. And sometimes you break down publicly whether it’s at work or school or grocery shopping. It’s truly sad in her case to have to go through something so painful with everyone in America watching you crumble. It’s even worse when social media enables people to heckle you in the midst of your suffering.

I hope this is a reminder to us all that we are not all that different from celebrities. It’s easy to thumb through a tabloid in line at the airport or laugh at snarky Tweets while watching our favorite show. But I think all of this has eroded our humanity. This isn’t all entertainment. This is still real people and their real problems in their real lives. I hope by extending grace in all aspects of social media–that it will no longer be acceptable to harshly judge and mock people from the comfort of our personal computers and cell phones. Proverbs 12 tells us that our words have the power to build up and the power to destroy. I don’t want to ever fall into the trap of destroying someone else with my judgmental words because it’s “funny”. I encourage you to build up someone you see is being torn down, even if it’s a celebrity you see being bullied on social media.

So as silly as this is. I wanted to make a comment on this especially after reading people’s horrible comments under the YouTube videos and seeing particular comments highlighted during the video that were extracted from Twitter.

Dear Karrueche,

I saw your interview online and I was proud to hear that you are owning your mistakes and being honest with yourself and your own brokenness. You said it many times and you are correct. We are human. I think after my own relationship’s demise years ago I began a new journey with God. I didn’t realize that through my Father’s own inadequacy in my life and bullying from peers growing up that I had very low self-esteem. I don’t say this to belittle your feelings but to merely acknowledge that I’ve been there too. When you are finally given attention and believe that you have found love you are willing to endure anything to keep it. As a romantic myself you can get lost in the fiction of it all. I love Jane Austen and Shakespeare and it seems so poetic to have such pain when you’re in love because it seems to validate that your love is real. That your love is passionate. That your love is unique. I would be lying to myself if I were to tell you that I am completely over it. There are still days even years later that it fills me with sadness. There are even more shameful days where I miss that relationship. It is important to remember whether you are at your best or at your worst when reflecting on your past that God loves you not only infinitely more than a man could, but loves you more than you even love yourself. In the times where I mourn my past relationship I am quickly reminded that I love myself less. Meaning, I don’t love myself completely yet. I am still healing. I am still in a small way, saying that my past hurt wasn’t bad enough and I could reunite with my ex. I tell myself that it is still a love worth missing. The greatness of God is that He will always listen to my cries and my prayers but His will for my life will be done. Not in a a controlling way, but in a gracious way. If my past relationship is full of pain and feelings of unworthiness He is not going to give me what I ask. As a healthy loving dad would, He desires more.

The Bible says it best in Matthew 7:9-11 NLT ““You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”

You see? In essence we have settled for snakes and God wants to give us a fish. We have settled for tainted love when God wants to give us His true love and because of His true love He wants to give us a man who is worthy of His daughter. I pray that you continue to go to church and realize how much God loves you. I pray that you continue to heal. I pray that you will always be loving and kind. I pray that you guard your heart from those who would bring it harm. I pray that you will be strong and keep the faith. Last but not least I pray that you will (if you haven’t already) surrendered your life and all of your hopes and ambitions to Christ. I can honestly say that I regret nothing in my past. Over the course of the past few years I’ve felt happy and loved by God as I wait for His many blessings to unfold. I declare Isaiah 62 MSG over your life from this day onward as not only a verse you can hold to but a hope and a promise from God:

You’ll be a stunning crown in the palm of God’s hand, a jeweled gold cup held high in the hand of your God. 4 No more will anyone call you Rejected, and your country will no more be called Ruined. You’ll be called Hephzibah (My Delight), and your land Beulah (Married), Because God delights in you.

Love,

Jessica

Wednesday Inspiration 4.1.15

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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.

Be the Light

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I saw someone post this online and it must have been the Holy Spirit but this verse came to mind and I wrote it in the comments:

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.
So what does this mean to me?
1. I’m here on Earth to shine the light—the light being Christ. He is our true north. He is the reason for everything. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He came here to show me the way Home. And because of Him, I’ll never be the same, and if you want to, you will never be the same either.
2. I am special to God. You are special to God. If we are bearers of Jesus’s light, we will be on display. Not because that is something we should aspire to—fame, but because He is famous. He is wonderful. He is miraculous. People will look at us because we are bearers of His light. And it’s hard not to notice light, when so much of the world is shrouded in darkness. Right?
3. I don’t have to be ashamed. I don’t have to feel like I’m not good enough, not pretty enough, not rich enough, not popular enough, not talented enough, etc. God simply calls us to “be the light”. This is a simple thing guys. Just be. Be because of what He already did. Shine because He brought us out of darkness into light. Our entire human composition is different because we are spiritually alive. We are called to be light. To show people the way home. To invite people to find out what God thinks of them. To eliminate fear, guilt, shame, pain, etc.
Thinking upon this verse I got an image of when you’re in a concert and people use their phones in the stadium to light up the arena:
But imagine that in a global way. One of those lights is me. One of those lights is you. Not everyone turned their light on at the same time. I turned mine on so to speak, and maybe that encouraged a total stranger to look for their light. In this life there will be times where you are the only one holding a light. It can be daunting to stand there alone and surrounded by darkness. We all have seasons on loneliness, despair, sadness, grief, loss, and that’s why it’s so important to be around people who will keep your light on. Will speak life into you. Will support you. It’s always important to also keep your own light on through God’s Word and through constant communication with Him. God desires to see the whole Earth find their light, but they need to see mine and yours to know what that looks like.
God I love you. God I’m thankful for you and humbled by you. God I am the light-stand. It doesn’t matter if I am metal, or modern, contemporary, or wooden. All that matters is you are the bulb on top. I exist to support You. I exist to hold You up. To shout your name in the darkness. Help me to live for you. Help me to not look at my own ordinary human life and instead see myself as essential to Your plan for the Earth. Lead people to You through me. In Your beautiful name, Amen.

Photo credit: Unknown – found on Pinterest and source listed as “Facebook”

Reflect

From Psalm 63 MSG:

It’s time to shout praises! If I’m sleepless at midnight, I spend the hours in grateful reflection. Because you’ve always stood up for me, I’m free to run and play. I hold on to you for dear life, and you hold me steady as a post.

God stands up for us. We live in freedom because He holds us steady. It is because of this radical grace that we can reflect these same qualities to others.

Like it says in 1 Corinthians 13 MSG:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

We can’t see everything exactly as God sees it since we are only human, but we should strive to share the love and freedom and grace that God first gave us.

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Wednesday Inspiration 1.7.15

I caught myself today on the commute to work. I was putting on my makeup and it was just one of those days where I needed a little pick me up. I grabbed my lipstick and put it on because it’s a good color and all that and figured it would do the trick. I took one final look in my compact mirror and thought to myself— I look like a clown today. 

I’m not one of those girls who looks #flawless. I don’t always have the best hair days. I wake up the majority of the time with a brand new pimple on my face. I’m no makeup artist. But these are all external things. You just have to look at Instagram or Pinterest to be reminded of what us ladies are interested in. Most pictures on Instgram are selfies, or makeup tips, or manicures, or OOTD (outfits of the day) and all sorts of surface things. Over the years I’ve learned to be on Facebook and Instagram less and less because of this. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 12:19-24:

When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair?

In other words oftentimes the invisible parts of yourself (like organs for example) are much more important than your fresh manicure, or rock-hard abs. Right? But I do think society is so concerned with their outward appearance that it filters it down to each one of us. We think, ugh, I wish I had better hair, or I would be happier if I had a new outfit, or I would get more likes on Instagram if I took a photo of myself in a bathing suit, or whatever it might be. It’s somewhat normal to want validation and approval from others, but ultimately I’m on Ann’s team. I want to be more than what I look like. The Kingdom of God needs some fierce Christian women. Women who doesn’t strive for the perfect closet, or the most beautiful photos of themselves, or the coolest lifestyle blog with the most VIP events and connections and endorsements. Women who strive to be more like Christ, and who are trying to make the tough decisions if it means going where God wants you to go. I’m not saying the glory of God can’t exist and be made glorified in “worldly” arenas, but I don’t ever want to strive for these banal things. I want more extraordinary things for my life and for the lives of women everywhere. Our acceptance and standing in life is so much higher than what the world tells us is important. If I have a bad hair day, but post a beautiful blog about my Savior what is more important? Maybe my awesome hair will get more approval online, but I want to do the “hard and holy” things because even if they are invisible they are more significant.

God I pray that as a community of women we learn to value more significant things than what we often settle for and buy into. Yes it’s awesome to be a women and enjoy a nice outfit or a great blow-out at the salon, but our value and significance should not be bound to these things. This world needs more women of God than women of the world. Your people need more Christine Caines and less Christine Teigens…(just saying). Help us to become mighty women of God. Help us to elevate the spiritual and demote the physical. In Your name..amen.

Found on ellafrancessanders.com