Updates & The Beauty of Saying, “No.”

You know those seasons where it just seems like things will never slow down?  I think often times we all get bogged down from that but it usually boils down to us just not saying “no” when we truly need to.  We’re told from a young age that saying it will keep us from making poor decisions when it comes to drugs, underage drinking, and pre-marital sex.  However we aren’t warned about the exhaustion that comes from not saying it when our families, bodies, or souls desperately need us to.  I’m one of the WORST at saying, “no” when I need to.  I don’t want to disappoint anyone and also think that because I’m single I should have the ability to do it all.  That’s foolish, isn’t it?  I can’t do it all because I wasn’t designed to.  Neither were you.  Thank the good Lord above, am I right?  I don’t know about you but I’m taking a huge sigh of relief because of that reminder.  Saying “yes” should be led with prayer.  Commitments are a big deal and sometimes we don’t hear clearly but other times we ignore the times when God tells us to just step back.  We put on our capes and think, “surely I can handle this, I mean….I know I can.”  Then we are left in shambles because we half heartedly do something or just flake out completely.  There’s beauty in saying “no” to the wrong thing as much as there is in saying “yes” to the right things.  Be patient.  Love well.  Walk in obedience.

 

As for updates, there are a few.  God’s opened the door to go to Israel in March with a team and while part of that will be spent seeing the unimaginable, the goal is to love on people.  Talking to strangers hasn’t really ever been an issue for me so I have no doubt that God is going to open up doors along the way, before the plane takes off, to speak with people and encourage them where they are in life.  There will be opportunities there to minister to women in various ways and to say I am giddy is an understatement.  While there’s a significant cost associated with going, I trust that God will provide financially and a team of prayer warriors for the before, during, and after.  If you feel led to contribute, you can click here.

I responded to a call for blog submissions on a wonderful site called Heaven Bent Women and got published through them from a piece on singleness.  I’ll be doing additional pieces but if you’d like to check out that one, you can click here.  Seeing how God has used it to encourage women in that stage of life has been so humbling and it makes me thankful for the ways God uses all seasons of our lives.

In addition to Israel & Heaven Bent, I was contacted a few weeks ago by a non-profit sex trafficking awareness ministry out of Austin, TX.  Y’all, that was a total God thing.  I don’t mean that in the cliché way we often hear about but in the only God can make it happen kind of way.  I was contacted by them and asked to pray about contributing to their blog twice a month in hopes of reaching and encouraging people from various walks of life.  I’m telling you this to ask you to pray.  Pray for those that read it to be reminded of God’s goodness, faithfulness, and justice among continuous pursuit of His children.  Pray for the team to be protected as Satan doesn’t want any of this.  Pray for me to be obedient in what I write and to point people to the cross.  I’m humbled, honored, and excited about what God has in store and for the opportunity here.  If you’d like to see information on the non-profit mentioned, it’s beLydia so just click the title and it’ll take you there.

So how are YOU?  How can I be praying for you and your groups of friends/family?  I mean that, I want to know.  Until next time.

 

 

Father’s Day

In today’s society, it’s sadly common that fathers are more and more absent.  That’s not fair and last night it reduced me to tears thinking about those that have had the worst excuses for a father as they’ve grown up.  If you have had that experience, I am so very sorry.  If your father has passed away, my heart breaks for you.  I’ve seen friends experience both sides of the equation and it always hurts my heart because I want so badly for them to feel the embrace of their dad.  I hope you know that on Father’s Day, you aren’t forgotten.  Your actions, or lack thereof, won’t cause God to abandon you or fade away.

I think that as children of God we only see the side that reflects our mistakes, failures and inability to meet the mark.  We feel as though we will be kicked out of the family if we mess up one more time.  Or we think that we must excel in x amount of areas to be chosen…But we are called to rejoice and walk in the fact that God, our mighty creator, the lover of our souls, CHOSE us!  He has adopted us into his family and we can’t do anything to be kicked out or rejected.  No matter what your earthly parents are like, He is the epitome of goodness, faithfulness, pursuit, passion, justice, grace and unconditional love.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg!  Whoop whoop!  I mean, no one else sent their perfect son to die for our sins….we are chosen.  Please let that marinate. We are chosen.

I’ve used the phrase, “The good, bad, ugly and crazy” in many scenarios of life (relationships of any kind) but it fits here also.  He chose us knowing all of those things about us and we are his  precious, adopted kids.  Loved as his very own.  So on Father’s Day and the days that surround it, you are thought of, prayed for, and delighted in.  That stands true no matter what the circumstances are of your father not being present.  I’m a hugger so just know that if I could hug you this very second, I would (just ask anyone I’ve ever hugged….I’ll even linger just to pester).

Being a child of God means:

Our Father loves you.
Our Father delights in you.
Our Father fiercely pursues you.
Our Father protects you.
Our Father chooses you.

No Waiting Is Ever Wasted

Does anyone enjoy waiting?  There’s angst, anticipation, fear, frustration, and even anger at times.  We live in a microwave society where pretty much everything is at our fingertips.  So the moment we are forced to wait on something, there’s a battle that rages internally, if not externally as well.  Our flesh longs for the instant gratification.  Personally, I don’t wait well.  I’ve said before, even in front of the church (oops), that waiting sucks.  When we long for something with every part of our being, and feel as though we are forgotten when it seems to never happen or go away, we think that we’ve done something wrong or maybe we’ve missed a mark along the way.

Just as there are two sides to every story, there are also two sides to waiting.  In addition to the negatives above, there is also excitement, giddiness,  joy, and time of preparation.  Joy?  Yep!  Once I finish throwing a tantrum (or several), I’m reminded of the fact that there are freedoms in the waiting that aren’t usually there when we get to the end result we have been longing for.  Things aren’t always greener on the other side and that goal we’ve been aiming for won’t complete us.  Seasons constantly change and if we wait with this attitude of misery, things will never get better.  The pain we go through is able to be used to encourage others when they go through similar things!  Y’all, nothing we have done falls under the category of being unredeemable by Christ.  I recently mentioned consequences to our actions and yes, those are real and sometimes excruciating BUT it doesn’t have to be only painful.

There’s an older Carrie Underwood song that talks about bridges being burned but also lessons learned.  Each moment in our lives can be used to encourage, love, push, motivate, inspire, and so much more.  Or they can define us as lonely, broken, lousy, failures if we let them. Sometimes the second set of options are easier but they’re not worth the sacrifice of joy!  We get the choice of how we look at and approach and respond to situations.

It’s no secret that I want to get married and (probably) have kids someday.  I’m not sure why I’ve gone through wedding after wedding of dear friends and snuggled their babies while wondering if that will ever be me.  Now before you think of how sad that sounds, know that I’m thankful because of the freedom I’ve had and the protection of God when it comes to settling. This continuous season of waiting has been a time of preparation. It’s been hard at times but SO MUCH FUN at others!  This time is for me to continue preparing for God’s calling on my life and to trust Him.  There have been doors opened for ways to love on people I never would have met and opportunities to encourage them in their waiting or struggles because why??  We weren’t meant to do this life alone. We get to walk through this crazy chaos with people who can relate.  

Waiting is painful but it’s never wasted. 

Keep moving forward.

Ripple Effects Of…

…adoption.  The older I get, the more aware I become of how my choices today have an impact on the future.  Karma. Consequences. Mojo. Grace. Justice.  No matter what you call it, we are all aware that each of our choices have a direct consequence.  Your choices, your prayers, your love, will impact future generations.  I don’t know about you but that BLOWS MY MIND when I sit and really think about it.  How does this tie in with adoption?  I’m so glad you asked!  🙂

Before I really dive in, I’m not here to debate pro-life, pro-choice, pro-(insert modern day rant here) or anything like that.  I’m just providing you with examples on the beauty of adoption from personal experience.  For those of you that don’t know, I am adopted.  My parents received a phone call from a woman they went to church with, whose husband was a lawyer.  A young woman came to his office that day with the hope of giving her unborn child a great home since she already had a child and wasn’t going to be able to keep both.  Her choice was the best thing for any of us and the most beautiful and incredible gift she could have ever given me.  Just a few days later and I was a Godwin.  Oh my goodness at the beauty of that sentence.  I was, still am, and will always be a Godwin.  I can show you screen shots of texts with my father that prove I’m very much like him.  Then there are days I could give examples of how I’m like my mom.  My sister is one of my biggest heroines with the way she loves and leads by example, and with the way she has always encouraged me.  Has life been perfect?  Heck no…but it’s been one heck of a journey I wouldn’t have wanted any other way.

Seeing the way we interact as a family, you’ll possibly be surprised to learn that I struggled with being adopted as a child and this led to many insecurities and some fears.  Some that I still battle today.  I was only seeing the fact that my biological parents gave me up and assumed it was because they didn’t want me.  I wasn’t focusing on the fact that my parents CHOSE me.  They love me.  They didn’t have to do that.  They loved and treated Tammy and me the same.  Well, let’s be honest, I am probably the favorite (KIDDING).  Growing up they told us that there was nothing we could do to make them love us any less.  I’ll be the first to admit that I tested that theory a time…or several.  We have all made mistakes but I’m thankful for that statement being true.  I’ve told them over the years that I’m grateful for the earthly example of God’s love for His children that they have given to Tammy & myself.  If no one has ever told you before, God loves you.  He delights in you.  He fiercely pursues you.  He protects you.  He chooses you!  If you didn’t have a good set of parents growing up, I am so sorry and hope you know that God is still here and nothing is wasted.  He uses things that we are in to glorify Himself and to bring us joy.  No matter where you come from or have been, you are still chosen and that’s a beautiful reality.

The ripple effect comes in because when I think about not being a Godwin or knowing the amazing people I get to walk through this life with, it deeply saddens me.  I know things would have been fine but I also know there’s been an impact on my life because of God’s faithfulness through the people I interact with daily.  The choice my parents made led me here to Chattanooga where I get to be a sassy HR professional and surprisingly get paid to talk to people.  I get to pray with employees on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis and encourage them to keep going.  This is not in my strength but is ONLY because of God’s goodness.  Sometimes there are total strangers I get to meet that I am supposed to love on and pray with.  Two examples are from the California trip back in August when I met and prayed with the sweetest woman named Rosa or Kipp on the plane in Abilene, TX.  There are other types of ripple effects based off of poor choices we make so know that others are impacted by each choice made.

I know many people who have adopted and some who are waiting expectantly for their bundles of joy (in various ages)! This is going to sound repetitive but I want you to really grasp this.  We are called to rejoice and walk in the fact that God, our mighty creator, the lover of our souls, CHOSE us!  He has adopted us into his family and we can’t do anything to be kicked out or rejected.  No matter what your earthly parents are/were like, He is the epitome of goodness, faithfulness, pursuit, passion, justice, grace and unconditional love.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg!  Whoop whoop!  I mean, no one else sent their perfect son to die for our sins….we are chosen.  Please let that marinate. We are chosen. Since He chooses us, we get to be part of the journey to encourage others and show them who God is and the whole purpose of salvation.  If you are currently trying to adopt or support those that are, there is a breathtaking ripple effect because of that choice.  That child is helping complete a family and if they’re believers, will impact the Kingdom in big ways by sharing the Gospel and loving deeply.  Obedience is blessed and no waiting is ever wasted.

 

xoxo.

Jenny On The Blog

Don’t be fooled by the words that I got.  I’m still, I’m still Jenny On The Blog.   I know that was a cheesy pull from J.Lo but humor me.  You’ll notice that the website is new and still in the works but that’s okay because I am, too.  I decided to make things more streamlined a bout a month or so ago and to purchase a domain for projects going forward.

What is all of this for anyway?  I’m so glad you asked!  I’m currently working on finishing my first book and my hope is that it encourages others no matter where they’ve been, are, or are going.  Life is hard but it’s not something we’re supposed to do alone.  There are lots of bumps along the way and many of us get scratches and scars from said bumps.  BUT GOD uses those to refine, renew, and even restore us.  Know that where you are now isn’t where you’ll always be and hope for the future is never lost.  NEVER.  Keep moving forward in the midst of trails and know that you have people in your corner to pray for/with you, encourage, and hold you accountable.  Heck, even last week a good friend of mine held me accountable with my attitude from an interpretation I made regarding a situation that hurt my feelings.  We need people who do that.  We weren’t created to do this life alone.

Some days flat out suck but others are filled with beautiful reminders of our purpose and that fact that not only is our God for us but also with us.  It’s no secret that I love things that sparkle.  Maybe it’s because I’m still a 4 year old at heart or it’s that sequins, glitter, and the like all remind me of glimmers of hope.  Hope that God is still moving, working, refining, and loving us when we are kicking and screaming along the way.  Those glimmers still sparkle when days are dark and exhausting.  They can also be used for a random time of celebration when needed.

Going forward I plan to update on a regular basis and in the end, may it be said that this glorified God.  Even on the bad/hard days, He’s faithful and still good.  His character doesn’t change based on our circumstances.  Our circumstances will change based on His character and faithfulness.

 

“I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise your name forever and ever. I will praise you every day; yes, I will praise you forever. Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness…” Psalm 145:1-3

 

xoxo,

Jenny