Saturday, March 4, 2017

The "D" Word.

Discipline. What do you think of when you see that word? Do you see it as a negative? Does it make you cringe inside? Do you tell the person who said it to stop cussing? Oh ok, maybe that's just me.

We generally equate the word discipline with kids don't we? It's often tied to conversations about raising kids, followed by whatever other random conversation us ladies get into, generally revolving around food or our thighs, or probably both.

Discipline. Excuse me, there I go cussing again.

But really, I've been thinking about this topic for many years now, as it relates to the life I try so desperately to lead and yet fail at miserably, often. And then this thought smacked me the other day:



The D word brings freedom. It does. It really, really does.

The Book of Hebrews says this: "No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way."

Peace. That's what we all long for right, to live in peace? We NEED peace. Our minds need peace, our hearts need peace, our bodies need peace. People search the globe for it and look to Presidents to bring it but alas, many don't find it. Why? Well, may I pose one reason? No discipline.

The general thought of this world is quite the opposite than what I'm proposing here isn't it? Many people would say that discipline keeps you bound, that it is oppressive and depressive and just plan boring.

When we live an un-disciplined life, we live in chaos. When we allow our emotions to rule us and then we act out of those emotions, we say whatever comes to mind, destructive or not. It breeds chaos. When we are un-disciplined in our finances, when we don't honor God with what belongs to Him anyway, when we go on spending benders when we can't afford it, it breeds chaos. When we eat in an un-disciplined manner, well, I think we all know the effects of that, hence our conversations surrounding food and thighs!

The Hebrew word for peace is Shalom, and Shalom has a phenomenal translation. In Hebrew, Shalom means this: "Destroying the authority that brings chaos in your life."

So many times we are crying out for peace, we are searching for peace, we are doing all we can to obtain peace; we blame our lack of peace on our circumstances, and sometimes yes, the challenges that fall into our path do seek to rob of us peace. But, more often then not, WE are responsible for the lack of peace in our lives because we simply won't destroy the authority that brings chaos into our lives. Why? Because it's usually ourselves.

We allow ourselves to live below our God given dignity. We accept crap into our lives and choose mediocrity over excellence. And it all breeds chaos.

When we choose discipline, we get freedom. Sounds like an oxymoron but indeed they are synonymous, they are one in the same. You like my use of big words don't ya. I is smart.

Disciplined words bring healthy and fruitful relationships. Disciplined finances bring an abundance of supply. Disciplined eating and exercise bring lifelong rewards.

I'm tired of living in chaos in certain areas, aren't you? I'm tired of blaming my circumstances and moving from one excuse to the other, to avoid the necessary discipline I know I need to accept. I'm ready for the harvest of peace promised in Hebrews 12. I'm ready to cuss.

Discipline. There, I said it. And I'm not sorry ;)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Bubble butts are a good thing.

Are you ever hard on yourself? My guess is that if you are, 1, a woman and 2, a woman, then yes, you are hard on yourself. We don't really need other people to kick our butts, we kinda kick our own butts, am I right? I say something I regret, kick my butt. I don't achieve a goal by a certain time, kick my butt. I lose my cool, kick my butt. I obsess over what people think, kick my butt. You know, it's a darn good thing I have a bubble butt with all the kickin' it gets!

Can ya relate?

You guys, this is a lame cycle that we need to pick our butt kickin' selves out of RIGHT now, like TO-DAY! Yes, we want to be our best. If you know me at all you know that I am so much for living the best life we possibly can. I am so anti-settling for second best I'm probably annoying with how often I mention it. Because I've done it. A million times. Man my butt's bruised.

But even with our striving to do our best, there has to be a moment we allow ourselves a break. Just a break. A break from the personal beat downs we so often give ourselves. A break from the negative chatter in our mind; the words of disappointment we speak over our soul.

I read a verse in the Bible that I can't stop thinking about. It's simplistic yet complex so I've been studying it out to gain the best understanding that I can. It's in John 1 and it says simply and so beautifully these words:

John 1:16 "And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace."

This verse is scripture is talking about Jesus and all that He represents to the life of a person once we become a believer in Him. We are privy to all that He is. We receive His fullness. My goodness, can you even wrap your head around that? His fullness. So every bit of health that He is, I receive it. Every blast of joy that my God is, I receive it. Every dose of prosperity that He has, yep, that too I receive. The list goes on and on and on. His fullness. But there is one thing that He is full of also, and this one thing is what we don't accept for ourselves, hence our bruised buns. It's grace. GRACE.

The scripture says, "and grace for grace."

When God created the world, He did it with a beautiful grace. He hung the moon and the stars and spoke the Earth and all of it's beauty into existence. And He did it all with such a powerful and magnificent grace. Then He formed man, with graceful detail. Then He created us women, with just a touch more detail of course. Then Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and God had to send them out of the perfect grace filled environment they were enjoying. Why? Grace. It was God's grace that drove them out of the Garden. Had Adam and Even been able to stay, they would have forever known the wrong they did. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil would have reminded them of it, day after day. Night after pain-staking night. So God's grace drove them out of the Garden and a new grace was on the way. A grace that would come in the form of a sweet baby, born in a manger, amongst filth and debris. That baby would grow into the most wonderful person this Earth has ever known. And He would heal people, and He would love people, and He would feed people, and He would redeem people.

And then He would die. For grace. And then He would rise. For grace.

Grace has been God's story all along. Even when He gave the law to Moses for the Israelites to live by, that was grace. The law was grace? Sure it was. People need boundaries. Life is so much better when we live right, when we live according to the Bible.

But God, in His grace, sent His Son Jesus, to take us to a deeper place of grace. A grace that offers forgiveness and an eternity in Heaven. This grace enables us to do what we are destined to do. This grace strengthens us to live by the Word of God, even when it's difficult or perhaps undesirable. And this grace picks us up when we fall. This grace causes us to try again. This grace fills us day after day with the fullness of God. This grace gives us permission to rest. To stop kicking our butts. To quit living in the boneyards of yesterday's bad decisions. To change.

Oh my goodness. What a grace. Thank You Jesus, thank You for grace. Thank You for a grace that forgives me. Thank You for a grace that restores me. Thank You for a grace that is so personal to me, that in all my flaws, in all my setbacks and in all my failures, Your grace never changes. It never runs out. I can't exhaust Your grace. So it's with that grace that I thank you for the fullness that's living in me. And today, I choose to wear it well. In Your precious name, Amen.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Isaiah 9:6 is a super familiar verse this time of year and it says, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

As I ponder this verse, the reality of it is sinking deep into my soul, and perhaps it will make it's way into your busy, possibly stressed and overwhelmed soul as well. The fact of the matter is this, we are busy. So busy. In fact, if anyone at all is even taking time to read this, it's most likely being skimmed through as you stand in line at Costco or Target or dare I say at a red light. Not that I know from experience or anything...

Christmas time. Ah how we love it, don't we? We love the lights and the trees and the baking and the movies and the stories and the family time. And then there's the shopping. And the lists. And the cards. And the guilt of receiving a gift from someone you didn't get a gift for. And the lines. And the grumpy people in said lines. And yet, we barrel through it every year.

But right now, in this moment, I want to pause and read this verse again. Do I have things to do? Yes. I actually have a million things to do. But in reality, nothing pales in comparison to this moment. Because this is what it's all about.

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace"

A child interrupted the world. When Jesus was born, he interrupted Mary & Joseph whose lives were in such an exciting time, preparing for marriage. The birth of Jesus interrupted the wise men, who had to stop what they were doing and decide if they would follow a star to see the King, or would they stay in their normal. Jesus certainly interrupted the government, as King Herod did all he could do to wipe out Jesus before He even got started. He interrupted the world.

Oh how I want Him to interrupt my world today. Yes, my to do list is long today. And I know that yours is too. But today, I choose to pause and embrace the interruption.

A child was born TO US. A Son was given, TO US. That precious Son has been my counselor more times that I can recall. He has shown Himself to be a mighty God in times that I could not defend myself or find the solution for my problem. That Son is my everlasting Father; He has carried me, loved me, hugged me, provided for me & guided me. And lastly, that Son, the child born to us, He has been my Prince of Peace. Oh how He has been my peace. Peace has overshadowed me through so many storms. Peace has guided me through difficult decisions. And peace, it rests upon me even now.

Yep, the Christmas season is here. We embrace the wonderful things we love about it and we endure the things we necessarily don't. But through it all, don't miss the interruption. Oh what a beautiful interruption indeed.

And if you are reading this in line at Wal-Mart, just start yelling at the top of your lungs and flailing about like a flying bird that's been shot mid-flight. Maybe they'll move you forward in line. Or maybe they'll call the cops. But either way, you'll get out of Wal-Mart quicker. And with that I say Merry Christmas! May the peace of God that surpasses all understanding guard your heart and your mind today as you look for that sweet interruption.

Amen. And amen.

Thursday, September 24, 2015


Did you know you were made for more? More than mediocrity. More than simply getting by in life. More than average. More than just doing what you have always done, wishing for a different result. More than settling for second rate. More.

I am made for more. Say it with me! "I AM MADE FOR MORE!"

I know that. But do I believe it? Do YOU believe it?

I'm reading in Hebrews 6, preparing for our upcoming Ladies Retreat. I'm pondering Hope and how Hope is our anchor and so that's where my thought process should be going. But alas, like the kittens in my backyard that move from one thing to the next (yes, I find any opportunity to speak of kittens and yes, I realize it's nuts) I find myself strayed from topic.

Take a read of this:

Hebrews 6:7-9 "When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. 8 But if a field bears thorns and thistles, it is useless. The farmer will soon condemn that field and burn it."

Now I LOVE this next verse, LOVE it.

9 "Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation."

You were made for more.

"We are confident that you are meant for better things..."

I am meant for better things.

"things that come with salvation."

So what comes with salvation? Oh my gooodness, what DOESN'T come with salvation? First of all, everlasting love comes with salvation. A grace that is so undeserved comes with salvation. A peace that will go beyond what I can understand, that comes with salvation. A joy that floods the very depths of my soul is a product of salvation. Provision for every single need that I will ever have, that's a benefit of salvation. Purpose, purpose, purpose. Did I say purpose yet? I'm sorry, the cute kitties distract me. Purpose is a product of salvation. Forgiveness. Restoration. Witness. Household salvation. And did I say purpose? More. More. And more.

So there ya go. Just in case you were on the fence today, leaning towards the side that's warped and in need of repair, why don't you climb just a little higher to the other side of it. I hear the weather's great up there. Besides, you might see one of our kittens. And then you might take one home. And then your life will be so great and better. Oh sorry, there I go again.

Dear heart don't settle. Jen, don't settle. Kitties, don't settle. You were meant for better things.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hinds' feet?

Have you ever gone through a particularly difficult period of trusting God? Trust is pretty much always one of the most difficult things for our humanity to wrap itself around, but sometimes it just seem harder to come by than others. Anyone?

I have read the reference before in scripture that associates us with the hind feet of a deer and to be honest, I've never thought much of it. Until today. I was led to the same reference yet again in two completely different books of the Bible.

Psalm 18:33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and sets me on high places.

And then again in Habakkuk 3 out of the amplified, it overwhelms my heart in this version:

"Though the fig tree does not blossom and there is no fruit on the vines, [though] the product of the olive fails and the fields yield no food, though the flock is cut off from the fold and there are no cattle in the stalls, 18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the [victorious] God of my salvation! 19 The Lord God is my Strength, my personal bravery, and my invincible army; He makes my feet like hinds’ feet and will make me to walk [not to stand still in terror, but to walk] and make [spiritual] progress upon my high places [of trouble, suffering, or responsibility]!"

Joey & I have been to Texas a few times now and when we go we take a drive through a pretty rural area that's known for great hunting. It always surprises me how it's good hunting ground because it's basically flat land, full of gravel and shrubs. But yet, apparently it's an environment that the deer are a plenty. So perhaps that visual was what I needed to make sense of this reference. It looks to me as if it would be painful to walk through that sort of environment, with the sharp rocked edges and the harsh shrubbery. The hiding places are scarce in that environment as well; the deer have to rely on their quick agility to escape the eye of a hunter or predator.

And so it is with us. Life can be hard sometimes. It's full of sharp edges, twists and turns. We come into seasons where the shrubs seem to grow taller than the lush foliage our hearts crave. The enemy never takes a break from his assault on our lives either so our guard always needs to be up. Like a deer.

But then this scripture...

"My personal bravery." Wow. What a picture. God is my personal bravery. When it's hard to trust, God gets personal. When I'm scared of what is or is NOT happening, God gets personal. When the shrubs are growing ever so tall and the thorns seem to be closing in, God gets personal. When I feel the enemy is having a field day with me, God gets personal. And He is brave. Therefore, so am I.

Have you ever noticed how light a deer runs? They have such a grace about them, as they prance through the brush and the rock, as if it causes their hooves no pain whatsoever.

With that picture in mind, whatever you face today, know that God is giving you the feet of a deer. He is giving you the personal strength to walk through whatever difficulty you are in right this very moment. And He gives you the ability to do it with grace. We don't have to complain our way through, we don't have to worry our way through and we don't have to panic our way through. We just gracefully keep.on.moving.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Take a shower would ya!

Lamentations 3:22-23 says, "Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness."

I'm so glad that God's compassion towards me never fails. Should it? Yes. Yes I think it should when I fail in the same area time and time again. But it does not.

The scripture says that it's because of His never-failing compassion that I'm not consumed. Compassion defined is this: "a feeling of wanting to help someone who is sick, hungry, in trouble, etc." Or how about this definition: "Deep awareness of the suffering of another accompanied by the wish to relieve it."

Jesus is aware of our suffering. He is aware of our need. He is aware when we are sick, when we are hungry. He is aware of the times that we are in trouble, whether by our own doing or by the hand of trouble coming through a situation perhaps totally out of our control. He is completely and absolutely aware. And regardless of how we react to what is trying to consume us, be it need or trouble, His compassion will not allow Him to hold it over our head. Furthermore, His compassion will cause Him to move because He desires to relive our suffering.

I had a talk with my daughter Lily last night, who just turned 7. She has a wonderful concept of God and her spirit is so exciting to watch grow; I'm often challenged by her in my own spiritual walk. But she said something at school the other day that she was not proud of; she didn't want to say it but was influenced by a 6th grader to say the word "jerk." Yes folks, my daughter said the word jerk. I better check her into therapy stat! Bless her heart she was so upset with herself for saying it. So she shared with me last night that at bedtime she told God she was sorry for saying it. And then last night she felt the need to confess it to us! So we had a great talk about grace and that our sin being washed away the moment we ask for it to be. And that was that, she moved on.

Oh that we could do the same thing, just move on. Accept the fact that God's grace is greater than all of our sin. The moment we ask Him to forgive us is the moment that He does. We don't have to wait for a certain amount of time to pass for the forgiveness to be made final. There is no cooling off period when it comes to grace! God won't revoke it from us. Why? Because His never-failing compassion won't allow Him to!

So when you find yourself in need of grace, when the devil seems to be doing a number on your mind, beating you down with condemnation over your sin, remember this verse in Lamentations. Every single morning there is a fresh batch of mercy on our doorstep. Let's pick up that mercy and take a shower in it! Allow the never-failing compassion of God to absolutely drench you this morning. And then take that mercy and show it to someone else! Don't keep it to yourself...or you might be a jerk ;)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Tenacious sap

I love my husband. I honestly have never met a better person in all my life. He encourages me, challenges me & just plain moves me to be a better version of myself. He is tenacious as all get out, and sometimes I want him to take a break from his tenacity but alas, he cannot. It's just who he is. And so I've been pondering that tenacity...

Tenacious defined is "holding together; cohesive; not easily pulled asunder; tough." That's a great adjective for Joey, for sure. He definitely holds me and a whole lot of other folks together! He is cohesive, in the sense that he has the ability to adapt well to whatever environment he finds himself in. He is not swayed by negative circumstances that arise and yes, of course, he is tough.

So before you think this post is going to be full of sap, hang on. Although I'm feeling reflective about my man, yes, I do have a point! It's because of HIS tenacity that myself, and many others are fulfilling our destiny. And so today, I wonder who's tenacity has caused you to fulfill your destiny? Or perhaps, are you the one spurring others on to reach their full potential? If you stop and think about it, I bet you are doing that without even knowing the impact of it!

When Joey was asked to Pastor our church at the end of 2008, we actually chuckled amongst ourselves. Pastor? We've never pastored before. Joey had traveled for years ministering and speaking in Public Schools with Radical Reality, a journey which he very much enjoyed. So to be asked to Pastor a church was absolutely out of left field. And yet, we had to entertain the thought. And so we did. And we prayed. A lot. And obviously we accepted the call.

During Joey's years of traveling, I was not able to be much a part of it and yet, my heart so desired ministry. And as God so wonderfully does, He reached into my heart and pulled out my desire and delivered it to me in a strangely wrapped gift. Pastoring. And so we began a new season...

Transition is rarely easy and with that particular transition there were many different obstacles that arose. But the tenacious spirit that Joey has shone through each and every obstacle and it has been through those challenges that we have been able to grow in ways never imagined possible.

My life will never be the same, because he accepted the call to Pastor. He was created for this journey, without a doubt. WITHOUT A DOUBT. He is a great shepherd, full of humility and grace and leadership and fire and...oh, sorry. There I go again all sappy like.

Because he accepted his divine assignment, it positioned me for mine. I feel like I'm smack dab where God wants me to be & doing what God wants me to do. The personal growth I've experienced over the past 6 years is nothing short of miraculous; it overwhelms me to think of how where God has brought me from, through the muck and the mire, out of pit after pit after pit. It's so exciting to accept God's call.

We were talking about this topic the other day, thinking about the different lives that God has brought into our season to walk this road with us and it's pretty phenomenal really. I think of the staff we have at church and how they are fulfilling their divine destiny for this time in their lives. I think of the thousands of people that have graced the doors of our church, and the love I am positive they felt as soon as they walked in. I think of the great people all across this city that have been fed or clothed through Helping Hands, and now many of them come to church on the buses sent to bring them! I think of the members of Lord's Gym and the impact that something as simple as a gym is making in their lives and in the community they are reaching out into. It overwhelms our hearts to think of all God has done in such a short time...and it's all because of a little tenacity.

Now of course, I know it's all the Lord. And in fact, Joey would tell you that he has far more weaknesses than he does strengths. I won't reiterate what he let slip out of his mouth in third service on Sunday in case nobody caught it but we sure are having a good laugh about it, DAILY! If you can't laugh at yourself, well, I'm sorry. Cuz it's the best. But every now and again, a person just needs to hear that someone is thankful they answered God's call and so today, I'm thankful he did just that.

Destiny is a domino effect. When you begin to fulfill your destiny, it begins to effect all of those around you. As you do what God is empowering you to do, the people in your sphere of influence are not only impacted by your destiny, but they just might begin to reach theirs. Just take a moment and look at the lives around you: Your spouse, your kids, your friends, your co-workers, the list goes on and on. You can't know this side of Heaven how many lives you have affected by simply saying yes to God.

So, what can you do today to be a tenacious person of destiny? Can you reach one person through a smile or an overdue "I love you" or how about extending forgiveness when you really don't feel like it or maybe you can volunteer somewhere or send financial support to a ministry or missionary God has on your heart or you can play an extra game of UNO with your kids tonight or call a friend and be a listening ear or clean a neighbors yard that can't do it themselves or see a single mother in the grocery store and pay for her groceries or step out in faith and share Jesus with someone or, or or...

The list is endless. Accepting God's call on your life does not have to be a dramatic event, it's simply saying yes to whatever God has for you. Could it be a life altering thing? Absolutely. And then again, it may just be finally submitting your heart to His way, whatever the way may be. It's an exciting journey, this whole "living out your destiny" business. Try it, you'll like it!

And did I mention that I love my husband? Sap. Sappy sap sap.