the opportune time

 The other night I read this verse during my devotions and it seemed to leap out from the page at me:

“I will come upon him while he is weary and weak, and make him afraid. And all the people who are with him will flee, and I will strike…”(2 Sam 17:17)

That was Ahithophel’s (seriously, where do they get these names?) strategy for destroying David, and in my opinion, it was a really good one. I truly believe this is how the Enemy works in my life. He isn’t like us. He is not impulsive or overeager. Instead, he waits…and waits…and waits… for the most opportune time and then straight up pounces. I am a fighter. I won’t give up. But, if I’m tired, and emotionally exhausted and afraid of the future, then all trust in God seems to dramatically dissipate.

Life just isn’t always easy. There will be moments of discouragement. And discouragement seems to always be the Enemy’s most useful tool in my life.

I am so thankful for this man’s influence in my life. And I happen to be lucky enough to call him “Dad”. He has taught me so many challenging lessons and still continues to. However, one of the greatest things he ever advised me was, “Jen, don’t ever make a decision when you are discouraged.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my Dad say this. And, his words are so valuable, because my feelings, like everyone else’s, are fickle and ever-changing.

I lived with my parents for six months this year. At first, I was seriously humiliated. I mean, here I was, 25 years-old, holding no-degree, about to be unemployed, listening to my Dad snore through the ceiling and answering phone calls at 9:30 pm to “check-in”. (This would continue each hour until I came home. I actually told my Dad that I was contemplating calling AT&T to block his number from my phone!) The whole situation was such a difference from the past 6 years. Some imagine divorce to be simple; a quick signature on a clean sheet of paper. It’s far more complex and life-altering. As much as I “hated” living with Jerry and Christie then, I know I will greatly cherish that time I had with my parents, and I’m not talking about all the free dinners (although, that was seriously, wonderful). There were moments, late into the night, when I came home after working all day, and helping out at Hope Care or whatever I was involved in. Like David, I was weary, weak and afraid. I would cry and say, “Dad, is this it? Has God forgotten me? (Wow, I am being really real here.) Will I ever be married again? Will I ever even trust someone enough for that again? Is my life just completely purposeless now? Dad, I miss ministry, and helping people. What now?”

And in those moments, my parents would remind me of the truth of God’s Word. That “no good thing will He withold from those who walk uprightly.” That my future was bright. That, I was just tired and needed to go to sleep. And that I needed to eat something and put some meat on my bones, because guys like girls with a little “extra”!

So, basically, all I’m trying to say is this:
At those moments of weakness, weariness and fear, we must simply stick it out and trust in the One who is all-powerful, never slumbers, and fears nothing.

Oh, and on a side note, Ahithophel hanged himself and David survived. Ha.

what if?

I know that I can pray, and I know that God can speak to me through reading His Word. But, every once in a while I just wish I could literally talk to God. I wish I could tell Him what I’m feeling and actually hear Him speak back to me. There is so much comfort in hearing another voice tell you, “It’s going to be okay Jen.” Anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge talker – I love to talk through what I’m feeling. And how cool would it be to talk to the One who actually knows why we must go through every difficulty we face?

So my friend recently played this song for me, and I think the words of this song are the exact words God would tell me if we could sit down and talk. (The video is a bit cheesy, but I want you to hear it!)





We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
And we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home,

‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

it’s friday!

Well, no matter what you think abut the vocal talents of Rebecca Black, her popularity cannot be denied. In one weekend, her video had over 2 million hits. And I happen to think IT’S SO CATCHY! So, in honor of wearing jeans to work and looking forward to a great weekend, here’s FRIDAY! Ha! 

girls night

Girls Night with my small group girls! (In honor of Spring Break, I wore my sweet beach shirt, so we could all mentally picture ourselves in a tropical paradise.)
Bre got her braces off today. Remember that feeling? It’s like the greatest day of your adolescent life. Opens up a whole new world…
Why do I love my small group so much? Because, when given the choice they opted to see the Battlefield: LA movie over the girly Beastly movie. I love these girls.

if only for one

I am addicted to following coverage of the devastation in Japan. Maybe it’s simply the overwhelming magnitude of annihilation. It’s difficult not to be curious and saying it’s surreal is an understatement. Today, I was reading updates-

-Death toll now surpassed 3,000
-Aftershocks still plaguing the country
-Japan has shifted 2.4 meters due to the earthquake
-People facing their 5th night without water or electricity
-Snow expected to fall throughout Japan
-People hungry, freezing and missing their family members
-Threat of radiation poison

Talk about depressing. My heart goes out to the millions of people affected by this tragedy. It seems as if it literally could not get any worse. But, then, as if someone turned on a light in a pitch black room, I stumbled upon this…

“In a rare bit of good news, rescuers found two survivors Tuesday in the rubble left by the tsunami that hit…”
After four long days of being buried alive, two people are saved, pulled from the midst of debris. Crazy! Ninety-six hours of impending death. Truly, a miracle. And enough to give those rescue workers the most powerful tool they can possess – hope. Suddenly hours of exhausting, hard work, dealing with the cold, the wet, the depression, the hunger, the emotion…was all worth it. Because, if only for one saved life, the work was worth it.

That’s pretty powerful stuff. It amazing what the power of one person can accomplish. I take two things from this:

1) If everything I’ve gone through this year – the pain, hurt, rejection, humiliation, fear, anxiety, vulnerability, lack of trust, lostness, discouragment, stress, loneliness… is for the purpose of helping just ONE person who will go through a similar situation – it is worth it. Because hope is a powerful drug. (Lest you think that is easy for me to say, I type it biting my lip and with hesitancy) I have a cousin, who also went through a failed marraige. She reached out to me and she will never know how she comforted me. If even to remind me, “No Jen, you’re not crazy. I felt that too.”

2 Cor 1:3-4 “God comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
2) You matter. Insert ridiculously cheesy quote- “in the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.” So cheesy, but hey, it’s true.

my first song

This Sunday, we played the song I wrote with Danny Davis. Check it out and let me know what you think!

I Come To You
Verse 1:
Broken I come to You
My shelter in the pouring rain
In my weakness, You’re made stronger
And I begin to see

Chorus:
At the foot of the cross
Is where I’m finally free
Though broken and bruised
You’ve restored me
Now take these chains and throw them away

Verse 2:
Broken I come to You
My cure for the pain
For Your yoke is easy and Your burden is light
And I begin to see

Bridge:
You found me
You bought me
You opened my eyes
Now take me and change me for the rest of my life

Music has been a huge outlet for me. I’m not sure what it is about it, but it brings so much peace to my mind. My favorite time of the entire week is Saturday afternoon, practicing worship music with a bunch of high schoolers. (Shout out to Billy, David, Danny, Lauren, Gabby, and Katie – I love you all like little brothers and sisters. You have continually made me laugh! Especially when David threatens to stop playing if Billy plays “Only You” Raggae style. ha.)

I think the next song I attempt to write will come from this Scripture:
2 Sam 7:18-21
King David went in, took his place before God, and prayed: “Who am I, my Master God, and what is my family, that you have brought me to this place in life? But that’s nothing compared to what’s coming, for you’ve also spoken of my family far into the future, given me a glimpse into tomorrow, my Master God! What can I possibly say in the face of all this? You know me, Master God, just as I am. You’ve done all this not because of who I am but because of who you are—out of your very heart!—but you’ve let me in on it.

These verses captivate me. So often, we as people just continually cry out to God to give, bless, fix, judge, help, restore, renew…and the list goes on. But, here David just simply says, “Dang God, WHO AM I to even receive any of these blessings from you? I’m a nobody and I don’t deserve it.”

How cool – for God to “let David in” on the secret of his future. I would give anything for God to give me just a quick vision of what He has in store for me. It would make the present much more bearable. Hate to say it, but I’m jealous of David. I wish I could see what God has waiting down the road for me. So yeah, I think I will try to write a song about this.

That’s all 😉

larry

 

The last six months have not been easy, but I would not change anything that has happened to me. Back in November, I started going to the Hope Care Center with the Tarchala’s on Thursday nights. Hope Care houses around 15 patients with AIDS and HIV. Every Thursday, we lead worship and a Bible Study. Hope Care gave me the new perspective that I desperately needed. For weeks, I was feeling so sorry for myself…until I met Larry.

I’ll never forget that first night. Larry is confined to a wheel chair and he talked about how much healthier he felt and how his dream was to be able to walk again. Larry would always say, “I wake up each morning and say two things: There is a God and I am not Him!” Thank God for Larry. Here I was feeling sorry for myself and my misfortunes, when this man could not even WALK, yet he possessed peace and the “joy of the Lord”. 

A few weeks ago, Larry started having high blood pressure. One morning he was non-responsive and was taken to the ER. He was taken off life support this week and last night went home to be with Jesus. I can’t believe he is gone already. I will miss him. I am glad he isn’t hurting anymore. I love you Larry. Can’t wait to see you one day. Thank you for being you – you helped me more than you’ll know and you are forever my friend. Jen

James 4:14 “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”