Here's a link to her story... it's kind of a long video, but it's SO good.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Monday, September 27, 2010
Do you ever think about God being the romantic type?
You should. It's completely true.
I was reading through Song of Songs over the last week or two, and the words I read were so powerful... and made every compliment I've heard seem so miniscule.
Chapter 4 is like the ultimate poem of all love poems.
"...beautiful beyond words.... altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way... your love delights me... my treasure, my bride..." and then in following chapters, "...my perfect one... I would still choose my dove, my perfect one... how pleasing, my love, how full of delights... "
I am my lover's and my lover is mine.
It's not that I didn't know my God loves me. Not that at all... but hearing these words was like hearing them for the first time. It opened my eyes and I felt like God was telling me, I love you as your Lord, as your Father, but also as a your groom... a more personal, intimate level.
We are re-made by the love of Christ. I don't know if people realize that, I don't know if I even fully grasp that. He speaks to our very soul, and soulful beauty comes before physical beauty. And it says in Ezekiel that He perfected our beauty, that we became a beautiful jewel and became HIS.
He is a jealous God. I know it, I know why. I heard "Beloved" by Tenth Avenue North and the lyrics, "Well you've been a mistress, my wife, chasing lovers that won't satisfy, won't you let me make you my bride?" I put so many things before Him. Without Him, we're nothing. Trade in all you are for all that He is.
Posted by jess at 11:10 PM
Friday, September 24, 2010
I love peanut butter.
Like a lot.
It's kind of a problem.
I skyped with my boyfriend tonight and told him my latest peanut butter creation, and we somehow got around to the point of saying "the first step is admitting it..." and wondered what the other 11 steps are.
Thank you, Google. Following is the 12-step program... which is quite hilarious with the "corrections".
1. Admit you are powerless over peanut butter - that your life has become unmanageable.
2. Believe that there is a higher power that can restore you to sanity.
3. Decide to turn your life and peanut butter addiction over to God.
4. Make a moral inventory of yourself.
5. Admit to God, yourself and someone else the nature of your problem.
6. Be ready for God to remove all defects of character.
7. Humbly ask Him to remove your shortcomings.
8. Make a list of all persons harmed due to your peanut butter addiction and be willing to make amends with them.
9. Make amends with said persons, unless it would harm them.
10. Continue to make a personal inventory and admit any wrongs.
11. Pray for knowledge and His will.
12. After your spiritual awakening, carry this message to other peanut butter-aholics and practice these principles throughout other affairs.
Maybe this is only funny to the two of us. But, that's okay... because laughing until you cry is needed sometimes.
Posted by jess at 8:57 PM
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I love challenges.
I am one of those weird people that likes to be challenged rather than sit back on the couch and watch. Challenges keep life interesting. They help you learn, and grow.
I need people to challenge me, especially in my walk.
If I could translate my walk into a picture, it wouldn't be a sunset; peaceful, beautiful (although, those are good components). It wouldn't be a barbed wire fence either, I mean... I don't want it to be torture. I picture an escalator... always moving upward. Growing, moving, drawing closer to Him.
I've found there are things I thought I knew, when I really didn't. I thought I knew joy before this summer, but I experienced (or experiencing...) it on a whole new level. I thought I knew what it mean to trust the Lord, to walk into the unknown, to lay everything at His feet... I didn't. It's a new world. It's a struggle. But, there is still peace amidst it all.
I read Ecclesiastes this morning, and my verse of the week comes from chapter three.
"Yet God has made everything beautiful for it's own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end."
With eternity in mind, our time here should be nothing short of intentional. I don't want to look back and think my life, or parts of it, were meaningless. I can only trust Him with the future and do His work right now.
I am constantly reminded of Psalm 9:10... He has never failed me or forsaken me, so why would He start now? I may struggle, but His power is shown through my weakness. And, one of my new favorite quotes: a woman of the Lord is anything but weak.
I hope you not only challenge me, but yourself and others around you. Get out of your comfort zone.
Posted by jess at 2:42 PM
Friday, September 17, 2010
My small group and I are memorizing, or meditating on, a verse a week.
This week, my verse is Proverbs 20:24,
"The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?"
I am guilty of the last part too often. I want to know why, I want to know when, how, where. I am a planner person, I make sticky-note lists daily, consult my planner and pencil stuff in all the time. I don't do well with spontaneity - unless in small doses.
I don't consider God spontaneous. He's got a nice, big planner for me upstairs I'm sure. Probably the type that has a line for each hour of the day, lots of writing room. Artsy cover, for sure. And little ol' me wants to grab the pen and write something in, or just steal the book, run and hide in my room and read it.
Too bad I'm a slow runner.
Good thing God has never failed me.
Says so in Psalm 9:10, "Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for You."
It's hard sometimes letting go, even when it's so easy to trust Him.
Posted by jess at 10:11 AM
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
(aka: bffer, CLL, woman, best friend, other half)
You are leaving on a jet plane tomorrow. Going on a grand adventure... one more grand than many can imagine. It is sure to be a trying and learning yet amazing time while you are abroad. Many emotions arise when I think about you being overseas. Envious that you get to go to Europe, the desire for me to join you, and sadly... the pain of how much I already miss you. I'm thinking I may delete BBM because it is pointless without my favorite BBM'er. I will miss our incessant texting and sarcasm, with a few drops of sisterly love. I have already started my pile/stack of letters and notes to mail you at some point. Lately, I've realized that everyday is a new adventure that God takes us on, and when you look back, you see that everyday added up to one big adventure. I hope you look back at your time abroad you will see how God worked in your life and how your experiences and learnings shaped you. I already miss you dearly, and already foresee many skype dates, even if I have to lose sleep over it. You are such a big part of my life, and just because you're going overseas better not mean that is about to change.
Love love love you.
Posted by jess at 10:22 AM
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Some people have a life verse. I don't know if I truly have one... I have some major favorite ones. Some that I use for different circumstances. I just love the Word. But, if I did have a "life verse".. this would be it:
"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen, if gives us assurance about things we cannot see." - Hebrews 11:1.
It was the first verse I underlined in my Bible when I came to college. I was in the Cross Hall lobby at Angela's Bible study... we were supposed to be looking somewhere else, and I was flipping through and my eyes landed on that verse. That little tidbit is beside the point though.
I feel like for the first time, I'm living it out. Breathing it in. Embracing it.
I feel lost, surreal, maybe even purpose-less.
I'm not leading a Bible study, I don't have a "ministry" I guess you could say is how I feel. I feel as though many of the people I love dearly are far away from me, or soon will be. Relationships are different this year. There are so many things that I'm uncertain about, that I'm just crossing my fingers about and taking one step at a time.
That's what faith is about. Being uncertain and moving forward, trusting the One who does know. When we believe that God will fulfill His promises even though we don't see those promises materializing yet, we demonstrate true faith.
Today's church service was... unconventional, different, amazing. A huge part was talking about a change of heart, of spirit. That's me. I've changed. From two three years ago, a year ago, three months ago. Right now, I'm not sure what the next step is in this change. There's a lot of change in my life right now. If last September you would've told me I was going to live by myself, have a boyfriend halfway across the country and not lead a Bible study (which is funny, because I never expected to lead one in the first place)... I would've laughed.
It's about faith. Stepping out to the unknown and hoping, trusting He will not let me fall face first on the concrete.
Posted by jess at 6:32 PM
Friday, September 10, 2010
There are few things that cut me to the core; the Word, intense storms, brilliant sunsets, and amazing lyrics. Three of those I can get almost daily. The last one, I have three songs that have been running through my mind and been on iTunes repeat lately.
Hanging On by Britt Nicole: "You see my anxious heart, You see what I am feeling, and when I fall apart, You are there to hold me. How great Your love for me. . . Your voice is my healing. I'm hanging onto every word You speak 'cause it's all that I need." I heard this song off and on for a few weeks on the radio, and when I finally added it to my own library the other day... I can't stop listening. I listened to it on repeat earlier tonight about five times in a row. Such powerful words that comfort and remind me of the Truth.
More Like Falling in Love by Jason Gray: "I need a Truth that lives, moves and breathes... to sweep me off my feet, it's gotta be more like falling in love. It was love that made me a believer in more than a name, a faith, a creed, falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me." I grew up in the church, and honestly before college... church/God/religion didn't do much for me. It IS so much more than a religion, an obligation. It's a relationship, it's falling in love with someone who WILL change your life... more than any husband can ever even imagine. His Word is life.
Your Love is a Song by Switchfoot: "Your love is a symphony, all around me, running through me. Your love is a melody, underneath me, running to me." This song reminded me of the verse in Romans that says nothing can separate us from God. Nothing. Not even Satan. He is constantly chasing me with His love, when I'm being stubborn, when I'm hurting, when I'm oblivious. But, when I turn around... it's right there to consume me. And it's the sweetest thing there is... nothing sweeter than the love of Jesus.
Combine these three things into one thought:
I love falling in love with Jesus, His love brings so much life and He IS all I need.
Posted by jess at 11:25 PM
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
In light of a friend's blog, and reading this site... I'm writing this blog with a new style.
You are too sweet, and always have been.
It's crazy the places God takes you in life, and I feel like this is the beginning of a new adventure.
The countless text pictures of sunsets and clouds, and scripture you've sent me... never fails to make me smile.
I love the ways in which we compliment each other - your ability to cook/my inability, my tendency to complain/yours to be more positive ... and our shared love of ice.
I have to admit, I much prefer in-person over skype.
You make me lean closer to God.
You're stinking awesome.
The autograph is legit.
I love my necklace.
Posted by jess at 11:45 PM
Monday, September 6, 2010
It has been one of those weeks. One of those where everything and nothing seems to go wrong.
The things that went bad were merely blessings anyway. I never experienced them, so it's as if nothing was taken away. Or, if I have, I have forgotten to see the brighter side to them. It was a week of chaos and bliss all in one. It was a week of Satan attacking me, and me remembering our God is stronger. It was during this week I realized how vital it is to know His word, and to cling to it.
Last night, at our leadership retreat we talked about "doulous" - a slave, bond servant, one who is in a permanent relation of servitude to another, his will altogether consumed in the will of another.
We are servants of God. First of all, He doesn't even need us - He chooses to use us. That's a humbling thought in itself.
In our little group last night, our talk led to us thinking about slavery. Slavery was a big part of history, and it's not a hidden fact that some masters did not care for or take care of their slaves.
That is quite the opposite with God. He is the greatest Master. He doesn't say, follow me... I might give you something here and there. He doesn't say, follow me... maybe there's a prize at the end. He says, follow me... I will take care of you. I will bless you. I will protect and guide you.
He never said it would be easy (as cliche as that sounds). He didn't say it would be a piece of cake. But, He's always there. He never forsakes us, even in our weakness. And praise God for that! I look back at the last week and see some struggles, some fears, and a lot of me still trying to hold on or control the wheel. I'm stubborn, sometimes it takes more than once to get me to do something - like let go.
"But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one." - 2 Thessalonians 3:3
Posted by jess at 4:47 PM