What “Enough” Looks Like

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For a few weeks now we have been exploring the word “enough.” I have spent a lot of time thinking about what “enough” looks like and I’ve decided that it looks like many things.

It looks like failure, coming to the end of your rope, and then pushing through to a place that looks like hope and second chances.

It looks like empty pockets with a heart full of gratitude and finding that being rich in spirit is more than enough.

It looks like an embrace at just the right moment where you feel certain you could fall apart at any moment frayed around the edges and tattered. The act of being embraced was enough.

I often wonder if loving Jesus is enough and I’ve decided saying I love Him and putting actions behind those words are two different things. I’ve been lost in this passage of scripture for quite some time, John 21:15-19. Jesus kept asking Simon Peter, “Do you love me?” Three times Jesus asked, even to the point of hurting his feelings. Do you love me? His threefold denial in the past needed a threefold answer to his calling and signing up for a life that would cost him something, even his death. Peter would answer with a pain in his heart, “Yes, you know that I love you.” Each time Peter said yes, Jesus answered back with tend to my sheep. Feed my sheep.

In that moment, I am certain that Peter felt the sting of wondering if his affirmation of love was enough.

Jesus tells Peter that loving Him well means taking care of His children, the feeding of souls. He asks us to follow Him, wherever that leads. It seems that loving Jesus isn’t enough unless we are willing to love and feed His sheep and His broken babies.

In the ministry it’s about feeding the sheep and sometimes I realize just how hungry I am, that I’m starving and just as in need of ministry. The act of pouring ourselves out like a drink offering and wondering if what comes out of us; sometimes the smallest drip, will be enough and yet we keep pouring.

I think about the prophet Elijah and the widow who was about to bake her last cake and die, she felt her enough wasn’t enough until God asked for her to share it with another hungry soul. God took her “barely enough” and multiplied it. Won’t He do the very same thing for us? God took her not enough and turned it into abundance. (1 Kings 17:8-16)

We serve. We love. We starve. We feed. We wonder if it’s enough. And then we repeat these steps as often as necessary watching God multiple our “not enough”. And He never grows weary of meeting the needs of His children. When we love Him and love others, we find our focus shift from wondering if we are enough to understanding fully that He is, and will always be, more than enough.

Much love & prayers,

Jennifer

 

 

Statistics & The Unseen

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By all accounts I should be a sad statistic, a product of a broken home and a broken heart. But when it comes to handing your broken heart and broken life over to God, He blows statistics right out of the water. They sink to the murky bottom with no hope of floating to the surface. They are buried and replaced with a promise…you will be more, not because you are perfect but because you are perfectly loved.

Right now my heart is broken into a million pieces watching a loved one turn to a bottle instead of God.  I can’t fix it and I can’t fixed the jagged, broken places in them and force them to see that life is not supposed to look like the absence of all hope. I know way too much than I care to know about addiction and how it bleeds you dry of all life and joy…and yet I’ve never tried or tasted the things that have tied the hands of the ones I love.

I sit here completely wrecked and helpless to fix the broken places in others, but somehow I know that God will honor the prayers of a little girl who learned to lean, and trust, and wrestle hard against being just another sad statistic.

I am trusting in a God who uses the labeled and broken misfits to do mighty things in His name. 

I am leaning on His understanding instead of my own.

I am praying against the chokehold that the enemy has on our loved ones robbing them of their destiny. 

I’m standing on the truth and believing in a God who is unaffected by statistics and labels, I’m asking Him once again to redeem years carelessly wasted.

I don’t know what you are holding out hope for and I don’t know what is breaking your heart right now, but I do know that God can handle it and give you wisdom right now. Maybe you don’t know how to clean up the mess someone else made and you feel helpless and wrecked inside.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1 NKJV)

Sometimes our faith is wrapped up in all the things we have yet to see with our own eyes and we cling to the invisible. And perhaps faith can swell in our hearts as we wait and pray and seek the face of God for those broken around us. May we trust in a God that continually defies the odds and statistics.

Much love and prayers,

Jennifer

The Beautiful Struggle

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We walked through the dark valley together, Jesus and I. It was the hardest two years of my life, the two years after my husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. The two years when nothing was stable except the Rock of Christ Jesus.

Through the darkness, through the depression, through the questioning and the confusion there was Christ, always Christ, always near; tangible.

My life tends to be an open book, one of the consequences of working in radio. I can only share what I know, and for most of my life that hasn’t been a problem. As I’ve grown and matured I’ve better learned how and when I should share. I’ve learned that not every detail has to be shared in order for a story to be effective (although I still love details and often have to reel myself back in). When I was a young girl of 15 and very new in my walk with Christ I asked Him to use my pain. I honestly didn’t know at the time what I was praying, but I knew it was a life defining prayer, “God, whatever I have to walk through, please just use it to help others.”

That prayer has chased me in the decades since it left my mouth. There’s been times I’ve whispered, “I know I said whatever, but maybe not this?” And always there was a reckoning between Jesus and I and a decision made to share even “this” (and there have been many “this”es in the last couple of decades).

I even tried to be as transparent as I could in the season of my divorce, while still honoring other people who were tangled up in my story and giving myself much needed room to protect my heart and keep sacred things secret. I honestly never thought I’d be able to bring myself to utter the word “divorced” much less write or talk about it. Yet, here I am.

After coming to a decision to let God use the divorce “this”, I thought I had reached a new milestone. Surely nothing else that could ever come into my life would be as hard to go public with than the death of my marriage.

I was wrong.

It’s been over a month since I last posted a blog update. And before that post another long gap of time passed between posts. Why? Because I don’t want to write about where I am in life right now. I don’t want you to know. Why? Mostly because I haven’t figured it out yet. I tend to try to wait until I’m on the limping-but-victorious side of the wrestle before laying myself bare. Today I’m still in the wrestle. Today I’m still struggling. Today I’m still asking hard questions. And it’s hard to admit our struggles when we’re stuck in the middle of them.

I’m tempted to remain quiet here in this frustrating place. But I can’t. Why? Because of my brave friend Amber’s words, “I have tended toward self-preservation and hiding, and I have felt that I have had little to offer.”

That’s exactly where I am right now. Self-preservation and hiding with little to offer. But isn’t that exactly where God usually shows up to perform a miracle? And, seriously, I could use a miracle about now.

Because, you see, I’ve lost Jesus.

I know, I know, I haven’t really lost Him. How can the omnipresent one who came to dwell, Emmanuel, be lost? He is here, in the midst of this wrestling place. Only I can’t see Him. Can’t feel Him or hear His voice either. The only thing I can find is the space He once filled, the void of His absence.

I’ve been tempted to fake it a lot lately. To act like things are “just fine thank you”. But I’m having a hard time mustering up the strength to do the whole good-Christian-girl thing, where nothing is ever a struggle. The truth is; it’s all a struggle right now. Prayer. Bible. Worship. It’s a struggle.

The funny thing is, I don’t at all feel hopeless or desperate. I’m strangely accepting of this questioning place. Not content, mind you, but accepting. I can’t help but think that God is growing my roots deep in this wrestling place. Normally, when I feel distant from God I have an overwhelming urge to figure out what’s wrong and fix it immediately. I don’t feel that this time. I feel a resting, a waiting, and an assurance that Jesus and I are okay, even if we don’t feel particularly tight at the moment.

I know what it is to be carried by Jesus. I know what it feels like to have Him bend low and gently bind up my broken-heart wounds. I struggle with knowing how to walk with Jesus in the common everyday mundane of life. I can feel Him when the days are dark and hard, I can’t seem to find Him when the days are sunny and calm. And that is what my heart longs for. Not only to be carried through crisis by Christ, but to also learn to walk beside Him. To be led by Him through dark valleys and green pastures. To walk with Him through raging seas and still waters. To be so aware of His presence in every moment that He can’t ever be lost.

That’s the struggle. Seeking Jesus here. Seeking something genuine and real and sustaining. So, the wrestle continues. I’m not letting go. Not giving up. I’m hanging on and waiting.

~Keri

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When Our Daughters Wrestle

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She whispers, “What if I’m not good enough?”

I hold my breath and feel like someone has punched me in the stomach. I choke back the tears because I feel she is much too young to string words like that together. I remember feeling the same way growing up. It was a wrestle within trying to cover up and over-compensate for insecurities locked away in my heart. So I wonder where on earth has she heard words like this and what can I do to assure her that she’s enough? The lie of “I am not enough” is the oldest trick in the book. We have all felt the weight of it.

I wrap her up in my arms and call her “my baby” and I whisper prayers over her telling her life is not about performance. I remind her that she’s only eight, much too young to wrestle with her worth. And yet the enemy starts in on us when we are young, creeping in with thoughts that grow over time leaving battle scars on our hearts. I name the countless things about her that I love. I tell her how she is the answer to my prayers and brings sweet sunshine into my world everyday.

“I can’t think of one single thing that I would change about you.”

Her frown relaxes into a smile and I know that she believes me. I’ll spend everyday reminding her that she is enough. In a world driven to perform I will remind my daughters that they don’t have to play a role in life designed for someone else, they simply have to fill the shoes God called them to walk in. Everyday we walk the walk of a girl just trying to figure it all out until one day we know exactly who we are and what we bring to the table. All of us had to wrestle and war with our insecurities, and still do.  I hope by dealing with it and being honest with the ones around us we can gain better ground. Let’s teach the younger generation to take those thoughts captive and not let those lies take deeper roots in their fragile hearts.

So what can we do when the lie of “I am not enough” comes out of the mouth of our daughters?

We replace that lie with the truth, that they are enough, fearfully and wonderfully made.

We build them up with our words, never knocking them down.

We can watch for the defeated, deflated looks when their hearts are discouraged and listen to their fears giving them time to finish their thoughts.

We can affirm them letting them know that they are not alone in this journey and reinforce all the things you love about them and pray until this lie is no longer the default setting for our daughters and our sisters.

I pray that this week you will have moments to encourage your sisters around you dealing with this lie, let’s be intentional about making sure this lie doesn’t grow, but is replaced with God’s truth.

Much love,

Jennifer

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Video blog~ You Are Enough!

We were just thinking about all of you and this topic of “enough” so we wanted to do a short video blog to connect with all of you! We will be writing more about the lie of “I am not enough” and we would love to have your feedback on struggles and topics you would like us to write about!

Much love,

Jennifer & Keri

 

It’s Not About Performance

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I was sitting across from accomplished women talking about their full-throttle battle of wanting to do more, to have more opportunities, and feel more fulfilled. What came out of my mouth was something that I knew I would never forget in answer to their frustrations:

“God is not asking you to jump through hoops like a show dog.”

We are so prone to checking things off our list and adding more to our overly full schedules and at the end of the day we still feel the emptiness of wondering, “Is this it?”

We want to be faithful with the little things, but what if the little things are much bigger than we make them out to be? What if the very things we tend to minimize and deem as lesser roles are the big things that please the heart of God?

What if we celebrated the small and gave ourselves credit for all the things we are doing instead of all the things that we aren’t.

What if we looked in the mirror every single day and said, “Today I am enough and able to do whatever God asks of me, the big and the small.”

What if we stopped worrying about performance and stopped giving ourselves weak ratings of not measuring up?

What if we gave ourselves a little more room, a little more grace, and offered that lavish grace to others as well?

Beautiful one,

You are far too critical of yourself and so easily deflated when things don’t turn out as close to perfect as possible. Perfection is over-rated, unattainable, and exhausting. So maybe we could let it go and let grace fill all the empty places where we feel lacking.

I feel a gentle whisper in my heart and it’s just one simple word that I want to explore over the next few weeks.

Enough.

You are enough.

What you have to offer is enough.

And your God is more than enough to meet you right where you are at today.

You don’t have to perform or jump through hoops like a show dog.

You don’t have to fake it and hide behind a mask.

I dare you to look at yourself differently and start this New Year off right by saying, “I am enough and my God is more than enough.”

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:9-10 ESV)

I can’t wait to share with you more about what God has placed on my heart about the word: Enough!

Much love,

Jennifer