Archive for September, 2020

Stepping out in faith

Most of my audience and work in ministry has been done inside a church or organization with very little external reach. I was totally okay with that. In one sense, it felt safe and I was a bit protected. I cheered others on to leave the walls of ministry and to go out into the world and make a difference. In fact, I LOVED when I could see someone with so much more potential than I had. Now I’m not trying to put myself down but I feel like at 45 years old, I know myself now. I know what God has and hasn’t called me to do. I’ve learned to say “no” when others wanted me to say “yes”. I don’t pretend to be someone I’m not in order to advance or gain position. Ambitious, yes, but I PRAY it is never to the point of sacrificing others or out of pressure to perform.

I realize today a few things I don’t want to give up in this next season of life.

#1 – Writing. I may not be a novelist like my brother, but writing helps remind me of God’s goodness in the little day to day moments in life. Encouraging others is a blessing to me. I hope I can do that in a small way through sharing stories.

#2 – Teaching. I love the word of God and feel like there is so much to learn even after 45 years. I believe every women has influence and we can use that influence in our homes, community and world if we pursue the Lord and follow His will for our lives.

#3 – Speaking. Nothing replaces the intimacy of being together with people. To see someones face, interact and encourage women has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I will love on you with the word of God.

As I step out in faith, I have found myself in a position I have never been. I am not a self promotor or loud gong. I have never felt the need to do more than the work that was set before me. But I am available in this season to step into new places and walk by faith down a new road. I feel God nudging me to do what I love for His glory. It’s exciting and scary all at the same time. More than anything, I can promise you I will take you through the deep and not just shallow waters. It’s the little moments in life I don’t want you to miss. Let’s do this together! You can find me on Facebook, Youtube and of course here.

Stepping by faith, day to day-

Jennifer


Stop and Remember

Houston Airport 8:30am 9/11/20

I knew when I purchased my ticket and even this morning as I drove to the airport that today was 9/11. It’s not lost on me that I chose to fly this day and what emotions and feelings it brings to most Americans.

As I was dodging and weaving through the terminal this morning, I stopped in my tracks when this display of respect, honor and remembrance occurred. So while the video isn’t professional, I thought it was very appropriate to share with you today.

As you read this and watch, I ask you to remember. Whether you were alive or not, we can all stop to appreciate what our soldiers, home front hero’s, search and rescue, fire fighters, paramedics, EMT’s, doctors, nurses and so many others sacrifice so our country can remain free.

Next I ask you to pray. Pray for our country, for the leadership and for God to be merciful and give us protection from those who want to harm us. Pray for those serving now and for their protection. Thank them when you see them and let today remind us all what they do daily so often goes unseen.

My brother Grant (retired Colonel- Army) and I with the twin towers in the background before 9/11.

Remembering and living, day to day-

Jennifer


Seize the moment!

This morning I wasn’t sure I would feel like writing a story. It’s been a bit of a crazy week and I unexpectedly left town to be with my Dad for a couple of days.

I stated in my first blog, I’m in the in between with an aging parent. My mother passed away several years ago but my dad is still with us. He doesn’t live far which is a blessing. What doesn’t feel like a blessing is Covid. It makes everything more complicated and hard.

As with many aging adults, independence and a sense of control is important. Sometimes it is the only thing left they have. So in my life, my brothers and I are trying to make that happen for as long as we can with our dad. It’s a fine balance between being nosy and advocating for them when they can’t, and also allowing them as many opportunities to make the decisions for themselves.

When I think about God and our relationship with Him, I see some of the same things. He gave us free will so we get to make our own choices and exert our independence. He also is there ready to give us advice (the Bible) and advocate for us (“let your requests be made known to Him…” Phil. 4:6). All He asks is we come to Him and are willing to accept the grace, love, hope and gift of salvation.

So today, I sit with my dad and am choosing to be thankful for this time. In the same way, God asks for the same thing. He just wants us to sit a while and spend some time with Him. Will you make time today to spend with God? Today is fleeting and tomorrow is not promised. Seize the moment.

Living day to day-

Jennifer


Pause and think twice

Remember when I told you all about our drop off for college kid #2 this year? (See: 1000 miles) Okay, it really was only two weeks ago. As I was sitting down to continue discussing parenting adult kids and actually answering the questions I posted last week, the phone dinged. As it has gone the last two weeks, I hear from Katie most mornings. It’s usually a quick chat as she goes to class or grabs breakfast. This was different. Whether it’s distance, change, loneliness or just plain not feeling well, she was more down. As with any time one of our kids call, we have options.

First, let me just go back to last weeks blog post. (See: Control or Influence) Did you catch last week how I really didn’t give any practical advice on parenting adult kids? I gave one of the keys that gives us the ability to parent them, influence and trust. You may have been left scratching your head and thinking, this wasn’t helpful at all! I believe a foundation is always necessary to build anything of substance. The beauty of relationships is it’s never too late to invest in them and to build or rebuild upon the foundation. Now before we get too much further into this story, let me just say, I have not gotten it all right. In fact I have missed the mark in parenting and how I’ve handled situations with my adult kids more times than I like to admit. It gives me though the first piece of advice I would give anyone for their kids.

Tell your kids how you’ve messed up or missed the mark.

I feel like I have built more credibility by admitting my shortcomings and failures and asking them for forgiveness. I don’t do it often enough and if our kids (and us) can’t learn from them, then what is the point? This requires sometimes we share with our kids the less flattering sides of ourselves. Now this doesn’t mean you dig up all the dirt you can and have a uncomfortable conversation but try to remember what it was like when you were their age and use your experiences to share in God given moments.

This brings me back to today and college kid #2. Following a few texts we got the phone call. If you have ever sent your kid to college you probably know the call I’m talking about. It’s not the “I can’t find my class” or “Where do I wash my clothes?”, it was the tone of her voice and what wasn’t said.

Immediately, I made myself pause and think twice.

More than anything, brains or beauty, I want and prayed my kids would love Jesus, follow His will for their lives and be kind. I want them to work hard and have compassion. I want them to be independent but humble enough to accept help. When Morgan went to college I knew I would need to back off and be quiet. Encourage her, yes, and even give her a nudge once in a while. She swam since she was 8 years old so her transition to college included being on the swim team. For me, that meant I knew she would have an instant group of friends. She would have routine and be busy enough to keep her going through the adjustment of going away. Or so I thought. She called crying over FaceTime several times a week. Who created that anyway? SOOOO painful to see her cry so much and watch her struggle. And that’s what we did. We didn’t call her, we waited. And when she did call, we watched and listened. Sure we would encourage her to hang in there and tell her it would be okay but we didn’t go rescue her. I always paused and thought twice before and during our conversations. Why? Because I am a fixer. I want to rescue you from danger (or anything perceived as such) and make things all better. There were even times (sorry Morgan) that I didn’t answer the phone and handed it to my husband Ryan. It was so hard on my momma heart.

Three years later and here I am again. Katie’s on the other side of the phone and I paused and thought twice. I suggested a walk and Starbucks (because doesn’t that make everything better?) but I held back asking leading questions like “are you unhappy” or “do you want to come home”.

My job now as a parent is to let my kids live their lives. Encouraging them while pausing long enough to think twice before I speak to them. Am I telling them what I want them to do or am I guiding them to help them make the best decisions for their lives?

Our kids know how we would answer most questions. Sometimes they are looking for an out and other times they need us to parent them in a way that encourages their independence and affirms what feels so daring to them in that moment.

Build a foundation of influence and trust, admitting and apologizing when you make mistakes, and pausing to think twice. For anyone sending off their kids to college, these are the lessons I’ve learned and things that have helped me to along the way.

Living day to day-

Jennifer