Fresh Start

Learning to Surrender

I am a planner. I like to mull over ideas, think about what could be and map out every possibility (both good and bad) that could happen. I like to think of myself as prepared for the worst and it will be a blessing or surprise if something wonderful unfolds instead. Life isn’t always predictable though and you can’t always map out and plan what is to come. I have learned God is funny that way. Just when I think I have figured out my plan in life, well, life happens. Plans have to change and sometimes I can’t foresee what the future holds. At times these feels may bring anxiety or uneasiness but in this season of my life, I am finding it rather freeing. What would normally cause me worry and wonder has brought about a new surrender in my soul.

There is a realization I am not in control nor do I desire to be right now. Big life changes and events are happening all around me and I feel like they are swirling and trying their best to distract and derail my faith. Yet I am finding a stillness in the midst.

Why in the past have I worked so hard and used so much energy on trying to control what is out of my control? I believe it’s a lifelong struggle. It’s also been for me, a lack of obedience and faith. I say I believe and trust God but then ask myself, can he really…..(fill in the rest). At times I let my prideful, independent self, take over and take charge because I am self-sufficient.

Self-sufficiency takes so much energy, emotion, time and effort. It can be exhilarating for a time and then becomes exhausting. God had a different plan when he created us. He wanted us to rely on him. To allow him to carry our burdens, allow him to take charge of our lives. It’s been a lifelong learning process for me. 

Why am I sharing all of this with you today? Because I believe I am not alone. I feel God saying some of you might have those same struggles in your life. Maybe you are in a season right now where you aren’t overwhelmed or maybe you are. I believe there is strength in sharing our weaknesses. I believe the leaders and moms we know may be struggling with the same things. I believe we can encourage one another by living authentic lives.

Living day to day-

Jennifer


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


Living in the in between

Something I have done for the past eight years was written a story that I shared a couple of times a month with those I served with. It went out on Friday’s.

Two weeks ago, that came to an end. I was a casualty in a large layoff….restructure of sorts. I got the meeting request 20 minutes before (big first clue) and when it only includes the boss and president, you kind of have an idea what’s about to happen. In all of it, the greatest sadness was not being able to say goodbye to the staff and hundreds of volunteers I worked with. It was immediate, abrupt and sad. I loved what I did and who I did it with. In the end, I count it as a blessing for having spent 15 years serving and working in a ministry I so loved. Not many can say that.

This space I now live in, is the in between. In between what life looks like going from working 40 hours a week to looking for a job. The questions of what now and the white space in my days is both hard and good. You see, I live my life with a core belief that God has a purpose and will for my life. Each day I choose to walk towards that or away from it. Each unexpected twist isn’t anything He didn’t already not know. There is comfort for me in this and also a wrestling of sorts. What’s next?

I am also living this “in between” in my personal life. I have two kids in college and two kids starting junior high. Parenting both looks very different.

Being a last child, and later in life kid, also means my only living parent is older. With age comes life and health issues for anyone. Alongside my siblings we are doing our best to come alongside my dad in this “in between” stage. The balance of wanting him to enjoy all the independence he can while also advocating for him when he can’t.

Last week my husband and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. It was sweet, memorable and also a reminder that these past years we have had to fight for it. We are “in between” a very hard few years and looking forward to dreaming new dreams and all that God has for us the next 25 years.

Living in this in between season of life is both a blessing but also requires determination. It’s my story right now and what I will be sharing about. The struggles and the celebrations, the mundane and extraordinary. The how-to’s and what not to do’s. This is my life. I invite you to come along for the ride and share if you think others can relate. My heart beats to encourage, inspire and even challenge you as you read along.

Living day to day-

Jennifer

P.S. As I learn my new voice, I’d love to hear what you might want to talk about. Email me at day2daywithjenn@gmail.com.