March 23, 2014

Weekend Words: Simple but Strong

Happy weekend, friends… 

I'm writing this morning from our living room sofa, in my jammies, snuggled up under a warm, cozy blanket, and savoring my second cup of coffee which Michael sweetly made for me before he left for an eight mile run. 

Goodness, I love that man. And not just because he makes me coffee on the weekends, but because he's good for my heart in more ways than I will probably ever know in this lifetime. How incredibly grateful I am for him, how blessed I am to call him mine, but I'll save all the warm, gushy love feelings for another day, another post. I know you can hardly wait for that one! (smile)



On to what I wanted I share…

I came across these words on Pinterest this morning and my heart immediately let out a big YES! Such simple words they are, yet they're strong and powerful and pack a punch. 

I kind of lost my way over the past week for various different reasons… I threw my back out and didn't feel well for several days. I had a to-do list of things to do that I really didn't feel like doing. Errands. Housework. Stuff. Decisions to make, cliffs to jump… more ways God was asking me to be vulnerable. More and more and more.

Plus, we also put our girl on a bus and waved her goodbye to five days of road-tripping to Florida with her high school and living it up in Disney World. Though I really haven't worried about her and I'm thrilled she could have this experience, my heart has been stretched all those many miles to Florida and I feel her absence. She comes home today and we can hardly wait to hear all the fun details of her adventure. How wonderful it will be to have the sweet, little songbird back in our nest.

So these words…

With all this world and life throw at me, with all the ways the enemy tries to tie me up and keep me down, I desperately NEED my heart to be kind, my mind fierce, and my spirit brave. When I lose my way AND when I know my path. When my back goes out and I feel terrible AND when I'm feeling great and can run three miles. Whether my family is home safe and sound OR they're off adventuring in Florida or elsewhere. Whatever a week may hold. Whatever might come. Whatever may surface in my heart. However God may invite me to walk with him.

Kind heart.

Fierce mind.

Brave spirit.

What a simple but strong and powerful mantra to pray each and every day.

May it be true of me, Jesus. May it be true...


Photo Credits: Pinterest


A bloggy update… I have a new Facebook page where I'll be linking up my posts, sharing snippets from our life, verses, quotes, pictures, music, and more. If you're on Facebook and would like to follow along, just click the link to the right. I would love to connect with you there!



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March 12, 2014

On Mornings and Choices

Morning came much too early today and I wasn't at all ready for its arrival. This time change always gets the better of me, without fail, every year. I'm really not very tired when I go to bed at night, and then I really don't sleep too well during the night, but once it's time to wake up in the morning, I can barely move.

My alarm went off at six and I finally pulled myself out of bed close to seven. I hit the snooze button more times than should be allowed, and at some point, I just had to firmly tell myself, "Jenny, get out of bed. Let's do this thing." 

I thought about the dog who needed to be fed and let out, and I thought about breakfast and lunches for my kids, and I remembered that I needed to get Jane Anne to school early. I also thought about the fact that I'm the adult, I'm the mom, and my people are counting on me.

So I stumbled out of bed and down the stairs and mindlessly, in a stupor, fed the dog, started the coffee, and prayed something out loud like, "Jesus… help me. Help me. Help me. Help me." 

I poured myself a strong cup of coffee and sat quietly and comfortably in a big cozy chair, and once the caffeine kicked in and my mind perked up, I thought about how life some days really is just an act of the will.




Though I would love to float through life on a whim, living by how I feel, and taking it as it comes, I know that would get me nowhere, and it would probably get me in a lot of trouble. Much of life, maybe most of life, is a conscious choice. An act of the will. Mind over matter.

And that's true when it comes to getting up in the morning, and that's also true when it comes to deeper matters of the heart…. Choosing joy over sorrow. Love over hate. Peace over fear. And so on, and so on...

The thousand little choices we make every day matter. They matter greatly. Sometimes those choices come easy, and other times, they take every ounce of strength we have. But the good news is that we don't have to make those choices alone and we don't have to rely on our own strength. We can lean back into the arms of Christ and draw our strength, our very life, from him. He wants nothing more than to come through for us. He cares about all the details of our lives, both big and small, and he cares about every choice we make, both big and small. He's everything we need and more and he hears our, "Help me. Help me. Help me," prayers and he's ready and willing to answer.

I like to think of it this way… I can and I will, because He can and He will.

And as I head to the kitchen to make another pot of coffee, I'm carrying that truth with me today.

Care to join me?


"How completely satisfying to turn from our limitations to a God who has none."
~ A. W. Tozer

"He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless."
~ Isaiah 40:29

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength."
~ Philippians 4:13


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March 8, 2014

Weekend Words: Here and Now

As I get older, I'm realizing I might be a bit of a visionary. 

I know I'm definitely a dreamer. 

There are so many things I'm passionate about… things I long for, hope for, and can't wait to see happen. That is, if they even happen at all.

Some of those things are frivolous and superficial like maybe wishing for a long, lingering, exotic vacation traveling across Europe, or maybe an early retirement for my man, and enough cash in the bank to afford a massive sailboat in which to sail the world with him. Perpetual youthfulness would be nice too, as well as continued good health and the ability to maintain my figure, or even achieve a better one, as I get older.

But most of the things I'm passionate about are of a deeper nature, God-breathed and etched firmly in my heart… a longing for others to come to know the Jesus I love, for the Kingdom of God to grow and advance in ways we haven't yet seen, and to play a vital part in that would be pure bonus. A hope for the light of truth to open eyes and justify and shatter the darkness with its secrets and lies. A longing for more of Jesus and more of his beautiful life in and through me… more healing and strength and wisdom and grace. And as for my family, my husband and kids… there's no limit to the pages I could fill with the numerous things I long for and dream for each of them. 

But sometimes all these longings and hopes and passions and dreams get the better of me and I get antsy and anxious. I grow impatient and lose sight of what is here and now, and I get ahead of myself and ahead of God. I know I have this tendency, so I intentionally make a point to see… to really see what is right here and right now.


I slow down and look around and take account of what's right in front of me, where God has me today, even this very moment, and I carefully gather the minutes of my life and live them.

Savoring.

Pondering.

Reflecting.

Enjoying.

I don't want to waste precious time pining away for what I hope may come and miss the here and now… Like the way the sun shines over our roof in the morning and brightens the trees behind our home, or the gentle hum of my husband's snore as he quietly sleeps beside me, or the way my daughter's hair smells so sweet when she curls up next to me and puts her head on my shoulder, or the life around our table when the four of us linger over a meal, laughing and sharing… and on and on and on.

There is so much life in this day. In this moment. Here and now, and I don't want to miss it.

So I dream and I long and I hope because I can't help it, because that's the way God has written himself on my heart, but at the same time, I carefully gather the minutes of my life and I live them.

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March 7, 2014

Willing Hearts

I'm writing with a group of women today on Lisa-Jo Baker's blog. Every Friday, she picks a word and invites us to write a post about what immediately comes to our heads and hearts. No over-thinking… No over-editing… (which are both very hard for me, I might add.) Just writing and sharing. Today's word is… WILLING.


Yesterday, I was driving home from a grocery run to Trader Joe's with a car full of organic, delicious, whole-food goodness. It's no secret that I'm deeply in love with that store.

My heart was so full… so in awe of Jesus and keenly aware of his hand on my life. It was one of those moments where the curtain was pulled back and I could see so clearly. How grateful I am for those moments because they help me hold on with hope and faith when life grows cloudy and bleak.

As I drove home with a huge smile spread across my face, I laughed out loud and shook my head in disbelief and wonder of God. He's so incredibly kind and generous. Just a few hours before, he'd completely stunned and surprised me, blew my doors off as our family says, with some really fabulous things that happened. Such sweet gifts they were to my heart, and I knew, deep in my spirit, that they were directly related to my willingness.

Just the day before, God had invited me to walk with him in some ways that felt really daunting and vulnerable, and though I had no idea how things would turn out and knew that my choices could result in a complete, embarrassing fail, I accepted his invitation because that's just how I've learned to roll. I want to walk with Jesus… whatever that looks like and whatever that may cost because obedience brings such freedom and intimacy with him.

Over the years, I've learned to jump cliffs... learned to be willing to leap in any way God may call me. I trust him. I know that he loves me. And I'm completely confident he's in control and I'm tied on to him, regardless of what happens. So I jump. As Esther said, "If I perish, I perish." After all, what's one more cliff when you've already jumped hundreds?

And now, here I was, basking in the joy of what God had brought through my willing heart, through one more leap of faith and obedience. What an honor that he invites us to partner with him in the things he's doing and crafting in our lives! That just blows my mind and humbles me. He's God. He doesn't need our help, and yet he invites us to come alongside him in his work, and then he honors our willingness and obedience and blesses us beyond what we can imagine. How stunningly beautiful. 

What God can do with a willing heart...


"Jesus, I love you…"




Oh Trader Joe's… You make me so very happy. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways… 
One, two, three, four, five...


What does the word "willing" stir in your mind and heart? How might God be calling you to be willing and to partner with him in the things he's crafting in your life? I'd love to hear...



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March 2, 2014

Hi there...

Hi there Friends,

A note to update you on blog happenings...

I was remembering this week that at this time last year, we were right on the brink of making some huge decisions. We knew God was moving us, but we weren't yet sure what that would look like… the when, the where, the how. But now, here we are, one year later and settled for over nine months in our new home, incredibly happy and content. What a difference time makes! It's really good for my heart to look back and remember where I've been. Sometimes I miss the progress and growth, the gifts along the way, if I don't.

The same is true with this blog. There's been much progress and growth here as well, and it's so good for me to look back and reflect on it. I've been writing for almost two years now and what a journey it's been! Pouring my heart out here in this space has stretched me and pulled me from all that's comfortable and safe. It's helped me find my voice… my place in the big, beautiful story God is telling. Though there have been times I've wanted to quit and throw in the towel, or maybe start a new blog, one that's easier to write like a cooking or home-decorating blog, I've kept going. I've kept being, and God has honored that. I'm deeply grateful.

One of my favorite verses is...

"He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me."
 ~Psalm 18:19

Those words have been so beautifully true of my life. Over the past decade, God has rescued me from much pain and heartache… delighting in me, setting me free, and bringing me into a spacious place. (insert huge sigh of relief and gratitude) and this blog alone is evidence of that. In the past week, this little corner of the Internet reached close to 11,000 pages views! And though numbers have never been or never will be what this blog is about, they do help to affirm what God's doing here. In his time, this blog has grown and become a spacious place, and I'm incredibly humbled, honored, and blessed by that. What a gift!

Thank you for your part in its growth and for your warm response to my post last week. Your affirming words, feedback and suggestions, were all much appreciated. God is on the move and exciting things are happening here… I just recently bought the rights to my blog and have a new domain now. This is officially www.beandkeepbeing.com! I also have a new email address, if you'd like to write to me. It's jenny at be and keep being dot com. I'd love to hear from you!

Thank you for your hearts, for joining me on this journey and for coming back to visit and read. It's my hope and prayer that you've found something of Jesus here... encouragement and inspiration for your own journey.

With love and blessings,

Jenny


Photo credits to Gray, who's becoming quite the photographer these days.


"If it's God's, then he's going to give you everything you need to accomplish his purposes."
~ Jennie Allen



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