Thursday, August 29, 2013

JourneywithJennifer's PrayList - Part II


This is a hard one...  I decided the title should be small. I don't know that I can make it any smaller or bigger than what it really is..

In my life, the past few months have been filled with loss and sad news.  Correction:  The last several years.  I should say years and not months.  It's been years and it's not letting up. 
Some days I want to just curl up and for it all to just stop so I can just breathe.  Friends say, it'll take at least a year for life to be normal.  This is true.  But, it's a new normal.
A new normal says, all it takes is a car to drive by or the scent of your favorite cologne, or even a smile or hello to feel that gut wrenching pain that brings it all back.  I saw your favorite suit in Pennys or tools at Home Depot.  I smelled your favorite perfume in Macys or found your favorite shoes in Dillard's.  I wore your best pearls for a special occasion.  I read Matt 7:12 out of your old bible to my daughter last night. 
A matter of seconds is all it takes to bring it all back again...Another loss and you are reliving the pain all over AGAIN!
People say it gets better with time, but does it?  The holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries.  All the firsts without ____.  All the days without _______.  I cannot count the days, the hours, the minutes, or the seconds that you've been missed.  I cannot even count the tears. 

So if I appear to be happier than I should be or laugh at jokes that aren't really all that funny, it's because I love laughter.  I love the sounds it brings, the giddy feelings, the tears, and the relief.  I especially love the light that shines in the eyes of the one who truly laughs. 


If I appear distant when you see me, it's not you.  It's me.  I am remembering and it's taken my thoughts away.

If I appear sad, it's okay.  I am having a moment.

If I stare at your family.  I am in awe and really miss so much of mine. 

Although my heart will break again, I am reminded of my God and how BIG HE IS!  There is peace in Him.  We are able to go on in this life because we know there is life to come.  We know our loved one is okay and that one day, we shall meet again.
My eyes are blinded by my tears.  Each day I beg for your help, O LORD; I lift my hands to you for mercy (Psalms 88:9 NLT)


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Am I Listening for God - Part II

I don't know sometimes if I hear him or myself in my head.  I wonder if He's speaking to me or am I trying to speak to myself mimicking the words I think He would speak to me.

I was pumping gas at a Shell Station a few months ago and I saw an older man sitting just outside the door of the gas station.  I thought, no, please don't ask me for anything.  For some reason, HE STOOD OUT.  I saw people pumping gas and going in and out of the store, but this one figure stood out to me.  His appearance was a bit unnerving.  He wore tattered clothes, had an overgrown beard, and had a worn out bag that he was using as a cushion to sit on as he sat just outside the door of the gas station.

I would not make eye contact as I walked in the store.  I refused to acknowledge he was there.  I was like  - I don't have any money to give this man.  My hours have been cut at work and I cannot help you dude.  I thought, I'll just keep walking and pretend I don't see you.  (That's another story)

I went into the store and because we were on a road trip, I was getting junk food for the car.  I kept thinking, did God send this stranger for me to help?  Then, I had a flashback of Beth Moore speaking of her experience with God, an older gentleman, and a hair brush.  I was sure this would be an experience I wasn't quite ready for the challenge!  On the other hand, I kept thinking, am I ignoring the LORD?  I wasn't sure and it stayed with me as I shopped.  I couldn't decide what to buy because I was concerned that I was missing out on something that my Lord had for me - Jennifer.

I continued to have my doubts and one of my immediate thoughts was, I cannot give him a ride either.  He's a stranger and I really don't feel like I can do anything to help him.  Isn't that how we think?  We believe in the very core of our being that we cannot help someone, making decisions in our heads before even speaking to a person, not even having a conversation.  On the other hand, I also kept thinking, God doesn't leave us ill prepared and I shouldn't be so freaked out about meeting a stranger. 

I did it again a few weeks later.  I was asked to join a Bible Study and I immediately said I was in a group already and that we're doing that same study.  I barely gave this sweet woman a chance to explain or give me information, I stopped it all right there or so I thought.  I have this thought that I don't want to add more people in my circle.  I can trust My Bible Study Girls and no one else. 

In both instances, my thoughts took me to another place as I walked away.  Did I just do what I did?  Did I ignore God or am I making this situation at this moment bigger than what it's really supposed to be?  Are we missing out on blessings, opportunities to share God with others?  Does anyone else think they're missing out on opportunities to share?  Are we holding back?  I have to ask myself, does someone want to add me to their circle?  Does God want me to be part of someone else's group?  I am sure He does want me to expand my wings just a bit.  I don't know and won't know if I stay in my small group, fearing the unknown.

As I've grown in  my spiritual journey, I've realized that sharing Him isn't always that awesome Bible verse that someone needs just at that moment.  I've  realized I don't have to bake the cakes, cook the green beans, or even sing the most spiritually moving song.  I am actually not skilled in any of these areas.  I know those things are great and special for others, just not me.  I've beat myself up enough over the years because of what I thought I lacked.

I finally see that we can all share God with a smile, a simple hello, a hug, or even a kind word.  In turn, we are truly blessed by participating!  I cannot count the number of times I've been blessed by just being who I am in Him at just that right moment.  I can be talking to someone about God and I am hit with chills, the good kind.  I am filled with joy. 

I am now one of those people.  It just fills me up!

Gas Station - I decided that I was making it bigger than it was supposed to be and I relaxed.  I walked out of the store and I looked at the older gentleman sitting on his bag just outside the gas station.  I looked him in the eyes, as I was taught to do, and I said hello.  I was nervous, my stomach in knots, sweat dripping down my back, and a grip on my kid as I spoke.   He smiled big, his eyes sparkling in the bright sun light and he said hello.  I asked how he was doing and he said fine and asked about me.  I was walking and talking, okay I was speed walking to my car.  He continued to talk though, gently, softly.  He said my baby was getting big and before I blinked, would be even bigger!  I smiled and agreed.  No worries, he was saying hello.  He watched us walk away.  I could just feel it and when I sat in my car, I looked him square in the eyes again and I smiled.  He smiled too.


And the LORD came and called as before, "Samuel!   Samuel!"   And Samuel replied "Speak, your servant is listening." (1 Samuel 3:10 NLT)                                                                                

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

AM I Listening for God? - Part I

I ask myself more often times than not - Am I listening for God?  I mean, really do I listen for instruction from my LORD.  This summer we covered He Speaks to Me by Priscilla Shirer.  This absolutely was a great time of studying God's word. 

I've often wondered about how and when He speaks and what I can do to facilitate or if I can do anything at all.  The study gave me some key points to remember and also gave me some time to reflect on whether or not I listen for God.

Here's what truly has helped me and made me take a closer look at my walk with God:

Being still and letting go of some of the busyness of my life

Being obedient to God's will

Being submissive and respecting His authority in my life

Being a follower and reading His word and understanding how it applies to my life today

I also have to look at myself and whether I trust Him.  Do I trust His plans for me or do I sabotage every experience to stay stagnant?  Do I really want an experience where He speaks and I listen and follow according to His will? 

There's much to reflect on when reading and much to change!

I encourage anyone who is looking for a study to consider He Speaks to Me.  I guarantee you'll be blessed!


And the LORD came and called as before, "Samuel!   Samuel!"   And Samuel replied "Speak, your servant is listening." (1 Samuel 3:10 NLT)       

Thursday, August 15, 2013

JourneywithJennifer's PrayList - Part I

Our latest series at church is The PrayList, Study of the Psalms. 

When I think of a PrayList, my first thought is of the e-mails, pamphlets, and cards that offer scriptures to read during times of need and times of joy.  We get to call on God when we need Him and pray specific prayers.  They're called emergency cards, devotions, prayer cards, etc.  Some of you may have them.  I actually own a what a surprise!

The 23rd Psalm has been a big part of my life.  It's the only Psalm I know by memory.  It's definitely on my PrayList.  It's also something I've taught my kid. 

Another one that's familiar is Psalm 27.  I remember a time during my college years that something bothered me.  I just couldn't shake the feelings, the worry.  It worried me so that I told my grandmother and my sweet Mother Dear looked at me and told me to read Psalm 27.  I took her advice and God's Word brought me peace!  I didn't feel like I'd been feeling and I loved that about my grandmother.  She knew what to say in all situations. 

Psalms 23 and 27 both give me a sense of peace in knowing God's taking care of me.  I can see as I move through this life how both relate to one situation and then another and so on.  It's amazing to see growth in life and how much He truly loves us and helps us overcome.

Several weeks ago, my Pastor brought a message to us from Psalm 42.  On Life Today, Wednesdays with Beth, Beth Moore shared a series - From Cast Down to Ecstatic Joy.  She covered Psalms 41 and 42.  It's great when I'm learning something new to find a message from two different sources on the very same subject.

I learned that we pant for the living waters that only Jesus can provide just as a deer pants for water when he's thirsty.  What a thought, we're panting.  I wonder how many times in life we're so down and so overwhelmed and just fall to our knees, sick for a word from Him.  We want to find Him, seek Him out.  We need God and we know if we can get to Him or hear a word from Him, all is right with the world.

I read Psalm 42 and I can honestly say, this could be me.  I can see how different seasons in life would fit here.. mourning, divorce, end of a relationship, loss of ____, etc.  Sometimes it's only the faith in our God that can pull us through.  In my reading, what I felt more than anything is that it's nothing like a feeling of sadness and how it overshadows it all. 

We need God.  We must seek Him and find Him in our everyday living.  It's not a maybe or sometimes sort of deal.  No ma'am and No sir.  It's those times when we're down that we need Him and learning and studying His word is how we find Him. 

I love how it has all come together in the PrayList!  I am learning so much and finding so much of my life, myself in scriptures.

I love how God's Word carries us through, even today! 


As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God (Psalm 42:1 NIV)