Sunday, September 13, 2009

Change is a - Comin' !

There have been so many changes in my life within the past few years and a whirlwind of change this year especially. Some of those changes were good and some were ones which brought about much pain. Even as I type this, I am sitting amongst a sea of boxes in my apartment prepared for a big move across the country to the Denver area next week. Had someone told me a year ago that I would be moving to Colorado, I would have thought they were crazy. This Florida girl swore she would NEVER move any farther north than Atlanta as she can't bare to be cold! Now I find I'm trading my flip-flops for snow boots, my bikini for a parka, my sunglasses for goggles and my surfboard for skis. Well - I don't actually own a surfboard, but you get the idea.

There are so many changes that are good, like a new home or a new baby for example. God created change - life would be absolutely boring without it. I love the saying, "If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies." That is so true. However, whether good or bad - change can be downright scary at times. Whether we want it or not, change is inevitable. We can't avoid it. Seasons will change, people will change, economies will change, children will grow up, waistlines will get bigger, skin will get wrinklier and yes, sadly - what was once perky will eventually droop to the floor.

However, in the midst of all these changes I have found comfort in the One who does NOT change. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb.13:8). When everything around me changes, He remains the same. He is ALWAYS faithful, ALWAYS trustworthy, ALWAYS there when we need Him, ALWAYS loving, ALWAYS gracious, ALWAYS forgiving, ALWAYS our provider, ALWAYS our sustainer, ALWAYS our strength and ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS keeps His promises. He NEVER will forsake us, NEVER will hurt us, NEVER will lie to us, NEVER will lead us in the wrong direction and NEVER, NEVER, NEVER will abandon us and leave us all alone.

Whatever changes you are experiencing today, take comfort in knowing that no matter what happens with the state of our economy and country, no matter what happens in your life and the lives of those you love that Jesus is the One to whom you can always count on. He is our constant source of stability. He is consistant. He is faithful. He never has and never will change - and that, my friends is something you can depend upon!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Waiting on God's Perfect Timing

I recently found this article online, and wanted to share it on my blog. I don't know anything about the author, but I thought this was really good...

Waiting on God's Perfect Timing
By Robert Moment

Waiting is one of the most difficult things to do, whether we're waiting for an airline flight, a phone call or an answered prayer. We become impatient and wonder why everyone else is holding us up and keeping us from getting what we want. It seems like the more we want something, the harder it is to wait - and we even get impatient with God!

But we have to remember that God's timing is different than our own. He sees things from a different perspective and sees the whole picture, not just what we want, but what is best for us in the grand plan for our lives. All is part of a divine order and will be done in its own right and proper time. Of course, when we are hoping, praying and waiting for something, it's easy to forget this. After all, waiting is "remaining inactive in one place while expecting something." And being inactive means feeling powerless and at the mercy of the world - nobody likes that feeling. But we must keep in mind God's greater plan and his perfect timing:

"We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose."
Romans 8:28

"Trust in Him at all times, O people."
Psalm 62:8

What are YOU Waiting For?

What are you waiting for in your life? A new job, financial security, healing, a baby, a restored marriage? It seems that no matter where we are in our lives, we are waiting for something in the future. Our lives are never stagnant; if we are moving forward, there is always something to expect or wait for around the next bend in the road of our lives.

There are many stories of "waiting" in the Bible. In some stories, the waiting seemed to last forever, while others only waited a few intense moments. The key to waiting is not the length of time but how we handle the wait. The Bible teaches us that we should "wait on the Lord." We must look with confidence and expectation toward the future, trusting that God will fulfill our waiting in good and proper time.

There are three actions that will help you wait on the Lord patiently and with faith, knowing and believing that He will help:

1. Trust - If we doubt God's willingness to hear and answer our prayer, we may begin to feel bitter when we think God has heard our prayer but is silent. Scripture teaches us that God is unchangeable, which means He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and we can always rely on Him to provide the best possible path for our lives! God said that He will never leave us or forsake us. If He seems silent now, it is because He has another plan, different timing or a way to answer our prayer that has not been revealed to us yet. We must trust in His plan.

2. Resist - We must resist the temptation to take matters into our own hands. Patience is powerful. Having patience is essential in many circumstances and the Holy Spirit is here to fill us with this patience when we feel we cannot wait another minute on God. The safest place we can rest is in God's Will. When we rest here, resisting temptation is easy.

3. Pray - How many times have you given a prayer request to God and felt He was deaf? During these times, you need to keep on praying, but pray the right way. God always answers our prayers, but it may not be the way we want Him or expect Him to. It may be a yes, a no or something better. When we don't immediately get the answer we want, we have a tendency to repeat the same prayer over and over until we either lose our voice or simply give up. After we have given our need to the Lord, we must turn our request into a "Thank you," and an attitude of expectancy, and say, "Not my will, but Yours, Lord." When we thank the Lord in advance for answering our prayers, it is an active display of our faith that demonstrates to God our confident expectation that His awesome power will provide for us.

This Prayer can help you as you wait on God's perfect timing:

Dear Heavenly Father,

I have been waiting for ________________ for so long now, and I come before You today to ask your help. I pray that You will increase my faith and patience so that I will put my whole trust in your perfect timing and plan for my life. I will put my complete trust in You with confidence and eager expectation of Your answer, whatever that answer may be and whenever that answer may come.

Thank you that you are always with me.

Thank you that You hear my prayers and will answer in Your time and in Your way. You, Lord, are without limits.

Thank You for Your unfailing word and that You always keep Your promises to me.

I believe with my heart, mind and soul Your plan for my life is the best one possible and I thank You for Your answer.

Being in Your will is the safest place I can ever reside.

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Whatever You're Doing"

I absolutely love the words to the song, "Whatever You're Doing" by Sanctus Real. I pray that it blesses someone else out there just like it did for me!

It's time for healing, time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time to make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong

There's a wave that's crashing over me
And all I can do is surrender

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, but somehow there's peace
And it's hard to surrender to what I can't see
But I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone, time to begin again
Re-evaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow Your will
Or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is You want from me
I give everything, I surrender!

To whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, but somehow there's peace
Though it's hard to surrender to what I can't see
I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time to face up, clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held-back tears

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life, something heavenly

Whatever You're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, but now I can see
This is something bigger than me
Larger than life, something heavenly

Time to face up, clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Jen & Kate's Florida Adventure

A couple weeks ago my now best friend (and twin), Katie came to visit me in the ATL. After singing in the choir together at my church, FBC Woodstock, we packed up the car the very next day and headed to Florida for a week-long adventure. Neither of us had any idea what God was about to do on this much needed trip. The week was jam-packed full of God's favor and blessings on His girls. He did so much to lavish upon us His love and to show us that He is truly in control of our lives and has big plans for each of us.

On our road trip, we made a list of all the things we wanted to do while on vacation in Florida. The list was over 40 items long, and we got all but just a few completed and were able to add a few more along the way. I could share so many stories about each of our adventures that this post would go on forever, so here are some of the things we did in a nutshell for you...

...Sang in the choir at FBC Woodstock, played tennis, watched movies, made a pitstop in Ashburn, GA which happened to be the home of the "Fire Ant Festival" and were led by a police officer to see a fire ant the size of his car, went to Madeira Beach, went on the "Dolphin Racer" (a large speedboat that gets schools of dolphins to jump in the wake behind it almost so close you could touch them), went to two Bible Studies, went to the "Silver Edge" in Ybor to exchange Katie's ring for two beautiful new bracelets (another amazing story where God showed His favor), went to Busch Gardens and rode the Sheikra twice, drove through a scary storm with a tornado, went to Fort Desoto, had a picnic lunch on the beach, played cards, had dinner with my family, played with my nephews, had a picnic lunch in Vinoy Park on the water in Downtown St Pete, watched the sunset on the beach, rode bikes along the water's edge in Downtown St Pete, met my friends Tom & Karen Hudgins for dinner on Clearwater Beach, went to Rita's, went to the Saturday Morning Market in Downtown St Pete, went to the Ellenton Outlet Mall where I got a cute skirt, belt and scarf from Banana Republic, went to the North Shore Pool in Downtown St Pete where we got locked in and had to call 911 to get out and were given lots of free icecream, went to the St Pete Pier, went to the "Madison at St Pete" where I used to live to enjoy their hot tub and outdoor courtyard/fireplace, went walking on the beach in the rain...(just to name a few)

As you can see, our week was full of lots of adventures and we will have many stories to look back on for years to come. As I mentioned, God showed us some amazing things while on our trip. One was during a scary storm that we drove through. It was amazing that God gave us such beautiful weather all week long as the weather reports were showing thunderstorms everyday. However, as we were driving home from Tampa one afternoon a storm came up from nowhere and the rain pounded down. We attempted to drive in it to get home to eat the turkey tacos my mom had prepared for us, and it was probably the scariest storm I have ever driven through. The rain and lightning did not let up our entire trip over the bridge on the interstate from Tampa into St Pete. We couldn't even see the road in front of us and there were a few times I almost lost control of my car as we hit large puddles in the road. I had lost the feeling in my fingers because I was gripping the steering wheel so tightly. Once we finally got off the interstate, the rain just stopped. The rest of the week, we had beautiful weather and did not have any other storms like that one.

We found out later, that there was a tornado in that storm and the reason it lasted for so long was because we were moving right along with it. It followed us right across the bridge into St Pete.

Have you ever experienced a storm such as this one? I have been experiencing a storm in my life similar to this for awhile now. Satan is like that destructive tornado that attempts to destroy and throws things at us to try to get us to lose control. It may seem like the storm won't let up, as though it is just following you. However, God promises to be there with us during the storms of life. You may not be able to see the road ahead, but if you put your trust completely in Christ, He will lead you out of it in His perfect timing.

I believe that God has something absolutely incredible waiting for me on the other side of the storm that I cannot see. I know that eventually the rain is going to come to a halt and there will be something beautiful waiting for me. In the meantime, I am going to cling to my Jesus for dear life as He brings me through it. I know that one day I'll be able to look back and thank Him for the storm because it will be that pain that He will use to bring about His perfect plan.
God reminds me in His word, "I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out - plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I'll listen. When you come looking for Me, you'll find me. Yes, when you get serious about finding Me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed." (Jeremiah 29:11-13 The Message)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Finally Free

One of my favorite songwriters of all-time is Nicole Nordeman. The lyrics to her songs are so powerful - I love her music! This song is especially encouraging to me right now. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING that God cannot deliver you from. It doesn't matter how hopeless your situation may seem. There is no situation too big or too messy or too broken that He cannot fix. God is bigger than it ALL!!!

Finally Free - Nicole Nordeman

No chain is strong enough
No choice is wrong enough
No mountain high enough that He
can't climb

No shadow dark enough
No night is black enough
No road is lost enough that He can't find

And if the Son has set us free
Then we must be, free indeed
Let the chains fall away, starting today
Everything has changed
I'm finally free

No pain is deep enough
No heart could bleed enough
Nothing but Jesus' love can make a way

And if the Son has set us free
Then we must be, free indeed
Let the chains fall away, starting today
Everything has changed
I'm finally free!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

My Trip to Houston

Howdy Y'all!

I just got back to the ATL yesterday from a fun trip to Houston, Texas to visit my sister, Jane (hence the southern accent). I had not seen her since Christmastime, so this visit was long overdue. We did all sorts of fun stuff together...we rode bikes, had a picnic lunch in the park, went out to eat a lot, went shopping at The Galleria where I got an adorable dress from my favorite store - The Limited (on sale of course :) ) and went to the Studio Movie Grill where we ate ice cream and watched the Hannah Montana movie (I know we're not 12 year old girls, but we still thought it was a cute movie and we didn't have to worry about any bad language or inappropriate scenes :) ).

On Friday night, we drove out in the country in the middle of nowhere to a farm that is owned by a man at her church. He had invited a bunch of people over to go camping on his farm for star gazing, roasting marshmallows, campfire, etc. For those of you who know me well, you're probably thinking..."Jenifer? camping? really?". I know, I know - My idea of roughing it is a hotel without room service - HA HA! We opted to sleep indoors, and everyone else ended up doing the same because it was supposed to rain. We didn't get to have our campfire and star gazing, but we saw a copperhead!

...And some chickens

On Sunday night, we threw Jane a party for her birthday.

We danced and sang karaoke...

...And we had a yummy ice cream cake from Carvel

It was a great week, but we missed our sister, Joy who is in Florida. We are all going to be together in Florida soon though, where we'll be taking our nephew to Disney!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Raising the Flag of Surrender

Surrendering everything to God is a lot easier said than done many times, especially for this "control freak". I am sure there have been many times I have sung that old hymn, "I Surrender All" and didn't even truly mean the words I was singing. I often think that if I surrender everything to God that He will ask me to do something I don't want to do or He will take something from me that I don't want to give up.

However, looking back on those times in my life that I have COMPLETELY surrendered everything to God, He blessed me in ways that I never would have imagined. He did not TAKE FROM me, but He GAVE BACK to me so much more. I found that when I laid everything in His hands and released my fingers from their tight grip, things turned out so much better than when I had tried to handle things on my own.

Surrendering is a daily process. I have found that I can be totally surrendered to God one day, and then the next I find myself trying to grab hold of the reins again. I think the reason for this is a trust issue with God. I think sometimes we have a hard time really trusting that He knows what is best and so we try to take control based on our own knowledge. Anytime I try to take matters into my own hands however, life ends up getting very messy. The results have never been good when I have not trusted God enough to be in complete control over my life.

What is it in your life that you are clinging to and not surrendering to God? Give Him your life, your hopes, your dreams, your relationships, your desires, your will, your plans, your future. All of these things are in much better care in His hands than your own, and He can and will do some amazing things with them if you will trust Him.

There is a song called, "Absolute Surrender" that some long-time sweet friends of mine, Tom & Karen Hudgins, used to sing all the time when they would lead worship with the youth group at church. (I believe Tom wrote the song). I wish I had a recording of it to post, but I don't, so I've just put the words here for you...

"Absolute Surrender"

Is my life absolute surrendered? Do I know the price that I must pay?
Is my life a reflection of the Savior? Am I always heading in His way?

Always surrender to my Father's will
Always surrender to His plan
Always surrender to the Son of God

Oh absolute surrender
Absolute surrender
Absolute surrender to Jesus.

Quit playing games with the Devil
He wants to destroy your precious life
Raise your flag of surrender and kneel at the cross
And receive your victory in Jesus Christ

Always surrender to my Father's will
Always surrender to His plan
Always surrender to the Son of God

Oh absolute surrender
Absolute surrender
Absolute surrender to Jesus

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Facing Your Enemy

Our enemy, Satan is real. The Bible says in I Peter 5:8, "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour."

I like how The Message states this verse - "Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up."

That's right - Satan's goal is to destroy and will wait for an opportune time when you least expect it. He waits until our guards are down and then moves in for the kill sometimes in such a suttle way that we don't even realize it until he has us ensnared. He begins by taking small things from us sometimes going unnoticed, until finally we realize he has taken the bigger more precious things from us.

Satan will destroy anyone who allows him to, but I believe that He especially has it in for those who pose the biggest threat. Those who are surrendered to God. Those with vision. Those whom God plans to use to impact the lives of others. The more people who will experience freedom if you are set free, the more of a threat you are to Satan. He knows that if he can destroy you, then he can destroy the impact that your freedom in Christ will have on others being set free.

So - what happens if you do get caught off guard, you mess up and fall flat on your face? Has Satan won the victory? Have his plans to destroy you worked? ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! God can pick you up, redeem your life and restore you once again. Satan will only have victory if you let him. The fact is that Satan can only get away with what God allows him to. Nothing happens that God does not have ultimate control over. Sometimes God allows our enemy to reak havoc in our lives to get our attention and to draw us to Himself. Could it be that the very plan that God has for you involves allowing you to suffer and mess up for awhile? Think of some of the most effective people in ministry today. Most are people who have been through some serious trials in their lives. Most have experienced ruthless attacks from the enemy and have fallen at some point only to be picked back up by our Savior and their feet placed upon the SOLID rock, Jesus.

So - how do we prepare ourselves in being ready for Satan's attacks? Ephesians 6:13 says to "Put on the full armor of God so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand."

I remember the first time I was taught about the armor of God from Ephesians 6. I was a small child at the time and was attending a summer Bible School. I remember the teacher passing out pieces of armor for us to color and place on our paper dolls. I did not realize at that young age just how valuable that lesson was and how important that knowledge would become to me at a later age.

Belt of Truth - This is the foundation on which the sword is attached. Jesus is truth. In order to stand up to Satan's lies and deception, we must be attached to the truth that is found in Jesus alone.

Breastplate of Righteousness - The purpose of this piece of armor in battle is to protect the soldiers vital organs. They would not dare to enter into battle without it. If we rely on our own good works or efforts, they will do us no good in battle with the enemy. However, with the righteousness given to us through Christ, we know that on our good or bad days we stand before God the same - righteous and forgiven in His sight. There is no need for shame. Shame is a tactic the enemy will use to keep us stuck and keep us from experiencing the freedom that comes through Jesus Christ.

Shoes of the Gospel of Peace - Without proper protection for their feet, a soldier in battle would not be able to stand long. The Gospel of Jesus' life, death and resurrection was to bring us peace with God. We are able to stand boldly and confidently in the peace that comes from knowing Jesus Christ.

Shield of Faith - When an enemy would attack a soldier with flaming arrows, the shield would be the piece of armor that would protect him from being hit. Jesus is our only shield. We cannot rely on our own strength to protect us. We must allow Christ to shield us from Satan's attacks.

Helmet of Salvation - This piece of armor protects our minds. God provided salvation to us through sending His son to die on a cross so that our sins could be forgiven. Anyone who accepts this free gift that God offers will be saved. There is nothing you can do to lose your salvation. Nothing you can do to separate yourself from God's love. When Satan speaks his lies into your mind and tells you that you have messed up way too much for God to possibly love you, remember that there is nothing you can do to lose God's love. There is no mess you can get yourself into that is beyond His grace.

The Sword of the Spirit - The most powerful weapon of all, the Word of God. All the other pieces of armor are for defense, but this deadly weapon is meant to use as an offense. God's Word is POWERFUL! Satan can't handle it. Not only does it give us the power to defeat Satan and send him running, but it has the power to absolutely change your life!

The first Psalm I ever memorized as a child was Psalm 23. Verse 5 says that God will "prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemy." I am looking forward to that time. I believe that God is not only going to sit me down at a feast of blessings that He has been preparing me for, but He will surround me at that table with all of the things and all of the people that Satan stole from me. God will do this all while forcing my enemy to sit and watch as he shudders at his embarrassment that he ever messed with me!

John 10:10
"The thief comes only to steal, to kill and destroy. I (Jesus) have come so that you may have life, and have it more ABUNDANTLY!!!"

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Waiting on God for Deliverance

Here are some excerpts from Beth Moore's book, "Get out of that Pit" - from chapter seven, entitled, "Waiting on God for Deliverance." It has been amazing to me recently how God has spoken so clearly and directly to me through His Word and through some of the books I have been reading. This was one of those times, and I'm sharing this in case there's anyone else out there who needs to hear it...

"God can deliver the most hardened criminal or the most hopeless addict in one second flat. With His eyes closed and His hands tied behind His back if He has a mind to. I know people who made themselves at home in a pit a hundred feet deep and a thousand days long and, seemingly without warning, experienced the instantaneous deliverance of God. One moment they were in the throes of habitual sin, and the next moment they were free as birds...

But I have not one time experienced it. Let me say that again. Not one time. Not even an instantaneous deliverance from something comparatively shallow like a mini-pit of some kind I dug with a soupspoon instead of a shovel. I won't even be heel deep, and still, I'll rarely walk away without a fight.

For example, a sudden season of fear may overtake me. Out of thin air, all at once I'll get a notion that something is up with one of my loved ones or that a close relationship is threatened in some way. Sometimes I'm right. Other times I made it up. I just don't know it yet. Depending on what kind of vain imaginations are circling like vultures in my brain, I'll begin to feel anxious, insecure, or intimidated. In my rational mind I may know the fear is unfounded. Even ridiculous. Still, at times I'll let it get to me until it has a grip on me.

I'm not a glutton for punishment. Goodness knows I volunteer for instant deliverance the second I realize I'm wigging. I try to pray and say all the right things, like, "Lord, starting today I never want to think that way about that situation (or person) again. Forgive me and free me of this in Jesus' name. I know You can deliver me. Please do. And, if I may humbly ask, right this second." And next thing you know, all those vain imaginations invade in my mind again. They're all I can think about. So God and I have to get back to work.

The process may last a few days, a few weeks, or I may hop from dot to dot in what feels like an eternal etcetera. But I can think of virtually nothing God has delivered me from overnight. When it comes to high maintenance, I put the "I" in high and the ten in maintenance. I've joked with my coworkers that when my life is over, the most fitting epitaph etched into my gravestone would probably be, "God got tired....

I'm telling you, God and I work hard together. Maybe you consume a fair amount of divine energy yourself and , if so, perhaps we could sift some mutual encouragement out of the aggravation of never doing anything easily. I've come to the elementary conclusion that, to God, together is the whole point of any process. Before man was created, God just said something and it happened. "Let there be light" and all. He could still do that. Sometimes still does. But you might notice that a lot of that instantaneous action ceased after man came along, and obviously on God-purpose. Suddenly God wasn't so sudden. Time become the vehicle for this wonderful thing called history. You could neither rush it nor slow it. All you could do was ride it. And, what a ride it was for all those who preceded us.

What a ride it is for us now. God etched history not on lands and nations but on human lives. Not on superhumans. Not even on particularly impressive humans. God seems to summon the most faithless of all to faith. He's a magnet to weakness, perhaps the ultimate proof that opposites really do attract. History is told through the encounters and experiences of men and women God would call to know Him. To trust Him, often under nearly impossible circumstances. People prone to wander, prone to bruising, prone to doubting, prone to losing...

I think God often ordains a wait because He purely enjoys the togetherness of it....

Smooth living invariably, eventually, makes for sloppy spirituality. I want consuming fire to rage in my soul, and if it's got to come through fiery trial, so be it...

The good news is we may have to wait for deliverance while the vehicle of time jolts and lurches, but we never have to wait on God Himself. Never have to wait to enjoy His Presence or be reassured of His love...

Despite appearances, huge things happen as you wait upon the Lord to deliver you from that pit. They begin the moment you cry out.

(Jenifer interludes to say this next part is what really was huge to me...)

If your eyes could only see how God is moving all those chess pieces around the board for maximum impact, it would blow your mind. He's up to something big that affects not only you, but those around you. He's also after those around you...

God's agenda is not just to deliver you from the pit. His preeminent aim is to bring Himself fame, and you are one way He has chosen to do it. Anticipate it!..."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hey Everyone!

I know I haven't been updating my blog recently, and several have asked when I was going to put a new post up. I have been going through a difficult time in my life recently and though I do not desire to share details, I would appreciate your prayers.

During one of my times with God this past week, He gave me these verses (and then confirmed them again in the sermon on Sunday at church - I love when God does that!)...

Psalm 126:5-6 (The Message)
"Those who planted their crops in despair will shout hurrahs at the harvest. Those who went off with heavy hearts will come home laughing, with armloads of blessing."

Are you in despair? Is your heart heavy? God promised that our sufferings will not last forever. We may not have answers as to why God allows us to go through some things, but we can rest in knowing that God is in control and will restore our joy if we stick with Him and trust Him during those times.

Sometimes, it may seem like God isn't there. You may feel all alone in your troubles as though God has abandoned you. Be assured, precious one, that God is with you and His heart hurts when you hurt.

I have THE BEST mom on the planet! She has seen me go through some very painful events over the course of my life, and she has cried many tears over me. Her heart has hurt deeply when mine hurt. If a human parent's heart can hurt for their children that much, imagine how much more it must hurt God's heart to see His children in pain. I know He must shed tears when our hearts are broken.

If you are going through a time of suffering, know that the pain will not last forever. God is able to heal what has been broken. He is able to restore your life once again. He is able to do things that are beyond your comprehension.

Take and learn everything you can during these times. Be patient and wait for God. Ask Him to teach you whatever it is He wants you to learn so that you don't come out of it empty-handed, but will come out reaping a harvest of joy and "ARMLOADS of blessings!"

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"Cruise 4 Chicks" - 2009

Hello All!

This weekend, Shelley and I had the privilege of ministering together at our 1st annual "Cruise 4 Chicks" to the Bahamas. Boy - ministry can sure be tough sometimes! :)

"Cruise 4 Chicks" was an idea that God placed on the heart of Michele Harkins, a travel agent who attended our "Church 4 Chicks" in Atlanta. She did such an amazing job organizing this event! She truly is gifted in what she does. I really believe that God is going to use this annual cruise to reach more and more women as word gets out about how awesome it was.Shelley was the speaker for the event, and I led the praise and worship.
We had a 2-hour session together each night, and God really used Shelley to speak not only to the ladies' hearts, but to mine as well. If you are just tuning into this blog, Shelley is my cousin and she is a speaker/Bible teacher and author. She truly has a gift for communicating the truth of God's Word, and I believe that God is going to use her in some big ways in the future! If you are interested in having her speak for your conference or event, you can check her out at

We had a sweet time with the ladies and it was so cool to be out in the middle of the ocean praising God together. We had some good times outside of the sessions which included playing games, dancing and my favorite - a video scavenger hunt that was hilarious to watch on our last evening! I got to know a precious group of ladies that sat at my dinner table each night.From left to right...Sarah, Liz, Me, Melissa, Sabrina, Barbara

We had a good time laughing together and were not shy about ordering multiple dinner items and desserts from the menu. I mean, come on - how often can you order as much as you want when you go to dinner? We wanted to try everything!
During each day, we were given free time to do whatever we wanted. Shell and I had a blast hanging out together. Our first full day, we went to the island of Nassau in the Bahamas. We got to ride a horse-driven buggy through the streets of Nassau and were dropped off at the beach where we laid out in the sun for awhile. We later took a boat ride over to Paradise Island and back.
Our second day, we went to Royal Carribean's private island, Coco Cay. The weather was absolutely perfect! I wish I was still there! We laid out on the beach for a few hours, then went on waverunners out in the crystal clear waters. We could see the bottom of the ocean and even spotted a ginormous starfish! That was one of the most fun days I've ever had!
I can't wait until our 2nd "Cruise 4 Chicks". We already have it scheduled for September, 2010, so if you are a female, start saving your money now so that you can join us! This event is going to get bigger and better each year! In fact, if you want to be on the mailing list for info on this future event, please leave a comment on the blog and I'll be happy to keep you informed!

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year!

Wow! What a year 2008 has been! As I think back to this time last year, I had no idea that God was going to be calling me to move to Atlanta! So many things have changed in 2008, and God has blessed me with so much! I can't wait to see what He does in 2009!

God has already begun doing heart surgery in me the past few days of this new year. I know that it probably seems that I've got it all together, and most of the time I would prefer that people thought that about me. However, the truth is that I SO DO NOT have it all together. As much as God has blessed me in the past year, and as much as I love Christmastime, this holiday season had it's painful moments for me.

There are some deep longings of my heart that have yet to be fulfilled, and I began focusing on those things a lot towards the end of the year. I found myself thinking, "If I could just have this or that, then my life would be complete." That kind of desperation is a dangerous place to be in, because Satan knows that is where I am most vulnerable. He used some circumstances to bring out more thoughts of rejection, lonliness and inadequacy in me.

Yes - desperation can cause us to do and think stupid things. However, desperation can also be a gift. If geared properly, it can be turned into a desperation for God. I began to think, "What if those things I so deeply long for never happen for me?". Do I want to go through life miserable because of it? NO WAY!!! I want to live the ABUNDANT life that God sent His Son in order for me to have. I want to learn to be content right where God has placed me.

God has said to my spirit the last few days, "Jenifer, allow ME to fill the deepest longings of your heart. Take your focus off of those things and put that focus on Me." Instead of worrying about what I don't have, I want to spend this new year enjoying the many blessings that God has already given me. I want to focus on becoming more like Christ. I want to become the kind of woman that the Godly man I am looking for would want to marry. I want to become the kind of friend to others that I would want them to be to me. More than anything, I want to be so desperately in LOVE with JESUS!!! I want 2009 to be a year full of getting to know my sweet Savior more and more!

Happy New Year!

Christmas 2008 - My trip to Florida

Hey Everybody!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's with your families! I am just now getting to update you on the past few weeks about my trip to FL. We had a very special Christmas gift this year. My sister, Joy had her baby boy, Joel Jackson Huynh on Dec. 12th. I was unable to be there because I was singing at my church's Christmas festival that weekend. However, I drove down to FL as soon as I could to see him! He was so tiny!

Not only was I looking forward to seeing this precious baby boy, but I was also so happy to see my sis, Jane. I was of course also happy to see Joy, but I had seen her a few times since I had moved. I had not seen Jane since her wedding in July! I was going through some serious sister withdrawals! It was great to have the 3 J's FINALLY all together again!

Our family had a great Christmas, and we all had fun playing with Riley and Joel. I even did a little photo shoot of them in stockings! :)

Towards the end of my 2 weeks in Florida, my "BCF", Shelley, her son Jackson and my Aunt Beth came down to visit. I had so much fun hanging out with Shell in my hometown going to the beach, the St Pete Pier and Busch Gardens.

The weather was just perfect those last few days and was so nice to enjoy before getting back to the frigid weather in Atlanta! I definitely miss the sunny warm weather, but I'm looking forward to being back in it next week when we leave for our 1st annual "Cruise 4 Chicks"! (more details about that later...)