The Dangers of being an Anger-Stuffer

“What’s making you angry?”

I recoiled against the question, whispered to that sacred space where heart and mind meet soul.

“I’m not angry,” I spoke through clenched teeth into the silence of my car.

I felt the Holy Spirit repeat His question.
My shoulders fell.
My voice quavered as self-awareness mixed with pain.
The damn cracked.
The first words were whispered.
The next spoken aloud.
The rest shouted.

Whether a enneagram 9 trait, my Meyer’s Briggs combination, a characteristic of being an introvert, or just part of being me—I am an anger-stuffer.

A shove it way down deep anger-stuffer.

Anger makes me nervous—twitchy.

But worse than the fuzzy head and tingly fingers I get from anger, my anger stuffing tendencies have a far more sinister effect—withdrawing from that which I should pursue.

And that’s what I was starting to do.

And God was calling me on it.

But He wasn’t just looking to reveal the symptom, He was looking to treat the source.

At first I didn’t understand how telling God about my feelings of anger might help. After all, giving voice to my feelings was not going to change my circumstances.

And it didn’t.

But—as if injecting a powerful antibiotic—what it did do was stop the festering spread of anger in my soul.

And while nothing was instantly fixed, everything was different.

By naming my feelings, I dragged them into the light. And there—in the light of God’s love and power—those feelings that had owned me for so long began to lose their power.

That day, as the Holy Spirit gently nudged me to release something I was terrified to surrender, and patiently listened as it poured out, His role as Counselor became more evident than ever. I didn’t have to guard my words, or worry about offending Him. He simply listened. He simply loved.

And amazingly, after I had released all that had been stuffed inside, I realized I was not empty. Instead, I was filled with a peace I hadn’t expected.

The circumstances weren’t any different, but I was.

And as a weightless peace filled my soul, I found I was no longer content to retreat in anger—but ready to pursue in love.

Grateful to a Wonderful Counselor who never retreats from pursuing us….

If you realize you’ve let social media control your life, don’t throw your shoe at your husband…

I wanted to throw my shoe at my husband. But thankfully, it’s summer and I wasn’t wearing shoes. 

His words had elicited a visceral response in me—my first clue that they had merit. However, the moment the words, “Do you really need to post so much?” left his mouth, I had stopped listening. 

We had been having a discussion about social media. And I was second-guessing whether or not I should have shared something. 

“Babe,” he said, “Maybe sometimes God just wants you to absorb the moment. You don’t always have to post everything.” 

(Cue the shoe-throwing reflex)

I was aghast. 

“You just don’t understand,” I condescended, “I have to post. That’s how it’s done. Social media is part of the deal. You want to be a writer? You gotta grow your platform. You want to grow your platform, and get your book in people’s hands, and share all the words God gives you? You gotta post on social media.” 

He said more words, but sadly I didn’t listen. I was right. I knew I was. 

Wasn’t I? 

Hours passed but his question didn’t. Over time his words melded into a question. Yet the question didn’t come from my annoyingly right sweet husband. And instead of making we want to throw my shoe, it made me want to fall to my knees. 

“Are you trusting in Me or in social media?

Mic-drop. 

Heart drop. 

When did I allow the subtle shift to occur? 

When did I buy into the lie that the reach of social media is more powerful than the reach of God? 

When did I start letting social media manage me instead of me managing social media? 

I was dumbfounded, and really glad I hadn’t been wearing shoes earlier that morning because:
1) It is wrong to throw footwear at husbands and
2) (this is kinda hard to admit but…) My husband was right!!

Somewhere along the way I began assigning sovereignty to social media.

And while I know God is in control, my constant scrolling, refreshing, comment / like checking, and lamenting over what and when to post were telling a different truth. A truth which basically said: God is in control, but He needs the help of social media to get the word out about all the things He calls me to write. 

Uh….no. 

No. 

God is in control. Period. 

No qualifiers. 

And while He can (and does) work thru social media, He can also work without it. 

And while some people can do social media with ease and find life-giving joy in posting all the things, others don’t. And. That’s. Ok.
We don’t all have to do things the same way.

There is freedom in answering God’s call to write. We don’t all have to follow the same exact formula!

And sometimes He might actually ask us to do things differently. And again…That’s. OK. In fact, it can be a really good thing! 

This whole shoe-throwing, visceral reaction, mic-drop truth has made me realize that I need to:
1) realign my priorities
2) reassign sovereignty to its proper place and
3) allow myself the grace to walk my own journey with God—even if it doesn’t check all the boxes the writing conferences tell us we have to check. 

For me that will look like a social media fast on Sundays (actually I prefer to think of it as a tithe of my time and my attention…I’m not sure why, other than I could probably talk myself out of a fast, but telling God I won’t tithe to Him feels really gross) 

It will also look like setting certain times throughout the day to check in with social media, instead of picking up my phone 57 times a day to mindlessly check-in! 

It’s a subtle shift—but one I pray will make a huge difference in my heart. 

I’s just one way for me to declare to God that I believe He is bigger and more powerful than social media, including the almighty algorithms! (gasp!) 

I pray it’s also a way for me to fully engage again in my own life. 

I’ve noticed that (for me) when everything becomes a possible post, story, or hashtag, I stop living in the moment and begin assessing every moment. (but that’s just me. Others may find absolute joy and life in posting all the things and that’s great!! Again…there’s such freedom in walking your own journey with God!)

And so while I’ll still post and share and scroll, I am choosing to trust God more than social media. 
And I am going to fight hard to manage my social media instead of allowing it to manage me. 

(and also….I promise I never have and never will throw shoes at my husband! 😉 )

Much love,
Jen

What would you say to twelve-year-old you?

A few days ago, while talking to a friend, I mentioned how I wish I could go back and tell twelve year old me (who struggled with feelings of awkwardness and insecurity, and always felt a little different from everyone else) that she was going to be ok. 

It was a passing comment. 

One I laughed while saying. 

Yet the words began to swirl around my mind like dandelion seeds caught in a breeze. 

Then days later, while sitting outside in the cool of the morning, I felt a stirring from deep within. 

An awareness of the twelve year old girl who still dwells inside my heart—and who often still finds herself feeling less than, different, scared, and unsure of her place in this world. 

“Hi,” my grown-up voice whispered. “It’s been a long time.” 

Tears pooled in my eyes as I envisioned myself sitting next to twelve-year old me—my arm around younger shoulders. 

“Hi,” a child-like inner voice whispered back. 

I sat back in my chair, took a sip of coffee, and began to talk to a much younger me. 

Telling her all the things I wished we had known back then. 

Things like it’s ok to feel a little awkward and different—to some extent, everyone does, and to a greater extent, it was those feelings which drove us to find our identity and hope in Jesus. 

That different is simply a synonym for special and unique—words which define the calling God has for each of His children. Not a calling to walk another’s journey, or to do things just like someone else, but to walk a unique journey hand in hand with the God who loves us more than we can fathom—the God who hand-crafts journeys and callings for each one of us.

And I reminded the girl within that she was and is far braver than she knows.

That true bravery is found in the simple act of showing up, of trying, and in refusing to quit—even when it’s done in quiet unassuming ways. 

My heart and mind grew quiet for a moment, as little girl merged with grown woman. As dreams collided with reality. And as insecurities were exposed to light and truth.

“You’re gonna be ok,” a voice whispered to my heart. 

Yet, I wasn’t sure whose voice had spoken the words.

Perhaps both had spoken at once. Each needing to hear the other say those words. 

Words I pray you also hear right now. 

I know it feels so hard—I know it is so hard—but you are going to be ok. For you are stronger than you feel, braver than you know, and loved more than you can fathom.  

Maybe take a moment today to quiet your heart and mind and spend some time talking to twelve year old you. Reminding your younger self of just how far you’ve come, and then allowing your younger self to talk to you. 

They may be just the words you need to hear.

Much love,
Jen

Read this when you want to quit

I would love to tell you that title is for you. And maybe it is. 

But honestly; I wrote it for me. Because I am prone to forget what I know to be true. 

It’s what I do. 

But I want to remember—I need to remember—and so this is for me (but maybe it’s for you too) 

Dear Jen,
If you are reading this, you are probably feeling a million kinds of done, and equal parts unsure. You are likely questioning everything—your calling, your ability, your influence, your dreams, goals, your journey. And you are undoubtedly contemplating closing your computer and never writing another word. 

I know, we’ve been here before. 

But we’ve also learned some things along the way. Things you need to remember. 

First of all, inhale.
Deeply.
Fill your lungs with as much air as you can. 
Hold it for 5 seconds. 
Now slowly—as slowly as you can—let it out. 

Do it again, but this time close your eyes. And as you exhale say the name of the One who called you to write in the first place—Jesus

Now, picture His face. Ask God to help you become aware of His presence with you right at this very moment. You are the Samaritan woman and Jesus is sitting there at the well.
Walk to Him.
Acknowledge Him.
Sit with Him for awhile.

Tell Him. Everything. 

Tell Him how hard it is to navigate His calling in the noise and chaos of social media. 
Tell Him how easy it is to compare your calling to those of others. 
Tell Him how often you measure your success by numbers, followers, sales, likes, shares and comments—and how often those metrics leave you feeling less than, unqualified, worried and weary. 

Tell Him all of it. Show Him your weariness and uncertainty. Tell Him about every insecurity and doubt. 

And then, wait…..
Breathe. 
Allow the pent up tears to fall. 
Linger with Him at His well. 
Now, scoot a little closer, because He is about to speak to your heart. 

Sweet child,
I see you. I see your weariness and your heart for me. 
And I know that deep down in that well of your heart, your desire is to write, speak, and share my words. And oh how your heart delights me. 
How you delight me. 
Know this My precious one—believe this—My love for you is dependent on nothing.

My love simply is. It is as real as I AM. 

I love you.
Right now. As you are, I, God Almighty, love you. 

Let your heart look into my face and allow my words to wash over your battle-weary soul. 
And as my words course through your heart, I want you to allow them to push out all the other words, especially your own. 
As you lean into my words, I want you to remember your calling. 

I want you to remember me. 

Sweet one, I did not call you to a platform, I called you to a Person—to Myself. 
I did not call you to keep track of numbers, I called you to invest in people. 
I did not call you to shine a light on yourself, I called you to point others to Me. 
I did not call you to walk someone else’s journey, I invited you on a unique journey with Me. 

The answer for your weariness is not found in giving up. 

The answer for your weariness is Me. 

Stop writing for others. Write for Me. 
Stop sharing for others. Share for Me. 
Stop comparing to others. Talk to Me. 
Stop being envious of another’s journey. Walk with Me. 
I love you.
I have a plan for you.
And I am most delighted in you. 

You are infinitely more than the sum of man-made numbers. You are mine and I am yours. 

And if I ask you to write just for Me, and you do it, you are a success! 

For true success is loving and obeying me. 

So go on and write. But do it for Me. 

And trust that if I want others to hear the words I give you, I will ensure they hear them. But the results, my sweet one, are mine. 
You just write, speak, and share what I give you, and trust me with the results. 
And above all, remember who you are:  You are mine and I love you more than you can know. 


Friend, your journey may look very different than mine. Maybe writing struggles and social media insecurities aren’t the cause of your battle-weariness today, but whatever has your heart weighed down, I pray you feel the Father’s arms tighten around you as He whispers His love into the core of your being. And as you feel His love infiltrate your DNA I pray you will feel a renewed sense of strength and a fresh desire to walk hand in hand with Him. Not measuring your worth or value by anything other than the One who created you, who delights in you, and who loves you more than you will ever comprehend. 

Much love,
Jen

ps-I would never presume to put words in Jesus’ mouth, so please know that what I wrote to myself (from Him) is a compilation of months (and years) of study in His word. I drew much from the Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah and John to write this letter to myself. (and interestingly, Psalms and Jeremiah are full of exhortations for us to remember God, which really is where this post was born)

When you just want to curl up in a ball and lay your head on God’s lap

(This post was originally shared on 2/4/2016. When it popped up in my “memory feed” today, it seemed appropriate to re-share; both as a tribute to my sweet Bailey and because I think we are all kinda at the point of needing to lay our heads in God’s lap for awhile….)

Bailey, my sweet golden retriever, has had a hard week. A large cyst ruptured on her back, requiring emergency surgery. She now has six inches worth of stitches surrounded by a massive patch of shaved skin.

My super-sympathetic husband has started calling her Franken-dog!

Obviously, I can’t sit my dog down and explain wound care to her. She doesn’t know that by scratching her stitches she will pull them out. So we have to keep an ace bandage wrapped around her chest, and because my kids think it is cute, we also put a t-shirt on her. The look is both adorable and pitiful.

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As if the stitches were not bad enough, Bailey began obsessively licking the shaved skin on her front leg where the IV had been. Her licking caused a giant sore to form. We aren’t sure if she was licking because of pain, stress, or boredom, but the fact was she licked her wound so much that it created a bigger wound, and earned her the cone of shame.

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Pitiful right?

We have been treating her wounds, giving her medicine, and putting her various apparatus on all week. However, yesterday God allowed me to see a glimpse of His heart in the midst of my daily dog care routine.

We had put all the paraphernalia on her before leaving the house that morning, then I came home at lunch time to check on her. I found a pitiful looking dog desperate for a break from the dark and cumbersome cone. I sat down on the kitchen floor and removed every piece of material that was on her- allowing her to feel unhindered for a few moments. As soon as the last bandage was unwrapped she threw herself onto my lap and began making a symphony of doggie noises. She wrapped her paws around my leg and would not move.

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As I sat there with Bailey nestled on my lap, my mind flashed back to a time I felt nestled on God’s lap.

It was my junior year in college and I was a mess. My best friend’s father had recently died from cancer. It was devastating to all who loved him, and who had prayed so fervently for his healing. I had the honor of being in the room with his family as we watched the Lord welcome him into His eternal arms. It was the most beautiful and heartbreaking moment I had ever experienced. And I couldn’t quite process it all.

Witnessing an actual life and death experience made my normal college routine seem rather meaningless. On top of dealing with huge feelings, I was also sick, extremely tired, and struggling to keep up with my classes. One night it all became too much for me to handle.

Like a weight crushing me.

I decided (in hindsight, I realize it was the Holy Spirit leading me) to write a letter to a good friend. Pouring my heart out, I wrote about my experience, my feelings, and my fears. I wrote and wrote until I felt empty. (Later, as a grief counselor, I would learn about the healing that can come just from writing your story, but this night I was simply writing to a friend.)

Setting the letter aside, I began to sob, alone and broken. Darkness all around. Emptiness threatening to consume me. I curled up in a ball and called out to God, “Daddy, it hurts so much. I can’t do this. Please hold me. Please don’t let go.”

I can barely describe what happened in that moment. A flood of peace rushed over me, as the arms of love wrapped around me. Holding me in a heavenly embrace. My tears eventually subsided as faint memories of hymns wafted through my mind. And as sleep overshadowed my consciousness, I dreamed all night long of Jesus smoothing my hair and wiping my tears, as I lay curled up beside Him—my head resting on His lap.

That moment of darkness led to such a marvelous light. 

Today, as I held my sweet dog on my lap, God took me back to that night so long ago when He held my broken heart on His.

Bailey has been through an ordeal and she doesn’t understand why. But I do, and I am only doing what is best for her.

In the same way, we can’t always understand God’s ways, but we can trust that He is ultimately working for our good and that He will hold us through the times that threaten to break our hearts.

Was there anything good about my friend’s dad dying so young? Not at all. Cancer is AWFUL…a result of the fallen, broken, sinful world in which we live.

But can God bring good from bad? Absolutely! And He will.

So many people are hurting right now….feeling broken, tired, and worn. My prayer is that we will find comfort in the arms of  our gracious heavenly Father. That we will snuggle onto His lap, feel Him smooth our hair as we cry, hold us fast in His arms, and envelope us in a blanket of pure peace.

Will you go to Him even now? Let your heart snuggle in beside Him, lay your weary head in His lap, and trust Him to hold you.

He loves you sweet friend….more than you could ever begin to fathom!

Much love,
Jen

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can we do? Look up!

“When the foundations are being destroyed,
    what can the righteous do? The Lord is in his holy temple;
    the Lord is on his heavenly throne.”

Psalm 11:3-4

When what we have been standing on, hoping in, and depending on begins to fall, what are we to do? 

We are to stand up, reach up and look up—this is the message God keeps whispering to my heart this week. 

Yes, things are bad. 
Yes, evil is running rampant. 
Yes, sin’s tentacles stretch far and wide. 

But, there is still hope! 

Why?

Because God is still on the throne!!!

This week my gaze has been fixed on the wretchedness of man’s sin, the depravity captured by news cameras, the hatred spewed across firmly drawn lines, and the horrors taking place in the name of love, justice and choice.

And my soul has cried. 
My heart has broken. 
And my head has bowed under the weight.

So I cried to God. I sat with my Bible open and my mouth closed. I raised my hands in worship and bent my knees in prayer. 

And I felt the Almighty God—our most kind and generous Savior—speak to my heart:

Look up, my child, came a whisper from heaven. 

I am still on my throne.

Look up, my child. I remain the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Unlike the culture around you, I do not, and will never, change. 

Look up, my child and remember that I see all, I know all, and I care far more than you ever could.

Look up and remember that I am as just as I am gracious.

Look up and remember that I am stronger than sin and death and evil. 

Look up and see me in my holy temple and on my holy throne. Allow my holiness to move you to your knees in worship and adoration. There you will receive strength to persevere. 

Yes, foundations you have been standing on are crumbling. My people are feeling shaken as the foundations of politics, ideologies, and cultural norms are crumbling. But my child, those things were never meant to be your foundation. 

Why would you stand on something able to be destroyed by man?

Stand on me and me alone.
Cling to me and me alone.
For only then will you be able to stand firm, unafraid and unwavering. 

So stand up for justice.
Cry, weep, mourn and lament over the wretched effects of sin, for it is good and right for you to do so. 

But as you do—my blood-bought child—look up, see Me, and remember: 

I AM with you. 
I AM unchanging. 
I AM Yahweh, Jehovah, Messiah. 
I AM here. 
And I AM your hope. 

Sit with me. 
Talk to me. 
Quiet yourself before me. 

For my precious, precious child, I AM your hope and I AM right here. 

My friends, let’s look up and remember…..

Much love,
Jen 

How Not to Pray (A series on Prayer: Day Two)

How Not to Pray

This post is part of a series on prayer. You can find all the posts here.

Sometimes the most effect way to learn what to do is by observing what not to do. Maybe this is why Jesus begins His instruction of prayer with how not to pray. 

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Matthew 6:5-8

Here we have two examples of how not to pray: 

  • Don’t pray like a hypocrite.
  • Don’t pray like a pagan. 

There is so much unpack in these verses, but the most significant lesson to me is one of motivation—the why and the who behind our prayers. 

In both cases we see wrong motivation. 

Neither the hypocrites nor the pagans were having a genuine interaction with the Almighty God. Instead, they were having a “look at me/listen to me” moment. 

Both examples point to an incorrect view of prayer—that of the one-sided monologue.

The hypocrites (the religious elite) Jesus spoke of prayed loudly and with eloquent words. Yet, their sole motivation was impressing others. Their interest was not in humbly approaching the throne of God to have their hearts aligned with God’s, but in impressing those around them.

Imagine someone comes up to talk to you. After casting a quick glance your way, they turn away from you, and although they continue to use your name, they are clearing speaking to the crowd that has formed around you. They make themselves sound good, they talk about how close they are to you, they recall all the things they have done for you, but never once do they look into your eyes. Never once to they turn to you and invite you to speak. 

“Don’t be like them,” Jesus said. 

God desires us to sit with Him. To look at Him. To simply be with Him. He is not impressed by our words or our achievements. He simply desires us—for who we are.

God is more concerned with our presence than our words.

I think He would rather we sit silent in His presence than say a bunch of words intended to impress others. 

He also warned us about not praying like the pagans. They treat God like a genie or a magic spell. Thinking that if they can figure out the right incantation that God will surely grant them their request.

This is also an example of a one-sided monologue. For when we pray like that—trying to crack God’s secret code—we are not engaging in a genuine moment with our Creator. We are trying to manipulate Him to do our bidding. Instead of asking Him to help us surrender to His will, we are trying to bend Him to ours. 

Both of these examples of how not to pray, provide a beautiful look into the heart of God. 

A heart which desires us. Desires a genuine relationship with us.

Ponder that for a moment!

God desires you!
To spend time with you. 
To hear from you.
To help you.

Prayer is the most powerful way we have to connect with the Almighty God. So let’s linger with the Savior today.
Let’s stop trying to find the right words and just sit with Him.
Let’s stop worrying about what others think, and turn our faces to the One who loves us more than we can fathom. 

And let’s simply pray. 

Much love,
Jen

Is prayer really all that important? (A series on prayer: Day one)

This post is part of a series on prayer. You can find all of the posts here

In my quest to dive deeper into the gift of prayer, I have written out several questions about prayer, as well as several statements which I believe contribute, at times, to my lack of prayer.

I so want to make this post all pretty and coherent structured. But I fear if I adhere to those standards I won’t write it at all! 😉  So with one kid home sick from school, a new book to write, and another child’s 16th birthday to plan for, I am choosing to embrace the idea of an “it is what it is” post 😉

The first bullet point reads: 

Considering God already knows everything, is prayer really that important?

The main passage I have been studying is Matthew 6: 5-15. However, after praying over this bullet point for several days, I found myself in Luke 11:1-13. The scene opens with the disciples, who have seen Jesus do extraordinary things and who have already been sent out in His name and power to do extraordinary things, ask Him to teach them to pray. 

I found that fascinating! Here they are seeing, observing and even participating in the mission and work of Jesus Christ and then one day as they see their Teacher and Lord praying, they suddenly think to ask, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

Jesus’ answer to them seemed to speak directly to my first bullet point. 

“He said to them, ‘When you pray…..” Luke 11:2. 

He didn’t say if you pray or in case you pray. He said when you pray.

The assumption being that we will pray. An unspoken command to pray. An example to follow. An instruction to heed. 

I often get to wrapped up in the wrong question words. 

I want to know the whys, the whats, the hows and the whens of prayer. When God simply asks us to consider the WHO of prayer (the Who being the Almighty deity, not the rock band! 😉 

Jesus spent much of His earthly time talking to His heavenly Father. 

Jesus, fully God and fully man, deemed it important enough to spend time lingering with the Father. 

Why would we do any less. 

Even if my quest to understand more of prayer ended here, I think it would be enough. 

Enough to simply follow Jesus’ example. To focus on who God is. To pray. Even if we don’t understand it all, even if all we do is rehearse to God who He is, even if all we do is ask God to teach us how to pray. (to borrow from Nike…. let’s JUST DO IT.

Let’s:

  • Pray. 
  • Talk to God. 
  • Listen for God. 
  • Get up early or stay up late. 
  • Keep our eyes open or shut them tight.
  • Raise our hands or sit on them. 

Let’s just pray. Let’s follow the example of the One who knows us and loves us more than we can imagine. And let’s walk in the footsteps of the One who delighted in drawing near to God—the source of His strength, peace, and purpose.

“When you pray……” Jesus said.

Oh yes, prayer is important. 

Why? Because Jesus said so! 

Much love, 
Jen

Unwrapping one of God’s Greatest Gifts—A blog series on prayer

My husband gave me a big leather box this Christmas. It was black and had a cool silver swirly thingy towards the top. But all I could see was a box. I turned it upside down. I turned it around. I touched the swirly thing. But I had no idea what I was supposed to do with the box. I kept a smile fixed to my face as I said thank you.

“Do you know what it is?” he laughed.

“Not a clue,” I admitted.

“Lift up on the silver handle and then pull down on the inside flap.”

It was a jewelry box!!

Apparently the push pins I had jammed into every surface of our bathroom closet to hold my necklaces provided the inspiration for the gift 😉

Over the next few days as I began placing my jewelry in that box—opening and exploring every nook and cranny, I began to think about prayer…

For as beautiful as the gift of prayer is, how often do we look at it without really knowing what it is? How content are we to just place it on a shelf without using it for its intended purpose?

Our pastor asked a this question on facebook last week:

If you could ask the Lord one honest question about prayer knowing you would receive an answer, what would you ask?

By the replies to his post, it’s pretty clear that I’m not the only one with lots of prayer questions.

Clearly, prayer is a gift from God—of that I am sure. But I think sometimes prayer a lot like my big black mystery box. 

So this year I am on a quest to better understand the gift of prayer. I want God to show me how to lift the swirly thingy and lower the inside flap so I can better see the resource He has given me—given every one who trusts in His Son.

Want to join me?

I won’t pretend to have all the answers (in fact, I have more questions than answers in every area of my life!) But I want to learn and I want to share what I learn.

So if you would like to join me—and haven’t already—be sure to sign up to receive posts to your email. You will also get a spiffy JOEY poster for signing up! 😉

And if you have a specific question about prayer send it to me! I’ll add it to my giant list of questions and ponder over that one too! You can comment here or email me at jen@jenniferbleakley.com

Excited to begin this journey with God and with you!

Day One

Day Two

Thanks for reading!

Much love,
Jen

To the Weary Writer: Maybe it’s time for a change

To the Weary Writer Who Wants to Quit:

I see you.

I know you.

I am you.

You have words—so many words inside of you.

You have a message, a story, a calling you want to share with the world.

And you’ve done all the things—all the things they say to do.

You made a website. You started a blog. You post cute graphics every day. You learned what a sticky statement is and try to include one in every post. You attended a conference. You wrote a proposal, and a one-sheet, and a query letter. You practiced your elevator pitch. You joined a writing group and a critique group and a support group. You faced a Goliath-sized fear and did a facebook live video. You gathered email addresses and tried to create a newsletter. You figured out how to do an author page on facebook and invited people to like it. You created an instagram account and tried your best to figure out Pinterest. You created a Goodreads page and followed all the authors. Clearly, you have done ALL THE THINGS.

And yet…..

Your platform is still small. Your numbers have barely moved. Your posts rarely get engagement. And every one except YOU seems to be succeeding. Every one else seems to be doing it right.

You question your calling.
You question the One who called you.
You question your talent and ability and purpose.

“I will never be a success,” becomes the lament of your heart.

But then…..

A warmth spreads through your heart, as whispered words flutter through your soul.

You already are.

At first you don’t recognize the source of those words, for they are so different then the internal accusations and taunts that have been bombarding your for so long.

These words are different—much different. They feel like a hot shower to your cold and weary heart.

You lean into the words, desperate to hear more…

You are a success, you hear spoken over you, For you are writing for Me. You are sharing the words I have given you.
I have not called you to walk another’s journey. I have called you to walk with Me. To write for Me.
If I call you to speak to just one and you do, you are a success.
If I call you to write a devotional for your church, or a blog post to reach just a few people and you do, you are a success.
If I speak a word to you and you allow that word to change you, you are a success.

You hold these words deep in your soul. You play them over and over again, until the voice of Love speaks once again….

Precious child, you must change your definition of success.

For too long you have allowed this world to define success for you. Let go.
Let this be your definition of success: that you write and speak for me—trusting my plans are greater than your own.
I may not call you to write a book, or a magazine article or a viral blog post, but that does not make the words I give you any less powerful.

I am not interested in numbers. I am interested in people.

Whether one or one million—each one matters to me. You are a success if you reach the ones I send to you.

You sit in stunned silence.

You test His words on your own lips, “I am a success to God.”

Your heart shifts with the declaration. And fervor begins to grow as you commit yourself to the One who has called you. As you commit to make a most important change:

I will write for you and no other.
I will trust your plan for me—regardless of your plans for others.
I will not be consumed by numbers or results—only with sharing your message.
I will allow you to define success for me—and daily surrender my definition to You.

You know it will not be an easy road, but you are willing to walk it, because the One who called you is faithful and He is your biggest fan!

Listen….can you hear the Father cheering you on? He’s cheering for you—the apple of His eye and the delight of His heart.

Keep writing!
Jen