Come Away With Me

Weary.

Burdened.

Just plain tired of being tired.

Sometimes we don’t realize how worn out we are until we have a chance to get away, a chance to rest, a chance to “be still.”  We don’t realize we’ve become weary in following our Father. We don’t realize we’ve become weary in serving others.

This past week we took some rest at a cabin in the woods during our children’s Spring Break.

I noticed that I didn’t feel as needy this year as I did last. Last year I was nearly desperate for some time away. Life seemed so very overwhelming in many ways then. And it’s not that life never feel overwhelming now, either, but it was different then.

I wanted relief.

I yearned for escape.

I thought that by “getting away” from it all, I might find peace from life’s problems. But those problems just followed me wherever I went.

I was looking for rest in the wrong places.

Come Away With Me, Rest, relaxation, get-away, finding-rest-in-Jesus

This year hasn’t been quite so difficult thus far, in spite of the flu-turned-bronchitis-add-to-that-mono months of December and January.  I have only one word for the difference – contentment. In general, I am content.

I’m certain the difference can be attributed to my walk with the Lord, which has been a little closer and a lot sweeter lately. I’m learning that no matter what comes my way, He is my only source of life, love, strength, shelter, and so much more.

In Him, I find rest.

Come-Away-With-Me, finding-rest-in-Jesus,  in-need-of-rest, feeling-weary

 

It’s that rest born from trust that leads to peace and joy beyond our understanding.

It’s a supernatural rest that doesn’t make sense using man’s logic because from the outside perspective our lives might look a little hectic. And the world would tell us, take some time for yourself. Quit serving others and serve self. You deserve it. You neeeeed it.

But I hear another voice that says take up your cross and follow me.

And just when I’m feeling overwhelmed that sweet reminder comes that by His side the burden will also be light.

Don’t get me wrong, now. I’m not against rest and I certainly need physical rest at times myself. But even more than physical rest, I need spiritual rest.

Do you have it, my sisters in Christ?

Do you have rest? If not, it’s yours for the taking and you can find it by abiding in Him moment by moment, day by day, trust building upon trust.

How-to-find-rest, Come to Me, Come-Away-With-Me. finding-rest-in-Jesus, I-need-rest, feeling-weary

Sometimes we need a rest.

But sometimes we just need Jesus!

Jen :)

While we were away, I had the opportunity to spend time taking pictures.  Lately I’m often reminded of the power of the Cross.  It’s because of the cross we can cease striving and be still. It’s because of the cross we can rest in the gift that is Grace.

Sharing with: Grace and Truth

 

Battling Worry ~ Grace and Truth Week 11

Hello, faithful readers! It’s Spring Break this week, so we are enjoying extra time as a family. We visited an indoor waterpark (thanks to Groupon!) earlier this week and had so much fun together.  As I write this, we are preparing to head to a retreat cabin that is available to pastors and their families.

It will be a few blissful, media-free days for us. We plan to enjoy a lot of nature and reading and board games.  I’m very grateful for ministries like this that provide getaways and retreats for families in ministry.

If you are a family in ministry and didn’t know such places exist, please contact me and I’ll be happy to hook you up! (I was unaware myself until a couple of years ago) I know since we started full-time ministry, getting away has been essential to restoring ourselves.  It’s just nearly impossible to have a stay-cation as a pastor, so I’ve learned. :)

Anyway, I read so many great posts last week, but the one I chose to feature is from Cheryl at Treasures from a Shoebox.  She details a great method for using the passage in Philippians 4 to help stamp out worry!  I  really like this idea and look forward to using it myself. Thanks, Cheryl!

In other news, my first 5K in 2 years or so takes place on Saturday, so keep praying for the knees and my health! Thanks!

Because of Him,

Jen :)

 

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

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4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

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5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

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Beyond Comfort ~ Grace and Truth Week 10

Hello, friends! How has your week been? I’ll be honest. It’s been a little up and down here. I’ve learned that I do really well persevering as long as I’m receiving fairly constant encouragement and seeing results. But the minute I run into a roadblock, I often begin to lose heart.

Earlier this year when I wrote about the word Persevere being my word for the year, I had no idea how much I needed to learn in this area. Part of persevering for me seems to be maintaining hope.  It’s obviously still a work in progress, but the Father has been faithful in giving me this lesson in many different areas of my life. He’s making the message nearly impossible to miss. :)

Last week’s Grace and Truth was full of repeated messages as well, it seems! I read several posts about letting go of fear so that we might become who God created us to be. I also read a few about how BIG our Father God truly is.  But two posts stood out to me in particular because of some situations we have faced both in our family and in ministry.

Meredith from According2Meredith wrote about how often we let others down when they need help the most – perhaps because of mistakes they have made, etc.. I agree with much of what she wrote and think it falls right in line with Agape love – that unconditional love Jesus shows to all of us sinners who mess up time and time again.  Loving others requires us to go beyond what we are comfortable with. Be sure to stop by her post by clicking the picture below!

Along the same lines, Ruth from The Mustard Seed wrote about practicing what we preach in the Church.  Is it possible that our churches have become so “middle-class” as to make those who feel lesser-than avoid them?  How can we reach those who really need to hear Truth?

It’s easy to grow comfortable in our Christian “bubbles” and forget about the world out there that desperately needs saving!  I know I’m guilty of losing that urgency from time to time. View Ruth’s post by clicking the picture below!

 

I look forward to reading what you all have to share this week!

Jen :)

 

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

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Fear and Blogging ~ Grace and Truth Week 9

Hello, faithful readers! It’s that time of week again when we all gather ’round for some encouragement. How is everyone? Has the week been victorious?  Has it been rough?  Has it been a roller coaster of in-betweens?

Wherever you are in the spectrum this Friday, keep in mind that Jesus knows; He understands.  Whether we’re sorrowing or rejoicing, struggling or persevering, He’s with us. He’s FOR us. That gives me comfort, friends!

This week I’m happy to introduce you to Shari Lynne who blogs at Faith Filled Food For Moms. In this week’s featured post, Shari writes all about that fear that all of us face in blogging, but honestly, her words could apply to so many areas of life.  Are we doing too much? not enough? right? wrong? and on it goes. We all know the struggle of wanting to do our best at something, yes? :)

I love this line in particular from her post:

Fear…Fear…Fear

Unfortunately this can lead to striving OR it can paralyze us into doing nothing or even worse…quitting!

How true!  We can swing from one extreme to the other if we miss her important advice.  Click on the graphic below to read it!

fear in writing, fear in blogging, wanting to do the best in blogging, how to fear less and blog more, Grace and Truth link-up

Jen :)

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
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1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

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Not By Might: The Power to Persevere

Walking shoes laced tight, I stand at the bottom of the fog-topped hill.  Already I’m weary and I haven’t yet begun the climb. With a sigh, I put one foot in front of the other and I’m on my way to the top.

Halfway up, I find myself breathless with calves and knees complaining, but I’m determined. I must be ready for the race in two weeks, and the hill I will face there is twice as large, twice as steep.

A few feet more and doubts start to creep in about my abilities, about my body’s abilities. And then I remember that persevering isn’t just for the spiritual realm but for this physical world, too, for my straining muscles and my apathetic mindset.

Music pulses through the headphones into my ears…

 “Greater things have yet to come,

Greater things are still to be done

in this Ci-tyy-yyy-y”

If I look too far ahead, I see only the fog stretching before me, creating the illusion that the hill stretches on forever. It will never end, I hear the voice in my mind and it grows louder with each step. This weight battle will never end for you. You might as well just give up now. Did you really think you could do this?  Do you really believe you will succeed?

I face a choice.

I can listen to my cramping muscles and the voice of that snake, the Enemy, or I can buckle down with God-dependent effort, determined to persevere even in this as long as the Lord allows it.  It’s the story of my life, really: keep fighting or give up.

Is there any middle ground between the two?

Often when we face life's "mountains" we feel the need to power through in our own strength. Whether we are on a weight-loss journey, a habit-kicking journey, a faith journey, whatever journey we are on, we depend on ourselves for success. What happens when our strength runs out? Here's how to find the power you need to persevere and succeed!

 

I hear the chorus again,

“Greater things have yet to come..”

And another voice echos in my mind.

Greater things not just for this city but for you, Daughter.  You will reach the top. By my power, you will see success. With My strength, you will persevere. You CAN do this.  And greater things will come, but you must fight for it. You must fight the whispers of the Enemy and the desires of the flesh.  You must learn to lean on Me, even in this. I will give you the power to persevere.

The fog clears as I near the top and my strength is renewed. When I round the corner and the incline levels off, I feel a sense of relief, but I also want it to be over. I long for rest.  However, the walk isn’t finished yet. In fact, it’s only just begun.

I keep plodding ahead, one foot after the other, asking the Father’s glory to be revealed in even this small thing, asking for knees that bend without pain and breath that comes easier.  A few blocks later, I realize I’ve come full circle to face the hill again.

But this time, I have faith.

I know I can do it because I’ve done it before, with His help. And no matter how much my body protests, I drag it up the hill once more.

It strikes me then, the connection between the spiritual and the physical. How I often run straight to complaining when I face “hills” in life. I start out grumbling and already thinking about giving up.

Believing I might be able to “power through” until the trial is over if I could just see the finish line, I search the foggy path ahead, eyes straining to see through to the end.

But the end is not for me to see.

What I am given is just a few feet ahead of me.

As long as I focus on those few feet in front of me, I remain strong, but when I look ahead to the stretched out future, my resolve falters.

 It’s then that I turn to the Father.

I’m reminded of the prophet Zechariah, faced with the task of encouraging the Jews to rebuild the temple and re-establish themselves in Jerusalem. They faced many obstacles and nay-sayers, as well. In fact, they were just the remnant of the Jews who lived there before, only a few compared to the former.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty.

 “What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel you will become level ground…”

Zechariah 4:6b-7a

In this passage, Zechariah experiences a vision. Through this vision, the Lord Almighty reminds the prophet that the work needing done would happen not by human strength, but by the power of His own hand.

He also promised to give the remnant the power necessary to complete the construction of the temple.  Even more than that, He reminded Zechariah of His almighty power to remove any obstacles (mountains) that might get in the way of completion.

Continuing on, verse nine contains a promise that He will complete the work. And the next verse down in that same chapter we read this powerful phrase:

 Who dares despise the day of small things…?”

Zechariah 4:10

According to Nelson’s Quick Reference (Chapter by Chapter Bible Commentary),

“To the eyes of men, the temple project was but a small thing…but to the eyes of God, it was a source of great joy.” (p. 614)

My friends, we will face many hills in life, and mountains will stand in our way. Often, we’ll be tempted to quit before we’ve even really begun. The power to persevere on our own quickly walks out the door when the going gets gruesome.

It’s when we turn to Him for strength that never ceases and the will to persevere that we finally hit our stride.

Often when we face life's "mountains" we push through in our own strength. What happens when that strength runs out? Here's how to find the power you need to persevere and succeed!

Keeping in mind that He delights in even the small things, small acts of obedience, small steps up a great hill, we cling to that power to persevere.

Even more, those hills that we face can feel like level ground in grip of His grace.

But not by our might,

only by His Spirit.

Greater things…

Jen :)

Sharing this with: Tell His Story, Wholehearted Wednesdays, Grace and Truth

Comfort Eating ~ Grace and Truth Week 8

Hello, readers! No doubt you have noticed some changes ’round here. I’m really excited to have the new and improved Being Confident of This up and running in time for this week’s Grace and Truth link-up.  Now, if I could only learn to use the new and improved features well….  Let’s just say it’s a work in progess. It’s a good thing I have excellent blogging friends to help me iron out the kinks! :)

Last week I featured two bloggers whose posts really encouraged me, but there was one more that I really wanted to share with you all as well. So, this week I want you to meet Rosilind Jukic from A Little R and R. Since I’ve been sharing about my weight loss journey lately, her post about comfort eating fits right in with that theme. I greatly appreciate her candor about such a personal subject!

I am a Comfort Eater, healthy living, healthy eating, weight loss journey, body is a temple, over-eating is a sin, being obedient in what we consume

The Father has been helping me to follow my healthy living plans more carefully the last week or two and I’m starting to see some success! Isn’t it exciting to see the fruits of your efforts?

Trusting Him to continue the good work,
Jen :)

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
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Kaylene Yoder
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Arabah Joy
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A Divine Encounter
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1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

6.) Each host will choose one link to feature and promote via their social media channels next week.

7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.

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Moms Who Gather

I felt so lonely when we first moved.

New pastor’s wife to a new community, a small community.

None of my usual comforts nearby. No church friends. No work-out buddy. No library with an awesome children’s section. No new YMCA with its handy child-watch room. No Wal-mart for last-minute needs.

Hardest of all, no family.

And I needed a way to connect, to meet some like-minded women, to make friends, especially mama friends.

So, without really knowing what I was doing, I started a group for moms.  The first year was hardest. I felt so inadequate and out of my element, a leader who didn’t really trust she should be a leader just yet.  But the Father kept encouraging, keep at it.

The second year our group actually fizzled out. I didn’t know what to do, how to “fix” it. So, I cried out for help.

The loneliness returned and I despaired.

Moms Who Gather, simple fellowship, sweet fellowship, moving, loneliness, friendship

Then a neighbor invited me to join a group of women who were going to clean up the community parks.  We spent the summer scraping paint, picking up trash, using our shovels, and dreaming up grand plans.  With sweat on our brows, we chatted and laughed, stopping here and there to calm a needy child or give some correction.  They became friends to me, these volunteers, these giving women.

So that Fall, I decided to try once more for that space I wanted, a space to just be real with some mama friends – no need for makeup or jewelry, clean houses or nice clothes. Just some adult conversation in a comfortable place – an informal gathering for an informal crew.

Now we gather, almost every week.

We aren’t many, but the fellowship is sweet. We talk of babies and toddlers, problems at school and problems at home. We talk of husbands we love and house chores we hate. We even talk politics sometimes. No subject is off-limits.

And lately we talk an awful lot about Jesus, too.

It’s so simple, yet so much more than I planned from the start because it came from Him, these gifts -my friends, my people.

We gather,

and He blesses every time.

Jen :)

I’m joining back up with the Five Minute Friday group this week after a looooong absence, and boy do I feel rusty!  If you’re new around here, FMF is when a large group of us free-write on a one-word prompt for only five minutes (well, some of us are known to stretch the rules a little) – no planning, no editing, no stressing. :)  If you want, come join us over at Kate Motaung’s place!

Also sharing with:

Grace and Truth