Love Them All

Do you have friends, or just people you know, who seem to really enjoy their lives? I do. It’s a pretty awesome thing to see how they love on those that have been around them.

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We need more people to love like this in our world. All of these hateful, mean-spirited things we wake up to, it’s an awful lot to swallow! I never want to get used to that way of life.

This Is My Kind of Normal

Then I get the opportunity to see one of these beautiful people, with their warm eyes and joyful smiles, and that’s when I know I’m seeing Jesus. I see it in how they show their neighbors His love, as He’s told us to do.

My heart fills with thanks, for them being bright lights in an otherwise cold and dark world. They’ve given me the motivation to be more like them, too. Our world needs me to be more like them!

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What Jesus Wouldn’t Do

I do that by putting no conditions on my kindness, and by not being judgemental of others acts whatsoever. This is the way I can pay it forward for what Jesus gave me. He didn’t wait for me to become worthy enough to pay the price for my faults. Instead, He just did it.

He didn’t say “Now, Jennifer, if you show me you’re able to get your act together, I’ll show you the greatest love that you’ll ever have”, or “Dang girl, you’re really kinda sketchy. Let me just check back on you later, k?”

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Thank You, Lord

I’m particularly grateful that He didn’t take this route, since its been just 11 years ago that I made the decision to turn my life over to Him. The fact is, I wasn’t choosing to just be a non-believer. I also was mocking Him, by smugly poking fun at beliefs I couldn’t yet comprehend.

In all His grace, though…His heart was breaking for the way mine broke. All the while, He still was there as my guide, ready to take me onto much greater things. And now I’m here, still unbelievably imperfect and occasionally a hot mess, but 150% sold out for Him!

The Love of a Follower

We, as believers, have faith we must talk about with others. It’s necessary for us to look past the masks, and to see what’s really going on under the hood of their lives! It’s hard to do, at least for me, because my introvert nature’s simply fine with saying “You good? Cool, see ya then!”, and move on to the next.

I’ve got to be intentional about diving deeper, or the weather-talk conversations are exactly what’ll take place! My goal’s not to be cold and heartless – not in the least, but it’s what I’ve got embedded inside me.

A New Life

So, I’m really making an effort to change all of the old patterns, and how I’ve always gone about things! Starting immediately. As a matter of fact, after my football game was over yesterday, I took my daughter to the park to play before the sun went down.

We were the only ones there at first, which is what I usually prefer, even though I also want her to have kids to play with! Because as you moms know, the playmate ends up being yours truly, if she doesn’t. So, we were hiding some of her little character figures she brought, and another vehicle pulls into the parking lot.

They’re Hereeee!

The doors open up, and a Dad with his kids comes over our direction. He says hello, but not a “Hi, I’m just being polite, and I’ll kindly leave you be now” type. No, it was more of a “Hi, I’m a talker and I’ll be back in a sec” hi. Yeah…I know the difference in my greetings. I’m a people watcher, you know, so it’s noticeable to me and really very easy to pick up on.

I didn’t exactly wanna tell my daughter we had to go, since we had only gotten there five minutes earlier. So then, time to suck it up, buttercup!

Don’t Make Eye Contact

Sure enough, thanks to my chatty-Cathy child, who was asking about a billion questions and not taking a breath to let them answer – Dad came back over my way. After a few friendly, short responses to his attempt at having a conversation, I all of a sudden had a memory flash of my earlier resolve to love thy neighbors more. Argh.

Well we could at least start slowly, and luckily I had my sunglasses on (an introvert never leaves home without them), so I began asking how long they had been in the area. Then I went into telling him how I’m a realtor, answering a couple of questions he had about the local market. We were only talking for like five minutes, when he’d begin to tell me he had got into his new place not two hours ago. The reason for this was because he and his wife were separating, and this was the first time he had the kids since moving out.

A Clearer Picture

Now I just gotta say, in that tiny bit of information he’d offer up, I was able to see so many things differently! The fact of how his kids weren’t leaving dads side initially, and when my daughter was talking about her daddy back at home how they’d seem a little sad. Our world’s hurting tremendously right now, folks, and sometimes it just takes our ears to hear a few details so that our eyes can open to see it.

The fact is, I’m not gonna tell you how I led this man in prayer, or anything like that because I didn’t. We didn’t get into any of that, but I can say, that I felt a little bit of peace – and also some heartbreak, as I was listening to this individual with a lot of hard stuff on his mind. All I could really offer him at the moment, was a kind smile. And a few gentle words to his kids. As I was going to leave, I was able to wish them the best and express my hope for their situation to turn out well. There may have been more I could’ve said, maybe even done, but it was a start.

Seeing Christ

I have no idea if they were able to see some of Jesus in me that evening. My hope is, that they did. Because, just for a moment, He had given me His eyes to see. In this brief moment of time, I could hear with His ears. And with those moments, my heart was breaking in the same way His does.

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8 NLT

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Life of Worship, Even Through the Pain

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They suffer painfully; their life is full of trouble. Job 14:22 NLT

Life of Worship

We’ve all been there at some point. You know – when you find yourself all alone and wondering where in Heavens did God vanish to. What did we do wrong? 
I’ve found this to be an extremely important moment to cling onto remember His promises, and know, that He’s not One that will ever break a promise; to worship Him because of who He is and not how I feel. God’s working for me in every second of every day, whether I can see Him or not. Continuous communication with Him is key, even throughout the difficulties I face. Especially throughout the difficulties I face.

When we feel so far away from God, we can’t imagine there ever being a way of getting back to living a life of worship – even then, in those very moments of our despair, we must do everything possible to hold onto our faith. Grip it by your fingernails if you must. 

I heard some powerful messages and testimonies, ones of perseverance, that gave me an extreme amount of comfort during a very dark time in my walk. So, even if you don’t have the energy: to bear going to church, to read a devotional, to listen to it. There’s messages that God has lined up specifically for you, through your worship of him. 

Keep on going, friend. I was made to do some great things and YOU were made to do some great things! Don’t let any B.S. lies running through your head try and tell you otherwise. 

Is it going to be hard? Absolutely. Is it going to test everything that you’ve ever believed? Count on it!’ll come out stronger, more beautiful (battle wounds and all) and with another piece to your story. Your story is the very reason you were created. Because you see – YOUR story, the one of perseverance and of living a life of worship – even if it’s forced worship to start – is quite possibly the one that’ll give ONE other person the strength THEY’RE needing, to hold on and to keep fighting the good fight

I know that may not hold a lot of value to you in the moment, if you’re in the valley now. Trust me. More importantly, trust God. He wants to give you life, one that you can live to the absolute fullest. One more day, put your faith in Him. And tomorrow, one more day again. Until…One more day until. Until you can look ahead and see it..that bright light shining on your future, and you’re able to smile, knowing: another promise that God didn’t break. Another kept promise that made a way for you. 

When darkness engulfs us, it’s easy to accept that we’ve been beaten. Satan is counting on us to be accepting of it. 

For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. James 1:3

Remember though, that we’re NOT the sons and daughters of the One who collapses into despair; but we’re the children of He who is victorious over the enemy! He’s already won. WE are victorious. It’s in our genes. Walk in the victory that’s part of your inheritance!