Perfect Peace


Posting this today simply because I need the reminder.

I have a choice when I watch the news: fear or Peace.
I have a choice when I see the condition of our world: fear or Peace.
I have a choice when I think of my children’s futures: fear or Peace.
I have a choice when I think of the what-ifs: fear or Peace.

Fear leaves me shaken and untethered.
Peace grounds me and tethers me to only One in complete control.

Peace is a gift. A gift I must reach out and embrace.

Peace comes as I surrender each moment to God’s will.
Peace grows as I trust and apply God’s Word to my life.
Peace is experienced as I raise my eyes to the giver of Peace.
Peace is found in a person- and His Name is Jesus.

Today, for this moment, I choose peace. The world may spin out of control, but thankfully my hope is not in this world. My hope and my peace are in the One who has overcome this world.

Much love,

The Red Words

Have you ever heard a word from God spoken from the mouth of a child? It is a really powerful and beautiful experience.

Yesterday, I was teaching a three-year-old Bible study class. We were talking about the Bible. As a visual I showed them both a children’s Bible and my big Bible. I showed them how mine did not have any cool pictures like theirs, but that it did have different colored words. I asked them if they had any idea why some words were red.

One little boy immediately spoke up, “they are red because Jesus’ boo-boos were red. He got boo-boos so He can wash our sin away.”

A three-year-old saw a beautiful truth that up to that point, I had not! Of all the colors that the words spoken by Jesus could have been, they are red!


By His wounds and by His words penned in the color of His wounds, we are healed!

I will never look at those red words the same way.

I am so amazed when the all-powerful God of the universe chooses to speak to us through the sweet voice of a little child.

Much love,

A Mama Bear’s Prayer

I tend to think of myself as fairly calm and reasonable. I am not prone to fly off the handle or overreact. EXCEPT when my kids are involved!

Some button in me gets pushed the moment I perceive a threat (real or imagined) against my precious little darlings. And while the only one to usually suffer my wrath is my poor husband (because even though I might be irate, I am still a chronic people pleaser who struggles to actually share my displeasure with anyone else), I can flip from calm, cool and collected to crazed mama bear in a flash. Can anyone else relate?

Sadly, my first instinct usually is to start scheming ways to right the horrible wrong that has been done – how to fix the awful injustice my poor children have had to suffer [insert overly dramatic tone here 😉 ]

I did not realize until recently though that my first gut instinct is to scheme. I would have said I’m just helping them; I’m trying to stand up for them; I’m trying to……..interfere in God’s plan. Ouch!

I’m not saying that we should never get involved and insert ourselves into a situation. Of course there are times when that is absolutely necessary and the right thing to do. But God is showing me that sometimes He works through our children’s pain and disappointments. And sometimes me “fixing” a problem through back channel schemes, is really me keeping my kids from the BEST God wants to do in them.

Growth is painful. I see this in my 13 year old who suffers from growth pains in his knees. His body is stretching, and it hurts.

Spiritual growth is often painful too. Denying self, choosing righteousness, sacrificing worldly status- all those things hurt. But each also carries a greater blessing that far outweighs the pain of growth involved.

I want God’s best for my kids. Even though as I write that sentence I know it means it will not always be an easy road. And the one who will most likely hurt the most will be this mama bear.

There is no pain like the pain of seeing your children hurt. There is no heart ache like seeing your child’s heart ache.

Asking God to give me His eternal perspective is the only way I can fight against the urge to immediately swoop in and fix something that causes them pain.

I told a friend earlier this week that I was tired of growth opportunities (my sarcastic, yet accurate term for challenges). However, the truth is that I do want them to grow, even if that means some heart ache and hurt along the way.

Again, I want God’s best for them. Well, let me be a little more honest: I want to want God’s best for them.

I want to spend more time helping them deal with the hurts of life in a godly way, then I spend scheming my own way. I want to hug, hold and teach them to look for God’s goodness even in their disappointments. I want to gently encourage them to look for His purpose in their pain and to cling to Him more tightly when they are hurting.

And let’s be honest: these lessons are just as much for me as for them.

So here is this mama bear’s prayer:

you are lovely


There will definitely be times when I do need to stand up for my kids. Times when I will have to get over my people pleasing nature and do what it takes to be their champion and advocate. But I’m praying that God will show me when to take a stand and when to simply hold their hand.

If you have any stories of a time God used a hurt or disappointment in your child’s (or your own) life to grow them spiritually, I would be honored- and so encouraged if you would share it below!

Much love,


Waiting is Not for Wimps!

I’ve been giving serious thought to the need for a “Waiting on God’s Timing” support group!!! Waiting is HARD. Waiting on something you feel would be pleasing to God and give Him glory, but is not yet happening is really, really HARD.

One thing I’ve noticed while in this season of waiting, is that waiting involves a lot of quiet time- and quiet time allows for noise to grow.

For me, the noise starts as a gentle hum of questions:
Is this ever going to happen?
Is this really God’s will?
What are people thinking about me?

As the wait continues, the gentle hum escalates in volume to a steady rhythm of doubt:
This is probably never going to happen.
God must be too busy helping other stronger Christians.
If I can’t do this, maybe I really can’t do that either.

Then before long the steady rhythm gives way to a barrage of accusations:
You’re not good enough.
You’re a failure.
God has moved on from you.

Waiting is not for wimps! And while it seems to be such a passive experience, the truth is waiting is full of action and activity.

I feel that in this period of waiting I am doing battle. Real battle. I feel as though an all out war has been waged in my heart and my mind. Doubts and accusations fly like missiles aimed straight for my heart- seeking to destroy my peace and trust in the Lord. Lies seek to beat down truth. Fear sneaks up to attack contentment. Defeat threatens to overtake victory.

What is fascinating is that this battle bleeds into other areas causing me to question many other things. My confidence in all areas of my life gets shaken. Not only do I question if this book of mine will ever be published, but I begin questioning my calling to write in general; my ability to teach others; my parenting skills; the kind of wife I am; even my appearance.

Yet yesterday, in the midst of this great and exhausting battle, came a word from my Commander and King. A word delivered by the sweetest of messengers.

Yesterday morning my insecurities were high and the battle just seemed too hard to fight. Kids were coming into our fourth grade class and while I greeted them with a smile, it felt forced. I didn’t even feel mentally able to teach the lesson (the lesson which I wrote but at the time decided was horribly written and boring!)

As I was praying in my heart- a very deep spiritual prayer that went something like: “Lord, help!” a sweet young girl walked up to me.

“Mrs. Jen, do you remember last week when you asked us to use our Bibles to find 5 truths about what God thinks about us?”

I did remember but honestly I was shocked anyone else did. We had been talking about putting on the armor of God and the importance of the Sword of the Spirit (God’s Word). I told them that satan’s favorite weapons are lies and whispers of doubt. We talked about how he used doubt against Eve in the Garden, and how the minute she questioned God’s goodness and perfect love she paved the way for sin to enter this world.

I told the kids that as they grow up satan will begin to whisper lies to them, causing them to question who God is and who they are to God. I encouraged them to begin reading their Bibles as if treasure hunters searching for the truth of who God is and who they are to Him. As a way of getting them to use their “swords,” I challenged them to write down 5 verses that reveal who they are to God.

This soft spoken girl preceded to share her list with me. I wish I would have taken a picture of it so I could remember exactly what she wrote, because my tears prevented me from seeing clearly. I do know she wrote that she was fearfully and wonderfully made, that she is loved by God, that she is His child, and that He loves to give her grace.

In that moment I heard the voice of the Lord speak right to my heart: “Never forgot Whose you are.”


I am still in a battle, and I still feel weary, but today is different. Today I remember that my Commander and King is also my Creator and Father. Today I look up into the face of Truth and ask Him to fight my battles. Today, instead of listening to the lies, I will write my own list of truths. Today I sharpen my sword, hold high my shield, and face the enemy- knowing that he must run in the face of Truth and Justice.

Will my book ever get published? I have NO idea. If it doesn’t, does that mean I am not valuable? Absolutely not! My value- my worth does not come from what I do, it comes from Whose I am.

And I am His.

If you are fighting your own battle today, I encourage you to actively wait by writing your own list of truths from God’s Word. Ask Him to show you how He feels about you- to remind you of Who He is and Whose you are.

Much love,


When You Feel Like You Don’t Fit In


A beautiful albino deer appeared in our yard during our last snow storm. The doe has been spotted in our neighborhood off and on over the years. She always stands out in stark contrast against her more camouflaged friends. I often wonder if she is aware of her differences. Do the other deer treat her differently?

She just never seems to quite fit in.

Yet that day, in a snow covered yard, the albino deer suddenly seemed in her element. She stood with a confidence the others did not. She seemed to bask in a unfamiliar feeling of belonging. What must she have thought when she noticed her legs disappearing against the blanket of snow, while her friends’ forms were clearly visible?

This one who seemed so strange and different before, now appeared beautifully unique – almost as if perfectly created for a time such as this.

All it took to see her differences as exquisite beauty was a change in perspective.

You are a beautiful masterpiece, a crowning glory of your Creator. He formed you, He gave you a unique set of talents, traits and abilities. Maybe today you just need to look at yourself from a different perspective – through the eyes of the One who loves you more than you will ever know.

Much love,

The Lap of Love

Seeing a glimpse of God’s heart when my dog plopped onto my lap.

Bailey, my poor golden retriever, has had a hard week. A large cyst on her back ruptured, requiring emergency surgery. She now has six inches worth of stitches surrounded by a massive patch of shaved skin. My husband calls her Frankendog, and it certainly fits. 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 cute and pitiful.


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.


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.


So where’s the glimpse of God in that you might ask? Don’t worry….it took me a moment to see it too.

As I sat there with Bailey nestled in my lap, my mind flashed back to a time I felt nestled into 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 beautiful but heartbreaking at the same time, and I couldn’t quite process it all. That actual life and death experience made my normal college routine seem rather meaningless. On top of dealing with huge feelings, I was also sick and extremely tired. One night it all became too much for me to handle. I felt like a weight was beginning to crush me. I decided (in hindsight, I realize it was the Holy Spirit leading me) to write a letter to a good friend. I poured my heart out in that letter. 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.)

I then began to sob. I was all alone in my room and I felt broken. Darkness was all around me, emptiness threatened to consume me. I curled up in a ball and called out to Jesus. “Daddy, it hurts. It hurts so bad. I can’t do this. Please hold me.” I can barely describe what happened in that moment. I felt a flood of peace pour over me. And I honestly felt the arms of love wrap around me, as if holding me in an embrace. The crying began to subside as faint memories of hymns sang through my mind. But the most beautiful memory is of drifting off to sleep and dreaming of Jesus smoothing my hair and wiping my tears as I laid my head in His lap. That moment of darkness led to such a marvelous light. 

As I held my sweet dog in my lap, God took me back to that night so long ago when He held me in His. Bailey has been through an ordeal and she doesn’t understand, 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 and a result of this fallen world in which we live. But can God bring good from bad? Absolutely and He will.

So many friends right now are hurting and feeling broken, tired, and worn. My prayer is that you may find comfort in the arms of your heavenly Abba Father. That you would snuggle into His lap, and ask Him to smooth your hair as you cry. Let Him hold you in His arms of Love, and envelope you in a blanket of pure peace.

Praying for my hurting friends today.

Much love,