Today’s Battle Plan

The other morning I woke with a heavy heart. I honestly wanted to pull the covers back up and remain in bed all day. But I begrudgingly forced myself from my cocoon of comfort and made my way downstairs.

My heart cried out over my bowl of Cheerios, “Lord, this world is going mad. I feel overwhelmed. Hate and lies are being heralded as truth and are feeding the ever growing monster of evil. Even our own nation screams tolerance, but then bullies those who seek to hold true to their Christian beliefs.”

It felt like too much that morning. I felt depleted of strength and battle-weary. I sat in my quiet kitchen with my children still sound asleep. My children! “Lord, how do I raise those kids upstairs in a climate becoming more hostile to Your Word? Father, how do I help them follow You when the world screams, ‘follow us?’ “

Tears ran down my face as I felt the weight of a changing tide. Suddenly, I wanted so much to talk to Daniel’s mother. How did she raise a son who boldly stood against the culture of his time has he refused to bow to the idol of the day, even though it meant death by hungry lions?

At that moment I felt God smile. I felt His smile in my soul. It was like a warm bath for my weary heart.

My Word. I felt the words more than heard them.

I opened my Bible to Psalm 118, and there staring back at me was verse six: “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid….” my eyes looked a little further down to verse eight: “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” As if knowing where they were going, my fingers turned to Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” And then finally, I found my way back to Psalm 119:9, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your Word.”

My heart was full and strengthened. I may not have gotten to talk to Daniel’s mama, but God had given me a battle plan.

  1. Don’t be afraid because God—Yahweh—King of angel armies—Creator—The All Powerful One—Love itself is with me. Wow!
  2. Take refuge in God, not man.
  3. Pray for and show godly love for others including those who don’t show love for Him.
  4. Obey God’s Word. While I can’t force anyone else to love, cherish and obey His Word, I can love, cherish and obey it. And by following His Word, I can be an example of God’s love to others.

My Shortened Battle Plan:
1 – Don’t be afraid
2 – Trust in God
3 – Love and pray for enemies
4 – Hold fast to God’s Word

Does this battle plan solve all of the world’s problems? I wish! but no.
Is everything suddenly all roses and rainbows? Definitely not.
Did my heart receive a word from God that morning? Absolutely.
Did God give me strength to face another day? Without a doubt.

I truly believe with all my heart that the key to remaining strong in the precarious days to come, is by staying in God’s Word and asking Him to reveal Himself through it. (And I think Daniel would agree!)

May we find our comfort, our joy and our peace through the pages of God’s Word and in the person of Jesus.

Not afraid

Much love,



I woke with joyful expectation, ready to run downstairs for my own private Easter sunrise service. For days, I had looked forward to sitting in my favorite chair for a front row seat to the Creator’s early morning masterpiece. I love Easter.  I especially love my tradition of getting up before the rest of my people and basking in the beauty of the sunrise as I imagine being at the empty tomb that day.

My eyes opened and I gazed toward the eastern sky—a sky filled with dark gray clouds. Drizzling rain illuminated by the street light signaled the end of my sunrise dream.

The joy that had filled my heart moments before, was quickly replaced with frustrated sadness. This wasn’t what I had planned. A gray sky certainly does not inspire one to  get out of bed.

Yet, as I contemplated whether or not to pull the covers up and go back to sleep, I felt my heart leap with a whispered truth.

Just because I can’t see the sunrise, doesn’t mean it isn’t rising.

Just as surely as the rain was falling, the sun was still rising. Yes, the clouds blocked my view, but they did not stop the sun from shining.

I still would have loved to have been able to sit with the Lord and share in a private sunrise with Him, but I think He showed me something today that I needed to see even more than a sunrise. I needed to be reminded that while there will be times when I cannot see Him clearly, Jesus will always be with me.

There will be times we will not be able to see what He is doing in our lives, or in the lives of those we love, but He will still be there.

There will be times that we will not be able to see what purpose He has in a situation, but He will still have it under control.

There will be days when life hurts, and there are simply no human answers, but God will remain with us.

He remains. His love remains. Always……Always.

The message of the Cross—the significance of the Resurrection—is the same regardless of the clouds that blow into our lives. Jesus always is. He always has been. And He always will be.

This Easter did not result in the sunrise I had hoped for, but it did allow me to focus on the SON Rise that did truly matter—Jesus has risen and He is all the Son I need!

He is risen

Much love,


Thank You Jesus

As the world and all of her inhabitants settled in for the night—as the evening sky surrendered to the encompassing darkness, You walked into a garden.
As mothers were tucking their children into bed, You asked Your disciples to stay awake and pray with You.
As fathers locked their doors, trying to keep out evil, You prepared to face it head on.
As infants cried tears of hunger, You cried tears of holy surrender.
As Your creation stood lost and defiant, You were preparing to lay down Your perfect life for us.

What must have been occurring in the heavenly realms that night?
Did the same angels who heralded Your birth stand in silent horror as You cried out to the Father? Did they long to rush to Your aid? 

What was the physical world experiencing?
Was Your face illuminated by a full moon as You prayed? Or did the moon surrender to the weight of darkness pressing in around You?
Did any creature dare utter a sound? Or did they joyfully cry out in worship?
Could You already begin to feel the weight of the sin-burden You would soon carry?

That night. That precious, sacred, holy, heartbreaking, life-giving night. How does one even begin to express gratitude? How can we possibly thank You for giving Your perfect life to save such un-perfect people?

Jesus, there will never be enough words or enough time to come close to thanking You. What You did is beyond human words or thought.

You looked at us—sinful, defiant, broken, lost us—and said, “I love you this much” as You spread Your arms wide and willingly gave Your life.

All I can say on this night is “Thank You Lord Jesus. I love You.”


Your forever grateful girl,

He Cares. He sees. He loves.

To my sweet girl,

You poured your heart into writing a play for your friends. You were absorbed for hours writing each line, each director’s note, each act, and each closing-curtain instruction. Your face beamed with joy as you read me each new scene. You radiated with the excitement of creating something—of bringing forth thought onto a screen. The printer could not keep up with you as you stapled together each of the seven scripts you so graciously printed for your friends. You could barely sleep that night, too consumed with thoughts of reading through your play with your friends at recess. The next morning you jumped out of the car, ready to debut your work of art.

But when I picked you up, the excitement was gone, replaced with doubt, defeat, and disappointment. Your sweet little shoulders slumped forward. “They didn’t really care about it mama. No one wanted to do it.” Your beautiful blue eyes searched mine, looking for comfort, for clarity, for understanding.

Oh, I understand my sweet girl. I understand.

While I negative criticism is painful, indifference often hurts more. When you pour your heart onto a page—when you leave fingerprints of your soul on a work; when you create something that causes your spirit to buzz with excitement—only to find that perhaps you were the only one who was moved, it hurts. You question your talent, your gift, your calling.

You find yourself silenced by fear and insecurity. You seek to avoid repeating the event that caused you pain. You close your computer, you cap your pen, you draw the blinds, you pull the covers over your head. “Does anyone care?” you silently scream.

“I care,” comes a soft whisper.
“I see,” speaks a gentle voice.
“Write for Me. Create for Me. Live for Me.”

You lift your head, drawn toward Love’s embrace. A shaft of light breaks through the darkness. Particles of life’s dust are illuminated all around you. Your heart quickens as you begin to believe the voice of the One who created you—who loves you more than you can imagine. You reach out—attempting to touch the One who has reached down to touch you. Your nerves come alive as Love lifts your head to look into His eyes.

“I care.” He says again.
“I see.” He whispers as He looks into the depths of your soul.
“Write for Me. Create for Me. Live for Me.”

You find yourself pulling back the covers. You cautiously open the blinds. You slowly uncap your pen. You courageously open your computer. And you write. You create. You live. Not for them. Not for yourself. But for Him.

You measure your worth by His love. You measure your life by His grace. You measure your calling by His abilities. He becomes your audience. He becomes your biggest fan. He becomes your……everything.

He cares.

He sees.

And He loves…

Right now. At this moment. Mess and all. Jesus sees you and He LOVES you. Run to His love, accept His love, bask in His love. Write, create, live—for Him.

In Him,

Untitled design

Jesus is More

This blog is dedicated to seeing glimpses of God’s glory throughout my ordinary days. Yet, as we approach Easter, I am reminded that the best way to see God’s glory is to look at His Son.

Not just a good man, He is our Great Savior.
Not just a good teacher, He is the Word of God in flesh.
Not just an example for how to love, He is Love.
Not just one of many ways to God, He is the Only way to God.

He is more than we can ever fully comprehend.

Jesus (1)

My Friend

I want to introduce you to Aimee. She has been defined over the years as many things: a daughter, a sister, a student, a writer, a wife, a mother, a friend…..a person with mental illness. But if you ask her what she is defined by, she will tell you that she is Jesus defined. She is not her illness. She is not just a combination of titles. She is a beloved child of God. Rescued and redeemed by Jesus and walking daily with Him through the journey of mental illness. I am honored to call her my friend.

I want to share a post from her blog with you today. She is courageously allowing God to use her story to bring Him glory. Even if you are not walking through the journey of mental illness, we are all walking through some journey that requires strength beyond our own abilities. I pray that you will find encouragement and hope from Aimee’s blog: Jesus Defined. 

Unbind & Re-find (Aimee’s blog)

Much love,


Whispers of love amidst shouts of hate

“Mama, you said that love is stronger than hate right?” my thoughtful little girl asked from the back seat.
“Yes, baby. Love is stronger than hate.” I said unsure of why this particular topic had arisen following a rousing conversation about Peeps.
“Well, why is hate so much louder than love?”
“Louder?” I asked enthralled by her description.
“Yeah, it seems like hate is a million people shouting, but love is just one person whispering.” Her head tilted to the side, “Can a whisper be louder than a shout?”

There are moments when I feel like I learn so much more from my children than they learn from me. Can a whisper of love be louder than a shout of hate?

At first glance I would have said no. After all, the pain of a hateful word can last a lifetime. The scars of hate-filled criticisms can remain evident for years. But as I lingered over the question, I considered the life giving power of a whispered word of love:

A hate-filled crowd shouted, “Crucify Him.” Their hate resulting in the barbaric crucifixion of a perfect man—Jesus, God Himself in human flesh. Yet, as Love in human form allowed Himself to hang on a cross, gasping for each breath, He whispered the most glorious words of all of human history, “It is finished.”

Hate brought death. Oh, but Love brought life!

Hate chains. Love frees.

Hate destroys. Love makes new.

Hate hurts. Love heals.

Hate demands. Love gives.

Hate is darkness. Love’s light pierces the darkness.

Hate will one day be destroyed. Love will endure forever.

Hate may be louder to our ears, but love roars to our eternal souls.

May we be a people unafraid and unashamed to whisper words of Love even in the midst of shouts of hate.

Our whisper may be in the form of a prayer for those chained to the hate they serve. It may be in the form of a gentle word spoken to one who is not speaking gently to us. It may manifest itself in a testimony shared, an email unsent, a word of affirmation to one struggling. Whispers of love will often go unnoticed by the masses, but they have the power to change a life for eternity.

Lord, may we be a people willing to whisper words of Love in a climate filled with so much hate. Strengthen our souls so that we do not grow weary by the noise clamoring for our attention, but instead strain our ears to listen to Your whispers of Love and then share those beautiful whispers with others.


I am a Writer

“So are you a writer?” she asked with genuine curiosity.

“Uh,” I began with great eloquence, “yes?” (I literally said that in the form of a question!)
Then came the equally eloquent clarification. “I mean, well….I write….words….a lot of words.” Dear Lord! Please stop talking. “I mean, I like to write. I write curriculum….and stories. And oh, and I just got an agent. So um, yes…..I’m a writer?” (Again in the form of a question!)

Why I find this question so difficult to answer, I have no idea. Maybe it’s because writing just seems to be an extension of who I am. I process things through writing, I view everything as a possible story, I even edit my grocery list! It feel less like a job, and more like a lifestyle.

Maybe it’s because saying it out loud makes it sound real, and if it’s real then people might judge my writing and find me lacking.

Maybe it’s because I’m tremendously insecure about not having any kind of formal writing background. My major was biology and chemistry (I thought I wanted to be a doctor), and I have a masters in counseling (I worked as a grief counselor for several years.) I always loved writing, but other than some college language arts classes, I never formally studied the art of writing.

Most likely my hesitation and complete fumbling over the question of whether or not I’m a writer is a combination of all of the above.

But I’m finally starting to realize something. Writing is something God has called me to do and I need to own that calling.  And the fact that I don’t feel qualified is what keeps me completely aware of my dependence on His provision.

Another realization I had is that writing is a powerful tool we all need to embrace. I’m not talking about term paper writing, but personal, from the heart writing.

After all:
Writing gives voice to jumbled up thoughts.
Writing about a broken heart often helps to heal that heart.
Writing prayers gives them focus, and serves as a testimony to God’s answers.
Writing about fears exposes them to the light thereby diminishing their power.
Writing about triumphs serves as a beacon to the heart during hard times.

Writing is a part of me; it is a gift God has given me; it is sometimes difficult, but always worth it; and it is something I want to do for the rest of my life.

So  here I go:

Hi, my name is Jen and I am a writer! (with no question mark!)

What is God calling you to do? Don’t be afraid to step out in faith and own it. If God calls you to do it, then you can rest in knowing He will equip you to do it.

So speak it, pen it, live it. But whatever you do-
Just keep writing!


How To Put On Strength


“She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. Proverbs 31:17”

There are days that I do not feel very strong, let alone equipped to meet the challenges that arise during a day. I was recently asked to write a devotional for my church about the Proverbs 31 woman. One thing I found really stood out to me – the source of her strength:

The Proverbs 31 woman is described as dressing herself in (or putting on) strength. It does not say she digs deep and looks within for her own strength. It says she puts it on. So how do we put on strength?

“.. strengthen me according to your word.” Psalm 119:28b

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.” Psalm 28:7

“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:31

We put on strength by going to God’s Word, by trusting in Him, and by putting our hope in Him. The Proverbs 31 woman was not full of superhero powers- she was full of a super God. She lived her life in dependence on Him and in His strength.

She was able to meet the demands and challenges of her day through the strength of God’s Word and His power.

Isn’t this wonderful news for us for those of us who feel overwhelmed by our to-do list; who feel as though we barely have enough strength to get through a day – let alone evening and bedtime responsibilities; and who come slightly unglued by the person who dares to ask us to do something not on our schedule. We do not have to do it in our own strength. The author of Creation is willing and more than able to help us meet each challenge we face in a day. And who better to help us organize our days than the One who made all of Creation with a whole day to spare!

True strength is found in admitting our weakness and embracing God’s power. We make our arms strong as we train ourselves to run to God first, pick up His Word, and spend time making it apart of us. Physical training is important, but spiritual training is eternal.

Before we write our to-do lists, before we start running, chauffeuring, working, cleaning, etc, let’s put on strength by asking God to fill us with His strength. 

Let’s fix our eyes on the One who sits waiting for us to come; and then run boldly into His strong arms so that we might find true strength.

Rest for the Weary

Psalm 62-1

My reaction to stress is very much like that of an opossum – sleep! When my stress level goes up, the covers go over my head. I want rest. I crave rest. But so often I go to the wrong place to find that rest.

A nap, scrolling through facebook, a great cup of coffee, chocolate, even an amazing vacation- while all fine and sometimes great and necessary things- are still only temporary sources of rest.  And often leaving me wanting more, or feeling guilty about time wasted, calories gained, or money spent.

The only source of true rest, lasting rest, no-strings attached rest, is found in God alone.

But what does that mean? How do we rest in God?

We sit quietly in His Presence. We read from His Word.
We talk to Him. We listen to songs about Him. We join in those songs.
We memorize verses and ponder them. We ask Him to reveal Himself to us.
We stand on His promises. We trust in His Son.
We allow Him to mend our brokenness and then we follow Him.
We view this world through the lens of His Word.

Things in this world will not always make sense to us because we are looking at them from our limited perspective. True rest comes from trusting in the One who can see all of history with but a glance.

True rest is found in the arms of the One who made you, who knows you, and who loves you more than you could ever imagine.

Our rest, our salvation, cannot be found in a presidential candidate (to which we all say Amen!), it cannot be found in material success, it cannot be found in health, or even a great vacation.

True rest, real hope, and eternal salvation can only be found in God- by trusting in His Son, and by standing firm on His Word.

“Lord, we long for the rest only You can give. Our days are filled with stress, to-do lists, and fears about the future. Be our rest in the midst of life’s demands. Show us how to rest in You today by standing on Your Word and holding tight to Your hand. “

Much love,