A Hot Minute…

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“There are so many things to reflect on in life. This past year to date was a very interesting time for me…”

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Hello blog!! It’s been a hot minute.  The consistency of writing and sharing virtually has not been a reality in my life the last year or more, if you haven’t noticed.  But here I am, July 9th, 2018; here to share with you as I sit and reflect on recent experiences in life…

A year ago, July 2017, was a very very, what’s the word…surreal time.  Have you ever felt like you are just an empty body watching life pass by with no way to interact; like you’ve lost all ability to connect to your life, to God, to people?  Well that’s a glimpse of my state of mind a year ago.  The year before last I went through something really emotionally and mentally painful and draining and it took a full year (plus some) to see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.  I didn’t not handle well what I went through, but let me assure you that it was nothing life threatening or crazy, but simply and sadly a common pain many people have felt; it was just my first time feeling it and it hurt so badly…hmmm…

That was almost two years ago now!  Time flies guys; I don’t like how fast time passes away.  Anyway.  Last year (summer 2017) I went through a different situation, but again a very emotionally and mentally stressful and exhausting one!  Not handling the year before well, I never fully dealt with things and really clung to the pain I had gone through and therefore was just completely zeroed out!  The second time around though, I have had a better grip and perspective on the “healing process”.  Though it’s been a hard year to say the least, I have been able to focus more on the positive, on the growth and learning opportunities, and on the many reasons why God is so amazing and we shouldn’t EVER be afraid of what life throws at us; preaching to myself here because still that’s a difficult thing at times and easy to forget in the midst of a trial.

I was resistant against changing, against growth and believing in myself that I’m not
“worthless” and that I haven’t ruined my every chance at living a marvelous life.  But truly by the grace of God, the last two years have molded me and changed me and made me a young woman who finally is learning to grasp the concept that my past, my failures, my mistakes, and my pain don’t define me.  Jesus’ blood is spilled over each individual wrongdoing and impurity in my life…still learning how to fully grasp that because it’s mind blowing!

Also, I’ve realized that life is kinda about these tough experiences and how we deal with them…you go through experiences and learn, and God often uses those experiences not only to reveal Himself and help you grow, but to help other people in your life as well; so we can relate and share with people who may be going through something similar.  It’s all in how we handle what life, what God, throws at us.  We can either hold grudges, dwell over the past, ignore things, etc, or we can take a deep breath, confront and deal with the issue, and learn very valuable things that will further help us in life and help others!

The biggest thing I’ve learned out of the many things that have been revealed to me recently is that I can trust myself, I am so very capable because of Christ, I never need to be ashamed of who I am, and the things I’m afraid of are not going to kill me.  ALSO!  I have a very amazing, big, powerful, merciful, forgiving, caring, loving, mighty, gracious, faithful, reliable, honest, true, real and awesome God, and for that I am truly truly grateful.

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I write these things half holding my breath because summertime has brought some heavy loads the last few years!  My prayer is that whatever I’ve shared, even though not in complete detail, is able to help someone, to bring hope and comfort and assurance that you are not alone. ❤  No matter what…

Also, though some things above may sound dramatic or extreme, I promise nothing too crazy or horrible has happened in my life.  There are people who have suffered much more greatly!  But again, perspective is everything, and even though situations or circumstances may not be exact, the feelings and experiences mentally and emotionally or even physically and spiritually, are valid and relatable.  That’s one of the amazing gifts God has shared with us; the ability to empathize, understand, relate to, and encourage each other as we all go through life dealing with and experiencing things.

Thank you, Lord, for your mercy, grace, and faithfulness.  I have a looong way to go from here, but I am forever grateful for your great love for me!  How you see me as worthy, as righteous, I will never understand; but thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, perfect and blameless and completely without sin, who came to give up his perfect life to take on my filth, shame, pain, sin-filled life, bore it and every other persons debts on the cross, to give each of us the opportunity to be made right before God, the reason you see us blameless and pure because you see your Son and what he bore for our sake.  Thank you for the gift of Salvation; for the Holy Spirit who dwells within those who call upon the name of Jesus!  Open our eyes and speak to our hearts, especially those who do not know you; reveal yourself to those who don’t know you.  May they realize you are the missing piece to their puzzle and the reason they are alive!  Amen.

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Thank you for reading.  Until next time…

Sincerely,

Jenny~

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International Women’s Day

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So, here’s the “scoop”…women are amazing!  We were each created with such an amazing role to fill in this world.  Each one of us has a purpose and the ability to achieve that purpose.  But we wouldn’t be here without some extraordinary men.

For example: if Christopher Columbus didn’t cross the ocean to find a new land, well, none of these “feminist”, “girls run the world” women of today’s modern age would have the freedom to so strongly voice their opinions on how much we “don’t need men”.  Also, the women of today wouldn’t be alive without men because they are half of the reason we were each born into this world (you know what I mean)!  Men and women alike have such important and specific roles to fill in life.  YES the world has put women in a box throughout history saying we can and cannot do such and such; there are stereo types, and horrible or unnecessary things that happen in this world to the all different women, but we must remember too that this world is fallen and messed up and twisted.

If we truly desire to be a people, a nation, of equality, then we must learn how to work together, how to encourage each other in our passions, and how to live out the individual role and purpose that has been set before us as men and women.  At the end of the day, once you strip everything away, we are quite equal and have one goal; to honor God.

God has created us, male and female He created us (Genesis 5:1-2), to honor Him and do His will.  Men have their “job/place” and so do women, but that does not mean we as women should be in bondage to men, that we should have lesser opportunities, or that we can do nothing!  On the contrary, because of Christ we are capable of anything by His strength!  I don’t want to be empowered by women because women fail; humans fail!  They are not dependable.  But I do want to be empowered by Jesus Christ, so that I may come alone side other women, and encourage them and show them the greatest man and greatest love of all; Jesus.

There’s my two cents on the day…happy international women’s day!  I am proud to be a woman, and so grateful for the amazing strong women in my life past, presently, and to come, and I am so thankful for the love of Christ for each of us women and the very individual and important role each of us have to advance His kingdom in ways a man cannot; but also I thank you, Lord, for the strong men who have paved the road before us, and the women who supported and helped them, so we now have the freedom to speak, to dream, to pursue a career and our passion in life and to have a voice which can be heard.

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“But, ladies, you must answer too, what would we do with out ’em?…”

(song from Kiss Me Kate ‘I Hate Men’)

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This post is dedicated to the amazing women I am blessed to call my mother and sisters.  I love you all and thank you for being amazing examples, influences, and encouragement in my life. ❤

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~ “…When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God.  Male and female he created them..” Genesis 5:1-2

~ “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” Proverbs 31:25

~ “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45

~ “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your words; my soul knows it very well.” Psalm 139:14

~ “You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.” Song of Solomon 4:7

 

Jennifer~

Thankful #5: Loneliness

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November 5th, 2017…

I am so thankful alone time.  Being an introvert (to whatever extreme people may think), and someone who is naturally to herself, finding time to be alone with no interruptions or responsibilities or anything is something I’m truly thankful for.

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Lord, I thank you for this day, whatever it brings.  Thank you for the times where I can steal away and be alone; no one else around, no interruptions of my thoughts, no extra noise…time to think and focus and evaluate.  Father, in these times that truly I am thankful for, I ask you, Lord, to allow me to use it wisely.  May I learn to give these times a purpose and a meaning, and not to get distracted with over-thinking, social media, movies, or music.  Help me not to completely zone out unless that’s what I need, because sometimes that’s just necessary.  Lord, may I enter these moments of solitude not to isolate myself and hide, but to pursue you and your word, your truth, and to grow as an individual.  May I use these moments of loneliness, away from the world and other people, to focus on you and reevaluate my life.  To grow my relationship with you which in the end is all that matters.  I am a very relational person, as you know, and I care deeply, often too deeply, for the people in my life.  So much so, Lord, that I give up what I need and what I desire for the happiness of those around me.  Father, assist me in the art of finding balance.  Balance between helping myself and helping other, between being with people and being alone, between analyzing and over-analyzing…help me, dear Lord, to find that balance that is so very crucial.  Thank you again for this day.  I love you, Lord Jesus and pray in your holy and precious name, Amen.

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Life is interesting to say the least, and when it piles up hanging over you like a monster, it’s quite simply the easiest thing to duck and hide from the world and everything to do with it.  I do this.  I am very good at “hiding”.  My truest thoughts, feelings, and emotions.  And from this exercise (if you will), which may I add I am NOT proud of or recommending to anyone, I have learned many things.  Firstly, you lose yourself.  What you love, what you need, what you believe, what you enjoy; who you are.  It all becomes muffled and fuzzy in your mind when you hide everything.  Secondly, it’s easy to give a false reputation of yourself because how to you defend and promote who you are if you don’t confidently know?!  No matter the sincerity, if you have let yourself get buried alive under thoughts, feelings and emotions, how do you represent yourself?  And lastly, you so easily begin to doubt.  God, family, yourself, the world and the meaning of life.  This, my friend, is also called “depression”.  I can best explain it like being stuck in a viscous cycle; a never ending circle where with all your might no matter how much you want to you just cannot seem to grasp reality.  You don’t believe in who you are, how big God is, and your own strength and ability.  I could go on and on, but I’ll save that for another time…

Moral of the story, and something I am trying to learn myself, is this…do NOT hide!  No matter how easy, no matter if you’ve convinced yourself it doesn’t matter, no matter if you may hurt someone, no matter what.  The truth is it’s the hard things that make us stronger, what bothers you whether it seem small or silly MATTERS, and you will most liking end up hurting someone and yourself even more if you hide.

Whether it’s shining light in the darkness, seeking forgiveness or an apology, doing what’s right in a sticky situation, or fill in the blank, seek counsel, speak out, let go, do what’s right, never ignore your gut, and take a big deep breath…everything is going to be okay…

Jenny~

Thankful #4: Creation

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November 4th, 2017…

I am so thankful for creation.  SO THANKFUL!!!  The sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, the grass, the trees, the seasons, flowers, bugs, birds, human beings; every single intricately designed living thing that lives and breaths on this earth.  I am so so SO thankful!  Thankful for the magnificent beauty found in it all…it’s just fascinating, jaw-dropping, incredible, inspiring, and truly magical. ❤

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Today I went on a drive.  A looong drive.  It ended up being a beautiful two hour drive in a big figure-eight around where I live…guys, it was just what I needed and when I say beautiful, it was amazing *sigh*!!  The trees have not failed this fall to bring a tear to my eye with how beautiful they are!  They are all so vibrant, rich and colorful!  Even just around my home they are bright yellow, orange, and red and it makes my heart SO happy!  I drove around and just couldn’t help but smile the whole time; my windows down, my music on, and the perfect scenery surrounding me everywhere I turned…it was just so perfect.

Lord, I thank you for the time I got to spend exploring little roads right by my house and finding new places to watch sunsets and being able to witness your creation.  Father, I am in awe of what you have made!  Thank you for the eyes you’ve given me to see it and experience it!  There is so much beauty in this world, no matter the ugly, dirty, or darkness; Your light shines through always.  Thank you for the autumn weather, the cool breeze, the vibrant colors that make me feel so alive and excited and happy!  Truly, if there isn’t anything else to be happy about (which there is), seeing and being in your creation is enough.  Through what you’ve made you proclaim your power, ability, might, creativity, love, miracles, and so much more.  Help us to see the beauty in this world and in each other when things get ugly.  Allow us to help each other see the beauty in your creation and in your word and in your truth!  May we seek to be an example and light to those who cross our paths.  Open our minds and hearts to love, know, learn more, desire, and live for You, Lord!  Inspire us to live a life that reflects your grace, love, and magnificent glory!  I love you and thank you again for this day, the drive, the trees changing, and the promises that everything, no matter what happens, will be okay…there is no need to fear while we are in Christ, except for the power of God; may we respect and fear you, Lord, for you are capable of anything and everything!  It s in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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Hello!  So, during these thankful posts I will be sorting out some other posts as well, and if you haven’t noticed, some days might pile up on each other depending on my schedule.  I’m going through pictures trying to re-organize them (and my whole life, really), so I’m excited to get things rolling on my photography blog as well.  I hope you are able to see and enjoy the beautiful changes during this autumn!!  I encourage you to take a drive, a walk, a road trip even, and soak it all up. ❤

Happy weekend!

Jenny~

Thankful #3: Truth

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November 3rd, 2017…

I am so thankful for the truth!  I am so thankful for the freedom there is found in the truth!  There is no lie great enough that trumps the light of the truth, and light will be shed on the truth, no matter what.  “Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”.”-John 8:31-32

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Dear God, thank you for your truth!  For your word which is the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth!  You are so faithful in your word though truly you are serious about it as well.  Nothing is sugar-coated, and I am SO thankful for that!  No matter how we try to go about sugar-coating things; Lord may we be convicted of that and have the confidence and boldness to share your word exactly how it is written.  Thank you for the capacity of our feeble human minds!  The very thought that you have equipped us to be able to grasp even a little bit of your word is so amazing and I am so grateful to you for trusting me to read, learn, know, love, and share your precious word.  You are incredible and I love you!  I love you so much!  Thank you for your great, unfailing, love for us.  It is in your precious name I pray, Amen.

 

Jenny~

Thankful #2: Fellowship

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November 2nd, 2017…

I am so thankful for my family and friends.  My family is my group of friends most of the time, but that’s easier said for me because I have five brothers and six sisters!  Truly I love that I can call my family my friends because, generally speaking, family is forever. ❤  I am thankful for each one of my siblings, and my parents, individually as well as together; it is the strongest team and support system.  Also I am so thankful for my friends who are not blood related.  Many have left and I’ve had to let go, but to those who have stayed…wow!  I am so thankful and grateful them and for their different perspectives, encouragement, support, advice, company, getting together, study, and all the other things that my family can possibly never offer!

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Thank you, sweet Jesus, for my family!  I thank you for my parents and for their guidance and love, for the freedom they have given me to follow the desires I have for the things I want to do in this life, and for their wisdom that allows me to humble myself in knowing there is so much road to travel in my life before I can declare to truly “get” or understand anything.  Thank you for my siblings, for the additions to our family, and for the future additions as well; I am thrilled to find out who gets to be a part of this family that I love.  I thank you for the friends throughout my life.   Thank you for those who have stayed as well as those who haven’t.  Thank you for the lessons I’ve learned from both parties and continue to learn more and more from.  I life up to you, Father, my family and friends, and Lord, I give them to you completely, for you are mighty to save, you love us ultimately, and you are the only one who can truly help any of us, protect us, and make us into who you created us to be.  May we all be inspired by each other to seek just that; who you created us to be and why you’ve put us on this earth, in each others lives.  You are magnificent!  I love you, Lord!!  Thank you again for these people I know and those I have yet to meet, for the fellowship they offer, and the life we get to experience together.  May the bonds of those meant to be become stronger and unbreakable, may we stand up, encourage and help each other, be faithful, true and accountable to one another, and not let our brothers and sisters isolate themselves no matter how uncertain, scary or hopeless life becomes.  Make us strong so we can shine brightly together for you!  Thank you.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

 

Jenny~

A Poetry Prayer

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Lord, I thank you for this day,
For every opportunity I have to pray.
Thank you for the spring flowers that bloom,
Thank you for the warm sun in June.
Thank you for the crisp autumn air,
Thank you for the winter snow everywhere.

Father, I come to you today,
Humbled, on my knees, as I pray.
I ask you this, if I may,
To guide and protect me through each day.
Help me choose appropriately,
What I should do, say and believe.
Open my eyes when I am wrong,
Show me where I am weak and where I am strong.

Help me know your every word,
That I may speak Your truth and be heard.
Allow my life to be a part
Of the light others find within their hearts.
Use my mistakes and lessons learned
To influence others so they, in turn,
May choose differently and help even more
Then I could have ever helped on my own before.

God, Creator, Father and Son.
Spirit, Comforter, Healer; the only One.
First and the Last, Beginning and the End.
Thank you, sweet Jesus, for being my friend!
Thank you for loving me when I feel alone,
For encouraging, supporting, and providing me a home.
A home that is promised for eternity
When I opened my heart and said “I believe”.

I gave you my heart, my very life,
As you gave us yours as THE sacrifice.
The love you portrayed I will never lose sight,
And no matter what happens, I’ll endure the fight.
I will fight for you and the truth of your Word,
And through my tiny being may YOU be heard!
The most important decision to this day,
Was choosing to love you as you love me.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name,
Your kingdom come, Your will be done, forever, Amen.

–A poem my Jennifer Barger (2017)

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