Know when I post

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas time is here!

So...it's been a year almost since I posted on this blog. Sheesh! Time to get crack-a-lackin' on this! :)

It's 2 days until Christmas Eve. The weather here is nuts...one day it's cold...the next day it's warm enough to wear shorts. But, crazy weather is normal around here. Needless to say, it doesn't feel like Christmas in regards to the weather! :)

One thing I've noticed myself getting caught up in is comparing our household to others. This year we get the blessing of having one of my stepsons here for Christmas which is awesome! Seems we're more focused on love & giving this year than lots of presents for the kiddos which is great, but man, it's hard not to focus on that when you see trees in other households that are full of pretty wrapped presents. The Holy Spirit has kept this verse in my heart:

"Let us not grow weary in doing good for in due time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
Galatians 6:9

What an awesome promise, right?! Straight from The God of the universe to me & you! :) God doesn't want us comparing our situations to those of others. We have no clue what they've went through to be in the position they're in, so to compare & be jealous or want what they have would mean we'd have to go through what they have to be there. Umm...no thanks! Sometimes I think my life is pretty rough...until I hear another's story!

God wants us to be content with where we are (Philippians 4:11-13). That can be difficult when it feels you work so hard & have very little (or so you think) to show for it. This Christmas I can be thankful that I get to teach our kiddos about the importance of giving & we get to show them lots of love...love that may be scarce coming from others. :) So smile! Even if the kids don't get a lot of "stuff"...give them a lot of LOVE! That lasts so much longer than the stuff does! :)

Photo credit: Jennifer Woodruff (2009)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Reflecting back on 2014...



I know for me & many I know...seeing 2014 go seems to be a well-needed time! I'm not sad to see it be done, that's for sure. ;) That's not to say it's been horrible, but there has been a lot of junk that I'm thankful is over. I pray every year for a theme from God for me & my family...2014's was "Beyond our limits". I tried to convince myself that would be for the good...great things beyond what our limited minds could even think up, but deep down I knew God was preparing my heart for a rocky year.

I've truly felt I was moved beyond my limits...& even though that really stunk having to go through, I'm thankful for it. God  used so much this year to grow me further than I ever thought was possible. I've learned through the hard stuff...the dark valleys that seem darker than any other before...the moments I'd rather hide out & sleep it all away is when Jesus shines brightest. I can trust Him through it all due to seeing how He's NEVER let me down in anything I've went through. He's always got me through everything...most every time better than I could've done by myself! I look back & see how God was my everything when I felt I had nothing. I see where He held me when I felt lonely...ever so lonely. I see where He was teaching me about His love & sinking that into my heart (which is a game-changer, by the way!). I see where He was showing me even deeper levels of loving others...amidst every human reason to justify not loving! I see where He was bringing back to life the Jennifer that got lost amidst life struggles...the one I missed greatly & yet didn't even know anymore. He helped me understand literally how He can calm ME in the storm rather than calming the storm. I see how He helped me truly understand forgiveness & how important it is to continually forgive rather than letting unforgiveness harbor anger & resentment...which leads to bitterness. God definitely pushed me past the limits I had set for myself...& now I can say I'm thankful. He used everything for my good...just as His word promises me. :)

As you look back on your year...whether thankful it's over or praising God because it happened...

  • Where has God been most real to you?
  • Where did He show up the most?
  • What did you learn through that time/situation?
  • How is He now more real to you because of having gone through that time?


2015 will be here in just a few days...how can we apply what we've learned this year to the new year? I've had a stirring in my soul regarding 2015...that it's gonna blow me away with how good it will be! :) Very exciting times! It's one of those moments you're almost afraid to blink due to possibly missing something! Haha Let's prepare for the best...even with a reality that it could be totally different than our idea of best...yet also holding onto the hope that Jesus lives & because of that, this new year could be spectacular! :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Your rod & Your staff, they comfort me...

Psalm 23...a very popular psalm that many know...if you don't know it, you probably just didn't realize it was a Bible passage. :) Here it is...

PSALM 23
The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows, He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths bringing honor to His name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.
Your rod & Your staff protect & comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely Your goodness & unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,
& I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Notice the lines I italicized. I read this Psalm the other day & these lines have stuck with me. When I walk in the darkest valley...You are beside me, Jesus. Your rod & staff protect & comfort me. If you read into taking care of sheep, sheep herders will tell you a rod is used to discipline...to get the sheep back in line where it needs to be. A staff is used for comfort to the sheep...it lets the sheep know its owner is there watching over it. In using this stick as both a rod & staff, it shows the sheep love.

I found it interesting this line came after the section about walking through the darkest valley(s). Even in the valley that's ridiculously dark, the rod has to be used. Hmm. Even when Jesus is the only light I can see in these kind of valleys, I still get out of line & wanna stray off to do things my way! Amazing how "awesome" I think I am sometimes that I try to be God & make things happen. Sheesh! haha Just like walking in a dark room...sooner or later, I'm gonna stub a toe or fall over somethin! haha Sometimes, He has to give me a good whack with the rod so to set me straight again...which I'm cool with even though it hurts. He does it only out of love & knowing where I'm headed when I'm in that mode. :) 

What about you? Do you have those "I can do better" moments even in the dark? I know I have...not fun having to be disciplined back to the straight & narrow! But one thing I'm thankful for...the staff. Jesus uses the staff to remind me He loves me...to remind me He's always with me...to keep me close so to stay on track with Him. All of it He does out of love. Thank You Jesus! :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Job grieved...THEN thanked God.

I was reading a blog post of Ann Voskamp's about "How The Brave Deal With Losses." She mentioned Job & how much he lost...yet the first words from his mouth were thanksgiving to the Lord. This man finds out within minutes that he's lost EVERYTHING...livestock, kids, etc. Yet thanks God a moment after. Wow! God even states through His word that Job never sinned even with the words he spoke. Holy cow! Honestly, I'm only up to chapter 3 as I'm trying to sink in everything God is showing me through Job's life & how it can relate to my life in all the broken pieces right now.

What do you do when life seems too much? What do you do when you feel weary & seems you can't make it the next step let alone the next few hours before blessed bedtime?? What do you do when you feel there is no hope anymore...that things won't get better & it's time to give it up? How do you handle those moments where you can say, "It's been one thing after another lately!"??

I'm in that moment now. I've heard myself saying that very thing a few different times. I feel like that weary soldier...afraid to take off the armor & rest b/c "they might come back" or "I need to stay suited up" or "It's not ok for me to not handle everything & be almost perfect at it." :( Not easy to be real, but that's the hard truth. There is a lot of brokenness right now in my life...& I'm now learning by God's grace that that's ok. :)

You see, God wants you to hand Him all those broken pieces & say "Here...I trust You to make it all beautiful again because I can't. I don't know what to do...but You do so it's Yours." It's in that moment He can then mend brokenness so to shine Jesus through the cracks. ;) When I think I can keep it whole & I can work it out right, I end up blocking the light of Jesus for others to see...they can't see Him b/c I'm in the way. That's not the purpose of this life, right? I mean, we do have a role in this show...we do have to do our part, but that's just it. It's a part...not the whole play. I do my part & then let God do the rest.

Job did that. He did what he was to do in those moments...he was to the point of so much brokenness that all he could do was grieve & then thank God. Thank God for the time he did have with the kids & the stuff, but also reminded himself that God knows what He's doing. "The Lord gives & the Lord takes away." Notice he didn't stay in the pit...he didn't grieve forever. WHILE he was grieving, he thanked God for Who He is. Doing this got him through some great grief. Doing this kept him focused on The One in control of all things (read those first couple chapters where satan had to get permission from God...it's great!). Doing this kept him reminded that even though God allowed this great sadness & loss that He could very well give again.

How can you thank God today for the troubled seas? What is one good thing coming out of this dark valley that I can think on & find new everyday? How much more will our faith have grown as we come out of these darker days? Will you read Job with me & tell me your thoughts...your heart...your ah-ha moments as God shows you how much He wants to love you, especially through the really really tough stuff?? Praying this has encouraged you to continue the fight...even when it's as simple an act as being thankful for God knowing...God caring...God being willing...God being able. ;)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What's NEW?!

It's time to get back at this & be persistent with posting. I've had so much going on & so much learning taught by none other than God Himself. If I included it all in this post, it'd be HUGE! I've had moments of faith-building, moments of faith-walking, moments of rest, moments of letting God fight for me due to no ability left to fight myself, moments of loving others as Jesus does, moments of tears beyond measure, moments of tender love & filling from the Holy Spirit, & moments of release of anger & bitterness. It's been awesome...even amidst the struggles! :)

I'd love to take you back through each moment as I'm sure you've felt very similar when faced with situations that are so much bigger than you, but that's not where God has led me for this post. You see, I'm in a season of focusing on & celebrating the NEW God is doing rather than dwelling on the past things that won't be the same again. Sounds like a Bible verse, right? Because it is! :)
Isaiah 43:18-19
But forget all that -- it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

I find it neat how God uses His Word to bless me in different seasons of my life. For the first part of this craziness, He kept reminding me of Galatians 6:9...don't grow weary as change is coming in due time. Ugh, do you know how bad you wanna hate a verse when everything crazy is going on?! haha But God was just with me through it all & knew I needed His words of comfort & promise. :) So, for this season it's been interesting. I think through a lot of my life, I dwelled on the past & how it wasn't the same anymore, etc. I'd say I'd forgive, but then hold you to the fire every time I saw a fault...bringing up the "you remember that time" moments. :/ Ugly, but true. God doesn't want me or you to live like that. He wants us to live life to the fullest! How can I do that if I'm constantly looking in my rear view while trying to drive forward?! The present is what should be clearest...not the past while the present is blurry!


So, my encouragement to you (along with myself) is to ask yourself today: What's NEW today? Look for even the smallest detail that God is doing. Look through the eyes of your kids (or relatives kids if you aren't a parent yet)...have the excitement that can't be contained! Be like my Isabelle...when she gets excited, she grabs her nose & mouth & the feeling takes her over! We tell her "Let it out!" :)

Be full of what God is doing NEW! It will overflow to the point that others will come to you asking what the deal is! :) Cause others to ask you, "Did you take your happy pill or somethin' this morning?!" ;)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

From the graVe to graCe

I'm just starting the #LivingSoThat online Bible study with my sweet sister friends & Proverbs31. I had to share this as it was a huge ah-ha moment for me & many others. How awesome that THE God I serve willingly can speak to us even amidst a one-letter typo!

Stacy (a Proverbs31 OBS Team Member) posted about how she was texting about grace & what the author, Wendy Blight, describes. When she typed grace, she typed "graVe" as the V is right next to the C. In that instant, God spoke to her heart about how Jesus takes us from the graVe to graCe. The "v" points down...just as a grave is in the ground...this is where we were all at. God says, "You see that...that V right there. It is burial...it's death. It's where all are before accepting Jesus. I'll give Christ (notice the C) & He'll cover you. He's covering you...above you, below you, already beaten death so you don't have to go there."

Wahoo! Is that not awesome?! She drew this out on her video & I made my own so to have a daily reminder of what grace truly means. :)

You'll never look at grace the same! ;)



Joy is... Prayer for the moment... Thankful for...

This was an activity in the #MadeToCrave Action Plan online Bible study. The purpose of it is to focus your mind on what God is doing & how you can stay in His will by being joyful, prayerful, & thankful. It's based on 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. How does the activity work, you ask? Well, let me tell you! :)


  • You can use regular notebook paper, printer paper, or have a journal specifically for this activity.
  • Set an alarm on your phone/computer/tablet/whatever that will go off every hour, 2 hours, however many times daily you want to do this. My alarm on my phone is titled "Joy/Prayer/Thanks" so I know what I'm to do when it goes off. :)
  • When the alarm goes off & if possible, stop what you're doing for a moment & think about these 3 things... What is joy to me?  What can I pray for right now that I need right in this moment?  What am I thankful for right now?
  • Write these down with the time of the day.
  • At the end of the day, go over all you've focused on all day. :)
This has really helped me stay focused on God & what He's doing in my life rather than focusing on the junk/negative that can cause me to drown. I pray you find encouragement & God-strength as you embark on this journey. :)