You Have Value Within and Without Your Vocation

 

I’m over at The MOB Society today as a part of their Unwrapping The Gift series. And what glorious characters from the Christ’s birth did I get to write about?

 

The Shepherds.

 

Which at first had me stumped. But the  more I went back into the old familiar story the more I came to appreciate them. What do I want my boys to learn from the Shepherds? Click the link above and hop over to The MOB Society to find out.

 

-Jessica

Mountains and Valleys

We’ve just spent four weeks attending a training program related to our future in South Asia. I’ve been wanting to write about it but have found myself out of words, unsure where to start. It’s all emotionally stretching stuff, intended to help prepare us for the struggles that will present themselves overseas.

Counting the cost, transition issues, cross-cultural differences – stuff that wears at the thin places in your soul.

All important things to think about, of course. It would be much more dangerous to step on the plane blindly optimistic and ignorant.

The problem is – examining these issues, looking the future in the face, can dribble and drop the hope and excitement from your calling until your glass feels half empty.

“This is going to be hard and painful, we’re going to screw up our kids, we’re going to ruin our marriage . . .”

. . . and the list goes on.

We’ve had more than a dozen life stories from people who have worked overseas. Many trials, struggles, buckets full of burn out. But what I’m trying to glean from these stories, what I’m trying to remember, is that a story isn’t made of only negatives.

Even the people that had the most hardships on the field have come away with an impossibly deep connection to the foreign places they call home. They have made intimate friendships, made priceless memories, done good work.

We know our time in South Asia will have its valleys. But we’re trusting that the view from the mountains will be amazing.

IMG_7533

Grieving Goodbyes

 

I’m over at A Deeper Story today talking about an emotional breakdown I had last month. Sort of. :)

If you’d like to read it click on the link below.

 

Grieving Goodbyes

 

Jessica

The Weight of Lies

 

Long passed is the power and presence of a

child-like faith.

 

Bad answers to big questions left me choking on the meat, immune to

the mystery.

 

I have feared and fled a

fickle faith.

 

Doggy paddled – unwilling to dive, avoiding

the deep.

 

My prayers and petitions peter out,

disassociate with the divine.

 

I sink within sight of a savior.

 

And He whispers,

“Why did you doubt?”

 

Redefining Success

 

At our small group recently we watched the Louie Giglio video How Great is our God. I’m usually pretty critical of most sermons or glorified motivational speeches. But I did enjoy my perspective of the universe getting stretched by this one.

 

I’ve fallen into the very human trap of making God too small. Like, you know, he’s my God. The God of America. The God of the Earth. But when you pan out and pan out again and pan out again you realize how terribly finite we are. We’re so darn . . . measurable.

 

We take up this itty bitty space in this teeny tiny point in time.

 

And yet we are known. The same God who breathed galaxies knows when a sparrow falls on this silly little planet called Earth.

 

It reminded me that our thoughts are not God’s thoughts. In the past when presented with that idea God has often been portrayed as a near bully; A kid with a magnifying glass, and we the ants.

 

But after watching the How Great is our God video a different image emerged. A God that is so big and powerful and with so much knowledge and fore/hindsight that he’s not nearly as caught up in our darkness as we are. A God who sees our light.

 

We have such small, human, western definitions of success and failure. But I have an inkling that God doesn’t perceive failure the way we do.

 

I got to thinking about how we define a “successful” ministry. Bullet points would include, far-reaching, long-running, and impressive numbers.

 

We’ve been a part of several start-up ministries that would appear to have never left the ground. Tried it for a season and it didn’t grow or have the engagement we had hoped for. Believe me, you stack too many of these on your spiritual resume and you start to feel like something is wrong with you. Like you’re a failure.

 

But I don’t think God sees it that way. I think more often He says “Good job, guys! You built relationships, you nurtured each other, you filled a short-term need.”

 

Few of us are every going to be Billy Grahams, but that doesn’t make our ministries, our day-to-days, any less important or impactful.

 

Every experience, every seeming flop – it all stretches us, teaches us something. If you’re growing, you’re succeeding. Life isn’t a race or a contest.

 

Life is ministry. Every day is ministry. I don’t need or want a legacy. I just want to live good days. Good days that slowly become less selfish and more people-centered.

 

I think God would define that as a successful life.

 

No One Feels Brave

 

I’m over at A Deeper Story today spinning a tale of bravery. Click the link below to check it out.

 

Feelings can be liars.

 

Jessica

When the Best Advice is Boring

 

I’m over at The MOB Society today giving out some really unsexy advice. You’re welcome.

 

If you’d like to read it click on the link below.

 

My boring, unsexy advice.

 

Jessica

The Shoes

 

 

I.

When we were still babes he placed the shoes before us.

Grateful but ignorant we tucked them in a closet.

On hands and knees we continued to crawl.

Babes. Nursing.

 

II.

One day we discovered a growing strength in our limbs.

We stretched this awareness, flexing, intrigued,

And stood upright like the humans we were meant to be;

Learning to walk.

 

III.

Then came the stumbling.

The painful years, tripping over our own bare feet.

Stubbing toes.

Falling.

 

IV.

Eventually, coordination.

Enough to keep us out of trouble.

That’s when we remembered the shoes.

Not rejected, but packed away.

 

 

V.

So we took them out, turned them in our hands.

We tried them on, wriggled our toes

But found them a terrible fit.

So much growing room.

 

VI.

The shoes are fitted for readiness, lined with peace.

They were made to move and travel mountains.

With the patience that only sovereignty can afford God gave them to babes.

Silly babes.

 

VII.

I tried them on the other day,

Surprised at the snugger fit.

 

VIII.

Soon.

Grace Is An Ocean

 

That thing where a metaphor presents itself so endless and perfect that you run with it.

 

I’m over at A Deeper Story today talking about faith and grace and church and . . . oceans. Click the link below to read it.

 

Grace Is An Ocean

 

Jessica

Church Club

very small church

I’m over at A Deeper Story today talking church, generational divides, playgrounds. Click the link below if you’d like to check it out.

 

Holy Social Club

 

Jessica