A place to lose my life; A place to find it

A place to lose my life; A place to find it

For the woman who’s facing a decision, asking herself if surrender to God’s will is too risky…

For the woman who wonders what will happen if she lets go of her own dreams…

For the woman who hears the call to die to self, pick up her cross daily and follow Him…

A glimpse of my own story over at EmilyWierenga.com.

A Place Where Dreams Die

You (yes, you!) have been chosen

You (yes, you!) have been chosen

We women are masters at comparison.

Experts at believing what she does, who she is, what she has is so much better.

We tell ourselves what we do doesn’t matter much.

Who we are isn’t very important.

What we have is a pile of burdens that we’re not even equipped to handle.

And we begin to wish…

If only I’d been chosen for something more significant.

But, friend, you have been chosen. There’s a call on your life that only you can answer.

Click here to read more…

Dirt Road with Maple Trees in Winter at Sunrise, Fluffy Clouds

You don’t want to be stuck behind me at Aldi

You don’t want to be stuck behind me at Aldi

It’s true.

I can’t tell you how many questions about my family I’ve answered while in line to buy ridiculous amounts of food.

If you’d like the nutshell version of who eats all those groceries at my house and how God put us all together, click over to The Better Mom, where I share my story today.

If you’d like to help PAY for all those groceries, message me immediately… 😉

Blessings,

Jennifer

TheStoryYou'llGet

Do the “ordinary” matter?

Do the “ordinary” matter?

Ordinary.

The adjective no one wants to claim.

In a world where importance, attention, glamor, and any kind of fame is everything, how do we know if we really matter?

How do we know our true worth and significance when we feel so ordinary?

How do we pass eternal values on to our kids enamored with with the glitter of YouTube and t.v. fame?

The truth is, we matter greatly, and we can make a difference, if we’re willing to be faithful… seeking true gold instead of mere glitter.

Click here to read more at The Better Mom.

YouMatterLotus

 

A case of mistaken identity: How should we define ourselves?

A case of mistaken identity: How should we define ourselves?

I was supposed to be a missionary.

I dreamt of it all through childhood. The passion grew each time I read a missionary biography, attended a missions conference, or drove by a Kansas wheat field “white to harvest” (John 4:35).

I traveled to Belize in high school, Papua New Guinea in college. I majored in International Ministries at Moody Bible Institute, intent on following the call of God overseas.

And I did.

My dream came true. When my husband Jarod and I landed in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 2002, ready to minister, ready to take in our twin boys, I wouldn’t have traded places with anyone on the face of the earth.

I was a little fearful, yes. I knew trials surely awaited us. In fact, with the darkness of voodoo surrounding us in a nation that had been dedicated to Satan 200 years earlier, we sometimes felt we’d entered “Mordor” of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy.

But I knew my calling.

Until eight years later, when I didn’t.

After the Port-au-Prince earthquake, after God brought us through the “Red Sea” on dry land, after the adoption miracles, I found myself stripped of the identity that had defined me.

Have you been there?

In American Christian culture, or at least in my own little mind, there was something so noble about being a missionary.

I felt I’d joined the Navy Seals. I was in the elite group. I was one of the chosen, one of the few who got to pick up my cross and follow Christ to another culture.

Though the American Dream appealed to my flesh (oh, did it ever), I wanted to live in a fourth-world country more than I wanted a white-picket fence.

But eight years later, whether I liked it or not, the door to that country was closed in my face.

It eventually sank in. I was no longer a missionary.

Of course, I understood that my mission of reaching the lost would never change, maybe not even my calling to work with those from the Haitian culture, but my identity was gone.

And it needed to be.

Ripe Barley Field at Sunset, a grassy Path leading towards the Sun

He knows when we need to be moved to the next thing.

We may not see the next thing at all. All we see is emptiness, and all we feel is the sting of the slammed door, the disgrace of perceived failure, or the frustration of thwarted plans.

But that’s where Jesus wants to meet us, to refine us — to take knowing and trusting Him to a new level.

And when, after days, weeks, months, or years, we’ve surrendered our identities back to Him, remembering that our true identity is in Him, He sheds His light on a path we never would have found otherwise.

I’m not a missionary in the classic sense of the word.

When I read Kisses from Katie, or blogs by my missionary friends back in Haiti; when I listen to a missionary’s presentation at church or receive prayer letters from friends who are “answering the call,” there’s a twinge of jealousy in my heart.

That used to be me! I answered that call once. I lived an adventure. I shopped the open market instead of Target!

But if my identity was wrapped up in a calling — even a good and noble calling — it was in the wrong place.

God will keep using us, friend. He’s calling me to new things, and He’ll do the same with you. But neither you nor I have the right to tell Him how He should use us.

He’s the Potter, we’re the clay.

And as high as our hopes and thoughts for ourselves are, His thoughts are higher! (Isaiah 55:9)

Yes, God allowed me to flounder without the answers that I desperately wanted, so I would plant myself firmly in Him instead of in a title.

Truth be told, I’m still floundering. I laugh when required to fill in the blank marked “Occupation” on forms.

What am I, anyway?

I may not know what I am, but I do know whose I am.

I am HIS.

And that, my friend, is enough for any of us, isn’t it?

Doing hard things

Doing hard things

The funny thing about hard stuff is that we didn’t believe it would be this hard.

Ministry.

Adoption.

Marriage.

Parenting.

Walking by faith.

Those of us living in a first world country are especially confused by hard. We watch commercials promising the easy life, sure that if we buy or do the right things, we’ll be able to avoid hard.

But aren’t all our best memories connected to the hard stuff?

A race won.

A baby born.

A degree earned.

What’s your hard thing?

About eleven years ago, mine was moving to a fourth-world country and becoming an instant mom to three… eventually mom to five.

Around three years ago, it was fighting panic and adrenal fatigue — pushing through life even though I wanted to hide in a safe little corner.

Today it’s being faithful at home, while also letting my light shine a little further. It’s putting myself on my blog, in a book, and even on a speaking platform.

Each hard thing has been scary. Today is scary. And exhausting. Did I mention hard stuff is exhausting?!

BUT

Every single time I want to go live in those life-made-easy commercials, God gets involved.

He elbows me in the ribs and just won’t let up until I’ve gotten the point:

  • blogs…
  • verses…
  • songs…
  • homeschool curriculum…
  • sermons…

They all say the same thing:

Hebrews1038

I don’t know what the future holds; God might take me from hard to easier, or maybe from hard to harder. But even in my fear and wimpiness, I’m motivated to press on by a couple huge things:

1) I know there will eventually be a permanent end to all that is hard. Hallelujah!

And at that end we will be rewarded for our perseverance.

“In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:37

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

2) I don’t have to do a single thing in my own strength!

God promises to empower and equip me for each challenge.

“I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Isaiah 4113

Here’s the deal: God has specific tasks in mind for each of us. We’ve been uniquely designed for our own hard stuff.

Jesus saved us — completing the ultimate overwhelming job. And He sustains us. He empowers us.

Our time here is limited. Will we do what He’s created us and saved us to do?

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Alright, now it’s your turn to share. What hard thing is God asking you to do?

It’s all loss compared to this

It’s all loss compared to this

Philippians3-8

The comparison game is so easy to play… whether we’re trying to feel better OR worse about ourselves.

We make a mental list of “their” church involvement, “their” schooling choices, “their” accomplishments, “their” parenting skills, “their” volunteer work, “their” talents and measure them against our own.

If our list glows in comparison, we relax a little. We must be doing something right.

Of course if “theirs” outshines ours, we feel we’d better step it up a bit.

Wanting to be used for God’s glory is great, but is our spirituality defined by what we do or by our list of credentials?

Join me at The Better Mom today where my list falls apart.

I count all things to be loss…

My new ebook (free PDF this week!) — Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear

My new ebook (free PDF this week!) — Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear

Take-CourageLR

Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear is a concise, two-part ebook offering hope to those, who like me, have found themselves in the grip of anxiety, adrenal fatigue, and trauma-related issues.

In the first section I share glimpses of eight drama-filled years in Haiti preceding my own personal crisis and in the second I offer insights for making spiritual, mental, and physical choices of courage.

If you are a jenniferebenhack.com blog subscriber, you’ve heard bits and pieces of my story. Download the ebook for the bigger picture!

Find Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear for your Kindle at amazon.com for $2.99

Or

Sign up for my newsletter and receive the PDF version of Take Courage for free this week!

Send an email to subscribetojenniferebenhack@gmail.com and you will receive the link to download your PDF copy of the ebook!

*If you have not yet subscribed to receive regular blog updates via email, remember to click the “Subscribe” link to the right to do so!

(…But, remember to send me an email at subscribetojenniferebenhack@gmail.com to receive your free PDF!)

My new ebook (free PDF this week!) — Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear

My new ebook (free PDF this week!) — Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear

Take-CourageLR

Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear is a concise, two-part ebook offering hope to those, who like me, have found themselves in the grip of anxiety, adrenal fatigue, and trauma-related issues.

In the first section I share glimpses of eight drama-filled years in Haiti preceding my own personal crisis and in the second I offer insights for making spiritual, mental, and physical choices of courage.

If you are a jenniferebenhack.com blog subscriber, you’ve heard bits and pieces of my story. Download the ebook for the bigger picture!

Find Take Courage: Choosing faith on my journey of fear for your Kindle at amazon.com for $2.99

Or

Sign up for my newsletter and receive the PDF version of Take Courage for free this week!

Send an email to subscribetojenniferebenhack@gmail.com and you will receive the link to download your PDF copy of the ebook!

*If you have not yet subscribed to receive regular blog updates via email, remember to click the “Subscribe” link to the right to do so!

(…But, remember to send me an email at subscribetojenniferebenhack@gmail.com to receive your free PDF!)