Monday, October 23, 2017

Telling Your Story


Friends!!!  It has been a while!

I'd like to say it was because I was doing something grand and adventurous, but the truth is I've just been tired.

Physically.
Mentally.
Emotionally.
Spiritually.

I have been quick to blame it on my thyroid and other heath issues I had going on, which in part is true.  But, in all reality, that was just a good excuse. Although I have been keeping up with my Facebook page and leaving an encouraging word for the day there, I neglected the blog.
Somewhat on purpose.
Because in all honesty, I just felt like I didn't have much to give. 

A few weeks ago I was able to spend some one on one with a sweet friend of mine and we were able to just simply catch up.  We ended up walking through one of our local parks for almost 2 hours (one of those times where time stood still and it seemed like minutes).  But just chatting with each other and sharing where our hearts are...and being vulnerable enough to say sometimes I just don't feel like I'm enough.  That someone else can do [insert whatever] so. much. better.  And how we feel like what we need more of is women (and men) who come alongside each other, regardless of age, color, background, etc and stand shoulder to shoulder, supporting each other and standing in the gap for each other.  

And it's so true.
That is my heart.

To build one another up.
To hold a hand.
To give a hug.
To pray for.
To sit beside quietly when no words are needed.

At a conference I attended this weekend, I actually had time to simply be still and spend some quiet time just talking to God and soaking in His peace.  Added bonus was that it was in a beautiful, serene location that sits on the Chesapeake Bay AND the weather could not have been more perfect.





If I'm being completely transparent, I can easily allow myself to get caught up in trying to be "perfect" and I forget that God is looking for authenticity.  

Intentionally, I do try to just keep it real on the blog and my personal posts, because let me just tell you, I know for my own self, I identify more with other people's struggles than I do their triumphs.

Who wants to be reminded constantly of how they're not measuring up?
Why not just say, you know what - I'm struggling, but I know I'm going to push through.

So for me, one of my biggest takeaways was "hearing" that it's ok to be still.  
And it's ok to have times of solitude.  
That I don't need to go, go, go...
When we are tired, it's much harder to handle stress.
It's ok to separate yourself and make sure you're taking care of YOU before you're taking care of others.  
Just keep it real and let people know where you are.  

Maybe, just maybe this is why I have found myself in a place of just complete exhaustion.
God wanted to remind me that I can't be all things to all people.
And if I wasn't listening, He was going to make it happen.

Friends, there were days in the past few months where I am not even sure how I made it through the day.  That's how exhausted I was.
After sleeping all night, it was all I could do to get out of bed in the morning.
By the time I did get to work, I wanted to take a nap.
By mid afternoon, my mind was just in a constant state of chaos; I just couldn't focus.  
When I got home, I would either lay on the couch or snuggle up in my bed and sleep until dinner - that either my daughter or hubby had made.
I was asleep again by 8 or 9pm.
This became my "routine."

I would pray on the way to work for enough energy to just get through my day.  And on the way home, enough energy to just be "present" for my family.
I was frustrated that my body was working against me.
My work friends, my close friends and my family extended so much grace to me.

Not that I wanted to share all my "stuff" with the world, but people, I was a tired, hot mama mess...every.single.day.

You know what?
God has used this time for me to regain my focus.
And I have been reminded that God has given us each something to do!

Not one of us can do the same thing the same way.
He has purposed you with something greater than you.  
He has purposed ME with something greater than me.
And we need to get good at being good at whatever that something is.

My goal in life - really, it's to be one of those people who just shines His light.  That people see Jesus in me.  That I seek to find the good in a time where the bad is overwhelming.  That I choose to love when it's more likely other people choose to hate.  That we don't overlook "color" but instead, find a way to bridge the gap.  To speak up for those whose voice isn't being heard.  To never let anyone feel that they are alone on this journey.

I will continue to share my stories.  

Maybe there's just one person who might read this blog one day and find that something that is written is just the word they needed to hear.  
Even if it reaches just one person, I'm still fulfilling what I feel passionate about.








In summary - a few takeaways for you:

1. Learn the value of solitude.

This is one is funny to me because I'm always pointing out how much better we are together. AND we are!!! But we also need to make sure "we're" in a good place, a healthy place before we can help someone else. I can't tell you how good it felt to just be still in His presence, surrounded by sunshine, the bay, and the sounds of the water.

 

 
 
2. Know when to be Still!

Refer to #1. When we are tired it's much harder to handle stress.

3. Surround yourself with good people.

Goodness, I've been blessed with amazing friends! 
Make sure you are surrounding yourself with good friends.  
When talking about going to this conference, I had two friends who more or less told me "no wasn't an option" and made it possible for me to attend this weekends conference. 

Who does that?!?

Friends who not only love you, but know you need something just like this!  I even received this little surprise:


4. God isn't looking for perfection, He's looking for authenticity.

Do what God gives YOU to do...none of us are the same and we all have our own thing we're good at...so get good at being good at it!!!

5. Laughter really is good for your soul!  Tears are, too.  And it's always a good thing when you can experience both with your people.

And lastly,  I really enjoy digging deeper into scripture.  With this blog, I strive not to "force" my Christianity on anyone, but it's who I am, so there will be times it's my focus!!  I can honestly say this past year has been so good for me...between Pastor Mark's messages on Sundays to personal devotion and prayer time...to weekends like this where I could just sit and listen for hours to something I've probably heard 100 times shared in a new way where I take away something different!

I encourage you to take some time and simply be still and talk to God...and then listen for the way He chooses to speak back to you!

I have come home with a heart that is full and a soul that is refreshed!  I left there thinking to myself, I want to be like these ladies  - I want to be able to encourage someone with the words I write or the things I say.  I'm looking forward to sharing more of what comes to this heart of mine in hopes that I do just that.



xox
Jenny

1 comment:

  1. Sweet daughter of mine, know that God created each of us uniquely and equipped us for His purpose, but also know that He designed our bodies and minds to require REST everyday! When were are mentally and physically tired, we are not going to be the servants and ministers God purposed us to be. I can't help but think that Satan likes it when we push ourselves to exhaustion because he knows we will falter in our work for the Kingdom. And, yes, just like God allowed my mental and physical exhaustion to cause two serious health issues to basically put me out of commission for over half of the year 2013, He made it so that He and I had a lot of "alone" time together then. This resulted in me having a new perspective on trusting Him and allowing the Holy Spirit to use me as He intended. I love you, and I love how you love your family, people, and God.

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