Letters To My Brothers | Pray For Your Future Wives

Dear Brothers, 

Did you know that your future wife may be praying for you? 

Often we don't realize how important and powerful prayer is. It's not an exercise God asks us to do once in awhile for no apparent reason. It's not whimsically sending off a wish into the clouds.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:7-8)

Your wife is not just a vague "someday," she is a real person that God sees and loves. She has desires, hopes, dreams, plans, joys, and struggles. Your prayers affect her life and shape who she is becoming. 

Won't it be amazing to someday finally meet her and see how the Lord worked through your faithful prayers? 

Maybe your wife is not yet saved and she needs the gospel. If so, you can begin by praying that your future wife will become a Christian. Maybe she is discouraged and needs hope, comfort, faith and prayer. There are so many things she could be going through right now and you can be an amazing force even now in her life. Your love can begin for her long before you meet. 

There have been quite a few amazing stories about the Lord burdening a guy or girl to pray for a specific need for their future spouse even when they didn't know each other. When they finally met each other they found that their spouse had been going through the very thing they had been praying for at that time. You could pray that God would give you a burden for your future spouse's specific need at this time.

Pray for Godly character qualities you desire. (Obviously, don't make lists that are so picky she could never live up to them.) Pray she will be content as a single young lady as she waits for you. Pray she will hope in the Lord. Pray she will grow and mature. Above all, pray your wife would model Christ. 

As you pray, God will change your life, too. It's kind of funny how it works but when you begin to think about what you desire in your future spouse, God puts on your heart how you can grow and prepare to be a future spouse.

You can care for and treasure her heart starting now.  Becoming a faithful and loving husband doesn't start when you marry her, it starts now as you pray for her. 

Your sister, 
Jennifer

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The Full Armor

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It's past midnight and my fever keeps me from sleep. I don't know about you, but whenever I'm sick, nighttime is especially hard and not just because of my physical state of overall weariness and discomfort. Sometimes fears, doubts, or worries I may have come full force and Satan takes advantage of my weakened state. He attempts to cover my eyes to Who the great God I worship really is. That is his chief goal, after all. Remember his lies to Eve in the garden? 

Instead of allowing these lies to seep in and convince me of their false truth, I keep a long list of verses on my phone for quick reference in order to be able to speak truth against these lies when they come. That is what our armour and weapons are in this spiritual battle we are engaged in everyday. In Ephesians we are told to put on a full suit of armour. A belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, and sword.
 

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,
— Ephesians 6:13-17 (ESV)

I have to admit, I'm not always a good fighter. Many times I fail to resist the lies because they sound so logical and justified. It is easy to think I will be able to tell lies from truth easily but when the battle comes, Satan is a professional liar and he can make me believe many things. (2 Cor. 10:3-5; 1 Peter 5:8; Revelation 12:9; 2 Thes. 2:9-10) I am tempted to lay down my armor and say resignedly, "Maybe this is the truth. Maybe I'm the one who's lying to myself about God making me new with His salvation. Maybe I really am crazy to think He has a good plan for my life." When this happens, Satan rejoices I'm sure. I can't give him the victory.

However, many times, I have found the difference between true conviction and Satan's lies is this; true conviction holds promised victory in Jesus Christ while the evil one's lies say you'll be forever chained to your short comings or weaknesses and convinces us we have no hope of victory. After all, if there is no hope of victory in battle and your soul would surely die, would you want to fight?

Even Jesus, the Son of God, when he was here in human form, was led into the wilderness by the Spirit to fast for forty days and nights and then to be tested by Satan. Satan even twisted scriptures to try to convince Jesus of his lies. He tested Jesus at His weakest (physically weak from no food).  He used hunger, testing of Jesus' Father's ability, and promise of material possession. But notice, Jesus fought back with scripture and the truth of who His Father is. (Matthew 4:1-11)

Satan often comes at our weakest points when our wants, needs, sadness, and insecurities are most present. When our guard is down and we are most likely to doubt God and believe Satan's lies. It is especially at these times when our understanding of Who we serve needs to be reinforced. 

My cousin, Colleen Chao, has a wonderful blog called "Becoming Chao" which has been a constant encouragement to me. The verse references below I borrowed from her post "My love list" about who the Lord is and copied them all down in my phone for quick reference. They have been an encouragement time and time again & I hope they will be for you, too. 

So, below are just a few of the verses that shows us Who our Savior is. 

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:11)

Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. (Psalm 73:23)

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You. (Psalm 139:17-18)

The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. (Psalm 118:14)

And Moses built an altar and called the name of it, The LORD Is My Banner. (Exodus 17:15)

Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them. (Numbers 14:9)

The LORD is God, and he has made his light to shine upon us. Bind the festal sacrifice with cords, up to the horns of the altar! (Psalm 118:27)

He carries me. He holds my right hand. His thoughts are with me. He is my strength, song & salvation, my banner, & my God. Satan has no chance against God's love, power, nearness, promises, perfect plans, & salvation.  With all Satan's most convincing lies, still he cannot cover God's truth when we fight with His Word.
 

Release of "I Am Yours" | An Original Song

I didn't think I'd ever get the chance to be back in the music studio writing and recording my own music again. It'd been five years since I'd recorded anything and I assumed that the call on my life to pursue music had disappeared.

Suddenly God lit in my heart a passion for Him I had never known was possible. He touched and transformed every area in my life including music. 

Now I have a greater passion for music than I ever had before because my music is for a greater purpose than myself. The Lord used the words of John in John 3:30 to define the goal that my music should represent. 

He must become greater; I must become less.
— John 3:30

I wrote this song, "I Am Yours" to represent a new start in my life and in my music. To take a step holding His hand on this path of constant sanctification and humbling and realization of who I am apart from my precious Savior. To surrender, let go and say, "Jesus, I am yours wherever you may take me."

You can hear my song by playing it below. I've included the lyrics as well so you can read along! Enjoy!


Verse 1
I traded life for lies
Days dark as night
My house was built on sand
My heart was breaking, and
I was searching for something
I could not feel
Reaching for anything
I needed something real

Chorus: 
I was made new
And you brought me through
You took my past
Everything I had
And threw it all away
I am yours, oh God
I am yours

Verse 2
I would have to say goodbye
This life would have to die
Flee the undue praise
Repent of misspent days
I will walk this hard road
I will face the storms
I know I'm not alone
I know I'm not alone

Bridge
I want people to see
When they look at me 
Your shining light
All you work and all your love
The work you have begun

 

This single is also available on iTunes here!

For now, 
Jennifer
 

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In The Music Studio (Last day!)

Stepping behind the mic is one of the best feelings. Putting the headphones on and hearing the sound of your voice resonate back in your ears. I still get butterflies in my stomach. 

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The music plays clearly in my ears along with the ticking of the metronome. I hold the pad of paper that the lyrics are written on in front of me and take a breath. My heart beats a little faster with excitement and a little bit of nervousness. 

Joel sits in the other room with a window between us with a mic so he can talk to me and give me direction. I "thumbs up" through the window when I like a take. Most of the time he's cracking jokes right before I start singing. (thanks, Joel!)

Too soon we had all of the vocals done and the song was completed. All that's left to do is mix it down and make it into mp3 format so that you all can hear it!

I will be "releasing" (that word just so sounds so professional!) it in the next couple of days on my YouTube music channel so keep checking there for it!

For now, 
Jennifer

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Letters To My Brothers

My brother, Justin, giving away free piggy back rides.

My brother, Justin, giving away free piggy back rides.

As a sister to my brothers, I have a unique opportunity if I choose to take it. For many of you, you are a special girl in your brother's life. Perhaps they're not married yet but they're at the age where they could get married or they're still young and marriage is still afar off. Either way, we can grasp this opportunity to be an important tool in our brother's lives to encourage them to treat women as the servant leaders God has called them to be. Men respond, not to a woman standing on her "soapbox" demanding better treatment, but to women who speak loving truth into their lives. Who gently guide and help men to have a vision of what a Godly leader and warrior is. It could be that you are that brother or son who never had anyone helping you have a vision for being the Godly leader you want to be. If so, I am so happy you are here. I hope this blogging series will be that for you. (Yep, I said series! I will be explaining that more below.)

I have hesitated to do this with my  two brothers who still are at the age where I can "clue them in" and be an influence in their life. I have hesitated perhaps because of a number of reasons. Maybe because I never thought of myself as being a "training ground" for their future relationship with their wife or even just in the friendships they have now with young women. Maybe I thought they wouldn't listen. Or maybe I was just embarrassed to share a bit of my heart with my brothers. You know, brothers are just brothers. We don't often see them as future men who will grow up and have wives and families that they will lead. They're the "boys" I've grown up with all of my life, made mud forts with, and who I will always call "the boys". But no, these "boys" are men who are called on to be servant leaders and warriors for Christ. Protectors of women, physically, emotionally, and leaders of future homes. 

My brother, Jared, playing one of his favorite sports.

My brother, Jared, playing one of his favorite sports.

It's easy to think that your brothers will just intrinsically know how to treat women. They'll know how women think and feel. They'll know what we do and do not appreciate in a man. They'll know our needs and how they can be met, and we often get frustrated when they don't get it right. But, we don't come with instruction manuals and without a woman in their life explaining things, they can't know how we operate. A woman speaking truth into their lives is a tool that can help shape a boy into a man. 

I want to grasp this opportunity that I still have with two of my brothers closest in age to me. I will be writing a weekly letter to them on topics ranging from "notice when they cut their hair" to vital things about relating to women. I wanted to share those letters here so that they could perhaps be an encouragement to you whether you're that brother or that brother's sister or mom. 

So, look out for my weekly posts called, "Letters To My Brothers" and follow me along on this letter writing journey to my brothers. I pray they can be of some encouragement to you, too. Even a small encouragement would be a success! Goodness knows I'll probably get some things wrong, but I will be attempting, with God's wisdom, to speak truth and encouragement into the lives of my brothers who are being molded into leaders and warriors for Christ.

For now, 
Jennifer

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"Why did you doubt?"

It doesn't matter if it's because of the smallest thing, it is so easy to allow my eyes to slip off of God and onto myself, my situation, my discouraging circumstances. I shrink God down to my size and begin to act as if He is bound by the same borders of ability that I am.

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
— Matthew 14:31

There are times when you have "conquer the world" type of faith. A faith so big, you are full to bursting with it. Other times, your faith is so small, you wonder if it's still there. The kind of faith that can only be seen under a microscope. It's only when I look at God's truth am I reminded of just how big our God is. How he does not operate under human impossibilities.

So that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:5)

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)

If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:13)

For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

I will admit, just this evening, I cut my prayer time short because I wanted to instead fume and wallow in my impossible, bleak circumstances. I was convicted (I quickly ran back to my prayer journal and confessed to the Lord my lack of faith!) and so I felt the need to type this up and post it right away since I know a little reminder in this area can be a huge encouragement. It can lift our eyes off of ourselves and our circumstances and place them right back where they belong; onto our Savior who holds out his hand and waits for us to step out from our boat and onto the stormy waters.

For now, 
Jennifer

In Deed & Truth

I've often asked myself and wrestled with the question, "As a young single woman how can I practically fulfill God's call for all Christians to put "hands and feet" to their faith and love for their Lord?"  You may be asking yourself the same thing.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
— 1 John 3:17-18
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For many of us, God hasn't called us to mission fields abroad, but he has called each and every one of us to serve those in need. 

I've currently been reading through a book called "Sacred Singleness" by Leslie Ludy (I reviewed it here on my "Book & Movie Review" page on this site) and at the end of the book she talks about practical ways to minister to those who are in need. God used this chapter to speak to my heart and show me ways, however small, that I could love in "deed and in truth."

For me, this started with visiting each of the sites that Leslie Ludy mentions in her book. They are:

Through these sites you can learn further ways to help those in need whether it be financial giving, shoe drives, or even going on a construction, medical or simple outreach trip to interact with orphaned and needy children and show them the love of Christ. 

(These are all sites that Leslie includes in her chapter "Getting Started Changing The World" in the book "Sacred Singleness"). The sites that organize frequent trips to orphanages around the world are: 

Another amazing opportunity is a child advocacy ministry called Compassion International. (To visit their site go to: compassion.com).

With Compassion International you have a unique opportunity to sponsor a child through giving money providing them with opportunities they may not have otherwise. It also means you are able to have a personal relationship with them through letters and even having an opportunity to visit them and their family in their country.

My family sponsors a little boy from India and a little girl from Peru. I've been able to forge a special relationship with this little girl through letters. I've had the opportunity in my letters to share scripture and let her know she is cared for, prayed for and loved by my family here in the United States.

Leslie mentions in her book even using prayer as a way you can show love. Leslie's section on this says it so well that I'm going to post it here:


Here is a practical prayer suggestion from Family Life Today's orphan ministry:

"There are countless numbers of "waiting children" around the world and in our own country; kids who are up for adoption, hoping and praying for a forever-family. Pray for waiting kids whenever you are "waiting." Go online to find a waiting child listing. A few of these listings include: www.adoptuskids.org; www.rainbowkids.com; www.precious.org. Print out a picture and description of a waiting child and tape it to your dashboard. Every time you find yourself waiting--in traffic, at a stoplight, in the drive-thru--pray for this child. Plead with the Father on their behalf. Organize an evening prayer vigil on behalf of the orphan and waiting child. Invite other churches to join you as well. You can pray for children all over the world or you can ask your local foster care office for pictures and names of waiting children in your city to pray for. (You can also get these online.)" 

God uses the smallest deeds to further His kingdom. As Leslie says so well in her book, "As you read through the practical ideas offered in this chapter, I would encourage you to pray that God's spirit would be your guide. Ask Him to stir your heart toward a specific cause. Ask Him to clarify how He might want to use your life to build His kingdom. Ask Him to give you courage to take the first step forward."

So whether or not God does have a future for you ministering abroad, ministering in your own home town, or using ministry in a way you never imagined, these are some practical ways you can take the first step forward to fulfilling His call in our lives to show love to the least.

For now, 
Jennifer

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Wielding The Weapon of Music In The Fight For Joy In God

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I'm borrowing from John Piper's book "When I Don't Desire God: How To Fight For Joy" for this blog post. Being a musician this excerpt about glorifying God with music in his book resounded with me because it presents the proper attitude and end goal all musicians should have for their music; to glorify and exalt our great Creator. 

I've loved music and written music for awhile now and I've undergone temptation time and time again to create a song with one's own glorification in mind. Instead, music should be a tool we have been given that is used to represent and give glory to the One who gave us music in the first place.


Fighting For Joy With Sights And Sounds That Humans Make

And of course, words are not the only way that artists waken others to the glory of what they have seen. There is visual art (drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, film) and there is music. I will not say much here because I am out of my element. What I know about art and music I know from experience, not formal study. I am a witness, not a judge. And what I testify to is the power of visual art, especially music. As it is with creative writing, so it is with these: They have the potential to awaken the mind and heart to aspects of God's glory that were not perceived before. Paintings or photographs of mountains can call forth a sense of wonder and peace. If we are willing to "look along" (not just "at") these picture, as Lewis taught us, our eyes will run up the beams to the Original Glory, and the wonder and peace will rest finally in the wonderful and peaceful mountains and streams of God's power and mercy.


Music,  it seems to me, is the most complex art of all. Who can really explain what happens when music works its power? Its transforming effects are documented in cases ranging from Parkinson's disease to plants. As with all things in nature and in the hand of fallen man, it can be used to reveal or conceal the glory of God--to corrupt the mind or illumine the mind. At its best, music echoes a true perception of some facet of God's glory. The ambiguity of the medium itself, combined with cultural and social and personal associations, complicates the display of that glory in sound. 

I recall reading a story of a tribal person, with no exposure to Western culture, being flown to Europe and taken to a performance of Handel's Messiah. He sat almost the whole time covering his ears with his hands because, as he explained later, it was just so much noise to his ears. That is an extreme illustration of the complexity of communication with music. Nevertheless, the power is there, and it works everyday for good or for ill. My point is that in the fight for joy it is good and right to pursue a deeper sense of God's glory with the help of music.
 

Wielding The Weapon Of Music In The Fight For Joy In God

If this were not right, the Bible would not command us so often to sing (eg., Ex. 15:21; 1 Chron. 16:23; Ps. 96:1) or to play on instruments (eg., Ps. 33:2-3; 57:8; 81:2; 150). Music seems to be into worship and the world of nature. Among the many creatures God has made in his wisdom (Ps. 104:24) are the birds that God has taught to sing: "Beside [the springs]  the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches" (Ps. 104:12). Surely God has not created music as a pointless distractions from rational apprehensions of God. Surely, this too is a part of the creation that is "declaring the glory of God."

To wield music well in the fight for joy we should be filled with the word of God, so that our minds are shaped by biblical truths. If our mind and heart have been molded by the contours of God's character and humbled by the grace of the gospel, we will discern what sounds reveal and correspond to the varied glories of God. And since this depends so much on cultural contexts and personal backgrounds, we will need not only a grasp of musical richness, but also deep theological grounding in God-centered truth, and cultural sensitivity, and an awareness of the dynamics of the heart, and profound love for people of all kinds.

We must make it our aim that the joy awakened in music be joy in God. Not all pleasures of music are pleasures in God. Then the effort to delight in God in music will involve a prior shaping of the mind by the Word, so that the structures of sound that do not conform to God's character are not pleasing in the first place. Then the effort to delight in God through music will also involve a thoughtful testing after the music has already awakened joy. Is this joy, we ask, rooted in something good about God? Is it shaping my emotions into Christ-exalting configuration?  Is it stirring my desires to know Christ better and love him more and show him to others at the cost of my own comfort? So before and after music has its immediate effect, we pursue the goal that music us more glad in the glory of God.

 

You can find the full book for free in PDF form, "When I Don't Desire God: How To Fight For Joy" by John Piper by clicking here.

For now, 
Jennifer

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Weathering A Break Up (Part 2)

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"Transitioning from having someone to talk to any time of day or night, about every little thing, defining your every moment...to suddenly being all alone again...IS SOME OF THE WORST PAIN I'VE EVER FELT."

A friend wrote me those words in a letter after my breakup. She'd been there and she knew the pain. Those of you who have experienced heartbreak probably agree wholeheartedly with the above sentiments.

Our great God cares deeply for us. He sees all of our pain and He is near to us. The Lord promises to make beauty from our ashes and He did exactly that for me. 

He rebuilds

From an early age I dreamed of being a Princess to my handsome Prince. He would win my heart and treat it with care and fidelity and we would grow old together. I even had an imaginary husband named Paul when I was around 8 years old who was actually a pole in the backyard (he was kind of skinny, but that was ok). He was the essence of all my dreams and hopes until my brother Jeremy caught me kissing "Paul The Pole" and I had to break things off with him because of how highly embarrassing it was for me. It's still a standing joke to this day and I don't think I'll ever live it down.

When a young man came along at 17 who I thought was my dream Prince, I gave my heart and trust away unreservedly because I was absolutely convinced I had met my future husband. I didn't think I was risking anything. 

Needless to say, he wasn't my future husband, and my heart (and dreams along with it), broke into a million tiny bits. I had a gaping hole where once my heart had been and I was convinced it would never be new again. 

One of the clearest thoughts after my breakup was a terrible, overwhelming sense of regret. I felt as if I had thrown away something very precious and I had no hope of recovering it. My "something precious" was my heart. But, dear one, the Lord is in the business of making the broken new and there is no hopeless with Him.
 
Whilst experiencing this deep, overwhelming pain it doesn't make any sense at all. It feels extremely wrong. I love how it is explained in an article entitled, "It's Not You, It's God: Nine Lessons For Breakups" on the site "Desiring God."

"...it’s not how it’s supposed to be. Hearts weren't built to be borrowed. God needs to show some of us the gravity of failed relationships because of what they wrongly suggest about Him and His love for the church..."

Marriage is an example of Christ's love for us, His church. And His love, as we know, is absolutely perfect. It does not "break up" with us and so, earthly marriage should be an example of that. However, too often, relationships don't always lead to matrimony and because of that, broken hearts and lives are the result. And even relationships that do end in marriage don't always stay in marriage which is also an imperfect example of our Heavenly marriage to Christ.

Despite this though, God restores and rebuilds.

Psalms 37:18 - The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

I can attest to the truth of this verse. In an unexpectedly rapid way God began to rebuild my heart. It was like he flooded my heart with a drought of cool, clean water and it felt so new, clean and whole. 

Do not ever doubt He will rebuild, restore and make your heart whole again.

 Can I cry? 

Some of you may be the kind that "stuff" their emotions. You don't talk about anything and try not to feel anything because, well, it's just easier. 

A friend told me about her unhealthy way of responding to her breakup. Because of it, she dealt with the grief for a lot longer and more intensely than she may have otherwise. 

Following the break up she shut off her emotions and pretended she didn't hurt or care. It felt so good to just carry on as if nothing had happened. But months later, a wave of overwhelming grief swept over her more immense because she had ignored the natural way of grieving for her loss. 

I'm going to quote another excerpt from the article "It's Not You, It's God: Nine Lessons for Breakups" on the site "Desiring God."

"Sorrow in the midst of the severing is not only appropriate, but good. It’s nothing to hide or be ashamed of. God created you to enjoy and thrive in love that lasts, like Christ’s lasting love for his bride. So feel free to feel, and know that the pain points to something beautiful about your God and his undying love for you."

We should grieve because of the bad example of Christ's love for his church, but like it says above, it makes it so much clearer how beautifully and perfectly Christ loves us. 

Forgiving

Maybe that word just evokes anger and a whole torrent of confused emotions from you. "You expect me to forgive that person after all the pain and wasted time they caused me?"

The first several months following my own breakup, I didn't struggle with anger or laying blame, (probably because I was hoping we'd make it work), but suddenly, all of the anger and bitterness broke loose. It felt right to be angry and to withhold forgiveness from that person.

I sought advice from a sweet friend in the midst of my struggle against bitterness and anger. She had this to say:

"I was really angry and bitter at him for awhile, but God gave me a desire to eventually forgive him, so I prayed about reaching that goal. I was really hurt, but a thought came to mind - the way he hurt me is how I hurt God every day when I sin. That might seem extreme, but it was a thought that helped me put forgiveness in perspective. I have sinned against God in many different ways, but He sent His Son to die for me and chose to call me to Himself and save me. God chose to forgive me, so how can I withhold forgiveness from my brother in Christ? We're called to forgive each other, especially brothers and sisters in Christ."

When I was 14, I struggled for a very long time with bitterness towards someone who I felt had done me wrong. That bitterness and anger defined my whole person. I walked around with it on my shoulders like a heavy burden. I was sullen, physically tired, I did not love others, I had no peace, I couldn't pray and I had zero joy. 

At first, it felt very satisfying to be bitter and angry. I wanted to invoke hurt on that other person, but in truth I was hurting myself. It was a poison that corrupted every part of my being and my life. 

Ephesians 4:32 - “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

And,

Colossians 3:13 - “Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Forgiveness comes down to one simple truth. We love because He first loved us. We forgive because He first forgave.

Why?

I knew in my head God had a reason but in my heart I was confused, angry, and again and again I asked Him "Why?"  In the long days and nights I faced, this plan that God had didn't seem loving or caring. It seemed cruel, unfair and a slap in the face to all my hopes and dreams.

Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Though it is hard to grasp, and a lot of times trust, God does have a reason for everything. To the small and seemingly meaningless to every catastrophe that the world sits up and takes notice of. He does nothing that does not ultimately bring Himself glory and is not the best for us. We as humans are finite (we have limits and bounds) and we do not see what God sees. 

Jeremiah 29:11 - For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

And,

Romans 8:28 - And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

It took me quite awhile to understand even a part of why the Lord had dealt such terrible pain in my young life. Now it brings tears to my eyes to be so loved as to experience His great mercy. To be loved by a God who works good from what we deem as hopeless devestation and brokenness.  Slowly, even now, I am discovering everyday the beauty He has made from the ashes. 

Isaiah 55:8-11

8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
11 so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

You can be healed, you can forgive, you can be made new and you can learn God's purposes for the darkest days and nights. You're not alone because our merciful Savior stands unwavering by your side.

For now, 
Jennifer 

This is part 2 to "Weathering A Break Up". Click here to view the first part. 

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Weathering A Break-Up (Part 1)

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A break up is like a death without the funeral or the loved ones gathering around you to mourn their passing. That person has passed from your life and all of your hopes, dreams and plans went with them. It is a painfully dark time and it can seem to have no end.

I want to assure you that it does have an end. When I was seventeen I entered a courtship and after almost a year and a half we mutually agreed to part ways. Even though it didn't end in bitterness, it did end in absolute and total heartbreak. The months following the break-up were the darkest, loneliest, most helpless months I have ever experienced. 

weath·er 
Come safely through (a storm)

However, I did make it safely through the storm.  The Lord made beauty from my ashes. He took all the broken pieces of my heart and healed them and used that time for good. Following immediately after the break up and for many months afterwards I wished that I could have re-done many of the bad choices I had made and was astonished at how many "red flags" I ignored. But now, over a year later, I no longer have any regrets because the Lord used a terrible time to teach me valuable lessons I am applying to my life now as I prepare for (God willing) my future marriage someday and life as a single young lady now.

If you're in the midst of a break up you probably can't imagine ever being able to say what I have just said in the paragraph above. The wound is too fresh, too new, too raw. But those of you who have "come safely through a storm" know exactly what I'm talking about. 

I wrote about this subject before on another blog and I shared some practical things about how to go through a break up, but I wanted in this new blog to not just touch on the practical but the emotional and spiritual as well which I believe are the most important.  This post will be part 1 to "Weathering A Break Up." The second part will talk more about the emotional and spiritual part of walking through this time of grief.

I made lots of mistakes while healing (the Lord worked despite them!) and if possible, I want you to be able to avoid them because they are extremely common and extremely damaging.

I'm gonna start with one that I often found myself repeating even after I knew that it wasn't good for me.

  • Avoid the temptation to see what they're doing via social networking sites or even by asking their friends.

Now more than ever, many lives are lived out on social networking sites. Anything from what we're eating, listening to, watching, studying, to what we're thinking, is posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Because of this, it's easy to "check up" on that person and see how they're doing. "I'm gonna see if they're posting any sad Bible verses because that means they're hurting, too!"  "Let me see if they look happy in their pictures!" "Oh no, they have been with that person a lot. I wonder if they've already found someone else." 

Because social networking hasn't been around that long, this is a fairly new challenge. Before the only way that anyone could find out about that person's "doings" was to ask friends or talk to that person themselves, it wasn't thrust in their face un-voluntarily. 

Always being privy to that person's life after you no longer share that special relationship with them introduces a whole new set of emotions to your already hurting heart. It can slow the healing process significantly. If you don't want to "un-friend" that person  on your social networking sites, stop following their posts or, what I personally recommend, take a long sabbatical altogether as hard as it may be. 

And a final tip about the social networking realm that I haven't found anywhere else:   It's so tempting to want to post pictures, statuses on Facebook, etc to hurt that person. To let them know somehow (even if it isn't true) that you're over them or better off without them. Avoid giving in to this temptation since it only makes you dwell on the hurt even more and can be unnecessarily hurtful to that person. So, check your motives! 

  • Put away the pictures and things that remind you of them.


 If it's too hard to throw away things, try to find a place where you can put them away, like a closet shelf, a box or a trunk. Sometimes part of the healing process is putting those things away then awhile later taking them out and being finally able to part with them. 

Usually this isn't something that we hesitate in doing. In fact, it's probably the first thing we do following a break up.  

  •  Write everything you're feeling and learning in a journal! 

If you keep a journal already or even if you don't, then this a vital thing to be doing now. Everything you're feeling needs to be talked about and thought through in your mind. Journaling is the perfect way to do that. Later you can look back and see your journey and God's faithfulness through every step to healing.

  • Find an understanding, mature and encouraging person to talk to.

There is a need to talk through all you're feeling and experiencing with someone at some point even if it's not right away. Many times this comes in the form of your mom or close family member. If you're not able to talk with your family about it, find a friend who you really trust and who truly cares about you and who will point you to the true Healer. 

  •  Don't throw your heart around.

This is by far the hardest thing to do. After having a special relationship with someone come to an end, your need for it does not end when their part in your life does. This is often evidenced by feeling the need to jump into another relationship as quickly as possible.  

This is something I was keenly aware of after I went through a break up. I not only had my family warning me away from this but dear friends as well. They warned me about how tempting this would be and I listened and am so thankful I did. 

One of the biggest things that kept me from going in this direction was how much I cared about honoring God and my future husband. I had made an awful mistake but I did not want to make an even bigger one by recklessly throwing my heart around. It gave me such joy to not only be living to honor God, but to honor my future husband with my heart.

This concludes part 1 on "Weathering A Break-Up". Click here to view the second part.

For now, 
Jennifer

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In The Music Studio: Day 2

It's an exciting process to see a song begin to take shape. Slowly layer upon layer of instruments are added and the richness and fullness of a song slowly builds. 

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As much as I'd like to pretend I understand all the technical aspects of what goes into making a song, I humbly admit I don't. Joel will fiddle with the timing of each note after every instrument is recorded and I sit there with a very puzzled expression in my face. I lean in closer to the screen and ask, "What're you doing?" He has a lot of patience to put up with all my questions. ;)

On day 2 of recording we got through recording the intro, first verse and chorus. It's time consuming because of the changes and decisions that must be made. Sometimes lyrics have to be revised. Key changes considered to fit the range of my voice, and whole sections deleted because we want the song to communicate a specific message through the instruments used.

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While Joel relies on Rockstar energy drinks to give him some extra energy, I rely on the creamy goodness of a homemade vanilla latte. 

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I desperately want to rush the recording process. I'm not the most patient person in the world and sometimes I'm tempted to do things haphazardly rather than to go slow and do them right. Recording teaches me patience. ;)

Joel and I getting ready to record!

Joel and I getting ready to record!

Check back soon for day 3!

For now,
Jennifer

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In The Music Studio: Day 1

After a 5 year absence of writing my own music, I'm back in the studio! My brother, Joel (who is a a very gifted musician) has his own studio and I am so blessed to be able to recruit his help to write music and record. 

As I mentioned in my last post, "My Everything For His Glory", I told how the Lord has really been working in my heart in a big way including regarding my music. I wrote the song I am currently in the midst of recording describing what the Lord has done in my heart and what my new goal is for my music. Other than that, I'm not giving anything away about the song! ;)

 

Joel beginning to "think out" the melody on the keyboard! 

Joel beginning to "think out" the melody on the keyboard! 

Eleven years ago Joel was composing music on a keyboard set up in his room.

Eleven years ago Joel was composing music on a keyboard set up in his room.

Joel has been playing music since I can remember. He started out on a midi keyboard in his room and started composing all kinds of orchestral pieces. He took piano lessons for 4 years but he has a style all his own which I am constantly amazed by. 




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Laying down the first tracks. 

Laying down the first tracks. 

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I was looking forward to comparing these two pictures! This is Joel's first studio setup 7 years ago. This is during the recording session of my first song at 13 years old. 

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So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.  1 Corinthians 10:31

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

This recording process is more than just recording a song for me. It's the beginning of giving my passion for music over to Him and using it for His glory. 

Check back very soon for the next post about day 2 of recording!

For now, 
Jennifer

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My Everything For His Glory

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The lyrics from Hawk Nelson's song "Words" held new meaning for me as I listened to the radio on the way to work. 

"Let my words be life,
Let my words be truth,
I don't wanna say a word,
Unless it points the world back to You..."

God was beginning a new work in me and these words reflected my new vision, my new passionate desire which began when God opened my eyes and radically changed my heart. Rather suddenly, He began to show me all of my selfish ideals and pursuits. 

I was shocked, or maybe not too shocked, to find that when I examined my heart I found my concerns were image and vanity, comfort and convenience, the applause of man and not of God.  He did not fill every essence of my life. He was not in the words I spoke to others, not in my actions, conversation, and as a musician, not in the music I wrote or sang. I had begun lukewarm practices. 

Suddenly and quickly, God began to use things to work in my heart. Christian books, blogs, and most importantly the truth of His Word. I had even read most of these things before, but they took on new life as God opened my eyes for who I was living for. My life had become God fitting around me and my convenience, not shaping my life around Him. As a result, I had become unhappy. Looking for joy in all of the wrong things and never finding it. That's why I say I wasn't too surprised when I examined my heart and found I was living for myself. He used the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan to speak to me. (Beware, I will be quoting this book a lot in this post because I love it so much!)

Francis says in chapter two, 

"On the average day, we live caught up in ourselves. On the average day we don't consider God very much. On the average day, we forget that our life truly is a vapor."

I had been so caught up in myself I had forgotten that this life is about Him. In this life God gave me, what was I doing to point the world to God? Could people see Him in my actions, my speech, and my dress? When they listened to my music, could they hear God reflected in it? Was I doing my utmost for Him?

In chapter two of "Crazy Love" Francis Chan uses an example of a movie and us as the extras. 

"From start to finish, this movie is obviously about God. He is the main character. How is it possible that we live as though it is about us?"

And then in the next paragraph:

"We have only two-fifths of a second long scene to live. I don't know about you, but I want my two-fifths of a second to be about my making much of God. First Corinthians 10:31 says, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." That is what each of our two-fifths of a second is about."

Francis Chan's book "Crazy Love" is all about understanding who we serve and who saved us. He states this in the description of his book;

"It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe - the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E minor - loves us with a radical, unconditional, self sacrificing love."

This influenced me particularly in one of the biggest areas of my life. For many years (because I'm so old!) I have loved music and been passionate about it. After performing in a Christian music contest at 15, I guess you could say I lost my vision for it, and I don't particularly remember how. I looked back on my journals during this time and all I could write about was how excited (and nervous!) I was about this opportunity to become involved in music especially because I hoped that it would open the door at some point to a ministry in music. I remember sitting down and talking with two of the judges after the rehearsal where they asked what our goal was in music. I confidently replied, "I want to have a ministry in music! I want to use my music for Christ!" My teen years were not the easiest of times so I feel like I forgot what my music was supposed to be about and I got caught up in worry, and myself, to be honest. 
I stopped writing music for a long time. I stopped singing for a long time. I still find pieces of paper stuffed away in notebooks with half written songs on them that I gave up on because I didn't have the energy or inspiration to write anything. It was a very sad time in my life because not only did I forget how much I loved music but I forgot the kind of vision I had for music. What made me passionate about music. You see, when music has a purpose greater than us, it is so much more than just words being sung and stirring melodies, it's a magnificent tool to reach others for Christ.  

Slowly I did start singing, writing, and recording music again but I still had not recovered the vision and the passion I once had. In my heart my goal now was only to make music about me and my performance. I found myself standing in front of the mic again and again covering nothing but the newest song about looking for happiness in a new romantic fling. And honestly, it's such an empty feeling when the extent of your vision for something you really love reaches only to how good it will make you look.

When God began to show me what I had allowed my life to be about, it left nothing in my life untouched and re-formed. I wanted nothing more than to use my passions, hopes, dreams, desires, my life to be about Him. I woke up with prayers on my heart and lips. I thanked God for the things I had taken for granted. The freedom I had to worship Him, the people he had placed in my life. The sunshine and trees. The very oxygen I breathed. I recognized how empty the things were that I had filled my life with.
I wanted my two-fifths of a second to count. I wanted to make much of God. I had forgotten whom I served. And I say this with great emphasis on the word "whom". I spoke in another post about the love of God and I said: "I am awed. I am humbled. I am blown away by the most perfect love of all time..." That is whom we serve. Our God, the Creator of this universe, sent His son to die for our sins when we did not and could never deserve it. 

In the book "Authentic Beauty" By Leslie Ludy (amazing book!) she puts my thoughts into words perfectly. 

"When we are passionately in love with our Prince (God), we put Him above all else - not just in theory, but also practically, in every moment of our day to day lives. We do not live for the applause of the world but only for the applause of heaven. Our longings are not for people's approval but only for more and more of Him. We are marked by an effortless, unshakable strength that is found in the presence of our perfect Lover."

It came down plain and simple to me really understanding what God had done for me. With this new understanding, He lit a fire in my heart and a passion. I looked around me for the first time in awhile and breathed a prayer of thanks for everything He had given me, all He had done for me. For the first time I did not resent the hardships. I was thankful for all the hard things I had gone through to get here. It had brought me to my knees and given me a passion for Him I had never known.

For now, 
Jennifer

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Forgiving Myself

Copyright: Jennifer Langley Photography

Copyright: Jennifer Langley Photography

When I was younger the idea of there being difficulty forgiving oneself seemed a bit strange. Usually the only people I worried about forgiving me were the people I had hurt or who had been privy to my sin. If they forgave and forgot I was off the hook and I could leave the memory and burden of that wrongdoing far behind. I knew, more importantly, that God forgave me. After all, it was why He had sent His son to die on the cross for us, a sinful people. (Colossians 1:13-14 - ...who has rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the Kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have the redemption, the forgiveness of sins...

When I got older I didn't even realize a burden on my shoulders slowly began to grow. A list in my head of all the things I had done, mistakes I had made. I began to label certain things as "un-forgivable" and so I'd hang onto them. These things became my identity. I wore them like a piece of clothing everywhere I went.

After foolish mistakes in my teen years and being in a relationship for over a year with it coming to an end, my burden grew even heavier. I thought back to all the ways I had failed and instead of forgiving myself as God forgave me, I began to let the failures shape how I saw myself. Not as "Jennifer, God's daughter, saved by His grace and forgiven," but as "Jennifer, doer of a million unforgivable mistakes." It felt like an ever increasing weight growing heaver with every failure and shortcoming. 

I compared myself to other people who seemed so good. I felt like such an ugly young woman in comparison to them. They seemed to effortlessly radiate joy and goodness by the work of God in them yet I felt like I could never be like that. Those people didn't have the character flaws I had. Pride, selfishness, jealousy, lust, bad days, etc. Those people had somehow been gifted with perfection in every area. 

Inside I had become beaten down, bent over with guilt. I lost all confidence in myself with other people. How could anyone be around a person like me? Couldn't they see each sin I had committed written all over my face? That's all I saw when I looked in the mirror. It felt good to stand in the place of God and condemn myself. I felt it's what I deserved.

It felt impossible to forgive myself as I knew God had forgiven me. Even though I had all of the knowledge, I could not believe it.  Where did I start? When did the knowledge become practice? I had practiced preaching lies to myself and listening to lies from Satan for so long that I didn't know how to undo my doubt and self condemnation.  I wanted to forgive myself. I didn't want to feel the stab of shame and regret when I thought back to each mistake. I wanted to feel confidence in God's grace that forgave and washed us clean. I felt anything but clean. 

I wanted to fill up and distract from the emptiness I felt in my very soul. I thought an earthly relationship would be the answer to it all. Maybe it would make me feel worth something. I wanted to chase after something to give me temporary relief. But I knew in my heart, no earthly thing could fill me up. God alone was the answer. Earthly things, when we put our trust in them, are like shifting sand. (Matthew 7:25 - The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had it's foundation on the rock.) God is the only one who is never failing, never shifting, constant and unchanging. He is faithful, loving, patient and wise. He loves us perfectly like no one and nothing else can.

Slowly the truth in this began to sink in to my weary heart. Like a balm, it healed. My prayers no longer felt useless. I knew that God heard me. He heard every cry from my heart and knew all the pain that weighed me down. I was not just a voice among the millions, my prayer was a sweet song to my Savior. His sweet voice, his sweet truth, began to shape my heart and shape the way I saw myself and all of my mistakes.

My heart began to overflow with thankfulness for all of the things he brought me through. They had given me a vision for His goodness, His mercy. I saw so clearly who God was. He was not far away, He was so close. When he said he forgave, He really did. It was not, is not my job to forgive myself. I did not have to do penance by carrying around shame and regret til I felt I had paid the sufficient price. Jesus had already done that. My burden slipped off of my shoulders in front of the cross.

But though I know these truths, I still struggle. I still wrestle with believing this truth. When the devil whispers lies I struggle with succumbing to letting them rest in my heart and take up residence. But I have a weapon to fight back. I have the truth to wage war and win. (Ephesians 6:12)

1 John 1:7

 "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin."

For now, 
Jennifer

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Love (A Valentine's Day Post)

 

                                                                        A Parent's Love

My Dad and I.

My Dad and I.

I have experienced unconditional love from my parents. They love me and my brothers enough to have disciplined us when we were children. To give us an education. To bring us up to love the Lord and to know Him.

My mom and her first grand baby. She doesn't like to be in pictures ya'll so I never get pictures with her and I. ;)

My mom and her first grand baby. She doesn't like to be in pictures ya'll so I never get pictures with her and I. ;)

They care for our well being and health. They didn't begrudgingly buy us clothing or books or toys. Mom went and bought healthy food every week to feed my brothers and I (still does). They required us to do chores around the house to teach us to work hard and serve. They didn't indulge our unhealthy appetites for worthless t.v. shows, movies, books and video games because they cared for the condition of our souls and hearts. They bandaged every scrape and cut and paid for the doctor bills when my brothers had to get stitches. Special holiday traditions were made to bring us together as a family and to make those times memorable. They didn't complain when my brothers and I all had the chicken pox or the flu at the same time. They cared for us.

They care for us today as my brothers and I grow older. They don't bandage scraped knees or have us in school anymore but they show love in a whole new way. They talk and pray with us through difficult times. Encourage us in new ventures as we seek God's will for our lives.Through my twenty years of living my parents have shown unconditional love. A love that doesn't fade because of how difficult me or my brothers can be. Has never faded through the sad and difficult times. My parents love me unconditionally.

1 Corinthians 13:13 
"And now these three remain: Faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

 

A Friend's Love

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 As I've gotten older, I have seen the difference between "friends" and true friends. People walk in and out of your life but there are only a few that stay. There are only a few who will stick with you through the good, bad and the ugly. There will be many that seek to gain from your friendship but only a few that seek to give in your friendship. 

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The love from these kinds of friends is truly a rare thing.  A "diamond in the rough" as my mom likes to say. I am privileged to be able to say God has blessed me with a few of these kinds of people. Even though I never had a sister, God gave me sisters in the form of a few friends who I have known for most of my life. Even though at times distance has separated us, grief has threatened to swallow us, misunderstandings have arisen and time has naturally changed us, we continue to support and care, admonish and encourage, mourn and rejoice together, love each other.

Roman's 12:9-10
"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves."

 

A Sibling's Love

With a few of my brothers. Justin in the green pants, Jared in the red jacket.

With a few of my brothers. Justin in the green pants, Jared in the red jacket.

Growing up with five brothers has been the most awesome blessing. Many people have said to me when they learned I was the only girl among five brothers, "You poor thing!" But I have enjoyed so much growing up with all of my brothers. 

My brother Jordan and I. 

My brother Jordan and I. 

We have had great adventures, especially in our back yard. When we were little we built forts and houses, pretended to be cowboys and Indians (I was a cowgirl in distress, of course), had dirt clod wars, sword and light saber fights, "cooked" with leaves and dirt, attempted to make jam out of the blackberries in our back yard and rode bikes that were decked out with cardboard to simulate cars. (Joel was usually the policeman and he wrote us out quite a bit of tickets for speeding, reckless bike driving and running red lights.) My brothers still loved me and had me on their team even when I ruined their hide and seek game by wearing those good ol' 90's "light up shoes" that pretty much defeated the purpose of hiding. 

I love being silly with my brothers. Joel is on the far right, Justin is in the middle.

I love being silly with my brothers. Joel is on the far right, Justin is in the middle.

This is a fairly old picture of me and my brothers but it's one of the few that shows us all together. From left to right: Jeremy, Justin, Jared, Joel, Me and Jordan.

This is a fairly old picture of me and my brothers but it's one of the few that shows us all together. From left to right: Jeremy, Justin, Jared, Joel, Me and Jordan.

Having your brothers for best friends is unlike any other relationship. My brothers are still my closest friends. Now that we are older we definitely don't play cowboys and Indians or cook with leaves but our love for each other hasn't changed. I've watched one of my brothers get married and have his first daughter, another pursue music, another has become a talented artist, another is on his way to becoming a doctor, and the youngest is almost done with high school. Life changes things. You may be separated by miles and even time zones. Good and bad times sweep through and other things change but a sibling's love does not. 

Song Of Songs 8:7
"Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned."


God's Love

I am awed. I am humbled. I am blown away by the most perfect love of all time. God's love is the most perfect and unconditional of any form of love. He sees our imperfect nature and loves us anyways! His love is not just words. His love has been shown by the greatest action of all time. An act we can neither understand nor fathom. He gave his only Son for us.

Romans 5:8

"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 

Immediately I was struck by the meaning of this verse. We didn't do anything that merited Christ's love and death on a cross for us. He did it because he loved us while were still dead in our sins! Not anything that we could have done would have been enough to deserve the death of His only son. 
God loves us so much that he blesses us, disciplines us, heals us, gives and takes away, guides and directs, comforts, atones, redeems, justifies, adopts, sanctifies, and glorifies.
Our God's love is perfect. God doesn't just love those who are "easy" to love but who are hard to love! He loves without condition or standard. Not a selfish love that seeks to gain. Not a love that rejoices in someone's calamity or hurt. A love that is that there in the darkest and brightest. Not a love that runs when things get hard or we become too difficult. 
We look here on earth for people and things to love us perfectly. We seek the steady, reliable and unchanging. We look for shiftless love. But no one and nothing can give us that kind of love but God.
I can never hope to understand it, but all I know is that I believe it. I believe in His immovable, unquenchable, breadth-less, untiring and never failing love.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres."

For now, 
Jennifer

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Questions For The Suitor

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It takes questions, lots and lots of questions (and a lot of observation to see if their answers match their character), to expose beliefs and viewpoints in a potential "suitor". Sometimes it's hard to know what questions to ask, especially being a Christian where lots of things come into play when looking for a spouse. As you will see in these questions, the Lord is first and foremost to me and must be to that guy as well. If you aren't looking for a Godly guy (or girl! Some of these questions are for guys to ask, too!), I don't think these questions will come in handy for you. ;) But if you are, please keep reading. 
I compiled these slowly over time before ever having a boyfriend, after experiencing a breakup and now again as a single young lady. Going through a relationship myself helped expose some very important questions that might never have occurred to me to ask before. I have tried to think of questions that expose the core beliefs of a young man/woman that will help you see what their spiritual walk, view on relationships, personal character, and lifestyle are like. 
You may not need to ask all of these questions if, for example, you have been friends long enough to already know a lot of them but if that's the case, you personally will know what questions to ask.
And beware, questions are not foolproof. You need to dig deeper to find out how a guy/girl's answers to questions line up with their everyday way of living, decisions they make, how they treat people, etc. 
 

Walk With the Lord

  • Can you pin-point the exact time when you became a Christian? What changed for you after that?
  • How important is prayer?
  • Who is your mentor? Do you have a mentor?
  • What do you do to continually be growing spiritually? (1 Timothy 4:7-10)
  • How important is knowledge and rhetoric in the Christian walk? 
  • What are your daily personal devotional practices?
  • How important is corporate worship? Other participation in church life? What is the proper use of that day? Are you faithful in church attendance?
  • How do you view giving tithe to the church? Is that important to you?
  • Do you believe in family worship? Does/did your family practice it?
  • Do you practice ministry to others? What personal call do you feel God has placed on your life in the area of ministry?
  • What has continued to be your greatest weaknesses/spiritual struggles?

Beliefs

  • What are your views on birth control? Natural family planning? Contraceptives? Anything at all? Explain.
  • What is your view on baptism? Child, adult?
  • What is your view on alcohol? Can it be used rightly or should it be abstained of completely?
  • Would you ever adopt? Why or why not?
  • Do you think coarse joking or cussing is out of place with godly character? (Ephesians 4:5)
  • What is your standard of modesty?
  • Do you want a big family?
  • Do you believe in any form of patriarchy? Explain.
  • What is your view on homeschooling? Would you homeschool your children?
  • Would you change anything about how you were raised?
  • What is your position on sabbatarianism?
  • Do you believe in head coverings?

Leadership

  • What is the meaning of submission and headship in the Bible and in marriage?
  • What does being a leader mean to you? What do you think leading a family entails?
  • How do you handle conflict? Do you avoid confrontation and dealing with issues? 
  • Who is the main breadwinner? 
  • Should a wife work outside the home? Would you require her to have a job? Before kids? After kids? With kids at home?
  • Should a wife continue to pursue god-honoring dreams or goals after marriage and kids? Explain.
  • Are you ready to be a parent?

Commitment to Purity

  • How would you handle things if you found yourself in a situation where you were alone with the opposite sex?
  • How do you protect the hearts of young women in your friendships with them? How do you practice honoring your future wife? Do you believe it's still important to honor her even in a committed relationship? How would you do that?
  • Is it your habit to regularly text/private message young women? What do you think is proper behavior towards a young woman who is just a friend?
  • What is your standard on movies/television? Are you careful? Do you sacrifice morality for entertainment? For example, would you go watch a movie at the theater without first checking it out thoroughly?
  • What types of physical expressions do you feel is appropriate in a relationship? Have you made mistakes in this area in the past?
  • What does purity mean to you?
  • Do you believe that friendships with the opposite sex should change after entering a committed relationship? What would have to drastically change for you personally? 
  • Have you ever struggled with pornography? Is your struggle a current one?
  • What does compromise in a relationship mean to you?

Approach To Relationships

  • What form of relationship has been your practice in the past? Dating, courtship? Or if you have never been in a relationship, what would you see as a wise and biblical way to approach a relationship? Explain.
  • What do you see as the purpose of getting to know a young woman intentionally? 
  • Who has the role of God-given protector and leadership in a young woman's life?
  • Do you see a young woman's, or your own family, as playing an important role in a relationship? How so?
  • Do you think accountability and godly advice from others is important? Who would you see that accountability and godly advice coming from? Example: pastors, her father, young friends, older mentors.
  • Do you believe in long term relationships, or do you see a courtship/dating relationship lasting only as long as you are both seeking God's leading toward marriage?
  • Do you believe that God comes first in courtship/dating and marriage? That all decisions should be based off what is honoring to God? What does the role of honoring God play in your everyday life?
  • Would being in the Bible and praying together during courtship/dating be important? 
  • What has been your previous experience with romance/dating?
  • What is your view on "alone time" spent with the person you're courting? Example: Going out together to coffee, dinner, etc.

View of Marriage

  • Have you thought seriously about what the meaning of marriage is? Is marriage important to you?
  • What does "leave and cleave" mean to you? Are you prepared to put your wife above all others, including your family? Give me an example of what this may look like to you (Genesis 2:24).
  • Do you believe marriage is about making yourself happy? Explain what the biblical purpose of marriage is.
  • What role would your wife and children play in your life purpose?
  • What does the term "help meet" mean to you?

Priorities

  • How important is your career to you? How many hours a week do you work? Does your work sometimes come in conflict with personal time with God? Does your job require travel and if so, how much?
  • If relocation were offered to you by your job would you accept? What would weigh in on your decision?
  • What are your views on homeschooling? Do you believe it's important, or do you wish for public education for your future children?

Personal Character

  • How would those you know well describe your personal character?
  • Do you have a teachable spirit?
  • What makes you angry?
  • Do you have a good relationship with your parents?
  • In what ways is self-centeredness expressed in your life?
  • Have you ever had to deal with a broken relationship? How did you handle it?
  • Do you like reading? What are your three favorite books besides the Bible?
  • How do you relate to children? Do you enjoy being around them?
  • Are you honest? Even in business? Do you ever slant the truth for your own benefit?
  • What tendencies do you have towards prejudice or racism?
  • What do you value most highly in life?
  • If "your" daughter were marrying "you" what cautions would you have for her?
  • Can you describe your life purpose, i.e., how you intend to use your interests, skills and talents to serve and glorify God?
  • Where do you see yourself in 10 years, 20 years?
  • Recognizing we all have weaknesses, what are one or two areas you think God wants you to work on?
  • Do peers play a major role in swaying your decisions? Is peer pressure a major factor? Who are the people you ask advice or wisdom from?
  • What are your five strengths?
  • What has been the most difficult thing for you to forgive?

What Are You Looking For?

  • List the five most important characteristics in a wife (for you personally).
  • List the five characteristics that would bother/irritate you in a wife.
  • What are your views on health/exercise/eating well?
  • What are your expectations of me?
  • What interests do you have that would be important for your wife to share or at least join you in?
  • What are the "non negotiable" things for you when looking for a spouse?

Miscellaneous Questions

  • What has been the hardest thing you've ever been through?
  • What do you want your sons to be like at 18?
  • What is currently the biggest thing God is using in your life to sanctify you at this time?
  • Is romance important in the everyday life of a couple? How do you keep it alive?
  • What is your biggest fear?
  • How do you serve your family?


This concludes my "questions for the suitor." I hope you will find these helpful as you seek God's wisdom in your relationships. 

For now,
Jennifer

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