Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Fat Girl Insecurities and #TheLoft

I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word aimed at me.  He spewed it out like vomit, his eyes filled with disgust. “Fat,”  the boy accused me, and I believed it even though I wasn’t anywhere near “fat” back then.

I always was a strong girl, a tom-boy with a hearty appetite, a girl who loved sports and climbing trees and running races.  My feminine side appeared on occasion, though, and like every other girl, I wanted to be pretty, to be liked.  I never saw my body as much of a hindrance to those desires until that day, the day he called me fat in front of the whole lunch table.

I acted like I didn’t care about the word, but my eyes burned and so did my face.

I stuffed the word way deep down inside of my junior high self and tried so hard not to hear it anymore.

Not long after that, I remember surpassing my own mother’s weight on our bathroom scales and shame nearly smothered me.  How could I, at thirteen years old, weigh more than my mom?  It didn’t seem fair, somehow.

fat girl insecurities, insecure, overweight, fat, trying to lose weight, obese, heavy

During my high school years, I finally resigned myself to the fact that I just wasn’t built to be tiny.  I would never be a size 2-4-6 girl.  My healthy hangout would be the 10-12-14 range.  But my legs were built thick and strong for soccer, volleyball, softball, and basketball, so I called a sort of truce with myself.  I ignored the word within me and began to find things I actually liked about my body.

I liked my blue eyes and  long, dark hair.  I liked my smile. I even began to like some of my curves.  I liked my brain (it’s a good one!) and my athletic abilities.

So the word remained hidden for the most part, only whispering to the surface when my friends were all asked to attend banquet (missionary kid date night) and I sat at home by myself or when we tried on clothes at the second-hand shops in town.  Nevertheless, by junior year, I was growing in the confidence that comes from Christ alone and the word bothered me less and less. I thought I had won the battle, defeated the Enemy.

When I met my husband a few years later, I never felt more beautiful.  Even though I couldn’t call myself thin, I knew I was healthy, and I was alive in Christ.  He was tall, dark, and handsome, and he loved the Lord and he loved me.

And then I conceived our firstborn not long after our summer wedding and I found myself alone in our country home. My parents and siblings had returned to the mission field and my husband kept busy with classes and work and ministry.  I grew depressed.

I used my pregnancy as justification for eating anything and everything I wanted.  Instead of filling myself with Christ, I filled myself with food.  I had already gained about 20 lbs. before our wedding because like any girl in love, I spent all of my free time with my soon-to-be husband, not realizing I was failing to take care of my body.  By the time our sweet son was born, I had gained about 80-100 lbs. (give or take) in a little more than a year.  I can’t really be certain because at some point, I quit weighing myself.

I just gave up.

Then, one year our church offered a First Place for Christ class, focusing on putting Christ first in all areas but especially in the areas of nutrition and wellness.  It was just what I needed.  The idea that my body had been purchased at a price convicted me.  I knew I needed to quit filling my God-sized hole with food.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit,

who is in you,whom you have received from God?

You are not your own; you were bought at a price.

Therefore honor God with your bodies.

Since then, I’ve jumped on the bandwagon of healthy eating and exercise and fallen right off again. And back on, and then off, and back on, and so forth.  Healthy living will probably be a lifelong struggle for me, my personal thorn in the flesh.  :)

In the meantime, I’ve birthed three more children, including a set of twins, my body changing with each pregnancy.  My weight and health are still a work-in-progress, and I’m okay with that.

The word still haunts me on occasion, it does.  It sneaks up on me when I walk at the gym or play soccer with my kids.  Occasionally, I hear it faintly in my ear when I look in the mirror, tempting me to give up, quit fighting, resign myself to the word.

But I recognize the Enemy for who he is and even more, I know the power of Christ within me.  I know the Father promises to never give up on me, but to complete the work He started (Phil. 1:6).  I know that man considers the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. I trust in my new creation status.  I believe His Word when He calls me “fearfully and wonderfully made.” He says the same thing about you, too, my sisters in Christ!

We are not the sum of our insecurities, for we were created for more than this!

We’ve talked before about how insecurities keep us fearful, and that’s just how the Enemy wants us to feel – alone, afraid, unworthy.  My sisters, our God is greater than he who is in the world.  He is greater than our deepest shame and insecurities.  Our God loves us, pursues us, redeems us, and calls us His beloved.

Romans 8:38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
 
 
Nothing can separate us from His love, not even our layers of fat. :)

We are daughters of the One True King, and the value He has placed on our lives is the blood, the life force, of His one and only Son.

Let us then live as children of the Light!

Jen :)

Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions

The Loft is open, come on up!

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

#TheLoft

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth. Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

Then, Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the link goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

To Participate:

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic.

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and hashtag in your post and social media so we can find each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

The Loft Link Up

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 5 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are:

Leah
Kathy
Kimberly
Arabah
Jen

Now it’s time to link up!

This Week’s Topic: “Greatest Insecurity” (We are going vulnerable here, asking you to share your greatest insecurity. How do you recognize it when it creeps up? What does insecurity sound like to you? What do you do to silence it? Any scriptures that help you fight it?)


Next Week’s Topic: “Something Funny” (Laughter is good medicine and after this week’s topic, we all need a belly laugh. Or as one co-host put it, we need to spit in our coffee. Tell us a funny story, share a funny quote, post a funny picture or video, crack a funny joke. Just be careful with that coffee because this is going to be good :) )

Add Your Link Here:

Also sharing this post with: Cornerstone Confessions, Jennifer Dukes Lee, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Wholehearted Home, Teaching What is Good, Sew Crafty AngelMessy Marriage

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All the Words That Need Telling

“You’re the best Mom ever,” she proclaims, as she grins and squeezes me with her small arms, and my heart nearly bursts for the joy of hearing it.

“Well, you’re the best daughter ever!” I smile back down at her.

All the Words that need telling, tell kids you love them, tell people the gospel

And it’s true. She may be my only daughter at this time, but she is also the best. I know she needs to hear those words; I know she needs me to tell them to her.  I know because I need those words, too.  I need the “I love you”s, and the “your the best”s, and the “your the beautifulest mom ever”s, and the “I missed you”s.

So, if I, the grown up, need those words to be told, how much more does my little five-year-old bundle of sweetness crave those words?  So much more. So much more.

So I tell her all the words that need saying – the words about love, the words about like, the words about her character, and the words about her Savior – because she needs to hear all of those important words. She needs to hear them often.  She may only be five now, but soon enough she’ll be heading to high school just like her oldest brother. And then she’ll leave for college (Lord-willing), and who will tell her all the words that need saying then?

We’ve only a few years, sisters, a few short years to tell all the words that need saying.  Only a few years to tell of our love for them.  Only a few years to tell of the Savior’s love, too.  And they need to hear them because love is so central to the Gospel, so important.

Don’t be shy; don’t hesitate.  Even if the words don’t come naturally to you, tell the words today, all the words that need saying.  We are never guaranteed tomorrow.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19

18 Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on

your hands and bind them on your foreheads.

19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road,

when you lie down and when you get up.

Tell Love

and Truth

and Kindness

and Peace.

And do it today!

Jen :)

It’s Five Minute Friday and after taking a few months off, I’m so happy to be joining my sisters in Christ over at Kate Motaung’s blog.  We gather there ever Friday (some of us on Thursday evening) and write a fast and furious five minutes on a one-word prompt.  No planning, no editing, no second-guessing.  Just the written word.  Come join us!

I’m also sharing this post at:

Missional Call, Essential Thing DevotionsMissional WomenMom’s The WordA Mama’s Story, Monday Parenting Pin It PartyCornerstone Confessions

10 Comments »

A Lift for the Soul (and #TheLoft)

 

The Loft is open, come on up!

This week at #TheLoft , we’re sharing our favorite online sources of inspiration and encouragement.

If you’ve followed this blog for very long, you know that we have faced many struggles in the past year, and I spent a lot of time waiting on the Lord.  In times of darkness, the Lord has provided many sources of light, and one of those sources has been some of the blogs I follow online.

My sisters, we all face dark moments, days, weeks, perhaps even years.  But I’ve learned from this last year that the most discouraging feeling is that of being alone in your struggles. It’s the Enemy’s greatest weapon and he uses it liberally.  When we feel alone, we also feel ashamed, afraid to own up to our weaknesses, afraid that something is wrong with us, afraid that brokenness might be the end of the story.

But the body of Christ was made for community!  We crave it, do we not? And when we drag those weaknesses out into the Light, they don’t seem quite so scary or overwhelming. When we realize we’re not alone, we begin to experience hope for brighter tomorrows.

 

#TheLoft,  inspiration, bloggers, writers, women of faith, encouragement

 

And that’s why I appreciate the ladies I’m going to share with you today, because they help me realize that I’m not alone. No, I’m not. And you’re not alone either, sister, whatever you may be going through!

One of the first bloggers I ever chose to “follow” was Alia Joy @ Narrow Paths to Higher Places.  I discovered Alia through Five Minute Friday, a free-writing exercise for bloggers that takes place every Friday (well, Thursday night for some). Her writing is beautiful, full of imagery and depth. But even more than that, I appreciate that she doesn’t wear a mask; she doesn’t sugarcoat.

She’s brave and honest, even about the ugly parts of life. She’s not afraid to tackle tough issues, either, but even then, the manner in which she does so doesn’t smack of preachiness at all.  She has a way of drawing the reader in to both herself and to Christ. Yes, I can identify with Alia Joy.

Another blogger I really appreciate is Angie Knutson, who also happens to be my cousin. She’s a blogging pro who started out writing about kids’ products for companies like Tommy Nelson and Alex Toys , so you can find all sorts of parenting and homeschooling excellence on her site. However, she’s currently in the middle of transitioning her blog to be able to write more of what is on her heart.  And what is on her heart is Christ!

I like Angie’s writing because it is true to her character, and I probably admire her even more because I know how she lives her real life. :)  She is another transparent blogger who isn’t afraid to share her own struggles. I find her devotional posts uplifting and encouraging and appreciate that she uses scripture to back up what she’s writing.

One last blogger I want to be sure to share with you is Jennifer Camp @ You Are My Girls, whom I also found through Five Minute Friday.  Jennifer is a Christ-follower who is talented at reminding women of who we are in Christ.

Jennifer encourages freedom, and community, and story-sharing, and all sorts of other excellent things.  Her writing speaks to my soul and inspires me to want to live totally surrendered to the Father!

I could share quite a few more but lack the time and the space.  I hope you find someone here who can encourage you as you walk with the Lord!

Be ever in His Presence.

Jen :)

P.S. Don’t forget to link-up below if you wish!

 

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

#TheLoft

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

Then, Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the link goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

Listening is a lost art. Especially in the blogosphere where everyone wants to be heard.

At The Loft, we know that listening is rewarding and rich… surprisingly so. So we want to provide an opportunity for Christian bloggers to speak and listen, grow and be encouraged. We invite you up to the Loft, an out of the way upper room where we’ll talk, laugh, learn, and leave a little bit changed.

So grab your coffee mug and come on up! Hang out for a bit. We betcha you’ll be glad you did.

To Participate:

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic.

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and hashtag in your post and social media so we can find each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

The Loft Link Up

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 6 blogs (only 5 this week)! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are:

Leah

Kathy

Arabah

Jen

Rebekah

Now it’s time to link up!

This Week’s Topic: “Blogs that Inspire” (Since we all love blogs and bloggers, tell us what blogs or websites you go to for inspiration. Why do you love the blogs you love? Are there certain writing styles you are drawn to? Topics? Personalities? Spill the beans and then check out what other’s are saying too.)


Next Week’s Topic: “Greatest Insecurity” (We are going vulnerable here, asking you to share your greatest insecurity. How do you recognize it when it creeps up? What does insecurity sound like to you: What do you do to silence it? Any scriptures that help you fight it?)

 

Click through below to share your link!

Sharing this post with: Missional Women

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Welcome to The Loft!

I’m sure some of you have noticed that this blog went absolutely silent at the beginning of summer.  I hadn’t planned for such a long absence. It really started out as a week off when my husband and I celebrated our 15 year wedding anniversary with a trip all to ourselves (thanks to the generosity of others).

anniversary vacation blogging break

 

Loft ocean twilight

And when we returned, the school year was ending; chaos ensued.  And then we were enjoying the first week of summer break – lazy mornings, late evenings and no real schedule to speak of.

I think that’s when I decided that I wouldn’t blog again until I felt prompted to do so, that I would take the summer to enjoy the extra family time. That I would soak up every last bit of these pre-K years before our twins would head to school and our home would be empty during the day.

There’s something about the oldest starting High School and the youngest starting Kindergarten that startled me into realizing how easy it is to waste precious time with precious people.

#TheLoft, fourth of july, kids, blessings

It’s been a wondrous break; worth every minute!  The only thing I regret now is not telling you all that I was taking it in the first place. :)

 

So, now I’m back, and what better way to get back into the groove than participating in a weekly link-up that brings encouragement to each other and glory to the Lord?!  I beg you to join us for our first ever gathering at The Loft!

Jen :)

The Loft is open, come on up!

 

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

 

#TheLoft

 

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth. Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

Then, Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the link goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

 

Listening is a lost art. Especially in the blogosphere where everyone wants to be heard. At The Loft, we know that listening is rewarding and rich… surprisingly so. So grab your coffee mug and come on up. Hang out for a bit. We betcha you’ll be glad you did.

 

To Participate:

 

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic.

2. Listen twice as much. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and hashtag in your post and social media so we can find each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

 

The Loft Link Up

 

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 6 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are:

Leah

Kathy

Arabah

Jen

Rebekah

Kimberly

 

Now it’s time to link up! Today is our FIRST EVER link-up! We want to get to know each other and begin making relationships, thus this week’s topic:

 

This Week’s Topic: “I am…” (finish the sentence, introduce yourself, share your passions, experiences, maybe tell us a few odd facts, or just link to your “About” page. We’re all ears!)


Next Week’s Topic: “Blogs that Inspire” (tell us what blogs or websites you go to for inspiration and what makes them attractive. Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if someone mentions yours after finding you today?)

 

Click through below to join the link-up:

An InLinkz Link-up

6 Comments »

When Gratitude Comes Hard

It’s Five Minute Friday once again, where we gather at Lisa-Jo Baker’s place and free-write for five(ish) minutes on a one word prompt. This week the word is Grateful. Join us if you like!

Grateful, gratitude, hard times, motherhood

Some days the gratefulness comes easy like those lazy days of summer when the sunlight lingers and the breeze flutters warm and balmy. No deadlines looming on the horizon. No crazy schedule. Those are the days when the kids frolic outdoors like all of the Wild Things that they are. We’re happy and healthy and carefree.

On other days, the story isn’t quite so bright.  The winter lingered a little too long and leftover cabin fever rules the day.  Laundry piles up in one messy mountain, and the littlest boy who’s been potty trained for more than a year now, wets himself not once, not twice, but three times in one day for some unknown reason.

These are the days when children bicker and whine and complain, and we find ourselves unable to help them because the bickering and whining and complaining is going on in our hearts, too.

But in Lysa Terkeurst’s book, Unglued, I read about turning that attitude into gratitude, and I know it can be done.  Because who wouldn’t feel grateful for a healthy child, or food in the fridge, or soft beds to sleep in?

So even when the gratitude comes hard and we must dig deep to find the good in our day, it still comes. It still comes.

And I’m so grateful.

Grateful for grace and the promise of a God who will never give up on me, never quit working in my life (Phil. 1:6).

Grateful for the blessing of a Mom (and Dad) who love the Lord and taught me the truth of salvation.

Grateful for a house full of rowdy, messy children who simultaneously make my days exhausting and wonderful.

Grateful for 15 years wedded to a man who continues to seek the Lord and love me even when life gets a little crazy.

And for so many other things,

I give thanks.

No more attitude, just gratitude.

Because He is good.

All the time.

Jen :)

You may find me sharing at any of these lovely places or here:

Christian Mommy Blogger, Missional Women, My Freshly Brewed Life,

Beauty Through Imperfection, Managing Your Blessings

 

16 Comments »

Verdict on Your Value Series Wrap-up

Each Thursday for the last few weeks, we have been talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. This Thursday is the final installment of our Verdict on Value series.  If you missed previous posts, be sure to check the schedule listed at the bottom!

Verdict on Value

 

Haven’t we had a rich time over the past six weeks with fellow sisters and the Word of God?! As we wrap up our Thursday series today, we have a final word of encouragement and video to share with you. Please click here to view the video and thank you so much for being a part of this series!

Be sure to catch all of the previous posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free mini Bible study printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This ( Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Ministry Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

 

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3 Important Traits of a Missional Believer

Today I’m honored to share a word from Rosilind Jukic, the author of the newly released Missional Handbook. If you want to know more about The Missional Handbook, be sure to visit Monday’s post with my brief review.

 

The small eBook sat on my hard drive for nearly a decade. It was a project I had begun as a rookie missionary in Tuzla, Bosnia where God challenged every classic notion I had about missions. During my 3-month stay in Bosnia I received a number of emails asking about missions and how one could prepare to become a missionary. The slower pace of that small town enabled me to take ample time to reflect on these important questions, which led to more questions, and what poured out was a small document that was abandoned for nearly a decade while God allowed those thoughts to mature and deepen.

In this complex idea of missional living that today’s church is trying so hard to grasp, there are three things that stand out to me as being most important

Three important traits of every missional believer.

1. Realize that all believers are called be missionaries.

Some are called to foreign missions while others are called to local missions. Some are called to full-time missions while others are called to be missional at the workplace. Wherever we are, we are standing on a mission field and are called to bring God’s kingdom to bear in our realm of influence: no matter how narrow or wide that realm may be.

2.  Recognize the power of motivation

The era of spectatorship is over. It is time for the lay people to arise with the power and authority given them in Christ and fulfill Christ’s command. Pastors, missionaries and evangelists cannot and should not do it all. Jesus spent 3 years training and empowering His disciples to minister, and those disciples trained and empowered the early church to minister. Local people reaching those within their sphere of influence is what the 21st century missional community must look like!

3. Understand the force of multiplication

If one missionary successfully reaches ten souls, then those ten souls have the potential to reach one hundred souls. If those one hundred souls each reach ten souls, one thousand new souls have been won for Christ! If one thousand believers reach ten new souls, ten thousand new souls have entered the kingdom. The concept of multiplication is seen throughout scripture. Unfortunately, it is not prevalent on today’s mission field. We still operate under the old system of missionaries carving out new works on foreign fields. This is not as necessary as it was 150 years ago. However, what is very necessary is mentorship. Most countries need quality, seasoned believers to mentor them in effective soul-winning, ministry leadership and discipleship. Mentorship creates multiplication. Multiplication allows the flood of the gospel to sweep a nation with an atomic force.

After leaving Bosnia in March 2006, I returned to Croatia where I have served in a small local church in Zagreb. Over these past eight and a half years I have watched these three traits in action. I have added to that small abandoned booklet and it has finally been released in what I simply titled “The Missional Handbook”.  The Missional Handbook examines missional living on local, technological, and global levels, each from many varied angles.

A missionary is simply a believer who takes the message of the gospel to the lost, wherever they may be. What is your sphere of influence? The neighborhood park? Your work place? The classroom? That is where Christ has commissioned you to be a missionary.

I pray that as you read this book, that it’s simple challenge will cause you reexamine all you’ve thought missions to be, and find new and innovative ways to become missional right where you are!

Rosilind is an American girl married to a Bosnian guy who lives in a
small village just outside of Zagreb. They have two crazy boys who are
as opposite as boys can be. When Rosilind isn’t writing, she is dreaming
up recipes and searching for ways to organize her home better. She is
the founder and author of Missional Call – a resource center and community for missionaries and those who are passionate about missions.

 

2 Comments »

What Makes a Missionary?

I recently finished reading Rosilind Jukic’s new release The Missional Handbook, a handy guide for those considering a missionary lifestyle and even those simply interested in missions work.  In it, the author addresses a key question that is often misunderstood: what makes someone a missionary?

from Missional Call

 

I remember struggling with this question in my early years of college, when I was searching for God’s plan for my life.      After my years spent as an MK (missionary kid) on the field of Papua New Guinea, I knew the urgent need for career missionaries and I felt a real burden for unreached people groups.  So, of course, I assumed I would be an overseas missionary someday. :)

Oh, how the Lord has a way of changing our best-laid plans!  Once I met my husband, I began to consider a different ministry, that of pastor’s wife.  Even before we married, I wholeheartedly embraced the role of youth leader and helpmeet to my husband, who was a young youth minister.  I found purpose and contentment in this role.

But then our first child came along and I was no longer as free to be involved with my husband’s ministry. Life became busy and more complicated, as it usually does after children. :)  Suddenly, the role I thought I was meant for had to be put aside while I focused on raising our son.  I began to feel like a bit of a failure since I wasn’t “serving the Lord” in the way I thought I should be, one of many undesired sacrifices I offered up in my attempt to earn the approval He freely gives!

Fast forward a year or two and we decided to take an extended break from full-time ministry.  We had marital issues that needed tending to, as well as wounds from the past we both needed to deal with.  It was a difficult time for both of us as we often felt like failures.  We questioned God’s path for us, for our future.

It took me a few years, but slowly I began to learn the truth that Rosilind Jukic shares in The Missional Handbook – we can and should minister right where we are! We should all be involved in missionary work, whether it be in our homes, on our streets, in our churches, or overseas.  Eventually, I began to see that mothering itself is a ministry, a mission field of sorts – we should be missionaries first in our own homes to the young minds we have been entrusted with!

from Missional Call

So, if you are ever tempted to think, I’m just a mom – what can I possibly do?, recognize that as the voice of the Great Deceiver.  He likes us to believe that ministry work only “counts” if titles and positions like missionary or pastor are involved.  He likes to make investing in others more about us and  less about Christ.  He wants us apathetic and discouraged and feeling like failures.  Because then we are paralyzed to do the work God has set before us.

If you desire to reach others with the Good News, begin right where you are!

Ask the Lord to show you those He has put in your path.  Ask Him to bring you someone to mentor or disciple (and then be ready for a possibly surprising answer!).  Or perhaps you are mother to young children?  Begin right there in your home. Be intentional about teaching your children biblical truth (don’t just leave it to the church).  Be intentional about teaching them the importance of missions, too!

It’s never too late to start being a missionary.

In fact, you probably already are one whether you realize it or not. :)

For more information on modern missions work, be sure to check out Rosilind’s new book, The Missional Handbook    (buy before Wednesday when the sale ends!)

The Missional Handbook available now!

In this book, you’ll find first-hand experiences of missionaries entering overseas fields and tips for potential missionaries.  You’ll also find Jukic’s  unique ideas on how missions work needs to be modernized to be more effective, and practical ways that readers can become more missions-minded right in their own countries.  I especially enjoyed her section on “uncommon” missionaries, the question and answer section, and the personal accounts she includes in the bonus section of her book.  You’ll even find a short story from me and one from another MK!

So, be a missionary every da-ay! (Anyone else know that song??)

Jen :)

If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy our Much Ado About Missions series – practical resources and methods for teaching children the importance of reaching the unreached.

I may be sharing this with any of these lovely blogs and here:

A Little R &R, Missional Call, Cornerstone Confessions, A Mama’s Story, My Joy-filled Life,

Finding Heaven Today, Wholehearted Home

 

 

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Leah’s Story

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

Insecurity is like an onion. Every layer that is peeled back reveals something stronger and smellier. When peeled all the way to the core, we find Satan lurking there.

Insecurity cloaks itself in many disguises. Sometimes the insecure seem shy and reserved, while others are just the opposite, jealous for attention or envious of other people.

Although insecurity is not mentioned directly, I believe we find some consequences of it in James 3:16 (NCV).

Where jealousy and selfishness are, there will be confusion and every kind of evil.

Your area of insecurity may be vastly different from mine, but regardless of what insecurity looks like, it all needs to be dealt with. May I share from my battle with insecurity?

The Lord called me into a speaking and writing ministry in 2007. The call couldn’t have been any clearer if the heavens had rolled back and a trumpet-blowing angel announced it. I moved forward, writing a weekly email devotional and speaking wherever the Lord opened doors.

Eventually… Click here to read the rest of Leah’s story

 

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series:

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

 

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That New Girl: Finding Confidence

Each Thursday for the next few weeks, we are talking about breaking free from insecurity, comparison, and shame. We are sharing our raw and messy real life stories. But also, more importantly, we are sharing the truths that set us free. We have bathed this series in prayer and ask now that the Father knit our hearts together and strengthen us to slay this giant called “insecurity” in our hearts.

Verdict on Value

 

Sometimes I wish I could go back to my second-grade self, that girl who was mostly tomboy, confident leader-of-the-pack. She could be friends with whomever she wanted, even boys. She wore dresses, but she also climbed trees. She lived free.

She never considered what the scales said about her value.  She never wished to be more like her blonde-headed friend.  She had a little girl crush on a classmate of hers, but never spent her days waiting for him to notice, or worrying what others might think.

She was relatively innocent, that girl God created on purpose and with a plan.

But that girl moved from state to state nearly every year after third grade until she finally moved overseas.  Each new school left its mark, some beauty spots and some ugly scars, and she found herself wearing labels like “new girl” and “missionary kid.” For a while, she learned to hide her true self away in favor of a girl others would accept. She lost her identity, her self-confidence.

I’ve spent much of my adult life learning to force that girl out into the light, trying to help her find the woman she was created to be.  In the process, I’ve searched for her value in family and friendships, marriage and parenthood, status in college and sometimes status at church, often without realizing I was doing so.

On occasion, I’ve even tried to manufacture that girl’s value on my own by living the good girl life, raising the good kids, serving at the good church, creating good things, and so many more undesired, unnecessary sacrifices that we’re all guilty of performing.

But I fail so often, don’t you? And once again, the Father has to remind me that the confidence I’m searching for really can’t be found in others or in self.

If I want to be completely free of others’ expectations and my own perfectionism, to live confident, I must look only to my Maker.  He alone knows the “real” me, the girl he “knit together” in the womb.  The girl He calls “fearfully and wonderfully made.”  The girl He values at the price of a one and only Son. The girl I was born to be.

that girl, new creation, identity in Christ, finding confidence,

He alone knows the attention to detail that often leads to the pit of perfectionism can also be a gift of organization and precision.  He alone knows the smiling face often hides a fragile heart, but a heart that easily lends itself to sympathy for others.  He alone knows that tendency to boss comes from the ability to lead and that often critical voice reveals undaunted optimism.

And so many other flaws that I find so obvious in myself, He has ultimately meant for my good.

You see, we don’t serve a God who creates mistakes, sisters.  And even though sin and Satan have corrupted us, I’m convinced He truly purposed those “flaws” for good.

So how do we overcome the lies we’ve listened to for so long to reclaim our true selves, the free girls we were created to be?

We look to Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith!  He shows us our true value: the blood of the Lamb.  We trust in Philippians 1:6 which claims He began a work in us that He promises to carry until completion.

Sin temporarily hijacks our child-of-God identity, the world teaches us that we will never be enough, and the pride and insecurity of self often confirms the lies. But the truth, sisters, the amazing truth is that we don’t have to be enough because He is already everything for us. It’s this Christ-confidence that sets us free!

no condemnation, confidence in Christ, identity in Christ, position in Christ

With Christ’s help a better version of that true-to-self, second-grade girl is surfacing. I catch glimpses of her from time to time, the new-in-Christ girl. She speaks up even when the voices inside tell her to avoid the risk. She combats those lies with the truth of the Word. She claims victory in imperfect progress.

She is Christ-confident.

She’s learning little by little to tune out the world, the Enemy, and even her own perfectionist thoughts and focus instead on the Maker who continually makes her new.

Because she was born to live free.

And so were you, my sisters.

So were you!

Jen :)

 

 

Be sure to catch all of the posts in our Verdict on Value series (every Thursday):

March 27th – Kathy from Free to Fly (Approval)

April 3rd – Interview with Jennifer Dukes Lee (and a chance to win her new book, Love Idol!)

April 10th – Kerry from Plenty Place (Reputation)

April 17th – Arabah from Arabah Joy (Shame ~with a free printable)

April 24th – Jen from Being Confident of This (Confidence)

May 1st – Leah from The Point (Insecurity)

May 8th – Wrap up at Arabah Joy’s place

 

Sharing with: My Freshly Brewed Life, Missional Women, Christian Mommy Blogger,

Essential Thing DevotionsWomen of Worship, Mom’s the Word, Cornerstone Confessions,

Time Warp Wife, Rich Faith Rising, Messy Marriage, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Wholehearted Home

 

You may also find me at any of these lovely places.

 

 

 

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