Friday, March 28, 2014

Trust God today {don't give up!}

Hey guys! How are you today?

I've been reading through the book of Mark lately and I am loving it. I've been thinking a lot lately about our 'calling' once we surrender our lives to Christ. Each of us long for a significance and purpose in this life we live, and only Jesus can give us that. Sure we can find significance and purpose in other ways, and they may be fulfilling for a time, but those things that we find on this earth are only temporary. They won't last. Jesus is eternal. Whatever Jesus has called you to do right now in your life, whether that be simply leading a Bible study with a small group of girls, or sharing the gospel with a stranger you have met on the street, follow that calling He has given you. When your struggling with trusting Him today friends, remember how much He loves you and wants the best for you. When your having a hard time believing that He is really good, think about what He did for you on the cross. Who DIES for someone? That is real love. 

This song below by the Newsboys, called 'Live With Abandon,' is one of my absolute favorite songs at the moment. I love the part where they say: 'I'm not looking back, I'm done with that, I want to give you all that I am!,' it is so powerful. When your struggling with trusting Jesus today, listen to this song, and be encouraged. We must live our lives in surrender to the One who gave it all, because He knows us and knows what is better for us always. 

I love you guys!
<3 Jess 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

VLOG: Truthful Tuesdays with Jess {Proverbs 3:5-6}

Hi friends!
Guess what?
....I vlogged. :) I'm starting this new thing called 'Truthful Tuesdays.' I'll share a piece of scripture with you guys that the Lord has put on my heart, and share with you guys how I am working on applying that verse to my own life and also what I think of that verse. Please, let me know what you think through comments below of this new Vlog thing that I am doing! I love you guys! 

Love, Jess

Saturday, March 15, 2014

How to develop an intimate relationship with Jesus: Gettin' real

I've noticed that over the past, I've received quite a bit of emails from other people asking me how to develop an "intimate" relationship with God. This is a great question, and I decided to give it some feedback! By any means, this isn't me telling you I'm 100% perfect in my walk with the Lord. I'm learning new things about Him every day, so these are just a suggestions based on the things that have helped me grow closer with Him over the past couple of years.

1) Make quiet time with Him every day a priority, not an option.
This has been huge for me! I've realized more and more over the past that God is a God that is truly like a Father to us. He wants nothing more than to spend time with His children every day, so that we can know and understand His love for us more. If we don't take spending time with Him every day seriously, then it's going to make it pretty hard for us to get to know Him intimately. I set aside time every morning to read a chapter in my Bible (right now I'm reading through the New Testament). I usually pray right before I read that God would speak to me and teach me something new through whatever I'm reading. That helps a lot. 

2) Journal to the Lord.
Journaling to the Lord really is really therapeutic and really helps me pour out my heart to Him. The Lord says in His word to "Pour out your heart to Him, for God is our refuge" (Psalm 62:8) When I think of pouring out my heart, I think of releasing every emotion, concern, worry, doubt, and fear up to God. I try to do that when I journal, to remind myself that the Lord cares about every detail of my life (Psalm 37:23), and wants us to cast all of our cares and anxiety to Him, because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).

3) Talk to God throughout the day, through prayer.
It's probably the coolest thing ever that we can have constant communication with God through prayer. I try to make an effort to thank Jesus periodically throughout the day for the little things, whether that be a sunny day or running into a friend that I haven't seen in awhile. This helps me to remember how precious my relationship with Jesus is: I can talk to Him all the time! Whenever I'm in a stressful situation, it's so reassuring to whisper those sweet words: "Jesus, help me!" God is always right there, waiting to listen and respond to our prayers in different ways.  

4) Listen to music that glorifies God.
No, I'm not saying to eliminate all other forms of music besides Christian (I like some country music and what not!), but I have noticed throughout the years that the closer I grow to God, the more and more Christian music I crave. Thats right, crave! It's so much more fulfilling to listen to Christian music, because the lyrics are always so right on cue with whatever our hearts are crying out to the Lord for. Some of my favorite Christian artists are Toby Mac, Britt Nicole, Big Daddy Weave, Phil Whickham, Steven Curtis Chapman, Jamie Grace, Tenth Avenue North, and more. I also love to put on my "Christian Rap" pandora station when I'm at the gym, because that station gets me pumped up!

Hmmm. That's about all I have for now. I may have some more to add later. Pleeeeaase friends, add to this list and share things that help you make your relationship with God more intimate and personal! I would love to hear some suggestions :) 

I love you all!

Love, Jess 

Friday, March 14, 2014

In His sweet surrender

     There has been a lot of things on my mind lately that have been making me pretty frustrated. I've asked God many times why I'm not in the phase of life that I thought I would be by now. People younger than me are getting married, and since that is something I want so bad, it's really hard for me to accept that I'm not in that phase of life yet. However I've come to realize that my Father in heaven loves me too much to allow for me to experience things that I am just not ready for yet. I don't even want to know what kind of mess I would get myself into if I jumped head on into relationships that I wasn't ready for, or career paths that I wasn't supposed to take. Yet, the struggle is still very much there. It's still hard accepting that God knows me better than myself, and that I'm not ready for many of the dreams and aspirations that He has placed on my heart yet.

Let me put it plain and simple: waiting is hard.

However It's so important to remember every day that we have a Father in heaven who literally is a dad to us. He will lead us and guide us in the direction we should go. We may question His will for us, but He is still faithful. If we continue to trust Him, He will reveal to us a plan for our lives that is greater than anything we could ever come up with on our own.

At this point in my walk with the Lord, I don't even know tomorrow holds.

The best part about this is?

It's exactly where He wants me to be. In His beautiful surrender.

 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Learning to give God full control

Hello lovelies!

I am in a REALLY good mood this morning because it is actually sunny outside. Praise Jesus! I needed this sunshine like no other. What is new with you guys? I apologize for not blogging as much lately, graduate school sometimes stresses me out {okay not sometimes a lot of the time} and it's easy for me to worry and over analyze things. I feel like I want to be in control of my life so bad sometimes, and Jesus always is waiting right there for me to simply say: "alright God, I'm giving this all up to you. I'm not in control, you are."

Do you guys ever get like that? Like you just want to take over, and have things go your perfect way? and when things don't go your way you get really upset? I think God allows for us to go through experiences like this in order for us to see and understand how much we really need His strength and guidance every second of the day. Because when we take over, we fail. We will always mess up and make mistakes, but if we don't leave the ultimate control up to God, our lives will be a complete mess. 

I love this verse in Psalm chapter 32, which talks about control and letting God lead our lives. It says:

"The Lord says, "I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.
Do not be like a senseless horse or mule that needs a bridal to keep it under control." 
Psalm 32:8-9

I guess I am at a point in my walk with the Lord where I'm realizing just how much trust He requires me to have. I have to give it all up to Him. Every burden, every fear, every concern. He wants complete control my friends. He sees how hard this is for us to do, but He desperately wants us to do it because He wants to set us free. My prayer right now is just that the Lord would help me trust Him completely. I don't want to be like a "senseless horse or mule" that prohibits God from leading me in the direction that He wants me to go in my life. Even when I struggle and doubt His goodness, I pray that I will persevere. He has a plan for my life that is greater than I could ever come up with on my own. Regardless of my circumstances, He is GOOD. He is GOOD to the all of us. If we trust Him friends, He will lead us on a beautiful pathway to our lives. 

Is is hard for the each of you to give God complete control in your lives? Which area in your life do you find it the hardest to give Him complete control? How can you practice giving it all up to Him more this week? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this! :)

I love you guys!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Stripped of my pride

Hi blog friends! How are the each of you doing? To be perfectly honest, these past couple of days have been kind of frustrating for myself. God has changed up my plans and intervened in my life in ways that I didn't expect. As a graduate teaching assistant, we were recently given our new schedules for the times we will teach at next term. Before I got my schedule, I kept telling myself that the Lord was going to bless me and that I was going to get a wonderful teaching schdule. And then..yep you guessed it, things didn't go as planned. Although one of the times that I teach at was alright, the other was not. I have to teach way later in the day on Friday's, and I'm pretty upset about it, especially since its going to be spring term. 

Initially, I was pretty upset, but as I got to thinking about it, I realized that just because things aren't necessarily going my way doesn't mean that God doesn't love me anymore. Also, I feel that God was stripping me of my pride that exact moment. Deep down, I felt some kind of entitlement for getting the schedule that I wanted. Maybe that was God's way of saying, "Jessica, things aren't always going to go the way that YOU plan them. They will only go the way that I have planned them. You can choose to accept this truth or not, and how you respond to it really makes a huge difference."


okay God.

your right...yet again.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
Romans 15:13

What is God teaching you lately? I'd love to hear! It's fun to see how He is working on the each of us in different ways.