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Saturday, August 27, 2016

I QUIT, QUITTING!

     I love doing new things! I love meeting new people. I love surprises! I do not love to, nor do I  naturally preserver. Ugg! It seriously took me until I was 30 to realize this about myself. Paul tells the Galatians, "Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? Did you suffer so many things in vain- if indeed it was in vain? Does He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith- just as Abraham believed God and is was counted to him as righteousness?" Gal. 3:3-6. 
  Are you so foolish? Yes, Paul, yes I am, over and over and over again! Recently, my husband Paul challenged me to "do something for a year." This challenge came in a conversation littered with my tears of failure and defeat in the area of making healthy choices in my life physically. I got good at trying something new and then trying something newer 2 weeks later. I took his challenge and even got a new Instagram account called, "even_this _jess." I was on fire! Determined to change my life in a year. I checked with God on things I probably shouldn't eat and stuck to it hard core! It went so well for a month! Then it was time to take my kids and girls to Headwaters. 
First day of my program that didn't work! 

Head Waters Trip with the Girls and Kids!







Huh, real life. I can't always control what I am going to eat. Huh, I wasn't prepared for that in all  fire. So I eat whatever I felt like at camp and when I got home continued to eat what ever. I was confused at why I couldn't get back to hyper disciplined. I got discouraged and this resulted in yet another conversation with my ever patient husband. I asked if he would stop eating sugar with me for a year (basically grasping for control and him to give it to me). "Ah, NO!" In all my arrogance I was shocked that he wasn't willing to give something up and be disciplined with me. He, gently told me that he has no desire to live a crazy extreme life with food. He simple wants to be consistent in making good choices with food and exercise. He said that his comment several months ago about doing something for a year was just to encourage me in that direction of consistency and never meant for me to make a program out of it. Huh, busted. I am such a: make a program out of stuff gal. I think because my programs make me feel in control. Then in God's great love and knowledge that me in control of my life will end in disaster, He frustrates my plans with camp food. So, after some thought my man came back to me the next day and said, "This is what I will do with you if you would like. We can commit to our own standards of healthy eating and working out that fit each of our goals and then have cheat days once a week together." What!? I love it! So its not a program but its is guidelines so keep me in check. I don't want healthy living to become anything it shouldn't be. I doesn't need to rule my life! It also doesn't need to be dropped by the way side by excuses. The reason I want to be healthy is because I only have one shot at this life. I struggle with depression as it is and this eating well and exercising really makes a difference for me. Happy Mom is such a blessing for my family. I want to give that to them! 
Romans 5
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Hand to the Plow

  Our Pastor taught on idolatry a few Sunday's ago. He challenged us to "surrender the thing that is ruining you."
Immediately I had something on my heart to surrender and a few days later, yet another! That's how it works with me. So on our way home from Indiana (after dropping our kids off for 3 days and 2 nights!!!) I said to my man, "So I have been thinking about what Brian said today and my idol is wanting to control your relationships with your kids. I can see how it is not helpful but damaging and I want to surrounding it!" "So what's your idol." Long pause. Then Paul said, " Sorry babe I don't work like that. I listen to the teaching and it takes about of week for me to process the truth and walk it out. So I may have an answer for you in a week. I'm just not the camp counselor that gathers a group of people shares their struggle and asks everyone else to take a turn and share their heart." Blahahhahahahahahahah! I just died laughing because there was so much truth in that statement and it cracks me up how different he and I are. As soon as God speaks to me about something I talk to everyone I know about it and ask if they can relate! My introvert of a man gave me a great word picture of how he functions in life in his walk with God.

     He said, "Picture an old school plow. Its strapped up to a horse or ox and the man is plowing his filed. He has to get it done in time to plant and for there to be a good harvest. Picture the man plowing along and right in his way is a rock. He picks the rock up, gets it out of his field and keeps on plowing. He doesn't talk about it. He doesn't call up his farmer friends to come take a look at the rock and stand around having a conversation about where it came from or what its made of or just pondering the reason rocks have to exist at all. He just handles it and moves on with the desire to do his work well and there be a good harvest."

     What!? I so would not handle it that way! Metaphorically of course, the rock is sin. I tend to have a process about the sin, confessing it to the Lord, grieving it and then hardest for me is moving on in grace. For my man the process is different and a bit more simple. I have to confess just hearing about his process convicted me about my desire to set up a tea party round my rocks. I do dwell on them to long instead of just acknowledging it to God and trusting Him to make my path straight. I'm sure that I have been helpful to him at some point in nudging him towards processing stuff a little more. Iron sharpens Iron and Paul and I are each others greatest iron in life.
     I wanted to share because I was so encouraged by the word picture. First because I think its a great sneak peek into how men think (at least my man) and Second I was challenged not to linger so long on the problem but to acknowledge it, toss it out of the field, and get on with God's kingdom work.

     Do you have a rock in your field? (there goes the camp counselor in me! lol) Do you linger to long on it? Do you need to talk less about it and confess the thing to the Lord and get back to plowing? Or are you on the other end? You don't communicate at all and the body of Christ would be extremely uplifted if you would share more?
    I pray we would all plow well today!

Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Christmas Morning

     I was challenged this week at Church to look at the gifts God has given me and use them. Seems simple right? I have been walking with the Lord for quite some time and found myself dumfounded at the task of evaluating what the gifts are. I ended up texting my Pastor and he was quite helpful (as usual!)
     My biggest trip up when thinking about gifting is that I forget that God says, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways." (Is. 55:8)
     At Christmas time, well actually we have made a habit of getting Christmas shopping done in October! WHAT! Its so great cause then I can super focus on the teaching stuff God gives me for the kids. Easter and Christmas we kind of have our own little VBS kind of weeks leading up to the big day! ANYWAYS~ When my husband and I are thinking about what to give our kids we think of one kids at a time. We think about what would delight them and be useful. Some gifts are for pure fun and others (like art sets or legos) if used at the child's full potential can bless others. They can use their made in His image-ness to create something from nothing and it will delight others.
     Now as is human nature there are times that our kids will take their eyes off their own gifts and decide if what their siblings got is better or not. I think this would be a good description of where I go wrong with my thinking on spiritual gifts.
     I think God would have us unwrap our gifts and use them in a way that we bless others and never forgetting Who gave them.



As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies- in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:10-11

     The overwhelming theme of that scripture is a God focus and not a self focus.  So if I am going to go off of God's thoughts on the matter of gifts and not my own, I think I will be blogging more. I love to share the truths that God is teaching me. I haven't written in 4 months because I got my eyes of Him. I looked around at other's gifts and decided mine weren't as shiny so I should just put them away. Not at all what God has called us to.

     So here is the challenge to you my friend and reader. Do you know what God has given you? Are you willing to use it fully with out looking at what others got and waisting your heart comparing yours to theirs?

     I am convinced this is a process. Just as children don't wake up Christmas morning blink and have their 500 piece lego set built and on display. We first need to have a heart to receive not thinking ourselves any less loved by God than others. Then unwrap. Then lets serve one another spend ourselves and our gifts to encourage the body. There are so many people hurting and struggling out there, James 1 talks about various trials we go through. That word various is the same word that God uses in 1 Peter 4, talking about various grace! God matches trials with grace and He'd like to use you functioning in your gifts to dispense that grace. Lets not rob one another with childish perspective on spiritual gifts. Let believe scripture and act accordingly.
     Can I get a high five?!





Wednesday, March 16, 2016

What if I didn't CARE?

     About a month and a half ago I posted how God provided for me to script for FREE! This has been a very exciting development for me with Abide Scripts.
     With the money God gave through my land lord I went out and purchase everything I would need to get going again.
I had run out out of most everything. I had a few orders waiting to be fill so I got to painting right away.
     Something happened for the first time in all my time painting. I COULD NOT SCRIPT! I couldn't write out the scripture pretty or spelled correctly to save my life! The spelling issue has been ever present and God uses it to remind me that this adventure is His to lead. I have gone from extreme embarrassment over it to down right thankful for the constant reminder. Now the not being able to layout the words well or even form each letter properly was new. I would script, mess up, cover over with more background paint and mess up again. Seriously, it was so strange and more so very frustrating. There were many tears and sitting in quiet asking God what in the world was going on.
     One evening I had messed up yet another go at a canvas. I was DONE! The kids were in bed, I got in mine and just stared at the wall. I had gotten to the place that I had asked others to pray for me and knew that there was something going on that was deeper that just messing up. I knew that God had taken away the ability to script for a purpose. When my man got home from work that evening he asked what was up. Cause I'm not really good at pretending things are fine when they aren't. I shared that it was the same thing that it had been. I said, "I am just not able to script." Paul said, "well maybe that is what He wants you to get, that you aren't able to do this with out Him." That sounded right but I honestly didn't think I was trying to do it with out Him. We continued to talk and Paul said lots of other good wise, thought provoking things as he usually does and then went to take his shower. Still on the bed I thought through Paul's challenges of truth and then, what I thought was totally unrelated came to mind. Caring what people think. WHAT!? You see I had also that week exhausted my husband with what other people seemed to think about all kinds of life issues and the anxiety that stired up in my heart as a result. The Holy Spirit whispered you can't care anymore about what other people think. That is not welcome in the new season I AM leading you into with scripting again.
     Let me be clear when I say I am not to care what other's think. This was from God so His command was this: Gal.1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of men or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I am trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
I am not talking about an attitude of rebellion, in not caring but more of a putting my care fulling on Christ and not on peoples opinions. This has been a long time miss the mark for me. Something I have habitually struggle with. I believe God was saying enough is enough.
     So I began to think what if I didn't care what people thought and I was consumed with what God thought? I have an entire bible to check to make sure I know what He thinks AND the Holy Spirit to guide me! I felt like my brain exploded! It was time. Time to make that somewhat scary leap to obey in something that felt like it was apart of my personality. Disobeying God is apart of our fallen nature but not our identity in Christ.
     Shortly after the call to stop caring I had this "revolutionary" thought, what if I didn't care about opinions of others more that God in any area of my life? Boom! Oh how slow I am! I am so thankful for God's gracious patience with me.
     I have begun the hard work of recognizing when I very naturally get obsessed with other's opinions, stopping and turning my focus onto God's truth about the matter. You see, God has not called me to simple paint. I am to script His word and pray for the individuals that the canvas is gong to. I can not multi task. I just can't. My brain can only pray or worry not both. Of course this has affected my whole life not just scripting.
     So is there anything in your life that God is making it clear that it isn't welcome in your next season? I implore you get rid of it!


The fallowing pictures are all canvases God has allowed me to paint with a singular focus on Him and praying for the person whose wall it will adorn.

I tried water color for the first time! I love feathers so there are quite
a few of those going on right now




















First try at water color EVER!




   

Monday, February 1, 2016

FREE!!!

     I got the impression from the Holy Spirit that it was time for some change for Abide Scripts. I have been praying and waiting for weeks about what it will be. If you have fallowed along at all you know that Abide Scripts functioned as a small business for about a year. It was profitable but getting paid to paint just wasn't for me. I love painting God's word onto canvas in hopes that it will jump off the wall and into people's hearts and lives. There have been countless testimonies of how God has used His word on these canvases. So many of the request I get are from people who know someone who is suffering. I have heard many hard stories and gotten to pray with many for loved ones as they come to pick up their orders. I know that I am to keep painting! I shut the business down and said I would paint if the one's requesting would purchase supplies. I heard through several resources that people wanted to ask for a canvas and didn't mind paying for the supplies but the having to get it and not knowing just what to get was a real turn off as far as contacting me. This ended up being just fine as I was starting school with our three kids and it hadn't really gone well yet (like at all ever). This school year has been very different and down right great! I have a lot more time on my hands as my man just started a second job to ensure that I can stay home full time with the kids.
     OK that is all the back story and now the cool thing that happened today. I was talking with my land lord as he was picking up his lawn mower up. He loves Jesus and is a pilot for Samaritan's purse. He was telling me that he had an opportunity to hang out with Franklin Graham the other day and how blessed he was to find that Franklin is just one of the guys and so very humble. He mentioned that its amazing how much God has provided for this ministry of taking shoe boxes of gifts to kids all over the world. My land lord shared a story of great provision. I was so blessed and reminded once again that God's provision is not limited. I shared with him that I was encouraged. I said I had a small dream to paint for free. I don't know how God is going to do it but I really believe He is and that his story encouraged me to keep being patient. You will never believe what he said next. "Jess why don't you go ahead and write your rent check for $100 less next month and use that for supplies." I of course broke down and cried right then and there! So it starts. Painting for free. This is still quite the faith walk as $100 will buy about 10 canvas' worth of supplies and I don't know what God will do from there. I can't wait to paint those 10! To celebrate I want to give away this canvas. It is the first of painting completely for free. If anyone would like to have it or get it for a friend just let me know and its yours!
12x16 in.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

For the Married Gals

What happens in your heart when you read this?

Wives, submit to your won husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, His body, and is Himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Eph.5:22  
     I personally have had a love hate relationship with these inspired words of God. Lets remember that the Creator of our bodies, souls, spirits and personalities wrote this. This is God's heart, desire and COMMAND for us married gals. So what do we do with it? 
          I can tell you what I have done with it. I had despised it. I have obeyed it. I have pretended it wasn't there. I have stayed up late after a terrible fight studying it in the Greek word by word and the conveniently forgotten to walk it out. I have walked it out in many situations and seasons. I have failed to walk it out as well. Bottom line God has been growing me as a wife these last 11 years and 3 months. Recently (like this morning) God has shown me something new and wonderful about the submit thing. 
           My man and I just went through something hard. It didn't have anything to do with submission or so I thought but God used it to unearth some serious disobey in my life. I have not truly followed my husband yet. Its embarrassing to state this 11 years in but I am comforted that I have the rest of my life to change. So this is what I used to do (like last week). If my man asked me to do something or change something or try to lead me in any way I would evaluate if I agreed or not. If I did agree I would do whatever the things was joyfully and slap the submission label on it. If he asked something I didn't agree with I would reason away why I didn't need to do it. He doesn't understand, I wasn't brought up that way, he isn't perfect so it might not be safe to follow that and the list goes on! I am talking about the entire gamut of life issues from parenting to "Babe, please turn on the exhaust fan when you cook." 
     During our recent hard time God challenged me about this controlling attitude towards when I felt like obey Him or not. Obeying Him, God by submitting to him my husband.  He (God) said to me, what do you think would happen if you just did the things Paul asked you to do? I made a list of all the big and littles I had been rebellious with my husband about. Turns out every single one was for my benefit. Like if I followed him in the things he asked of me or in directions he wanted to take our family I would receive good things. One example, I have struggled with my health as in not eating well and working out consistently. My sweet man would gently encourage me, "Babe, I know its hard but you just gotta stay consistent with eating well and working out." In my heart I would get annoyed, like "ahhhh don't tell me what to do you have no idea how hard it is to home school, run the house, work out and eat well." Really the only thing that fuels that kind of response to our men is pride. 
     So now that we have some of the problem pin pointed, PRIDE, lets talk about the other thing that stops us from submitting to our husbands. Not TRUSTING God. 
     I have let God know more that a few times that I think its incredibly ridiculous that He expects me to follow and submit to an imperfect man. I'm OK with following and submitting to Him because He is perfect and wont mess up in leading but how in His goodness does he expect me to lay down my "right" to manage myself and give it to a fallen person? His answer to this very destructive attitude of mine was not what I expected. I wasn't even asking it recently but though the challenges Paul and I faced this week God showed me through my man. GRACE.
     I messed up. I hurt my husband. I allowed the sin of coveting what other have and I don't to tell my husband he wasn't good enough. Yuck. God used this to show me that I really am a wretch. I really am a mess and a sinner. See growing up "good little church girl," this being an utter failure apart from God concept has been difficult for me to grasp. I hurt my man. You know what he did? He loved me. I was so undeserving and he was so kind. It blew my mind. It taught me about God's love for me and taught me through experience just how wonderful grace is. I needed grace and it was freely give. Back to why it is safe to follow our fallen husbands. Because the same grace that saved us from and eternity apart from God and saves us daily as we screw up is the same grace that God pours out on our men. God is big enough to handle our men. He loves them more that we do. It might feel like a tall order to submit but could you imagine the pressure of leading. Our husbands don't need us to drive them but fallow and support them. While in the midst of our struggle this week we did have separation as far as connectedness. In that time I took God seriously with His challenge to just follow with deciding if I agree. (obviously I'm not talking about following blindly in to sin stuff)  Even when Paul was on shift and not even home I felt more connected to him than ever in my life. I don't know about you ladies but feeling united with my man is like a top favorite experience in my whole life. The benefit of submission is connection. God created marriage to be this great mystery of oneness with our spouse. There is not greater experience on earth that I have had than that. 
     I hope this is encouraging to someone. I am so excited to follow my man through the good choices and bad. To actually trust God enough to do this marriage thing His way. I know that God has blessing in store as I obey that I can't even fathom! I also know that it will take work. It will take staying focused on God, it will take allowing Him to clean out the junk in my heart and refill it with Himself. It will take a continued growth and learning about grace and humility that I have never know before. I am so thankful for Jesus, I am so thankful for marriage and I am so thankful for my Paul. 


Sunday, December 13, 2015

Back on Social Media


When I deleted my FB account I held it with an open hand. I knew I needed to to obey and it has been great 2 months with out it. I have made an account this week for the soul purpose of painting. You can't have a FB Page with out a personal page so I gave myself the name of Abide Scripts. My purpose in doing this is to reconnect with people wanting scripture painted on canvas. Since shutting down the business of Abide Scripts I haven't painted much. Its been a year of getting my priorities straight. The volume of painting I was doing was not working for the amount of time I truly had to devote to this ministry. It was good to dive into the school year with the kids and not have the added pressure of painting. School is going really well! Thank you Jesus! I have gotten organized and feel it is time and God has lead me to reach out and make my self available to paint again. I am really excited as I have already gotten to paint 2 canvas' and have a request for more. It is a little embarrassing to declare I am deleting my FB only to re-loanch it again in 2 months but I am determined to obey the Lord and I do believe He has lead in this direction. You can pray for me as FB was a major temptation to use as a coping mechanism instead of going to Jesus. I am garden about using it for painting. I am sharing life pictures on Instagram these days but will be keeping my FB strictly for Abide Scripts use. Just wanted to share the heart behind all the back and forth. I hope this post finds you blessed and continuing to dig into God's powerful word daily!