New Chapters

10-07-18: Not to be dramatic or anything, but that is the day my life path changed a little, it was the day “I might do this” became “I am actually going doing this”. What on earth am I talking about? I am talking about an email that made my breath stop and my hands begin to tremble a little, an email that made it possible for me to see a new chaper heading in my life, the email that made my wish that the answer it contained would be a no, and my even stronger wish that it would be a yes, fade away because the answer was right in front of me. Okay okay enough with me being my dramatic self; there I was sitting on the swings in my church playground, just feeling the breeze on my face and enjoying the soft sway of the swing, as I always have, when my phone dings. I pull down my task bar and see the sender: YWAM Tribal Winds.

Now this is news to you but I applied to their YWAM program and was just waiting to hear back from them. I wanted it to be a no out of fear of leaving my family for a few months and stepping COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone, but I wanted it to be a yes even more so. I am the kind of girl who enjoys feeling the solid ground beneath her feet, but this was my leap of faith; and honestly, I was terrified of hitting the ground with a great big thud. Honestly, I still am. After reading who the sender was I saw these words “Dear Jenna, on behalf of YWAM Tribal Winds…..” That was it. I stopped swinging as I clicked into the email on my task bar and just thought “This is it. Whatever answer lies in this email changes everything” Usually a thought like that would make me hesitate to read the answer; not this time though. This time I’m not sure anything could have stopped me from opening that email but the Lord himself. The answer was yes. I have been accepted into YWAM Tribal Wind’s January 21st 2019-June 2nd 2019 program in Flagstaff Arizona! My leap of faith is just beginning but right now I am definitely soaring. The thud could come later, in fact I know at some point I will probably hit a tree branch or something, but right now that doesn’t matter to me. I trusted in God, I obeyed what I was sure He was leading me to do, and I was accepted. I don’t have very much more time this morning to share, but I just needed to share this exciting news with you all! Also this is not the last you will be hearing about it; there will definitely be an email on how the Lord led me to this YWAM and one about this YWAM program in and of itself. So for now I bid you a good day and pray that you take that leap of faith He is calling you to take, you will never be “ready” to take the leap but I encourage you to do so anyway. When we take a leap of faith we are trusting that God will catch us, give us wings to fly, or will make something out of our broken pieces; and I just think there is so much beauty in that. Before I go I just ask for all of your prayers as I continue on my own leap of faith. Thank you and get ready for more details in the next blog!

-J

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Today and finding joy in the little things

Hey guys! No deep, philosophical thoughts from me tonight. No, tonight I just want to share with you my day. It wasn’t an extraordinary kind of day, in fact it was just the opposite; a breath of fresh air in a world moving so fast it takes your breath away. The orginal draft of this blog included detailed reports of my struggle to get out of bed this morning, my record time getting ready for church, my success in driving to church without having my dear mother remind me of a thing (I have my permit and have self professed horrible depth perception, so her withholding a warning is a great success for me lol), waiting for my mom on the swings, playing with my greatest joy giver: Ivy, my kitten, and eating my favorite blizzard to balance out eating the best salad I’ve ever made myself. Now that in and of itself sounds like a pretty great day, not to mention of course that the weather was beautiful. But I scrapped that because tonight I want to shift the focus onto later in the day, tonight I find myself ready to tell you about the simple joys of being wanted. About simple joys in general. After eating my blizzard, I decided to venture outside for a short walk, a walk that led me to my younger sister and her friends. After exchanging a few jokes and comments back and forth, I started to leave, but then they asked me to stay out “just a little longer, please?” Well we all know that please is a magical word. So I stayed outside telling myself “I’ll just stay out for a little” Ha! Guys I didn’t get back inside until 9pm. But you know what I did do? I helped a little boy tie his shoe, I jump roped, I teased, and I laughed. I watched as the kids played, I told them to share when they were being greedy, I watched them perform magic tricks/disappearing acts and at one point my “watching them play” turned into actually playing with them. Most of all I enjoyed every minute I was out there. Let me tell you what I most love about kids: they don’t judge you (at least I don’t feel like they don’t judge me lol), and they make you feel wanted. Feeling wanted is so very important guys, and between the kids and Ivy (my kitten) I felt that today. This day has filled me with so many things I could, and maybe will at some point, share with you all. But tonight let me just tell you, it doesn’t take your dream road trip, travel destination, or anything like that to make you happy. I noticed that reading through my feed it can be a little depressing, and promising to be real and raw with y’all while struggling with depression is going to do that to some extent, but I also want to be real and raw with you about the joy I find in my life. I want to share with you not only the bad days but the good as well, and everything in between. Tonight I just want to encourage you with three little lessons I learned today: 1. If you are feeling low, play with a kitten or some kiddos, it makes life so much better. 2. No matter how low you have been feeling I promise you a good day is right around the corner. And to me, my day could be awful tomorrow, but a really good day once in a while helps get you through. So again I’ll say it: just hang on, a good day is right around the corner. Which brings me to number 3. Stop looking for joy in the big stuff and start looking for it in the small things. I find myself thinking that only a trip here or an adventure there would make me happy, but that is not the case. I have been on adventures and I can tell you that tonight beats some of them on the joy giving spectrum. When you need that boost of joy, make a point to look at the sunset, to engage a child in conversation, to pick a bouquet of weeds, to cuddle with a kitten, etc. Because that’s where I feel the joy of the Lord being shown the most sometimes. You know that saying “It’s the little things in life”? Well it’s true. If you are down, honestly even if you’re not, I encourage you to make an effort to find joy in the day to day life. It makes life so much more bearable. Welp that is all the advice and thoughts this midnight muser has for you tonight, goodnight to all and to all a goodnight ☺😴

L O V E

Hey guys! Another legit midnight musing session from yours truly 🙂

So currently I am laying in bed and my thoughts are kinda going everywhere (as usual) but I all of a sudden a word popped into my head: Love

A few years ago if you had asked me what that word meant I probably would have told you “love is a lie” or maybe “love isn’t worth it” or this one, which I am sure I have said in the past: “Love isn’t singular; it’s not just one thing. It comes with rejection and pain”

Wow. Okay Jenna, just sound like the most cynical, depressed teenager ever to walk the planet why don’t you. But honestly that’s how I felt. I felt broken, rejected, hurt and unlovable. Now when I say this I don’t want to make you all think that I don’t have an amazing family that loves me, because I do. But their love for me didn’t change my view about love. Instead I questioned their love for me, always second guessing it.

I did that with God’s love too. I questioned and questioned, and even more so did I doubt. Boy did I doubt His love. I think at that point I just viewed Him as an angry God, ready to punish and throw His wrath on anyone deserving of it. I knew better than to only think of Him as an angry God, I knew He loved me, I knew He loved me enough to give me what was most precious to Him, but I related to the angry God; I was filled with anger myself. But this story picks up a little as I start to grow closer to Him and begin to leave my anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness behind me. In fact, as I began to read the Bible with an open heart (open to whatever it is that God needs me to hear/see/read/understand) I was struck with not only an overwhelming sense of love, but it seemed no matter where I looked it was talking about love. And while my views on love slowly changed I can attest that there was one verse that especially popped out to me

Now we all have heard the “love is patient, love is kind….” verse, but have you ever read the verses before it? I did one day and it blew my “I don’t need love” theory right out of the water. It says:

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”
1 Corinthians 13:1‭-‬3

Wow. If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. Nothing? You legit could be moving MOUNTAINS with your faith, but it means nothing if you don’t have the love to go along side it. I’m repeating myself because it took me a few times hearing it before it finally sank it. In fact it’s still sinking in I think. But I can say there is no doubting that love is very very necessary for life. It is needed 100%. Over the years I’ve learned to embrace it, that verse being the beat to the song I’m singing every day. You can have it all but love is where it’s at

If you’d ask me what love is to me now, I would answer you so very differently than I would have just a few years ago. Because love is important, because love is needed, because love changes people; it changed me. So tonight I encourage you to open your heart to love. Yes you will get hurt in this life, yes you will be rejected, but love is 100% worth the risk. And I can promise you that there is someone whose love will never ever leave you “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 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.”
Romans 8:35-‬39

If you are scared of rejection or maybe of somehow having that love leave you, let me tell you a secret: God loves you. He loves you more than anyone else ever will and ever could. And just like the verse says, nothing, nothing, can separate us from His great love.

That’s my midnight musings for tonight. Love you all!

-J

When change has you feeling weak

Hey guys! So tonight you get to actually experience my legit midnight musings, (because I’m actually posting at midnight! Cute huh?) uncensored, raw, and 100% real. Tonight there are thousands of thoughts running rampant in my head (as usual) but I’ll just share this one little word with you: change. Now I do NOT handle change well, am I the only one here who can say that? Raise your hand if you’re with me! Amen to all those who raised their hands, and to those who didn’t: teach me your ways please.

Now as I’ve gotten older I’ve set aside my belief that all change is bad, realizing that that’s just not true at all, in fact I have had some amazing times of change in my life. But that in no way means I suddenly handle change well, because the truth is this: I still handle it very very badly. Maybe it’s the fact is tends to make me feel out of control, alone and just simply weak.

And while 18 is a normal time of change for everyone, it seems like every aspect of my life is changing, and trust me when I say EVERY. My school has changed, my department manager at my job has changed (causing even more little changes), my pastor at my church recently resigned and we’re experiencing what we call “pulpit supply” (which means a new pastor every week), last Sunday I moved up from my second home-my youth group-into the great big scary young adult program (where parents were talking about their kids and all the health issues they’re facing, which made the prayer request on my lips–for my mom to say yes to me keeping a kitten I had fallen in love with (she said yes btw!)–suddenly do a 180 and find it’s way back into the crevices of my brain.) I could go on with the changes but I’ll stop there. And to be real, raw and uncensored with you all, it’s all made my head spin, it’s made me feel raw.

Listen, tears are not something I admit to shedding often, but tonight I will tell you a secret: last Sunday I shed them more than once before my head hit the pillow that night. I was overwhelmed, I was confused, I felt lost, like the ground underneath me was ripped up suddenly. Honestly I still do kinda feel that way. But you know how earlier I said how change just makes me feel weak? It does, but I’m finding that that’s okay. God gave me this verse years ago and has reminded me of it again tonight, and I quote:

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

2 Corinthians 12:9‭-‬10

It’s those last words that get me through: “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Guys I am overwhelmed by those words. I don’t have to be strong, because He’ll give me His strength to get by. Through the ups and the downs, through the twists and the turns, and through all the change, He not only is there for you (there are only, ya know, a couple hundred verses to back that up) but He is literally giving me, He’s giving you, His own strength when we’ve lost ours. For when I am weak, then I am strong. Lately I have felt weak, but tonight I am reminded that it is His strength that rests in me and that it is His strength that will get me through. I don’t think I’ll ever handle change well, but I do know that Christ’s strength is there for when mine is nonexistent, I do know that when I feel weakest, that’s when I’m the strongest. And the best part of all is that I know that fact right there will NEVER change.

-J

(Sidenote: picture is from the Youversion Bible app; I am currently obessed with finding picture verses on there and creating my own as well :))

Time to catch up

Hi guys! So with school starting and lots of new beginnings I decided why not refresh you guys on what’s happening with Hayden and I? Currently I have felt the strange bittersweet feeling of not having to go back to school. Lemme tell you, it’s weird! Meanwhile Hayden is experiencing her SENIOR year of high school which brings me to the next bittersweet event happening that I will share with you all. Currently due to the incredible pressure and stress only seniors can truly relate to, Hayden is going to be taking a break from writing on Midnight Musings while she manages her last year of high school and her own blog account about missions! (Which you all should 100% check out here: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/86022715 ) Hopefully once her life slows down a bit she’ll be hopping back on but until then you all get to hear from yours truly 🙂 (Lucky you guys right? ;p) I will be posting my usual “Musings” on here but also my life happenings as I navigate through adult life and all the peaks and valleys that come with that! I cannot wait to share this journey with you all and I promise I will try to be more regular with my posts! Just a quick refresh on me and my life before I leave: I am 18 years old, graduated high school this past June (As I stated above), have two older sisters and one younger, live in the city, am currently single (and very happy to stay that way) and most importantly am a sinner who has been saved by God’s amazing Grace. I am not perfect in any way, I am not runway material or a nerd or a jock, I am simply Jenna: a girl who loves words, sunsets, chocolate, the sound and smell of rain, her family and friends, and Jesus Christ; and a girl who hopes to share just a little piece of herself with all of you to make the goings a little easier and to share the lessons life has has taught her. (Side note: talking in third person like that is kinda weird) So can’t wait to continue sharing the ups, downs, lefts and rights with you all!

-J

The end of the rainbow

Hey guys, today is time for me to share another real, raw moment in my life and what God has taught me through it all. Recently an event happened in my life that made me angry at God. I asked Him a bunch of ‘why’ questions and pretty much told Him that I thought some of the things He’s allowing to happen in my life are stupid and essentially that I doubted His plan for it all. I was confused and hurt by the actions of others and was frustrated at God because, He’s supposed to be in control right? The next day my family and I were traveling an hour to see how guitars are made, and as I got up to get ready I was still pretty salty towards my Creator. I had a great day with my family but my feelings didn’t radiate with my Heavenly Father, and as the day progressed I started to leave the salty stage and move right on into the marinated stage. Not only did I not trust that God knew what He was doing, but I wanted Him to know that I didn’t trust Him. I’m sure some of you out there are cringing and, even as I write it now I’m uttering another apology, but I promised to be honest with you guys and that is the sad truth. Okay now back to my day trip with my family and fast forward a bit to our GPS deciding to take us on this tiny little back road on the way home, I mean we’re passing creeks and cows and fields when suddenly, the most breathtakingly vibrant rainbow I have ever seen comes into view. We pulled over, snapped a few pictures, ooo-ed and awwed and then moved on. And then it happened, the beginning of the kind of moment that stays with a person. We were going up a hill and just as we crested it, there it was: The end of the rainbow. There was no pot of gold, no leprechaun, but in that moment there was something so much greater; the reminder of God’s promise. I fully believe God spoke to me in that moment, and not in some deep booming voice or even an audible voice at all, but He instead decided to speak to me in that breathtaking sight. And in that moment it wasn’t simply the promise to never flood the earth again that flooded into my brain, but all his other promises too. The promise He proclaims in Deuteronomy 31:6 “….for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” the promise that He will never let me be tried or tempted more than I can bear in 1 Corinthians 10:13, the promise that NOTHING will ever be able to separate me from His love in Romans 8:35, the promise that He will meet all my needs in Philippians 4:19, the promise in Exodus 14:14 that says He will fight for me, all I need to do is be still. The promise that should I hope in Him my strength will be renewed in Isaiah 40:31, the promise that I am free in John 8:36, the promise found in Proverbs 3:5-6 that tells me that should I place all my trust in Him, He will make my paths straight, the promise that when I am weary or burdened He will give me rest found in Matthew 11:28-29. And above all that, the assurance that we can trust in those promises is found in 2 Corinthians 1:19-20 which says

For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.” For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God

The word “Amen” means “let it be so” or it means to “let it be established”. So every single promise that God made in the Bible is yours. Every promise you read is an “Amen” or “Let it be”  through Jesus Christ. Let me just say this again: Every single promise He made in the Bible He is making to you. Guys those promises I listed are nowhere near all the promises He has made, not even close. But I’ll make a promise of my own: the God I serve will not let you down. People will let us down, and I know that firsthand. But whenever I look back and think about the time someone has let me down, I see God picking me back up again. If you place your trust in people they might drop it, lose it, misplace it, even throw it away. But if you place your trust in God he will never ever let you down.

People always talk about “God moments” and that moment on that hill definitely was one for me. Quite honestly I’m not sure I can put into words everything that happened in that moment, but I do know that I placed my trust back in Him and that an overwhelming sense of peace has been with me ever since. Things may look confusing, your life could full out suck right now, and while you may not have the answers to your ‘why’s’ you can put your trust in the God that holds it all in His hands.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28

I’ll say it again, the end of the rainbow did not have a pot of gold at the bottom, but what it did have was so much more fulfilling. I challenge you to search the Bible for His promises to you, I challenge you to read them as if it was a letter written to you from Him, and I challenge you to trust the Writer of those promises with everything in you.

-J

When you feel like you’re going under, look up.

under water photo
Photo by Pete Johnson on Pexels.com

This past Friday I visited the beach with two of my sisters and a close friend of ours. Clad in my shorts and tank top I smiled as I first stepped foot in the sand. The sand was hot and I was burdened down by all the things us girls decided we “needed” (We ended up only using half of the stuff of course) but was undaunted as I looked down what seemed like miles of sand between us and the water. We made the hike and after a few times of trying to find a spot that satisfied my eldest sister, we finally dropped our stuff; the roaring waves beckoning us with it’s salty spray. I quickly helped set up our spot and grinned as my eldest sister said the words I had been waiting to hear: “Let’s get in the water”. Now to most people it makes absolute perfect sense for a person to feel that way, you’re at the beach for petes sake! But for me it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for me to grin at the prospect of entering the water. You may have already guessed why that is but I will confess it to you anyway: I’m kinda terrified of water. And as the ocean is a large, boisterous, could-easily-be-the-death-of-me body of water you can imagine how much it scares me. Yet God has used water, that something in my life that I am terrified of, to impact my walk with Him in some incredible ways. When I look at the ocean all I can see is God because just like God the ocean is powerful, unpredictable, can be both ferocious and calm, and of course is one of His many creations. But more than that one of my favorite Bible stories, one that has worked in my life in so many different ways, is the story of when Jesus walked on water. In the story the winds are causing the waves to push the boat farther and farther from shore, then suddenly the disciples see a figure on the water, they of course assume it is a ghost until Jesus reveals himself to them with the words “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid” Peter then asks to come out onto the water with him and Jesus replies with just one word: “Come”. Peter gets out of the boat and walks toward Jesus “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.” Now the story carries many meanings to me but the most significant is the fact the Jesus has got me. Just like Peter I tend to focus on the things around me instead of on Jesus, like Peter I start to fall, and like Peter Jesus catches me. As I felt the waves on Friday I tried to think about how Peter felt, walking out in the middle of a storm, the waves crashing all around him. I can imagine how alone he felt when he took his eyes off of Jesus and instead focused on the harsh conditions, how desperate and hopeless he felt as he began to fall, and how relieved and safe he felt as Jesus caught him. Really though I didn’t have to imagine the feelings because I feel them all in my own life so often. I ask Jesus to let me live a radical life, to let me live like He did. And then I see the wind and I take my eyes off of Him and begin to focus on that instead, the downfall afterward is inevitable, the cry for help, the words “Lord, save me”, and then the rescue from Him. I’ve lost count the amount of times He has rescued me and yet He is always there the next time I call out, always there to catch me. And can I tell you something? He’s there to catch you too. We all go through the stages that Peter went through I believe. And if you’re in the stage where you feel like you’re falling or even are past that point and you’re caught up in the rip current, tumbling over and over again beneath the surface, struggling to breathe, I encourage you to simply look up. Settle your focus back on where it belongs; settle it back on Jesus.

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.”

The ocean is beautiful in it’s powerful way, the way the waves crash onto the sand; bringing bits of glass, seashells and stones with it, and then pulling back into itself only to repeat the process moments later. It’ll do this over and over again, a certain steadiness in it despite it being so unpredictable. I believe we could learn a great many lessons about life from the ocean, if only we knew how to sit and be still. Which is what I did on Friday, and is something I encourage you to do next time you go to the beach. It is worth it I assure you. I’m sure I’ll share some more lesson’s I’ve learned from it myself down the road, but for today I will just leave you with that one. Jesus is there for you, I promise you. Stop focusing on the wind and the waves and the conditions of your life and you’ll see it, you’ll see Him, standing there, hand outstretched. Take hold of it and allow Him to pull you out of whatever conditions you have been focusing on. Your finances, your job, your family, whatever it is. Because no matter what you are facing Jesus has the answers and will get you through it, you need only look to Him. So, when you feel like you’re caught in the rip current of life, look up, keep your eyes on the one who holds it all; keep your eyes on Jesus.

-J