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So many times we can get can get caught up in external religious “stuff” we miss the eternal relationship that we have available to us.. NOW!
The God of the universe, that spoke the world into being calls us by name (Isaiah 43) and loves us with a love that is indescribable and nothing can separate us from!
Sorry felt like I needed to write that in bigger letters because it gets me to excited.
That being said, I wonder if you ever just wonder about God’s specific love for you?
Like you understand John 3:16 and that you need to believe in Jesus to get to heaven, but is His love really a love personal to you? I mean.. it says in John 3:16 that He so loved the WORLD right… how could He pour out personalized specific love on little ol’ me.
That’s where i get so overwhelmed by our awesome God. He is so BIG. He holds the world in His hands. Psalms 96:5 is an example of our Big God. It says For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the LORD made the heavens! Splendor and majesty are before Him.
But that Big God also has a BIG personalized love just for you– just for me. I think we often miss it because we are not looking for it. We get caught up in the bigness of trying to figure out our life stories and miss out the little and big personalized ways God loves us. It’s overwhelming.
You see that surprised look on my face. See this is what happened. A few weeks ago my bike got stolen in my sketchy neighborhood. I was sad about it because i loved tootling around on that bike (haha.. did i make that word tootling up?) but oh well.. i moved on. It was funny though because I kept my bike rack on my car. Just yesterday morning a guy from church jokingly asked me, Jenn why do you still have your bike rack.. you have no bike. I said confidently, “God is going to give me a bike”.
I did not really expect at all that very night God would give me a bike. A bike perfectly fitting to my personality. It’s purple, crazy fun, and unique. and I LOVE IT! i named it the purple pleasure II after my purple pleasure scooter I had in nepal
Anyways. This weekend had been one of those weekends where I had quite the battle in my thoughts. It’s funny because I had written a blog post earlier about how I was soo ok with not participating in the weekend retreat that I had been asked to lead 3 years ago and been praying for ever since. But the truth is I was taken by surprise this weekend that it was harder for me then expected. And you know how it is when the enemy comes and starts with a thought– like — of course you weren’t there, you are not good enough.. then it spirals downwards and because a battleground of thoughts that are lies from the enemy.
I fought those lies, but it was hard. So sunday I jumped on chance to go to a special worship night at Two Rivers Church in Knoxville, a church I have grown to dearly love.
Had an awesome incredible time worshipping Jesus.
Gods healing came deep as I deeply worshipped.
Then my sweet friend Laura told me to come to her car she had a surprise for me. I thought like baked goods or something..
I wondered why it was taking so long to get said surprise out of car.
Then she pulled out this beautiful fun bike. A group of them had gone in together to buy me this…. wow.
These are mainly folks in the ministry who I know don’t make the big bucks. They sacrificed for me, someone they hardly know..
And the card said this
The Lord kind of put it on our heart to get you this bike. Hope you enjoy it and that everytime you ride it you are reminded how much the Lord loves you
Talk about personalized love from the Lord!
Guys let’s not miss the beautiful personal ways the Lord loves on us… yours may not be a cool purple huffy bike, but He has personally loved you somehow today!
Some pics from my bike ride with the Lord today… haha.. and yes i took this while riding on bike.. hahah
I know you were on the edge of your seat to know what was in my suitcase. You know.. if you read the post below this one.. the suitcase that has been missing for three years, and my teammate from nepal met up with the guy who had brought it home and had recently refound it in a storage shed. Only these weird things happen to me I think. It’s weird that a suitcase was lost for 3 years and now is found! but I was super excited about it.. like christmas.
How fun is God.. because it was full of winter stuff.. LOVE THAT.. just in time.
It made me happy to open it… because along with opening it came lots and lots of memories. Awesome memories… of good times and bad. but memories of a FAITHFUL God who took this girl all the way from TN to Nepal to spend 2 years on the adventure of a lifetime. It even still smelled a bit like nepal. which in case you are wondering is an odd mix of curry, trash burning, a hint of sewage and dog 🙂
So without further ado here are some of the treasures.. Baby hope sat in my lap the whole time.. we had a blast.. well she slept.. but Chell and I had fun!
Here Hope is as we find some of the treasures.. lots and lots of my prayer journals.. some from nepal some I had taken to nepal to remember other years.. and several Bible studies..
Hope clearly anxiously awaiting
hmm.. so I have no idea.. this looks japanese not nepalese.. three years later not sure.. my guess is a nepalese friend gave it to me as a going away present
These hand knit warm tibetan wool socks were my lifesaver in nepal!! it’s freezing in nepal in winter and no heat.. so wore these ALL The time
so wont be wearing those to my next social function.. haha.. but it was one of my favorite nepalese outfits
this awesome awesome down jacket.. it sure came in handy during moments like this in nepal..
Then there were these very random items.. hmm.. maybe I had been out of america so long i forgot there would be cotton bals so I packed them? I remember the black sheep it was a gift from a friend.. called the bhutmos sheep which means naughty sheep in nepalese.. but how did the carebear and random dancing bikini lady make the suitcase? I HAVE NO IDEA! maybe three years ago i knew! ha
Lots of my warm fuzzy pj’s… scarves and lots of jackets. that are fake knockoffs of patagonia and other fancy mountainy like things.. I AM A POSER 🙂
And again did I mention piles of journals and Bible studies.. I cannot wait to read back over these. God wooed me and romanced me during my time in nepal in ways I cannot describe.. so I can’t wait to be reromanced as I read them again
after three years
I will get to open a suitcase.. and I have no idea what in the world is in it.. how fun.. !
It made me think about my backpack…
My family loves to make fun of me and my backpack. In particular my sister. I wish you could hear us at a Hand family dinner sometimes.
1) they are hilarious
2) there is lots of laughter
3) we are CRAZY
But just get my sister going on me and my backpack and she will have you in hysterics. She gets this crazy voice.. a mix between a British accent and Gonzo from the muppets.. it’s hilarious but she probably wont be hired for the travel channel with it.
Anyways– just get her going. She will start talking about all my crazy travels and all my adventures– and my backpack. See anytime I travel my little backpack goes with me….. and that’s pretty much all I take. I’ve gone through 2 backpacks in about the past 6 years….
She loves to talk about my backpack adventures and roll all together in her crazy voice.. and she’ll add a little twist to the stories.. It will go something like.. well Jenn went to england and had scones with the queen.. and then to malta where she saw the very snake that bit paul.. and then onto mt. Everest in nepal.. hahah.. with only one pair of clothes and her backpack… and she will continue to make us laugh until we are in hysterics…..
sure some of it’s an exaggeration. I mean i did have scones in england just not with the queen. I did go to malta and see where paul was.. just not the snake.. and i did fly over mt. Everest..
Why am I saying all this? Just reflecting on this morning how crazy awesome God is. How He loves to take our comfort zones and stretch them.. if we will say yes, even reluctantly to God’s plans.. it will surpass our wildest dreams. We never know what will be inside if we truly open the suitcase called God’s plan for us and see what He has packed inside!! (psalms 37:-4, 5)
Who would have thought God would take this girl who can’t find her way around the town she grew up in all over the world on crazy adventures?
The girl who had never been on a plane all the way to Japan
The girl who is terrified of the teacup rides at disney on elephant rides in jungles, worlds most dangerous roads in nepal. and driving a motorcycle (well a mopad but i like to call it a motorcycle. It had a motor for goodness sakes!)
Only God could have thought, I sure would not have.
Some photos of me and my backpack
excuse the no shower i am in haiti look and look at this precious little guy. This was from my last trip to haiti .. have loved this little guy and he loves loves Jesus!
note my backpack in my lap.. i thought i needed it for comfort or something.. as I ate.. yes.. if you look closely.. a duck bill and duck head.. wow.. that makes my stomach turn just remembering it. This was in China and I did not want to hurt my chinese hosts feelings.. so i chowed down
the time Leah and I backpacked through europe for 3 weeks literally this backpack.. crazy huh.. such a glorious time!
Backpack and me in Turkey (ephesus!)
I want to continually take the suitcase of my heart I pack full of my dreams, adventures, fears, ideas, thinking of what is possible.. lay it at the feet of Jesus
and watch Him give me a suitcase packed full of HIS plans (Jer 29:11) dreams, adventures, tools to move forward in spite of fears and His everything is possible GIFTS
And go on adventures with HIM!
Wanna go with me?
If I were a betting woman I would bet that everyone reading this has.. many time.. had things turn out not the way expected.
When I answered the call to go to Nepal I expected to be there the rest of my life.. I committed to be a CAREER missionary. I left everything behind and went.. fully… expecting.. that.. to.. be… my.. place.. my calling.. my forever home till heaven.
I was going to be the best missionary I knew how to be
And I loved it.. i truly did
But what;s a girl to do when God begins whispering to her heart.. I have more for you. This is not the only place I want you to be. I have more in my plan for you. Will you be willing to let go of your expectations and take my hand and follow me into my incredible plans?
But what will the think of me God? What will those who I promised I was going to be the best missionary ever think? Will they think I am a failure? Am I a failure God?: Am I just to wimpy of a christian? Are my motives pure? This is not what i expected God
And God gently whispers to my expectations Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in my Jenn.. with ALL your heart.. even your expectations.. and I will direct your path.
Psalms 37:5-6 Commit your way to the Lord Jenn and HE will act.
So I went against all my expectations and followed the Lord.. and It has been an incredible wonderful exciting and terrifying at times journey! one that has exceeding my every expectation.
Three years ago I was asked to pray about leading a particular ladies retreat that would occur in October 2012. It was 2010 then. It seemed like such a loooonggg time away. But i was so excited and so honored and so humbled to be asked to take on such a huge ministry role and opportunity. So I began praying and planning. I even bought a prayer journal and began that day I said yes to write out prayers for those ladies, that weekend, that experience, what God was going to do. I prayed and I journaled for the next two years.
I had my expectations.
Then last year that door of ministry was painfully shut.
It was a very deep and painful rejection for me.
Not one I understood at all. Not one I expected. IT took me completely by surprise.
BUT GOD. Even though I still don’t necessarily understand.. BUT GOD took that and did mighty works in my heart.
He taught me about my idol of people’s approval. He asked me if i would stare my biggest fear in the face… rejection– and trust Him in the midst of it.
I didn’t expect this.
I didn’t expect to cry myself to sleep many nights last year thinking why am I not enough.
But if I had not experienced that, I would not have experienced the other unexpected thing– the GIFTS God gave me. See He came to me in those moments and said you don’t have to be enough– I AM.
My ways are higher then your ways HE said.
I know what I am doing – HE said.
Now a year later, it is the week I had prayed for 3 years for. And I will not be there. But GOD will.. and I am soo excited about that.
I have no regrets because God is going to something more then I could have asked or imagined.
HE promises that.
Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about Ephesians 3:20.. He is able to do more exceedingly abundantly more then i could ask or think according to his power within me!!
I have had such an excitement and peace this week in my spirit (haa as opposed to my normal not excited self.. haha.. let’s be honest I pretty much am always excited) because I am confident in this
Even though things did not turn out the way I expected..
God is doing a work I would not believe if told.
Would you pray with me for those ladies that I have prayed for three years for. I cannot wait to hear what God does!
How has things turned out not the way you expected for you? And how have you seen God exceed your expectations
Our God is sovereign, He is great and He IS good!!
First I realized I needed to find the definition of desire just for curiosity sake. ha.. no one has a dictionary anymore– and I don’t have a cool fancy i-phone with an app for that so I googled it .. which is the next best thing!
Side note: I realized again how sadly little I remember about English after looking at all the things this particular page said about the word desire. like what a transitive verb and intransitive verb is. Ha.. and I feel called by God to write.. clearly only God can make that happen.. grin!
Desire as a verb can mean to long for or hope for , to express a wish for. In case you were dying to know this trivia fact, it was first used in the 13th century. Apparenty there wasn’t much to long for or hope for before that!
Desire as a noun: a counscious impulse that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in it’s attainment, a longing or a craving (Jenn side note.. craving.. I am seriously craving a white chocholate rasberry mocha.. but it’s 10:30 at night and I had way to many cups of coffee to count while driving to and from nashvile today, so I am going to squelch that craving!)
a cute cabin with a front porch ( I know call me an old lady but I looove porches and I promise if God gave me that desire of my heart I would invite you to my porch!ha)
A home version of the starbucks espresso makers complete with my own barista to make me coffee every morning! hahah
Seriously though: Your desires or cravings or your conscious impulse that promises satisfaction may be different then mine, but we ALL have desires.
I know soo many singles who in particular struggle with this verse. I could put up some pictures of pinterest weddings and I imagine many of my single friends would have already pinned those wedding theme ideas to their boards and are just waiting for the groom… telling Jesus I delight in you– now WHERE IS HE!
Then the questions come.. for the single: I am delighting myself in the Lord– I mean I love him, I pray to him, I worship Him, I offer my heart to Him– so why this unmet desire
Maybe being single is not your struggle? Maybe it is the desire for MORE.. that feeling that there is MORE in life then what is your life right now.
Maybe it is the desire to find the perfect career
To have children
To have that house
Some desires comes in material form, some in deeper areas of the heart.
The desire to be loved
The desire to be noticed
The desire for forgiveness, freedom, peace, joy
The desire to know God’s next steps for us– or for Him to write the plan in the clouds so we can see it
The desire to re-write our story
The list could go on and on
I know you have gone through life with some sort of unmet desire.
This post coud become depressing pretty quick if you got bogged down in thinking about that.
I think we tend to without realizing it get bogged down in the my desire is not met yet so I will deaden desire trap. This comes from SATAN the father of LIES. He speaks death, God speaks LIFE.
See the God that loves me– that loves you– desired to. He desired relationship with me so much He sent JESUS to die for me… And because of that I can live alive.
I can DELIGHT in the Lord– and receive the desires of my heart.
Now maybe that is not my front porch with rocking chairs– (in heaven someday for sure at my mansion!) but it is: I am loved– and so are you
I am forgiven– and so are you
I am noticed– and so are you
I am free– and so are you
I am …. I am.. I am… the list could go on .. why…
BECAUSE HE IS!!
It is soo much fun to delight in God.
To come alive and live alive
and run to the arms of the one who desired ME so much HE stretched His arms out on a cross for me
(this song talks about running to HIS arms and how HE will always be enough.. everything else.. EVERYTHING else is simply a blessing from the Lord!)
This was here right after she was born. literally.. she came out perfect at 10:12 pm on September 22 don’t you think. She was born to my beautiful twin sister and her hubby! Meet Hope Lynn Humbert.
In case you need to see another picture of HOPE
Look at this perfect little package who doesn’t even fit in her clothes…. she’s soo tiny!
Can you tell Aunt Nenn is completely in love. We are going to get into all kinds of mischief together. That’s the best part of being an aunt. Spoiling them rotten. Don’t worry I am still spoiling my little man alex rotten to.
So anyways I have been thinking about that word HOPE alot lately.
I had a client recently tell me that she had stopped hoping. She had stopped hoping in God… stopped hoping in life. Stopped hoping that her desires would be fulfilled.
And as she killed off hope little by little,
I could see in her eyes
She killed off her soul to.
God created us to hope
To hope for heaven
To hope for HIM
To hope for healing
To hope for our hearts desires
To hope for holiness
To hope for … you fill in your blank
But with hoping always comes waiting.
And it’s in the waiting that I think we get scared.
We listen to the voice of the enemy and lose hope.
We kill off our soul and stop coming alive
That’s how the numbness of life seeps in.
Fear in the waiting outweighs hope.
It causes us to do crazy things.. to come up with crazy ideas.
Losing hope in God’s promises caused Abraham to find a maidservant and try to fulfill God’s promise of a son through her. And this was a DISASTER
Losing hope in God’s goodness caused David to go after basheba
Naomi to travel to moab and encounter her deepest life’s drought
little slice of heaven.. going to Hillsong Live this weekend and worshipping Jesus with an auditorium packed full of people
We had the AWESOME opportunity to go to Elevation church while there. I had heard a ton about it– and it did not disappoint. From the amazing greeters, to incredible worship.. but most of all to the SERMON. It was a direct word from the Lord to me. .. well and I bet everyone else in there.. but God really spoke to me.. and I thought I would let you in on it..
Pastor Steven preached a message based on his new book GREATer. I HIGHLY recommend it! He preached from His chapter on Digging ditches.. from the passage in 2 Kings 3:9. Basically to sum up this passage the King of Israel approaches Elisha.. He’s in a rough spot. There is no water.. and the livestock and the army need WATER! So Elisha does something in verse 15.. He calls a harpist to play and then the hand of the Lord comes and He prophecies. You need to go to www.elevationchurch.org when they put the sermon up called digging ditches to hear Pastors stephens talk about how much a different background music makes.. hahha it is hilarious!
Anyways.. Verse 16 gets me. I’m going to give it to you in the message paraphrase..
Ditch digging is hard work… sometimes you may even forget why you are digging.. you may want to give up.. give in.. give back the digger thingie (hahah. i had a really odd moment right then when I could not think of the name for a digging apparatus.. hahaha.. it’s a shovel.. it finally came to me!! hahah)
(This is not my neighbor I found this picture on google images)
Did you by chance happen to have to wear these torture devices? Now don’t get me wrong.. I am soo grateful for the investment my parents made in my teeth! glory! I can guarantee you that the reason I have been single for so long is not because my teeth are bucked out.. hahhaa.. 🙂 My parents were so gracious and made sure to give us pretty teeth. I had braces for 8 years. I had the rubber band formations every which way.. and then i made sure to double up on right before every orthodontist appointment of course.. (I guarantee you probably did the same thing).
After braces comes the retainer. You know the lecture you get.. the wear it till your dead lecture. They disguise them in fun colors to make you think they are fun to wear. I mean there is nothing cooler then a retainer lisp is there?
And then there is the taking the retainer out to eat.. how do you do that discretely? I never quite mastered the art of making that look cool.. the whole putting your retainer on a napkin for later thing.
I specifically remember right before youth camp my parents giving my twin sister and I the whatever you do don’t throw away your retainer lecture .. and then I remember the moment my sister threw away that brand new retainer.. on that cafeteria conveyor belt thing.. along with lots and lots of other trash.
They went dumpster diving.. but no retainer…
I remember her calling my parents.. it just so happened to be their wedding anniversary.. and leaving them this message: Happy anniversary to you.. happy anniversary to you (this was in song form of course) I lost my retainer and i’m crying boo hoo!
Have you ever thrown away something that you did not mean to ? That once you realized you threw it away you thought– if only I could get that back.
Today my friend sent me a verse by text that just made my morning and I have not been able to get over it. It was
By the way.. had to take a picture of this.. i am outside typing this blog at mcdonalds.. can’t go wrong with 1.00 coffee and free wi-fi.. and this little butterfly friend landed on my hand.. and i promise
it stayed on my hand the whole time I typed this blog.. how cool is God!
All these precious ladies coming for our Bloom conference put on by coming alive ministries. It truly was an AWESOME experience. To believe God’s big dreams and to be apart of them– I could not really find the words to express what that weekend was for me. To see woman set free– come alive– come to Christ– all different ages, all different backgrounds– all experiencing coming away with and coming alive in Christ.. it was BEAUTIFUL.. and as I took the time to process that I was speechless. (i Know big deal for me)
but also this blog has been silent as I have been processing what has been one of the most difficult goodbyes I have ever experienced.. this little guy
(for privacy reasons not showing his face)
Two years ago I fell in love with a calling from God for my sister and her husband , and in the midst of that fell in love with a little boy. See, my sis and her hubby felt strongly that God had called them to foster care. As “Aunt nenn” to my beloved Alex, I knew God was also calling me to this foster care journey. I had no idea what an incredible journey of the heart God was going to allow me to be apart of.
I will never forget when they got THE CALL.. the call that a little boy was coming. They got little information except he had severe medical needs, was 4 years old and as they said he was diagnosed with half of a brain.
I like to call him our little cave man at the time. He came as a Christmas present the week before christmas. He was four years old and due to severe neglect only knew 3 words: door, afraid, and dinosaur.. He could barely walk, did not know how to feed himself, not poddy trained ect. That was a CRAZY christmas. It snowed for the first time in years on christmas and we were all snowed in as a family together! whew.. some memories were made.
And I fell in love.. deeper and deeper in love. And I spoiled him just like my other nephew. I was the fourth word He learned to say.. I cried and cried that night as He was “learning to pray the dinner prayer” like alex my other nephew.. he uttered all kinds of incomprehensible words and then he said .. NENN…! HE prayed for NENN!
I watched love change His life… I watched miracle upon miracle.. for the next two years. I watched my sister and todd love even when it hurt, even when it was HARD.. even when it was a crazy battle full of unknowns, countless hospital and doctor visits, and lots of trials. I watched them love and him transform. I saw such a picture of Christ– and unconditional love and the power of having an advocate.
We made soo many fun memories. playground dates, donut dates, dinosaur train (his favorite movie) watching dates. And he had lots of surgeries.. and always wanted his aunt nenn. So I stayed many nights in hospital rooms with my sis and him … including a few heartbreaking ones where they were not sure he would make it in the Pediatric intensive Care.
It was a journey.. a journey of love. And sometimes in love you have to let go.
Even though we don’t always understand the plan of God.. I know I can always trust His heart.
Last saturday we had to let our little miracle go to a new family– for a lot of reasons not to mentioned here. And it was the most my heart has ever broken as we dropped him off. Letting go when you love is HARD.
Maybe there is someone you love deeply that you don’t want to “let go”. Maybe it’s a son or daughter you feel you have to control or something terrible will happen. OR a family member. Or a dream. or an object, or a job. .. sometimes we are terrified to let go.. and it’s hard because it hurts.
But through this letting go process God has whispered a depth of His love to me. He understands letting go. He let go of His son, living in perfect unity with him in heaven, to sent him to earth.. knowing the ultimate trial He would go through– being crucified. He knew that part of that letting go would involve him being unable to look at his son because His son was taking on our sins.
An incomprehensible letting go!
God let go of His son (:John 3:16) so that He would never have to let go of me.
So no matter what I have to let go of.. I can trust He will never let go of me.
How high, wide , long , deep is that love!
The Lord is so close to the brokenhearted (Psalms 34) because His heart was broken for me and for you!
so let’s be willing to be LOVED deeply by the Love that will never let go!! through the strom and through the rain.. WHOM or what then shall we fear.. When I trust deeply in that LOVE I can let go of my life and trust Him with it….