Sunday, June 28, 2009

A change of perspective

Good morning friends! I missed chatting with you last week, but with my family vacation well under way, it just didn't work out. We're still out of town but now I'm actually on dry land and have internet connection again so I couldn't resist reaching out to you!

My family's vacation has been a few days in Miami and a 7 day cruise. Throughout the cruise we had 4 ports of call - the Bahamas, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico and Grand Turk. While we were in the Bahamas, I finally got to do something that I have always wanted to do - parasailing! It was magnificent! The white sand beaches were a stark contrast to the lush tropical plants and the aqua and turquoise water. The entire time that I was dangeling from the parachute 1100 ft above the water I was worshiping and praising God for letting me see my surroundings with such a new perspective...literally! I had appreciated the beauty of the island when we arrived, but this was stunning! The view was gorgeous and because I was up so high it was completely silent.

Later in the cruise, God changed my perspective yet again. My family went snorkeling in Grand Turk along two seperate reefs. Once again, I was in awestruck wonder of what God showed me under the sea. It was an explosion of purple, yellow, blue, green, brown and red fish and coral that I had never seen before, it was amazing! But as I marveled in His amazing creation, I noticed that it was once again completely silent.

We had so many other wonderful experiences on our vacation, but these two moments were brought to my mind today. Clearly God will take us to any heighth and to any depth to give us a much needed change of perspective. Although we may feel we don't have control of the situation, God is in control and has us right in the palm of His hand. Our job is to obediently go where He leads us and listen quietly for what He has to say.

While I was parasailing far above the water, God reminded me of how beautiful and peaceful the world really is when you allow yourself to step back and observe. Then, while snorkeling, God reminded me that His world is far more vast and complex than I even realize. Knowing that He had created every single fish and coral that I saw and yet He still knows my thoughts, fears and the number of hairs on my head filled me with an overwhelming love for Him. God is so excited to show us things that will absolutely thrill us if we'd only stop long enough to let Him!

My greatest souvenier from my vacation is newly restored reverance for God and the complexity of His creation. My cup is overflowing with awe of a God that can create such amazing things, giving each a life and a purpose. I'm so thankful for the change in perspective and I'm especially thankful that I have had time to chat with you!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Monday, June 15, 2009

A Peek Inside

One of my blog following friends recently mentioned that I should add in some blogs that are a little more personal and give a peek into my own life. As I was debating the need for my readers to know what I did each day or what cereal I had for breakfast (blueberry mini wheats - love 'em!) I heard from several more readers who said the same thing. I am a firm believer that anytime God is speaking something to you, He will approach you on several fronts so I will be obedient and do what I'm told!

For the last week, my husband Greg has been in Tokyo, Japan. He has been there before but I have never been, so we tried to arrange for me to fly over for a long weekend. I'm so thankful that when God doesn't want for us to do something, He begins by gently closing doors. Fortunately, we saw the door of oppurtunity close and we didn't try to 'make it work'. Instead, I stayed here with my kiddos and have had some great one on one time with them. Together they can make me crazy and work my very last nerve, but individually they're pretty fantastic and I love the people they are becoming! But we are all ready for Greg's arrival this Wednesday night.

Thursday the chaos will commence! The whole family is leaving early Friday morning on a flight to Miami where we will be boarding our cruise ship Saturday morning. Seven days of magnificence among the high seas! We will be visiting Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas, the Grand Turk Islands and San Juan, Puerto Rico. I'm so excited I can't hardly stand myself!! I cannot tell you how hard it will be to get through this week at work, knowing that I'm destined for a week of blissful relaxation. So if you don't receive a blog next week, just know that it didn't work with the whole boat thing!

On a more personal note, may I ask for your prayers? God has laid another Bible study idea on my heart and I know that it's time to write with Him again. However, I've let just about everything else get in my way and haven't begun the project. Could you please be praying that I would allow God to use my time how He wants to? Also that He would faithfully pour this study out of me just as He did with Parables of the Master Storyteller...what an amazing experience that was!! Please pray that I would align myself with His will and purpose for His glory!! Thank you in advance for your prayers.

Thanks for the chat!
Be blessed,
Jennifer

Monday, June 8, 2009

Joyful Moments

If someone where to ask you "what brings you joy?" what images would come to mind? Your wedding day? The birth of your children? Watching your child graduate? For most people, these milestone moments come to mind right away. But is that really what joy is all about?

I've been thinking about joy alot lately and have come to a few conclusions:
Joy is found in contentment. Do you ever catch yourself in a moment where you just breath in and as you breathe back out you have a quiet confidence that everything is okay? That brief second reminds you that it all is well with your soul. Contentment comes when we don't long for more, we're filled.

Joy lives in the moments that connect our 'milestone moments' to each other. It's found in the normal routine we have every day! Our joy is visible in how we do the things we do. If you walk around like Eeyore, it will be obvious that you are lacking joy. On the other hand, you don't have to be bouncing off the walls like Tigger either...joy is found somewhere in the middle of the two.

You don't have to be happy about the situation to have joy in the situation. What? James 1:2-3 says "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." God wants us to know that even though we're going through difficult times, it's not wasted. God uses everything for our good and our faith and character is being refined during the times of trial. Praise God that our heartache and pain is not for nothing!

It's easy to have joy in the milestone moments of life. Having joy on your wedding day is easy, having joy as you lie in bed with your spouse who has hurt your feelings is not. Being filled with joy as your child graduates is so much easier than enduring teenage angst and negative attitudes. But it's the difficult moments that bring the most change. God wants us to remember that everything, good and bad, has a purpose. I find great joy knowing that I'm benefitted in some way for the trials and tests that I have to go through. I'm a much better person for them!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance." James 1: 2-3

Monday, June 1, 2009

Have to VS. Want to

I was visiting with my brother in law over the weekend about his new role as manager at work. He told me about the previous manager and how completely different their managerial styles were. Since he has become manager the whole team direction has turned around and people are finally producing as a team and respect him as their boss.

There is a difference between obeying your boss and respecting your boss! When our boss runs around barking orders and talking down to us we do our ‘jobs’ because we have to but not normally because we want to. But when we feel valued and appreciated we perform at a higher level because we enjoy our ‘job’ and want to please our boss whom we value and respect. Obedience is required but respect is earned!

I started thinking about this dynamic in my own life. While I might not be a manager over a large team of people, I do certainly have people who are under my authority. How am I treating them? Do they feel valued and appreciated or barked at and ordered around? Are they obedient because they have to be or because I’ve earned their respect?

I know many of you work for a boss that you don’t respect. If so, a little shift in perspective may be in order. When I feel frustrated with those in authority over me, I make myself focus on the fact that I ultimately work for God and He can turn any negative into a positive! Then I make a decision that I will not allow a negative boss steal my joy – they can only take it from you if you allow them to! Keeping our focus on the ONE we serve will help us get through the daily frustrations on the job!

Be blessed,
Jennifer

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” Colossians 3:23