Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I have always held things tightly. When I was little learning how to write, making scrawling marks with my pencil, I would hold my pencil too tight. My mother would come up behind me when I wasn't looking and try to snatch my pencil out of my hand. Generally, it wouldn't slip out easily like it should but she would have to pull.

I still hold my pencil tight. My knitting suffers because my tight grip on the needles results in stitches that are difficult to push the needles through and I have to start over, practicing letting my fingers relax and let the yarn pass through my fingers. My hands also throughout the years have held relationships too tight, the ones that I think that can get me the most, make me happy I hold with a vice like grip. Using my pens to write, my needles to knit or sew, spending as much time on relationships (the ones that I think can get me the most happiness). Using them and holding tight till my hands hurt from the strain, reminding me to loosen up.

I wish I would learn to loosen and let God.

Let God direct my pen as he guides it across the page.

Let God as I trust him with my relationships because only He can fill me.

I don't want my hands to hurt. I want to hold, but hold onto God. I want to write but let God do the writing. I want to knit but let God guide my stitches. To hold loosely onto my life because life is a breath. Its going to pass through my fingers no matter how hard I grasp it. 

"So Lord, let me relax. Let me, let you guide my life as I sit back and feel the softness, the rough edges knowing that the velvet, the colors, the brittle, the dull can only come through my hands after they come through yours. Knowing that only you can satisfy my whole being and that everything else is a gift."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Dandelion Yellow

  It was a Friday evening. Mom and Dad were gone.I had offered to bake the pizzas we had picked up after a long day of shopping. I had just put in the pizza covered in fresh cheese when the door bell rang. Figuring it was Carson my three-year old brother wanting to get in, I ran downstairs before he could ring the doorbell again. I opened the door and found that I was right. There was Carson, my youngest brother, his nose red from the fall chill, sharply contrasting with his poofy big yellow and blue coat. 

  "Here!" He said as he pushed into my hand what seemed like a crumpled mass of dead foliage. 
  "Oh thank you!" I said as I took it, knowing that it would probably end up in the trash bin as soon as his back was turned. Then I turned the weed over, and a burst of yellow caught my eye. It wasn't a dead plant like I had thought but a dandelion, something that a lot of people consider weeds, but in my eyes they are still beautiful flowers. That unexpected gift was a surprise, many plants were starting to die, the trees were started to change their summer apparel for their brighter but soon to change fall colors, the weather had definitely turned cold, preparing to push us into the Minnesota winter. 

That incident was quickly forgotten, I had set the dandelion on the counter and had continued reading my book as I waited for the pizzas to bake. Later though I remembered the dandelion pressed into my hand, seemingly ugly but when turned over it was something good. 

I think life can be a lot like the dandelion. An ugly mass is thrust into our lives and we wonder what God is doing. When a loved one is ripped from our lives. When a mother pregnant suddenly start bleeding and she realizes she has miscarried. When a child gets an illness he will never be healed from on this side of heaven. When an engagement is broken off. 

Whenever dreams are shattered, hopes are crushed, these are often the times when we can't see God, and we cry out wondering why? Why would God do something like this? 

These are the times I have found that I need to press into God the most. When I can't see what he is doing, when the pain is so great, that I just want it to be over. I have found that it is then he is the most present. 

When things are ripped away, the things that seem sacred that you thought would never be gone are, we can press into the pain and find God there. 

For only through his hand can trials come. Only through the comforting sheltering hand can trials hit us and they come for our good. "For we know that all things work together for good, for those who love God and are called according to his purpose" (Roman 8:28) 

So if God's promises are true that "All things work together for good for those who love God" can we not press into the pain, press into the darkness, seeking God for the light, for that dandelion yellow that he promises will come. 

An old hymn states it well - 

"When darkness seems to hide his face, 
I rest on his unchanging grace, 
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil".

I have been singing a rendition by Hillsong that puts this hymn to a new tune and adds a chorus which goes,
"Christ alone, cornerstone
weak made strong, 
in the Savior's love, 
through the storm, 
he is Lord, 
Lord of all."

God has blessed me and has brought it into worship services, reminding me that even when I can't see him, even when I can't see that dandelion yellow in this season that Christ is Lord and God is good. 

So I pray that I will continue to press into his hand. This hand that has brought darkness for a time. Press into this trial, not running away but ask God, "Where are you?" Because I know that he will bring good. I know that it is through hard things that he disciplines me, he refines me, stripping away anything unclean and hurtful in me and makes me more like precious Jesus. 

I pray that I will keep looking for the yellow, the promise of good that I know will come just as God's promise of the rainbow that we still see in the sky even to this day. 

And I know that God is good. 



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

This is the day.......

I looked up the reference of the "verse of the day" that my boyfriend sent me. We try to memorize the verse of the day on the Bible app on his phone. I have been rather lazy lately and I was really glad when I looked up the verse.

Psalm 118: 24
"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."

"I can quote that no problem tonight." I thought. "Don't need to work at all on it".

But then I realized that I was missing the point. Even though I may think I know a verse of the Bible should I throw it aside and not think about it?

Should I leave it to the file of my brain of "already memorized" and never open the file again to breathe the truth in?

Just because it rolls off the tip of my tongue like it was at the top of my brain do I really rejoice in ever day?

And what does it mean to rejoice in the day that the Lord has made?

Don't I have bad days?

Days that I just wish that I could go back to bed?

But this is the day that God...the Lord...Emmanuel, "God with us",  has made. He commands us to rejoice. It doesn't say to "Rejoice if the day is good". But it commands us to rejoice. 

"Oh dear Lord, please help me to rejoice in every day....don't let me forget to rejoice."

Saturday, February 23, 2013


I closed my eyes as she spoke the words - expecting that He would show me a picture. A picture of how much He loved me. I knew it was going to be special - a message just for me. I knew I was going to be thrilled by Him and yet I was scared that I would make up something or that I wouldn't see it clearly but I closed my eyes anyway, expecting that He would show me.
At first my mind was blank but as I waited, I couldn't help myself and talked to God then. I became silent but I didn't have to wait long.
I saw dancing.
I was dancing with Jesus. I was wearing a twirly dress and spinning around and around in Jesus' arms. I gazed into His eyes and had to look away because His look of love was too overwhelming.
As we kept dancing I felt Jesus saying "Dear one you don't ever have to worry about the step you take in the dance of life because I think your dancing is beautiful. And that's what matter".
I couldn't stand it any longer but I had to start praising him. It was like nothing I had ever experienced of God - and it was just like we prayed.
I became hungry for more.
Hungry for more of God.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Evidences of Grace

There are fingerprints of grace all over our lives, sprinkled like raindrops on a dusty ground.
A smile here,
an act of kindness there,
evidences of gifts untold.
God's grace is all around us, touching us, holding us, comforting us. Giving strength to the weak; joy to the sorrowful. His grace fills this world holding it together, making it spin.
We his precious creatures created in His likeness, close our eyes to his love and grace that envelopes our lives. We don't recognise that hug, that wonderful apple you ate at lunch today, that meeting with a loved one is from God.

"Lord give me eyes to see your grace. Open up my eyes more to see how wonderful your love is to me.
Teach me to see the little signs of your grace.
That wonderful e-mail from the one I love; that rescued past from a life of sorrow is all from you. It is all from your loving hand as a father.
Show me how to be an avenue of your matchless grace.
Flow your grace through me Lord.
Flow through me."

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hidden Blessings

Life is so full of blessings,

You just have to choose to have the eyes to see them.

Living in a foreign country it is hard to see the blessings God brings. It is so easy to let my mind get filled with my woes of how I didn't get a hot shower, or how I just can't get away from that spitting noise that everyone makes here or how that guy who takes one look at me and then honks his horn just because I am a foreigner.

It is so easy to let myself have a pity party and think about how much I miss my family or how I just wish I could sit down and have a long talk with my boyfriend. But if I let myself get caught up in that I will miss what God has for me now. I will blind myself to the wonderful blessings God has for me today.

I must choose by God's grace to see the little pleasures God brings. And if I choose to look for them, I will be so much happier.

That has been my struggle lately during the midst of the Christmas season to not dwell on what I don't have but to dwell on what I do have.

I realized today that I can be happy about the little things. Even though I miss a lot from back home, I can be so thankful for the little gifts God brings here today.

So I decided as I wrapped my hands around my warm cup to accept the hot chocolate that I thought was gonna be a cold chocolate shake as a wonderful gift from Jesus.

And as I write this my host brought me some red licorice something that I haven't had since I left home.

"Yes" I thought, "I can smile and wonderfully bask in the little blessings God brings"

"I can be so thankful every time I see the sun, or get a glimpse of the moon or tast the wonderful dumplings they have here, or when I get a chance to laugh with friends. I can be thankful and accept it for what it is,

A Gift from God. :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Unexpected Flowers

This summer I got kinda used to getting flowers.

Growing up I hadn't gotten many flowers. Before I started dating I remember only one time that I had recieved flowers. When I first started working, my boss got me and my fellow employee roses as a thank you. Other than that getting flowers wasn't something that usually happened to me except in my dreams.

When I started dating my boyfriend Kevin though this summer I fell in love with getting flowers. He had his sister secretly find out what my favorite flower was and after our first date he presented pink lilies to me. It was the first time I had ever gotten flowers from someone I liked and who mutually liked me as well. They were so wonderful. They filled my room and the entire basement with their fragrance. They cheered my heart whenever I saw them. They put a smile on my face and yellowed my nose when I got too close while smelling them.

He gave those same flowers to me several times throughout the summer, with the knowledge that while I was away in a foreign country he couldn't give them to me for nine months. So he found some earrings with the same lily painted on a heart with a white background to make up for all the times he couldn't get me flowers while I was away.

When I arrived in the country, I didn't miss the flowers all that much, but as the time got longer and longer they were something that I began to miss from home. But God always provides. There are flower shops everywhere and my favorite lily is in just about every shop. They would make me smile every time I saw them and now I use them for free smells and beauty for my eyes :) I am sure the natives think I am such a strange foreigner.

I told Kevin, that they had my flowers here and the sweet man that he is, told me to think every time that I saw them, "Don't worry". He was drawing from Matthew 6:28b-34

"Consider the lilies of the fields, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God clothes the grass of the field which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not clothe you,  O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kindom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble"
So I started doing that. Every time I would see my lilies on the street I would see that as a reminder from God, "Don't worry Jess, I have this under control". Amazingly he would send those flowers at just the right times.  Often it would be when I was getting off the bus, or having just a stressful time and he was so faithful to bring me those flowers. Even on my running route there is a flower shop so I get to see those quite frequently.  And when I saw them I would think to myself, "I would really like to have some...maybe I will ask for some for Christmas".
Then one day this week, my team mate brought me flowers. She came into my room with them and I broke into a huge smile, then I broke down in tears. I knew that it was God that gave me flowers. That he was saying during a hard time, "Don't worry Jess, just trust me."
I look at them now as I write, and I am just so thankful at God's goodness. God is able to bring flowers even when you are half a world away from home.
He is so good.