Tuesday, May 31, 2011

oh, how he loves

It was a dark and stormy night . . . 

Saturday night, actually.  And as cliché as that sounds, it's true.

Saturday was a full day for me--amongst other things, visiting and dancing with my friend Hannah, whose mom has been in and out of the hospital with cancer lately.  I had fully written this very post the day before.  It was full of as much complaining as not I suppose--just about little things.  And driving home that rainy Saturday night, it struck me.  God is so good and I have every reason to be content.

My mom is in Florida right now.  She left last Monday and will be gone for a total of about two weeks.  Why, you ask?  A year and a half ago my mom got sick.  Really sick.  So sick that she basically didn't get out of bed for a year.  She was bedridden from constant vertigo attacks, and I won't go into the details, but it was horrible for her.  Horrible to the point where she said that if she didn't have us kids, she would rather just die and be with Jesus.  When I think back on it, that year was a blur of trying to survive.

For the past several months especially, my mom has been getting progressively better.  It's not been easy, and there's been huge amounts of prayer, but just the fact that she was able to get out of bed was a huge step.  As she healed, she was kinda thrust right into life again--home schooling my little sisters, driving places and such.  She needed a break.

{linking up to danielle's captured}

So last week, she headed to Florida to get away by herself.  Dear friends, do you have any idea how much I'd love to be in Florida right now?  I've never been before.  Yeah.  Being in Florida would make my day.  Plus, there's now extra chores and duties thrust upon me [I've never been good at doing laundry, okay?].  And both of my little sisters have had emotional breakdowns that end with "we just wish mommy were heeerre!"

But despite all I'd like to complain about, I am so.blessed.  If I think on it, it's truly a miracle that my mom can drive herself to Florida.  Especially after visiting with Hannah, who is in the position I was last year--mom sick, not knowing what the future holds, praying so hard.  I'm so grateful that my mom is actually well enough to take a much-needed trip by herself.

I know I've told you all about going to TeenPact this year, and I also mentioned my desire but decision not to go to one of TP's epic alumni events, a camp called National Convention.  Last year I went, and it was the best week of my life.  My brother went this year, and he got home Saturday.  The first thing I did was run up to him, shake my finger in his face, and say, "Did you have the best week of your life?!  Because you BETTER have had the best week of your life!"  To which he replied, "Yep."

I really wanted to be there.  Throughout the whole week, my heart was at that camp.  Sure, there were money issues, but the main reason I didn't go?  God didn't want me to.  I don't know why, but I'm at peace with it.  I'm sad that I wasn't there and I wish I could have seen all those people and I still want to be able to staff and possibly go next year.  But it's not where God had me.  So instead of complaining that I didn't go, I should focus on the fact that it's incredible to know that in my heart.

After pondering it, I thanked God.  Thanked him that I had that best-time-of-my-life experience last year.  Thanked him that my brother could have it this year.  Thanked him that, because I had it before, I could relate to my brother having it now.

{linking up to hannah's lovely photo wednesday}

In all reality, I have so many little things to be grateful for.  So many reasons to be content, if I'll only realize it.

Even if I'm working super long days from Wednesday to Sunday, I have an opportunity to make money and awesome friends to work with.
Even if my face isn't always the most attractive thing in the world, I have cover-up and people who love me anyway.
Even if I couldn't find a tank top to match that summer dress I just bought, I have enough money to buy myself a dress.
Even if I'm extremely nearsighted, I have the option of wearing my glasses and hey--I get to see bokeh all the time.
Even if it was an unbearably and oppressively humid Memorial Day, I have air conditioning, ice cream, cold water, and friends to spend it with.

Last Saturday, that wave of contentment and gratitude came suddenly, as if God was just pouring himself over me to say, "Open your eyes."

And all of a sudden I am unaware // Of these afflictions eclipsed by glory // And I realize just how beautiful you are // And how great your affections are for me

I don't want to live just for the sake of focusing on the moment and miss what really matters.  I want to step back and breathe in the bigger picture.  The picture painted in bold colors and confident brush strokes.  The picture that screams, "God loves me.  He has given me so much.  He is good.  Always, always good."


  1. I am legitimately jealous of you being able to see bokeh all the time. ;P

    Annnnd, I love you Jenn!!! :) :)
    I love how you're finding things to thank God for and seeing His hand in your life. :)

    I'm using a ton of smilies in this ..... :) :) :) hehe.

    We MUST get together soon!!! Yes yes, we MUST.

  2. -gasp- and THANKYOU for taking the word checker thing off your comments. :) :)

  3. I LOVE your new blog header! It's so happy!
    I also really like the post! Sometimes, though it's super tough, God teaches us a lot by not giving us the things that we love. It hurts, but when you look back on it you realize that you learned a lot through it! NC sounds awesome though!
    Also, LOVE the song! About half of the times I hear that song or play the song I start to cry! It's extremely powerful!

  4. Also, I was looking at your "Good Reads" page of your blog! Most people wouldn't find it there. You should put it on the side of your blog!

  5. This sums up all my thoughts recently. Remarkably wonderful post :)

  6. Wow, beautiful, thought-provoking, convicting post, Jenn. Thank you so much for sharing.

    (Just for the record...I love that song. Second-favorite worship song. First favorite being Sweetly Broken by Jeremy Riddle.)


  7. Lovely post, Jennoelle! I love that song! We sing it in youth praise band sometimes and it's one of my favorites.

    By the way, I love your new blog design! :)


  8. Ah-mazing, Jenn. Just ah-mazing. I really needed that reminder--God is good--I just need to take the time to see it that way. =)

    I am also jealous of your ability to see bokeh all the time! =P

    I'm liking your new design--sweet and simple! =)

  9. Yes, God is SO good! I am so glad HE loves me, even if I did just accidentally ruin the whole side of my car by running into our mailbox late last night because the steering wheel slipped outta my hands...yeah, I am so glad that God still blesses me even when I don't deserve it, and especially when stupid things happen or are caused by me! =D I am jealous of the bokeh vision too! LOL! =)

    -Sarah Elizabeth

  10. Beautiful post! So glad you can find the joy in difficulties - it is often so hard to see that. And I must say I absolutely love your black & white silhouette shot - the light shone through at just the perfect spot!


  11. Your page is beautiful, as are your pictures! This post is really inspiring to me...both of my parents have a lot of health problems, and your ability to still find things to be thankful for when things are tough, has definitely made me become more positive and realize just how blessed I am. So thank you for that! :)

  12. lovely pictures! your photos are so gorgeous! nice B&W, love the perspective you used!

    via captured in B&W

    Light Trigger

  13. looove the new header! very pretty :)

  14. Beautiful beautiful photos - just lovely!

  15. This is beautiful! You write from your heart and it shows. :)


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