Monday, November 28, 2011

to be Real.

"You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily or have sharp edges or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." 
-The Velveteen Rabbit
Photo found on pinterest- lifeonsugarhill.blogspot.com

Monday, November 21, 2011

my favorite blog.

it should be known that my favorite blog to read and enjoy belongs to my sweet friend Hillary. i highly recommend you go there immediately and indulge in her words, photos, quotes, and all of the other sites that she is connected with. spending time on her page is both encouraging and inspiring. i love her. you will too.
this is her:
 she also has an AMAZING clothing line that is about to release their winter line. i am SO excited. if you buy anything from Project Love you can support my ministry too! simply by typing "create" into the coupon code box, a portion of the proceeds will fund our missionary endeavors here in LA.
here's me rocking some P Love:

lifeonsugarhill.blogspot.com
projectyourlove.com

take heart.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Live your life.


My sister said something profound today,

"I haven't been living my life lately, I've been letting life live me."

What she meant was that she felt like she didn't have any control.. she was just letting time carry her from one moment to the next. Hoping that somehow, even without taking responsibility for things, everything would be okay. Today she discovered that she needs to live again. Really live. This requires effort. It also requires humility to admit failures and vision to become who she was created to be.

This was a healthy reminder to me. Am I living? Or is life living me? Am I making wise decisions and being a good steward of what God has entrusted me with? My time? My money? My gifts? My relationships?

So I've decided the best thing to do is grab a holiday drink from Starbucks and.. once again.. engage in a heart-to-heart with God. The best way for me to do this is to journal.

I write my name. Then my roles. Then who I want to be remembered for in every role I have. Then I look at my week. How do I want to spend my time? Then my money. I decide how I'm doing.. like if I'm being generous or frivolous, or whatever. I think about anything that I need to do that I am putting off because of laziness, or procrastination. Then I put it in my schedule. Doing all of this reminds me that I am not a victim of my circumstances. It really doesn't matter what comes against me, it does not have to determine how I live.

When we are convinced in our hearts that we are secure in Christ, we no longer get tossed around by hardships. It doesn't mean that we won't have struggles.. the Bible promises that we will have trials. But Jesus also tells us to "take heart" because He has overcome the world. In Christ we are over-comers.

Without vision, we go astray, we get caught up, distracted, and overwhelmed. We live be default rather than living with purpose. Vision get us back on track.

That sister of mine is a wise lady.

Okay now, its time to grab a latte and get back on track. Perhaps I'll see you at Starbucks.

Proverbs 29:18 The Message (MSG)

If people can't see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
   they are most blessed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cayla, Torie, Ellie, and Maddie.



These women of God are teaching me so much about how to live. They are a part of the creative arts ministry I lead at YWAM LA and their hearts are pure gold. Cayla is 16, I think Torie and Ellie are 12, and Maddie is 10.
I admire the way these young ones love Jesus. They just love Him. This past weekend they taught me a powerful lesson about having the heart of a servant.

On Sunday our group of Discipleship Training School students (ranging in age from 18-28) performed a drama at a church event and these younger girls were a part of the performance. This meant that we had a more intense rehearsal on Friday with extra work to be done, and it also meant that I needed everyone to be on their best behavior Sunday because we were serving another ministry.

Cayla, Torie, Ellie and Maddie were amazing. They were always early to everything we did, they genuinely treated me with love, and though their role in the show not as large as others, they worked as if they were literally about to perform for Jesus Christ Himself. They served us with with an attitude that showed they were truly honored to be a part of what we were doing.

Because of the fact that the DTS is only 6 months long it means that I am getting new students frequently. Every half year we get a new group. But these young girls live on the YWAM campus so they are always a part of what we do.. in reality they could very much take it for granted because they know that as my little sisters here, they will always be invited to join us. But somehow, though they've been with me for years, they still act totally grateful to be involved.

This beautiful attitude of humility reminded me of how I am to be in everything I do. I am to be grateful and serve knowing that it is an honor to be involved in what Jesus is doing on earth. I am to be childlike in my faith, positive in my attitude, and a servant in my actions. I am to more like Cayla, and like Torie, and like Ellie and like Maddie, in all that I do, because they resemble our Savior.

Ephesians 6:5-9 The Message (MSG)5-8 "Servants, respectfully obey your earthly masters but always with an eye to obeying the real master, Christ. Don't just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ's servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God."

Dorothea

"I am tired of holding onto my old pants that don't fit anymore. It is time that I buy new ones. No one is going to check the tags of my clothes to see if it says medium or large.. so I just need to be happy being me." 

My friend said this to me back in October, not realizing the profoundness of what she was saying. Her name is Dorothea. She is lovely and Swiss.

Dorothea is seriously a hero. She has overcome some intense battles in the area of body image and beauty, she is a blessing and an encouragement to SO many women. A few years ago she arrived to YWAM LA as a student, she mostly spoke Swiss German but being the courageous little firework that she is, she managed to learn English within a few months. She is bold and hilarious and most people would never have guessed the struggle she was facing in her heart when it came to her own physical appearance. 

She tells a story of how one day she complained to me about how she looked, basically saying that she wasn't beautiful because of her size. Being someone passionately against that kind of talk, I told her that she was never to speak like that about herself again. It was a brief interaction but God used it dramatically. Over the course of the next few months God began to speak to her about her appearance, her size, and her beauty.. overwhelming her with truth in ways that she couldn't deny. He lavished His love on her and renewed her mind to a place of freedom and healing. Today she is a mighty woman of faith that is always reminding women that they are "never to speak negatively about their appearance ever again" because of the truth that they are made in the image of an all-beautiful God. Dorothea is passionately leading young women into freedom, showing them who they are in Christ and leading them in how to embrace and really love their appearance.  She speaks out confidently that it doesn't matter if you are a small, medium, large or even XL, its about embracing what we can't change and changing what we can, in order to bestow God's beauty in us to the world. 







Marieke.

She's ridiculously beautiful. Europeans tend to be I think. I met her backstage at Fashion Week, she was a volunteer like me. She's here in LA for a few months to learn English. She must learn quickly because she speaks really well.

She asked me about my life. What do I do for a living? What is a missionary? Why don't I get paid? Why do I care so much about the models? Why do I care so little about fashion?

Why am I trusting Jesus when I can't even see Him?

I was able to share my story of how He healed me of bulimia. How He freed me from getting my value from others and deriving my worth from guys. I shared about how He has been working in my family, giving me a new identity, and filling me with vision for the future.

I also let her know that its not always easy. I still struggle often and am frequently left crying out for God to come through, again.

She hadn't heard much about God before but after my story she opened up about her precious best friend who recently committed suicide, after an agonizing battle with an eating disorder. Her other best friend is getting healed of her eating disorder after her "recent encounter with God". Marieke was not sure what it meant to trust God, but she knew she was interested.

So this past Sunday we drove our big shuttle bus an extra hour to pick her up and take her to church with us. It was beautiful. She was so excited to spend time with us and hear stories from the other Christians about how God has taken care of them. Right before we went to church she shared, "I think you are all so brave for trusting in a God that you can't see. I want to trust Him but I am just afraid that He isn't real."

Then at church something amazing happened. Marieke met God. She didn't know how to describe it in words but all she could exclaim to me was "I feel like a different person! This morning I woke up and everything was just the same, now I feel hope... I feel God!"

Marieke is a magnificent disciple of Jesus now, praying and reading His word. Her life is so valuable, it is an encouragement to me that boldness in Christ really does change lives. I am so grateful for my new sister and friend, she is such a gift.

a thankful heart



On Sunday morning I woke up feeling like rubbish. Physically, I was actually pretty healthy. But emotionally I was feeling a bit like garbage. It was only a few minutes of dumpster feelings, but it was long enough to remind me of something VERY important.

I NEED TO BE THANKFUL.

See, the source of my funk was the idea that I had fallen behind and I was overwhelmed by all of the things I wanted to change in my life. I was focusing on all kinds of things that either weren't true or just weren't productive.
To invite you deeper into my heart, here were some of my struggles:
- Feeling physically unattractive
- Feeling like I dress badly and am not stylish
- Feeling like my house isn't decorated nicely
- Feeling constantly behind in my work
- Feeling like I should be doing more to learn Spanish before I go to Chile in December
- Feeling like I don't do a good enough job loving Shaun
- Wondering what people think of me
- Hoping I am making God happy
- Wondering if I am wasting my gifts

Those are just some of them.

So that morning when I woke up and felt terribly, I immediately had the thought
'Jessica, You are so focused on what is wrong you have forgotten that you actually have a wonderful life.'
I think that was a gentle reminder from God to get my heart back on track.

After brushing my teeth I sat down with my Bible, my journal, and began a list of all of the things that I was thankful for. It was so refreshing to remember again how much there was to be grateful for! Then as I went throughout my day I also asked my friends to tell me what they were thankful for, and together we practiced gratitude.

There is so much power in being thankful, because as we meditate on all of the gifts in life we realize just how blessed we really are... and all of the other stuff just dissolves. Gratitude also brings humility, it reminds us that all we have is a gift from God, and we are to praise Him for His constant goodness. 

So I encourage you today to listen to God's word in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 when He tells us,
"Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus."
Meet my husband's new girlfriend. They adore each other.