Friday, March 30, 2012

Looking to pass the time?

Perhaps head over to some other delightful blogs! Here are a few that I enjoy! --- fun, faith-filled, fashionable, && inspiring, Hillary will brighten your days. ---documenting our time in Chile!! So good to see the stories of God at work! --- the journey of a woman, Veronica King, from our church in Michigan. she was pregnant with her third baby when her young husband, Jeremy, passed away suddenly. her story is one of the most incredible & encouraging that I've ever read. you might cry- especially reading the posts from November 2010. but you will feel stronger after reading them.

Rest up buttercup.

I have a week off!! Hooray! I am SO grateful for the rest. Here's a little update!

The week began with Beka, my best friend from Oregon, gracing us with her presence for a week. She got a tattoo :)

On Wednesday I was able to head over to Joy Dawson's (a world renowned Bible teacher) & help her type up some notes for a TV interview she has this Saturday. She always teaches me so much, here's one little encouraging tidbit... So she and her family have worked as unsalaried missionaries for something like.. 45 years.. living by faith & trusting God to provide. They live according to the principal in Matthew 6:33 "But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness & all these things will be added to you"... So the way she explained it to me is that she prioritizes her finances by looking at the "interests of God's kingdom".. basically that means living with a combination of wisdom & generosity. She and her husband Jim are always looking for opportunities to give of their resources to help others. They have given away cars.. money.. clothes.. household items.. in fact Shaun and I have received quite a lot from them. Recently they gave us the best, most comfy couch, ever. Then when it comes to "seeking His righteousness".. she said this means pursuing holiness and being quick to deal with her own sin. She is regularly asking God to show her where she has missed the mark, then she repents and gets back on track.. seeking to be made holy in Him. In living according to this principal she has always been provided for! Its not always been easy for her, but God has ALWAYS been faithful to meet her needs!

Meet Joy Dawson! (PS. Shaun & I think this photo is hilarious.. her husband Jim took it and it makes me look like a giant! )

On Tuesday night I went to Models For Christ and we spent the evening focusing on the topic of pornography. It was so helpful for me.. ah.. I can't even tell you, it would take too long. I'll just tell you a bit- we listened to Mark Driscoll teach on God's view of porn, and heard from a woman who had worked in the industry for many years. It was so good for me to hear this teaching because I have struggled in my own life with impure thoughts. Not like I watch porn.. though I have seen my share of pornographic tv... and I wrestle with having impure thoughts when I am intimate with Shaun. Sorry if it feels like I'm sharing too much, but I'm trying to be authentic here.. and authentic Jessica struggles with this stuff. There would be times when I would have the pornographic images that I had seen would pop up in my head and instead of focusing on my husband, my mind would wander to what I had seen before. Well... in learning about the pain of those who work in the porn industry, and the way that God designed for sex to be, it gave me a new perspective on this sex stuff. God is so good. He created sex to be enjoyed, fully! And I can do that without inviting anyone other that my husband into my bedroom! Haha sounds so simple.. hmm. It is actually possible to have a pure mind and have an amazing sex life. What an awesome thing. AH.. I love that.

I like him so much.

Last night Meredith and I went shopping and made a special dinner! Soy, ginger Tilapia. Cooked spinach. Rice Pilaf. Anddddd (my favorite part) S'more Ice Cream sandwiches from Trader Joes! Then at 1:30am I made my very first batch of homemade granola! I had a bowl this morning & it was delightful. :) Shaun took a picture of it!

Do you have a few minutes? Watch our outreach video to Chile! Shaun and our friend Michael put it together! You'll like it! God bless you friends!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Back in California. the haircut story.

So I am home again! It is a wonderful thing that I am here, but honestly through the fatigue and the heart ache of having to say goodbye to people I love, I haven't fully embraced being back yet. But its okay, there's grace, I'm sure I will be adjusted in a few days.

Hmm, what should I tell you? Well I could start by telling you the haircut story. Yes, I got a haircut. I get them often, but this one was different. Not only did I get most of the length chopped off, and not only did I get bangs, though both of those were big for me... what is even bigger than that was the declaration I made in my heart to trust Jesus with my appearance.

See I was going through a time in my heart where I was struggling with how I looked... it happens from time to time. I didn't talk about it much, but I could feel it. I felt myself constantly wondering how I looked, and fighting a cloudiness of insecurity about it. It was extra silly too because I was on outreach in South America, trying to love people and encourage them to pursue freedom in Christ.. and yet inside I felt stuck. So then my Chilean friend Cole, who works at a salon at the YWAM base in Pichilemu, told me that her favorite thing was what her friend's let her do whatever she wanted with their hair. I thought that sounded fun... and brave. So I prayed about it, and asked Shaun about it. I know it doesn't sound like a big deal, but for me it felt huge. I feared short hair because I was afraid that I would look older, or more frumpy, or... I don't know.. just less attractive. But I decided that I feared being stuck in insecurity MORE than I feared looking all those things. God and Shaun agreed. I decided that I needed to get my hair chopped just as a way to declare to myself, and to Jesus, that I was tired of focusing outward and that I trust Him with my beauty.

It was a good thing for me. Not only did my heart feel better... but actually my hair turned out cute too! My friends were really encouraging and helped me to get used to the change, because it was hard at first. But now I love it and am grateful for the process I went through. I know it may sound crazy to make such a big deal of a hair cut... but God is good and He can use anything to set us free and make our hearts more lovely.

With Cole- my sweet friend and the one who cut my hair :)

Family reunited! My favorite part of being back has been seeing with my beautiful sister Meredith. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

our compassionate God.

Story told by Max Lucado in his book "In the Grip of Grace"

Once a monk and his apprentice traveled from the abbey to a nearby village. The two parted at the city gates, agreeing to meet the next morning after completing their tasks.

According to plan, they met and began the long walk back to the abbey. The monk noticed that the younger man was unusually quiet. He asked him if anything was wrong. "What business is it of yours?" came the response.

Now the monk was sure his brother was troubled, but he said nothing. The distance between the 2 began to increase. The apprentice walked slowly, as if to separate himself from his teacher. When the abbey came in sight, the monk stopped at the gate and waited on the student. "Tell me, my son. What troubles your soul?"

The boy started to react again, but when he saw the warmth in his master's eyes, his heart began to melt. "I have sinned greatly," he sobbed. "Last night I slept with a woman and abandoned my vows. I am not worthy to enter the abbey at your side."

The teacher put his arm around the student and said, "We will enter the abbey together. And we will enter the cathedral together. And together we will confess your sin. No one but God will know which of the two of us fell."