Monday, April 23, 2012

guest post by Dorothea. Letting God romance us.

Dorothea. My beautiful friend from Switzerland. I adore her.

Hey single ladies, but also those of you who are in relationships and of course hello married women of God! So, it is my pleasure to write something for the blog of my really wonderful friend Jessica Hover. In the last year I was able to build a deep and great friendship with her. She has a lot of influence in my life and God my Father has tought me a lot through her.

I am 25 years old and trying to get a deeper and deeper relationship with God. It has been an amazing journey. But like a lot of you there are times when I feel really lonely. I am single and learning to see it as a wonderful gift that God has given me for this season of my life. But still there is sometimes a feeling of loneliness. Because I put myself through some disappointing situations with guys, I have decided that I won’t look at myself as single for the next 5 months. It has been almost 2 weeks since my decision. I feel like I’ve learned already so much.
What is my worth, what kind of woman do I want to be for my future husband, what expectations do I have for my future husband and and and??!! It is really challenging to think about all those things. But it is also extremely interesting to think about it.
One thing that I was thinking about was that God wants to pursue us. It doesn’t matter if we are single, in a relationship or married. Maybe you are married but there is still a feeling of loneliness and you thought it will go away when you are married. Through that you might’ve put a lot of pressure on your man to fill that feeling. But guess what, God is standing on the door to your heart. Just waiting for you to see all the signs he is giving you. Signs of love, signs of him pursuing you.

Or you are in a relationship and you just had a big fight with your boyfriend or finance. It feels so good to just go out and get some attention from somebody else, but again God is just waiting in front of the door of your heart. He wants to pursue you and give you everything all those guys and wonderful men of God can’t give us. And they will never be able to give that to us!!

Think about that, who has a boyfriend or a fiancĂ© or a husband who just prints a rainbow on the sky, or who just draws a wonderful romantic sunset, or plants you a field of flowers. Isn’t that crazy to think there is somebody who is doing that for us?

I had my eyes wide open in the last few days for all those things. And I started realizing that God knows my heart. He knows I love romance. That is exactly the way he will pursue me.

Why don’t we just lay down all those expectations on those men and let ourselves be pursued by the God of the universe. If we can do that I think we will have an expression on our face that will make men of God want to pursue us more. Because they’ll see us being content. They will see the love we have for God but also for everything he has given us. Our character, our body, our face, our skin color, our eyes. They will see something in us and they will be willing to pursue that because they will see a piece of God in us.

And I think that’s what it means when we read something like “A woman’s heart has to be so hidden in God that a man has to seek him to find her”!

Let God love on us no matter if we are single, in a relationship, engaged or married or divorced. Let him show us what it means to be pursued and I think then we won’t settle anymore for guys who might not be serious. Or guys who might try search the same thing we’ve searched for, for so long.

Let us be Proverbs 31 Women!

"She is clothed in strength and dignity. She laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks her words are wise and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world but you surpass them all. Charm is deceptive and beauty does not last. But a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise." Proverbs 31, 25-31

Thank you all for reading this and letting me share some of my thoughts!
Love, Dorothea Wehrli, from the German part of Switzerland

Saturday, April 14, 2012

flat tire.

We got a flat tire the other day driving home in the MIDDLE of the night! Literally.. it was after midnight and we were on the 5 near Long Beach.


Haha no but really, I'm not being sarcastic. As long as we don't die, I love adventures like that.

I was driving and managed to pull over to the side of the road where there was a perfect like spot that tucked us in away from the speedy traffic.

We prayed.

Then we got out and saw that there happened to be orange traffic cones sitting nearby so we put them around our car to help the other cars see us. (Note how cool God is to have those cones there.)

I'm proud to say that I knew how to change the tire! So we did it. And it was so much fun too... I was dancing around, Shaun was being manly and putting on the spare. But then we realized...

the spare was flat too!

Yessss... Another twist in our adventure.

Then a car pulls up to help us. The driver was an AMAZING 30-something-year-old who just happened to have a heart of gold.

He called Triple A for us and let us sit in his car waiting for the tow truck to come.

(This is what we call a "Divine Intervention"- its where God does something God-like and puts people on each other's paths to do something else in an awesome God fashion)

So our new friend, not knowing us at all, asked us what we did for a living and we told him briefly about YWAM and our missionary work. He was super excited. He said that he had been driving by our car and he felt the Holy Spirit tell him that he needed to turn around and come back to help us. So he drove probably 2 or 3 miles out of the way just to come back and help! It turns out that less than a year ago he almost died in a horrific car accident right near where we were stuck.

He shared his story with us--- He was formerly a passionate college student that was on fire for God. But he began to be successful in his work and got complacent. He was hired at an upscale bar in the OC, and before long was caught up in the money, celebrities, women, parties and success. A little while before his accident he had felt God convicting him of his lifestyle and drawing him to a place of realizing how lost he had become in it all. Eventually he quit is job and that night, on his way home from his last night of work, he fell asleep at the wheel.

He almost burned to death. He was almost paralyzed from the neck down due to a spinal injury. He was supposed to be in the hospital 9 months. That means he would still be in the hospital today.

But the accident was an awakening. He was ready to do whatever Jesus wanted. He had surrendered. Less than 2 weeks after the accident he was strong enough to be released from the hospital! But they said it would be 3-6 months before he would be out of the wheelchair. Wrong again. He was walking again within 1 month.

Now he is strong physically and as for his faith.. he is a beast. He loves God so much and is looking for every opportunity to be used by Him.

How incredible is that?? So we talked for a while, shared stories of what God was doing in our lives, encouraged each other... and even made friends with the tow truck driver when he arrived! It was our own little Jesus party on the side of the road!

Then when we finally got our car to the auto-shop it was only $10 to fix the tire.

The whole adventure had only costed us ten dollars.

God is so faithful it is mind boggling.

"God is in the midst of her
she shall not be moved
God will help her 
just at the break of dawn" 
Psalm 45:6

Thank you Jesus.

Photos from the adventure:

audience of One.

Happy weekend friends! So I am sitting in Starbucks.. pondering lots of different things... wondering what I could share with you that would perhaps encourage your life. But something you can know about me and my blogging endeavors is this... I don't just want to post encouraging things. I want to be as open and vulnerable as possible with you. Maybe even to the point where I'm sharing too much. Because I see that it is common for people to feel alone in their struggles- as if they are the only ones wrestling with things, but really we all face the same rubbish-y thoughts... I want you to be able to look at me and feel safe in your own messy journeys as you see that though I'm known for wearing a smile... I carry my own ginormous (not-a-word) load of rubbish too. So then, when you see the muck I'm trying to walk through, you can be honest about your own, and together we can be over-comers! Deal? Deal.

So I'll share a story that I haven't really told anyone about. It's nothing to crazy, but in my heart its big.

Last week I went to my first real dance audition. I'll begin the story by telling you that I didn't get the job- just so you aren't sitting there wondering. It was for a little kids show on the Disney channel and my good friend got me in because she is friends with the choreographer. This may sound like no big deal to you that I auditioned, but for me it was huge. I was SO scared, and felt SO incredibly unprepared, and yet somehow I knew it was exactly what God wanted me to do.

I have always dreamed of working for Disney too. Ever since I was a little girl I obsessed over all things Disney. Like most brunette girls, I have a not-so-secret desire to work as Belle at Disneyland and wave like a princess to all the little ones that walk by.

Anyway back to the audition-- the whole thing was an adventure. I found out about it less than 24 hours before it started and in that time pulled together head shots and a resume--which was a big task considering I had to get VERY creative-- being a full-time missionary doesn't exactly qualify me to get cast as a paid dancer. :) Then hours before driving to the audition we got a flat tire, and the spare was flat too, so I borrowed a friend's car last minute...I got lost driving to the audition which put me a good 30 minutes late.

As I was facing all these crazy obstacles I kept feeling myself wanting to just give up. Why bother audition anyway? I knew I was not going to be one of the best/most trained dancers there. But still I felt God gently pushing me to do it.

Then right before I left for the audition my friend Megan prayed for me and in her prayer she reminded me of something that changed everything... she prayed,
"God thank you that today when Jessica dances, she will be dancing for an audience of One..."

 It was simple, but so important for me to be reminded of that. Because in the rush of everything I definitely was not focused on Jesus as my audience. Sure I knew He'd be sitting somewhere in the crowd that day, but my nervous energy was more focused on the choreographer, singer, and other dancers that would be present. I feared them. I wondered what they would think of my outfit. My dancing. My personality. My mind was swirling with anxiety and it had been all about them.

But when Megan said that, God was so faithful to fill me with peace.

My life is not my own, and what I do is not for people, but for Him. That includes dance... and that even includes dancing for Disney. If God wants me dancing for Disney, He can open that door. But more than anything He wants my heart and my affection. He wants my obedience and my friendship.

And that morning, He wanted my dancing.

So I went to the audition with a goal to dance for Him. Despite everything that was stopping me, I still moved forward because He was my motivation. I still felt fear, but in my heart, fear was not winning.

Then it came time to face one of my biggest fears--- free-style dancing in front of people. There were 3 of us dancers out on the floor... and 3 people "judging" our performances. Guess what happened? The music came on and I just started moving! I was so excited to dance for my Father that I didn't even realize at first that I was actually freestyling! Ahh.. it was seriously SO AMAZING. I couldn't believe it! After we finished I was shocked.

Actually I didn't even care if I got the job or not at that point, I was so excited at what God had done! He had given me courage! Finally I felt like a real dancer... and not because people said I was, but because I knew that Jesus Himself thought I was!

So now my next challenge is living daily focused on my audience of One. Because really, His opinion is the only One that really matters anyway. Whether it is my dancing, or how I work, or the way I relate to people. He has got to be my main concern.

 And He isn't looking for the same things we are... 1 Samuel 16:7 says,

"Do not look at the appearance, or physical stature.. for the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."

It's freeing to know that we don't need to live to please others. Our identities are secure in Christ. He is our audience of One. And our focus is on pleasing Him today. 

He is better than Disney anyway... even though Disney is still pretty wonderful :) Love you guys. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Good morning interview with C.S. Lewis

Good morning friends! It's a pleasure to be here on this rainy day in Los Angeles, California. I am honored to have the opportunity to interview world renowned author, and apologogist Clive Staples Lewis (29 November 1898 – 22 November 1963), commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack".

Jess: Good Morning Mr. Lewis.. If you don't mind I am just going to call you Jack.

Jack (C.S. Lewis) ((In his fabulous Irish accent)): "Good mornin Jessica"

Jess: So Jack, let's just get to it. You are a pretty incredible man. Here you have been dead since 1963, and yet somehow still you are changing lives through your books. What can you tell me about your Christian faith?


Jessica: You know, Jack, you are much more profound than me... but I feel the same. I remember before I was Christian and I had all of these thoughts that I didn't understand. Like I remember being a little girl.. maybe 10 years old.. and feeling like I had already failed at life. Like no matter how hard I tried to do everything right, I still missed it. I remember laying in bed at night and wishing that somehow I could start life over... like go back into my mama's tummy and start again. I literally wanted to be born again. It wasn't until years later when I began trusting Christ, that I realized my desire to start over had been from God. When I accepted Jesus as my Savior I literally got to be born again and start fresh. Even now, as I live in relationship with Him I feel like He is always giving me the fresh starts & new beginnings, I need... because unfortunately I still make a lot of mistakes.

But Jack.. there is something I have been bothered by and I'm wondering if you have any insight. I keep finding that everything that I think will really satisfy me.. everything I hope will make me feel full.. actually doesn't. But I don't mean that I am looking for satisfaction in sinful things. I mean my pure-hearted genuine pursuits of happiness. Like in my marriage, or my travels, or my amazing relationships with people.. or even little things like my favorite food. Somehow it all feels nice and yet I still feel like I'm missing something.

What do you think?

Jack (C.S. Lewis):

Excellent point Jack. Do you have any advice for people like me who are sometimes consumed by looking for earthly things to make us feel happy? Recently for me I have been feeling it in things like- just eating for comfort, or striving to look good or even feeling like I need more money, to buy more things that I don't really need.

Jack (CS Lewis):

Jessica: I like that. Tell me Jack-O-Saurus Rex... Sorry.. I tend to give pet names to people I like. Anyway, what do you have to say about love. I know its a hot topic, but is there anything you feel to share?

Jessica: To love is to be vulnerable. Powerful stuff Jack-a-Mo. I have lots of people in my life who are unwilling to give up their lives to follow God because of how much fun they had before. They are afraid that their futures will be stale, bland, and boring. Your thoughts?


Jessica: You know, you are straight to the point. I like that in a man. I also like how you make God part of everything you do. Work, marriage, family, friendships...


Jessica: Yeah.. its like how a baby wakes up dependant on mom and dad. They can't live today simply by remembering that mom breast-fed them yesterday... they would die. They need new milk. New diaper changes. New everything. That's how they survive. That's how we survive with God. Full dependance.


Jessica: So true Jackson... so true. Actually I find that often I grow the most in times that were the most difficult. Like the really miserable days when I question everything and feel like I can't keep going... When I look back.. its those times that really drew me closest to God.


Jessica: Yeah. I hate that. But I get it. I guess thats why I need to be thankful for my relationships. Because God uses those to carry me through. Like when I can't feel God's touch, or hear His voice.. I can feel my friends' hugs.. and hear their encouragement. Do you have anything to say about friendship Jack?


Jessica: Exactly. That's God's design. We share the stuff in our hearts.. the yucky stuff... the things that we feel alone in. Then we find out that others face the same junk... and together we can get through.

Well thank you for your time Jack, I appreciate your wisdom. Anything you want to share with our readers to encourage them as they pursue God's best for their futures?


Thanks for reading!
Shaun over LA

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

my favorite prayers

My almost-2-year-old God daughter prayed for my friend with a tummy-ache, asking God to take the tummy ache away... it went something like this..

"Jesus.. tummy owie byebye"

Another time she was painting.. she prayed before she started...

"Jesus.. we paint.. amen"

Those are my most favorite prayers. I think they are God's favorite too.
"So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven."                                                                                Matthew 18:4 (NLT)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Easter!! 5 year anniversary :)

No not my wedding anniversary! I am celebrating 5 years of trusting Jesus! This Easter was the 5 year anniversary of getting baptized & beginning to really trust Jesus with my life. What an incredible 5 years it has been! There is so much to say about what God has done in the last 5 years, but I have really been feeling like I wanted to give some honor, where honor is due... because I would not be here today in my walk with God if it weren't for a few key people that really fought for me in the beginning.

The beginning for me is around the end of 2006, and the spring of 2007. I was an insecure and broken little thing, giving God a chance to do some work in my fragile heart. I was so wavering in my faith, its amazing I ever ended up leaving Colorado Springs to do a Discipleship Training School with Youth With a Mission. It's a miracle. But the love of Christ is persistent, and He used some pretty incredible people to draw me closer to Him in those first few months of 2007. You can meet them...

This is the Thurber/Ehrlichman family. A family that adores Jesus and in 2006 saw potential in me that I didn't see in myself. They prayed for me, encouraged me, loved me, housed me, clothed me, and had the faith that I needed, even when I didn't know it was what I needed. 
They taught me to work hard, pursue my gifts, and trust Christ. 

 In early 2007 I was cast as "Mary of Bethany" in an Easter production called "The Thorn" at New Life Church. This group of people in the show with me, taught me the story of Christ. Not only did they teach me, but they welcomed me in as a part of the family and loved me like crazy. 
They taught me that God created me with a purpose and it was crucial that I discovered that purpose. 
They also taught me about the purity that could be restored in Jesus. 

My friend Lauren, (in the photo above) came to my shows & many of my rehearsals. She was faithful to be there with me when I felt unsure of myself. 
She taught me to dream bigger & do whatever it takes to find heaven. 

Meet the Millers. This is not a complete family photo... we are missing two of the daughters. But this precious family let me live with them for a few months in the beginning of 2007. They didn't ask me for anything. In fact they just gave to me in extravagant ways... taking care of me... feeding me... cleaning up after me... supporting my life. It was amazing. 
They taught me that family is more important than possessions and that God is the only One who can really satisfy our needs. Liz (the mama) also taught me that God knows how weak we are and His grace is enough for us.

Liz Wetherby. Secretary of my high school. My angel. "Mama Liz" fought for my life in more ways than I even know. She prayed, she asked hard questions, she pursued me and read the Word of God to me. She got involved in my life issues and faithfully reminded me of the ONLY way to freedom. To this day I look to her as a role model and mentor. 
She taught me that intimacy with God is possible & necessary. 

Tara kept me smiling in times when I felt weak. Meredith kept me living in times when I wanted to die.
Through these two I learned lots.. but one of the most valuable things they taught me is the power of humor to carry us through the storms in life. They help me to believe that life with God is fun. 

My other family. The Danleys have loved me since the days when I was a little chubby and mostly awkward. During that time when I first started trusting God in 2007 Judy (the mama) would have long conversations with me, teaching me the ways of God in her life. She helped me to understand the reality of God and how He affects every part of our lives. She also taught me to be generous. 

Angie Jacobsen was my young & courageous example in trusting Jesus with an eating disorder. Together we battled bulimia and did our best to follow God. 
She taught me to be brave. 

There is so much more to say and so many more people to honor for fighting me but for now I will leave it at this. I do not want to discount everyone else in my life who has believed in me.. especially those in '06 & '07... like the Bruces, Grants, &&Jacobsens!!!.. and other amazing families that gave of themselves for me. I also want to honor my own beautiful family for their love.
I am so grateful for them and all they have done for me. 

The real purpose of this post is to just reflect on how God uses people to draw others to Himself.
His love is so amazing.

Thank you Jesus and thank you friends for everything you have done to make me who I am! 
Happy Easter sweet loved ones! Jesus really is alive and His power truly does change lives! 

And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. 
Romans 8:11

Thursday, April 5, 2012

yay! a video! ... "Abounding"

This is an awesome short film my good friend Mike Fernandez wrote, produced & starred in!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

a funny story worth remembering :)

So I was looking through my photos just now and came across 4 that I had forgotten about. I am going to delete them, but first I thought I should share the funny story about where they were taken.. Just so we can smile on this Wednesday..

It was our last week in Chile and we were on the roof of the hotel that we were staying in. Our team had eaten dinner together up there and then afterwards Shaun and our friend Spencer mysteriously disappeared. They said something about looking for a sauna.. but didn't say much more than that. About fifteen minutes passed and I decided to go looking for them, just so I could get the key to the room we were staying in. I began searching the upstairs area for a sauna and couldn't find anything. I even went downstairs to a different area and looked there.. but still found nothing. Finally I made it back up to the roof and found a Chilean man to ask for directions to the sauna.. if in fact the sauna existed. The man pointed to the woman's bathroom. ... I was perplexed. "Sauna?" I repeated. Again he pointed to the woman's bathroom. 

So being confused I walked into the woman's bathroom, knowing quite well that Shaun wouldn't be in there. Haha.. I was very wrong. 

I walked around the corner and this is what I saw...

Yes. I found Shaun and Spencer in the woman's bathroom, in this tiny hot box "sauna", just talking about life and sweating like animals. When I caught them, they smiled like little boys in trouble and decided that it was time to get out.

So being a good wife.. I died laughing, invited some friends to come laugh with me, and snapped a few photos before they left the room. I wanted to be sure I had evidence to remind Shaun how ridiculous he is.. just in case he forgets.

There is nothing profound to say about this... I can't really relate it to God and encourage you to go out and change the world because of the incredible analogy I come up with. My only goal in sharing this is that perhaps it will make you smile. We all need smiles sometimes. :)

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hope. We all need it. Some people are more desperate for it than we think.

I met a girl not too long ago, and in our first, brief conversation I mentioned to her how God had freed me from an eating disorder a few years ago- back when I first started trusting Him. I continued to talk about my life as a missionary, but I couldn't finish because her eyes filled up with tears. She said that I was the first person she had ever heard talk so openly about struggling with an eating disorder. She confessed that she was currently battling bulimia and that it was something she and her friends did together. As acting students, they thought it was wise to keep their bodies thin, by going to the bathroom together after meals and throwing up what they had just eaten. Within her circle of friends they didn't even view bulimia as something to "get free from".. it was simply a logical response to the desire they had to stay small. She said that she had actually been praying about it, because she could feel that it was destroying her life.. but she had never asked for help. 

That began an amazing friendship between us & together we pursued God, asking Him to set her free. It has only been a few months, but already SO much has changed for her. Its a beautiful story. 

And the whole thing is teaching me something... we all need hope. Christ offers us hope. All it took was me mentioning the freedom God gave me & it filled her with hope for her life. Actually that hope was what motivated her to fight for her life. 

So today.. let's be givers of hope. 
Let's remind people that its not too late, God is not finished, His purposes can still prevail in their lives. 
Be bold enough to say hello.. be brave enough to pursue a conversation.. be humble enough to admit where you struggle.. and be child-like enough to ask your Daddy in heaven for help... 
because its likely that the struggles people are facing are too big for you to take on. 
We need the power of God. That's where the hope lies. 
In Christ.

My beautiful friend & Swiss little sister, Marie Bader. A precious role model of mine.
Not the girl I am talking about in this story.. but another overcomer in the area of body image issues.