3 Comforts When the Road Feels Long

When I am filled with cares, your comfort brings me joy. (Psalm 94:19 HCSB)

When I was a girl, every summer we visited my grandparents in northern Florida on the Apalachicola River. The closer we got to their house, the louder the cicadas sang and the thicker the humidity became. The sky was as black as the river that ran behind their house. On those sticky summer nights, to a little girl, it just seemed like there was only vast emptiness ahead of us.

In the vast darkness, our headlights seemed to be the only lights around. But, once we got close to Granddaddy’s house, we could see a tiny light blinking in the distance.

Granddaddy would always leave the porch light on and when we saw the porch light, we knew we were almost there.

Just Like Home – FGF Highlights, Abilene, TX

I love those Texas women… they make me want to trade in my tennis shoes for cowboy boots! But, not sure cowboy boots would look so good with my yoga pants! We were with a great big bunch of friends — such love and safety in that place. Just real women being real with each other.

Thank you to Courtney Cochran for the beautiful photos! To see the entire Facebook album, click here. And to those of you who joined the fun, your photo booth photos are here.

Spill the beans was so fun with Lisa and Laura — they are both so funny. The best part had to be when Lisa used Phil as her ventriloquist dummy! But, I think he would do most anything for his favorite Mouseketeer.

Why You Can Let Go and Trust God: Advice From a Recovering Blind Control Freak

I used to be a total control freak — a blind control freak. Today, though, I  am a recovering blind control freak. It took me years to figure out that blindness demands I release my need for control.

Without being able to see, I have to risk trusting other people. I have to let go of my perfect timetable and my to-do list. It’s not always easy to let go and trust, but if I don’t choose to risk or release, I truly will never receive what I need.

So, for me, being a  blind control freak is completely counterproductive!

And, can I be honest with the sisters?

Are Confidence and Courage the Same Thing?

“Jennifer, you are just so confident.” I cannot even begin to tell you how many times some wonderful woman has said that to me. Every time it happens, I cringe on the inside and think, Yeah, right! Girl, I’ve got no real confidence. Me? 

I over-think everything and it leads to insecurities, fears, and self-doubt… but, confidence? Not so much. When women tell me how confident I am, what they are really commenting on is courage.

Courage. Confidence. Do you realize how often those two concepts are mistaken for each other?

Fighting Back with Joy and Sweet Tea – FGF Highlights, Lenoir City, TN

It is so good to be back in Fresh Grounded Faith season! What a fun group of ladies! I love those Tennessee sisters — they make me feel like I’ve come home to hang out with my BFFs that I haven’t seen in years. It was exactly what we needed for our first FGF this month. God is good.

Here are a few photos from our weekend. To see the entire album, click here. Thank you, Vicki Simmons, for the beautiful photos! Also, here are your photo booth pics. So fun!

Our volunteers rocked, as did their fearless leader, Sabrina Stamper. Big thanks to all of you! And while I’m at it, thank you to First Baptist Church Lenoir City and the four co-host churches for loving us so well.

And I had some of my favorite people with me this weekend…

When You Feel Out of Your League: Encouragement for the Self-Doubters

“I can’t believe I am 53 years old! I don’t feel qualified to be this age.”

That’s what I told Phil as we drove home from seeing our new grandbaby.

He laughed and reminded me that I say that about most areas of my life. Unfortunately, he is right.

I mean, there have been days I’ve thought, What am I doing writing blogs and books? I am way too under-qualified to write – like I have all this life stuff figured out?!

Or, I will be standing in front of my kitchen sink, self-doubt covering my heart and suds covering my hands, reviewing my latest parenting issue and think, Why can’t I master this mom-job? It feels so much bigger than me.

Or, inevitably before I get on stage to speak, I’ve fought the feeling that I am too immature or too inexperienced or too inadequate to open my mouth!

Do you ever feel out of your league when it comes to living your life, or pulling off your purpose, or following your calling?

Why Victory Makes You Vulnerable

Sometimes life just wears us out, right? When we have to climb mountains of stress or sorrow, we just get tired. Hard stuff can wear us out and leave us feeling powerless.

But, sometimes our most vulnerable tired comes after we have stood on a mountain of success and seen God’s power.

Have you ever felt that kind of exhausted – the kind of soul-tiredness that shows up on the heels of a race well run?

Live, Love, and Soar: How to Find Joy in the Season You’re In

It’s Sunday night and for the first time in 28 years, I am wandering around my kitchen trying to figure out what to do tomorrow morning. I don’t need to wake up a child for school like I have done for the past two decades, every Monday morning.

I don’t have to check the fridge to think ahead about what I will make for breakfast tomorrow. I don’t need to pull out a lunch box and make sure it is clean and free of Friday’s sticky leftovers. I don’t need to go into a boy’s room and check on his homework or his heart.

I don’t need to go ask anyone about their schedule for the coming week so I can plan transportation or meals. I don’t need to load the dishwasher so my kitchen is not such a mess at 6:00 AM because I don’t have to get up at 6:00 AM and there are only two coffee cups in there anyway.

It was only yesterday that I held my firstborn. It was only yesterday he started kindergarten. It was only yesterday that his little brother was born. It was only yesterday that we listened to Adventures in Odyssey. It was only yesterday that I snuck a paper cup full of Goldfish and Cheez-Its onto the top bunk because he couldn’t sleep. It was only yesterday that our house was full of the pings and buzzes of Mario and Pokemon. It was only yesterday that we were at orthodontists and soccer practice and debate tournaments and orchestra concerts and parent/teacher conferences and graduations.

It was only yesterday, but yesterday now feels like a thousand years ago.

3 Scriptures to Help You Stand Strong: The Battle is the Lord’s

My hand was on the door handle, ready to open the stall and leave the bathroom. But then I heard familiar voices and stood perfectly still. The Sunday worship service was about to start, and two women from the church were standing at the sink talking about our pastor while washing their hands. They thought they were alone. Their comments about him were small and mean. They took turns criticizing the pastor’s sermon, his tie, and even his hair. I was so angry I could barely breathe.

That pastor? He was my dad.