What I’d Say to You if We Chatted in Real Life
When I read these verses, I immediately think of you…
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:3-6
But seeing how a computer screen separates us, (and maybe even thousands of miles) I can’t help but imagine what our conversation would be like if we sat in a local coffee shop chatting across the table from one another.
I’m betting, though, that I’m longing to hear your heart. Your struggles. Your triumphs. Your passions. And how God has moved on your behalf this past year, after all, He’s in the business of completing us. And sometimes that completion, that transforming process, brings about change, which can result in pain, tears, and letting go of the plans and hopes we had for 2013.
Then I’d tell you that you’re loved.
That you’re beautiful.
That you’re doing a fabulous job.
That you have a purpose here on this earth.
That you’re a vessel for the Lord, therefore, you’re needed.
That God has a plan and a purpose for all of the pain and suffering you’ve endured, so don’t waste your tears.
And if you’re married, I would gently remind you to keep Christ at the center of your marriage and press on to be intentional to make your relationship your first ministry.
And if you’re single, I would encourage you to faithfully keep your eyes on the Lord rather than seek your Mr. Right. After all, Mr. Right (Jesus) is already with you! 🙂 Learn to thrive and be content in your singleness.
And if you’re a mama, (deep sigh) try to relax a bit. God’s got your back. Remember that your children belong to the Lord and that they’re on loan to you from Him. He loves them more than you do, so learn to have faith in Christ while you parent your kids.
So my dear friend, as I take a sip of my iced decaf mocha, hold the whipped cream, and I take a bite of something with chocolate, I want to encourage you to find the good in 2013, because if you’re anything like me, then you see your failures and shortcomings. For me, I usually see how I didn’t accomplish a certain goal or I’ll become disgusted by the fact that I should be more disciplined today than what I was last year, but I’m not.
So this year I decided to do something different. I decided to highlight the good that Christ has done in my life before I rushed ahead with plans and hopes for the coming year.
Here are a few things that God did in my life in 2013…
I flew across the country and went to a ministry conference where I spoke with some publishers about a book I was writing. They gave me a thumbs up but I chose to self-publish instead. Now I must say that writing a book and self-publishing it was quite the undertaking! Quite honestly, seeing how I failed college writing not just one, but twice, I can’t believe I accomplished this task. But God….He was with me. 🙂
Then this stage-fright gal took on speaking engagements as God was calling me to speak to women.
In the midst of writing a book, a blog, and speaking, this camera shy woman shot more videos then I cared to. And each time I was hoping it would get easier!
Then I hid behind the screen and started podcasting. This was nice because I didn’t have to do my hair and makeup. 🙂
Then I was asked to contribute to a few other ministries. The newest one is the Reflect Community App. for Women. It’s a new app for your phone. In fact, an article of mine is being featured on the 30th! How cool is that?
Now before you start saying, “How did I do all of this?” Here’s my answer:
But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” Mark 1:27
God made everything I did in this ministry possible. I just showed up and tried to be obedient to that which He has called me to do. Simple as that. It wasn’t copious amounts of coffee or energy drinks. Nor was it the latest or greatest ideas or a 10 Step Process. It was simply God. He’ll do the same in your life. Will you let Him?
So why do I share all of this? Because it helps me to see that God is truly moving in my life. It helps me to see that He is completing me in His ways, not mine.
I found this exercise to be pretty powerful. It increased my faith and it’s given me a better perspective in life; one that is Christ-centered rather than me-centered. I highly recommend you jotting down the good things Christ has done in your life, as well!
And before I leave the coffee shop with you, please know that I’m giving you a big hug and I’m saying one last thing:
You make me a better woman of God, wife, and mom, and I thank you for allowing me to pour into you. My hopes for our relationship (and this ministry) is to equip, encourage, and inspire you so you can use the gifts that God has given you, so you can pour into others. Thank you for sharpening me and for encouraging me to press on for the Lord.
Now it’s your turn. What are some of the good things God has done in your life this past year?
Live a poured out life for Christ,
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Oh..Jolene, I too did a look back this month..I am humbled and have no words how blessed I am and how God is leading me…even in the midst of lot of struggles. God is so good!
That’s awesome, Sunu! Isn’t it interesting how God takes our mess and turns it into a message? What we feel is of no use, He deems as priceless.
I rededicated my life to the Lord 6 months ago and have been completely transformed. This is the first thing that came to mind regarding how God has worked in my life in 2013! Thank you so much for this post, Jolene. God used this to really speak to my heart this morning.
I am reminded that my future ministry may not be hand-in-hand with my husband (like some of yours) and that’s okay – I can use my individual skills and spiritual gifts and still walk together with my husband, even though we might end up doing “separate” ministries. I guess I had always dreamed of doing everything together with my husband and had a narrow view that anything we did in ministry would be or had to be together. I needed this refreshing truth that it’s okay to have separate ministries because ultimately we are always still walking together with the Lord.
I was also very encouraged by your phrase toward married women to “make your marriage your first ministry.” Amen! It might be very difficult some days however we can do everything throught Christ who strengthens us!
Thanks again, God Bless.
LOVE the rededication, Denise! Oh to be in ministry with our husbands…my life wasn’t always like this. After 15 years of marriage, God has blended the two of us together in ministry. Here’s a post I wrote awhile back sharing how to serve the Lord together as a married couple. http://joleneengle.com/building-the-kingdom-of-god-as-a-married-couple/
Your article on the link you sent is really, truly helpful, thank you!
God has richly blessed me with the growing of my blog in the past year. He’s given me some mighty big connections and partnerships with other bloggers that has helped me so much. I believe he’s given me my vision for my blog and online activities for 2013 too.
I’m impressed with how much you’ve done for God with all of your ministries! I definitely love your blog and words.
Hi Crystal, how wonderful to hear that you can see God moving in your ministry and you now have His vision for the upcoming year! And please don’t be impressed by how much I’ve done this year! You should have been in my home during the weeks I was writing my book or filming videos!
Sometimes we have the tendency to look at what others are doing and we think to ourselves, “What’s my problem?” How come I can’t do that? As I type these words out, I fall into that comparison trap as well and I must remind myself that God has given each of us a calling. We all have differing gifts, passions, and talents/skills. Not to mention trials and difficult seasons of life. Once I look at Christ, then I’m good. When I look at others and self, well, then I get discouraged. Look to Christ my sweet friend!
Thank you for sharing your year and thank you for all your work.
For me, this year, after being a Christian my whole life, I felt a quickening for Christ — for the first time! Never have I been so hungry and so fulfilled as I have been since I heard Him calling me. This is so exciting!!
That is so awesome to hear, Abra Marie! Hungry and fulfilled is a beautiful experience to have with our Savior.
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