Sunday, September 7, 2014

A New Season.

"See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19

I really don't know how to even start this post.  It doesn't feel like I have had the right words within me lately to describe what I am feeling and what the Lord is doing in my heart.  Over the last three weeks, I have been participating alongside my church in "21 Days of Devotion" (#21dod may look familiar to those of y'all who follow me on Insta) and the Lord has been showing me a lot of cool stuff, like revelations about my identity in Him, about His desire for the first fruit of my day in prayer, and about the power of the Holy Spirit who is in me.  To be honest, the Father is refreshing and wrecking me all at the same time, and it is awesome.  Some things that I have been desiring for a long time - which come only from deeper, truer, and greater relationship with and worship of Him - are on the horizon.  I feel it, and He is affirming it all over the place.  From new friends to new opportunities, and all kinds of crazy conversations and experiences, it is evident that He is doing something new.  And it is so overwhelmingly exciting.

I am entering into a new season, and I could not be more ready for God to do His thing.  I don't quite know what it is going to look like, and honestly it will probably be a little messy, but I'm not stressing the mess.  Out of mess comes testimony.  Out of mess He is glorified.  What I do know is that all of it is going to be worth it.  Exciting things are just around the bend, just beyond what I can see, and I am running full force into what He has in store for me there.


Friends, I would love for you to join me in this journey by following along on other social media platforms.  Don't worry, I will still be blogging and chronicling all of the "big rocks," but for more day-to-day stuff, feel free to find me on Twitter and Instagram (@gennean).

Monday, August 18, 2014

So Much More.

"Jesus did many other things as well.  If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written."
John 21:25

DANG.  We really do only have a small glimpse into the power and life of our sweet Jesus.  The things that He did and the people He encountered in His ministry on earth must go so far beyond what we know from the Bible, which is absolutely nuts considering what He was able to accomplish in those few years.  And He alone is our ultimate example, right? I wholeheartedly believe that we should and could be doing so much more to impact the world that we live in... if only we believed that we are are who He says we are and therefore lived with so much more boldness and confidence in His power.  Jesus' ministry lasted three years.  Three years!  That is nothing... and yet when you compare what He was able to do in that time, it seems like everything.  He did ALL that was required of Him, all that God wanted Him to do, all that needed to happen for Him to be the perfect example to us.  There is so much more that the Lord wants to do for us and in us and through us than the "little" that we are comfortable with and settle for.  The things Jesus did - the miracles and the healings and the redeeming - those things are absolutely accessible to us today.  Right now!  Do you believe it?  If not, what is holding you back?  Unbelief.

"Unbelief needs to be removed from our minds, to where what we see doesn't dominate what we know in our hearts... This involves a pressing in, a consecration. Your time in prayer will lead to deeper intimacy, which will lead to seeing things the way God sees things."

We must, with everything in us, fight against doubt and excuses and simply believe that God really and fully IS who He says He is, and thus that we are who He says we are.  We've got the same Spirit in us (2 Corinthians 4:13-14) longing for us to press in to Him that we might experience just a glimpse of the abundantly more (John 10:10) than we are settling for.

You ready?  I know I am.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Freedom Bestows Freedom.

"Our lives are meant to proclaim that Jesus has broken our spiritual chains, and in this proclamation, we join Jesus in seeking justice for the oppressed."

To seek justice means to exert life-giving power to help and protect others, and that all begins with our seeking God. He wants to set prisoners free (Psalm 146:7), and He is in the business of using us - broken and messy as we may be - to do that. But sometimes we are too hard on ourselves, or we allow lies to infiltrate our hearts, to the point that these things can disguise themselves as truth or reality when they are really only hindering us from living out the beyond-what-we-could-imagine He has for us. 

Lately I have seen too many - including myself - succumb to these kinds of thoughts and lies, allowing our attitudes and actions to suffer, not truly believing: 1. That God is who He says He is, and 2. That we are who He says we are... forgiven, redeemed, made new, His. 

In this I pray that we would allow His grace to wash over every area of our lives - our weaknesses, our strengths, our insecurities, our imperfections, etc. - and BELIEVE Him for it. Believe that His grace is big enough for us and our mess. Believe that, while we were still sinners, He willingly died for us (Romans 5:8).  Believe that we are FREE, and free indeed (John 8:36), and that we have been set free so that we can be part of God's work of setting others free (Galatians 5:1). Freedom bestowing freedom, y'all. 

I pray that we would be about this business of justice, for His Kingdom and His glory. 


Friday, August 1, 2014

The Power of Story.

I have always loved stories.  Regardless of shape or size, be it a novel, blog post, or magazine article, I love to dive in head first.  Even when I was little, this was my reality.  From the the classic Nancy Drew books passed down by my mom, to my favorites from high school english like The Great Gatsby or The Grapes of Wrath, to the Harry Potter series that captivated my attention when they burst onto the scene (and they still do, #HPforlife), stories have always intrigued my mind and my heart.

As I have gotten older, I have found within me an even greater appreciation for people's stories, falling in love with the ways that they articulate the experiences that have shaped their lives: the ups and downs and everywhere-in-betweens.  I often find myself on the edge of my seat in anticipation, ready to celebrate each victory and cry with each struggle as we walk through the retelling of their life's journey.  And there is something even more impactful and soul-stirring when you can see God all over a person's story, ya know what I mean?  His grace and His providence poured out over our lives like ink on paper is a beautiful reminder that we are not alone in this life. Our stories, our testimonies, they hold a lot of power, y'all.

Within the last week, I have shared my story in two totally different environments.  The first was with a girl I had just met as we sat over coffee, sharing our hearts for women and worth and freedom.  Naturally, but unplanned, an opportunity opened up and she asked more about my story.  I briefly shared bits and pieces, intending to hit on the most crucial faith experiences of my life thus far, which honestly turned into more of a ramble, and I ended up not even remembering quite what I said to that sweet girl.  In spite of that - and my hot mess self - I believe the Lord used that moment to encourage us both right where we were at.

Then just a few days ago, I shared my testimony with my sweet Bible study group of 12+ women from different churches, jobs, and hometowns who intentionally come together to do life - and drink wine - each week.  As I prepared to share with them, I opened up my journal (because I process best through writing) and I created a timeline, highlighting what I believed to be the most pivotal points in my story so far.  I studied it and ultimately prayed that the Lord would give me the words to speak.  That night, I shared my story, only to miss most of the points that I had planned to share and, again, had a hard time remembering much of what I had said.  Truth be told, I actually walked away feeling like I had somehow failed at sharing my testimony... that what I said wasn't powerful enough, or exciting enough, or whatever enough.  But, HELLO, I had prayed for the Lord to give me the words, so - again - I believe that He moved in that moment.

But before this little revelation of, "He gave me the words," I had the gut-sinking feeling that my testimony just isn't exciting anymore.  Nothing as of late has felt significant enough to warrant being a part of the story of my life... but that simply is not true.  Our lives (and ultimately becoming more like Jesus) are a lifelong process, and our relationship with the the Lord is not some sort of destination; it is a steady, lifelong walk with Him.  It means that our stories will most certainly have highs and lows, which include those in-between moments that may just look like an open road with nothing really special to look at.  But if is is time spent with the Lord, regardless of the scenery, then it is not wasted or insignificant.  It is all valuable, purposeful, and has the potential to be full of excitement.

I am learning that a key to my story, and likely yours, too, is this: stay teachable and always be willing to say yes.  Saying yes opens up the door for God to do amazing things, bring us to new places, and even to share our stories with those He brings into our path.  Regardless of what we may think about our personal stories at any given time, they hold a lot of power... enough power to draw others in, pull at their heart strings, and hopefully lead them closer to the Lord.  No moment wasted, no experience in vain.  Your story holds a lot of power.  Share it.