Tuesday, May 15, 2012

What are you afraid of?

God asked me that question this week. And the answer, well, it was illuminating. Here's a bit of background… Ever since I was a little girl, I knew I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. always. I wanted to paint, draw, anything that involved creating something. As long as I can remember, I've always felt that it's what I was made to do somehow. In more recent years, I've even had complete strangers pray for me and prophesy about how God would use me as an artist somehow, through painting specifically.

Now ask me how often I paint these days…  Probably once or twice every few months. yes, months.

(Ouch. I hate answering that question. It reminds me of exactly what I'm sharing with you today.)

You're probably thinking "Okay, crazy Jess, why are you not spending any time at all doing the thing you love most and you know you were made to do?"

I am afraid. 

I'm afraid of not being good enough. of failing. I'm afraid of making art that doesn't live up to my own expectations. I'm afraid of not being as good as this artist or that artist. I am so afraid. And I've allowed it to paralyze me.

I've known this for a while, but as of late God has been revealing to me just what this fear means. It doesn't come from humility or insecurity. It comes from pride and self reliance. I am too proud to even allow for the chance that I will fail. And in doing so, I am completely relying on me and not at all on God's provision and direction.

Some big changes are in order. Some of the outward sort. But mostly the heart-transplant sort of changes are needed. I need God to step in, rid me of my pride, and show me again how to trust Him. even when I am afraid.

It may not be painting for you, but we all have something. Something that we have allowed fear and pride to keep us from doing. Something that we have grasped too tightly in our own hands. We are all learning to trust.

What are you afraid of? 



Thursday, May 10, 2012

a twitter link up

One of my favorite things about blogging is the community. Even though our little blog, small as it is and sporadically as I post, I've met some incredibly sweet people who are constantly there sharing their support, encouragement, and inspiration. connecting with those awesome bloggers on twitter is one of the best ways to keep up on that connection. So today, I'm participating in our dear friend Laura's Twitter link up! It's a fun way to make some new blogging friends and keep in touch. Here's how it works...
Meet & Tweet Twitter HOP!

Your host:
This week's co-hosts are:
Kristine @ The Foley Fam
Samantha @ The Peanuts Gang
Hailey @ Baby Baker Love

The Rules

1. Mandatory you follow your hosts
{They are the first 7 in the linky.}

2. Follow at least 5 new people via Twitter
{Or more! Introduce yourself... Its a great way to make new friends!}

3. Spread the word!
{The more the merrier! Grab a button and add it to your blog, 
Tweet or Facebook about the link up.}

Our Reflection

<div align="center"><a href="http://our-reflection.blogspot.com/" title="Our Reflection"><img src="http://i1099.photobucket.com/albums/g383/_laurahernandez/MeetTweet-2.jpg" alt="Our Reflection" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

One lucky link up person will WIN a FREE
solo guest post on Our Reflection blog!

Drum roll please....
Last weeks Meet & Tweet winner is Kim from The Sassy Life

Please link up your Twitter account, not your blog.
Want to be a future co-host? Email Laura at momsgonnasnap@gmail.com.

ps. Heard about the Elevate Blog Conference?

The Elevate Blog Conference was designed to provide an opportunity for bloggers to meet together in an uplifting environment to get to know each other, build relationships and be inspired to take their blogs and businesses to the next level.  The day will be spent hearing from speakers, attending workshops, networking, working on a service project, crafting and enjoying one another's company.  
Lunch and dinner will be provided as well as all crafting supplies. We are blessed to be working with The Shine Project to assemble school supply kits for local elementary schools in Orange County as well as Arizona. We would appreciate any donations that you would like to bring and contribute, but it is not mandatory. If you would like to gather items from friends, family or local businesses to bring that would be wonderful. If you are unable to attend, but would like to donate items to the service project please contact us via email.  We are looking for items such as: glue sticks, markers, pencils, pens, erasers, scissors, crayons, colored pencils, highlighters, & pencil boxes.

When: June 9, 2012
Where: Huntington Beach, CA
Want more details? Click HERE or email ElevateBlogConference{at}gmail.com

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

what we're reading | Radical

Radical is an absolutely great book! It totally woke me up and challenged me to rethink why I did things. This is a book that challenges Christians to be disciples of Jesus, not just people who want to be part of a cultural club. When I first read this book, It changed my life in so many positive ways. God definitely used it to wake me to my laziness and my desire for a comfortable christian life.

The only negative thing I see in this book, is that it has the potential to make someone (like me) feel as though Christianity calls for a holy lifestyle that means radical abandonment of everything not "Christian".

Before I knew it, I quit television, gaming, movies, Facebook, laughing, etc. anything that I thought was part of culture and not part of God's culture.

I wanted to be set apart. But in doing so, I put myself in a position where I could no longer relate to world around me, even the Christian world; I was pretty much a monk for a few months. 
But I was failing at giving up my life to God in these areas. And I was failing at being able to connect to the lost through a relatable lifestyle. 

Through those mistakes though, God brought me around and I began to learn the balance. I'm learning how to live out the gospel as it is in the Bible, while still connecting with people in genuine ways and living & participating in our world and culture. 

With that being said, this is still one of the best, and most inspiring, challenging books both Jess and I have ever read. It caused us to rethink our motives and purposes in life. It reminded us that the words and life of Jesus often don't line up with the "American dream" or the comfortable, easy version of Christianity that we tend to fall into sometimes. If you want a deeper relationship with Jesus, this is an amazing book to read. 


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Preparing for your marriage... not just your wedding.

This past weekend we were invited to share a little bit of our story as a married couple at "Save the Date" (LCBC's class for engaged/dating couples).

We talked about how we met and got engaged. Our first year of marriage. Trusting God through the difficulties we experienced that year. And our move to PA. It was a really neat opportunity. And it was something that I wish we had when we were engaged.

The night posed some interesting questions in my mind. The biggest one...

If I had prepared as much for our marriage as I did for our wedding, how would that had changed things? 

Now, before I go on... I love my husband and I love our marriage. I would not change a thing about our life and experiences together (including our wedding). However, we have also learned a lot of things the hard way. We had some tough conversations after we got married that would have been a lot better to have before we got married. I think we both realize now that, had we taken more time to focus on the being married rather than the getting married, our marriage would have been even better from the start than it was.

So, to you dating & engaged ones... how about you? Are you taking the time to prepare for your marriage? or just your wedding?

It's so easy to get caught up in all the planning and the pretty that we can forget to do the work necessary to have a solid foundation in our relationship with our husband/wife. Or maybe we don't know how to prepare for our marriages.

We're no experts now (just one year-ish later), but here's some ways that have helped us invest in our relationship and that we wish we'd applied more purposefully back in the day...

Find mentors. Find a couple whose marriage you admire and respect, and spend time with them. Lots. Let them rub off on you. Let them show you what a healthy, thriving relationship looks like. Find newlyweds and couples celebrating their ten, twenty, thirty-year anniversaries. Talk to them and get advice on how to handle life together any stage.

Talk to each other. Talk about the tough stuff and the silly stuff. About how you'll manage your finances and who will do the dishes and take out the trash. About what kind of pets you want and how many kids you want and where you want to live and work. Know those things going into it.

And most importantly... pray. Pray for your marriage. Pray for each other. Pray together and individually. When you're both on the same path, seeking Jesus, communication becomes way easier and way more meaningful. You're able to be more patient, more loving, and more understanding with one another. It makes an incredible difference.

If you're engaged or married... what did you do before getting married or what do you do now to prepare for/invest in your marriage?



Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom!

I love my mom. She's where I get my fondness for tea and tendency towards sarcastic humor. She introduced me to Star Treck and Star wars & legos and model airplanes and sports. And she loved me anyway when I played with Barbies instead. Most importantly, she raised me to love Jesus and to love people. She still shows us how to do both.

Happy Birthday Mommy. We love you!

Here are a couple flashbacks for you all…