What God Does in the Discomfort

Patience and perseverance are not two of my strongest qualities.

Unlike some of the Olympian greats, I prefer not to work hard, push through tough circumstances or wait extended periods of time to arrive at what I want.

I prefer instant results with the least amount of work and discomfort possible. (Someone write this on an inspirational poster.)

Max and I have been working out together lately, and I am fairly certain he has started to realize that getting me from the parking lot of the gym to actually being inside the gym requires much more emotional and physical energy than the workout itself. The 100 yards from the car to the gym doors require a mental toughness and the patience of a practicing Monk.

The monk and me in happier times.

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Last week, we had to run into the store before working out, and I told him I wished I would get caught shoplifting and taken to jail so I didn’t have to work out.

*Disclaimer: I do not steal and have never stolen. This simply illustrates the emotional turmoil I experience the minutes before working out and the lengths, in that emotional state, I feel I would go to avoid it

I came up with many ideas of things we could do besides work out: eat, snack, lay around and watch TV; all of which sounded much more appealing than the gym and would feel much better in that moment.

On the walk from the car to the gym, I can come up with 10,000 reasons not to enter it.

I’m too tired.

My brain hurts.

I have other things to do.

I hate it.

Sadly, there have been many times I literally arrive at the gym, pull in the parking lot, park and then turn around and go home. No thank you.

But Max held firm to our scheduled work out, knowing full well that in one hour, when the workout was over, I would feel energized, happy and proud of myself for being physically active. It would be worth it for me.

We get into the gym, change in the locker room, and I meet him by one of the machines to begin the experience of physical activity. After just a few minutes, I whisper

“How much longer until this is over?”

Max just looks at me.

However, without fail, as I begin to put in the work, break a sweat and get active, I feel so much better. The endorphins start flowing, and all of a sudden I announce how much I love working out and how maybe I could even train for a marathon or do one of those 30 day cleanses to purify my system so I could be a spokesperson for healthy living.

Again, he just looks at me as I have gone from one extreme, preferring prison over the gym, to sudden motivation to push my body to the highest level of athleticism.  He knows we will go through the same emotional roller coaster together in 2 days. He continues lifting.

If I have learned anything over the years, I have learned that my emotions and my feelings cannot be used as tour guides or directors for arriving at what is best for me.

In the past, some of the best paths the Lord has placed me on felt like way too much work and  and way too painful.  Many of the best decisions I have made were often the most terrifying and the most uncomfortable. Choosing another way would have felt so much better at the time.

Looking back now, Praise Jesus I fought through that pain and held on. His greatest blessings came through my biggest disappointments and challenges that felt horrible.

Look at the stakes in this tree: I bet that tree is pretty uncomfortable. He wants to be free of that discomfort and stand up on his own. All the other trees look big and full and healthy, and these stakes feel as if they are getting in the way of that. But those stakes are designed to support, protect and make the tree stronger in the long run, allowing roots to grow. He will feel full and healthy when he makes it through this. Although momentarily painful- enduring this season is important for this tree if he wants to withstand the winds and storms that are coming his way. His roots have to be developed and strengthened. It’s not his time yet.

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While making decisions based on  feelings may satisfy short term discomfort, like the stakes in the tree, long term joy and fulfillment comes when you push through tough situations, do the hard, but right thing, and hold fast through the discomfort.

Unfortunately, most times in our lives, the results are not as instantaneous as how we feel pre-workout and post-workout.

A lot of times, like the tree, you may have the uncomfortable stakes in place for years before you can see why they were necessary in the first place.

How many times in my life have I thought I knew what was best for me?

I can actually answer that question by saying almost every single day.

Almost every day of my life, I could believe that what is best for me is what would make me feel good at that moment.

What quick decision or step could satisfy this longing, desire or discomfort?

In the case of right and wrong: agreeing with someone and not standing up for something I know is Biblical because it feels yucky and offensive.

In the case of friendship and relationships: holding on to bitterness because forgiveness feels so much harder.

The hard conversations that would be easier avoided.

In the case of the gym: going home and laying down with a jar of peanut butter.

Clearly I am using the gym as a deep and academic metaphor for the times in our life where God is using a little bit (or lot bit) of discomfort to achieve a purpose bigger than us.

Something where you know God has you there for a reason, but it would be super easy to take the escape route to avoid the pain.

 

But what is God doing in the discomfort and the stretching?

What purpose or lesson is God teaching me or using me for in that season?

There are many situations in life that feel so uncomfortable at the time, but prove to be the very things that shape us and grow us and mold us.

Throughout my life, I have done everything in my power to manipulate circumstances to quickly achieve whatever the desired outcome was. God usually takes longer than I prefer, so I have been known to take a step before the path is ready.

The results are usually faster, but never, ever better than the outcome God had waiting for me.

Like clockwork, my premature actions trying to band-aid and quick fix my momentary discomfort results in a messy explosion, me laying my plans at His feet and Him ultimately having His way in me. His better way.

My human tendency is going to always be to try to weasel my way out of discomfort to get momentary relief, or an illusion or cheap substitute of what I want.

To take off the stakes that are supporting me and developing me. To leave the gym as soon as I get there because I’m in a bad mood. To leave a situation before God is finished working on it.

 

I’ve been on a journey the past few years to stop letting my ever-changing emotions make decisions for me.

The walk from the car to the gym can be a long one. You want to turn around and take the easy way out. The stakes might be uncomfortable. You want to remove them.

But I’ve learned, and am still learning, to grow in the discomfort, push through the things that don’t always “feel good,” and believe that when it’s all over, I will look back, stronger, happier, healthier and so very glad I didn’t go home to snack the night away on Schuler’s cheese (with a hint of horseradish) and crackers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Heartbeat is My Favorite Sound: A letter to Sami’s baby

Five weeks ago, I wrote this letter on my lunch break with no intention of ever publishing it.

It tells a story that isn’t mine to tell.

It was the day before her appointment. The appointment. The appointment that would tell my sweet friend if her baby still had a heartbeat.

After multiple losses, deep heartache and a long, painful road, there was a lot of fear heading into the doctor’s office that day.

So many prayers.

So many tears.

So much heartache leading up to that morning.

And then Baby’s heartbeat was 175. Loud and Strong.

God is good.

I didn’t give Sami this letter until days after her appointment. I was planning to give it to her either way, but the nature of news dictated when I thought it would be appropriate to have her read it.

I was hoping she would tuck it away and years down the road share it with her child as a testament to God’s faithfulness and love.

She didn’t know I was fasting that day. That is also part of the reason I didn’t want to publish this letter; I didn’t want to draw attention to what I did and deflect attention from her beautiful story. But the story itself is too beautiful not to share, and when Sami told me I should publish the letter, I chewed on it for awhile.

Should I tell her story?

What would I  call it?

What if something happens to the baby?

After weeks of thinking about publishing it, I was on a run tonight praying about it and trying to think of a title for the post.

The baby’s heartbeat kept coming to mind.

I kept thinking: “Your heartbeat is my favorite sound.”

This was frustrating because at that point, I hadn’t actually heard the baby’s heartbeat.

I had smothered her stomach with my face and hands. I had prayed over her belly. I had forgotten where I was and rubbed it in socially inappropriate situations, but I hadn’t heard the heartbeat. I couldn’t name it that.

I got back from my run and I looked down at my phone.

Sami had just then sent me a video of her new Pocket Doppler heart rate monitor picking up the baby’s heartbeat. She was able to hear it at home for the first time and was sending it to me to hear for the first time, too.

What incredible timing.

That was about an hour ago. It was my favorite sound.

I hope, if anything, this letter points you to a Creator who is bigger than our pain, greater than our circumstances, and faithful through every valley.

There were many times I questioned God’s goodness as I watched my friend go through heartache after heartache, but He is faithful. Although we don’t understand His plan in the present, my heart is full of peace knowing someday we will. And it is good.

Here is the letter to Baby DuVal:

 

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Dear Baby,

I am fasting for you today. When my stomach starts to pang with hunger, or my head feels light, I pray for you. I pray for your heartbeat. I pray for your little body and your little legs and your little arms. I remember the first, second, and third time your mom told me she was pregnant.

Each time it was equal parts incredible and terrifying. She thought she lost you, too, but you held on longer. I felt you yesterday; it is just the tiniest of bulges, but enough where your mom had her pants unzipped on the sides for most of the day. #dramatic

Tomorrow your mom has a really important appointment. She will get to see you and hear you. So today I fast.

Today I am relying on God to sustain my body and to save your life. Because I love you.

I have caught your mom’s tears in my hands, and cried along with her over the past year.  I have questioned God’s goodness and His plan as I watched your parents walk a painful, confusing journey.

They want you so badly.

It has been an emotional 12 weeks. Trying not to get excited at the possibility of meeting you, but at the same time not being able to help it.

I think you are a boy. If you’re not, I’m really sorry, but me and your mom already have a tour circuit planned to tell our stories across the country; (we may be getting ahead of ourselves.)

I’ve walked with your mom on this journey, and she does the same for me. We have different circumstances, but both live a life full of hope for the future of God finally fulfilling the deepest desires of our hearts.

You are your mom’s deepest desire.

Your mom is a funny one. You will have your hands full, but you are going to love her. She will be obsessed with you, but that’s okay because I will be, too.

She sometimes thinks the parking garages are going to collapse onto her head, she has an irrational fear of condiments and other people’s dishes, and she is the biggest homebody I know.

I am sure you are going to teach her to relax about some things, but other things she will get even more stressed about. I hope your favorite food is ketchup just to stretch her boundaries a little. She hates ketchup.

Your mom has a huge heart. And a huge mouth- which I mostly love her for. Sometimes it gets her into trouble, but most of the time she uses it to uplift and love and encourage. She is an incredible friend.

I’m scared, baby. I am scared we are going to lose you. (No, I am not your father, but please get used to the pronoun “we” referring to your mother and I).

I am scared I won’t ever meet you.

But God is in control.

When I don’t understand His ways, He is in control.

When I worry about your little life, He is in control.

You are loved. Loved by me and your parents and by a great God who formed you perfectly. No matter what happens, you are fearfully and wonderfully made.

I cling to the  faith that I will hold you in my arms in 6 months.  That one day you will read this letter and know how very special you are.

So today, in honor of you, I pray instead of eat. I might be cheating because I am drinking some protein smoothies, but one day when you meet me and know just how important hourly snacking and occasional binge eating is to my life, you will know the sacrifice I am making with a liquids only diet.

I love you.

Auntie Jenna

 

Your parents are adorable.

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When God Closes a Door, He Can Do More Than Open a Window.

I don’t particularly like the saying, “When God closes a door, He opens a window.”

As someone who has walked face-first into many of her own doors (both figuratively and literally), I find this line a little depressing.

Because my doors have been really pretty.

My doors have had some really awesome stuff behind them, just waiting for me to experience:

Leaving a job I already loved for an  ‘even better dream job’ 3 years ago

Marrying the person I thought should have been the right one

Being Captain of Safety Patrol in 5th grade

Playing college sports

Getting cast as ANYTHING in the Civic Theater’s production of “Annie” in 1999. (I still rehash that audition in my head. I totally blew it).

I decorated my doors and tested the waters…maybe putting one foot through, anxiously  tasting how it was going to feel when I was FINALLY able to pass through it.

I planned what I would do when I finally walked through the door. I stood at the doorsteps and looked as far into the future as I could, dreaming, planning, plotting, and organizing. (Can you tell I almost NEVER get ahead of myself?)

Since I like to do this thing where I plant one foot on the other side of a door even when God hasn’t told me to pass through yet, I do all I can do to make it harder for God to tell me that door is not for me. Sometimes I think I can trick God, like “Oh you accidentally thought I wasn’t going to get this job! Whoops! I have already started planning and buying things for my new classroom so looks like you got it wrong, Big Guy!”

He will thank me for all the laughs one day.

When God tries to gently close doors in my life, I do this adorable thing where I use my upper body and push back against Him and the door. I let Him know that I understand He is trying to close it, but He must not see that I have already planned my life on the other side of the door.

I know some faithful servants of God that trust Him enough to notice Him gently shutting a door, so they back up and walk away, although it hurts, their faith carries them to obedience.

With them, God is able to gently and gracefully close a door, ever so slowly, in a much less painful fashion. They are so tuned in and they are so faithful and trusting, they get clear out of the way for God to carefully close the door.

Yeah, not me.

If my upper body’s strength fails me, I have also been known to get down on the floor and put both feet on the door, and use every ounce of energy in my body to kick the door down so it isn’t closed all the way.

I will sacrifice a foot to keep my door ajar, just in case what God has for me instead isn’t going to be better.

So due to my stubborn pride, God has had to slam a few doors in my life.

And I can truly say looking back, while at the time I was angry and confused as to why the door had to SLAM shut in such a dramatic way, it was for my own good and my own protection. (Okay and maybe  because I was literally kicking and pounding on the door in a mild state of refusal when He tried to close it softly.)

Looking back, I see where He tried to gently coax me away from most of those doors. Warning signs. Red flags. Nudges in my gut.

But again, in my stubborn pride, I politely said, no thank you, I want this door.

So…

I got rejected for the job I thought I wanted more than anything.

I went through a painful breakup instead of an engagement.

I was chosen as Lieutenant of Safety Patrol and had to answer to the Captain, (Lindsay, you did a great job, no hard feelings).

I injured my throwing arm so badly junior year of high school, that I never pitched again.

I never even got a call back for Annie.

So when you tell me that when God shuts a door He opens a window, I find it depressing. 

When God turns our life around and doesn’t give us what we want, He is going to do a lot more than just open a measly window.

I think the issue with the window analogy has been my view of God.

I look longingly back at my own pretty door, dark mahogany with a beautiful brass doorknob and an adorable welcome mat, and then I see the window that I have set in my mind is God’s plan for me.

It’s covered in cobwebs and has dust all over it.

I try to open it but it has those frustrating locks that you can’t figure out which way to push the levers.

The glass is dirty and when I look down it’s a pile of branches and dead leaves.

When God closes doors in my life, that is how I see this hypothetical window.

Oh, how wrong I have it.

Did I really think that if God was going to close the doors that I built with my own hands, that His alternative would be me crawling through a dusty, dirty, tiny window?

Did I really doubt purpose in the pain?

When God closes a door, He can do so much more than open a window.

He can construct a beautiful alley covered in Spanish moss and gorgeous tiled floors.

He can blow the roof of of the little house in which you hold your dreams.

If only we trust Him.

If only we remember there is purpose in the pain of closed doors.

Sometimes we learn of the purpose on this side of heaven, and others we are left to trust only by faith that one day we will.

For me,

If I would have gotten that job 3 years ago, I would be missing some of the deepest friendships and greatest joys of my entire life at the job I stayed in.

If I would have walked through my own door in the relationship I thought I wanted, I would have spent my life in unnecessary turmoil and a state of constant anxiety.

My tenure as Lieutenant of Safety Patrol in 5th grade was riddled with parent complaints about me abusing my power and “taking my job too seriously”. Clearly, the position of being Captain would have been too dangerous for the tyrant that was 10 year old me.

Stress and anxiety almost got the best of me in college, let alone if I would have played college sports. I never could have handled the demands. God protected me.

As for the Annie audition, I still have no idea why I was not cast in this production. I was a natural talent and a perfect fit for one of the older orphans, so this one still confuses me. I hold on in faith that one day I will know.

I guess what I am trying to say is that, if I would have had a greater view of God during all of those moments of my life- some serious and some not, it would have changed so much.

Of course we grieve for the plans that we build that never come to fruition.

I have pounded on doors that God has closed in my life.

I have wept on their doorstep.

I have yanked and shook the doorknob violently, desperate for it to open.

So many times in my life, I have refused to turn around and walk away from the door and look at what I just knew would be a small, dusty window covered in cobwebs.

Blinded by the pain of the sound of a door slamming shut, I didn’t want to consider there could be something even more beautiful in another direction.

So if God has shut a door in your life lately, hang on. You can grieve it. You can pound on it if you want.

But then walk away.

It might feel like a dusty, dirty window at first as you crawl and blindly feel against the walls for support as you walk in the new and unknown.

I am not saying the path where He takes us will be without pain or without obstacles or without confusion, but I am saying that there is purpose.

 

But whether you find out on this side of heaven or not, there is SO much more than a rickety window for you.

Take comfort in what Paul wrote to the Ephesians in chapter 3:

‘ For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.’

Blessings, not chins

Jenna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Die a Happy Woman: When You’re Waiting For Something You Don’t Have Yet

A few weeks ago,  I was eating lunch at my desk listening to the  hit country song,  “Die a Happy Man” on repeat because  love music is my kryptonite and silence makes me uncomfortable. If you are not familiar with the song, please click here and enjoy the best 4 minutes of your life.

Lunch that day was leftover baby back ribs that I made myself in the crock pot on Sunday. They were delicious and I ate them all.

I also had brought mashed sweet potatoes that day, because apparently I was feasting like a queen, but realized as I went to start on them that I didn’t have a spoon.

One option would have been walking down the long hallway to the staff lounge and getting a spoon. That option was not going to work for me. The second option suddenly became clear, like an enlightened idea: the curved bone of a single rib.

There I sat, using a rib bone as a spoon for my mashed sweet potato, using the curved end to scoop and eat. Covered in barbecue sauce, and utterly happy.

And I thought, someday, someone will be observing me doing this from another room in the house, and think to himself, “How did I get so lucky?”

The song “Die a Happy Man” is literally the cutest thing I have ever heard in my 25 years. I am pretty sure I just keeled over and  instantly passed out the first time I heard it, but once I came back to life, I was never the same.

It is absolutely adorable.

What makes it better is that the music video for the song is Thomas Rhett’s ACTUAL WIFE IN REAL LIFE. (fall over again).

The lyrics talk about how he could never accomplish all the huge goals he has for his life, seeing the Eiffel Tower, building a mansion in Georgia, and he would still die happy because he has her great love. Swoon. All he needs in this life is her crazy love.

I find myself in the opposite situation, but recently have found overwhelming peace.

My dreams and my goals are taking off. I am writing and people are reading and I am teaching and students are learning, but one giant thing is missing for me. At 25, I thought I would be married, and maybe even starting a family.

I thought the ring would come first, and then my life would fall into place, into neat little pieces that fit together perfectly, after my heart’s desire had been met.

But it hasn’t worked out that way.

So, while Thomas Rhett sings of contentment with his wife, even if that means he achieves nothing else, I must learn contentment in God alone even if that means it’s all I will ever have.

Not as flashy- the song would probably not be a smash hit.

But, I don’t want to spend my life wishing and waiting for the next thing.

I don’t want to spend the one life I have in fear of not getting what I want, or consumed with anxiety that tomorrow doesn’t hold what I hope it holds.

For me, it’s marriage, but for others it could be a  career, a baby, a dream job since childhood, a friendship, traveling, or ANY desire of our hearts that we don’t have yet.

I have struggled with contentment since I can remember, but recently I feel as if God has spoken to me loud and clear about where He has me.

While I have spent much time anxious and afraid of never obtaining my desires, in fear of being alone, I have forgotten one key thing:

“…be content with what you have, because God has said,

“Never will I leave you;
    never will I forsake you.”

So we say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.”

(Hebrews 13)

If my lot in life is nothing like I planned.

If I never achieve the things I want to achieve.

If I never have a family of my own.

If I have to mow my own lawn the rest of my life.

Could I die a happy woman?

Like, I said, this would not be a popular song. It goes against EVERYTHING we naturally are as humans. It actually sounds a little depressing.

For others it might be:

If I never get the job I want,

If I never lose the weight ,

If the relationship never mends,

If I never get a ring,

If the disease never goes away,

If the cancer comes back,

If I never fix everything that’s broken,

If I never have the baby I so badly want,

Could I die a happy human?

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A gratitude journal I started at the beginning of the year to take the focus off what I don’t have.

Because we are not alone, our steps are ordained, and our hearts can be content in knowing there is a greater plan than our own.

The absence of what we so badly desire feels lonely. But we are not alone in the waiting.

It is hard. It is a daily surrender. It is not natural to go against my selfish desires and simply be content.

Philippians 4:11-12, Paul writes:

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

If you are like me, and are living in want, remember that those desires are not wrong. But there is a secret to living a life of peace and contentment: and that secret is finding your joy in something that no one on earth can either give or take away from you. His love and His satisfaction.

It’s a lesson I will continue to learn over and over. Some days will be better than others, but let us encourage each other to find our contentment in one thing alone.

So if all I got is His hand in my hand,

Then I could die, a happy woman.

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Blessings, not chins

Jenna

 

 

 

 

Where I Should Be

I created the first timeline for my life in fourth grade for the Time Capsule project. I still remember the smell of old coffee that seeped from the can my mom let me use from the garage. It was serious business. I had my fourth grade classmates sign pieces of paper and put their LifeTouch school pictures gently inside, because obviously when I opened this Time Capsule in 20 years, the first thing I would have wanted was their headshots with bright green backgrounds and their newly learned, cursive signature.

I remember planning out what I thought my life would be like. Being an adult was worlds away, but I was confident I would go to college and get a job (at that point, my dream was being a meteorologist…actually won a speech contest full of Weather-Woman one-liners that ended with, “Back to you, Bill.” Speaking of this, where can I get my hands on the $50 Savings bond I won from that contest????

I didn’t become a meteorologist, but I went to school, got a job right away, and for the most part have made my fourth grade self appear to be a genius psychic. Nailed it.

But 9 year old Jenna, also planned on being married and the mother of a pair of toddlers by 22. (I realize this was a bit pre-emptive and would have also made me a teenage mom, but regardless, this is where fortune-teller Jenna got it wrong.) I am neither married, nor a mother.

I spent the past weekend with my amazing, hilarious, gorgeous friends from college. 2 are married, 1 with a baby, and the other engaged and planning a wedding. Almost every single friend from school is at that stage of life (can’t really blame it on the #christiancollege situation, because at this point we are all at acceptable ages for these life events)

Anyways, at dinner, someone brought up the question (ok it was me, I think)

“Are you where you thought you would be at this point in your life?” (Yeah, Mexican restaurants bring out the deep philosophers in us) and for the most part, they all answered yes.

Except for me (probably why I asked the question…so I could make them listen to the things I wanted to say). I am not where I thought I would be. As happy as I am with my beautiful, wonderful life, I am supposed to be planning married couple trips with my friends and taking pictures of our huge, big dog and exhausting myself trying to keep a house clean. According to my timeline, I should be thinking about babies and mortgages.

So here’s the thing:

I am not where 9 year old Jenna, or 15 year old Jenna, or even 22 year old Jenna thinks I should be.

But am exactly where I am supposed to be.

I am living life to the fullest for the first time.

I am learning
I am teaching
I am loving
I am singing
I am belly-laughing
I am full of joy.

If 21, 22, 23, 24 year old Jenna would have followed her own timeline, I may have physically been where I wanted to be, but I would be living out my timeline in a broken, half-life type of way.

I have been through things the past year I never expected, but totally needed. I found myself in all of the brokenness.

I am where I am, not where I should be. Not where most 25 year olds are. Not where people think I should be. Not where 9 year old Jenna thought I would be.

I am exactly where I should be. And you know what? It’s awesome.So take that, 9 year old Jenna. And go floss the Captain Crunch out of your teeth before your school picture.

Blessings, not chins.
Jenna

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I don’t know how to wait

If patience is something you are supposed to acquire with age and maturity, the train missed my stop (I probably got sick of waiting at the station and left before it arrived.) I got older, I matured, but I never became patient.

On the way home from the grocery store recently, I ripped into a box of cereal before I even left the parking lot. Being the thrill seeker that I am, it was a brand new flavor of Cheerios and the adrenaline I felt in that moment could not be contained for the drive home. For 7 minutes I shoveled Honey Medley Crunch Cheerios in my mouth and then had some deep reflections about life; why couldn’t I just wait until I got home and enjoyed a nice bowl of cereal and milk? I really wasn’t even that hungry. It would have been a lot tastier, and I would have a lot less cleaning up to do in my car right now. But I couldn’t wait.

Those darn cheerios

Those darn cheerios

This is not an isolated incident. In all honesty, I can’t remember the last time I didn’t eat something on the way home from the store. I really can’t remember the last time I had to really wait for anything. Once, I had a beautiful New Years Eve dinner planned but felt a little hungry an hour before the reservation. I did what every young, hungry girl would do and ordered and ate an entire Jimmy Johns sub minutes before heading to a nice restaurant. I am known to get exasperated with waits longer than 15 minutes at restaurants, and leave to find another one so I don’t have to wait (which takes way longer than waiting would have to begin with.) (one day all of my examples won’t involve food…one day)

I live in a world and culture that has everything I could ever want right at my fingertips. Waiting in line at H&M makes me feel like the world owes me something. If my best friend takes longer than 12 minutes to text me back, I get aggressive and ask why she is ignoring me.

Patience is a virtue. A virtue I don’t naturally have. This is rather unfortunate because God has made it crystal clear to me that this season of my life is a season of waiting.

I don’t know what I am waiting for.
I don’t know how long I will be waiting.

In my heart, I just know my job right now is to wait. To be still. To be patient. To rest for an indefinite amount of time. To relinquish control and be content. And wait.

It is really, really hard.

As I was shoveling cereal into my mouth that night, these major life reflections flashed before my eyes. I don’t know how to wait.

While I am busy planning and scheming and organizing and singing and meeting and detailing and worrying and obsessing and (once per week) crying, I just need to be resting.

Rats.

Praise Jesus I am not a lost cause. This restless, impatient heart just needs a bit of a makeover

How lucky am I that I don’t serve a God who is going to leave me like this? He doesn’t just look at my Cheerio crumb face and shake His head like, “Oh if the girl would just be patient for once.”

( He probably does shake His head because it was a Friday night at 10pm and I am 24 and eating Cheerios in my car, but I know he wasn’t mad, more just baffled)

So this season is for waiting. Holding on to a sweet, beautiful anticipation that God has something amazing for me, and I don’t have to do anything on my own power. Just breathe, trust, repeat.

I know if I could see God’s face right now, He would have this smile for me, barely able to contain excitement for the beauty that He has in store.

“Oh Jenna, just you wait.”

Blessings, not chins
Jenna