Inspiring People to Use Their Gifts for Global Impact

Birthday Reflections! :)


Birthday Reflections

We all have one every year.  A birthday.  Some of us dread them and some of us, mostly children, start talking about our “day” six months in advance.  This day, 1 of 365, is always a bit different than other days.  Even if you’re a person who isn’t excited about your day, you can’t help but feel a difference.  It’s not ordinary.  You can’t pretend it’s a regular day.  Your birthday has a way of forcing you to evaluate.

Now, this evaluation, whether the duration is a few minutes or extends for a longer period of time, can cause a person to have multiple emotions almost simultaneously.  Joy, sadness, love, amusement, anger, happiness.  Indifference is also an option, but I would wager that most of us, after looking back over an entire year of our life, do not feel indifferent about it.  Looking back stirs up feelings of some kind.  In addition, I would say that you cannot look back over your last year of existence and have only one kind of emotion.  Ups and downs were a part of it.  Highs and lows, joy and pain were a part of it.  Moments beyond your expectations were littered throughout the year as well as moments that caused you more pain than you thought possible.  

Whether the majority of your feelings are positive or painful, one thing you can say for sure is that you made it!  You made it through an entire year, three hundred sixty five days.  Three hundred sixty five days.  That is a lot of time.  If you were waiting for the results of a test and the doctor or teacher told you, “I’ll get you your results.  I’ll drop them in the mail.  They will arrive in about three hundred sixty five days.”  You’d think, “Are you crazy!?  I can’t wait that long!”  However, somehow, you can and you do.  

We are stronger than we think.  We can endure more than we give ourselves credit for.  What’s interesting is that, most of the time, the person we believe in the least is ourselves.  Why is that?  Is it because we know ourselves better than others do?  Is it that we see the weak points and frailties that others miss when they look at us?  

What if what they see outweighs what we see.  What if those around us, those who truly love us and believe in us, what if they are right and we are wrong?  What if we changed our perspective?

As I look back over this last year on my birthday, I realize that my mindset is shifting.  My thought process is changing.  My outlook is different.  Over this last year, no matter what I went through, good or bad, it has helped me to reshape and remold my self-image.  It’s quite possible that it could have been a negative reimaging, but thankfully God has taken over this remolding process, and I am amazed by what He is revealing to me about me every day!  It really is quite exciting.  It’s like opening a present every so slowly.  You begin to glimpse a piece of what’s underneath, and as you peel the paper back more and more, the revelation of the gift inside is almost more than you can bear!

So, I am excited about discovering more of the “gift” that is me.  In this next year of my life, the next 365 days, I can only imagine that the discovery is going to become increasingly awe-inspiring.  Most of the awe is in the realization that God has made me so unique and so complex, so gifted.  It is Him, though, that I am amazed by, not me.  It’s Him in me that causes me to scoot to the edge of my seat waiting to see what He will do next and what He is going to reveal.

Even if today is not your birthday, I hope the same is true for you as well.  I hope and pray that you begin to discover the gift that is you.  Let God slowly peel back the wrapping paper and show you what has been in you all the time.  You will be amazed.  It will be hard to believe at times, but trust Him.  He knows what He’s doing. :)

I think the biggest disservice we can do to ourselves is miss what’s right in front of our eyes.  Don’t miss it.  Don’t let the fog you’ve allowed to settle in to cause you to miss what’s in you … who is in you.  

My challenge to you today is see what others see.  See what God sees.  See “you” through His eyes.  Your experiences look different in that light.  Your shortcomings, your issues, your frailties and faults all take on a different appearance when you view you through the eyes of a God who loves you beyond measure.  When a father looks lovingly at his child, he doesn’t see the cracks and weak points.  When a mother looks at her baby she isn’t picking out the issues.  God doesn’t do that either.

So, today I’m wishing YOU a happy birthday!  It’s a day where a new view of YOU is being born.  Mark it on your calendar.  Celebrate it!  The rest of your life is going to take on a whole new look starting today.  Happy birthday to you!  I am excited to see where the next 365 days will take you.

~ Jeanna :)

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Stealing the Pen


Stealing the Pen

  “I am the author and finisher of your faith” God says.

“I knit you together in your mother’s womb” He says.

“All of your days were written in My book before a single one came to pass” He told me.

Why do we try telling versions of our own story instead of trusting the Author? Does He not know the best way to write the book? Is He not the most prolific writer to ever exist? Is He not the most eloquent, most skilled and most brilliant Penman in the universe?

Oftentimes, I find myself sitting down after a long day of frustrating circumstances, only to ask God why life isn’t working out the way I envisioned it. I ask Him why I feel like the hamster running the wheel. I ask Him why my attempts to get things to fall into place end up creating a bigger mess than what I had before.

After I finally finish rambling and quiet myself enough to let Him have his turn in the conversation (He’s always gracious enough to let me finish my ramblings first!), this is what I hear:

“Why do you insist on stealing the pen?”

“Don’t you trust me? Do you think I don’t have your best interest at heart … always?? Do you believe that as your Father I would want nothing less than the very best for you?”

“If you would allow Me to write your story, you would find out that giving Me permission to be your author allows you to be washed in a peace that surpasses all understanding. It’s easier Jeanna. It’s more pleasant, more fulfilling, more glorious than you could ever imagine! “ 

“Let me be your author. Let me have the pen.”

“Trust Me. Your story will turn out to be more beautiful than any fairy tale you have ever read. As I’ve told you before, it isn’t going to be free of struggles and strife, frustrations and failures, but believe when I tell you that it is going to be a story worth reading.”  

As I hear God speak to me, I know He’s right … as always!!  So, today I will ask for His help in prying my fingers from the pen.

However, letting go equals vulnerability. It means letting go of my tendency to be a control freak. Although, one thing I know for sure is that His story is better than mine any day. He’s better at this whole “authoring” thing than I am.

So, my question for you today is, will you give God the pen? Will you trust Him enough to let Him do what He does best?

Those who read your story will be glad you did.  And most of all, you will be, too!

~ Jeanna


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Creating a Masterpiece

Image“Life is about the journey, not the destination.”  I have heard this statement, or others like it, many times throughout the course of my life.  However, truly grasping the concept is another matter altogether.  Posting that quote on Facebook, or making it our wallpaper on our laptop sounds lovely, but what does it really mean?

Recently, for me, it means “struggle” … It means “Oh, crap! That wasn’t supposed to happen!”  It means… “Why do I feel like I’m floundering around and have no clue what I’m doing?!?”

But that’s the journey.  That’s what it means to be “journeying.”  Most of the time I don’t like it.  Most of the time I feel like the finish line is much more appealing!  It looks prettier in my mind.  I’m smiling at the finish line.  I’m not smiling so much when I’m running up hill or trekking through the mud.   I’m not smiling so much when I get hit in the face with tree branches and my legs get scratched and scraped as I move through the brush.  It hurts.  I lose my breath.  It’s not glamorous!

So, when people spout off … “It’s not about the destination, Jeanna, it’s about the journey!” with a grin on their face and that look in their eye that says “You should be enjoying this!” I want to smack them.  However, smacking them will not change the reality.  We can’t avoid the journey.  Even if I decide to plop myself down on my couch and say “God, I’m not moving any further.  This whole ‘journey’ thing is NOT for me!” … I’m still on the journey!  I can’t escape it!  You can’t escape it!

So, what do we do?  How do we enjoy the journey when the journey is painful, and confusing, and rough, and there are highs and lows, and a lot of times the lows outnumber the highs!?  How do you enjoy it?  How do you see the good in ALL of it?  ALL is the key word because there is beauty in all of it.  It all works together for our good, so there must be good in every piece of the puzzle, in every brushstroke on the canvas, in every tile in the mosaic.

You wouldn’t be you, and I wouldn’t be me if pieces were missing.  The beauty about the mosaic is that up close it looks like a mess, but when you step back…  Oh, when you step back … that’s when it overwhelms you.  That’s when you see what it was really meant to be.  That’s when it hits you.  That ugly little black tile … that was necessary.  That jagged gray piece … that was required.  Those bright shinny colorful segments … those were essential.  It wouldn’t be the same without EVERY piece.

So, as I sit here today trying to embrace the journey, I’m challenging both you and myself to stop.  Stop analyzing each piece.  Stop trying to reshape or reshade or remove the tiles we don’t want or don’t like.  They’re needed.  They’re necessary.  Without them you’re incomplete.  Without them your life, your masterpiece, isn’t whole.

It’s a hard concept to grasp, and I think it requires daily reminders.  So, maybe I will put that quote on my refrigerator or cell phone wallpaper … but I’m going to see it differently.  Maybe it needs rephrasing.  “My masterpiece is unfolding.  I’m still in the studio.  I’m not finished yet.  Today is required, and every piece of it is a glorious element of who I’m becoming.  Just wait until you step back and see my life in its entirety.  It will take your breath away.”

I know my version is a bit longer than the original … but I like it. :)  What does your version of the quote sound like?  How will your view of “you” change today?  Are you a lump of clay or a dazzling vase?  Are you a heap of mangled metal or a stunning sculpture?  Are you a pile of rough, random tiles or an awe-inspiring mosaic?

It’s up to you.  It’s all in your perspective.  See today differently.  You won’t regret it.

~ Jeanna