Hi.

Jennifer here.
I've got two big cups of hot coffee, (one is for you) some snacks, and my favorite bottle of Tabasco sauce which you're welcome to if that's your kind of thing.
The couch is comfy, and there's a warm blanket right over there.
My heart is for you to realize your beauty and value is in the Lord.
Settle in and know that you're safe here, Friend. 

My Everything For His Glory

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The lyrics from Hawk Nelson's song "Words" held new meaning for me as I listened to the radio on the way to work. 

"Let my words be life,
Let my words be truth,
I don't wanna say a word,
Unless it points the world back to You..."

God was beginning a new work in me and these words reflected my new vision, my new passionate desire which began when God opened my eyes and radically changed my heart. Rather suddenly, He began to show me all of my selfish ideals and pursuits. 

I was shocked, or maybe not too shocked, to find that when I examined my heart I found my concerns were image and vanity, comfort and convenience, the applause of man and not of God.  He did not fill every essence of my life. He was not in the words I spoke to others, not in my actions, conversation, and as a musician, not in the music I wrote or sang. I had begun lukewarm practices. 

Suddenly and quickly, God began to use things to work in my heart. Christian books, blogs, and most importantly the truth of His Word. I had even read most of these things before, but they took on new life as God opened my eyes for who I was living for. My life had become God fitting around me and my convenience, not shaping my life around Him. As a result, I had become unhappy. Looking for joy in all of the wrong things and never finding it. That's why I say I wasn't too surprised when I examined my heart and found I was living for myself. He used the book "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan to speak to me. (Beware, I will be quoting this book a lot in this post because I love it so much!)

Francis says in chapter two, 

"On the average day, we live caught up in ourselves. On the average day we don't consider God very much. On the average day, we forget that our life truly is a vapor."

I had been so caught up in myself I had forgotten that this life is about Him. In this life God gave me, what was I doing to point the world to God? Could people see Him in my actions, my speech, and my dress? When they listened to my music, could they hear God reflected in it? Was I doing my utmost for Him?

In chapter two of "Crazy Love" Francis Chan uses an example of a movie and us as the extras. 

"From start to finish, this movie is obviously about God. He is the main character. How is it possible that we live as though it is about us?"

And then in the next paragraph:

"We have only two-fifths of a second long scene to live. I don't know about you, but I want my two-fifths of a second to be about my making much of God. First Corinthians 10:31 says, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." That is what each of our two-fifths of a second is about."

Francis Chan's book "Crazy Love" is all about understanding who we serve and who saved us. He states this in the description of his book;

"It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe - the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E minor - loves us with a radical, unconditional, self sacrificing love."

This influenced me particularly in one of the biggest areas of my life. For many years (because I'm so old!) I have loved music and been passionate about it. After performing in a Christian music contest at 15, I guess you could say I lost my vision for it, and I don't particularly remember how. I looked back on my journals during this time and all I could write about was how excited (and nervous!) I was about this opportunity to become involved in music especially because I hoped that it would open the door at some point to a ministry in music. I remember sitting down and talking with two of the judges after the rehearsal where they asked what our goal was in music. I confidently replied, "I want to have a ministry in music! I want to use my music for Christ!" My teen years were not the easiest of times so I feel like I forgot what my music was supposed to be about and I got caught up in worry, and myself, to be honest. 
I stopped writing music for a long time. I stopped singing for a long time. I still find pieces of paper stuffed away in notebooks with half written songs on them that I gave up on because I didn't have the energy or inspiration to write anything. It was a very sad time in my life because not only did I forget how much I loved music but I forgot the kind of vision I had for music. What made me passionate about music. You see, when music has a purpose greater than us, it is so much more than just words being sung and stirring melodies, it's a magnificent tool to reach others for Christ.  

Slowly I did start singing, writing, and recording music again but I still had not recovered the vision and the passion I once had. In my heart my goal now was only to make music about me and my performance. I found myself standing in front of the mic again and again covering nothing but the newest song about looking for happiness in a new romantic fling. And honestly, it's such an empty feeling when the extent of your vision for something you really love reaches only to how good it will make you look.

When God began to show me what I had allowed my life to be about, it left nothing in my life untouched and re-formed. I wanted nothing more than to use my passions, hopes, dreams, desires, my life to be about Him. I woke up with prayers on my heart and lips. I thanked God for the things I had taken for granted. The freedom I had to worship Him, the people he had placed in my life. The sunshine and trees. The very oxygen I breathed. I recognized how empty the things were that I had filled my life with.
I wanted my two-fifths of a second to count. I wanted to make much of God. I had forgotten whom I served. And I say this with great emphasis on the word "whom". I spoke in another post about the love of God and I said: "I am awed. I am humbled. I am blown away by the most perfect love of all time..." That is whom we serve. Our God, the Creator of this universe, sent His son to die for our sins when we did not and could never deserve it. 

In the book "Authentic Beauty" By Leslie Ludy (amazing book!) she puts my thoughts into words perfectly. 

"When we are passionately in love with our Prince (God), we put Him above all else - not just in theory, but also practically, in every moment of our day to day lives. We do not live for the applause of the world but only for the applause of heaven. Our longings are not for people's approval but only for more and more of Him. We are marked by an effortless, unshakable strength that is found in the presence of our perfect Lover."

It came down plain and simple to me really understanding what God had done for me. With this new understanding, He lit a fire in my heart and a passion. I looked around me for the first time in awhile and breathed a prayer of thanks for everything He had given me, all He had done for me. For the first time I did not resent the hardships. I was thankful for all the hard things I had gone through to get here. It had brought me to my knees and given me a passion for Him I had never known.

For now, 
Jennifer

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In The Music Studio: Day 1

Forgiving Myself