Friday, September 15, 2017

The Invisibility of Social Media

Hey guys! I'm back with my second Faith Post Friday! As many of you know, my topic for the month of September is Invisibility. Last week I wrote about the Invisibility of Motherhood. Today is all about the Invisibility of Social Media. Before I go any further, I want to be clear that there's a lot of good that has come from social media. But, like with most things, us humans can misuse it. My words today are meant to encourage you that you are not alone in the struggle to keep a social media balance.

Love / Hate

I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I love that it truly helps me feel connected (I mean, otherwise I'd have no idea what my second cousin's baby looks like) but I also hate how it makes me feel disconnected (Why visit my cousin when I can see all her baby updates with the click of a button?).

Once upon a time in a land far far away (circa 2006ish) I had regular coffee dates with a good friend of mine. We would meet at Starbucks and talk for hours. I didn't realize at the time how amazing this was. I took it for granted. Fast forward to 2017 and I haven't had coffee with my friend in yeeeeears. I joined Facebook in 2008 and our coffee dates got less and less frequent until finally they stopped altogether. It wasn't a conscious decision. It just kind of happened. She had babies and my babies grew and now we're so busy it's more convenient to stay connected on social media.

I miss talking with my friend face to face, rather than texting or posting. I crave geniuine human connection but it's hard to make time for friends when I'm so busy. My days go by like a blur and at the end of these busy days I find myself wanting to zone out and scroll through my facebook (are you feeling me on this? Surely it's not just me?). It's a cheap substitute for human connection, kind of like eating a granola bar for lunch. It ties you over for a few but it doesn't really satisfy. I scroll and see all sorts of interesting things; news stories (mostly sad & disturbing), funny memes, inspiring quotes, photos of family and photos of friends with their friends.

This counterfeit social experience gives us a surge of momentary fulfillment, kind of like a candy bar gives you a sugar rush, and we all know the rush eventually crashes. So we either go back for another hit or the loneliness sets in. But who wants to feel lonely? So we go back again and again. Some of us are addicted to this dysfunctional roller coaster. Let me restate that, I am guilty of letting myself ride this crazy train.

Comparison: The Thief of Joy

Remember when ignorance really was bliss? Here's what I mean.

Have you ever been in a pretty good mood and then after ten minutes on social media you're depressed? This 180 degree turn occurs when you have access to information you normally wouldn't know anything about. For example, photos of so-and-so's seventeenth vacation of the year.

“Man, I haven't even had one vacation.”

Comparing my life to other people's lives never ends in joy. Never.

Oh, then there are the posts of your friends hanging out with your friends and you weren't invited. Ouch, that one stings.

“Why would they not invite me?”

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of days where I'm genuinely happy when I see my friends hanging out and having fun. I try to be a cheerleader for the people in my life and I LOVE to see my friends feeling loved and happy and successful in all areas of their lives. But sometimes, on those lonely days, it hurts to see people I'm friends with hanging out with people I'm friends with and knowing I wasn't invited.

Close friendship can start to feel more like an illusion, a social media mirage.

Bait & Switch

This is the point when the connectedness of social media betrays you and switches to disconnectedness. It happens so fast that you don't even realize it until you find yourself feeling sad, lonely, and even mad at your friends. You start to feel forgotten, invisible.

As a Believer in Christ, I truly believe this is a spiritually vulnerable place we put ourselves in, and I am guilty of it. The enemy loves to isolate us, like a wolf isolating its prey. And when we are alone he whispers all sorts of accusations against our friends (Look at them having fun without you, they never really loved you) and accusations against us (You're worthless and unloveable).

Satan baits us with a false reality, a false sense of connectedness and once he snags us he makes us feel invisible. That is when he does his best work, whispering lies that sound so true.

Jesus says Satan is a liar...

When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8: 44

and he's a thief...

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10: 10

The Power of Community

Let us not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another...” Hebrews 11:25

This verse is at the heart of what My Journey of Faith is all about. God created you to be in community with other people. In fact, it's scientifically proven. When you spend time with a friend, your brain releases a hormone called oxytocin, also known as “the feel good hormone”. This is why you feel so much better after a girl's night!

I just experienced this today. A sweet neighbor friend of mine came over and we talked for a couple of hours, by ourselves, no interruptions.

(Let's pause for a moment to thank God for this small miracle!)

She shared with me what God was doing in her life and she gave me a perspective on God that I haven't even thought of. She encouraged me in ways I never expected and I felt anything but invisible. This week I encourage you to limit your social media and make the effort to connect with a friend, face to face, even if it means inviting someone to your messy house.


Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Invisibility of Motherhood

Hey friends! I took a break from writing for a while to focus on being a mom to my two boys and also to focus on my work as graphic designer for Hobart Print Studio and Art Director for My Journey of Faith Ministry. Whew! That's a lot. I've been busy but it's good to be back on my blog. 


Recently I was asked to write a series of posts for MJOF's blog, called “Faith Post Fridays”. The idea is that each month a different My Journey of Faith team leader will choose a topic to write about. Every Friday, you will see one of us posting to the ministry's blog about our topic. Now, I realize today is not Friday. Haha! It's actually Thursday. I posted this last Friday to the ministry's blog and I'm just now finding the time to re-post to my personal blog. 


Yeah, it's crazy around here y'all.'s what I wrote. I hope it blesses you!


The idea for this month's topic came pretty easily for me...invisibility. I've spoken to a lot of women recently who have told me they struggle with feeling invisible, unseen, lost in the struggle of life.

I admit that I have had my own seasons of feeling invisible. One of those seasons is motherhood.

Alone But Never Alone

Parenting can bring on the cloak of invisibility real quick. Now don't get me wrong, being a mother is the most amazing gift God has given me. It truly is a privilege. In fact, I tell my kids often that it's a privilege to be their mom. I don't even want to imagine my life without them. That said, let's be honest...being a mom is hard. It can be very lonely. But how is that possible when us moms are rarely ever alone??

(Are you feeling me on this?? RARELY. EVER. ALONE)

Feeling isolated while not technically being isolated is a strange thing. I am always surrounded by people (mostly under the age of 12) so what is my problem?? I shouldn't be lonely right?


Turns out that constantly being needed by the little people in my life can pull me into isolation without me even being aware that it's happening.

Can you relate to this? If you've ever eaten chocolate alone in your bathroom while scrolling through facebook just so you can have a mental break, then you most likely know what I'm talking about. You crave real friendship but that takes work (something you're tired of doing) and it takes time (something you don't have). But you know you need connection with other women. And there lies the struggle.

Lost in the Busyness

Motherhood comes with a lot of different responsibilities. You rush around and you give and you work hard, and you do all the things and you wonder if anyone really sees you.

Working Mamas....some of you wave goodbye to your precious kids and then cry in the car. Then comes the inevitable wave of mom guilt (ugh, mom guilt is the worst!). You work all day and give so much of yourself and then you come home and give even more. You're constantly feeling torn between two worlds. You doubt yourself and wonder if you're making the right choice. After a while, this emotional roller coaster leads you to isolate yourself because there's just no more time left in the day.

Stay-at-Home Mamas....(or should I say “Work”-at-Home Mamas).....some of you are in the I'd-give-anything-to-sit-down part of motherhood - the constant chasing of toddlers to assure they don't unintentionally kill themselves. And when you do sit, it's sitting to play legos, and playdough, and dolls, and trucks until you feel like you've lost all sanity. The sitting and watching the latest Disney whatever. The sitting and listening to the story of the leaf they found. And while you've been sitting and investing in these little ones, the dishes and laundry have been sitting. Then guessed it, guilt! (Unless you didn't do the instead did the chores...which results innnnnnn, guilt!)

The core of you LOVES these moments with your precious tiny humans. I know you do. You're a great mama!!!! But when you do this over and over and over and over, the burnout is sure to come.
I remember playing playdough with my toddler and fighting back the tears because every day felt the same. It felt like I had disappeared from the world. Diapers and laundry were my world. And then I felt guilty for feeling that way. I knew it was a blessing to stay home with my kids and I had made that choice, but staying home is not easy. Working outside the home is not easy. Motherhood is not easy. There is no easy path for parenting, because anything in life worth doing is hard.

(And parenting IS WORTH THE HARD.)

He Sees You

My kids are 11 and 8 now. My journey of motherhood has evolved and changed, but the basic struggle is still the same. I sit in a long line of school traffic and I wonder if this is all I was made to do. Making lunches, fighting traffic to get to soccer practice, throwing meals together, endless housework. Wake up and repeat.
I get lost in it. I feel unseen in it. I offer all of myself until I don't even know who I am anymore.

Does God see? Does He see that this is hard for me? Does He notice I'm burned out and worn out and I feel like giving up?

God is a God who sees.

You are the God who sees me” Genesis 16:13

One thing I have learned in my almost 12 years of being a mom is just because you “feel” something, doesn't make it true. I have to repeat this to myself often. Just because I feel invisible, doesn't mean I am invisible. I may feel as if I'm lost in the struggle of life, but I am not lost.

Jesus sees me, He sees you.
Through these moments of losing yourself and feeling unseen, God is doing some of His most beautiful work. He's molding you and shaping you into a woman of depth and character. And any beautiful work that God is doing, it will be opposed. We have an enemy and he is a liar and a thief. He wants you to believe you are invisible, worthless, unimportant, unseen.

The Truth

The truth is you are doing very important work and God sees that work. God esteems what the world does not and He esteems you, precious mama. Mothers are invaluable, priceless, precious in God's eyes. Not only does He see you...He tends to you and leads you.

He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11

As you reflect on this truth I also want you to know that we at My Journey of Faith see you. You are not alone. You are always welcome here.

Much love to you as we go through this journey of faith together.

~ Jennifer


Thursday, September 1, 2016

Alone in the Mess

One of the first feelings I experience when I am struggling is loneliness. It is an ache I can't describe. What is strange about loneliness is you can feel it while being surrounded by people. I've been at family dinners and felt incredibly lonely. I've been at church group meetings and felt the heaviness of it in my heart. It has gripped me at parties, weddings, and occasions that are supposed to be happy.

But why would anyone feel lonely when surrounded by people?

It's because we are all fighting a battle of some kind. And when the battle becomes intense, we withdraw. It doesn't matter how many people are around us. That place where we hide within ourselves is incredibly lonely. We feel most isolated in our struggle when we start to believe the lies that are ever so subtly whispered in our minds...

"You're the only one who feels this way." 

"What's wrong with you? So-and-so doesn't struggle with this?" 

"Why can't you be more like her/him?"

"You need to get it together."

The truth is, no one has it together. We're all a big mess. One thing I've learned in my 35 years of living in this fallen world is that everyone is fighting a battle of some kind. My battle might look different than yours but we're both fighting something. I'll say it again so it will sink in.

We're all a big mess.

Yep. Even the ones who seem to have it all together. The "mess" is why we need Jesus. He saw our mess from the very beginning and decided to step in and give us a way out of it, to have victory over it. 

In fact, He sees your mess today, the details of it; the struggle of it. He knows you are weary. That's why there are verses like this one in the Bible...

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

You know who was a mess in the Bible? Practically everyone. That's right. In fact, the Bible is a messy book. Let's take Peter, for example, who was one of the twelve apostles. Now he was a hot mess!

• He denied Jesus three times. (Luke 22)
{take some time to read Jesus' response to Peter's denial. Did Jesus reject him?}

• He went from walking on water to sinking because he was afraid. (Matthew 14:30)

• He was rebuked by Jesus for being impulsive & cutting off someone's ear! (John 18:10)

• He was confronted by Paul for his hypocrisy. (Galatians 2)

What's encouraging about Peter is that God never rejected him because of his mess. God used him in spite of it. Jesus dusted Peter off, helped him learn from his mistakes, and launched him back out into the world to accomplish great things for the kingdom.

So let me encourage you. Don't listen to the lies but take comfort in the truth. You are not alone. In fact, whatever you are facing, there's always someone else facing the same thing. You're never the only one. 

You are not alone.

Here are some scriptures to remind you of the truth that God is with you in every dark place, even when that place is your own mind.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10 

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you." Psalm 32:8 

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

Monday, August 31, 2015

What if I was strong?

"Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

I love this passage. I'm so glad that Paul wrote about his thorn. I would never ever wish someone to suffer but when I hear that others have suffered in the same way as me I find comfort in knowing I'm not the only one. Have you ever felt that way?

I am convinced that much of my thorn (anxiety & fear) comes from life circumstances. However, I definitely have a genetic predisposition to it. It runs in my family. My mom and brother also suffer with this debilitating thorn.

It's hard enough just being human but adding a heap of difficult circumstances on top of an already struggling individual seems cruel. 

Life can be cruel.

That is at the heart of my fear problem. You see, I've gotten that phone call that brings you to your knees. I know what it feels like to wake up one day with everything being normal and go to bed that same night with my whole world crumbling around me. In fact, I've had this happen to me more than once, more than twice....I've lost count by now.

So my question to God has been, 

How do I become strong enough to overcome this? 

How do I go about life as if these scary moments never happened? How do I not become paranoid that disaster is lurking around every corner?

I've asked this question over and over. I would love for Jesus to step in and take my fear away. I want Him to be my knight in shining armor (HE IS!!) but it never looks the way I think it should. I want Jesus to make me strong because I hate being weak. I despise it. I see these strong women around me and I am so jealous. I say to God, "See her! I want to be like her!"

And God lovingly tells me,

"I don't need another 'her'." 

He whispers to me,

"Delight in your weakness, because that is when I show you My strength."

But the problem is, I hate my weakness! I want to hide my weakness. I am ashamed of it. I don't want people knowing I don't have it all together. But in hiding my weakness, it becomes more of a stronghold around me and it makes God seem small in my distorted human perspective. 

Today, all that changes because today I choose to delight in my weakness. Today, I proclaim that God is not small. What Satan has intended to harm me, I will allow God to use for good. 

 "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20

So I now ask myself different questions. 

What if I was "strong"? 

How would that change my perspective? Would I be deceived into thinking I didn't need Jesus at all? Would I even care if His name was made known? Would I still have a passion to reach the brokenhearted? Would I be able to sit across from someone who's hurting and lost and not judge them?

Through these questions my perspective becomes more clear...

"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners," Isaiah 61:1

This is a prophecy about Jesus. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and to set captives free. As a part of the Church (the Body of Christ), I am given the mission of being the hands and feet of Jesus. My job is not to be strong for the brokenhearted, my job is to love the brokenhearted and comfort them with the same comfort that has been given to me.

"He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us." 
2 Corinthians 1:4

 That's it. And that is what I will do even if it means I must make less of myself.

"He must become greater; I must become less." John 3:30

If you are brokenhearted, please know you're not alone. I've been brokenhearted too. Please let me pray for you. Let's rest in the arms of Jesus and let Him be strong for us.

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Sunday, April 12, 2015

a divine appointment

I saw this quote on facebook one day and I liked it so much I saved it onto my desktop. It's been there for over a year now. A year. That is how long God has been working on my heart. Actually, it's been a lot longer than that. I recently have come to the conclusion that I have been running from Him and His purpose for me. There are lots of reasons, but here's a list (that will no doubt make you feel better about yourself!)

Reasons I've been running
- past hurts (stuck in the pain of yesterday)
- fear of inadequacy (who am I to be capable of doing God's work?)
- trust issues (trusting that God is for me not against me)
- selfishness (because I know it's going to cost me)
- pride (to serve God means I must decrease so that He must increase ~ John 3:30)

So yeah. I have a lot of praying to do!

The Holy Spirit has been working on me. In a recent desperate moment, I prayed for God to send me a friend to help me process through all the past hurts that have been keeping me weighed down. I knew when I prayed this prayer that He would answer (and I don't get that confident feeling very often). I patiently waited, knowing He would come through for me. A couple of weeks went by and sometimes I would think about the prayer but I never once worried it wouldn't be answered.

And then it happened. Last week, a bible study that a sweet friend of mine has at her house was supposed to be cancelled, except I weirdly did not receive her text telling me it was cancelled (which never happens). I showed up (and was super embarrassed) but she welcomed me in anyway because that's how amazing she is.

I sat on her couch with our kids playing all around us, sometimes interrupting for snacks or to ask kid-like questions, and I opened my heart to her. {Let me take a moment to say, this is huge for me. I don't open up to people like that often.}

She was so gracious to listen to me and counsel me. It was such an amazing feeling to be in that moment and know that God was answering my prayer through her. I knew that healing was taking place and I haven't been the same since. This was a week ago, on Good Friday. A divine appointment.

Since then I have been gaining some clarity in areas of my life that have seemed dark and confusing. I am thankful that God heard the prayer of a lonely hurting housewife in Benton, Arkansas. Who am I that He would turn His ear to me?

I am His daughter. He is for me, not against me.

My prayer is that He would give me the strength to lay down my pride and overcome my selfishness, that I may serve Him wholeheartedly. Dear Reader, join me on this journey. We can learn together. I will post more on this soon but until then, I leave you with this...

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

a kitchen meltdown

I haven't posted on this little blog of mine since July...JULY!! Man, I am such a bad blogger. To say I've been busy would be an absolute understatement. I could list out all the things that keep me busy but suffice it to say that at the end of a long and tiring week I have a jam packed weekend to look forward to. This has been the pattern since the beginning of the school year.

This past Saturday night (at almost midnight mind you) I stood in my kitchen with glazed eyes looking at an impossible to-do list and it hit me. I just felt so overwhelmed. Out of nowhere my mind decided it had had enough of the craziness. I tried to cry but I couldn't. I think I was even too tired to do that. I could just feel it welling up to boiling point. My husband walked in at about this time announcing that he's going to bed to which I replied with...actually I don't even remember what I said but I do remember ranting about being too busy and I admitted to him that I was so frustrated that I wanted to use the 'F' word. Yes, it was that bad. (Just so you know, I highly dislike the 'F' word, so this proves the level of my insanity in that moment.)

Have you ever had a midnight kitchen meltdown? I kinda hope so because that would make me feel much better about mine. My poor husband. He had that look of "Oh man, I'm not getting to bed anytime soon am I?" Ha! And he would be right!

He asked how he could help me not feel so overwhelmed and he then proceeded to help me with all my projects that needed to be done. Wow. What a guy! (I do think he felt somewhat responsible for my business but that's another post!). He certainly has a way of calming me down. I tell you this little story so you, dear reader, will know that you're not alone in the craziness of life. It's hard to juggle everything and do it well, all while keeping your sanity in tact.

Thank God for His grace and strength. I had my sweet neighbor (and friend) ask me the other day how I do all that I do with work and kids and volunteering. I said without hesitation, "The grace of God!".

Friday, July 11, 2014

in the wandering

Have you ever found yourself stumbling through the dark in the middle of the night? Whether it's to calm a crying child or to find your way to the bathroom, we've all had the experience of feeling disoriented and frustrated trying to navigate through a dark place. Arms outstretched, we feel our way through the dark for something familiar. We hope our eyes adjust while we look for some sort of light. And then it happens. We run into an unexpected wall or we choose a path we were sure was the right way only to find out it didn't lead us where we expected to go. (Or if you're a parent like me you might step barefoot on a Lego leading to foul language you didn't think you were capable of saying.)

In our faith sometimes we wander through what feels like a dark room. I confess that I am in this season now. It is frustrating. It feels like I'm searching intensely for the light, His light, but I just can't seem to find it. I'm stumbling through dark hallways, running into walls and stepping on legos (ouch!). I have a strong desire to follow God but I don't know what that looks like for me. I also am afraid that I'll get it wrong, that I'll fail somehow. I've been thinking a lot about what it means to obedient to God, to follow Christ and the plans He has for my life. It seems the more I focus on this the more I feel like I'm wandering. And I really hate the uncertainty of not knowing where I'm supposed to go.

Proverbs 14:12 says "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death." How am I supposed to know which way to go when some ways "appear to be right"? How will I choose the correct path?

I've been praying about this, although I confess that I'm not praying as often as I should. When I sat down to write about it I asked God to give me the words because I told him I'm at a loss as to what obedience to Him really looks like. After all, I have no idea if I'm really living in obedience to Him even as I type this. I still haven't received my confirmation in the mail that states, "Congratulations, you have achieved an acceptable level of obedience as a Christian. Almighty God is very proud of you! Please proceed with following His plan which is outlined in detail below."

I really do wish it was that simple! That sounds nice because it would be something tangible I could hold onto. I would most likely hang it on my wall as a trophy of my holy achievement. Look at me! I'm obedient! Now I'm going to follow His detailed plan with all my might!

It just reeks of pride doesn't it?

Maybe I've been looking in the wrong place. Maybe obedience isn't found in the demonstration of my appropriate and holy behavior. Maybe it's actually found in the condition of my heart; all of our hearts as Believers. I'm starting to wonder if God really just wants my heart to be so utterly tired of the darkness that I look only to Him for the light. Maybe He wants me to feel so helpless in the face of uncertainty that I desperately hold tight to Him. Could it be that when I step on the Legos in life and I feel the sharp surprise of pain that He desires me to call out to Him for the direction of my every step?

Doesn't it make sense that I will naturally obey God if the condition of my heart is in a place of total dependence on Him? Yes, true obedience. I find it in the wandering and waiting and thirsting for Him. I find it in the desperation and uncertainty. I find it in the perseverance despite my doubt and questioning.

It all starts with the condition of my heart.

And doesn't this make sense when you think of all that Jesus taught? When he spoke about adultery and lust, he referred to the heart. "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matthew 5:28) It was not only about the act of adultery but about the condition of the heart which leads to disobedience.

My prayer in seeking to obey God is that I seek to make Him my treasure and trust that God will lead me down the right path. Jesus says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." So to those of you who are wandering and struggling to find your way. Embrace the wandering, seek to make Him your treasure and obedience will follow.

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the Lord’s unfailing love surrounds the one who trusts in him." Psalm 32:8-10