Friday, October 7, 2011 | By: Jenna

Learn What This Means

"It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Matthew 9:12-13

Jesus throws down. But He doesn't spoon feed it. He tells His audience to go learn all good teachers do. What's more, He is talking to Pharisees here... Pharisees who are also known as 'Teachers of the Law'...who would probably be offended that someone just instructed them to go learn something... and who were upset that it's the same guy who's eating with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees see themselves as more 'righteous' than Him by cultural standards, so why do they need to be corrected? Sure, we can judge them from our current perspective...but what if we were there and were caught up in the wrong thing, too?

Check it out - Jesus (God) goes over to Matthew's house because He just called Matthew (a tax collector) to become a disciple. Matthew hasn't changed his friend group to all Christians yet (like good Christians do) so there are a lot of dirty, rotten scoundrels who show up to party. Jesus (God) eats with them, talks with them, hangs out with them for a while...then the Pharisees notice, and they are offended. Why are they offended? Because they don't know JESUS (who shows compassion) as God, they only know RIGHTEOUSNESS (based on sacrifices) as God...and this all just isn't matching up.

Jesus, point blank, calls them out.
Imagine Him saying this: "Look, you've been sacrificing and isolating and staying clean your whole lives, and, sadly, because of that you've missed the point. God has ceased being a person in your mind and has become a set of standards you must measure up to. But I'm telling you that God is a doctor who naturally goes to the sick...He is a person of compassion, who looks for His followers to be compassionate, too... And if you want to stay on your high horse and worship righteousness, that's fine, but what a may never feel the Father's heart."

I read that passage and that's what I imagine. Rarely do I imagine that I'm the pharisee He's talking to, though. I mean, I KNOW I'm a sinner, right? And I know a lot of times I'm the sick person who needs a doctor... I'm the adulteress sitting at the same table as Him.
But this morning I read it, and I asked myself, "Am I the one who shows the compassion that God desires?" I mean, there's a difference between staying the sick one who gets compassion and becoming the disciple who shows compassion. And maybe that's really Jesus' point... Cause, sure, we're all sinners so of course we are relieved to read this passage and know He has come for us... But Jesus says to "go and learn what this means: I desire compassion..."...He desires compassion. He desires that I have compassion. He desires that I show compassion. to others.

Lately, I've been praying for God to remind me of who I used to be... I don't think it is a coincidence I read this today. I feel like I've been caught up in the wrong thing recently. I feel like I have lost some of the compassion I once felt. I feel like I need to go re-learn the meaning of what Jesus said...

Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every chain?
Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And to bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.

Isaiah 58:6-7,10
Friday, April 29, 2011 | By: Jenna

Eleven or Twelve

Have you ever just watched a kid? I don't mean a two or three year-old--I mean an eleven, twelve year-old junior higher. Have you ever just watched one be himself? I'm at E. Cypress Starbucks on the patio, and there's this family (at least I think it's a family) of three sitting in the opposite corner from me. A woman, a man, an eleven or twelve year-old boy. The boy has sandy blonde, wavy hair, and he's telling the adults a story right now. Hand motions and sound affects and giggles at his own jokes--this kid is alive with animation, and we're all the better for it. I can see his parents looking at him like he's both a mystery and someone they can understand far better than anyone else. I can see that they delight in his tales, not concerned at all with the time or the sun hitting them smack dab in the eyes. I watch all of this, and I think about how important it is to delight in a kid like this.

When I have a kid, I want to be that interested in my child. I want to be enamored by his facial expressions and impressed by the social skills he's picking up somewhere, somehow...
I want to remember those simple things about him when I walk past his messy room or ground him for saying a certain four-letter word he learned (somewhere, somehow). And I want to take him out to coffee--as a family. I want to hear his stories and jump into what's important to him.
I think maybe when I go to coffee with God, this is what He desires, too. Do I tell God stories like that? I am His kid--a little older than eleven or twelve, but to Him, about the same maturity level. Do I let my self relax and let the expressions of it come through to connect with my Dad? If I did, I'd probably have a much more content spirit.

Because what I'm watching right now is a kid with a content spirit. I can just tell by the way he sits comfortably with these two adults, who may or may not be his parents.

Monday, April 25, 2011 | By: Jenna

A habit I had (have)

My mom used to (and still does) tell me not to pick at my face. I tried to (and still try to) listen, but I have this habit... and this habit is hard to get rid of. Sorry for the un-lady like subject of this analogy (yes, this is going to be an analogy), but I've recently learned this habit mirrors something else I do way too subconsciously. In the same way that I look in the mirror for flaws on my face, I also look at my entire being for flaws I can pick at (and pick at and pick at...), as if they will be gone once I get every single one of them. This sounds like a good practice of self-awareness to someone who grew up in a culture where "self-awareness" and condemnation were all too similar. And even though I can distinguish the two now, it's still hard, sometimes, to feel the difference. So here's where the self-awareness line blurs and the picking goes too far...

Have you ever tried to get a zit that wasn't ready? Or one that would have been fine and left on it's own if you would have let it and left it alone?

The only thing left when you try too hard is more redness and irritation and noticeable scares.

So I'm trying to learn to see one thing at a time...
I'm trying to live out: "Picking too much doesn't make anything right."

This is what gets me, though. Picking actually makes my face dirtier - always trying to get the marks off. And if I would only wash it... Ha, if I would only wash my face every time I felt the urge to force something away... but the picking takes the place of washing, and the washing is too slow anyway...

And what's the point of all this? Here you go.

I need to be patient with myself instead of forcing all the "marks" away. I need to remember the things that HELP in the long run--- though the long run is exactly that.
I want to be aware of when I'm being self-aware or just condemning myself.
Because when I'm constantly, subconsciously, religiously instigating me... my flaw is being magnified. And my problem is actually growing.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | By: Jenna

Petty convictions.

Of this I am convinced: Neither rainy days nor sunny days, neither bad mood days nor smiling days, neither grieving days nor apathetic days nor running late to everything days, neither worries, nor headaches, nor poor body image, nor lousy music days, neither peaceful days, nor coffee on my shirt days, nor sick days, nor any others days in all of North America will be able separate me from the love of God... And then I realize how blessed I am, and I am moved with compassion and conviction of my pettiness.
Thursday, January 27, 2011 | By: Jenna

Seven Songs

At Your Feet.
You Always Love Me.
Like Mary.
First Love.
When You Speak.
No One Is As Good As You.

These are the seven songs.... for those of you who were keeping track.
How they sound is my secret right now. But I hope I can share them someday.

Until then... I ponder them in my heart and my room.

Thanks for the faithful encouragement!


Hey world, it's been awhile. I've been balancing time and rest and other things (like "Parenthood"), so there's my absence from blogging in a nutshell. But I was just reading Kendall's blogs, and I realized, "Wow, Kendall's blogs are really inspiring." It's a good thing he's my boyfriend... I need to be inspired sometimes...

Alright, alright, but that's not the only reason I read his blogs - yes, I admit I am a bit biased.

Well, who wouldn't want to be in-the-know of how their significant other is processing and sharing deep life lessons and meaningful times with God and "a friend" (he so meant me) with the world wide web??? Because, we talk... A LOT. But I like to understand the "scholar" Kendall, the "writer" Kendall, too, who appears before all of you after our conversations...

Anyway, it's that Kendall (the scholar-writer one) who has inspired me yet again! Mostly just to write this blog, if nothing else. Mmm, that, and to bless someone by buying them coffee today, or just plain ol' bless God by whipping out my guitar and letting my lungs project all this crazy hunger to Him. You know someone told me last night that God LOVES His special, secret time with me? with ME! God l - o - v - e, llluuuvvvss His time with me! So great. I feel "jealous for." I feel like I want to give God what He loves.

Don't you?

Cause I bet He loves His secret time with you too...

Ok so you go to yours, and I'll go to mine, and we'll just plain ol' bless God by projecting all our crazy hunger to Him...

And then we'll change the world.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | By: Jenna

January 1, December 25, and Today

The Lord spoke to me and said that January would start a "solidifying" season for me. I didn't know what this meant at first, so I asked the Lord, "What will You be solidifying?"
"Your integrity," He replied (in His gentle and powerful whisper). "I will be testing your integrity and showing you that I have set your freedom in stone."

That makes me nervous and joyful all at the same time because the Lord has done some incredible things in me this past year. I have felt Him etching "freedom" into my skin, my hands, my bones... I have felt Him engraving those letters onto my heart... though my heart has budged a few times under the pain of it all. Now, I have stayed with the Crafter's tool long enough to recognize the safety of His hands rather than just the pain of alteration. So I know I can trust Him with what's coming...


This morning, I thought about Christmas - and how Christmas is God's love in action. Yes, the Cross and the Resurrection are also epitomes too, but how odd that He would precede those with a specific kind of coming... You see, He didn't just shoot down to earth for a couples days, get on a cross to die, get the grave/hell smashing part over with, and then fly off back into heaven right after. No. God came and stayed for awhile. He came and spoke for a while. He came and fed for awhile, healed for awhile, loved for awhile... suffered for awhile...

He stayed His divinity and His power, so that He could stay in flesh and decaying earth. And He stayed obedient to His Father, loyal to His followers, committed to His message of incarnated love the whole time.

How do I come and stay for people more hurt than me? How do I suspend my privileges to take up a cross like His?

I'm thinking about this season God is leading me into, and I'm thinking about what other things He will solidify into my integrity....

I hope He will solidify an advent in me - a coming posture that stays for awhile. Because I love Advent, and I don't want it to be another end to my year. I want it to be the beginning.


"Father, free me from all things impatient and hurried. Show me the value of staying and the beauty of waiting on You. I want to see the ones that You see; I want to love the way that You love. Because in You are all things good and righteous and joyful. In You is peace and laughter and a way to deal with pain that's different from our many killers and addictions. Spirit, Your breath sustains me; Jesus, Your friendship teaches me. Father, I wait on Your words... and I will stay... help me stay... I will stay my anxious urge to flee. In thirst and abundance, Amen."