C: Your wedding photos are absolutely gorgeous! I am so excited to see what God has in store for both you and Raymond :). So, let's take things a bit deeper. When would you say your faith moved beyond just knowing God to experiencing God?
Jessie: I would say that I really started to experience God personally in high school while preparing for my first missions trip to Montana. As I continued throughout high school, I was able to be spiritually mentored on a regular basis with a good friend. We both remember that experience as such a powerful encounter with God. We were able to be accountable to each other and to our youth pastor, and believe my faith was solidified during those years. Once I got to college, my relationship with God changed as I became more aware of conflicting theology and perspectives on one's faith. I struggled for a time as I tried to experience God beyond what I learned in high school, and thankfully through the amazing worship opportunities at ENC and my two summers traveling on ministry teams, I learned about God's love in a whole new way through each relationship I encountered. I learned that God's love goes far beyond my own preconceptions of what faith "should" or "needs" to look like.
C: Mentorship and accountability is so key as we mature in our relationship with God. It was vital in my walk as well! You have approached many new chapters in your life (marriage, employment, etc.) What is one thing God has been teaching you this season of your life?
Jessie: Since the new year began, I have been a married woman! Raymond and I spent all of 2015 planning our wedding, and to be honest, I felt like most of my spare mental space went into preparing for the big day. Now that we have begun to settle into our married life, I have seen how critical it is for my identity to remain founded in my faith. There is so much time in the week that I am running around with work, taking care of the house, or worrying about silly things, that I often forget to think about God. I want to spend more time focused on how I can serve God through all of the daily routines. It took this change in "life stage" to make me realize just how easy it was to neglect my relationship with God when I felt like life was "too busy!" I am part of a bible study with a group of women from my church, and the focus is on "passion" in our lives, relationships, and faith! I am so excited for what God will be teaching me through this study! This past week, I have been especially convicted to be more intentional in seeking to passionately follow God through the gifts He has given me and the relationships that He has placed in my life.
C: #PREACH! I often wonder how I let "busyness" be my business. It's easy to clutter our lives with things we convince ourselves matter but may have no eternal value! In the midst of it all, how do you keep your eyes fixed on God when storms come your way?
Jessie: This has always been a challenge for me. I feel that it is easy to say that I will pray and be disciplined through the stormy seasons of life, but often times I just want to wish the hard times away as quickly as possible! The best way that I have found to keep my eyes fixed on God when the storms come is to find the areas of growth that can only develop in the midst of the rough times. I have always felt that God teaches me so much when I am going through something challenging. I also know for a fact that when I am overwhelmed with anxiety, I reach out to people in my life who I admire and look up to as Christian mentors. They always point me back to God and help me remember how to pray and refocus my thoughts more positively.
C: That is something I genuinely admire about you; you're not afraid to share when you are at the end of your rope and need support. As Christians I think we often feel like we have to figure it out on our own and end up suffering quietly way longer than we need to! What are some verses that you often cling to as a reminder of His goodness?
Jessie: I have always considered Joshua 1:9 to be a life verse: "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
I also love these verses: Psalm 37:23-25 "If the Lord delights in a man's way, He makes his steps firm. Though he stumbles, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand." This verse has been one that I hope to never forget...and it gives me so much hope when I struggle to live up to my own impossible expectations.
C: Powerful verses! If you could encourage those out there who are fearful of letting go and trusting God, what would you say?
Jessie: Wow, well this is a hard question! I certainly don't feel like I have arrived, especially in letting go and trusting God! I know that I have to work on "taking each thought captive" every single day in order to trust God. My circumstances can be so out of my own control, and often times I give way too much thought and worry to situations that end up working out in the end anyway. I would encourage anyone reading that no matter what you are going through, trusting God will NEVER fail you, and spending time worrying will result in a whole lot of unnecessary pain. I am working on trusting God with all of the little things in my life, and I notice such a positive difference when I am able to trust God with my worries and give him all my fears.
If you have any additional questions for Jessie feel free to comment below! Jessie, it was such a blessing to have you share with us for February! Thank you for continuing to be a light everywhere you go!
Truth: You are defined by God and God alone. He identifies you as his own (2 Corinthians 1:22).
Here is what I have found: If I don't know who I am, then I am vulnerable to other people telling you who I am. But the concrete, solid, gospel truth is that I am who God says I am, and no one else has a vote in the matter!
What if we abandoned any image of ourselves that is not from God? So we stop accepting what others say about us, labeled us as, or define us as. Pretty radical right?
Here are some things God says I am:
**I have purpose (Ephesians 1:9 & 3:11)
**I have hope (Ephesians 1:12)
**I am sealed with the promised Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13)
**I am salt and light of the earth (Matfthew 5:13-14)
**I have been chosen and God desires me to bear fruit (John 15:1,5)
**I am God's coworker (2 Corinthians 6:1)
So today I am clinging to this truth, that I am His and only His opinion of me matters.
You are enough. Currently I am in the middle of the Love Your Body challenge with some truly inspiring and amazing women and I felt God tugging on my heart to continue this theme for the March fitness challenge group. So we are taking it a step further and it will target finding contentment in Christ! I am looking for 10 women for the You Are Enough challenge group consists of committing to 4 things: Your time with the Lord, your workout program, your nutrition, and the community of women joining you. It’s about friendship, partnership, transformation, and victory in ALL things which includes our health. My passion is to lend a hand and help women find their worth in the Lord and as they do they can honor God with their body and health as well! When love is the driving force, you begin to see a natural shift in how you see yourself and how you want to take care of YOU.
➡So what will you receive in this challenge group?
🔹5minute devotionals each morning by video
🔹30 minute workouts through DVDs or live streaming so you can work out from the comfort of your OWN home
🔹30 day supply of a superfood meal
🔹Easy to follow nutrition guide with recipes and a meal plan
🔹ME as your coach and support through the whole process
🔹Private accountability group where you can feel safe and share anything in privacy
No more putting yourself on the back burner; no more comparing ourselves to others and allowing that to steal our joy…the time is now! Just respond below with “I’m in” and your email, private message me, or send me an email at email@example.com
I have always loved this quote, especially as a social worker/counselor. I find I am more able to reach and partner with those are struggling when I am truly able to show them how much I care. I can have all the clinical knowledge in the world to help someone with depression, anxiety, OCD, Bipolar, or Schizophrenia, but I if I don't truly love and care for them, my knowledge is limited. In the same way, I can have all the knowledge about health, fitness, nutrition, and more but if I don't truly show the women I partner with how much I care about them, it's meaningless. Knowledge without action and without true and genuine care is meaningless.
God is constantly challenging me to take my knowledge beyond my mind and into my heart. To serve whole heartedly and to love deeply. To come to the end of myself and place others before myself is my desire. As a fitness coach, a mental health counselor, and a disciple of Jesus, that is my goal and that is where I want to grow daily.
Is your life full or filled? Perhaps like me you had a hard time distinguishing the difference. I am continuing to read an amazing book by Kyle Idleman titled The End of Me. In it he shares about how we are to empty ourselves that we may be filled with the only thing that matters, Christ himself-His Spirit. Remember the story in Luke 14 where Jesus tells the parable of the great banquet? A man, Jesus says, sends out invitations for a feast. When the table is set and the stove is hot, he sends a servant to say, "Dinner is served." BUT no one really wants to go. One of the invited guests says he has a field to inspect. The second has just bought some oxen and needs to work with them. "Sorry," says a third, "Just got hitched." Out of the three, it's the second guy I relate to...you know...the one who is really busy doing very logical things. You can assume that if he bought oxen his character is one that is concerned with work and responsibility; busyness is his business.
Kyle Idleman says, "Busyness is a hedge against emptiness." We don't ever want to recognize that we may perhaps be empty on the inside, so we fill our life with distractions from the outside. We as people are always moving so/too fast, thinking too superficially, keeping up the pace, moving to the next "to do", busying ourselves to places ever more distant from the God who loves us.
Here's an analogy I often go back to: I can think of so many foods and drinks that taste great but are LESS filling. That's why when I am coaching women in the fitness challenge groups, I help them discover that certain foods and meals can still taste great and BE filling. To be filled we must empty ourselves; of pride, selfishness, ambition, and anything contrary to God's law. I find that when I pray asking God to fill me, I am already full of so much junk that I must be emptied of that first before I can be filled. So before I pray asking Him to fill me, I must pray asking Him to empty me. I don't want to have a full life; I don't want busyness to be what my life is all about. I want to be filled-filled by His Spirit.
A Bit About ME!
Hey friend! My name is Caren and I am so glad you stopped by! This blog is a bit of my corner on the internet where I share honest thoughts about my faith journey, fitness journey, doctor wife journey, and motherhood journey. ALL of it! The good bad and ugly! I pray that something I share encourages you today!