Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bittersweet Endings & New Beginnings

Have you ever been beyond excited about what's ahead but sad to leave parts of the present behind?    
As I type this, I'm anxiously awaiting tomorrow.  You see, it will be my last day with Cigna.  It's going to be a bittersweet day but I'm beyond excited about the days to come.  Looking back over the past 3+ years of my life, I have been incredibly blessed to have worked for a stellar company and with wonderful people.  Have there been bumps, bruises, increased stress levels and questions as to why I went there?  I'll keep this G Rated and just say, "absolutely."  That's the case for most, if not all, jobs though.  Change is tough and I'm still learning how to bend and adapt to it.
From being there, I learned so much more about true empathy, understanding where others are coming from and trying to love them right where they are.  I've gained a plethora of business and insurance knowledge and wouldn’t trade it for anything.  The best part about it was the people there.  There were times I sat and cried with members who just needed someone to talk to or who I could wholeheartedly relate to.  There were also times when people yelled and screamed and I didn’t necessarily respond with grace.  We'll just call those lessons learned.  :) 
Along the way there were friendships formed that I wouldn't trade for anything.  The people I've been privileged to work for and along side have been a strong team and taught me so much about what it is to be an independent woman who works hard for what she wants while knowing it's okay to ask questions or for guidance.  I've been fortunate for to experience interactions in "Corporate America" and to leave a company knowing I gave it my all and it was appreciated.  Leaving there will be most difficult because of the incredible encounters and bonds formed.
New mercies are refreshing and that's why new beginnings are so exciting.  I feel like I should be more terrified about starting anew but there's such peace with the excitement.  I'm done being afraid and excited about what's to come.  It's been confirmed countless times over the past two weeks that this was a God given opportunity and an answer to much prayer.  Hope for the future is never lost so here's to the next step on this indescribably journey that's pretty much just begun!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Needy & Settling

Lately I've found myself getting rather perturbed when I hear women talking about how devastated they are about their boyfriend or husband not doing what they want or putting their needs and wants above his own.  I know that women can't technically "grow a pair" and it is probably socially unacceptable to say, but that is what I have to choke back almost every time.  Oops?

Ladies, men can't read minds and many don't pick up on subtle hints so stop expecting them to do just that. If you have a sincere issue with something in your relationship, pray about it and if The Lord leads, speak up.  Don't be afraid that he will leave you for it.  If he does, chances are he is a punk that you shouldn't be with or he has some things he needs to work out with the Lord.  Again, pray about what is hurting or bothering you and ask God to show you if this is a selfishness of your flesh or a sincere problem.  Then present the issue in love and a calm manner because being hostile and whiny is flat out exhausting and annoying.  I recently wanted to tell co workers who were complaining about their husbands that when they do that, I don't feel sorry for them.  I feel sorry for their husband.  Please note, I know it's not always that simple and that there are times with extenuating circumstances but this is in the general sense.

Men, we don't need you to complete us.  At times, we probably think we do but that is not true.  There, you are off the hook. Feel better?  You should.  We have been unfair to you and I want to apologize for that.  To every man that I looked to for confirmation, affirmation or completion, I am sorry.  You can't offer that to anyone.  If you are currently trying, it will not work so stop it now.

Now, what would be marvelous is if you love and encourage us as yours sisters.  I will be honest, we do get the two confused at times But!!!! Be patient and be sincere with your intentions.

I will say, I have been so fortunate to have incredible men of God who encouraged me along the way.  They held doors open (building and car), paid for the occasional meal, prayed with me and just loved on me when life was tough.  They laughed with me at inappropriate or lame jokes and pushed me to be a better person.  Some sang with me at church, others went with me to weddings and some just hugged me after a tough day.  I am so thankful for the examples they set on how to not settle for less than what God has in store.  These were the guys I mentioned before that I can usually be found cutting up with.  I went on a date with a guy a few months back who was very sweet and handsome but definitely not someone I could see myself with.  Our senses of humor weren't in line and if you can't keep up, you've got to go.  I wasn't about to settle for just anyone. 

Is Settling Really That Big of a Deal? In a word, yes. But who are we kidding? Of course I will answer this in more than one word. Maybe it is some sort of verbal sickness that causes me to ramble so much. Okay, back on topic. Settling is such an issue these days and sadly, it seems to be occurring more and more with each generation. We are in a microwave society and are so used to getting what we want, when we want it. Gosh, we are so spoiled!  We think that just because we want something, we should get it. We either deserve or are entitled to it. Oh and let us not forget, "They got it, why can't I?" I don't know about you but I'm thinking we just need to go ahead and get over ourselves.  It's not about us, or at least it shouldn't be. 

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to get married and have kids.  That's what girls grow up to do, right? Maybe that idea came from too many Disney movies as a child but I just knew that God had things lined up to the way I wanted them.  You can stop laughing at my foolishness now.  If you're honest with yourself, there is probably at least one time in your life where your actions or thoughts reflected that same idea.  My senior prediction for my yearbook was something along the lines of, "In 10 years Jenny Godwin will be married to the man of her dreams teaching music..."  I let go of the teaching thing shortly after graduation but over the last several years, I wanted to settle with every fiber of my being.  I put myself on some sort of timeline or checklist and felt like a failure because I wasn't meeting the mark or checking enough off.  I have dated sporadically over the years. Some were great men that sincerely love Jesus and others were guys that made me feel good about myself in the fleeting moments we were together.  Some relationships glorified God and others broke my Creator's heart.  All that to say, I purposefully tried to settle on many occasions.  There all too often was a void that I tried to fill with food or men.  Regardless of what put the void there, it always ended up as the result of not pressing into Jesus enough.  Thankfully God protected me from myself here. 

Had I settled on any of those given scenarios, I would not be where I am today.  Where am I?  Loving life in the North Georgia/Southern Tennessee area and striving to make the most of where God has me in the now.  :)  I'm currently getting ready to end a great job that isn't at all what I had planned but God has used it to teach me empathy and to learn more about loving others where they are; and preparing to begin a new position that stemmed from the previously mentioned role.  I'm "aunt Jen" to my sweet nieces but also to so many other kids that God has allowed me to love on over the years.  So while I am not a mom and may not become one, I see all of these precious kiddos as a gift and love them dearly.  Over just the last three years, I have been so privileged to get to know some phenomenal people that have been so instrumental in being here today. Getting plugged into a small group in Chattanooga brought continued accountability and uncontrollable laughter.  Recently, I've been so blessed to be involved with a church that is passionate about Jesus and a ministry that aims to encourage college and career folks to find their completion and joy in Christ alone.  The community there wasn't what I thought it would be but better.

Have I thrown some tantrums? Oh my goodness yes...several in various situations but if I stop and think about it, they were petty and selfish.  I can see now that God's grace protected me because He knew better.  His love for me saved me from myself and from the instant gratification I was seeking.  A pastor friend recently said, "God's wrath would be giving us everything we wanted. " I don't know about you but I am so thankful that He has been so gracious.

What we need is Jesus.  He alone satisfies the deepest parts of our soul; He quenches EVERY thirst. He knows the good, bad, ugly and crazy parts of us and still pursues us passionately.  When we are desperate or willing to settle for something less than His best and His sincere goodness, we are robbing ourselves, and sometimes those around us, of the joy that only He can bring.

Psalm 63:1 - You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.

Thursday, October 24, 2013



You’ve probably seen the weekly posts and invites to Simple. What the heck is that? Another church service? Don’t you people get enough of those? I’ve heard it all at this point so here’s a little bit about what Simple is and why it even takes place.

It’s a time of a community.  We hang out, talk, laugh and cut up before it even gets started.  Getting to know people provides encouragement, accountability and a deeper understanding of what it means to be the body of Christ. It’s a time of worship.  Jared and the praise & worship team consistently bring us into the presence of God and it’s a time to just rest in Him and to give Him glory for what He’s done and is continuing to do in our lives.  It’s a time of soaking up the Word.  I’ve recently said that Albert brings truth in a fresh perspective and the goal here is to make Christ known.  Each week we are reminded that while Christ died for and delights in us, He wants more for us than what we have been settling for.  The intent behind these guys starting Simple was to be a form of encouragement and to bring truth to those in a stage of life that, in my opinion, often gets lost in the mix of many churches in today’s society.  It’s for people to understand and grasp truth so they can live out their faith beyond anything they ever expected.

I’ve said it before and will continue to do so, Thursday is my favorite day of the week because my affections for Christ are stirred as I am reminded of the fact that while God disciplines us, He pursues, restores, redeems and forgives us.  Thursdays are more than another day at the church.  They are a time of sincere community, grace, conviction and accountability.  It’s that “simple."

To sum it up....Join us tonight at Church On The Hill @ 7:15.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8