Being Intentional-A Proverbs 31 Study

Hello all! Jennifer here to talk about something that has been weighing on me.

Being Intentional.

A month or so ago I was listening to the radio and they were talking about being successful in their endeavors. The man said that he was not usually organized, didn’t budget well/stick to a budget, and wasn’t good at getting things accomplished that he wanted to.  He mentioned that all the people he knew that were able to live the way he wanted to had one thing in common: they were very intentional in everything they did.

Well, as someone who is always trying and failing I really started to think about this.

How could I be more intentional in my life? What could I change in my life? What things needed to be priority? How do you start being more intentional?  .

I thought about this for awhile, then one day I was at the fridge and saw my printout of Proverbs 31. This passage has always been special to me, as I read over it I realized that a study of this passage could help me be more intentional.

So I sat down one night and started going verse by verse and noting how each verse could guide me in being intentional.

I have decided to share my study with you through a few blog post. I hope you will join me in trying to live more intentional with God as the center.  

I will share my first step towards living intentionally soon.

Until next time,

Jennifer Donovant

Don’t forget to make someone smile today!

When Someone Vomits on You

Hey all! Yes it’s been awhile, but I have been busy. Life takes priority, but I do miss blogging so!

This post was inspired by bible class last week. The teacher said “Have you ever heard someone word vomit? Well when they do we should listen because that person is sick.”

I loved the quote and it really stuck! It got me to thinking about times in my life when I have vomited on others and how they responded to my vomit.

I can think of a few specific times I have vomited on others.

I have vomited on co-workers, family, sisters in Christ, and my Mom. Each of those times I was very sick. Each time had its own problem. Each time I needed someone to listen. Each time I had held things in until I couldn’t hold it anymore. I was so very sick.

I feel bad for vomiting on them, and I know it’s not the right way…..but it is what happens. They didn’t all take it the way I needed them to, I got a lot of looks, unnecessary judgments, and worst of all they ran off to tell others.

The next time someone word vomits on me I am going to stop and breath and remind myself not to take it personal and to just listen to them. They are sick and need help, not judgment or for me to go tell everyone else what they said. I am just going to hold their hair back and let them vomit.

Let’s all work on being there for others, even if it is just to hold their hair back. We will need it one day, so let’s help others when they need it.

Until next time,
Jennifer

It Isn’t Mine To Tell

Hello all! Sorry again for delays in posting but other things have just been more important.

Today I wanted to talk about this simple statement:
   “It isn’t mine to tell.”

I was having a discussion with a friend and she simply told me “I wish I could tell you more, but it isn’t mine to tell.”

This simple statement struck me to the core.  I felt so many things.

Respect. Surprise. Guilt.

-Respect for her. She could have told me lots of things, I am certain of it. Things that would have probably changed my opinion of other people-but she chose not to. (This is an assumption on my part, but given the circumstances I can be certain there were a lot of things going on.)

-Surprise. I really am not used to people withholding information like that. Normally, someone in her position would have talked. I was so surprised that she did not take this opportunity to “vent” or “get it all out”. That is a whole lot easier to do than to hold it in.

-Guilt.  It was like a punch in the gut.  I know I don’t gossip as much as others, it is something I work hard at…..but how many things have I shared that “weren’t mine to tell”?

I recently had supper with a friend, following that supper someone  instantly started asking me questions about that person’s plans for the future. I tried my best to answer their questions honestly without telling anything that possibly would fall into the category of not mine to tell.

This is not always easy.

I found myself in a conversation where people were basically bashing someone…..but I knew things they didn’t….things that could have “set them straight”. It was hard not to tell. I wanted to tell them so they would stop. I wanted to stand up for the person they were talking about.  I knew though that I the grand scheme of things it didn’t matter. They were wrong, and it wasn’t my information tell. At the end of the day it is more important for me to not betray someone’s trust than it is to set someone else straight.

It was not easy.

Making this decision has made someone mad at me.

It is not easy.

I find myself wondering though how many times I have not had the self control. How many times have I told things that are not mine to tell? How many times have I sewed the gossip seed? How many times have I sewed the discord seed?

There are so many verses that talk about the tongue, interactions, edifying, encouraging, the list goes on and on.I think there is a reason for that.

I want to encourage myself and you to think before we speak and ask ourselves “is this my information to tell?”, but don’t stop there let’s also ask “will this help? Is this lifting up? Is this just gossip?”

I was told this simple statement in January of this year and it still rings in my head when talking to someone. I am not always successful, but I pray I get better. I pray that this simple statement can continue to change my conversations.

Until next time,
Jennifer

**I want to add that I know we have people that we vent to, and it is necessary. I have a few friends that I know I can go to with anything, they will give me sound advice and they will not tell anyone else about the conversation.  I am thankful for those people, they are rocks that I need. I am talking about opening up to any and everyone and sharing everything you know. Sometimes, you have to learn who you can trust and that is hard.

What Will My Testimony Be?

Hello all!! Jennifer here with a new post.

I know it has been awhile since anything has been posted, so sorry about that.  Life has been busy and we have exciting changes coming, but more on that in another post.

Today I want to share a little moment with you.

I was recently at a funeral and while they were discussing this womans life they made the comment “If she had a testimony, this is what it would have been:”  Then they went on to talk about her love and devotion to her family and her faith.

This comment really stuck with me and has weighed on me over the past week or so.

What would my testimony be?

Of course I considered the definition of the word and a quick google search gave me some good things to ponder.

Google defines testimony in a few ways:

  • a formal written or spoken statement, especially one given in a court of law
  • evidence or proof provided by the existence or appearance of something
  • a public recounting of a religious conversion or experience
  • a solemn protest or declaration

For my use and the thought going through my head we are going to talk about the 2nd and 4th definitions:

Evidence or proof provided by thee existence or appearance of something and/or A solemn protest or declaration.

This hit me really hard.  When people meet me, when people are around me, when I am gone…what is my testimony?  What proof or evidence am I leaving to show what is really important in my life?  I know that in my heart I believe the most important things are:

  • God
  • My husband and children
  • My family(spiritual and physical)
  • My friends
  • Service to others
  • Trying my best to live up to how the Bible says I should
  • Spreading the gospel

I wonder how often my words and actions actually portray these things that are important to me?  Am I really putting God first?  Am I really showing my family the love and support I should?  Do I show my friends that I care about them? Am I living a life of service? Do I study the Bible enough to know how I should live, and am I really applying that to my everyday life? Am I working to spread the gospel?  Do I spend time in prayer for all of these things?

My challenge was to sit and survey my life.  You know what I found?  There are areas where I do an okay job, but there are areas that need improvement.  There are more areas that need improvement than there are areas that do not.  Ihat is a great thing about life, we can always take a moment to reevaluate and make changes where needed.

  • I need to work harder on putting God first and making sure that He is showing in all that I do.
  • I need to de a better job of being there for my husband and child.
  • I need to do a better job following up with my friends and family-facebook is good for this-but a personal text or message or phone call means more.
  • I need to work on studying the Bible and spending more time in prayer.
  • I need to work on my service to God and others.
  • I need to truly spend time enjoying everything God has blessed me with.

I want to live my life in such a way that there is never a question as to what my “testimony” is.  Everyone should know that God is first and that I am working to please him and grow his kingdom.  I want my life to reflect this while I am living and after I am gone.

I can not think of any better testimony than one that will allow me to stand in judgment and hear “Well done good and faithful servant!”

If you survey your life right now and write down what your testimony was/is, what would it be?  If it is not one that puts God first and Godly things as priority, it is time for some changes.

Until next time,

Jennifer Donovant

It’s Your Birthday

Today is your birthday. I wanted you to know somethings.

First, I am sorry.
I am sorry you made the choice that you did.
I am sorry for the great things you haven’t gotten to be a part of.
I am sorry for the hard times that your family has gone through and needed you…..but you were not there.
I am sorry I was not a better friend and cousin to your children after you left.
I am sorry your grandchildren do not know you.
I am sorry you do not know your grandchildren.
I am sorry that you did not get to see us grow up and get married and have children.
I am sorry that you are not bowling or playing softball anymore.
I am sorry that I will never walk into Grannys house and see you asleep on the couch with your mouth wide open.
I am sorry I will never see you write again (anyone who ever saw you write will understand this).
I am sorry that I lived in denial after you left.
I am sorry that you left.
I am sorry that I have hated you for 12 years.
I am sorry that I put your ornament away and just hung it up for the first time last Christmas.
I am sorry I just visited you last year for the first time since having to watch your children bury you.
I am sorry for the horrible things I have yelled at you over the past 12 years.
I am sorry I was not there for my mom.
I am sorry that I told your son I hated you.

Second, I don’t understand.

I don’t understand why you made the decision to leave.
I don’t understand how you could leave your children.
I don’t understand how you could leave your mom.
I don’t understand how you could leave your brothers and sisters.
I don’t understand how you could leave your nieces and nephews.
I don’t understand how you could leave me.
I don’t understand how to comprehend what had happened.
I don’t understand how someone who was always so happy and a joy to be around could be in such torment on the inside.
I will never understand.

Third, I am mad!

I am mad that you left.
I am mad you left your children.
I am mad you left us all.
I am mad that I had to watch your children pick out your coffin….at such young ages.
I am mad that I had to listen while your obituary was written.
I am mad that you couldn’t have just went to King George to get away.
I am mad that I had to watch the most important people in my life fall apart.
I am mad that I had to watch as things were put in little cylinders of your coffin.
I am mad that I had to watch your son speak at your funeral when he was only in high school.
I am mad because I can’t forget that night and the days following.
I am mad because I still see and hear things like they just happened.
I am mad because nothing could ever make me understand your choice.
I am still mad at you.

I am so sorry.
I will never understand.
I will always be mad, but

Fourth, I do love you.

It has been a long road to get here and I still have a ways to go, but I finally can say whole heartedly that I love you. I have your picture in my living room, I think about you often, I can still hear your laugh, I can still hear you making fun of your brothers, I can still picture you signing your name, I can still see you throwing a bowling ball (because let’s face it you did not exactly roll it), I can still see you on the softball field, I can still picture you asleep on the couch…..I miss you terribly and I love you and I am sorry it has taken me this long to say that.

Love,
Jennifer

I Don’t Want to be a Christian Like You

Hello all Jennifer here with a new post.

“I Don’t Want to be a Christian Like You”

I am sure this title got your attention and may even already have you judging what I am going to say.

A few weeks ago I was overloaded with negativity and discouragement.  Something happened that hurt me so deeply and made me so upset, and it stemmed from comments made by Christians.  I was driving to work and thinking about these things in my head.  Naturally, as always happens when you are in a negative mind frame, I then started to think about all the other things that have happened to me to hurt me.

I found myself mentally listing these things and the people behind them and thinking “I don’t want to be a Christian Like You!”

Some of you reading this will be saddened by that thought and want to tell me how wrong it is to think that way.  Some of you reading this are probably saying “amen!” I know people like that! Or some of you reading this may think “yep, that’s why I don’t want to go to church and be around those hypocrites”.

Well that is your right to think that way. I was wrong to think that way.

As I breathed deeply and really thought about it, I started to think about all the wonderful experiences I have had since becoming a Christian and the people I have met that are such amazing Christians.

I think the main problem is that if you are a Christian, or if you are not a Christian, we all do the same thing. We watch people and we are more apt to notice their shortcomings and focus on those. But, we don’t want someone doing that to us.  We don’t want others to just dwell on our slips and judge or entire lives by those things, why don’t we offer that to others. Wouldn’t that be “treating others the way you want to be treated”?

I recently had supper with someone and I found myself saying how as a Christian I am always being watched and judged, by Christians and non-Christians. Everything I do or don’t do is judged. My actions, my words, my clothes, my Facebook post, the organizations I support, the places I go on trips, it is all judged.  Sometimes it is absolutely exhausting and I get so tired of it, but it is part of living for God.

As I was driving I was reviewing all of this. I was baptized 6 years ago and on my drive I was reviewing everything! (My head was reeling, it’s only about a 10 minute drive!)

Here is the meat of my conclusion:

Christians are people, people are not perfect.  People make mistakes. People gossip. People do things that are not nice. People say things that hurt. People are selfish. People do things that others don’t agree with. People are people, and Christians are people. Christians are called out. Christians are different because we are expected to live lives that reflect God-as we should.  But it’s not easy, and we were never told it would be.  We are all going to make mistakes and when we do we want others to love us, to forgive us, to help us do better, and to help us move on.

It is a horrible thing to try to make/keep a list of people who hurt us and hold that against them.  We are commanded to forgive and we are commanded to love with a love that is unending and beautiful. We are to move forward for God no matter what happens to us. It is just as horrible to let these things keep us from being Christians the way we are told to be in the bible.

I know this is not easy. It is hard when you are trying with everything in you to be a good Christian and you are met with discouragement.  You want to give up, you want to stop what you are doing.  When it seems no one appreciates what you are doing, then what’s the point of doing it. But, God knows what we are doing and that is really all that matters. And we never know who we will influence for God.

Now some food for thought.  That person that said something that hurt you, well they may not know it hurt you.  They may not have even thought twice about it. They may be in a dark place themselves and that makes them respond with negativity.  And I bet if you look past your own hurt, you can find a person just like you. A Christian who is trying to live for God, and just like you they are human and they mess up. Just like you they need forgiveness and understanding.  And most importantly Jesus died for them just like he did for you. God loves them and wants them to be in heaven one day, just like you.

The devil wants us to hurt each other, he wants us to be to proud to forgive others, he wants us to fight over things, he wants us to be divided, he wants the world to see us as “hypocrites”, he wants nothing more than to use us against each other and God. He does not want us to go to heaven.  I often get this mental picture of God/Jesus watching over us, saddened by divisions and hurt and pride that can’t be let go of, often with a tear and outstretched arms…..while the devil watches us going “yes!” and fist pumping.

Let’s not let the devil win, and let’s not let the devil use us to make others stumble.  If you find yourself discouraged or disgusted or calling someone a hypocrite or backbiting or gossiping, take a moment to stop. Breathe and say a prayer. Remember we are all equal in God’s eyes, Jesus died for all of us, we are the redeemed, we have so much to be thankful for and we need to stop and love and forgive like we are commanded. And yes this means forgiving someone even when they don’t ask for it and even if they keep doing the same thing over and over.

We are working for God and trying so hard, let’s not be each other’s discouragement wether to each other’s face or behind each other’s backs.

To those who aren’t Christians and claim we are all “hypocrites”, I get it and I was just like you. But I have learned that I was wrong to pass that judgement on Christians, and so are you. If a Christian is in fact a hypocrite, well they will have to answer for that on judgment day…..just like you will have to answer for your unwillingness to commit to God.  When I die and I am judged I will be held accountable for my life here on earth there will be dark spots, there will be good spots….I control my actions, no-one else and that is what I will answer for.

To anyone I have discouraged over my past 6 years, I am sorry. That was never my intention. I pray that you can forgive me and move on. Please don’t base all Christians on me. I am growing. I am learning. I am failing. I am changing. I am trying to do better.

I pray that we can instead look at Christians and see what God sees.  That we can be united. That we can grow together as brothers and sisters. That we can truly love and forgive and grow and teach others.

None of us are perfect and we can’t expect others to be.  The church is beautiful, nothing makes my heart happier than reading how the early Christians took care of each other. I have met wonderful people, selfless people, people that do so much for God it is amazing, people that serve others in unmatched ways, people that inspire me without even knowing it, people that I am so thankful for. People that I look at and think “I want to be a Christian Like You”.

To those that have discouraged me over the years, I forgive you. I am stronger for it and everything can teach a lesson if we are willing to let go and learn.  And truth is, just because something happened between us, it doesn’t change my love for you. It doesn’t change the fact that you are still a great servant for God.  You have taught me lessons and I am a better Christian for it. Sometimes these problems came out of misunderstandings, what a lesson in taking to each other!

To those that have encouraged me, it is because of you I am still here. It is because of you I haven’t given up. It is because of you I try harder. It is because of you I know what it means to use your talents. I love you and thank God for you.

Until next time,
Jennifer

A New Year

Hey y’all Jennifer here.

It’s that time: New year’s!

A time to reflect on the past year and to look to the next.  As I look back over the past year there have been some wonderful times spent with my family and friends. There have been milestones, there have been new beginnings.  There have also been trying times, disappointment, and some discouraging times.

There have been times where things have been awesome and there have been times where I wondered whyi even tried.

As the new year comes there are things I want to change and things I want to stay the same.

One of the most important things for me in this year to come is my spiritual growth.  Over the past year I have struggled with my growth in God.  I would survey myself and feel like a failure to God.  I would be doing all the right things but not feel like I was getting closer to God, I actually have felt farther from Him this year than I have felt since I was baptized five years ago.  I really attribute this to my person study and my heart. I have changed in some of my beliefs, I have had my heart hurt by friends, I have heard los of negativity…..this has weighed on me so much.

As the new year starts I want to be more positive. I don’t want to let the negative cloud my mind and my heart.  I am going to study more, focus more on doing things to bring honor to God, and do more for others.

If I find myself in a conversation that is negative I am not going to join in. I am going to try to offer positive insight and if I feel myself getting sucked into the negative I am going to remove myself from the conversation.

God has done so much for me, he has blessed me so greatly….I need to live in a way that shows that to others.

The Bible talks so much about love, I want to show that in my life. I want to live my life for God.  In doing this I will grow. I be a better Christian, a better wife, a better mother, a better friend, a better daughter, a better sister, and a better person.

As this year starts I am making a few resolutions, but the most important one is to be a better Christian.  When God is truly at the center everything else will follow.

I hope you have a wonderful new year. I hope you will grow in God. If you don’t know Him I pray you will, and I pray that I can be a positive influence on you in anyway that I can.

Happy New Year!
Jennifer