Author: jenna fernandez

Wife, mommy, teacher, and writer. Aspiring to inspire for this life...and beyond.

Freedom Comes

Freedom comes not in doing whatever we so desire, for we can never be free from the consequences of our decisions. Freedom comes in knowing whose we are and why we’re here, and in living to fulfill the GOOD things our Creator has planned for us.

 

Photo Credit: Mountain Road Sunset Free Stock Photo – Public Domain Pictures

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One Day

One day, whether here on earth or in the glory of heaven, we will see. God, the master designer, weaves good from every thread of pain wrought on this earth. That’s what makes him God.

 

Photo Credit: File:Colorful Threads (3965274345).jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Blessed with Battle Scars

Blog_DepressionIf given the option, would you choose the path of suffering? I would guess the average person would answer “no.” Were it up to me, suffering would not be on my radar, and most definitely not on my bucket list.

Compared to most of the world, I can’t say I’ve suffered much. But I do have my share of battle scars. There was a season in my life when it seemed I’d escape the fires of one trial only to encounter the next. And while it wouldn’t have been my first choice to endure what I did, in retrospect I’m grateful for that season.

If anything, I’m more real now than ever before. There was a time when I lacked genuine empathy when someone else was struggling. I wanted to understand, but couldn’t. Now I can say, “I’ve been there.” Maybe not in the exact circumstance, but I’ve been in some deep valleys and survived. And because of it, I can not only relate, but I can encourage others through their own valleys.

Going through the adoption process has given me understanding for anyone waiting for something they’ve always longed for. Having a special needs child has given me greater love for other parents in a similar situation, and for children who are uniquely created. Having another child with health issues and dealing with my own chronic fatigue has given me deeper compassion for the sick. And enduring a long season where we didn’t know where our basic provisions would come from has given me empathy for the unemployed, the homeless, and anyone struggling.

The list could go on. I admit, there was a time when I’d rather pull the covers over my head than face another trial. But I can now say that my faith has been refined in the fire, and I’ve come out stronger. I’ve seen the depths of some pretty dark caverns, but I’ve also seen the point when light breaks through and darkness is overcome. My battle scars are blessings in disguise. Because of them, I can say with confidence, “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”

Quote by: Corrie ten Boom

Photo Credit: Free stock photos of depression · Pexels

Why Do You Look for the Living Among the Dead?

Empty Tomb from CrossCardsWhen hope dies, it’s hard to believe life can prevail.  We remain at the burial site—gazing upon what we’ve lost, unaware that something greater is destined to arise from the ashes.  Helen Keller once said, “When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”  When Jesus died on the cross, those who had followed him closely were unaware that His death was only the opening of a greater door in which God was about to do “exceedingly abundantly above all that [they could] ask or think” (Eph 3:20).

The women who witnessed the miraculous were met with the question, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5). They earnestly came to Jesus’ disciples with news of the empty tomb, only to be met with disbelief.  It was as if they had come to a tomb of another kind—where hope itself was permanently laid to rest.  The disciples who’d walked with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry had mistakenly believed He’d come to set up an earthly kingdom.  He had been their hope of liberation from oppressive governmental and religious systems—a political Messiah.

When He died on the cross, their dreams died with Him; when they buried Him in the tomb, they buried their aspirations as well.  They did not understand Jesus’ destiny of suffering, predictions of death or promises of resurrection. They didn’t understand He had far greater things for them, an everlasting hope.

Many times we find ourselves in what appears to be a hopeless situation—a graveyard of disenchantment, surrounded by death.  Life has disappointed us; we have disappointed ourselves.  It seems that God has abandoned us to the grave.  We cry out for hope, but Heaven is as brass.  Alone in a graveyard of doubt and defeat, it seems that the promise of resurrection was nothing more than an illusion.

Yet it is when we have come to the end of ourselves that we are on the verge of finding true life.  When things seem most hopeless, we are closer to a breakthrough than ever before.  Why?  Because we finally come to realize that the things we were hoping in were not worthy of our trust to begin with.  They were incapable of sustaining us or providing the life we were looking for.  We finally seal false hope in a tomb—never to be revisited.  This is the beginning of resurrection.

When find ourselves at the entrance to life’s tombs, we have not come to a place of death:  we have instead arrived at the door that leads to everlasting life and hope.  Jesus’ death on the cross is an invitation to die to all our unworthy expectations.  His resurrection is an invitation to find hope that will never die.

At the End

Blog_SunsetCliffs

At the end of our lives, do we want to be known for building, or for destroying? For loving, or for hating? For bringing freedom, or bondage? For living to gratify our fading flesh, or to benefit our generation…and generations to come? Because only God knows when we’ll take our final breath.

 

Photo Credit: Free stock photo: Cliff, 12 Apostles, Australia – Free Image on …

Love is…SAFE

Romans 13:10 from Google Images Dear, precious child,

Do you know how loved you are? You were specially created for this time in history, to do great things in your generation. You were uniquely designed to love and to be loved with supernatural, self-sacrificing, unfailing love.

My heart grieves for you. I’m burdened because you’ve settled for so much less than what you were made for! Love is so much more than what you know, so much greater than what you’ve seen.

Right now, there is a grave deception battling to turn you away from true love to a counterfeit replica. This imposter tells you that you lack value and worth so much that you deserve to be horribly abused and robbed of your very identity to gain any sense of intimacy. Please, hear this ancient truth: love will never bring you harm. Love is SAFE.

You do not need to be chained and beaten by a sadistic monster to gain true affection. Love does not manipulate you with fairytales of diamonds and penthouses and helicopters. Love does not seduce you with lies only to leave you tortured, broken, and alone. Love ALWAYS PROTECTS.

If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, you CAN walk away. Get out as fast as you can. The chains that bind CAN be broken. It’s better to walk alone than to be bound to a lie that will destroy you in the end.

And, please. Be careful what you see. Be careful what you hear. Lies most often come cloaked in light, poised to lure you in only to leave you blind. Don’t allow yourself to be entertained into the delusion that you are less than what you are.

Sincerely,
Love

Source: Love is…SAFE

A Simple Prayer

blog_snowywoods“Live simply, love generously, serve faithfully, speak truthfully, pray daily. Leave everything else to God.” I saw this quote while sitting in a café the other day. As I consider the direction of my life, these words speak to me about a simple yet profound calling. So often, we’re looking for the big, the extravagant, the noticeably noble. We want to be significant, and we perceive significance as something evident to the masses.

Yet what if greatness has a humbler definition?

And that’s why this has become my prayer, and my desired life-theme. To truly live simply—not bogged down by temporary things, unnecessary work, trivial concerns, or excessive material endeavors. To love generously: that my love for all would be abundant, honest, and overflowing…not in word alone, but in action and in truth.

Father God, remove every ounce of selfishness from within me: my self-centeredness, self-preservation, self-exaltation. Move in my heart to make me someone who thinks of others more than I think of myself.

Let my service be for the motive of honoring you by helping others. Let it be pure and untiring, all-encompassing—infiltrating all I do and done with all my heart, soul and strength. I confess I’ve grown weary in well-doing. Please renew my strength.

Tame my tongue to be still when I need to be silent and to speak truth boldly and always with love. Strip me of the veil of the fear of man.

I’ve been prayerless, so move me to pray. Prayerlessness is the root of all my trials, or my misunderstanding of your purpose in the midst of trials. Release me from bondage to laziness and unbelief, that my prayers may flow unwavering, unhindered, and unceasingly to you.

Build up my faith to know with confidence that when I’ve done all you ask of me, I can be at peace and leave all else to you. I want to live at ease with you, knowing you alone hold my life and I will stand before you alone at the end to give account for my thoughts, words, and actions.

This is my simple prayer.

 

Photo Credit: Free photo: Woods, Forest, Trees, Winter – Free Image on Pixabay …