We’ve asked some of the women here at flatirons to share their personal stories and thoughts as they learn everyday what it means to be a woman who follows Jesus. We hope you enjoy hearing from them as much as we have.
I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I have chosen one word each year to focus on and trust God to work in my life over the years. One word was about all I could focus on with 2 kids in diapers and sleep deprivation. I’ve continued each year to choose a word.
My word for this year has been engage. Both of my kids are in school full-time now and are becoming more independent. Being a professional photographer has been a great joy and contributor to our family income, but last year I began to get a little restless with my life outside of my roles of mom and wife.
Things were stirring in my soul. Risk taking felt like a thing of my past. I was weary of American suburbia. I was itching to introduce our kids to the world and the beautiful people in it. I wanted more face-to-face relationships with those around me and less screen relationships. I wanted to connect with my dormant passions of justice, mercy, and love for the lost and broken. I didn’t want to just know these things, but truly engage with my heart and life.
For the past few months, I’ve been engaging other women and building deeper friendships. Through this process, I’m discovering that my story, with all its varied experiences and circumstances, has meaning and purpose, along with how God has created me.
I attended a conference called Storyline with Donald Miller in March. His passion and mission is to help people live better stories. It was amazing and has helped propel me into a new direction and course that I could have never dreamed of a year ago.
Soon after I got back, Jim spoke about saying ‘yes’ to Jesus and taking a risk (if you missed the message, click here). I felt like I was the only one in the room. I knew what Jesus was inviting me to. Jim said, “If you’re stuck or bored, it boils down to two things. You’re either not paying attention to what God is telling you to do or you are paying attention to what God is telling you to do, but your answer is ‘no’.”
During the talk, Jim taught from Luke and Matthew about Jesus and faith. He then continued to ask and challenge me with the following questions, “What are you trusting in? What is Jesus calling you out of? Will you say ‘yes’ to Him?”
I knew I was holding on to fear, expectations and the possibility of ‘success’ in my photography business. I realized for me, I can’t hold those things in my hand and hold the hand of Jesus at the same time. If I didn’t let them go and give them over to Him, I’d miss the abundant life He offers me, as well as the opportunity to be a blessing to others. I want to live with no regrets.
I’m choosing to hold His hand and take a risk saying ‘yes’ to Jesus. It has been a crazy-awesome ride. I still love photography, but it is not my source of life. He is taking my negative turns and redeeming them. He’s reviving and giving me new passions in the areas of love, justice, and mercy for the lost and broken, but that’s a whole separate blog post (or two). He’s growing my families’ love and appreciation for people from all over the world. We had 11 international students over for Easter dinner and are continuing to build some of those friendships.
Your story matters because it is His story. You are a daughter of God, and I hope you will say ‘yes’, take a risk, and engage with Jesus. Get out of the cul de sac as Jim would say. I don’t know what that looks like for you, but He does. Honestly, you probably know too.
Thanks for reading…
My name is Jenni. I’m a wife and a mom of 5. I’ve had the joy and privilege of watching 2 of our kids grow up, and the struggle and pain of waiting to meet our other 3 children when I also meet Jesus face to face. I’m a professional photographer. I drink chai, wear Burt’s Bees tinted lip gloss, and often leave cups all over the house with just a little bit of beverage left in them. I like to think of it as my personal glass charm, and I’m pretty sure my husband is not a fan.