broken down.

“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all is work that he had done.” –Genesis 2:2

 If you are like me in any way, I like to see the beginning, the middle, and the end of what I am doing. Along with that, I also do not like the wait time –I just like to get it done and over with. But the beauty of everything we go through is the process. Life as we know it has many twists and turns, valleys and mountains. We all wish there was that ONE straight road that could lead us to the end faster, but that is not what God intends for any of his children. He has beauty for us to see along the way, and we are able to look in our rearview mirror and see His faithfulness. Creation was a process that took time, and God has not stopped creating as time passes.

Being completely transparent, I have not been taking the time to enjoy the “ride” lately. Because of that, I have grown discontent and frustrated with my current situation that led me to unconsciously begin the process of changing my life completely, in a positive way of course. However, making a massive, drastic change is not always the answer to our current situations. This morning I was sweetly reminded that something I could do is make multiple little changes in my life in order to respond differently to what is taking place in my life.

God has given me the free will to make choices. Those choices reflect what my heart’s desires are. With considering a massive life change decision, the Lord revealed to me that it was such a selfish “wanting out” situation, when in all reality God has me where I am FOR HIM and FOR A REASON. I know that sounds cliché but it is absolutely true. However, with those choices, it is not a matter of making the right or wrong decision for my life, but rather, “How can I serve my Creator more effectively” kind of decision. Maybe breaking it down to smaller changes will make for a more effective change ultimately. Gosh…That is actually relieving and turns my mountains into hills. This could be as simple as making wise financial decisions, running on a different path than you normally do, reaching out to different relationships every week, moving out of your apartment or out of state, etc. That way results seem more obtainable and in essence easier to accomplish. Also, in the meantime we can do our best to handle things like Chandler from Friends

No but seriously,  let’s purpose to break down every area of our lives and invite God to invade each place so our hearts desires and decisions give Him glory and lead us into experiencing His heart more…Do it with me?

hills.

I forget how much I really enjoy running until I walk out my front door. This morning, I decided that I would start my day with a little cardio. It was entirely delightful. The leaves crackled with each step I took and the crisp breeze carried the autumn aroma that everybody wishes could last for all four seasons. Today on my run, I encountered many hills of all sizes and lengths. Excitement, (yes, excitement) came over me when I approached the inclines. Let me explain. I can run for a while, no big deal. However, it is much more difficult running at an incline. Why was I excited? Because I KNEW it was going to push me and reveal to me how out of shape I actually am (no, but seriously) and what I need to work on.

It is the same in our spiritual race that God has called His children to run. Trials, or hills, in our lives are mirrors that God puts up to reveal to us what does not look like Him and to push us to press on through the One who gives us strength. God has a different calling for each one of us. Whether it be single, married, a certain job, etc., God has called YOU to be fruitful and to be a facilitator of His love and grace where you are.

Being completely transparent, this is an area of struggle for me. How I view my hills on my run looks differently than how I view my “life” hills. I ask desperately moment after moment, day after day, if God would release me from the trials and move me into the next season of life, whatever that looks like. God has created all of us with emotions. It is completely alright to vent, shed tears, grit, and in some cases, be depressed. However, there comes a time where we have to get back up. Whether that be taking a break from “life” and going on a run, leaving town, changing up the pace a bit, simply enjoying and resting in the arms of your Creator. Your life is designed by God and will look differently than lives all around you. I love how Beth Moore says it,

“No one else can fulfill your calling. Other people can do what you’ve been called to do but, child of God, they cannot be YOU doing it. That’s what makes your footprint here unique. What you have been called by God to do is beyond your natural abilities, skills, and talents.”

That hits it right on the head. WE ARE CALLED. We WILL encounter hills while we are fulfilling our calling. It is a guarantee. It is all about changing our thinking when we are faced with hills. Changing our thoughts to that of excitement rather than negativity and frustration. The glass is half full and I like hills.

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out to Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward –to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

(Phil. 3:12-14 The Message)

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View from Table Rock Trail

Resources:
Children of the Day-Beth Moore

your house.

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“We walk into houses that are not ours. Then, when the concrete shifts, that house of cards tumbles to the ground. But God. God rebuilds a house. This  house has your name on it, and He awaits you walking through the front door and owning the process. Owning what He has built for you.”   Cheryl Wood

 Life is given to us by God. It is a gift and is very precious. However, when going through trials of various kinds, our hearts only yearn that much more for the King’s return. In the meantime, He is asking for our whole – every aspect of what makes us who we are. He desires that we accept His sanctifying of our whole completely –spirit, soul and body. (2 Thess. 5:23) God is preforming a work in us and will preform it until Christ returns. I believe there is a reason God specifically ordered those three aspects of life in a human and how it relates to cultivating and experiencing true joy amidst a trial.

First up is the spirit. This is the absolute core of who we are. In Genesis 2:7, it states that, “[God] breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.” He created us with five different senses which enabled us to interact fully with the intricately created world around us. Second up is the soul (and mind) where we are able to manage our emotions and our thinking patterns. Last up is the body and taking care of what we have been given which includes the following: choosing to be physically active, eating well, obtaining enough rest, and being free of any addictions.

This past weekend, He gave me the gracious gift of going away to a cabin in Asheville, NC for a short trip with some of my dearest sisters in Christ. This was a refreshing time away from all the busy and stress that life throws at us. We were able to completely remove ourselves from situations back home and just focus on each other, His beautiful handiwork, but most importantly, resting and being still in His presence. I am sure God was smiling down on us as we were like kids in a candy shop as we saw His glory manifest in front of us.

A specific experience that stood out to me from the trip was when we all hiked up the mountain to the lookout at the top. There were five of us girls and we all had different stopping points so we could catch our breath, especially being at a higher elevation. We would then wait on and with each other, converse, laugh, trip and fall, and even help each other through different parts of the hike. All that to say, we FINALLY made it to the top and BOY was it worth it. This got me thinking about life (of course). It is a process. Sanctification is a process. But God, being our Father knows what is best for us, and He is changing us from the inside out –spirit, soul, and body. He is not just telling us to fend for ourselves when we are in the middle of a crisis. He is actually so good that He provides strength through His people around us. On a human level, it is so easy to tell someone who is in a difficult circumstance to change, move or “hike” faster because we see what is better. But God knows what is BEST for us and that means that we need to appreciate the sanctification process he is bringing us through and enjoy every little aspect along the way so that we learn more about the rhythm of His heart. He begins changing our spirit, then our soul, and will indefinitely be displayed through our physical actions of how we take care of ourselves and live God out loud.

He has created us in His image and will continue chipping away on us what does not look like Himself. That is a process and it requires patience. Remember to stop living in someone’s house. Rather, walk through the front door of the house that God has designed FOR YOU. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Patiently wait for God to genuinely change you from the inside out. Choose joy for yourself.

Romans 8:24-25 “For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

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(Pictures taken in Asheville, NC.)

Resources:
Blue Letter Bible Commentary

who am I?

This is my first blog post EVER and am so excited to share my heart with my readers. SO. Here is a little about me!

My name is Janelle. I come from a very active family of seven people. Two brothers, two sisters. Parents who have been literally my biggest fans. Growing up, it was extremely busy around the clock and there was never a quiet and dull moment. However, now that we are all grown, I have learned to appreciate the hearts of each individual in my family instead of expecting change or a difference in personality with how they act or react to various situations. I grew up in the state of Wisconsin acknowledging the fact that if I wanted to survive, I would need to wear a snowsuit ten out of the twelve months of the year. You think I am joking? We also ate a lot of cheese growing up and even wore it on our heads when we went to Lambeau Field to support the Packers. Discount double check.

I grew up in Wisconsin and school brought me down to the sunny state of South Carolina. Total culture shock. I went from people being rude, entitled and blunt from the north to the south who basically “blessed my heart” all the time…I use to think it was endearing… For those of you who don’t know, it is actually a phrase of pity on the person. I grew up with the opportunity of being blessed by an aunt whose name was Lori with a severe intellectual disability who was blind and had cerebral palsy which confined her to a wheelchair in her mid-twenties. This didn’t however stop her personality and heart from shining through her situation. She was the light of the party. Her presence brought so much joy and laughter. I remember specifically one time we had the relatives over for a nice holiday dinner. The table was set. The food was placed on the table. The family encircled the table, and we all grabbed hands as my dad blessed the meal. My dad tends to be long-winded when it comes to his prayers; however, we dare not express that the food is cold about ten minutes in. Well, this particular time didn’t stop Aunt Lori. After about three minutes into this prayer of what seemed to be very beautiful and meaningful, Lori began shouting out, “AMEN! AMEN, RICKY! AMEN!” She took it upon herself to speak on behalf of all the hungry stomachs in that room that day.

I bring her up specifically because God used her so much in my life to draw me into pursuing a career of teaching special needs. This is actually my fifth year teaching kindergarten through second grade. Although it has been completely taxing, draining and most days I can barely keep my head above water, I do not have a doubt in my mind that this is my mission field and where God has called me to invest my life.

A little more about me.

I love Jesus and love how He has chosen me. He knows me and chooses to love me anyway.
I love running and lifting weights.
I love coaching and mentoring.
I love relationships and deep conversations.
I love projects. The ones that people do not normally like to do such as pulling weeds and painting. It is very therapeutic.
I love coffee.
I love peanut butter.
I love and swear by coconut oil.

Why am I blogging?

My intention in writing this blog is to encourage and inform specifically in the areas of the Word of God and how He reveals Himself to us and how we practically live that out in our lives.

How can you be involved?

I would absolutely love for you all to leave comments and strongly encourage for us to collectively share thoughts, agreement or disagreement. We learn together and would love to hear all opinions and voices. I also would love for you to get in contact with me if there are any questions or follow up conversations that need to take place. My email is barnettj420@gmail.com. Below are some pictures of myself and my family. Enjoy!

Me and my coffee of course.
Me and my coffee of course.

family
The siblings who didn’t kill each other growing up!

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Family Dinner!

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My family chops down our Christmas tree every year.

From Left to Right: Ryan(Oldest Brother) Larissa(Younger Sister) Mom(Lynn) Dad(Rick) Clarice(Youngest Sister) Me Aaron(Younger Brother)
From Left to Right:
Ryan(Oldest Brother)
Larissa(Younger Sister)
Mom(Lynn)
Dad(Rick)
Clarice(Youngest Sister)
Me
Aaron(Younger Brother)