jessiehancock

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Is The Noise Driving You Crazy?

Noise. It’s everywhere. So many types and so many causes. We even categorize it into good noise versus bad noise. We like it when it makes us feel a certain way. Sometimes the noise can’t be molded or controlled, it gets to be overwhelming and there’s a tug of war in our minds between all the things we should do, have to do, want to do. So many requests. Time to change the channel. Where’s the one that calms us and makes us feel normal again? That one needs to be programmed as a preset so it’s easy to find.

Station 1: Fun Car Ride, No Kid Arguments.

Station 2: Comforting/Nacham

Station 3: Date Night 80’s Music.

That’s what I’m talkin’ about. I’ll take Station 2 please. Nacham is Hebrew for comfort and I’d like a double serving of that please.

Today I sat on a rock at the botanical garden while my kids played (nicely) and tried to remember the perfect peace I had that one day in the desert. The day that I heard God say “Be still and know that I am”. (Psalm 46:10) One of my favorite days ever. I whisper, “Let me back in, please.” I sat and waited. “God, you are the one that lives in me, not the other one. Can we stay clear and not get separated by the static?” Suddenly, I saw a picture of gale force winds pushing everything sideways with their sheer force. In the middle, I sat undisturbed and He said “don’t worry, you’re with me”. Yes! Sweetest words I ever heard!  Now I’ve got a picture I can hold onto, what it looks like and what it should feel like to be perfectly calm in the eye of the storm.


Why is there a storm? Things are good, we are well and I am blessed. True, but don’t forget that as humans, you and I are subject to the swing of life. It’s back and forth every day, throughout the hours we have to navigate the normal up’s and down’s and if we’re not careful, they can take pieces of us with them. It reminds me of stories we learned as children about good and evil, about believing in the light even when you can’t see it. Neverending Story was one of those movies. The rock monster, the princess, the flying dragon-I love that story. We had to imagine and believe in things we hadn’t seen before. We still have to do that. Every day. What I believe in may not be visible but I know it’s real. “ There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) I am redeemed through my faith so I have nothing to fear. This is freedom and this freedom is peace. Peace over the noise, peace over the storms, peace over the swing that is going to move back and forth every day. This love covers everything. Period.

Breadcrumbs

Following a path of breadcrumbs.

Some of you may be fortunate enough to speak multiple languages, and if you do, you’re probably familiar with the fact that some words lose their value and depth in translation. I’m just now discovering how much more can be gained from scripture when we look at the root of certain words and delve into their original meaning. There is a Hebrew word, tsadiyq, it means “to stay on course, to remain on the path”. Takbulah refers to direction and guidance from God. Before we progress any further though, let me back up and properly introduce you to this story.

You know that feeling you get when you see something that catches your eye, but for one reason or another, it’s just not the right timing? Maybe you don’t want to read about that topic right now, it hits too close to home. Perhaps it’s like cleaning out your garage; a project that you put off until you can stand it no longer and then you wonder why you kept putting it off because once complete, it gives you a sense of satisfaction. For others, it could be a challenge to do something new or different than anything you’ve ever tried before. In my case it was a book.

It sat on the shelf and whispered my name, but I said no. The next time, it said “Jessie, how about now?” Nope, not today. This cycle repeated many times, until one day I was in one of my favorite places, the tall columns of books neatly organized by numbers and letters, aka, the library. It caught my eye and said “how about today?” With a deep breath, I exhaled and said maybe, then lifted it to examine whether this was the right book for right now. Within moments, I knew it was. Excitement gripped me as I saw within a few pages that this book, “Uninvited” by Lysa Terkeurst, contained exactly what I need right now.

This morning, a new chapter shone bright as I recognized the unmistakable feeling of a good breadcrumb. God and I have this thing with breadcrumbs, he leaves them for me in odd places and when I stumble across them, I am wrapped in the sweetest understanding and proof that I’m right where he wants me to be and I’ve encountered one of his signposts.

Sometimes it’s a book, a person, a quote-it differs in form but never in absolute truth and perfection that can only bear his unique signature. It’s like a warm ray of sun that heats your face on a chilly day and gives reassurance that you are going the right way. Yes, breadcrumbs are our language and I’m always on the lookout for them. They are the best kind of present. They say, “good job, you are just right, everything is going as it should, and by the way, I love you more than you’ll ever know. Breadcrumbs are my thing. Do you have your own version of them? Keep your eyes open and pay attention to the little signs that are going to show up for you on your halak, or walk. They always show up.

Turn Your Vision

I learned to be a cynic at a young age and it worsened in my teenage years. In part, it afforded me the appearance of wisdom, when in all actuality, I was just a young, frustrated person who still needed to choose a worldview for herself. Part of me knew I was a downer, stuck in a rut, but there was no clear way out. Do you feel drawn to the people with joy, yet you can’t seem to keep it in your own heart for very long? Our culture will try to persuade you that it has a solution. So many people will tell you what to think, how to act, what to wear but it’s just noise. You’re the only one who can turn the knob to adjust what you’re seeing.

Stop and ask yourself this question: who do you want to be and what does that look like? It’s a timeless question that applies to all ages. The young girl, the teen, the woman. You are constantly growing and reflecting what is inside. Do you like who you are? Are you uplifting to others and do your words come from a place of love? Keep turning the knob of choices until you find the one that speaks to your soul. There you will find what we all crave.

Joy is not a well-kept secret that only the lucky few are privy to. It’s an inside-out sort of thing like the song by Diana Ross that I used to run around singing when I was little. I’m probably dating myself on that one, but oh well! Your joy is something you consciously plug into when you start your day on point.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105 if you want to see where you’re going, you need light to find your way and a guide to get you there. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying ‘this is the way’.” Isiah 30:21

What does your morning look like? What does the ideal version of you look like in terms of quality, character, and in your relationships with others? How can you build fellowship with God into that sliver of time before the world comes calling?

Once Upon A Time

 

Once upon a time…little girls everywhere dreamed of what they would be someday and the amazing lives they would have; full of strong friendships, a sense of self-worth, skills that they used to make a difference, and happiness from living an incredible life. Wait a second-I didn’t say they were sleeping in the backseat of a car with one thin blanket, stomach rumbling from hunger, and wiping tears of frustration and sadness. That’s not the one we all imagined. We want the one that makes us feel good. Ok, here’s how you get it.

What if I told you that by reaching out to the girls just like that one in the car, that we could help and inspire them to become women who would live the first story? It’s obvious that our society has a considerable way to go to level the playing field for women, as seen by the #metoo movement and recent political events.

As the little girl from that scenario in the car, I know personally what it takes to overcome a tough set of circumstances and now it’s my mission to empower girls and women that need inspiration, encouragement, and a little guidance to find their way to a more purposeful life.

As a mom of two girls, I pay close attention to: what they read, watch, listen to, and how much time they spend on media. A healthy life doesn’t just happen without boundaries and good practices. As a former high school counselor, I observed, interacted with, and guided countless teens through the peaks and valleys of adolescence. I also comforted parents and guardians who wanted to learn the best way to love and raise their children. The tools you need to build your story are readily available and I have a few resources that you should check out.

If you want to see a positive change in your life, take a look at the lyrics in the music you’re listening to.

What does it tell you about yourself?

How does it make you feel?

What are your books or magazines doing to nourish your sense of worth?

Are they feeding you and building you up or trying to mold you into something that doesn’t feel right?

What movies do you love and why do they speak to your heart and mind?

Do you look at your phone when you’re with other people?

What is that saying to them about their value to you?

Right now, do three things that will make a difference in your life.

  1. Go to https://www.proverbs31.org/ and sign-up for the daily email. It’s so encouraging!
  2. Bake or buy something for a friend and surprise them with it.
  3. Make a list of things you want in your life and then start breaking it down into steps. What are the obstacles? How can you get around them? Who can you reach out to for help?

I promise that a life worth telling stories about it possible when you take a good look at where you’ve been, where you are, and where you want to go. Now ask God to lead you and be prepared for amazing things to happen. Tell me about the first step you are going to take today, I want to hear from my warriors in training out there!

Creating a Better World

 

What do we want our kids to appreciate in life? Is it the value of a dollar? The importance of community? So many good choices, but two things stand out to me—to recognize their blessings and to always give back to others. It’s easy to tell them to be good people, that we want them to put their faith into action, yet more important is how can we regularly practice this with them. My husband and I love traveling with our daughters to discover new places and yet, we usually plan a trip where the agenda will entertain and satisfy our own needs.

Instead, what if we made it a priority to include philanthropy in each trip that we take? This feels like something we could get behind. I started researching family volunteering and travel and found a plethora of websites offering travel destinations with a purpose. It all sounds very exciting, yet overwhelming! Now what? Perhaps the search needs to be more specific?

“Every day God invites us on the same kind of adventure. It’s not a trip where He sends us a rigid itinerary, He simply invites us. God asks what it is He’s made us to love, what it is that captures our attention, what feeds that deep indescribable need of our souls to experience the richness of the world He made. And then, leaning over us, He whispers, “Let’s go do that together.” —Bob Goff

Then I came across this article, The Reality Of Voluntourism And The Conversations We’re Not Having, by Natalie Jesionka, which gave me a starting point. Her message is educational and thought-provoking. It reminds us to carefully investigate what we want to do and ask ourselves, how are we able to truly serve others in a way that helps them most effectively, instead of just scratching an itch for our own altruism? What if we could creatively combine our efforts with others taking action to build a better world for everyone?

A few names come to mind when I think of charitable nonprofits that offer travel options. We tremendously respect the way Love Does works to fight for human rights and providing education to children in conflict zones around the world. Bob Goff is the founder and his message “Only action becomes love.” is inspiring and his organization, Love Does, is making a tangible difference in the world.

Jesus Film Project is another group that I’m excited about. They spread the gospel to people worldwide by showing the Jesus Film in the heart languages of many nations.

How do you connect with one of these organizations? Start at their website and then narrow it down by country, by the type of activity, or the duration of the stay. The budget also plays a part in the equation. Regardless of the circumstances, there is something for everyone and it’s just a matter of doing some research and replacing our original idea of what travel is about with a new definition, one that is even bigger and better on an eternal scale.

What excites us the most is that we can do something to contribute to other people’s well-being while we’re nurturing ourselves, and amazingly, the giving will bring its own rewards. If our girls grow up doing this, it will become engraved in their hearts and they will become more compassionate people, not just well-traveled. This means the world to my husband and me!

Have you done a volunteer vacation? I’d love to hear about your experiences and get recommendations so we can start planning our next adventure.