Image

Heart for the Homeless Pt. 1

Hello! So I could give a whole explanation about why it’s been forever since I’ve posted, and I could try to promise to keep up a regular schedule from now on but I won’t. Let’s be real I can’t promise that even if I wanted to, so I’m just going to focus on this series of three posts for now. (P.S. I FINALLY GRADUATED SO I HAVE MORE TIME FOR FUN THINGS LIKE THIS BLOG)

Today I want to share about one of the best things that God has ever let happen to me. It’s been a story I’ve been wanting to tell for four years and I truly don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write it all down. These series of events have shaped my entire testimony, and without this story and the people in it I would not be the person I am today. Hopefully I can remember all the details but when I think about these events it’s like they happened yesterday so I should be fine. So here’s part one of this story. Look for the next part soon.

********************************************************************

When I was in 8th grade, my youth choir traveled to Poughkeepsie, New York for our summer mission trip. Since I was in one of the small ensembles, I went with my group to sing at a place called The Lunch Box. This is a place that provides a free lunch and dinner to people from all over the city who are in need of food. Before we sang, we served lunch to the men and women that came there and I was not very happy about doing it. I was uncomfortable and socially awkward and all I wanted to do was run away because serving food meant talking to a bunch of strangers. However, I made it through that and it was finally time to sing. I assumed it would just be a regular concert where a few people would listen to be polite and some might even would be invested in what we were singing, the rest wouldn’t care, and we would be out of there without any abnormalities. For the most part, I was right but I was also very wrong.

There was one thing I didn’t expect. We were singing one of the songs that our large choir normally would sing called “Someone Worth Dying For”.  If  I was being honest, it wasn’t my absolute favorite song but I thought it was pretty good and thought it had a sweet message. Looking back, it’s one of the most perfect songs to sing in front of a group like that. Towards the end of the song, I looked up to see a woman crying a few tables down from where I was standing and there was a man with her trying to console her best as he could. I knew they had both been moved by the words we were singing. As soon as I looked up and saw her I felt a prompting I was not prepared for. God wanted me to break away from the group (which was definitely not technically allowed) and go hug this woman. Me. The little socially awkward, scared 8th grader who hated to do anything that made people look at her, was supposed to go hug a complete stranger in front of a group of complete strangers. I tried to fight it. To be fair I put up a pretty good fight but there was no denying what I needed to do. So I did it. My heart was pounding and I was terrified that she would reject my hug and I would be totally embarrassed but I did it. As I walked away from the group and I could hear the sound of my friends behind me trying to figure out what the heck I was doing, and I could feel the eyes of everyone in the room looking at me. The amazing thing is, as soon as she and I hugged I knew I had made one of the best decisions of my life. I would also soon find out that I had just met one of the most incredible people ever.

After that, I went back to my place in the choir, we continued singing, and we finished the concert. As soon as we were done, she came up to me and gave me another huge hug and then hugged my best friend, Liv, standing next to me. She told us that what we had done had really blessed and spoke to her and that she was going to try to come to our large group’s concert that night in the building’s auditorium. I was ecstatic because that meant I was going to get to talk to her more plus introduce her to my mom and all my other friends. So, we said our goodbyes and both left feeling way better than we did when we came. Unfortunately, as soon as I left I realized I didn’t catch her name.

I spent the rest of the day telling all my friends about what happened. I was both excited about the concert that night but also worried that she night not show up which would mean I would never see her again to find out her name. My friends spent the day reminding me that what’s supposed to happen is going to happen and if she was meant to be at the concert she would be. I knew they were right but of course I wanted her to be there so bad that it was hard to trust that God was going to work everything out. Finally, it was time for the concert and I spent all the time during soundcheck and the break before looking at the doors so that I would see exactly when she walked in. When my friends went to the bathroom they said they may have seen someone that looked like the woman I had described but she had her daughter with her so I wasn’t sure if they had really seen her. She didn’t come in before the concert started and at that point I was pretty sad but I had come to terms with the idea that we had both been blessed by that small interaction and that was all we needed. I was just ready to have a great night. To my surprise, she and her family walked in during one of the first songs and I remember looking at my friends with pure excitement trying to get them to see what I saw. Part of the way through her boyfriend left, and I later found out it was so he could get back to the place he stayed during the nights. I was sad he had to leave but I was just content with the fact that the whole family had gotten to come at all. After the concert, I immediately dragged my friends over to talk to her and it was a blast. I found out her name. It was Bridget. I also got to know her two kids. I found out more of her story, introduced her to my mom, and we took a really fantastic picture. It’s a day I will never forget.

IMG_1875

The next few days, we went back to The Lunch Box one or two more times and I talked to Bridget and Michael and my mom got to even meet him too. I no longer dreaded going to serve at The Lunch Box. I valued my time there. One of the days, Bridget told me that after our concert her little girl just got down on her knees prayed on the stairs at the place that she and her kids stayed. I honestly thought that was one of the sweetest things I had ever heard. On our last night in Poughkeepsie, we sang in Hyde Park by the river. Bridget and her kids came to one final concert and we had an awesome time talking and chasing her kids around so that we could take good pictures.

At the end of the night, my friends and I ran off the stage as fast as we could so we could maximize our time with her before we said goodbye. There were lots of tears all around but it was a beautiful few minutes. When some of our older friends saw what was happening, they came and asked to pray with all of us so we did that too.

IMG_1953

Finally, we said goodbye for the last time. My mom got her cell number and we promised to keep in touch. At last, we figured we had kept the bus waiting long enough so we left. I was one of the last on the bus and as we pulled away I looked back at her one last time. I cried all the way back to the hotel. Someone on the bus asked me if they were happy or sad tears. I said they were both.

Bridget told me that I blessed her and that what I did saved her life. I’ll take her word for it. Honestly, it was all God. I never would have gone up and hugged her on my own. That’s not really my style. God orchestrated everything about that situation perfectly. He distributed blessings all around. I have learned the power of God’s promptings and getting out of my comfort zone and the blessings that come when I follow his will. This story is the ultimate reminder of God’s faithfulness. I’ve seen how a reminder of his love can change someone’s path forever and how they will affect others around them. I met one of the greatest women in the world because God put us in the same place at the same time. She left me with words of wisdom that I will carry with me forever. So yes, what God did through me and my friends blessed her but she and her family blessed us as well.

Thank you Bridget. I love you.

This Week’s Video: HERE

 

Advertisements
Image

Let’s Talk About…Politics (Not Really)

Hey! I’m back! I took a little longer off than I expected off due to unforeseen circumstances (I broke my computer, school, illness, etc.) Anyway, I’m here now and I’m ready to get back to the poetry stuff and the blog stuff. *I really hope to get back to a consistent schedule too.*

Since the last time I posted it’s been New Years Day, Valentines Day, and a bunch of other days. One of the most memorable days this year is the U.S.A. inauguration day, but I’ll get to the politics part in a minute. Since I’ve been gone for so long, I wanted to touch on something that I was planning to post about in January. (See above for reasons why it didn’t happen) I’ll probably talk about it more in depth next post, but I wanted to tell you guys what my New Year’s resolution was…I’M READING THROUGH THE ENTIRE BIBLE IN A YEAR! So far it’s been going pretty great and I’m loving doing it. I highly recommend starting a bible reading challenge if you have never tried one.

Now to the politics stuff…sorta. The title of this post is “Let’s Talk About Politics”, but today’s thoughts are only inspired by the current U.S.A. political situation. Today, I want to talk about how we should treat the authority in our lives. All this applies to any sort of leadership in our lives, but my main focus today is political leaders.

There are a lot of very strong opinions about the political discourse in the United States currently. Especially about President Trump. There have been riots, petitions, and anything you can think of that people are using as a way to get their opinions about the United States leadership heard. I fully believe in the freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to express their beliefs peacefully and respectfully, but when it goes past peaceful and respectful there is a problem. No one has the right to be disrespectful to the people who have been appointed as leadership over them. Something I saw that made me really angry was #notmypresident because it shows a blatant disrespect for the authority God appointed over the country. And yes, God appointed President Trump as the leader. Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” There is a reason that person who is in power has that position, and we have no idea how God can and will use them during there time in power. You don’t have to love everything your authority says, does, or believes in. However, you do have to respect their laws and rules, if they are reasonable. In the end they are doing what they believe is best for the people they are leading. God can use our leaders to influence entire populations. We don’t want to hinder what God is trying to do through them by shaming or refusing to follow them. Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

The question is…How can we help our leaders if we want them to lead their people to God? We should pray for our authority, every single day. That is how we can best help them. If we are fairly certain that they are not Christ-followers, then we should pray that God uses the Christians they encounter to point them towards the Lord. We can pray that the Lord will work in their lives, and that they accept him and use his guidance to lead their country to God. Whether they are Christians or Non-Christians we can pray that the Christ-followers in power along side them can help them to seek the Lord’s guidance. Pray that they will listen to promptings from God when they are making decisions. If your country elects leaders pray that strong, Godly people are elected into positions of power. Pray that your leaders will turn entire populations back to God.

That all being said, if the person in charge does or tries to make you do things that go against God’s commandments, follow God. Acts 5:29 says, “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”” God is in control of who he puts in leadership, but we are in control of whether we stand up when we see our leaders pointing us away from Christ. If going against our earthly authority leads to a furthering of God’s kingdom, then by all means we should do what God is commanding us to do. Take for example countries that ban Christianity and/or the Bible. Many missionaries sneak into those countries regularly to give Bible and preach about the gospel to people who aren’t allowed by their earthly authority to learn about God. They may be breaking the law, but they are doing what is favorable in God’s eyes. They risk everything to get the word of God out into the world, but they will be rewarded for it in eternity. Even Jesus did this during his time on Earth. He was hung on a cross for breaking the rules set in place by the religious authorities, but he did nothing wrong in God’s eyes. We can have a healthy respect for all the authority put in place to rule over us, but I also believe that sometimes God puts ungodly authority in place to see if his people will rise up and stand up for what is right in his eyes. Just remember, even when we do this, it is a respectful disobedience driven by a righteous anger for the sinful things done by the authority. We don’t get to disobey just for the sake of rebelling.

I want to encourage you to be supportive of those who lead you. I pray that we will all remember who appointed them there, and that we will pray that God will use them to further his kingdom, with God’s guidance their leadership could lead entire populations to Christ.  My challenge for you guys as well as myself is to pray for our leadership consistently, particularly the leaders of our countries. The more we pray the more God works and that’s really awesome. I also pray that we will stand up for what is right and Godly in a world full of wrong. I want to encourage those of you who are under leadership or in a place that tries to keep you from following God. Always remember God is your highest authority, and he is always working for the good of his children. So, stand up for your faith and follow God every step of the way.

Also, I have two recommendations. The first is the book God’s Smuggler. It is a true story about the journey of an Undercover missionary, like the ones I was talking about earlier. My second recommendation is for those who are interested in becoming the Godly leaders of the next generation. Check out Student Leadership University. They are super invested in developing the next generation of leaders. and it’s an awesome experience

Thank you guys for reading! It truly means a lot. I’m so thankful for the opportunity I have to create my Spoken Words { don’t forget to check out today’s video 😉 } and blog posts. I love you all very much.

-Jess

Bible Verses about Respecting Authority

  • Romans 13:2-5
  • Titus 3:1
  • 1 Peter 2:18
  • Matthew 28:18

This Week’s Spoken Word: HERE 

Image

God’s Love Wins

{This Spoken Word is the first one I ever wrote and super excited to finally do something with it. I wrote it over a year ago right after the new law about gay marriage was passed. However, it is important to note that it’s not the focus of the Spoken Word. I wanted to write a poem that put perspective on what love should actually be, not what is shown in culture and media.}

 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” – 1 John 4:8

God is Love

God displays his love in an uncountable number of ways. God shows his love by comforting us in times of hardship. He provides us with people and things that bring us joy everyday. He created this entire earth for us to live on. Jesus healed the sick and even cast out demons. These are just a few of his ways that he has shown his love over the ages. I think the most memorable is God sending his only son to die on a cross. He loved us so much that he allowed his perfect son to die so that we wouldn’t have to. Often, I see movies or read about all the torture that Jesus went through then. It’s hard to imagine that that could be me, if he hadn’t had died for me. Along with all that, God is creating a place or us to live with him, in peace, for eternity. He loves us and wants us to have a relationship with him forever.

The culture would like to convince you that love is just and emotion or a feeling that comes and goes. Love is treated like something that can be thrown around. When we really stop to look at what God has to say about love, it is abundantly clear that love is something you choose. Jesus chose to fulfill our debts.Sometimes people will say that if you really love someone, you would take a bullet for them. That’s exactly what Christ did. He endured so much pain for something he didn’t even do, because he loves us so much. He didn’t want us to have to endure it ourselves. We get to choose to follow him. We were given a free will, so that we could choose to love God. He didn’t want us to be robots who worshiped and loved him because he forced us to. However, if we know that Jesus did all this for us, then why would we not want to follow him. We love him because he first loved us. It’s not the opposite. He still loves us even when we deny him. We love him, because he saved us.

It is up to us to create a loving relationship with God. he never leaves us. Just like with anyone you love, you have to spend quality time with God to get to know him.

It is the job of those of us who love him to share the joy we have gotten from experiencing his love. If you are a follower of Christ, it is up to you to spread the word of God to those we may not have the opportunity to hear his word regularly. (1 John 3:16-18) You may have heard about or seen the video The Gift of A BibleIn this video an atheist asks, “How much do you have to hate someone, not to tell them about God.” As Christians we are to hate no one and love everyone. We show our love for people by going out and providing support and telling them about God, so they can feel his love firsthand. Often, without us many people will never hear the name Jesus. I encourage you to look at the people you are around every day. Think of the people you love. If you love them and you want them to spend eternity surrounded by God’s love ,share the word of God with them. Help to change their definition of love.

I’m praying for you all this week and I ask that you do the same for me. Pray that you and I will have the courage to spread God’s love daily, whether that be by being kind to someone or telling them the story about how much God loves every singe one of us.

-Jess

Bible Verses about Love

  • Mark 12:31
  • 1 Corinthians 13:13
  • 1 Peter 4:8
  • John 15:13 (my favorite verse)
  • Matthew 22:37-39
  • 1 John 3:1

{I want to thank you all for helping me make the start of Trust and Belief a success. All the support I have gotten means the world to me. I’m very thankful that I have the opportunity to do all of this. I can’t wait to see where this goes in the future.}

This week’s Spoken Word: HERE