Well, here we are…or rather here I am. Today is the day I turn 35. I awoke with a heavy heart this morning. A heavy heart for friends who are hurting to the core of who they are, a baby who is fighting for her life, even pets of friends who are very sick. The effects of sin and its curse are screaming–and my body is showing it too.
Usually on birthdays I pop out of bed excited for the day ahead–not so much today. Romans 12:2 tells us to not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds. That is where I had to start this morning–with the basics of thankfulness and the life giving truth of God. So, here are 35 things that I am thankful for:
1. God the Father drawing me to Himself and giving me life in Jesus Christ who conquered sin and death by being resurrected from the dead.
2. The things listed above are the effects of the curse of sin, but these are conquered through Christ and the full promise will be revealed when He establishes the new earth. Those lost babies will be reunited in life with parents. Those tears shed for infertility will be dried and we will be overwhelmed with the joy of being with Him and living fully. Hopefully, those beloved pets will run with us as we enjoy the Father.
3. God has given those who are in Christ everything we need for life and godliness.
4. I am so grateful for the body of Christ and how they work together and encourage one another on this journey.
5. So thankful for deep rich friendships. Those who know me know I love to have fun—but I also love to go deep. We are made to encourage and challenge one another–and I am thankful for friends and family who enrich me!
6. So thankful for my husband—the way that God has sharpened and changed each of us through our union together. I love that we can laugh together and enjoy one another.
7. Thankful me and said husband got away last week to the beach for the first vacation together in a long while.
8. So thankful for the opportunity to love and walk with young women with the truth and love of Christ. I am so blessed by what I do everyday.
9. Blessed by what I have learned by prepping curriculum for WDC and learning as I teach.
10. So grateful for the time to paint and the growth in creativity through this year. Here are a few of the paintings from the last few months.
11. I have heard that once a woman reaches a certain age, she begins to grow in a new confidence. I can feel that in me just in the last few months. I am thankful for more gray hair and the wisdom that God brings through the trials of life.
12. I am thankful for fun and creativity–I was obsessed with these birds that my aunt had at her house and posed them in pics throughout her house last week. There is a playfulness in life that I am grateful for. Is that not fun?
13. So thankful for Fripp Island where we went last week–actually so thankful for my aunt and uncle’s generosity in letting us go! I have been going to fripp for 28 years. It is more home to me than any other place. (Further blog to follow) Here are some pics of last week…
14. Our church…I cannot explain the numerous ways we are blessed through this group of people–the heart of leadership–I am so thankful. God’s in charge, but I cannot imagine being any place else.
15. My family…young and old…history and future. I am blessed. Here is a pic of last year’s birthday lunch with part of the women in my family.
16. The many college students who have gone through Crossroad and Fellowship Church. Last night marked another year end for Crossroad–year 7 is over. I got very emotional. It is wonderful to know and pour into college students and young adults. It is bittersweet to see them leave and sprout their wings–so good to see maturity–but I look forward to a time for eternity to be together.
17. Times this year to get away with WDC girls…Such a blessing.
18. Time to read at my favorite place last week. I know, true JP fashion reading about sin at the beach.
19. I am grateful for nature and the way it speaks to God’s creativity, beauty and a tiny speck of His glory. Here is time at the beach enjoying the view and reflecting.
20. My dog–these are not necessarily in order. I love to snuggle with her–she’s my baby.
21. New additions to life this year–including precious Lilly Claire and Davis Winn, Andrew Parker, and Emily Hull. The baby boom for friends continue to grow with soon to be Alex Stooksbury! Casey hopes sooner than later.
22. I am so grateful for people who have shared that this blog has encouraged them or challenged them to go deeper in Christ. Just had a conversation last weekend with a woman who encouraged me in that. I am thankful that God brings fruit from pain and has a purpose in ALL things. Let me know if you are a regular reader!
23. Thankful for the fruit of ministry as I see more and more women–and hear of more and more women who are growing in the truth and hope and joy of the truth of the gospel. God is so faithful to multiply!
24. Thankful for spring—can I get an amen?
25. Thankful for the many people who have told me personally they are praying for me. I am so blessed, and God is so faithful to lay us on the hearts of people we do not even know need prayer.
26-35. I am thankful that God renews my mind by thinking on His truth and living in His hope. I do not know the future, but I do know there are numerous ways He is going to work in this 36th year of life.
Let’s just call this my birthday dance!
Last but not least, thank you to my Momma, who at 38 was surprised by my entrance into the world. She has been so encouraging to me this past year and as I continue to grow as a woman…
5 thoughts on “35 and counting”
Jen, I love you. I read your blog. I am encouraged by not only your blog but your life and testimony to Christ. Thank you for being such a huge part of my and Zach’s life. Happy Birthday – wish we could be there to celebrate you!!!
I have to admit that I enjoy your posts, too. So much wisdom and insight…yet so real, raw, funny, and gutsy! I love your broad range of topics covered but most especially how they ultimately point back to our Father in heaven!
I know that your decision to be transparent with your faith journey has blessed many of your readers and is a wonderful legacy for Christ. To be able to look back and see how He has loved, redeemed, lavished, equipped, provided for, encouraged, comforted, carried, wept, and has been with you as you all the days of your life is
a splendid birthday gift indeed!
Wow…I love your paintings – especially the one above the guitar! I am barely able to draw stick figures (think hangman)! Ha!
I am amazed and humbled to learn of the fruit
you bear for Christ! Praying for many more Son-
filled years ahead!
What a cute post! I regularly read your encouraging blog and love your tender words! Happy birthday and I do pray 36 is fabulous! (P.S. I love Crossroad and wish it wasn’t over this year yet either!)
You are such a blessing and encouragement to me! Thank you!!!! 🙂 Love you much.
I am a regular reader too. I am thankful for you….your presence in my, Jacob’s, and our children’s lives. I am thankful for the tender, compassionate, honest, sincere, and passionate spirit that God has given you and how you share with us. Love you!