About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
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  1. Jen,
    I’m an NC girl too, and I know that of which you speak when the bread and milk has been ransacked. We know full well that the ice and snow will last for a few days during which there will be gridlock (because it’s the South), but then the temps will return to normal and we’ll be stuck with a whole mess of milk and bread to eat lol. All kidding aside, I think that when I look at a new year, I get these grandiose ideas in my head…that whatever I do it has to be notable, major, worthy of praise. God doesn’t call us to win the race, He simply calls us to run the race with perseverance. I, most likely, will not be a theologian by year’s end, but like you so beautifully pointed out, if I take a verse each day to meditate on. If I read segments of scripture that start my day focused on what is pure, and lovely, and true, then I’m headed in the right direction. God knows most of us aren’t “long jumpers”, but He knows that in His strength, we can take baby steps toward Him. As long as we’re headed toward Him, that is good. As for all the other goals….I need to be realistic. I may not be 30 lbs lighter by year’s end or have flat abs, but I can work at taking better care of the temple that God has given me. Your attic may not be spotless, but perhaps a corner may get cleared of unwanted clutter. One step at a time…

  2. Oh my goodness…….Were you peeking into my window 2 weeks ago?!?!! Still “hung over” from Christmas (and I mean from the mad, crazy dash to get the Christmas cards addressed and mailed, house clean, tree up, decorations out, stockings hung, shopping done & presents wrapped, grocery shopping, cooking/baking/clean-ing up AGAIN, etc. etc. while working full time and helping with my 85 year old daddy – kind of hang over!) Whew! I live in GA, where we too have that “milk/bread/toilet paper run” when the weather calls for snow/ice/low temps! I had lovely visions of quiet, peaceful days home from work, lounging by the fire with MY cup of hot chocolate, leftover goodies and my Kindle! No matter that MY Christmas decorations were stacked in a corner, ready for the attic – “And yes, y’all! I AM going to clean some stuff out before I put this all THIS stuff back up!” is my vow I make to my husband – Every. Single. Year. (I’m so glad I’m not alone!) Get ready for a brand, spanking new year? Uh- No….not ready!!!! But wow – what a wonderful lesson in getting my mind and heart ready to focus on the one thing I need more than ANYTHING…..God. Getting back into His word. Hiding those words in my heart. Applying those truths to my daily life. Living for Him. Thank you, Jennifer! Be blessed today and remember – We’ll be ready for NEXT Christmas!!…(I hope… 🙂

  3. Thank you for your honesty! I am right there with you. My big success this morning was putting my laundry away from a week long trip. Baby Steps for sure. Struggling with the todo list that does not excite me. I have done the 17 day diet and it does take preparation. So does this thing called life and all the seasons it gives us. I am taking your encouraging words and I am going to start the day but doing my bible study and hanging with God for a bit. Todo list can wait!

  4. Your sentiments about takings baby steps so resonated with me as I know 2017 will bring lots of changes for my family. To lean hard on Gods word and His promises …..It’s what I desire……

    I live up in Canada in the frozen north where nothing shuts down even in -45F degree weather….builds character! Lol


  5. I am right with you! I had a little motivation at the start of the New Year, but mostly find myself feeling tired and overwhelmed (and guilty). I have some ideas of what my goals should be, but just feel kind of stuck. I feel like God gave me a word for this year which provides a little direction, but feel so behind in general. I love the holidays and we purposely stretch them out into the first week or so of January, but now I just want to clean everything up. I know (and have been reminded) that all we need to focus on and do is “the next right step”. I pray that we will all rely on His strength to move forward intentionally and with conviction, even if it’s just one baby step at a time.

    Thanks for sharing so openly.

  6. Hi Jen, I’m south of you in Georgia, the milk rush was on for us too. I was south of Atlanta, and got nothing. Actually, I was snowed in once for 3 days in 15 years. I can sympathize days running together, lounging and leftovers. I have had my word for 2017, wisdom and at almost to the end of a 21 day fast. It is so much easier with His help. No right or wrong, just give up something, a meal, a dessert, some social media. God bless.

  7. Jennifer,

    Wow! It’s a new year with hopes & dreams of starting fresh. I started this new year with a cold-got it Dec. 26. I finally went to the doctor and got meds. Finally feel decent enough to try exercising some. I live next to you in Upper East TN. We had a snow day. It snowed almost all day-about 3-4 inches. Like you a lot of people here don’t or won’t drive in snow. Fortunately I was able to get down my steep hill and go see my 91 yr. old dad. Crazy thing is now the temps are in the 60s in January.

    This year I’m working harder on memorizing some scriptures. Just take one and work on it. Then another–baby steps. This is not a timed test or a race against others. It is a steady paced race & God is pleased with all the work we put in. God is looking for transformed lives that can defeat the devil. Put on the full armor of God daily and let Him do the work in our lives.

    Praying the ice storm melts soon and you can get out again!

    Blessings 🙂

    • “This year I’m working harder on memorizing some scriptures. Just take one and work on it. Then another–baby steps. This is not a timed test or a race against others. It is a steady paced race & God is pleased with all the work we put in. ”

      Love this, Beth. I’ve printed a few scripture memory cards to work on too. We can do it together. 🙂

  8. Jennifer, this was a welcome and comforting post today 🙂 I praise our Lord for this as He has been working a deep healing in me that is agonizing, taking all of my faith and trust and perseverance. Its in these times that this encouragement bring incouragement, that I can say with more confidence “Jesus, I trust in you” and keep going when I feel like I shake inside. How good our Savior is to meet our needs in these ways, when the baby steps are meant to help ease and yet are hard.

    I understand the ice and snow having lived in MI and MD. I pray that you and your family stay safe and are cozy warm in the comfort of His grace on these baby step days 🙂 May we all run the race with perseverance, take each moment of joy with our Savior Jesus with delight and praise 🙂

  9. Hi Jen,
    Another NC resident here!! Winter storms slows the pace so I am okay with them when they come one or twice every other year. I can relate especially the declutter promise …mine 6 years running. So whenever I mention to my family my intentions all they do is nod in agreement. Some thing always happens, comes up and stops or disrupts my attempt. Friends, family need my help or a listening ear, attendance to family milestone events, and finally unexpected long work hours. Life happened! So one of my words for 2017 is Effort. Make every effort to continually grow spiritually..reading daily devotionals, prayer and listening carefully for that still small voice of the Father. Make an effort to stay connected to all I know and newly meet. And finally make every effort to get that declutter list to shrink one item at a time until it’s completed even if it takes me till this time in 2018.