Thursday, January 16, 2014


Hello beautiful people! One of the most fun and most difficult parts of college is the inconsistency of schedule. (Some people don’t think it’s fun at all, and that is fine, they just have less fun.) I get that. So, this is especially for my small group ladies who, for one reason or another, were unable to join us in small group shenanigans. I am going to begin posting on a weekly basis what we discussed and learned in small group, and you, dearest reader, are welcome to join in the fun.

It is a New Year, a new semester, and the beginning of a new series, of which the first discussion, fittingly, is about being new. This series is about the identity that is found in a relationship with Christ.

Paul wrote to the Roman church in Romans 6:1-4,
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.”

When we discussed what it means to be new, words and phrases like “changing” and “a work in progress” were thrown out. The dictionary application on my telephone (which has been used dramatically less in the past few days due to a sudden decrease in how much I play Boggle since coming back to Bloomington) tells me that new means “being other than the former or old; made or become fresh; different from one of the same category that has existed previously; of dissimilar origin and usually of superior quality.”

When Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come, he did not mean to tell us that being in Christ begins gradually changing us. We are NEW. We are other than what we were. And while my behavior may be slowly changing and a definite work in progress, my person, the core of who I am, is secure in Christ and a new creature. The change was radical and immediate.

Galatians 2:20, which happens to be my favorite verse, says that I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” This is the explanation of what happened to the old creature implied in 2 Corinthians 5:17. It was crucified with Christ. It is dead. There is no turning back. I am irrevocably new, and all by the doing of my loving Savior, Jesus.

I am not new because it’s a New Year or I have started a new diet or a new routine. I am new because Christ has given me new life, a new heart, and a new mind. The pressure isn’t on me. And the pressure isn’t on you.

If you have any questions or things you want to talk about, I’d love to chat. Know that you are loved!

Made new,


Thursday, January 2, 2014

On New Year's Resolutions and 5th Grade Yearbooks

As it is merely the second day of 2014, tons of posts cover social media on the topic of New Year’s resolutions, ranging from “I’m already perfect, so why would I want to change anything?” to “I want to change everything about myself.” Given that the smart people who write books and speak at conferences suggest that successful people set and pursue achievable goals, I’m not sure that either of these extremes is completely healthy. But what I want to address is the same issue that has plagued me since about 5th grade.

The last day of fifth grade, all of the people in my class mingled about in the fifth grade hall area signing the yearbooks of the people you had been in class with for the majority of elementary school and people you had never met before. At a private school of that size, there wasn’t much of an in between. This was the year that people learned that signing yearbooks could be a time to do more than show of your penmanship and super mature looking signature. You could impart wisdom or a heartfelt message to your closest friends and strangers.

And thus, H.A.G.S., the heartfelt wishing of a wonderful break upon every other student. H.A.G.S. on H.A.G.S. So much H.A.G.S. But apart from H.A.G.S. and all its variations, and extended deep into even high school, was the troubling message “Never change.”

This could not have been more bothersome. At the end of every year, I would come home burdened by the curse of my classmates. “Never change.” In reality, their thought process may have looked like this: Jenna is nice. I would like it if she stayed nice.

But my thought process was, as usual, much more impassioned: Never change! What a terrible, evil thing to wish upon someone! Sure, I’ll just not change. No big deal. I’m sure 7th grade Jenna will have great success making friends in high school, getting the grade in college, and landing a job to teach people no less mature than herself. (I blame this curse as the sole reason that I look the same as I did in 8th grade.) And beside all of those practical things, wouldn’t it be great never to be more patient or joyful or gracious? No. I was having none of that. I am still having none of that.

I recognize that change is scary. But scarier is stagnancy. I’m not about just any change. Change is not good for the sake of change. I’m for growth. My trusty dictionary app, which I probably use more than any other proud owner of a dictionary app, says that to grow is “to spring up and develop to maturity.” I want that.

In Christ, I have been made whole and justified in the sight of God, which is reality, and which provides great comfort. As a human, however, I get to experience the frustrations and joys of developing and growing in reflecting this truth and growing in knowledge and wisdom. I want to chase and enjoy these experiences. I want to change, and not just because it’s a new year. I want to be more loving, more understanding, bolder, more well-read, kinder. And I believe that it is okay to be content in the process, so that’s where I choose to live.

For these reasons, I hope you always change. I hope and pray that whatever 2014 brings, whatever your stance on resolutions and goal-making, that this year would not be one void of the change necessary to bring more beauty and meaning to your life. Friends, I hope to love you right where you are at every step of your change.

In process,