Seed To Sequoia

Y’all I have the most amazing news! I just want to scream it from the rooftops! I was hired to be a staff member at an awesome ministry!

I am so overwhelmed and thrilled. I found out about an hour ago. I keep crying– flowing tears of joy and thankfulness!

I graduated in December and I haven’t had luck with any of the jobs that I’ve applied for (and I’ve applied for a bunch). I’ve been interviewed a few times but haven’t had any callbacks. (These were all jobs related to my degree.) I wasn’t sure if this was the path for me just yet.

In the midst of all this, however, I had applied for this ministry position. Back in September of 2017, I started feeling like maybe I needed to go out and participate in the Great Commission– to be a Fisher of Men, to spread God’s Word and love around. I kept thinking about it for a few months, but I wasn’t sure exactly which way to go. In January, a new friend of mine posted about this opportunity, asking for us to reach out if we were interested. I went back and forth about it for about a week or so, nervous to reach out. Finally, with a few seconds of boldness that only comes from the Good Lord, I sent her a message. Within the next few days, we met up and discussed it and I applied. All I could do from that point was wait and pray.

I prayed about this over and over. I asked God that if this was His will for me and my life, that I would be chosen. Earlier in March, I received a message from the director asking me to set up an interview. I picked the soonest times and two days later interviewed. He said I would hear from him again soon. Everything sounded promising but still, not definite. Waited again.

Almost two weeks had passed without a word until earlier. I was lying in bed, trying to go to sleep early because I wanted to go to the gym in the morning. My phone buzzed, text message buzz (most people don’t text me late at night) and I rolled over to check it. It was my sweet friend asking me to check Facebook (where I would be informed that I was, in fact, hired). I flung my quilt off and flew to my mom’s room to tell her, scaring my dozing cats in the process. I started crying. And I still am.

I don’t know about you, but when I get that confirmation from God about something in my life, I feel so incredibly overwhelmed– but in a beautiful way. I just feel filled with love and hope and excitement. I asked God for this. I asked Him to show me His will in this area (and all others, still waiting on those) but specifically, in this moment, this opportunity. And He did. I’m so honored and just unbelieving that I will be doing this– and doing it for Him!

When I talked about obedience, I told you I thought I would have exciting news soon. Well, here it is. I waited. I went through my 40 {plus a few) days. I don’t think I can relay exactly how I feel right now. Blessed. Overwhelmingly blessed.

My message to you sweet friends is not to give up. This could be day 7 or day 40. Keep on walking. Keep on praying. Keep on trusting in our Heavenly Father. He will direct your steps but you have to keep your feet moving.

I’m so excited for this new season and opportunity. Thank you, Jesus. Thank you thank you thank you.


Walk In Obedience

In January, I felt God lay something on my heart. I felt Him nudge me to give up social media for a while. I kept going back and forth about it, unsure, since I’ve been using social media as part of my ministry. Lent was coming up and I was trying to decide what I should give up this year. (I usually give up food-related items.) However, the purpose of Lent is to replace what you’ve given up with time spent with the Lord. Thinking about that, I chose to give up social media for Lent.

I’m not going to lie, it has been strange. At first, I kept opening my phone to check my accounts– then I realized the apps were deleted. When I was in social settings, when someone else would start using their phone, I would pick mine up out of habit, then realize I didn’t have any reason to use it. I started noticing how often I would have used it. And I started noticing how often others used their phones.

I also began to recognize the weight lifted off of me. I wasn’t comparing myself to others as much as before. (I have an incredibly bad habit of comparing myself to others.) Social media makes it so easy for us to get caught in the trap of comparison that the devil lays. And I have been one of the easiest to catch. Giving up social media has made me feel lighter.

I’m thankful for this break. I’ve been in such a weird season of my life– this has done a great deal for me so far. I was reading a devotion on my First 5 app about Ruth, and it talks about how in life we have “long nows.” A long now is between where we used to be and where we want to be. In times like this, our flesh wants us to run but God wants us to wait. I’m delighting in my waiting.

When God asks you to do something, He has a reason behind it. I’m not sure what God is planning, but I’m being obedient. I’m excited to see what He’s going to do.


love love love

I don’t know about you guys, but I LOVE love. Love is the greatest. [1 Corinthians 13:13] And I just wanted to speak some encouragement to you guys today (and for me too).

Let me start off by saying that I am, in fact, a single lady. Being single isn’t an issue for me. I’ve been through several seasons of singleness; I don’t mind being on my own. I’m pretty used to it. However, that does not mean I don’t get lonely sometimes or wish that I had a significant other, because I do– but I want real, God-fearing, forever and ever love. I don’t want someone just to have someone, that’s not who I am. And sometimes I sit here and see all my beautiful friends building their lives together and I quietly say, “Okay God, where is my spouse?” I picture Him just shaking His head and smiling to himself saying, “Jessica, just be patient.”

God loves you. And God has someone out there for you. You see, He created Adam but realized Adam was missing something, so then He created Eve. As Adam was working for the Lord, God thought, “He needs a suitable helper.” [Genesis 2:20] But before bringing him a spouse, Adam served the Lord. All of Adam’s focus was on God and serving Him. Adam didn’t go to God and ask Him about having a partner– He just did what God called him to do and God filled in the rest. God knew Adam’s need like He knows ours.

Sometimes we get caught up in not having our Adam or Eve and we forget to focus on what is most important– our God. I know we do, I’m guilty of it myself. I want to meet my soulmate so badly. I pray for my future husband all the time; I ask God to please bring him to me. But I have to take a step back and remember that I’m more than someone’s girl, I am God’s daughter.

So if you’re feeling lonely or wondering where your person is, they are coming. Just remember to live your life for God’s glory. Focus on what He has called you to do, who He has called you to be. [Deuteronomy 11:13-14] When the time comes, you will meet the one.

With love and grace, Happy New Year! (It’s still January so I can still say this.)

It Is Well

I started this blog in the spring of this year to help me not only remind myself of what I’ve been learning, but to also help others out there that may be experiencing the same trials.

This was a life-changing year for me. I started the year believing it would end in a certain way, having my plans all laid out. Nothing that I planned in the beginning happened– in fact, the exact opposite happened.

The relationship I was in ended– I definitely didn’t see that coming. It truly broke my heart. And as much as it hurt, and sometimes still does, I am so thankful that it happened. If you ever read this, I told you before, but thank you. By having my heart broken, God had a place to heal me. God is always with us, no matter where we are. But the place where He does the most molding in the lowest places, the darkest places, the broken places. (Psalm 34:18) (2 Corinthians 4:6-15) (John 15)

[“The Unmaking” by Nichole Nordeman resonated strongly with me this year. I recommend you to give it a listen if you’re going through a tough season.]

I always said that I loved God. I always said that He loved me too. But I don’t think I truly knew what His love was until this year. I needed Him, more than any other time before. He loved on me a whole lot extra this year. And I felt His presence an incredible amount this year. And I watched Him move in my life. I am closer to Him than ever before.

He had a wiped blank slate to start with and He has been molding me into the person He created me to be. I can’t wait to continue getting to know her.

He blessed me. I graduated from college. I enjoyed my final semester more than any other semester. I had my own solo exhibition. I grew.

I always enjoy looking back over periods of time. I do it constantly– time amazes me. Change amazes me. God amazes me.

I thank God for pruning me.
I thank God for the wonderful people that have come in and out of my life this year.
I thank God for empowering me.
I thank God for the boldness I gained.
I thank God for increasing my faith.
I thank God for loving me unconditionally.
I thank God for healing what was broken.
I thank God for the memories I will always cherish.
I thank God for the lessons learned.
I thank God for the love I received.
I thank God for the love I gave.
I thank God for my soulmate (I don’t know who you are yet, but I can’t wait to meet you).
I thank God for my family and my friends.
I thank God for protection.
I thank God for making a way for me.
I thank God for all the promises He has in store for me.
I thank God for another year to glorify Him.
I thank God for everything. Every single thing.

Things To Keep In 2018
– Lamentations 3:22 – 24
– Isaiah 54:10
– John 3:16 – 17
– Psalm 86:5
– Jeremiah 1:4 – 5
– Psalm 46:10
– Philippians 4:6 – 7
– John 14:27

Things To Let Go Of In 2018
– Ephesians 4:31 – 32
– 1 Peter 5:7
– Matthew 11:28

Things To Remember: 
– Proverbs 24:16
– 1 John 1:9
– James 3:2
– Philippians 3:12
– Romans 8:28 (personal favorite)

I have no idea where 2018 will take me. And that’s okay. I’m excited to see where He leads me.

With love and grace, thank you for reading along this year. I’ll see you again in 2018.




A Work Of Art Called Love

This semester, I’ve been working on a photography project about signs/experiences from God.

Tonight, after a busy and gray day, I trotted into church, Bible in hand. A few minutes in, I spoke out about how recently, I’ve truly been missing someone. The longing for their presence has been constant and a little disheartening. I’m healing, right? Why am I feeling this way and when will it stop? I ask for a prayer request for myself. Class moves on and my mind eases. At the end, I asked two ladies to share any story they have about a sign or experience they had that they know without a doubt was God. After they shared their stories with me, they both asked me how this project started.

I’ve been thinking about it recently and it all started because I went through a breakup earlier this year. After the breakup, I couldn’t do anything. I was lost. I was searching. I was so sure that he was a part of God’s plan for me– that we should be together. Confused and heartbroken, I started reaching for God– calling out to Him like never before. I was listening to worship music all the time (which, if you knew me, I liked worship music alright, but not much). I was reading devotionals and the Bible and attending church any time the doors were open. I even started going to additional worship events. I wanted to be close to God. I wanted to know what He wanted for me. I thought I knew before, but I only knew what wanted. I didn’t want to make that mistake anymore.

I started learning about Gideon and how he asked God for signs. And I started learning about Ruth and the disciples and how they did whatever God said. “Because you say so, I will.” [Luke 5:5] I became incredibly interested in how God guides. I started questioning if any people I knew may have had a sign from God like Gideon did. And I started having moments myself where God brought me confirmation.

When this semester started, we could pick any topic to photograph. Whatever we picked would be what we spent a whole semester focusing on. I picked signs from God. Literally. I chose to photograph churches and their signs. That did not work out at all. Then I started asking people to tell me their stories and I would make their portrait and record their story– this did not work either. After my second disappointing critique, I spent about three weeks trying to decide if I should even continue. Part of me wanted to keep going, the other part of me just wanted to give up. Finally, I decided to compose a photo based on the story but I still wasn’t sure how to incorporate the actual story. One morning, while preparing for class, the idea came to me. I stepped out of the shower and BAM! it just hit me. I decided to ask people to write their stories in a book. (I know that this idea came from God). So here we go again, third try is the charm, right? Right! This critique went excellent and everybody thought I executed the project well. So that is what I have been doing and where I’m at now.

After I left church tonight, I was driving home, with so much on my mind. Thinking about my breakup and thinking about this project and as I drove, God gave me a thought. If the breakup had not have happened, not only would I not be as close to Him as I am now, but I would not be doing this project. Tears welled up in my eyes and I cried; it was a happy cry! A thankful and praising cry! An understanding cry! The whole reason I was inspired to do this project in the first place was because of my desire to know what God wants for me. Because of everything, I have been able to glorify God and witness to others that I might not have ever attempted to witness to! I’m comforted to know that I am being used in this way. It makes me know that all of my struggle was worth it.

Whenever I start feeling down about the way things ended, I just remind myself that God has a plan. And if I allow Him to, He can use my trials as triumphs for His kingdom.

With love and grace, think about how God has used you.




Lead, Guide, Direct and Protect

Many times we reach out and ask God for guidance. We ask Him to show us His will for us. Yet, we tend to forget our part of this– we have to see and hear His answers and directions. So, we need to ask then for seeing eyes and listening ears. Yet, even still, we can see and hear His signs but ignore or overlook them.

I know sometimes the world gets so in our heads that we aren’t sure which voice is ours and which is the enemy’s and which belongs to the Lord. Pro Tip: God’s voice will always line up with the Word.

One way the Bible shows us how to know what God is telling us is to ask Him for specific signs like Gideon did (Judges 6:36 – 40). And when He gives us answers to these signs it doesn’t hurt to keep asking.

I’ve asked God for signs and He has given them to me. I continued to ask for a while, but then I started ignoring and overlooking His answers and stopped asking altogether for signs. I was asking Him to lead me but I wasn’t allowing myself to be lead. I thought, “Well, these first signs turned out so maybe that was God’s answer and I don’t have to keep asking.” Basically, I did things how I thought it would be best (aka my way). Finally, He showed me a sign that I couldn’t ignore– it was so definite and painful that I knew it was the answer He had been trying to give me all along. Sometimes God has to allow pain if He knows it is going to help get you to where you need to be. 

Do you know what the gift of discernment is? My mom has it and I believe that as I continue to strengthen my relationship with the Holy Spirit that I will also have it and be able to truly recognize it. There are times when I have these feelings and thoughts, in the back of my mind, deep in my heart– and most of the time I have had them for valid reasons. I used to think of myself as crazy for it, but now I realize that it is actually a blessing.

The other day, this thought/feeling kept creeping up in my head. I couldn’t shake it, no matter what I did or how hard I tried or even how much I prayed. I didn’t want it to be true; part of me thought the enemy was trying to mess me up, but the other part of me thought that God was showing me the truth. By the end of the day, the thought that I was hoping would dissipate came to fruition.

It was difficult and painful and honestly humiliating, but after a while, I knew it was what was supposed to happen. I knew that God needed me to experience this for closure. He needed to show me so that I could move on with my life and discover the plans He has for me (and for the other party involved). And sometimes what happens has to happen the way it does because He knows you and how you think and what it takes to get to you see what is for you and what is not for you. (Psalm 139)

I’m still learning how to decipher all the thoughts/feelings/desires that swirl around my mind. I keep asking the Spirit to guide me– to be louder than I am (I can be pretty loud). And now I just have to truly allow myself to be lead. He made me bold to make the decision I had to make. If I allow Him, He can make me bold in my other decisions too.

Everything in life will work out for us if we allow God to direct our paths.

With love and grace, let yourself be lead.


Jesus Is A Gardener Too

I struggle with losing people. My biggest fear has always been to lose people that I love. I lost someone this year and I’m not going to lie– it’s been one of the most difficult experiences I have had to deal with.

I have been having to adjust to my life without their presence. It has not been an easy process, but it has been a learning process and a growth process.

Last night in Bible study we talked about John 15. Throughout our life, Jesus prunes us so that we can be more fruitful. Pruning can mean different things for different people; it can mean removing people from your life, places, etc. These people and places can be wonderful and awesome, but they just don’t belong in your life anymore.

My teacher’s husband gave us an example of how Jesus pruned him for his future. When he was younger, before he met his wife, he was engaged to another woman. She was a great woman, Christian, everything he wanted, but he just felt like he needed to ask God if this was right for him. He prayed about it and God gave him a sign that said it wasn’t right so he ended the relationship. He said it was one of the hardest decisions he had to make but if he hadn’t made it he wouldn’t be with his wife now (they’ve been together for about 30 years). And even after he made the decision, he still went through a difficult time. Still, he put his trust in the Lord and God directed him to his wife.

When I heard last night’s message, I knew it was for me. Looking back, I remember sitting there when it felt like everything was falling apart and my world was crashing down around me and every fiber of my being was wanting to fight for what I thought I needed– what I believed to be right for me. However in the midst of everything, this phrase ran through my mind, “Do not fight it.” And so I didn’t. I did say a few words in disagreement, but I didn’t fight what was happening. I just let it happen. I wanted to fight it more than anything in the world. I wanted to beg and plead and just show that I didn’t want this to happen– but I couldn’t. That phrase held me back from doing what every part of me wanted to do.

Do you know what that was? It was the Holy Spirit. I remember that feeling and I thought it was just me being in shock or whatnot. A lot of times we don’t recognize the Holy Spirit; we think that hearing God’s voice means we’re going to hear a booming voice speaking directly to us, but it’s not necessarily so. It can be a small whisper telling you something different than everything you’re feeling. A glimmer of hope or trust or wisdom.

If God is pruning you, you have to allow it. If you don’t allow it, you’re only going to make the process harder. If you sit and embrace it, it will make the experience much easier for you and help bring in the fruit bearing season.

John 15 gives me hope. If God is taking someone or something out of your life, He is doing it because He is going to replace it with what you truly need– what He has in store for you.

With love and grace, embrace your pruning.