Teaching to Learn and Learning to Teach

Friends, Friends, and more Friends

  • Friday afternoon: lunch with friends who greatly impacted my life and had definite roles and investments in God leading me to be an RD
  • Late Friday afternoon: coffee with a friend who has my old job
  • Friday evening chat with one of my old roommies. I never see them any more :(.
  • Saturday morning coffee with my dear friend , Jen Holmes.
  • Saturday late afternoon headed down to Disney Day with Summer for the best Disney trip ever! I only rode one ride, but it was sooooo good to hang with Sum and to see so many other friends who were there for Disney Day.
  • Saturday evening: briefly saw Laura and Adam for a minute. Thanks for the Torani syrup and the avocados :).
  • Sunday afternoon: Porto’s Cuban Bakery after church with all of my old roommates. Guess I can’t say I never see them anymore.
  • Sunday late afternoon: Talked with my dear former student, Anuja. So encouraging to hear her plans, dreams, and desires for college next year and for beyond college.
  • Sunday evening: Time with my ARAs. I love them :).

Does it come as a surprise to anyone right now that I despirately need to do homework?

God Did This
January 17, 2012, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Christian Living, Counseling, Discipleship, Friends, Lessons Learned, Life

I saw a lot of guilt and bitterness  both in my own life and in the lives of others last semester, that stemmed from not believing God’s sovereignty. Many of us will say that God is sovereign, but then turn around and  say things like, “I know this is beyond my control, but I want there to be something I can do to change this so it doesn’t hurt so and so.” “I’m ruining everything.” “So and so doesn’t know what their sinning against me has cost me. I’m not ready to forgive him yet. He is going to have to earn my trust back.”

Let me clue you in on something. The sovereignty of God means that you or I can’t bring anything into each other’s lives that God does not orchestrate. Stop feeling guilt about not being good enough for that friend or spouse. Stop moping about how your difficulty has affected another when it was something beyond your control. Stop accusing others of harming you or bringing you more than you can bear. Those claims are actually accusing the Lord of not being good. It is accusing Him of being unkind to the person who you have affected or of his unkindness in allowing you to be hurt by another. Instead, we can be certain that nothing comes our way that is not loving and divinely orchestrated. That’s good news! That includes break-ups, financial struggles, limitations, sins, and the whole gammet.

Yes, that boy may have been insensitive. Yes, your illness may have come at some cost to your roommate. Yes, your moving away brings great sorrow to those who love you. Yes, that teacher is harder than the others and yes, his B may have cost you a scholarship… this trial was dealt to you by the hand of God. Take it as such and rejoice. Rejoice at seeing your heart. If you didn’t sin in response to this trial, rejoice at seeing the Spirit at work in you. If you are suffering and not sinning, rejoice at coming to know the Lord more fully. Rejoice at sharing in his suffering. Rejoice at your need for Christ. Rejoice at your opportunity to not only model Christ’s response but to help that other believer that wronged you look more like Christ too.

Let the sovereignty of God cure you of moping and bitterness and instead be replaced with rejoicing and loving service to God and others.



Have you ever gotten overwhelmed by the demands of ministry? Maybe you have seen many needs, too many to meet with your time and resources. Maybe you think you are not fit for the job or task God has given you. Pretty much every job I’ve ever been in, aside from GAP, I panicked at some point and thought, “I’m not up to the task. There’s been a mistake. I’m not supposed to be here.” I was wrong. God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. That means that He has placed you there. When you feel the tension and you feel like there is more to do or more burdens than you can bear, remember He thinks you’re up to the task and He is using this to grow and change you.

Luke 9  shows us that Christ equips before He sends out. You may think you need x or y and you don’t have it, but He provides you with everything you truly need. II Peter 1:3  tells us that God has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him.

When I started writing this post last December, I saw how God was stretching me and remembered that He had custom built the trials for me because He knew I was up to the task. I saw at that time how those difficulties in my job were used by God to teach me how to respond when I saw needs I couldn’t meet. I recognized God was preparing me, although I didn’t know for what. I wrote at that time over 9 months ago, “God in His goodness is teaching me here and now. There will always be more needs than I can meet, especially if I am ever in a shepherding role be that teaching, a missionary, or a resident director” … Look at that. I’m an RD!!!!!! Yippee. When I started this post I didn’t even know if there would be a position open, let alone that I would be hired to fill one. I’m so thankful that the Lord equips us for the ministries He gives us. I need to remember this so that I don’t have that panicked moment in this job :).

At that same time last December, I saw God teaching me to be quick to listen and apt to take advice. Being a single girl in ministry is hard. I think it is even harder in my current role, so praise God He got me thinking about this almost a year ago. I can work work work and there is no one to say come home. This was an issue in my last job but thankfully I had people in my life saying, “Go home,” that I learned to listen to. I will need to continue to listen to them as they help me balance what it means to be in ministry as a single girl and how to think through the challenges of minsitry in general. I need to listen to them as they say, “Jenn, You may think that is best, but that is your opinion. It doesn’t make it best.”

Another apropos lesson God was teaching me last December was what it looks like to minister in a larger sphere. There are daily more and more opportunities that I see that I have to say no to. This is more true today than it was then. When my life was on an isolated little community in Israel with 40 students and 7 staff members with 7 kids, with limited mobility, and a centrally-located office where I lived in the same place as all my coworkers, friends, and the students I was ministering to I had more opportunities than I could take advantage of and more things I could possibly be doing than time to do them in. Last December I was working with 22 staff members, many of whom had spouses, there were 17 kids in our department, I went to a church of 600 and had more opportunities to get involved and interact with people there than at the Keilah (Congregation in Israel). There were around a thousand students I served. I had roommates, I have family in the area and I am only 5 1/2 hours away from the rest of my family. I have old friends within driving distance, I have new friends all around. All of these things are good, but that means I have to be willing to say no to good things for better things. All of these spheres of my life, church, friends, coworkers, etc. have grown leaps and bounds in my new role. I wrote about this lesson in the original draft, “God is so good and so wise to teach me this now. It makes me wonder what is ahead.” Haha. Now I know and I proclaim even louder “God was so good and wise to start teaching me that then.”

I’ve enjoyed going back through my drafts and considering these things which God was teaching me and which He is still causing me to think through or apply to daily life. I’m getting close to writing about my current life :).

It’s Just Me
September 5, 2011, 8:12 am
Filed under: Christian Living, Discipleship, Hospitality, Lessons Learned, My life, work

I started this post on July 14th when I was thinking through RDing. Now I’m in the midst of it, but it is still true and I need the reminder. I don’t need to be a larger than life version of me and have it all together or be super animated or dynamic. I just need to be a Spirit-filled me. It’s not my wisdom or my might necessary to do this job. That would never be enough. I need the power that raised Christ from the dead that is at work in me. I just want to display what’s in this jar of clay, so that they can see the glory of Christ and worship Him. My strengths, sins, and quirks are different than other people’s who have been in this job, which means that being a Spirit-filled, faithful RD will look somewhat different for me than it did for those who came before or even from my coworkers in other dorms. It may look different today than it does tomorrow. I don’t have to have every girl over for dinner this semester, plan the greatest event known to mankind, or disciple every girl in my dorm. I need to be faithful with the opportunities and gifting the Lord has given me. That’s going to mean a lot of baking, a lot of ordinary moments with girls in my apartment, and a lot of living life before people. Here we go!

August is Over
September 1, 2011, 9:06 pm
Filed under: Community, Discipleship, Friends, Girly-Girl, My life, work

Well, classes have begun. Everyone kept reminding me that RA Reentry to Labor Day was a different season. It is! Thankfully not every month is August, but my life even in September is still radically different. I feel like a young mom in so many ways, only I have 87 college-aged girls.

  • I’m eager for everyone to get back into a schedule now that classes have started.
  • I’m so proud that my girls are active on campus. I have girls in Chorale, Majesty, on the Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, and Tennis Teams, and in this semester’s production of “The Man Who Came to Dinner.”
  • I feel like school will be so much less tiring once it gets into the swing of things than summer break. Just as vacations take a lot of time, forethought, planning, and prep for Moms, welcomes, housing, dorm events, WOW events all are a lot of work. Totally worth it, but glad only August is August.
  • Just as the anguish of childbirth is soon forgotten when a mother holds her little one, the pains of August have already started to be forgotten and replaced by a love for the girls in the dorm.
  • I found myself talking with students today about finding a church, how to best utilize their meal plans, their health… I’ve served more bowls of chicken soup and Gatorade in the last few weeks. I also had my first ER visit last night.
  • I find myself teaching etiquette :). Knock and be invited in before you enter. Treat other’s stuff as your own. Put things back to the way you were when you are done… and having discussions about life… That hem needs to come down. That neck line needs to come up.
  • I have to expect to get less done. Just as new moms come to realize really fast that everything takes more time with a baby (like grocery shopping) and that they can’t get as much done in a day as they used to, I have to realize the same thing. Walking out to switch my laundry may mean an hour or running errands may mean five hours depending on who I run into. Plan on doing less.
  • I get worried about injuries and defensive when you put my girls in danger. Why would you make someone spin around a bat and then jump over a concrete wall onto more concrete? “You are practicing for an underwater event? I’m sending a lifeguard with you.”
  • I get less sleep. There may not be middle of the night feedings, but there are middle of the night texts of different varieties and there are just later night activities in general.
  • I’m tired, but Oh so thankful.

First Day on the Job

Great first day on the new job! Most people hate work meetings but my meeting today involved a tea garden and 3 good friends: Dave, Karrie, and Ona. I can’t believe I get paid to hang out with three awesome people; to be encouraged by their wisdom, experience, and the truth they speak into my life; to laugh with them; and to creatively think through how to motivate the students on our campus to worship, love, and serve God as they live out the one-anothers. I’ve been meditating on the command found in Hebrews 10:24 to consider how to spur others on toward love and good deeds. God thinks this is important enough to command us to do this and I don’t think I do this often enough but this meeting today was not only a consideration of that but it was actually the application of that consideration. We encouraged one another in our love for and pursuit of both God and people all over a lovely Vanilla Earl Gray Tea Latte. Yum!

Reason # 41 TMC is Awesome!

Discipleship applies to all areas of life even shopping. I had a great day last Saturday with these girls.