Suffer Strong

Sometimes life does not go as we planned.

Perhaps you have lost a loved one, or your family member has just received a cancer diagnosis.  Maybe you are walking through a heartbreaking divorce and now are raising your kids as a single parent.

In their new book, *Suffer Strong, Jay and Katherine Wolf define suffering as “the space between what we thought would be and what is.”  Maybe you find yourself in that place.  If so, I want to encourage you today.

What if “the breaking of our hearts becomes the making of our hearts?”

What if the brokenness you are experiencing right now is the very thing that God will use to grow your faith in ways you never knew possible?  Friends, I believe this is true.

In their book, Jay and Katherine share about a special gift, a unique vase made by kintsugi, a Japanese art.  “Instead of throwing away the broken beloved pottery, they fix it in a way that doesn’t pretend it hasn’t been broken, but honors the breaking—and more so, the surviving, by highlighting those repaired seems with gold lacquer.” 

Isn’t it beautiful?  Each crack and broken place has been filled with gold. All the holes have been redeemed and made more valuable as the broken pieces fit together.

I want you to imagine God doing the same for you.  He takes your broken heart and pieces it back together.  He takes your broken story and turns it into a redemption story.

Friends, your brokenness does not have to define you.  In God’s hands, it can refine you into something stronger and more beautiful than before.

I don’t know about you, but this brings me hope.  Hope that God can use these difficult circumstances in my life.  Hope that my broken story can help another hurting heart.  Hope that God never wastes one tear.

I know this is not easy.  I pray you feel God’s comfort and love each day as you lean on Him.  He wants to walk with you through your suffering and bring purpose to your pain.

I want to end with a favorite quote from *Suffer Strong: “Life defines us, but suffering redefines us. Ultimately, hope refines us, transforming us from within in ways we never could have imagined.”

I believe God specializes in redeeming broken stories!  Hope this encourages you today.

Love, Jodi

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Audacious Faith

I love to read the first book of an author especially when their other books have truly touched my life. 

My first book of 2020 was Steven Furtrick’s first book, Sun Stand Still: What happens When You Dare To Ask God For the Impossible which he wrote ten years ago back in 2010.

This book truly ignited my soul and opened my eyes to how to have audacious faith.

Steven shares how at age 16, he was reading a book and the words on page 23 changed the trajectory of his life.  He says, “Somehow the Holy Spirit translated that line into a tangible impression in my teenage heart, and I knew one day I’m going to start a church in a big city to reach people who are far from God.”

Pastor Steven Furtick is now the head pastor of Elevation Church, a mega church in North Carolina. 

I love that this defining moment happened when he was a teenager.  He calls this his page 23 vision and friends, we all have one.

Listen to what Steven says, “That’s how your Page 23 Vision is going to come to life.  It will start with a seed of inspiration that takes root in your imagination.  Over time, it will produce a harvest of obedience for the glory of God.  And the whole process will take place deep in the soil of your faith.”

What is your page 23 vision or purpose?  What does God want to accomplish through you?

Maybe you are not called to lead a mega church like Pastor Steven but instead called to lead a bible study or disciple a group of teenagers.  Perhaps you are called to go on a mission’s trip or start a business so you can financially bless others.   

Pastor Steven says, “extraordinary moves of God begin with ordinary acts of obedience.”

Friends, where is God asking you to say yes to what He has already placed on your heart?

I want to encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and believe God for the impossible!  He has designed you with a unique purpose and vision, and I believe that God will strengthen you and guide as you take a leap of faith.  

Do you want to have audacious faith?  I know I do!

God, I pray you will activate our audacious faith and let us trust you for the impossible!  Help us pray prayers that push us out of our comfort zone and ignite our dependence on You!

Love, Jodi

Note: I love that Steven was a teenager when God spoke to him. If you have a teenager or young teen (ages 11-14), I want to encourage you to listen to my podcast this week. I interview Mark Oestreicher about his book, Understanding Your Young Teen and his wisdom is gold! Click the link below to listen: https://link.chtbl.com/vZzTid7o