Jessi Jean

to live is to dream with eyes wide open.

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I Personally Invite You…

(So I know this is long, and I’m not sure who you are that’s reading this, but I have a big invitation for you at the end. I believe God wants to speak to somebody, so why don’t you read this and see if it’s you.)

I am really excited about God. I mean the thrill, risk, and adventure of what he has in store for those of us who choose to surrender is UNREAL!

This is something I am learning….it’s been a tuff realization but such a blessed one. Are you ready…?

We are not our own, we were created by God for HIS purposes, and then we were bought with the blood of Christ. We in no way, shape, or form belong to ourselves. Is this scary? Does this feel uncomfortable…maybe at first, but it is such a thrill to know that God created us to do good works which he prepared in advance for us to do. And his plans for our lives aren’t just good…there CRAZY, risky, adventurous, life-giving, challenging….and exactly what we were created for. I’m constantly torn between living for myself and surrendering myself to live for something greater. But let me tell you the fight to surrender our will to God’s, is worth it! There is not a more exciting place to find yourself than right at the center of what God designed you to do.

But…

We must count the cost if we are going to choose to live passionately for Christ. And passionately is the only way to live for Jesus…we are told in Revelation that He spits the lukewarm out of his mouth. It disgusts him to see us live lukewarm Christian lives…Be hot or cold. In Luke 14 Jesus tells us the cost of being a disciple… deny you father, mother, wife, and brothers, and even yourself. He sums it up in verse 33 this way: “any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.” This is my encouragement for you: God says this because he, the very one who created us, knows that the only way we will ever live FULLY ALIVE, satisfied, and joy-filled, is when we give ownership of our lives to him.

A divine invitation!

Do you want to know God intimately? I really do but often I am flooded with the concerns of worldly things like my career, my future, my education….my my my…. I am a non-stop kind of person. I pack my schedule like there are 40 hours in a day. It’s awful. But it’s the way I’ve always been and I think it’s a product of a culture that screams “make a name for yourself, become somebody, accomplish, achieve…”In high school I remember stressing because perfection was my goal. I had to get the scholarship that would pay for college, so I had to make the grades and be involved in everything. I can distinctly remember saying to myself “just make it through high school and things will get easier.” I thought I’d stress less, be easier on myself, not pack my schedule as full…man was I wrong! It’s like I’m stuck in some kind of curse…the curse of busyness.

As college is nearing the end I have thought a lot about my next steps. Sports broadcasting….thrilling! I am so pumped to be going into this field. God has opened doors and set up some pretty divine connections already. It’s exciting. But can you imagine what a tragedy it would be if I missed what God was calling me to do. I’m pretty sure God is calling me to sports reporting, which is epic, but what if I take the wrong route to get there. Or what if I become so career driven that my life is not Christ driven? Or what if I become so consumed in what I can achieve that I miss the adventure God is inviting me to? I don’t want to miss it…

So I think I need to volunteer a year after I graduate college…May 2012… a year of my life to simply serve others, share Jesus, discover him more, and seek his direction in my life. A YEAR??!!! Yeah, it seemed crazy to me at first but what if I miss out on life, the life Christ has planned for me, if I don’t give a year to serve Jesus by serving others and completely take my focus off myself. I think God is calling me to give a year to serve others in a village in Brazil. The 1st time I went to Brazil 3years ago I felt the Lord tell me at some point in my life I’d live and pioneer a ministry in this village. I think the time might be approaching. But I can’t do this alone. Jesus never sent his disciples out by themselves.

Now, this is my invitation to you to join me. Does your heart long to serve God, live in a village with people who will think the world of you for coming all the way from America to be with them. They think it is incredible that of all the places in the world we rich American’s could go, we choose their village. They are hungry for love and it’s such a privilege to get to love on them. They are intrigued by us, our culture, and love to just sit and talk with us….this place is rich with people who are willing to listen to what you have to say. Perfect for sharing Jesus. The Latin American culture is so fascinating to me. They value relationships and people in ways that are few and far between here. They live simply and find joy in things that matter…spending time together, sharing meals, talking…

I know May 2012 is a year and half away but I think God is calling me to Brazil and if he’s calling me…he’s calling somebody else too because he never sends his children out alone. Is it you? Dan Baumann says it best when it comes to serving God…”If you’re not sure what God is calling you to do….DO SOMETHING!” Doesn’t God deserve it? Think about it, lets chat.

Be encouraged…God has exciting plans for your life and maybe they align with the exciting one’s he has for mine! Love you guys!

Go God!

The Lord is funny! Really, really funny…how incredible is that… I love laughing and until this past week I have never fully understood this quality of God. It’s awesome. God wants to laugh with us…think about it…. Wow!

                Dan Baumann, our speaker at SALT (our regional Chi Alpha conference) is probably the funniest man I have ever met. This man lives his life with passion. His heart is surrendered to Christ like I have never seen before. It’s incredible.  He has traveled the world in obedience…and experienced God in ways that I dream will become my reality. He has also suffered in ways that I hope I never have to but even if I do God is still good and looking out for my best. I am truly in awe with what happened this week at SALT.

                My walk with the Lord has felt kind of stagnant the last few months. This in part is due to the fact that I pack my schedule way too full. I am go-getter. Driven. Full of determination and ready to do whatever it takes to see my dreams become a reality…. This is often my downfall. The desire to control, direct, and guide, my future is something I have to let go of. This is God’s job. The biggest revelation I had this week was this: God created me. SIMPLE… I know! But this has huge implications. If I believe (which I do) that God is good and that he “created us in Christ Jesus to do good works, which he prepared in advance for us (Ephesians 2:10)” than why wouldn’t I believe that being right in the center of his will is the most satisfying place I could ever find myself… But seriously, before time began God had me in mind, he designed and equipped me for his purposes. He wired me, all of us actually, to walk life out with him. He designed us to need him…desperately need him. Without him we will never reach our fullest potential. God needs people to wake up, shake off the slumber of monotony and realize that he calls us to an adventurous life!  

Faith takes risk… moving forward when we don’t understand why, going on mission trips  even when they seem illogical and dangerous, giving our time, money and energy when it seems like we don’t have anything to give, all the while trusting that God is perfect, all-knowing, and worthy of it all.  

For those of you who know me personally or have read my blog you know that I am confidently moving in the direction of my dreams. It’s awesome and I do believe the Lord gives us the desires of our heart. I have allowed him to inform, design, and infuse big dreams into my heart. However, I struggle to play catch with God….He throws me the dream and I fail to throw it back. I fail to trust that he not only wants to give me big dreams but he also wants to direct the path I am going to take to get there. He wants to journey with me and lead the way.

What if my dreams of working in sports broadcasting, getting married, graduating, living in the city, and having kids never happens? What if? Thank you Dan Baumann for showing me that life with Jesus is all we will ever need… Being with Jesus, simply living life with Jesus. That could mean all those dreams of mine will come to pass, but it could also mean that not a single one of them will. And you know what? I AM OKAY WITH THAT!!! Thank you Jesus! ALL I NEED IS YOU! The freedom of that truth is absolutely wild!! It’s totally incomparable.

I am overwhelmed with gratitude for this past week. God inspired so many encouraging conversations. I am so thankful for the people he surrounded me with the last few days. One of the most stirring conversations I had this week was with a Chi Alpha staff member. I shared with Duncan that God was stirring something in me for missions; a vision God had placed in my heart for Brazil 3 years was coming to life again. Duncan and I had the chance to talk a few times this week. I always walk away so blessed and encouraged after speaking with him. He is an incredible man of God. He shared with me the idea of “giving a year and praying about a life-time.” The idea is that after I graduate why not give a year of my life to serve the Lord and pray about the direction he wants to take me. Doesn’t He deserve it? Absolutely! Who am I to think I have any ownership on my life? I was created by God, and he bought me with the blood of his son. I am his, 100%. I am praying about going to Brazil for a year after I graduate! EPIC! Want to go??

I had numerous other conversations that provided me with insight on the Lord and encouraged me in ways I desperately needed. I struggle with the belief that the Lord can really change people’s hearts that don’t believe in him past their high school years. This is probably a result of the fact that I came to know Christ in high school and for some reason I get this idea that this is the only time the Lord can grab hold of a person’s heart. What a screwed up idea! DZ, a guy I met from Idaho State this week, shared a little bit of his story with me. He did not start walking with the Lord until after his high school years but man, God has completely grabbed a hold of his heart. He speaks of God with passion and intensity. You can just see a transformed heart. It’s incredible. I love this about our God. No heart is too hard for him.

Spending time my some of my dearest friends and sisters was so refreshing. I got to bond with my small group girls and laugh with new friends. We stayed up way too late, woke up way too early, and drank way too much caffeine. But man, was it worth it. God moved. The Holy Spirit circled around that hotel, in my heart, and through our speaker Dan, in so many ways. I am ready to let go of my dreams and allow God to direct them. Take me wherever you want Lord, I am yours.

Last night we stayed up till 4:30 in the morning. And just before we were heading to bed Dan walked into the lobby, he was leaving to go catch his flight to Europe. (Side note: I LOVE DAN! I mean I don’t really know him on a personal level but the stories he shared and the times we got to talk I was blown away.  His humor, his faith, and his intimacy with Christ makes you hunger for more of Jesus in your own life. I already miss him!(side side note: I love Dan in a “I wish he was my best friend” kind of way just to clarify…lol) Anyways, I was so excited that I got to see him right before he took off for the airport. I asked him what he was doing in a year and half (this is when I graduate and am considering to go to Brazil). He said he no idea (this man hardly knows what he’s doing next week, he lives in complete surrender to whatever and wherever Christ is calling him). I asked him if he wanted to go to Brazil with me! Wouldn’t that be unreal! I pray that you get to meet this man one day. He is radically following Jesus. He is desperately in love with the creator of his soul. I am blessed to have gotten to meet him.

The Lords says in Isaiah 55:9-12:

                “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.”

I pray we are a people that begin to live in reality of the goodness of God, living in the knowledge that no greater purpose, fulfillment, and joy can come than when we are in the center of God’s will.

Discomfort: Mistaken as a Bad Thing

Too often our goal is to feel nothing but comfort…Secure, safe, pain-free, satisfied…What’s wrong with feeling discomfort, besides the fact that its not enjoyable? Nothing.

Discomfort is readily mistaken as bad thing. But I don’t necessarily think it is. In many ways it drives us to greater heights and depths. Because of discomfort in relationships we strive to remedy situations and from there we grow stronger with others. Discomfort can be a result of conviction…sin in our life. Without the discomfort how would we recognize the need to change? Or what about working-out: “No pain, No Gain”….right? But when we’ve endured the discomfort of pushing ourselves physically our body changes…becomes stronger, and more healthy. So discomfort…in the long run…brings about a positive change. In all of these situations something good comes from it.

Or how about the discomfort of not having a bed to sleep on, enough food to eat, or financial stability. Are these good things?…No, but the way you begin to appreciate the small things in life out of these discomforts is amazing. This is reality for most of the world…My mission trips to Brazil have taught me so much about the uselessness of striving to never feel discomfort. We slept on deflated air-matresses, woke up stiff and sore, ate strange food, showered rarely, and in the mist of this discomfort….I was the happiest I have ever been. Why? Because my focus was not on myself and feeling comfortable…My focus was on those I came to serve and love and build relationships with. Christ had %100 of my focus and attention. I got sick, lost my voice completely, had bug bites everywhere..but still my Joy was complete…absolutely complete.

Discomfort sucks but its not always a bad thing. Recognizing when it is calling us to take our focus off ourselves and place it on another changes everything. If it was my goal to feel comfortable all the time I wouldn’t have gone to Brazil. I didn’t feel as safe as I do when I am here in my cozy cabin, in the mtns of Colorado. I wouldn’t be chasing my dreams because I have and probably will again face some form of rejection. However, God calls us to take risks and dream chasing is a risk: it will involve a lot of discomfort… but it’s worth it. Brazil was life changing. I will never be the same because of the discomfort I was willing to endure.

I’m not saying to go search for discomfort but don’t reject it either….the joy it can bring is ummatched. Think about it.

NUGGETS GAME!!!

It is embarrassing to admit that I have lived in Colorado my entire life and never been to a Nuggets game until last Friday. However my 1st game was done in-style and reaffirmed my calling to work in sports!

This was the view of the court from our suite:

 Just two days before the game my mother called and told me she had 6 suite tickets to the game and asked if I wanted them. I think she already knew my answer before I said a word….YES! Of course I wanted them. I invited some of my best girl friends and Friday night we headed to the Pepsi Center. I was beyond excited…I was ABSOLUTELY thrilled!

We were treated like royalty. We had a VIP parking pass that allowed us to park right next to the building. By-passing the long lines outside, we entered through the VIP entrance and were able to come in before anybody else. The game hadn’t even started and we were all having a blast…

This was our pre-game fun:

Birdmans's hand!!

Dana's the next big thing...

As we made our way suite 66 our excitement escalated as we were directed up to club-level. We scanned our tickets and the door unlocked to our suite. “NO-WAY!!!” “Oh my goodness…” “Wow, this is incredible” were just a few of the comments that came out of our mouths as we observed our surroundings. A spread of food, a full fridge, and cushiony leather seats greeted us! Wow…We were spoiled!!! Not 2 minutes later our suite attendant walked in to check on us and see if we needed anything.

The suite we were in was owned by Coors and right before the game started Steve, the Colorado/Utah MillerCoors Manager, joined us in our suite. He was just as pleasant as everybody else we had encountered in our short time at the Pepsi Center. He explained his job, told some jokes, and offered us excellent hospitality the entire night.

The game was excellent! We cheered the Nuggets to a victory over the LA Clippers. It was a close, exciting game the entire night. I couldn’t help but think… one day I will be down there, court-side interviewing players and coaches…Ahhh YAY!! What is about sports that makes me come SO alive?!! I think God just wired me that way… I love it, I thrive in those environments, and I cannot wait to work in that setting.

After the game, Steve entertained us with a few more funny jokes and we walked out realizing we had been blessed. Blessed to be with each other in a beautiful suite, and enjoy a Nuggets game with good food, good friends, and good conversation.

I left being reaffirmed once again that this is my calling…to work as a sports reporter. For that I am thankful. Thank you Coors for the suite, thank you Steve for your hospitality, and thank you Mom for the tickets.  And thank you God for calling me to something SO incredibly exciting!!!!

BIG News – Denver Broncos!

The Broncos football practice was delayed two hours yesterday after a player found an unknown white powdery substance on the practice field.

Coach McDaniels immediately suspended practice and called the police.

After analysis, FBI experts determined the white substance unknown to players was the GOAL LINE!

Practice resumed after the FBI agents decided the team was unlikely to encounter the substance again.

….Pahahaha…I sure got a kick out of this…Hope you do too!

I wasn’t going to tell you…

                Because it really, really hurt.

I sat on my living room floor in a lake of tears for an hour after getting that email. Then I got this text message from my dad:

                “When one door closes another door opens. Don’t ever let one NO stop you from your dreams! You have got everything it takes to do anything you want Jessi. I truly, truly believe that.”

I painted again; I was infused with emotion and needed to let it out… I needed to create, dream, and express myself. This creation was inspired by an inner passion, determination, and ambition.

Its name: Relentless

 With big dreams comes big obstacles…

I didn’t get the internship with 9NEWS. I was crushed…hours and hours went into the application process, interviewing, hoping, praying, waiting…and I didn’t get it. But in the middle my tear-fest I was reminded of this truth: God has it all under control. He knows where he wants me and he will shut the doors to where he doesn’t want me. Does it hurt…Yes.  But does that mean I will let go of my dreams of getting into broadcasting…NEVER! I’m just that much more driven now. I can’t expect that I won’t face challenges, adversity, and closed doors.

Success is a measure of perseverance…Those who are the most successful have often experienced the most failure, persevered through, and tried again!

 

I questioned my pursuit for a minute…”Is this right? Is this what I should be doing?” And then, almost immediately PASSION flooded my heart. Determination…Perseverance… I’ve wanted to be a sports reporter since I was a freshman in high school. I did a project on it that year and was very discouraged as my research revealed what an extremely competitive field it was. For the next 6 years I denied my dream and pursed many different avenues, none of which filled me with as much drive and excitement as reporting did.

God has brought me to a place of humility…Not every door I push will swing wide open but one will in His perfect timing. I can say honestly that I am thrilled, more driven than before, and continuing confidently in the direction of my dreams! I am happy to say that because of Christ in me, I was able to sit in that lake of tears two nights ago and have an inner peace… an unexplainable joy. I was able to thank God because of the hope he has given me in his perfect plan.

“Be joyful always, pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances,

 for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”

– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

So today, I am going at it harder than I did yesterday and I am excited to see what happens!

God is good. All the time.

Ever Feel Like Painting?

                A need to create. Design. Imagine…

I’ve missed writing this last week. Life seemed to demand all of me and more than I felt I could give. There was no time for blogging as I was closing up big class projects before Thanksgiving break, preparing for the interview at 9NEWS, driving to Denver and Loveland for my internship…and on & on… I am still waiting to hear back from 9NEWS (if you would, I would really appreciate your prayers for this opportunity). Anxious and trying my best to trust the Lord is where I write to you from today.

Yesterday, I spent the day relaxing and catching up with my Mom and Step-dad Andy. The Colts/Patriots game was on and Andy taught me more about the rules and strategies of football.  I’m trying to understand sports in their entirety as it is my dream to work in this field. I spent the rest of the day painting…

This was my creation…

An accurate description of my interior…

                I am random…all over the place. BOLD. Vibrant. Upside down and all turned around. I am here one minute and there the next. These paintings represent my heart in many ways. I put no prior thought into what I wanted to create before I began. This is just what came to be.

 This is my interpretation

Perhaps the birds pulling the tree up from the ground represents an inner strength…My strength comes solely from the Lord. When my life is not fully centered on Christ, I lose my rhythm and my strength fades. Life becomes unpredictable and seemingly unmanageable.  May we always remember:

 those who hope in the LORD
       will renew their strength.
       They will soar on wings like eagles;
       they will run and not grow weary,
       they will walk and not be faint.  –Isaiah 40:31

The bottom of the painting looks like the city… the direction the birds are flying and the direction my life is heading…THE BIG CITY! The top canvas is very abstract but does have some meaning…Purple and Black…the color of my dreams… Working for the Colorado Rockies! I know it will be a crazy, winding journey to get there but in its time, God-willing, it will happen.

The right of the painting illustrates the JOY I live with on most days. Excitement and energy fuel me. The ability to see the world in a positive light and appreciate all life’s little blessings is such a gift. I’m not able to do this every day but I certainly try.

 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD,
       Plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
       Plans to give you a hope and a future.  –Jeremiah 29:11

Remembering this verse helps me see the world in different light and live with a unique sense of hope, liveliness, and enthusiasm:

A Sweet Release

Its good…really good to let it out..Whatever it is. For me, painting is a way to express the interior state of my heart and soul. Whether I understand whats going on inside me or not, letting it out is a very sweet release. Putting it on a canvas is my way of recogizning pain, joy, anxiety, enthusiam, fear, frustration, and delight. I feel good after creating this jumbled mess of art.

May you also experience the sweet release of your soul in some form…

                Dance  

                                Sing

                                                Paint

                                                                Play

           Create, dream, and imagine….For these things you were created…

I CAN’T HELP IT!

   It’s instinctive, intuitive, and the way I’ve always been…

 I was voted most spirited in high school and I haven’t lost that a bit! Currently, I am interning with the Colorado Eagles Hockey and last Saturday night I was able to catch a few minutes of the game. I never used to be that into hockey but something happened to me, like it always does.

I started yelling and screaming…my entire body gets into it when I cheer on a team. I flinch and stand up to gesture at the refs when they make stupid calls, I clap my hands and wave my arms, and high five those around me when we score….you know the fan that’s a little too into the game…

THAT’S ME

To make matters more exciting, it was a tie game and we needed the win (just like we need every other win!). I was sitting with some fellow interns and they were looking at me funny and laughing at how invested I was in the game. They were sarcastically making comments about how I just loved the Eagles…Well, now that I understand hockey and have a team to cheer for, I do love them! I just dig sports, I can’t help it. I love watching games and cheering on teams…Once I become a fan, I am a die-hard fan. One of my favorite things to do is go to games…Baseball, of course is my favorite. But really, if I understand the sport, I thoroughly enjoy watching any game.

Me and Rockies ace pitcher, Ubaldo Jiménez

I Am Over-the-top!

I am proud to be one of those crazy fans in the stands that dress-up, bring signs, come earlier, stay late, and cheer their little hearts out. There aint NO SHAME in it! I cheered all four years of high school and that inner “spunk” continues to burn within me. I love that there are fellow die-hards out there that understand me…and I also love that there are those could care less about sports. I’m so glad not everybody wants to be a sports reporter… that would make the competition that much more intense.

But for those of you that do really feel me on this one don’t let others quench your fire…Stand proud, cheer loud, and enjoy the gift of sports…

Another simple joy from the Lord.

Beautifully Honest…

Real Life…Honest. Open. And True.

I don’t like the phrase “brutally honest” because honesty, no matter the content is beautiful. Yes, it can hurt. And yes, it can be ugly…But when people are honest and open something beautiful happens. A weight is lifted, burdens are released, and healing can happen.

This is my honest.

Right now, I am struggling. Struggling to be content with where I’m at in life. I am getting anxious to graduate college and begin another journey… one without exams, late night papers, and early morning classes.

Good things have been happening; doors are opening in the direction of my dreams, and I am thrilled. The interview I had with the Rockies was stellar! But I won’t know anything till late January, early February. I have an interview with 9NEWS in Denver this coming Thursday for their Sports and General news internship… incredible! God is faithfully providing opportunity after opportunity and I feel so blessed. But with all this said I am struggling to be content with the daily grind up here in Fort Collins.

I am surrounded by an incredible community of believers. I love my roommates, the women in the Bible study I lead, and all those involved in The Outpost campus ministry. I am encouraged and loved by these people and I couldn’t ask for better friends. But why, why do I continually long for more?!

I have this charming little picture in my head of life after I graduate. It looks something like this:

                I will live in a quaint little apartment in Downtown Denver, work for the Rockies or some News station, be involved in some inner city ministry, and explore a new area. I will meet the man of my dreams, get hitched, and be wildly in love. I thrive off adventure and I think this plays into my struggle with contentment. Constantly seeking, searching… a need to discover, take risks, and dive into new surroundings.

God often reminds me to enjoy where he has me now…to enjoy the people he has blessed me with now, to enjoy the process of interviewing and waiting patiently, and to enjoy the simple things in life that he created for our enjoyment: snowflakes, laughter, and dare I say it: school… learning, growing, and becoming a more educated member of society.

As much as I long for the future, I am apprehensive of what it has in store. Earlier today I was reading a book by Erwin Raphael McManus, titled Wide Awake. He said this: “For some of us, our challenge is going to be to move from a life that simply looks for security to a life that longs for significance.” BAM! Some of the things I long for are simply things that I think will bring me security… I must learn to reframe my thought process and allow Christ to be LORD of my life…Director, leader, and controller. He will undoubtedly lead me into a life of significance and fulfillment.

But I am HUMAN and I will continue to struggle and doubt. I will continue to struggle to surrender control of my life to the ONE who has it all under control. But I will also continue to try…to try and “let go and let God” as my step-dad would say.

So for now, I will pray for contentment to live in the “NOW” while I prepare for the future.

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