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Joel and I were reflecting on the past year a few weeks ago and the word wasted came to both of our minds. Yuck. I don’t want to look back and think of a year as wasted…and really, it is hard to even face up to that word. God was teaching me lots of things but looking back it was more of a year of survival than transformation. Maybe I wasn’t listening. Or maybe I just wanted to do my own thing. All I know is I don’t want to live life “just surviving”…I don’t want to be the same. I want God’s transforming power to change my life. Yesterday this little video was shown before the sermon.

I have a longing to be transformed…to grow in my spiritual life this year. It might be a slow growth and it is definitely not a growing that can occur in my own strength. Our pastor talked about how making progress in our spiritual lives means we need to learn to hang on to the supreme value of knowing Jesus. He said we thrive when we are in sync with HIS heart. And sometimes being in sync with God’s heart means a reordering of my world. He told us to be honest and fill in the blank: For me to live is ______. It is Jesus alone who is worth living for.

I’m praying about what reordering needs to be done in my heart and in my life this year. I don’t want to get to the end of this year and feel like it was wasted. I mean, it’s almost the end of January already! It is so easy to get caught up in the busyness and distractions of this world and fail to listen to God’s voice.  He wants to transform me. He wants to transform you. I don’t know what that transformation is going to look like in my life this year. It may be hard. It may be slow. But He promises that it will be beautiful.

This year may we see God in the big picture and the details.

This year may we be transformed.

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.

Philippians 3:12-14 MSG

(The sermon isn’t up on the church website yet. I will link to it when it is in case you want to listen!)

  • ranee - i am reading through the book of Philippians this week and your post was so timely…i understand the feeling of “just surviving” even if it is just the regular busyness of life (my husband and i have had many similar conversations!) and longing for more. thanks for sharing, it was such an encouragement!ReplyCancel

  • Allison - You just spoke my heart. I am better than what I have convinced myself that I am. I want to be transformed by the Holy Spirit and transformed into the woman He wants me to be..not me! Thank you for posting!!ReplyCancel

  • jane - I hear ya! As a fellow mom with two small children, I often feel like life is just a constant state of survival mode. Surviving one meltdown to the next; one day getting from breakfast to dinner with naps, manners, playing and teaching my boys just to start again…where is the TIME for transformation?? I’m exhausted at the end of the day! But I think that is the lesson I love learning most about this year with BSF and the book of Genesis. It is a reminder of a beginning and even though that particular beginning is much, much more monumental than building trains with my kiddos, the constant reminder of beginnings helps me begin new each day; with each meltdown; each teachable moment.

    Great post!

  • Beth Mayberry - I think we can all fall in the trap of “just surviving.” Satan likes us in that place because he knows he cannot take us away from eternity but he can distract us from sharing that joy with others so he makes us just float through life.

    excited for a new year of transformation. we always need that.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Eddins - I think it’s easy for us moms of little ones to feel like we are often living in survival mode, but just remember that what you are doing has eternal ramifications. While it might seem like your year was wasted, you poured out yourself selflessly to your children and your husband and that was certainly not a waste! Be encouraged that even when you feel like your year was wasted that God was using you in mighty ways for Him that you may not even see yet! (I’m speaking to myself here too b/c I feel like I have not grown as much as I’d like to but yet I also have to remind myself that life with a 2 yr old and 3 month old is crazy and that God can still use it to teach me and grow me)! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Mary Ann - In the church I belong to, we sometimes give talks on Sunday. I gave a talk about 5 years ago about the Savior. I started out by telling how my husband and I liked to go on drives to see wildlife such as eagles, geese, deer, moose, mountain goats, wild turkeys, etc. We look through binoculars to view the side of the mountain since we can’t take it all in and focus on the animals, who are sometimes very far away. I compared that to the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we try to take it all in and don’t focus on the most important part of the gospel, we lose focus. When we focus on the Savior, it brings everything close and we are able to get the most out of the scriptures and what we are taught. I too hope I can focus this year on knowing the Savior better and trying to become more like Him (what a struggle it is sometimes!!). After my husband passed away at age 54, every day was such a challenge. All I really did those first few days and months is survive. But then, I finally realized I wanted to live life, to become a better person, to find happiness, and to be strong again, and not just get by. I’ve come a long way in 4 years and hope to come even further. I love your posts and your blog. You inspire me to do better. Your family is so darling and I admire you from afar in Salt Lake City Utah!!ReplyCancel

  • Alyssa - “We are here to be transformed. And that transforming is not easy work. It feels a lot like death sometimes—dying to my selfish desires, dying to my ideal of perfection, dying to my own polished agenda. It starts with humility and repentance.

    Maybe, the truth is—-I had lost the courage to be honest with myself.

    So, thank you to all the truth tellers who say the hard thing—-and reassure us that all the best things in life exact a high price.

    Redemption is costly. It cost our Savior His very own life. I shouldn’t be surprised when it costs me mine.

    This arduous road of becoming who we ought to be has taught us that life is beautiful and life-giving and full of wonder—-but it is not easy and it was never meant to be.”

    quote by Edie of Life In Grace

    I read this today and thought it went so well with your post. We all feel this way and i loved this reminder!ReplyCancel

  • sheri - Beautiful post. Thanks for sharing and blessings to you in 2013.ReplyCancel

  • Amie - JESS,

    WOW, this is exactly what I needed to hear today! Thank you once again for putting things in perspective for me…. your words are so true, and yet exactly what we all long for. I too have wanted each day to be a better person and make that positive difference.

    I want to reorder my life and family so we are truly living for Jesus and knowing what that awesome feeling is. You are right, life is soooooo busy…… but one thing is for sure life and love is nothing without our savior.

    Miss you and thanks again for this post. Loved the video and will show it to my class at church 🙂

    Take care and wishing you lots of smiles with reordering your life. Give the boys a big hug from me 🙂

    Love you,


  • EricaG - Oh, Jess! Your year was not wasted. Stop that thinking right now! 🙂 In the last year, you taught Levi how to be a big brother, among many other things. You guided Griffin to learn so many new concepts, words, and actions that we could not even begin to count them. The words you said and prayed and sang are the beginnings of your children knowing who Jesus is and how to worship him. You spent this year loving your husband, keeping a home, and sharing your heart here. You don’t even know how the Lord has used your words in the lives of others. While you were busy “wasting” the year, God was busy using YOUR year for the good of others. We all go through periods of growth and quiet and racing and crawling. Each of those periods is used by God. I remember having similar thoughts when I looked at my Bible one time and realized that every sticky note sticking out of the pages were placed there during my college years. I felt like such a failure. How had I let my fire for the Word die out? But then I realized that college is a time of tremendous growth and discovery for many young people. I know that if I am steadfast in my love for Christ, I will hit another period of hunger like I had then. I just need to stay the course. It is okay to survive sometimes.ReplyCancel

  • teresa - i will echo sara e’s and erika g’s comments. they both expressed my thoughts for young moms and others in high-intensity periods of life. as we find ourselves being drained, may we always be reminded and seek Him who will fill us with Living Water.ReplyCancel

  • Kelly Ford - Jess… I feel EXACTLY the same way.
    I started a book last Jan in pursuit of change but (SHOCKER) didnt finish it. This year is the year, however. And I would highly recommend it for you, too!

    Changed into His image
    By: Jim Berg

    You can get it on amazon. ITs completely convicting, painful, encouraging, and offers hope for those of us who struggle to be consistent in our pursuit!


    Jess Reply:

    Kelly-Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll have to check it out.

    • Jess - Kelly-Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll have to check it out.ReplyCancel