About the Author

Jennifer is an artist living in rural Nebraska with her US Army veteran husband. She loves to create and seeks to reflect the beauty of Christ and encourage others in meaningful, beautiful ways. You can find her and see more of her art on Studio JRU.

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things we love
& you will too!
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  1. I’m thinking a lot about this and why as we age our perspective of ourselves is jaded, and our view of beauty is skewed. We’ve lived experiences where we’ve failed at perfection, and we’ve faced the imperfection of others–comments about us, stares at us… We’ve been hurt. Our hearts have wounds, from being hurt and from doing the hurt in revenge-taking. Pride has crept up as our defense mechanism. It’s been challenging to trust in our weakness and see them as allowed for purpose. And so, I think that’s one of the thin places where God’s glory is so incredibly amazing–how He specifically uses our failures and our hurt to test us in our trust of Him that He did indeed create us for purposes with specific gifts, and He wants us to See them, to name them, and to live them out loud. True it’s sad when we don’t recognize them anymore after we live years in the imperfect reality of life this side of Heaven, and yet it’s His grace to bring us to a place where we recognize that we have gifts that we have been too afraid to name. His leading us to the calling out of who we are–our uniqueness–and celebrating that, is giving Him worship. And THAT’s beauty…such amazing grace.

    (excuse such a long comment…this obviously resonated with me in a big way this morning, and I so much appreciate your post, Jennifer!)

    Rich blessings as you guard your heart, Jennifer, and choose to surrender fear and Simply. Trust…

    • I am so happy to hear your thoughts today Amy. No reason to excuse you comment… that is why we are all here, to share our stories! It is such amazing grace to recognize and live those specific gifts He has created for us. That is beauty! Thank you Amy for your beautiful words.

    • I love how you commented ” as you guard your heart.” I need to post this verse in a few prominent places. It is perfect. Proverbs 4:23 “Above ALL ELSE, guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life.” Good reminder. Thank you.

  2. Not so long ago I could not answer this question. It was really less than a year ago at a women’s retreat we were asked to answer at our table what was our gift, what did we think we were good at, describe ourselves.

    I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t think of anything at all. This came immediately after I was given a ‘homework’ assignment from my psychologist to ask close friends to tell me what they saw in me, how would they describe me? They did and I honestly could not believe them. They were not talking about me, the person outside of my job. You see, I see myself as a great nurse. Please don’t think I’m conceited, but I think my gift is nursing and caring for my patients and their families as a whole. I love nursing. But outside of that I felt I was nothing, had no gifts.

    But I do. God has been opening my eyes and my ears and my heart to show me that I do have gifts that he has given me and no one else. Others may have similar gifts but we each have our own distinct gift. I am a photographer, my favorite subjects are nature, animals and candid shots of people when they just don’t even realize I am there 🙂 my favorite! I love to document trips, events etc. I will be the crazy mama with the camera out at all times taking a bazillion shots just to get ‘the one’! And one day if its what God has in store for me, I would love to do photography full time—I wonder if there is a way to mix nursing and photography together????? hmmmm

    • I can totally relate Lisa. I have also been in the position of describing what was my gift, what was I good at and I stumbled for the words and did not know how to describe myself. I love hearing how God has opened your eyes and heart to your special gifts! It is beautiful. And I totally think you can mix your gift of nursing and your gift of photography! Just think of how your patients would love to see all that beauty you capture!

  3. Love this post! I’ve thought lots about how kids have no hesitation when it comes to creativity and wondered what is it along the way that causes us, as adults, to doubt the creativity God has put in us. I love how you have embraced your creativity!

    • Thank you so much Jen! It sure is inspiring to see how kids embrace it all, isn’t it? I love how you have also embraced your creativity gifts!

  4. I find I have several gifts. The most obvious is encouragement. Someone going through a hard time.. I hear “write them a card, make a meal, pray for them”. That is exactly what I do.

    My other talent came out of unique circumstances. When younger I had 2 busted tympanic membranes (eardrums). The left one could not be repaired and I have hearing loss in that ear. I learned some signs to Christian Music and now am learning sign language pretty good.

    For special music at my church I pick songs out and do them in sign. The people there just love it, some even say it blesses them and I know it blesses God that I’m using His talents given to me.

    • The gift of encouragement is so wonderful. What a blessing you are to those you encourage. And signing Christian music… that is amazing! I can only imagine just how beautiful it is to watch you sign a song like that. Thank you for sharing your gifts.

  5. My kids teach me that all the time – how to stand up for myself and embrace who I am! Who God has created and destined me to be.

    • Floralba, you are certainly blessed with amazing kids. What a blessing to learn from them like that. Happy to hear you embracing who God created you to be!

  6. What a beautiful post! I remember having the same fear to call myself a photographer. But I think if we embraced our creativity (and cared less about what the world thinks!) as we get older, we’d be much happier 🙂

  7. i Loved coloring books but somewhere along the line i felt ashamed that all i could do was color in coloring books. i don’t remember what happened, but it was a breakthrough when my daughter was too little to read and yet she drew. We got the book from usborne i can draw people and i thought, well, i can do that! She watched me and learned easily. But the big confidence booster was for me, doing it with her. Then we got Drawing with Children and it had a test and lo and behold i did better than my mom who’s a confident elementry school teacher type of artist.
    I’m a writer, crocheter, baker type who also sews and loves on people.
    Thank you, thank you for this post.

    • What an amazing teacher to your daughter you are! Thank you so much for embracing your gifts, claiming your gifts and sharing with us Beth!

  8. sweet friend, you are an AMAZING artist.

    I don’t know why it is always so hard to put that good label on ourselves. I never used to say I was a singer. I just said that I sang. Strange how that was always more comfortable… I don’t know that I really consider myself a writer, either. I just say that I write. Hmm.

    • That is exactly what I said… I paint. It was more comfortable to say I painted, rather than saying I was an artist. I say you are a writer Sara! Embrace it and claim it girl! Thank you sweet friend.

  9. Even though I am not published–and don’t know if I’ll ever seek to be. It’s being revealed to me more and more that I am a writer in my inmost being.

  10. I’m currently in the position that Lisa is in – God has put me on the path of discovering the gifts He’s given me outside of my “job”. Amy spoke directly to what God is showing me – I’m so worried about imperfection and failure that I cannot experience the grace God is offering me as He uses my hurts and wounds to shape my gift.

    Thank you, Jennifer, for encouraging me to embrace my gift.

    • How wonderful that He has put you on the path of discovering your special gifts Char! I understand how the worries of imperfection and failure can creep in. Fear. That is when trust can overcome those fears and you will soar. You embrace those gifts Char, you can do it!

  11. So true … when I claim something like, “I’m a writer”, I feel like there has to be some sort of physical proof to stand up in the court of law. Instead … it’s a heart issue. Thanks for giving me the Scripture to back that up! 🙂

    • I am so happy that these Scriptures help you see it is a heart issue. It is straight from God, no proof needed. You are a writer… that is awesome Morgan!

  12. It really is hard for me to pinpoint my gifts. I sometimes have difficulty distinguishing between spiritual gifts and talents. I am a teacher, and I believe that that is both gift and talent. I also play the piano and paint… not sure if those are talents. Yet, talents that I have surrendered to the Lord. Either way – I pray He will get the glory out of my life.

  13. You are most definitely an artist Jen – a truly gifted one. Perhaps it is easier when we are children to accept the gifts with open hands and heart. My wish is to be a writer. I’m still afraid to whisper the words…

    • Yes, accepting with open hands and open hearts… that is what we need to do. You are a writer Linda. He has given you a gift with words!

  14. Thank you for this… I read it and kept thinking “if only we could be as transparent as our kids”… “with faith like a child” // love

  15. Your post is like a crescendo to the music that God has been playing for me the past few days… His message: I want you to be joyful as you exercise the gift I have given you even as I am joyful in who I created… you…

    I struggle to fully surrender to that truth but I am grateful for God’s gentle wooing of my heart.

    Thanks for your post and for sharing Mackenzie’s joyful passion!

  16. I have a hard time referring to myself as an artist, writer, singer….I want this to sink deep into my heart so that I can fully embrace who He created me to be and soar!

  17. Love the challenge in you asking who are we to question the gifts God’s given us, and instead, to claim them with joy. This is so true, and such a needed reminder (I think especially for women). Thanks for challenging us today! 🙂

  18. Oh, yeah. Beautifully, beautifully said, Jennifer. And, how exciting for McKenzie to have a mom who will support and encourage her heart’s gift! blessings ~ tanna

  19. I’ve only recently begun to see that I am an encourager. Aside from that, I’m not sure! But I should figure it out & embrace it!! 🙂