About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
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(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
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Reader Interactions


  1. This is so perfect! The whole painting ourselves in the best light possible is so so easy to do with pen and paper. (or keyboard and screen) I love your honesty.

  2. I really needed to read this. Although I express my gratitude throughout the day I seem to feel like I’m never doing enough to serve God. there is so much to do and not enough time. Thank you for making me realize that my love for God and my appreciation for all that he has done for me is okay. Progress…not perfection…one step at a time. Thank you!

  3. I enjoyed your letter, Jennifer. It’s oftentimes, depressing to get the “brag” letter. I have a friend who writes pages full of all the wonderful things happening in her family’s life. Some of it sounds too good to be true!
    I usually set it down and wonder….”What’s wrong with me?”
    Epic fail! 🙁

    I’m just trying to follow Him….live a righteous life and raise someone’s husband & wives. I can’t focus on everything being perfect for a Christmas letter. Real stuff happens (I’m being refined like gold…).

    It’s great to see some real life. 🙂

    • WOW, thank you, thank you. Your letter made me cry with “joy” cause its my life. I am not alone. Thank you for being real and writing a real Christmas letter.
      You inspire me to keep God in my life and to keep going on my journey. Merry Christmas! 😉

  4. Jennifer,

    Loved the openness/honesty of your letter. This is a perfect place to let it all out & tell other women what struggles we’ve had and how we handled them.

    It can be hard at times to balance work, family, aging parents and remember Christ in it all. We need to be “real women of Christianity”. Life happens and God is refining us constantly.

    Great to talk about real life issues and not have everything neatly perfect!

  5. I wish everyone’s Christmas letters were like this. As believers, I wish we could just be real with each other instead of wearing our Sunday masks. Thanks for this – it was such an encouragement to my heart this morning as I face a whirlwind day of responsibilities. I’ll be praying that your family has a very merry Christmas. 🙂

  6. Tears were brimming, as I read this. Thank you for your transparency and your humility. You have blessed this mama this Friday!

  7. Your family sounds like the ultimate joy despite the heavy load of dishes to create and then wash. I hope 2012 will be a time of utter dependence on the Lord’s resources and give you grace and mercy as you deal with all your kids. Thank you for showing me how you can create a meaningful dialog with your children as well as realize they will find their way as they trust in the Lord.

  8. You are a courageous wise hearted woman Jen to put aside the pat Christmas family letter and send the one I just read. I am sure God will use those who receive it as a tool to stir their hearts toward being a little more real….God has certainly used it in my heart. Thank you. Merry Christmas

  9. He is There
    When i need a word of comfort
    When I struggle beneath a burden
    When the blue skies turn to gray
    And I cannot find my way,at the closing of the day
    When i cannot f ace tomorrow
    When my life is filled with sorrow
    When i I dread the coming dawn,and it seems I can’t go on
    A parkinsonian

  10. I love what you said about your 12yr old. I am that child (well, maybe not the DREAM child but I was “good”) and I still struggle so much to realize I am loved regardless of performance. Grace with ourselves, even when we don’t demand it from others, is a hard thing to learn. I am learning but you’ve inspired me to begin praying this for my perfectionist son so that maybe he learns how to live in grace much younger than his mamma.

    And thank you for being real!

  11. Jen, your honesty always blesses and encourages me. Thanks for sharing this letter. I really, really was challenged by your comment, “if He states that my worst mistake was caring too much about the core character and heart attitude of our children, then I’ll take it, but I doubt it will happen.” I want to care for my children like that…but so often I fail and am too selfish to take the time to really LISTEN. Thank God for grace and forgiveness!

    May you and your beautiful family have a lovely Christmas!

  12. LOVE this Jen!! I’m so with you on the longing for more time to be the wife, mom and friend my heart desires. It makes me feel better to know you are right there too – thanks for being real and sharing your beautiful heart with us!

  13. I so appreciate your postings/-they are real, honest, and remind me of the simPle things in life for which to be thankful. Merry Christmas! (Now I’m going to go gratefully fold a pile of laundry in my dryer.) 🙂

  14. I just want you to know how much I enjoy your e-newsletters. As a mother of five and grandmother of five with my sixth grandchild due in February, your article/stories truly touch my heart. Ina world where violence, corruption and greed seem to be the norm and what is continually highlighted on TV and the news your newsletters are truly a joy and comfort.

    May God bless and continue to bless you and your family.

    Merry Christmas…..