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...

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  1. Thank you for sharing your experience. sometimes we are too busy in our own self absorbed world to notice that God has been faithful in our lives. the food , shelter, facities and equipments in our lives are tender privileges God has showered on us.
    Like you said we should train our kids to impart in their generation positively and allow the light of God in their lives shine through. there are no short cuts but with God’s wisdom we can.

    God Bless You Jen.

    http://purposefulandmeaningful.blogspot.com/

  2. Jen,
    Similar to what you are saying, I have always said (to myself and to my children) “Practice with the small stuff.” Now that my children are grown it’s actually the small stuff that they remember, not the big “home run” experiences. They remember taking blankets and serving hot coffee and soup to the homeless when they were just little. They remember lighting and reading around the Advent wreath (although there was always a fight over who got to light and blow out the candles). They remember tagging along to deliver a meal to someone. Small steady seeds grow great oaks. When they come over to visit now…they see my Jesse tree and Advent devotional – my way of slowing myself down this Christmas season – and my daughter shares about her Jesse tree. It does my heart good to see things come full circle. Feeling very blessed. Thanks Jen for being so real that I can relate!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  3. GREAT points! We took our kids on several mission trips and while they were impacted by what they saw, it was not a “miraculous” change. I know it planted seeds and I pray God waters them!

  4. This made my morning! Thank you for your transparency in your feelings and thoughts. My four kids (ages 6-13) are in the stage of “it’s all about me” and honestly that is hard to crack sometimes without getting frustrated and confused.
    I needed to be reminded that those “small things” will pay off someday and when I need some encouragement, I can think on those things!

    Thank you for sharing and I love reading your blog!

    • Thanks so much, Ginger.

      We will remember together, especially during this advent season. I want everything to be so “magical” and perfect and realizing that our precious Christ Child came for the messy…me, our kids, is a priority I camp on. 🙂

  5. I went to Cuba in 1999 on a mission trip – I had the same emotion as you and I am still affected by the experience. My gratefulness for the little things has held and for that I am thankful. We are so blessed in America. Your children will remember if only in flashes and maybe it will take years, but they WILL. Good post for this season of possible indulging.

    • Thanks so much, Ginger.

      We will remember together, especially during this advent season. I want everything to be so “magical” and perfect and realizing that our precious Christ Child came for the messy…me, our kids, is a priority I camp on. 🙂

  6. Jen,

    I, too, Want that to describe me! I want God to say “Well done good and faithful servant”. Too often I am the opposite–wanting “it” now. To combat that I make a list of everything I am thankful for from the big stuff–Jesus–to little things like In(Courage) Website. I then daily put down the things I am thankful for that day–sleep, sunshine, rain, etc. It puts life into perspective.

    While I have never been on big mission trips, I have gone to local state prison and cooked meals for the team and participants on a Kairos Walk–similar to Emmaus. You couldn’t imagine the sweetness and thankfulness of the prisoners. Each prisoner–even solitary gets 1 dozen cookies and those on their walk will get a birthday cake. Some of those men have never even had a birthday cake. Things we take for granted!!! Those experiences changed me such that I am ready in an instant to cook meals for people, send e-cards, give hugs, etc. What ever little bit of encouragement & happiness I can bring to people’s lives.

    Blessings 🙂

  7. Oh how I so understand your feelings, because I had equal responses after returning from 3 trips to Africa. Our wasteful, entitle-minded society makes me stinkin’ crazy! Thank you for sharing and for going.

  8. Jen, such a beautiful post. I too, have fallen into the trap of shaming when I shouldn’t. It’s so easy to forget that our children are in training. They’re following our example. And they needs lots of practice. Over time. Yes, that patience thing? So hard for this mama. You post spoke deeply to my heart.

    I’m working on being faithful to be in every moment with my kids. In the now. Not focusing on my computer screen when one wants to share an aspect of his day. Not busy with the trivial when a heart needs a little mama love. This is where I’m trying to be faithful in the little things.

    I’ll be coming back to this post to be reminded. Thank you for it!

  9. Jen

    I love your transparency. The recent passing of my mother really affected my outlook on life–especially in relationships. Her death was particularly hard for me, in that, her was cut short before our reconciled relationship could grow and get-to–know-better. Instead her life was cut short by a painful disease. All this has Influenced how I do life, to appreciate that little things, to remember my relationship in Christ is a journey not an instant fix.

    Thanks for remind me of that this morning .

    Samantha

  10. Totally get this one. We’ve taken our kids with us in all the ways possible missionally–locally and abroad. I confess to having these moments of glorious “mothering” as well– because we care so much about God, them, the ones we serve (who actually serve us long after we leave the field), and their walk with Christ. I do know that it’s in there somewhere even if I can’t see it right away. Thanks for the reminder!

  11. This is beautiful. The daily tiny steps of faith. This is so encouraging to me today, for all the days that one tiny thing seems futile. And it’s not. Not at all in the eyes of Jesus. Thank you!

  12. Thank you for this insightful reminder. I often try to seek out the shortcut in the hard things of life, but the journey walked out one faithful step at a time is where Jesus meets us, and when we falter his faithfulness remains steadfast. Thank you for sharing your heart. Merry Christmas!

  13. I love this post so much! Thank you for this reminder…it’s so easy to get focused on the “big” things. Blessings. 🙂

  14. Oh, this speaks to my heart so much! We took our kids on a missions trip earlier this year and were hoping for a huge impact on their hearts. There was, but it lasted only a short time and then they were ‘back to usual’. Thank you for your words of encouragement!