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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  1. Dear Miss Jennifer,

    God knew I needed to hear this tonight… I often find myself starting to give in to the lie that I am alone. That I don’t “fit in” anywhere. That I am never good enough. Or that I don’t do enough… Thank you for reminding me that God sees ALL that I am through His loving and merciful eyes. That I am never alone because HE is with me. That I don’t “fit in” because this world is not my home. That it is not through my failed earthly attempts but through my faith in Him alone that I am enough, that I am saved and redeemed and truly, unconditionally LOVED… and that’s all that matters. Thank you again and I pray you and your family have a blessed day.

    This side of Heaven,
    Summer Rae

    • Summer,

      Each of your words are my words. Your eloquent way of expressing your thoughts and feelings spoke to me because I do have those thoughts and feelings sometimes. The mind truly is a battlefield. Some days I win, but there are also those days I feel like I’ve lost. When I let go and am reminded that I am His, the win is that much sweeter! Thank you for sharing!

      Karyn

      • Thank you so much for your kind encouragement Miss Karyn. I pray that your day is blessed and that you are also reminded just how strong you are through our Savior (Philippians 4:13). Numbers 6: 24-26

    • Summer Rae, you are an earthly angel. I have been here in the (in)courage community for six years, and never have I been so inspired as I am when I read your comments. I find myself looking forward to them at the end of these beautiful posts. If there is EVER a question of whether you are alone…or are making a difference…or are not “enough,” please believe me when I tell you…you have community here. You are cherished. Beautiful. Precious. Loved. You matter. You are wise beyond yours years, dear girl. Just thought you should know. ❤️

      • Dearest Miss Cynthia,

        Thank you. Your response touched my heart and just about brought tears (of joy) to my eyes. Anything good you see in me is all my God. He has, and continues to, move mountains in my life… clearing the way and showing me things I never would have thought possible. One of those mountains was the fear of reaching out. Starting my own blog and finding (in)courage has been a bigger blessing than I ever thought possible. As you pointed out, I am realizing, that there is in fact a community here… whenever I am having a “rough” day I get just the right post in my notifications or am blessed through a comment like yours. I wish I could tell you how much that meant; but, for now: “Thank you.” I pray you have a beautifully blessed day Miss Cynthia. Numbers: 6: 24-26

        This side of heaven,
        Summer Rae

        • You are a treasure. So grateful you listened to His whisper on your heart to reach out and find community despite your fears. We are blessed by you.

    • I always love when He puts something in front of me just when I need to hear it! I know I can feel that very same way that you do, Summer Rae. We all do. But most importantly, what stood out in your comment was that you referred to it as “the lie” Yes! Those negative feelings are just that… a lie! We know the truth. We know He is the truth. We know we are never alone because He loves us too much for that! Thank you for sharing your thoughts here today!

  2. Wow, this is so beautiful and timely! I am going through a rough season myself and I have had trouble accepting and understanding it. It is so wonderful to be reminded that “His beauty will be shown” in this difficult season and that He has not forgotten me. Thank you for this lovely post.

    • I am sorry you are going through a rough season, Barbara. I so get it. Just keep remembering He has not forgotten you. We will get through this because He loves us so much. Praying for you.

  3. Thank you for sharing your season of roughness to allow all of us readers to be encouraged. I love roses and would be a little upset to have them all eaten by deer, but you didn’t focus on that disappointment, instead focusing on that solitary rose to show us just how different God’s view is from our own. A wonderful thought!

    • I am too going threw a rough season right now and wonder will this ever get better? Thank you for reminding me how HE sees me. I often beat myself up and bask in my failures and so often have to be reminded that He never gives up on us! So greatful for his faithfulness! Thank you again for this wonderful post, blessings!

      • Oh I hear you, Darlene. It can feel like forever! I am sorry you have to go through what you are. He does see you and He does love you so much. He will see you through… in His timing. Praying for you.

  4. Jennifer,
    Thank you so sharing this amazing message. So timely for me personally as I truly resonate with it. I often times keep my focus on the storm/season and forget to look up. Forget that the creator of the universe has this, and He has gone before me. Forgetting we are loved, we are beautiful, we are enough! I can’t understand why we battle so with this as daughters of a King most high, but we do, I DO. I love that you are hearing God’s truth and not the lie of the enemy. I love that God is our healer, our redeemer, and His timing is perfect. I love that what the enemy means for harm that our God will turn around for His good. May the Lord bless you Jennifer. Praying for you! Janie

    • When we are in the midst of it, it can be hard to think about the bigger picture… even though we know better. I guess that is what makes us human. Your words are so uplifting and a beautiful reminder of His truth, Janie! Thank you so much for sharing and thank you for your prayers.

  5. You spoke to my heart today…I am a very tattered Rose at present. Thank you for your encouraging words.

    • Oh, Anne… so sorry you are feeling tattered right now. You are not alone in those feelings. And we are never alone. He loves you so much and He will carry you through this. Praying for you with love during your difficult season.

  6. This was definitely something that I needed to read. I feel like I have more rough edges and challenges than my life, but I am hopeful about the beauty underneath.

    • And that is all we can do, Elizabeth… remain hopeful! Because He loves us so much. I can not wait for you to see the beauty He is creating underneath it all. Praying for you.

  7. Jennifer, that was a beautiful post and like Summer Rae said, it was just what I needed to hear today. I am always so down on myself, feeling unworthy and alone and afraid of the future. I feel like God can’t even use a person like me, I have nothing to offer. But it’s all a lie and I know in my heart that my Heavenly Father loves me unconditionally, even with all my flaws! He has proven over and over that He can turn something ugly into something beautiful! Why do I tend to forget that?!? He will always be there for me during the roughest times (I didn’t think I’d get through the last two years without a mental breakdown!). Thank you for reminding me that I never have to be afraid or feel alone!! He is with me! May your day be blessed!

    Cindy

    • We all forget that, Cindy. When we are in the midst of the difficult, it is hard to remember there is something beautiful ahead. I love that you see how He is showing you through rough times. I know I feel that same way, looking back I only made it through because of Him. There could be not other explanation! I am so glad we are never alone. Praying you always know you are worthy and you are loved. Praying you see the beauty He creates.

      • Thank you so much, Jennifer. I gain so much from these posts and the encouragement from women like you who are willing to share their struggles. Last year was very difficult. My precious daughter went to heaven (she was only 34), my son remarried and moved 500 miles away two months later taking my only granddaughter (and grandchild) who I raised from her birth (she was five and we were very close as you can imagine). Two huge losses in such a short time was almost too much to bear. But God has seen me through it all and He has helped me slowly heal. Sadly my new daughter in law does not want to communicate so I get very little info on my granddaughter (only bits and pieces from my son). All I can do is keep going and keep believing that God is ALWAYS in control! He gives and takes away but I know there is beauty in the suffering that will be revealed in His time. We all have trials, I am not alone and this forum has been such a blessing to me! I am praying for all my Christian sisters who are going through a rough season! May God hold you tight and may He reveal His glorious plan in each of your lives!

        • Oh, Cindy, that is so, so much. I totally understand going through something tough, and then having more added on top of it. It can easily seem like too much to bear. Yet somehow, He sees us through. Praying He guides you through all of this. And praying He can work in the heart of your daughter-in-law so you are in your precious granddaughter’s life.

  8. Jennifer,

    Thank you for allowing God to use you to speak to me and say EXACTLY what I needed to hear! I just celebrated my 34th birthday and while it was a great birthday and I was showered with so much love, the fact that I am not where I expected to be at this point in my life has been a harsh reality. I have experienced a bevy of emotions. My mood has been up, then down, and everything in between. It’s sounds so silly that another year of life, rather than being celebrated, has brought me to tears on more than one occasion. I cannot tell a lie. The thoughts of being single and inadequate still pop up occasionally, but since I’ve been thinking about the woman he created to be and listened to songs and read scriptures that ministered to my spirit, there has been a noticeable shift in my mood! Then I read this “He is teaching me to be content where He has me at this moment. He is teaching me to let go of what I think this season should look like because it doesn’t match the one He has set for me. You never know what He has planned. You never know how He can turn something rough into something beautiful.” My spirit smiled because it was exactly what I needed and I was in the right mental and emotional place to receive it! So thank you Jennifer for reminding me that 34 isn’t a bad word! You have been more of a blessing than you will ever know! Amen and amen!

    karyn

    • Oh I understand just how you feel, Karyn. And it encourages me so much to hear you have noticed a shift the way you have. He is so good and so loving! I love knowing you were able to hear these words and let them into your heart. He is doing wonderful things in you and what an exciting thought that is!

  9. Dear Jennifer,

    Your blog post Beyond the Rough Edges inspired today 🙂 Felt I had to leave a comment to thank you for giving us this blog post.

    I was hooked from the first lines because you talk about animals and your garden. Am in the middle of a process of getting some tomato-plants to grow here in Greenland – not an easy job 🙂

    Love the summer too, though – beautiful colours and a nice time of the year.

    It’s great to see how God can use even our garden to give us small reminders about life and it’s ups and downs.
    What I especially liked in your blog post was the line: “It is easier to see beyond the small imperfections when the whole, beautiful picture is grabbing our attention.”

    It made me think of Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

    What you say in your blog post is the same as Covey says: When we lose sight of the whole picture, we begin to see the problems instead of the goal.

    I was encouraged by reading your blog post.

    Must agree with you: There’s beauty in what our Father has created.

    I’ll like to add: There’s also beauty in your blog. Really like your blog design with its great pictures.
    I’ll share this blog post on my Twitter and on my Facebook page tomorrow, so my audience can see it also 🙂

    God bless!
    Edna Davidsen

    • Thank you for your wonderful encouragement, Edna. We appreciate it so much! I do love how God can use a garden to teach us. I have received a love of gardening from my grandparents and parents. Such a blessing. Thank you so much for sharing. And I hope those tomato plants take off!

  10. I wnt to the mailbox and saw pretty red roses, then the old stems and afew dead heads. I really want to pluck them off but it was 96 here in Ga. I barely mad it in with my trash can that was burning me. I remember thinking, ” Lord, just let them fall off. ” Sometimes, what I feel like is lazy is just entering His rest, and he will let those things fall off that we are struggling with. There are so many tasks around the house, people to care for, prayers to and only one me. And it is a good God that both keeps us in lines and restores us..

  11. Thank you

    It felt as if this was written for me today. It has been an emotional few days.
    I looked at myself in the mirror yesterday and actually called myself ugly. That was just how I felt about everything. It was wonderful and uplifting to be reminded that I am God’s creation, and that I am beautiful because God made me.

    • Oh that hearts my heart to hear that, Jackie. But I understand, I have been there too. But that is a lie. You are His masterpiece! His beautiful creation! Praying you are overwhelmed by His love for you and overwhelmed knowing He beautiful He made you.

  12. God gave me a promise several years ago about giving me “the treasures hidden in darkness, in secret places..” I can see He’s doing just that in your life Jennifer, as well as in mine and in the lives of His people. I have always struggled with discontentment but lately God has been showing me the gift of being happy right where I am…it’s helped that He has been helping me learn and figure out what my gifts are. I’m so thrilled at His faithfulness. I have the possible opportunity to work in a floral shop and I’ve struggled so long with the idea that God gave other people gifts that enable them to support themselves but that God didn’t give me any…boy was that a lie from the devil. God is showing me also that gifts are to be used in their season too. We don’t need to be impatient because He’s working a good work in us because HE Started that work. God loves us all and don’t get discouraged: He WILL make Everything Beautiful in His time!:)

    • Oh yes! Yes to all your words, Jessica. He is so loving and so faithful. And how exciting to work in a floral shop…. my goodness, being surrounded with all that beauty! Thank you for sharing your thoughts today. Your happiness shines through them and what an awesome thing that is!

  13. Jennifer,

    Praying for you in this season. I know it can be rough. May God bring about some peace & comfort to your soul! Rough seasons are hard to handle. Sometimes you wonder if, when & how they will end. My rough season lasted about 3 years. I was dealing with my aging dad & his many medical issues. You wonder if you made the right choice to quit a good job & care for him. God in His infinite wisdom let me know I was right where He wanted me. My dad was in assisted living & I visited him at lunch 4 times weekly. I helped feed him as he had tremors. A table mate said “you will get jewels in your crown for this”.

    Like many of you I beat myself up over mistakes. I hear & tend to believe the lies “stupid, dumb, not good enough”. When that comes I recite Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Reminding myself that if I’m made in God’s image I can’t be dumb, etc. If I’m dumb, ugly then I’m saying God is also.

    Blessings 🙂

    • What a blessing for you to know you were right where He wanted you to be. What a precious daughter you were to love your dad through that difficult time in the ways that you did. You know He must have been so happy to see you love like Him. Thank you for your prayers. Praying for you as well, Beth.

  14. Dear Jennifer,
    Thank you so much for your timely message of encouragement. I know that Holy Spirit is speaking to me. I do receive it. I was faced with a situation that I thought I was able to handle. I didn’t do well in handling it. I caved in to my emotions and told a few friends that I wanted just to quit! One of my friends took me in her arms and just held me while I cried, she prayed with me and I felt so much better. However, later on I began to feel like that rose looked. Thoughts of feeling like I had failed God , that I am not as strong in the Lord as I should or could be, etc. Your message has lifted my spirit! I know who I am in Christ. I accept that in His eyes I am beautiful, I am more than a conqueror and my season to bloom into a beautiful Rose is on its way!!! Thank you and may the blessings of the Lord continue to shine in and through you. I love you my sister!

    • Your words make me so happy, Joan! Yes… your season to bloom is on its way! And what an exciting thing that is. We can all feel like we failed, but we can be grateful for the Truth. Blessings to you, sweet Joan, as you remember who you are in Him!

  15. I really appreciated your message Jennifer! It was just in time for me. It is giving me inspiration to continue writing a poem about God’s beauty and grace to us through roses. Thank you!