About the Author

Jennifer Dukes Lee is the author of several books, including Growing Slow. She and her husband live on the family farm, raising crops, pigs, and two humans. She’s a fan of dark chocolate, emojis, eighties music, bright lipstick, and Netflix binges. She wants to live life in such a way...

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  1. Jennifer,
    I feel like a hot mess at the moment. My house is a hot chaotic mess – in disarray from one little leaking pipe that did a whole lot of damage. Floors are ripped up; cabinets are ripped out and nothing is where it is supposed to be. We will have to be out of the house for twelve days for repairs. We’ll be “cozy” in our little efficiency with a beagle who howls if left alone in a strange place. Can you tell I’m not relishing this idea, but yet I feel called to embrace this “adventure”. As in so many other things I’ve had a sense of dread about (surgeries), I have learned that God has showed up in a big way to greet me where I am, and He encourages me for my resolve to keep trying, to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I may not have felt brave – facing so many struggles in life – but when I give myself over to God, His indwelling Spirit enables me to be brave. This is a relatively small dip in the roller coaster called life, so I’m sticking my hands up and shouting….”Here we go, Lord!” If you hear the pathetic howl of a lonesome beagle…don’t worry…it’s just us.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Thank you for sharing this Praise Report with us. It gives God the glory for what he has done for you and at the same time encouraged us as we trust he will do the same for us. I am about to begin a new adventure of organizing our women’s bible study at my home church. I have never done anything like this before. Lead groups of women, yes. Organize, set up for, get publicity out there… no.
      I Do feel called by Him to do this and trust He will, as you say, Show Up to carry out His plan by using me. Your story is a great reminder of how He works in and through his obedient children.

      • Betty,
        Lifting you in prayer, right now, that God’s Holy Spirit would be upon you in organizing a Bible study in your home. May God bring just the right mix of women who want to draw closer to Him and make new friendships. Give Betty courage as she is faithful to carry out Your will. We praise You that nothing can thwart Your sovereignty. We know that You are more than able and will do a mighty work through Betty’s humble efforts. Let her lean into You and find Your strength to carry out Your ministry. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
        Blessings and prayers,
        Bev xx

    • Oh my word, Bev, it sounds as though you are exactly where I was 2 1/2 years ago… I love how you ended your thoughts relating them to a roller coaster and throwing your hands up in the air in complete abandon and joy and saying “Here we go Lord!” Thank you! And Jennifer… thank you for publishing your life experience with the Lord… absolutely priceless. ❤️

    • This is so fitting for my son ! He now regrets going to his first choice college and us waiting to hear to transfer . Both schools are excellent choices . One is about 3.5 hours away and wad his grandfather’s Alma mater the other is 45 min from home and was out Alma mater . We thought his choice was what God wanted and maybe it still was but his heart his nearer to home now as he feels that his first choice was not the best for him . We are now anxiously waiting for the transfer on . I feel like the hot mess bc I feel like I should have looked closer at his choice before he committed . So anxiety grills my heart and I pray “ Be anxious for nothing !” . I know this year was not wasted but taught us all valuable lessons of trusting God will be glorified . This was a timely sharing on your part and that God is always working!

    • I so appreciate your candor and your wisdom, Bev …. As always. Thanks for being such an encouragement to me personally, as well as to the entire team here at (in)courage. xo

    • Bev you are strong in yourself and in faith. God is with you in every step!! Blessings for you and your husband in the time of house repair. Keep showing up especially here as you are needed and doing good!
      Jas

  2. I’m confused , where is the squares to save your devotions on pinterest? I always save ones that mean the most to me on it. But the squares are gone. Thankyou

    • Valerie, I’m not sure. I wish I could help you with this. You could go straight to the (in)courage page on Pinterest, and then pin from there? I wish I could be more helpful!

  3. Jennifer, I love this message and need it desperately in several areas. Sending my first daughter to college 13 hours away. I’m trying to be strong for her (she made the decision, but is close to us, friends and security of her home, so she’s anxious, nervous, etc…), but at the same time on the verge of tears because this is hard for me to be letting go. Secondly, I need to stick to a healthy eating plan to feel better and I need to go for a check up which I just do not like to do:( Anyway, I am going to be brave and keep showing up through it all! Thank you so much for the encouragement.

    • Saying a prayer for you tonight as you tackle big and little changes in this season of our life. I can so relate to sending a daughter to college. It’s coming soon for us as well, Martha.

  4. This is really good. I’m in my first VBS since seven years ago and feel a little out of place. My dad’s always been the pastor until now, which is why I’m intentionally going to the church where I am attending. Thanks for this. I moved out this year and there’s just been a lot of firsts I haven’t experienced in quite a while. I find myself doubting if it matters that I’m showing up when it’s really hard for me to try new things after so many “start overs” since my divorce. Thanks for your post.

  5. Thank you so much. I have a book The Mile Square Prayer I’m writing. I know without a shadow of a doubt it’s Father God. With my fears and procrastination I have postponed it several years. I’ve been actively working on it this summer, to publish early this fall. Thank you. I too struggle with my own inefficiency. Thank you. Father God always takes my vessel of foolishness to display His glory, makes the weak strong I need to walk out obedience. Thank you for your note from Father today.

  6. Thanks for this, this morning. My sweet 16 girl is in her first of 4 weeks away on a college campus 2 hours away, homesick and hitting way-out-of-her-comfort-zone challenges right and left. I did a screen shot of the last half of this devotion and sent it to her. Thanks for helping me to encourage her to keep bring brave and to not give in to despair, despite others’ actions and/or challenging personna. If you’re reading this, would you join me in praying for her this morning? My heart felt thanks!

  7. Thanks for this post. It reminded me of a time when I led a VBS at our church many years ago. I was feeling bad about the low attendance after I had worked so hard to plan and prepare. Mercifully, God led me to ask myself if I was feeling bad because I wanted the praise and approval for a job well done. I had to admit that was definitely part of it. He reminded me that he had brought all the kids and families who needed to be there and even though I didn’t know the whole story, it was exactly the way he had wanted it to go.

  8. As I step down from a women’s ministry at my church after our last event of the year tomorrow so I can focus on my writing, this is PERFECT. It is NOT the numbers . . . it is showing up and speaking up and writing it down every day. Thanks for the encouragement.
    ~ J.

  9. Jennifer,

    This year started out with changes. I was laid off from a part time job. A few short weeks later I landed a better part-time job. It is in a vastly different industry/environment than I’m used to (hospital-ICU Step Down). At first I was excited. Would be working 2 or so days a week by myself. Training with my went well for the most part. Then came the day I was to go solo. I was nervous to say the least. My motto was “God wouldn’t give me this job if He didn’t equip me for it.” Each week I keep showing up. Now I’m much better at it. I had to keep showing up & giving it the old college try. God gives us little “missions” to do for Him. We think we have to travel all over the world to do any good for God’s kingdom. No so. He wants us to change our world right where we are. We are super brave when we dare to go out of our comfort zones for God. What may seem like a failure to us (few children showing up for youth group) is actually a big win for God. We are doing His Will for our lives. We are making an impact on lives right here in our little world. Let’s all be brave & keep showing up for God.

    Blessings 🙂

  10. I just added a new mantra to my collection: “Baby steps…baby steps…baby steps….” Then the link to this post shows up in my Facebook news feed. I don’t necessarily believe in coincidences. God knew I’d needed to read this on Day 2 of my first venture into writing short devotional type posts related to my blog. Thank you for your encouragement to keep on keeping on. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that which Christ Jesus took hold of for me.” Philippians 3:12 NIV

  11. Thank you Bev! And thank you, Jennifer, from this transplanted Iowan. My growing up years were lived in a likewise small town in central Iowa and our youth group was made up of the young from three of the four churches there. My Mom was always in the kitchen helping feed the lot of us. My life is full of busyness at this stage and I’m lazy about commenting early in the morning but I am very thankful for this community of women who are sharing with all of us the gems God gives them. Faithfulness is such a blessing. I’m thankful for those who, like Bev and others, share from the store of wisdom their walk with the Lord has given them. You are ALL brave and I’m glad for all who keep showing up!

  12. Jennifer, thank you so much for these words!

    If I’m honest, even though I’m a writer, I have to keep showing up for writing! I love it, but it’s stinking hard. I just wrote a blog post yesterday (mainly for my own heart) about HOLY GRIT. Pressing on. Pushing forward. Not letting the enemy forget who we are… the Sons and Daughters of the Most High!

    So I think it’s no coincidence Jesus had me read your words today as well. 😉 Thank you.

    “Showing up” with you, Sister!
    Becky

  13. After taking a 6 month blogging hiatus, the readership has taken a pretty hard nosedive. I’ve told myself all the things you’re supposed to about God’s will and HIS mission and HIS timing, but I have to admit, it still stings; it’s hard not to despise small beginnings.

    Thank you so very much for the reminder and encouraging words. ❤️ I definitely needed them.

  14. Jennifer, thank you for your words of encouragement. My family is putting on a celebration of life for my husband’s sister, who died recently in a car crash. We don’t entertain guests often and I feel completely out of my element. My daughters will help me, but I still feel inadequate to do this well. I will continue to ask for the Lord’s help every day. And I’m sure He will bless the day. Your words help!

  15. Sweet Jennifer, just the words I need and need for a dear young woman about to start leading her first Bible study. Thanks for always showing up just in time in my life even though we have only ever “met” online.

  16. Jennifer… I love this .., I was just telling my husband last night that the first time I stepped out of my comfort zone in a big way was stepping into the blog world all those years ago… A woman who flunked out of English class stepped into a writing community. But that’s where I started to find my voice in the loving care of others. I’m in the second season of stepping way out of my comfort zone again and once again God’s love is wooing me out … and this new space at 61 yrs young … I am continuing to find a deeper voice that has been buried!! I remember back in the blog world much was spoken about the audience of ONE… and for me right now another motto… even for just one! Blessings as you pour into these kids… whether it 1 or 100’s … it had great value in the Kingdom… in their lives!

  17. Jennifer I know you and many others will get this – we have entered into a new season with my parents. It’s not easy to be kind, firm and loose-handed all at the same time. When they don’t remember so we’ll and yet insist they do.

    As I type this I’m in the Chick-fil-A line, getting them lunch. This is a difficult season of showing up. I’d rather be doing something else something more graduating. Something that feeds my creative side.

    Showing up and doing the things God has placed in front of me , today is an act of faith. I believe there is something in my future that will require the skill I’m learning in this season. And part of that skill is showing up … even when it’s heartbreaking. .

        • Thanks for sharing this, Diane! I’m in a caregiver mode with a parent as well, and some days I ask myself – is this it? I care for my kids, then as they’re nearly launched I care for parents another decade and then hopefully I’m still in good health before needing care myself? I too get discouraged and have to refocus on who the Lord has in front of me to serve today. I know He sees us, some days I just forget. Sending up a prayer of encouragement for you this morning, Diane!

          • Oh friend I know it difficult. I get what you’re saying about wondering if there will be enough strength left. Let’s hold onto God’s sleeve and believe he has good plans for us and our future! In the meantime we will care for them as we want to be cared for. Prayed for you today.

    • I have been through that season. It will be hard, but there WILL be fruit, in it, and later. In fact, my mom’s Alzheimer’s gave me my writing focus and passion.

  18. Good lesson. Hope your youth group is strong and growing. I can remember that our church had a good youth group when I was growing. It made a lot of difference in my life and I’m sure most of the other members would say the same.
    My “mission” for the past few years has been work as a volunteer at our local hospital. I am a member of the hospital Auxiliary. Several years ago, I heard 2 other members discussing a patient that they read to after our meetings. Joyce had a major stroke years ago. She is younger than I am, but has been in bed for probably more than 15 years now. She has 1 daughter and 2 stepchildren left in this world, but seldom sees them. She is very heavy, so about the only time the staff gets her out of bed is for an occasional shower. Her speech has not been affected, her mind is good, and she has use of her hands, but that’s about it.
    A few years after I first heard of Joyce, I learned that the 2 Auxiliary members were no longer reading to her. Irene had gotten to where the walk to her room was too much for her, and Judy’s husband was seriously ill and she could not count on coming to the hospital. So, I decided that I should fill in for them.
    I can remember being hospitalized for a couple of LONG stay, far away from home, with almost no company. At that time, hospitals made no attempt to entertain patients, so reading was about it for me as I was completely bedridden. Joyce was glad to see me and we began by reading “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn”. After we finished that, we would occasionally watch a movie together, and as my time grew less free, we went to short devotional. What mattered was that she could count on someone coming to see her, listening to her problems and occasionally suggesting solutions, and basically just being there.
    When I became a widow 2 years ago, I gained new perspective on Joyce’s dilemma. She is totally helpless and often alone. I drive 3 miles into town each morning for Communion. The hospital is right around the corner, so there is nothing preventing me to spend an hour or so visiting/reading to those who need some attention. Although a chore at first, it has become a pleasure. God gives us all sorts of opportunities if we just open our hearts and our eyes.

  19. Thank you, Jennifer! I needed this today. I am facing my writing first term paper in 25 years. It is due on Sunday night. (I may have procrastinated, more than a little.) I switched topics, after not being able to find enough information for my first topic. I had to get my instructor’s ok on the topic–I waited 3 days for them to get back to me. So here I am–its Friday, paper due on Sunday night, and haven’t started yet. Thanks for reminding me that I have to show up and try. I am learning this going-back-to-school thing is not for the faint-hearted.

    • Hi Jennifer! I hope that your paper is going well! I hope you made great progress today. Just show up and keep doing what you’re doing. You are going to be so happy to see how far you’ve come!

  20. Thank you for this. God is speaking truth to me today. I starting leading a Moms In Prayer group and started with 2 Moms joining me weekly but life happened and circumstances occurred so they don’t come too much anymore. One of the Moms does come when she can so I attend by myself for now and pray for my boys. Last night no one was scheduled to come and I was tired from a busy day. I decided not to attend on my own. Thank you God for reminding me to keep showing up even when others don’t. I know He is using me and has a plan. I must be patient…

  21. I love that Galatians verse! It’s renewed me again and again when I feel less-than in my mothering or ministry. And I appreciate this: “That’s the gift of showing up every time and not letting numbers determine if it’s working.”

    • Lisa, I have read that verse and spoken that verse over my life, and the lives of those I love, more times than I could ever count. It’s one I truly cling to! So glad to see you here today.

  22. Thank you so much for this wonderful share! I am recovering from an illness and on a LOA from work. I havent been able to see 2 of my grown children and 4 of my grandchildern one who is only 2 months old. Didn’t get my garden in or plant flowers yet. My husband had to carry most of the household load. Really felt like a “hot mess” but now I am starting to recover and God never left my side and slowly I can continue showing up! Many Blessings to you!

  23. Jennifer
    I’m a hot mess right now!! Praying for Gods forgiveness, guidance and love in this season of life!

  24. Thanks for this, Jennifer!

    “It’s my first self-published book, and I will show up for this.”

    PS: One conversation with one Young Life leader made a profound impact on my life, 40 years ago. And she has no idea.