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. Jennifer,
    Thank you for this reminder! God is our example. We need to make the choice to continue to love – even when it feels hard. We can not let God’s love disappear when our world so desperately needs it. May our lights burn brighter in the darkness.
    Carolyn

  2. Hello, there is strife all over in my family. I’ve tried to stay loving and do my best to bend to not hurt others but I’m being hurt not only by them but myself. My oldest daughter expressed her opinion about me and how I just won’t make the effort to call her a gender neutral name after calling her the name I gave her over 29 years ago. I’m expected to do all the bending and all the accepting and if not then I’m to blame for the pain. It’s a if you don’t agree with me than you’re against me kind of thing. So no love can get through. She can’t see my love. Just what she thinks I think. So I finally stood up for myself because I’m weary from not having my feelings and opinions matter with what it feels like from most of the people in my life. I am beside myself with the things she said to me yesterday. I am not a fighter. Never have been. Just tired of feeling like even though I’m trying hard it’s not right or good enough. I wanna love and try to love with all that I am but it’s not enough. Please pray

    • In the past, when I’ve prayed that prayer, I’m not sure I thought about what Jesus’s life was actually like. Sure, I know all about his loving, gracious, and kind character, but those traits led him into some uncomfortable situations. I had to pause and count the cost of the prayer I was praying.

      Jesus was homeless.

      Jesus was misunderstood.

      Jesus was hated.

      Jesus was mocked.

      Jesus was betrayed.

      Jesus was unjustly killed.

      As I thought through this list, I started to weep. Jesus was perfect, righteous, loving, and kind. He did nothing wrong, and yet he was not honored as he should’ve been. Jesus was lied about and plotted against. The good he did was called evil. He was constantly under threat from others. Jesus’s life wasn’t easy or comfortable. Instead, his life was dangerous and painful.

      When I compare my life with Jesus’s, I realize just how much I value my own desires and comfort. I can so easily make my life about me and what I want instead of what he wants. If I do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly as Jesus did, I will be misunderstood and hated by some. If I allow the Holy Spirit to produce the fruit of love, joy, and peace in my life, I will be mocked and betrayed.

      The way of Jesus is beautiful and life-giving, but it also looks different from how I was taught I should live.

      Luke 11 contains one of the more uncomfortable sermons Jesus ever preached. I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy it when Jesus is being comforting and healing. Reading the passages where he tells his followers to take up their crosses is much less fun. But I can’t help but wonder how my life would change if I took passages like this one more seriously. How might the world change if God’s people took him at his Word?

      I encourage you to read through these verses slowly. Count the cost. Examine your own heart and mind. Engage in the process of repentance as God leads.

      Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 11:25-33 ESV)

      Following Christ is costly. It’s uncomfortable. It causes us to look at everything in our lives through the lens of the kingdom of God. It requires a dying to self and a renunciation of our former way of doing life. Jesus made it clear that discipleship wasn’t something we should leap into without thinking—we need to consider the cost of following him. Being a disciple requires a lot, but I’m finding that it’s worth the pain, discomfort, and dying to self that it requires.

      Jesus went first and showed us how to live; now he’s asking us if we’re willing to go all-in for the One who gave his all for us.

      Sarah J. CallenSarah J Callen is an entrepreneur and published author currently living in Dallas, Texas. Her dreams include founding businesses, giving strategically, and sharing art with the world. Connect with her on her website

    • Kelly, I am so sorry for what you are going through and the pain you have. I can hear the weariness in your words and it is heartbreaking. I pray that strength from God will help you both navigate through this and His love will shine through the darkness and hurt. I pray that you feel His great love!

    • Kelly,

      So sorry you are having to deal with these issues. This world has changed so much from what we had growing up. It seems the evil one is at work harder than ever. Praying for strength to endure this trial. May God’s love shine through your actions. You will be blessed in the end. Asking God to soften & change their hearts toward you.

      Abba Father,

      Please strengthen Kelly & help her to show love to her family regardless of how they act. Asking for comfort & peace in that family. Please change the heart of her daughter towards her. Open her eyes to see that mom is trying to be loving & understanding. Please bring an end to this situation. AMEN!

      Blessings 🙂

  3. A timely post for me. I am wallowing in a sea of self pity. Because God loves me, I need to forgive both myself and the person who hurt my feelings. Thanks for sharing.

  4. What a sweet reminder!! We need to love purely and simply as children do!! I think we can all learn from that lesson. Praying for peace for your family.

  5. This is a message which I will save to refer back to each time of feel myself “approaching a day with negative thoughts and feelings.”
    Thank you

  6. Thank you for your eloquent words. I am going to print your post and stick it in the front of my journal. Sometimes I need to be reminded of what I know to be true.

  7. Thank you for reminding & confirming that Love truly is ALL we need. No matter the circumstances. If we are loving others, then we are living our best lives.

    We often can’t control our circumstances, but we can chose to love others through each day, and that makes even those “bad days” beautiful. #nobaddays 🙂

    And Trust Jesus to fill in all our gaps and change all the hearts that we can not change, no matter how hard we try.

    Love you, my friend!!

  8. Jennifer,

    What a timely post. In these crazy days with everyone home all the time it can be unnerving. Words can be said or opinions expressed that cause hurt. May we be more like Jesus & look for the good in everyone. Asking God to help us ALL hold our tongues & shower this world with God’s love & grace. We could all use a lot of that now.

    I’m loving on a co worker right now. She is dealing with her father’s cancer & trying to work full time as RN in a hospital. She is getting worn out. On off days she has to check on dad (35 minute drive one way). Doesn’t have time to rest & relax from work.

    Blessings 🙂

    P.S. How are you doing with you autoimmune disease? Still praying for you.

    • How awesome of you to be loving on your co-worker like you are, Beth! I can imagine what a blessing you are in her day! Thank you so much for your prayers for me. Good days and not so good days. I appreciate you asking and thinking of me! xo