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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  1. This week we have been celebrating the Home Going of one of our dearest college buddies. We celebrate because it is Jesus who brought us together & kept us close decades later. We celebrate because we will be together for eternity because of Christ. I celebrate because I’m sure I danced with our friend to “Celebration”. The heartbreak is real yet the opportunities it opens to share Jesus with others can’t be missed & the group of friends coming in for the memorial will be, albeit tear-stained, a joyous party indeed. I celebrate that I grieve because I was loved/am loved. Cranking up Celebration! Thanks for your words this morning Jen, perfectly timed! Blessings! (((0)))

    • I’m sorry for your loss, Ruth, but so happy that you can celebrate the beautiful friendship you shared and your friend’s home going. ❤️

      • Thanks Gail. I’m sure a grief story wasn’t what Jen was expecting in the comments yet there is joy in the death of one of His saints. I could also celebrate surviving a torturous new work out this morning ;~)

    • Ruth – you have fully lived out the truth of Ecclesiastes this week as you showcase that there is a time to mourn while simultaneously celebrating. While I am so very sorry for your loss and the hole that will always remain with the loss of that special friend, I’m so honored you shared with us how you are pointing that all to Jesus.

      blessings to your special group of friends.

  2. Successful cataract surgery complete on eye #1! Told my husband that he is much more handsome than I remembered; now he can hardly wait for me to get eye #2 done!!!

  3. This devotion is such a GIFT this am! My word for the year is CELEBRATE!
    When the Lord gave that to me at the end of December I was not sure what he was up to.
    My 80 yo dad had just been diagnosed with 2 forms of cancer in early Dec & we were quickly having to clear out & move my parents 18 hours north for treatments & to be closer to my sister & I.
    2024 looked like it was going to be a very hard, tough year for us.
    And it has been.
    My amazing Dad passed April 19.
    And we have had 5 moves between our young adult kids & my parents in the first 6 months of the year (with more to come before the end of 2024).

    In the midst of all of the hard we have walked thru God has shown up in Big & small ways & I have been able to Celebrate them all.

    I have found that my heart posture of Celebration has been such an encouragement & allowed my heart & my eyes to be WIDE open to ALL that He is doing in the middle of all the hard.
    And I am sharing it with whoever will listen. ❤️

    God knew what He was doing when He gave me the word Celebration this year-knowing I would NEED to be focused on the goodness all around me Even When circumstances are so hard.

    • Catherine – I wish I could pin your comment to the top of my post as such a beautiful response and heart posture of celebration in the midst of such pain and challenge. I can’t even imagine how hard and exhausting 2024 has been for your whole family and yet you’re a testament to focusing on His goodness and faithfulness amidst it all.

      Thank you for sharing. I’m especially thinking of you all this next weekend as its the first FAther’s day without your dad and I know all the firsts are so painful. I’ll be praying for you all.

      much love,

    • NO fighting???? You have the magic touch. That’s amazing. Thank you for investing in this next generation. A grand parents role can have such an impact and your weekends together will be a a legacy they won’t forget as they get older.

  4. I’m celebrating that I get to have an “Aunt Bethany Time” this afternoon with my niece who is home from college. That God gave me this idea a few years ago to take out a different young adult/teenage neice or nephew once a month in order to continue and deepen our relationship. That now they look forward to this and that even my neice who is married and expecting a baby wants to still get in the action!

    • Bethany – I LOVE THIS SO MUCH!!! It’s so important that this generation has so many wise women (and men) pouring into their lives. Often they might not listen to us parents, but they’ll hear and accept things from their Aunt Bethany. What a wonderful gift you’ve given them.

  5. I am celebrating a completion of year 27 of teaching preschoolers about Jesus, in my 3rd location. Year 2020 we moved to be closer to the grands, when the youngest was born and I retired to care for them, infant, 2 1/2 and 5 1/2. fast forward to summer of 2022, the youngest was 2 and I thought/prayed, it would be so great if the youngest and I could find a preschool when he was 3 that he could go to and me be a part of… the following week the Pastor at our church asked me to come in to see if God was up to something. He then expressed the church was contemplating adding a 2nd 3K program, not this year but the following year and if I would consider… um… what!?!?!? I asked ‘ if he had been talking to God’. and shared how I had just been thinking/praying about the very thing. So this past year I entered back into teaching, bringing my youngest to school with me and be his teacher along with 9 other little 3 year olds. God is good and celebrating the goodness of God, provision, opportunities, blessings, surprises. All to Him!

    • Tamara – I got shivers reading this. WON’T HE DO IT!!! I love that the pastor was obviously asking the Lord for clarity and that clarity came with the words “Ask Tamara” and to teach in the same classroom as you’re grand? That’s just the best. SO excited for you. How does it feel to be the immediate answer to someone’s prayer? Amazing, right? 🙂

  6. My niece got engaged! They have been together since freshmen in college. Decided to wait until they graduated to consider anything permanent. It’s been 3 years since they received their degrees. They both have established jobs now and he surprised her at a picnic spot where they had their first date! Celebration!

  7. Oh I LOVE this post!!!
    I used this very song last year when my brother resigned from his soul destroying job and I popped out behind his couch where he lives in a different province to me, to surprise him with a weekend of me supporting him. I run a recovery coaching business as a side hustle, and I decided to name it THE JOY PROJECT (the project at the time was actually me), so I am 100% drawn to anything that speaks of joy, resonates with joy and brings or spreads joy.
    I’m in a season of my life where everyone else in my family but me are all in very difficult financial positions (my brother has still not found a job almost a year later), but I try daily to just REJOICE in Gods goodness, His faithfulness, and His 100% promise of provision in our lives. We serve the most amazing, consistent and reliable God, and I celebrate the goodness to come in my family and for difficult situations to be turned around.

    • Donna – I think we all need you as a joy coach in our lives because I can just sense that when the going gets tough, you have the kind of Holy Spirit, Joy loving spirit that reminds us of where our hope comes from. It’s all from Him!! thank you for reminding those in your life of that truth and I know that after a year of unemployment, that may not be the easiest thing for your brother to remember. I’m so glad he has you. Thank you for spreading celebration and harnesses hope for those who don’t have it at the present.

  8. Jen – Celebration (JOY) is good. I’m celebrating that (in)courage will be rolling out my devotional June 14th and I’m prayerful it will encourage women. Also on June 14th I’m celebrating my son’s graduation from residency and his moving back to Kansas City! With our son taking my husband’s practice, my hubby will join me in retirement. Yipee!

    • YAY, LISA!!!! I am over here celebrating a double whammy of amazing things on June 14. Thank you for sharing your heart with the women of encourage and I can’t wait to read your devotional.

      Plus, I had to reread the fact your son is taking over your husbands practice, moving back closer to home and retirement. I’m stunned at the amount of goodness in those few sentences. Congrats to your son for such an accomplishment after years of hard work and discipline and to you (and your husband) for the years you had to sacrifice as well. Do you have any plans for retirement? (and to preface, retirement in and of itself is never in scripture so I know you’ll still be doing kingdom work, but any fun immediate plans to celebrate?)

  9. Hi Jen “The Good Fun Woman……I loved your story, unfortunately I have not had any fun in the past 6 years. It is a very sad and heartbreaking story going on for the past 15 months. My husband has violent dementia and almost killed me. I was forced to have him evicted from our house of 40 years. The doctors and support groups all said he was going to kill me and never remember. He has been in denial since the beginning and I stayed with him for 3 and a half years and tried to convince him he was sick. All my support groups said I had stayed so long, and he wouldn’t accept my advice, he would never so I had to worry about my safety. We have one son who is 54 years old. I am 77 years old and he just kept telling me that I was lying to him. His father just had old age. I had the written reports from the neurologist and the psychoneurologist that confirmed the diagnosis, but they also told me if my son wouldn’t help me to convince him, I had no one else, but a 12 year old grandson, Carter. Here is where the most heartbreaking part really starts. My son called me one night and told me never to refer tohim as my son, because I was a liar and he no longer considered me his mother. I have not heard or seen him or carter for 16 months now. I have tried everything my 45 years of management for a very large insurance company. I begged, pleaded, cried, and switched to yelling, screaming and finally he hurt me very bad.This situation has still not been resolved and has just been dragging over the 16 months. Jen, I have no other family. My friend feel so bad for me, but they don’t know what to say to me to cheer me anymore and they are all around my age and have husbands except for one in GA that lost her husband 2 years ago. They are busy and all have large families. I live in a facility that is awful. Had to sell our house and still no property settlement has taken place. I am running out of money. Jen, I am sorry for this maudlin story, but I used to always be the fun person, at my job which was my dream job, but I am retired now. I pray constantly and use many of the (in)courage books. I know God has his timeline, but I am not young anymore and I cry a lot that something good will happen before I leave this Earth. Do you have any advice for me? Thank you and I am sorry for rambling on, but people don’t understand what I go through every day. Have a Blessed Day, Jen…………………………….Betsy Basile

    • Oh Betsy – First, thank you for sharing such an intimate and painful part of your story with us. The women here at incourage do not take this lightly, so know we mean it when we read every word you’ve shared and I will be praying for your situation.

      I can’t imagine the heart break you are going through with the separation of your family and not being able to see your grandson. That kind of grief is profound and while you’ve asked for suggestions, it sounds like your situation is so multifaceted with layers of pain that a counselor may have more insight into helping you walk through it.

      AS I read this, I sense you have reached out to others and I continue to encourage this because something like this you should never have to do it alone. While my situation isn’t the same as yours, I do know that when grief grabbed hold and I was struggling to celebrate, I started serving others to fill some of my hours. It was the antidote for me because I was focusing on others stories at the time and got my mind off myself and it also allowed me to meet new people. I bet there are many non profits that would love your areas of gifting in volunteer hours because I know you have so many wonderful things to shower on others.

      Again, I am so sorry you haven’t had reasons to celebrate. Keep grabbing hold of your only source of Hope – and His name is Jesus. Cling to His truths throughout scripture over and over and meditate on His words because only through Him do we have any answers to such painful circumstances. I’m sorry there’s not beautiful bow in these chapters of your story. I’ll pray the Lord reveals Hope to you in these upcoming seasons.

  10. I am celebrating finding a new volunteer opportunity! After 12 years as a hospice volunteer, I retired from that in February. Now I volunteer for an organization that’s helping underprivileged kids. It was time! I still haven’t quite found my circle of friends in this group, but I’m enjoying working hard at something that brings joy.

    • That’s amazing, Irene!!! Having my own non-profit, I know what a gift of time your volunteer heart brings. Wish you were closer to NC and I’d grab you in a heart beat. You will be such an encouragement .

  11. Hi Jen, I love each of your devotionals so much! My husband & I are celebrating our 50th anniversary on July 7th! We both feel God gave us each other as a gift personally from Him. I was raised Jewish & became a Christian when I was 16 years old, my husband, Jerry was raised Catholic & he’s 1/2 Jewish & became a believer when he was 20 years old. We met after we both had already become believers & God has blessed us with 3 beautiful children, 2 boys & 1 daughter. I knew Jerry’s cousins since I was 4 years old as my brother was best friends with his cousin from our Temple. Jerry has beat cancer 3 times & is a miracle man!!! I’m so blessed to have him & our children along with their spouses & 4 precious granddaughters!!! I’m very thankful for all God has blessed me with & the trials we’ve gone through because of our faith has made us even stronger. If I lived closer to you Jen I know we’d be good friends! Would love to sit on your porch or my back deck & sip coffee & chat! Lord bless you as you’ve encouraged so many women for Him!

  12. Hi Jen,
    Great post! We Christians can sometimes be quite serious about life. But Jesus said our “joy will overflow.” I prefer the more modern music during a church service since, it can be quiet, or celebratory, depending on the topic of the day.
    I grew up listening to that song, “Celebrate” by Kool and the Gang. At my exercise class, my coach plays many similar songs that we Baby Boomers like, such as, “Walking on Sunshine” that we dance to between strength movements. It’s difficult to sit still to these fun oldies! 🙂 🙂
    Let’s all celebrate each other and try to keep that joyfillness of Jesus in our souls!!

    Appreciate this lovely reminder to see the glass half full.
    Blessings, Sandy

  13. Last September I had a major back surgery. Unfortunately during surgery I got a nasty bacterial infection. So 5 weeks later I had to have a second surgery. I was doing well recovering until I fell and we discovered knocked about half of my screws loose. So April 19 back to surgery to basically redo surgery #1 plus some. But this time was totally different. This time I was healthy going in and coming out. My therapists and my doctor are so amazed because I am weeks ahead of were they expected me to be in my recovery. Frankly I’m amazed too. I feel like I am getting better. Pain that I had 24/7 is gone. I look forward to my days. I have months of recovery to go but thank God I am recovering!! Let’s celebrate.

  14. Hi Betsy,
    I was so moved by your situation that tears filled my eyes just thinking about your situation. My dad had dementia and my mom was in denial for quite some time. I will pray for your situation and the resolving of the funds from the sale of your home.

    A scripture that gives my solace is: Nehemiah 8:10 NLT “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” I
    like to paraphrase it as: “The joy of you Jesus is my strength.” I even use this as a breath prayer, inhaling “the joy of you Jesus” exhaling, “is my strength.”

    May you feel the arms of Jesus holding you nd walking with you through this difficult season in your life.

    God Bless, Sandy

    • Sandy…..How wonderful of you to read my story and reply to me. People usually just walk away as they don’t know what else to say to me. Thank you for your prayer as I am sadly in need of it. You must be a super person to take time to reply to someone you don’t even know. I will certainly use the scripture that you shared with me. Many years ago when I had 2 very , very serious surgeries that both doctors had made big mistakes and my husband was told I would not survive. I know that Jesus intervened and gave me the strength to fight. After being in a 2 week drug induced coma, they started to bring me out of it. The other doctor did his operation wrong and I lost one of my kidneys although they kept telling me it would be OK, but it wasn’t and isn’t. 5 foot operations followed and once again the first surgeon botched my right foot and they sent me to another foot surgeon who did my left foot and it is perfect. He tried twice to fix the other foot to no avail. My only chose and he said it was strictly up to me to decide, but I couldn’t stand the pain anymore so he had to amputate the toe next to my big toe. Noe the big toe has taken over the space where the other toe had been so I still have a lot of pain. Sometimes I wonder why God is punishing me. I know deep down, I don’t think he would ever do that, but my strength is not as strong as it was when I was 35. I have prayed to him many times, did I do something wrong? I have not gotten a sign. I wish to tell you that you are an angel sent from God to help me. Thank you so much. Blessed be to you and all your family…….Betsy Basile

  15. I am 77 years old and I celebrate that the Lord Jesus has brought me through several seasons of depression and anxiety over the past 11 years. He healed my broken hip and femur and I am looking to Him to heal my debilitating back condition. The Lord has blessed me with a wonderful husband who has to do so much for me. I celebrate the Lord Jehovah Jirah who supplies all our need! He visited me last Sept all night long with His wonderful presence, comfort and peace! I have 2 dear friends who contact me on rare occasions. But sometimes I feel so lonely. I have no children of my own, but my husband has 3, 2 of whom lived with us and we supported for 20 years. Only 1 stepdaughter contacts me occasionally. I taught her and her son about Jesus. My husband and I had to leave our church years ago where we had served faithfully for 25 years because it had become very condemning and controlling. We have attempted to find another home church but to no avail, plus with my back condition it is hard to sit or stand for more than a few minutes. But we pray and look to the Lord for everything. I celebrate the Lord for saving my soul and I long to be with Him throughout eternity. God’s richest blessings to you all! He is faithful, true and loving always!

  16. Such an encouragement today Jen! Life isn’t always a party, especially as we get “older”! Lol last Sunday I said to my husband, old age isn’t for sissies!! But we recall the goodness of God over and over in our lives and by sharing these stories others are encouraged too. I told a friend yesterday how I broke my leg 10 months ago and the blessings that came from it and the miracle of how it was healed! She was just in awe of God’s goodness. ❤️

  17. My celebration today is that I finished pulling up the sod from part of my lawn and even better. My grown daughter is going to be in town and have dinner with me tonight. Praise the Lord!

  18. I’m 53 years old and have several auto-immune disorders. Last year, I added osteopenia to the list of issues. The doctor told me I needed to stress my bones. LOL. My adult daughter is always talking about adventures she wants to go on. I got an unexpected bonus at the end of the year and decided to sign us both up for a long distrance bike ride across the State of Iowa known as the RAGBRAI. It is the oldest organized across state bike ride. We will be riding 434 miles with 18,000+ feet of elevation gain over the course of 7 days camping each night. Our adventure starts July 18th with a 2-day drive to Iowa. My husband is our pit crew, driving from town to town to setup camp. In December, the Lord gave me my word of the year “Celebrate” just like another post I read. I’ve been celebrating the fact that I have grown stronger during this training period and have spent quality time with my daughter. I’m also excited that she finally gets to have an adventure. Hoping to bring the joy of the Lord to Iowa. Thank you for sharing your devotional. I will add that song to my daily playlist during our ride.

  19. wow so much to celebrate. Retired (1) year ago, sold our house of 37 years and moved to a new house. Just settling in and starting to feel like I really am retired! So very grateful for all of God’s blessings including the devotions that I receive daily!

  20. After 2 nasty falls this past week, I am finally getting out and about a little bit more. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still really sore but it feels so good to get outside and just put on real clothes and run errands even.
    So that’s what I’m celebrating.

  21. My husband and I were on the verge of divorce after 13 years of marriage, due to broken vows. But now we can rejoice and raise a hallelujah because God has redeemed us and has given us Grace, forgiveness, and mercy for each other! We will be celebrating 27years of marriage this year. Amen! God is good

  22. I just started a class learning wheel-throwing pottery!! I’m listening to a call to slow down and enjoy the process. I’m finding delight even in how categorically bad I am at it!

  23. My daughter Anna is graduating from PCCollege in Portland, Oregon. On June 14th, 2024.
    My husband Derek and I are so happy. Her major is Sonic arts and music. She loves to paint with markers, sing, and journal. She plans to publish a book about Egypt. It amazes me. Yes, we want to celebrate after Father’s Day!

  24. Jen,

    A while back I was at the grocery store & this song came on overhead. I started dancing down the aisle while a man in the back starting singing the song. We both laughed. I love celebrating. Everyday at work (hospital unit clerical) you can find me cheering on my patients when they get to sit in a chair, walk the hall (yeah) & go home. Some patients have told me they wouldn’t have made it without my encouragement, smiles & prayers. I am not afraid to tell them I will pray for them. “You & God have this”.

    Blessings 🙂

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