Cornerstone

In two days, I will stand clothed in my wedding dress. I will stand on the stage of our church’s sanctuary holding my groom’s hand.

Together with our guests, we will sing our favorite song….

“My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly trust in Jesus’ name”

This song did not become our favorite song from experiences together. It was already our favorite song when we started dating.

“Christ alone, Cornerstone, he is Lord, Lord of all”

We both sang it separately in our hard times. Trials God chose bless us with.

The song became my favorite after a hard, hard break up. I would stand in the bathroom, look in the mirror and try, try to sing this song. The words would barely come, but they were a promise.

“Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord
Lord of all”

They were a promise I could stand on. A fight song, breathing, whispering that Christ is Lord. Lord over my pain. Lord over my situation.

“When Darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil”

I would sing the song in church. God seemed to have it pop up everywhere. More often than not, I would break down in tears, but these verses kept resonating anyways.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless stand before the throne.

As the pain slowly healed, and I continued walking the narrow road, I kept singing this song. It was a reminder of where I had been, where I was, and that Christ is victorious.

On Saturday, Brandon and I will sing this song. I may barely be singing, because of my excitement and happiness but in my heart it will be a shout.

God is faithful. Christ is Lord. Even when the darkness closes around you. Even when you barely have a thread of hope running through your fingertips. The darkness will not last forever. That anchor of hope will grow stronger.

“Christ alone; cornerstone
Weak made strong; in the Saviour’s love
Through the storm, He is Lord”

“Lord of all”

 

 

Come with Me and Visit My City

How do I explain that my city won’t always be my city?

Its temporary…..

My roots are normally planted in Minnesota, surrounded by cornfields, pine trees and long country roads, the perfect rural setting. In the winter snow heavily blankets the ground and the temperatures are bitterly cold.  I run on these country roads through snow, rain and sunshine, putting in the miles, my feet pounding the pavement.

But I am not there.

I am here, in a city half way across the world

…to continue reading please visit this link.

http://www.djiboutijones.com/2014/11/lets-go-flaneuring-in-the-eternal-spring-city/

I have been blessed to be published by one of my favorite blogs! Enjoy!

Thoughts from my Dishwater

I had an epiphany today.

My hands busy, scrubbing dishes.

My mind wandering to this new thing in my life called celiacs.

Someone with celiacs has to avoid so many things. One little spec of gluten is enough for the small intestine to go balistic.

This means that you can’t use pans that have had gluten in them.

If a plastic tub has had any gluten in it, it is forever contaminated.

Non stick pans as well……

Forget about eating out, just having food prepped in the same kitchen with gluten is enough to ruin that food for a celiac.

“Did you know?” my mom said to me as I was baking cream cheese bars as this whole celiac thing was beginning to whirl around us,

“that when you use flour, it doesn’t fully settle for twenty-four hours?”

I rolled my eyes then.

It sounded crazy how careful a person has to be.

Yeah….my mom was crazy….this can’t be what having celiacs looks like.

My stomach is starting to convince me otherwise.

I remember the Israelites….studying Levitus and Numbers last year, I learned about all the many laws God gave to them. Laws that were meant to show them what holiness looks like, that they couldn’t keep all of them, that they needed a Savior.

For sin separated them, us…from God.

One little speck of sin is enough for us to not be worthy to be in the presence, to be in communion with God.

Just like one little speck of gluten is enough to make a celiac double over in pain, one little sin is enough to send us to hell.

I close my eyes, so thankful that the story doesn’t end there. My mom, brother, sister and I will live with celiacs for the rest of our lives.

This disease a constant reminder of the holiness God demands but we can’t obtain.

We need a Savior.

Jesus coming and atoning for that sin on the cross. Washing us clean from all of that sin, so we can be holy.

I am thankful, overwhelmed that God would choose to give us that ever present picture of how much we need him!

I am looking forward to the day when I will be changed, “in a flash, in a twinkling of an eye” and I will be given an imperishable body…one that can handle gluten.

But for now I will cling to Jesus as my mom put it so simply yet profoundly….”I don’t need bread because Jesus says He is the bread of life”.

The Silent Killer

“Should I just call her?”

“Yeah…I want to know…..shes not telling us something”

Two of my sisters and I were in Europe, helping put on a kids camp.

My whole family all had been tested for celiacs just three days before we had stepped on the plane to fly over the pond.

My mom told us that she would tell us when they got the results.

We heard nothing.

Hannah got antsy, so I started texting my mom. She didn’t really say what the results were.

When she said that, we knew it was bad.

So we decided to call her……Late at night the three of us sit and hear the results.

Half of our family, including Sarah and I have celiacs.

Four people out of the eight of us, now have a disease that whenever gluten enters our system our body attacks not it, but the small instestine.

Many people don’t have symptoms, like my brother. He tested positive on the blood test, yet never had a stomache ache. Yet, we are told if he doesn’t go off gluten he will die. Slowly the body will attack the small intestine the part of the body responsible for absorbing nutrients and he will die of malnutrition.

For there to actually be a diagnoses there must be a second test beyond the initial blood test. They put you out and go down the throat, scraping the small intestine and taking pictures.

You didn’t have to be a doctor to see in J.J.s pictures that his intestine didn’t look healthy. It reminded me of flesh that was red and sore.

They said my mom’s small intestine was just one step down from cancer.

I can’t get that test until I get back from being caretaker to an orphan in Asia. Sarah is waiting until I get home.

I hoped…..assumed that I would be like J.J. and not get any symptoms.

yeah…think again.

Last week, I started getting a stomach ache. It didn’t last forever. It would just last for so long and then it would be gone. It would make me not want to eat…and yet my body was getting weak so I would eat. One night I totally ignored my better judgement and gorged myself with pancakes. Yeah….not a good idea.

Yeap…..my body is starting to tell me when gluten enters my system and I am not really sure how to handle it.

I have seen my brother handle a disease…..I  grieved when we found out that he would never be able to live a life not dependent on insulin shots.

But I don’t know how to handle it for myself, to be in a room and know that I can’t celebrate at a wedding by eating the wedding cake…though this Sunday I did.

To know that when the ladies come for study this week, the treats they bring, I really shouldn’t eat.

Its hard….I know God has a purpose and that it will all work out for good, but what do you do with the feelings?

How do you take the feelings and ground them on truth?

“Feelings aren’t reality” I texted a friend tonight….but how do you live that?

I don’t know…..but I do know one thing. I know that I have a rock to cling to.

When my feelings seem to overwhelm me I know that “when all around my soul gives way, He alone is my hope and stay”.

I know that “when darkness to seems to hide His face, I will rest on His unchanging grace”

I know that even if my feelings are crushing me and I don’t know how to handle this reality called “celiacs” I know that God made my “inward parts”. Celiacs was never out of his loving hands for me. And that He “knitted me together in my mother’s womb”.

Stand with me as I will praise him that even with celiacs, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”

Lord give me the grace to live it!!!!!!!!

Even the Little Things

There is a movie that my sisters and I just love.

We love it because it has something for everyone.

Action?

Check.

Comedy?

Check.

ROMANCE?????

Yes, check.

This is also how we introduce it to our friends when we explain it to them.

It usually convinces them. We have gotten at least one or two hooked๐Ÿ™‚

I am sure you have heard of it….my sisters and I are slowly catching up on the “good” adult movie world as we get older.

Knight and Day….a movie starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz.

Tom Cruise is a secret agent on a mission, and he ends up involving, small town, June (Cameran Diaz) in his quest to complete his dangerous mission.

The whole movie is filled with car chases, plane crashes, witty humor as June, freaks out and can’t take it anymore.

But…I don’t want to give it away….my family says I am notorious for doing that.

I just want to highlight one little scene towards the end and then you should go watch it for yourself.

June, is tied up in a chair, filled with a drug that makes her tell only the truth. She starts describing Roy (Tom Cruise) , saying that he is so thoughtful, getting her to her sister’s wedding on time, making her an omlet.

“Its really the little things, they count so much”.

This quote came to mind,

my hands in soapy water, rejoicing with my friend about about the treat she found for our coffee tomorrow.

Really….that’s what God does for us.

He fills our lives with good things….sometimes we just have to have the eyes to see them…to name them.

A recurring theme he has been giving me over and over.

“Remember the little things Jess, remember the little things.”

This first week in East Asia, hasn’t been much to speak of.

My friend and I have both been tired, sick with colds.

Our days have fallen into a routine, caring for the baby we are nannying.

A slow routine actually, marked by the little things….

Fresh watermelon, cold.

Sipping much needed coffee.

Sitting and looking at the beautiful city lights. Really guys…we have the best view.

Finding movies, we had just talked about wanting to watch.

Laughing with an old friend.

Cheering, when the baby actually decides she wants to eat.

Scones fresh out of the oven.

Finding coffee magnums!!!!๐Ÿ™‚

Making the baby laugh.

Smiling as she learns phrases like “Eeew that’s gross” and “I need it!”

Shrugging our shoulders and throwing up our hands when try as we might, the baby won’t say “Jess” but instead has taken to calling me “Minnie”

Eating dumplings

Cheap Asian deliciousness!

My atm card working….

An unexpected run…refreshing, as I sped off, my legs fairly dancing at the chance to hit the pavement.

Carmel for our apples……even some leftover for our coffee.

Skype calls to family…..

Just sitting and wondering at my good fortune, that I get to be back here….words can’t describe!

Finding large trash bags. (seriously…..all they have is tiny ones!)

Milka Chocolate!!!!!!!๐Ÿ™‚

When you make the choice to see the little things…..to rejoice at each new gift

they just add up, and madeย  the week a blessed one.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Jame 1:17

Touring around Eurasia…..

I am not a good tourist…..

Pictures are often just not my thing.

So when we walked into our first tourist sight at the start of our 4 day tour, I didn’t pull out my camera. Not even once.

Sometimes I just want to walk unencumbered into a place and just feel.

To absorb the full extent of the surroundings with no distractions.

So that’s what I did.

We walked into the Hagia Sophia, and I didn’t take one picture.

I walked around, at times almost in tears, in awe of the beauty of it.

Here was a building, that had stood the test of time, still retaining its beauty, filled with history.

This cathedral, turned mosque, turned muesum I had read about it middle school and here I was, walking inside of it. I got to touch the cool marble and walk up and down the ramps, in the four corners of the cathedral that serve as buttresses. Because the building was completed in only 5 years, they weren’t able to give the foundation time to settle, therefore the walls started to lean in. Hence the buttresses/ramps in each corner.

I totally didn’t understand the buttress thing until I actually walked inside of them!

We saw the huge discs with the Koran on them, the purple pillars that are made out of ancient marble, beautiful mosiacs (again something I learned about in school) paintings of monarchs that had donated a lot of money to the church and thereby supposedly gaining entrance into heaven, some of the cherubim that are in the four corners in the center room.

It was a dream come true for me.๐Ÿ™‚ How often do you read about something in school…..something that happened halfway across the world and many years ago and actually get to see it?!

Our whole group decided that this was one of the best ways to learn history as we journeyed through the Topkapi Palace, Ephesus, Laodacia and many other places.

By the 3rd day I started to take pictures.

How else could I resist this awesome tile work that resembles a quilt pattern???? (And yet I resisted the Hagia Sophia….well I figured my sister Hannah could get that for me….when/if she posts a blog about her experience of the trip I will let you know….she will give you a better overview….and such better pictures…this is another reason I am awful at taking pictures. Why take them when your sister will take better ones?????)

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Yup…the quilter in me couldn’t help myself. I am starting to see quilting patterns everywhere!

Hm…maybe I could figure out how to free motion quilt this?ย 

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Talk about an awesome idea for a border!

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I think this is where quilters got their original ideas…..

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There has got to be a quilt out of this pattern.

I never expected to get inspired walking around ruins!

On our last day, after we went to Laodacia, we went to Heriapolis, a place of healing waters, and doctor fish.๐Ÿ™‚

After seeing the pool and walking in pools very similar to these,

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I decided to take off my shoes…..see my wonderful chaco tan line???? (I am kinda too proud of it)

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I had a ton of dry skin on my feet, and the group said they would pay for the “doctor” fish to eat the dead skin off. We had visited this booth earlier, and put our hands in one of the 3 rows of tanks, that contained these small fish. The fish would immediately swarm whatever body part you put in the water and you would feel an extreme tickling sensation.

Let’s just say it was all I could do to keep my feet in the water the first 5 minutes of my 25 minute session.ย  After those first five minutes the tickling sensation wasn’t nearly as pronounced and I could actually look at my feet without squirming.

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They didn’t get all of the dead skin off, but my feet definitely felt softer!

In other news, the never ending journey did end and I made it safely to my destination, and am currently working on settling in. I just wanted to make sure that posted something about my tour.

I hope you enjoyed๐Ÿ™‚

Jess

The Long Journey

Sitting in an airport…waiting for time to pass…..that time can be the slowest yet at the same time the fastest.

I was able to not die of boredom during the 12 hour airport wait.

I would set goals for myself to make the time go faster. I would pick an activity, reading, sewing, watching a movie and would make myself sit there doing that activity for how ever long I decided. Then I would get up, and move somewhere else.

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I was somewhat limited dragging my luggage around. Every time I moved, the duffle bag wheels would screach and I would feel and see people looking at me. My arms would ache dragging that awkward thing. They still do. Yet even so, I managed.

I was filled with anxiety, worried that somehow they wouldn’t find my ticket when the agent looked up my passport. It was all I could do to not think about it.

Everytime I would remember, I would say to myself “all things work together for good…..God works all things together for good”.

When the time came close for them to open up the check-in, I planted myself in front of the line and sat on my duffle.

A man from New York came and we waited together. It was nice to have a conversation in English.

When the check-in opened, the man from New York carried my duffle bag up for me. Grunting he commented on how heavy it was. Yeah…I know.

In spite of my anxiety, that made my stomache churn and my adrenaline race, everything went smoothly. They checked my bag through to Asia and it was under the limit!!๐Ÿ™‚

Things started getting better from there…every where I turned I saw the hands of God’s goodness.

Like when seeing people from where I was headed and they spoke English!

Getting Starbucks๐Ÿ™‚

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Helping a man find where his check-in gate was.

Having the check-in gal be super nice to me. She even weighed my carry-on….it was super over…..and she LET ME TAKE IT ON!!!!!!๐Ÿ™‚

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Being able to change clothes…thanks to the super nice lady letting me have my roller board.

Arriving at the airport where I would have an almost 20 hr layover to find that I would get a free hotel room!

And that hotel has wifi!!! (its the simple things…it really is๐Ÿ™‚

Being able to take a shower.

Getting to taste authentic Asian food again…..sigh…

God is good isn’t he?๐Ÿ™‚

As for me…I am going to sleep well tonight!