Jenifer Jernigan is one of my new favorite authors. I was introduced to her and her beautiful bible study through Inscribed, which is a lovely ministry full of incredible Christian writers. I received Jenifer’s book, “Dive Deeper: finding deep faith beyond shallow religion“- and I was hooked at the title immediately. How many Christians do the ‘walk’ but don’t really ‘dive deeper’ to fulfill their relationship with Christ? I can only imagine countless souls starved for God’s nourishment from His Word, and yet they simply don’t go ‘there’. Deeper. The bridge between them and the Bible is broken, displaced or possibly not even built yet. I know, because my bridge has been all three. I too, am in need of her guidance and support in navigating God’s pages and placing them on my heart and into my life.
Her book is filled with beautiful sentiments, stories and an intentional book study of Ephesians, where she guides the reader through steps in truly understanding and applying the Word of God. As soon as I began reading it, I cozied up to her comfortable presence and loving grace. This book is for anyone- truly! If you are simply interested in learning more about the bible, or perhaps you have decided you need to understand it better- THIS is your book. If you are a seasoned Christian or tapering on the edge of faith, I believe Jenifer’s sweet words and careful intention will gently place you into His Loving Arms. I am planning on using this book with my women’s group this summer. I am blessed to have been introduced to both her beautiful gift and the powerful ministry of Inscribed. There are a variety of books available that help nourish your relationship with Christ and grow your faith to new heights…as you “Dive Deeper“.
Today, I am so incredibly honored to have my new BFF, Jenifer Jernigan’s words HERE! Well, I can almost say BFF because we are now friends… I just need to confirm the B and the F. (It’ll happen, people.)
This piece will speak to every heart… it’s message is one of encouragement and most of all, grace. Oh, how I love that…
Paused Applause by Jenifer Jernigan
Ever wonder ‘Am I doing enough for Jesus? Am I saying yes to my Jesus calling?’ Yeah, me too! Our culture almost forces us to be trapped in a comparison mindset with every step, action or lack thereof prompting us to fear that we are off the mark somehow. Even as Christians it’s impossible sometimes to eliminate that measuring stick of pursuit of holiness, no matter how innocently it begins, and simply wait for the still small voice of God.
They sit on the stage together, a young married couple, the pastor to their left. Their children, one girl and one boy, are little. In a few short months they’ll make their home in a different land, surrounded by a different people group, learning and speaking a different language. They tell their story: how they’ve sold worldly possessions, given away treasures, rid themselves of the “American dream” and said yes to their “Jesus calling.”
I sit and listen, nodding and smiling and even wiping away tears as they share how God has paved this way for them. They ask for support and prayers, and corporately we, the church, agree to lift prayers to the throne for their family, for their mission, for their Jesus calling.
Their time of sharing concludes, and we pray and applaud their “yes.” But then, my applause of support and encouragement pauses. And I drop my hands onto my lap and wonder, Am I doing enough for Jesus? Am I saying yes to my Jesus calling?
He stands, the preacher’s son, beside his dad, the preacher. And this preacher-dad tells us how proud he is of his son. He tells us of the years of wilderness roaming his son experienced and of the place to which God has now brought him. I sit up straighter in my seat. My eyes spill over with tears. I’ve lived this preacher’s son’s story: the preacher’s daughter who chose her own way, who spent many years wandering through wilderness lands.
This redeemed wilderness traveler spent some time in a foreign land, and now he’s going to do it again, he tells us . . . this time for Jesus. For eleven months he’ll make his home in eleven different lands, ministering to different people groups, learning and speaking different languages.
Their time of sharing concludes and we pray for this preacher’s son, we commission him, and we applaud his “yes.” But again, my applause of support and encouragement pauses. And I drop my hands onto my lap and wonder, Am I doing enough for Jesus? Am I saying yes to my Jesus calling?
I flip through the mail and stop when I see her smiling face. She has sent us a prayer postcard. She’s traveling to a different land this summer, to minister to a people group different from her own, and she’ll learn to speak a different language in order to tell others of Jesus’ love. My heart swells with pride. She’s not my own, but I’m so very proud of the Jesus-loving young lady she’s becoming. She’s saying yes to her Jesus calling, pursuing Him on this trip, seeking out His plans for her life.
I place her prayer postcard in my Bible so I’ll remember to pray for her daily. And this is what I pray for: wisdom for God’s leading into this ripe field of missions, boldness to speak truth to those He places in her path, a compassionate heart to meet the hurting in their pain, willing hands to serve those in need, the eyes of Jesus to see into the lives of those who live in darkness, ears to hear words not spoken, tenderness to know the Spirit’s leading, and, above all, an obedient heart to follow hard after Jesus.
I send her an email, telling her how excited I am for her and how I have no doubt God has great plans for her life. I encourage her to continue to seek God’s face in all things. I tell her I love her, I thank her for the privilege to pray for her, and I applaud her “yes.”
But once more, my applause of support and encouragement pauses. And I drop my hands onto my lap, where my Bible sits open, a prayer postcard staring up at me, and I wonder, Am I doing enough for Jesus? Am I saying yes to my Jesus calling?
I listen to all these stories and many others: stories of those adopting, of people digging wells for the thirsty, of others organizing food drives for the hungry, and of still others nursing the sick. I applaud them all; really I do. But every time, I drop my hands and I wonder, Am I doing enough for Jesus? Am I saying yes to my Jesus calling?
Maybe I’m the only one who looks at others and thinks that my doing isn’t enough. Maybe . . . but I doubt it. I think we all suffer from paused applause, handclaps of praise ceased in midair because we suddenly wonder if we’re doing enough for Jesus and fulfilling His calling.
What I’ve come to understand and embrace is this: God has created us all uniquely different and called us each to a different “yes.” And He’s asking each of us to drop our hands, not in paused applause, but in total surrender, to do whatever, wherever, and however. To live a surrendered “yes” life that results in our being a catalyst to others stepping forward from the shallows into deeper faith and relationship with Jesus.
Our yeses aren’t the same; they can’t be compared. My Jesus “yes” can only be lived out to its fullest by me, no one else. And the same goes for you; only you can live out your Jesus “yes.” So, am I doing enough for Jesus? Are you doing enough for Jesus? If we’re dropping our hands in surrender, saying yes to our Jesus callings—whether that “yes” is
• doing (again) the same Monday morning mountain of laundry;
• washing a sink full of dirty dishes;
• changing dirty diapers and wiping runny noses;
• loving on and encouraging a woman who just lost her spouse;
• counseling and strengthening the couple who want to end their marriage;
• preparing dinner for a family agonizing over a wayward child;
• listening to a recovering addict tell his or her story;
• chatting and laughing with a lesbian or gay friend over coffee; or
• spending a Saturday at the homeless shelter, playing card games with the residents—
Whatever our “yes” is, then we’re absolutely doing enough for Jesus, and our applause for others should never pause because we’re all fulfilling our kingdom purpose.
As mothers and wives we are in a key position, whether we are working in the home full time or part time. We can set the tone for our home and make it a priority that we live our lives with intentionality to live surrendered lives then we never have to worry if we are doing enough for Jesus. We are doing all He asks of us. We are diving in and giving up all we have for what and there is nothing greater in life than that.
Jenifer Jernigan – As founder of Diving Deeper Ministries, Jenifer’s passion is to equip women to d.i.v.e. (define.investigate.visualize.embrace.) deeper into God’s Word. She is co-owner and regular writer for Internet Café Devotions, and is part of a team of writers creating curriculum for Journey Church in Raleigh, NC. Jenifer loves hanging out with her man, homeschooling their three kiddos and guzzling delicious cups of her favorite coffee. Jenifer is the author of InScribed’s Dive Deeper : Finding Deep Faith Beyond Shallow Religion which is available now.