Repose

where peace and hope abound

I’ve moved…

Hello friends!

I’m excited to share my new blog with you! You can now find Repose at: http://www.JenniferSwoish.com

I hope you will follow me over there, the site has a great new look. Make sure you subscribe to be notified when something new is posted and you won’t miss a thing. 🙂

See you over there- Abundant Blessings!

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Joy Will Come In The Morning

{Ouch}

As a lump formed in the back of my throat, my heart splintered.  I remind myself to just breathe. It was not the intention, I have an enemy who is out to destroy me. I have to literally think through the steps in my mind to calm myself and lean on what I have learned to do; take my hurt to the one who can mend the crack in my heart.

When we get hurt, it is hard to forgive the offender, especially when they show no remorse or do not ask for forgiveness. Our hurt seeps deeper into the heart and anger drips further where bitterness takes roots. Thoughts go rampant and sleepless nights become a breeding ground for a dreary dawn. It’s a malicious circle and a tangled web we can weave if we do not surrender our thoughts and align our heart to our Creator.

At times, it is a cruel world we live in. But if we take another look, there is beauty to be found underneath it all. Like a rainbow after a thunderstorm, we too can experience a life with hope and peace after a flaming arrow wounds our heart.

Before you can hold hands with Hope and Peace you must first let go of unforgiveness and bitterness.

We come to a fork in the road where one has to choose whose hand to hold. You cannot be at peace with bitterness growing in your heart or have hope when you will not forgive.

This is difficult, our flesh wants the opposite of our design. Especially if you have become very good friends with unforgiveness and bitterness. They will not want to let go.

Hope and Peace are patient companions though and they will hold you up in life’s raging storms. Holding onto them allows you to have a beautiful rainbow in the morning. In those dawn hours as radiant colors of red, orange and yellow streak through the sky, you will see another companion coming to join you – Joy.

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Crisis = Danger + Opportunity

Urban legend has it that the Chinese word for “crisis” is represented by the Chinese characters danger and opportunity. Although this is incorrect, I do like the urban legend that a crisis presents danger and great opportunity. What a perspective to have on life’s trouble! Think about this – all the great stories that surpass time all have the same plot – a crisis that changes the course of a person or a nation. That plots draws us in and we can relate.  There is a hero that beats the odds going through great peril and once the danger is conquered, a great opportunity is gained in the end. Can you think of a story or a circumstance that you have faced like this?

It is enlivening to know there is going to be something astonishing on the other side of this valley and it will probably blow my mind away when it is all revealed to me. I find an amazing amount of peace about the whole situation with this perspective. I see this only as a win-win circumstance. Not to underrate the lesson, but it is kind of like Christmas morning as a child. You know there are going to be presents, you see them under the tree – but until you are able to open them, you cannot enjoy what you about to receive. You are just a ball of anticipation of the great gifts that are to come.

So it is with anticipation, I see life is tough.  There are many valleys – but there are also many mountain tops. When you are going through a valley, focusing on Jesus will keep the hope of your promises alive. Even if the impossible does not happen, what an opportunity you will have when you can relate to someone who is going through a similar situation. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” Our Prince of Peace reigns even in turbulent times.  Peace is like of wisp of cool air in the middle of a heat wave. We have an opportunity to share our comforting cool air found in our sorrow. What a refreshing breathe to know He will not leave us and share this assurance with someone else.

Our God is the Father of mercy and understands our heartaches. In those dark valleys of crisis, He envelopes us in His comfort. In comfort there will be an opportunity. When you anticipate this opportunity, joyfulness for the circumstance is birthed.  “In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith – of greater worth than gold,” 1 Peter 1:6-7a

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A Special Prayer for a Special Kind of Mother

Lord, you have made mothers beautiful. They are lovely and truly more precious than any gems. Their love abounds and I thank you from the depths of my heart for my mother. She is amazing for her sacrifices for her family, the encouragement she offers and generosity she exemplifies. She is an adored creation of You who makes all things beautiful.

Today though, I lift a special mother to you now; the Mothers in waiting. These mothers have been silently hoping for a bundle of joy of their own. These moms stifle bittersweet cries into their pillows at night after shopping for their friends’ baby shower or opening a beautiful birth announcement that afternoon. They ask You in the many sleepless nights, when will it be their turn to hold their own child in their arms? They wonder if you still hear their same prayer or if they should turn away from you as they feel you have with them.

These women today will put on their best smile and go through the motions of Mother’s Day. They have been inundated with today since last month and now they walk it out by celebrating their own mom, avoiding the awkward questions asked, “when are you going to have kids?” and trying to not break down and weep over the deep ache in their heart with so much focus going on all around them of what they are not.

These women are special to me Father, because I know too well these kinds of Mother’s Day. Jehovah Shalom, please comfort them today and give them a peace that supersedes today. Whether they have just begun in the journey or have been on this road for a decade or more, please reassure them you hear their prayers. Wipe away their tears Father God and fill their hearts with the only presence that balms the wound in their heart; You. Let them feel You holding them up strongly in your arms. Let their minds be at rest from the specialist visits, procedures and doctor calls.

Today let them just bask in your love. Rekindle their hope, rejuvenate their soul, strengthen them for the road ahead and the joy that awaits for them at the end.

Lord, I also thank you for your faithfulness in my own journey. Though I still am waiting to hold a child of my own, you have provided me with contentment and joy today because of the journey you have taken me on over a decade ago. I hold onto your promise and I have already fell in love with the child you have for me. As you have me waiting I thank you for blessing me abundantly with so many children in my life for me to love on.

So Lord I lift these mothers like me to You right now. May they come to a know a new joyfulness in this season and enjoy today unrestrained. Thank you for the gift of children, but more importantly, thank you for the gift of your Child, Jesus Christ who takes ashes of anguish and makes a story beautiful by your love and generosity.

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Resting on the Hope of a Promise

I was recently challenged about what if I knew my biggest heart’s desire would come true tomorrow. How would today be different?

That’s a tough thought for me. If I am honest, I often find myself holding my breath in life. I have hope, but it hurts at times. In my sorrow I fall to my Father’s feet. Lifting my pleas to Him, He wipes my tears and gives my soul what it needs most.

Himself.

He wraps His arms of comfort around me. He pushes strands of wind whipped hair out of my eyes so I can see Him clearly. Peace consumes me as I am assured He is not going to leave me and He has not forgotten about my desires.

Our Composer orchestrates a beautiful symphony called life. Often times using a melody line composing our lessons He has taught us along the way as gentle reminders of His promises to us. Promises He will not forsake us. Promises He hears us. Promises His love never fails.

Lessons learned in tough times.

Lessons still being learned in seasons of waiting.

Lessons yet to come.

Patiently He rebuilds in those areas that are vulnerable. Like a child stepping onto a ledge with crystal water below, the anticipation of the jump is exhilarating as much as it is apprehensive. Might I urge you to take that plunge with me? The water is renewing and life giving. There you will find your promises and a hope deeper than the ocean.

{Exhale}

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:5

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Just take one day at a time

“Just take one day at a time.”

It was just annoying to hear. Of course you take one day at a time. But I had a problem and I wanted my dilemma solved. Quickly.

What I wanted to hear was how can I fix it, control the situation and make it align with how it is supposed to be. Oh my how those defiant thoughts can quickly grow to bitterness and anger if left unchecked. I wish I could tell you a lovely story how I heeded those words of wisdom from the start. However, I suppose the story would not be as beautiful without sharing God’s pursuit and abundant grace for me.

Trying to come above water for a breath of air, I reached for the lifeline that dangled in front of me all along. Unhinged confidence, I asked again with a surrendered heart; “What am I to do?” and His reply was “Just take one day at a time.”

Thus began a beautiful voyage of learning to trust, heal, grow and have hope again. Each day as faithful as the sunrise, my Heavenly Father met me, provided me with strength to go through the day despite the hardship, caught me when I slipped and sutured my heart together again using the binding of His love. He never left my side. Even through the angry tears and wallow of grief, He held me; just like a Father would. Comforting arms wrapped around me and whispers of how much He loves me. I cracked and crumbled in His embrace, broken chains of bitterness was all that remained. I learned in those tender embraces peace is not a circumstance, it’s an acceptance.

Accepting you are heard, you are seen, you matter more than you know. Accept the notion suffering produces contentment and joy when your heart is in line with your Heavenly Father’s. There is a greater story to be told.

He knows your grief. Though our quandary is impossible for us, to our Father, He reigns over all. He has already gone before us and won.

So rest yourself. Take your time to allow yourself to be saturated in His presence. In the silence, His serene peace will come to you. Stifle your thoughts and open your heart to accept His gift. Dare to be a trailblazer in your relationship and be the first one to let go of the bitterness. My friend, there is a refreshing well you can drink from that is much sweeter to sup.

Take heart in hope and enjoy one day at a time.

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{Gulp} I’m sorry….

“Ok, time is up – make the call!!”

My inner voice was firm with myself as I watched the clock tick to 10:00am. That was the appointed time I gave myself to make the fateful call that I had been praying about. My flesh dreaded this call, my soul longed for it. I knew this admission had to be done and would lead to healing, reconciliation and a new start to a very unhealthy relationship.

This conversation was very different from ones before. This time, I was the unkind one. I was unmerciful, uncompassionate, and relentless with sharing my strong opinion, about

E V E R Y T H I N G.

Until just a few months ago, I was pretty confident in justifying my actions too. I was older, had more experiences, knew more and just wanted the best for him. So for decades, I overly shared my “wisdom” and judgment.

What I ended up doing was damaging a very sacred bond between a sister and a brother.

God was gracious to me through the revelations of my older sister ways. The truth He revealed was not pretty, but necessary to be seen. I began connecting the dots and seeing what I had done over the years;  I just crumbled into my Heavenly Father’s arms in grief. How could I have been so wrong?

Oh how lost we can be at times, yet believe we stand so righteously. How many times has a flick of pride orchestrated itself into a fable of gigantic proportions?

Humbly I bent my knee. My whispered breath and broken heart displayed. Without pause or consideration, My Heavenly Father lovingly forgave me. How difficult that moment was, not just because I admitted how wrong I was but rather it was as if with new eyes I saw for the first time how hated we are by our enemy and what lengths he will take to destroy us and the ones we love.

My heart spilled over with grief, mostly over my actions, but in that moment there also was exposed to me, a grief for those lost within themselves. It is wise to remember we have an enemy. As many know, an enemy is best effective when he goes unnoticed. Our enemy remains in the shadows of our lives and whispers our justifications, feeds our pride and attacks our weaknesses.

However, we need not surrender to a defeat or remain lost. There is One who has gone before us, fought for us and carries us. Deuteronomy 1:29-31 “Then I said to you, “Do not be terrified; do not be afraid of them.  The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes, and in the wilderness. There you saw how the Lord your God carried you, as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

God’s light shining in the corners of our lives frees us from any grasp our enemy tries to bind us in. His truth gives us the confidence to take bold steps toward our freedom. His light reflects His grace when our actions need to be corrected.

It’s not easy to admit we were wrong, it’s even harder to carry the weight of our unforgiveness. However, the peace we seek when we are found at this crossroad can only be found when we humble ourselves to admit our wrongs and accept the forgiveness God freely gives to us. That road my friend will take us on an amazing journey of healing, hope and a new found happiness!

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It’s OK not to be OK

Do you ever have a day where you just do not feel OK?

You begin to count your blessings and recite scripture, but that leads to a river of tears. You feel guilty for being sad so you share it with no one, but the truth is some days are just difficult and you know what… that’s OK.

Maybe your day is difficult because you are still in a season of waiting; waiting for healing, waiting for your heart’s desire to come into fruition or freed from the pain of your past. Regardless, when you come to your end; that is where God can begin.

Though God does not inflict pain upon us, He will use our pain for an amazing story of healing, freedom and restoration if we allow it. Be kind and fair to yourself; do not compare your difficulties to another’s. God has you on your own journey. Your journey and someone else’s journey is as similar as your fingerprints.  There are some crossroads in our life where choices are difficult, attacks are real and the climb to the mountain top is arduous. We are quick to give our Father praise when we are feeling blessed, might we consider to share with others His comfort on a dark day? Needing comfort does not make us weak, it makes us human. When someone asks you “How are you?”, let’s be courageous. Instead, may we be intrepid by answering today is tough, but God is our Comforter and providing all our strength we need for the moment. It is OK if we admit that we are having a gasp… “bad day”.

A tough day gives us an opportunity to experience God as our Comforter which later leads us to be an example of comfort we encounter from God. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 “ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” How freeing is it to know that our bad day can be used to encourage someone else’s tough day? I do not know about you, but I can relate to someone sharing a stressful day. I no longer feel alone in my battle and beams of hope pierce through the shadows as they share their comfort.

Each day we have choices to make. Dare we choose to share our whole life; sharing the good, the bad and the ugly? Let us be bold in our walk, copious in our compassion and steadfast in knowing God takes our ashes and makes something beautiful.

 

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Restoration Begins With Admittance

“I can’t do this anymore.” My pleaded whispered said through tears of exhaustion.

“I know…” replied my Heavenly Father as I felt His embrace around my tired soul. “and you do not have to.”

For so long I have been working on my performance. As a daughter, a friend, a wife, a sister, a volunteer, an employee, and now a business owner and writer. It’s just been debilitating me. My body and mind are beyond exhausted and my soul thirsts for deliverance from this dry hole I have dug myself in.

That’s where Jesus put His arm around my shoulder and told me it’s going to be ok. He taught me that just because I can do something, doesn’t mean that He wants me to do it. Patiently He has been healing my fragile heart to see Him as love and my life is not about what I can do, but what He can do through me. He has gently pursued me to trust Him more and when I do, what He wants accomplished gets done.
What a relief for this distressed girl. Though there are still days when my nerves can get the best of me, I seek my Father for rest now. His spirit provides me with His perfect peace and I enter into a presence that knows no darkness. He has overcome my obstacles already and if I allow less of me and more of Him, I am sustained for the tasks at hand. His provisions for each day restore me. Slowly I feel myself walking boldly with a new humility.

He has given me a new name; daughter of the King of Kings.

Just as I am. Underserving, yet still claimed and delighted in as a beloved daughter as He pours His love over and over and over me.

“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once more. I will praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, my God, I will sing praise to you with the lyre, Holy One of Israel. My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you – I whom you have delivered.” Psalms 71:20-23 NIV

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Soar like an eagle

“but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, the will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31
Whew –
Ever have one of those days when you wake up, lie in bed mentally going through all that the day encompasses and wish it was time to settle into bed instead of pulling the covers back? That was my morning and when I read this verse; it was a ray of sunshine for my challenging day.

Renewable strength where you soar. I’ll take one of those please.
Running without growing weary. Can I make that a double double? I haven’t worked out in a while-

These feats are completely impossible without the Lord, otherwise you would see this java combination in every coffee house across America. I love the truth found in this verse; going through exhausting days or circumstances without becoming weary is possible, for those who hope in the LORD. He is the everlasting God.
Pulling back the covers, I smile with hope and confidence. No matter what or who I encounter, the LORD will cloak me with the strength I need to persevere through, get an amazing view while soaring it and sounds like to me there ARE heels out there you can walk in that will not make you faint. 
It’s going to be a good day!

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