You could say for the last couple months "I hit a wall", and lately, I have been in recovery mode.
I am not a "slow down and rest" type of person. In fact, I have always been a very independent and achievement-oriented person, and someone who experiences significant shame when I can't figure things out or be who I think I need to be - at all times, for all people. Even on my wedding day, in his speech, my Dad said, "Jennie has always said she will 'figure it out', and she will figure you out..."
However, within the last 7 months - I got engaged, planned a wedding, attempted to deal with lots of unanticipated hard stuff, married my best friend (BEST day of my life!), moved into a new home (with a BOY) and not to mention, changed my name – OH, while running a full-time business and traveling almost every weekend to paint weddings.
It has been a humbling season, to say the least. I will admit, it has been a lot, and I feel like I keep learning the same sobering lesson, over and over again –
Jennie, no matter how invincible you think you are, you cannot do it all. You cannot be it all. You cannot fix it all. You are only human.
It is the truth. As much as I do not want to admit it – I am only human.
By human, I mean a fragile, insecure, weak, feeble, broken, dependent creature who is also, somehow, made in the image of God Himself, and designed to be fully dependent on HIM.
So much to swallow, but take a big gulp - this is the good stuff...
Here's some raw truth about this season – I have experienced very intense anxiety, and some really dark and hard days. But, within those dark and heavy experiences, I truly believe God allowed me to be humbled and he is still slowly, gently chipping away at my propensity to trust myself more than I trust Him.
Our millennial American culture teaches us that something is wrong if we find ourselves struggling, or if we get hurt. Little league teams give every child a trophy because they don't want to distinguish winners and losers, and if you are offended by something, you get all kinds of accolades in the media.
What if we, as a culture, started to value the hard stuff we experience, and praised our failures as a means of growth?
What if you and I began dinner conversations opening up about our struggles and weaknesses and how these experiences deepen our spiritual growth and produce character?
In celebration of the hard stuff, sometimes we have to look back and remember what we have endured to give us hope for the future.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4: 5-7
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
In 2014, I stumbled upon a talent I didn't really even know I had, so I started a business - Jennie Lou Art. By the grace of God, and so many encouraging and supportive people, I have been able to keep doing this job. See my Instagram (@jennielouart) for a glimpse of 10 favorite paintings from 2014-2018.
I keep telling myself to remember how the hardest things can be our greatest successes in life if we allow them to shape us, and lead us into growth.