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#adventuresofjenna

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It was just a fleeting dream. One that had never really crossed my mind. One that I never imagined wanting. It was what I would consider normal.
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I thought for a brief second how nice it would be to be normal and to have a story that plays out like everyone else. I let myself get caught up in the normalcy for just a moment. It was deceivingly comfortable.
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What God has shown me in the last couple months is that He created me to be anything but normal. He called me to stand out and to stand up for what’s right, holy, good, worthy, lovely, and kind. And that’s Him. That’s God.
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My Father. My Creator. My Sustainer. My Provider. My Banner. He placed me here at this particular time in this particular place for more. More love. More life. More freedom. More hope. More joy. More everything.
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I thought being set on this different path would crush me. I thought it would be too hard. But through this difficult season, God has been near and ever-present. He has opened my eyes to a the choice I have before me.
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I can choose .... love over hate, grace over revenge, mercy over judgement, forgiveness over bitterness, kindness over resentment, humility over pride, and joy over fear.
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It won’t be easy but it will be worth it to experience a deeper relationship with God. I can’t make that choice on my own. I need Him and His strength. His presence and glory are all that matters.
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But here’s the thing: I don’t think this calling is just for me. I think he’s called us all to stand out and be different for Him.
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Maybe this will encourage someone. Your life may not be how you thought or wanted it to be, but ask God to open your eyes to see the importance of the path you’re own. You are not there by mistake. He will use you, and you will experience Him more fully through it. Let’s trust Him.
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#2018devoted #adventuresofjenna #lifeinNOLA #bedifferent

When you forget it’s Valentine’s Day and go to the grocery store to buy groceries only to realize everyone else is there to buy last minute Valentine’s gifts.
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Thanks to my niece, Mae, for adequately expressing my feelings on that.
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Married, single, dating .... have you ever found yourself feeling like Mae? An unhappy marriage. An unromantic boyfriend. Another Galentine’s Day.
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Why do I always think about the negative? I don’t know. Maybe it’s my personality. Maybe it’s that I’ve been broken and hurt and God has given me a heart for the broken and hurting.
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I had a really great, normal day filled with sleep, Netflix, speech therapy, grocery shopping, and teaching my church kids. All wonderful things. I’m so thankful for how God is satisfying, fulfilling, and healing my heart.
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Just know ... that no matter where you are and no matter what happened today, God is still on His throne and He still loves you passionately and deeply.
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He pursues you even when your spouse doesn’t. He loves you even when the world doesn’t. He gives the best gifts even when your boyfriend forgets. He stays by your side even when you feel all alone.
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Praying for all the hearts tonight that need to read this or need to be reminded that God loves you.
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#2018devoted #adventuresofJenna #lifeinNOLA #ValentinesDay 📷: @jamiewrightimages

All I know is that I never want to go back to a world where today is just another Tuesday. Mardi Gras is truly such a fun and memorable season.
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Dear outsiders, forget everything you’ve ever heard about Mardi Gras. You won’t understand it until you experience it.
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This city is one of the most magical, heart-warming, and fun cities on earth. You just can’t beat it.
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Now that Mardi Gras is over, we head into the next season of the year. Lent. Preparing us and our hearts for Easter and celebrating our salvation through Jesus’ death on the cross.
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God is working. He is moving in my life. For the next 40 days, I know one thing ... I’m intentionally setting my eyes on Him, the author and perfecter of my faith.
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I’m stepping away from some things and stepping into somethings. Regardless, I leave you with my top 4 favorite pictures from #MardiGras2018.
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#2018devoted #adventuresofJenna #lifeinNOLA #OneTimeInNOLA #NOLAnewsgram #nolanewsgramotw #frommyview

A follow up on joy.
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It’s easy in our culture to mix up this message. Do what makes you happy and do what gives you joy.
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I wasn’t as clear as I should’ve been. Because what I know and what I want everyone else to know is that there is no real joy apart from God.
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How do I know that? Because I remember what it felt like before I had a relationship with God. Before I accepted Him as my Lord and Savior and surrendered to His call of salvation.
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We can search the whole world over. But we will never find real joy in people, places, or earthly things. Never. Happy, maybe. That’s dependent on circumstances and comes and goes like NOLA weather.
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Now joy. That real joy. That comes from God. And God alone.
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This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine.
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This is real joy. & it’s available for all.
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#2018devoted #adventuresofJenna #findrealjoy #lifeinNOLA #thisismystory

Do what brings you joy.
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Y’all, God brings me so much joy. And I want to shout it from the rooftops. And week night trips on the streetcar to get beignets with international students is more joy than I can handle.
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Thanks, God, for reminding me what brings me joy. & that’s doing what you’ve called me to do. Obedience is joy.
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#2018devoted #adventuresofJenna #lifeinNOLA #weeknightfun #tisthemardigrasseason #findjoy 📸: @k.morrow_

Tell the Lord you don’t want to do something. Tell Him that something is too hard. Tell Him that it would require too much of you.
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Tell Him. And then watch as He uses that exact thing to challenge, inspire, break, and change you. It was true. It was too hard for me. It did require more than I had in me.
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But that’s exactly where God came in. When I was empty of myself, of my wants, of my expectations, it opened the door for God to do His best work in me.
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From reading this incredibly thick and difficult book, I worshipped God with a deeper sense of gratitude on Sunday. I made choices different today because of what God taught me through this book.
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I now have a deeper understanding of not only what it meant for Jesus to die on a cross for me but also how the cross applies to every part of my life.
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All that to say that I’m expectant. I’m hopeful. I’m excited. And I’m waiting. For the more that God has for me in 2018.
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#2018devoted #adventuresofJenna #lifeinNOLA #thatseminarylife #theCrossofChrist

Yep, I’m still in this thing. I’m still over here trying to figure out what this looks like & how to best pursue this devotion to the Lord that is weighing so heavily on my heart.
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But only 24 days in & my heart has taken a beating. I like to live in “Jenna’s fantasy world” where there is no enemy and no scheme to stop my pursuit of God.
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Unfortunately, that fantasy world does not exist but that enemy certainly does exist. And he’s on the prowl. And he knows my greatest weaknesses, my hardest struggles, and my worst habits.
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And it’s here that I have two choices: I can either cower in the corner and take the beating and fall prey to his lies. OR I can stand on the promises of God and put on His spiritual armor of the belt of truth, sword of the Spirit, breastplate of righteousness, helmet of salvation, shield of faith. I can fight back.
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“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm.” Ephesians 5:11-12
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I will fight back. I will stand my ground. God has won the victory. I stand in victory over every scheme, every fear, and every temptation. Because I stand on God’s Word.
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God has me. And God has you. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will protect us. He even gave us the armor we would need to fight. Let’s not forget to put it on.
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#2018devoted #adventuresofJenna #lifeinNOLA #newyeargoals #letsfightback

Steadily moving into a new year following a year of challenges, painful growth, and healing, I stand firm on the promises of God.
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When good comes my way, I will praise God. When bad comes my way, I will praise God. When pain, heartache, loss, joy, redemption, hope, and happiness come my way, I will praise God.
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Why? Because He fulfills His promises. He keeps His covenant. And I am a child of God who rejoices in a salvation I didn’t deserve. Grace I didn’t earn. And mercy I wasn’t worthy of.
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But He gave it all so we could have it for free. For me and for you. Have no fear ... His promises are true and He so wants to show you. Let Him.
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Even if the same things happen in 2018. Even if I end another year the same way I did 2017, it won’t be the same. I’ve been changed. My aim is to be devoted to the Lord. And I will let nothing ... not even my deepest worldly longing ... keep me from following Him.
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#2018devoted #adventuresofJenna #lifeinNOLA #NOLAnewsgram #nolanewsgramotw #livefulfilled

This is new territory. I’ve never quite been all in like this. I’ve said I was all in, but my heart was still holding out pieces here and there.
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For probably the last 5 years (definitely the last 3), I have had one foot planted in this season of life and the other foot positioned in such a way that I was ready to bolt into the next season in a hot second.
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It wasn’t intentional. There were reasons/people in and out of my life that gave me reason to believe God was doing something. And He was. Just not what I thought He was doing.
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He was teaching me. He was molding me. He was healing me. He was making me whole in Him. And He still is.
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And so here I am, planting both feet firm in this season, because if I’ve learned anything from the last few years, it’s that it is exhausting and draining to live life that way. And God has something so much better for me. For us.
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He’s inviting us in. Welcoming us into the comfort of His arms. Saying He wants all of us. Knowing that we will find in Him what we’ll never find anywhere else.
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Contentment and satisfaction. Peace and joy. Love and salvation.
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Our aim is to be devoted to the Lord. Can we say this about ourselves? Can we say that our aim is to be devoted to the Lord?
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I’m all in. Right here. Right now. .
#2018devoted #adventuresofJenna #lifeinNOLA #wordoftheyear

DEVOTED 2•0•1•8
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I like having a word for the year. Last year’s word felt so deeply right & by the end of the year, fulfilled had been so intricately woven into 2017. Only God. Only God can do that.
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So hello, 2018. You’re so welcome here. & so is my new word devoted. As of a week ago, I thought maybe this would be the year God didn’t give me a word. But He came through. He is faithful.
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I’ve been «slowly» reading a book lately. Single. Dating. Engaged. Married. by @ben_stuart_. & while I’ve only made it through the first three chapters on singleness, it gave me my word for the year. *Check out my Insta stories for more on the book*
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Devoted.
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I want to be devoted to the work of God in this world. I want to be devoted to the Word of God. I want to devote my time to God. I want to devote my money to God. I want to devote my relationships to God. I want to devote my health to God.
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“An unmarried woman is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be DEVOTED to the Lord in both body & spirit.” 1 Corinthians 7:34
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In pure God fashion, I also got to attend Passion earlier this week & session after session outlined ways and ideas for me to devote my all to God this year.
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I’m all in, friends. I’m expecting big things this year from God. He’s been stirring in my heart ways to leverage this season for the Gospel, & that’s just what I’m gonna do.
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#2018devoted #adventuresofJenna #lifeinNOLA #expectbigthings

Hills and valleys.
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I won’t say that 2017 was a terrible year. Because while I would’ve considered 2016 a great year, I’m coming out of these 365 days of 2017 feeling closer and more connected to God than I’ve ever been.
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I’ve truly experienced mountain top moments and the lowest of valleys this year. I was filled with all kinds of joy and excitement over monumental moments and also pain and heartache over the deepest hurts and burdens I carry.
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God gave good gifts, but He also took away. Which makes me so thankful. Because what I couldn’t see a year ago today was that if He hadn’t taken it away, I would’ve made a poor decision. What I couldn’t see clearly in that moment was that God had even better in store for me. Good does not always equal best in God’s plans.
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Hills and valleys.
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What I’ve always known and have truly come to understand on a deeper level is that He’s the God of the hills and valleys, and regardless of where I find myself, I am not alone.
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While I’m not sad to see 2017 go, I am forever thankful for the lessons God has taught me this year and the trust and faith he has developed in my life.
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The song by @taurenwells’ Hills and Valleys was my declaration throughout this year, so it only seems appropriate to end the year with the lyrics. If you know or you’ve never heard it, I recommend that you go and listen to the Valleys version and be reminded that you are not alone.
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🎶I've walked among the shadows
You wiped my tears away
And I've felt the pain of heartbreak
And I've seen the brighter days
And I've prayed prayers to heaven from my lowest place
And I have held Your blessings
God You give and take away
No matter what I have, Your grace is enough
No matter where I am, I'm standing in Your love
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On the mountains I will bow my life to the One who set me there
In the valley I will lift my eyes to the One who sees me there
When I'm standing on the mountain I didn't get there on my own
When I'm walking through the valley I know I am not alone
You're God of the hills and valleys, hills and valleys
God of the hills and valleys
And I am not alone🎶
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#fulfilled2017 #lifeinNOLA #adventuresofJenna #hillsandvalleys #goodbye2017 #hello2018

Because for one I’m a follower.
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And two because I’m so thankful for what these pictures represent. The memories. The spiritual markers. The experiences.
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But most importantly, the goodness, kindness, and faithfulness of God through every moment of this year.
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2017 was not what I expected it to be. More on that tomorrow.
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#fulfilled2017 #adventuresofJenna #lifeinNOLA #bestnine2017 #goodbye2017

Christmas Eve.
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Anticipation. Excitement. Hope. Wonder.
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Christmas Eve 2007 was unlike any other Christmas in my life. I was thousands of miles away from everyone I knew and loved. I had no idea the meaning I would find in Christmas on the other side of the world.
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People who were once strangers felt like family as we held candles and sang silent night with only the light of the candles glowing in the apartment and as I looked out over the mega city and the millions of people walking in the streets.
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It was a strange feeling. Being disconnected from many cultural Christmas things, but having the joy of finding Jesus in a place that wasn’t celebrating Jesus.
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To this day, I carry that Christmas Eve with me as a reminder that if we strip away all the things like presents and food and even family, Jesus is still there. Waiting to be celebrated.
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#fulfilled2017 #adventuresofJenna #ChristmasEve #10yearsagotoday

Unwanted & Holidays.
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Don’t think I’ve forgotten. Don’t think I don’t know. Because don’t we all know? Don’t we all know what it’s like to endure a holiday in the depths of an unwanted season?
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While the unwanted can be difficult any other time of the year, the questions, the hurt, and the pain can be even more magnified during the holidays.
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Maybe you’re a parent spending your first Christmas without your kids. Maybe you’re enduring another Christmas answering questions about why you’re still single. Maybe you’re facing the holidays without a loved one. Maybe you’re wondering when you’ll have the chance to buy a baby’s 1st Christmas ornament. Maybe despite having everything you could ever want, something is still missing.
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And here’s what I can tell you. There is nothing that will ever bring us true joy on this earth. There is no human being who will complete us or satisfy us. There is nothing that will fill the void. No one and nothing but Jesus.
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I know to some that may sound like a fairytale or an easy way out. But it’s the truth. The only way I can navigate this unwanted season is by placing my faith and trust in Jesus. And Jesus is the only way to face the unwanted.
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And while the holidays can remind us more acutely of the unwanted in our lives, it’s also the best time of year to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Jesus fulfills all the promises. And those promises bring us hope. Hope that God meets us in the unwanted.
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#fulfilled2017 #adventuresofJenna #navigatingtheunwanted #lifeinNOLA

There are no strings attached. There are no contingencies. There is no IF.
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God is not good only if we are good. God is not faithful only if we are faithful. God is not kind only if we are kind.
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God does not perform for us or dole out blessings or curses based on our merit. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
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Jesus did not come to save those who were already good. Because NONE of us are good. But Jesus came to save us all anyway. Because we all need saving. We all need Jesus.
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God is giving us His very best because of who He is. He is our Father. He is good, faithful, and kind.
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And the bottom line is that the gift of salvation through the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ will always be enough. Nothing more. Nothing less. There is nothing we can do to earn it. It is free. And it is available for all.
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There is no IF.
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God is good. God is faithful. God is kind.
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#fulfilled2017 #adventuresofJenna #lifeinNOLA #nolanewsgram #followyourNOLA #CelebrationintheOaks

This may go without saying, but I need to say it anyway.
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Even if God never ends this waiting season, He will be good. Even if God never answers my prayers the way I want, He is faithful. Even if I walk through valley after valley for the rest of my life, He is kind.
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I am saying it now, and I will say it again. God’s goodness, kindness, and faithfulness are not and never will be dependent on my circumstances. They will always be dependent on Him and His character.
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It’s so easy in the good times to say God has been faithful, kind, and good but His character DOES NOT change. He always has been, always is, and always will be good, kind, and faithful.
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2017 has been a hard one, but in this valley, the goodness, faithfulness, and kindness of God have sustained me.
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#fulfilled2017 #navigatingtheunwanted #nolanewsgram #followyourNOLA #adventuresofJenna #lifeinNOLA

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