“Patiently” Waiting

Jordan is a sweet soul I met in college and have the pleasure of calling friend. Her spunky spirit and compassion for others are infectious and such a joy to be around. I am so excited to have Jordan be a part of Go Giver’s “Perspective Women”!

Note for the readers: This is for all the planners out there. Those of you who have a need to know where you’re going so that you can start working to get there. I hope this post encourages you to find real peace and inspires you to grab hold of today before it’s gone.  ­- Jordan

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business, and make money. ” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13­-15

If you ask me, there’s nothing more refreshing than “getting your life together.” Now, for me, getting my life together might look something like this: Finally finding a major to stick to, getting acquainted with the taste of black coffee, graduating, finding a haircut that flatters the shape of my face after all these years, and even getting engaged and married ­ my number one life goal. For a little while, I had it all going, but moving can really mess things up. Don’t get me wrong. I welcome adventure! I love people, new cultures, new scenery and chances to begin again. Considering these, moving sounded like the perfect opportunity for me. And then God said “Arkansas.”

In my perfect ‘Jordan knows best’ world, we would’ve packed up and headed to Alaska, my favorite place on earth. I would’ve even settled for Washington, Oregon.. Anywhere with deep green forests and more rainy days than you can count. (Yes, I’m a pluviophile. Google it.) But He who knows better than I chose Little Rock to be the new home of the #newlywednortons. That was that. So, Josh and I found a cozy apartment by the river in Little Rock. It took us about 3 days to have it all settled leaving me with endless time to navigate the city,find my favorite coffee shop and job search.

After 2 months of dissecting Indeed.com, I finally was offered a full­time job, on the spot. I was going to be a Customer Service Representative for a great insurance company. It came with the title, an office, a salary and a pencil skirt. (Okay, I bought the skirt.) I was going to be a professional! Then I remembered .. I hate sitting in offices. And answering phones. And skirts. I lasted 3 days. I was a little discouraged and ashamed of being a quitter, but I was confident in God’s promise. He knew the plans He had set out for me. I just had to wait a little longer to find out what those were.

A New Perspective

In the meantime, I worked as a coffee barista at a swanky European Cafe. As a coffee lover, it had always been a dream of mine to learn the art of coffee­making. I loved making lattes and cappuccinos, but as it turns out, it doesn’t take long to master.

Not long into my caffeine career,a door was opened for me to be a College Intern for Josh’s and my new church home. Being offered a ministry job was truly a dream come true! So, I was newly married, employed with an amazing job and was beginning to make friends. It should’ve been another one of those “getting my life together” times. But something was off. I couldn’t sleep. When I had days off, I’d rest but still feel restless. I had bursts of uninvited tears and a heavy feeling of hopelessness. For weeks, I’d ask myself why I felt like I was falling apart even while my many blessings were evident. It took a little roadtrip to wake me up.

Last week, I drove back down to Ruston to see my college friends and the missionary family from Alaska who had come back to visit and recruit. I brought my stubborn heart with me not knowing that God was about to shatter it to pieces.

After seeing all my people, I went to stay with a close friend. We stayed up late sharing our hearts with each other. Somewhere in between my tired sentences, I realized that my exhaustion wasn’t only physical. It was mental, emotional and spiritual. My wrestling with God about where I was and where I wanted to be had slowly broken me down. I had given the the enemy permission to use a good thing to steal my joy and to replace my peace with anxiety.

My discontent was my own fault.

When I lived in East Texas, I wanted to leave and never go back. Once I did leave, I realized it wasn’t so bad. In North Louisiana, I was itching to get out. I loved my friends and the ministry teams I served on, but I was over the humidity and flat terrain. I wanted Alaska or just some place better than where I had been. My eyes and my heart were always on what might come next. But in a conversation with a friend, through my own words, I saw a piece of God’s heart. There was nothing else for me to do but surrender. I decided that it was time for me to stop wrestling with God about my future and be faithful in my present.

You don’t have to cash in your dreams to be faithful. You just have to be a little less selfish. Be willing to die to yourself so that you can really start living for Jesus. I may never be a Razorback fan, but I am choosing to open my heart to Little Rock ­ a beautiful city with great opportunities and even greater people that I can’t wait to meet.

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Jordan is a Louisiana Tech graduate with a degree in Speech Communication. She loves Jesus, coffee, and music. Jordan lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her new husband Josh and works as a college intern with Immanuel Baptist Church.

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Little Things

Life is hard.

There is no doubt about it. Sometimes it feels like life is not just handing you lemons, but continually slapping you with those lemons… in the face… for no reason.

At least that is how it has been feeling for me for about a month now. I have had so many issues with my schooling, emotions, and just finding joy in general. I have just been feeling like I was being continually washed in sadness, despair, and hopelessness. There was no end in sight, no reason to be positive or optimistic. Basically, I was “Sadness” from the new movie Inside Out… (like, you-will-have-to-drag-me-everywhere sadness.) 

Not a pretty mental picture.

But you know what… there are so many other things to be than sad. So many more places to be, people to greet, and things to be thankful for.

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In honor of life’s disappointments (not just mine, but maybe your’s too?) I’ve made a list of all the great things in life. Maybe not all, but four sounds like a great place to start. So be sure to enjoy:

Life’s Little Goodies

1.) I am alive.
        Honestly, you and I are both breathing and our hearts are beating right now. This moment you are having thoughts and living a life (even if you don’t think your life is great.. it’s yours.) We are in this together. I want love and acceptance, and I am betting that you do to. These are facts that we are alive and conscious of our desires and that we have a life to live at this moment. Take a minute and just breathe. Feel your heartbeat and feel thankful for this life.

2.) I can read.
       And yay! So can you! We are the select few in the world who can read about people, events, and emotions. We can interpret squiggles that create stories of adventure or information about the world we live in. Reading helps us to be informed, empathetic, and help those in need. Without the basis of reading, we would be so limited in what we can do to encourage, love, or help others.

3.) I have necessities.
     I not only have water, but food and shelter. No, it’s not a pinterest house and I am not the best at creating art from the food I make, but I am well cared for in all of these physical needs. Not everyone has these things, even in the United States. In fact, about 633,782 people in 2012 were found to be homeless (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) and 17.5 million households are food insecure (Coleman-Jensen 2014b, p1.). This isn’t even the poverty number. Poverty in the United States as of 2013 went up to 45.3 million people…. So to be thankful for the necessities is a big deal.
If you find yourself in need please let me know.

4.) I am so very loved.
    Friends. Please know that you are very deeply loved. I haven’t met you, but know that I love you and want to encourage you to keep going! This life is so hard, but it feels infinitely harder when you feel alone. Know that you are not alone, we are all in this together. While some may want you to fail, or if it just seems that way, others are rooting for you. We want you to do your best and live your best life. You are so loved!

While that may not seem like much… at this moment I know that I am going to make it. I have these four things to get me through.

One more thing, even if you don’t believe in God, I just find these words to be so encouraging:

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will praise Him, my Savior, my God”
Psalm 42:5

I love you all so much. Be encouraged.

Much love. Much grace.

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