Tag Archives: Paul

Trashy Jennifer

Oscar the grouch 1.25button image 0
(How cute is this Oscar the Grouch pin?! Available on Etsy by clicking on the picture…)

He is one of my favorite first-graders at church. Jayceon is smart, enthusiastic and completely endearing. For a glimpse of him, I’ll share his prayer last week over the snack: “Thank you for this food right in front of my face and thank you for our bodies.” He is precious.

Then this week, I was walking our small group to their snack time and he said something about Miss Jennifer. He can’t seem to ever remember which teacher is which, so I said, “Jacyeon, *I* am Miss Jennifer.” Then he said, “No, I mean *Doctor* Jennifer. You are Trashy Jennifer.” And then he kept walking.

I stood there in freezeframe, no doubt with my mouth hanging open.

Trashy Jennifer? It didn’t exactly sound like a compliment.

I then burst out laughing because I hadn’t expected that.

I’m reading my Bible from the beginning to end for the first time in all my decades of loving Jesus. It has taken more than a few years for me to do it, occasionally slacking off, occasionally skipping around. But the next day after learning my new title – Trashy Jennifer – I opened my Bible to the next chapter I was supposed to read in 1st Corinthians and smiled when I got toward the end of chapter 4. “To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world.” (v. 11-13)

Refuse: noun, matter thrown away or rejected as worthless; trash. (Google Dictionary)

Paul was basically Trashy Paul.

And he wasn’t one bit sorry for it. He was writing to the church in Corinth, and a couple of verses before this he was letting them know that while things were looking pretty good for them, being a follower of Jesus sometimes means we have hard days. Paul and others participating in the ministry were working so hard to share Jesus and to encourage and mentor the churches, things were difficult, but they continued to show the love of Jesus regardless of how they are being treated. Some of their difficulties were from their efforts in serving, and others were because of people not taking it well. Satan undoubtedly had his hand in some of it too. But Paul knew that his “present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18)

Our comfort in this life is not our goal. I should get this tattooed somewhere as a reminder. I tend to go for comfort when possible. But instead of comfort, our goal should be sharing Jesus and living our lives in a way that best points to Him. Sometimes that means situations that aren’t easy.

Sometimes people, perhaps with good intentions, see prosperity as a benefit of serving Jesus, but Paul was a living example to the Corinthians that this is not how it always works. 

Serving Christ sometimes means hard things, sacrifices and the testing of our character. But it also means we are never alone, that we have the power of the Holy Spirit to get us through anything and that we have the contentment that comes with following the One who knows the way.

In light of this, and though I for sure am not worthy of it, I would be honored for someone one day to see me as Trashy Jennifer.

Meanwhile… and Bon Jovi


I love Jon Bon Jovi. Period. When I was in junior high and MTV still had music videos, my heart would melt as I watched him sing about how I was born to be his baby, and he was made to be my man. So naturally, I was super stoked when he was scheduled to be at the Greenbrier Classic a couple of years ago, and thrilled beyond belief when my sweet cousin texted me to tell me she had scored some tickets and asked if I wanted to go with her… Um, yeah!!!! It was beautiful.

But even Jon Bon Jovi had a time before he was singing to me from my television set. He was a kid. He was a teenager. He had jobs. Turns out, while he was trying to make it as a musician, he was working on and off as a janitor.  Can you even imagine? Walking down a hallway somewhere and there is Jon Bon Jovi with a dustpan… Awesomeness.

This was Tara and me and a few

other random people at the concert…

It was pretty much awesome 🙂

While Air Supply was singing about being “All out of Love,” and Queen was declaring that another one had, in fact, bitten the dust, Jon Bon Jovi was cleaning something somewhere, all the while making demos and hoping for a break.

Other “Before They Were Stars” include Madonna working at Dunkin’ Donuts, Jennifer Aniston working as a telemarketer and a waitress, Morgan Freeman with a paper route, and George Clooney trying out for the Cincinatti Reds, but not making the cut.

Acts 7:53 gives us a glimpse into the Apostle Paul’s “Before They Were Stars” moment.

“…Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.”

At this point in the book of Acts, Stephen had been doing all sorts of miracles and sharing Jesus’ story with everyone, causing nonbelievers to get worked up. They accused him of blasphemy. When asked if these things were true, Steven goes on to give a beautiful speech, summing up a great deal of the Old Testament and accused them of resisting the Holy Spirit. You can imagine how well that went over.  They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.

“Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.”

We get a subtle introduction of some guy named Saul. Saul, a man who would later be known as Paul and do miracles, write at least 13 books of the New Testament, and lead continents to the Lord.

His “meanwhile” was holding coats for people who were killing others for preaching about Jesus .

But God had other plans for him. I’m so thankful for God’s plans.

What plans could God have for a girl who, meanwhile, was writing a blog…

For a guy who, meanwhile, was painting some cars…

A woman who, meanwhile, was cooking in the cafeteria…

A man who, meanwhile, was unemployed…

A woman who, meanwhile, was teaching 3rd grade…

It’s exciting to think about… We are going about our daily business, and God steps in, and mixes things up, making even more beautiful things happen.

Listen for His direction.  (Sometimes He goes drastic to get our attention – you know, like with the whole 3 days of blindness for Saul). Sometimes it’s in line with what we are already doing. Sometimes it isn’t. Follow the passions He has put in your heart. Say yes when He gives you an opportunity. Show His love everywhere you go.

If we are still breathing, God can use us. Our stories aren’t finished. Thank you, Lord!

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” – Jeremiah 29:11


Cleaning out the attic


Our attic was overflowing. I didn’t see this as a problem, but my husband said our attic isn’t made for that kind of storage. What?

I guess our attic will accommodate a small amount of our stuff, but couldn’t handle the job we (well, me really – Shawn and Noah are happy getting rid of everything) were asking it to do. The way I saw it, if there was room for it, I could put it there. Apparently the weight of all my junk on top of our house is something to consider.

I finally talked myself into cleaning it up and clearing it out.  We had at least 22 plastic totes in the attic, not including any Christmas decorations, luggage, bags of other clothes not in totes, paint, pictures, wreathes, etc. It was full.

So, I mentioned to Noah that it would be a good summer project for us, putting it on my “to-do-sometime list.” Noah had it on his short list of things to do – as soon as possible. His summer list included finishing an enormous Lego set he bought around Christmas time but hadn’t found the time to complete, finishing “Mockingjay” – the third book in the Hunger Games series (loved this series!) , and a duct tape project . We were having breakfast Friday and I mentioned that since we didn’t have any commitments that day, it might be a good day to get started on something from his list. Surprisingly, he chose the attic. Which meant I was also choosing the attic.

For much of the weekend and this week as well, we have been up there, sweating and lifting, carrying boxes and dusty things up and down the stairs.  I sorted through lots of things, some from my high school days, some from our wedding, lots from Noah’s early years, and a bunch of stuff of my mom’s. In the middle of this, I found a lot of our things ruined. Candles – melted. Sweaters – weird stains.  Any craft project that involved hot glue – fallen apart. White things – yellowed.

*While I wish I would have thought to take a before-picture of the stuff in the attic, this is the mountain of stuff we are getting rid of that is now in the spare bedroom…*

I tried to clean some of it up. I put a sheet, a blanket, and a couple of pillow shams in the washer to see what would happen, hoping they would come out looking like new.

Later that evening, I remembered the things in the washer. I went to get them out and was bummed by what I saw. All over the inside of my washer was some weird substance that resembled damp clumps of that stuff you put in the bottom of hamster cages. And some netting I didn’t recognize. Through the process of elimination, I realized that a few hours before it had been a blanket.

Not only was the blanket destroyed, it also had potential of destroying my new washer. Let me give a bit of background here – We just bought a washer a few weeks ago, after a washer we owned for around 3 years broke due to no fault of our own, with no warranty and no help from Whirlpool (even after a scathing email complete with a frowny face). Shawn used a Shop-Vac to suck all of the grossness  out of the washer last night. I am washing a test load right now as I write this, hoping the machine comes out of this alive.

God kind of spoke to me about this ratty old blanket, the melted candles, and the yellowed things from my attic that I thought were so important. By holding on to things I couldn’t let go of, not only was it not helpful, it was potentially harmful.

Things from my past that I wish I had done differently and other things I knew I had done my way that went against what God wanted for me.  I know these things aren’t good, but there was a part of me that would still think about them and not want to give them up entirely. I wasn’t giving these things an active place in my life, in my symbolic living room, but I was holding on to them, giving them value by storing them in my heart and mind. Whether it was remembering fondly things that make God sad, or beating myself up over things that have been forgiven, neither belong in my attic. Not only would it do harm to me by keeping them there, it has potential to do harm to others as well. Kind of like the harm that could come to my washer.

In Philippians 4:8, the apostle Paul warns the Christians in Philippi about this sort of thing –

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

He is calling for an attic overhaul of sorts. If we have things in our minds and hearts that don’t fit into his neatly separated storage containers – true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy – toss it.  It doesn’t belong. In verse 9 he tells us that by doing this, and following his example as he follows the example of Christ, we can have the peace of God. Boy do I want that peace.

God will gladly help us clean out those thoughts, and we can start fresh with our newly acquired Apostle Paul Storage System. And to keep it clean, when we start to have a thought that we know isn’t God-approved – we need to get rid of it. Storing it isn’t an option if we want God’s peace. So glad He is happy to help.

On a side note, my washer just dinged, and I checked – it’s working great! Shew !

Oh, also I am having a yard sale this Saturday. Stop by!