Are you guys ready for a brain dump? I’m not sure why, maybe it’s the endless hours on the road alone with my thoughts (marathon training does that to you), but I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately. I think it’s good timing with Thanksgiving being tomorrow though. I feel like I want to change a few things about myself and this blog. Maybe it won’t seem like much of a change on the outside but I’ve been working through a lot of stuff. We went to a Hillsong United concert a few weeks ago. I will be honest and say I had my reservations about going. I like their music a lot but it’s been a while since I’ve gone to an all out christian concert. Maybe it was the countless youth rallies and soulfests that I’ve been to, but over the years I had decided those just weren’t for me. I let the idea of being cool, guarded and “it’s too cheesy” harden my heart. However, we went and let me tell you it changed me. If you haven’t listened to Hillsong United before I challenge you to listen to a few of their live cds (or their new acoustic cd). There are a lot, I mean A LOT of cheesy christian bands out there. I feel like you can tell when they are on stage and they are just saying what they think they should say and sining what they think they should sing. “Amen” here, “praise jesus” there. It is a lot of fluff. I don’t like it. It makes me uncomfortable. Hillsong is NOT one of those bands. They are the real deal. I feel like everything they had to say was honest and from the heart. I went to the concert and I couldn’t help but feel the spirit in that arena. My heart was soft. I let myself feel vulnerable. I forgot the power of being surrounded by so many people singing with hands high to a God who loves unconditionally.
Now this post may make some of you uncomfortable and for that I am sorry. I know not everyone shares the same beliefs as me. I respect that. I hope you will respect me as well. But I’ve felt convicted over something lately. This blog that I’ve written on for over 7 years has a big whole in it when it comes to talking about my faith. I feel like I need to be more open. More honest. I am who I am because of my faith. It won’t be an over abundance but I’d like it to be a little more present in my posts. I’ve been really struggling lately with feeling whole in Christ. I let the everyday stand in the way. A LOT. I look for my self worth in feeling successful, accomplished and well, in just all the wrong things. Especially when it comes to this blog. There will always be someone better than you- better pictures, better content, better opportunities. It’s a hard world to live in when you constantly compare yourself to that. You will be left feeling like crap. Comparison really is the thief of joy. Joy is something I want my life to be full of. I want to live a life full of joy and thanksgiving. I truly feel like you can find true joy- the kind of happiness that has nothing to do with circumstances with being thankful. I have so much to be thankful for. How silly is it to go to bed feeling overwhelmed over not being able to find time to post some super awesome blog post, because you were busy giving your time and attention to your kids. I will be honest and say I do that a lot. I will always choose my kids but that doesn’t mean I am not left with a mind full of comparisons to blogs who seem to have it together better than I do. I want this place to be a place of joy not comparisions. I want to share what I feel lead to share and I want to share when I have time to share. When it doesn’t take away from my family or friends. The internet can be a big time suck… yes. i just said time suck. I get way to addicted to all outlets of social media. I don’t need to be tweeting every 2 seconds of the day. I want to be fully present with my kids. They are really only little for a short amount of time. I don’t want the kids to go to bed and then pull out my computer and work all night either. I want to be with Kev. A marriage doesn’t continue to work with out putting the time in. Besides I LOVE hanging out with him. Don’t get me wrong I love this blog too. I do. So very, very much. I love you readers as well. You have meant more to me than anything. I am just really trying to find the balance in this stage of life. 2 kids really changed things. I don’t need this blog to become a business. I am so happy that option is available for a lot of women out there to help provide income for their families. At this stage of life I have to accept that that is not the path I am suppose to go down right now. I do make some money from this blog and I will continue to work with companies that I see fit. But I need to be ok with saying no, with pulling back and finding my true self worth in something bigger than the blog world.
I am not quite sure how to end this post. I don’t have some life changing ending statement. I just wanted to share what I have been thinking about lately. In the end it doesn’t change much around here at jenloveskev. Some weeks I may blog a lot and some not so much. I hope that is ok. And I hope we can all really focus on being thankful. Well past thinking about being thankful just tomorrow. Let’s say we are thankful but really, really, really feel thankful on the inside. Let’s be happy for one and other. Let’s build each other up and share in each others triumphs instead of feeling jealous. Let’s be supportive and kind. Let’s not judge others circumstances and think we have them figured out. And in the true spirit of a Thanksgiving Day post here are 5 things I am thankful for this evening…
1. For a Savior full of grace and who’s mercies are new each day.
2. For Kev. I wish you guys could know him. He really is one in a million. I feel so blessed daily by him. The way he loves our girls- ooooh it just kills me.
3. For all of you. For all the love and support you guys have showed to us over the years. It never goes unnoticed.
4. For the friends in my life. God has brought some ladies into my life over the last few years that have been such an answer to prayer. I can’t stress enough how important they are to me.
5. and for the strawberry rhubarb pie (I couldn’t keep this post all serious) that I will eat all of tomorrow with no shame. Kev and I have to run 20 miles in the morning and I can’t wait to get back and eat everything. I.MEAN.EVERYTHING on the Thanksgiving table. Mmmmmmm
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.
Love and respect your words in this post so much. I always appreciate how genuine you are. And thanks for the Christian band rec. My husband and I are always looking for new ones!
Hi Jen, I am a long-time reader and first-time poster! I love that you really share from your heart about everything, including your faith which always comes across as sincere and gentle, not at all over-the-top or pushy. I share the same beliefs and I always enjoy your posts about inspiring your girls to be loving, fun, caring people. Thanks for writing a great blog 🙂
I had this same come to Jesus – literally – on the blog front recently. It felt scary to put more of my faith out there for strangers and, maybe even scarier, family/friends to see. I look forward to hearing more about your day to day faith. What happens in your heart on the road in your tennis shoes. What God stirs in you as a wife and mama. All of it. Hugs!
hey Jen, I have to say that i’m so thankful for your openness and honesty. I started reading your blog and a lot of other blogs four years ago when I was pregnant with my first. Four years has come and gone and yours is the only one i’m still reading. It’s obvious that you are true to yourself and I respect that. I love that you have faith and put your trust in Jesus. I’m looking forward to hearing more about the path He is taking you and your family down.
Hi Jen, Just wanted to let you know that I LOVE your blog. I follow you for a couple of years now and I think yours is one of the most honest en sweet ones out there. The power of it is that it’s not forced. You blog whenever you feel like it and feel like you have the time to do it, if not than not. And if you want to write about your believes you should. It’s your blog!
Greetings from a non-believer from The Netherlands. Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy that pie for me aswell ;-)!
I have been reading your blog for a little while now – I don’t follow a religion but I totally respect yours and what you have to say. I think that’s what makes blogging so great- you can learn about other people… And if willing to share all of yourself I think that it cool. 🙂
thanks for writing this 🙂 i have followed your blog for a while now (several years) and as you are in a similar stage in life as me (Rowan is just about a month or two older than my first) I have really enjoyed it. I never really knew what you believed when I first started reading (I didn’t think about it, but after you mentioned it here I remember just never knowing), but I can say that as I have very similar beliefs, I am even more a fan now:) Good for you for stepping out and following through with your convictions. You will be rewarded for that one day:) Also, I recently rediscovered Hillsong and am kinda in love. I am big on Christmas music (there is a LOT out there right now that isn’t horrible) and we have been singing “oceans” at church for a couple months, so when I heard their version I instantly fell in love. How cool to see them in concert:) I really have no main point with my comment but hopefully to be a small encouragement to you. Happy Thanksgiving!
oops – meant to say Christian music and not Christmas (although I like both, ha!)
I might not share the same beliefs as you but I don’t think that would ever stop me from enjoying your blog. That’s what makes people interesting; finding things in common and recognising values in others they appreciate. Goodluck on your run!
Thank you for being so open about your faith. As a long time reader, I know you’ve touched on church related events and things ever so often but I applaud you for being so forthright. Also seeing the comments above from people who do not share your faith but still enjoy and respect your blog is a testament to you. Thank you for not being pushy. I am a Christian but I find myself withdrawing from the company of Christians more often than I care to admit. Sometimes, our culture can be so suffocating but this was very refreshing.
I’m also a long time reader/first time commenter. Best post ever. Thanks for being honest and open and real.
I was challenged recently to think differently about the things we think are cheesy’. I agree with you that much if Christian culture seems overly fluffy but the truth is we are changed by Jesus so we naturally will be different. However, if you have a voice to speak to other people who want the honest and not the fluff then you need to use it! Think of what you would want to be reading and be that for others. You have a gift – use it!!
Oh, Jen, I’m so glad you posted about this. You took some of the words right out of my mouth, in regards to the Hillsong concert. I attended their opening night in Hamilton, ON, a few weeks back; amazing show. I’ve always been so shy and careful about religion/spirituality but being in that place with so much unbridled faith.. it was life-changing.
Thanks again for sharing!
Great post! Very inspiring for such a Holiday. LIVE TRANSPARENTLY and TRUTHFULLY always. It’s such an important way to be. Mistakes and all. ALL OF IT. It’s all His and we are truly blessed.
Thank you for sharing your heart. 🙂
I appreciate when bloggers just follow their hearts when writing posts. I really love it when someone wristed as if there is no audience and just herself, because in the end, isn’t that why we all started writing?
Also, I’m not of your same faith, but you shouldn’t apologize for writing what you believe on YOUR space–write away, lady, wristed away!!
Also, hope you kicked the 20 mile run’s butt this AM and get to enjoy some amazing food with loved ones!
How you so wonderfully articulate the thoughts in my own brain is just beyond me. You are wonderful.
Beautiful. And congrats on making the outspoken decision to stay true to yourself. God bless and happy thanksgiving.
Jen, I love when you write from the heart like this. Each word resonates so deeply with me and I love that you have such a strong head on your shoulders. It’s so inspiring to read and to know you!! <3 Lastly, have you heard of Bethel Music? Martin & I had a chance to see them live and they were amazing. Currently our favourite christian band!!
By The Shore, a life + style blog
Just another long time reader saying you’re awesome. And so thankful for this post and for you.
Girl I feel like I wrote this post (minus the parts about having kids). I am in this exact same place in life and with blogging. I’m with ya, 100%. Thank you for sharing your honest thoughts. And happy thanksgiving!
That was a really lovely, honest post. Happy Thanksgiving!
You have one of the best blogs out there. You have such an honest voice, really great sense of style and your family seems genuinely happy and just the sweetest. Lately, I have found more and more of the blogs I have loved over the years are getting really christian preachy- just please don’t go that route! I respect other peoples opinions about faith but as a non believer it is such a turn off when all of a sudden people start thanking god and jesus for things they should be thanking themselves for! I always knew that you had your faith but I was so happy that you kept it out of your writing for the most part. I would never ever ever tell you how to keep your blog- that is why it is your blog! But as a christian you have so much support in the blogging world- I can’t name one atheist mommy blogger- so your somewhat neutral space was always a wonderful place to come to. Honestly I don’t know what I am trying to say in this comment…I don’t want to sound like a jerk or tell you how to write or anything but I feel so under represented reading so many blogs that I felt the need to comment here. I really want to reiterate that I love what you do and you and your family seem like just lovely people and I love that you share your life here- it is very brave. I also cannot pass an instagram pic without liking it- they are always the cutest. Anyway I hope you have a great holiday season from this non believer in Massachusetts. Sorry for the ramble. Melissa
Jen!!!! So precious your words. I love your heart, and I your thoughts also encourage me…As you have been such a blessing and support to me in my (less experienced) blogging, I have wrestled with so many of those feelings–trying to find balance, and also wanting to be authentic. You said it all so well.
God bless you friend! And keep it up!
We agree Kev is awesome–and can’t wait to meet (and hug!) those girls!
So very well written Jen!! I’ve loved reading your blog for some time know and I’ll continue to read it whenever you post new material. I love your openness and honesty about your faith. You should feel encouraged in sharing about all facets of your life here. The blogs I love to read time and again seem to be written by authentic, normal people who (like me) are always working towards self improvement and have a passion for embracing the important and beautiful things in life; the really, really important things in life like faith, family, friends, passions, creativity, adventure etc. You are (from what I can tell, not knowing you personally 🙂 very much that way. Those intentions come through in what you share here in this space. And so long as you feel like doing so, I’ll be reading 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!
Hi Jen, I’ve been following your blog for almost two years and not only has your creative spirit and sweet personality left a huge impression on me, seeing your faith peek through your words and thoughts has warmed my heart even more. Thank you! As designer/now stay-at-home momma to my own two beauties, you’ve provided an outlet creatively and how you live out your day to day life so fully has inspired me on so many levels. In fact, you were one of the influences in my recent decision to run a half marathon pregnant with my second. I’m thankful for many, many things today, but one of them is how you’ve allowed me and others to be a part of your world. God is good indeed!! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your beautiful family:)
Hi Jen, ..my name is Ruth from Indonesia. I’ve been a silent reader this past 2 years and this post is really touching me. Thank you for being honest, Jen you are a truly inspiration 🙂 I used to watch Hillsong United only mine is the Kids version. I watch their DVD with my son, Ezra (18 months) and we love to sing and dance. They’re really honest I agree with you . I can even cry listening to their lyrics (eventhough it’s a children song,LOL). Keep on writing, Jen xx
Thank you for blessing me with your honesty. I have three girls and I can echo the push pull you speak of. All over the world it’s the same ( as I type in Sydney Australia). Making a concerted effort to be present and thankful is a wonderful gift to our children. I am encouraged by your encouragement! God bless.
I’m not a Christian (I’m Neopagan), but I am not uncomfortable with you talking about Christian music on your blog. I’ve come to feel strongly that music – especially spiritual/religious music – has the capability to be transcendental. I can listen to pagan music and feel spiritually moved, but often times I can listen to Christian bands or church music (or even music on the radio) and also feel spiritually moved. Music has a way of helping us connect to the Divine/God/Goddess/Spirit in a way that tends to defy the man-made boundaries of religion and connect us to the root.
I’m a fairly regular visitor to your blog but I do believe this may be my first comment. Eek, that’s pretty rude really! You’ve created a fun, welcoming space and I enjoy visiting.
I may not share your conviction to your faith, but wanted to high five you on this post regardless – it’s honest, brave and refreshing. Stay true to yourself and as long as you blog, it will be a place worth visiting 🙂
I’m glad The Lord has filled your heart with joy. Keep being filled.
I knew there was a reason I liked you so much! I loved this post, Jen. Being a believer and spirit-filled, I can never separate that from who I am. Yes, it makes people uncomfortable sometimes, but it’s who I am and it comes out in everything I do and say. This light cannot and will not be hidden, and some people will never understand that. As long as you continue to walk in His love and respect others, remember it’s your blog and you can say whatever you want. You’re not supposed to keep it to yourself. Other beliefs may not agree with that, but that is what God expects of us. First of all, to live it and then to share it as He gives us the opportunity. PS…love Hillsong!!!!!
Jen, beautiful post. Thank you for being honest and open. What is life if we don’t find ourselves changing?
Beautiful! Thank you for being an inspiring sister in Christ, and I’m praying for all of His fullness to be yours!
Love your blog, love this post. Good ol’ Teddy Roosevelt sure knew what he was saying when he said, “Comparison is the theif of joy.” There should be some other quote for how wise people are when they recognize they are doing too much comparing. Your blog is one of my favorites because you seem so real, calm, and invested in life. 🙂
if it’s something on your heart, don’t ignore it. the spirit can move mountains in our souls. i’ll support you whatever you decide to blog about! you’ve inspired me so much as a woman, and i can only imagine what inspiration your faith will bring.
Thanks for this post! I do share your personal beliefs and so I appreciate seeing them shine through in your posts from time to time (along with everything else that makes up your content!). A long time ago you posted on some art you were creating for your church and I still remember it, it was lovely. My husband and I are in the “Christian” music industry (a term which I use for lack of a better) and it is indeed hard to both find and create music that is intended for a Christian audience but is not cheesy. Husband and I had the privilege of seeing Hillsong United several years ago and it was incredibly inspiring. Also, the new blog design is beautiful!
I wish so much that we had the opportunity to sit down and talk face to face more often. I have been going through a very similar change lately. Mine has everything to do with this amazing little church we go to. I have always been a Christian, but I’ve also been cynical. The personal relationship was there – but the community – the sense of belonging with others Christians was missing. I have never in my life been a hands-high-in-the-air kind of person when we sing, but over the last six months, I’ve found myself on more Sundays than I can count with tears in my eyes singing from the the deepest parts of my heart to God. It’s changed me in the best ways. I am so happy for the ways that God is working in your heart Jen. and for you friendship. and for your willingness to share it with others. Love, M
Love your blog. Love that you love Jesus. Love that He loves all of us! Blessings.
I love this post 🙂
Dont we all wrestle with this! Living a joyful life in line with our values that is in balace. Listen to your heart Jen, you will know when you are on the right path. It sounds to me like you are on the right track. Lots of love to you and your family!
Beautiful! I bet that concert just rocked! If you ever, ever come to Vancouver BC, Canada, come check out our church, Westside, that is where I realized so many things about a true relationship. I help lead our mom’s group, so I have really enjoyed following your blog. Thanks for your openness to us bloggers. May you have a rich and blessed weekend! (Also, we love… our coffee shops here, so come visit 😉
Love your heart sister, Christ totally shines from you in your grace, honesty, and kindness, but I love that you can use this platform to be open about where all of those attributes come from. 🙂
Another long-time reader and first-time commenter…thanks for sharing from your heart. I really enjoyed this post. I love your approach to parenting and your blog encourages me as I parent my little girl and as my hubs and I prepare to welcome #2 in May. Thanks for sharing your life with us. Also, I’m excited to seek out some Hillsong music to add to my daily mix. I often get tired of what I hear on my Christian contempo station 🙂
I am so glad when I find more bloggers that share my same faith and aren’t too scared to share. I feel the same way you did about the cheese factor and how to look a bit deeper. I am so glad you wrote this post! I love Jesus and it is so exciting to share the faith with others!
If you’re ever wondering who the viewer from India is, wonder no more-it’s me! I’m really encouraged by your blog, and especially this post. Thanks for being honest!
I have been following your blog for about a year now and have enjoyed it from the time I found it. It makes me happy that not only are you a Christian, but also that you choose to prioritize your family first. No matter how often (or not) you blog, I will be hear following along in this adventure we call life.
i don’t have a religious belief, but i do believe in many of the things you talked about and feel a lot of those same feelings. i have been in search for a while of something that i am missing and how to feel whole in everything that i am doing. this morning i was telling myself how i want to be honest to myself and others all the time and not settle for anything that isn’t me. i was happy to fall into thing post after thinking that. thank you for everything you share. and thanks for posting the song. they are talented (and very good looking) people!
I have been thinking about this same topic for awhile, and have just not figured out what to do. My faith is such a huge aspect of my life, and yet I rarely talk about it on the blog for fear of losing readers. That sounds so terrible writing it out. I’m all about authenticity and connection and community, and then I keep this huge side of me silent and hidden. You writing this helps me have the courage to open up more on my blog. And this latest Hillsong United album is really amazing. I’m so, so sad that I missed seeing them at Red Rocks here in CO this summer. Is it just me or do they seem more hip and musically on trend than past Hillsong United albums? Either way, I like it. Hope they can keep that going. XO
Awesome, Jen! 🙂
Hi, I completely understand what you are saying. I think all Christians face forks in our roads that define us, either we take the narrow, tougher path, or the wider, more accepted one. Your post was both challenging and inspiring. I don’t know you, but I stand with you. God is amazing at providing us with clarity and a sense of who we are, when we think we have it all figured out. Thank you for your post…I will be following you no matter how often you post or what the topic is! 🙂
such a great post! thanks for your willingness to be honest about what most people are probably struggling with. comparison really is a thief of joy, just like you said and i think it’s important to bind the enemy immediately when we start feeling that creep in. he would want nothing more than to distract us from the one who loves past how many comments, how much traffic and how many followers we have. jesus is worth everything and is the ultimate satisfaction! thanks again for this post and i hope that you are able to really find that balance and experience overwhelming joy each day!
just now reading this post, and i love it. you should never have to apologize for WHOSE you are! So often I find myself thinking – what will this person think of me once they find out I go to church etc etc… But that’s who I am and I’m good with that!
I love Hillsong because they put thought and prayer into all of their lyrics. As my husband puts it, most Christian music is so awful because it sounds like the artist sat down at breakfast, wrote some lyrics on a napkin and called it a day. I love your blog and regardless of you typing it out in every post, can feel Christ in your writing and in your life. It is subtle but that always speaks loudest to me!
Get it, girl.
Another long time reader & first time commenter here (and fellow canuck). I also want to say that your candor is quite brave and clearly your readers are responding well, which means you are doing lots and lots of things right. I personally do not subscribe to any faith, but I will always be someone who respects what others believe as long as it brings happiness and positivity to their life, which it clearly does for you and your family. Your blog is your content, so don’t ever be afraid to be who you are. 🙂
What a lovely post that I can definitely relate to. I grew up going to a Christian school, was very involved in youth group, I think I read “I kissed dating goodbye” no less than 20 times, etc. I don’t like the self righteous person I was back then, and often find myself turned off by the “cheesiness” and legalism of much (but not all!) of the Christian community. I will never apologize for my faith or my love of my Savior, but I do often find myself avoiding the community itself. And like you, I’ve never felt that repulsion with Hillsong. I feel my hardness slowly being chiseled away and find healing in their lyrics.
Thank you for putting it out there. I love your blog and your beautiful family 🙂
Aw. Love this.
I actually found your blog because I am Winter Water Factory’s marketing/social media lady but I still read it myself even though I don’t have children yet. I just think you are so sweet & I really enjoy your genuine heart. It comes through in each post & your children are so ridiculously lovely & it makes me excited to be a mom. I was really low the other day & I realized it was because I had been comparing myself to other images I had seen & I stopped beating myself up & said “enough! I am soooo over myself.” I just want to be happy & to do that I need to stay focused, be grateful & kind to others. Also, I need another slice of pie. 😉 Anyways – it is good to read of others experiencing the same feelings – also God is awesome spread the word anyway you wish. xoxo
You are great. I hope you enjoyed the pie 🙂
Keep on rockin’, Jen. Your gift with words provides encouragement that you might not realize you’ve been blessed with sharing. 🙂
Loved this post.
Love this post and Hillsong! I was able to visit Hillsong Church in London once and it was amazing! Love your honesty and your CUTE little family! Come back to Austin ; )
Loved your sharing of feelings and thoughts. I’m excited to see the faith aspect come into your blog. I’ve been thinking the same about my blog and not sure how to incorporate it. So maybe you’ll inspire some ideas! Exciting! Love your blog and your little amazing family. Merry Christmas! 🙂
Jen! This post meant a ton to me! I have been reading almost since the beginning and I think it’s pretty amaze that you are laying your faith in Christ right out there and it’s a great inspiration/challenge for other believers like me. Loved the photos and everything about this. Thanks for sharing your creativity and beautiful fam with us all!!
Hi Jen, I have a read of your blog now and then when I get the time. With two toddlers at home, I don’t get that much free time and I also try social media not to occupy my life and take me away from my family. As a photographer I also blog a little and I really found myself in this blog post of yours.
We also love Hillsong, we actually go to Hillsong church (in England) and love it.
Anyway, just wanted to say hi and that you and your family are lovely. And the reason I had time to go through your latest blog posts – I just gave birth to my third baby yesterday and while he snoozes in my lap and we’re waiting to be discharged from the hospital, I have some time to catch up on social media. Precious times. X
I just discovered your blog and I love this post. I can totally relate in a lot of ways. Oh, and I love Hillsong United!
Can you tell I’ve been creeping? I admire this post so much, I can feel your faith through your words.
Thankful for you!