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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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31

Tuesday 21st November 2017

Is Jesus Really “Enough?”

The road that carries me between our house and Mayo Clinic has become a familiar one over the last two years. I took that road once again last week, because sadly, Dad needed more of his right leg amputated. (It’s a long story, and we’d love your prayers.)

The morning of surgery, I left home before dawn and headed east. The sun rose up over an earth-hugging bank of clouds that looked like mountains. On the radio, the deejay played an old-ish worship song called “Enough,” and because I knew all the lyrics, I sang them loudly.

I’ll bet you’ve heard the song, and maybe you’ve even sung it in your church, or on your radio. Here’s the chorus:

“All of You is more than enough for
All of me for every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You
Is more than enough”

But then I stopped singing.

Because did I really believe that? Did I really believe that God is “more than enough?” 

Could I sing that song if my Dad didn’t make it through surgery? If something awful happened to the kids? If my marriage fell apart? If we went bankrupt? If I lost all my friends? If I couldn’t afford all the stuff I love so much? If the publisher decided they didn’t want to publish my books anymore? If I lost my ability to reason, or think, or speak?

Would God really be enough then?

The questions made me uncomfortable enough that I had to stop singing the words, and really ponder what it meant to say that Jesus is “enough.”

Here’s my heart: to make Jesus known to my kids, my community, … to readers around the world. My message has always been this: Jesus is enough. But do I really mean it, in my everyday life, in the deepest places of my heart where I want what I want? 

Dear Lord, let it be so! When we say You are enough, let it be so. When we say You alone satisfy us, let it be true. When we say that You meet every need, let us mean it!

Let me confess something to you: I love my family, my stuff, my ministry, and my freedom to drive my car across the state to see my dad. I love that we have access to great medical care for my parents, and that we even have choices about where we will get that care.  But without all of that, could I truly sing to Jesus: “All I have in You is more than enough?”

During my four-hour drive last week, I listened to several podcasts from Scott Sauls, a pastor in Nashville. His words reminded me how hard it is for an American to be truly content with “just Jesus.”

“The things we cling to are slippery,” Pastor Sauls said.

While Dad was in surgery, I stood in this spot in the Mayo waiting room, with my styofoam cup of hot tea, and I thought a good long while about the pastor’s words.


The truth is, outside of Jesus, everything I treasure has a shelf life. Someday, either my husband or I will grieve for the loss of the other. Someday, I won’t be able to write books anymore. My kids won’t need me like they do now. All of the sturdy buildings in that photo above will one day be gone. As I age, I could lose my memory, even my ability to remember the names of my own children.

In the United States of America, we are rarely put in the position where we truly know that “all of You is more than enough.” Compared to most of the world, our entire lives are the epitome of “more than enough,” even on our worst days. Because of our access, our excess and our privilege, it’s terribly easy to fall into the belief that somehow we made it happen. We can’t take credit for any of it. We can’t take credit for being born into this affluent nation, full of possibility, health care, and abundance. Pastor Sauls said: “You can’t take credit for that … any more than a poor little girl can take the blame for being born in Calcutta and living all her life on less than two bucks a day.”

The idea of the self-made man is akin to “being born on third base and taking credit for hitting a triple. It’s a total myth,” Pastor Sauls said.

This Thanksgiving, I want to do more than sing lyrics to nice songs. I want to mean them. I want to believe in my heart that whether I hit a triple or “struck out,” Jesus is ENOUGH.

I want to know deeply that everything I have is because of Him, and all that I have is more than I deserve. And when it comes down to the day I take my last breath, God will prove it true: He was always, always more than enough.

Until then, I will sing “Enough,” even when my own heart betrays me. I will keep singing, because deep down I know it’s true: Jesus really is enough.

A PRAYER 

Thank You God for being “enough,” but still giving us more than we deserve.

On this — the week of offering deep thanks over heaping platters and tables dressed in earthen hues — how can we properly thank You? I know that as thankful as I think I am, I’m not even close to giving proper thanks for the gifts, seen and unseen. I know how I’ve taken credit for what You alone give out of Your abundance.

We have our health, and full cupboards, and two cars, and billfolds with enough, and a warm house, and kids, and a church just up the road, and a place to put down roots here at the end of this driveway. But we have so much more that that.

We have You. And that truly is “enough.”

Amen.

#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there!

Our featured writer this week is Jeanne Takenaka. Her words about choosing an attitude of gratitude as we let go of expectations is the perfect read right before Thanksgiving. Find Jeanne here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. xo Jennifer


  • Oh, my, you have me in tears. I could barely make it through the words of the song. I am praying for you my friend and your Dad. I am so sorry he has to go through so much. I believe we have to make a decision that Jesus will be enough before we need him to be enough. I know in my own circumstances when things turned upside down a good friend and Pastor told me,”Maree you have to decide right now.” “Will you trust God in death, healing, and continued illness.” He said, “You have to make a choice on each one right now.” So when those dark days came and they did I had already chosen to trust God.

    • “We have to make a decision that Jesus will be enough before we need him to be enough.” <—– I can't begin to tell you how much your words right here ministered to me. Thank you. Truly. Thank ((((you)))). You are such a treasure.

      • I am so glad. I know when our Pastor spoke them to me I had no idea how golden they would turn out to be.

  • Susan

    Jennifer, in 2002 I stood in a worship service where everyone was singing a song about the goodness of God and I stood there mute. My adult daughter’s fiance had been brutally murdered 3 months earlier and I could not say the words, “God You are good.” I couldn’t. I was in deep sadness for my beloved daughter. My heart was broken for her. I was deep diving into a pit of despair. I hear what you are saying today and I get it. Loud and clear. My good, good Father met me soon after that Sunday and ministered to me with HOPE; Romans 15.13 — Holy Spirit met me at a time I desperately needed Him and my whole world turned by HOPE. His Hope. Not a wish upon a star but a real and living Hope. He is my breath and my all. Thanks for letting me ramble! Thanksgiving blessings to you and yours and give Phil a great big HOPEful hug for me. OK? xo

    • Oh Susan! Thank you for holding my confession so tenderly in your hands. You know all too well this pain of singing words that are hard to sing. I’m beyond grateful for you, and our family is tremendously grateful for your prayers and kindness. Much love to you this Thanksgiving and always.

  • Jennifer, I am so very sorry about your dad. I pray God will be with him and you and your family in a special way. This question really resonated in my heart – “But do I really mean it, in my everyday life, in the deepest places of my heart where I want what I want?” Such an important question to ask ourselves. I know I often don’t live like “Jesus is enough.” And yet I could not live without Him. I’m so grateful He is so gracious and patient with me. 🙂 Amen to your prayer, too! Thanksgiving blessings and hugs!

    • Happy thanksgiving to you as well, Trudy. Thanks for taking all my vulnerability and holding it gently in your hands. xo

  • Rebecca Jones

    I believe it was Corrie Ten Boom that said if Jesus is all you have, He’s all you need. I have been there at times, it’s where He wants us to be depending on Him. we are often like children who want to do it by themselves and never get it right. Prayers for you and your family, Happy Thanksgiving!

  • truth be told – me, too – I love our freedom, our food, our abundance – and yet, truth even deeper be told, I love Jesus – can I say I love Him more than these? Today I am grateful, He takes me (and you) as I am – paltry in my devotion, weak in my gratitude. But, but. Stil we sing, Lord, You are all I need. Happy Thanksgiving from CA to IA.

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  • Sarah Geringer

    Jennifer, I’ve been praying for your family ever since I saw that photo on Facebook. I can relate, because my great-grandma had her legs amputated from diabetic complications. She was my spiritual mentor as a young girl and teen, and her devoted faith still inspires me, decades after her passing. In the photos of your dad with his birthday cake, I felt like I could see Jesus’ love and joy shining through his smile. Praying God’s comfort and peace for you, your dad, and your family this Thanksgiving.

  • I agree, although we know that really Jesus is enough, it is very easy to live depending on other things. It is important to remember that everything else can be taken away but he is the one thing we can absolutely depend on. I’m sorry to hear the news about your dad. Praying for you and your family. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

  • Mary

    Thank you for this beauty. Words are easy to say but when it comes to the conviction behind them, I’m with you in not always fully believing. God took you on a beautiful journey this week as you traveled to Mayo to be with your dad. I love how he taught you through the waiting and in the quiet moments in your car with a song. Happy Thanksgiving to you friend! Peace and grace as you take time to reflect on the deeoer parts of Thanksgiving.

  • JeanneTakenaka

    Jennifer, what a beautiful, thought-provoking post. “Enough” is a word close to my heart. And that song? Yes, I’ve sung it—many times—without really considering the words. I am convicted. When things are going pretty well, it’s easy to sing those words. When things are tough? I (We?) have to choose to believe them, to sing them. God has gifted us here in the US with MUCH. May we really stop to remember this and have grateful, humble hearts.

    I’ll be praying for your family as you head into Thanksgiving. And, thank you for the honor of being featured. I’m humbled. Truly.

  • Char Geletka

    Hi Jennifer – I love your reminder that everything other than Jesus has a “shelf life.” So true. I have found that when I lean too hard on other people/things – Jesus has a way of reminding me that He indeed is more than enough – by pulling the rug out from under me. Actually it’s His rescue mission!

  • Rachel Lee

    Jennifer, amen and amen to this! Beautifully written, as always. May Jesus be enough for me, now and forevermore! Regardless of my comforts or discomforts, as it may be.
    Powerful word today!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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  • Eow, how every word here really resonated with me, Jen. This is the cry of heart…yhat Jesus would be enough, but I’ve had to recently admit that He Janet always been. And I’ve had to repent. Things are scary for Christians here in America. In a way, we are in a spiritual stupor. It’s so easy to be luled into a spiritual slumber due to material excessiveness; but I’m so grateful that God is gracious and continually rescues us from ourselves. Also, sorry to hear about your dad. I pray for a quick a speedy recovery.

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  • Amen, amen & amen! So grateful for the truth in this message today. He is always enough, even when I don’t see it.

  • From the moment I first read The Hiding Place I was struck by Betsie ten Boom and how obvious it was that because God was enough, she radiated joy and trust in every situation. It’s hard for me to live the way I long to. I’m much more like King David, needing to lament my pain and sorrow. But in the toughest times-watching my daughter’s big toe get amputated, a year later her baby toe get amputated, a year later the last three toes get amputated, and 9 days later passing away-God is enough. He listened to the pain and sorrow of my long lamenting and healed the wound. There is a scar, but it testifies to His love and care. Enjoy all of the good things God gives, acknowledging Him as the One who provides. Thank Him. And trust that when He is all there is, He will be enough.

    • Nancy Ruegg

      Oh, Debbie. Your testimony is heart-breaking yet so very hope-filled. Thank you for sharing your story, and the assurance that “when He is all there is, He will be enough.” God bless you, dear sister!

      • Thank you, Nancy. He truly is enough. And He holds us through the times of pain and suffering, wondering how we can continue. His love collects our tears in a bottle and He binds our wounds.

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  • That’s a hard thing. I “know” that Jesus is enough on one level, and I have long believed what someone (I think Corrie ten Boom) said, that when Jesus is all that you have, you find He is more than enough. But I sure wouldn’t want to go through any Job-like experiences to get to that point. I trust that whatever of His gifts He gives or takes away, He’ll provide the grace to deal with it, even while I wince at the thought.

  • bluecottonmemory

    A few years ago, our college minister who mentored my son lost their child near delivery time. He said to his wife, “We can go through this with God or without God. I want to go through this with God.” Over a year later, they had a beautiful baby girl – and he died of a sudden heart-attack about 6 weeks later. He had given those who love him a beautiful directive – to choose to go through this with God. Your story and challenge remind me of a quote from “The Insanity of God” – when the writer’s family had to go through a heart challenge – in a mission field where believers gave their lives for believing. The writer said, “There is no resurrection without crucifixion.” When we choose God, he resurrects us! In so many ways. Praying for you and your family!
    https://bluecottonmemory.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/pass-it-forward/

  • Jennifer, thank you for this and for taking us behind the physical blessings and comforts we experience in this country straight to the truth of the matter. Jesus is enough. Are we living that truth? That’s a real thing to contemplate today. Thank you for helping me with this today.

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Yes, “deep down I know it’s true: Jesus really is enough.” How comforting to KNOW: when the time comes face the unthinkable he will be there to fulfill all his promises of peace, strength, hope and more. He is our Rock of stability, our Shepherd of restoration, our Father of love. He IS enough! Thank you, Jennifer, for bringing us with you to this all-important, bottom-line conclusion. Praying for your dear father, that God grant another healing for one of his precious saints!

  • Entering into the truth of God’s enough-ness in spite of all the distractions and the lies I tell my own heart. Continuing in prayer for your dad and for your family as you support and encourage him in days ahead. Blessings to you, Jennifer.

  • Sherry Thecharmofhome

    Happy Thanksgiving! Thanks for hosting!

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This is what we are all after this Christmas, right? We are all after more light, more Jesus. 🕯🔦💡... So let’s make it happen. Let’s make it all about Jesus. (Latest blog post in the profile) ift.tt/2j8VIGC pic.twitter.com/f1MRQ692QC