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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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58

Tuesday 16th June 2015

#TellHisStory: Your Sacred Yes

Her braces needed tightening, so we drove to the city.

It still takes me by surprise when she sits in the front passenger seat beside me. Wasn’t it just yesterday I was buckling her into a rear-facing car seat? All the things about getting older have been coming true.

I see her out of the corner of my eye, and she looks like a little woman.

There goes the girl.

She and I have walked a long stretch of life since those early days, when I charted every feeding, every body function, every diapering. I hummed a lullaby to her every night, same song again and again, while rubbing circles into her back. There were the endless loads of laundry, feverish nights, unexplained crying, the same books read and re-read. There was boredom, and a sense of my life lacking purpose — which I wouldn’t have admitted to you at the time. My own life frightened me, and my fear was this: somewhere between the monotony and the minivan, my life would end up as a blur. And I would be forever hanging out in a city of Legos — wearing my drawstring pajama pants and a Smurfs T-shirt — while God skipped on by, handing out the “important” Kingdom assignments to other people.

And then another baby came, and I kept fighting to make something special out of my life. Turns out, it already was. My “something special” was happening. 

Because I had given God my Sacred Yes.

God hadn’t passed me by. No, not at all. He had given me an invitation to be a part of His magnificent plan. And I want you to know something: magnificent plans sometimes disguise themselves as your own ordinary life. Sometimes I still miss it, but it’s always right here under my feet: the wonder of this life. The wonder of being alive. The wonder of discovering God moving about, in the monotony of the everyday.

smores, campfire ordinarylives Your Sacred Yes, Susie Larson

I’ve been reading about Sacred Yeses for the last 14 nights straight. Susie Larson wrote a book about that, and let me tell you, she’s one anointed woman. I’m almost done with the book, and it’s making me see my life in reverse. It’s also making me consider my life in fast-forward. (Enter below to win the book.)

Here’s the question I’m asking myself:

What do I want to be remembered for, other than this — that I was a woman who gave God her Sacred Yes, even if it demanded the Hard No?

“It’s time to redeem your time,” Susie wrote in Your Sacred Yes. “Don’t wait for a tragedy to remember that life is a gift, your walk is sacred, and there’s a God in heaven who loves you deeply and knows — better than you — what’s best for you. We inhabit this earth for such a short yet important time. How we live here determines how we’ll live there, on the other side. May we live as ones who are spoken for.”

What would it look like to give God our most Sacred Yeses, and to “live as ones spoken for”? Maybe it begins be seeing the beauty, hiding in plain sight, in our ordinary lives.

The real tragedy would be allowing years to disappear in a fog of disappointment or drudgery, with no way to recover the beauty — beauty which was always present, but passed by, unnoticed.

I thought about all of that this morning, on the way to the orthodontist. I asked my grown-up girl, Lydia, a question: “What do you think it means to live a Sacred Yes?”

Lydia said this: “To me, our Sacred Yes is saying yes to whatever God is calling us to do … doing what he made us to do. And what makes it so sacred, is that it’s God’s amazing plan for our life.”

And then I asked Anna. She said this: “A Sacred Yes is what should happen when I ask you for ice cream after supper.” 🙂

And you know what? They are both right.

I want yeses that feel like obedience and taste like hot fudge sundaes. I want my yeses to help me feel the full weight of the beautiful life I’ve been given — the “big” opportunities and the small, everyday blessings.

We can say yes to God in a thousand different ways every day, whether we’re wearing three-piece suits or Smurfs T-shirts or priest’s collars or farmer’s overalls. Here’s how I want to give Him my Sacred Yes:

I will pay attention, love well, lay down my own desires, and make daily decisions that match up with my beliefs. I will reach out, lean in, look up, and bow down. I will make more room at the table, learn more from the Teacher, and pass more of the good stuff — like love and charity and grace — onto my people. I will say yes to the ice cream, the hard work of community, the long way home, the extra book at bedtime, the opportunities that scare me a little, and the slow walk through the woods. I will pay attention to my brokenness, because there’s a pretty good chance that through the redemptive work of Christ, that’s where my purpose lies.  

I’ve got to give the Sacred Yeses that were made just for me. I’ve got to spend the rest of my days living my life, or it won’t get lived. Same goes for you.

You are the only you there is. Say yes to the “you” that you were created to be. 

giveaway, Your Sacred Yes, Susie Larson

Five-Book Giveaway of Your Sacred Yes

Susie Larson has an incredible giveaway for you! She’s letting me give away five copies of her new book, Your Sacred Yes: Trading Life-Draining Obligation for Freedom, Passion & Joy. Fill out the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win this eye-opening book. (Email subscribers: click here to enter using the Rafflecopter.)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It’s always a joy to gather here every week. The linkup goes lives 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! I’m so excited to tell you that today’s featured writer is my friend and virtual assistant, Kaitlyn Bouchillon. Find Kaitlyn 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

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  • There is so much about this to love. Once again, your precious daughters offer a “through the mouths of babes” perspective. I love your summary of both! I’m also struck by Susie’s admonition to not wait for a tragedy before realizing that life is a gift. This book sounds like the perfect guide for my summer. Headed back up to do everything I can to win one! Thanks for offering it to us and for the gift of your words that remind us to find the beauty in the ordinary!

  • Kaylie Hodges

    Thanks Jennifer, I needed this today. My husband has been out of town lots lately and I just keep missing the special moments out of sheer distraction. I’ll have to get my hands on this book!

  • This. Is. Perfect! It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day drudge and forget how blessed we really are, RIGHT where we are. What a perfect reminder! I really look forward to reading this book, and of course, I would LOVE to win a copy!

  • Yes, I needed this today as well! This book sounds like a great read!

  • Thanks for posting this. I truly appreciate you! Your blog and book have really made a difference in my life.
    To me, Sacred Yes means a “yes” to whatever God has planned for us, even if we feel inadequate. It means to constantly obey God whatever the cost. To trust that He has a plan, even when we feel deserted. It means that we realize and accept that we are preapproved by a Gracious, Perfect Savior.
    I look forward to reading it even if I don’t win a copy. It looks life-changing.

    Sarah
    http://mybowsandclothes.blogspot.com/

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  • Wow, her book sounds exceptional. This is something I’ve really wrestled with… am I valuable staying home, beyond the obvious… but God says what’s obvious can really shine in the kingdom. I have to trust Him on that! Thanks for digging in on this Jennifer, and revealing again bits of how your own heart sees this!
    Be smothered in His unending blessings today 🙂

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  • Kamea Hope

    I love the answers your sweet girls gave. Yes, they are both right! So much wisdom can be found if we listen to our children’s perspectives of faith 🙂

  • I’ve seen that book title and was so curious. Glad to know more about Susie Larson’s book. I say yes to this: “God’s magnificent plans disguise themselves as your ordinary life.” So hard to grab hold of this in the day to day. Lord, open our eyes!

    (I also loved Lois Flower’s post from last week. 🙂 )

  • Kim S

    Great giveaway, Susie’s book is on my to-be-read list. Thanks for posting, Jennifer! Kim Stewart
    @kimstewinspired kim@kimstewinspired.com

  • Kristi Woods

    Ooooo….I’ve been eyeing this book. I love Susie’s posts on Facebook. Found her “accidentally” (although we all know it’s a God thing) through a different book the library had available. Loved it! And Jennifer, your post draws me into the real ministry of day to day. For far too long I yearned for “more” when it was right there in front of me. So glad to hear you’re enjoying your gals, Jennifer, and God’s everyday.

  • Lori

    Wow, I can’t believe there is a book written about what I am going trough in my life right now. I just turned 55 two days ago. God has given me emtional healing from Complex PTSD, Lyme Disease and having two discs in my neck removed and replaced, all within the last three years.
    Now that I am feeling life and healthy for the first time in my life this question is on my mind every day. I know He has something for me. It’s often in the day to day encounters, the not so “little things”
    We are older parents of teens, I have a heart for the poor but can’t leave the family behind to go to another country.
    My yes is giving God the day, every day. He always brings something my way. I ask now, how is it He wants to use the me? I ask Him to see people as He sees them, and how to best love them. I have a passion for people to heal from neglect and abuse. I love hearing other people’s story. Ok, sorry all, that ended up being a mini testimony. The book sounds great and I will read it whether I win or not.

  • susie

    Amazing that I should read about this book today – its been one of “those” days; started by being stung by hornets nesting in the paper “slot” of my mailbox with the requisite trip to hardware store for hornet spray, the pharmacy for Benadryl, and the promise of having to tackle them again at dusk; followed by a multiplicity of frustration with phone calls (times innumerable) attempting to untangle a snarl of bureaucratic nightmare that seems to have no solution – you don’t need to hear the rest. I desperately need to be reminded that my Sacred Yes will include days like this, perhaps more of them than not, and that beauty and joy can be found hidden in them, like diamonds in a coal mine. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book.

  • reminded me of living without regrets. Love the pin quotations too

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  • Ruthie Gray

    Spend the rest of my days living life – YES. I’ve been pondering this so much lately as time has slowed down for me, the kids are grown, and I’m watching my grandson now on some long days at times. And I thought those days were over years ago, but they’re baaaaaack! And, they’re precious, and, I’m doing my very best to soak in them and find the joy nuggets. There is truth that some days I think my life doesn’t count, stacking toys to knock down and climbing in and out of cabinets. But it does, and what’s more – my grown children are watching me. (They never really stop when they grow up – in fact, it becomes more intense.)
    Your post is lovely, as always. You have a wonderful way with expression and imagery. Thanks for hosting each week!

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  • Mary

    These words are perfect for me right now as I begin a new season-my sequel. Retirement from teaching began June 5 and I have been reflecting on what’s next. The thing I know for sure is that God has ordained beautiful things for me in this next step and it is going to be amazing. I know that because I am opening my heart to God and the possibilities. Thank you for your words and the chance to win this amazing book.

  • Brooke Montgomery Cassinelli

    Would LOVE to win a copy of this book… Thank you for the giveaway. 🙂

  • Ellen Chauvin

    O love Susie Larson and her books, and I would LOVE to win a copy of this latest one!

  • Rachel

    Would love to win a copy of this book! 🙂 thanks for the opportunity!

  • Marni Gallerneault

    Perfectly written post! It lines up precisely with what God has been showing me lately by!

  • Tara Ulrich

    Oh Jennifer, I don’t even know where to begin. Your posts always seem to speak straight into my heart. But lately, they have been speaking even more to me! I want to live my best yes too. And I agree that often that is in the midst of our every day. God does indeed know whats best for me. I am not a stubborn person (Now my sister that’s another story!) but when it comes to listening to God and what I believe God maybe calling me to do, I can be pretty DARN STUBBORN! Thanks for this post friend!

  • Meagan D.

    I would love to win a copy of this book. How I needed this message. Thank you so much!

  • Stephanie Hinz

    I would definitely like to read this one! Sometimes I’m afraid I’m losing me in the midst of motherhood but I’m sure also that it is what He has called me to right now. I want to have complete peace in this!

  • Kathy

    My sacred Yes must be an ongoing commitment to my Lord and obedience to His Word. May the Lord continue His work to transform me through not only the trials and sorrows but through the times of grace and peace. I look forward to reading the words from this novel and pray it would give more light for my journey through life.

  • Wilma

    I could so relate to the post and being in the middle of motherhood. I’d love to read the book.

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  • Paige Estes

    Love this, Jennifer. I am just starting to believe that where I am right now is the sacred yes. I am working a low level position that doesn’t need my degree to give my husband and my family the freedom to be a complete family in the evenings. Its not a popular choice at my church community, to work outside the home or to send my boys to public school. But its what right for our family. I’m just starting to feel the confidence to just say it and not apologize or duck my head when asked. Sometimes the sacrifice is saying good bye to your kids in the morning so a family of four can be together in the evenings and on weekends. Or to decline a high level job offer that takes away precious mental and emotional resources that need to be reserved for my husband and kids in this season. And to know I’m not “on pause” working this job. There are people here who need to see Jesus’s love and I can pray for them and love on them to the best of my ability since God has put them in front of me today. Lets be bold right where we are today, ladies!

  • Wendy Munsell

    I’m intrigued by this book, for sure! Saying “yes” to Father has been an important part of letting go of my way and leaning in to Him.

  • Jennifer, I am also reading this book at this time. The first night I picked it up, I stayed up way, way later than I should have because I could not put it down! I won’t enter the giveaway because I already have the book but I so encourage others to enter. It is surely a book everyone will want to read & be challenged by. And I am with you…it is amazing all that transpires in the days which are not so mundane & ordinary after all!

  • Jennifer

    This looks like the book I need for this season!

  • How precious are the answers from your girls! Thank you for sharing these bright truths in the examples of your everyday life which I can perceive is nothing but “sacred.”

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  • Life, Passion, and Joy are exactly what I want to shine in my life, a life lived abundantly through and for Christ.

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  • Looks like an amazing Book. I am cutting out social media so no following anyone on twitter. But I have been keeping my eye on this book.

  • Hi, thanks for the giveaway. Feel free to link up with my weekly Literacy Musing Mondays. I know my readers will want to know about this book and the giveaway. It sounds soul-inspiring. 🙂 http://www.maryanderingcreatively.com/literacy-musing-mondays-week-21/

  • I love this >> “magnificent plans sometimes disguise themselves as your own ordinary life.” I am looking forward to reading Susie’s book!

  • Karrilee Aggett

    Oh my friend – I love this! (Because, of course! We are so kindred!) My Sacred Yes – my gift to myself this year, is to be me, wherever I go! I’ve been slowly getting better at this, and it seems I get comfortable in it and then shy away again… but I am determined to stay present and remember that I am #preapproved (ya see what I did there?) – I’d love to win a copy of Susie’s new book!

  • Ginger Harrington

    Love to win this book. Looks great and the idea of my sacred yes is really intriguing!

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Such a rich, rich post, Jennifer. Full of truth, full of heart, full of attitude-changing encouragement. THANK YOU! You brought me to tears (again!), beginning with: “God hasn’t passed me by…He’s given me an invitation to be part of His magnificent plan. And…magnificent plans sometimes disguise themselves as your ordinary life.” And then, near the end, your “I will” statements SO echoed the desires of my heart. Thank you, Jennifer for reassuring us that responding to God with the sacred “yes, prepares us to experience the full weight of the beautiful lives we’ve already been given. Praise God for his gracious benevolence!

  • Sarah

    This book looks good!!! I am in that place right now.

  • Bonnie Stafford

    I NEED this book!

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  • This sounds fantastic! Thanks!

  • I love the wonderful differences in your girls as seen in their responses to your question!

  • Laura

    I love how you describe that God’s magnificence can sometimes be disguised as monotonous everyday life. There have been times when I would say stuff like, “my life is going to start when..” or “everything will change when…” but in reality, this is it! The life I’m living right now is important and I need to keep my ears open so that I can hear what God is saying. I want to shout a big “yes” to every task he has for me!

  • Such beautiful yet challenging thoughts here, Jennifer! So much to ponder on. I love how you express your sacred yes to God, and my heart echoes it too, especially these words:”I will pay attention to my brokenness, because there’s a pretty good chance that through the redemptive work of Christ, that’s where my purpose lies. ” Amen! Thank you. 🙂

  • karen

    I want to speak sacred yeses!!!!

  • Jinger

    My yes right now is sleepless nights and early mornings- time that is so full my heart is brusting with joy. Time raising my swert babes and preparing them for heaven because God has trusted me and my husband to do just that. It isnt easy but we are blessed and will pray we can continue to say yes to Him who has given us riches worth more than gold.

  • Mary beth

    I think I need this book – I’m not loving my ordinary life.

  • This looks like a perfect book to sit and soak in this summer! Thank you for sharing your heart and what you have been learning. I have been hearing the lilting song of a sacred echo in my heart, the patter that hasn’t fully played out yet, but it feels like the melody has scored itself into my soul and I want it to sound like this sacred yes you are talking about. Sacred because it is a yes to all that He has, and the yes!… because it is an obedience with exclamation that affirms and echoes His hope that gives us all the desire and fervor we’ll need to even complete the declaration.

    I have to admit, I felt the tears come today while reading… thinking of my own kids and their growing and how I miss their tiny years. Thinking about how we as mommas tend to feel as if our yes to mother is insufficiently appreciated by others, and sometimes it is, but that is what makes it a sacred yes echoing in His heart… we say YES to Him and to loving these beauties He has given us.

    Thanks for sharing this blessing!
    🙂 Dawn

  • Morgan Zoeller

    Hi! Can I ask if you’ve read “The Best Yes” and if so, how would you say these two books differ? Thanks!

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