When I was in high school, I compared my first real relationship to a glass box in one of my early journals. I thought everything was so clear and perfect, or so it seemed, and I knew with one wrong move it could shatter. It did – over and over. But that’s what glass does. It looks clear and perfect, even beautiful, but it is so easily broken. This world doesn’t honor “handle with care” stickers.
Tonight, I had dinner with my fellow blogger and dear friend Maggie (check her out here), and I shattered not one, but TWO glasses in totally unrelated circumstances and locations. When my ceramic coffee mug I received as a Christmas gift shattered, Maggie jokingly told me I should blog about it. When the champagne flute of my Berries and Bubbles cocktail fell to the floor (half full still!!!), Maggie reminded me that I HAD to blog about broken glass because clearly God wanted me to. In that moment, I looked up and promised Him that I would.
So here I am. Regardless, I was planning to write a post to introduce a new 19 week challenge I’ve set for myself, but first I need to tell ya’ll why broken glass is so important and RELEVANT. You and me, we’re a lot like broken glass, especially in the age of social media. We like to look perfect and squeaky clean online or any time we leave the house. We think we can fool everyone into thinking we didn’t just binge eat Taco Bell before taking that gym mirror selfie or that we didn’t spend an entire Friday night in applying makeup just to take the perfect fun and flirty kissy face photo for our crush to “stumble” upon on Instagram. Most of the time, the charade works.
The truth, though, is that two people will NEVER be fooled: you and God (even though He’s not a person). And guess what? You have to live with yourself and what God lays on your heart regardless of how you carefully piece together all of your broken glass for the world to see. Your followers may not see the fresh cuts and the scars, but you’ll always feel them and God has this larger than life desire to heal them.
Friends, I am broken glass. I am messy. I fight sins of the flesh daily. But God’s love and purpose for me is so much bigger than all of that, and His hands aren’t torn by my sharp, uneven pieces. He reaches down from heaven daily and He makes them beautiful.
I’ve been praying and thinking about how to start the re-launch of my blog. I want to use my brokenness to encourage others after receiving an overwhelming amount of encouragement and support from Jordan Lee Dooley’s SoulScripts Sisterhood. I watched the movie “Joy” with my parents last night, and ironically, Joy’s break from routine starts after literally cutting her hands on broken glass while mopping up spilled wine and then using that experience to invent a mop that wrings itself. After the broken glass fiasco I had tonight, I just have to smile at God’s love for me because He knew “Joy” got my creative wheels turning, so tonight He gave me broken glass of my own and said, “Jess, let me be your mop. Give your broken pieces (of glass) to me.” He is so good.
In The Sisterhood (which I highly encourage you to sign up for by clicking here), I joined an accountability group for sex, purity, and dating my first day in the portal, and WOW has God led me to some amazing women. Their willingness to share their broken pieces speaks right into my heart and it allowed me to pour out all of my struggles of the flesh that women aren’t supposed to struggle with, and I have been SO humbled. It’s an honor to be someone God can use to talk to girls who feel like they have no one to walk with them and love them in the seasons they are in. Walking by these girls, even if it be online, gives me strength.
Before I joined The Sisterhood, I ALWAYS believed God could use social media for His will, and he chose SoulScripts to do it tenfold. It’s still true, many of us try our best to look our best and sound our best online, myself included, but The Sisterhood proves it can be a place for brokenness and vulnerability as well. Part of The Sisterhood membership also includes monthly Soul Sessions led by Jordan, and this month’s was a study of Romans 5:1-11. Verses 3-5 resonated with me because they speak on sufferings producing perseverance, perseverance producing character, and character producing hope that does not put us to shame because God loves us and gave us His Son to die on the cross for our sins.
“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
My challenge to myself, full of broken pieces, is to unpack all of my yucky shame and suffering here over the next 19 weeks so that you might have hope in what you’re going through yourself. I long to speak into your heart and convince you to be unafraid to say “me too.”
Now, 19 is a weird number, I know. I like even numbers just as much as the next Type A gal, but 19 is a special number in my life this week. In 19 Saturdays, I will GRADUATE COLLEGE!!! I started this blog when I started college, and although I’ve never been consistent in posting, this blog is my college heart, and I want to leave it all here by posting at least once a week until graduation.
Surprisingly, 19 also represents the number of pounds I’ve gained during college, definitely not daunting, but I’ve also set a goal for myself to lose a pound a week and get back the body I had when I graduated high school so I can be the healthiest version of myself. I bought a gym membership for the first time ever two weeks ago, and I’ve set a goal with my Kate Spade fitness tracker to work out at least four times a week for 19 weeks.
Additionally, I’m challenging myself to stay active in The Sisterhood and smaller groups I’ve joined because of it. This includes responding and praying for women who share their hearts, participating in Bible studies and devotional readings, and sharing my own struggles. I begin student teaching next Tuesday, which I am thrilled about, but I know it will both challenge me and exhaust me. Through my student teaching semester, I’m striving to make time for myself and keep my focus on God, and I’m asking all of you to keep me accountable and keep me in your prayers.
Although today is Wednesday, I plan to post a weekly update and share what God is doing in my life every Sunday night starting New Years Day. Bear with me, though, and please give me grace if I don’t post until mid-week. Additionally, I encourage you to reach out to me and share what God is doing in your life, as well as give me suggestions about books to read, posts to write, and ways to get closer to the Lord. Ideally, I will post my own book suggestions as I read them too.
I don’t know what my life looks like after college. Right now, I’m a 21-year-old student and high school cheer coach with a dream to be hired as an English teacher at the high school where I coach. I’m currently reading/doing 31 Prayers for My Future Husband by Jennifer and Aaron Smith, and I dream of marrying my best friend, a guy better than any fairytale prince charming, who I’ve been dating for over two years. I hope to move out of my parents’ house this summer and finally get my very first apartment after living in dorms and at home all through college.
I’m excited and nervous all at the same time, and I continuously remind myself, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). At the end of the day, God hears my desires, but I know His plan for my life during the next 19 weeks and beyond will put my plans to shame because I am broken glass and only He knows exactly how to handle and use my pieces.