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The Single and Happy Live, Saved and In College- Episode #1

In College? Living for Christ? Feeling alone? Introducing JLO’s newest segment “Saved and in College”. Watch college student EdLeea Brewster as she encourages, motivates, and inspires girls to live for Christ with purpose while in college.

EPISODE #1- The Single and Happy Life

Being single isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when you are in college. You can easily feel like the outsider when everyone around you is in romantic relationship. Singleness is beautiful. It is a great time to serve the LORD wholeheartdly! Watch this video to be encouraged.

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Naturally Preparing your Body for Pregnancy

I’ve been blessed to help quite a few women pre, during and postpartum to find that we need A Clear Plan before getting into the world of pregnancy; this should help you prepare your body for pregnancy even before you are pregnant.  It is so reassuring for these mamas to know that they are educated on what is happening to their body and how to respond to the sudden changes they are experiencing.  Unfortunately, as a pastor’s wife, I have been through the process of walking with a number of couples through unexpected miscarriages, pregnancy complications and panic attacks.

This is a very sensitive issue and something that I hold in confidentiality with these couples, so I will not provide any “real-life” examples, but it has been on my heart for quite some time to share what I have learned through walking with these couples and my own research in helping “keep them pregnant.”  None of this information is to replace or negate what your practitioner advises you to do, only to supplement and provide a natural, reassuring perspective that can further empower you as a mama or mama-to-be.

The first area of concern for me is that many times I have found women’s bodies and minds are not prepared for pregnancy.  There is a common belief that “I will just get pregnant, grab a pre-natal vitamin off a grocery store shelf, get to my doctor, take a blood test to confirm and keep it moving.”  But when there is not enough body fat to maintain the pregnancy, the body has toxins causing a hormonal imbalance, or the body is not getting enough healthy nutrients to keep mama and baby healthy, this can result in an unwanted crisis.  Unfortunately, this risk is not always shared with mama until it is too late.  So, what can you do to prepare your body for that day when you find out you are pregnant?

This is important if you are married, trying to get pregnant, or using no means of protection and may get pregnant.  Let’s give our body what it needs in a preventative way so that we can have healthy, full term deliveries.

#1 Find a Whole Food, Good Quality PreNatal Vitamin

There is only one downside to a whole food prenatal, it is more expensive, but the cost is worth every penny when you consider its benefits.  This is different than a prescription or over the counter manufactured prenatal.  Instead, it consists of all natural ingredients and vitamins from their natural source.  The prescription prenatals can be very hard on some women’s digestion, cause nausea, heartburn, indigestion and constipation.  It may not be right for all women.  Doing your own research and discovering what is best for your body in consultation with your doctor is helpful.

Prenatal vitamins are helpful because the baby pulls from mama’s nutrients to get her own taking care of, leaving mama depleted of daily intake if not eating enough or supplementing.  This can cause more nausea, fainting or other complications (including miscarriage or the baby not growing at a recommended rate).  To ensure both baby and mama get all they need I have included a few prenatal vitamin options to supplement your daily food intake.

A few high quality, whole food prenatal vitamins are:

Baby & Me
babyandme2Baby and Me is a plant based, vegetable vitamins so you do not have to worry about manufactured items entering your body and it is full of great vitamins for you and your baby, as it’s name suggests.  There is also a Herb-Free Version of Baby & Me available (especially important if you are already taking herbs or tonics to support your health).  A lot of mamas absolutely love how easy this vitamin is on their stomachs and how they can take it with no worries of a sick tummy!  It is also very high in Vitamin D (which helps prevent miscarriage).

Rainbow Light Prenatal One

Rainbow-Light-Prenatal-Supplemental-FactsAnother option is Rainbow Light Prenatal One.  This 100% vegetarian and natural vitamin has no preservatives and is also vegan.  Another perk is you only need one a day to get your daily intake, and it is very light on the stomach due to it’s inclusion of probiotics (good for digestion).    It has twice the amount of the following vitamins as a lot of prenatal vitamins:

  • iron (good for metabalism and blood cell production),
  • vitamin D (for mama and baby’s healthy bones and teeth),
  • vitamin C & A (for skin, eye, immune, brain health, and destressing),
  • folic acid (to prevent birth defects, help with the baby’s brain and cell development, plus spine growth), and
  • vitamin B (for energy, cell growth, stress, immune support and more). 

#2 A Whole Food, Healthy Diet

Of course, this is only a supplement to eating a whole food, healthy diet, with healthy fats like organic butter, coconut, olive, sunflower and sesame seed oils, fish, nuts, seeds, lots of dark leafy vegetables, and bright, vibrant choices like carrots, tomatoes, and cucumbers.  Plus a lot of fruit (think half your plate being full of fruits and vegetables).  There are so many new fruits and veggies that you may not have tried yet and can now focus on enjoying. 

The key is to snack, snack, snack on healthy foods and meal prep ahead of time so you don’t run out of food and go crazy at a fast food restaurant!  To avoid preservatives, try organic, grass fed, farm fresh food from the farmer’s market or the organic section of your grocery store.  This will protect both you and baby from unwanted harmful substances.

This is your chance to taste the rainbow.  Think about beautiful colors, many beautiful colors you are taking into your body on a daily consistent (never skipping meals) basis.  Try some of the foods on this rainbow chart to get you started:

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There are so many healthy options out there, a few tips on snacks: slice oranges, apples, kiwi, peaches and bring them to work with you.  Grab a bunch of grapes and throw them in your lunch bag.  Keep a cooler in the back of your car/trunk full of yummy homemade smoothies (by the way this is a good snack option), lots of water, and your fruit. 

And mama’s protein intake is really important too.  You can get this from grass fed meats (lower in fat plus essential fatty acids) and cold water fish (look for “wild” fish, rather “farm raised”in grocery store- like cod, Alaskan salmon, and Alaskan halibut), lentils, beans and vegetables like kale and broccoli.  Try to get a balance of both meat and vegetable proteins in your meals.

A few tips: Low zinc is believed to cause miscarriage (you can always get your blood levels checked prior to pregnancy) and the right amount of vitamin B12 can help prevent miscarriage by strengthening mama’s endometrium lining where the egg is fertilized.  Zinc: shrimp, lamb, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, turkey, sesame seeds, green peas.   B12: Lobster, eggs, liver, crab, fish, beef, lamb, oysters.

Foods to avoid: cold cuts, excess caffeine, soft cheeses, alcohol, don’t go on a low fat diet (you need healthy fats to support your growing baby)

#3 Relaxation Plan

Of course there’s a lot more mama’s-to-be can do to prepare for pregnancy and keep a healthy pregnancy, but for today, we will close this up by talking about the importance of the R&R: Rest and Relaxation.  We all need rest, but your body is working twice as hard when pregnant, so you finally have a good excuse for sleeping A LOT. 

Sleep– On your left side (your liver is on your right side, this will help avoid pressure on your liver- this can get harder as you get bigger, so just try your best).  Try to avoid sleeping on your back because it pressures a lot of organs and can lower circulation.  

You can also get a wedge when you get bigger to help with sleep. 

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Journal– Write down your thoughts, feelings and emotions, your joys and annoyances while pregnant.  Doing this can help declutter your mind and give you a sense of needed relief.  Taking note of what is causing you to feel stressful in your environment can be really helpful as well.

Relaxing Exercise– There are pregnancy exercises you can do like walking, leaning forward on an exercise ball (think about how much pregnant mamas  lean back), and butterflies (remember these cute exercises from when you were a child?).

Prayer and Meditation– Daily spending time praying and meditating on Scripture can help remove fear and increase your faith in a smooth pregnancy.  There are so many concerns and questions pregnant mamas may have; having a few Scriptures handy is helpful when we are in uncertain times.  This book, Supernatural Childbirth, I did a review on recently is really good to have on hand to help you pray prayers for pre, during and post pregnancy (plus while in labor)!

Supernatural Childbirth

Best of wishes on your coming baby, or if you’re just really proactive and preventative, I wish you the best on your way to being a mama one day! 

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Prayer: Father, I thank you for everyone reading this and pray that You will give them the strength they need, the wisdom they ask for and the health You promised that they may have a full term, strong pregnancy, a healthy baby in their loving mama arms. And I pray that they will overcome all fears of the days to come no matter what is in their family history or their own past. They deserve the best because that is what Christ died for. In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

xoxo,

Jade Lee

A few Mama Scriptures:

You will keep in perfect peace, him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You.  Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is the Rock eternal.  Isaiah 26:3

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7

I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.  Philippians 4:13

For You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  Psalm 139:13-14

Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast.  From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.  Psalm 22:9-10

He will have no fear of bad news; he heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.  His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.  Psalm 112:7

 

 

Supernatural Childbirth

How to Have a Supernatural Childbirth (Book Review)

Supernatural ChildbirthThis is one of those books that should be in every woman’s library, even before she is pregnant, Supernatural Childbirth. 

I have been meaning to write a book review on this for months now and have finally found the time to squeeze in a few thoughts on a topic that is really special to my heart.

It may seem strange on one hand but very natural on the other that I would write on this topic as someone who has experienced the hard journey of infertility for years.  But that is what initially led me to it…I was looking for answers, for a resource I could use to pray over my womb.

And then I found Jackie Mize’s classic book.  And it has been a blessing to everyone I have been gifted to mentor over the years.

This book is full of wisdom, personal life stories, prayers and Scriptures you can pray over yourself before, during and post pregnancy.  It even includes a section on prayers for the delivery and shares how to overcome fear during the entire experience (which is a major struggle for almost every woman I have walked with through pregnancy).

So far, I’ve gotten a chance to play the role of a pastor’s wife/unofficial doula for 10 babies and we used this book in the process.  The woman I worked with would pray these prayers over their womb and we would actually see “Supernatural Childbirths.”

As we prayed, we noticed a trend begin to occur.  Seemless childbirths were happening, babies were being born almost completely pain free, the women were giving birth in four hours or less (in most cases) and the nurses were running into rooms in shock!

We knew it was the prayers and mental techniques these women were using. 

If that baby was holding on a little too long, as I walked into the room, we would simply pray a strong prayer and shortly thereafter the baby would arrive.  One time I prayed a prayer like that, went down to get food for the new mommy and dad, and by the time I returned the baby had already surprise us all with a Very Quick delivery.

Another time, the nurses all came running into the room because they could not believe the woman giving birth did so that calmly, with no pain until she was 10 centimeters dilated.

And the doula exclaimed, “We have to get you all to pray for all of the women we worked with!”

It was an act of God, and His original intention for how childbirth should occur…Before the fall of man, it was not so but due to Genesis 3:16 women begin to experience pain in childbearing:

To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

But now that consequence has been broken through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ:

But Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law.  When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing.  For it is written in the Scriptures, “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”  Galatians 3:13

If you have experienced a painful delivery or a fearful pregnancy, I would definitely recommend this book.  And if you have not experienced a pregnancy yet but are expecting, it is worth the try to read it, it really does make a difference.  Thirdly, if you are fighting infertility, many have read this book to take a stance against that struggle spiritually. 

But it is more an application that a reading book, so here is the link to begin your prayerful pregnancy journey and best of wishes to your new bundle of joy!

If you have any questions about my experiences using this book for infertility or to help moms please use the comments below or you can email me at info@jadelee.org  I really welcome your comments…Thanks!

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The Single and Happy Life

by Edleea Brewster

In College? Living for Christ? Feeling alone? Introducing JLO’s newest segment “Saved and in College”. Watch college student EdLeea Brewster as she encourages, motivates, and inspires girls to live for Christ with purpose while in college.

EPISODE #1- The Single and Happy Life

Being single isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when you are in college. You can easily feel like the outsider when everyone around you is in romantic relationship. Singleness is beautiful. It is a great time to serve the LORD wholeheartdly! Watch this video to be encouraged.

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Healing Journaling to Find Your Voice

by Jade Lee

I vividly remember a few moments in my dorm room (years ago) when I needed to get all my thoughts out, one was to write a joy list in overcoming the blues, but the other was reading the Psalms.   I wasn’t on the path I should have been but hearing David’s vulnerability and authenticity in the Psalms was really comforting to me in my time of weakness, I was experiencing what I have now termed Biblical Healing Journaling.  If he could do it, then surely I could freely share what was on my heart, it was like his feelings were equivalent to mine, all I needed was love undeserved, beyond performance.

I have come to find that, like David, we need a way to express our inner lives.  Sometimes, this comes out with whoever we can trust, usually our nearest loved ones or friends.  But it doesn’t always get expressed in positive ways.  I sure have had my moments of trying to express in a healthy way then in quickly goes down hill with a blow up because we are talking about a sensitive topic.

Writing and reading are both very instrumental in creating a stronger self awareness in our lives.  And writing can be a way to ease the raw emotions before they are shared with others in anger or the fullness of frustration the shock causes us to feel.

My Story

I have always loved writing.  It is like second nature to me and was many times much easier than sharing with someone verbally.  I wrote short love stories, poems, journal entries and research papers.  But all of it was from my deepest place of self.  And that’s what I want to help you do, find your deepest sense of who you are then express it in a wholesome way.

journaling

When you write you can safely express whatever is on your heart.  Over the years as you mature in your voice, you will find that this can become an intricate language depending on who you are, or it may remain profoundly simple.

But combined with Scriptural truth, writing can be used very powerfully to heal our hearts and bring deep joy.

One day I began to realize how to write in a different way.  This was the day my writing became my prayer.  I noticed that I was going on a passage from deep heart stings, pressures and emotional duress to release, forgiveness and liberation.  

As I walked many women through mentorship and intimacy therapy I realized that this could be a great tool to help them accomplish a new state of being, they could live with all the windows on their emotional computer closed and their minds could be free of overload.

I started that day by writing everything that was on my mind when I first woke up, for many people that is when the wrestling match begins…words that you have processed from the day before come back up and you begin to wonder “why did they say that like that?”

For some simply casting down thoughts in general and moving on may work.  But I tend to be much more complex.  I need to literally see my thoughts in front of me then deal with them one by one.  (I can think a lot of thoughts at a time so I need a way to get it all out.)

I noticed that once it was all out on that sweet paper in my journal a sense of peace came over me.  And I felt healed!

I wrote vulnerably, free flowing, intricately from the deepest place of self awareness and pain.  And my pain became an electrifying tool to release strong emotions, questions, fears, challenges…without being hurtful to the hearer.  It became a filter guarding my loved ones from the worlds that only God could handle.

Because rarely are raw emotions digested by the ears of even tender listeners.  But seasoned words go down like sweet honey to their open hearts.

Rarely are raw emotions digested by the ears of even tender listeners.  But seasoned words go down like sweet honey to their open hearts.

The Shift

Once all of our words are out, our heart is empty and we sense “the release.”  At this point we go through the needed passage from pain to an elevated perspective.  We see through the eyes of God- that person, that situation, the words that hurt us.  

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You can do it, just keep going, keep writing and be consistent! Let’s hold one another up in prayer.

Suddenly, it’s as if light begins to break through our darkness.  We are at the end of a gloomy tunnel.

This is what the Psalmist David, experienced in the lament psalms like Psalm 3:

“A psalm of David, when he fled from Absalom his son.

  1. O LORD, how many are my foes!  Many are rising against me;
  2. many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.  Selah
  3. But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
  4. I cried aloud to the lord, and he answered me from his holy hill.  Selah

In this passage David is running away from his son Absalom.  If you want to read the story read 2 Samuel 15:13-23.  But you may want to read 2 Samuel 14-18 if you want the entire narrative.  It is definitely a tear jerker.

Can you imagine running from your own son who wants to kill you?  There had to be some serious identity, soul searching emotions happening here.  Questions like, What did I did wrong?  Why does my own flesh and blood want me dead?  must have been combatting David’s warrior heart.

This was not your son or daughter sitting in a counseling office, it was them growing up to want to come after your life.  

But notice how David handled it, he wrote down his complaints to God.  He shared from the deepest places of his soul, “O LORD, how many are my foes!  Many are rising against me; many are saying of my soul, there is no salvation for him in God.”

His reputation was being mocked, he was being chased, his life was on the line and he felt severe levels of rejection.  He expressed it freely to God, in a healthy dosage of desperation.

Release the Sting on Paper, Not on a Person

David’s situation was enough to make any marriage fall apart, friendships deteriorate and arguments to spring forth with children.  He had a lot to manage and his heart was full of disappointment.  

I’ve noticed that when I am in that position I am much more vulnerable to making poor choices and decisions I may live to regret.  

When my heart aches because someone gave me harsh criticisms like, “You’re not doing this right.”  “I don’t like what you are doing here, the way you minister, how you carry yourself.”  Or, “You need to do this…”  The sting of those words can pierce my tender heart.

I have also learned that if I don’t deal with the sting, try to keep it moving and forget about it, it will come up later because it is still buried deep without.  This can come out in many ways, but we don’t have time to address that in this article.

Journaling is a way to deal with the sting.  This is so helpful for anger management.  

It has helped me to release the sting on paper instead of on a loved one.

Then I can process the pain.  Many times when we feel pain the only words we have to express it are “I feel angry” or “I feel hurt”…”I can’t believe she had the nerve to say that,” “I don’t really feel anything.  I could care less.  They can’t bother me.”

But if we are going to heal, plus have healthy relationships, we need a more expansive vocabulary to communicate in a way that others can receive.

This is called Finding Your Voice and I will help you do that in our next article.

This is really all about self awareness.  Self Awareness is about being in tune with your feelings so that you can express those feelings appropriately to others including challenging upwards, sharing your preferences with peers and lovingly talking to those in your care.

Here are a list of emotions you can bring with you as you do healing journaling:

emotions_Plutchik-wheel

emotions2Using this list of emotions can be very helpful to articulate and even discover for yourself how you really feel about a comment, an action or a behavior of another.  It can also help you sort through how you feel about God in a situation or what you are in need of emotionally.

Not having a voice for your feelings oftentimes leads to one emotion: Anger.  That can then become passive aggressive (shut down) or aggressive (blow up).   Neither are healthy.

When We Hear God’s Voice

After the release in journaling you will being to see the light.  This is where it all makes sense.  God begins to speak to you.  Write down what you hear from Him.

If you need help in hearing His voice asking questions may be a great starting point:

Ask the Question- God is there anything you want me to know?  

  • How is God using this situation to heal me?
  • How is God using this situation to bring something to my attention?
  • How is God using this situation to help me grow?

Journal your thoughts and search the Bible for truth.  

Through this writing process you will find yourself seeing from a perspective beyond your own thoughts.  Maybe you write the psalmist key word, “But”…that is a sign of Transition.

“But God will use this to help others.”  “But I can handle this and that’s why I’ve been chosen for this challenge.”  “But I know these thoughts aren’t true.”  “But I am forgiven.”

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In transition you may feel small but are able to realize you are really at the top of the world, while seeming insignificant.

When you have all your thoughts on paper you can in a way see yourself as if you are looking from the outside in.  You can then medicate your pains with the Word of God.  Some phrases may have been initially expressed in your journaling session that you want to revisit:

“I feel like a failure.  I’m such a loser.  I always mess up.  I’m never going to get this right.”

These are trigger phrases to a negative thought pattern, they are signs towards why you may feel sad, depressed or angry.

This is empowering you to get the knowledge and understanding needed to identify the faulty thought processes you are encountering regularly.  You can now see the enemy’s lists and course correct these ideas with truth.

God’s Word is the truth we need:

For example if you wrote the thought, “I feel so ashamed.”

The Course Correction is Isaiah 61:7 For my shame I will have double and for confusion I will rejoice or 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Finally, like David, you are able to get your Confidence back in the midst of a Really hard, seemingly impossible situation.

And that is the Healing Journaling process.

My Prayer for you: Father, I thank you for every one who reads about this tool you are giving us as Your beloved children.  I pray that you will speak to our hearts through your Scriptures when we are in need of Your help.  Please give us the boldness to face ourselves, to grace to let go our our shame and the confidence to move forward with strength.  Remind us that your mercies are new every morning and You are a very present help in the time of need.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

My Challenge: I want to challenge you to do at least one healing journaling session this week.  Start with prayer and then use the 4 C’s based on the Lament Psalm.  Focus on Psalm 3 as an example:

  • The Complaint- Write down how you feel (Psalm 3:1-2)
  • The Conjunction- Write down your “but” statement (Psalm 3:3)
  • The Clarity- Write down your newfound Biblical clarity (Psalm 3:3-4)
  • The Confidence- Write down the confidence that you now have out of that clarity (Psalm 3:5-8)

I hope you have found this helpful and can use it frequently as another way to do the needed work of inner healing.

If you have any other ideas or questions that center around this concept of healing through writing I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.  They are Always Welcome!

Be Inspired.  Be Encouraged.  But Most Importantly…Be Transformed!

In His Love,

Jade Lee

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The Shops Buckhead Atlanta

This is what weekend’s are made of, opportunities to rest, relax, go shopping and enjoy luxurious scenery!  And that’s what you will find at one of my favorite shopping locations in Atlanta’s fine choices-  The Shops Buckhead Atlanta have some of the best designer clothiers plus sweet tea and coffee stops.  Here’s a few pics from my latest excursion:imageimageimageimageimageimage

 

Where to buy:

A similar-

White Peplum Dress- White House Black House- $69.99, Monroe & Main– $89.99-$99.99

Gold Open Toe Shoes- David’s Bridal– $39.95, Vince Camuto- $149.95, Kate Spade- $298.00

Classic Brown Tote Bag- Tory Burch- $525.00, Michael Kors- $202.91, BCBG- $57.99

Gold Aviator Sunglasses- RayBan- $150.00, Foster Grant- $20.00

Necklace- J. Crew- $30.00, INC Concepts- $39.95

Umbrella- Bloomingdales Little Brown Umbrella- $32.00

Like-a-Lady Tip: Always Purchase quality over quantity.  This means spend more money on real materials such as leather over polyester to invest in bags and shoes that will last for many years.  You will save money rather than repurchasing classics repeatedly.  Toddles!  

 

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The Importance of Friendships in Every Season of Life

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Life is full of seasons and each new season is like a new adventure of unchartered territory that brings with it exciting challenges and opportunities to grow and discover new things about yourself and others.

In any new season it can be a great time of transition, we may be in a new job, new location, or starting a new relationship. Transitions can often be a time of high stress for so many of us because they involve so much that is unfamiliar to us.

I hope to bring encouragement to every single person reading this article that it is possible to navigate new seasons, but only with others by your side.

At a young age I’ve experienced a handful of new seasons, all unique and precious that each taught me something new, yet one thing that remained consistent was my need for a community that was there to support me and provide much needed friendship and fellowship.

The best way I found to make new friends in new seasons or maintain friendships I had already cultivated was to realize the season I was in and to communicate realistic expectations to my friends. Below are seven common seasons many will experience throughout their life, however each person has their unique journey and may not experience every one of these seasons or in this order.

7 Common Seasons of Life:

1. Single and Dependent on Parents and Family (living at home)
2. Single and Partially Dependent on Parents and Family (living away from home, possibly in college)
3. Single and Financially Independent on Parents (living away from home, some call this stage “adulting” or “real life”)

4. Courtship (Pursuing a long term relationship unto marriage)

5. Marriage
6. New Parents
7. Seasoned family

God is so gracious that He offers us wisdom for every season and in fact He’s the one that brings us into new seasons. Daniel tells us, “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding” (Daniel 2:21).

Our Heavenly Father is the one who is completely sovereign over our lives. He’s the one who “changes the times” of our lives and who can “give wisdom” to us in every season!

Adjusting to new seasons can be difficult, I remember feeling at one point that a new season would begin right when I was getting comfortable with the previous one. Leaning on God and reaching out for help or companionship when I needed it was my saving grace.

From the seasons listed above, here is some practical advice to help in adjusting:

1. Single and Dependent on Parents and Family (living at home)
 There is not as much adjusting in this season since it is the first many of us experience, the best advice I have found is to simply enjoy this season and soak it up, building a strong relationship with each of your family members especially your parents. No matter how old we get we never outgrow our need for our parents.

2. Single and Partially Dependent on Parents and Family (living away from home, possibly in college)
 For so many, college represents the first of many huge transitions in a person’s life. It can be uncomfortable for some of us, but a great way to adjust in this season is to introduce yourself to new people, and try new things. Go to events and games and fully engage your college experience.

3. Single and Financially Independent from Parents (living away from home, some call this stage “adulting” or “real life”)
 Creating a support network of friends, family, and older mentors is invaluable in this season. What helped me the most in this season was realizing how much help I needed and reaching out for it and asking for advice from parents and mentors in my life.

4. Courtship (Pursuing a long term relationship unto marriage)
 Courtship or any relationship with marriage as the end goal is such a great time to build the foundation of friendship with your future spouse and best friend for life. Guidance from older mentors and parents is also great to help adjust and prepare for the next season of engagement and marriage.

5. Marriage
 A great way to adjust in this season is to find other young couples to grow with and older couples to glean from. Read more on making and maintaining friendships in this season in the JLO article, “Why You’ll Always Need Girlfriends, even After the Wedding Day”.

6. New Parents
 This is the stage I find myself in now as the mommy to Elijah, our beautiful one and a half year old son. Being a mom has been one of the most fulfilling and also challenging experiences for me, one that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

More than ever it’s caused me to lean on the support of other older mothers in my life for wisdom and encouragement. I remember when I first came from the hospital, friends came over just to hold Elijah as I took a nap, or to see if I needed assistance on any miscellaneous household chores. It has only been a little over a year but the best way I’ve found to adjust in this season is to reach out to friends and family for support.

7. Seasoned Family
 This is a season I’ve never experienced myself, but have learned from others who have, that a good way to adjust is to keep God at the center of your family and relationships, and to stay connected with others.

I hope this article as helped bring more guidance on adjusting to every season in life and the importance of community and friendships in each season!

What season are you in now and what have you learned about connecting with friends and loved ones? We value your insight and experiences!

friends

Why You’ll Always Need Girlfriends, even After the Wedding Day

By: Paige Smith

Is it really possible to have single friends after getting married? Some of us may have our doubts, but I’d love to share with you my story which I hope brings encouragement!

When I got married nearly three years ago it was such a joyful, exuberant day. We recited vows promising to love each other unconditionally and to keep this covenant forever.

With marriage came an exciting new adventure to do life with my husband and best friend. It also presented a new opportunity to relate to my single friends in a different way.

When life’s transitions come whether it be moving to a new place or marrying the one you love, maintaining strong friendships with your loved ones can seem daunting.

Questions can run through our minds like, How do we relate now? How do we include each other in our increasingly busy schedules? Are there topics that are off limits for discussion now? How do we balance time with our spouses and also make needed time with our friends we had even before marriage?

If you’ve ever wondered these questions as I have, I encourage you to continue reading as we explore how to relate to friends once married. With marriage brings a new season and new way to relate to friends. The good news is marriage can actually create a deeper bond between friends and create growth and maturity in the friendship!

There is nothing quite like a deep friendship. The laughs, the inside jokes, the shared experiences you both cherish.

I’m so fortunate that so many of my close friends since before and during college are still my closest friends today after marriage and starting life as a new mom.

Now our lives may look very different, but our love for one another remains the same!

A few things I’ve seen help grow and maintain our friendships and want to explore more myself is to:

-Focus on our similarities over our differences.
-Enter into their world whether it is school or work or hobby and share their excitement.
-Make a fun “girls time” for one another just to connect and reconnect even if it’s a simple outing for coffee or potluck dinner once a month.
-Open up about my “world” and share how I’m feeling and what I’m learnings, what’s challenging me and what is inspiring me, including them in my life.
-Pray for one another! As we pray for one another our bond and compassion and grace and honor for each others role in our lives only increases.

These tips have been so nourishing to my friendships and have helped show me that it is possible to have strong healthy relationships with single women even after marriage!

Solomon even reminds us in Proverbs that “iron sharpens iron” and again in Ecclesiastes that “Two are better than one, Because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.” (Proverbs 27:17; Ecclesiastes‬ ‭4:9-10).

Even in marriage we need good friends. Friends that will sharpen us. Friends that will help lift us up when we’re down. Friends that will see the best in us. Friends we can laugh with. Friends we can cry with. Friends that become sisters who then become the adopted daughters to our mothers and later aunties to our children.

Friendships may look different in different seasons but we’ll never outgrow our need for our friends, in singleness, in courtship, in marriage, in motherhood, in our careers, we will always need the loving support of a true friend.

Here’s to having girlfriends for life!

We hope this article has encouraged you that it truly is possible to have deep bonds with your single friends even after major life transitions like marriage. Do you have any tips or questions on connecting with your girlfriends in different seasons? We value your input!

Blessings to you and your friends in every season!

JLO Academy9

Which Books of the Bible for What Life Issues?

Learn how to break down books for each area of your life and to get a holistic view of the entire Bible. 

If you would like a basic teaching on How to Study the Bible you may want to reference the blog I wrote on this topic before reading this article.

Sometimes we go to our prayer times, get out our Bible, journal, a pen and maybe some worship music.  Some of us begin to sit quietly, others pray loudly, others listen for God’s leading.  But so often we do not really know where to begin if we are honest with ourselves!  Which books of the Bible do we use for what?

This is Pt 2 of a Series on How to Study the Bible.

I remember when I first rededicated my life to Jesus, I was so full of the Word actually because I grew up in very strong Bible teaching churches.  I grew up in a “Bible study family.”  We were going to go to church every single Sunday (which I LOVED).  And…we were going to talk about what I personally learned in church.

I remember vividly the trips home from church services as a five year old, my parents in the front seat, they seemed so huge back then, asking me the familiar question, “What did you learn in church today?”

And learn I did, because we paid attention.  I am so thankful my parents had a great expectation of his, they had faith in the fact that we could learn at a young age.  Church was fun, it was exciting, it was where I heard amazing Bible stories. 

And I loved stories.

I was a little writer bubbling over with the desire to read more and more and more.

Those stories have never left me.  Some of them I have now written in an adult perspective for women.  They are the stories that have guided my life values.  These women (and men) of the Bible are my greatest heroes and are intertwined in the fabric of my identity.

They are threaded in my life foundation.  They lead the way I think, the way I see the world (Christian worldview), the way I relate to my peers and leaders.  And they can never be taken from me.

I am blessed.

As a member of the Millennial Generation (1981-2000) I am one of only 4% of young adults my age who actually attend church.  And that is directly attributed to my Personal Understanding of the Biblical Truths I was taught.

That question, “What did you learn in church today?” made my faith, My Faith, not my parents faith- at a young age.  And My Faith was personal.  My Faith was meaningful.  My Faith was truth.  My Faith was understood when I gave my tiny heart to Jesus at four years of age.

It was real when I prayed a prayer asking Jesus to show me where my little lost glasses were as an elementary child.  And He did.

Of course, the expression of my faith has evolved over the years to more “mature” conveyances, but the foundation is and always will be a deep, rich Biblical legacy.

How Do You Study the Bible?

My profession or calling is to help other Millennials, some who were raised on this same foundation, but many who did not have a Biblical church upbringing to grow in their own personal love for Scriptural truth.  In essence, I am called to ask over and over again the resounding question, “What did you learn in church today?”  This question can be translated, “What did you learn from the Bible today?”

And it is my joy to see them answer that personal question on each one of their unique experiences.

Like my parents, my eyes light up as I express another viewpoint of the same text and watch them grow!

As this is occurring I wholeheartedly believe in the tools I received and want to share them with you.  They are tested and proven tools you will grow to love.

The Bible Bookshelf

Bible Bookshelf

The Bible Bookshelf is a symbolic bookshelf dividing the Bible into sections by type.  As you can see to the left, there are the following types of books: Law, History, Wisdom, Major Prophets, Minor Prophets, Gospels, History, Letters of Paul to Churches, Letters of Paul to Individuals, General Letters and Apocalyptic books.

In your personal Bible study, this shelf will help you have a greater understanding of how the Bible made up as a whole.  Then you will be better prepared to know which books to reference on an experiential level (when you are encountering different life experiences). 

It is also important to understand that the Bible is not written in a chronological order.  Therefore, some Bible book authors were living many years apart but their messages are found many books later in the Bible. 

For example, 1 Samuel 20 and Psalm 59 were written in the same year, 1013 BC.  But the book Psalms is 10 books apart from the book 1 Samuel.  Also, different Psalms were written in different time periods.  Psalm 60 was written 15 years after Psalm 59.  And Psalm 63 was written 41 years after Psalm 59.

Fortunately, we do not have to guess when the books of the Bible were written.  There are free resources where we can get a timeline of the entire Bible.

Bible Timeline2

The Bible Timeline will help you see visually how the entire Bible is laid out in real time or the chronological order of the Books of the Bible. The Old Testament points towards Christ. The New Testament looks back to Christ. And Biblical Prophesy tells us what is going to occur.

Now that we understand how to study the Bible and how the Bible is chronologically setup, we can begin to dig into the types or genres of the books of the Bible.

I personally love genres because of my English major background so please bear with me as the nerd in me comes out!

The Bible is made up of 66 separate books (with different authors) over the time span of 1500 years.  These books create a library having varying subtopics.  These genres are:

The Law Books- The Law Books, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy reveal more about the God created legal system for the Jewish people of the Old Testament.  They help us learn more about this people’s government by answering questions like:

  • “What were the moral laws” or the “matters of behavior” during Biblical times?  See Exodus 20
  • What were the social and state laws? See Leviticus 25:13
  • What were the domestic laws and matters of hygiene?  See Leviticus 12
  • What were the religious laws?  See Leviticus 1-7
  • What were the laws on worship and sacrifice?  See Leviticus 1-7
  • What were the blessings and curses?  See Deuteronomy 28 (Ferdman’s Handbook of the Bible, 59)

It is important to remember that these were the Laws God gave to Moses on how He wanted His Chosen people (the Jews) to live their daily lives.  If you want to know the details of the Jew’s lifestyle the Law books will help bring you contextual understanding.

The History Books- The History Books, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther reveal more about what actually happened in the storyline of God’s people, the Jews. 

Webster’s defines history as “a chronological record of significant events (as affecting a nation or institution) often including an explanation of their causes.”  That’s exactly what the history books do- they tell the history of a nation, the Israelites.  They include explanations of their causes.

As we read the Bible, we must remember that these are true stories of people who lived on the same planet Earth as we live on, these are not fictional figures made for our entertainment.

The History Books help us learn more about what actually occurred by answering questions like:

  • What was the historical background to the passage?  See Ezra 1:1
  • What actually happened?  Who were the people involved?  See Luke 2:1-2; 3:1-2
  • Where did it happen?  See Nehemiah 1
  • Often material was selected to make a point: is there one stated or implied?  Judges 6:1, 7, 8 (Ferdman’s Handbook of the Bible, 59)

The Wisdom or Poetry Books– The Wisdom or Poetry Books bring the drama of the Bible to life, imagine various characters in a play or novel.  It is interesting how these different genres of the Bible relate to different types of people with various interests or personalities.  Creative tend to feel a profound connection to the poetry books of the Bible.

Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon reveal the characters, giving us a microscopic visual of their deepest emotions and thoughts.  When we read them we can ask the questions:

  • Is it a drama with characters, as in a play?  See Job
  • Or poetry, expressing one person’s feelings which we can share?  See Psalm 42, 29, 68
  • Is it highly symbolical?  Is the language from the worship or history of Israel?  If so, what is referred to?  See Psalms 77, 78, 79
  • Is there a historical setting which will help us understand the poem?  Or was it writtenf or use in Israel’s worship?  See Judges 4-5
  • Is there repetition or contrast for poetic effect?  See Proverbs 10:11 (Ferdman’s Handbook of the Bible, 59)

The Prophetic Books- There are Major and Minor prophetic books, considered so because of the length not the importance of the books.  The Major Prophetic Books are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel.  The Minor Prophetic Books are Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi.

These books were written by the Old Testament prophets.  Some consider Revelation one of these books as well, but Revelation can also be in it’s own category as an Apocalyptic (End Times) book.

They reveal prophecy (God’s direct word for the nation(s), people and speaking into particular situations).

These books also include Messianic prophecy, predicting specific attributes of the Messiah, what He would accomplish, down to how he would physically look (See Isaiah 53).  It is incredible how specific and accurate these prophecies were.  When we read them we can ask the questions:

  • What was the historical background?  See Daniel 1:1
  • Is it written in poetic form?  See Isaiah 36:22-29
  • Is the language highly symbolical?  If so, what is the imagery taken from?  See Daniel 7
  • What was the original purpose of the prophecy in its time?  What is the universal principle involved?  See Isaiah 30:1-5
  • Are there specific claims to its fulfillment in the New Testament?  See Isaiah 53; Acts 8 (Ferdman’s Handbook of the Bible, 59)

Next week we will explore the New Testament section of the Bible bookshelf.  This review should help you begin to understand the Bible on a broader level so you can take it to a deeper level.

Resources used in this article:

Each section of questions was taken from Ferdman’s Handbook of the Bible, pg. 58

Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary Tenth Edition

For Part 1 of this series go here: http://jadelee.org/spiritual/how-to-study-the-bible/

Do you have any questions or tips on how to Study the Bible?  Please use the Comments Section to add your valued input!

 

 

 

praying

In Light of Recent Shootings How do we Heal?

My Condolences to the Loved Ones of our Recent Losses

This article is written in light of recent shootings including the deaths of Philando Castile, Alton B. Sterling, and of deeply cared for Dallas police officers, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Smith, Michael Krol, Patrick Zamarripa, and Brent Thompson- who have been assigned to serve local American communities.  All of these men were a group of fathers, husbands and sons to caring family members. 

I send my heartfelt affections, words of comfort and mourning for these unacceptable deaths.

It is important that we take the time to grieve these losses and seek to understand those in pain from every angle.  While doing so, it is also vital that we ask the strenuous questions needed to gain thorough healing to the racial wounding we are now experiencing.

Whether one believes these deaths are due to racism or simply another police altercation, it is important to understand why some African Americans may feel deep pain centered around subliminal systematic prejudices.  If you have an interest in gaining a glimpse into this perspective then continue to read this article…

The Root of Racial Tensions

We are clearly in a moment of racial tension in our nation, but this is not a new tension.  Many are calling it a new sort of racial “Civil War” but it does not have to be so.  We are dealing with a buried cancerous seeping wound that we, many times, have chosen not to address because of discomfort.  It is a hidden, covert vice that we have been bound to for hundreds of years.

This vice is being unveiled by the gracious hand of God.  We are now seeing what was always there.  And this is a step towards needed surgery, healing that can only come from the Greatest Surgeon’s hand, tenderly taking our wounded hearts, our stiffened minds and our confused souls into His alleviating, supple, lucid way. 

“This is the way” He whispers to our longing ears, “walk in it.”

This is a test. 

An open book test.

A test we have taken many times.

A test we have done well in and a test we have failed.

Are there underlining factors that we are avoiding facing?

All the more, it is a test we cannot pass until we are willing to study our past.  And oh, what a past we must examine.  The reality is that it is a shameful, difficult, painful, emotional past.

It is a past we would much rather cover up, hide away, and pretend like never happened.

But when we ignore it, this past of ours, the American people, we find ourselves in a worsened state.

The fact of the matter is the soul of America is now 240 years old and was established with some moral wrongs intertwined, in the deep rooted foundation of our nation.  In 1619, we hosted a crew of Middle Passage slaves from the coast of Africa to the beloved colony, Jamestown, Virginia.  This was 157 years before we established our separate identity and independence from Britain.

Democracy was established, it was birthed for all except the African slaves.  They did not choose this New World and it was not a prosperous, sought after experience for the bound and shackled.  It was more like a nightmare come to life, all was suddenly taken, they were forced into quarters with people so strange some thought they were living in the Underworld.

In the year 1776, July 4th of 1776 to be exact, we experienced the birthing of this nation.  A few days past (in 2016) we celebrated this heroic day and rightfully so, but have we forgotten the plight of these people?  It is hard.  The stories are gut-wrenching.  The truth is too difficult to face but the consequences of ignoring this bygone era has proven to be fatal.

We must understand that our olden days deeply affect us, they explain how we arrived to where we are and it is a beautiful story even with all it’s many ascensions and descensions.

The truth is too difficult to face by the consequences of ignoring this bygone era has proven to be fatal.

In many ways, we are all products of Mother America.  America’s 240 year old soul has experienced a great deal of trauma.  That trauma is affecting our ability to “get along” today but our lack of education around why these emotions are so strong, why we are facing such a “misunderstanding” is causing a great deal of suffering.

This must be rectified.

The Danger of Blaming the Victimized

Many would say that blacks have to take responsibility for their own actions, it’s been hundreds of years and they cannot pull the “race card” or bring up slavery in 2016.

Even blacks may feel they have to separate themselves from this painful past and move on in reconciliation.

But if we do this too quickly, as we have done in the past, we will never deal with the issue at hand.  We will skim over it from both angles in an attempt to move on…

For many years, blacks have been expected to cross the line between forgiveness and self-hatred.  Forgiveness is good.  It is Biblical.  It is necesssary.  It is Christian.  And it should never be done away with; yet we are provided with a boundary line.

We have to understand when our forgiveness, especially with a past of systematic victimization has become painfully abusive to the oppressed party involved.

For us, this is not a matter of forgiveness.  This is a matter of not allowing our good to be spoken of as evil.  We should not allow our good to be slandered.

Understanding The Historical Factor

We have to understand that when an entire people group has experienced dehumanization, when ex-slaves such as Sojourner Truth or Harriet Jacobs saw their masters as gods because they could not mentally process such abuse with a Sovereign God’s leadership of earthly matters…we do not need to place the blame on this people.

We are in need of healing.  And this healing must occur from the place of empathy.  We are in need of renewed confidence.  We are in need of seeing ourselves as worth being treated in all aspects of life (emotional, spiritual, physical, civil) on the same playing ground.

Because we are human.  We are your brothers and we are your sisters.

There are subliminal ways that we have yet to receive the basic rights given to someone of other privilege.  And the color of one’s skin, rather than the content of their character, should never be the determining factor regarding how they are treated.

Responding to the Crisis in Love

There is a way to respond in humility, in love, in graciousness, and in the Spirit…removing the fleshly responses or violent ways we may have seen in others recently.  There is a way to respond in gentle love yet resolved dedication to our rights.

And that is what we will do as the people of the United States of America. 

We will take the time to understand the plight of our brothers.  We will humbly repent without sympathy (feeling sorry for someone else’s trouble, grief or misfortune).  Because sympathy is not true love.  It is why many times we feel like others are belittling us, looking down on us poor African or African American peoples due to our lesser lot in life. 

Rather, we are going to look to one another on level playing ground asking the hard questions, “What would it be like if my forefathers had to fight to be married?  Fight to be considered a human?  Fight to have basic rights such as voting, protecting their wives and children from sexual exploitation and walking into the same building as another?  What would it be like if generations of people, my people, my forefathers had to rise above all of that mistreatment?  What would it be like if I had to live in a world where my skin color alone caused others to talk down to me or treat me as if I “may be” a criminal?  What would it be like if every time I tried to pastor or move into a neighborhood where I was the minority people whispered concerns or gave me strange looks all because I am different?  What would that world be like?”

We as the American people need to ask these questions because if we don’t we will continue to see this cancerous disease begin to touch our own homes in some way, shape or form.  We cannot continue to turn a deaf ear or blind eye.  And yes, we must forgive.  We must be non violent.  We must be meek.

While finally talking about the eruptive 397 year old wound beneath the surface of our everyday lives.

So we the American people must rise to the decorum of the occasion with a heart of empathy (the feeling that you understand and share in another person’s experiences or emotions) if we want this disruption to finally be healed.

Written in Genuine Peace, Concern, and Prayer for all the lives of those we have lost at a time in history we so longed to celebrate the Foundation of Democracy and Freedom.  Instead we were faced with an unwelcomed death toll.  May our redemptive history be the story of our future.

Sincerely,

Jade Lee

Writer, Speaker and Indebted Descendant of our Beloved Harriet Tubman

9 July 2016