Words on her wall

Jan 07

Words on her wall

Last night, just as I was ready to to go bed, a message from a stranger-friend popped into my inbox.  I opened it and read an endearing message from a long-time blog-reading stranger who was diagnosed with cancer in 2015 and underwent many of the same procedures and treatments last year that I did in years prior.  Before, during, and now, she’s continued to read my blog.  In her email she told me about herself and how she feels we are connected.

When I read her words I realized that we are connected although we’ve never met: we both live in God’s kingdom and there’s this whole other realm that we experience together.

Here’s where I was bamboozled: as she went through her own challenges last year, her mom sent her notes and quotes weekly as a means of encouragement.  Among the notes and quotes were words from my writing.  (The images below are quotes pulled from my blog.)  She chose encouraging quotes from a variety of sources, but it brought me to tears that I was one of her sources and she put such value on what little old me had to say.  My new stranger friend even snapped pictures of the quotes that her mom chose from my blog, designed, and printed for her, to show me.


Do you know what a gift this was for me to see last night?  I am so humbled to have touched someone in this way.  Knowing that God has used me to make a difference — no, a positive difference — in the life of a stranger is a remarkable swell for my heart on a day that it took a hit.  I like this girl who wrote to me last night.  I want to be her real-life friend, but I’ll settle for our spiritual intimacy.

That’s what’s weird about this blogging thing: it’s so one-sided.  I don’t really get to “know” very many of you in the way you know me.

Words have always been powerful for me:

As an athlete my coach had us lead the team by choosing empowering quotes to motivate ourselves.

As a graduating teacher-to-be my portfolio sections were divided and each had a themed quote of inspiration.

I’ve always had note cards and hand-written quotes and verses tucked all around me.

I’m a storyteller and words are my tools.

I have an ongoing project in my mind.  For months, I have had a vision for re-decorating Maren and Greta’s bedrooms and their bathroom.  I want them to be surrounded by words of love and encouragement because it has been something that has brought great consistency and peace to my life and faith.  I’ve been stockpiling frames and their sweet little-kid art and quotes to hang one the walls for months.  Part of the reason I’ve stalled is because I want to be so very thoughtful in choosing just the right words to hang.  It never occurred to me that some of the words could be mine.  My new friend has given me inspiration.  As with most of my projects (sigh), it’s in a pile.  Rather, piles.  I’ve been telling myself: I’ll get there.  I’ll paint the rooms, I’ll rearrange the furniture, I’ll make it the space that suits them.  We’ve lived here for more than five years; their personalities are big and strong and beautiful.  They have stories to tell.  I’m a story and everything that I love has a story; I like a room that tells a story too.

Seeing my new friend’s quotes (art?) has given renewed hope in my purpose.  I am doing today well.  Even when there are bumps in my world and my rose-colored glasses need to be really thick, the goodness is there.  I fight so hard for the beauty, the joy, the life, the vitality.  It is rejuvenating to my soul to imagine the spiritual realm where swords clash, angels soar, prayers reverberate, and God reigns.

I love that I stand in the gap of the two worlds.  My armor is on; I am a warrior, but my battle is already won.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.  –Ephesians 6:10-18


  1. Christy /

    Jen, so happy to hear about your connection with your new stranger-friend, your spiritual sister. I am certainly not surprised that your words are on her wall, and I think adding them to Maren & Greta’s rooms is a wonderful idea! You are a warrior indeed – the strong, grace-filled kind. HIS spirit is alive in you, my friend. Hugs and blessings…

  2. Patty /

    I think your words inspire so many people you never have met as well as those of us who know you. I think using YOUR words are the perfect way to surround Maren and Greta with positivity. Just do it! ?

  3. Lisa Smith /

    So lovely Jen. xo

  4. Elizabeth /

    I want to echo what Patty commented above. I don’t think you have any idea just how many people’s lives you have influenced through your words. You can count me among them – I can honestly say that your writing and your story have had more of an impact on my approach to life than any other person or book …and I hope to pass on the things I’ve absorbed from you to my daughter as she grows. Thank you!

  5. peggy /

    I feel the same as the ladies who have already commented. You have had a tremendous impact on so many…friends, stranger friends, and even those who want to remain mystery friends. I feel very strongly that it’s our duty to always share our feelings and experiences because there are so many others who might need to hear exactly what we have to say to help them through their day. You are constantly doing that. Your daughters will love that you intersperse their art work with your quotes. What a fantastic idea! ♥p

  6. Sharon /

    Jen, we have only met twice (I am your mom’s neighbor), but your blogs have helped me. My sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, and genetics testing revealed is it brca2 – the 8525DelC mutation to be exact. My brother also tested positive – I tested negative. I was able to help her physically after her mastectomy, but, your blog has helped me be strong and gain strength and wisedom to help her mentally. You help many people in ways you probably can’t fathom. God Bless you. Sharon

  7. Mommaj /

    What an encouraging word to awake to?. In proverbs 15:23 it says, A man has joy in an apt answer, but And how Delightful is a timely word!! It doesn’t surprise me that your inspired words have touched many… I know that they’ve encouraged me in many ways at special times. Such a Perfect way to be a Spiritual Model for your girls. I think you HAVE a plan. Like a stone tossed in the lake, and the ripples are wide and stretch a long way.. Love you Jen!!

  8. Karin /

    ” It is rejuvenating to my soul to imagine the spiritual realm where swords clash, angels soar, prayers reverberate, and God reigns.” I love this picture. I have been asking Jesus over and over to show me how to live in the physical now with spiritual eyes and awareness. He is sovereign in this physical world and I want eyes to see, ears to hear… help my unbelief Lord. I love to think about equipping those angels by our prayers to war on your behalf, for Brad and for your girls. He is Lord over all…a Truth that sometimes I cling to, sometimes I stand tall on… May today be a stand tall and strong day for you…. Love you

  9. Newbie friend /

    You inspire me every time I read your blog, tell somebody about you or even just when I am lifting you up in prayer!

  10. I love this. And YES! Your words are perfect art for your girls’ rooms. This is such a great, personal project idea.

  11. Jen, you have written so positively about qualities of the heart that each of your daughters have, and about things you wish for them — and I agree, they would be PERFECT for their walls. And there are probably no better words for their bathroom, where they prepare for each new day, to be reminded to “Do Today Well.”
    I think your project came into focus for you last night.

  12. Alicia /

    If you pick out the paint colors, we can have a painting party while we are there next weekend! Brian is REALLY good at painting!

  13. Marion /

    Girl – you make a positive difference in so many ways that you don’t even know! Keep on doing exactly what you are doing – you are helping so many people try to live life better (me included).

  14. Anita /

    My first time responding, Jen, but I have been a reader for years. I have referred several friends to your blog, especially those whose family is going through similiar hardships. You describe your life in blessed events day by day, and though my blessings are much different you have consistently reminded me of them none the less. You are an inspiration to all of us. I’ll continue to carry you on my prayer list and in my heart. Thank you so much for sharing yourself!