Bethel Grace Abbey Mission

This is the online outreach for Bethel Grace Abbey Mission. May our efforts to serve the hurting and homeless souls of Southern California reach to the level He has set for us. May His Glory shine through the darkness and be evident in all we do at Bethel Grace Abbey. These are only our humble beginnings, but through His love, we can move mountains. Thank you for joining us on our mission. May your life be as blessed as mine has become.
In His Loving Grace,
Jennifer Joy

Saturday, November 30, 2013

DAY SIX: The Impact of Abuse on Financial Stability

16_days_logo_englishWow. We are trucking right along. It is day six already, of the 16 Days Campaign. My topic for today is how domestic abuse can damage a woman’s entire outlook on life, and especially her financial outlook.

Whether a woman is born into poverty or not, the abuse she suffers will work to put her into the mindset of not being worthy of anything better than what she already has. This stems from being told she is worthless and that nobody else would ever want her. These abusive affronts to her very soul, (defaming her abilities and her outer and inner beauty and her intelligence) will ensure that she stays poor or becomes poor.

Then it becomes a vicious cycle a woman and her family have to fight tooth and nail to become free from.

I worked many years in physically demanding jobs because I did not believe I could ever get a sit-down job or even something above minimum wage. I believed that I had to prove myself, and physical prowess was easy for me to portray, even though I suffered horrific pain every day, in part because of my choice to work these physically demanding jobs, and in part because I chose to believe the lies of others instead of the Holy Spirit whispering in my ear that I was worthy and beautiful and that Jesus wanted me, even if my fellow humans did not.

I have since been healed of this mindset (thank You, Lord), but I am still not out of poverty. The financial impact of abuse can last a lifetime.

My husband and I barely scrape by every month, and I take at least part blame in this because I never thought myself capable of accomplishing anything important in my life, even though I had received high honors all through school and again in my three years of college.

In the back of my mind I have always known that God had gifted me with an intelligent mind and the ability to write, but I never believed that anyone would want what I had to offer. It was only by the grace of God that I can now write this blog and reach out my hand to help others who are suffering needlessly at the hands of others.

My prayer for you today is that you might realize your God-given worth, talents, and beauty.

In His Grace,

Jennifer Joy

Friday, November 29, 2013

DAY FIVE: The Impact of Abuse on the Community

16_days_logo_englishToday, being day five of The 16 Days Campaign to end domestic abuse and violence against women, I would like to share how domestic violence is not just a problem within a family, but within the entire community—every community.

Intimate partner violence, also known as domestic abuse, is a major public health problem, but more than that, when a child or young woman first experiences abuse or violence, it closes her off from the vital support she needs and opens her up to even more abuse and physical and mental health problems. It becomes a vicious cycle, and we must break this cycle for ourselves, for our daughters, for the sake of all.

Many who experience domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and violence at the hands of the ones they love also experience physical injury, depression, anxiety and panic attacks, sexually transmitted diseases, complications during pregnancy, and many other health consequences related to the added stress, such as irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders, chronic pain and headaches, difficulty sleeping, substance abuse, post traumatic stress disorder, and suicide attempts.

It is a very complicated personal and societal problem, but it is also a problem that we must face head-on, if we ever expect to eradicate it from our families, our community, and from the world as a whole.

Intimate partner violence takes a heavy toll, not only on the victim, but on the family and all of society.

Being fearful of a loved one and being constantly concerned for one’s safety and the safety of one’s children is a tragic way to live. Yet one of the tactics an abuser uses is to cut his victim off from outside help.

There are many societal effects of domestic violence.

A woman who has been abused in the past, will oftentimes find herself in another violent or abusive relationship. Her self-esteem will have suffered and because of this, she will not be the fully productive member of society that God intended for her. For each person is special and each person has a specific purpose in the eyes of God. When we allow ourselves or another woman to continue in a life of abuse, we are not lifting high our/her God-given rights and gifts. If children live in abusive situations or unsafe situations, we teach them that this lifestyle is acceptable and that there is no other way. But when we love and nurture a child, we can bring them out of this mindset.

In abuse situations, the proper family values are not being passed along, but instead a grotesquely twisted version of respect evolves, where children believe they must protect their parents at all costs, if they want their tenuously small measure of safety to remain intact.

We can heal a society of this problem.

Unfortunately an attitude of “Not my job” has infiltrated our world. Individuals believe the responsibility is up to the government or social programs, and the government balks and the social programs scream because they are wearing thin.

But then there are the individuals who scream that the government should stay out of the family. Yet these same folk, are they willing to step up and help a woman or child or even a man out of the muck of domestic violence and into the light of a better life?

I will leave that question asked and unanswered because I am getting fairly close to judging, and I do not want to go there.

We must put our action where our mouth is. That is the bottom line with any problem we face in this world.

We must put our action where our mouth is.

It does no good to simply say its a shame that violence and abuse are prevalent in our world. It only does good if we act responsibly on our words. We must do all we can, if we expect this problem to be resolved.

My prayer for you today is for you to ask yourself in your heart, “If not now, when?”

In His Name,

Jennifer Joy

Thursday, November 28, 2013

DAY FOUR: Thankful Even In Times of Pain

16_days_logo_englishToday is day four of The 16 Days Campaign to end domestic abuse and violence against women.

Since today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, I thought I would change tactics a bit, where The 16 Days Campaign is concerned.

Up to this point I have been sharing a lot of pain and statistics, and having so much pain in constant view can dampen the soul. Therefore, I believe it is important to give thanks and count our blessings whenever we can.

Even on my worst days, I try to find something to be thankful for, some small blessing God has placed in my life. It is a matter of a perspective change, an attitude adjustment.

So, here is my short list of blessings and what I have to be thankful for today.

First, I am thankful to have Jesus in my heart, and the Holy Spirit guiding my decisions and actions.

I am thankful that I found a wonderful man, my second husband. He shares his love, compassion, and devotion with me, even when I do not believe I deserve it.

I am blessed greatly that I have my daughter back in my life and that I can see positive things happening in her life and the lives of those around her, simply for having spent time with her.

I am blessed that my son is able to cover all his own bills and that he has a good head on his shoulders and looks toward the future more than the past, all at the tender age of 21.

I am saddened because my son is no longer geographically close to me, since we moved to Southern California from Oregon. But I am blessed that he and I can text often.

I am blessed to have two wonderful dogs, each with her own personality and ability to bolster my mood at a moment’s notice.

I am blessed that even though the bank account is empty, we have enough food in our bellies and in our cupboards. And I am blessed to now have love constantly surrounding me, even in these very difficult times.

I am blessed to have all of you on my side, to help in the fight against domestic violence and the homeless epidemic among our families.

I am thankful that Our Lord chose me, when He laid this heavy mission on my heart, and I am grateful that He then healed me of my past so that I could carry out the mission He has chosen me for.

I am thankful for The Lord’s healing touch in my life.

My prayer for you today is that you could recognize the small blessings that shower down around all of us every day.

In Thanksgiving,

Jennifer Joy

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DAY THREE: Hidden In Plain Sight

16_days_logo_englishToday is day three of The 16 Days Campaign to end domestic abuse and violence against women.

There is not a country, a state, a community, or a family that is not touched by domestic violence in one way or another. It happens in poor families and rich families alike. There is no guarantee that you yourself will not become a victim someday. If you have escaped the abuse and brutality up to this point, then you are blessed among us, for far too many have been victimized already.

We cannot know a person’s history or pain just by looking at them. Even so, the legal system (The Portland Police, specifically, as reported in the Oregonian, December 2, 2009) have come up with some indicators that we can all learn from. They are as follows.

Lethality Indicators (as seen in the perpetrator)

  • Perceived loss of control over the victim through separation, divorce, or the victim fleeing.
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Escalation of abuse
  • Acts of abuse in public
  • Threats of suicide or homicide
  • Plans to carry out either suicide or homicide
  • Use of weapons, or the threat to use weapons
  • Stalking
  • History of mental health problems
  • Substance abuse
  • History of sexual abuse of the victim or children
  • Violation of protective orders or restraining orders

If you are not aware of your own status (whether you are a victim or not), the following lists might help.

Do You:

  • Feel afraid or your partner much of the time?
  • Avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
  • Feel that you cannot do anything right for your partner?
  • Believe that you deserve to be hurt or mistreated?
  • Wonder if you are the one who is crazy?
  • Feel emotionally numb or helpless?

Does Your Partner:

  • Humiliate, criticize, or yell at you?
  • Treat you so badly that you are embarrassed for your friends or family to see?
  • Ignore or put down your opinions or accomplishments?
  • Blame you for his own abusive behavior?
  • See you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?
  • Act excessively jealous and possessive?
  • Control where you go or what you do?
  • Keep you from seeing your friends or family?
  • Limit your access to money, the phone, or the car?
  • Constantly check up on you?
  • Have a bad and unpredictable temper?
  • Hurt you, or threaten to hurt or kill you?
  • Threaten to take your children away or harm them?
  • Threaten to commit suicide if you leave?
  • Force you to have sex?
  • Destroy your belongings?

Perpetrators use the various forms of abuse to gain and maintain total control over their victims. Along with the most obvious (physical violence), dominance, humiliation, isolation, threats, intimidation, and blame are some of the tactics a perpetrator may use.

With the gracious permission of the Domestic Abuse Intervention Program in Deluth, Minnesota (, here are some graphics to show the tactics commonly used by abusers to achieve and maintain control over their partner/victim.   equality


child abuse

My prayer for you today is that, as a bystander, you could recognize abuse when you see it in the life of another.

In His Name,

Jennifer Joy

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

DAY TWO: Statistical Evidence

16_days_logo_englishToday is day two of The 16 Days Campaign.

Today I will simply present you with some facts. These statistics are sobering, and they are also disgraceful. How can we as a family, a community allow this to continue?

These statistics are according to the Domestic Violence Statistics website.

Worldwide, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused during her lifetime. The perpetrators are often members of her own family.

Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women.

Children learn abuse behaviors by witnessing abuse and mistreatment of their mother or another family member every day within their own families. Then they oftentimes either become a perpetrator themselves or a victim because they do not know any other way of life besides what they have lived through.

Men who witness domestic violence while growing up are twice as likely to later perpetrate in their own adult relationships.

Domestic violence victims lose nearly 8 million days of paid work per year in the United States alone.

According to reports, up to 95% of women who have been abused never contact support organizations, shelters, or police for help. (I believe that this number is not exaggerated. I will elaborate my reasoning as the days progress.)


If you are being abused or know someone who is, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233).


The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) is an ongoing, nationally-represented telephone survey that collects detailed information on sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence victimization from adult women and men in the United States. NISVS is the first ongoing survey dedicated solely to describing and monitoring these forms of violence as public health issues. Their survey can be found at here.

I have summarized some of the facts for you, as follows:

More than 1 in 3 women and more than 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Among victims of intimate partner violence, more than 1 in 3 women experienced multiple forms of rape, stalking or physical violence.

Nearly 1 in 10 women in the United States has been raped by an intimate partner, and 16.9% of women and 8.0% of men have experienced sexual violence other than rape by an intimate partner.

About 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

10.7% of women and 2.1% of men have been stalked by an intimate partner.

Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner.

Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives.

More than half of women who have reported being raped say they were raped by an intimate partner, such as a boyfriend, romantic interest, or spouse.

Among men, more than half report being raped by an acquaintance.

It is estimated that 13% of women and 6% of men have experienced sexual coercion.

79.6% of female rape victims experienced their first rape before the age of 25 years.

42.2% of female rape victims experienced their first rape before the age of 18 years.

More than one quarter of male rape victims experienced their first rape before they were 10 years of age.

My prayer for you today is that these statistics will help to open your eyes, your mind, and your heart.

In His Grace,

Jennifer Joy

Monday, November 25, 2013

DAY ONE: Breaking The Silence

16_days_logo_englishToday we enter into the 16 Days Campaign.

The 16 Days Campaign is an international campaign against domestic abuse and violence. This year’s theme is “From Peace in the Home to Peace in the World” and more specifically the worldwide effort of the next 16 days will be activism against gender-based violence and militarism.

It runs from November 25, 2013 to December 10, 2013, and the significance of these two dates are as follows: November 25 is the UN International Day of Elimination of Violence Against Women and December 10 is the International Human Rights Day.

My personal contribution to this effort will focus mostly on domestic abuse and violence against women, as I myself am an abuse and rape survivor. I do recognize that domestic violence is also perpetrated against men and boys, and this fact will be highlighted in some of my writings as well.

To begin, I will provide some basic definitions of abuse. In order to effect change on an individual and societal level, we all must have a clear understanding of what abuse is and how it affects those involved, and we all must do our part to initiate and foster healthy, loving relationships in the lives of those around us.

I gleaned some of this information from the National Institute of Justice, and you can go directly to their site for further information, at

Thank you for taking the time to educate yourself about domestic abuse, or as it is now called, intimate partner violence.

Some Helpful Definitions

Intimate Partner Violence: AKA domestic violence, domestic abuse, spousal abuse. Physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former intimate partner or spouse. It can occur among heterosexual and same-sex couples. It effects all parts of the victim’s life, including health (immediate and long-term), family dynamics and the welfare of any children involved, and community and societal connectedness.

Physical Violence: The intentional use of physical force (shoving, choking, shaking, slapping, punching, burning, or the use of weapons, restraints, or one’s own strength against another person) with the potential for causing death, disability, injury, or physical harm.

Sexual Violence: Sexual abuse is any contact or threat of contact of a sexual nature in which the victim is forced to participate in a sexually related activity that is unwanted, unsafe, or degrading. Sexual abuse can and does happen even in the marriage bed. This includes (1) the use of physical force to compel a person to engage in a sexual act unwillingly, whether or not the act is completed. (2) An attempted or completed sexual act involving a person who, because of intimidation or pressure, is unable to understand the nature or condition of the act, decline participation, or communicate unwillingness to engage in the act. (3) Abusive sexual contact.

Threats of Physical or Sexual Violence: Communication of the intent to cause death, disability, injury, or physical harm through the use of words, gestures, or weapons.

Psychological/Emotional Violence: Traumatization of the victim by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics (humiliation, controlling what the victim can and cannot do, withholding information, isolating the victim from friends and family, denying access to money or other basic resources). In most cases, emotional violence has been preceded by or is simultaneous with acts or threats of physical or sexual violence.

Stalking: Harassing or threatening behavior that an individual engages in repeatedly, such as sending the victim unwanted presents, following or laying in wait for the victim, damaging or threatening to damage the victim’s property, appearing at a victim’s home or place of business, defaming the victim’s character or spreading rumors, or harassing the victim via the Internet by posting personal information.

My prayer for you today and for the next sixteen days is that your mind and your heart will be open to understanding and solving this very serious problem.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Becoming Fearless

DSC09441The other day as I was working in the clubhouse at the RV park, a man carrying one of those newer small computers walked in. He was wandering around the room and clicking on his keyboard at the same time.

When he approached me, I stopped working to give him my full attention. I have learned that when a stranger walks into my life, sits down, and starts talking, they usually have something important to tell me. This was not one of those times, however.

“I bet that mirror behind you is a two-way,” the stranger said.

Starting to get unnerved, I instinctively pulled my blouse closer around my neck. It was not that I was indecently exposed or anything, I just had a creepy feeling wash over me.

The stranger said, upon closer examination, “Well, maybe not.”

DSC09399But the damage was already done. Anxiety and paranoia were taking up residence in my being.

He walked away and then returned, still tapping on his computer. He was looking for the resort’s wireless connection, and he could not find it on his list of available wireless network connections; although, he wasn’t even  sure what it was called. I told him that I do not use the resort’s internet because I have my own wifi hotspot, through my phone.

He walked around some more, then approached again. “Maybe it is one of those you have to pay for,” he said.

“Maybe,” I replied, “but even if you do have to pay, you should still be able to see it on your list.” My anxiety was starting to dissipate.

“Are you Jen?” he asked.

DSC09406That creepy feeling returned in full force. “Yes,” I answered, trying to not let my anxiety show. He was picking up my wifi signal.

After he walked away again, I quickly searched my heart for that scripture verse that has gotten me through so much anxiety and fear in the past. Finally it jumped to my mind, calming me before my “old friend” panic came at me full force. Thanks be to God, yet again, for rescuing me, for there is power in The Word.

Memorizing a few key verses here and there have really helped me overcome so much trouble in my life. Though I may not always remember the location, the verses themselves regularly surface to breathe their truth into my life. I often post these verses, which I am trying to commit to heart, on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror. Then I can read them or at least be reminded of their truths every time I pass by.

“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

Another gem in times of trouble can be found at the end of Psalm 27. Thus the beginning and the end of this Song of King David offer me hope, and these verses bookend a powerfully beautiful message of faith in troubled times.

“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living. Wait for The Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for The Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14

My prayer for you today is that the troubles of this world will not overtake you and that you may find peace in The Word, The Bible.

In His grace,

Jennifer Joy

Saturday, November 23, 2013




Something about a shoe.

This is how The Lord talks to me sometimes. He was telling me that “when I find my shoe, no other shoe would ever drop.”

I know that He speaks in riddles, in parables, and therefore a shoe is not necessarily a shoe.

I also know that having no more shoes drop does not mean I will never have trouble in my life from that point forward. I’m not one of those Christians, the ones who have such a Polly-Anna attitude that they seem to block out all negativity and all painful emotions. Nope. I know bad things will happen. But I also know that, through it all, God is and will forever be by my side.

The significance of another shoe dropping in this hurting person’s life was a sense of constant dread that another overwhelming thing would inevitably befall me, to further destroy my life, my resolve, my well-being. I lived with this constant fear for a long time.

When The Holy Spirit promised, “no other shoe would ever drop,” He was promising that I would be capable of handling anything that came my way because I have Him to depend on. I have learned to trust again, and I have learned to depend on God to get me through things. It is a peace that surpasses understanding.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:7

I will be able to handle anything that comes my way because I have Him to depend on. We are never promised, once we accept Christ as our savior, that we will live a life without strife, quite the contrary; however, we are promised that if we trust Him, we will be able to handle our problems without getting overwhelmed.

IMG_1182[1]I found my shoe that is not a shoe. I immediately recognized her as my shoe, and then the facts just clicked to back up my overwhelming sense that this tiny Pit puppy was my shoe. She was essentially dropped on my daughter’s doorstep. She was no bigger than a shoe, being maybe three weeks old at the time. And her father’s name is Botas, which means boots.

IMG_1178[1]His leading me through this has helped to bolster my confidence. It was another step in becoming the woman He created me to be. I am so very grateful for this vote of confidence from Our Benevolent Father.

“For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Cor 1:5

IMG_1179[1]I named this little Pit pup “Zapato” because it means shoe. And to ease your fears, no, we did not take on yet another dog. My daughter is keeping her, but she is still my heart’s Zapato.


My prayer for you today is that you will come to experience the peace and comfort found in Christ’s loving sacrifice.


Jennifer Joy

Friday, November 22, 2013

The Compassionate Pug

IMG_0859My five-year-old Tinker Belle is one amazing dog. I have always known this, for she has soothed my pain and eased my suffering since she was a pup. Her innate abilities led me to give her special training, so that she could go with me everywhere I go. She has been my service dog for several years now, able to search out my pain and then offer me comfort. She has also been my anxiety and panic dog, able to calm me in some of the worst panic attacks I have ever experienced. Thankfully, The Lord has blessed me, healing me from my panic attacks, and so my Tinker Belle has less “work” to do these days.

IMG_0109Maybe this lack of “work” is what led her to rescue a kitten Tuesday morning. When my husband, Ken, took Tinker on her morning walk, Tinker led him in an area they usually don’t go, between the service buildings at the RV park where we are staying this week. As they were passing a small porch on one of the sheds, Ken heard soft mewing. So he began looking for its source, and as he and Tinker were standing there, out came a very tiny kitten. This little kitten approached Tinker and attempted to suckle, obviously very hungry from being alone all night. Although Tinker wanted nothing to do with being nursed on by a kitten, she patiently led the small kitten back to its mama, with Ken’s help.

IMG_0650I wish he had been able to get pictures. It had to have been an amazing sight to see a Pug leading a tiny kitten to safety.

As this small parade approached where Ken had remembered seeing the mama and kittens before, another kitten came out from under an RV, full of happiness at seeing his missing littermate. And this is how the little lost kitten reunited with the rest of his family who were living under an RV.

Unfortunately, this park is being overrun by feral cats. I have heard more than a few people say they would like to help with catching, spaying and neutering, and finding them all homes, but few people have yet to step up with anything more than setting food out (and the park frowns on this small act of compassion,not wanting to encourage even more cats to call the park home). It is unfortunate that not turning our words into deeds has become so prevalent in this day and age.

My prayer for today is for the animals, these and all feral cats. May some angel walk into their lives and find mercy and compassion in their hearts to find these little blessings each a loving home of their own.

Until then, I will pray for the resources and the funds to do just that.

In His Holy Name,

Jennifer Joy

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Aim Higher

010There was a property I thought would be perfect for our mission. We could have housed eleven families. I was really excited about it, but then I became confused and frustrated when God kept telling me, “No.” Turns out, I was using my human pea-brain too much and not recognizing the God-given potential of our mission.

P4280458It was as if we were artists in our hearts but had never even been given crayons as a child.

I’ve been compiling lists of community resources for the past few days. There’s a lot out there, but there still is never enough to meet the need, as most of the shelters have long waiting lists. As I was checking out the various shelters, soup kitchens, and food pantries online, something sparked in my imagination. Among these were models quite similar to what God has placed in my heart to do, and these models, these shelters are quite sizeable. I must go check them out in person, to harvest the bounty of their seasoned experience, their knowledge and wisdom.

85550019My husband, using his own human pea-brain, said that the property God has told me “no” about was far too small to contain what’s in my heart. It seems I must pay attention more to the wisdom around me, as well as God’s wisdom. I said, “This would be a good starting point,” and He and my husband Ken said, “Aim higher.”

98390020I’m glad they are both on my side.

In the margin, you can now find links to the lists I have  compiled. As I come across more information, I will update the lists.

My prayer for you today is that if you find yourself in great need, someone will help you find the perfect solution, shining brightly, a small nugget of hope.

In His Name,

Jennifer Joy

Gobbling Up the Goodness

IMG_1148Sunday when we went to church, we were asked if we were looking for work, meaning volunteer opportunities. I almost shouted, “Always!” and so we made our way to the Morongo Indian Reservation early Monday morning to help with the Morongo Thanksgiving Outreach and their turkey distribution project. Our church was working through the larger women’s Christian organization, Aglow International.

I have never seen so many turkeys—a record was set with 10,000 turkeys this year, according to Morongo’s website. Pallet after pallet, semi after semi poured into the community center, where over a hundred volunteers had assembled to help out. It was an amazing experience, and I was humbled to be a part of it.


My husband, Ken, goofing around when he was supposed to be labeling boxes.



This is only a small portion of our work.



The trucks used to distribute our church’s turkeys may have been too small for the entire pallet, but our hands were mighty!


Above is the lunch line, at the end of our busy day.They fed us just about the best Mexican food I’ve tasted in a long time.


My prayer for you today is that you will be blessed in times of need and that you will seek opportunities to get your hands dirty blessing others in their time of need as well.

In His Glorious Service,

Jennifer Joy

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


P8190126I had another dream. God seems to talk to me through my dreams, and when I awake, oftentimes confused or frustrated by my dream, He patiently takes the time to try to explain it to me, usually through scripture. For The Bible is a living thing. If we listen, we can hear The Word breathe truth into our lives.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

In my dream the other night, I had a horrible toothache. My molar was aching terribly. Then The Lord touched my tooth, and the pain was instantly gone. I awoke confused, as usual. And as usual, I have learned to ask God for clarification. Still in a half sleep state, He spoke directly to me this time, instead of through scripture. He said that my toothache represented an unresolved sin in my life. He asked me if I knew which sin might be causing me such grief, for the mouth is the conduit through which our heart speaks. I acknowledged my sin, and when He touched my tooth, the pain disappeared, and I was forgiven.

“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45

The sin I acknowledged was that I have been ridiculing myself for years for being a horrible parent. I have been holding that sin, that pain in my heart because of my past depression and because I was never really there for my children, especially my daughter when she needed me most, because of my depression.

Our Benevolent Father forgave me of that sin and has given me the blessing of having my daughter in my life once again.

I thought I had lost her, because though I tried, I could not keep her in my life, and she ran away from everyone and everything she knew when she was twenty-three.

Now we are two years later, and our relationship has blossomed into something so beautiful. It took me coming all the way to Beaumont to find her and to start fresh. (To clarify, I found out she was in Beaumont after six months of not knowing anything, but I did not know how much her life had changed for the good.)

After she came to Beaumont, The Lord must have moved mountains in her life, for she is now an entirely different person than she was in Vancouver, Washington. I can see a light shining in her as never before, and I am humbly grateful for having been given this gift I felt I did not deserve.

My prayer for you today is that you can find peace about your past sins, especially where your most important relationships are concerned.

In His Loving Embrace,

Jennifer Joy

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wrestling with Faith in Limited Personal Space

10410015My days are so full lately. My nights as well.

It used to be that when I was very ill and very depressed, there was a duality to the passage of time. Days seemed to drag on forever, and the nights were even  worse. Yet, weeks and months seemed to zip right by, and I could not tell of a single productive thing I had accomplished in the past day, week, or even month.

Now, with all Our Lord has me doing for Him and His children (all of humankind but especially those of Southern California), days seem to pass all too quickly from sunrise to sunset.

Lately, when trying to tell someone when I did something, I have erroneously said that a week, two weeks, even a month had passed since I did whatever it was. But then I would look back at my journal, and I would be amazed to find that only half the span of time had actually passed since that activity’s notation. So again, there’s a mysterious discrepancy in the passage of time.

When I was terribly ill with depression, I could never understand the saying, “The more things you do, the more you can do” (Lucille Ball), because I struggled day in and day out just to get the basics done, if that. I lost far too many years to depression.

76590010It is amazing what God can bring about in someone’s life, once the agony of depression has been conquered by His grace and love.

I find it quite peculiar, and yet it is exactly how I’ve come to understand the workings of God. Not that I fully understand, because no human can ever know the full will of God.

I also find it typically peculiar that after many nights of little sleep (because that is mostly when He chooses to speak to me because that is when I am most still), I will cry out for a full night’s rest. Then when He gives it to me (sleeping all night long), I will again cry out, “Lord, why didn’t you speak to me last night?” Even though The Holy Spirit and I wrestle all night some nights, and I am worn out the next day, I so desire to hear from Him every night and every day, even at the risk of no sleep yet again.

4115700-R7-041-192Living in an RV makes my night wrestling matches more difficult, however, especially now since we have added a third person to our tiny home on wheels. Yes, that makes three adults and two rambunctious dogs in a 33-foot motorhome without slide-outs. I’ll leave our houseguest’s story untold for now, other than that his great need has become like a blessing for me. That sounds horrible, even though I do not intend it that way. What I mean is that his presence in my life 24/7 really helps me out. He makes me laugh with his quiet personality and how he can slip a joke in without me realizing it until I am bursting with laughter. I love how his smile seems to creep over his face, almost imperceptibly at first. He is also a great help with the dogs, walking them and babysitting the puppy (Gracie), as Our Lord takes me away from home and into the community more and more.


(Tinker Belle with Suzie, when Tinker was just a puppy.)

I will never begrudge my son-from-another-mother a full night’s sleep, for he needs it with all he is going through right now. So I gladly do my writing and reading and wrestling by flashlight, lying in bed, sandwiched between my husband, Tinker Belle (the Pug), and Gracie (the Poodle puppy) while our houseguest makes the living room unavailable to me by night.

76510016You can be sure, God is good in His will and His workings, even if we silly little humans are oftentimes inconvenienced or don’t understand at first. God is so good to me, even when I get frustrated and all I want is sleep.

26220024My prayer for you today is that you may find the space to be still and your life quiet enough for at least a moment in all its chaos, so that you can hear the still small voice of God.

In His Loving Grace,

Jennifer Joy

Monday, November 18, 2013

Amazing Grace

DSC00975Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.


T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.


Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.


The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.


Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.


When we've been here ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise
Than when we've first begun.

Lyrics by John Newton


I would like you to meet Gracie. She’s almost six months old. When she plays, she jumps around like a gazelle, though she has still to be totally graceful on those long legs. She has a goofy, quite intelligent smile at times. Her '”daybed” is on the dash of the Raven, where she has a 360 view of her world. At night, she sleeps across the foot of our bed, keeping my feet nice and toasty. She is a delight, and she refreshes my soul when I am struggling with getting this mission off the ground. An hour at the dog park, playing fetch, and I am like a whole new me, able to take on whatever God hands me next. She is definitely a gift from God.

Blessings to you all,

Jennifer Joy

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Hitting the Faith Lottery

Have you ever won something big or received a great gift out of the blue? Has providence ever simply dropped into your life and said, “Hello”?
I’ve been thinking lately about when my kids were little. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about when my kids were little. Ours was one of those stories that reads, “we were always broke but we managed to keep food on the table.”
Before I met my second husband, my kids and I wore mostly thrift store finds. I’d always try to find the best looking stuff so that my kids would not have to bear the shame of wearing rags. Nevertheless, my kids rarely had anything new besides shoes and underwear, of course.
One summer, as I was desperately trying to prepare a decent wardrobe for my daughter to begin first grade, I found myself once again at the local Value Village. When I entered the store, I was given a raffle ticket. “I’ll never win,” I thought, deeply sad in my heart. “I never win anything.”
Then at the appointed time, they called the winning numbers. Those magical winning numbers matched my own. Yet, my disbelief was so great that I almost lost out because my mouth refused to call out that I had won. Luckily, my feet had a little more belief, a little more faith, than my heart did, because somehow I found my way to the counter just in time. They were about to call out another set of numbers.
At that time in my life, there were no blessings, that I could see and acknowledge anyway. God seemed very far from me.
Yet He dropped $200 into my lap when I needed it most. My daughter still started first grade in thrift store clothes, but they were better finds, some even from the “new” rack at the front of the store.
It was amazing how the joy in me sparkled from that one plea, which reached God’s ears. “I never win,” I had cried out, and He heard me.
Since leaving Portland, Oregon, and starting on this faith journey to find our mission field, blessing upon blessing upon glorious blessing have dropped into my life. Sometimes I feel that edge of disbelief creeping in. “I never win” keeps trying to dissuade me from believing that it all could ever be true for me.
Most of my life I believed I was a worthless lump, having survived abuse, torture, rape, and the many other bad parts of my early life. It seemed everyone either hated me or used me or both.
Sometimes I feel like I have won the lottery, my life has improved that much in these past five short months since hitting the road. Then there’s that old disbelief telling me I am not worthy, not deserving, but then there’s God whispering in my ear, “Yes you are. You are my Daughter Zion. You are a Joy to behold.”
He is always patient with us as we find our way to Him, to a fullness of belief and faith beyond words.
My prayer today is that you will know blessing upon blessing upon glorious blessing in your own life and that you could open yourself to a faith that could move mountains. Amen.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Welcome One and All

Hello One and All,

Welcome to When He Reigns!

Okay, so here goes. This is the first post for my new blog and also will be the last post for my old blog. Believe me, this is no small undertaking, nor is it done without much thought and prayer. It is difficult to leave something behind that has been my companion, my outlet for so long.

God has been prompting me again, quite insistently as He does at times, especially when I am not listening to His still small voice. He has instructed me to start a new blog totally dedicated to our mission, Bethel Grace Abbey. He has prompted me that RV’ing the Dream needs to be left behind. I cried out to Him that I would lose all my followers if I stopped writing on RV’ing the Dream. Our Benevolent Father assured me, however, that those who are meant to follow, will continue to follow even if I leave my old blog behind. God assured me that when I switch over to a blog totally dedicated to our mission, Bethel Grace Abbey, He will populate my online community far more than the few (His word) who follow our adventures on RV’ing the Dream.

I argued with Him, as I often do because I am human. I argued that this is the most popular my blog has ever been. The number of hits soar daily. So it is difficult for me to leave behind something that has finally come into its own. And maybe that’s the problem. The Dream was never to be “its own.” The Dream has always been His, even though at first I imagined we would be on a wonderful journey, traveling these beautiful United States of ours, for at least five years.

But as you can probably tell, as time has passed, the entire flavor of my blog changed. Everything I do is now in pursuit of the calling He graciously placed on my heart many years ago. My whole life is consumed by His calling. As each day passes, the mission, the dream, the calling becomes clearer and clearer in my mind and in my heart. As each day passes, more and more of my time and energy are spent in pursuit of His dream for my life.

So it is with reluctance but also with great anticipation that I now leave “RV’ing the Dream” behind and start anew on this new blog, “When He Reigns” that He wants me to write. I am placing a link on RV’ingthe Dream so that all who desire to continue to follow, can.

Please find it in your heart to bless this mission of ours by spreading the word about our mission to humbly serve the heartbroken and homeless of Southern California, because when He reigns, it pours! And I can feel we are on the brink of something huge and glorious happening in our lives.

Thank you all for seeing me through all my heartache and pain, my trials and fears, and for continuing with us on our journey into this glorious new day.

In His Holy Name,
Jennifer Joy