My name is Janelle Keith and I’m addicted to coffee. I live in Oklahoma with two cats (don’t judge), and my loving husband, Terry. I have a big story of losing 132 lbs. and am wholly devoted to Jesus, my Savior instead of my sweet savior of chocolate. God uses my passion for writing, speaking life and encouragement, plus positive eating habits as He punches through your heart barriers. We are all under His grace and drawn in by His giant love of each one of us. You can connect with me more here: http://www.janellekeith.com.
Three years ago when I stepped out of the radio studio I had no real clear goals other than the fact that I wanted to reach the lost with the Gospel, be involved in connecting with people, and help to build God’s Church all over the world. At the time, I knew what He had laid on my heart to do concerning the nations, and I’ve held Africa in the deepest recesses of my heart.
I didn’t know what the next step would involve, but God simply asked if I would trust Him in my next move. Yes, I said move. When that word first came to my awareness, I was a bit shocked. I had been asking God to use me in a bigger way but was thinking (although very limited in my finite mind), I imagined a new plan would come to fruition someday.
I also believed that I would write books someday and several would be published for many to read. I never knew HOW or WHEN these dreams and trips would come to pass, but currently, as I sit here typing this, I see things unfold that I once could not even articulate.
Today on the fresh heels of Thanksgiving and returning from Africa, I am even more grateful and in awe of what has occurred in the past three years. I have no magic formula, but over the years here is what I have learned:
Give yourself the space to dream again.
Get involved in your local church.
Do wholeheartedly whatever is before you.
Don’t have any agenda, but serve willingly.
Wait for God to open doors.
Submit to leadership.
Trust God because He is always in control when we are not.
There is no wasted experience; God uses everything.
God makes a way where there seems to be no way.
Stay the course.
Always remain part of something bigger than you.
Surround yourself with wise advisors.
Do nothing from selfish ambition.
Keep stretching and growing.
Rally others to journey with you.
Bloom where God plants you.
Believe God for who He says He is.
Bonus: Obey God, He will not lead you astray.
Now I assume you are thinking, this makes a fancy pants list and all, but why should this work for you? Or perhaps you have different goals than I. Both could be true. When you consider the infinite plans that God has for all of us, it’s easy to think small about what God can do through us.
The biggest truth I have realized over time is we rarely know the details of the journey when we start; like Abraham, we often go forth not knowing where we are going. But when you keep your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus and the covenant promises, He will always take you to your destination. Whether you come kickin’ and screamin’ or run willingly to Him, either way, God always knows what journey is best for each of us. He is the only One who knows us better than we know ourselves and has gifted each person the uniqueness that makes us who we are.
He is good at being our Judge, our Father, and but also our Friend. Some additional thoughts about following God are (and it’s important to remember these things too!)
God’s plans will…
Take longer than you think,
Cost more than you think,
Hurt more than you think,
BUT GOD AND you are…
Braver than you know,
Stronger than you seem,
Smarter than you think,
And loved more than you know.
Recently I was shopping with my husband and he purchased the above saying on a wooden sign. I asked him why he wanted to buy that for me and he said, “I will not always be with you, but I want you to remember these things.” The Lord also encourages believers in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” As if you are the only one, God steps into time, to author your story, and to develop you with a unique plan all your own but He loves it when you partner with Him in the grander scheme of His plans.
When you don’t know what to do, take the next step and trust God. Sometimes it looks like you are going in a different direction than you thought, but obedience is worth it. And when you grab ahold of the Father’s heart for you, then you will realize you are loved more than you know. His heart will lead you no other way but the right way. Follow, trust, and take heart. Oh and hang on, it’s wild out here!
The other day I spent some time on some much needed "knee mail." I confessed my broken heart to the Lord. It was messy and let's just say I could've invested some money in Kleenex stock. Yes, the tears came way too easy and I was overwhelmed. What could possibly cause such a deep emotional response from within?
I let my heart touch the sky and released my pain.
In the last four months I lost both my mom, 91, and dad, 94, to Alzheimer's disease. We were personally involved in their care for almost three years. I don't know if you've been down this road but it's hard, specific and each parent required different care.
The details were love-driven but the sentiments were often lost in the details and mostly confusing to my parents. What we experienced as a family was challenging and difficult. But I sit here today to encourage you, if you are looking at a similar situation, there's peace available to you by the measure of God's grace that goes before you.
I have many stories I'm collecting in a book which will someday help someone, I just feel it. Role reversal in families is often hard, isolating and intense. However, I learned the most about peace of God who offers this peace by going through it. There are seasons in life only experienced by going through it.
"We do what we have to do." says every mom.
With any big decisions, and we all face them, wouldn't it be helpful to have a manual of knowledge with all the answers? You know it would. Wouldn't it be comforting to know you could just "tube it" to get the answers you needed? The world as we know it is asking "Dr. Google" for everything. I am reminded we do have such a resource to help us figure things out what life sets before us.
We do what we have to do because the Holy Spirit helps us.
Jesus said (in His last few hours on earth) it was best and good for Him to leave so the Helper could come and be our advocate. It is good for man to release what he can't do and find the Help to cover what man can't do. That's not to say you don't have a part in God's business, you do. You simply trust God has you covered and He is working out things according to His best plan for you and you do the next thing as He leads. God peace protects you from making wrong decisions. I am grateful today HE is my Shepherd and knows what I need, even before I have need of it.
Yes, He's so good at being God and our good, good Father. He anticipates needs before you have any needs. Think about this: God who has NO needs meets ALL of yours. And He knows every one of your needs and is at the ready to meet you and show you. So let us fix our eyes, look to the hills, look up and live a vertical life. Let's reflect His countenance, and meet Him in the morning and again remind ourselves in the evening. Could it be said if we simply live with God, we won't be fighting the will of God?
Life is a great teacher and I'm taking many notes. (By the way, I heard a preacher say once there's a special gate in Heaven for us note takers!) With God's help, He makes the ways of faith known to you and for you. It's His grace goes before you and secures your mind. It's His peace assures you when everything isn’t going okay. There's comfort in sharing with friends and receiving godly counsel. Encouragement can come in many ways, and God loves to use you to help people too. Hard times teach you to lean upon Him and look to Him to help point the way for others in healing and keeping peace.
Keeping our head up is the challenge, as well as fighting discouragement plus trudging through life on our own strength. There are other times when God loves to grow us through situations which cause us to trust in Him in no uncertain terms, with the eyes of faith. When we believe He leads through adversity by His character, then we see the wonder of who God really is. Only God can give this kind of holy assurance to help us let go of the things we can't control. And nothing can replace such kind of peaceful assurance!
How have you seen God's peace in your life?
I often wonder about a lot of things and I find myself coming to the same conclusion each time. Now I'm not talking about the cure for cancer, or the national deficit, or the latest bargain price for broccoli. This isn't a post to tell you my vote for President.
The two words "I'm busy" make me wonder and create a contradiction in my soul. I also wonder how many busy signals God hears. I'm busy blogging, writing, editing a book or two, writing another book or two, recording some radio stuff, cleaning, eating sleeping, and exercising. I get it. Me too.
I run to God constantly but sometimes I am distracted with problem solving on my own. Then when this happens...it's as if there's a tap on my little shoulder.
"Please rest in Me."
Here I am in a season of busy activity and it seems super unproductive to take a siesta or halt to a stop with all this activity around me. I'm used to doing for myself, producing, and meeting deadlines. I'm used to feeding and dressing myself, but one idea I'm not good at is resting. So why would I need to rest now?
I found myself saying, "I'm too busy to rest." And the conflict comes down in my soul.
Then....I came to my senses through the help of the Holy Spirit. Needless to say, I repented of my wrong thinking, refocused my mind and put my thoughts back on Him. And now I can see more clearly, I've learned that rest is more than a season. Rest is an attitude I am adopting into my life permanently.
I don't know if you have thought about rest in this way, perhaps you have been too busy. I believe God planned rest from the beginning of time and created a whole day intentionally for rest. I know you've read this over and over in Genesis, but I realized it was the very component I needed. To help you be more productive, more focused, and more intentional with your time, you might need rest to be more than just a season.
So I ask you, what would it take for you to stop the whirling world you live in and give yourself a long soaking rest in God? I get it...I thought I was too busy also take a long time to rest. Then once I experienced true rest, it's now a part of my life I can't live without. Try it, even if you think you are too busy.
God is trying to reach you in your busyness. And this just in...He wants to be MORE than a crisis manager to you. He specializes in perfecting the very details which seemed to go unchecked when you are busy. I let him manage my task list, my clock, and my seasons from now on. It's important to Him, and I can rest on Him knowing He knows more about my needs than I know myself.
"Who you spend time with is what you value the most." - John Gray
I get it. I know. I see. Rest isn't just a suggestion from our Creator. Rest is a place to center your will back where it belongs, in His rest. He gets it, He sees you, and He knows you need it.
Take my word for it, it's worth it. I dare you to try God in this too. It's better FOR you than you know.