Jennifer Kostick– Jennifer has been married for twenty-three years to her high school sweetheart, Paul. She is the mother of three children, Paul IV (22), Samuel (6), and Grace (6). She also has six babies residing in heaven. It is those six tiny souls who have propelled her into women’s ministry. She is a conference speaker and author of the book Nothing to Hold but Hope (one woman's journey through miscarriage, stillbirth, and infertility). Jennifer blogs at www.Jenniferkostick.com and is passionate about encouraging women through a godly message of mercy and hope.
We’re almost ready to say goodbye to another year. I don’t know how 2015 treated you in particular, but I’m sure some of us are ready to turn the page with excitement. A new year means new possibilities and new hope. Friend, we can’t live without hope. There’s just no way to wake up in the morning and face this world without humbling ourselves to the realization that we serve a good God who has the ability to change everything with one word.
Dear Jesus, please speak mercy over us.
I like to set goals at the beginning of each year. Not so much resolutions like eat healthy, exercise, and lose weight. Although, I’m not hating those ideas… However, I find more fulfillment when I pray about what God might want me to do, and then figure out how He wants me to do it. Seriously, it can seem like rocket science until we realize it’s simply obedience. And, yes, I realize sometimes obedience is not at all simple. But as far as life’s journey goes… He doesn’t expect us to have the map in hand, He just wants us to obey one step at time until we get where He designated us to be.
For me, 2015 was challenging and exciting all at the same time. I spent the year healing from loss and learning to process grief all over again, I became a full time seminary student, and a prominent literary agency found me and asked me to review a book for them. In exchange they reviewed a manuscript for a new book I’ve written. I was given excellent feedback that went as far as a phone meeting with the director of author relations, but essentially was told they can’t sell me quite yet because my platform isn’t large enough. Believe it or not, I wasn’t scarred over the process. If anything, it’s confirmation to keep doing what God wants me to do, which is encourage women.
And, so, 2016 means that I will be self publishing another book!!! I’ll be announcing more about that within the next couple months! I also have four speaking engagements to kick off the year, but most of all, I’m excited to finally appreciate that as a child of God, it’s my Father who decides my path. My platform as it stands right now might mean that a large publishing house won’t pick me up, but God always picks me up. He uses me for who I am, where I am. And friend, I’m excited to be here.
I’ve often envisioned myself standing in front of one of those giant maps at the mall staring at the big red dot that seems to audibly, and unrelentingly, scream, “YOU ARE HERE.” In my silly daydream the journey to get from one end of the property to the other seems exhausting, because let’s face it, those maps are confusing. But here’s the truth I’ve awakened to: It’s not about getting from point “A” to point “B.” It’s about discovering the unique plan created for me and finding my place within it. In case you’re wondering, you also have a unique plan and a very specific place to occupy!
This online space grew by leaps and bounds in 2015. I don’t do crazy advertising, I’m not one to carry affiliate links on my blog, not because I’ve not been given opportunity, but because I want to encourage people in their faith and never want to make people feel as if I’m selling something. It’s bad enough I ask you to buy my book, but I’m called to that. Listen, I’m not judging anyone who does promote affiliate links, it’s smart for branding and growing. And, if I ever feel led to make the decision to try it then I will, but right now, I usually turn those opportunities down because God has impressed me to grow solely through words of encouragement. I say all that to say, it’s a miracle my blog has grown over the last year! Or ever!
To be honest, over the years, making those decisions have been unnerving. It’s scary to walk in obedience knowing that because I don’t network the way the industry tells me to, that I might never grow my platform to the extent I’ve been told it needs to reach. However, when it comes down to it, He calls us to individual ministries uniquely set apart by Him to do what He created us to do. My plan is different from yours, your plan is different from mine, and it’s exciting!
We all need to reawaken to His distinctive love. (Tweet that)
He’s carved out plans specifically for each life, tailored to individual needs that will fulfill His purposes. Wow!
I don’t know what it is you’ve been called to conquer in 2016, and maybe you don’t know yet either, but what I do know is that God is for you and He wants you to look at the place you’re standing in right now as a place of hope. He has a journey specifically for you and it’s filled with adventure and love far beyond your wildest dreams.
He is the God who will do exceedingly, abundantly more than you ever thought possible. But friend, He will do it HIS WAY. The sooner each one of us grasps that truth with open arms, the sooner we will follow His lead with great expectation of promises only He can fulfill.
Here’s to new hope!
Happy almost New Year!