Enjoying God's Grace by Plugging in & Opening up: A Guest Post

It's another SUNSHINE DAY post!

We have another good friend of mine from church. Jocelyn has welcomed our family into her home for parties, cookouts, & church small group. Her hospitality is definitely a gift to us! Her daughter & mine are just 6 months apart, so they are sweet little best friends. We've also spent many evenings closing down various Starbucks around the greater Annapolis area as we bear each others burdens & just chat about life in general. Needless to say, this pandemic hasn't allowed us to do the things we normally do, but I know that Jocelyn is always ready to be an encouragement & point anyone to the Gospel. She serves her family & her friends & her church well, radiating the love of Jesus to all around her.

Oh, & she lifts. Like she's amazingly strong. And she's one of the healthiest people I know that still knows how to enjoy the occasional ice cream & doughnut dates with her family.

So, let's hear from Jocelyn!

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Tell us about yourself.

My name is Jocelyn and I am the momma to a sweet, very energetic little girl named Siobhan. My hubby (Ryan) and I met at church when we lived in PA and were engaged and married within a year! We moved to MD 7 years ago to help out with our church’s re-plant. I am a property manager by day and I am passionate about health and fitness on the side (I love powerlifting!). I love music and am always up for going to a local concert or Broadway show (just try to talk to me about Hamilton :).

Give us a little glimpse into your childhood.

I grew up as a homeschool kid (cue all the homeschooling jokes :) mainly because I was really into competitive horseback riding. I competed in show jumping (I rode from age 5 to my early twenties) and traveled a lot for horse shows so being able to do school on the road was super helpful! I also started playing piano at age 5 and while I hated practicing all through my upper school years, I finally grew to love it once I started playing at church. I grew up an only child so I had quite the imagination (not sure where that disappeared to :).  

Share with us how you came to know Jesus as your Savior.

I was raised by Christian parents and made a profession of faith at age 5, however, I don’t believe that profession was real since I didn’t fully understand the gospel. When I was 16 my competition horse died suddenly from West Nile Virus. I was so wrecked by that experience that it drove me to the Lord in a special and deep way. The Lord opened my eyes to how much I needed him and showed me how I was living life purely for my own enjoyment. I got plugged into church and youth group and the Lord used those greatly to grow me in my walk with him. 

Tell us how the Gospel meets you in your life these days.

The Gospel meets me in my day to day by meeting me in my shortcomings (usually through how I respond in frustration and impatience to my daughter) - reminding me of the wonderful grace found in Jesus. I am a very impatient person by nature but the Lord is faithful to meet me right where I am and remind me that there is fresh grace for each day. I often notice that when I am intentional in my time in the morning, not rushing through my devotions, the Lord is always faithful to provide me with a nugget of truth from His Word to encourage me. 

What has God been teaching you lately & what Bible verse or passage has been particularly helpful to you lately?

Lately God has been teaching me a lot about trusting his sovereign control over everything and also how to open up to those around me. The whole COVID lockdown hit me very hard (I’m very much a get up and go kind of person - I don’t do well sitting at home!). During quarantine, the Lord was so faithful to walk me through my ups and downs and teach me about His trustworthiness. One thing that certainly helped was the ladies Bible study my church was going through at the time - appropriately called “Trustworthy” :). Through that and some close friends, the Lord showed me how truly opening up with my struggles to those around me brings healing. I also clung to Lamentations 3:22-23 during that time (that verse is still written on my fridge to see every day). “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

What encouragement would you give to another woman who is seeking to grow her faith?

The biggest encouragement I would give to someone seeking to grow in their faith is to get plugged in to the means of grace offered through your local church - whether that be a small group, Bible study, etc. For me personally, it takes a pry bar to open me up (just ask Ryan!) but the Lord has been showing me in a big way that when I plug into my small group and share openly, He meets me with his grace every time.

Describe what a SUNSHINE DAY looks like to you.

The best sunshine days in my book are Saturdays….that is always pancake day in our home. I get to relax with my coffee on the couch while Siobhan watches a show and Ryan makes the pancakes. Then on an ideal day, we would go on a family day trip - to the beach, or to wander around DC or just find a new place to explore….complete with ice cream somewhere :). To top it all off, it would include Ryan and I watching a few episodes of Friends before bed. 

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I particularly need the reminder about opening up & plugging back in. It's a hard thing right now in this COVID-19 world. I don't know when or how to get back to normal. Or what that even should look like. I'm not here to tell you what you have to do, but I will encourage you to make sure you're not isolating yourself from fellow believers. Even if you can't go out to church or small group yet, make sure you're reaching out & doing what you can to be involved. It's unprecedented times, & we need each other like never before. (Even us introverts!)

Also, I learned something new about her - I had no idea she had been into horseback riding!

Join me in thanking Jocelyn for taking the time to write & share with us today! What an encouragement it is to hear the hearts of other women who are running the race alongside us!

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