I’ve thought for days about what to say for this post and haven’t managed to come up with much of anything at all. I made some rounds to a few friends the morning of our one-way flight home, dropping off last minute things, and made the mistake of knocking on one door and making face-to-face contact. The second Mark answered the door, the tears started. “I’m sorry, I can’t, I have to go - here are some treasures” I choked out before shoving them into his hands, giving a quick hug and running back to the car. Shortly after, I was the one sitting at my favorite beach ugly crying into my bagel sandwich. I have never experienced this much joy and sadness all at the same time before. Overwhelming gratefulness at what God has done for us spills out of my eyes followed by the excited anticipation of moving back into our Oregon place - the one that was always a house, never really a home. But these November goodbyes are rough. So I tried to avoid them as much as possible. Bethel Music provides the words that have been my mantra this last year as I’ve tried wrapping my brain around all of this. The answered prayer and second miracle and book release and leaving Maui: All that You have done the promise that there’s more to come all I am cries out for more of you Last weekend, we ventured back to one of our favorite spots for one last family photo. We took an identical one just a couple of weeks after arriving to Maui, back when the heartache was still raw and in need of healing. It was just me and him and a heart eight years longing for babe’s of my own. And we recreated the same photo just a couple of days before leaving, healing complete. Arms (and belly) full of the physical representation of His manifold miracle-mercies. (continued in comments)
“It wasn’t until our line-in-the-sand, no turning back, decision-making deadline 30 days out from my travel cut-off date for this babe that we finally decided to move back to Bend and right back into that suddenly-available house we had rented while we lived here. And no sooner had we said it out loud than the fear began to creep in, and it all came spilling out around 4:45 one morning after another sleepless night. I had to face the fear that gnawed at me about going back to that house we lived in for ten years – the one that housed all that heartache and unanswered prayer and loss and grief. The one that I fled from in search of tropical breezes and healing for a broken heart. (Spoiler alert: that healing came in the most dramatic kind of way.) But it dawned on me in that pre-dawn journal-scribbling: Maui has been my anti-depressant these last 4-1/2 years. And moving felt like I was choosing to go off my meds and back to that darkness. I was afraid that all that healing would stay here, left behind and castawayed, waving affectionately from the shoreline as our plane flew off overhead. I was afraid of going back to that house and, in a sense, going back to that heartache. That moving back to Oregon would also mean moving backward and undoing all the “doing” that God has done. That the dust would settle and this second babe would come and the holidays would pass, and I would be there in that house with everything I ever dreamed up and begged God for and still feel sad and empty.” . Trading Palms for Pines, Part Three: A Healing Conversation is now on the blog. Thanks so much for following our journey home!
Last night was restless. Our babe was in bed with us by 10, restlessly whimpering every ten minutes from an unknown sleep-interrupter. My legs were pregnancy-restless. And my mind was moving-restless. Or maybe it was analytical-restless, taking all these mixed emotions and turning them upside down and sideways, trying to find a way to compartmentalize it all the way I’ve been jimmy-rigging our entire life into suitcases these last few weeks. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ As legs readjusted and husband breathed sleep-heavy and outside babe squirmed and inside babe snuggled up onto my bladder, the words raced. I started writing half a dozen different blogs posts that were just-as-quickly forgotten. “I wonder if this is how songwriters feel,” I thought, “with a constant current of melodies, mind-floating on through, just waiting for them to reach up and pull at a string to see what falls down together.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If moving and I had a relationship status, it would be marked as complicated. The kind of complicated where I’m not sure if pulling at that string will loosen up a waterfall of helpful verbal-processing or tighten it all up even more into an even more confusing and frustrating knot. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The number one question I keep getting asked is what I’m most excited about for our move. And when I am, I pause. And assess my right-then, running a quick list of the Oregon things that I love through my mind and waiting for the happy heart strings to be pulled. But it’s awfully quiet in there, the strings sit silent. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The truth is, our decision to leave Maui wasn’t quite like the decision to come here. Our choice to move has been rushed. The best scenario for us financially, and we are going home to a rich community... but neither of us are ready to say goodbye to the friends we have been knit together with here. Or maybe it’s beyond knitting. Because knitting is supposed to be somewhat loose and with a little bit of give and our hearts are tightly woven with many hearts on this tiny island that it’s so much more than a simple knit-stitch. New blog post: Trading Palms for Pines Part Two: The Midnight Musings. Link in profile.
Last month marked the beginning of the chaos. The car breaking down, the rent going up, the renter across the ocean breaking the lease, the hurricane that wasn't, the stomach flu, the income slowing down from throwing caution to the wind and taking a year to do nothing but be a mom and write a book and step into a brand new Spirit-calling with reckless abandon. We were thirty days away from the release of Mercy Like Morning, and three months out from having our second miracle babe when our renter moved out and took my last straw with him. I drew three lines on a piece of paper and began making a list:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Move. Rent. Sell.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I wrote down every single pro and con I could think of for our suddenly empty Oregon home. For over an hour, I examined all sides and possibilities. And that night, I curled up on the couch next to Josh, notebook in hand, and showed him my chicken scratch. I was leaning heavily toward moving when he asked why that was.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I feel like I can breathe again at the thought of it, I said.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ That's funny, he replied, those are the same words you said about moving here.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The next morning, I sat down with my 6am coffee and scribbled a verse down bold in my prayer journal. I had seen the words in my early-morning, squinty-eyed scrolling, willing my mind to shake off the sleep:⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ God, my shepherd! I don't need a thing. You have bedded me down in lush meadows, You find me quiet pools to drink from. True to Your word, You let me catch my breath and send me in the right direction. (Psalm 23:1-3, MSG)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So much seemed to be going wrong all at once, the book release was coming up at warp speed (and this babe quickly on its heels) and that morning, I breathed in deeply - thankful that God is true to His word, letting me catch my breath when I couldn't manage to catch up to everything else.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ (read the full post on the blog: Trading Palms for Pines, Part One: The Early Stirrings of a Sudden Move)
We’ve been keeping a secret these last few weeks of one big pending life change. It seems that birthing a book-babe nine weeks before birthing our second miracle-babe wasn’t enough chaos for us. A handful of weeks before #mercylikemorning came out, things started stirring. Open doors started closing. And God started pointing our hearts back home. . I have pages and pages of journaling to comb through and many treasure-nuggets to share about this crazy story. There have been countless sleepless nights, many tears, and a whole lot of “God, are you serious right now?” kinds of prayers. It will all be shared in due time. But for now, we have some packing to do. Because in two weeks, we’re trading in Maui palms for Bend pines. . Oregon friends, get ready: we’re movin’ home!
Oh, hello sweet friends! There are quite a few new faces around here, so I thought I’d take a Friday-minute to introduce myself. I’m Jane and that sweet belly I’m cradling is 33 weeks into growing our second miracle babe (and after ten years of waiting for our first, the gift of another is beyond anything I ever dreamed)! Most of the country is winding down for the evening, but it’s still late afternoon here on Maui, and there’s still time for #fridayintroductions. . Everything you need to know about me you can learn from my first two Pandora radio stations: 10,000 Reasons and 2Pac. I love Jesus and 90s rap (which can sometimes be a little interesting when you have the explicit language turned off). I’ve been married to the most handsome man (@josh_johnson) for nearly a decade and a half, and have been mama to our first miracle babe (#miraclebabyjohnson and #raisingjordy) for nearly two years. We moved to this tiny island back in 2014 to heal my heart from losing my best friend to cancer and (at the time) eight years of what I affectionately call delayed fertility (because infertility always sounded so final, and I knew God had a different plan for us.) . I just published my first book (#mercylikemorning), released on October 2nd, that details our entire story as well as how I learned to dig into Scripture more deeply than most to survive those ten years of heartache, waiting, and loss. . Three random facts about me: 1️⃣ I get the hiccups if I laugh too hard (a fun little quirky that I passed on to my son) 2️⃣ I don’t know how to whistle (seriously, my lips are incapable). And whenever I say that, the people that do immediately try to show me how 😂 3️⃣ My claim to fame is that I once photographed a Zac Brown Band wedding (and if you look closely in the Sweet Annie music video, you’ll see me in action!) . I’m so happy to have you here in my little part of these squares. And my first miracle babe is stirring from his nap, so I’m off to scoop him up and snuggle him close. Happy Friday, friends!
It happened around 5am, after our outside-the-body babe woke up and needed 3am-tending. We jumped through the hoops - changing the diaper, squeezing the seahorse belly to play the sleep-cue music, and tucking him quietly back into bed. He drifted off. Josh drifted off. And me? I laid there. For over an hour. Sleep eluding me. . I finally cried uncle around 4:30, quite literally rolling this very pregnant body out of bed, unamused that it was too early for coffee and too late for sleepy-time tea. A bowl of cereal sufficed, and I grabbed my prayer journal and began hashing out my heart to God, pausing only to tap play on some Pandora worship music. . And then it happened. That kind of “surely God is in this place” pre-dawn moment where you are suddenly sure that He was the One keeping you awake intentionally, beckoning to His presence. I was reading one of the latter Psalms about sowing in tears and reaping in joy when the song that softly played in the early morning quiet echoed the same sentiments I was reading. Word for word. At the exact same moment these bleary brown eyes read them. . “The King is among us,” the song continued as I sat stunned in the silence, His Spirit driving the point home, “and His glory surrounds us and His fire is falling as we sing.“ . It’s one of those moments I’m thankful I didn’t miss. One of those Spirit-encounters that leaves me whispering, “God, do it again.” . And another (rather surreal) moment I was able to experience? Reading an email last week from @harvesthousepublishers telling me that just one week in, and #mercylikemorning was #25 on the bestsellers list in the religious category. You guys. I can’t even believe it! It leaves me absolutely speechless. So I’ll borrow from yesterday’s pre-dawn Psalm-words: “then my mouth was filled with laughter, and my tongue with singing” (Psalm 126:2). . Swipe to read some early reviews of Mercy Like Morning. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for every single one of you. Happy Monday.
I've been thinking about the middle lately, and how it gets a bad rap. Nobody ever wants the middle seat on a plane. And when circumstances get tough, our eagerness to get to the story-ending is stronger, leaving us fumbling for the fast-forward button. . But here's the thing about the middle: it's where God is. And those Isaiah 41:18 fountains? They come pouring out of the middle of the valleys. The ones that are wide and long and stand between two mountains. Truth be told, in my waiting-story, delayed fertility was one mountain. My best friend's end-stage cancer diagnosis was the second. And the valley floor I cried on, lay there sandwiched between the two. . Hold on, there's another thing about the middle: It's where the children of Israel walked on dry land - right there in the middle of the sea. . Whether you're walking in the valley, or about to drown in a circumstantial-sea, God is in the midst of it. Just take a peek at the words about the parted sea in Exodus 14:29: . But the children of Israel had walked on dry land in the midst of the sea, and the waters were a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. (Exodus 14:29) . That wall-word means to surround. The very waters that threatened to drown them suddenly surrounded them. And suddenly, my mind goes to the very beginning of Genesis and the Spirit of God hovering over and vivifying the face of the waters. What if, when we look at that threatening sea, we instead choose to see the Spirit of God inviting us to step into His vivifying-midst? To embrace it and walk straight into it and let the chips fall (or wall) where they may? . What if that becomes our narrative, like a modern, Biblical Mad Libs? . Then, we can say as Joel said in Joel 2:27: Then you will know that as you walk in that midst? God will be in yours. . This Dear Monday email hit inboxes this morning! Want a weekly devotional sent straight to your email? Tap the link in my profile! . How would you fill in blanks? Comment below! 👇🏽
I haven’t done much this week beyond just plain resting. Seeing all the photos of friends and strangers alike holding my book in their hands, incorporating it into their morning quiet times, and chewing on the words God spoke through me, has been wild. Snuggling our first babe while growing our second this week has been especially wild. Because joy truly does come in the morning - with the sweats and the morning-breath sprinkled with toast crumbs and the footed pajamas and the uncombed bed-head. The night has gone and the day is new and hopeful and full of the things that you have long-prayed for. . I read an email yesterday from my publisher sharing some news that Amazon is already sold out of #mercylikemorning. You guys!! It sold out in THREE DAYS! I cannot believe it. You guys are amazing!! Maybe next week I’ll get back to my normal routine. But for now? I’m going to do a lot more of this whole resting-in-the-morning-moment thing. Uncombed bed-head and all. #restisthenewhustle
Oh sweet friends, this week has been one of the most surreal in a long time. You have made this book launch more successful than I could have ever dreamed. Your support and encouragement and pure excitement of #mercylikemorning has been so humbling, and I’ve cried a lot of happy tears. . I’m still wrapping my brain around it all, percolating in the powerful moment that I did, indeed, write a book. So I don’t have a lot of words except for this: thank you, thank you, thank you for all your love and support! . Throwback photo from a year ago by @jennakutcher. His face is a little less hairy and my belly is now 31 weeks into growing our second miracle. But the look on my face pretty much sums up how I’m feeling this week. 😊 #janewritesabook
🎉 It’s launch day!! 🎉 Read to the end for a launch-day-giveaway! ✨🙌🏾 . My alarm was set early this morning. But, wouldn’t you know it, last night was a rare one with a restless babe who ended up in bed with us after multiple wake ups. So that alarm got snoozed and my anticipation of an early morning moment with God at the dawn of the day was set aside in a sleep stupor. . But I snuck away for a minute - just Him and I while Jordan squeezes in a quick morning cat nap. Because I couldn’t post about it - about THIS - until I first sat in the holiness of it. Deciphering the emotion, processing the arrival of the day. . May Your glory go far and wide LORD, riding on the wings of these words You have given me. . Mercy Like Morning is finally out. Released. Launched. Thrown into the world and ready for your sweet eyes to read. And with it, a brand new, FREE seven-day devotional of the same name (and adapted from the book) is ready for you to start over on the @youversion app! . To celebrate, I’ve set aside an extra swag bag of my favorite quiet time essentials just for one of you! (Note: this giveaway does NOT include a Bible.) . ✨ LAUNCH DAY GIVEAWAY CLOSED✨ . Not only am I giving away any favorite quiet time essentials, I am also giving away FIVE copies of Mercy Like Morning so you can gather your girlfriends and read it together as a group! . Just like this post and tag the friends you want to read this book with and you’re entered! Giveaway will run until Friday, the winner will be announced on Saturday! Good luck!! #mercylikemorning
Tomorrow. TOMORROW is the birth-day for #mercylikemorning . One year ago, I nervously turned in the manuscript for the very first time, and tomorrow, this book will FINALLY be birthed into the world. . It doesn’t feel real. . This weekend, we gathered with dozens from our Maui community to celebrate. The party plans might have fallen apart at the last minute. And we might have been scrambling to change the venue (and notify everyone) an hour and a half before the party was scheduled to begin. But I happened to start getting ready early. And when the chaos hit, I had already done my makeup and told myself that i couldn’t cry because I didn’t have time to re-do it. So we scrambled. And we made it happen. . Two girlfriends came over immediately, helping to make the bed and hide the clutter and clean the kitchen and distribute flowers and transform our Saturday mess into party central in one hour flat. . The beautiful garden party I had planned suddenly became an intimate at-home gathering, and we toasted Shawna and her legacy and this story and God’s glory. We cheersed the fact that the book still wouldn’t be released for three more days, but has already been read by women across the United States and in Uganda, Kenya, and Australia. . I hugged necks and dined on charcuterie and uncomfortably signed books in sweats after my belly couldn’t handle the dress any longer. And tomorrow, Mercy Like Morning will be out there. Finally free for the world to devour and for the Spirit of God to use as He sees fit. . I’ve done my part. And now I get to sit back and watch God do His. . Many, many thanks to @opihilove for all the party planning help, @rioeventdesign for the beautiful furniture we couldn’t use (😩), @kiawe_outdoor for the incredible table spread, @waileawine for the champagne, @antoniadb for the flowers, and our incredible Maui community for celebrating alongside us this weekend. . It’s one September Saturday evening that I will never forget.