Thursday, April 21, 2016

Forever Convinced has come to an end! Check out my new website/blog!

Hi friends,

After much prayer, I decided that it was time for Forever Convinced to come to a close. I just launched a new blog website, so go subscribe to my new blog at www.jessicamartinblog.com

There truly is a season for everything! I believe that God is moving me onto new things. I will be deleting this page soon so please go to my new page and subscribe! I want you all to still be a part of my walk with Jesus. :) 

I love you guys! I am excited for what the Lord has in store for my new page.

ALSO,

I just launched my own personal health and fitness business. Go follow me on @stronginhimfitness on instagram!

Check out my intro video below for @stronginhimfitness


Saturday, March 12, 2016

If only you knew.



If only you knew...

If only you knew the things that I have done.
The sins that I have committed against my Lord.
My hands are dirty, I don't deserve this life.


...but that is why Jesus came.
He willingly took on the cross.
For all of my sin and my shame.


....Because He loved me. 
...Because He thinks I am more than enough.

And He thinks the same of you, my beautiful friend.

 There is always grace. Please never forget that. Nothing you have done will take you too far away from God's grace.

#foreverconvinced 



















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Friday, November 6, 2015

Guest Post: Mattanah from This Same Purpose!

Hi friends! I am ELATED to have my friend Mattanah on the blog from This Same Purpose! Mattanah and I recently met on a bloggers' Facebook group and became fast friends. Her heart for Jesus is inspiring! Today Mattanah will be sharing about Identity. Take it away Mattanah :) 

Where Is Your Identity?
Mattanah DeWitt

Hello, Forever Convinced readers / new friends! My name is Mattanah. I recently met Jessica on a bloggers’ Facebook group and she offered for me to write a guest post on her blog. I was honored, and of course, said yes! Also, she just wrote a post for my blog, This Same Purpose, so click the link to check it out!). 

Identity. It’s a broad and important topic, and there’s no way I have all the wisdom and knowledge, but I do have a little experience. So, I’d like to share part of my story with you: two lessons God’s love has taught me about who I am.

Lesson One.

I learned this lesson during an uncomfortable time in my life, a time when I had no direction. I felt I wasn’t good at anything, that I didn’t belong anywhere. It seemed everyone except me had a knack for something. In my church/homeschool group, people either sang, played music, or played sports. And it didn’t take me long to discover that I wasn’t good at ANY of those. I was out of place. I tried to fit in, but by trying to fit in, I ended up below par in everything. Being so focused on doing what I (thought I) wanted to do, I couldn’t see past my own definition of success to God’s, which was much bigger than mine.
Finally, I got tired of being someone besides Mattanah. I knew God had created me for something. And I also knew that if I never figured out what that was, I sure didn’t want to pretend anymore. I was being dishonest about my own character and didn’t enjoy it.
One of the moms in my church knew a little bit about my struggle. I’ll never forget the day she came up to me and said this (paraphrased):
There’s a song by Casting Crowns, “Lifesong,” that I’ve chosen to live my life by, and maybe it will help you too. The chorus says, “Let my lifesong sing to you.” Every person’s life sings a song to God. As long as it makes Him happy, it doesn’t matter what other people, or you, think of it. God will show you what He wants you to do. But for now, just know that your life’s song makes Him happy.
It was such a relief hearing those words. Someone understood what I was feeling! And usually, empathy aggravated me more than it helped. But not this time. It was exactly what I needed to hear. However, I came to my breaking point when I was so exasperated one day that I asked God, “WHO am I?!” Very quietly and softly, He whispered to my heart, “You’re mine.” I burst into tears. In that moment, healing found me. In that moment, the Father showered me with His peace. It was more than enough just to be His. I had been so afraid of losing myself and had clung so tightly to who I thought I was, when it was losing myself to Christ that brought the truth of my identity to light in a radical way. I had been saved, but was still in chains. He set me free, and I’ve never been the same since.
After I began to find joy in simply belonging to HIM, God showed me what I was good at! He opened doors – no, floodgates – of opportunity, and gave me permission to explore. For example, I became the President of Student Leadership Association. I started my blog. I competed in a pageant and won the title of 2014 Miss Tennessee National Teenager. I never thought I would compete in a pageant, but it was a platform God gave me and I ran with it (I’m telling you – floodgates!). I even started a small ministry for young women by creating the Queens in the Making Conference. Keep in mind, all this was God’s working in me, for His glory. I can’t take credit for any of it. The only part I had was surrendering.
During this time, I learned more about the Father. I learned that He wants me to always be in a place of dependence upon Him. I remember praying that He would put me in situations where I had to live by a “crazy kind of faith” – a faith that seems irrational and too extreme, a faith that WORKS! (Hebrews 11:6). And He did. Jesus taught me how to get out of my comfort zone, to walk on the waves and keep my eyes on Him. Trusting Him completely was like being a 4-year-old, jumping into the deep end, and believing that my Daddy would catch me. Scary? Yes. The most exhilarating, wonderful way to live life? Absolutely.
This life is a journey, and we won’t arrive until we behold Jesus, the King of kings. So of course, I had more to learn. This leads to Lesson two.

Lesson Two.

Just to be honest, lesson two was a (recent) repeat of lesson one, and it’s something I need to remind myself of every day. In the first lesson, my identity had been wrapped up in what I could or couldn’t do. The Father showed me that the only way to have peace is to find myself in Christ. Then, I began to discover what God had gifted me to do, which was awesome! But in all the positions, titles, projects, church services, etc., I began to make Christianity my identity. I still loved God and was passionate about His Kingdom, but my focus was a little off. I didn’t like not having it all together. And that’s a problem since Jesus wants me to always be in a place of dependence upon Him. Again, God had to teach me that the only way to have peace is to find myself in Christ (Philippians 4:7).
I had begun to mentor young women and they were leaning on me. My gut response was to think I need to be strong for them, but that wasn’t true. My strength wouldn’t be enough for them. If my advice made them dependent upon me and not Jesus, I failed. Even though they were leaning on me, that didn’t take away the fact that I still needed to lean on Jesus. We’re all in need of His strength. I’ll never be able to do it by myself, and to believe that I can is plain ole’ pride. II Corinthians 12:9 says that in our weakness, HE is strong. How will people see the grace of God if they don’t see it demonstrated in people who need it? I needed and still need His grace. During this lesson, I realized that I had made my faith my foundation – not Jesus.
Let me make this clear: it’s not enough to go to church. You and I NEED to sit at Jesus’s feet. We need to allow ourselves to be broken before Him and realize that even though we still have a lot to learn, God loves us and is with us right where we are. 


The more God teaches me of Himself and reveals His love to me, the more I see that it isn’t about me. It’s all about Jesus. And I experience the most joy, peace, and contentment when I stop concerning myself with myself and start focusing on HIM! Because only when I begin to only look at Jesus do I find my identity.
No matter who you are or what season of life you find yourself in today, know this: Jesus loves you! We hear that so much that it sometimes seems like religious rhetoric. But it’s the truth. Would you dare to believe the Father’s beautiful thoughts about you and know that they don’t change based on your current circumstances? He loves you right where you are. If you try to find your identity in your position, your talents, your relationship status, your job, etc., you’ll live an empty life. God doesn’t look at those things when He sees you. He looks at your heart, and He whispers, “You’re mine.”


Mattanah is a passionate gal with big dreams. Her heart is to live for Jesus and show His love to the world by utilizing the gifts He has given her and by putting to action the ambitions He has planted in her heart. Mattanah has served in various leadership positions, including the title she received in 2014, Miss Tennessee National Teenager. She is an entrepreneur and visionary at heart and is the owner/operator of her photography business, Photography by Mattanah. She considers it a hobby that pays - not a job. Born a Midwesterner and raised a Southerner, Mattanah enjoys the best of both worlds (i.e. drinking TN sweet tea while eating IA corn-on-the-cob). She loves meeting new people, making things look pretty, the outdoors, and chocolate.


Follow Mattanah's blog as well as her social media pages and you will NOT be disappointed! She is amazing and so encouraging!

Blog: http://www.thissamepurpose.com/
Instagram: https://instagram.com/mattanahdewitt/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/mattanah

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Follow Forever Convinced on Instagram!

Hi beautiful friends!

I just wanted to give you all a bit of an update. Lately, I have really felt called to use Instagram to my advantage as a follower of Jesus and also as a blogger. Please follow @foreverconvinced on Instagram for encouraging posts about my walk with Jesus! I am honestly amazed with the amount of followers I have gotten in this past week. It is all the Lord and I am honored to be used by Him to promote His goodness!

Click HERE to follow Forever Convinced on Instagram!


Blessings!

Jess 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Guest Post: Jen Weaver from The Jen Weaver!


Hi friends! Today I am continuing with my guest post series on the blog, and I have another awesome new friend of mine on the blog today. She has the sweetest heart and her passion for the Lord is seriously inspiring. You HAVE to go check out her page! ! Everyone meet Jen from www.thejenweaver.com


Jen Weaver is a wife, a mom and lover of Jesus living in North Texas! She’s also a communicator, both in the written word, teaching and preaching. Married to her best friend Jared, she's passionate about helping people achieve freedom and fullness in everyday life. You’ll find her blogging at thejenweaver.com or connect on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Love Personalized
Jen Weaver


I love unique things. Clothes with a different edge. Home d├ęcor you wouldn’t find just anywhere—like my teal walls and hanging succulent garden—and monogramed jewelry. In a world of mass-produced products and template emails, I relish the hunt for hole-in-the-wall gems, screaming deals, and unexpected gifts.

And then there’s love.

Everyone wants love, right? The gooey goodness of romance. Steadfast safety of sacrificial consideration. Someone who will always be there when you need them. Talking with God as I rocked my son to sleep the other night (yep, God talks to me, that was a learning process!) my heart broke with this beautiful thought:

I am love, personalized.

There’s nothing generic about my care for Dillon. Sure, he needs all the typical baby things like milk, diaper changes, sleep, and affection. But my love is catered to who he is. It couldn’t be more custom if each activity came with a monogramed towel. I know that my baby doesn’t care if his milk is cold but that he has a favorite pacifier. My arms feel safer to him than a babysitter’s, and he thinks my silly faces are the most hilarious thing ever.

We live love. Personalized.

As we sat there, the two of us curled up in our rocking chair, I started thinking about how I am a personalized expression of love for the people in my life. Sometimes in grand gestures, but more often, I get to show love in small ways. The intimate consideration of clean laundry. Knowing how my closest friend is feeling by the look on her face. Recognizing a need before it’s verbalized, picking their favorite restaurant without asking, or knowing my man likes ice but no lemon in his water.

Receive love, personalized.

I’ve been a Christian for almost 25 years. This whole time I’ve known that God loves us—

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son …” (John 3:16, NIV).

We’re not lumped in to the total of all human existence to receive group salvation. His love is personal. He’s numbered the hairs on our head (Luke 12:7), and knew our names before we were born (Jeremiah 1:5).

God spoke the world into being. By His words He created day and night, land and ocean, birds and wild animals (Genesis 1). But when it came to us, speaking our creation was too impersonal. God formed man and breathed His breath into Adam’s lungs, then crafted woman from Adam’s rib (Genesis 2).

The Lord thinks of us often (Psalm 139:17-18) and plans good things for our future (Jeremiah 29:11). He longs to carry us close to His heart (Isaiah 40:11) and to fill our lives with good things (James 1:17).

These aren’t generic thoughts and random presents. They’re personalized demonstrations of love from a personal God.

When you walked to the mailbox today and noticed the beauty of tree branches blowing in the wind—that was a gift for you. When you forgot your lunch on the counter and a friend offered to take you out to eat, a sign of God’s provision. When you woke up late and somehow traffic was light enough for you to get to work on time. The Sunday sermon that spoke to your heart. This simple little blog post that you’re reading right now.

“… your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!” (Matthew 6:8, NLV).

God’s love for you is personalized.

Today I’m encouraged to receive God’s love. To pay attention to the little ways He showers me with His affection, and to celebrate the small yet hugely significant ways I get to live as love personalized for those around me.

I hope you’re encouraged to do the same. :)

Thanks Jen! Go check out her awesome blog at www.thejenweaver.com

Social media contact:

Facebook: The Jen Weaver
Twitter: TheJenWeaver
Instagram: thejenweaver

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Guest Post: Lori from The Novel Endeavor!


Hi friends! Today I have a very special new friend of mine on the blog today. Isn't it crazy how you can meet so many awesome people through this virtual space? I love it! Everyone meet Lori from The Novel Endeavor!

Lori is a wife, mom, introvert, and lover of all things books. Her and her husband Chris have worked with college students and traveled throughout the world as missionaries with Cru for the last eight years. About a year ago, they welcomed home their spunky baby girl, Aliana, through adoption. Lori says that Aliana has brought such joy and laughter to their home and has also taught them a lot about herself and her faith in the process! She enjoys reading and writing (always with a warm cup of coffee) and is passionate about adoption and pursuing Jesus above all else.

Lori's post today is titled: "My Flesh Dwells Secure." Take it away Lori! It is an honor to have you on the blog today :) 



Security. So much is wrapped up in that one word that we use so often. As humans, security is a high value for us; we want security in our finances, jobs, relationships, and in our physical safety. But, there’s also a desire for security in our identity, who we are. This might not always be easily observed, but just think about the opposite – all those insecurities that nag at the back of our minds. They voice themselves in questions that run on an infinite loop in our heads…

Am I doing a good enough job?
Will they even like me?
Do these jeans look tight on me?
Is all my hard work worth it?
Will anyone even read this blog post?

Okay, maybe that last question was mine, but I think you know what I’m talking about!

Recently, I have been meditating on Psalm 16 and, let me tell you, it’s one that you could dwell on for days. It’s that good. But these are the verses that have really stuck in my mind:

I have set the Lord always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices;
my flesh also dwells secure.
[Psalm 16:8-9]

What does it mean to “set the Lord always” before us? It means that we let him lead us; we surrender our control, insecurities, and demands to follow him. Let’s be real, this isn’t easy. But there are a myriad of benefits waiting when we take that step to yield to his ways, his wisdom, and his plans. God’s plans, while not always first on our priority list, are actually the ones that are the best for us; he loves his children and sets apart good things for them.

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
[Psalm 16:5-6]

God holds our plans and our futures, but that shouldn’t be a scary thing. In vv. 5-6, we see that he has given us good things, and desires to continue to do so.

Even more than plans and futures, he gives us the security that seems to evade us day to day; he continues to affirm our identity when we are setting earthly things before us rather than him. Verse 8 says that we “shall not be shaken.” When we are led by God, we will not be tossed about by the whims and words of the world around us. We are grounded in something much stronger. Verse 9 says that our hearts will be “glad” and our whole beings will “rejoice”! Joy and gladness are two characteristics of a very satisfied and contented soul, a soul that is affirmed and safe in the leadership of its Creator.

And, finally, our “flesh also dwells secure” (v. 9). I just physically let out an exhausted sigh of relief! How freeing is it to be able to rest because you feel secure and safe? It is possible, but it takes the conscious act of surrendering to our natural tendencies every day.

But, guess what? God has given us a generous portion and a beautiful inheritance AND abundantly more! He has given us his son, Jesus. His son. And through Jesus, he has blessed us with our justification (right standing before him) based on his works, not ours. Believe me, Jesus’s works, and everything else about him, are perfect; ours aren’t just in case you were wondering! So we can have even greater security, more abundant joy, and a radiant gladness about us just because we have Jesus, the greatest gift of all.

Check out the lavishness of God’s love to us shown through Jesus:

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
[Romans 8:1]

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
[Romans 8:32]

These verses are astounding! I am a sinner, born and raised, and I stand before the Lord perfectly loved and lavished upon by him. [Insert spiritual yummy here.]

There is nothing in the world, no religion, food, drug, or relationship, which can bring security and love like our God can. God has demonstrated his love and commitment to us by sending Jesus, his perfect son, to die in order that we might live. He has already shown us that he is trustworthy to follow, so let’s “set the Lord always before [us]” so that we can rest secure.

Connect with Lori on social media below!!!!!!

Instagram: @TheNovelEndeavorLori
Facebook: The Novel Endeavor
Twitter: @novelendeavor
Pinterest: novelendeavor

Please go check out her awesome blog too!!!! 
www.thenoveleendeavor.com