All posts by Jenn Beiswenger

About Jenn Beiswenger

I'm generally a pretty content person, always growing and loving the journey most of the time. My passion was babies for so long, now I'm recalibrating to figure out what else I want to do with my life. I enjoy preparing healthy food for my family, creating Zentangle-inspired artwork, traveling, learning about the Lord's amazing kingdom, connecting with & helping others. My husband, 10-year-old son and I live in Sydney, Australia, where we happily serve the Hurstville New Church congregation. I'm really grateful for the modern technology which helps me stay connected with family & friends overseas!

Front Row or Back Seat?

Do you ever compare yourself to others? Presuming that you’re human, and that it is a human tendency to do so, you presumably have. Unfortunately it seems to be a natural weakness, a tendency we’re all inclined toward, until we overcome it.

I recently heard the story of one of my peers, recounting his life since we were in school together in eighth grade through to our mid-40s. He told of amazing accomplishments, helping people on small and large scales, locally and around the world. I was impressed! Inspired! Discouraged. After my initial reaction of genuine awe and appreciation, my hells latched onto that fleck of comparison, and I felt myself holding his marvellous good deeds on a pedestal and my puny, pathetic life in the gutter.

Once I’d processed those thoughts for a while, I managed to take a step back in an attempt to view our lives more objectively. For one thing, I only heard the good parts from my friend – he was giving a public inspirational talk, so of course he focussed on the inspirational parts. I don’t know what his home life is like, for example; he may be doing all this good stuff at the expense of the people closest to him. For another, it’s not my business to care how much more useful someone else is: I need to concern myself with myself, with my own usefulness and regeneration. If someone inspires me to be more useful than I was, great! But I’m not meant to judge others, I’m meant to evaluate whether I’m doing the best I can do. And anyway, life isn’t a contest or a race: it’s up to each of us to live our own lives according to the principles we hold dear. Continue reading Front Row or Back Seat?

The Lord’s Prayer (All Around Me)

Every week, during our Sunday worship service, we say the Lord’s Prayer together.

Our Father Who art in the heavens,

Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done
As in heaven, so upon the earth.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
for ever.
Amen.
(Matthew 6:9-13)

While I do usually focus on the content of the prayer and the words I’m speaking, sometimes I listen in awe to the voices around me.

I hear the strong voice of my pastor before me, leading us in prayer while at the same time making his own supplications of God.

I hear the voices of the school-aged boys in front of me, some dutifully reciting the words they’ve learned through years of nightly practice, others struggling with this new communication with the Lord. Continue reading The Lord’s Prayer (All Around Me)

Growing Up

As a child, I thought that, as people grew up, they grew up. I presumed that as children grew into adolescents, and adolescents into adults, they matured accordingly, leaving their childish ways behind and adopting new, more refined, more angelic, more ‘right’ habits and perspectives. This is certainly true to an extent, as we can all witness and attest, however it was a shock to my system when I realised that this isn’t as thorough a transformation as I’d naïvely thought – with anyone, and less so for some than for others.

We are taught to turn to the Lord first and foremost; to do as He would have us do, according to His will. Inherent in this is good, or charity, towards others.
Continue reading Growing Up

Failing to succeed

I appreciate when an article inspires one of our writers to continue a conversation. This vignette was sent in to me by Jenn after she read a reflection by Abby a few weeks ago. It is such a profound concept, I love revisiting it. Thanks for this, Jenn. ~Eden

I don’t often play piano for our church services – there are only a few songs that I play, and only play them occasionally. Recently I played a song for our Easter worship service. It’s a fun song–quite up-beat once it gets going. I know it well enough that I’m prone to having my mind wander while playing it, if I’m not careful. On this particular Sunday, it was going well, I was staying with it, until about two-thirds of the way through the piece when I just completely up and drew a blank. I knew exactly where I was in the piece, I just couldn’t think of what came next – and even when I looked at the sheet music (which I hadn’t been following), …they were just dots on the page. I might’ve been able to pick up where I left off, but I wanted to find and pick up where I ought to be, had I kept playing, which of course kept moving further and further along in the song.
Continue reading Failing to succeed