Devoted Dreamer Podcast with Merritt Onsa

IF YOU HAVE EVER RUN AWAY FROM THE DREAM GOD’S GIVEN YOU, THIS WAS THE EPISODE FOR YOU. If fear has kept you from walking forward in your God-shaped dream, this episode will remind you that you’re not alone. This conversation with Jenni will provide perspective on how to finally move forward even if you can’t see the finish line. In this interview, Jenni gives us the assurance that God is in control and that we can trust Him enough to surrender our dreams to Him. She shares two intimate, real-life stories that are her constant reminders of these...

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Interview on A Time To Dream Radio

A time to dream radio show is A SHORT WAVE RADIO PROGRAM THAT REACHES ISOLATED PARTS OF THE GLOBE. In this interview Jenni candidly discusses her early years, the trauma that accompanied the dysfunction, and her passion for spreading hope and encouraging others. Jenni visits with Donna Skell and Lisa Burkhart Worley on A Time to Dream Short Wave Radio...

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It is Father’s Day. A celebration of love that is woven deep within us. I miss my father. He had a quirky sense of cool that I always admired. A man of few words, he knew just how and when to make me laugh. He was great JOY to me. And no one will fill his space. There are days I almost pick up the phone and call him… And other days that I quietly have a conversation with him on the playground while I swing one of my children. but I don’t feel comfortable asking God for any more of my father, when He gave me so much. Our lives are braided together by time, and faith, and love. I realize how many VICTORIES we were able to share together in our earthly lifetimes. God was able to watch God pry a longstanding, stubborn addiction from my father’s life, and my dad prayed patiently as God found a miraculous way to do the impossible, giving my husband and I our very own biological children. I flip back to a conversation, a set of circumstances, that happened many years ago. I have been thinking about this, intermittingly, for the last few days. David and I had tried to get pregnant for years, without success… until one I bought a pregnancy test and got the “yes” I had been hoping...

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walk the mile with you

if you know me well, you might know….i love shoes. my father started it. although he was extremely conservative when it came to the purchases that he made, all the rules went out the window when he ran across a good pair of shoes… he loved the kind that molded themselves to your feet and became more valuable over time. oh, and he wore socks with his expensive sandles to keep his toes warm. smile. not only do i love shoes, but i love buying shoes for other people. it rarely works out though because shoes are one of those things that you have to try on for yourself. and once you wear them a few times, they are uniquely yours just like the road each of us must walk in this life. you’ve probably heard it said, “never judge a man until you have walked a mile in their shoes.” for some of us, a mile can be a long way, depending on which path you must travel. the world is on edge. weeping and wondering how something so horrific could happen. how liitle children’s lives could be taken so senselessly while so many are grateful that they can hug the ones they love and not have to step into the shoes of those walking that road. i am filled with sorrow too, not only for those families,...

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a turn around

don’t you love it when things turn around for good after you have waited and hoped for them to, without knowing if things will work out, especially if the odds have appeared to be stacked against you. oh, i do. i love it when things turn around. when an uncertain situation turns hopeful when God does things that only God can do. if we walk (or rather crawl) with God in the valley, won’t He let us celebrate with Him on the mountaintop? i have come to expect it, because joy has always followed trials in my life. when i see someone muddling through sorrow or sudden piercing pain, waiting and longing i know the celebration is coming and i begin to petition in my heart… God, bring the good show yourself faithful let us see a miracle with our earthly eyes do what only YOU can do. david and I have been in Oklahoma on his family’s farm. my son came in the other day, upset. momma, daddy is pulling a sick cow out of the pond. my eyes widened. and sure enough, there was a little calf that had been struggling and muddling his way through deep mud and cold water in one of the ponds.. he was weak and exhausted and barely able to respond. water in his nose and lungs and fatiqued all over. they...

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the miracle has already happened.

it was my second round of in vitro.  the maximum amount of hormone inducing medication injected into bruised muscle. trying to start our own family was a commitment that involved driving 45-minutes every other day for blood work and sonograms, and following a strict schedule of medications that were prominently placed on the front of the fridge. i made my way in and scooted onto the table in a private room so they could view and measure the developing eggs. and although the young technicians were surrounded by hopeful women who were facing the challenges of infertility, they did not know the depth of despair one feels when things don’t go well. as they looked on the screen for my developing eggs sacs, one said to the other we may have to cancel the cycle. despite extreme efforts, the results were hardly impressive. when they gave me the most, i produced the least. my body failed me. it was a discouraging, difficult appointment. as i sunk down in my car seat so glad to be alone, i began to talk to the LORD, in private. the rubber had met the road. oh, Jesus.  do you know how it feels to produce fewer eggs than i had last time, despite the increase in medication?to lay on the table and be talked about as if there was nothing in me that could produce something beautiful?Jesus, do you know how...

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what He sees

Something happened a year or so ago. Out of the ordinary. In the middle of daylight. In front of another person that I had met at Starbucks. It was a casual business meeting. The topic… real estate. I sat with a gal who I had never spoken with before.   I am looking to grow my business But I need you to know It is a Christian business. I exist to do God’s work. So, if you tell me you have a new client, I will think that is is wonderful news.. But, if you tell me that you have worked with a new client and God has shown Himself to be personal to you and those he has entrusted you with, I will celebrate! There are a lot of things I do not know, but there is one thing I know for sure: Jesus MUST be at the front of the business.   As we were visiting, I noticed a young African American woman hesitantly stirring in the distance… She seemed to be mustering up courage, so sure that she was not going to be able to do what had been so prominently placed on her heart. Only looking back, can i see it with more clarity.  The stirring and the purpose. She came up to the table where we sat and looked directly at me.. Mam, I...

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//to babble//

to babble: to blurt out impulsively   i need to babble more. oh, please tell me i’m not the only one…. who needs to declare freedom in Jesus after i am done talking to myself. saying things like “you’ll never get there. it takes too much. it will take too long. you don’t have what it takes. you have never done it before.” i need to make a habit of babbling right over those thoughts declaring…”but Jesus can, Jesus has, with Jesus on my side, i can.” i need to babble all day long. are you with me? i need to override the thoughts that defeat me with the truth about the one who has defeated everything… He defeated the enemy and cast him back to hell. He defeated the grave and created a glorious way to be connected for eternity. He has defeated addictions and perfectionism and self-hatred and pride in everyday, real lives.   He is undefeated. undefeated!!!   and as long as I stand with Him, I can claim the power He has to defeat it all.   every time we come back to all the things that we cannot do, the goals that we do not think we can reach let’s babble… about how good God is and how much He has conquered. let’s trust that He can defeat what is defeating us. “I am...

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bury it deep.

I suppose it is the most helpless that I have ever felt, sitting in the doctor’s office, stunned and for once, unable to dictate the course of my future. The doctors predicted that our odds of having children together would be slim to none. Feeling stunned and unable took me by surprise because I had been an achiever for most of my life.  I had sifted through tough stuff and stared impossible straight in the face.  I worked hard to get things done.  Only this time, there was nothing I could do except sit in my bathroom with legs thrown over the side of our jetted tub and drape my Bible over my lap.  Realizing my limitations, I surrendered my dream of having children.   I asked God to speak something {anything} into my seemingly insurmountable situation.  As I watched the water swirl around in the tub, all the moving parts seemed to still and bring me back to God and His Word. I stared expectantly at the text in my Bible until a story leapt off the page and drew me in.  One that can be found in the 32nd and 33rd chapters of the book of Jeremiah.  A story about barren land, bad soil.  Jeremiah must have known this when God came to him and told him to purchase it.  It would have never made sense to count...

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a work of art. a work of our hearts.

david and i are in the smoky mountains trees stand straight up and tall limbs tower over us the water rumbles over big rocks and we marvel at the way God has crafted His creation. this world is a work of art.  this world is a work of God’s heart. one of my favorite things about east tennessee… the small artisan shops where skillful hands shape something new out of raw material we know the price tag on those hand-crafted treasures cannot compensate the artist for the amount of time and care it took to create their piece.  to craft something beautiful and original where there once was only a empty canvas, a shapeless piece of metal, or a clump of potter’s clay. we gaze at each creation with a sense of awe as the artists’ peek from behind their workbenches. this is their work of art, this is a work of their heart.   in the middle of our wanderings, i spot a metal cross with a richly-colored turquoise flower placed in the center i call david over. “that cross, the one with the blue..that one is for my aunt hannah.. oh, the joy it would bring her.” he nods. “yes, that one is for her..” there is no need to make a purchase because she is no longer receiving earthly things. she is seated in the heavens next...

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