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Looking for a Meaningful Getaway?

You love the ocean breeze, mountain air, woodsy scents, or lake-house reprieve. There’s nothing like drawing close to the Lord through nature and allowing it to restore a weary spirit.

But what about nourishment for the mind? Have you considered taking an excursion that would give your mind a chance to grow closer to the Lord through new knowledge?

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:

1. In one trip, you can visit Creation Museum and Ark Encounter, both located outside the Cincinnati, Ohio area. These attractions are more relevant than ever as schools and textbooks continue to omit God from creation and history. Touring these unique facilities will give you a refresher course in God’s design of the world and equip you with talking points when communicating with others.

2. In another vacation, you can visit the new Museum of the Bible which is opening in Washington, DC on November 17 of this year. It’s being touted as one of the most technologically advanced museums of the world while having some of the oldest Biblical artifacts anywhere. The goal of this massive, multi-media experience is to present the Bible in its entirety in a manner that lets Scripture speak for itself. Plan to visit soon and be a part of what God is going to do when His Word is honored and displayed for minds to absorb, and then is used to declare and worship Him.

I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Heb. 8:10)

The Sorrow of Suicide

Sadly, you have known someone, or of someone, who has taken his/her own life, and this week is no exception as some readers of this blog are deeply mourning the loss of a young lady who was just a junior in high school.

Her parents, sister, and family are experiencing grueling pain, and her teachers, classmates, and friends are in shock and sadness.

Even while having faith in God’s sovereignty and goodness, you may need a method to help you sort through a huge load of swirling emotion pertaining to such a great tragedy.

And when suicide involves a young person, a whole population of youth are trying to function in a daze of questions and feelings. Coping puts harsh demands on their emotional maturity, and today’s media offers the kinds of condolences that often conflict with Christian values. 

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:

Cry with a desire to connect with Him and be comforted by Him.

Let the Psalms give you not only a language for your grief, but a framework to keep you pointed towards His purity and wisdom. It’s popular in some modern circles to be ever-angry with God. Instead, allow Him to gently restore your strength and faith after a season of hurt, doubt, and confusion. He is the only One who can give you peace when you don’t have all the answers.

Make sure every impacted kid and teen has at least one trustworthy adult actively ministering to him/her for a specific amount of time that adequately covers their grief.

Remind young people in your life that their lowest moments in life are not permanent, and teach them not to allow emotions of despair to convince them that there are no other options. On the contrary, discouragement (which can lead to hopelessness) is a sign that it’s time to seek help. Make sure each person grieving this tremendous loss is being well counseled.

Coach your soul to wait for Him and to have expectation from Him. He is good to the soul who seeks Him. Pour out your heart before Him; He is your refuge. As someone who is broken-hearted, He heals you and binds up your wounds. (Ps. 62:5, 8; 147:3; Lam. 3:25)

Do-Overs for College Students

Sometimes the freshman year of college doesn’t turn out so great. Occasionally it happens that two or three of the other years aren’t the best either. College students and their parents are finding the Gospel reaching them in new ways during these tough experiences, and Christian counseling can be especially effective with this population because these unhappy college students are so ready for change and growth.

Jen’s Keeping Room Tips:


1) As hard as you try, it’s nearly impossible to fathom today’s college atmosphere. If your college-aged son or daughter doesn’t seem to be thriving, encourage counseling, but keep in mind that campus-based counselors may have an agenda that differs from your values. There are other great options in this day and age. After working with a number of college students who were in Atlanta this summer, I’ve found that for those who leave for college, FaceTime works great!

2) It’s not a bad thing that your college-aged young adult is going through a hard season and/or needing counseling. The best thing you can do is wait as patiently as possible. And in some cases, that may include waiting as quietly as possible, too. The maturity this journey will produce will be worth any sacrifices you make during this time.


If someone you care about is in college and sinking fast, let them know there are advocates who want to see them succeed. Even if they blew it for a year or two, they can have a fresh start. Those I’m working with are: learning new ways to cope with anxiety, exploring healthier friendships, securing a strong identity, setting productive goals, pursuing emotional maturity, defining better lifestyles, and discovering what the Lord is teaching them through their hardships.

Beloved Current College Students (you know who you are!) –

It’s such a privilege and delight to work with you! I’m praying for this school year and can’t wait to hear about all the ways the Lord is going to move in your life this semester and beyond. I want to come visit each and every one of you and continue to encourage you! Remember – you are released from what held you captive in the past and you are learning to walk in the new way of the Spirit! (Rom. 7:6)

Prospective College Students

I would love to work with you! And we can start in person. I can meet one-on-one with you in my office, or come to your campus. Or you may think it would be helpful if I come speak to your small group or your campus Bible study. We can customize a plan that works according to your circumstances. Whatever you think is best!  You do not have to walk as the rest of (college students) walk…being alienated from the life of God…because of the blindness of their heart…who have given themselves over to lewdness…but you can walk worthy of the calling to which you were called. (Eph. 4:17, 18, 1)


An Upcoming Message You or Your Kids & Teens May Want to Hear

Kids and teens are being significantly persuaded by the culture to believe it is totally acceptable for Christians in this modern age to have pre-marital sex. The weekend of March 18 and 19, Perimeter Church in Johns Creek will be providing a message to address this issue. According to Senior Pastor Randy Pope, his sermon will be appropriate for any young person who is old enough to comprehend. 

This teaching will give kids and teens an opportunity to hear fresh communication of how a good God created sex for good things, and how He protects it from destructive things. Or if your kids are too young or unavailable to come, parents who attend will be equipped for teaching God’s design for sex.

Please click here to learn about service times and other information. The worship style found in the Hanger venue is especially appealing to many of today’s youth. If you cannot attend this weekend, the podcast can be found here later the following week.

In the meantime, there is great power and hope in praying fervently for the next generation to have the wisdom to grasp the holiness of sex, and the need to contain it to God’s order.

“Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24)


“Five for Five.” The Keeping Room is Celebrating a Milestone!

The Keeping Room turns 5 years old this month! And I want to do two things to celebrate with my faithful supporters, counselees, and blog readers. First, there will be a giveaway…and then a write-up to give you some insight into counseling these days.

The Giveaway!

The first 5 people to reach out to me (contact info at the end of this article) will receive a free counseling session for yourself or for a loved one.

Counseling in the 21st Century

The stigma is fading away! There are a few kids and teens that worry about others thinking something is “wrong” with them if they are in counseling, but the vast majority of them are almost willing to brag that they work with a counselor. It can make them feel understood, encouraged, and motivated in a culture that can be negative and discouraging. And there can even be a sense of belonging when peers and friends have worked with the same counselor.

More and more parents are embracing the idea that proactive counseling can save them much stress and worry because it addresses problems when they are still red flags and not yet a full-blown crisis.

There are variations that come into play from family to family when choosing a counselor. Counselor gender can sometimes really make a difference depending on your situation. Or there are times when you need help from a medical professional while also meeting with your Christian counselor. And there are occasions when all family members meet with the same counselor, and other times when separate counselors are preferred.

At the Keeping Room, there are a few things that characterize my style. First, I rely on the Holy Spirit to guide me in my care, prayers, and direction for those I counsel. I might be thinking a certain way when I prepare for an appointment, but while interceding and at the meeting He will give me insight that makes all the difference in what you need.

Second, I am flexible and mobile. If a teenage girl wants to be curled up in a blanket on her bed, sipping coffee in a café, or throw her shoes off in my cozy home office, it’s her choice. If a guy wants to walk his dog or grab Waffle House, I’m game. If parents would like to meet in their living room or deck, I’m ready. If a mom wants to cry on my love seat, I have the kleenex.

Third, productive Christians are my passion. Whether I’m leading a purity group for teen girls or texting with a dad whose son is in a crisis, I want American Christians to live the lives Jesus died for them to live. I believe this is the calling God has placed on my life, and counseling is the tool the Lord has given me to help people live as free and holy Christians.

Finally, I become attached. If you and/or your family are seeing me for counseling, it is my goal that you feel like you’re my only ones. You will be cared for above and beyond the hours you pay for, and I don’t stop fighting in prayer for you until the time of release. Thanks again to all of you who entrust your lives to the Keeping Room. I’m so grateful that I don’t do this alone, but that the great Shepherd enables and empowers me, and shepherds before me model for me how to keep watch over you.

By our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep (Heb. 13:20)…There were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night (Lk. 2:8)… And He shall stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the Name of the Lord his God (Micah 5:4).

Email:  Text: 678-463-1978

Second Call: Girls Group Enrollment Opportunity

Passionate & Pure – affectionately known as “P & P” – is a small group program created and led by Jen Hughes, and purposefully designed to equip godly young women to integrate their faith with daily living, decision-making, and relationships. If you live convenient to the Peachtree Corners, Georgia area, please continue reading to begin discovering whether this group might be a right fit for a teen girl in your life.

There are two unique features of this group program to consider. First, the curriculum and style meets the needs of families and teens who are specifically longing for a dynamic and studious Biblical world-view reinforcement in their lives. Second, P & P meetings are arranged around these committed girls’ schedules, meeting 3-8 times per semester depending on each group’s availability.

Girls frequently describe the P & P gatherings in the following ways:

“It’s like going to a sanctuary and retreat.”

“I love this way of studying the Bible so much.”

“This group always makes me feel refocused.”

“I love how we read Scripture out loud and listen to worship songs.”

“This group helps me feel closer to Jesus.”

“I have grown so much in my faith because of this group.”

“P & P refuels me to go back into the world again.”

Current P & P groups are as follows:

  • Rising 6th grade group (new group forming now!)
  • Rising 7th grade group
  • Rising 8th grade group
  • Middle High group (rising 9th & 10th graders)
  • Senior High group (rising 11th & 12th graders)

For more details, click here, or email Some groups meet over the summer; others will choose to wait until the fall. Contact Jen now to learn more about the process of getting started.

“Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” (2 Tim. 2:21-22)