jillbeingstill

Home » Being Still (Page 2)

Category Archives: Being Still

Time to Bloom

image

Hang in there little bud…it may not yet be your time to bloom, but trust me your day IS coming!

The season has now changed, the bondage of your barren winter has ended, and the season of hiding is over and gone. The rains have soaked the earth, and left it bright with blossoming flowers…” Song of Songs TPT

Still…Raphah

Be still, and know that I am God!I will be honored by every nation.I will be honored throughout the world.” – Psalm 46:10 NLT

Still is H7503 raphah…to sink, relax, let go, abandon, to be quiet.

Visualize sinking in a hot bubble bath and breathing deep.

True Peace

Some times in the middle of the biggest storms you have the deepest peace. That’s the peace Jesus left with us when He ascended, the kind that allows you to sleep in the boat during a hurricane.

Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples. Suddenly, a fierce storm struck the lake, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him up, shouting, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!” Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm. The disciples were amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked. “Even the winds and waves obey him!” Matthew 8:23-27 NLT

To me the biggest miracle wasn’t Jesus calming the storm, it was Jesus being able to rest in the middle of the storm.

Point to ponder while you wander…”Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV

David Had to Wait Too

David was a just a 15 year old kid just being who he was in the middle of nowhere.

Then SUDDENLY he is anointed king over Israel.

Sweet! Overnight success! Well…not exactly…David had to wait 15 years until he was actually made king.

Seven of those years he served the palace of the current king, who was insane, hated him, and tried repeatedly to kill him.The next eight weren’t any better, fighting battles and sleeping in caves.

But how David handled the waiting is what makes me respect him. He vented his emotions and sought God to deliver him from the harrowing and desperate situations he repeatedly found himself in. But he didn’t blame God or threaten to quit or beg to be returned to the safety of his former life. (I say this because I am guilty of blaming God and asking Him to just give me an easier life.)

David always ended his rants with, but I know You are a merciful and gracious God. I know that You are wiser than me, so I hope in You. I trust in You.  So I will endure. I will wait on you.

And He did wait. 15 long and trying years. But after those long years of preparation and learning, David became king. And among his descendants was the One who would save the world.

So waiting sucks…believe me I know it does…but God keeps His Word. He honors His promises. He will do what He said He would do. And that promise isn’t just for you bet for those who come after you.

So hang on. Keep believing. Keep trusting Him.

Point to ponder while you wander…God’s timing isn’t always fast. But He always keeps His Word. So on that journey it is okay to vent and rant TO God about the circumstances along the way. But don’t forget to end your rant with the truth: He is faithful and wise. He is good and kind. He loves you.

Hope is not Frail

image

I painted this about a year ago. It now hangs at the end of my bed. But it used to hang in the kitchen of my old house. The house I lost due to long stretches of unemployment.

After a two year suckfest, my life was rebooted last fall. I moved into a new place, got a new and better job, a newer car, and started going to a new church.

I’ve had my life uprooted and rebooted before, but this time is different. This time I cannot seem to find the rhythm of the new normal. It just doesn’t look like I expected…so I’ve been in a funk.

But it has dawned on me this week that I’m trying to be the old me in the new place, and I’m not the same person I was before the last two years of lean life.

Two years of alternating unemployment and part time work. Two years of leaning completely on God to provide. Two years of learning that God really doesn’t leave nor forsake you. Two years of my reality being one of my worst cast scenarios, and finding that God really is enough. I could go on, but basically it was two years of living Romans 5:3-5.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3-4 NLT

Jill translation: When everything falls apart…and continues to fall apart…no matter what you do. And you keep asking what did I do wrong and how do I fix it? But you can’t fix it, and you didn’t do anything wrong. It’s just life. And sometimes life is hard. You just gotta put one foot in front of the other. Every. Single. Day. Until you get to the other side. And in that suckfest you begin to find joy in the little things again. Things you forgot about. And you understand there really is strength in joy. What is important becomes clearer. Who is important becomes obvious. You realize God is with you in it and He’s loving you. He’s loving you the same as when your tithe was more in a month than you’re now making a month. And He teaches you that He is and always was your provision. And He proves to you that you can face fear because fear is merely a liar and a bully. You weren’t given a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind. So fear doesn’t actually belong to you like it said it did. So you stop calling it “my fear.” And you begin to realize you really are more than a conqueror, you just didn’t have to conquer anything like this before. And you now know that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

I am different now, and stronger, but the best part about this whole deal, or ordeal if you prefer, is that I have a real understanding of hope.

And this hope is not a disappointing fantasy, because we can now experience the endless love of God cascading into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who lives in us!” Romans 5:5 TPT

Hope isn’t a weak or wimpy wish. Hope is not a frail whisper. Hope is a battle cry because your hope means that you trust in and rely on and wait for the Lord. For real. You don’t just say it because you think you should. And it’s awesome. And worth it.

God didn’t send me the two year suckfest. But He used it to draw me closer and He turned it around for my good. And the good is still being revealed a little bit every day.

Bonus point to ponder while you wander…God takes delight in those who hope in and wait on Him.

No, the Lord’s delight is in those who fear him, those who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11 NLT

So I say…

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.” Psalm 64:5-6 NLT

Clutter Piles and God’s Glory

I’m feeling random today.  Prepare yourself.

I guess it’s because I spent a day and a half cleaning my room.  This means that my body was occupied but my mind was left to wander all over the place. My wandering mind can find shenanigans too easily.

And yes, I actually spent a full day and a half cleaning my bedroom.  A full day and a half!  You see, when I get upset or have a lot of change I start piling things around my bed.  I don’t even realize I’m doing it until one day I walk into my room and I can no longer see the floor.  I call it “nesting.”  I’m literally building a protective nest around my bed.  It’s one of those unconscious things I do when I can’t deal with all the things.

And I’ll be honest…I’m struggling to deal with all the things.

Even though all the things are good.

  1.  New place to live.  Inexpensive.  Great Roommates.  I have the biggest room, mostly because I have the most stuff.  Most of the stuff is books and art supplies, and a 5 foot stuffed alligator that a really dreamy friend won for me in England during a study abroad.  Good times bringing that home on the airplane.
  2. New job.  First full time job in over a year.  Pays well.  Benefits.  Good coworkers, including a dreamy one who is the just the sweetest.  Interesting work, most days.  I learn every day, because it’s completely different than anything I’ve ever done.  And I get to organize things in spreadsheets! (Don’t mock me I like organizing things, and I like spreadsheets.)
  3. New car.  2 years old but new to me with low miles.  It’s the color of Yoda and gets like 35 miles to the gallon.  I LOVE IT!
  4. New church.  Well not exactly new, I’ve been there for conferences and to visit friends, but now it’s my church.  The people are fabulous and the word is good.  But for some reason I cannot settle in there.  I don’t know why.  It’s been a battle.  God confirmed that it’s my church.  I have peace about it.  And yet I don’t want to go.  So weird.

Do you see anything bad in this list?  No.  Me either.  And yet I’m struggling to get into any sort of routine in this newness.  And I’ve been lacking in the joy area lately.  No joy=No strength.  I’ve been trying to figure it out, and  I realized two things:

1.  I’m struggling because after the past few years of reoccurring unemployment, having my car repossessed, having my house auctioned, and my credit sliding into the 500’s, I simply do not know how to not struggle.  I keep waiting for my job to go away or some other trauma or drama to occur.

God used these crappy years to show me His faithfulness and provision.  He used this to show me that I don’t have to be afraid.  In feast or famine He’s there.  He never leaves.  He didn’t cause my issues, but he used them to teach me and turn things around for my good.

Despite learning all of this and coming out of it with a new perspective, I cannot settle into my new life.  I think that’s part of the other reason my room was a disaster, I wasn’t unpacking or getting comfortable here because I was waiting for it to turn ugly with my roommates, or to be kicked out or something.

I’m not a low expectations kind of gal.  I’m a dreamer with a big imagination.  If I don’t keep tabs on my thought life…I can be caught rehearsing my best original screenplay Oscar speech.  Seriously.

I’m so frustrated with myself about the expectation of calamity and drama.  I know that we receive what we expect and believe.  If I expend all my energy being afraid and worrying, I’m actually agreeing with the Enemy’s plan for my life.  His plan is to steal from me, to kill my dreams and bring sickness my way, and to destroy my joy and peace.

But Jesus came to give me life and an abundant life at that!  (John 10:10)

So what is my deal?  Why am I building a security nest?  Why am I sad?

Am I not believing God?  Do I doubt Him?  Am I ungrateful?

No.  No.  And no.  I believe God will do all He said He would do.  He just does it in His perfect timing (Which is not my timing, clearly.)  I’m so thankful for my job and home and car and everything else that I’ve been blessed with.  God is good to me!

So again what is my deal?  Or as David puts it, “Why am I discouraged?  Why is my heart so sad?  I will put my hope in God!  I will praise Him again-my Savior and my God.”  Psalm 42:11

This is where my second realization comes into play:

2. My new life isn’t what I expected.

Aw crap.  There’s that expectation word again.

I had a similar breakdown when I turned 25.  My life isn’t what I expected and I’m not where I expected to be at 40, and I’m sad about it.  Some of that has to do with me feeling like I’m failing and like I’ve missed opportunities. I feel like I’ve wasted so much time dealing with my issues that I’ve not been doing anything beneficial for the kingdom.  I feel like a failure.  I feel worthless.

I know that these are lies.  I know that I am valued by God.  I know that I cannot fail unless I quit.  I know that preparation time is not wasted time.  But I’m still struggling with it.

Some of it has to do with God’s timing.  I feel like expired milk.  I feel like Mary and Martha telling Jesus that if He’d have gotten there sooner, Lazarus wouldn’t have died.  Except that I’m saying, “Well Jesus, If you’d only given me what you promised in my 20’s then I wouldn’t have to be starting over again at 40.”

But I know Jesus is good.  I know He doesn’t withhold good gifts.  So why all the waiting?

But when Jesus heard about it he said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No, it happened for the glory of God so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.”  So although Jesus loved Martha, Mary, and Lazarus, he stayed where he was for the next two days.  Finally, he said to his disciples,“Let’s go back to Judea.”John 11:4-6 NLT

The first point of this passage is that Jesus loved Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  And I know that Jesus loves me just as much.  The second point of this passage is that when the situation looks absolutely hopeless from a human point of view, when there’s nothing more that can be done, that’s when miracles happen.  That’s when God shows up and displays His glory for the world to see.

Points to ponder while you wander… You are loved.  It’s never too late.  The bigger the problem the greater display of God’s glory.

PS  If you’re so inclined, read Lazarus’s story in John chapter 4.  It’s an amazing story!

 

Wonderful Wednesday: Don’t Stop Believing

Don’t stop believing!!

As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job’s perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy.” James 5:11 NIV

Running low on strength to persevere?

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He trains me for battle, my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me.” Psalm 18:32 & 34-35 NIV

To be still and know that He is God requires you to believe Him not just believe in Him.

Do you believe He will do what He says He will do? Do you believe He is a God of His word? Do you believe  He is faithful.

If you’re struggling with believing Him, I recommend two things. 1. Worship. Nothing reminds me of who God is and His faithfulness more than worship music. 2.  Study the lives of those mentioned in Hebrews 11, their perseverance, their relationship with God, and God’s faithfulness to them.

Something to ponder while you wander…true perseverance means no matter what you see or feel, you don’t stop believing God.

Better or Bitter

IMG_22971618563759

Hardship and troubles happen to everyone, that’s just life. But how you choose to see those times either creates a bitter and angry you or changes you into a better and stronger you.  Better or bitter, the choice is yours!

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5.

More than I can Handle

I recently read this blog post by Nate Pyle about confronting the lie that God won’t give you more than you can handle.  All I have to say to this is AMEN!

I get so irritated by that trite NON-Biblical saying.  Life will dish out way more than you can take.  It’s life.  It happens.  And it happens to absolutely everyone at one time or another.  No matter your age, race, religion.  No matter what country or city you live it.  Crap happens.  Sometimes it’s deep crap.

I can tell you with certainty that it happens because I’ve been treading in the deep crap end of the pool for months and months.  I haven’t loved the trials and struggles.  I have hated every single minute of the struggle.  No disrespect to the Apostle Paul, but rejoicing in trials is not my thing.

But even though I have hated every minute of this season, I have been learning a lot about myself, what I believe, and about who God really is.  Even in this season of struggle, I have peace.  When you receive letters from your mortgage company threatening foreclosure and your phone rings off the hook with collection calls, peace is a precious commodity.  All I can say is that I would not have made it this far without Jesus and the peace He gives.

 I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”- John 14:27 NLT

I have peace even though there is absolutely nothing I can do to fix this situation by myself.  I need a miracle.  It’s pretty much the only answer to my situation right now.  So I am praying for a miracle and trusting that God is with me in this mess that is more than I can handle.

The other thing that irritates me is when people say, “So where’s your good God now?”  Um. Same place He’s always been.  Right here with me.  Loving me.  Believing in me and rooting me on.  I may not understand or know why, but I do know that I am not alone.  And for now that is what I choose to focus on.  To focus on the fact that I am loved nor am I alone.  For that I am grateful.

I have days where I lose it and I whine and cry and eat whole pints of ice cream.  I know ice cream doesn’t help, but it’s ice cream.  What does help me when my focus is centered on how much my life is sucking at the moment is remembering Job.  He went through about 9 months of trial and sickness, So I read the book of Job.  But not the whole book. Not the parts where his friends try to explain why this is happening, when really they are more clueless than Job is.  Nor the parts about what he lost or his suffering.  I just read the end, chapters 38-40.  It’s where God answers Job and Job gets to know God in a real and tangible way.  It gives me hope to hang on for one more day and the peace squelches out my fear for that day.

If you’re swimming in the deep crap end with me, you don’t want to hear trite sayings.  What you are going through sucks and I am sorry that you are hurting.  I cannot fix it for you or tell you how long you’ll be there.  I can tell you that you are loved. I can tell you that you are not alone.  I am praying today for those who are suffering through a rough season of trials.

 

Not Moved By Circumstances

There’s a difference between knowing in your head that God’s able to be your rock, salvation, defense, provision, refuge, strength, and etc. . . and standing firm in that knowledge no matter what your circumstances look like.  I turn to the Psalms a majority of the time when I am stressed out or my circumstances are not so hot.  David went through a lot of trials and he is a good example on how to vent your emotions and then declare what the Lord says over your circumstances.  David also shows us how not to be swayed in the wind by every single thing that happens to us and around us.  Even when the thing happening to us originated with someone close to us.

Here is the first two verses of Psalm 62:

Truly my soul silently waits for God;
From Him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be greatly moved.” (NKJV)

The I shall not be “greatly” moved, to me, is like saying I am really bothered by this but I will not let it wreck me.  It’s the knowing in your head that God is for you.  Biblical scholars believe that King David wrote Psalm 62 during the time of his son Absalom’s rebellion (Beginning in II Samuel 15).  I can see how the first few verses could be written during the events of II Samuel 15:13-14:

Now a messenger came to David, saying, “The hearts of the men of Israel are with Absalom.”  So David said to all his servants who were with him at Jerusalem, “Arise, and let us flee, or we shall not escape from Absalom. Make haste to depart, lest he overtake us suddenly and bring disaster upon us, and strike the city with the edge of the sword.” (NKJV)

This beginning of this Psalm is David’s way of convincing himself that God is still for him and not against him.  It’s David remembering what God had done and in his head asking, “God’s still for me, right?”

Later in II Samuel 15:25-29, David tests that theory by sending the Ark of Covenant back to Jerusalem.

Then the king said to Zadok, “Carry the ark of God back into the city. If I find favor in the eyes of the Lord, He will bring me back and show me both it and His dwelling place. But if He says thus: ‘I have no delight in you,’ here I am, let Him do to me as seems good to Him.”  The king also said to Zadok the priest, “Are you not a seer? Return to the city in peace, and your two sons with you, Ahimaaz your son, and Jonathan the son of Abiathar.  See, I will wait in the plains of the wilderness until word comes from you to inform me.” Therefore Zadok and Abiathar carried the ark of God back to Jerusalem. And they remained there.” (NKJV)

It is then, I believe that David chose to stand and declare “I WILL WAIT RIGHT HERE FOR THE LORD AND I WILL NOT BE MOVED BY THIS!”  It’s when his head knowledge became practical and he decided to stand no matter what.  Believing that God would defend him.  Then David wrote verses 5-7:

My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation;
He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.
In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.” (NKJV)

David continued on with verse 8, reminding all of us that we can fully trust God at all times.  No matter the circumstances.

“Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.” (NKJV)

God did deliver David from Absalom’s rebellion and he continued to rule the people for the rest of his life.