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Power Definitions

But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Grace- Christ’s power that enables us to do what we cannot in our own strength.

Sufficient=To be in posession of unfailing strength.

Power=Strength, miraculous power.

Perfect=to complete, to accomplish, to consummate, to finish, to fulfill.

Weakness=in want of strength.

When Jesus left earth, He sent us Holy Spirit to empower us to do even more than He did. Right?

Right!

So let’s look at this verse as a declaration!

I am empowered with the unfailing strength and miraculous power of Jesus. His strength and miraculous power partners with me in the areas I am in want so that I am able to thrive and do what I couldn’t do on my own. I refuse to be embarrassed by my weak areas, because in those weaknesses Christ’s power is fulfilling its purpose.

Happy Thursday!

Point to ponder while you wander…

The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT

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Hey Judas! You need a Heart Check.

Elijah’s List posted this recently.

WOW! Heart check!!!

Seriously though, take a minute and ponder that.

I’ll wait….

When I pondered…I thought of the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. When Screwtape tells Wormwood to focus the patient’s attention on petty things while he was at church. So the patient wouldn’t focus on the Word and how it applies to himself.

Judas did focus on the petty. The negative. And he remained a sceptic despite seeing miracles right before his eyes. He didn’t read about the miracle of the fish and bread feeding 5,000. He actually ate the bread and fish! He didn’t read about blind eyes being opened, he watched it happen.

Truthfully I feel bad for Judas. He didn’t enjoy His life. He clearly didn’t like himself. Seriously. Judas was with Jesus Himself for 3 years, and never actually absorbed anything about who Jesus was. Jesus was, is, and will always be love personified.

Who spends 3 solid years with Jesus, and comes out worse than where he started?

Truthfully…a lot of people.

What? Why? Who? Sacrilege!!

I know. Because I was one.

I confessed Jesus as my Savior at 16. And promptly tried to be perfect (as in without flaw) and do all the right things. I focused on behavior and looking the part.

Nothing reached my heart.

I couldn’t be perfect. And it frustrated me. My life didn’t change. No miracles happened in my life. And I was disappointed.

I ended up flipping around and going absolutely in the opposite direction. I became more critical. More judgmental. I loved less.

And it took a good 7 years before I gave it another shot. At 16, I shoved the Word at people…but at 25 I started applying the Word inward. I began to deal with my heart issues. My broken places began to heal. It was a process that still continues. It’s a day to day walk.

I can tell you that it’s much easier to point fingers and throw rules at people than it is to love them. It’s easier to criticize, scoff & judge.

But…if you take that pointing the finger and judging everyone path. You won’t heal. You won’t grow.

I think that’s what happened to Judas. I think he allowed his natural skeptic to dismiss miracles. He chose not to receive the love and teaching from Jesus. He chose not to heal and grow.

We have a choice too. Perspective and attitude are everything. Being open isn’t alway easy. Neither is change. Not for me. Not for you. Not for the disciples either.

Let’s be real…the 12 disciples are like us. They screwed up. They didn’t always understand. They acted without thinking. They lost their tempers.

But the difference between Judas and the other 11 is that the 11 grew and changed. They applied what Jesus taught them and walked it out.

Were the perfect? Um…definitely not. And neither are we. Neither are your leaders. We are all human. Doing our best. We are all given a choice.

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT

Judas got to choose too. Unfortunately we all know how that worked out. (Spoiler alert…it can’t get much uglier).

Judas was bitter. I don’t want to be bitter, but some days I see myself heading in that direction.

Judas was a cynic. I don’t want to be an eye rolling cynic, but sometimes I am.

Judus had a greedy, selfish & negative outlook. Sometimes I do too.

I don’t want to be a complainer or a gossiper either. But some days I am.

So this is a heart check for me. To go back to Jesus on the rough days. The days I’m more Judas-like than Jesus-like and ask Him to show me what is going on in my heart and head so I can deal with the root of it and have a better attitude and perspective.

Especially with all the chaos in my life right now…I need more Jesus time. More worship. More Word. And less judgmental attitude. Less pessimism.

Point to ponder while you wander…..

Deep Thought Thursday…Dreaming Someone Else’s Dream

I remember my first introduction to Jane Austen. It was 1996. I was 21, and studying abroad in Derbyshire. The guy I was dating took me to see Emma. The Gweneth Paltrow/Jeremy Northam version, obviously. Jeremy Northam’s Mr. Knightly. Sigh. I loved him instantly. He was my favorite Austen man until I encountered Rupert Penry-Jones’s Captain Wentworth. But I digress….

That same semester my friends and I went to see Pride and Prejudice (in a play form). Who is this Jane Austen? I must check her out.

I remember hearing about Jane Austen’s life for the first time. Realizing she died young. No spouse. No kids. I thought to myself, how sad. This amazing woman left behind no descendants to carry on her legacy. To someone who is passionate about family tree research I was devastated on her behalf.

And honestly she lived the fate I feared.

I wanted to be an Austen heroine…like Anne Eliot who lands her soul mate Captain Wentworth. All the Austen heroines win the man of their particular dreams. The one that uniquely fits them.

With that perspective, I could never understand why Jane chose to be a spinster. To devote herself to writing and to being Cassandra’s (her sister) companion after her fiancée dies. She could have been married and still been a writer.

What I didn’t understand was that, she couldn’t have been the writer she became, had she chosen to keep her engagement. Not in the 1700’s.

When I read her books and watched the movies, I saw all the heroines finding the dream man, so they could get married and have children. How sad that she didn’t get that happily ever after she gave to her heroines. I know I’m repeating myself here, but I was really upset about it.

Growing up, all the women who influenced my life had between 2 and 12 children. My mom. My grandmothers. My aunts. Great aunts. Great Grandmothers. They were mothers first. Everything else in their lives came 2nd and beyond. So my dream as far back as I can remember was to be a wife & mother. I went to college planning on that life. I graduated from college planning that life. I waited for that life. For that dream to come true.

What I realized is that I wasn’t really upset about Jane’s life, she made her choices. What I was really afraid of was not having kids myself.

I turned 28. 32. 37. Then 42. At 42, the rubber hit the road, and I began to grieve. I began to grieve the death of the dream of having children. I grieved it like it truly died. I ugly cried. For months. I never told anyone or talked about it. But I felt it, I assure you. I battled the depression that accompanied this grief for months and months.

At this same time, God asked a friend of mine to pray for me. After a while, God invited her to approach me about it. She asked me how I was doing with the no kids thing. I sobbed again. She continued to pray. I am so grateful for my friends who cover me in prayer, they are gifts.

A few weeks before I turned 43, I had a stunning revelation…I never got what I didn’t want.

What?

The truth is that I wanted children because I was raised in an environment where kids are loved and valued. So I love and value the kids in my life. You only have to know me about 15 minutes before you start hearing about my favorite people in the world, my nieces, nephews, and lil cousins. They are my people.

But I never actually wanted to have kids. I was stunned. I just grieved a dream to the point of depression…for a dream that wasn’t even my own? Really?

How does that happen? How do we acquire dreams that are actually someone else’s? Or someone else’s dream for us?

It happens with kids and sports or ivy league schools, parents living vicariously through their kids. Thinking they’re giving their kids what they never had, but maybe not asking if this is what the kid wants.

No one pushed this dream on me. My mom’s always believed I could be or do anything I wanted. She’s never put her will on me. Not ever.

This was on me.

I didn’t want to ask myself what I really wanted, because I was afraid. Afraid to know what the answer was…afraid to fail, afraid to succeed…because people would expect things of me. Afraid of leading, because what if no one followed.

So in truth, my not being married young, or having kiddos, was the protection of God. Because He knows me. Because He designed me.

Lord, you know everything there is to know about me. You perceive every movement of my heart and soul, and you understand my every thought before it even enters my mind. You are so intimately aware of me, Lord. You read my heart like an open book and you know all the words I’m about to speak before I even start a sentence! You know every step I will take before my journey even begins. You’ve gone into my future to prepare the way, and in kindness you follow behind me to spare me from the harm of my past. With your hand of love upon my life, you impart a blessing to me. This is just too wonderful, deep, and incomprehensible! Your understanding of me brings me wonder and strength.” Psalm 139:1-6 TPT

God knows me better than I know me. Never have I ever been so grateful for ths fact.

I am designed for partnership with Jesus. I am designed for a partnership with a spouse. I am not designed to be a mother in the traditional sense.

My jaw dropped at this revelation. I processed this revelation for weeks and weeks. How is it possible that I don’t want kids?

Who doesn’t want kids? Isn’t that selfish? Abnormal?

How does a person leave a legacy without having kids?

Who will remember me when I’m gone if my family tree ends with me?

Then God showed me something that left me speechless for quite some time…You’re not designed to be an Austen heroine, you’re designed to be a Jane Austen.

Wait, what?

No, I’m not declaring myself to be the new Jane Austen. I’m Jill not Jane.

But God used her life to show me there’s more than one way to have an impact on generations.

Jane was a brilliant author. She wrote stories that are still impacting generations. Maybe it was intentional on her part or maybe it is just how things worked out, but she stands forever as an example that being a wife and a mother is not the only way a woman can have purpose. In her time a woman had two options, marriage or poverty accompanied by shame. Women deserve the right to choose God’s best for them. She used her God given intelligence, wit, and humor to craft incredible stories. That was Jane’s purpose. It wasn’t motherhood.

Then it clicked! I finally got it.

A legacy of words…

That is my actual dream.

That is my actual heart.

That is the legacy I want!

I want to craft stories that people still want to read or watch in 200 years. I want to leave words that inspire. Words that give hope and encourage. Words that reveal the love of the Father, and the greatness of Jesus. Words that remind people that being human is the best there is in all of creation. We were created in God’s image! Nothing else in all of creation was given that honor. I could go on here, but that is not the point of today’s post.

The point is that like Jane, I am a story teller. I can’t help it. It is who I am. I am a scribe. A writer. A lover of words. My purpose is to create stories. I’m still trying to process all of this because I still am stunned by this revelation.

Stunned. But free. For the first time, really free.

I’m not quite sure what to do with all this as I’m still processing…but be assured that writing is my priority. My goal is to write something every day. Blog. Short story. Work on a chapter of one of my longer stories. Send encouraging texts.

We were all created with eternity in mind, and we all have a purpose. One isn’t better or worse. One isn’t greater or lesser. All the body of Christ is important and absolutely necessary. Embrace who God made you to be, and how you are wired. The world needs you to be your authentic self, not a copy of someone else.

I pray that the light of God will illuminate the eyes of your imagination, flooding you with light, until you experience the full revelation of the hope of his calling —that is, the wealth of God’s glorious inheritances that he finds in us, his holy ones! – Ephesians 1:18 TPT

Point to ponder while you wander…

Never doubt God’s mighty power to work in you and accomplish all this. He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination! He will outdo them all, for his miraculous power constantly energizes you.” Ephesians 3:20 TPT

P.S. To all the parents out there…You have a tough job and I commend you for your consistency. I respect you for loving, disciplining, and raising those little humans day in and day out. It’s not easy. But they are worth it. You are a hero. Hang in there!!

Plots, Plans & Purposes! Oh My!

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

The word “thoughts” here means meditates, purposes & plots. God is meditating on & plotting peace for your journey of becoming your best you! Your purpose.

In truth everyone’s purpose is the same. What?

It’s true!

Your purpose is to be healed and restored and partner with Jesus in the passion of your heart. Your dream!

From that place of restoration you will automatically pursue your dream in a healthy and productive way, because it’s who you are!!!

Like the Father, who loves because He is LOVE.❤

Many people think God only has one plan for their life. And they are terrified that they have or will screw it up. I know…because I was one of those many. #fearisaliar

The uniqueness of our purpose is not the purpose itself…as previously stated.

It’s not the dream or passion. Many people may have a similar dream or passion.

Foe example…I am a writer and a photographer…so are multiple other people that I know. More that I haven’t met yet.

Many are significantly more talented, and I am okay with that. I cannot do all the writing and all the picture taking for the whole world. I wouldn’t want to.

I want to do specific writing and photography projects that move me. Because my journey and relationship with Jesus are different than other writers and photographers, what I produce will impact and inspire one set of people. While writing by another bride of Christ will umpact and inspire a whole other set. I love that!

They are fellow writers. They are fellow photographers. My artsy brothers and sisters. Not my competition. I may learn from and be inspired by them, or vice versa. But I will not compare myself or my journey with anyone else. It is a waste of time.

Like me…your journey to purpose depends on your choices. God will plot a new course for you everytime your choices take you away from His original course for your life.

He knows you are human. He is gracious. He is patient. He is kind. He is our Father, leading and teaching us.

The commonality ends there.

You are uniquely handcrafted by the potter. You have a heart’s desire. A passion. A drive to do something specific in this world.

You can choose to pursue this passion on your own, and in your brokenness. You may even be successful or monetarily rich. But fulfillment will never come if you attempt your purpose, your journey, alone. The hole in you will never fill.

The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above.” Proverbs 14:14 NKJV

But…when we partner with Jesus in the passion of our lives it changes the world.

Point to ponder while you wander…

A hope deferred makes the heart sick but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 NLT

Deep Thought Thursday Promise Keeper

God is love. And love is patient, kind and believes the best. (See 1 Corinthians 13)

And yet the majority of people I know, myself included, doubt that God is for us, and wonder if He has forgotten us and His promises to us.

Doubt creeps in on hard days and suddenly we are believing the lie that we are on our own and need to fight for ourselves. We doubt God’s love. We doubt God’s promises. We doubt God’s goodness.

So if today is one of those days of doubting, remember…

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

What a wonderful God we have- He is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the source of every mercy, and the One who so wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

With the Lord a day is like a 1000 years and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:8-9

Point to ponder while you wander…

In the days of doubting remember you can invite Jesus to help you in your doubt. Jesus said “Everything is possible for one who believes.” in Mark 9:23, and immediately a doubting father asked for help to believe.

“‘Everything is possible for one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!'” Mark 9:23-24

Real Deal

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9 NIV

Point to ponder while you wander…Jesus willingly agreed to leave paradise, where He had everything, to be spit on, rejected, and publicly humiliated by those He came to save. All the while living a completely sinless life. His love for you is the real deal.

Deep Thought Thursday: What Job is Really About

I’m currently studying the book of Job. Truthfully…it’s not my favorite.

What do you think the book of Job is about?

Most people, at least by the studies, commentaries, and posts I’ve found, believe Job is about why the righteous suffer.

I disagree. Wholeheartedly.

The book of Job is about relationship.

In the beginning, Job 1-3, Job knew of God. In the end, Job 38-42, Job KNEW God. That my friends is the point of Job’s story.

Are you going through hard times right now? Please save yourself the agony of the why that may never be answered (Job never found out why).

Instead focus on the who. Who is Jesus to you? Who do you want to be?

Use these hard times to grow and be a better person that you were before they happened.

I know it sucks. I’ve been there.

I’ve spent months battling a disease, having surgeries, and lying in a hospital bed. #notontodeath

I’ve lost a house, two cars, and had to depend on other people to help me financially. Literally living on less than $200 a month for over a year. Read more about how I felt going through it here. #pridekiller

I lost 3 of the most important people in the world to me in a 6 month time span. #deepdeepgrief

Sometimes seasons in your life just suck. Sometimes we lose. Sometimes we get sick. Sometimes we suffer.

If you read Hebrews 11, the Hall of Faith, many of them went through rough stuff too! BUT…just like with the 3 boys in the fiery furnace, they were not in it alone! And neither are you!

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel…” Isaiah 43:2-3 NIV

Point to ponder while you wander…

Life is not always easy, even if you are a believer!

BUT every season you go through can help you grow wiser, stronger, more compassionate, and closer to God.

Or you can choose to shrink into resentment, bitterness, and blame God.

The choice is yours.