jillbeingstill

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For Those Following Along

Went to a concert tonight with my sister and she was wearing this…

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If you would like to follow along…read this. 😉

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Shining Knight

For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10 NLT

Jesus came here expressly to search out the lost. The original word in Greek is apollymi. It means that which is ruined, lost, or that which is set to be destroyed.

Why? Why leave your throne in Paradise to seek out those that are ruined, lost, or those who are destined for destruction?

Love.

Save is sozo in Greek. It means to save, heal, and deliver. He loves all of you, body, soul  (mind, will and emotions), and spirit.

Salvation. He saves your spirit when you chose to receive His as your Savior. It’s immediate and permanent. No longer destined for destruction are you!

Healing. Physical healing. Emotional healing. Both rights of God’s kids, because of Jesus.

Deliverance. Mainly this is about the mind and mindsets, but can also free the will to make better choices.

Jesus came to completely eradicate any trace of bondage, sickness, and hopelessness from humanity.

Point to ponder while you wander…”For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 NLT

#truelove
#trueknightinshiningarmor

Life is For Living

This morning I was praying about what encouragement to send out today and I heard Romans 8:10. This is the verse:

Christ lives within you, so even though your body will die because of sin, the Spirit gives you life because you have been made right with God.” Romans 8:10

Jesus came to give us life. Not so that we could just exist or barely make it, but so that we would really live full and abundant lives!! In other words, life is for living!!!

The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” John 10:10 AMP

We are spirit. We have a soul (mind, will and emotions). And we live in an earthly body. That body will die. Because, here on earth, death is inevitable.

But death here is not the end.

We are spirit. Spirit doesn’t die like the body. So when we leave this world it’s not the end of life, but the beginning of eternity with Jesus.

For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21 NIV

So live this first life fully, but there’s no reason to fear death. To leave here means we will be with our Savior, Jesus.

Point to ponder while you wander. . . We were given freedom so that we could be free. (Galatians 5:1) We were loved first, so that we can love. (1 John 4:19) And we were given life to live!! (John 10:10) #hope #lovewon #lifeisforliving

Hope is not Frail

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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!

 

Healthy!

Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.” 3 John 1:2 NLT

Declaring that you are both healthy and strong today!

God of Restoration

Today I am thankful that God is a God of restoration.

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10 ESV

Normally I’d dissect this verse and display all the treasure found in those 4 amazical things our God of all Grace will do for us. But today I’m focusing my gratitude on restoration. Today, for me, restoration looks like this…

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For those of you who don’t know the story, here is my tale of woe: About 4 years ago, my Canon Rebel jumped out of my camera bag, rolled down the stairs, and crashed spectacularly at the bottom. I took it to get it repaired, and the guy told me that the good news is the lens is undamaged. The bad news is that mechanism inside the camera that actually captures the image is broken. It would be cheaper to buy a new camera. Yeah. Worst news ever for a photographer.

To say that I was devastated doesn’t begin to cover it. I had just paid that camera off, and a photographer without a camera is like a person missing an appendage. Sound tragic? It should! It was a tragedy to me! I grieved that loss deeply.

Don’t tell me it’s just a camera. Just a possession, a thing…I know that. But many of my dreams include photography, so no camera…no dreams coming true.

Fast forward 4 years to my women’s group having a discussion about dreams. I have a lot of dreams, BIG ONES. But I felt like I needed to talk about photography, the dream I felt had been shelved. I had forgotten how much photography meant to me, until I started telling them about my passion project with God. The one that stirs my heart and moves me to tears. The one that requires a whole lot of money and other people to pull off. The one that I don’t tell people about. Then this beautiful, amazing, generous friend looks at me and says, “I have a camera for you.”

And I cried.

I am still moved by the gravity and meaning of those 6 words. The extravagant seed she sowed into my dreams. It’s at times like this that I’m also grateful God is a rewarder. I cannot wait to see what she reaps for sowing into my dreams.

Something to ponder while you wander…God is the one who restores, but He usually chooses to work through people. Are you willing to let Him work through you? Are you willing to believe in and encourage others. Are you open to investing in others with your time, talent, and finances. You may be the one to change their life.

God believes people are worth investing in, shouldn’t we?