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“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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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
He Knew You First
“My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:15-16 NIV
Your parents may have titled you; planned, a surprise, the oops, an unwanted mistake, bonus child, or a even miracle. But God knew you intimately before you were created, and watched you as you formed. He saw you and loved you even before anyone else knew you existed. He sees you and loves you still.
Point to ponder while you wander…ordained means written or recorded. This means that before you were created you were assigned a purpose. It also means God knew, then, the choices you would make. Wise and unwise. Yet He loves and continually pursues you.
“Instead, they saw that God had given me the responsibility of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles, just as he had given Peter the responsibility of preaching to the Jews. For the same God who worked through Peter as the apostle to the Jews also worked through me as the apostle to the Gentiles.” 2:7-8 NLT
God wants His love reach all human beings. Whether you’re responsible for intercession, wrangling toddlers, teaching, writing, impacting the business world, this nation or another nation; what you do matters!
Paul loved his people. He wanted to minister to them, but he was called to the Gentiles. So that’s who he focused on. And we are the fruit of his obedience.
No matter where your area of responsibility is…your obedience matters too.
Point to ponder while you wander…the same God who enabled and empowered Peter and Paul will enable and empower you in your area of responsibility.
Musical Monday-Dream for You
Today’s encouraging Musical Monday song is Dream for You by Casting Crowns.
Your plans for the future might be good but God’s are bigger and better. Trust me on this. For the past year, God has been taking my little itty bity dreams and plans and showing me His version for me. Let me tell you, even with my stellar imagination, God’s creative powers are vastly superior to mine!
“No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him. But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you.” I Corinthians 2:9 MSG
This scripture has been proven again and again in my life this year as I seek to partner with Him in all He has for me. Knowing that God believes that I am capable of achieving these dreams in partnership with Him, has not only bolstered my confidence and made me want to take risks, it’s allowed me to let go of the things that have been holding me back.
One by one I’ve been laying waste to every single back up plan I’ve ever had and moving forward in what God has for me. Is it scary? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. I’ve never been happier or more excited in my life.
PS: I know the details what God’s doing in my life have been vague. Sorry, but that is on purpose. I have a policy that I don’t share what’s going on in my life with everyone until I have victory in it. I do share it with people who are prayer partnering with me. Specific people the Lord has put in my life for this purpose.
With social media and such it’s easy to put every single bad day, bad mood and negative thing in your life out for the world to comment on. I do not do this. I will not do this. Like David, I take my emotions and situations and vent them to the Lord and a grand total of 2 other people. Two people who I trust to not let me get away with wallowing. Two people who intercede for me like I intercede for them. The information that goes out to everyone else is filtered. It has to be.
My goal in this blog and in everything else I do is to encourage people. Most of you know exactly what you’ve done wrong and your issues. You don’t need me for that. What you do need is someone to remind you who God says you are, and that you are deeply loved. It is not too late to start making good choices. God is for you not against you. Just like God has big plans and dreams for me, He has them for you too. Yours will be vastly different from mine because we are two completely different people with different gifts and talents. I want to see you be the best you that you can be!!!
And I promise you this, when victory comes in the situations and circumstances I am facing. You and everyone else will hear what the Lord has done for me. Until then it is encouragement all day every day!
Comparison is the Thief of Joy
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” Romans 12:3 NLT
God loves you. He made you on purpose for a purpose and gave you the measure of faith you will need. Don’t compare yourself or your purpose to anyone else.
Comparison is a thief that will steal your joy, and therefore depletes your strength, as much of our strength comes from joy. In addition will do one of two things: puff you with feelings of superiority or deflate you with feelings of worthlessness.
If you see yourself as less than, you may not bother doing your best. You may not even try. You may think it brilliant to be a carbon copy of someone else. Your love for others may be replaced with envy and jealously or even loathing and hatred.
God wants you to stop trying to be someone else! You have value. You are loved. Your identity is in Him. He made you with care so that He can love you. He needs you to be you because you are vital and important, even if it doesn’t feel that way. The world needs what you have inside you.
If you are feeling superior because of your gifts, abilities, or position you are in danger of being puffed up with vanity and pride. Being puffed up steals your love for others and separates you from people. You may begin to speak condescendingly. You may feel entitled. You may begin to treat people poorly.
God wants you to know that He loves you and values you. He made you with care so He could love you. He entrusted you with these gifts to be a blessing, not to lord yourself over people. You need what is in others just as much as they need you.
Let God love you. Receive it so you can love God in return. The next step is to learn who you are in Him, therefore learning to love yourself properly and in balance. Then you are able to love others as you love yourself as Jesus commanded in Matthew 22:37-40
There’s a reason I Corinthians 13 (AKA the love chapter) is sandwiched between two chapters on gifts and abilities. Comparison is the thief of joy and the opposite of love.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” I Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT
I will leave you with this…
Jesus never once compared Himself to anyone, nor did He say to any disciple, “Why can’t you be more like so and so?” God values us individually but created us to be a unified family. Comparison is a destroyer of unity in the family, as much as it is the thief of joy.
I had one simple task.
Install new door handle on the bathroom door. (Funny story about my roommate being trapped in the bathroom when it broke and my panic thinking I may have to break the door down to rescue her…but that would distract us from what I was saying. What was I saying? Oh yeah…one simple task.)
That’s it. The same one simple task I’ve had since I bought the new handle 4 days ago.
So I installed the latch and the strike. Easy peasy. 2 whole minutes. Then I hit a snag. The new handle base is ever so slightly smaller than the previous one. Crap. Now I need to paint. I love to paint. But I’m not wearing paint clothes and I ALWAYS get paint on myself and my clothes. ALWAYS. I seriously have 3 long sleeve and 3 short sleeve painting shirts, a pair of painting jeans, a pair of painting sweats and a pair of painting shorts. I had more but I recently purged. I also have painting socks and shoes…but I digress. I decided to brave it and paint without paint clothes…because I need to get back to writing.
So I touch up the paint. For the first time I didn’t get paint on my clothes. All over my hand, but not the clothes! Victory!! Happy dance. Oooh! I need dancing music. Where’s my iPod?
Mid-way through Everything is Awesome I realized I now have to wait for the paint to dry before I can finish installing the handle. Crap. What should I do while I wait? Oooh! I know! I can paint the sides of the guest room door that I somehow forgot to paint when I painted the front and back of the door. No. That would require paint clothes for sure and a tarp so that I don’t get any more paint on the carpet. And if I start painting then I will want to pull out my canvases and work on one of my in process masterpieces. (I use the word masterpieces loosely.) This will completely hinder my plan of writing all day.
What’s the point of all this random (besides giving me something to do while I wait for the paint to dry)?
The point is how many times do we get “so busy” and distracted by little things? They may even be good things or shiny things. But being busy actually prevents us from focusing on the important things for our purpose, goals, and dreams.
Do yourself a favor and take some time with the Lord today about your distractions. Ask Him for wisdom and revelation about your purpose (the big picture/long term goal). The thing that’s so big it requires partnership with Him. What about the short term? What’s in your hot little hands right now that you need to focus on? What are the things distracting you that need to be set aside or let go of?
Ephesians 1:15-19, tells us that we can have a spirit of wisdom and revelation to understand what God has for us in the short term (our calling…i.e. what is in our hands right this minute) and long term (our purpose). If you ask Him, He will answer.
Now…I need to go finish installing my bathroom door handle. Then I need to focus on my current writing project.
Vortex of ideas…
My head has been a swirling vortex of ideas this whole week. SO many things on my mind. I’ve thoughts and even notes but I’ve struggled a bit with getting them in a format that is understandable or readable by anyone but me. So I haven’t blogged this week.
And now it’s Friday. Meaning it’s my last chance for the week to put something encouraging into the blogosphere. I can’t let that opportunity pass me by. So please ponder this…
God spoke everything into existence. (Genesis 1:1-25) Do you know the only thing He didn’t speak into existence? Humans. We were formed and lovingly created. (Genesis 1:26-28) We were given life when God breathed into us. (Genesis 2:4-7) We are the clay and He is our potter. (Isaiah 64:8)
You were made by God with purpose, for a purpose and on purpose.
Everything God makes is beautiful. God made you. Therefore you are beautiful.
Quote of the Day: What we are is God’s gift to us. Who we become is our gift to God. -Unknown
Abiding in God
Today’s Deep Thought: If you really want to do big things, you must learn to abide in God
Jesus, Himself, said, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples. As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 4:6-11
This speaks to me of becoming one with God, entering a true partnership. We do our part, God does His.
Our part is to obey what God has told us to do even if it doesn’t make sense. Even if we don’t understand why. Then we rest, knowing God is faithful. Then, we wait. We trust. Be believe. We speak His word. We stand on His promises. We praise Him for what He’s doing and going to do. We thank Him for what He’s done. We seek His presence. And then we receive from Him. This is our part.
God’s part is everything else. Yes. You heard me. Everything else is God’s part. He’s a big God so it’s easy for Him. But He needs you to partner with Him. He needs you to trust Him. He needs you to abide.
You will have amazing adventures with Him. You will do things that you never dreamt or imagined were possible. But you won’t be doing them alone. You’ll be doing them with Him and in His power. That’s why being connected to the vine is so essential! We need His power to do those amazing things.
Abiding in God is remaining steadfast. Believing that no matter the way we feel or what the situation looks like God is who He says He is and will do what He said He will do.
God abiding in us means that He strengthens us every day. Fresh anointing. Fresh grace. More love. He never leaves or forsakes us.
Abide: To remain; continue; stay. To endure, sustain. To wait for; await. To accept without opposition or question. To act in accord with; to submit to; agree to. To remain steadfast or faithful to; keep. Synonyms: 1. wait. 2. live. 3. persevere, endure.