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Finger Pointing Is Useless

For better or worse, a child has the childhood they have as a result of their parents choices. Period. I did. You did. Your kids do.

If the child’s parents break the law, it hurts their kids more than anyone else. Trust me, I’ve seen it first hand. It’s heartbreaking. No one wants to see a child be hurt or suffer. No one.

We cannot change a child’s parents or make their decisions for them. BUT…

What we can do about it is to be there for the kids around us. First and foremost, pray for them and their parents. Then invest in them, if you’re able. Encourage and support them. Hug them (when and if that is appropriate). Pay for them to go to a camp. Bring them with you to fun activity that you take your kids on. Tutor. Mentor. Foster. Adopt. Donate your time and/or money to organizations who help kids. Or if God’s put it on your heart, start an organization.

Ranting fixes nothing. Hating and finger pointing changes zip. This post and your post and all the other posts add up to zero.

Changing things and helping people will cost you something. Time. Money. Effort.

Are you willing to put your resources where your mouth is or are you just going to finger point and continue to rant?

My point in posting this is to say 2 things: 1. Kids need the village. Be the village. And 2. Stop blaming the government for everything. Step up and take some responsibility yourself. Some of you do…and I have mad respect for you and how you walk out your life. But I’ve seen some BS rants by people I know just like to complain. And I’m over it. That is the spirit behind this post.

Point to ponder while you wander…Love is a verb. You want to change the world? Then get off your phone. Get out of your chair. DO something. End of my rant.

You Think Too Small

I’ve honestly lost count of the number of times that God has told me that I think too small.

I’d love to tell you that every time He said that it grew my faith and inspired me to speak some words that would amaze all around…

“Show me how to think bigger!”  “Teach me to see like You, to think like You!”  “I want all You have for me!  Bring it on!”  “I’m ready to cliff dive, Jesssuuuuuus!  Let’s dooo it!”

But I’m honest.

So a handful of times the above have happened (except the cliff diving….heights and jumping from said heights are not my jam).  Sometimes I feel brave and let words like that escape my mouth.

But usually it was more along the lines of  “You made me this way, and I like small.”  “Let’s just go with my plan this time, Abba.  We’ll try your way next time.”  “Uh…have you met me?”  “Jesus, let’s just stay here all cuddly.  You’re my guy.  All I need.  Can I just stay right here with YOUUUUU, FOREVERRRRRRR?”

There are times when I’ve rolled my eyes in response to the “too small” comment.

Other times I’ll remind Him of His Word, “Um…point of order God…doesn’t Zechariah 4:10 say “not to despise small beginnings.”

“What is the context, Jillian?”

FYI…the context God showed me is that in verse 6 the Lord told Zerubbabel that it wasn’t by force nor by strength, but by Holy Spirit that Zerubbabel would accomplish what the Lord declared he would do.  So when you get to verse 10…which actually says, “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” (NLT)

Essentially this is God’s way of saying, “Hey Jill. I’ve sent Holy Spirit ahead of you to prepare the way.  I’m even more excited about this project than you!  So what are you waiting on?  Let’s get project started!!”

God loves it when I quote scripture to Him.  It gives Him the opportunity to reveal things to me that blow my mind wide open, and pop my little eyes so wide that I resemble a cartoon character.  Makes His day.

There are also the times that I put my hand up before He has a chance to say anything, and say “Yes, I know.  I think too small.”  Surrender fast.  Like ripping the band-aid off.

Rarer of my responses, is the Jill’s got her sassy pants on, and she’s ready to go toe to toe.  Then I’ll talk a big game about my screenwriting Oscars (That’s Oscars, plural.  And I have a speech if you want to hear it.)  People binge watching television series that came from my own imagination.  Funny shows that both inspire and move people.  My own photo studio.  Multiple galleries with my work.  Shelves of books with my name on the spine (Me and Jesus are productive partners, you know.)  A stack of tear-stained letters from people I’ve never met telling me the words Jesus and I wrote helped them heal, grow, and step out into their own wild unknown.  Book awards.  Dreamy husband who sings to me.  Stacks of money that I get to give away, funding other people’s dreams and visions from God.  A passport so full of stamps they had to give me more pages.

When I pull this kind of Jill-ness, I can see Him smiling at me.  The you’re so cute smile you give a small toddler when they think they have mastered the universe by putting on their own clothes. Their clothes that don’t match.

Then…

just as I’m about to finish…

I feel it….

rising up in the core of my inner most being…

Ephesians 3:20

Here’s the TPT: “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.”

Why am I sharing this?  Well, because it’s true, first and foremost.

But also because I do think too small.  I find myself looking for scraps and thinking I can make this work.  And there are seasons in our lives when all we have are scraps and we do need to just be grateful for the scraps.  I’ve had those seasons.  I’ve lost a house to foreclosure.  I’ve had cars repossessed.  Been under employed and unemployed for far too long.  Had 2 operations in one calendar year.  I lost 3 of the most important people in my life in 5 months, and too many other family members within that same year.  I’ve been betrayed.  I’ve been gutted by loss, and swam in self-pity.  I had a string of sprains and a broken foot.  Then the same week I FINALLY got off crutches, I fell off a ladder in front of 100+ coworkers, including a 2-Star General thank you very much, and cracked my wrist.  Not every day is gonna be a bowl full of cherries, kids.  It’s life.

The difference between believers and everyone else is that we’ve got Jesus.  We’re not in it alone.  We have hope.

Don’t think a pruning season is the end of your growth.  Don’t think a season of loss is now your new permanent life.  God is a great, big, mah-vel-ous God!  And the Dude is straight up funny.  He is joy personified.

For those who don’t believe me, who say show me in the Word…read Psalm 16:11 NKJV “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

You can also reference Nehemiah 8:10 NLT “And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!

And we can add to that Proverbs 17:22 TPT, “A joyful, cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul. But the one whose heart is crushed struggles with sickness and depression.

God is all about the joy.

He does mourn with us.  He is close to the brokenhearted, and does rescue those whose spirits are broken.  He does heal the brokenhearted and bind their wounds, so that they can move forward.  And embrace life again!  Not just life though..Abundant life!

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

Lest you think I’ve begun to rabbit trail, Why am I sharing this?  1.  Because it’s true.  2.  Because I do think too small.  3.  Ah…yeah, no judging.  You do too!

We need to be reminded, you and I, that God is the Great Creator.  His imagination is endless.  His love unending.  He always wants to spend time with us.  He’s never too busy.  And in His generosity, the more time you spend with Him, the more revelation He shares you.  He never runs out of anything.  Ever.  He’s the God who multiplies.

But here’s the part where the rubber meets the road…Are you willing to trust Him?  Do you believe that He is? AND that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him?  Do you believe He is pumped to partner with YOU in YOUR dream?

Do I believe that He enjoys partnering with me from the first line of random, through the not so awesome editing phase, all the way to the published book?  Yes I do.  But I haven’t always.

I’ve quit and told Him I was done, more than once.  I have given the Christian auto responses more often than not, when people asked me questions I didn’t want to answer, or I couldn’t answer because I hadn’t the foggiest idea what I was doing!  But in my own private time, I wrestled and fought to understand.  I’ve cried.  I’ve told God off.  I’ve lamented in the way of Jeremiah and David.  And you know what, I came out on the other side, knowing more about myself and about the God I serve.  I love Him in a way I never could before.  So that’s how I know He’s hilarious.  And sometimes infuriating.  But always in it with me.

Point to ponder while you wander….I ain’t the sweet, pliable, easy type kid, who just says, “Yes, Lord.”  I’m the one with the hard head, that goes around the mountain more than once.  I’m the one whose mouth just gets her into trouble repeatedly.  I’m the one who thinks too small.

And yet, He enjoys my company.  He appreciates when I tell Him first, before anyone else.  He sees me.  He knows me.  And He loves me.

And that is why He continually tells me I think too small.

The Truth About Me & You

So this morning I started thinking about wisdom while reading Proverbs 4. Then I sent out the verse of the day.

God’s word is both alive and life giving! “Fill your thoughts with my words until they penetrate deep into your spirit. Then, as you unwrap my words, they will impart true life and radiant health into the very core of your being.” Proverbs 4:21-22 TPT

And I was inspired me to write this, to share it with you. It is important.

If you are believing something about yourself that causes you to feel less than or to be sad more often than not. Then that belief is a lie that needs to be replaced by what the Word says about you!

I’ve been told that I am annoying, that I’m not worth being with until I am my high school weight and size again (95 lbs in case you’re wondering), that I am invasive, that I am lame, and a host of other things I won’t mention on social media. Some of these things cut me deeply and I carried them for a long time as truth because of who said them to me.

But I was listening to the wrong voices. I should have been listening to this voice….

I am wonderfully made and mah-vel-ous!
For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:13-14 NKJV

I am chosen. I am unique and peculiar and that is by design! I am bathed in mercy. I am necessary, and I have a purpose in life.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10 KJV

The Word also says I am crowned with glory and honor, that I am beautiful, that I am loved, that I was created in His image, that I am more than a conqueror, and that I was made to be in partnership with God.

That isn’t pride…it’s believing what God says about me. Believing a lie about yourself over what God says about you is actually pride. #truthbomb

I am nerdy…full stop true. I am weird…full stop true. I sometimes care about people more than they care about themselves….full stop true. I don’t trust easily and I don’t just let anyone into my inner circle. I am not the best money manager…I’d love to just spend it all doing things with people, giving to people going on missions & charities, or buying things for people than saving. Jesus holds my heart completely. Although I do want to marry a fictional character named Clark Kent. I prefer older people and kids to everyone else.

I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, and not everyone is my cup of tea. But I try to be kind and patient and gracious. I do my best love people like Jesus does but it is not easy.

That being said, I cannot claim to be perfect or even near normal. I tried that path once…it’s stressful and boring. I ended up sick and depressed and I almost married someone completely wrong for me!

Point to ponder while you wander….Maybe it’s because I’m 3 months shy of 43 and am nearing that threshold of being that old lady who just doesn’t care anymore or maybe I’ve finally embraced who I really am on the inside.

Either way I want you to go to the Word and see what it says about you! Ask God to show you verses that will speak to your inner most person. Or private message me if you need some truth and can’t seem to get there.

I may not always have a lot to give but I can always be counted on for bad jokes and encouragement. Truth is that is who I am and how I was designed.

Reading vs Skim Reading

I love to read. When I am into a truly good story, I get mildly obsessed and can generally put down a 300 pager in a day.

But when I read that way, I’m skim reading. Meaning that I am reading it fast enough to get the main things, but I’m not picking up the detailed descriptions or the subtle nuances. That is also why if a book is good I’ll read it more than once. So I’ll see all the fabulous things hidden in plain sight by the author.

This is completely different than how I read The Word or a book about The Word. I can read one verse and ponder in it for several days. Or look up other verses on the same topic and spend several hours reading and rereading these verses until I understand what Jesus is showing me that day.

For example…it took me nearly 2 years to read “Captivating” by Stasi & John Eldredge. That book gutted me. I’d read a paragraph, or a sentence even, and I’d have to go to Jesus with what it brought up in me and let Him help me with it. Once I was healed, I’d go back to that book. This happened repeatedly for nearly 2 years.

One of the best and hardest to read books ever.

With The Word, from a single verse on one day I can get a general overview meaning that inspires me that day, and come back another day and get a deeper meaning from the same verse. A revelation that changes my whole perspective. It’s what I love about The Bible. It’s living and double edged.

I’m currently reading Good or God? by John Bevere. God has revealed some things to me over the years about the Garden of Eden that are being confirmed by this book, and I’m only in chapter 2! So I’m reading it slowly. Pondering. Chewing on it. Going into The Word from the verses mentioned and chewing on that.

What made me write this post today is something that I wish more pastors and teachers would remind people….

…verify what you hear for yourself!

How many people leave church after a sermon and just accept what they’ve been taught without going into The Word for themselves? Without taking it before God and asking Him to reveal how this can be applied to their life and situation.

I’m not judging….believe me…I’ve done it too. It’s easy when you sit under an excellent teacher to just take what they’ve spent hours and years to learn and move on with our day. But how effective is that in growing and maturing you?

Be honest. It isn’t. Not for you or me.

Think back to something you’ve learned in school. Like a foreign language or subject you didn’t care about. I took 2 economics classes as a part of my major, International Relations. I can tell you that economics is about supply and demand and that Adam Smith is the founder of modern economics. That is all I remember from 6 months of study.

So it’s not effective to just listen and not verify or study it for yourself. It only stays for maybe a day or a week at the most. If, we don’t apply what we’ve heard, the excellent teaching we received is wasted.

The person speaking is also human. They may have taken what The Word said and twisted it to support what they want it to say, rather than what it actually says. One of my favorite pastors, Duane Vanderklok, used to remind us every so often that he is just a man, and that we should be checking up on him, by reading The Word ourselves.

I’d like to believe when this happens it wasn’t intentionally done, but there are people in the world with selfish intentions or even dark motivations. We’ve all seen news stories about people who have been fooled by someone claiming to be good.

So it is always best to verify for yourself.

It’s like gossip or “fake news” on the internet. People read it and share it before verifying it’s true. One of my big pet peeves!!

Just because someone said it doesn’t mean it’s true. So if your skim reading your way through life, and never verifying what you’re hearing is true, then you’re probably believing at least one big fat lie. So take some time to verify for yourself.

Point to ponder while you wander… “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25 NKJV

Facts vs Truth

Sometimes your situation just sucks.  You look at the facts and you’re like, yep, it’s over for me now.  This is the battle I’m not strong enough to win, and you start looking for the surrender flag.  Well, before you start waving that little white flag think about King David.  II Samuel 15 tells the story of Absalom betraying and rebelling against his father, King David.  Rather than fighting, King David chooses to flee Jerusalem with his close followers, hoping to spare the city.  I’m guessing he didn’t really want to fight against his son either.  As David flees, he writes Psalm 3 to capture exactly how he’s feeling.

What I appreciate about this Psalm is David is vulnerable with the Lord, sharing his raw emotion about being betrayed, being the subject of ridicule, and feeling like everyone and everything was against him.  He feels all his feelings, as my roommate would say.  But David doesn’t allow himself to be trapped in his “feelings.”  He acknowledges the facts of the situation, but then reminds himself that God is bigger than his circumstances.  He declares the truth over the facts.  Facts are facts.  But truth….ah truth.  Truth is bigger than facts.

Here’s what I mean:

The facts say:  My son has betrayed me.  Many of my own people have sided with him against me.  The rest of the kingdom are talking about me.  Telling each other that God’s against me.  I’ve had to go on the run, AGAIN.  First from Saul and now from my own son!

David could have looked at the reality of the facts and given up.  He could have admitted defeat.  He could have sat under his little cloud of depression and let the lamentation pour out of him.  “Poor me.  Nothing ever goes right for me.  I’ve done what I was supposed to do, I don’t deserve this.  My life is over.  It will  never be good again.  I might as well give up.”  But he didn’t!

Psalm 3:1-2 is David acknowledging the facts of his situation and feeling his feelings.

O Lord, I have so many enemies;
so many are against me.
So many are saying,
“God will never rescue him!”

Psalm 3:3-6 is where David shifts to declaring what He knows to be true.  He reminds himself who God is and who he is to God.

But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;
you are my glory, the one who holds my head high.
I cried out to the Lord,
and he answered me from his holy mountain.

I lay down and slept,
yet I woke up in safety,
for the Lord was watching over me.
I am not afraid of ten thousand enemies
who surround me on every side.

Psalm 3:7-8 is David asking the Lord to change the facts based upon the truth.

Arise, O Lord!
 Rescue me, my God!
Slap all my enemies in the face!
 Shatter the teeth of the wicked!
Victory comes from you, O Lord.
May you bless your people.

David’s situation was real!  He was in a life or death situation here.  There was a real army invading his city, led by his own son.  I’m not making light of the seriousness of this situation.  I wouldn’t make light of anyone’s situation.  I get that facts and reality are real.  I’m not trying to sugar coat and say that bad things never happen.  We live in a world that has evil in it.  Good stuff and bad stuff happens to EVERYONE.  Tragedy and difficult situations occur whether you are at the top of the heap or closer to the bottom.  Jesus, Himself, said, “The father gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.” (Matthew 4:45)  God only gives good gifts, because that is all he has to give.  But because of the state of this world, everyone will face issues and hard times.  It’s just the way that it is right now.

I don’t know what your facts are.  You may be facing foreclosure on your home.   You or someone you love may be fighting for your life against disease or cancer.  Or like David, you may have been betrayed.  If you’re struggling, I am sorry.  Truly.  But if you get caught up in your feelings over the facts, your battle will be harder and longer.  I’m not saying ignore your feelings, because you need to acknowledge how you feel about the situation.  What I’m saying is don’t stay there.  I’m also not telling you to dismiss reality and put your head in the sand and wait for the situation to go away.  I’m far too practical for that nonsense.  What I am saying is that facts change!  You may get a check tomorrow that catches up or pays off all your bills.  You may be healed this very day.  You never know how the goodness of God will show up in your life.  He’s the source of all creativity so it may not be in the way you expect.  Something could happen in 5 minutes that completely changes everything.

Take David’s model and apply it to your situation.  Here’s an example for someone who is unemployed and facing foreclosure of their home:

Facts and feelings:

Lord, I am terrified.  I don’t have a job and I am six months behind on my mortgage and only a few days away from my house being foreclosed on.  Not only will my credit be destroyed by this, but I could lose my home.  I don’t want to be homeless, especially in the winter.  I don’t know what to do!!!

Shift to the truth:

I know I am Your child, Father, and that You love me!  I know that You are my provider.  You have blessed me with well paying jobs in the past.  You have provided for me during my unemployment.  I’ve always had food and money to pay my gas and electric bills.  Thank you for being my provision.  You are good.  You are faithful.  You are Yahweh Yireh!  The God who provides.  The last time I was unemployed you provided me a place to live and provision.  I know that you will continue to provide in this time of unemployment.

Prayer and Declaration:

Arise O Lord and Rescue me, my God!  I cannot do this without you, I need a miracle.  I believe you will provide!  I will receive your provision no matter which way it comes to me.  I thank you for the provision you’ve given me in the past and I thank you for what you are doing now on my behalf.  I declare that my house is paid off in the Name of Yahweh Yireh.  Even though I fear poverty and homelessness, I know your love is bigger than my fear.  I know that your goodness and mercy are bigger than my situation and mistakes.  Thank you for blessing me Father!

The facts in your life may be dire, but those facts are subject to change.  Your identity, who you are in Christ Jesus, does not change because of your circumstances and situations.  Truth is that you are a beloved child of God.  Truth is that greater is He that is within you, than he that is in the world.  Truth is that you are valued by God.  Your worth and value to Him does not change because of the mistakes you made or your circumstances, even if they are bigger than you can handle.  Truth is that God is bigger than any circumstance or situation, and He loves you passionately and unconditionally.