Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hot tea, John Schneider, and Jesus.

I think my new love language might be hot tea. haha! :) I have such an affection for coffee (affection? addiction?), but lately I've been craving tea. It comes in so many wonderful flavors! Peppermint, Wild Sweet Orange, Cinnamon Spice, Vanilla Roobios, Chai, Earl Grey, Sleepytime (um, yes please)--you name it! If there's an appealing flavor, I'm sure there's a tea to go with it. Plus, its health benefits are through the roof. Why do I always forget how much I love this stuff? haha!

Yesterday, I took a spontaneous vacation day and had a chance to screen a movie that had been sent to FCA for review. Um, wow. I bawled like a little girl. (Or like a perfectly normal grown woman with emotions.) It was called "October Baby," and it's coming out March 23.

I won't give it all away, but it's about a girl who is the survivor of a failed abortion. You follow her journey as she discovers who she is, both literally and spiritually. It's fantastic! But the best part is the relationship between her and her adoptive dad, played by John Schneider. (My sister will just DIE! We're both fans from way back, but she's, like, a megafan. With good reason, of course, as he IS a rock star.)

Man, this dad LOVES his daughter. He's not her biological father, but it's obvious that that makes zero difference to him. That is clearly shown through the pain he experiences as he walks (or tries to) with his daughter through the identity crisis.

Sometimes I can't imagine being a parent who has to watch a child suffer while there's nothing they can do about it. That has to be one of the most heartbreaking experiences in life. And, obviously, every parent has to go through it at some point. You want so badly just to fix your child's problem, but you can't, and it tears you up inside. This person whom you love more than anything in the world is struggling, and there's not a thing you can do to save him or her. How gut-wrenching must that be?

Sure, you could lock them in a closet in your house and try to protect them, but what good would that do? How would that help them? You can talk until you're blue in the face, but they just don't get it. Or, what if it's medical? What if there's cancer? Your hands are completely tied, and the only thing you can do is pray. Wow. I can't imagine.

Kind of reminds me of God as our Father. He gives us choices, and has to watch as we deal with them. He could lock us away and protect us from everything, but He knows that wouldn't help us. We'd never get stronger. We'd never need faith. We'd never know we needed Him. We'd never develop a relationship with Him at all. So, He lets us choose for ourselves, always offering the wise way, but never demanding that we take it. And always there to pick us up when we stumble and redirect us back to His path.

Wow. What a God. Every time I stop to think about who He really is, I feel like I get a little punch in the stomach. It's because I know that I don't have a constant proper perspective of Him. I don't realize who He is and His unbelievable love for me--what He does for me constantly, daily, hourly, by the second. His grace is constantly being poured out on me. His peace is always available. His joy; His very presence. And yet, I forget. I minimize Him. I humanize Him. I ignore Him.

Oh, Father.

The part that really gets me is how willing He is to take me back. The story of the Prodigal Son has always been a favorite of mine, as I feel like a prodigal very often. I go off with my riches and play in the mud pits, ashamed of what I've done and scared to go back. But when I do, He runs to meet me with open arms and throws a party.

Now, let me ask you this: Why would you NOT want this kind of relationship? Why would you NOT want this kind of unconditional love from the God of the entire universe? That's maybe the most baffling thing of all.

Through His Son, Jesus Christ, we are offered forgiveness for EVERYTHING. Every mud puddle we've ever trampled through. Every pig sty we've ever wallowed in. Every sin, every stain. Jesus Christ gave His life so that we could be forgiven and restored completely. And even more, that we could LIVE--both here on earth and forever with Him. That we could have an abundant, full life here and go on to live in relationship with Him when we transition to heaven.

Man...If you don't know Jesus, you have GOT to. He is the everything you've ever wanted. He's the everything you've ever needed. He's the everything! You've got to get Him. You've got to allow Him to get you! You've got to. How can you possibly live without Him? All your pain, all your sin, all your trouble--you can take it to Him!! And He will love you, care for you, forgive you, carry you. Just invite Him in! He stands at the door of your heart and knocks. Please, let Him in. It's not just about "fire insurance" and avoiding hell. It's about living in peace and joy here on earth! Let Him be the Father you've always wanted. He LOVES you!

With that being said, I'm out.


Monday, January 16, 2012

Closing Tebow Thoughts

I wonder if this isn't a sign of maturity. Last week the Mighty Man and I went on a date before he left town for a week. It was to Jiffy Lube for mutual oil changes. hahaha! :) You might be over 30 when... :) I don't mind. I think it was awesome! Totally responsible. :) We're growing up. :) Define irony, though. Right after the oil change, I got home and checked my mail only to find a coupon for $15 off at Jiffy Lube waiting in my mailbox. (*sigh*) Oh, well. :) Maybe that's encouragement to get it done more regularly.

Since my last post, there has been so much going on! I had a ton of feedback from my post on Tim Tebow, which was awesome. Some folks agreed; some didn't. And that was awesome! Certainly the whole point of this was to talk about it and to seek/find the Lord.

I really loved watching the Tebow Mania play out. It raised so many questions and forced Christians to evaluate their personal level of public witness. What they believed about it and what they were comfortable sharing and why. What kind of public witness we all are called to. It was highly entertaining to watch some of the Facebook discussions every time Tim would make a new statement (or score another crazy-awesome touchdown).

Personally, I thought it was completely awesome. His heart was so sincere in his desire to honor and love the Lord and to share the name of Jesus. I fully believe that all Tim wanted to do was to let others know that they had a Savior available to them. That he wasn't operating in his own strength, but in the strength of the Lord. Who on earth would fight that?

My opinion? Any naysaying was based in selfishness. People made it about themselves and what they were comfortable with rather than allowing a child of God to express himself in the way in which he wanted. It reminded me of Scripture saying that the would would hate Christians because of Christ. I believe that's what happened with Tim. And what was truly sad was that most of the hating came from the Body of Christ. AHH! Why on earth was that?

Here was someone who had the guts to take a HUGE stand for Christ, and all some folks wanted to do was to tear him down. Why? Why on earth would you want to stop someone from bringing glory to the Lord? Tim wasn't saying anything that was out of line with Scripture. "I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me the ability..." There's NOTHING wrong with that. He never said God had caused him to win; he just said that God had given him the abilities that he used on the field. I'm sure if someone had asked him, he would have said that God gave Tom Brady the same ability to beat them last Saturday night.

What is wrong with that? To me, nothing. I loved every minute of it. I, honestly, WISHED that I had half the courage of Tim Tebow to just speak the name of Jesus and not care what kind of fiery darts came at me as a result. Isn't that right in line with Paul's prayer in Ephesians 6:19-21:

"Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should."

Why were we so busy tearing down this courageous heart instead of praying that he be courageous enough to keep standing for Christ? That just makes me angry.

Aren't we one Body of believers? Shouldn't we be empowering each other to be who God has called us to be at the moment? I believe Tim's role from the Lord was to proclaim the Lord's name while he was on a big stage. And I believe we should have been praying for him the whole time and then just focusing on doing our part: being ready to answer the questions of faith that came up as a result.

Friends, let's stop trying to control each other and let God take care of the actions of others. It's not our responsibility to manage those in the spotlight. Rather, let's focus our own hearts on the Lord and on seeking Him in our own lives. Let's pray for the Body of Christ and focus on what God has called us to do--not on what He's called others to do.

I'm excited and encouraged! I can't wait to see what the Lord continues to do in the world of sports. This season, it was headlined by Tebow Mania. Who knows what next season will bring? Or what the Super Bowl will bring yet this year? Either way, I know that He's at work in all things, whether we can see it in the life of the main players or not.

Praise God for His love and mercy to us all! :)

Love you guys!
- Jill

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Passion, Purpose and Spilled Milk

Funny story. So, last night, I was getting ready for bed and getting ready to pour myself a glass of milk like I always do. Well, I have a habit of always shaking the carton before I pour it. Don’t know why. Just habit. So, I go to shake it not realizing that I’d already taken the lid off. Haha! Yep! Milk flew everywhere, just like a scene from out of a sitcom. I busted a gut. It was hilarious! The miser in me, though, was angry that we’d wasted, like, $.50, though. Haha! :) But, truly, there is NO use crying over spilled milk.

I’ve been having a BLAST this week. The kind folks at my book publishers gave me my first freelance editing project, and I’m just living it up! I’m so thankful for this opportunity for two reasons. One: Because I’m getting to read a very cool book that is challenging me spiritually and
bringing me closer to Christ. Two: Because I am learning more about my talents and how much they bring me joy and glory to God.

This weekend, the KC Star ran a section for those who were trying to start fresh this year and discover their passions. They said that one clear way to find your area of passion is to list out the things you do that make you lose track of time. I thought about that for a while, and because I’m
such a clock-watcher, I couldn’t think of many. But when I sat down to edit this project, I quickly found out that editing is one of my things! I absolutely love being able to take someone’s thoughts and make them clear and concise in written word. It’s so much fun! And I know it’s such a gift from God. And the best part is that it DOES bring Him glory! Because I can take the
talents He’s given me and put them to work for His Kingdom by helping Christians communicate lessons and truth to others, I am privileged to help advance His Kingdom here on earth. HALLELUJAH!! :)

I want to be careful here and make sure that I don’t communicate that you have to work in quote-unquote ministry in order to glorify God. Totally not true. My Mighty Man’s dad is gifted with numbers, and he’s able to bring glory to God by accounting. My Momsy is able to bring glory to
God through her attention to detail in a clerical role in which she gets to use another gift for His Kingdom: her people skills. (She’s such a prayer warrior and sweetheart to those around her—and that’s a talent/gift!) But what I’m saying is that when you strike that chord of combining what you are good at with what you love, you really hit a God-given sweet spot. And I believe that He’s created us all to discover that. It pleases Him when we are filled with joy by serving Him. Scripture tells us that we were created to enjoy our work, and I fully believe that we can when we are operating in His strength and gifts.

Okay, second note: This doesn’t mean you’re in the wrong spot if you hate your job. That’s between you and God. It could be a relational issue, a time-management issue, or a variety of other things. But that’s between you and God whether or not you are in a position of maximizing your gifts and talents. What I can encourage you to do is to pray about it and seek out the areas of passion that He has instilled in you. He gave you gifts for areason and wants to use them to bless you, others and the world around you. To make a difference in the lives of others by showing His truth and love and character—one aspect of which will be His joy, which you will display as you work.

So, off I go to edit some more. Good thing is that it’s also magazine copy deadline week, so I’m getting double-duty of editing for the next few days, both at work and at home. Yee haw!!! (Mighty Man, I miss the heck out of you, though! My computer is no match for the joy you bring me. Guess I have a little lesson to learn in time-management as I discover these passions, too.) :)

Here’s to praying we all can find our passions in life and live them out in the full, abundant life that Christ promised in John 10:10.

Love and hugs!
- Jill