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When two selfish people get married

Our family literally just came off tour with Viruspalooza, a single city event, that took out all six of us in less than 5 days.

It was brutal.

I was no doubt cleaning up messes from Reagan just hours after being violently ill myself.  Jason’s uniform for 4 days was Lysol, Clorox and black rubber gloves.
Until Day 5 when it took him down.
Just hours earlier I had told him, “You know, you’ve come a long way since our early days of marriage…”

He said, “I knew you were going to bring that up…”

“That” was when we were fresh faced and newly married and I got food poisoning.
I got SO sick.
While taking a shower, he came in, gagged and told me, “Oh, babe, (gag) I’m sorry, (wretch) you’re gonna have to clean that, (gag ) up yourself.”

Exit stage left.

I learned very quickly that boys do not handle illness the same way girls do.  I think God made us that way for a reason.  You know, the whole baby growing thing we are responsible for…

I also learned very quickly during our near death experience this past week that I would rather take care of all four children vomiting and diarrhea-ing simultaneously than take care of ONE sick Jason.
It’s shameful.
And I really had to repent for it.
I was resentful that my sick day, which I never take for myself, another mom thing I think, had all six of us home and included fun activities such as “hey let’s ask mom stupid questions in 3 minute intervals”and “can you help me with my 14 page Math homework that is due tomorrow?”
Where as Jason’s sick day consisted of TWO solitary days of complete quiet and restoration.

I was ready for Jason to put on his big boy panties and move on.
Because, you know, I did.
Why can’t he be more like me?
A week after a C-section I was moving a classroom.
Two days after having my gall bladder removed I was scrubbing a kitchen floor because we had a house to sell.
C’mon people.  We got stuff to do.
Did I mention I had to repent?  God will do that to you when you’re being a baby.  It’s dumb.

Maybe I’m just jealous that Jason is better at resting than I am.
Maybe I’m sad that he can sit and just be and I feel like my day isn’t meaningful unless I’m running around at breakneck speed.

This time not so long ago, a fresh faced Jill was gearing up to marry a baby faced Jason.  My mom and I were knee deep in pew bows, bridesmaid dresses, flowers and food.
This Saturday, Jason and I will celebrate our 17th anniversary.

 

Over the past 20 years together Jason has loved me more than I deserve.  He’s such a good man.
He has loved me way more than I have loved myself.
He has loved me when I’m happy and when I’m in a deep dark.
He works hard.
He cooks, cleans, does the dishes, washes hair, loves Jesus and his kids.
He provides for us through his creativity and love for our church and through the back breaking work of our pressure washing business.

There are sometimes when life gets hard and the kids are nuts and our house seems like it will explode at the sheer crazy it is trying to contain and I think, “This is it.  He’s going to leave.”

But he never does.

As a young girl I never prayed for my future husband.  I never really knew I needed to.  I’m so thankful that God gave me more than I deserve when He gave me Jay.

I went to hear Amanda Wilcox minister on Sunday and she said something that really summed up my feelings of resentment.  She said, “If you feel entitled to something you can’t feel thankful for it.”
Thank you Holy Ghost.
I felt entitled to Jason and all he does for our family.
Like the universe owes me a husband who will take care of me the way I want.
Without much in return.
This isn’t a post lauding and magnifying my husband.
He’s human and subject to sin and error too.
No one is perfect.
This is a post about sin in our own lives, owning up to it, and making a change.  A post about being grateful for what is right in front of you and counting that blessing.  No matter how big and obvious or how small and seemingly insignificant it is.
Count it.

3

Go Out and Play

Have you ever watched kids play?  Someone is always running in and out of the house and this means two things: I have flies in my house and someone is always playing outside.  Sometimes I like to sneak outside or peek out the window to watch them play.  Some call that stalking, I call it “unaware observation.”  One time it was really quiet in the house and that typically is a cause for alarm.  I called out for the girls with no answer.  I looked out the kitchen window and did not see them anywhere.  I went out the front door and walked around to the back of the house only to see them sitting together side by side just talkin up a storm and digging in the dirt.  It was so precious.  I often look out side only to see Reagan in a tree with a walkie talkie.  Who he is talking to is beyond me.  But he is so happy.  As soon as it makes me smile, a sadness hits my heart.  We don’t play anymore.  I remember running in the house as a Kindergartner to change my clothes and run right back outside to play.

When did I stop playing?
7 year old Jill did not go a day without some kind of adventure.
37 year old Jill?
Not so much.

I wrote this short piece several years ago after a very dear friend of mine shared a dream she had and it convicts me every time I think of it.
We need to get our play back.
No matter how old we are.

We took our youth group to Kings Island last week and I saw the most precious sight.  While sitting on the Scrambler, I looked over and saw a white haired little grandma, every bit of 80 years old.  Ready to ride.  As the ride started up, her hands were in the air and she squealed and laughed the entire ride.  I want to be her!!  I want to still be playing at 80 years old!  Which you know what that means?  I need to start playing.  Again.  Now.

girl swinging

There once was a woman who was heavy.
She was heavy with burdens and worries and fears she was not meant to carry.
She went to bed one evening worn down by the weight of what she was carrying, closed her swollen,
tear filled eyes and whispered a weary prayer to the Lord.

She soon fell asleep and was carried into her dreams.
There, she saw a little girl.  She was playing outside, swinging on a
swing set, her skin soaking up the warm, golden sunlight.
Her eyes were closed and her long hair was being brushed by the wind as she swung higher and higher.
As her feet stretched to touch the clouds she threw her head back with reckless abandon and
squealed with delight in the beautiful summer day.  As she stood there the woman could feel
sadness wash over her as she watched this little girl play, completely uninhibited with the world
around her.  This little girl had no worries, no cares, no fears.

It was then that the Lord appeared gently beside her and whispered to the woman.
He tenderly said, “This is you my child.  This is you when you completely trusted me.  
When you had no worries.
 This is when I had complete control of your life.  
You are not meant to take on this
world.  Your job is to give them to me.

Give them to Me and go out and play.”

.

That little girl is inside all of us.
The little girl, whose biggest problem was once not having enough daylight.
Now, time is the enemy and we never have “enough”.
The Lord’s greatest desire, in fact, the very reason He created us, was to do nothing but rely on Him.
His strength.
His mercy.
His grace.
His patience.
His wisdom.

Tired of trying to do it all?
Of trying to figure it all out?
Make things happen?

It can be a heavy cross to bear that was not meant for us.  True freedom IS in Christ.  John 16:33 says He has already overcame the world and John 10:10 says God’s desire is for us to have a “better life than we could ever dream of .”
So why are we re-inventing the wheel?

“Thanks for offering God…but I got this.”

Think you can do a better job than the Savior of the world?
How’s that working out for you?

How bout we promise to spend some time discovering that little girl again, trust God at His word.
That He has it all under control.
And go out and play.

2

Apparently Frazzled

apparently frazzled

 Ever have one of those mornings?  Yeah.  Me too.  Thankfully God has helped me “reign it in” multiple times because I’ve never been charged with assault and battery.
Yay!
I came close one morning though.  By a sheer miracle of God we all made it to school…dressed, fed AND on time!  I’m working around my desk when a lady I know from the community comes into the Library and says, “Oh hey!  I saw you all this weekend at (insert random community church event).  I’m shaking my head trying to not make my annoyance of her too obvious.  *backstory…our boys are in school together and she’s at our school some.  She’s super opinionated and mouthy and God give me grace when I see her.  You know, some people just rub you the wrong way.  Ahem.  She is my “rubber the wrong wayer.”
I’m smiling, reminiscing at the great time we had.  Jay had something to do so it was just me and the 4 kids running around this farm/complex where a local church often has community events.  Bonfires, inflatables, candy…FUN!  We had a tremendous time.  I gave the oldest some freedom and let him cut from us to run with his friends.  It was just fun.  Her next sentence snapped me from my walk down memory lane… “Yeah, you looked really…frazzled.”

Aaaand…there it is.
It’s 7:50 am and I already want to punch someone in the face.  Monday.  You cruel, cruel vixen.

I immediately felt defensive.  Scrambling for the right words to change her opinion of me and what she thought of me on that night, (why I care is beyond me) I smiled real big and said, “No way!  We were having a terrific time!  I have no idea why you’d think that!  We had a blast!”

Then, as if channeling my inner Kelly Kapowski, I was saved by the bell when the bell rang for 1st period.
Shew, that was a close one.
Assault and battery 0–Jill/God 1.

Now…get out muh Library. 
In the name of Jesus, of course….

As I pondered…ahem, stewed on her words and my appearance that night, I hated the fact that even when I was having a wonderful time, my face came across as being stressed.  I guess 4 kids will do that to you.  I asked God to help me to be more aware of my face.  When talking to people, when out and about, when being one on one with friends…that my face would show Him and not what may or may not be brewing in my subconscious.  He helped me realize that her words were not said in love and He set me free to let go of her critical words.  Our words are important.  But our faces can convey a message as well.
I’m choosing joy.
And I’m going to let that joy show all over my face.
Good or bad.
Like the old Vacation Bible School song says, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!”

And now it’s going to be all over my face.
a happy heart

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When Spazzy McSpazalot does yoga

So I’m a little high strung. I get bored easily and when I get bored I mentally check out. I am pretty sure if I was evaluated for adult ADD I would qualify very quickly. The same holds true in my exercise routine. I’ve always wanted to do yoga. I’ve always wanted to love it. I mean really, what’s NOT to love about a exercise program that allows you to wear such comfortably delicious pants? I have tried it several times but never could take ahold of it. I try 5 minutes of it, try to work through the struggle, believe the lie that “yoga just isn’t my style” and give up.

When I think back on my history of exercise, all the way back to a wee 3 year old starting dance class, it didn’t take long for me to find my very favorite: tap. Over the years I have done Jazzercise, step aerobics, Zumba, rollerblading, Tae Bo, kickboxing…Lord, if it’s out there and it involves loud, fast music and a lot of bouncing around, then chances are I’ve done it. I’m so spastic. My natural personality and a growing trend in my life towards ADD…well, it just works.

Through following various people on Instagram I stumbled on a group of women who have a group called HolyYoga and is a Christ centered approach to yoga. The women in that group truly love Jesus and are bosses at yoga. One of the contributors also has another group called the Mind Full Collective that has the same philosophy on yoga and Jesus. I’ve started a “21 days of yoga” and so far am on Day 3. I am surprised at how much I can do physically and mentally. Focusing on the forms and poses literally forces me to focus and not find something shiny and become distracted. I love how I’m learning to be still. To be in each moment. It’s a huge challenge that at this point in my life am so ready to take. It may be the only stillness I give to myself in a day. I owe it to myself and my Creator to take my eyes off everything around me and give my full attention to Him.

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Un. Rush. Me.

After hearing about Lysa Terkeurst’s new book at She Speaks this summer I have been so excited to start this book study.  I prayed before I started it that it would impact me in just the way the Lord saw fit, but even as I was reading the first 3 chapters I could feel myself rushing through these words.  How in the world could I allow that?  Allow myself to rush through the pages of a book about slowing down?!  Only I could accomplish that…

My girls have been sick this week.  First the baby and now my 3 year old.  Fevers hit them hard and knocked them down.  I was rocking the baby and taking advantage of how snuggly she was being considering her “be still” time is very limited these days.  Being a 19 month old is busy stuff, y’all!

In the darkness and cool quiet of her room, I started praying for her.
For the Lord to heal her.  Praying for myself.
That fear of unknown sickness wouldn’t drown my heart and choke out faith.
I felt a shift in myself and I started praying from a place I hadn’t been in awhile and I felt a rush over my heart.  A release in my Spirit.  A voice almost saying, “This is where I want you to go.  This is the way…walk in it.”
I started praying for her sister and her two brothers and as I did I felt the need to ask the Lord to forgive me.  Repentance came from my heart for missed opportunities with my boys, now 11 and 7.  I acknowledged the fact that they didn’t need me as much any more since their independence was growing and while that is exciting, at this very moment it broke my heart.  Not that they didn’t need me for much, but for the fact I’d wasted and missed literally thousands of opportunities to pray and bless my boys when they did need me.  Seemingly menial tasks were times the Lord gave me to speak blessings over them.
A diaper change should have been a sacred time of blessing.
A shoe needing tied was a time to break generational curses.
A belt needing tightened was an opportunity to seek healing.
Hair needing combed was when favor was to be sought.

Instead it was found an inconvenience.  A burden.  Time that was cutting into “my time.”  Hurry.  Come on.  We’re late.  Why are you taking so long?  Why aren’t you ready yet?!  You.  Are.  So.  Slow.

In the rhythm of rocking my last baby girl, my heart was slowly breaking.  And as tears were streaming down my face I prayed and asked the Lord to forgive me of my rush.  To forgive me for running through my life at break neck speed.  And for what?  To end a day to only begin the rush again?  I was literally chasing the end of one day with the beginning of the next.    I asked God to forgive me but also to redeem what I did have left with my boys.  Even though they are older, there are times my oldest needs help with things.  And times my 7 year old seeks me out.  I prayed God would give me wisdom and patience when dealing with their tender hearts and to seize every moment He’s given me from here on out.
2014-09-25 20.57.49

Because babies won’t always want to snuggle.

20140926_101438
And little girls won’t always want to color.
But, right now, nothing is more important.
It’s exactly where I want to be.
So Lord, please give me another moment.
Where you stop and Un-rush me.

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Having Sh!t to Do

2014-08-30 11.52.24How’s that for some perspective for ya?
I love this picture.  I picture Mother Teresa, in her small stature and meek manner, kicking a$$ and taking names.  For the Kingdom that is.  She lived humility and service to God and His people.  In the VERY worst conditions.  She served.  Did she sit around and moan about her wrinkled face and search Amazon for some expensive cream to lighten her sun spots?

I doubt it.

But she did live a full life in full service to the King.  Maybe her glorified body was a few inches taller, and her skin became a bit smoother but I know that she didn’t complain because her mighty hands were able to hand back an amazing crown to sit at  Christ’s feet.

I imagine mine would be able to too if I didn’t spend so much time and energy complaining about my thighs and flabby arms.

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Becoming Undone

Have you ever had your heart SO full of love and gratitude and God’s goodness that you literally thought it was going to break right in your chest?
Yeah.
This past weekend I had the unbelievable honor of going to She Speaks in Charlotte NC and that feeling of “full heartness” was my entire weekend.
I literally cried the whole time.  And I knew I was in major trouble when I opened our participant notebook and read the letter from Lysa Terkeurst that ended, “Thank God for making a way for you to be here.”  Ugh.  My mom and husband made that possible.  With their full support to chase this crazy dream of mine to be a writer, I was here.  And with each hour that passed my heart kept filling… and breaking a little more.  Tears 1–Jill 0

she speaks background she speaks flowers she speaks decor

The decorations on the tables even made me want to cry!  What am I saying?  They did!  Everything was SO beautiful.  Tears 2–Jill 0
Praise and worship was so good.  Pure and perfect.  And with 800 women singing together, praising the King.  It was a very small glimpse of Heaven. So with praise and worship 4 times over the weekend, makeup was completely unnecessary.  I was a white hot mess.  Tears 6–Jill 0

 

Lysa leading one of the amazing workshops held this weekend.

Lysa leading one of the amazing workshops held this weekend.

Meeting Nikki and Melissa of Proverbs 31's Online Bible Studies was a real treat.  They are so real!

Meeting Nikki and Melissa of Proverbs 31’s Online Bible Studies was a real treat. They are such genuine women of God!

christine caine

This here lady…was amazeballs.  Christine Caine of Hillsong in Sydney Australia was so full of God’s anointing and Christ’s passion.  It was unreal.  If I didn’t feel insecure about myself before…I did now!  She is SO in love with God and His work and His people.  There was NO way to leave her message without feeling stirred into action.

That’s the only way I can describe myself this weekend.   I felt so undone by all the messages and the constant battle I had with the enemy in my own mind.  I fought the assault of insecurity and doubt on my heart and mind.
Yet I didn’t allow him to win ONCE.  The enemy tried to talk me out of each session, publisher appointment, peer critique.
He tried to get me discouraged.  His darts of doubt were many.
But they didn’t win.
I may not ever publish a book.  And I’m not so sure that’s my goal.  And that’s okay.
But I got validation from the only One that matters.  God.
I got a new sense of purpose.
To KNOW Jesus Christ and to make Him known.

And if it takes me being a white hot mess and undone for a weekend…to spur me on to action for a lifetime and 4 little one’s lifetimes…
Then let the undoing begin.

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I should get paid for this…

With 4 kids, rarely a day goes by without a “facebook-able” moment or comment from one of my kids.
Our. House. Is. A. Circus.
My husband and I are naturally goofy people, so naturally we’ve raised four goofball kids!
We are youth pastors at our church and were there early on Wednesday to prepare for service. My 3 year old daughter is potty training and being the prepared, awesome mom that I am, packed an extra set of panties. I mean really, I should get paid for being so ready! She’s in one of the youth rooms and it is time for her to go to the nursery. I was fixing her plate of dinner as one of the youths were gathering her and her baby sister up to leave. She stepped in the door with pants that were soaked to the ankles. I was ready with panties….but not pants. So what do I do? Strip her down, wipe her off, put on a clean pair of undies and push her out the door. Awesome. I should get paid for this….
After church was over, I see her running down the hall, half naked, happy as a clam, with a blanket tied around her neck like a superhero. Not only did the nursery worker not think a thing of her nakedness, but she accessorized it! This says 2 things…
1, we have amazing nursery workers, and
2, they must be used to my imperfectness!
#imperfectmoms
#OBSdreams