friendship

 

Fresh Beginnings

10 Apr 2018 Posted by Jillian in Becoming More Like Jesus, Blog, Drawing Near to God, friendship

Hello! It has been a long time since I ventured into the blogosphere – 2.5 years if we are being specific.  I got distracted.  I lost the vision.  I wasn’t sure I saw the purpose any longer.  The internet is flooded with good things to read for inspiration or information.  I wasn’t sure that the time I spent pouring my heart out was making a difference.  I figured there were a lot of “better” of “funnier” or “more impactful” articles out there.   But I’m back.  The reason I began this blog was because I have a passion for sharing what I have learned on my journey – especially the lessons learned on difficult paths.  Those difficult paths are the ones that are made a lot easier if there is someone who has gone before you and can warn you of the hidden dangers, helping you navigate so you can successfully endure and finish.  I do not claim to have mastered the art of walking difficult trails, but God has been faithful to teach me nuggets of truth and grow my character as I’ve pressed on.   This blog is a place that I can lay those lessons down for anyone to pick up along the way much like a fresh unopened bottle of water left on a long trail with a note that says, “This is for you, to help you along the way.”   As I said in the past, I can not make any guarantees about how often I will place those cold bottles of water down on the path, but I am once again ready to “journal in public.”  Here’s my latest entry:   The last year and a half have been one of the most difficult seasons of my life.  I thought infertility might keep the gold medal for being the most challenging season to endure, but I’ve realized that you can not really compare one challenge to another.  It really does not matter which season had been tougher.  The reality is that each season, each challenge has its own unique sets of obstacles and lessons to be learned.  Similarly, two people may experience similar seasons of challenge with similar circumstances, but each person’s experience will be different and the…

Does God Poop?

30 Mar 2014 Posted by Jillian in Becoming More Like Jesus, Blog, friendship, Marriage, Motherhood

  It’s an honest question.  Does God poop?  I have wondered many things about God, but I can’t say I have wondered about that.  I understand that putting God’s name in the same sentence as the word poop can be offensive to some people.  If that is you, I am sorry.  I mean no offense.  This is a valid question from the heart of a 4 year old who genuinely wants to know his Maker better.  As him mom, I will let him ask his questions, and I will encourage his genuine, childlike wonder.   We learn in school that there are no stupid questions.  Maybe that is true and maybe it isn’t, but one thing is true:  asking questions is what opens the door for greater understanding, if it is understanding we seek.  “Stupid” questions are usually not seeking greater understanding.   We know that God is more than capable and strong enough to handle any question we throw his way.  He is not shocked by our blatant honesty nor our sometimes flagrant disrespect.  He receives each question, knowing the longing in our hearts that fuels our questions (Luke 16:15).  He looks beyond what is said to the heart that the words come from.  He understands.   Asking questions can help us know God better as well as help us know others better.  We do not grow in relationship with someone by waiting around for them to offer information and insight.  We have to ask.  We ask because we want to know.  We ask because we want to show that we care about them.  We ask because that is the only way to grow closer to a person.   When we ask questions, we have the opportunity to grow in understanding, but merely asking questions does not guarantee we will gain understanding.  We have to WANT to gain understanding.  In doing so, we will ask good questions.   I don’t know about you, but I have been a part of many conversations where questions are asked, but the person ends up backing you into a corner rather than drawing you out.  Their questions are really yes or no questions and aimed at getting you to agree with them, rather than trying to understand your…

One is Pregnant, the Other is Not.

16 Jan 2014 Posted by Jillian in Blog, friendship, Infertility, Quest for Contentment

If you have a loved one who is currently dealing with infertility, telling them you are pregnant can be a dreaded conversation.  As one who has been on the receiving end of that dreadful conversation too many times to count, I have come up with a list of tips for navigating friendship when one party is dealing with infertility and the other is pregnant or has children.   To make things easier as we navigate this list of tips, I am going to refer to the person who is struggling/has struggled with infertility as the TTC (short for: Trying To Conceive).  If you are the TTC, you may want to share this list of tips with your friends.  I would also welcome any feedback or revisions if I have missed something.   1. Don’t make the TTC the last to know.  Inevitably, there is trepidation about telling them, so it tends to be put off until you can wait for the “right time.”  Fact:  There is no “right” time to tell the TTC that you are pregnant.  No matter how much they love you and may be happy for you, they will struggle.  Don’t add insult to injury by making them the last to know.   2. Do let them know that you know how hard it is for them.  Give the TTC the space to struggle.  Reassure them that you know they are excited for you and their struggle has nothing to do with wanting your happiness.  Acknowledge that you know that their struggle has everything to do with their own deep longing.  Basically, let them struggle but let them know that you trust their heart toward you is good.   3. Don’t avoid them for the next 9 months.  Infertility is a lonely, isolating journey.  The TTC needs their friends’ support.  Yes, being around you may be tough for them because your growing belly is a reminder to them of their unmet desire.  However, having you not around is even worse than the struggle they may have in your remindful presence.   4. Do continue to ask questions and ask how you can support the TTC.  The TTC may want to talk about it and they may not.  Give them the space to…

God as Dad?

12 Nov 2013 Posted by Jillian in Blog, friendship, Marriage, Motherhood

I have been doing some contemplating lately about what it means to have God as a Father.  My earthly father lived a 2.5-4.5 hour airplane ride away for 31 of the 33 years of my life, so trying to imagine what it is like to have a father around and involved on a day-to-day basis is challenging.  Having never experienced the everyday relationship with a father makes it tough to wrap my mind around what a father even is.  As a result, imagining God as a Father is much tougher.   When I was pregnant with my daughter, Alliyah, my husband and I went to see a movie.  When we were leaving that movie, I had an overwhelming impression in my heart and mind (some people, myself included, would call this God speaking to them).  What God said was, “I am going to show you what a father/daughter relationship looks like through Todd and Alliyah.”  I was dissolved to tears when God spoke these words to me 8 years ago.  It was a promise that God gave me.  He promised to fill in the holes where my understanding was lacking.  He gave me this promise, but the promise lay dormant for many years because I forgot to take notice.  I forgot to watch and take note of Todd being a dad.   I have done some talking to God lately about my struggle to understand him as Father.  God responded by using a conversation with a friend to remind me of the words that He spoke 8 years ago.  God encouraged me to start watching Todd as a dad.   I thought I would share some of my observations:  (Consequently, these are observations about God as our Father in Heaven)   He teaches us and helps us to become like Him. (From watching Todd pretend shave Joshua’s face)   “This is what the Lord says – your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go’” (Isaiah 48:17).   He sits and comforts us, allowing us to snuggle as close as we want when we are scared.  (From watching my kids cuddle up close during…

8 Seconds of Being Like Jesus

07 Nov 2013 Posted by Jillian in Becoming More Like Jesus, Blog, friendship, Infertility

Is it possible to act like Jesus without becoming like him?  Can we behave well, but not have the substance behind it?  I think so.  I think I’ve done it for a long time.  I know the right things to say and do, but my heart is not always in the right place when I say or do them.  Am I alone here?   If the point of walking this planet is to become more and more like Jesus, how does that actually happen?  We can study Jesus’ life and try to model our lives around him and ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do?”  But even if we start acting like Jesus, does that mean we are really becoming like him?   Have you ever noticed that the more you hang out with a friend, the more alike you become?  You tend to gesture similarly or laugh similarly and even think similarly.  I have caught myself laughing with a friend and been struck by how similar our laughs sound.  But then I might take note of my laugh with a different friend, and it sounds a little different.  Or maybe we pick up on little phrases that a friend says, and they stick with us.  We tend to become more and more like the ones we spend time with.   God even warned us about who we choose to spend time with:  “Bad company corrupts good character” (1 Cor. 15:33).   Becoming more like Jesus can only happen by spending more time with Him, by being in relationship with him.  I can do and say things the way Jesus would, but what if I am like a Pharisee?  What if the outside looks good while the inside is rotting and decaying? (Matthew 23:27).   I can say to my pregnant friend, “I am so happy for you,” because that’s what Jesus would say.  But do I mean it?   A couple weeks ago, I had a friend announce she was pregnant and my first reaction (outwardly) was extreme excitement.  I jumped off the couch and hugged her (and I’m not a huggy person).  That first 20 seconds of reaction time was pure excitement on her behalf.  Okay, maybe it was more like 8 seconds.  I…

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