Archive for July, 2011

July 28, 2011

The People Pleaser Problem

Do you wrestle with this?


I know I’m not the only one.


As much as I try to focus my heart and mind on the audience of One, I eventually find myself worrying about what other people think.  It’s a vicious cycle.  You can spin it many different ways but the bottom line is this – when you’re not living (breathing, trusting, resting) in and for Him – you’re living for yourself and everybody else.

I’ll be raw honest with you…sometimes I care way too much what people think.  If God didn’t wrangle me in from time to time (like this morning during my quiet time) and rescue me from myself, I’d surely get lost in the sea of this people-pleasing world.  I’d fall under the weight of trying to carry around the burden of always trying to say and do the right thing.  It’s exhausting.  Frustrating. Meaningless.


What am I (we) looking for anyway?


Acceptance?


Friendship?


To be heard?


Attention?


Love?


The crazy thing is – God is already pleased with me (and you).  I don’t have to try and earn His love, acceptance or approval because HE stood in the gap for me Himself.  He made a way for me (and you) through His Son.  He did what I (we) could never do with a lifetime of people pleasing and good works.

When you let this take hold of your heart and mind it shatters the glass facade of life.  It doesn’t make sense.  It’s hard to grasp and comprehend.

That God would intervene through His Son for you and I to come boldly to Him just as we are is radical.

But it’s true.


So, as He has reminded me this morning, I’m hoping to share this as a reminder for you.

In Christ, the only One that matters is perfectly pleased with me (and you). You don’t need to try and spend yourself trying to please others (it’s impossible by the way).  When your heart and life are wrapped up in Him – the overflow of His life in and through you is enough.


After I finished writing this I was looking for a picture on google that would work here and I came across this blog post from Rachael in Atlanta.  It fits perfectly so I thought I would share it with you.

“Do you ever walk away from a conversation wondering if you said the wrong thing? Or, if someone doesn’t call you back right away or gives you a certain look, do you obsess that they are mad at you?

That was SO me! And, still is at times, until I REMIND myself that the ONLY person I have to please is God. Yes, GOD KNOWS YOUR HEART! He knows what you meant to say or what your intentions are at all times!

I used to look for approval from my mother, my friends, my husband… you name it! It was as if they had to validate me and tell me I was making the right decisions or that I was justified in responding to certain situations in my life. I would live and die by what they thought of me. I brought it on myself by leaning on them for my every move.

However, once I really understood what “freedom in Christ” meant – that burden was slowly taken off my shoulders. I cannot tell you how refreshing that was! So now, when I start to wonder or worry about what I said or didn’t say- I remember, God knows my heart.”
July 25, 2011

what a family looks like…

It would be almost impossible to describe what this last week has been like for our family.  The last day of the Hunter’s Hope Family & Medical Symposium was yesterday.  I’m not a fan of “good-byes” so this day is always bitter sweet.

We laughed.

Cried – a lot.

Hugged.

Prayed.

Ate – way too much.

Stayed up late.

Snuggled sick children.

Watched as children with disease performed at the annual talent show.

Listened.

Spoke words of encouragement, fear, frustration and hope.

We loved.

It’s hard to explain, but for the first time I felt like I actually experienced what Jesus talked about when He prayed that His followers would be ONE.

The deep heartbreak and joy that we have all experienced has unified us in such a way that we are one.  We’re family.  We would literally lay down our lives for each other.  We work together in humility because we get it. It’s powerful.  Strong. Real.  Beyond human comprehension.

And what pierces my heart the most about this is the fact that our greatest loss brought us here. Our deepest pain is what continues to weave our tapestry of love.  Suffering has bound our hearts unbreakable.

Even as I write this I’m reminded of this verse:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8

That God would choose to bring us together through suffering is beyond my comprehension.  The cross – the perfect example of this – is His way – which is higher, beyond my way – our ways.  He’s God.  All that He is and does is far greater than our ability to grasp.  It should be.  If we could figure Him out, He wouldn’t be God anymore.  He would be a man-made god in our image rather than the magnificent, beyond understanding, awesome, Creator that He is.

This facebook message I received today from a teenager named Zac (who has a brother named Trevor in Heaven) sums it up:


“Thank you so much!! It really means a lot. I wouldn’t trade a single thing for our “family”. Although I wish we hadn’t had to become family under these circumstances, but God works in mysterious ways and I’m so thankful to be as close to your beautiful family, especially your three amazing children.”


Yes, He works in mysterious ways and yet His ways are perfect.

For Him to bring a bunch of strangers together through suffering – making us One – a family through Him is – well…love.  His for us and ours for each other.


I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me…May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.  John 17: 20- 23

July 20, 2011

blessings…

Blessings.

What does it mean?

What does it look like?  Feel like?

When you hear this word, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Answer to prayer?  Comfort? Healing? Joy? Faith?  What?

When I hear this word – blessing – the first thought that fills my mind is suffering.  Yes, suffering.  His for us.

This would not have been my response ten, even five years ago.  No, it’s a response that has been pressed deep within my marrow over time.  It’s a response that has been cultivated in the soil of my heart by a good God.  A God who chose to give us what we desperately needed rather than what we prayed for.

I don’t get it. No, my questions still out-number my answers, but the blessing isn’t found in the answer.  It’s found in Him.  He is the greater “YES”.  He is the blessing in the valley, in the midst of it all.

I wouldn’t know this had God not allowed me to watch my son, Hunter, suffer.  I wouldn’t know this if I didn’t find myself hopeless, empty handed, desperate, needy, broken.  I wouldn’t know this if He chose to heal and answer my prayers the way I wanted them answered.

I wouldn’t know that blessings come through raindrops, darkness, tears, sleepless nights, broken bodies, broken hearts, suffering.

Don’t let the disguises of this life – the world, doubt, fear, and the enemy – keep you from Him. He is the blessing!


These lyrics from the song Blessings – by Laura’s Story capture what I’m trying to share here. Enjoy!  And please share what comes to your mind when you hear the word “blessings”.




Blessings – Laura’s Story

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering

All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops?
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough

And all the while You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
What if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

And what if trials of this life
Are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home
It’s not our home

Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy?

And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?

July 1, 2011

the end of my rope…

Okay, here’s the deal.  I’m at the end of my rope.  My patience is threadbare. If I chose to pull my hair out, I’d be bald.  Wits end. Exasperated. Frustrated.  Begging God. Crying.  Seeking counsel.

Now, I’m going to invite you into this.

I wouldn’t blame you at all if you stop reading this right now.  Who wants more drama?  We all have enough of our own – right?!  So run Forest, run…run as fast as you can (Just in case you have no idea what I’m talking about – I’m referring to the movie Forest Gump – a classic).

Seriously, if you read this and have insight you’d like to share – PLEASE do.  Maybe you’ve been where I am.  Maybe God has blessed you with great wisdom and discernment.  Or maybe you’re in a similar predicament and just need to vent.  No this isn’t misery loves company.  It’s real people, sharing real life.

Here’s the deal.

Over the past six months or so, people that love our family deeply have privately approached Jim and me.  Each of these people in their own loving way have tried to tell us that they see some not so good things happening to our family.  Specifically, (but not so specific as to give details), these family members and close friends have pretty much told us that they see people in our lives taking advantage of us, negatively influencing our children, creating an ungodly atmosphere, causing disrespect amongst each other and towards Jim and I as parents.

We have taken everything that we’ve been told to God through prayer.  Even praying together (Jim and me) –which is always a big deal for us.  This morning, I wrote this in my journal “Lord, I’m begging You to do something. Please intervene.  If you won’t change our circumstances, please change me.  Change us.  Help.”

I realize I’m not being very forthright with detailed information.  If I dished it all here smoke would billow out your ears while flames burst out of your mouth.  Or worse.

If you know me at all – you know I’m kidding.  Sort of trying to make light in a dark situation.

I guess what I’m asking is this.  What do you do when people (family, friends) around you – that love you – see what you already see and know yet feel almost powerless to change?

In Christ, I am not a victim.  I am more than a conqueror through Him.

Help!

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”  Romans 8:37

Love,

Your friend and wounded warrior, Jill


P.S. – I just read this: “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” Love this.  But I think I’d rather let go of the rope and cling to Him for dear life!  Have a blessed 4th of July weekend friends.  Freedom is found in Christ alone…and it cost Him His very life!