Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hebrews 3:13

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. --- Hebrews 3:13

For as long as I can remember, I have felt the need to take care of people. Especially, my friends. If you have ever read my testimony, you know my life hasn't always been a piece of cake. As I got older, and found Jesus, I realized just how lucky I was to survive such storms. I realized that, in no way, did I deserve the blessings and grace that God poured on me through my friendships. In a way, I felt like guarding and loving my friends was a way of thanking God for his abundance of faith he showed me. Since I had dealt with such a rocky road in my past, I felt like I was strong enough to take on other people's burdens. I would be that shoulder to cry on and I would try to fill them with as much encouragement as possible. I would be careful about telling friends what they wanted to hear. We all know what we WANT to hear and what we NEED to hear are two different things.

As I have gotten older, it has been harder and harder for me to keep real friendships. After all the encouragement, all the lent shoulders, and all the advice, I became numb. It became frustrating to see my attempts at being a "good" friend, go in one ear and out the other. I became burdened with seeing my friends make choices that ended up hurting them, despite my efforts to protect them. That burden scarred my image of friendship. Since then, it has been really hard for me to let in friends. Then it hit me. I was so caught up in trying to be a "good" friend to everyone else, I had made myself inaccessible to receive friendship. What a horrible sin! The Lord calls us to spur one another on and encourage one another daily. Was I really encouraging them or pushing them away from me?

Since this realization, I have been trying to make an effort to accept friendship in a different light. As much as I love my friends, I am not Christ. My life's journey was not meant to prepare me to bare the burdens of my friends. Now more than ever I realize how important God-breathed friendships are. They are not one sided. They are three sided. The best friend I can be is a prayer warrior and an encourager of scripture. I can still share in the laughter and the tears, but every smile and tear drop should be given back to God in praise and petition. Ultimately, Christ is the one who is going to walk with us hand in hand and bare our burdens and share our joys.

Thankfully, God has revealed and blessed me with a couple of sisters that I can truly lean on. You know who you are, and I promise you will always know how much you have encouraged me. My prayer is to one day have more than a couple. Whether that be making new friends or bettering friendships I already have; I am looking forward to mending the scar and image that I had defined as friendship.



Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Hello Goodbye Letters

Dear 2010,

You have been so sweet to us. There were a lot of great memories made with you.

In February, you blessed us with a wonderful new nephew Brycen Kellis. That smiling face and those adorable cheeks melt my heart. Even though he isn't my nephew genetically, God has bonded our families as well as any. His mommy is such an encouragement to me!



































April kicked off with a bang! It was really hard for any other month to compete. Our long awaited engagement was such a celebration for our family and friends. It was well worth the 6 1/2 year wait. God's timing was beautiful!


























































May-July was lots of preparation and planning for our wedding! Most of all, family and friends loving on us till no tomorrow. We knew we were blessed but seriously, we do not even deserve the love and grace the Lord made evident. So thankful.


























































If any month could compete with April it would have to be August. I must say it won. Our wedding was everything I hoped for. No need for frill and fancy. Love is all you need, and that is something beautiful. August, you even took us on a much needed vacation! The Riviera Maya is a true view of God's hand in creation. How could you look at that and not believe in His Soverignty!?















































I would love to say I remember a lot from September- December, but I don't. You went by entirely too fast. The weather this fall was splendid. Lots of friends, and lots of family time. That is enough for me!









































































You treated us well. I say that in utter gratitude. You were not so kind to our loved ones. This is why it is a little bitter sweet to see you go. However, through it all, you have strengthened bonds and improved upon already steady faith. We are still praying over some of the damage you did, but we are steadfast and faithful that glory will shine through it all.



Goodbye and thanks for the memories ,

Jill




Hello 2011,

I am not going to lie. I am very scared of you. Last year was so great, what surprises could you possibly be full of? I feel like you are going to be full of lots of grown up decisions. We have very high expectations for you. There is a lot of "what ifs" flying around right now. It is always a little unnerving for me. I have a fear of the unknown and that has always been a struggle of mine.

I have been out on my own for almost 7 years now. You would think somewhere in those years I would have started to feel like an adult. Not until the last couple of weeks have I actually felt like a grown up! I find comfort in timelines and knowing what is around the corner. The past 7 years I have kinda always had a plan and knew what to expect. Graduating high school, going to college, summer plans, knowing where to live, graduating college, getting engaged, getting married... I find myself saying now what? I have always had a glimpse of what the future holds. Now, not so much.

We know what we want to happen this year. We know when we want it to happen. We also know wanting and receiving are two different things. What we want and what God chooses to give us isn't always the same. Right now we are ultimately preparing our hearts to receive God's grace and path. We are going to go where we are called. It could be a month from now, or another year. It could be near family and friends, or 2000 miles away. We knew the exact date we graduated high school and college, the exact day we moved out of the dorms, we knew exactly when to show up for our wedding. There is no way of being comforted by your timeline 2011, or even holding you to our high expectations.

I have a sweet, sweet, dear friend named Jen Dub who has challenged me to a new habit. When things are happening that are out of my control or scary I am going to say "I trust you, Jesus." Trusting and holding on to the truth that every day is part of a perfect plan. God designed a complicated blueprint of my life. Even if I were to ask "Why?" and Jesus told me, in laymen terms, I still would never understand. Would you ask Gustave Eiffel to explain the architecture of the Eiffel tower in detail? NO!

So 2011, you are just a corner on my life blueprint. I don't want to know what you have in store for me. I TRUST YOU,JESUS!!!!! Bring it on 2011. I am not going to be afraid of you. If Jesus is for me, who can be against me?


Humbly yours,

Jill




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