Monday, March 30, 2015

I wish I Had Smiled

In which: this happens to me all the time.

You are looking around the room,

 people watching. Your eyes dart from person to person, making an assessment of each one in turn, imagining what they are thinking, who they are looking at, and what their secret dreams are. All is going well until somebody's eyes turn suddenly, and they look back at you.

Your eyes meet for one millisecond, and then you blink hard. When your eyes open again, they are neatly focused on something else in the room and you have carefully kept your expression exactly the same. "They didn't even notice that I was looking their way", you think, trying to believe that you've just been awfully sly and clever. But all along you know that the one millisecond gave you away. You were just caught red-handed.

The more you think about it, the more you wish that you had not looked away. You wish you had simply smiled, in acknowledgement that you were both just caught staring at each other. Everyone looks around and spies on observes other people on occasion. There should be no shame in it. So why couldn't you have just smiled? Or winked? Or nodded a neat "hello, you've caught me looking at you, and isn't this amusing?"

But you didn't and now it's too late.

You feel a little embarrassed by your lack of honesty. And you go right on pretending that you never looked at them in the first place.

It happens to everyone.

(I can't take full credit for this little snippet. I got the idea from another blog a long time ago, who got it from someone else...yeah anyway.)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Don't Let Me Lose My Wonder

In which I list out some Eucharisteo.

Despite the fact that I struggle living in this world that God made,

 I know it's wonderful. It's amazing. The universe is beyond mind-boggling. Stars and galaxies are incredible. I know it.

 I just sometimes have a hard time living in the dimension where I  look at things with wide eyed wonder, and see these things instead as basic elements, mashed together, in different colors, with no reason to go out and see it, cause you know, it's all just 118 different types of stuff.  
The world, the universe is way more complicated and intricate than that.

 But instead, over and over, I get caught up in myself and my own woes and confusions. I get wrapped up in my own head, and the physical world outside me is this strange state of being right up against my skin while still being hollow and empty and millions of miles away.

 Why do people bother to go travel the world anyway? Water is water, wherever you go. Mountains and hills and plains and valleys are just dirt and rock. People are people. They eat and sleep and live for their own happiness, the world over. Are we in search of something new? Do you think you'll find it if you just wander around the earth? Why does this fill you with such happiness and wonder all the time, to look at mountain range or an ocean, or a waterfall, and sometimes I just can't seem to get out of my own head and enjoy anything?

Which is why I think it's time I listed some reasons for Eucharisteo. To remind myself that this crack in time I exist in can be pretty awesomely fantastic if I just let it.

41.Clear, Starry nights. The ones that make me feel small and insignificant and like a tiny, tiny speck. Like a microscopic piece of something beyond me, so beyond me that I can't comprehend it and I feel terrified and exposed. (Wait, she just said she likes feeling absolutely terrified? Yeah, in a weird scared curl-up-in-a-ball kind of way.)

42. Driving down the highway on said starry nights with the windows down (cold out or not) and the music cranked up to a point it probably shouldn't be. I finally get why my parents always enjoyed going out "just for a drive".  When you're the one at the wheel...power. It's the next best thing to...

43. Running. Or well, in my case, running and then jogging and then walking and then sprinting off again, as the mood takes you. When all the frustrations and unanswered questions and yes, absolute hopelessness comes to its peak, you will find me running it out (for hours), rain or shine. (I prefer rain because it generally matches my mood.)
44. A brother-in-law and big sister who are willing to stay up past 10:30 at night and talk with you about life. Even though they have to be up before the sun next morning and go to work and take care of three small children and live a crazy busy life. They made time for me. That's pretty special.

45. Said brother-in-law who knows the art of Eucharisteo. " Think about it, toes are so awesome, Jillian! and wood, wood is amazing! We can cut it up and put nails through it and yet it builds a great big house!" ( I'm not even kidding. He was giddy about toes, guys. Toes. And I can't find exhilaration in an ocean.)

46. The incredible chemical reaction that happens in our bodies when we see something cool or amazing or beautiful. We see an really neat view from a mountaintop, while feeling a cool breeze, smell that dirt and that air, feel that rain on our face, fill our lungs and our eyes with these things, and it triggers something in nervous system that starts a chain reaction. End result? Exhilaration and awe. If you stop to think about it, that's pretty wondrous.

47. The beating of a physical heart. I have this strange fascination with heartbeats, guys. I like to put my hands on my little niece and nephews chest and feel their thumping. When my music teacher told me to use my heartbeat as a metronome, the coolest thing happened. You have to be really quiet, listen to your heart thumping in your chest for a moment, and then play your song in time with that, keep beat with your own heart, whenever it speeds up or slows down. If you are musician, please, try this a few times. Its magnificent.

48. Consequently, this poem is one of my favorites:

I feel a little better now. I know I will get wrapped up in my own head and my own worries again...and I'll think of more blessings again. Perhaps my life will not always be this endless cycle of despair and then remembering all the reasons why not to despair. then again, maybe it will. But at least I have these blessings to hold on to. God did give me blessings, despite everything else that gets dished out that I don't understand.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

This Child

In which we talk about screaming children and the sovereignty of God.

My parents did this really cool thing.

They gave each of their kids full names a special meaning. Jillian means "childlike". Put that together with my middle name, Faith, and you have...childlike faith.  Faith like a child has in their parents.

Think of any little kid you know. Or better yet, you, when you were just a wee tot.

A child does not ask questions. They don't care about the world. If they know that Daddy loves them, and that they are safe and fed and happy, nothing else matters to them. All is right with their world. New sights, new sounds, the process of learning all sorts of amazing things...when they have this trust and safety, growing up and discovering things is a fun, incredible, and joy filled journey. Their world is full. And usually, children don't ask...they just know that they are safe.

That's the faith we are supposed to have in our heavenly Father*. This child, though, despite the fact that she has been given that special name, is wrestling immensely with having that faith.

It's as if me, the little child, suddenly stopped snuggling safely against her heavenly fathers chest, pushed away, and said,

 "Wait, Daddy, hold on. Why should I trust you? Are you controlling everything I do? Why do you do everything that you do?

 Yeah, you created me. But once was born, did you decide what I was going do for every millisecond of my entire life? Did you timeline all the times I was going to disobey you and sin against you? Father, that doesn't make sense. If you decided all the times I was going to sin, why does that Bible say that it grieves and angers you when I sin*?  So you can't be all powerful, in the way that I thought you were. So should my trust be more of a trust that even though You are not all powerful, to that extent, you are more all powerful and all knowing that I am? I don't know if I can do that, Father. Can I just trust that you know what you're doing better than I do? Is that enough?"

Then it's as if me, still that worried little child, slid down from her fathers lap and started anxiously pacing the floor, arms folded, brow furrowed in concern:

Father, why did you even bring me into this world? What was the point? Why, why would you condemn some people to hell if you say that you loved the world?  It's as if you created some people for eternal suffering. That's twisted. That can't be right!

 Father, I can't have peace, or joy, or enjoy life anymore until I know why I'm here and what I'm supposed to be doing. I HAVE to know! Yes, yes, I know about the scriptures and the great commission* and the commandments*. I've heard those ones since before I can even remember. But I can't go out and share about your love if I'm not sure of it myself!  It doesn't make sense, Father!

Then, this little child starts taking short, quick, panicked breaths: " Why are you doing all this? Proof, Father, show me I can trust you!"

The child (A.k.a me) then slumps to the floor, dissolving in tears  and screaming "I want to trust you! You have a plan but I'm not seeing how it makes any sense!"

At this point, I'd imagine most earthly fathers would gently scoop that child back into their arms, and comfort and soothe them until they calmed down, most likely falling asleep in his arms while he whispers, "its going to be alright. You can't understand, you don't have the ability to, so just trust me and you'll see in the end how everything works."

But, my fears being what they are, I would push away once more going "no, no, that's not good enough:

Why. Should. I. Trust. You?"

 And well, we are back where started, and the questions and the panicking begin all over again.

"I can't read my books and learn my lessons and eat my food and enjoy all the gifts of everyday life that you gave me with anything but a sense of emptiness. I don't feel safe anymore.  I can't talk and "play" with my brothers and sisters and enjoy their sweet company like I used to be able to. I can't do anything anymore with out this thought bombarding me, everywhere I turn."

Is it enough? To just trust that God, even though he may not be as Sovereign as I once thought He was, Is more sovereign than me, so therefore whom else should I trust?

Some days, it feels like I trust in God and hold on to Christianity simply because I have to. Life would be pointless without a God and I would go bananas without a point and purpose, so I just believe  because I need a point. Not good enough, I know.

 Soon, I hope, I can piece this shattered faith back into something stronger than it was before. Even if it takes looking up the word Faith in the Exhaustive concordance and reading every single reference.

*Psalm 131
*Old Testament...Gods anger with his people.
*Matt 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-16
*Matt 19:18-19

Saturday, March 14, 2015


In which I think about selfishness and contentment.

The view from my bedroom window ya'll.

 Do you ever get told that you need to find your contentment and joy in God before anything else?

If your a christian, then I'm gonna go ahead and assume that you've been told this...


The way I look at it, there are two different categories of being content.

 The physical: you know, the money and houses and buildings and cars and computers and decorations and furniture and and everything material that turns to dust eventually on this spinning globe;

...and the metaphysical. The things like love, people's affection and friendship, belief in God, peace of heart and soul, faith, happiness.

What yours truly looks like 60% of the time. Tucked in her room, with her laptop and her headphones and her books. Not smiling. sorry. Who has a smile plastered on there face when they're doing school anyway? Not me.

Growing up christian, church every Sunday since I was a baby, befriending people with conservative standards...this ensured that from Sunday school age that I was steeped in the message that, "God is enough, and we shouldn't want other peoples toys because that is coveting and we aren't supposed to do that. Stuff isn't important, kids." And later..."don't pursue riches, don't worry about what your going to eat, what you are going to wear, look at the lilies of the field." 

Okay. Got it. Thank you. 

    My issue isn't that physical stuff...if it came down to that I could be pretty easily pleased. Honestly, I think I could care less if I lived the rest of my life in an RV park, working the local breakfast cafe and living off frozen pizza and PB&J sandwiches.

What it always always looks like next to my bed... lets see, Bible, three or four apologetics/theologish books, a couple notebooks, a couple fictional books, a free grace broadcaster...I think I'm half way through like, um, all of them. 
After all, a library membership is still free, so as long as I had wifi and hot water....I'd be good to go. I can see it, 25, working six mornings a week, always driving a car that's at least twelve years old, coming home to a tiny trailer with a cat or two, reading any good book I could get my hands on, writing books that will never get published, playing/listening to music, watching some movies and TV shows, and jogging on the weekends after church.

If that's all there was to life, then I'd be a pretty happy camper.  I am blessed with a lot of awesome "stuff" right now. (See above references to books and music) But as cool as I think some of this stuff is...I know its really empty. I know it's dust in the end, and that my happiness can't rest on it.

Its the other kind of contentment that I go "rounds in the ring with", so to speak.

Me: Hey, I should take a selfie of what I usually look like! Make a cute face! Ummmm...never mind maybe I should just go back to writing blog posts and doing school. Apparently, I have not mastered the art of the selfie face. I think that's a good thing though.
 Weirdly, in conversations with a few people that I have had recently, they all asked me the same question, unbeknownst to each other that they were all asking it:

What do you want, Jillian? What do you want your life to look like?

Blink. Blink. Blank stare.

 "I...I dunno. I thought it was up to God to decide that. I thought it wasn't supposed to be about what I want. What do you mean?"

"I mean, what do you want to do with the life God has given you? Do you want to just play violin all the time and read books and take taekwondo?  Do you want to just get married and have babies?  Do you think you might want to be a missionary?"

"Well...maybe. I mean, yeah, all of that...that would be great. But none of it's really that important if I  don't know who God is, who I am in relation to God, if I don't know what my faith is, if I don't know what I stand for, if I can't understand why God does what He does. I gotta know that first."

Let me tell you,  I've been a professing christian since I was seven, a real, baptized, heart-changed christian when I was twelve, but despite all, now, I realize that my faith was more just my parents than my own. That's what happens when you grow up in a Christian home. Not that that's a bad thing...but its like becoming a christian all over again, when you really think through a plethora of subjects for yourself.

 If you grew up in a christian home too, I think this will really resonate with you. You just believed what you believed and did what you did because that's what mom and dad believe and this is what they say is right and that was enough. Life was good. Let Mommy and Daddy figure out the problems, and then tell you what to do. That was, actually, pretty easy.

And then, at some point, you find out that you must believe it for yourself. You have to hold your Christianity in your own two hands and become convicted of things in your own burning heart, while your parents stand just a little to the side and watch while you and God have it out. They are there, and you are still going to go to them first with all those millions of questions that you have, but they are not God.  They admit themselves that they are human and don't have all the answers.

For someone who never really rested on God but on their parents, this shatters your safe little world.
Holding your convictions in your hands because YOU are convicted of's a hot coal. It burns. It stings. You want to throw it back. It's too much responsibility. You freak out because it turns out all along, you had no idea what your idea of God was.

So, to tie it all together, this is what I want: I want to find my contentment in God, to solidify my shaky faith in Him, to once more find my joy in Him.

Life is empty otherwise. I am stuck there, right now, unable to move into anything with any kind of passion or surety, because I don't stand on anything solid yet. No way could I become a missionary or get married or have kids or minister to others when I have not found my own contentment yet.

 After that, I can move on with life, knowing that whatever I do and wherever I am and whatever I have, the emptiness that is always in my heart can be filled by Him and no other. Not my parents, not my future husband, not my future children. Not my stuff.

I am being selfish. But I HAVE to get this done first. First Comes God, then comes me and God, and then once I have that established, this relationship of "me and God" sheds a light on everything else.

Oh hey look! A real smile.

Monday, March 9, 2015

You Can't Tell Anyone

In which is, another quote.

I'll be back to writing soon. I see a light at the end of the tunnel with my classes...please don't go away.

Friday, March 6, 2015


In which I throw an interesting topic at you.

Several topics float, bounce, and come in and out of focus.

This is how things work in my head. Some things are a big focus sometimes, some things take the back burner, to come forward at a later time.

That being said, here is one of those subjects that is bumping around in a spotlight:  To Be A Christian Do/Be/Believe X

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Pain We Feel

In which is all I can give right now.

With each word I write, I want to encourage others. 

I want to make you smile. I want to bring you back to Christ. I wish to give you hope. To let you know you are not alone. To give pep talks to people who feel like giving up. To keep your chin up and keep you excited about life.

But some days, I am empty and have nothing to give. Because I'm really fallible and really human. I am crazy to think that I will almost always know what to say.

I'm empty.

I'm hollow.

Actually, I'm the one who needs the encouraging, mostly. I get really, really, really down and out sometimes.

 I wonder why we bother. Why parties? Why books? Why vacation? Why live here? Why live there? What does it matter?  Why try? A million questions throw me into abyss. The everyday no longer seems enough. It seems distant. Inconsequential. Time is a heavy burden. And the only thing that I can remember when it gets this rough is that God saved me, so any pain and emptiness and complete hopelessness that comes upon me, it will not last forever.

If I am one who trusts in God, I will be in Glory with Him someday. Pain in the night, Joy in the morning. If that's all we can hang onto when things get so very dark in our souls, then so be it. The pain may not go away for awhile, but it doesn't last. Hang on. This is for me, as much as anybody else.

"The pain that you feel is only temporary
It does not define you, even if 
at some point, it changes you
but not to someone ugly,
but someone who is strong
who growing 
and who is learning. 

You are a beautiful person
only passing by
this pain that is temporary"