Today, I’m just so overwhelmed by the gospel!

The Truth would be just so incredibly Unbelievable, if HE had not struck my heart & made me believe.

And now, well, now…..It’s all true, every moment of every day….


Lump in my throat, unbelievable….truly unbelievable for a wretch like me.

NO SIN TOO BIG, no thought too hideous, no pride, hate, resentment, worry….NOTHING of my sin has NOT been nailed to the cross, taken by the Son of God who took my shame & my judgement to grant me love and acceptance.  It really is too wild and crazy to absorb, except that He bought me and He brought me to Himself.



God loves me as much this moment as He ever has or ever will, and that love has never, nor will ever dim.

I’m REDEEMED and everything in my life is REDEEMABLE.

HUH?  There is no tragedy, no loss, no mistake, no fear, nothing He can’t handle and nothing He can’t use for His glory.  Yeah, even “that thing….”



The Gospel–the grace and truth of Jesus Christ is overwhelming.  Many days I might treat it as a small thought, a man’s dollar, a little girl’s doll.  I might minimize it and put it to the side so I can get on with my to-do list, my motherly worries, my petty jealousies and idolatries.

Francis Chan comments, “The irony is that while God doesn’t need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don’t really want Him most of the time.”

But not today. Today His goodness is flooding all that I am and all that I am doing. Today, His whisper has a megaphone. Today, it really is abundantly more than I can imagine.

It’s really true.

I hope the waterfall of this truth will wash over you, refresh you, & cause you to raise your hands to enjoy it’s beauty.

Paradigm shifts and pig-pens…


Jesus is the paradigm-shifter of all time.

He turned society on its head.  He literally changed time. He was (& is) the word that recreates everything. He has a way of turning things upside-down (i.e. Heaven on Earth).

He’s the paradigm-shifter AND the pig-pen user.

Yeah, pig-pens don’t make Him panic.  Pig-pens are portals to show his power.  Pig-pens are not Plan B.

Do you ever feel like you are in the pig-pen?

pig pen

I have.  I’m not even totally sure how I get there most of the time.  But I end up dirty, smelly, hungry and needy in every way.

Then, when I “come to my senses” (Lk 15:17), I think, “He won’t be able to endure my stench, I’m too dirty, and heck, I deserve to be needy after what I’ve done.  Daddy can’t welcome me now.  He must be so disgusted with me.  But I really want to go HOME.”

And, upon turning toward home, I see Him. Even while I’m a “long way off” (Lk. 15:20), I can make Him out, and I am shocked & astounded.  He’s running, yes running, toward me, arms open wide.

I might still smell like the pig-pen.  Pig-poo may still be stuck to my shoes.  But, oh how I wish I was clean when I first see Him.

But remembering my Father & home–this–has turned me toward home. And He is welcoming me. He never even mentions the odor or the poo!  He welcomes my need. My need to be clean, to let Him provide for me, and especially my need to focus on Him rather than myself for even a chance at true joy!

And once again, His love has shifted my entire experience. From the pig-pen to the party………… Only Jesus.

thoughts from my heart on Luke 15

He is FOR YOU…

If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.
If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.


John Piper comments on these verses:

"If you are in Christ Jesus all of God's action toward you is almighty mercy and 
omnipotent assistance. It is not mixed. It is not as though some days he is 
against you with wrath - and those days are bad days - while other days he is 
for you with love - and those days are good days. That is emphatically not 
the case and not the way to think about it. 

In Christ Jesus God is always for you. Always!
Now this is breathtaking. If we could believe it, practically, morning till 
night deep in our souls - if this truth that God is only for us and not against us,
and that he is for us with almighty mercy and omnipotent assistance all day and 
all night, waking and sleeping, Oh how differently we would live and sleep! 
What freedom! What a joy! What a peace! What a risk-taking boldness! 
What a fearlessness! What a sacrificial life-style of love and service and mercy!
What a patience! What a serenity . . . we would have.
So we take our sins seriously. We hate them. (Rom. 7:15) 
We confess our sins (1 John 1:9). We look to the cross where all our pardon 
and righteousness was fully secured. We accept the Father's displeasure and 
discipline, and may dwell in darkness for a season. But if our enemy rejoices 
and says to us in our night of sorrow, "See, God is against you. He is angry. 
You are guilty and under his condemnation," then we will say, with the authority 
of Romans 8:1 and on the basis of Jesus Christ's death and righteousness,
and in the words of Micah 7: 
'Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. 
Though I fall I will rise; Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for 
me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against Him,
until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. 
He will bring me out to the light, And I will see His righteousness.'"

As Piper says,Satan, our enemy, lies to us. Satan condemns us in our own voice-- 
                  in my case with a very southern accent!!
I've started recognizing that lying voice at the door of my mind
 and I call out to Jesus to answer that particular knock. He always says, 
"I GOT THIS, HONEY!"                 Jesus runs to us when we call on Him in need.
knocking on door
He makes us more than overcomers.

He is for us.

In Him, the gates of hell will not stand 
against us.

He gives us the victory.

His LOVE leads us to repentance.

If He is for us, who can stand against us?

                        Satan would have us forget these truths.  
                   He would have us wallow in guilt, shame, and defeat. 
                          He would have us believe that 
                               THIS SIN is too bad; 
                       THIS SIN was not nailed to the cross. 
                     But we know the truth. God has blessed us with Rom.8:1.
Even as we fight against sin we hate, 
even as we fail,
His love and forgiveness never does.
As we "set our minds" on the things of the Spirit,
the truth of Romans 8:1,
We gain power and might for victory.

Let two words be your mantra for a few days.  Let them seep into your marrow.
                     They are words from the cross & resurrection.

                             NO CONDEMNATION...
               Believe it and be defined by His love, not your sin. 
                         Believe it, and be free. 
                         Believe it, and be brave.
                      Believe it and bring Him glory.


Live by faith…


A friend sent this to me today and it encouraged me so much I want to share it!

This song reminds me to live by faith.

Very often, faith is truth over feelings. Sometimes, faith is truth over experience.

Many times faith is weak. We can run to Him with our need, “Help my unbelief…”

He can work with that!

Wash yourself with the word of God today & be reminded of all the beautiful truths. Set your mind on these things…

Hello again!


Hi my friends!  I’ve missed connecting with you!

God has been working with my heart…as always!  Sometimes, God gives us messages from our stories that come easily, just like putting pen to paper.  Other times, however, He forges testimonies of Himself & His power, faithfulness, & grace into our souls with heat and hammering.

Either way, the resulting proclamation is of an unusual God with uncommon love. And this beautiful commentary to a hurting, striving, empty world as well as to His weary, forgetful children is worth any pain that brought it forth.

God’s story is always what His children’s stories point to and reveal.  As I continue to share my story with you, I hope He is what you will see.  Sometimes His work in me has been joyful & free, other times, well, not so much!!  But, HE HAS KEPT ME as He also keeps you.

I love this recent song from Amy Grant…raise your hands and sing hallelujah or cry out to Him in need, both bring Him praise:

May our lives shout “hallelujah” to God in every sunny & stormy day…and may we encourage each other in this purpose.





The first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism asks: “What is the chief end of man?”

The answer:  “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”Westerminster_catechism_first_page

I’ve been thinking about that.  Thinking about enjoying God…and, so, bringing Him glory.

I’ve been asking Him…God how do I enjoy you?  How do you want me to enjoy you?  What does it look like?

I think maybe He pointed to how I enjoy my children.

It warms my heart to see  our boys joyful and laughing.  I love it when they share their lives with me.  It means a lot to me when they comment on a good meal I made, thank me for doing their laundry, or just sit with me silently as we enjoy something together.  They show me love when they obey me. The best feeling in the world is when they hug me, just because they want to.  When they are sad, it blesses me when they share their troubles with me.  And it’s nice when they just appreciate ME, just because I’m me and I am their mom.

God is answering my prayers.  He is teaching me how to enjoy Him.  I am already experiencing the blessing of it!  For this school year my goal is just to enjoy God!  As I walked along the Greenway this morning I saw so much beauty–4 deer, 2 blue herons, brown bunnies, lots of squirrels, a beautiful creek, gorgeous greenery.  We enjoyed it together and I thanked Him for being so deer 2011 003 Later, I listened to music and danced while I was cleaning the kitchen…I raised my hands to Him, I think maybe He danced with me!  As I made beds, folded laundry, grocery shopped, He gave me joy in being able to serve my family.  He said, “Jill, if you do it for the least of these, you do it for Me.”  I had a chat with the clerk at QT and HE flooded me with love for her.  I though that was pretty cool.  I talked to Him about some things I’m concerned about it and He reminded me that He’s got it.  I talked to Him about my lack of love, my selfishness and asked for forgiveness.  He said, “done.”  As I ran errands I was thinking about how much I want to be more like Him.  He said, “rest…enjoy.”  So, I am.

How about you…have you just enjoyed God lately?  I’m pretty sure He wants to enjoy you too.

Share in the “comments” section how you are enjoying God!


“Jesus interacted with Peter in the present, predicted his failure in the future, but also saw his maturity in the more distant future.  ‘Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you like wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.’ But he replied, Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and death.  Jesus answered, I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.'(Lk 22:31-34)

Jesus, who transcends time, could see the present state of Peter, how, after his failure, he would mature to help others like himself.  And, in all of it He totally accepted Peter.

The Lord accepts us fully, knowing that we will need time and experience to work out our imperfections.  Our failures do not surprise Him.  If they surprise us, it is only because we have too high an opinion of ourselves.  We have a standing in grace that gives us freedom to achieve truth over time.

The truth we need to achieve has many aspects.  It includes the developmental needs of the real self, the grace of relationships (according to God’s grace), and the external truth of the precepts of God.  And it takes time for all of these to work.”

–Henry Cloud

Can you imagine how Peter felt after denying his friend, the Savior, the Christ?  I can.  I’ve done it over and over when I have believed lies instead of His truth– when I have withheld love, when I have been self-confident, self-pitying, self-reliant, self-admiring, self-confident, self-supported, etc.

Yet, Jesus had a future planned….wherein Peter would use the pain and sin he had experienced to help others…Oh friend, if you are in deep sin, or if you are experiencing daily sin, look to Jesus.

He has counted it all forgiven and He has a future for you that honors His glory and your gifts.


Dang, that’s what I thought I wanted…


DANG, (that’s a Christian cuss word by the way—sorry)  I STILL WANT IT.

I’ve mentioned it to my husband, my friends, my mother, even my sons.

But they still won’t get it for me.

I thought I might get it for mother’s day, or my birthday, or anniversary.

Dog-gonnit, still didn’t get it.

What’s wrong with these people?

I feel that I have been pretty clear.

But as I write you, I realize I am having a difficult time describing it to you, so maybe that’s why they didn’t get it.

HOW THOUGH?  How could you not get it?  It’s what I have ALWAYS wanted.

When daddy brought me M & M’s on his arrival home from work, I still wanted it.mms2

When my kindergarten teacher told me I was the best “horse galloper” in the class, I really wanted it.

When I had my heart set on  eight children and I had six boys, I wanted it.

When I visited other people, I wanted it.

When I saw others’ Godliness I wanted it.


Down time.




Physical health and appearance.








Freedom from conflict.



No matter what I saw in others I still craved it, longed for it, strived for it, fought for it.


Just MORE.

more m & m’s; more affection; more love; more admiration; more beauty; more money; more health, hope, wisdom, strength; more children; more love; more friends; more assurance…more, more, more.

That’s what I’ve always wanted.


It never really seemed important how much I had, I wanted it.

Sometimes it could even oppose other things I wanted.  But IT always won out.

HE made us to want it.  Augustine said that we have a vacuumed shaped heart that is not at peace until it is filled with Him.

Well, I have vacuumed a few 1000 times.  No matter how much I go over a spot, the vacuum still sucks, consuming something I could never see.  Our hearts want more because that’s how we are created.  More, more, more (as ABBA sang).

However, have you ever experienced this desire for more when you are overflowing?  The want of the very “thing” that never runs out?  It forces you to want more for others, not for yourself.  MORE.  More for my sinner friend, more for my Pastor, more for my neighbor, more for my disciple, more for the store manager, the slow poke in front of me, the child who wears me out, the husband who wants more, the disapproving child-care giver, the mother-in-law, etc.

We still all want it. But what if the MORE is holy more?  More of God…More for others…more avenues to die…more hope in Him.  Have you ever wanted more when you are overflowing?  You can’t sustain it for yourself.  It HAS  to go somewhere else.  One of the greatest ways to overcome this life-long desire is to long it for some one else.

No more m & m’s. No more praise about ponies or mommies or wives or school participants or church members or money or appearance.   But still more.  A holy more.  More of Him who abounds in love, whose hope never ends, whose eternity was way before and way beyond m & m’s, horsey praise, decorations, and a righteous facade…way beyond(fill in the blank, friend)…

The more in us was created for Him.


Back to court today…


Well, I went back to court today.courtroom-thumb-450x360

It was a grueling process.

Strange too.

As I entered, the Judge and my lawyer

greeted me with a questioning look.  But,

I didn’t pay them much attention.


I did notice, however, that the Jury seemed to fully expect me there.

Honestly, though, they didn’t really seem all that interested in me.

I was surprised by that.    

I sat down and waited for the questioning to begin.  It almost seemed like I grilled myself the most, the prosecution was very sly in how he tried to trip me up and the jury had comments here and there.  My lawyer just stood there standing next to me while this went on.  I finally turned to Him and said, “What do you think?”  He  patiently answered, “Well, the Judge and I are wondering why you are back in here, back on the stand.  Don’t you remember that I stood up for you before?  How I advocated for you? Justice was served for all the crimes you had committed as well as for all the crimes that were to come.  Remember that I paid the fine because you couldn’t?  And the Judge declared you free?  We were wondering why you were walking back into the courtroom today, putting yourself on trial again, looking to the jury, hoping they’d think well of you.  Jill, the gavel has been dropped, gavel1-1024x1024once and for all.  Yes, you’ll have more crimes, sometimes the jury will even want to convict you, but the trial is over.  Remember?”

Just one question…Have you forgotten and put yourself back on the stand today?  Get outa there!

“…HE made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us ALL our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and HE has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” Col. 2:13-14





Brick walls & blessings….


I’ve made some dumb mistakes.

I’ve often lost my way, tripped, fallen.

I’ve hit brick walls of my own making.Brick_Wall

I’ve been weak in faith.

And this morning I’m sad about it.

But I still hear His voice, small and whispering, yet rushing, running– the open-armed voice of Love.

I want to beat myself, hide, hang my head and refuse His love.

But you know Him.  He won’t let me.

This morning He led me to the passage in Luke 17 when Jesus talks about the Kingdom of God.  In my state of sick-to-my stomach self-condemanation, replaying my sins over and over, He brought me to the verse, “Remember Lot’s wife.”  Now, this is going to be taking the verse out of context a bit, but I know God is talking to me this morning…”Remember Lot’s wife, Jill.  DON’T LOOK BACK.  It will make you crumble.  Look ahead, look to Me, the Maker of heaven & earth, and I will be your strength.  Know that you are forgiven and that My kindness has led you to this blessed place of humble repentance.  Know that EVEN TODAY I can use you to bless others.”

I thought that just maybe, by sharing this, I might bless you.

I am worse than I ever thought, and more loved than I could ever imagine.  I am in awe of that this morning.