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Healing a Hurt Heart

Healing a Hurt Heart

If you’ve ever been dumped, lost someone close to you, or gone through an especially difficult situation you know what it feels like to have your heart hurt. 

So basically…if you are an adult human you know what I’m talking about. 

It’s a universal in the human experience. This world is fallen and therefore we experience pain, especially pain in our hearts when we feel deeply that things are not supposed to be this way. 

Our hearts remind us that we were not created for a fallen world, they are for a world without pain and suffering that we will find in heaven. In that sense, our hearts are some of our truest compasses, constantly pointing towards our desire for fulfillment in heaven. 

But we still have to deal with the hurt in our hearts while we’re still here. 

Heaven is coming, but we’re not there yet. And so, in the meantime, it’s important that we seek to open our hearts to God for the healing that we need to be able to live wholeheartedly in the mission and gifts that God has given to us while we remain here on earth.

And that can be very hard to do. 

It’s hard to let go of the times that we have been hurt. It’s hard to forgive. (check out the heart resource package for a POWERFUL tool to help with this if you haven’t already!) It’s hard to move forward. It’s hard to forget the failures and the times that we have fallen short, even in the work that we feel God calling us too. It’s a whole thing, and we can’t shoulder it alone.

My spiritual director is a lovely older man who is incredibly wise. He has such a sense of peace and contentment about him but I am tempted to envy it every time I am around him. One day he was talking to me about prayer and creating opportunities to listen to God. He said that it would be slow at first and my mind would likely constantly wander, which it absolutely did. But he told me that part of the joy of practicing prayer that creates space for God to speak is not doing a great job keeping your mind focused and patting yourself on the back, but failing over and over, restarting over and over and at the end of it all coming away from the prayer with a sense of peace and wholeness knowing that, despite your apparent failure, you are loved and seen by God. 

When you allow that – that knowledge that God sees you as you are – to be the focus in your life in prayer all of the sudden your individual shortcomings and failures start to fall away. 

But *spoiler alert* I am far from this point personally.

I still take everything incredibly personally and feel a constant need to prove myself to myself and others despite my knowledge of God’s love for me. I feel good about myself until I subconsciously start comparing IG follower numbers and then my day takes a nosedive. I go back into my little Jill shell where I am protected from the myriad things that can ding my ego while I’m still trying to live wholeheartedly under my own power. It’s not pretty.

I know that I do not yet live with my whole heart and the way God desires for me too, but I see the path ahead and am seeking to follow it more closely.

With joy,

Jill

Embracing Vulnerability

It’s almost impossible to deal with relationships between people without dealing with our own shame and insecurities. 

I myself have had issues with maintaining close friendships my entire life that have led me to struggle greatly with vulnerability in friendships. But God in his mercy last year, in one of my greatest gifts of 2019, sent me a new friend that has helped me heal so many of those old wounds. We all need healing, because, like the song about the Bear Hunt that my kids sing ad nauseum, you can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you have to go through it.

We have to face our shame and insecurities in order to move through them. Despite the fact that sharing those things with other people is the absolute last thing I want to do most of the time, that’s the way through. 

Shame can’t survive speaking. 

When we share the parts of ourselves that are most imperfect it frequently has the opposite impact than the one we all fear so much – it draws people to us instead of pushing them away. Connection grows where we have the courage to be vulnerable. Our own vulnerability creates a safe environment for others to be vulnerable as well, and connection grows. 

I like to think of vulnerability as the mud of connection – there’s the lovely light and the freshwater of camaraderie and shared experiences that it’s fun to embrace and talk about, but if you don’t have the dirt of vulnerability a relationship is not going to grow. 

It’s not a glamorous part, but it’s a necessary part. 

Do you struggle to be vulnerable? Is that something you’re comfortable with? 

That’s probably not quite the right question – no one is super comfortable with vulnerability I don’t think. But I think people do get comfortable with the fact that they need to do it, and perhaps that’s the kind of growth we should be seeking – acceptance that vulnerability is necessary to healthy connection, and in turn, connection is necessary for us to love in the way to Christ loves.

Are you looking for everyday reminders to embrace vulnerability? Check out the Connection Shop of limited edition pieces only available through the end of the month. 

Following Peace

 

 

One of the best pieces of advice I ever got in college was to “follow peace”.

If I didn’t have peace about the decision I needed to hold off. 

I was told that God‘s will brings peace and so to some extent, although not infallible, we can use the sense of peace we have about things as a kind of barometer for whether or not it’s in keeping with God‘s plan for us.

Now, take that with a grain of salt because there have been many things in my life where it felt like there wasn’t peace in either option, the peace came instead with the decision making. 

There’s not always a hidden right answer – God is not a game show host with doors that alternatively hide our deepest desires or a pit of fire. He’s not sitting up in the clouds (like I think some atheists imagine we believe he must be) getting ready to zap us if we choose the wrong thing. There are many choices in our lives where God is happy to work through whatever we choose and we can have peace in our decisions knowing that the Scriptures will be fulfilled in us – God will work all things together for good for those who love and serve him. 

Ultimately, that’s where the peace comes from.

It’s not necessarily in making the right choice every time with a perfect record – it comes from trusting that God will do what he said he would. 

I’m finding this January to be a wonderful time to reassess whether or not I really and truly trust in God. Our holiday season here at the shop was not quite what I had hoped it would be. I had bigger goals and grander plans. When they did not come to pass it was a true opportunity to reflect on whether or not 1.) I really did have peace about running this company and 2.) did I really trust that God would provide for my family and the way he said he would. 

So I invite you to reflect on your own life – where do you not feel peace? Do you really trust God with that area of your life? 

If you’re anything like me, those areas that are our biggest sources of anxiety are likely the things that we’re kind of keeping off to the side for ourselves to deal with and not allowing God to be in control of.

But we can trust him. 

He is the only one truly and endlessly worthy of our trust. 

I invite you to give those areas of anxiety to God this week.

The Bear Hunt for Peace

God desires peace for your heart. 

Do you believe that? Do you experience that? 

My answer is both yes or no if I’m being honest. Sometimes it seems like peace is extraordinarily elusive, almost like God is making it intentionally hard for me to find. It seems like the harder I think it the harder it runs away. 

There’s a short story I love about a boy hunting for a bear in the woods. He hunts unceasingly for the bear, looking every day and believing that he will eventually find it. Along the way he catches glimpses, things that keep him going on his quest to find it. And then, when the bear decides it’s time, the bear reveals himself. All the while he’s been drawing the boy deeper into the story – deeper into the forest. 

The search has drawn the little boy into a kind of closeness with the bear that never could have occurred if the bear had been easy to find. When it last they stand face-to-face it is as if they are old friends – both shaped by the dance that led them to each other. (As a sidenote, I’ve completely forgotten the name and author of the story amongst the thousands that I read while completing my English degree in college, so if this rings a bell please hit reply and remind me of the authorship of story so I can share it with everyone next week! It deeply pains me to send a synopsis like this without being able to refer everyone to the original.

It’s that way with us and God I think. He could just show us himself and his full glory, which would flood our souls with peace and wonder, but he does not. He allows us to seek him alongside the peace that comes from knowing him and trusting him. 

So that’s my challenge to you this week – reflect on your life. When have you seen your own glimpses of the bear – moments in God‘s presence where you have felt his peace? If you have a story you’d like to share I’d love to hear it – just hit reply and let me know.

If you’ve peeked around the shop lately you might have noticed some changes. We are moving to a simplified shop model in 2020, keeping a much smaller stock of items in our core, always available collection, and having several special limited edition items available each month for just that month that related to our theme for the month – for instance we have several “Peace” themed items in the shop right now that will go away January 31. 

To check out this month’s limited edition head right here and watch our “Limited Edition” category for new items every month!

Driving in the Fog – a Lesson in God’s Peace

The morning of my planning retreat for 2020 it was extremely foggy. I live in the city, so typically there’s not low hanging fog the way that you would expect in the country. But on this particular day there was thick white fog everywhere making visibility only about an eighth of a mile or so – you couldn’t even see a whole block in front of you. 

And so as I was driving to work that morning I was struck with a thought – there’s really only two ways to drive in fog- stressed and anxious about what it is that is out there that you can’t see or thankful for the visual quiet that allowed you to see only what you needed to see. 

When I pulled up to a stoplight I could see it clearly, as well as the other cars in the intersection. I was never in any danger. But the rest of everything that usually clogged my commute was stripped away – no billboards, no storefronts, no lights far up the road. It was just peaceful. 

So as I was driving through this fog I begin to reflect on how living the Christian life, a life entrusted to God, is so much like driving through this fog. We can only see what we need to see it any given time, but how much do I frequently let that be an impetus of fear and anxiety instead of an opportunity for deep peace – knowing, without a doubt, but I can see you what I need to see, no more, no less.

It was a peaceful revelation, but it was also a punch in the gut. 

Why was I allowing God‘s grace of only giving us the unobstructed present to be a source of such anxiety? Why could I not trust that I could see what I needed to see? 

It was so fitting that this drive was the starting point for my planning retreat for 2020. 2019 was a year decidedly marked by a lack of peace. It got so bad in the last months of the year that I begin to doubt my plan to write about peace this January because I couldn’t imagine how someone who sought peace but found it to be so elusive could ever share thoughts on it in any kind of helpful way. 

But the fog showed me that I lack peace because I haven’t really wanted it – on God’s terms. If I want to embrace it, it’s right there. God is taking care of everything – limiting my vision with the love of a father so that I need not be overwhelmed, but there I was in the midst of the fog imagining what grotesque monsters and giants could be lurking just outside the field of my vision. The peaceful place God has prepared for me had become a nightmare – stalked by the worst imaginings of my troubled heart.

I had been actively rejecting peace. It brings tears to my eyes to say that because I felt that is all I’ve been seeking, and therein lies another problem – the very hunt for peace had become yet another source of crippling anxiety for me. 

I let the anxiety about the fact that I could not find it fester and infect other parts of myself. I drove through the fog peopled with all of my worst fears, beliefs, and thoughts, putting them there myself with effort when God has already provided a small bite-size chunk of reality for me to deal with.

So now I still know that I am probably not the right person to talk to you about peace, but I think for the first time I really understand how much peace is acceptance of what God gives us in the present moment. 

And so that’s my quiet fight for 2020 – to not fill the fog with things that may or may not be there, but to live in the space that I can see because God has allowed it to be in front of me.

Here’s to embracing the peace God has for us in 2020. Let’s do it together, shall we?

shop peace:

Giving Thanks for the Hardest Things

Giving Thanks for the Hardest Things

In our awesome Revive Gratitude resource package I included a daily gratitude worksheet.

Grab the resource package right here:

I use a version of this worksheet myself in one of the most lazy ways possible, but it makes it very sustainable. 

Here’s my secret:

I have a home laminator (office stores also offer low cost lamination) so I laminated a print out of the sheet and write on it with a dry erase marker each day. 

That’s it. I wipe clean each time I’m ready to write again.

Sometimes it’s the morning, sometimes it’s the evening, but the important thing is that I have tried to make it a part of my everyday routine. 

I know that there are many planners etc. that include space for reflecting on daily gratitude, and that’s wonderful. But I think the most powerful part of the worksheet included in the resource package is the fact that there’s a section for things that you were struggling to find any gratitude towards. 

My largest strides in growing and gratitude have all come from reflecting on the things that I write down in this section – the things I can’t figure out how to be grateful for until I stop, reflect, and allow God into them. 

This is where I put things like the one year anniversary of my miscarriage, which was just last week. But then in writing that down and opening it up for prayer and reflection I realized that I am extremely grateful for my growth in faith that was a direct result of the struggle I went through a year ago. I am grateful for the health knowledge I have gained since then, also accompanied by a lot of struggle, but which allows me to make much better decisions for myself and my family know. I am grateful for the friends that came out of the woodwork to minister to us in our sorrow, and still do. In reflecting, I realized there was actually a lot to be grateful for surrounding that horrible day. 

I’m never going to be grateful for the fact I lost my baby girl, and I don’t have to be. Please know that is NOT what I’m suggesting. But I can be grateful for the way in which God kept His promise around the horrible situation: working all things together for good for those who love Him. 

Life is hard. There’s a lot of sad, terrible, horrible things that happen every day. And we can’t always see where gratitude could even enter into those things. But if we give ourselves space, not only for us to move away from the situation but for God to move in and around us, I have yet to come across anything in my own life that was only bad, through and through. Yes, many bad things that happened, but God is faithful to his promises in Scripture. He does work everything together for good for those who love and serve him.

Sometimes they’ll be things that I write down in the “heard to be grateful for“ section and I can’t find any gratitude that day. Or the next. Or in the next week. But I have found that if I invite God into my healing, in a year there will be something, even something extremely tangential, that I am grateful for. 

You never become grateful for the loss of a loved one or another terrible tragedy, and that’s fine. You don’t have to be. But you can find gratitude for the people who showed you love and support during that time. You can find gratitude for the faithfulness of God in those hard days and nights. You can find gratitude for the strength those experiences nurture in you. 

It’s not easy. I questioned even attempting to talk about this as “just a jewelry brand” because it’s a hard topic. But I think it matters, and when all is said and done I want to look back on my life and know that I did things that mattered.

It matters to go to God however you are – angry, hurt, sad, betrayed, livid, whatever – and with whatever is in you, ask Him where He is in the hardest things to be grateful for. He can take your yelling. He can take your anger. He just wants you to bring what you have to Him. 

He can only show us His movements if we come to Him to see them. And where God is moving there is always reason for gratitude. 

Finding gratitude around the things that frankly are the worst is one of the most formative things you can do as a person. It makes you into the kind of person after God’s own heart. 

And that, my friend, is the kind of person I want to be. How about you?

With joy, 

Jill