For a while now I have been wanting to write this next post. God has been stirring this message in my heart for several weeks now, but I just didn’t feel ready to write it until now. Also, life has been really busy, & working 65 hour weeks doesn’t really lend itself to blog writing. I literally have had no time or emotional energy to even just sit down for a few hours & flesh out on paper what God has put in my heart. But I am pleased to finally spend some time sharing this message with you. I am ready to finally write it, & God is ready for you to receive it. It starts with a familiar verse from Jeremiah 29–
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The simple Truth is this: the Lord has plans for us. Only He knows them. Sometimes we may only see glimpses, but we can always count on the fact that His plans are for our good, full of hope, & a bright future.
On my journey towards becoming UNDEFINED, I got to this place where I realized exactly who God is — a loving Father who chose to save my life from the death that I deserved. I began to realize the beauty of the Gospel — that Jesus would choose to die on that cross for the specific sins that I have committed & will commit. He could stand there before me & list out every single sin by name, but would still choose to bear the cross to save my life. It’s as if He looks me in the eyes & tells me, “Jillian, Beloved, you are worth it.”
At first realizing this brought me to tears. I can remember the first day I heard God speaking this into my heart. He completely took over every part of my senses. He broke my heart down & spoke into it. “Beloved daughter, I have a future & a hope for you. There is life after this. Remember, I knew this would happen & I still died for you. There are plans in the works. There always have been. I will restore your heart. I will rebuild your dreams. I will reset your life.”
Oh, my gracious, Abba Father!
He was there all along! He heard me when I cried out to Him, heart full of fear & darkness. I have done some terrible things that I thought have ruined the course of my life. In those moments, it was hard to see that anything good could come out of something so destructive. Sometimes we feel as if we have screwed up so badly that there is no hope for us. But I am here to declare from personal experience, that there is hope for the hopeless!
When we call upon the Lord, YES, our Amazing God hears us! But He doesn’t just hear us.. He also answers us! He responds to our searching for Him. He comes to our aid. He doesn’t leave us; He is there. He doesn’t hide; He wants us to find Him. He LETS us find Him when we seek Him. & when we do find Him, He restores our soul. He restores our fortunes. Everything that is valuable to us that we have mishandled – He restores it ALL.
And I think that has been the missing piece to this message. I could sit here all day & write about how God does these amazing things without ever having experienced it myself. But just this week God has written some pretty amazing pages in my story, & now I can confidently declare that our God is a God of not only redemption, but also RESTORATION. Things have begun to come full circle. My sin was washed white in my moment of repentance, but God did not leave it there! He has gradually wiped the slate of my life clean & provided me with some pretty amazing fresh starts: some amazing new friendships, a new apartment, a new job, & who knows what else is next!
Our lives are meant to be a story of God’s redemption, restoration, & relentless love. We must let Him write our story, & nobody else.