Hey folks, I am Jillian (mostly Jill, but sometimes not) and Anna so graciously invited me to compile some thoughts to share, and I am so honored. She very specifically told me to write about anything, so I had to spend some time fulfilling this precise request. Also, can we get a little rowdy for how awesome this blog is?! Put your hands in the air for Anna!
So I have been doing some traveling lately- mostly with my family and friends who feel like family. All of these trips have been awesome in their own way and have taught me something about myself, the world, the people I have been with, and about our God who love all of the aforementioned things with a lot of passion. I encourage everyone and anyone to plan a trip-whether it be a day trip or a few weeks, somewhere driving distance or across the country, visit some family or friends, or just explore on your own- I bet you’ll be blessed in some way.
At the end of March, I met my mom and sister in Marco Island and we were able to spend a whole week together in the sun, by the pool, and on the beach. There's something about family vacations and making memories with the people closest to me that makes me feel vulnerable, but also pumps me up with confidence to (reluctantly) return to my everyday. I think being with my family in general brings more calcium to my bones and makes me feel a bit stronger. See, it's been a little over a year since I moved to Nashville to work and create new relationships and communities, so time with family is especially treasured. On this trip, I was reminded of a few things: 1. I am not super excited about hot weather 2. Being vulnerable builds relationships but is still really tough for me 3. Don't miss a day of SPF 4. My family is the best and 5. God is always in control.
As my sister, Ali and I sat in the airport in Sarasota at the end of our trip we had a moment of vulnerability with each other. As we both shared the things weighing on our hearts, we were equally humbled by the reminder that God loves us and His timing is perfect. Our spoken desires helped us see that we were just listing off the things that we wanted instead of listening to what God really wants for us. This story really isn't ours to write and this life isn't really about us. We all experience the hard moments: times of want, grief, anxiety, guilt, etc etc. and through these moments we have a choice. Are we in His Presence grieving with hope or are we attempting to write the next sentence ourselves? Usually I default to the latter and I picture God saying “aw, Jill you actually can't. You can't do that, but it was so cute of you to try.” Isn't He such a good God? He calls me cute even when I am not cute. He even calls me cute when I am ugly crying because what I am grieving still isn't becoming a reality. And even through the ugly crying and disappointment, He is still good. I am not sure what you're going through these days, but I do know your God, and He is good. He is so good that He has given us community and relationships so that the internal can be struggled externally and so that your heart can be reminded of His faithfulness. If something is weighing on your heart- let that be a reminder that God has strategically placed someone in your life to share it with. We weren't created to face this world alone, so find your people, share your weight, and love with grace because what you need someone else does too.
For the sake of these reminders, I encourage you to be vulnerable and willing to jump off the warm dock into the chilly unknown waters. God will bless your childlike faith and trust in Him. He will always call you His and will continually lead you to the doors you're meant to walk through. And also remember to not always be serious in your vulnerability- go ahead and try to hit the high notes in “Bleeding Love” as you wander around Florida in a rental car with your sister. That's as vulnerable as it gets and will humble you to the ground.
“I believe that owning our worthiness is the act of acknowledging we are sacred. Perhaps embracing vulnerability and overcoming numbing is ultimately about the care and feeding of our spirits…” B. Brown