This post took me forever to write . . . it was grueling. I promised myself that this summer I would pour myself into this blog endeavour, learn all about blogging through e-courses and books, and write to my heart’s content. I was unbelievably excited to assume the role of my alter ego and dissolve into the “super hero” version of myself. Truth is, I got more writing done while teaching full time than I did this summer! Not only did I NOT accomplish even half of what I set out to do, I went backwards. I haven’t been able to write in weeks- I’ve had the WORST case of writer’s block on the planet. In fact, I almost didn’t want to write. I was totally digging in my heels on this one.

So, here I am, 1 day away from going back to work, and POOF! Just like that, clarity. Finally, He decided to reveal to me the reason for the stagnate wasteland that was my brain for the past couple months. See, God had other plans for my summer. And I have to admit, I have felt like a grumbling teenager as I trudged through the “chores” that He neatly and intently laid out for me. It really took me until now to realize that this was a part of HIS plan for my life all along. While my intentions were good, the timing was off, and I was unknowingly skipping over the single most important step to ensure my goal of being a vessel for Him- and that was putting Him first, myself second, and letting everything else follow as it may.

Over the past several months, my husband and I have thrown ourselves into our church- we started serving, we joined different bible studies. We’ve been in this boat before, but this time we were earnestly seeking. Seeking God, seeking ourselves, seeking our path. We both hit a point in our lives where we knew we were MADE FOR MORE- that our stories had relevance and purpose and we needed to figure it out. As we did this, the absolute darkest, nastiest crap pile of skeletons came tumbling out of our perfectly secured “closets”. While I would love to tell you all about John’s skeletons, and just cram my little bastards back into that wonderful closet, I feel that would be super selfish. HA! We found it infuriatingly curious that as we grew closer to God, as He opened our eyes to His truth, BAM! Hot. Mess.  

My skeletons had cute little names like pride, my time with God, my relationship with God, my will power, my strength, my identity, and my reliance on food. Let’s see . . . which of these does not belong? If “my reliance on food” is sticking out like a sore thumb, join the club. That one caught me completely off guard and I will address it in detail in Part 2 of this post (it’ll be so fun) Annnyway. . . I hate even saying it out loud. And I really, really, REALLY hate sitting here typing it for any old person to just come and read my weaknesses on display. Quite an impressive list I had to work on, huh? While all of them were sweetly linked together in an intertwined ball of ridiculousness, the deepest dealt with my true identity, His plan for my life, and my sneaky reliance on food to “fill me up”.

The title of this post “Standing in the Gap” is actually a reference to God literally standing in several gaps for me. God is kind, He is loving, He is patient. He waits on us- however long it may take. He waits for us to come to Him, to seek Him, to pursue HIS PLAN for our lives, to realize we were ALL made for more. Jeremiah 29:11 is such a well known verse, but sometimes I feel like it’s far too often used as a crutch to just say “Well, God has a plan.” This is totally my opinion, but I truly do feel that God has wonderful plans for our lives (just as we do for our own kids, right?!). However, many times we have our own plans, and we go our own way (btw, loving those of you silently singing Fleetwood Mac right now), and we do our own thing. When things don’t work out, we question God (as if we’re actually on His plan). And one thing I want to make sure to point out is that there is NOTHING wrong with having our own plans and pursuing them. In fact, in Psalm 37:4, it says: “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” However, just like our own kids, sometimes we don’t know what’s best for ourselves. As a result, we spend a lot of time and energy running down a path that was never ours to begin with, only to wind up at an unfulfilling destination. Our loving Father wants us to be happy, He knows our hearts, our dreams. But He also knows the best path to get there in order for us to be the best us we can be . . . IN HIM 🙂

Soooooo, up until this summer, I had intermittent moments of seeking God. But if I’m honest with myself, I was really just loving God. Let me be clear that loving God is a really good thing. However, this put me in the occasionally go to church, yay God groupie, Jesus is awesome category. Sometimes I would sit down, really read the bible and spend time with God, but mostly . . . I just didn’t. I was never really seeking Him, He was more like an accessory in my life. Other things were far more important and if I could squeeze Him in . . . YAY ME!

Slowly I began to earnestly seek God, and when I did, He placed several key people in my life that helped nudge me in the right direction. It wasn’t until I got invited to a wonderful bible study with a very sweet friend, Stephanie, that MY plan began to really fall apart. It stretched over the summer and we studied the book Made to Crave by the absolutely incredible Lysa TerKeurst (@lysaterkeurst). While I missed almost half of the gatherings thanks to MY plan (aka. swim meets, kid stuff, blah, blah, stuff)- this book did nothing short of change my life, my perspective, and my heart. It revealed to me how vital it is to get to the bottom of that heaping pile of junk we have hidden in those closets (for me- in case you forgot- reliance on food and a lack of identity), to earnestly seek God, and to let go of our plan . . . because people- His is SOOO much cooler!

During this bible study, I slowly started realizing just how much God loves me- that He “cherishes” me as his “beloved child” (here’s the identity part). As a result, I just wanted more and more of Him. I realized that if He loves me, He must have a plan, and that plan must be awesome. So, I pursued Him more and pondered things and really dug deep into all that mess that I was just keeping locked away like Sloth in Goonies. I hit some pretty rough patches and realized that I am a huge jerk to myself. I realized that His plan for me had never really changed. It swerved and dodged and trudged along with me on MY crazy plan (just as He did) waiting for me to pursue it. He was with me during every single moment, every heartache, every secret, everything. And with Him was His plan for my life. It was like me on one side of the river, and His amazing plan for me on the other. And then there’s God- standing there, all this time, in the gap for me- with one hand on me, and the other on His plan for me. He never got offended at my sometimes ridiculous behavior, choosing to forget me, dropping HIS plan for me to the pits of hell. No. He waited, standing in the gap, clinging to His plan for my life and gently nudging me onto my feet every time I fell. Which was a lot, by the way . . .

While I was running around like a lunatic, He stood firm. Not only that, He continued to be available to me. And when I finally began to seek . . . He was there. The moment I chose Him, He answered in a big way. Basically, He took MY feeble little plan, added His God magic to it, and guided me to step 1 of OUR plan. When I began realizing all of this, my self condemnation came flooding me and I was so mad at myself for wasting so much time. I felt embarrassed and ashamed, but at the same time ready. Ready to ditch MY plan and pursue Him, ready to see what His plan was all about . . . I was ready for real change, and I was so, so grateful to Him for standing in the gap for me.

I have no clue what lies ahead. But, I do know I have a purpose, that I am truly loved. I do know that if I continue to pursue Him and resist doing things MY way or the WORLD’S way, I am in for an amazing ride. I am far from perfect, and will continue to be, but I know that I was made for more and I cannot WAIT to see what that entails.

If you are interested in learning more about Made to Crave and/or Lysa TerKeurst, visit http://www.lysaterkeurst.com , or pick up a copy on Amazon ! You will NOT be disappointed 🙂 

**Stay tuned to Part 2 of “Standing in the Gap” to see my journey take a turn in conquering my reliance on food 🙂

jill