I’ve been a little all over the place lately. Feeling thankful for this season of gatherings and celebration. Feeling frustrated that we’ve been called to yet another winter in Utah. Feeling excited for what our next chapter may hold. Feeling worried {and guarded} about the possibility of another disappointment. Sometimes it’s such a jumble of emotions and thoughts in my head that I don’t even want to be in them; and that’s a bit how it’s felt this last week or so. There is so much to process and sort through. So many ways in which God is speaking into my heart. Words that are often a comfort, but also words that are convicting and difficult to acknowledge.

God has proven over and over - and His Word is clear on the subject - that He is in this with me, for my good, because He loves me. It is one thing that my head and my heart can agree on: God has got this. But then the little cracks in my foundation begin to fill with the quiet whispers of the devil. The lies that he tells, filled with just enough truth, that isolate me from my support. That pull me away from the rich words of the Scriptures. Telling me I’m failing at motherhood or my temper is too short. Telling me I’m unhappy because God chose not to save my son. Jillian, why would you serve a God who doesn’t even love you enough to calm your anxiety when you ask? It’s something simple! Surely a god that loves you would only want good (easy) things for you? Certainly you should expect a life of earthly satisfaction, filled with every whim of your heart’s desire. Surely THAT is what a god worthy of serving would do.

Or the biggest lie of all: Jillian, you say God loves you. You say that He is capable of absolutely anything. But you WILL be disappointed again. He WILL let you down again, and you WILL weep over loss and through pain, again.

No! It’s not truth. God’s character is so much richer than superficial earthly happiness. His desires for my life are not laid out like a sprint. He is in this life, has laid out a plan, for the marathon whose finish line is the gates of Heaven. Yet I find myself pulled between knowing He can (or could have) and knowing He won’t.

I don’t run. Anyone that knows me, knows I don’t run. So I can’t exactly relate to what it feels like to start, run, and finish a marathon. But I do know the math. That at any point up until 13.1, you can turn around and not go the distance needed to cross that finish line. At any point before 13.1, you will have run less than 26.2. But when you cross that threshold, no matter how tired your legs may feel or how heavy your body becomes, you have to just keep going because the end is nearer than the beginning. Days like today feel a lot like I imagine that feels. Heavy legs, tired from the distance and pace. But it doesn’t make sense to turn around. Because what is waiting at the end is SO WORTH the journey. And the reality is that turning around would be harder anyway. The start line has such an allure to it. It is a place where there is excitement and anticipation. Where you put your training to the test, as each mile gets crossed off that mental checklist. I often find myself wishing for that start line. For that place in my past that didn’t hold the realities of sore legs and tired lungs - where there wasn’t intimate experiences with the world’s brokenness and the innocence and blissful ignorance of just knowing that God has good things for me isn’t tainted - but instead held excitement for the future and crossing off each new mile.

I don’t think there is anything Satan could offer me that would have me trade these last 3 years for anything else. Despite loss, pain, suffering, disappointment, whatever it’s called today, I have experienced God in incredible ways. I have been comforted and loved deeply. I am fully known, personally and intimately, by the God of the universe. That is a truly wonderful gift. I have carried and held 2 of the most precious babies. I have been made mama, a title that gives me both the greatest pleasures and worst pains. I have a beautiful daughter and son who each have given me a new perspective through which to view and know my God. And even though I have buried both my own mama and my son, nothing could ever be better than this. And when I start to hear the whispers of evil, I want to remember all those hours I’ve spent in the Psalms, and all the ways that God has shown his incredible gentleness towards his people. I will shout His Word in the face of the devil. I will seek refuge in the plumes of His wings and I will stand firm on the steadfastness of His character.

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” - Philippians 4:4