Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Season For Everything: The Importance of Being Right Where You're Supposed to Be

with guest Jill Lynn.

I am the kind of person who doesn't like to miss out. If something is happening, I want an invite. And even though I tend to be an introvert, I love people and I want to be part of the fun. I also don't want to fall behind. But despite those desires, I often do. I joke about being the mom who forgets things at school and never knows when there's something going on. I am a mess! I am often out of the loop and struggling to catch up.


The last year has been emotional for me. I lost a dear friend to cancer and I really struggled with writing. I don't know if it was writer's block or grief or really what it was. But I was very hard on myself. I would think that person over there is ahead of you. They have more books out than you do. They write faster than you do. They must not be a big sloth like you are. And then I would sit back and listen to those thoughts. I knew they were lies from the enemy. I knew they were not the truth. Because this is the truth: God has always been in charge of my writing. What I thought would happen has almost never happened. At first I thought I would write non-fiction. I wrote fiction. Then I thought I would write fiction. I wrote non-fiction. But what he has had planned is what has worked. I often fight and kick and scream against whatever God asks of me. I'd love to say that I don't do that, but then I’d just be hiding something from you. But God always brings me around. I'll let you in on a little secret…he always ends up winning. Even when I think I'm going to sneak by with my own plans, he turns things around for his glory.

No matter what ways I feel attacked, deep in my soul, I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Over the past year, I have had to constantly remind myself that I am not in control. That I don't write for myself. I write because I think this is what God is asking me to do (and yes, I also love it). I'm thankful for this dream he's planted and cultivated. And then I have to trust. I get to trust that I am not in control. He is.

I watched this fabulous clip of Beth Moore the other day. She was talking about how we as Christians are so worried that we're not going to know the will of God. Like we're going to miss it—whatever it is. Whatever we're supposed to be doing. She said (I’m paraphrasing) you won't miss it if you are at all in line with God. If you love him and are seeking him, he is not going to let you miss it. He will direct you to do his will. Of course there's still a choice in that. But her words gave me so much comfort. There is someone greater than us at work here. My writing career is not dependent on me cranking out books at a certain speed or keeping up with the person next to me. My writing career is about doing what God has planned. I am exactly where I am supposed to be according to him. It's me who compares my journey to others. God is not worried about what anyone else is doing. Our plan is just that—our plan. His plan plus me obeying. And yes, sometimes I wonder what that plan is. I pray and I ask—and maybe he doesn't answer as quickly as I would like—but I choose to trust and believe he is with me and will guide me.


Perhaps this is your season to write. Perhaps this is your season to take a break no matter what anybody thinks about it. Perhaps you have little children and your writing time is squelched when you put them first. Other people's books are coming out faster than yours. Perhaps you are in a dry season and you have been waiting and waiting for God to answer and you don't hear him. You are waiting for the contract that doesn’t come, and it is breaking you. I don't claim to know why he asks us to walk certain paths. I only know he is with us in it. That even when we don't understand his plan, HE knows exactly what he's doing.

So today instead of wondering if I'm getting it right or where I'm going wrong, I'm going to say thanks. Thank you, God, for this day, this season, this exact step that you have your hand on. Thank you for bringing me here. Thank you for the next step. Thank you that I'm not alone in this journey. And thanks for the beautiful gift of writing. For the love of words that stems in each of us. May we be at peace with exactly where we are.


Let's talk. Was there a time when you thought life was going to go one way and it went another--and you were surprised by how things turned out for the better?


Jill brought her May release with her, and one commenter will win a copy of Her Texas Family. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.



Jill Lynn Buteyn is a co-author of Just Show Up with Kara Tippetts, and an author of inspirational romance (as Jill Lynn). Her latest release, Her Texas Family, is in stores now. Jill lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her husband and two children. She’s a fan of laughter, thrift stores, boots and chocolate. Connect with her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JillLynnAuthor, Twitter: https://twitter.com/JillLynnAuthor, Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jilllynnauthor/, Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/JillLynnAuthor/, and at Jill-Lynn.com.

Order Yours Here.
Falling for the Single Dad 

Moving to a small Texas town, Lucy Grayson is looking to live life on her own terms. When she agrees to take a job in Doctor Graham Redmond's office, the two instantly clash. The same can't be said for the widower's daughter. They quickly form a bond when Lucy begins teaching the little girl to dance. Graham soon realizes how good Lucy is for his daughter—and for him. Yet his late wife's parents don't agree. Their ultimatum to choose between them or Lucy fills Graham with despair. He can't let his daughter lose her grandparents…but he also can't lose the woman who could complete their family.

96 comments :

  1. To answer the question: This has happened to me more times than I could name! I've just learned to trust the Lord that He knows where He's taking me and His ways are best. I just come along for the ride...lol! Because every time life goes a different way than I think it will, it always turns out better than I imagined. Now that's not to say I don't get a little anxious or worried at times about the change in plans since I really don't like change...but I have learned over the years to just fall into His hands because He's got it all in control. And I'm also learning every time that anxiety comes, I just quote the scripture Philippians 4:6-7 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." See so the opposite of anxiety is peace...the kind that only Jesus can give me & it does surpass my understanding! What an awesome lesson to learn :-) The more I give it to God, the more he brings the peace to my heart & mind! And the more I can trust him for my future.

    Wonderful post, Jill! A great reminder to me and I'm sure a lot of people who will participate in this conversation. Don't include my name in the drawing as I've read and reviewed both of these books (Falling For Texas & Her Texas Family). Both delightful stories & lesson reminders to me. God surely spoke to my heart through them, just keep on keeping on writing those stories He puts in you Jill! You are a blessing to me :-)

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  2. Jill, welcome to Seekerville. Okay, despite the fact that I am anti grits, I have grits, bacon and scrambled eggs with English muffins coming in for the morning crew. Yes. See how I sacrifice??


    You really have gotten gorgeous covers! And your books look just as fun.

    I am particularly feeling the pinch of your words as I sit where I know I should be, but not being very patient about it.

    Over and over again in my life I have seen the hand of God clearing the path ahead of me for my future. Only I didn't realize it at the time.

    Faith. A walk in the dark.

    Thanks for sharing your heart here today.

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  3. My life seems to be constantly going off on tangents. It has all worked out well though.

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  4. Jill, thank you for posting today on Seekervile. It's always a pleasure to have you here and to learn about new book releases you have here. Thank you for sharing your heart with us today. There have been many times when I thought life would go one way and it has gone another. I get through these changes with God right by my side. I can always call on him for whatever troubles me.He deserves all my praises. I look forward to reading another book by Jill. The covers are beautiful and the stories are so much fun. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity.

    Deanne P.

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  5. This is actually THIS JILL'S first time in Seekerville. We have an abundance of Jill's at Love Inspired. Jill Kemerer, Jill Weatherholt and today..Jill Lynn.

    The Jill Club.

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  6. Thank you for this wonderful post. What great morning devotion! Your words really reached out to me.

    When we moved to our current location. ...many years ago....I came in second for a teaching position. I was very disappointed but God knew better. That job was cut a year later. The position that I found instead turned out to be a much better situation that put me in contact with coworkers who encouraged me as a writer. Praise the Lord!

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    1. P.S. Glynna Kaye. Thank you for the lovely surprise. I really enjoyed it!

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  7. Welcome, Jill! I'm so sorry for the loss of your dear friend, Kara. I followed her journey online. She was a courageous woman.
    Several life-changing experiences have taught me to hang on and let God carry me through.
    Thank you for this lovely post.

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  8. Such a powerful and true post, Jill. I fall into the comparison trap, and I am so tired of it. I agree--God's way is best so why do I get so antsy or down on myself? Yuck! And it doesn't have to be about writing. It's my weight, my kids, finances--you name it!
    Thanks for this blessed message today.

    PS, do not include me in the giveaway because I already read this fun, sweet, emotional book!

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  9. Tina, thanks for the grits! I absolutely love them.

    Jill, what a great post! It is a lesson I learn over and over again. God proves every time I suggest that His timing is perfect and that I'd He makes things go a different way than I wanted, it was for the best. I am sorry for the loss of your friend. As I was leaving my friend's funeral (because of cancer) I found out my aunt had it. She struggled along for a little more than a year, but then she too passed on. Grief can be a terrible hindrance for our plans, writing or otherwise, but God certainly can use it for His glory. You write beautifully and at the pace God demands. Be encouraged and ignore the voice of comparison. :-)

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  10. JILL -- Welcome to Seekerville and thank you for the good reminder that there are seasons in our lives. That God is in control and can be trusted -- and it's our part to cooperate with Him. To learn to find something to be thankful for wherever we find ourselves even if we don't understand the "whys."

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  11. JILL, thank you for the wonderful post. Choosing to trust the Lord and lean not unto my own understanding is a struggle. I have to remember that He is perfect in ALL His ways. He sees the end from the beginning.

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  12. Welcome to Seekerville, Jill. Thank you for such a thought provoking post. As I struggle to work through revision after revision, seeking my first sale, I am constantly reminding myself all things happen in God's time.

    Glynna, I agree wholeheartedly! I have a list a mile long of things that are a direct result of my actively seeking publication that I'm thankful for. And, the best part--thankful list far outweighs the disappointed list.

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  13. Tina, thanks for the grits! I absolutely love them.

    Jill, what a great post! It is a lesson I learn over and over again. God proves every time I suggest that His timing is perfect and that I'd He makes things go a different way than I wanted, it was for the best. I am sorry for the loss of your friend. As I was leaving my friend's funeral (because of cancer) I found out my aunt had it. She struggled along for a little more than a year, but then she too passed on. Grief can be a terrible hindrance for our plans, writing or otherwise, but God certainly can use it for His glory. You write beautifully and at the pace God demands. Be encouraged and ignore the voice of comparison. :-)

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  14. Jill: I can relate totally in my own writing. It seems when life is going good and I am writing more I'm filled with hope for publication. God looks into our heart and doesn't always grant our wishes. On Mother's Day I received a rejection from an anthology contest I entered. I wish the sender would have picked another day. Since my Mom and husband's Mom are gone, it's not my favorite holiday. I lost my Mom when she was 68 years old. My husband was sick Sunday with a bad cold. So we didn't celebrate. I went to church alone. At church they gave us a carnation. That was so nice, but the afternoon brought that email and I questioned my hard work and failure. Was I meant to do this or is God telling me something. You're blog was reassuring. I swallowed hard this morning and plan to write for two hours today on a new story. Thanks for sharing.

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  15. @Trixi--I love the way you fight for peace! That's a great example. And thanks for reading and reviewing. I so appreciate you! :) Jill

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  16. Jill: I also lost a writer and a friend from my critique group to breast cancer. She was younger and so full of life. Since then I've lost two more writer friends, both in their prime. My mother and father both fell victim to that horrible disease too. I hope someone finds a cure soon. Pray they do.

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  17. @Suzanne
    I am so sorry to hear this. What a hardship to lose so many. Praying for peace for your dear heart. And yes! A cure. It is a horrible disease. Much love to you.

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  18. @Suzanne My friend who passed away used to call that putting on her grace dress. It was an actual dress a friend had given her but she wore it to many appointments. She would say, I'm going to put on my grace dress and do this (whatever she didn't want to do.) You saying you're going to keep on writing after a rejection made me think of that! Good job, friend.

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  19. @Crystal--I am so sorry for your loss also. Thank you <3

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  20. @Glynna
    "To learn to find something to be thankful for wherever we find ourselves even if we don't understand the "whys."
    Amen to this!! And I'm happy to be here. :) Thank you!

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  21. First, I'm over the moon in love with the blurb for your book and wish I'd thought of it first.

    (SELFISH, I KNOW!!!!! WHAT A GREAT STORY IDEA!!!!)

    Second, what a beautiful, heartfelt post. It is the kind that strikes a chord within all of us...

    Life is so full of turns and twists and bends in the road, and our vantage point is limited, so we question...

    When I think what God wants is for us to just keep walking.... (kind of like Dorrie in Nemo... Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...)

    Walking and believing.

    What a beautiful way you've put it, Jill!

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  22. @JillKemerer
    Hi, friend! Yes, I do the same. I compare in all areas of life! I'm working on not doing that. :) Thank for always being such a support. Love you!

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  23. @Tina
    Thank you for having me! This was such a pleasure. I always enjoy Seekerville's posts. And yes, the JILL club... haha! There are a few of us!

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  24. @Bettie
    I love that! I love examples of God working things out like that. Amazing! Thank you for sharing and commenting.

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  25. @JillWeatherholt
    Thank you. <3 She really was amazing--I won't argue that! ;)

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  26. @Ruth
    That made me laugh! Thanks for the encouragement. :) And thanks for having me here today. "walking and believing" I love that!

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  27. A bending moment.... I was a late-blooming Seeker. Most of the other gals were published before me, and I celebrated my joy at seeing them get the call because I always, always, always believed it would happen for me... I didn't know when, but I believed. And just when things seemed to be falling into place, with two editors falling in love with the same story, as if God opened a door AND a window, just in case the door got stuck... my daughter miscarried a precious baby boy at 5 and a half months into the pregnancy.

    We were crushed. She was living here with her husband at the time, they'd moved back here from Minnesota, neither one had found a job yet, and then this... no baby.

    I felt a gaping hole in my life, that I couldn't help her, that I couldn't save that baby, that I had no power to comfort... and I can handle my own losses much better than I handle loss for my children, because I'm a tough, square-shouldered New Yorker....

    When those editors e-mailed, telling me what they wanted to see, I didn't think I could do it, but my daughter grabbed onto me and said, "Yes you can! I will be fine, we'll be fine, this is what we've been working for all these years! Do it!"

    She had faith through her grief... faith in God and faith in me.

    I did... we did. And it was hard.... And when the call came on June 09, 2009 from Melissa Endlich, offering a contract on "Winter's End".... The first joy was complete.

    And when we discovered that Joseph's little brother or sister was due the following March... the same month Winter's End was releasing... We had double joy to vanquish the tears of the long, dark months. Elijah came to us in March, we had book celebration parties and baby showers, and since then 8 more grandchildren have joined the family.... And over 30 more books.

    I borrowed strength from Beth. She borrowed it from me. And time marched on.

    We are blessed.

    And those bends in the road have built that strength, faith and character, step by step.

    And in heaven, baby Joseph and several other tiny souls are waiting for their Grammy who has already called dibs on the third rocking chair to the right of the North Star and left of Cloud Nine.

    And I have no doubt I'll recognize each and every one.

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    1. I have no doubt either. So beautiful. Thank you for sharing, Ruth. I love love hearing this story of his provision even during such a painful time. ❤

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  28. I can so relate to this! Love HTF and LOVE you! :)

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    1. Right back at you and your writing. ๐Ÿ’•

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  29. Great post for readers as well as writers. Thanks, Jill.
    Those who LOVE grits, how do you eat them, with honey, butter, etc?

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  30. In order to escape from the turmoil around me when I was a child I would read. Reading allowed me to be within the pages of the books instead of within my own life. After I married and had children I would take them to the library to check out books and each week I would check out the maximum number of books allowed. I always kept a book the car and one in my purse. My favorite author was Grace Livingston Hill and I have managed to collect every book she ever published hoping one of my grandchildren will find their love of reading so I can pass them down to her.

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    1. There is nothing like the escape of a good book. Thank you for sharing this sweet story!

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  31. Such wise words here, Jill! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and insights.

    Yes, God absolutely does have a better plan for our lives than we could ever devise on our own. What we think we want may not be what's best for us, or even when it's a God-given desire but we want it NOW and God is saying "wait," in hindsight we'll probably discover there was a very good reason for the delay. That has certainly been true in my personal life as well as my writing career.

    RUTHY said it well--"those bends in the road have built that strength, faith and character, step by step." We just have to keep trusting and obeying.

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    1. We want it now. So true! That patience gig is tough stuff. :)

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  32. Welcome to Seekerville, iGrannyApple. And I love your name, btw.

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  33. Jill, tell us what a typical writing day is like for you. What are you working on next?

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    1. First I drive my kids to school. Which I just did. :) and then I usually do some emails and social media. Then I usually settle down to write until it's time to pick up my kids.

      I don't currently have a book contract, but I'm working on a story about the younger sister in Falling in for Texas.

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  34. Hi Jill, my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your friend. I'm so very sorry. Like you, I've walked those seasons of grief and indecision--dry spells where rain seemed the farthest thing on the horizon. BUT...in the midst of it all, when all I had to cling to was my faith, sometimes, that was/is enough.

    I believe those who've walked(trudged) the valleys of life are some of the biggest encouragers. I think, too, that's why there's such a sense of community here at Seekerville--many of us have experienced similar circumstances, albeit perhaps, different paths.

    I wish there was a way to reply directly underneath comments, but RUTHY, you touched my heart today through your words and testimony of God's faithfulness. Thank you.

    Jill, I'm praying blessings heaped upon you as you navigate the publishing road and the ministry God's charged you with. Press on!

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  35. Hi, Jill! Your post certainly resonated with me. Thanks for writing about God's plan because sometimes it's easy to forget who we're writing for. It's also easy to get caught up with all the other things writing involves.

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  36. Wow! Jill, your post this morning struck a chord with many Seekers here. I have to say, it confirmed/answered a prayer for me too.

    Last week, a beloved uncle passed away and we were next of kin. The memorial service is next week, so I'm right in the thick of it. But this has been the third loss for us since November and each time I feel numb, like I can't quite get to my desk. Yesterday, I was beating myself up about it, telling myself to put on my big girl pants and push forward. But I had to take many breaks due to lack of concentration.

    Yesterday, I received a rejection letter from Heartwarming with an invitation to resubmit. She liked the writing, but the story wasn't quite there. I can't express the relief that washed over me. More confirmation that the timing is not right.

    After praying about all the overtime I've been putting in trying to make my career "happen", I've decided I'm not enjoying my writing anymore. I feel burned out. I don't want to live my life rushing from deadline to deadline. So, the rejection was timely. And so was your post.

    God's timing, not mine. I have enough on my plate right now. Lesson learned this year: Be kind to myself! I need to quit trying so hard to force it along and let God take the reins.

    Thank you for your post. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the cover of your book! I'm looking forward to reading it--to reading MORE of everyone's books and taking time for myself.

    God Bless!

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    1. Be kind to myself--how I struggle with this!! Yes and yes.

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  37. WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, JILL, and oh girl, do I relate!! This blog today is a life lesson every single writer -- and person -- needs to read, and although I'm not overly fond of tearing up this early in the morning, I heartily concur!! :)

    Love, Love, LOVE the "grace dress"!!! But I'm afraid I'd wear the sucker out too quickly!! ;)

    TINA SAID: "Faith. A walk in the dark." LOL, yes it is, and more times than not, a shot in the dark as well, but like Jill Lynn so beautifully expressed in this blog today -- "God always ends up winning." And the beauty in that is when He wins, we win because His plan for us is based on His love for us, so how can you go wrong there?

    RUTHY, what a poignant story about you and Beth and your first book!!

    You asked if there was a time when I thought life was going to go one way and it went another--and was I surprised by how things turned out for the better?

    As a matter of fact, yes there was a time like that for me in my career. My first book, A Passion Most Pure shot off the bookstore shelves like a firecracker, lighting up my sky with grand illusions. Even my publisher said that it was the fastest-selling fiction release they'd ever had up until that time, so I thought I was on my way. "Don't quit your day job," my agent said because this business is goosey (my words, not hers), and she was right. The next book came out and didn't do near as well, so I wanted to blame Charity (the vixen sister from book one that everyone hated who was now the heroine of book 2). The rest of the series I wrote did fairly well for a new author, I guess, but like every author dreams, I wanted those fireworks in the sky.

    Well, those fireworks did come, but God's way, not mine, and I cannot express how grateful I am to Him for what He did. You see, I took an 8-month sabbatical from writing/contracts/proposals to focus more on God, family, and writing for the sheer joy of writing instead of for a contract. And for the first time in over forty years as a on-fire Christian, He finally got it through this thick skull of mine that He is EVERYTHING -- my Alpha and Omega, my Beginning and my End -- not my writing, not my career, and not even my family. Him, and only Him. And the beauty in that is when we put Him first, we've discovered the #1 way to bless our family and our career. Don't get me wrong -- I have my moments of disappointment still, but that only draws me all the closer to Him, which is exactly where I want to be!

    Thank you, Jill Lynn, for such an inspirational post today!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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    1. And she did wear out that dress! Thank you for having me. And your story of taking time off really speaks to me. It's hard to trust that if God asks us to do something like that, he'll also handle the afterwards. Thank you for the reminder!

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  38. Thank you, Jill, for your heartfelt, moving post today. Difficult seasons come into all our lives at some point, but the Lord is there upholding us, strengthening us, loving us. Talk about faithfulness.

    My heart goes out to all of you who are grieving. I feel your pain and offer gentle hugs of the virtual variety.

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  39. I must admit my life took a turn from what I thought my life was going to be to even better in 2001. I was 48 years old, thought I would never get married. I cried out to God and left everything at His feet telling him I surrendered my life to Him and if He wanted me to serve Him as a single woman to please take the yearning for a companion out of my heart. That was in October of 2000. My husband and I had gone to school together years before and to make the story short, he came looking for me in January 2001 and we have now been married 15 wonderful years. God is so very good!

    Blessings to all today.

    Cindy W.

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    1. Ahhhhh! I love your story. Thank you for sharing!

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  40. Hello Jill And welcome to Seekerville. What an inspiring post. I so learned this lesson years ago when dealing with the caregiving of my parents. Even earlier actually when I left writing to finish my teaching career. I have been so blessed by following His plan instead of my own. He knows and plans better than me. What a concept. LOL

    Thanks for sharing your story. From the comments, we all can relate.

    My spiritual mentor, the person who brought me to the Lord, told me that if you ever wonder if you are in His will then look at what you are doing. You wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't in HIs plan for you. May not be what I want, but it certainly is what He wants. He knows the lessons in life we need to learn.

    And I love the fact you reminded us not to compare ourselves with other writers. Can't do that. We all have our own path to follow. smile

    Have fun today. And thanks again for joining us.

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    1. We do all have out own path to follow. Thanks for having me!

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  41. Jill, we're so glad you're here! This was a beautiful post. I've been exactly in your place, even recently. I love your advice and need to hear it often.

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  42. I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. Hugs! I know how grief can sap our creativity, but you are SO right. God is our guide. He gave us this gift and he will help us use it. Thank you for the reminder today!!!

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  43. JILL, welcome to Seekerville. Thank you for sharing this heartfelt post. I'm sorry you and so many here have recently experienced loss and grief. Your message to be kind to ourselves during those times is important. Some of us are able to forge on. Some need time off to heal and regroup. But what I loved most about your post was your decision to just rest in what God has for you, grateful He's there in the midst of your journey.

    Too often I fret instead of trusting God with His plan. Yet I believe God wants to give us good gifts, the desire of our hearts. Sometimes we're so eager for the gift that we want it before we're ready. At least that was true of me.

    Her Texas Family sounds wonderful!

    Janet

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  44. @Janet -- Thank you! And yes, the resting part is so hard for me. I keep thinking one of these days I'm going to get it right. :)

    @Jessica--Thank you. "He gave us this gift and he will help us use it." LOVE this. Perfect reminder.

    And sorry-- I didn't realize my comments were not answering under each person until it was too late. So hopefully you can tell what I meant! :)

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  45. OK, this post was just for me. Today is going to be an extra, extra hard day. Thank you. Everyone needs to be reminded. And my entire life is one that He has brought HUGE LIFE out of dirt & ashes! It costs everything to follow Christ, but I would say "yes" again in a heartbeat.

    "HE performs WONDERS that cannot be fathomed, MIRACLES that cannot be counted!" Job 9:9
    "If it is a matter of strength, HE is MIGHTY!" Job 9:19

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  46. Cindy, I love that story, and that's the kind of story line I would have so much fun with!

    God's timing!

    And Julie, I agree, I think when we worry or work too much for the success aspects, we tend to stumble ourselves....

    I am an ego-maniac New Yorker (we all know this is true) but when it comes to writing the only thing I care about is how this story (whatever one I'm on) will help someone that God puts in its path...

    And God takes care of the rest.

    I figure if I do the work, He'll do the connection. And I love how your new mindset has not only freed you from worry, it has freed you to do so many creative things!

    PERFECT!!!!

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  47. Jill, we could have "nested" comments for you! Our bad!!!!!!

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  48. This: "Perhaps you have little children and your writing time is squelched when you put them first."

    Oh my life! Thanks for the encouraging words, Jill.

    I miss Kara every day. There are so many encouraging messages she sent to me - even in the midst of her battle - to keep loving my kids well. Her "parent with kindness" message has shaped me as a mom.

    So, when I'm tempted to think I'm "wasting time" by investing in my kids and not getting another thousand words in, God uses her voice to remind me of what's important.

    And now you. I don't know why, but sometimes we need "permission" from other writers for not "writing every day at the same time." You know? Thanks for reminding me that it is all for the glory of God, not my own!!

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  49. @Megan <3 Love to hear how Kara impacted you! Parenting with kindness changed me too. We do need permission, don't we? I still want to hear that it's okay, that I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing. I need the reminder all of the time!

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  50. @Jana "HE performs WONDERS that cannot be fathomed, MIRACLES that cannot be counted!" Job 9:9
    "If it is a matter of strength, HE is MIGHTY!" Job 9:19 YES!! this is a perfect verse for this.

    @Ruth--it's no trouble. I'm good now that I've got it figured out! ;) "I am an ego-maniac New Yorker" I think I have this going on sometimes but I'm not from NY! :)

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  51. JANA, and all those struggling today with grief or health issues, may you be strengthened that our God knows the exact number of hairs on our heads. A God who knows us that intimately isn't going to forget us in our trials.

    Janet

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  52. Love your cover, Jill! Very nice post also. Always food for thought that reminds us who is in charge! Thanks!

    Valri

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  53. God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ask or imagine.

    I also want you to know that when our Villagers have issues they mention in the comments, we collectively -all 13 Seekers-are praying for your needs.

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  54. Megan Brummer got a new picture. My favorite color. Jill Lynn is wearing that color. Love it. Love it.

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  55. Renee! Sorry about the R. But you and I both know what an awesome writer you are. Now it's all about being where God wants you to be.

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  56. Jana, I always love when you stop by... your words and faith are an inspiration to so many more than you could possibly know!

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  57. Yeah, Jill. I needed to be reminded of these truths. Again. It's so easy to become mired in discouragement when my eyes are on what's happening on everyone else's journey, and what's NOT happening on mine. When I can focus my eyes on God and trust that His plan and timing are best? That's when I can walk with trust and contentment on my wiring journey.

    Beautiful words today!

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  58. @Jeanne
    Easier said than done, right? I pray for contentment in your steps, friend. <3

    @Tina--I had to borrow a friend's dress for these photos because the one I had didn't work. Always make me smile because of that! :) And then later on, she gifted me the necklace I also wore. So I cried, of course. ;)

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  59. Awe. That's a sweet story of its own, Jill. :)

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  60. JILL B.....I had to come back and comment again :-) I am SO THRILLED to hear that we may be reading Rachel's story in the future because it just seems like she needs her own & I'm glad to see you think so as well! I wondered what happened to her after she left for college. So glad to hear that it's rattling around in your head :-)

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  61. I'm late! Sorry. Visited family last night and attended my granddaughter's band concert. Eleven year old flutist who plays beautifully! Hubby and I spent the night at our daughter's house and got away late today, but that was all according to God's plan. Needless to say, I enjoyed every minute!

    Love your post today, Jill. I'll read the comments soon. I'm sure there's been lots of good sharing.

    Knowing God is in charge is the mark of a faithful servant. I can relate to the wanting to be in control part. He has to hogtie me sometimes. Eventually, I get the message. :)

    I often say that God saves me from myself. When I make the wrong choice, perhaps about attending an event or working on a project, he'll give me a second chance to come in accord with his perfect will. I'm always grateful! :)

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  62. @Trixi
    I love that--rattling around in my head. She definitely won't leave me alone! ;) Makes me happy to know you're excited about her story!

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  63. @Debby
    Yes! He gives me second chances too. I'm so thankful! And you're not late. You're right on time. :)

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  64. Hi Jill,
    Thank you for your post, full of honesty and vulnerability. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend, grief is so hard to manage (if there is such a thing) with all the other demands life makes of us. Sometimes we just want to know what we are doing is "good enough". Like you've discovered, if we're following God we are right were He wants us. If we do get off track, He is well able to help us get going again.

    When things don't turn out like I expected, and sometimes not the good I was hoping for, God reminds me it's in the hard places where I have turned to Him and clung to Him for all I was worth. I've found that unrealized hopes and dreams, pain and grief are all opportunities for God to show Himself strong, just like Jana said.

    Your book has such a gorgeous cover and storyline, I'd love to read it.

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  65. Thanks for the great post, Jill. I need to remember that God controls my writing life, too. I have veered off that path for a while but need to follow God in staying on the path.

    I definitely had a time in my life when God's plan was better than my own. I was teaching in a small town and my position was eliminated. I was quite upset about the loss of my job and wondered what I would do. I had the opportunity for a job that I didn't think I wanted, but I was convinced to look at it. I ended up taking it, and it was a year later in that town that I met my husband. We have now been married almost 30 years. God certainly had my life in control there.

    Please enter me in the drawing for your book.

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  66. Ruthy,
    I've got big ole alligator tears flowing because of your story. Your stories have always been able to get me emotional, but now Beth is doing it too. What a touching thing, as a heart-broken mother-to-be, Beth sets her own pain aside to encourage her own mom to keep pursuing her dreams. What a selfless and courageous act. You both make me want to be a better person, you're gifted like that.

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  67. Tina,
    How wonderful to know Team Seekerville is praying, prayers going up for you too!

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  68. Jill, The answer: Yes. When I decided to go to graduate school, I almost went into a different area of specialty that would've taken me to a different school and a completely different part of the country. Even after spending money to visit schools, I woke up one day and had a certain clarity to pursue a different field, which I find difficult to explain. But following that "lead" led me back to God and to my future husband. All I can say is, I'm certain God was at work.

    By the way, your book sounds intriguing. Thanks for the post.

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  69. @Tracey
    Thank you. I agree--those are the times I cling to him the most also. ❤

    @Sandy I love love that you met your husband after that unexpected turn. Thank you for sharing!

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  70. Jill, you've been wonderful to share the day with us. I know at some point you have to handle, kids and spouse and dinner. So before you do, I wanted to say THANK YOU! Praying for continued success for your writing career and that you are always RIGHT where you are supposed to be.

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  71. Jill, as always, thanks for sharing. And you're on Seekerville! Yay! I have Her Texas Family, which by the way is awesome! So no need to enter me in the giveaway. Thanks!

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  72. Thank you, Tina! Wait, does that mean I have to cook?? ;) Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure. I enjoyed reading about each story and time God showed up!

    And Annie--waving hello! :)

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  73. Thank you, Tina! Wait, does that mean I have to cook?? ;) Thanks for having me. It was a pleasure. I enjoyed reading about each story and time God showed up!

    And Annie--waving hello! :)

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  74. Jill, Thank you for the reminder that I'm where I need to be for a reason. Yes, after I graduated law school, I thought I'd be on my way to a successful career, and instead I'm a write-at-home mom who loves her job and is thankful for that.

    Thank you for your honesty in sharing the difficulties and your journey of the past year.

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  75. Just now getting to read this post but wanted to say Thank you, Jill! Important reminders for us all - - no matter what season of life we're in at the moment. Blessings on your writing career and congrats on the release of HER TEXAS FAMILY.

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  76. Jill, thank you for your encouraging post. I know just how you feel. Last year my husband and i both struggled with health problems, and my writing slowed to a crawl. I'm learning to be kind to myself.

    I'd love to win your book, Her Texas Family. Please enter me in the drawing. Thank you.

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  77. (hahahaha....I hope you ordered pizza!!!)

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  78. Thank you so much for sharing so openly. Yep! I know just how you feel. I'm trying to be kind to myself and allow myself to recuperate - but the self-guilt?! I'd love to be entered for the draw, but only if you have an e-book as I live in S.Africa and postage is way too high!

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  79. This is a wonderful post, Jill, and the perfect reminder for me today. I'm still recovering from cancer treatments so the writing is slow and my brain even slower . . . if that's possible. : ) Praising Him and giving thanks for where I am is so important. It's easy to be impatient and frustrated with myself, so your words and the Scriptures raised in the comments are a real blessing to me today. Thank you! God's blessings for your writing!

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  80. Cathy, Thanks for stopping by. You've been on our prayer radar for a while. Good to "see" you.

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