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Hello! It's nice to be back with you after a week off. My family and I took a glorious vacation to Jamaica last week and returned two days ago. 

I hadn't flown internationally since before 9-11 or traveled to a foreign country in 12 years (via cruise ship), and I was looking so forward to this Caribbean paradise. It was all I hoped it would be and more. 

But now I'm back home, working on processing many things on this trip besides the countless good times. Like why I felt strangely far from God the whole trip. Like the opportunity to share Christ I had with people on a bus but I blew it.  Like the emotions I experienced wondering about the Jamaican people and how they lived and if they knew Jesus. Like my sheer overwhelm in the Atlanta airport. 

And how the 15 straight hours of international travel with my husband and children showed me an ugly side of myself that's usually pretty well hidden. 

I sat in TGI Fridays during our 5-hour layover, simply despondant. I felt like a complete failure as a wife and as a mom. I knew where I'd messed up and it wasn't just in my actions, words, and reactions. It was that those actions, words, and reactions stemmed from my heart. 

Oh how my heart can be desperately wicked. 

And I know all the right answers. There's no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. God will take this repentance and turn it into something good. It is for freedom Christ set me free so I am to no longer submit to the yoke of slavery. 

Memorized Bible verses rolled across my mind like a ticker tape, yet they just sat on my mind, waiting to penetrate my heart. 

I knew my enemy wanted me to stay there. Paralyzed by sin. Broken. Hopeless. 

At the moment, I stayed focused on the task at hand: getting home. I put off my spiritual issues until I could deal better. 

Once home, I started my morning today by opening my Bible. I hadn't read a verse of Scripture since I left. (Perhaps that's why I felt far from God.) But when I read it, hope crept in. Shame fell away. I realized again how desperate I am for God's Word. Daily.

I still have some things I'm working through but I have no doubt God is using all of those experiences to teach me and mold me. Because I know that He who began the good work in me will be faithful to complete that work. In spite of my slip-ups.

Are you going on vacation this summer? I recommend making a plan to stay in God's Word. It truly is life to your soul.

~Jill 

What I'm Loving


Reggae music. In 1996 I attended a DCTalk Concert and heard a band called Christafari. While in Jamaica last week I was reminded how much I enjoy reggae music. Wanting a Christian alternative, I found a few Christafari albums on Amazon Prime to listen to for free. 

God's beautiful creation. You know I love seeing God's handiwork in the garden, but seeing it while snorkeling or climbing up Dunn's River Falls, or simply watching a Caribbean Sunset, I simply had to thank God. What an amazing Creator we have.

Adult Coloring Books. I never thought I'd join this crazy craze, but I knew I'd be listening to audiobooks on the plane and I thought it would be fun to color. I bought a Bible-verse coloring book and enjoyed coloring on vacation! (I can't say this will be a new hobby of mine but it was perfect for travel!)
 

What I'm Reading

Third Target by Joel Rosenberg. Several friends recommended this action-packed book about a reporter tracking ISIS and their threats of a mass attack. I couldn't put it down and because it ended leaving me hanging, I can't wait until the next book, The First Hostage is available at my library!

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I had heard many good things about the movie and being that World War II has always been a big interest of mine, I decided to read the book first. I checked out the audiobook version from my library. Although it was a 12 hour listen (twice what I'm accustomed to), it rocked me in so many ways. I'm hoping to rent the movie tonight. :)
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