A Total Eclipse of Awe-Inspiring Faith & How to Find It

Total Eclipse of Awe-Inspiring Faith -- The One-Two Punch via www.JeanWilund.com

Ooh, Wow! Don’t Look at the Sun!

I think I said, “Ooh, wow!” and “Don’t look at the sun!” in my sleep last night.

If you watched the total solar eclipse, you know what I mean.

Ooh! Wow!

Especially if you watched it with small children.

Don’t look at the sun!

For about 2 1/2 overwhelming minutes, the moon utterly eclipsed our sun, a blazing ball of burning gas 400 times bigger than it.

That describes the faith I want. The faith I need all the time. A Total Eclipse of Faith.

The Awe of Eclipse

Viewing any solar eclipse is incredible, partial or total.

The moon blocking 90% of the sun is quite a sight. But 100%? That’s epic. Magical. Miraculous.

The birds and bees left my flower garden with the light and went to bed. Our street and porch lights came to life. The temperature dropped to an eery, comfortable coolness of evening. All for 2 1/2 minutes.

Then the moon shifted over a hair. The sun lit up the sky again. The birds and bees returned along with the blistering heat. 

All was as before — except for us. We stood in awe and wonder. Overwhelmed by the greatness of the experience.  

No photos or words do it justice. You have to experience it. And once you do, you’re Googling where the next one will be.

The next day I received a letter from a lady who’s struggling to fully surrender to God and hoping I had words to help. I related with her heart. Don’t we all share her struggle?

As I sat to write her, I suddenly saw the solar eclipse as a great illustration for surrender to God.

Most of the world lives outside the path of totality for a solar eclipse and longs to experience a Total Eclipse.

Likewise, most Christians live in partial surrender to God, but long for a total eclipse of faith — faith that eclipses all their fears, doubts, and rebellion.

Where Do You Live? 

I would imagine that many of us Christians live in at least 50% surrender to God.

We’ve trusted Him for our salvation and thank Him for eternal life. But for this present life, our faith is weak. It doesn’t make much difference in our daily lives.

We attend church. Maybe not every week, but more than some. We own a nice leather Bible, and if you’ll give us a minute, we can find it. 

We do Christian stuff, but knowing Christ doesn’t seem to have transformed us because we worry just as much as our neighbor.

Christ is our Savior, but not much more than that.

Hopefully, our faith will deepen, and we’ll move to more surrender. Maybe 75%?  

But we don’t know how to get it to 100%, so we struggle.

Partial faith is exhausting. If we don’t get some answers, we may move back to 50%, and eventually down to negligible faith. 

Oh, for faith to trust You more, Lord

How can we move our faith to where it eclipses all our fears, doubts, and rebellion?

I can’t speak for everyone, but two factors (a one-two punch) have allowed me to experience many amazing moments of a total eclipse of faith.

And the time between eclipses has shortened as I’ve learned to give my fears, doubts, and rebellion the one-two punch: Know and Obey God.

1. Know God

Any fears, doubts, or rebellion we hold are unfounded. God is always able to care for His children, and He does all things well. All things.

Since we can trust God enough to cause our fears, doubts, and rebellion to shrink in the face of who He is, why don’t we?

We’ll never trust anyone more than we know him.

We must come to know God — not just about Him.

Study the Bible, the Word of God. Look on each page to find Jesus and discover God’s character. Don’t study to know how to be a better Christian. Study to know God.

Learn His character. Treasure it in your heart where it will transform your faith in Him.

Check out my ever-growing list of posts on God’s Character.

The more we know God, the more our heart will believe we can trust Him, which leads us to the knock-out punch: Obedience.

2. Obey God

The more we know God, the more we’ll trust Him.

The more we trust Him, the more we’ll obey Him.

The more we obey Him, the more we’ll experience Him.

The more we experience Him, the more we’ll love Him,

The more we love Him, the more we’ll want to know Him more.

God reveals more light after we obey Him with the light He’s already given us.

Once we obey, we learn by experience that God is indeed everything He said He is. And we fall in love and grow in faith.

But it’s a process, like a total solar eclipse.

Bit by Bit, A Total Eclipse of Faith

Total Eclipse of Faith -- The One-Two Punch via www.JeanWilund.comBit by bit, as we obey, our faith will overshadow our fears, doubts, and rebellion until we enjoy a total eclipse of faith.

Then we’ll stand in awe and wonder at our Lord, the One who, by His kind grace, gives us faith. (Romans 12:3, Ephesians 2:8, I Timothy 1:13-14, Romans 10:17)

Pray and ask the Lord to give you a total eclipse of faith. Then obey Him in whatever He shows you to do, trusting Him to do in your heart what needs to be done. 

I wish I could say my faith is always at 100%, but each time I enjoy a total eclipse of faith, it inspires me to trust God more the next time. 

And unlike in a total solar eclipse, in a Total Eclipse of Faith, I can say, “Ooh, Wow! Look at the Son!”


Have you enjoyed a Total  Eclipse of Faith? Tell us about your experience. We’d love to hear it.

If this post encouraged you, I hope you’ll share it. There’s handy sharing buttons below:

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Life Is Either a Daring Adventure Or Nothing At All ~ Take It On!

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Trust God and take it on. (Ephesians 3:20) via www.Jeanwilund.com

No Fear

The bodyboarder on the island of Kauai had no fear — or perhaps no sense.

He crouched on the beach and studied the waves.

Ignoring ones reasonable men would choose, he waited on the ridiculous waves. Waves that would tower over his head and possess the power to crush him.

Only then did he charge. Straight into them. Fearless.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.
-Helen Keller

Some of us stand before crushing waves and see terror. Others see a daring adventure.

As a staunch member of the former crowd, I snapped the bodyboarder’s picture from the safety of shore.

In fact, I took all the pictures in this post from the safe sidelines.

Particularly at the Pipe Masters Tournament.

Pipe Master Surfer -- Life Is Either a Daring Adventure Or Nothing At All ~ Take It On! via www.jeanwilund.comI had a blast taking their photos, but I suspect they had more fun.


What if I Couldn’t Fail?

If I couldn’t fail, would I have charged into the waves, too?

Yes, I would. All. Day. Long.

But few people ever go from zero to hero in one day. It’s a journey. 

Life Is Either a Daring Adventure Or Nothing At All ~ Take It On! via www.jeanwilund.com

Oh, to have the courage and power to take on a wave. 

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,
Ephesians 3:20


Life is a Big Wave — Take It On!

We don’t have to go to Kauai or the North Shore to face waves.

Life is a big wave.

God is teaching me the exhilaration of taking life on.

It’s not like we have much choice. In life, the waves find us.

But we have a tremendous surf instructor in the Lord.

You know that wave you’re facing that makes you want to run?

Take it on. Follow the Lord right into it. With Him, you cannot fail.  

You may land upside down at times, but it doesn’t mean you failed — or that God failed you.

Life Is Either a Daring Adventure Or Nothing At All ~ Take It On! via www.jeanwilund.com


Success Isn’t Always Neat and Tidy

Sometimes it looks suspiciously like failing.

The apostle Paul endured planned shipwrecks (Acts 27:27-28:5).

In fact, he endured much more than shipwrecks and all for a greater purpose than he could have experienced without the perceived failures (2 Corinthians 11:23-12:10).

That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:10 NIV

In the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, take on your wave.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. Trust God and take it on. (Ephesians 3:20) via www.Jeanwilund.com

Fully expect God to do something great.

And hold on for the ride of your life.

Don’t worry about the scuffs or even an occasional body slam into the surf. 

If God is in it, it will all be worth it.

If God’s not in it, get out of the water! Just sayin’.

Life Is Either a Daring Adventure Or Nothing At All ~ Take It On! via www.jeanwilund.com

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all. #TakeLifeOn #ThePowerOfGod Click To Tweet

Do you know someone who’s facing a wave and could use some encouragement? If so, I hope you’ll share this post with them.

Now, go and take on the day!




Plant Faith, Not Fear. Because We All Have to Live WITH Fear, but not IN Fear. Always.

We all have to live WITH fear, but we don't have to live IN fear. Plant Faith, Not Fear. Always. (Song by Kristian Stanfill) www.JeanWilund.com

We All Live WITH Fear


I was eight years old and terrified.

I’d taken my bike for a spin in our neighborhood when it suddenly morphed into a Stephen King bicycle — a sort of Christine the Possessed Car’s cousin. My bike seemed alive and determined to be rid of me.

Each time I planted my foot on the brakes, the pedal sprung, catapulting my foot forward with such force it nearly threw me over the handlebars.

When I reached the top of my long, steep, winding driveway, lined with trees and drop-offs, I faced a dilemma: How to get down it without brakes and survive.

Before you ask why I didn’t just walk my bike down the driveway, I refer you again to the first paragraph. I was eight years old and apparently not very smart. 

Wide-eyed and shrieking in terror, I leaned into every turn like an out-of-control BMX racer.

Having miraculously maneuvered to the bottom of the drive at full speed, I steered for the softest landing I could find. Mom’s rounded boxwoods.

I careened into them and crawled out with only minor scratches. The bushes didn’t fare as well.

For a few terrifying moments, I lived with fear.

We all live WITH fear, but we don’t have to live IN fear.


I survived those terrifying moments without developing a fear of bikes. Just that bike until Dad fixed the brakes. 

I can’t say as much for the devastating impact one news report had on me around the same time period.

The late night newscaster reported the gruesome murder of two physicians in their home in my city: “The Matthews Murders.”

Since my dad was a doctor, too, my little mind told me we might be next.

Fear paralyzed me, and that fear grew deep roots.

For the next 30+ years, I lived in fear of sleeping at home alone. (Watching horror films like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th” in high school probably didn’t help.)

Plant Faith, Not Fear. Always


Fear is like a weed.

It grows in even the worst conditions and takes over everything.

Faith is like an heirloom flower. 

It requires nurturing at first, but eventually, its roots grow deep and strong and produce a highly prized blossom.

The Only Thing Stronger Than Fear is Faith


Some of us may have faith in our own abilities, but then not all of us are like Bryan Mills, the retired CIA agent in the movie Taken, who said to his daughter’s kidnappers on the phone: 

I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

Spoiler alert: He was right. 

But even Bryan Mills isn’t all-powerful — or real.

God, on the other hand, is all-powerful — and real.

He has a particular set of skills, skills He’s possessed forever — the fullness of His perfect character.

God’s skills make people like us who trust in Him a nightmare for fear and for Satan.

Satan is a liar and accuser. He tells us we must live in fear, that we’ll never be free of it. But God says, “I see your fear, and I will destroy it through faith.” 

Faith Versus Feelings


When we plant our faith in God, it will grow and overwhelm our feelings of fear.

While it can happen overnight, it probably won’t. At least it didn’t for me. But don’t give up. 

Deep roots of fear don’t die easily. It takes bold faith, which grows over time, as we experience God more and more.

God gives faith, but He doesn’t force it on us.

Step out in faith. One step at a time, saying, “I can’t, God, but You can. And You will.” 

Our actions will reveal our Faith. We can’t wait until we feel full of faith before we step out. The feelings come later.

We prove we believe God will give us the faith we need for the next step by taking that first step, and then the next and the next.

Our heart will fall in line with our faith eventually. Just keep stepping. 

Step out past your fears into faith and trust in God’s unchanging, matchless skills — His perfect character. 

Our fears will die — Always — but only if we first step out in faith.

I Did It!


About 30 years after I planted the fear of sleeping alone, I planted my first seed of faith, taking a small step that felt giant at the time.

Larry and the kids had gone on a trip, so I locked all the doors, laid in bed with the radio on the Christian station, and prayed. “I know that no one can get into this house without Your permission, God, and I trust in You. No matter what happens tonight. I trust in You.”

I woke a few times during the night, but each time, I prayed again and won a victory I hadn’t won in nearly 30 years. And my faith grew.

Eventually, my faith grew such that one night I actually forgot to lock the doors before I went to sleep. No radio. No fear. Just faith in my unfailing God — no matter what happens.


But thanks be to
God,
who always
leads us in triumph
in Christ,
and manifests through us
the sweet aroma
of the knowledge
of Him
in every place.
~ 2 Corinthians 2:14 NASB

We all have to live WITH fear, but not IN fear. Plant #Faith, Not Fear. #Always. #Christ Click To Tweet


Always by Kristian Stanfill


Let Kristian Stanfill’s song Always become your song.

Plant faith, not fear. God’s promises are true Always.

Plant your #Faith in who #God is and #Fear will lose its grip in your life. Click To Tweet




The Red Thread: When Life Unravels, We Don’t Have To – Christ Holds Us Together

Watch & Read: The Red Thread: When Life Unravels, We Don't Have to. Christ Holds Us Together. (www.JeanWilund.com) Colossians 1:17

When Life Unravels

Does life ever hit you as hard as it does me, leaving you in a haze of confusion and fear?

Sometimes we get hit in the heart by the loss of a loved one or a broken relationship.

Other times fear plasters us straight between the eyes, like when the doctor uses the “C” word or the presidential election polls open — and close. ?

Still, other times we get hit from behind by a car. A literal car that shatters out our back windshield and leaves us unraveled.

I’ve lived through each of these moments, and I spoke about it recently.

Here’s my short video message. I hope it will bring you encouragement when your life unravels.


The Red Thread: When Life Unravels, Christ Holds Us Together

Transcript:

Good evening, ladies. Y’all look so sharp. I’m used to looking out and seeing hair bows and dirty faces. I’m a preschool teacher, so if I wipe your cheek, I’m sorry. I hope you’ll forgive me.

Now in my class, I have one main rule. Before I tell them a Bible story, they have to find The Red Thread.

So why am I hiding a red thread?

The Red Thread: When Life Unravels, Christ Holds Us Together www.JeanWilund.comI got the idea years ago when I was studying the Old Testament. I started to notice that from the beginning of time, God had orchestrated the smallest details to the biggest blunders and even outright atrocities of man and nations to fit His divine purposes.

And through every single bit of it, He wove — like a thread — stunning reflections of His Son Jesus Christ.

If we see everything as wrapped in a red thread — our loved ones, our going a little crazy The Red Thread: When Life Unravels, Christ Holds Us Together www.JeanWilund.comworld, ourselves — wrapped in a red thread of Christ’s presence, and power, and sovereignty, that’s a game changer.

I wanted my preschool kids to learn that early. So I taught them.

One day, after they found the red thread, I made a mistake.

I said, “Would one of you please go get that thread and bring it to me?”

Now, if you’ve been in a group of preschoolers, you know what I just unleashed.

Preschool anarchy.

Hands are waving everywhere. “Mrs. Jean! Look at me! Me! Pick me!”

the-red-thread-ill-get-itLittle Michael and Joey? They’re gone, and they’re fighting it out. “I’ll get it! I’ll get it! I’ll get it!”

Little Suzy and Mary Beth? They’re laid out all over the floor wailing. “I wanted to get it! I wanted to get it!”

Y’all, my class had just unraveled over a six-inch piece of thread.

But seriously. Aren’t we just a little bit like that when our life unravels? Usually — hopefully — not over a six-inch piece of thread, although sometimes I must confess to that at times.

But usually, it’s the big things.

The Red Thread: When Life Unravels, Christ Holds Us Together www.JeanWilund.comLike when my mom called and said she had terminal cancer.  My hands went straight up to God.

God, do you see me? Do you see my mom?

And then when my dad was diagnosed with dementia the year my mom died, I was laid out on the floor, wailing.

I don’t want this! I didn’t want this for my dad!

The Red Thread: When Life Unravels, Christ Holds Us Together www.JeanWilund.comAnd then, one day, that one thing too many happened.

I’d been white-knuckle driving down I-20 in blinding rain for 2 hours, and I needed a break.

So I’m pulling off Exit 113, when I remember the restaurants are on Exit 114So I whip it back onto the highway just to face a sea of red brake lights.

Seriously, God? Cause I was just getting off, and You let me get back on?

And then BLAM!

A white cargo van plowed into the back of me and shattered my windshield.

And, Ladies, I pole vaulted past unraveled and went straight into crazy.

The Red Thread: When Life Unravels, Christ Holds Us Together www.JeanWilund.com“WHY? WHY, GOD? You knew this was gonna happen, and You could have stopped me. You could have made me take that exit, and YOU DIDN’T! YOU DIDN’T!”

And then God broke through my crazy into my heart, and He said, “Yes, Jean, I could have stopped you, but I didn’t. Do you trust me?”

“Ugh. I’m trying.”

“Look for The Red Thread.”

So I thought about Daniel. Man, his life unraveled. God let him be thrown into a lion’s den. But He trusted God, and Jesus was with him.

I thought about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Their lives unraveled. God let them be thrown into a fiery furnace. But they trusted Him, and Jesus was with them.

I’m just in a busted-up van on I-20. I can trust Him.

The Red Thread: When Life Unravels, Christ Holds Us Together www.JeanWilund.comAnd that’s when I saw the Red Thread.

I was wrapped up in it.

I was wrapped up in the presence, and the power, and the peace of Christ, and I knew I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

Ladies, Colossians 1:17 tells us, Jesus is before all things, and in Him — in Him — all things hold together.

The Red Thread: When Life Unravels, Christ Holds Us Together www.JeanWilund.comYes, life may unravel, but we don’t have to because Christ holds us together.


 “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”
~ Colossians 1:17


When Life Unravels, We Don't Have to. Christ Holds Us Together #TheRedThread #Hope Click To Tweet


What are you facing today?

Wrap it in the Red Thread of Christ and know that Jesus is with you. He’s holding you. 

Watch & Read: The Red Thread: When Life Unravels, We Don't Have to. Christ Holds Us Together. (www.JeanWilund.com) Colossians 1:17If you enjoyed this, I hope you’ll share it with others who need to feel Christ’s presence today, too.

Thanks!

Jean




Remember Your Worth. Remember the Sparrow. And Don’t Fear the Cat. (Monday Music)

Remember your worth. Remember the Sparrow. And don't fear the cat. Your Father cares for you. Watch the music video of Jason Gray's song "Sparrow" via www.jeanwilund.comDream On, Abi

I laughed at my cat Abi as I sat by the window. He was stalking a hummingbird in the garden.

I laughed and thought Dream on, Abi!

I laughed until he lunged and the bird was gone.

Victorious, Abi sauntered off with his prize. The hummingbird’s tail and beak barely protruded past his sharp teeth. 

I bolted to the rescue. 

Using my “Aren’t you a good cat” voice, I coaxed him towards me and held out my hand — as if he’d just surrender the bird to me.

He did!

A Bird in the Hand

I was shocked to find myself holding a hummingbird in my hand — but no more surprised than the hummingbird must have felt when Abi snatched him out of the air. 

The poor guy was in shock. Medical shock.

I couldn’t see any obvious injuries, but considering how motionless he sat in my hand, clearly his wings and legs were damaged. 

I rushed him gently inside the house for triage — and to keep Abi from finishing off his mid-morning snack.

In the kitchen, I laid him in a small box. 

For a second.

The moment I laid him down, he took off.

So much for being injured.

Do hummingbirds play possum?

Plan B

I aborted Plan A — Save the Hurt Hummingbird — and moved to Plan B — Extract the Terrified Hummingbird from my House.

The bird darted through the living room from the kitchen with me in hot pursuit. I followed him into the office where he finally came to rest on the ceiling fan. 

My youngest daughter and I stared at him and discussed our options. We decided our best plan involved the swimming pool net. 

The plan was to hover the net above him so he couldn’t fly up. Then my daughter would grab him from the side and rush him to freedom.

Taking our positions, we moved in for the grab.

I raised the net over the ceiling fan but before I could bring it down over the hummingbird, he hopped up onto it. 

Well, that was surprising.

He peacefully perched on the side of the net while I carried him to the back yard — away from Abi, who was still in the front yard.

After we stepped outside and walked to the railing of the porch, the trusting hummingbird soared to the top of our tallest tree.

Remember Your Worth. Remember the Sparrow.

God’s Word says He cares for the birds in the air — without their even asking, I might add — and we’re worth more than them. 

Nothing in our lives escapes His notice — neither the good times nor the times when it seems our circumstances have snatched us out of the air with razor-sharp teeth.

God sees us and says, “Do not be afraid.”

“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul”
~ Matthew 11:28

Sure. Why be afraid of those who can kill the body?

“Instead, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell”
~ Matthew 11:29

Well, when you put it that way.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father”
~ Matthew 11:30

When Abi nabbed that hummingbird out of the air, everyone was surprised except God —  and maybe Abi. He’s a confident cat.

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 11:30-31

Do not be afraid because you’re priceless.

Do. Not. Be. Afraid.

Easy to say but so hard to do, except when we remember we’re not only worth more than all the sparrows, hummingbirds, and other feathered creatures combined, we’re worth dying for.

God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell and who doesn’t let a sparrow worth 1/2 cent fall to the ground apart from His will, doesn’t want to destroy us.

Instead, He wants to redeem us and care for us.

He left heaven to come to earth to die for you. And He’s interceding and working in your life right now for your good and His glory. 

Remember your worth. Remember the sparrow. 

You might get snatched out of the air, caught in an impossible situation, but God will care for you. He will. 

If it’s not ok yet, God’s not done yet. 

Watch this music video of Jason Gray’s song, Sparrows and be reminded of this great truth.

Listen to the lyrics and believe.

Feel like you're being stalked by a cat? Live courageous this week! #GodCaresForYou #Sparrows… Click To Tweet

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
~ Matthew 6:26

Remember Your Worth. Remember the #Sparrow & Don't Fear the Cat. #MondayMusic #Christ… Click To Tweet

Remember your worth. Remember the Sparrow. And don't fear the cat. Your Father cares for you. Watch the music video of Jason Gray's song "Sparrow" via www.jeanwilund.comBy the way, the bird in the picture sitting on my oldest daughter’s finger isn’t a sparrow or a hummingbird. It’s a tufted titmouse. God cares for them, too. 

And, yes, I know Abi is a girl’s name. Our cat’s full name is Abifer. Abi is his nickname. It’s a long story.




Praise Picture ~ Peace!

John 14:27 -- My peace I give to you! (Praise Picture via www.JeanWilund.com)

Praise Picture — Peace!

I just wanted to share this Praise Picture with you. Now go take on the day — with peace, and lots of it!

PS — And look forward to my upcoming Never-Ending List of the Character Traits of God. It’s almost ready. 🙂

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. -- I'll take it, #Jesus! #Peace #PraisePicture Click To Tweet