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:

Imagine if ur #faith could #eclipse your fears, doubts, and rebellion. It can with this 1-2 punch. Click To Tweet




When God Isn’t Meeting Your Desperate Need

What If God Doesn't Meet Your Desperate Need (via www.JeanWilund.com with Callie Daruk and MercyMe's song Even If)

Help! 

When I heard Bobby’s desperate scream from his room, fear shot through my heart. I couldn’t get to him fast enough.

My ten-year-old son had fallen on top of a folding chair which collapsed onto his right thumb and crushed it.

The pain paralyzed Bobby, making it impossible for him to lift himself off the chair. His thumb remained imprisoned in a vise grip.

I rushed to Bobby, snatched him up, and gasped.

What once was a thumb now appeared to be a spatula. A short, flat, bleeding spatula.

His thumbnail — now split down the middle — gushed blood. His flesh pushed through the crack in his nail.

Don’t faint, Jean. And certainly not onto Bobby. 

I staggered to the phone and called my good friend and pediatrician Lynn.

She decoded my plea for help and said, “Jean, you need to calm down. And you need to squeeze his thumb to stop the bleeding.”

Squeeze Bobby’s crushed, bleeding, pain-inflicted thumb? Seriously?

I want a new friend and new pediatrician.

I took a deep breath and followed her orders. And I prayed a desperate prayer.

“Lord, do you see my son? He needs You. Now! Help him, please.”

The bleeding stopped. The pain didn’t. But eventually, Bobby’s thumb healed, and we moved on with our lives.

But that’s not always the case.

When Our Desperate Needs Won’t Go Away

My friend Callie texted me yesterday morning with a plea of desperation.

“Please pray for Elijah. He is in terrible pain this morning. Moaning and crying. Mommy’s heart is breaking.”

I cried for my dear friend and Elijah, her 10-year-old son.

Elijah has a rare — and cruel — immune disorder called Eosinophilic Esophagitis. It causes Elijah debilitating pain. For the past 30 days. Thirty long, excruciating days. 

“Lord, do You see Callie’s son? Do you see Elijah?”

History and God’s Word proves God sees, and He cares.

Our present circumstances sometimes seem to challenge it, but the Truth remains. 

Even if God doesn’t remove our desperate need the moment we pray, He sees and cares. He knows what He’s doing.

The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.
~Psalm 34:17

Really? God delivers them from all their troubles? What about Elijah? He’s still in pain.

Our rescue doesn’t always come when and how we want. But it comes. God never fails.

As humans, we’re short-sighted. We can’t see the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). We can’t see all the moving — and non-moving — parts.

All we see is the small picture in front of us and what we’ve learned.

And what screams at us. 

As Bobby screamed, I couldn’t see anything but his pain and my plea. I couldn’t see the Lord’s help.

I can’t see Elijah’s help with my physical eyes. But I can see it with my spiritual eyes. His help and his hope are in the Lord.

My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.
~Psalm 121:2

And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You.
~Psalm 39:7

Stand on God’s Character

When it seems God isn’t meeting your desperate needs, remember who He is.

Don’t lose sight of God or His unchanging character.

We’ll never understand all His ways or thoughts in this life. But we can always trust them (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Don’t walk away from God in your desperate need.

I know you’re hurt and angry. He knows it, too. He’s OK with raw emotion. Run to Him with it.

You can trust Him. You can trust His character.

This single unchanging truth has held me up when my circumstances threatened to crush me down. It will hold you, too. Don’t let go.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
~ Psalm 34:18

Because we can trust God, we can say as Jesus did as He faced the cross:

Not my will but Yours be done.
~ Luke 22:42

Even if God doesn’t remove our circumstance in the fires of our pain and fear, we can trust in Him.

We can hold on. He will deliver us.

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the LORD.

~Psalm 27:13-14


Elijah’s Story & MercyMe’s Song of Hope “Even If”

I’ve shared a bit of Elijah’s story with you. Now I want you to hear from him. Listen to Elijah speak from his heart. Hear his hope even in the pain of his diagnosis.

And pray for him. Pray for Elijah.

Elijah and MercyMe share a message of hope we all need to hear and remember.

Even If. Even if our we must wait on the Lord, we never wait in vain. 

When our hope is in God, our help is on the way. It will be well with our soul. Amen.

Click the links below to hear from Elijah and listen to MercyMe sing Even If:

Discover the hope of Elijah in the pain of his Diagnosis

Discover the hope of Elijah in the pain of his diagnosis. (Callie Daruk @ APhariseeLikeMe.com)

Elijah: A Diagnosis


 When God Isn't Meeting Your Desperate Need #EvenIf @mercyme @CallieDaruk Click To Tweet

The Never-Ending, Ever-Growing List of the Character Traits of God via www.JeanWilund.comFor a list of the character traits of God, Click Here. I’ll continue to add more to the list, so check back often.




Be Still & Know – Praise Picture

Be still and know I am God - Psalm 46:10 via www.JeanWilund.com

Be still and know

God has a plan for you.

God is in control.

God loves you.

I AM

God

Be still and know . . . GOD #GodIsInControl #GodLovesYou Click To Tweet




Surviving the Dreaded Bleh’s of Life

Surviving the dreaded Bleh's of life can be hard. Find encouragement, hope, and strength here through God's Word and Lauren Daigle's song "First" via www.JeanWilund.com

I’ve held onto too much in my life, unable to let go, just surviving.

I’ve never been happier than when I learned to let go of my rights, shame, unforgiveness, and that obnoxious shirt that hasn’t been in style since 1987.

But letting go of my children? Bleh!

That one feels like it just might kill me.

I wrote the original post below in August 2015, when our baby was headed to college, before our oldest daughter moved to Hawaii, and before our son and his wife moved from North Carolina to Lexington, only a few miles away.

Almost two years later, I need the encouraging truth in this message just as much as ever. Do you?

Surviving the Dreaded Bleh’s of Life


Two years ago, I felt this day coming.

See my post: I Know, But . . . How Do I Survive My Children Leaving?

In that post I shared how to avoid becoming another Norman Bate’s mother. I’m proud to report — as are my children — that I’ve successfully not morphed into her!

But the empty nest is descending faster than South Carolina humidity. 

I’m not clinging to my children like a crazed mother, but my heart breaks over missing them. 

How do we do more than survive? How do we live with joy despite the Bleh’s of life?

Lauren Daigle hits the mark in her song “First.” 

Before I cry over my children, I will rejoice over my God.

Before I dwell on my pain, I will dwell on His presence.

Before I do anything, I will seek God FIRST.

“But seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness,
and all these things will be added to you.”

~ Matthew 6:33

I’m not saying we should treat God as if He were our genie in a bottle or manipulate Him into giving us what we want.

I gave you my heart, God, now give me three free houses all next to Larry’s and mine for our three children. And make Lexington, SC just like Hawaii so they’ll want to say here.

Seeking God isn’t about getting what we want, except that it is.

When we seek God first — truly seek Him with our whole heart first and foremost — we actually do end up getting everything we desire because everything in our being actually desires Him above all things.

God is our highest desire.

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
~ Psalm 73:25-26

Think about it. Even individuals who reach the pinnacle of success in their field only enjoy a measure of contentment for a period of time. They don’t stay content.

People who’ve lost hope and appear to desire nothing actually do feel deep desire — a deep desire to stop feeling desire.

Desire is never satisfied until it reaches its truest and deepest longing — God

I don’t want to stop desiring my children, but I do want that desire to stop hurting so much.

I want to be able to give them over to God and send them off into the world with a genuine heart full of joy, not a quivering upper lip.

When God is my first heartbeat, my first breath and my first thought — my all — then His glory and presence cover it all — including my sorrows. And His joy is mine.

“You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”
~ Psalm 16:11, NASB

Living in the midst of our highest desire — God’s presence — turns our tears into laughter. 

Some pain, like the death of a loved one, can’t be completely mended on this side of heaven, but fullness of joy relieves a lot of pain.

It has the power to wash away our bleh’s.

I’m thrilled for my children and their exciting futures, but as long as they’re far away, I’m still going to miss my babies.

So if you’re reading this, kids, call me!

Yep, Lauren Daigle’s song “First” is my go-to song as I pack up my baby and send her into the world.

I will seek God first as our last child leaves. 

What about you?

What is tugging at your heart today? What Bleh’s are you survivng?

Seek God first and let Him fill your heart with His glorious presence and fullness of joy.


Surviving the Dreaded Bleh's of Life #First by #LaurenDaigle #Hope #Christ Click To Tweet




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




Hate and Despair Are Never the Answer. Jesus Is.

Hate & Despair are never the answer -- Jesus is. via www.JeanWilund.com

I Miss Fluffy Facebook

I never thought I’d miss reading a Facebook post about what someone ate for breakfast or that they’re going to brush their teeth.

But with so much hate and despair spewing out on Facebook and on every place an opinion or thought can be spewed, I long for a mundane post that someone just scooped the poop for their pup.

I miss fluffy posts about kittens.

Society seems intent on ripping itself apart with venomous, hate-filled words and accusations slung far and wide.

Many are ready to declare all hope is gone.

 

Hate and despair are infecting America like a life-stealing cancer, spreading from coast to coast.

I refuse to give in to that mentality.

I choose to smile at the future.

And I can because of one thing — one person — Jesus Christ.

Hate and despair are never the answer. Jesus is. 


When Jesus comes into a life, He changes the heart.

He molds and shapes us into people who want to love, not destroy, others. Even those we disagree with.

And once our hearts look more like Christ’s, our hands and feet move toward healing society rather than ripping it apart.

No matter what political view you hold, Jesus is the answer to our need.

But we’ll never know how He is the answer until we know Him.

We’ll never really know Him until we know Him through His Word.

It’s that simple. But it’s not overnight. So let’s get moving.


I pray this will be the Year of The Word — the Year of Jesus.

I hope this year millions turn to God’s Word to find out just who this Jesus is.

Who is this One who says He’s both God and man?

How can Jesus be the answer to every need — every crisis — every longing?

What hope can He truly offer America? The world?

In a time when people are screaming and calling others hate-filled, disparaging names, my prayer is that we’ll stop long enough to take a deep breath and call out the name of Jesus instead.

That’s when everything will change. That’s where peace is found and every answer revealed.

Hate and despair are never the answer. Jesus is.

Jesus by Chris Tomlin


Chris Tomlin’s song Jesus is the message we need to hear.

It’s the song I wish was stuck in every heart and on every mind in America.

Listen to it here, and then sing it out as a prayer for us all. 

 

If you’re overwhelmed by today’s news reports, don’t give in to despair.

Smile at the future and call out to the One who holds it and you — Jesus.