At the end of 2011, I was reading Ezekiel 2 and was so in awe of God. I said, “God, I want to see you like that! I’m jealous for an experience with you like that!”
God replied, “Jill, that kind of thing comes with difficult assignments.” Reading on, I knew He meant receiving revelations like that come at a great cost.
Be careful what you pray for, because you may get pressed harder than you thought you could endure and be blessed more than you can contain.
I mentioned in previous posts that early in the year, God prepared my heart for the end of my role as the director of the artist and event program for OneVerse. I started taking home personal items and organizing my files so the next person could easily pick up where I left off. I worked hard to get some tours in place for fall so we wouldn’t miss any opportunities. I even talked to my boss about it. We discussed what it meant to leave a legacy. That was and is my hope … so I’ll tell you the story of what God did to me next, because God’s stories leave lasting impressions for future generations.
This is a story of supernatural faith that God deposited in me. I’d heard of it happening to other people, but never experienced it myself.
On Friday our entire team (including my boss) was laid off. On Sunday I was driving to church and reminded God that today was the day we were to turn in our “Kingdom Campaign Commitment” (as if He needed reminding). Our church had asked us to give so we could add a new campus, a university and more. I said, “Well, God … You haven’t told me what to give yet. And since I don’t know what the next year looks like and I can’t budget for it, I’ll commit to give whatever number you tell me.” At the end of the sermon, our pastor gave us a moment to pray and ask God what we were supposed to do. I heard, “Give me your severance.” I experienced immediate peace followed by a lot of shock. I turned to my girlfriend and, as I told her what I thought God said, I felt such a presence of God that I couldn’t hold back the tears that rose up from my gut to my eyes. We worshipped. I felt overwhelming joy!
It took about a month for me to get the paperwork in and for the check to come in the mail. I wrote my check and put it in the offering box at the church office, because it was mid-week and I didn’t want to wait until Sunday.
As I walked out of the church office building, I got a call from someone I didn’t know. A ministry was calling to ask if I would help them build an artist and event program like I did for the last organization. After a few days, we had an agreement that would meet most of my monthly needs.
Over the next few months, God began to talk to me about provision. I’d always thought I’d live month to month until he provided a husband. (I know … don’t judge, because I’m trying to be transparent. I am still working on freedom in my identity, and I do care what you think, but I’m trying not to.) God started showing me how he takes my burdens and runs my budget. When a bill came in that was higher than normal or unexpected, I didn’t fret. I paid it and trusted God to work it out in the end. He did. Every time. I just focused on working hard at this:
Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).
This season has been all about asking God what it looks like to seek Him, because clearly, He didn’t say to seek the things we wanted Him to add.
First, I’m totally convinced that the faith I had came from God. If God didn’t provide a job within 30 days of my layoff, I was going to be in a heap of trouble. I’m not sharing this to say how cool I am, but instead how awesome God is! If he tells us to do something, it’s for His glory and our good. He didn’t ask me to come up with the faith. He gave it to me so I could be obedient. He provides everything we need—even faith.
God began showing me more about what it looks like to seek Him through my study of Luke. In 17:5-6 the apostles ask the Lord, “Increase our faith!” They didn’t ask for more faith. They wanted increase. “Increase” is “to become or make greater in size, amount, intensity or degree,” whereas “more” means “a greater or additional amount.” The difference is quality, not quantity. Now remember, they apostles had already been healing people and seeing miracles. They wanted an increase of that! In Luke 17, they got a picture of a mulberry tree that could be uprooted and moved into the sea if they just commanded it. That was way more intense than healing people, not because it was better, but because it stretched their thinking. They knew God would do more than what they’d already seen.
For me, the increase came when I was given a picture of something I’d never imagined before. It was a way to see the same power work in a more intense way. Asking me to give that much increased my faith even before I did it.
To follow His voice means to hear His voice. To hear His voice, we must seek His voice. To seek his voice, we must seek first the person of God.
When I was walking with God one day, I asked him about some promises He’d made to me. He said, “Jill, is it settled in your heart that you will give me your severance?” I said, “Yes Lord!”
“Why haven’t you done it yet?”
“Because there are some things that need to happen first that are out of my hands. I sent in the paperwork and they need to let so many days pass before they send a check. Then I have to write my check and drop it off.”
“That’s how it is with my promises. They are already a done deal. Some things just need to happen first before you see the answer to your prayer.”
All of a sudden, Hebrews 11:1 made more sense: “Faith is the assurance of all things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
I was convicted and assured God was going to provide for me. But He also provided things I didn’t know I needed. Since I was able to work less and still pay my bills, I rested more. At the time I didn’t know I needed some time off so I could be restored. The restoration is what I plan on sharing in my upcoming blog posts.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and he will make straight your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
What circumstance is set up to increase your faith?
What are you trusting God for? If he promised it … it’s a done deal. He is not man that He should lie. He is your provider. He is looking across the whole earth to give strong support to those whose heart is fully committed to Him. Are you looking for Him so your eyes can meet? It will be in that moment of agreement that you know peace. He will give you a deposit of faith if you want it.
He may cause a circumstance to take place in order to position you to receive the answer your prayer.
I didn’t start small … I asked to see angels and his throne room! Giving up my severance was the biggest and scariest thing I’d ever done, but it was a baby step compared to the things written about in Scripture. I believe this step was to build me up on the way to seeing greater things.
God was right; seeing Him comes at great cost. Jesus paid that price for me. God doesn’t need anything from me. He didn’t need my severance. I needed to give it up. It cost me my chains of fear. It cost me my worldly reasoning. I just needed to get rid of my junk so He could deposit greater things in me. It did cost me, but it’s totally worth it!
What does God want from me? Faith. It pleases Him.
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More times than I would’ve asked! 🙂 But, so awesome! Right now we are sitting here with a car situation. Months ago, God told us to give mine away. We did. Now the hubs doesn’t have a company car anymore. God’s got it, though.But, I’ll share this story. The first time precious husband lost his job, he told God when he got a new job, we would tithe his first paycheck. We didn’t know then he would only get paid once a month. But God! And, thanks for asking. Just writing this and thinking of our other stories totally reminds me He is faithful and increases my faith. God ROCKS! Love Him so.
Debra, Thank you for sharing your walk of faith. I think sharing our stories helps others walk it out too. Time after time, God is faithful.
Jill, this spoke to me so much because God is taking me through a journey of trusting Him with our finances. Three years ago my husband and I went bankrupt. We were force into it due to a lawsuit. It was not our plan. We had been working for years to get out of debt, but we had been doing on our own, on our terms. Not seeking what God wanted. And we spent many years not being faithful in tithing. The night before we declared bankruptcy I had a vision. I was in heaven and there was this big giant whiteboard with all the things I felt – guilt, shame, helplessness, failure. And Jesus took this big giant eraser and began erasing it. And when it was all clean, He looked at and said I know this wasn’t your plan, but this is a road you must walk through. Some people may not understand this journey but in you I am building something new. I have erased the past and tomorrow starts your future. If you will follow me and trust me this area I will rebuilt everything you have lost. We started tithing. We started giving. Giving generously. Over the last three years I have seen miracles of how God has provided for us. Your story spoke to me because each year He steps up our faith. Asks us to give more. To do what seems impossible. I can’t wait to see what His plans are for next year.
Wow, what a great story of obedience and blessing! I love the dream God gave you to show you redemption. He is so great! Keep in touch and let me know what God does in this next year. I’m still waiting on the full time job too.