Jan 13, 2019

Are you lonesome tonight?


 “And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14



I have this problem.

Until now, I have been completely unaware of it. 

Here is the thing...

I get up early and read my bible. Every single morning. 

I pray. I journal. 

My day begins about an hour later. 

The day goes on. 

I talk to Jesus. A lot. 

I talk about Jesus. A lot. 

But, there is something I have discovered. 

I don't like to be alone. Ever. 

Really. Like, ever ever ever ehhhhhhhhverrr. 

It is kind of a joke in my family. If my husband goes out of town, I have it all lined up for me and the kids to go somewhere. To be with people. 

Something about the quiet....it makes me feel strange. 

Anxious. 

As long as people are in the house with me, I am good. 

As soon as they leave, I have to find something to do. More often than not, I just leave and find someone to be with. 

My whole life. This has been my story. 

However, recently, the Lord has opened my eyes to this pattern. This fear of being alone. This fear of being by myself for more than an hour or so. 

Perhaps, this is why I write. 

I feel like someone is with me. Reading along. Talking. Listening with me. 

It helps the loneliness disappear. 

Not that I am lonely....

But scared of being alone. 

So, God is working with me on this. 

Day by day. 

One baby step at a time. 

My oldest will be going away to college this Fall. 

God is preparing my heart. I can feel it. 

I think about Abraham and Sarah. 

We have been reading about them in Genesis. 

God had big plans for them. A child! Many descendants!

But, they just could not be still and wait. 

They just kept making their own plans, doing things their own way--hello, Hagar--and everything just kept falling apart. 

Stillness eluded them. 

I understand. 

So very much. 

How about you?

Is quiet deafening to your ears? 

Is it easier to be in a loud noisy environment because at least you have people around you?

Or, maybe you are quite the opposite. Craving some stillness and alone time. Wishing you could escape to a private island--I can see my mother raising her hand. She and I are quite opposite on this!

Whatever the case may be....

Let's learn to get comfortable wherever we are. 

Whether in the crowd, or in the quiet. 

His seasons are for a purpose. 

We grow in these uncomfortable places.  

We become in tune with Him because we are desperate for Him to comfort us here in these places. 


A friend told me recently that God took her through a season of sitting through her grief. Instead of escaping the pain of her grief, He taught her to sit still through it. Acknowledge it. Accept it. Sit with it. 

I am trying to apply the same principal with my fear of being alone. 

Acknowledging it. Accepting it. Sitting with it. 

Knowing God will stretch me--drawing me even closer to Him. Feeling the comfort of His Presence in a whole new way. 

Oh, friend. 

Wherever you are...


Be where you are. 

Try not to run from it. 

Try not to wish it away. 

Sit with Jesus. 

He is with you. 

Will you remind me of this too?



finding rest in being alone, 


jill


Are you reading the Bible with us? Oh, please do! Go here and see what we are reading this year. OR contact me at shinegirlsshine@gmail.com OR find us on instagram @shinegirlsshine We would LOVE to have you read with us each day!









Jan 8, 2019

Don't stop....

So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived. Genesis 19:29


We are in the thick of some drama here in the book of Genesis. Good Lord.

Today, we read about Abraham and Lot.

Lot was spared being torched to death by fire because of Abraham's faithful prayers over him.

Some friends and I have been discussing this over Marco Polo. [do you use that app? It is pretty cool]

Anyway, we want to know why God spared Lot, if not just because Abraham asked Him to. Lot ended up being tricked into sleeping with his daughters---yes, you read that right. The daughters went on to have babies...and who needs Netflix when we have this drama??

So, I cannot help but see the mercy of God here.

Abraham was faithful. Oh, so faithful.

He prayed for his nephew Lot to be spared from the fiery raining sulfur--and God spared him.

My question to you is this...

Who are you praying for right now?

Maybe it seems hopeless. Hopeless with a capital H.

Maybe it seems like there is no way God could answer this prayer.

Maybe it seems that all of these years in desperate prayer for that child, that husband, that aunt, that uncle, that mother, that father, that friend....

Seem pointless.

Read this story in Genesis again.

God heard Abraham's prayers. And He answered.

Did Lot really deserve to be rescued? I do not know.

But, I do know that Abraham pleaded for Lot's life.

And God answered.

Don't stop pleading for the lives of those around you.

Just when it looks like fiery sulfur will rain down, God will rescue and deliver. In just the nick of time.

Don't stop praying,


jill

Jan 2, 2019

In the beginning...

I cannot quit thinking about Adam and Eve.

What would I have done in their situation? I blame them constantly on the state of this sinful world. And my heart at times.

But, would I have done anything differently?

I would like to think so.

However, Truth has a glaring Light that shines through the places of your heart you thought were hidden. Even hidden from God.

When I settle in with Jesus, just He and I, I feel so much Joy. I also feel so much sorrow.

I can clearly see the state of my heart when I am truly surrendered to Him. He allows me to see the places I long to hide. The ugly parts. Just like when Adam and Eve hid from God after they ate of the forbidden tree. I often try to hide....

The parts that have a hard time loving others.

The parts that don't understand why it is never ever ever easy to do the right thing.

The parts that are prideful.

The parts that know that deep down fear is a mangled mess in many areas of my life.

The part that lets insecurity decide who I am.

The part that lets the words or  lack of words from others decide who I am.

I get sick to death of my own self.

When I get that sick feeling....

I know...

That He loves me.

That He has to show me these things, or I cannot change.

I cannot change what I do not open my eyes to.

We can live a life blind as heck to our own sin.

I have done it.

I have seen others do it.

Mission trips, church attendance, feeding the poor, teaching Sunday school....


Does NOT reflect a pure heart.

Trust me on this one.

A pure heart is aware of their shortcomings.

Aware of the sin that so easily entangles at times.

Aware that it could very well be our child in the same mess as our neighbors.

Aware that the more I stick my nose in the air to people and look down on them because they are not as spiritual as me....than I am worse off than they are.

I am sick to death of judging others.

I am sick to death of being judged.

There is One Judge.

His Name is Jesus.

People may throw stones at you, but Jesus steps up to say..."He who has not sinned, cast the first stone.." John 8:7

As we read through the Bible together this year, my prayer is that He continues to mold us. To chisel us. To shape us into His image.

It just will not happen apart from time spent with Him.

There is a world out there....a world desperate for us to wake up from our spiritual self-righteous haze. It needs us to have a heart like Jesus. To see the broken. The ugly. The mess.

But. we must see it in ourselves first.

Compassion, true compassion, comes from a heart that knows it is no better than the heart of the one who's sins are more visible. Hidden sins are no less than outward sins. God sees it all.

May we take off the fig leaves--and present ourselves to Christ. Broken, scarred, marred, and torn. 

Then, and only then can we reflect Him.


Keep reading, girls. It's only the beginning.


goodbye Eden,


jill







Jan 1, 2019

Dear SHINE Girl,

Dear SHINE girl,

Happy New Year! Can you even believe it is 2019? Goodness gracious. Weren't we just ringing in 2018?

Today marks 7 years of this SHINE girls blog. SEVEN!

If you have been on this journey with me since day one, God bless you sweet friend. And I truly mean, God bless you. You have seen the ups and downs and ins and outs of my life for the past 7 years. Some good and some not so good stuff.

Thank you all for sticking with me. Even through months and months of dry spells. You, dear friend, have hung on with me. I so appreciate you.

When I look back on the early days posts, I often cringe. I have opened up, no I have sliced open, my heart to all of you over the years.  I have left my insides on the pages of this blog. I know it must have been a lot to take in at times...goodness.

The desire of my heart from the very beginning was to read God's Word together. To grow together. To learn together. To hold each other accountable...together.

This has not changed. One single bit.

Although I do not post nearly as much as I used to, I still think of all of you so often. Remembering your sweet words, prayers, and encouragement.

Since Instagram became a thing, I started slowly writing on that platform. It is just easier at times, and faster.

However, my heart will always be here. On this site.

I am going to continue to write to you, if you will let me into your sweet world.

What a privilege it is to have you here as a reader. It is truly an honor.

This year, I am starting a new reading plan. I have purchased the Daily Walk Bible by Tyndale.
 It is a one year devotional Bible. Each day has a reading--beginning in Genesis.

I will post from time to time what I am learning. If you would like to join, I would love to have you. We have several friends on our Instagram page joining. I hope you will too!

My deepest desire is that no matter what reading plan you decide on....you will daily meet God in His Word. Friend, it will change you.

When we meet with Jesus every day, we begin to look more like Him. Sound more like Him. Love more like Him. It is just inevitable.

I am praying for you. I am praying that God will show you great and mighty things this year. I am praying that you draw closer than ever to His Throne.

Seven years. I cannot even believe it.

Thank you for your friendship over the years. I could cry my eyes out thinking of the prayers we have prayed over each other through the years. Truly, it has been the best thing to ever happen in my spiritual walk.

I would love your feedback as we read along. Join me here or on our Instagram account @shinegirlsshine or @lemandjill

You are oh so loved.

Happy New Year, precious one.


Seven years and counting,


jill




Dec 3, 2018

What rules your heart?

Hi, there. I have about 7.25 minutes to write. So, here goes.

I love Christmas, I really do.

However, why is that I get this knot in my stomach every time I look at my calendar. Dates upon dates. Minutes upon minutes.

Sweating pools of liquid as I type.

Today, I was in the grocery store ordering my deli meat. The sweet lady asked me how I wanted my meat sliced....I froze.

My mind went blank...

What?

Ummm, I don't know. I don't know anything because my heart and my mind are cluttered with thoughts.

She finally suggested "sandwich slices"?

I quickly nodded like a moron. Yes, yes, that's what I want. Thank you for being my brain today, precious lady that cuts my deli meat.

My morning fell apart in a matter of minutes today. I will not go into detail, but let's just say that one of my children will be grounded until they are in their mid-forties.

This scripture has been pounding my heart all day, "Let the Peace of Christ rule your heart..." Colossians 3:15

Breathe those words in slowly....

One more time.

Now, think about this....

What is ruling your heart?

Certainly God knew we would struggle with other "things" ruling our hearts, which is why He tells us to "let" the Peace of Christ rule in out hearts.

So many things have been ruling my heart lately.

None of which have been Christ.

Like....

Worry.
Fear.
Anxiety.
Money.
Grief.
Stress.
Busy schedules.
Growing children.

Can you relate?

Take a deep breath.

Stop what you are doing, and ask Jesus to rule in that heart of yours.

It works.

Trust me, I have been asking Him all day long.

I find myself with so many tasks, so many to-do's, so many gifts to purchase, so many everything....

Do you?

But, what if we asked Jesus to be the ruler above all of those things.

What if we leaned into Him even as our calendars fills.

And let Him be the ruler of our hearts. 

We can have things to do. And gifts to buy. And jobs to work. And bills to pay. And kids to raise [and ground] And husbands to tend to...

And still let the Peace of Christ rule in our hearts.

What do you say?


letting Christ be the final rule,


jill











Nov 30, 2018

When you need to be still....

The following post is a re-post from December 2016. I needed to revisit these words. These thoughts. My prayer is that we take these words to heart. To live in stillness and calm. Especially right this very moment. 

As I sit here staring at this blank computer screen, I haphazardly look over to my left. Our Christmas tree is standing there. Still. Warm. Inviting.

It's hard to look away. My eyes just want to engage in the beauty of this tree. No ornaments are even hung yet. But, it doesn't matter. She is glowing with colorful lights. Inviting anyone to come and sit next to her warmth. [yes, I do believe our tree is a "she".]

There is nothing really special about this tree. Average height, average breadth. Yet, it is hard to look away. She's just quite a breathtaking sight.

This verse quickly comes to mind, "Be still and know that I am God."  Psalm 46:10

Yes, still.

There's that word again.

Still .

Rhymes with Jill. You would think I would remember. It also rhymes with my last name, Hill. A double reminder. Still. Jill. Hill.

[God really does have a sense of humor]

Yet, so often, stillness escapes me.

When worries pile on, my mind is not still.

When sickness is looming over a loved one, my heart refuses to be still.

When finances get crunchy, and anxiety rises, I forget about being still.

When my to-do list seems to never get done, frantic overcomes any sense of stillness.

When my children get on my ever last nerve for the 108th time in one day, my actions are anything but still.

Why is it so hard to be still?

Stillness takes surrender.

A heart surrendered to its proper authority.

Surrender your heart to God, turn to him in prayer John 1:13-15

In this season of hustle and bustle, I want to be still. Really, I do.

I want to soak in the joy of Christmas.

I want to linger longer.

I want to live in this moment with my family and my children.

I want to be like our Christmas tree. Warm. Inviting. Still.

Yet, so often get I can caught up in the wrong things. Worry. Fear. Anxiety. Busy.

I need a reset. How about you?

Instead of doing the usual crazy we are so used to, let's be still.

I hear you laughing.

It's Christmas, how are we to be still??

Stillness begins in the heart.

When our hearts are still and at peace, our bodies will soon follow.

A heart at peace gives life to the body. Proverbs 14:30

When I had my first baby, I would go and sit at Lem's grandmother's house for hours with my newborn swaddle.

Something about her house made everything better. It was still.

Lem's grandmother was never rushed. I never felt like I was a burden to her. I always felt welcome.

She was still.

I think the elderly get it.

They see the other side of this life in a whole new way.

Time is a precious thing to the elderly. They know how short life really is.

What if we slowed time down a bit this season.

What if we created a space for us to be still and be with Jesus. Not because we want to "squeeze" our quiet time in, but because we want to be still with Jesus.

Jesus stills our hearts. He pours peace into our worn-down souls.

Do you know what would happen to my beautiful tree if I didn't water her daily? She would die.

Her green branches would turn brown, and slowly she would wilt.

The same happens to our souls when we don't take the time to be nourished with God's word.

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. Psalm 42:1

Then Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

Let's be still.

And, just like our Christmas trees, let's invite a weary world to soak up some peace, warmth, and stillness.


being still,

jill hill ;)

Oct 23, 2018

When you need to rest......

I don't like this feeling. You know the one.

The feeling that I just cannot get it all done. My to-do list is growing. And growing. And growing.

What happened to the simple days? I thought that as my children got older, my days would be simpler. Quieter.

Ha.

No, really....HAHAAAAHAAAAAA. (wicked witch laugh)

Yep. That's how it feels. Like, it is all a big joke.

Like, really? God chose me to be a mom and to do ALL the things?

Or so it feels this way.

Some days.

Most days.

I began teaching yoga faith at a local church in my town. The theme for us this month is rest.

I chose this theme because I thought it was a theme that most could relate to.

LITTLE did I know how desperately I would be the one that needed it MOST.

REST.

What the heck...sounds so simple. Doesn't it?

I mean, I get 8 hours of sleep most nights. I am resting, right?

No.

Sleep is not always the same as rest.

God commands us to rest. It is the 4th commandment. FOURTH!

Even God rested after creating the WHOLE wide world.

So, why is it so foreign to us?

Why do we feel as if we stop thinking, stop moving, stop working, stop planning, stop worrying, stop fretting....

That the whole entire world will collapse.

At least that is how I feel at times.

There is always something to do.

Always.

But, here is the thing...

What does God want us to do?

Surely, He has a plan for us. Not just a lifetime plan, friend, but a day to day plan.

I have always been a little obsessed with my planners. You know, the pretty, lined, organized planner thing? Yea. I kinda love those.

What if....

Every day, we asked God how to fill those pretty pages up.

I found some scripture in Exodus that should encourage us in this.

Moses was sick and tired of leading the Israelites. They were awful. And impatient. And sinful. And complaining...and.....I could go on for days.

Moses was over it. With a capital O.

Moses basically asked God (in modern day lingo), "What are you going to do about this? Who are you going to send to help me, God??"

This is God's response. Grab your chair and hold on.


"The Lord replied, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'" Exodus 33:14

Oh hey now.

Read that one more time.

Do you feel like somebody just breathed fresh air right through those lungs of yours? Me too.

Now, listen to what Moses says afterwards.

"If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from this place." Exodus 33:15

Do you see why Moses was such a big deal back in the OT days?

Y'all! He basically said this, "I ain't going nowhere without You, God. Not even budging."

What if we said this every morning?

God, what do you want me to do? Because, listen, I am not moving without word from You. I need to know Your Presence will go with me.

I know what you are thinking.

How long do we have to sit and wait for Him to respond?

As long as it takes.

Yes.

You heard me.

We are so used to jumping up at every blinking cell phone light and every single phone beep.

What if we stopped.

Rested a while.

Until He tells us to go.

And where to go.

What if we were so desperate for His Presence to be with us that we did not budge until we heard from Him?
'
Moses knew the consequences of moving without God. He knew the torment of a life trying to be the one in charge. And it did not work.

He knew he needed God.

Every. Step. Of. The. Way.

And, friend, so do we.

Maybe God is not speaking because we are not resting in His Presence long enough to hear Him.

Talk to Him.

Listen to Him.

Rest in Him.


As I type, I am sitting at the library. I had to come here. I just had to.

It is quiet here. Peaceful.

My home is quiet, but it is constantly calling me to clean, or wash, or fold, or iron...who am I kidding, I do not iron, people.

So, in order to write, or think, or pray....I have to go to a quiet place. Like, the library.

Jesus often went to solitary and quiet places.

Maybe we should as well.

Turn off the phone. The news. The dryer.  The washer.

And rest a while.

Just you and Him.

God led Moses to the Promise Land.

He wants to do the same for you.


"Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest." Mark 6:31


you can find me at the library,


jill


Sep 12, 2018

Hey you....

Hey you.

I know how you feel. I know the questions. I know the doubts.

I have been there. So many times.

You wonder if it will ever work out. You wonder if doing the "right" thing will actually pay off.

You wonder if this is just all for nothing. You wonder if this is some kind of cruel joke...this Christian walk.

I get it.

Oh, do I get it.

I have journals and journals of these thoughts. These doubts. These questions.

Why is being good so hard?

Why does it seem like those that choose wrong paths actually come out better sometimes?

Why does it seem like you will always be the one at the wishing well instead of the dance?

What good is it to pray and fast, and believe, and repeat that sequence only to have nothing happen. Zilch. Nada.

Why does it seem like everyone gets what they want so easily, while you sit with hands held out grasping air?

Your story is not over.

Let me say that again, your story is not over.

When these thoughts run rampant through my mind, I have to go back.....and remember.

I have to grab my Bible and read about Noah, and David, and Ruth, and Esther, and Abraham, and Moses, and Paul, and Peter, and....

Jesus.

No one escapes suffering. No one escapes loss. No one escapes heartbreak. No one escapes pain.

Yet...

Few find the fruit of those things.

They give up too easily.

They walk away from God.

They walk away from church.

They walk away from good.

Because....it's just not working.

Oh, but what if Joseph would have walked away? What if he would have burned with hatred for his brothers and spent his life trying to find revenge?

What if Noah would have given into the peer pressure and the nay sayers and not built the Ark?

What if David would have given up his pursuit to rise above King Saul's hatred and jealousy and take matters into his own hands?

What if Ruth had turned from God and her mother in law out of her deep grief and loss of her husband and not stayed with Naomi?

What if Moses had not gone to Egypt and approached Pharaoh?

What if Jesus would have turned back around from that walk to the Cross?

NONE of these people wanted to do these things. None of these people felt equipped to do what God was asking.

NONE of them could have ever imagined what the outcome of their obedience would be. Not one.

But....

What if they had given up.

What if they thought it was just too hard.

What if they turned their back and hearts from God.

Your story is still well under way.

Do. Not. Lose. Hope.

Do. Not. Lose. Faith.

Do. Not. Stop. Doing. The. Right. Thing.

Your time will come.

When you least expect it.

You will see the fruit.

You will experience the bounty.

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him. 1 Corinthians 2:9


not giving up, 


jill