May 31, 2012

Thursday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Job 31

Oh my. The Lord cracks me up. He really does have a sense of humor. Seriously, He does.

I had asked my friend, Melissa, to post this week. I had gotten my days confused because of the holiday this week. I told her I wanted to post her story on Friday--thinking that I had today covered.

Oops. Nada. Nothing. Zero. Zilch.

I have no post scheduled for today. I know why the Lord let that happen.

He has been telling me all week to share my story. I have been pretending like I didn't hear Him.

This doesn't go over well with the Lord. He always gets His way. Always.

So, here goes.


"I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and my soul knows very well."  Psalm 139:14

This verse changed my life.

I had always heard this verse quoted and would secretly roll my eyes thinking that it certainly did not apply to me. It never would.

Growing up as the younger sister, I was always in my older sisters shadow. Whether she liked it or not, there I was hovering and trying to soak up every inch of her beautiful presence.

She was older than me, taller than me, skinnier than me, and prettier than me. (i know she hates when i say this, but it's true.)

My parents always told me that I was beautiful. Always.

I never, ever believed them. When someone would tell me that I was pretty, I would immediately wonder why they would lie and what their purpose was for lying to me. I even would think that my parents paid them to tell me these lies. (yes, that's pretty sad.)

Looking back, it breaks my heart that I would actually think people were never telling the truth.

I convinced myself that because they felt sorry for me, they had to lie to make me feel better.

Sad, but true.

I have no idea why I was so insecure. None. Nothing major happened in my life that would have made me be filled with such insecurity.

My insecurities affected every single aspect of my life. From friendships, to boyfriends.

Approval from them was my main goal in life. If I ever felt like they did not approve, I would strive even harder to make them like me.

I would become whoever they wanted me to be so that I could feel like they liked me and loved me.

This went on well into my married life. I know for a fact that one of the many reasons I fell in love with Lem was because he was so sure of himself and comfortable in his own skin. He made me want to be like him in this way. I loved his confidence. His easy way with people. I was always striving. Striving. Striving.

We would go to parties and I would be glued to his side because I liked who I was around him. He loved me for being me. He knew me...and yet, he still loved me.

I could not stand seeing myself in pictures. I would cringe every time I would see a picture of myself. It would make me even more insecure because I would find every flaw and scrutinize them.

When I became pregnant with our first child, I prayed every night that my child would look like Lem. I really did.

Lo and behold, my first born, looked just like me. (there's that sense of humor, Lord!)

I was shocked, because I thought since he was a boy, he would surely look like Lem. Nope.

My body became different after having my first baby. This made me even more insecure. My face was broken out all of the time, so I covered it with make-up. Heavily.

Let me just throw something out here on the table: If you know a girl who wears a little (or a lot) too much make-up, her hair is a little too blonde (or just a little too much), go and love on her. Go and tell her how much God loves her and how beautiful she is. She desperately needs to hear it.


I was that girl. All the heavy make-up and the bleached out blonde hair was not because I thought I was pretty. On the contrary. It was because I thought that I was anything but pretty.

The make-up, the hair, those were all just things to hide myself, to cover up what I didn't want anyone to see--the real me. Too much was better than not enough--in my skewed vision, anyway.

Lem would always try to convince me to not wear make-up. I thought he was crazy. I hated when he would tell me this because I felt like he was teasing me. Like some kind of torturous game.

I was messed up.

A couple of years after our son was born, we  had our second child, a little girl. She looked just like Lem. My prayers were answered. Finally.


The last thing I ever wanted was a little girl that looked like me. No way.

Little did I know that having a little girl would completely force me to take a major microscope to my own life as a woman.

Here I was raising this daughter, and I could barely get a grip on my own  pitiful life. I needed some intervention.

Things had to change.

I needed freedom, desperately.

God led me to Beth Moore's book, "So Long, Insecurity", in July of 2010.

here is the book!


After reading it, I thought for sure that Beth had been watching my life from the time I was born. I felt like she had written my auto-biography.

My eyes were slowly opened to the lie that I had built my life upon.

The lie that I was not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, etc.

I began to finally realize that my self-absorption with my flaws had actually been a form of self-idolatry. I  was so focused on ME, that there was no way that I could ever be a good wife, a good momma, or a good friend.

I would never even begin to be able to love the Lord and serve Him with all of myself because "myself" was wrapped up in ME. Me, Myself, and I. (gag)

Hello, this was a huge epiphany. Huge.

One day soon after, I was admiring Presley playing in one of her cute little dresses. I noticed her beautiful features and her wind-blown hair. I could not take my eyes off of her. She was mesmerizing.

I heard the Lord say this to me as clear as crystal: "You see her, as I see you, Jill. I feel the same exact way about YOU, that you feel about her. I cannot take my eyes off of you, sweet daughter of mine."

I remember calling a friend and crying about this revelation from the Lord! I really was worthy. I really was beautiful to someone. Not just someone...but to my Father in Heaven! The Creator of all things!

I soon opened my Bible to the verse that I wrote above--Psalm 139:14. I read it over and over. I now believed it. I was wonderfully made. It was true.

The last line of Beth Moore's book that changed my life was this: "Now get out there and show some wide-eyed little girls what a secure woman looks like".

It was as if the Lord Himself had breathed those words right into my pierced ears.

The biggest challenge of my life was beginning to unfold. I had to show my daughter, my Presley, what security looked like. If I didn't show it to her, who would?

Now, I wake up each and every day with her on my mind and on my heart.

I will show her security. I will show her strength.

She will know what security looks like. If I have to fight tooth and nail every second of every day to overcome my past of insecurity, then that's what I will do. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 

I will show her. Every single day.


"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:13-16


fearfully and wonderfully made,

jill

p.s...A funny little thing: the minute I finished typing this, I received the draft for Melissa's SHINE post. Hmmm. God seriously has a sense of humor and a sense of timing. ;) Stay tuned for Melissa's incredible story...tomorrow. 

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. "
Psalm 31:30
(Presley's Life Verse.)






May 30, 2012

Wednesday SHINE.....


Today's Reading: Job 30

Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE girls! Get your groove on today with God's LOVE for YOU! Celebrate your Lord and Savior in song by turning up the radio and singing out loud to Him! Oh, how He loves it! (remember David? he was not afraid to do a little song and dance for the Lord!)

As we continue with our theme of Freedom this week, I asked my friend Lisa to post about her journey to Freedom in Christ.

I was brand new friends with Lisa when all of this was taking place. It has been one of the biggest blessings of my life to watch it all unfold in a front row seat!

I told her yesterday that I can relate to many parts of her story, and I'll bet you can too.

Be blessed, my friends.

Lisa's Story: 

Summer of 2009, I did a Bible study that changed my life.  Now, I have only used the phrase "changed my life" in regard to 2 things.  First, giving my life to Jesus Christ, obviously changed my life, and when I married my husband.  I now have to include the book, "The Excellent Wife" as a life changing moment in my life.

What that book showed me, was relationships outside my marriage, that had an enormous impact on me, which in turn, affected my marriage.

These relationships...the approval, daily contact, are we good, are we not, was my text replied too fast enough, was my email perceived the correct way, are we spending enough time together, am I missed.  These relationships were the driving force behind how I thought about myself, daily.   And they had been the driving force for years and years.

It does not matter how I got there, all I knew is I was there, seeing plain as day that this is not where I wanted to be emotionally, was not my best in this place...I needed to make some changes.  But I had absolutely no idea how to do this.

How do you step away from all you've ever known?

I started telling the Lord what I wanted my emotional and relational life to look like.  I would chuckled at the absurdity of what I was asking for.  I would cry at the enormity of my request.  I would shudder at the realization of where I was and how far I had to go.

But I told the Lord that I was ready.

I knew and believed with every fiber of my being that WITH MY SAVIOR holding my hand and guiding me, I could emotionally, stand on my own two feet.  That I could learn who I was in HIM...and that would be enough...I would be whole...just me and Him.

A big part of my life, was my weight.  I started gaining weight when I was 18.  There had been some incredibly unfortunate things that had taken place in our family, resulting in my finding empty comfort, in food.

Like most women, I had tried all diets, Weight Watchers, Atkins, often with short-term results.  Exercise, to the point of almost passing out, this too, with short-term results.  Diet Coke, Marlboro Lights and shopping during my lunch hour, followed by the same after work, and for dinner.

I would lose 15-20 pounds, the most, 30 and relish in all the bright-eyed "acceptance" I would receive from those in my life.

This battling my weight, i.e., emotions/relationships/self, lasted 20 years.

Since Summer of 2009, when I took my sweet Father's hand and let Him lead me down the road of renewal and healing, I have lost 70 pounds.

I first noticed, March of 2010 that my clothes were feeling loose. I was not on a diet, did not own a scale, and had, as much as possible, accepted that fact that I was going to be overweight for the rest of my life.

Emotional renewal, heart renewal, turned into physical renewal.  I do not know any other way to explain it.

As I walked the, joyous - painful - exciting - frightening - elating, road with my Rescuer, He taught me who I was in Him.

With Him, I shed the past.  And became whole.

In the past 3 years I have read Psalms 23 over, and over, and over and over...

I am able to picture myself in each verse.  How I longed to rest, emotionally and relationally, in that fact (vs 1) That the Lord is my Shepherd, I have all I need.  I wanted to emotionally and relationally, (vs 2) rest in green meadows as He lead me beside peaceful streams.  Oh how I hungered for peace.  (vs 3) He renews my strength (I was weak) and guides me along (healthy relational and emotional) paths, bringing honor to His name.  Oh Father I praise you for the unbelievable miracles You have done in my life.  THANK YOU!!

Can you relate to my story?  Read Psalms 23 out-loud and picture yourself in each verse.  Talk to the Lord as you read this chapter about the places in your heart and life that need peace - renewal - strength - protection - comfort - blessings - goodness - unfailing love.

And now, giving to Him all the glory for the work He has done in my life.  Praising Almighty God, my Rock.  My Redeemer.  My Savior.  My Rescuer.   I am yours sweet Father.

Psalm 23 (NLT)

A psalm of David.

1 The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3     He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

May 29, 2012

SHINE girl weekday give-away winner is.....

So, are you ready to hear the SHINE girl weekday give-away winner?

Yes, me too!

Drum roll, please...

In honor of Memorial Day, I asked my Daddy, who is a Vietnam War veteran to draw the winner's name. I am aware that Memorial Day honors our deceased Veterans. I just found it fitting that as we celebrate our Freedom this week, we let a courageous war Veteran draw our SHINE girl winner. :-)

Our SHINE girl weekday give-away winner is....

Casey Bearden!

Here is your prize, Casey...

~a beautiful SHINE necklace~
Donated by our very own SHINE girl:
~Kimberlee Blazina~
Thank you so much, Kimberlee!


Casey, please email me at shinegirlsshine@gmail.com to give me your address for mailing.

Thank you, SHINE girls for your Summer favorites list! I loved reading each of them!

Another SHINE give-away coming soon...stay tuned!





Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Job 29


Good morning, SHINE girls! I hope your weekend was safe and fun!


As we celebrated Memorial Day and the price that comes with living in a free country, I kept hearing the word "Freedom" ringing in my ear.


Not only Freedom, religiously and politically speaking, but freedom from anything that keeps us in bondage as girls, women, mothers and wives. Bondage can keep us from living the life that God meant for us to live.


With this in mind, today we have a special guest blogger.


Kate Wicker is a mommy, a wife, a writer, a friend, and a wonderful woman of the Lord.


Kate so graciously has prepared for us a beautiful testimony of her struggles with body image. This topic is very dear to my heart, because not only have I struggled tremendously in this area a lot of my life, but I believe that many of us have. (and still do struggle.)


So, girls, grab your coffee, and be blessed by Kate's inspiring journey to freedom. If you feel that anyone else in your life may need to be encouraged by her words, I urge you to pass this along to them.


Kate's Story:

I am so humbled to be sharing a small snippet of my story here today. Jill has an amazing ministry going on here, and I’m grateful to be a part of this community of beautiful, Godly women.

I hope this might speak to some of you. Some of the pain, believe it or not, is still raw, but I truly believe God is calling me to take a step out of my comfort zone to reveal this heart of mine. I pray some of my words were Spirit-led and will offer you peace, healing, and above all, the awareness that you are indeed a beautiful woman. SHINE, lovely ladies, SHINE. God designed you to do just that.


 When I was a little girl, my parents told me I was beautiful. When I was really young, I believed them. But despite the outpouring of love from my mom and dad, before too long I started to feel like I was not pretty enough, thin enough, or good enough.

The first vivid memory I have of believing there might not be anything lovely about me was when I was 9.  Nine. I was a little girl who should have been thinking more about mud pies, fairies, and playing dress-up than agonizing over every inch of my skin and that Little Debbie I really shouldn’t have eaten.

When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had my stock response ready. “A writer, actress, and horse trainer,” I’d say.
 I did aspire to be all of these things, but silently, I thought, what I wanted most of all was to be thin.
Unlike most of my friends, I wasn’t a stick-skinny little girl. I got teased and called names like Miss Piggy. Sixth grade was a very awkward year for me.  I was a fashion disaster. Seriously, I walked around wearing busy, colorful clothing smattered with flashy zigzags or lime green polka dots! looked like Walt Disney had thrown up all over me.

And I begged my mom to let get a perm. She relented. Big mistake. My thick hair did not take to it well, and instead of the beautiful ringlets I longed for, I ended up with  a crazy, frizz-ball head of hair.

Oh, I had braces, too. Top and bottom. The chunky, silver kind.

One particularly painful memory stands out from this time in my life. I was walking between two lines of school buses at the end of a school day when I heard laughter and oinking. I looked up to see two boys with their heads sticking out of a window, pointing at me, pushing up their noses, and oinking.

From a very young age, I started to ask, “How do you get rid of what you are?”

When I was 15, I thought I might have the answer. You stop eating.

I started to diet because I desperately wanted to protect myself from ever being hurt again: from the boys who had oinked at me, from a relative who had told me I smelled funny, from anyone who had ever chipped away at my eggshell sense of self.

I embraced the misguided messages of my past emotional gashes that I wasn’t lovable when my body didn’t look a certain way. I couldn’t make myself loved, but I could make myself thinner.

Even when I wasn’t thinking about how much - or how little to - eat (which was rarely), I was thinking about how I could use my body to feel loved. I couldn’t make people notice the real me, but I could wear skirts a few too inches short or wear a tight shirt across my developing body and people might look in my direction. But only briefly. And they didn’t ever see what I wanted them to see.

I spent a big chunk of my life believing dieting  would free me from suffering. I thought beauty only wears skinny jeans, and power only comes from attracting men by wearing revealing clothes.

I know differently now. I look back at the photos of me when I was teased, and I no longer see a girl I’d want to change. What I see is a good child, a creative, sensitive child, a beloved daughter of God, a child whose inner beauty was enough. With God’s grace and love within me, I was enough back then when I was overweight. I was enough when I was too thin. And I’m enough now that I’ve finally found a mostly healthy place. It’s just taken me more than two decades to figure that out.

I spent much of my teenage years and early adulthood battling an eating disorder. Not eating and later purging when I felt like I’d eaten a “bad” food made me feel powerful. Sometimes I even thought I was happy, but it was a fleeting happiness that hinged on how “good” I was about not eating and what number happened to show up on the scale the 10, 15 times I weighed myself daily. What I hadn’t yet discovered was that my disordered eating and unhealthy body image weren’t about me not liking my body. I didn’t like myself.
I hit my rock bottom in college. I stopped menstruating. I was depressed.  One morning I woke up - throat raw from vomiting, feeling exhausted and scared. I was tired of smiling and pretending everything was fine while living an empty, rote life that was whittled down to how many calories I’d eaten and how much I weighed.

So I sought help. I worked for over two years to overcome my clinical eating disorder first at my university’s multidisciplinary treatment center and then with a therapist.

Again, I thought I was better. And in many ways I was. But, first off, any struggle that has to do with food is very, very difficult to overcome. Imagine telling an alcoholic they can have three drinks a day but they just can’t get drunk. Essentially, that’s what many of us have to do with food. We can’t take the all or nothing approach. We have to learn to approach food with temperance and a healthy spirit of self-control. That’s not easy.

However, I no longer was starving myself or making myself throw up or taking laxatives. I exercised to focus on health not a slimmer physique. And,  in many ways, I was physically cured, but I still wasn’t healed. A priest that’s a family friend of ours shared with us once that there’s a difference between being cured and healed. Being cured is sometimes the easier part, but healing takes place on a deeper spiritual level. It takes place in your soul. Jesus came to HEAL - not necessarily cure the sick. So yeah, I was cured, but I still wasn’t healed because I hadn’t fully turned myself over to the Great Physician. I still felt the need to constantly be tweaking myself. The body barbs of my past haunted me. If it wasn’t my appearance, it was something else I was afraid of being rejected.

 I know now - because hindsight really is 20-20 - that the problem was none of my healing and recovery or my plans to get better involved God. Because I wanted to come up with a way to be healed that didn’t require me to trust anyone else - not even my real Savior. I may have not been controlling my weight any longer - at least not in radically unhealthy ways - but I still was trying to control my world because I thought that if I had total jurisdiction over everything that happened to me, I would not be so vulnerable. I could inoculate myself against angst.
What years of turning the scale into the ultimate barometer of my self-worth really taught me is that the fantasy of losing weight was far more alluring than the reality of it. Suffering isn’t just for overweight people. It’s not just for average or thin people either. It’s for people period.
It also taught me that there wasn’t anything wrong with me for wanting to feel beautiful. When I blossomed into a young woman, I felt shame at first for my beauty. Then when I was deemed “physically” recovered from my eating disorder, I was tempted to relegate anything related to beauty - makeup, wanting to wear pretty clothes, even wanting to be at a health weight - as vanity.
It’s taken a lot of prayer to help me to see that women are meant to portray God’s design for beauty. If we are truly made in His image and likeness, then we are visible reminders of the invisible God. A God who is Love itself, and Love is indeed beautiful.
I suspect some of the SHINE readers don’t struggle with body image problems or have probably never suffered from a clinical eating disorder. Some of you have probably don’t even struggle with eating the right amount of food as I have. Some of you probably don’t have inner monologues about whether or not you should eat another cookie or potato chip. There are probably some of you who, God bless you, who have never even had a bad hair day.

Yet, I truly believe every single woman struggles at some point in her life with feeling unloved, under-appreciated, or misunderstood. They may not be able to put these feelings into words. It’s just as if a part of them is missing, or maybe there’s a part of them they desperately want to keep from others. Or maybe they’re constantly trying to do more, to be more.

Don’t think or a minute that these doubts, these chronic twinges of inadequacy are because we’re weak.

Oh, no, the very reason women are being assaulted with a torrent of doubts is because of how inherently strong we are. We have so much power. Our feelings of worthlessness; they are a spiritual attack against women.

The enemy is constantly whispering in our ears:

 “You’re not good enough. You’re not as put together as that mom over there. You don’t sew or homeschool or cook amazing meals. Your house is a mess.

Hey, and you over, you’re just an object in the world’s hands or in a man’s arms.

As for you, do you really think you could give this baby  in your womb a good life? You’re not even married. Abort this baby. Make it go away.

Oh, and you. You’re still not married? You’ll never be desired. No one will ever want you.

As for you, you are beautiful, sexy. But that’s absolutely all you are - a pretty, shiny package.”

The list goes on.

But the very reason we’re bombarded with these doubts is because of how beautiful and powerful and BELOVED we are.

Stasi Eldredge and her husband John wrote an amazing, life-changing book called Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of the Woman’s Soul.

They write:

             “Woman is meant to be the incarnation-our experience in human form - of a          Captivating God.  Beauty is what the world longs to      experience from a woman. We know that. Somewhere down deep, we know it to be true. Most of our shame comes from this knowing and feeling that we have            failed here. So listen to this: Beauty is an essence that dwells in every       woman. It was given to her by God. It was given to you.”

My dear sisters in Christ, you are beautiful. You don’t have to be a prisoner to food, the scale, or broken resolutions. God is a revolutionary. He came to us as a helpless babe and grew into a man who would save us all. He transforms ashes into beauty. He changes the conflict within you into peace. He takes what is dead and gives it new life.
Maybe you need to work on reining in gluttony or try to carve out more time for exercise. Having healthy, realistic goals is one thing. But telling yourself you’re worthless until you exercise more self-control is betraying your Creator. You are His canvas, and His signature is on your heart.

We don’t need to be thinner or become what society defines as outwardly attractive to be loved, valued, or to have dignity.
You are beautiful just the way you are. Ponder that. Pray about it every single day if you have to. And start living a life that shows you believe it to be true.
Personally, it wasn’t until I began to truly believe this and believe that God loved me and would pursue me even on an “ugly day” that I was able get over the body insults of my past, forgive those who had intentionally or unintentionally maligned my physical appearance, make peace with food and the shape of my body, and start to treat myself with the kindness that I once believed only thin or perfect people deserved.
Wherever you are at this point in your life, however you feel about your body, turn to God if you really want a makeover. You were created to be a reflection of God’s love and beauty, and it is prayer - more than another fad diet - that will restore you to His likeness. 
Yes, keep striving to be the woman God calls you to be, but this person may not look like your neighbor-the-marathon-runner or that silver screen starlet. She may not even look anything like the younger (pre-baby?) you. She’s going to stumble. She’s going to goof up again and again. But none of this makes her bad or unlovable. It makes her - you - human. And our Father loves His imperfect darlings.
A dear friend of mine passed along this beautiful passage from Father Jaques Phillips’s Interior Freedom, which articulates how in order to accept ourselves - all of ourselves - we must recognize how beloved we are in God’s eyes.

He writes,

“Only under the gaze of God can we fully and truly accept ourselves.  We need to be looked upon by someone who says, as God did through the prophet Isaiah: 'You are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you'. Consider a girl who believes she is plain (as, curiously enough, do many girls, even pretty ones!) begins to think that she might not be so frightful after all on the day a young man falls in love with her and looks at her with the tender eyes of someone in love.  We urgently need the mediation of another's eyes to love ourselves and accept ourselves.  The eyes may be those of a parent, a friend, a spiritual director; but above all they are those of God our Father.  The look in his eyes is the purest, truest, tenderest, most loving, and most hope-filled in the world."

God sees you as nothing less than lovely and the truth is - no matter how much we succeed, how many pounds we drop or wrinkles we erase - we will never be enough without God. So let’s stop trying. Believe you were made in Heaven and are absolutely beautiful and desired by Your Beloved Father. Believe in the one who created you and His love for you, and that is what will SHINE through and the world will behold the beauty that is YOU.





May 28, 2012

Reading Plan for week of 5/28-6/1....

Reading Plan for week of 5/28-6/1....

  • Monday 5/28: Job 28
  • Tuesday 5/29: Job 29
  • Wednesday 5/30: Job 30
  • Thursday 5/31: Job 31
  • Friday 6/1: Job 32
Good morning, SHINE! We will continue in Job this week, and I just want to encourage you to still do your reading. I know Job can be one of the more difficult chapters to read, but it is the discipline of obedience that grows us spiritually.

"Every word of God is tried and purified; He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him." Proverbs 30: 5

God's Word is Life. Every single ounce of it.

Also, I want to encourage you to go to the SHINE weekday drawing and enter! We will draw a winner this week! Exciting!

Father, 

Be with us this day, and this week. We need Your Presence to guide us and direct our steps. Fill our moments with Your Peace. 

We humbly submit our calendars to you, to mold and change for Your will for us, Father.

Protect our bodies, our families, and our homes, Lord. I ask that each and every SHINE girl feel Your warmth and protection over them in this very moment. Let them seek You, Father, for their comfort. Draw their hearts to You, daily.

Praise Your Holy Name. 

In the name of Jesus we humbly pray,

Amen.

May 26, 2012

Prayer Requests and Praises....


Prayer Requests and Praise Reports! May 27th-June 2nd....


Happy Memorial Day weekending, girls!  This is our weekly prayer request page on this holiday weekend that will take us through the 1st week of JUNE!  Holy Cow! Happy Summering, too, to all of you and your families!

We’d also like to add a special prayer request for those who are serving in our United States Armed Forces as well as those who are our honored veterans.  This is very near and dear to our SHINE girls’ hearts!! 

Thank you, God, for the brave men and women who sacrifice their safety and security to ensure our own freedom.  Protect and prosper these men and women. Help them to know you, Lord, in a very personal way. May You please bless their lives, abundantly. We are filled with gratitude today and every day for their service past, present and future.  We are so grateful, God, touch them even now and please manifest Yourself in their lives, in Jesus name, Amen.

We would love for you girls to come back and post prayers and concerns here.  We are praying and God is working.  Come by and post a prayer, read along and please be blessed and pray with us! 

Praying for you, SHINE friend!
Rebekah


p.s....SHINE weekday give away drawing will be held in a couple of days...get your name in the pot! Go here and comment! 

May 25, 2012

Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Job 27

Happy FUN Friday!! It's our last day of school! Yay for Summer time!

If you have seen me this week, and I have not made eye contact, it's because this week is always very emotional for me! (just ask my friends-oh my.) Tears and more tears. (like the snot bubble kind of tears)

I'm always sad about another school year ending, but happy to be with my kids all Summer long.

Each day this week I have really, really, really tried to put into practice what the Lord has been teaching us through His Word.

JOY is not based on our circumstances, but based on the Lord and His Love and Grace. I keep saying this over and over and over to myself.  My heart is desperately dependent on God's Word to bring me peace in this ever-changing season of motherhood.

Each moment I am having to re-train my thoughts to focus on the JOY of it all--not the sadness of my children growing up.

So, with that said, let's make this day count! Let's focus on the JOY around us! Even the moments that seem lack-luster are a training tool for us to fill our hearts and spirits with JOY that can only be found from the Lord.

Here's your fun Friday challenge:

Bring some JOY into someones life today! Be creative! Encourage someone, buy someone a coffee or a coke, show up at a friends house with homemade (or store bought!) cookies in hand, surprise your child with his or her favorite candy or treat, call your grandmother and tell her how much she inspires you, send a note to someone that needs a little extra TLC, leave a note on a friends car telling her how beautiful she is, hand write a note to your child's teacher telling he or she thank you for investing in YOUR child.....

Let's spread the JOY, girls!



Joy is for the taking! The Lord wants us to be filled with His Joy! When we serve those around us, we cannot help but to be filled with JOY!


I'm jumping out of my chair just thinking of all of YOU shining with His LOVE and His JOY today!

Go, spread the JOY, sweet friends! Someone is waiting for the blessing!


"You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy, at Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore." Psalm 16:11

no need for coffee when you've got JOY,

jill


May 24, 2012

Thursday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Job 26

Happy Thursday, SHINE girls! This week is flying by!

Okay, so I have to share something about how great our God is.

Ready?

I have been looking for some very important papers for the past 3 days. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal, but when you are looking for something that you need--it is very frustrating.

Oh, but girls, God showed up BIG yesterday. HUGE.

Yesterday, I prayed that the Lord would iron out all of these important, but tiny details that were involved in finding this paperwork. I am NOT good with small details. At all.

I don't do small details. They wear me down. Big time.

Are you familiar with the verse in Solomon 2:15 : "It's the little foxes that spoil the vine?"

Well, that is how things work sometimes. It's the tiniest details that can throw us way off and frustrate the heck out of us. They can wear us down faster than the big stuff sometimes.

So, I asked the Lord to meet me where I was yesterday. This was my prayer: "Lord, I really need your help in laying my hands on this paperwork. Yes, I can pay $25.00 for a copy of each document, but I would much rather find the documents here at my house and save that money! Show me, remind me, Lord, where I put these papers."


After a long, super long day, I come home and decide to check one last place for these documents.

The basement.

Lo and behold, I walk downstairs, turn on the light, and this is literally the first thing I see. A big, brown, dusty folder.

This folder has been with us since our wedding day. I would put all of our "stuff" in there so that it would be all in one place.

Well, guess what? The two documents that I needed were still tucked in there, neat as a pin.

Seriously, girls, I have not seen this folder in years. Years!

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." Matthew 7:7

So, what's my point in all of this?

Friends, talk to God today. Be specific! Tell Him your hearts desires.

Yes, He already knows them, but He wants to hear them from your sweet lips.

Go to Him. Sit on His big, strong lap. Pour your little heart out.

Girls, if He cares about 2 small pieces of paper that I thought were long gone--He cares about the tiny details in your precious life.


"Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows." Luke 12:7


True intimacy, friends. That is exactly what He wants.


trusting Him with all the details--big, and small,

jill


May 23, 2012

Wednesday SHINE...

Today's Reading: Job 25

Happy worship Wednesday, SHINE girls!

Today's post is inspired by my daughter's field trip to the Botanical Gardens yesterday. (God works in mysterious ways, friends.) ;-)

As we listened to the guide explain how the plants depend on each other and how they all serve a purpose in this world...I thought of US! She explained how all of the plants have a gift to give. They work together to fulfill each of their designed purposes.


God spoke to me right then and there on that trail:  We ALL serve a purpose! How exciting is that? We all have gifts to give the world!

As I looked around at all of the blooming flowers, trees, and bushes, it reminded me of how WE as women all work together to create one beautiful garden.

Growing up, I always wanted to be anyone but ME. I would imitate my sister, my friends, or anyone that was different than I was. Everyone seemed so much more special and sparkly.

I could never find any beauty or uniqueness in plain ole me.

However, very recently in my life I have found that God made ME for a purpose! Not to be like someone else, not to want to imitate their gift, but to bloom in the gifts that He gave me!

My new quote these days is this: "Bloom where you are planted!"

I was always wanting to bloom somewhere else, in another garden besides my own. It was such a waste of my energy. I was not created for that soil, but for the Jill Hill soil that I was rooted in.

How freeing it finally was when I started to dig deep in my very own soil, and get used to being just ME.

God actually had a purpose for me!  Really? Wow! How exciting!

Guess what? He has a special unique purpose for YOU as well! Believe it, it's true!

For so many years I would try to walk in another's shoes, and they never ever fit. I would wobble, stumble and just look pretty awkward. Thankfully, the Lord opened my eyes to HIS purpose for me!

Need a visual? My daughter walked into the kitchen yesterday with a pair of my very highest heels on. She looked like a newborn fawn. Her little legs were wobbly and shaking as she tried to look comfortable in those ridiculous shoes.

Presley wearing my shoes yesterday. :-)


That is exactly what happens to us when we get outside of our calling or our soil. It is not comfortable because it just does not fit.

I encourage you today to bloom where you are planted! Wherever you are!

Girls....wherever you are in this very season, you can bloom! You WILL bloom!

"If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities." Luke 16:10


Whatever you are doing today, do your very best! Show the Lord that whatever He gives you, you will do it with excellence!  Be faithful in the resources He has given you in this very moment. Soak up the beauty of the soil you are planted in.

You will bloom in your role!

We all make a difference! Every last one of us.

A beautiful garden is made up of many flowers, colors, sizes, and smells. They all work together to create God's masterpiece.

Dig deep in your soil today, girls. Get comfortable in your place. When you dig in and dig deep, you will bloom like never before! When you add the watering of God's word daily...oh my! Miracle Grow will have nothing on YOU! 


Bloom girls, bloom!


"But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1:2-3


tending my garden,

jill


May 22, 2012

Tuesday SHINE...

Today's Reading: Job 24

Happy Tuesday, SHINE girls!

It's crazy-fun around here this week. Lots of activities with this being the last week of school. I LOVE IT. Every single second of it.

So, with that said, I will keep this short and (hopefully) sweet.

Let's talk about Job for a minute. Okay, so his friends are droning on and on about how Job needs to just accept his punishment and quit whining.

Some friends, huh?

I mean, do they think the know the plans of the Lord? Do they think they can possibly understand why this is happening?

Sadly, they think they do.

As we know, because we are privy to the back story, they are wrong. God is not punishing Job at all. God sees the bigger picture, that is why He is allowing Job to go through this.

So, my question to Job's friends is this: Where are your families while you are going on and on about Job's sins and his need to just suck it up and deal with it? Huh? What are you neglecting back at home while you sit and throw stones at poor Job?

My Momma always says, "Jill, just tend to your own little red wagon. There is enough to be done there than trying to tend to everyone else's."

As I get older, this resonates with me even more.

Hear me on this: I am not saying that we should not help others in need or gently show others when they are caught up in sin. That is not at all what I am saying.

I am saying this: We have enough needs to tend to in our very own flock that we certainly don't need to be pointing our pretty little painted (or unpainted) fingernails at someone else's.

(I think I just stepped on my own little un-manicured fingers.)

What was being left undone at Job's friends homes? Were their wives missing them? Were their children needing their Daddy to come home? Surely the grass was in need of mowing?

Girls, when we stick our little noses where they don't belong, you can bet your new shiny pink lip gloss that we are neglecting our own little red wagon in some way or another.

Let's choose to not be like Job's neglectful friends. Let's tend to our own nest and let the example that we set be our testimony to those around us. Our wagons are in full view, girls. Make it count!

If you are like me--a visual of the "right thing" always works best anyway. Words go in one ear and out the other.

Show me the right way. Teach me by your ways. Not by pointing your pretty little finger at me. I will never learn that way. Ever.

I love you, SHINE sisters. I am so grateful for the many examples around me that set the Christ-like example.

Let's agree today to give our little red wagons some TLC, girls.

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you" 1 Thessalonians 4:11


Father, 


We ask that you hone our attention in on the needs of our precious flock. Let us not miss a detail that needs to be attended to.


Let us live out our example to others. Father, let our eyes be focused on YOU and YOUR will for our lives.


Amen.



sprucing up my little wagon,

jill




May 21, 2012

SHINE weekday give-away 5/21-5-27....

In honor of our LAST week of school...(for some of us anyway)....we are having a SHINE weekday give-away!

Hooray!

Okay, girls,  if you haven't won yet...this is YOUR chance!

I hope to one day be able to give away a prize to ALL of you! You all deserve some sparkle and some recognition!

Until that day, we can only have ONE winner. 

So, under this post, tell me what your FAVORITE thing about Summer is!

Make sure to post your name with the comment. If you are unable to post due to computer issues, email me at shinegirlsshine@gmail.com and I will post your comment for you!

I want everyone to be able to participate in this drawing!

The BEAUTIFUL (hello. let me reiterate that--BEAUTIFUL) prize is being donated by our very own SHINE sister, Kimberlee Blazina! 

Yay!

Okay, ready, set, go!

(I am not sure when I will have the drawing, so make sure to post SOON!)

Happy Monday, SHINE friends!



Monday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Job 23

Good Monday morning, SHINE girls!

Today is our LAST week of school here in Morgan County, Georgia! Hooray!

I have a little something to share. (surprised?)

Yesterday morning, we woke up like any other Sunday. I was prepared to start getting ready for church after breakfast.

Lem, instead, suggests that we go on a family hike.

Seriously? YES! I am doing the happy dance along with the kids.

I LOVE hiking with my family. Especially on a beautiful Sunday morning.

More than anything, I LOVE flying by the seat of my pants! I love spur of the moment plans! NOTHING makes me happier!

Lem then spends an hour on the computer looking for the "perfect" place to go. (he's not the fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants kind of guy. He's the planner in the family...can you tell?)

When he finally decides on the "perfect" spot, he sits us down and tells us all about it. (yawn)

I am half-way listening. I just know that I need to pack a cooler, some food, and throw my day-old hair up in a pony tail and hit the road.

The kids are just like me. They are just ready to scoot out the door. Who cares where we go...let's just go!

It was decided. We would bring our Bibles, have church in the car, and have lunch on the road. The trip would take 3 hours to get there.

I was fine with that.

When Lem finally finishes telling the details, I head to the kitchen and open the pantry. We only have 3 slices of bread for our sandwiches.

Shoot.

I tell Lem that we will have to pick up Subway or something since we are low on groceries.

The plans halt.

Lem says, "We don't need to eat lunch out. So, since we don't have bread, we are not going."

Do WHAT???

I was devastated.

(more like angry, if I'm being honest.)

After a long, very long war of words with my Lem, I go to the bathroom and start getting ready for church.

 I was not happy about it, though. (understatement of the year.)

I had scolded Lem (in front of the kids) for leading us on to think we were going hiking and then shooting our plans down.

He was (as usual) calm as a cucumber. He told us to all get ready for church. That was the Hill Family's new plan.

Uggh.

As I stomped to the bathroom, I could feel the Holy Spirit gripping my heart.

"You know better than to act like this, Jill. What are you teaching your kids? Go apologize to Lem. He is only trying to take care of his family. He knows what is important."

After a few minutes of hard-core conviction, I go to Lem. Through gritted teeth, I apologized. (he laughed at me for being so childish.) I gritted my teeth (again) as I smiled.

We went to church. We came home for lunch....and had a wonderful day.

Girls, why am I telling you this story?

To let you know that being obedient, holding my tongue, and apologizing for irrational behavior, is a daily struggle for me.

It does NOT come easy. However, it does get easier, the more that I do it. Some days are a bigger struggle than others. (like yesterday)

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23

I don't know why there just happened to be 3 pieces of bread in the pantry. If there would have been 4, the kids could have split one, and I could have gone without.

Maybe the Lord was protecting us? Maybe the Lord just wanted to see me act in obedience--even when it was going against my flesh and something that I really, really, really wanted to do?

I may never know.

I do know this: Hiking or not, we had an awesome day. Church was wonderful, I got a lot of laundry done, and a whole lot of time with my kids and husband at home.

Whatever you think your plans hold today, girls....be flexible. Be obedient. Listen to the Lord (or your hubby!) when He wants to change up your plans. He knows what is best for you.

There just may be someone on your new and unplanned  path that needs your ears to hear them. That needs your hands to help them. That needs your feet to walk with them. That needs your arms to hug them. That needs your heart to love them.

Trust the Lord with your day. Trust the Lord with your week. He knows best.


"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

Listen closely for Him. He's speaking to you. Yes, YOU!

unlacing my hiking boots,

jill

my hunky hiking man, and our off -spring. :-)
(on one of our hiking excursions)

May 20, 2012

Reading Plan for week of 5/21-5/25....

Weekly Reading Plan for the week of 5/21-5/25:
  • Monday 5/21: Job 23
  • Tuesday 5/22: Job 24
  • Wednesday 5/23: Job 25
  • Thursday 5/24: Job 26
  • Friday 5/25: Job 27
Happy reading, SHINE!


"If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples,
 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." John 8:31-32

Prayers and Praises for the week of May 20- May 26th





Ever wondered how God knows you? What He knows about you and what all
of that means to you and your day to day life?  Me, too!

How do we capture that relationship and make it flourish in our lives?
Well, a HUGE part of that is prayer.

Psalms 139 is an incredible example of the nitty grittiness of how He
knows us. He knows how we tick. Hello?!  The Lord "gets" you. Isn't
that incredible?!  The good stuff about us, the weird stuff, the not
so good stuff--He knows. The Lord knows us so very intricately. He
wants us to reciprocate, but how? Pray.

Take a look at this blue print of how He knows you, written by David:

"O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,"
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
I awake, and I am still with you.
Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
O men of blood, depart from me!
They speak against you with malicious intent;
your enemies take your name in vain!
Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
And do I not loathe those who rise up against you?
I hate them with complete hatred;
I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!" (Psalm 139:1-24 ESV)

Oh my goodness. That is personal, girls!!! Wow! We can't hide it, God
knows it all. So, we don't have to talk to our Creator and "Daddy" in
a coy way, come to Him like the intimate confidant He is. Pull Him
close. He's so ready.

So... Maybe you aren't comfortable praying to God in a constant
conversation with Him, you may begin by praying for others. The Lord
blesses prayer. He misses you. He wants to hear from us. Pray. Talk to
Him. Just do it.

Speaking of "Just Do It." The founder of Nike once said, "everyone is
an athlete." I love that. Kinda levels the playing field, huh?! That's
similar to Christianity and walking with God. Everyone is a prayer
warrior or prayer intercessor.  It doesn't take a special kind of
Christian or a special kind of walk with God. You just have to get
started. Pray.

We are praying for our fellow SHINE girls. (Each and every day.) We
hope you stop by and join along. Please post prayers and praises
below.

Be blessed and pray, it is the key we all need to Him, and... I love y'all,

Rebekah

May 18, 2012

Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Job 22

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls!

I hope you are feeling like brand new women today! Women that belong to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

When I was a little girl, I was so smitten with Princess Diana. I have vague memories of watching her marry Prince Charles, and not being able to take my eyes off of the tiny 9 inch. television.

Through the years after her marriage, I loved seeing her on television and in magazines. I was always so struck by her grace and poise. I wanted to be a Princess, just like her.

I even remember going to the grocery store with my Mother and pretending like I was a Princess that was yet to be discovered. I would sway down the aisles, chin up, elbows slightly bent, hands gently pressed to my sides, and a small confident smile on my lips. I was six.

Now that I am (much) older, I realize that I have always been a Princess. A daughter of the King.

Jesus Christ. 


And so are you.

Sadly, I haven't always acted like a Princess. (and I still forget my royal blood sometimes)

When you are royalty, you are very aware of your stature. There is security in your position. You take pride in your appearance because you are representing the royal line.

Girls, we are a part of the royal line!

We are ALL daughters of the King!  Why would we act in any way less than our royal position?

This week has been all about bondage and not being conformed to the world. Girls, we belong to the Kingdom that is not of this world.

We belong to the Kingdom of God.

We should look different. We should act different. Because we are different.

We were bought for a price. The greatest price that was ever paid for anyone--ever.

Jesus paid the price with His life.

If that's not a Prince Charming, girls, I don't know what is.

So, for your Friday Challenge:

Walk in your royal position today.  Hold your head high and represent your King and your Kingdom well.

To make it visual and to seal it into that little royal heart of yours----I want you to write this down on your mirror with a dry erase marker, on a piece of paper, in your bible, or anywhere that you will see it all day.

"I am the daughter of the King."


I wrote it on my guest bathroom mirror--for all to see.
Presley walked by when I was taking the picture--
I am so glad she did.
Her face says it all.


shining my crown,

jill

May 17, 2012

Thursday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Job 21

Good morning, SHINE sisters!

I feel like I have been in the blender this week. Literally. 

Anyone relate?

God has been mixing, chopping, and stirring this heart of mine. Sometimes, it is a very painful process to get to the right consistency that He wants for my heart to be.

But, oh girls, it is worth every bit of the pain. It truly is.

I say this with all honesty and sincerity. I don't want to be just a big, fat, messy pile of ingredients. I want to be a  beautiful mixture of God's plan for me. To get to that place though, I must be willing to be put in His blender at times.

To be mixed, pulsed, and pureed for the Glory of the Lord! All these big, ugly chunks in my heart and flesh need softened. A lot. A whole lot.

As I sat across the table from a dear friend of mine yesterday, the Lord clarified the purpose of this blending process.

With tears streaming down her face she said this: "I just wish that I had more friends that I could talk to about the Lord and that would give me wisdom and Truth. I need someone to speak Truth in my life and show me the right way. Someone who has been where I've been."

Girls!! I almost spit out my coffee. She is so right! That is exactly what we are missing!

She then proceeded to tell me that she was going to visit her Grandmother next week just so that she could sit in her presence and soak up some of her godly wisdom.

Next week?? Hello?! That is the soonest that she could find somewhere to turn for some good, honest, godly Truth?

Unfortunately, yes.

I looked her square in the eyes and told her that WE will be the generation that changes that. Our daughters and sons will not have to look high and low for an example to follow....WE will be their examples. We will speak God's Word and Truth to them. Daily.

I had chills up and down my spine as I spoke those words to her. I could feel the hand of God moving right then and there at that little booth in that little restaurant.

Let me encourage you for a minute, friends. If you have nowhere to turn, and not a soul in your life that speaks godly Truth and Wisdom to you, I want you to speak out loud today that YOU will change that. YOU will be the one that speaks Truth into someones life.  There will always be another girl that desperately needs to hear Truth. YOU will be the one that will tell it to her.

God is growing us into strong women! Girls, there is enough weakness in the world. The world (our children!) needs STRONG!

"The Joy of the Lord is my strength". Nehemiah 8:10

 He wants a generation of women that encourage each other, pray with each other, cry with each other, laugh with each other, and seek the Lord with each other.

Listen to me closely. If you do not have girlfriends in your life that you are walking this faith journey with, start praying today for some. Start by praying for just ONE godly friend. ONE person that you can go to when you need guidance.

I bet you my last tube of my favorite MAC lip gloss, that someone is WAITING to have a friend that encourages them too! Girls, somebody has to have the courage to take the first step!

Talk to someone today, get to know someone today, LISTEN to someones story today....they need YOU just as much as YOU need THEM.

“Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”  Galatians 6:2

We have a little running group/bible study group here in Madison. Guess what? It had to start at some point, right? It just didn't come into existence. Someone had to show up in the parking lot and start running!

Someone had to say: "Hey! Let's get together and exercise and fellowship in the morning!"

Someone had to say: "Hey! While we're at it, let's meet tonight and study God's Word!"

Girls, if nobody else around you has the boldness to take the first step...guess what...YOU can!

You will be amazed at how many others will be right behind you! They too have been waiting on someone to take that step!

Girls, I want my daughter to always be able to come to me for encouragement and direction. I never want her to have to call her great aunt, her best friends mother, or pastor's wife, for some godly wisdom.

I am not saying that it is a bad thing to call on those people..I am saying that WE need to be those people! WE need to be the great aunt with the godly wisdom! Let's don't leave it to someone else to speak Truth to our children, WE have that great opportunity. Praise Jesus!

I am blessed to be surrounded by godly women of all ages. The Lord knew that I would need them due to my severe weaknesses.

The great thing about these women is that they lead me straight to Christ.

They don't say: "You should do this because I say so."

They say: "God's Word says this ________."

Mostly, they lead by example. They really do not even have to open their mouths. Their life is the testimony.

My friends and I had a girls trip a couple of weekends ago. On our last night there, we stood in a circle, held hands and PRAYED with each other! (on a girls trip!!) This was a FIRST for all of us! I left in complete amazement of how we were ALL growing in Christ together!! That image will be forever seared in my heart.

Listen closely. When we reach down to pull someone else up, someone has our other arm pulling us up further! Can you visualize the beauty of that?

Now visualize this: As we are pulling and raising each other up, the chain leads straight up to the Throne of Jesus. His arms are outstretched. Welcoming us straight into His arms. The arms of Truth.

"If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble." Ecclesiastes 4:10

Oh, girls. We can do this.

Not only can we do this, but we WILL do this!

reaching out,

jill

"He gives strength to the weary,
and increases the power of the weak."
Isaiah 40:29


May 16, 2012

Wednesday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Job 20


Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE girls! Whew, what a week this is turning into here on SHINE. 


I love how the Holy Spirit leads us on these journeys together, arm in arm, seeking and learning His truth together. It sure makes the path a little (a lot) easier knowing that we are all together. 


I feel like we have reached a whole new level of friendship with each other here on SHINE. Seriously, I do. 


When the Lord quickens our hearts about sin, it is a good, good thing. It means He loves us! It means He wants only the very, very best for us! 


NONE of us have it all together. NONE. We are just all trying to walk the path, and clear the branches for those on this same path with us to get to know the Lord better.


If you are reading this blog--YOU are on this path with us! You are earnestly seeking to know Him deeper. Guess what? So, are we! Yay! :)


One of my most favorite things in this world, is an honest girlfriend. For real, it is. (thankfully, i am surrounded by many of them! even the kind that tell you that you have a big chunk of spinach in your teeth! oh yeah!)


Sometimes, though, her honesty can be painful. At times, I even get defensive and a little wall goes up. "Who is she to point out my faults??" Oh yeah, I  say that. (to myself, of course.)


However, when it is all said and done, I thank her for loving me enough....hear me again.....for loving me enough to gently encourage me in another direction. If she is showing me another path, it is only because she has been on the one that I am on. She knows that it leads nowhere. Period.


With that said, be blessed today by one of my honest girlfriends. Not only honest, but wise beyond her years.. I love just sitting in her presence and soaking up her wisdom. (she is probably laughing now--but it's true!)


I love you, SHINE sisters!  


Spiritual Eyes
by: Lisa Inlow




I want to first start off and say that I can be so bold and blunt in this blog entry because this is something I deal with.  I have not conquered the mind, though I will say I am in such a better place only for the reason of being so sick of acting/saying/watching/reading something that I KNEW was not best for me, feeling like junk afterward, asking the Father to forgive me as I KNEW He wanted more for me...then still having to deal with the image or words, that are stuck in my mind.

Here's the deal.  We need to have our spiritual eyes on, AT ALL TIMES!  We need to make decisions based on what our Savior thinks.  Is this going to make us stronger in our faith, does this have eternal value...

Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Proverbs 23:19 My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course.

I picture the Holy Spirit living behind my chest wall, sitting right smack dab on my heart.  Feel your heart right now, come on, He's right there, seeing, hearing, reading your thoughts...

What are we putting into our hearts and minds?

I have seen movies before that I knew I did not need to see.  I am a visual person, and know this is one of my numerous weak places.  I still have images in my mind from when I was a very little girl...they are stuck.  A few of them I wish were not.

Ephesians 4:29 Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.

1 Timothy 5:13 Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.


What about our conversation?  Oh y'all I am horrified at the zillions of conversations I've left and felt so guilty because if someone overheard what I was saying, they would not have thought I followed Jesus Christ.  

Gossip too.  Oh man did I love to gossip.  All in a futile effort to fit in with whomever I was gossiping with.  I mean, hello, who doesn't know that gossip is so wrong?  But we keep doing it...

I want to stop here and say, you can stop gossiping.  About 3+ years ago I begged God to forgive me for this nasty habit and promised Him I would repent and start down a new path.  He forgives!!!

Now, do I still stumble, unfortunately.  And when I do, the Spirit has pushed me to call or email the one I was gossiping with and ask them to forgive me.  Holy cow, that's brutal!!  Hence the reason I fight like heck to not gossip!

Ladies, we must stop gossiping!  It's an awful thing to do.

Here's the deal.  As daughters of Jesus Christ, we have to stop watching, reading, talking...like the world.  For real, we need to be the light in this dark, dark world.  We need to keep our minds pure of filth.  We need to speak kindly, uplifting one another, encouraging one another in our Walk with our Savior.  Fill our hearts and minds with Truth, goodness.  Things that are clean and wholesome...holy.

1 Peter 5:8  Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.


The enemy is crouched down low, sneaking around, waiting so patiently for us to crack the window of our heart letting in just a little something.  Then a seed is planted and over time, it can grow into a big, suffocating weed.

Isn't it time?  To be done with mediocre?  To be done being enticed by the things of this world?  To be done with guilt over what we allowed to get in our minds and heart?  To be done with regret over a conversation?

Oh SHINE sisters!  Rejoice in your Savior who forgives!  Rejoice in the Light of walking with Him!  Rejoice in the peace of living, DAILY, hand in hand with the One who died for you because of His immense and deep love for you.

Rejoice in that we are His lighthouses, shining so bright as we walk in Truth!  Drawing others in, showing them there is true Hope!!

Father today we are done with tip-toeing in the darkness.  We are so done with putting things in our hearts and minds that do not, in anyway, please You.  We are daughters of the King!  We are loved, unconditionally, by the Creator!  We commit today, to SHINE so brightly for You!  We love you Father and we are so thankful for Your sweet love for us.  In Jesus' Name.