May 15, 2015

Two are better than one...

When my children were born, I began a journal for them. I would write them letters each time I had the chance to sit down. Which was very rare.

I still write in these journals when I have time. Which, again, is very rare.

Yesterday, I witnessed such love and friendship among my circle of friends. I was literally moved to tears over an act of love that was done for our precious friend, Erin. Erin's husband Chuck was in a terrible accident at work two weeks ago. Truly, it is a miracle he is alive.

Chuck will be coming home from the hospital this weekend. Finally.

On a side note, we are trying to raise 10,000 to help them in their time of need. If you feel led to donate any amount, please visit their Go Fund Me link. Thank you so much.

Erin's friends decided that we all needed to make her home "ready" for when they arrive. It was a beautiful sight to see my friends cleaning, scrubbing, folding clothes, vacuuming, and wiping down counter tops. A sight I will NEVER forget.

Here we are...I promise I don't usually wear a dress when I clean. Although, I am a dead ringer for June Cleaver in this picture.



When I pulled out of the drive way, I broke down in tears. I was literally broken by the love that took place in that house.

I immediately thanked the Lord for friends like this. I then prayed that my children would be surrounded by these kinds of friends.

Here is a letter that I wrote to my daughter Presley telling her the importance of friendship. I am definitely not an expert on the subject, but I have definitely learned some things along the way.
Words will never be able to properly convey my heart, but here goes.

Dear Presley,

Today I witnessed a beautiful sight. I wish so much you could have been with me. I would have loved for you to witness such a gift of love. You surely would have never forgotten this day. I know that I never will.

Here is my take away from today:

Choose your friendships wisely.

Pray for God to guide you to the right friends.

Surround yourself with godly girlfriends.

Be a good friend.

Show up for your friends. [Even when you don't know what to say, show up anyway.]

Make time for friendships. [you will need them one day.]

Be a loyal friend. If you would not say something to your friend's face, then do not say it behind her back. This is HUGE. People will catch on quickly if you are always tearing down someone else.

Be the kind of friend that you want in return. [enough said]

Be an encourager of your friends. Always. No matter what.

Be an encourager of your friends marriage. NEVER dog your friend's spouse. Ever. Support your friends marriage every chance you get. Be very leery of a friend who sets you against your spouse. Dangerous ground. Very dangerous ground.

Be a listener. Let me repeat: Be a listener. Don't hog the conversation with all of your stuff. Take time to hear your friend. You just may learn something by listening.

Pray for your friends. Daily. Cover them in prayer. Thank God for them and pray blessings upon them and their family.

Don't take everything personal. Really, it's not all about you. Be a big girl. Try not to be so sensitive to every little thing in your friendships. It's annoying to be so sensitive that people have to walk on eggs shells around you.

Encourage your friends to be friends with each other. This is the BEST thing ever. When the people you love meet other people you love, it just makes life FUN!!!

Love your friend's children. Take the time to get to know them. Talk to them. Look them in the eyes. The friends that I am the closest to, LOVE my children. This is so HUGE. When friends love on your kids, it makes for an even sweeter friendship.

Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. EVERY single time. This will give your heart so much peace. So MUCH PEACE. Never assume the worst. Ever. Give everyone in your life mercy. Endless mercy. Because you will want mercy as well.

Nobody is perfect. Not even you. Don't expect your friends to be perfect. They will fail you in this. And you will fail them. Be gracious and make it a habit to overlook their faults on a very regular basis. You will want them to overlook yours.

Support your friends. Be their biggest fan. Toot their horn for them. Tell the world of their gifts and talents. Everyone needs a friend like this. Even if you think they don't need another fan...they DO! Be their biggest cheerleader.

Do not ever be jealous of your friends having other friends. Encourage them in other friendships. Be glad for them. Nobody likes a jealous friend.

Jealousy will enter in at some point with certain friends. FIGHT against it with prayer. Jealousy will destroy relationships in one fail swoop. Do not let your friendships be taken down by this ugly green-eyed monster. Pray against a jealous heart on a daily basis.

When your friends find success, be happy for them! Be truly happy for them! Let them know how happy you are---and mean it!

Call your friends back. Text your friends back. Even if it is just a short little message. Let them know they are important. It's rude and tactless to never respond.  Try to be diligent with this. [I am still working on this too!]

Know your friends' birthdays. Call them or send them a card. Celebrate them! Don't you love to be celebrated?

If you are caught in the middle of a conversation where another friend is being torn apart, be brave. Speak up and take up for your friend. Silence is not always golden. You can still be kind to the friends that are tearing to pieces the other friend. Just let them know you do not want to be a part of this kind of conversation. Your friends will appreciate your bravery. And they will probably secretly hope to have your courage one day. They will also know and appreciate that you would take up for them as well.

Be leery of friends who always have a "secret" to share about someone else. They will be sharing your secrets too. Be careful. The bible tells us not to "throw our pearls to pigs." Take this to heart. Along with this, guard a friend who has entrusted a secret to you with your life. Throw away the key.

Remember, friendships can go through seasons. Don't get discouraged if you find yourself a little distant or out of sync with certain friends. Don't focus on the distance. Focus on the ones you have right in front of you in that season. Seasons come and go. Enjoy each friend in each season.

Don't forget to LAUGH with your friends! Even in the sad times, find the JOY! God's Word says that a cheerful heart is the best medicine. IT IS TRUE.

Surround yourself with different ages of friends. Older ones, younger ones, and ones that are the same age. You will learn from ALL OF THEM. I promise you this!

Have at least one or two friends that are mentors to you. Friends that you can learn things from in being a wife and in motherhood. Do not be intimidated by these kind of friends. Soak up every ounce of their wisdom on a regular basis. I cannot stress to you how important this is! Highlight this one!


Oh, Presley. I am praying for your friendships. What a gift it will be to my heart to see you surrounded by godly girlfriends as you grow up. You can count on me to daily encourage you in this area. I will daily pray for you to be that kind of friend as well.

I love you. So much.

your biggest fan,


Mommy
 
 
Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12



May 14, 2015

Don't Quit.....

The Lord always speaks to me through the life of my kids. Always.

Since I began writing on this blog, I have almost daily wanted to shut it down and quit writing. As much as I love writing, at times it feels too vulnerable. Too exposed. Too much.

 Sometimes I just want to be a different kind of girl. A girl that has different gifts and different talents other than the ones God has given me.

I want to be like my friend who can make the best cinnamon rolls in town. Or like my friend who has the gift of hospitality. Or like my friend who sings on stage and sounds like an angel. Or like my friend who has a passion for healthy eating and exercising. Or like my friend who is a teacher at our local school and is loved by all of her students. Or like my sister who is crazy talented with hair and makeup. Or like my mom who can make anyone laugh in five seconds flat.

Most of my life I have questioned my talents. Often wondering if I had any.

However, very recently something happened with one of my kids. Something God used to speak so pointedly to my heart.

My daughter was singing in the car. I told her how beautiful her voice was. She stopped and said, "I have a horrible voice. Nobody ever says I sing pretty when I sing at recess."

I replied back to her, "I think you sing beautiful, sweet girl. You make my heart so happy every time I hear you sing."

She replied back, "I am just never going to sing again. Nobody listens anyway."

As I envisioned my struggle with wanting to keep writing, I thought about her words.

My daughter has a gift. A gift of a sweet singing voice. She blesses me each time she sings. God has given her the ability to hear music and sing in tune. Why would she ever think that of not using her gift?

God gives us gifts to ultimately glorify Him.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. Romans 12:6

Our gifts are not about the people that do not celebrate our gifts, it is about the Giver of the Gift.

It all goes back to Him.

When we are waiting for the world to give its approval, our gifts will be suffocated and smoldered. Or even worse, never used.

God is showing me that when I write, it is not about how many people read it or approve. My writing is for Him. Whatever He does with it, us up to Him.

We may never, ever know what He does with our gifts. Although, I do believe He gives us glimpses occasionally.

However, we deprive ourselves and others when we choose to not use our gifts and talents. Just like with my daughter's singing, if she doesn't sing, I will miss out on the opportunity to hear her sweet voice.

If my mom decided to stop being funny, I would miss being able to belly laugh with her! If my friend decided to stop making cinnamon rolls, I would miss out on the best cinnamon rolls my tongue ever tasted!

Maybe you feel your gift is not special or important. Maybe, like me, you wish you had someone else's gift.

I encourage you to embrace what God has given you. If you have any doubt about your gift, talk to God about it. He will make clear your path. Trust Him to lead you.

Ask a close friend, or your husband. They will tell you what your gifts are. Sometimes it's something that comes so natural to us we don't even notice it.

I pray God will surround you with encouraging friends that cheer you on as you use and discover your gifts.  Pray for these kinds of friends. They will spur you on when you want to quit. Trust me on this one.

Let's be THOSE kind of friends.  Let's encourage each other instead of comparing ourselves to each other. Let's take the time to notice when a friend needs a little lift. It could make a world of difference in their life.

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds"Hebrews 10:24

So, I guess I will keep writing. I know there will be days when I want to close up shop. I will try my best to remember that writing is not about me, it is about Him. The Giver.


still writing,


jill


May 12, 2015

Pray for him....

The destruction of the family begins with the destruction of the marriage. My husband used to be an afterthought in my prayer life. Sad, but true. My kids were the focal point of all of my prayers.

One sweet day, the Lord reminded me that if my marriage wasn't pointing towards Him, our lives would start slowly drifting apart. Our children need our marriage to be healthy and whole. The best thing I can ever to for my children is to pray for their daddy.

The stability or instability of our marriage trickles down into their precious lives. If I'm not praying for my husband, I am slowly drifting from him. My attitude can also be pretty crappy unless I stay in constant prayer on his behalf. Praying for my husband produces a deeper love and level of intimacy. It draws my heart closer to my husband, regardless of how I "feel" about him at any given moment.

God's word tells us that we became "one flesh" when we said our vows. So, in order for both of us to stay in tact, my prayers for him are vital. Here are a few prayers I like to pray from scripture over him:

Lord, capture all of my husband's thoughts to the obedience of Christ. (2 Cor 2:5)

Fill my husband's thoughts so he will not be filled with worry. (Col 3:2)

Flood my husband's heart with You, so that he can see the future You have in store for us. (Eph 1:17-18)

Open my husband's heart to hear Your voice as You tell him which way to go each day. (Deut 4:36)

May my husband's life be refreshing to others (2 Cor 2:15)

Set a watch over my husband's mouth, and keep the door of his lips. (Psalm 141:3)

Bring health to his body and nourishment to his bones. (Proverbs 3:7-8)

Create in my husband a clean heart filled with right desires. (Psalm 51:10)

Lord, bless my the work of my husband's hands. (Proverbs 22:9)

I encourage you not to lose heart. Keep praying, and watching to see what God does with your prayers. Let your prayers for your husband be the first words uttered from your mouth each day.

 "Do not get weary in prayer, but keep praying, being watchful and thankful." (Col 3:2)