Feb 19, 2018

Undivided....

Sometimes I just have to sit down and get it out. Like now.

As I look out this window of mine, I see heavy clouds. Looming.

The scene is a perfect description of how my heart has been feeling lately. Heavy,

I had a conversation today with my oldest child recently.

He said this, "Mom, it is so hard to be a Christian in this day and age. Almost impossible."

My heart sank to the floor. I wasn't sure where he was going.

Then, he said, "I mean, I believe every word of the Bible and I believe in Jesus. I am not questioning my faith. But, it seems that everyone else thinks Christians are wrong, or dumb. or judgmental. It is just hard because you sometimes feel like you are the only one standing for Christ."

This conversation led to a long talk. A long, and hard talk about faith.

I wasn't really prepared, or at least didn't feel prepared.

However, I prayed throughout the conversation that Jesus would speak through me. Not my words, but His words.

After this conversation, I felt a conviction. A strong one.

I need to be living out faith in front of my children every moment of the day. I have this great opportunity to walk the walk and not just talk the spiritual talk.

Reading my bible every day is not enough. I must apply what I read.

There is a generation behind us, nipping at our heels. They need Truth. Real, sink your teeth into, TRUTH. 

Our kids need women and men in their lives that live out what they preach. Not just talk.

I read a while back that the things we teach our kids are "caught" not taught.

Wow. Let that sink in.

What will my kids catch?

These kids need us to be on our knees praying over them. The enemy will stop at nothing to saturate them with lies. [John 8:44]

In my laundry room I have a CD player. I have the Bible on CD that plays on repeat 24/7. In fact, I hear it now.

I don't do that so that I can look like a super Christian...

I play that CD because I know the enemy will use every means possible to speak lies to my kids.

Because the word of God is "living and active and sharper than a double edge sword", I want it circulating throughout my house. [Hebrews 4:12]

Our kids will not know Truth unless they hear it.

"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." Romans 10:17. 

The enemy is out to divide. To divide families. Children. Churches.

When our loyalties are to things other than Jesus and His Word, we become divided.

We fall for the lies of great sounding people and great sounding messages.

For there will be a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching. Instead, following their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves, because they have an insatiable curiosity to hear new things. 2 Timothy 4:3

Our only devotion should be to Jesus Christ. An undivided devotion to Jesus. 

In our hearts. In our words. In our actions. 

Our primary devotion should not be to a preacher. A teacher. Or anyone other than Jesus. 

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

We must make sure that our kids are being surrounded by believers who will speak truth. Not just pretty sounding words. Building their confidence is not the same as building their faith. 

Taking our children to church is so important. Surrounding them with bible teaching and other believers is important. 

However, in my opinion, one of the most important things we can do for our children is to teach them the gospel of Jesus day in and day out. The other 6 days of the week. 

Not through perfection, Jesus has that covered. But by a mind and heart set on Christ. 

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:2

We will make many mistakes! Oh, so many. But the words and the power of Jesus and His Word are so much bigger than our mistakes! 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us Ephesians 3:20

So, back to my child that said being a Christian is hard. 

He is right. 

But, thank goodness. Jesus did all the work. He died so that we could LIVE. 

All we have to do is believe. [John 3:16]

He will do the rest. 

Friend, the road will be narrow. Oh so narrow at times. You will wonder, "am I the only one on this road?'

13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

But, you are not alone. 

Jesus is with you. Every step of the way.


on my knees,


jill
















Feb 14, 2018

Hey, you....

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Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. Isaiah 43:4

Hey, you. Yes, you.

So, today is Valentine's Day.

Maybe you love this day, maybe you hate it. Either way, the calendar says it is February 14th.

I have bad memories of all of the girls with boyfriends  in middle school getting flowers and candy and balloons delivered to the front office from their [ahem] loves.  [eye roll]

I never got a delivery.

Really, I am not bitter.

Well, maybe just a teeny weeny bit.

Looking back over my life, I realized something a few years back.

My entire life, I have had the greatest Love of my life by my side. At all times.

He was with me when I was knitted together in my mother's womb. [Psalm 193:13]

He was with me when God inserted the DNA make-up in these cells of mine. [Psalm 119:73]

He was with me when my heart started to beat inside my mother's womb.

He was with me when my little fingers and toes began to form. [Isaiah 44:24]

He was in the hospital room with me when I was born on that unseasonably warm January day in Decatur. GA.

He was with me when I cried in my crib at night. [Psalm 116:1]

He was with me when I took my first steps.

He was with me when I fell hard on the pavement after holding a rope to the back of my sister's bike as I roller skated. [dumb] [Psalm 91:15]

He was with me when I got my first black eye and 14 stitches. [Psalm 50:15]

He was with me when I got my second black eye and 7 stitches. [SAME eye]

He was with me when I went on my first date.

He was with me when my heart was first broken by a boy. [Psalm 34:18]

He was with me when I met the cutest boy I had ever laid eyes on.

He was with me when I walked down that blue carpeted Baptist Church aisle and said "I do" to that cute boy. [1 Chronicles 17:2]

He was with me when we had our first child....a dark haired baby boy.

He was with me when I had my first panic attack on 9/11/2001.[Jeremiah 1:8]

He was with me when I had countless more after that day.

He was with me when I thought surely I was going crazy and I would be put in a straight jacket due to fear and panic. [Isaiah 41:10]

He was with me when my baby girl was born with the most beautiful head of blonde hair.

He was with me when I tucked those babies in at night and cried outside of their door imagining the day they would be grown and gone. [Psalm 56:8]

He was with me when I fought on my knees in prayer over their lives day after day when the enemy would fill their little hearts with lies about who they are. [Psalm 91:14-15]

He was with me when I finally opened my bible in 2012 and started to read His Story...the Bible. [Philippians 4:9]

He was with me when my son drove off to school by himself for the first time after he turned 16. [John 14:27]

He was with me when I melted on the floor into a heap watching his tail lights leave--without me in the car with him. [Zephaniah 3:17]

He was with me yesterday when I felt the same old familiar fear creeping into my heart....and trying its best to suffocate me. [Philippians 4:16]


I don't know your story...

But, He does.

He has never left you. [Matthew 8:20]

And, He never will.

You can run all you want...

He still won't leave.

You can get mad at him and throw ugly words of bitterness at Him...

He still won't leave.

You can deny Him again and again because of your pain and your hurts...

He still won't leave.

No one on this Earth knows you like Jesus.

No one on this Earth loves you like Jesus.

He is a Gentleman.

He won't force Himself into your heart....what kind of love would that be anyway?

He will wait for you.

He will come as soon as you call.

There is no pretending with Him.

He knows you upside down and inside out.

He knows your thoughts before they form.

He knows your words before you utter a sound.

If you are looking for true Love...

Look no more.

Jesus is His Name.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20





Feb 9, 2018

Lonely-hood....

Psalm 40:1-3 I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.

Early this morning, too early for humans to be awake, I came across the scripture above. I sat there and read it again and again.

My weary eyes filled with hot tears.

I know what David speaks of when he wrote this Psalm. I know the wait. I know the cries.

I also know the feeling of being lifted up out of a dark pit, out of pure slime and mud.

I know the feeling of being placed back on firm soil. So firm, that although my feet were still shaking, the ground would not give way.

I know the new song He puts in our mouths.

Oh, David. Your words washed over me like a healing balm this morning.

This reminder....that He will lift us up and out of that dark pit.

He will rescue us.

He will hear us.

Overwhelmed with gratitude of His faithfulness this morning, I thanked Him over and over for this verse. For the reminder that firm ground is coming. A new song is awaiting for me to sing.

The picture image of this verse saturates my mind. I see someone being lifted out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Is there darkness around you?

Do you feel alone?

I think one of the loneliest places to be at times is motherhood.

So often, I feel like I have to carry a burden on my shoulders. I have to bear the load alone. Whether it being an issue with one of my children, or a regret, or just the overwhelming feeling that I am getting it all wrong.

Even if my husband  bears the burden as well, I tend to take it right back on my much smaller shoulders and carry it like a large heavy medal that nobody wants to win.

The enemy whispers in my ears, "keep this struggle hidden. you will be judged, condemned, mocked if you share the burden with others. you cannot trust anyone to understand or help. just keep carrying this burden and deal with it."

Last year my daughter was struggling. She finally, after weeks of trying to manage the situation herself, came to be and spilled out her heart.

I could not believe she had not come to me earlier.

But, sadly I knew why....because I do the same at times.

I keep a struggle hidden. Hidden in the darkness of my mind and heart. Where shadows lurk and reason goes out the window.

An hour after my daughter spilled out her heart, she came to me and said, "I feel lighter. I am so glad I talked this out with you."

You see, the enemy wants us to bury our burdens, and carry them alone. He wants to isolate us from others and torment us into a place of hidden misery. A place of shame and blame. He is a liar.

He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

However, when we bring our burden to the light....healing begins.

When we share our story with another and ask for prayer, the burden suddenly is divided in half. We have someone else to pray for us, to encourage us, to love us.

Don't believe the lie of isolation the enemy wants you to believe.

Jesus was never isolated. He surrounded Himself with men to help Him, to go with Him, to teach with Him, to heal with Him.

He could have done it all alone. Every bit of it.

But, He chose not to.

He chose to use people to be with. To talk to. To pray with. To share with. To grieve with. To laugh with.

We were meant for community. We were meant to bear each other's burdens.

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Motherhood doesn't have to be lonely and isolated.

We need other people. We need another's ears to hear us, we need another's hands to help us at times., we need another prayer on our behalf.

Whether you are married, single, divorced, widowed....surround yourself with women you trust. Women that you know will pray for you, encourage you, and not throw stones at you.

Pray for God to bring these women into your life.

And...be that kind of friend to someone. Be willing to stop, listen, and pray with someone.

God is always ready to deliver us, but we must be willing to ask for help.

God uses people. He just does. All throughout the bible...God uses people to fulfill His plan.

Lighten your load today. Reach out. Share your heart. Take the first step to healing.

Your new song is waiting.


lightening my load,



jill













Feb 7, 2018

Word to the Momma's...

Nehemiah 6:3 "I am doing a great work and cannot come down."

My son will be a senior next year. I know. I cannot believe it either.

When you begin to see the end of the road so to speak, you tend to view days differently. Not as endless mounds of mothering, teaching, cleaning, cooking, disciplining, training....like it was in the beginning of your mothering years...

But, of the stuff that really matters. Like, have I left them with something to sink their teeth into as adults?

You question if you have done enough, or are doing enough.

You look at young mothers with little babies and think, "Did I cherish those moments?"

The enemy can really, really, really whisper words of regret and condemnation if we are not careful.

As I was folding my son's laundry this afternoon, I thought...should I let him do this today? Maybe I should just leave a big pile on his bed for him to put up when he gets home.

However, I heard a whisper in my heart, "you get to do this, Jill."

I am all about responsibility. 100 percent.

But, I also want my children to be on the receiving end of grace. Of service. Of devotion.

I want to model this for them. Live it out for them.

As a little girl my only dream was to be a wife and a mother. I get to live out daily this dream.

I get to be their momma.

I get to be Lem's wife.

It is my greatest honor.

And, my greatest work.

Life can pull and tug at my heart to drag me away from this work. Surely the world desires my talents. My gifts. It needs them.

Isn't that what we often believe as mothers?

We feel this tug to do more. To be more. To strive more. To be noticed more. To be applauded. To be recognized.

It is attractive to us.

But, it's a distraction from our greatest work.

Our families.

There is no greater work to be done then that of raising our children and being our husband's helper. We were made for this.

But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.
23 The man said,
“This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man.
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:20-24
 
I have bought the lie many times that the world needs me. It needs my writing. My teaching. My whatever....
 
Surely, I can do all of these things and be available for my family as well.
 
Wrong.
 
Something will suffer.
 
More than likely it will be our families.
 
The season of parenting kids under our roofs is very short...trust me on this one.
 
I desire with all of my heart to pour every ounce of love, devotion, joy, teaching, discipling...into these children of mine.
 
I cannot guarantee a good outcome, but I will choose to trust God with His plans for them.
 
As mothers, we dig the ditches, God fills them.
 
But, we must dig the ditch.
 
We have to be careful not to dig ditches that are not in our soil in this season. We must dig the ditches we are standing in and on at this moment with our families.
 
God will use our efforts, our tireless days, our long nights....
 
He will produce fruit in some how and in some way.
 
But, we must stay in the garden. Even a small step away and we risk the enemy swooping in.
 
As mothers, we must be diligent. Devoted. Determined.
 
We get to do this...
 
 
folding more laundry,
 
jill
 
 
 
 
 
 





Feb 2, 2018

Me too.....

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One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

I had this grand idea of posting more in 2018. Well, it is February 2nd, and I have one post (well, now two) under my belt. Yay me.

To be honest, I just haven't felt like writing. At all.

I have a lot to say, but really just haven't felt like saying it.

It takes effort, time, and coherent thoughts (well, sometimes)  to string a post together.

Every day I will sit and look at my computer screen and then just turn it off. Blank.

No motivation. None.

So, here I am today. The sun is out and so am I. Stepping out here in the blogger world praying to add a little sunshine to someone's life.

I told my friends recently, I feel like I am in a spiritual slump. Nothing major, just a little slump.

I don't feel disconnected from the Lord, I just feel like He has been quieter than normal.

Yesterday, I was out for a walk, lamenting to the Lord, and I requested this:  Lord, please reveal yourself to me. Right now. I believe you are here. In fact, I know you are here, but I miss Your Voice. I miss You."

Five seconds after breathing out that prayer, a big blue bird swoops down in front of me. I gasped.

Okay, You are here, Lord.

Tears streaming down my face, I whisper to Him that I have missed Him.

He hasn't gone anywhere, but the quietness is deafening at times.

In my earlier walk with the Lord, I would hear Him all the time. I would see Him in everything. My spiritual eyes were always on.

But, lately, I just do not feel that same fire.

Can you relate?

Then, I remember the story of Elijah. Remember him?

Let me remind you..

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:11-13

God reminded me in that moment that I am always looking for Him in the big things. In the miraculous. In the giant, take your breath away moments...

When, all along, He is there in the mundane moments, the small moments. the gentle breeze...

We can't get used to the mountain top experiences with Jesus because the valleys are coming too. The valleys are where our steadfast faith kicks in.

The valleys are where He carries us yet we don't know He is even near.

The valleys are where the seeds are planted deep and dark underneath the soil of our faith to be sprouted when the season is ripe.

These seasons can be hard. Cold. Dark,

Yet, we have this Hope...

Morning follows the night.

The sun rise will always come...but we have to stay faithful in the sunsets.

If you are in a valley...

Stay faithful.

Stay in His Word.

Stay prayerful.

Stay connected with other believers.

Stay hopeful.

Stay steadfast.

Or you will miss the gentle whisper of His Voice....

Elijah may have missed His Voice if he had not been expecting and listening.

Oh, Friend.

I wish we were face to face so that I could hear your story. Know you more. And hold your precious hand as you walk through this valley....

I would shake my head in agreement...me too.

You are not alone.

God is with you even when you don't feel Him.

He is faithful and true.

Lean into Him in the valley.

He is closer than you know.


leaning in,

jill