Apr 30, 2012

Monday SHINE....

Weekly reading plan for 4/30-5/4:

Monday 4/30: Job 8
Tuesday 5/1: Job 9
Wednesday 5/2: Job 10
Thursday 5/3: Job 11
Friday 5/4: Job 12

Happy Monday, SHINE!! How was your weekend?

Mine was FABULOUS!

I have to brag on a few girls really quick. Yesterday, I hosted a SHINE prayer warrior tea party at my house.

We have a prayer team here on SHINE that prays daily for all of YOU!

How cool is that?

Girls, these ladies are the real deal. They lift you up to the Father, daily. They may not always respond to your requests on the blog, but they pray! Oh yes they do!

So, please continue to share your requests with us. We are honored to lift our SHINE sisters to the Father.

Speaking of prayer...I want to pray over your week before this post ends.

Dear Father,

We love You! We adore You! You are the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Blessed be Your name!

Lord, forgive us of our sins as we come to Your throne today. We have so many sins, yet you forgive every last one of them. It's almost too much to fathom.

Thank you for loving us--despite our fleshly ways. We have the Holy Spirit inside of us to give us strength and power to overcome our flesh. Thank you for this Gift!

We submit our calendars, our schedules, our every minute to You, Father. Lead us today and every day this week. Show us Your plan for us.

Let us not be too "busy" to hear from You. Wean and quiet our souls to be able to hear Your voice. The Voice of Truth.

Protect our families and our bodies from harm and evil. Anoint us with Your covering, Lord. Let us be Your hands and feet to all around us!

In the Precious Name of Jesus we agree in prayer,


Happy reading girls,


Apr 29, 2012

Prayers and Praises for the week of 4/30-5/4....

Please put your prayers and praises here this week. We are honored to receive them and lift them to the Father daily.

thank you for the picture, Rebekah Vepraskas!

"Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful." Colossians 4:2

Apr 28, 2012

Saturday SHINE....

Happy Saturday, SHINE friends! As always, we do not have weekend reading. You can use this time to catch up on your reading and the blog! :)

I have an awesome testimony for you today! If you are in need of some Hope, inspiration, and motivation....today is YOUR day!

Mandy is a beautiful, amazing woman who chooses JOY in all circumstances! 

So, grab your coffee or hot tea and spend a little time getting to know Mandy Young. You will be forever changed. Oh, and do me a HUGE favor? After reading (and being inspired), please find Mandy on FB and Twitter and show her some SHINE girl love! You can also visit her website! Yes, she has her on website! Information for all of that is included under her picture below her story.

What happened to your leg?
by Mandy Young

"What happened to your leg?" is a question I’m asked weekly, if not daily. I became an amputee two weeks before my 9th birthday and even after 21 years of being asked this question, it’s still a hard one for me to answer. Not because I’m struggling with what happened, but because the questioner wants a short answer like cancer, a car wreck or I was just born that way. But my story is so much more than just me losing my leg.

I was born a healthy baby, with two arms, two legs, ten fingers and ten toes. But soon after that is when my life became about doctors, hospitals and illness. By the age of 4 I had already battled spinal meningitis three times, a stroke, seizures, scarlet fever, tubes put in my ears 11 times, had my mastoid bone removed, had an abscess the size of a softball in the lymph nodes of my stomach and that’s just to name a few. My body continued to develop these horrible, life threatening infections and no one could figure out why . We traveled the country looking for a doctor or hospital, but we kept being turned away. We were told time and time again that my body was further advanced than medicine.

A couple of years went by and the infections seemed to be coming less and it started to appear that I was somewhat healthy. But, two weeks before my 9th birthday I found myself back in the hospital fighting for my life once again. Doctors told my parents that I had two massive and rare infections (gas gangrene and clostridium septicemia) that were spreading throughout my body. This is when my parents were forced to make a decision. They could either let me die or doctors could try to amputate the leg but still only giving me less than a 3% chance to live. This was the 9th time that my parents had been told I wouldn’t live through the next hour. For my parents, there was no decision, surgeon’s amputated my left leg and hip in an effort to try to stop the spreading infection. After two very intense weeks of ICU I finally woke up out of my coma. I had survived!

During my 2 months of being hospitalized, our search for finding a doctor became our top priority. There had to be someone, somewhere willing to try to figure out why I continued to get these life threatening infections. Finally, a doctor at the hospital told us about a research hospital in Bethesda, MD called the National Institutes of Health. The NIH’s goal is to acquire new knowledge to help prevent, detect, diagnose and treat disease and disability from the rarest genetic disorders to the common cold; according to Wikipedia. So of course this sounded like our dreams were coming true, a hospital that would try to help me. But there was a problem, they had never really studied undefined diseases before, but at their request, we sent my information. After what seemed like an eternity a Dr. John Gallin decided he would take a chance on my rare case. My family traveled back and fourth to Maryland for 14 years to see Dr. Gallin and his team.

During those years I underwent hundreds of medical tests. Things like having my body pumped with toxins to see how my system would react. Then there was the blister study where my forearm was hooked to a machine that would form blisters, then the skin covering the blister was cut to expose raw skin. Then on top of each blister, virus cells were injected to see how my body would react. Those are just two of my favorites (if you can have favorites) and that doesn’t even include the gallons of research blood that I have had drawn. Over the span of that 14 years it didn’t seem like we were getting any closer to a diagnosis; until one day the phone rang. It was Dr. Gallin and he said, "we know the basis of Amanda’s problem". My family then traveled to meet with Dr.Gallin and his team.

IRAK 4.…is my genetic mutation. This is the diagnosis we had been waiting 22 years for. Think about that. It wasn’t a few days, a week, or even a few weeks. We waited 22 years! And basically what we discovered is when my body is exposed to an infection, my white blood cells don’t receive the signal to fight it off. And because I don’t show normal symptoms to illness, like running a fever, by the time my body does recognize the illness, I can already be critically ill. It’s caused by a gene defect (actually two separate defects) that each of my parents carry.

You might be wondering, what are the chances of this happening? Well my doctors say that I have won the medical lottery! Especially since I’m the only person in the world with my exact genetic mutation. Pretty crazy huh?? The odds of my parents, who have these defective genes meeting, marrying and having children were one in a million. The odds of me having the IRAK-4 gene mutation were astronomical.

After reading a little about my life you might understand two things; 1. My diagnosis is pretty fitting, since my whole life is kinda crazy! 2. Why it’s so hard for me to simply answer the "what happened to your leg?" question.

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you to give you hope and a future" Jeremiah 29:11

This is my life verse. The verse that helps my life make sense. Only God knew what life laid before me. He knew His plans for me. He made me and knew I could endure whatever obstacle he put before me and He knew He would only give me what I could handle. Never in my life have I ever thought that God was trying to harm me or do what was wrong for me. I always trusted and knew whatever He had me going through was going to make me a stronger person. But not until recently did I figure out it wasn’t only making me stronger it was also bringing me closer and making me more faithful to Him. I can’t do anything without Him but as Philippians 4:13 says, I can do all things with him! He chose ME! He has given me a huge job to handle for Him. Therefore, to repay Him I live for Him, telling others the story He has given me to tell and even though I’m a sinner I try my best to live like the greatest example He ever gave us, Jesus.

My medical journey is not over. It’s now been 21 years since I became a part of the NIH family. There is no treatment or cure for IRAK 4, so I’m still being studied. Plus from what they are learning from my research they are learning more about other diseases like lupus, heart disease, arthritis and certain types of cancer. So just because of my research, other diseases that millions of others suffer from are being better understood, and I’m so blessed to be a part of it. So I will continue to donate my living body to science. This body is just a vessel for this vapor life and we are supposed to help our brothers.

I will continue to live the life God has planned for me and even though it gets tough sometimes, I remind myself my life isn’t about me, it’s about Him and what HE has planned for me. And as long as I’m where He wants me to be then I can’t go wrong.

Please continue to follow Mandy's story!

You can find her:
 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mandy-Young/174676325920552
 or Twitter: www.twitter.com/mandy_young
 and make sure to visit her website at www.mandyyoung.com!

Show Mandy some SHINE love, girls! 

Apr 27, 2012

Friday SHINE....

@Today's Reading: Job 7

Good morning, sweet SHINE friends! Happy Fun Friday!

So, since it's Friday, we have our Friday Challenge! Are you ready?

You better be! :)

Today's Challenge:

Pick one person in your life and pray for them for 30 days. Yes thirty.

Girls, this is powerful stuff. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in our own never-ending wants and needs that we skim over praying for others. (or maybe I am just the guilty one.)

This is intentional praying, girls. Every single morning when you get out of your cozy little bed, lift this person up to the Lord. Let them be the very first person that you pray for.

Pray for them throughout the day. Set a timer on your phone if you have to. Yes, I'm serious.

After about the 5th day, you will be praying for them automatically throughout the day. I guarantee it. It will become second nature to you to lift them to the Father.

Here's why this is important: It forces us to put someone else's needs over our own.

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Philippians 2:4

Secondly, it reminds us to pray. If we have someone specific in mind, it keeps us focused in our prayer time.

(I sent this challenge to a few girls in my little circle this past Monday. So, girls, you are already a week ahead! *wink wink*)

Already, I have seen a change in my own heart by praying for my "person".

If you are not sure of who to pray for...ask the Lord. Oh, sweet love, He will tell you.

"But truly God has listened; he has attended to the voice of my prayer." Psalm 66:19

Thirty days, girls. You can do this. Get your calendar and make a note to remind you.

There's not a better gift you can give someone. Prayer is the best gift of all.

without ceasing,


**One more thing--don't forget to visit the weekday SHINE give-away page and comment! The drawing will be held in a few days. Go and get your name on there! If you have trouble leaving comments (and many people do!), you can email me at shinegirlsshine@gmail.com and I will copy and paste your comment onto the blog. No problem! :)

Apr 26, 2012

Thursday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Job 6

Good morning, sweet SHINE friends! Don't ya just love Thursdays?

Me too! Thursdays mean that the weekend is so close that you can almost touch it!

How is your reading going, girls? Are you finding that Job is a lot different that you imagined?

I "knew" about Job from Sunday School and sermons in church, but I have never studied him before now. Doesn't it make all the difference when we actually read the story on our own?

Girls, God has so many treasures that He wants to show us in His Word! It makes all the difference when we are the ones opening our little Bibles and letting our eyes and hearts read the words on the page.

"For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Hebrews 4:12

Oh, friends, God doesn't want to just be a third-party God in our lives! He wants one-on-one with us!

If I wanted to get to know you better, would I go to your friends and hear their stories about you? Wouldn't I just go straight to YOU and have a relationship? Wouldn't that be so much more real and meaningful?

That is exactly what God wants from us! He doesn't want someone else to spoon-feed His word to you. He doesn't need a third-party translator. He speaks YOUR language, girls! He created you, He knows how to best talk to you!

Oh my, I just had to get out of my chair and jump up and down! Isn't that just incredible how much He loves us??

He wants to get nitty gritty personal with us! Every single day!

Just last week, I was wondering about something that God was doing in my life. I wanted an answer.

Well, instead of going to the Lord, I called my friend Leslie. I will never forget what she said:

"Have you asked the Lord for the answer?"

Oh, girls, this was HUGE for me to hear! Why would I not feel like I had the freedom to talk to my Lord, my King, my Man Jesus about this?

He longs for this connection with you, friends. He is waiting with arms open wide to receive you and give you the answers that you need each day.

"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

His Word is our answer. Our prayer time with Him is our answer. Our faith and trust in Him is our answer.

Just knock, girls. He is waiting.

If God is not ready to give you an answer about a certain situation, you can bet your Mary Kay lipgloss that He will give you peace in the waiting. Oh, yes He will!

31But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31

Go to Him today, girls. One on one, face to face, heart to heart.

He is yearning to speak to you. His Word is His love letter to us! All of the promises, answers and treasures that we will EVER need are in His Word!

Grab your Bible and soak Him in today, friends. Inhale the sweet aroma of the purest love you will ever know from our Heavenly Father. Nobody loves you like He does. Nobody knows you like He does.

knocking on His door,


"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you."
James 4:8

Apr 25, 2012

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Job 5

Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE girls! 

Sing loud today! Worship your Man...Jesus! He loves to hear your sweet voice singing His praises!

Trust me, my singing voice is NOT sweet to hear, but I KNOW HE loves it anyway! :)

Today, my friend Erin Spinks is guest-blogging. Erin is such a ray of sunshine in my life and so many others! It is my JOY to be able to meet her every single morning to run and talk about LIFE! 

One of my most favorite memories of Erin is running my first (and only) 5K with her. She is an awesome runner, so she finished way before me. However, when I was getting close to the finish line (and about to DIE), she ran to me and pulled me in! 

I am not kidding. She did!

That's the kind of friend she is. 

Be blessed and inspired by my sweet friend. 

“Surround yourself with ones who lift you up!”
by Erin Spinks

I am blessed. I have always had the best of friends. I cherish them all. Starting with the friends that shared my childhood. We have secrets, memories, love that will always be dear to my heart. They taught me what friendship was and how to love others. I always knew that my friends were special and that we would remain close forever.

 As an adult though, life gets busy--I hate this word, just like Jill! We (women) tend to pour our energy into our families, our work, our marriage. Sometimes we can get caught up in the responsibilities of these things and loose the connections God wants us to have.
We are all in this life together, to lift each other up. Lately, I have been thinking about inspiration.

 What inspires me? What is it in my daily walk that I want to be better at? I do not view these things as unreachable goals. I know the gifts God has given me. I do not focus on other’s gifts and try to be like them. Instead, I pray for God to use the people around me to help better me as a person-a wife-a mother-a friend. God has placed so many friends to surround me daily. They each have their own strengths, their own gifts, their own beauty, their own struggles. And yet, their walk inspires me. Not that they stand beside me holding my hand teaching me daily, but that they are an example in my life through their actions: They show up. They encourage. They cry. They smile. They help. They convict. They pray. They do not quit. They work hard. They shine. 

We were not meant to do this life alone. My favorite thing about my workout running girls is that I KNOW they are going to be there! I know that no matter what kind of morning, night, hardships they have had--they are coming! They teach me that none of life’s challenges or success mean anything without having loved ones to share that memory or moment with. “None of us can do great things alone.” My friend Jamie Miles just ran a ½ marathon! I celebrate her-she inspires me. Take the example of her training to teach you about inspiration. Not the fact that you may never run a marathon--we all have our own goals and desires. The training, desire to prepare, and conquer what you can do. 

running friends
from left: Amy, Stephanie, Erin, Ashley, Kelly, and Jill

Be inspired. You too will be inspiring to someone else. Take a couple of these quotes and post them to your bathroom mirror. Write them on your child’s mirror. Shout them out to friends! Be a blessing to others. We need each other!

* life is either daring adventure, or nothing at all. – helen keller
* buy the ticket, take the ride – hunter s. thompson
* you only live once but if you do it right once is enough – mae west
* above all, try something – franklin d. roosevelt
* i never worry about the future it comes soon enough – albert einstein
* mind your step
* one who makes no mistakes makes nothing at all – giacomo casanova
* do one thing everyday that scares you – eleanor roosevelt
* in the end it’s not the years in your life that count it’s the life in your years. – abraham lincoln
* do more
* if i’d followed all the rules i’d never have gotten anywhere – marilyn monroe
* action expresses priorities – gandhi
* #makeitcount

Make that bucket list-hold a friend’s hand and celebrate doing it! This Saturday, I will run the MUDD RUN! I am scared, anxious, nervous, excited, full of joy! Crazy how many emotions--but my favorite thing about it is that I am doing it with my favorite people and I am inspired by my kids who think it is the most awesome thing I could ever do!! 

Checking it off--living this life full!

 **"thank you for being a friend! traveled down the road and back again.  your heart is true-you're a pal and a confidant!" Golden Girls

Apr 24, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Job 4

Happy Tuesday, SHINE girls!

Oh, poor Job! My heart is breaking for him!

As we read his lament to the Lord in Chapter 3, our hearts pour out compassion and empathy for our friend, Job. It's a little (a lot) depressing, isn't it?

There is a lot to be learned here girls. Let's ask the Lord to apply this to our hearts and in our lives.

Is it okay to be sad? YES. Is it okay to not understand when bad things happen? YES. Is it okay to cry out to the Lord in our misery? YES.

This makes us human, girls. Flesh and blood.

This is when the Holy Spirit comes in and brings the Peace. Peace that transcends all understanding.

We do not understand. We are not God. What a relief.

Here is what I love about the end of Chapter 2. Job's 3 friends come to his house to grieve with him.

Listen to what they did: "Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was." Job 2:13

Oh, can't you just picture it? Job is surrounded by three of his closest buddies and no word is spoken for SEVEN days out of respect and grief for their friend.  Seven days! I think this is such a beautiful portrait of Christ-like love and fellowship.

Moving on to Ch. 3, Job wails out to the Lord in his despair and anguish. He wishes that he would have never been born so that he could have been spared such sorrow.

Finally, we land on Chapter 4. Eliphaz, a friend of Job's boldly speaks up.

Poor Eliphaz, he was only trying to be helpful, but in turn made Job a even more upset. Eliphaz seemed to think that Job was being punished for a small sin. This makes Job very upset, as we will see in Chapter 5.

Job feels like he is not perfect, yet nor does he deserve this seeming punishment.

Again, poor Eliphaz. He was trying to "explain" it to Job, when in actuality, Eliphaz had no idea what he was talking about.

Little did Eliphaz know that God had allowed this to happen to Job because of Job's righteousness--not his sinfulness.

Have you ever been in that predicament? Something terrible happens and you feel the need to comfort your friend by "explaining" God's reasoning?

Are we God?

Do we think we understand His ways?

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, 
   so are my ways higher than your ways 
   and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:9

Two months ago, I was having a very rough time. I called a few close friends and asked them to pray for me. My anxiety was at an all time high.

Not only did they pray for me, they all THREE showed up at my house early that morning ready to go to battle with me!

It still brings me to tears. They didn't come armed with "answers" and "explanations" of why I was under such attack. I would have been so upset if they would have told me that my "sinful" ways were the reason I was having to go through this.

Instead they prayed with me,  prayed over me and prayed throughout my home. They armed me with scripture and God's word to assist me in the battle.

My three friends knew exactly what I needed....and what I did not need.

Girls, think about some of your closest relationships. Do they maybe just need you to listen to them, grieve with them, and pray with them?

Are they really looking for answers? Probably not.

They just need a friend.

I pray that each and every one of you have a few friends that you can count on for prayer and a listening ear. If you don't feel you have someone in your life like that, I encourage you to pray that God will send you a few.

Oh, He will. Trust Him to.

thanking Him for friends who show His love,


"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."
 Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 

Apr 23, 2012

Weekday SHINE give-away 4/23-4/28....

Guess what, girls?!

We have a surprise weekday SHINE give-away!

Your fellow SHINE sister, Gloria Plunkett, is donating a wonderful gift for Mother's Day! You will want this prize! I cannot wait to give it to our winner! YAY!!!

Also, we have a little something extra to go with it! Two gifts this time, girls! (since we are celebrating Mother's Day and all) :)

Are you excited?

Me too!

So, here is all you need to do to win...

Tell us something about your Mother!

You can tell us anything! It can be as long or short as you want it to be!

Make sure to leave your name with your comment below this post.

Example: Jill Hill--My momma was and still is a giver and not a taker. She taught me to put God first in all that I do. She also taught me (and is still teaching me) unconditional love. 

Got it?

That was a true statement above, by the way! I just love my sweet Momma.

I will draw a name at the end of the week.

Ready, set, go!

Momma & Me <3

Monday SHINE....

Reading Plan for week of 4/23-4/27:

  • Monday 4/23: Job 3
  • Tuesday 4/24: Job 4
  • Wednesday 4/25: Job 5
  • Thursday 4/26: Job 6
  • Friday 4/24: Job 7

Good morning, SHINE girls! We have a brand new week to start! How awesome is that?

I love how we get a fresh start every single day. God knew that we would need it! (especially me!)

I want to pray over your week and you sweet lives today. Monday is a good time to set our compass for the week. Setting it on God keeps our perspective clear and on track.

If we were in a big room, I would tell you to grab your SHINE sisters by the hand, close your eyes and go to the Lord in prayer. :-)

But, we are separated by a computer screen. Shoot. Well, it's ok. God is bigger than a computer screen! Yay!

So, here we go....

Dear Lord,

Thank you for this new day! We love starting a fresh week with you! We cannot wait to see the wonderful blessings you have in store for us this week.

Please forgive us of our sins. Cleanse our hearts and purify our minds. We confess any sin that is keeping us from being close to you and truly hearing your Voice. We long to hear your Voice. 

Lord, speak to us through your servant Job. Show us how we can learn from his faith and trust in You. Your Word is living and active! It applies to us even in this very moment!

Give us spiritual eyes to see what You see. Let us be led by the Holy Spirit, and help us to die to our flesh. Let us be convicted of any areas that we need to change, Father. 

We give you our calendars and our plans. Rearrange them to fit YOUR plans, Father. Thank you for what You will show us this week!

Bless us, protect us, heal us, restore us, cleanse us, purify us. Not only us, but our loved ones. We request these blessings on their behalf as well. Thank you.

In Jesus' name, 


Apr 22, 2012

Discussions for Week of 4/22-4/29.....

Anything you want to discuss?

We would love to hear your input on our reading or just your thoughts! You are important and we want to hear from YOU!

SHINE is made up of all of our voices! Share anything on your heart here.

Prayer Requests and Praises Week of 4/22-4/29.....

Please leave your prayer requests and praises here. We love lifting our SHINE sisters up to the Father. He hears us, girls. Every single prayer.

Apr 21, 2012

Saturday SHINE....

Good morning, SHINE sisters! As always, no weekend reading. You can use this time to catch up on the blog, on your reading and on the prayer request page if you need to. 

Yesterday, I had a very long and treasure-filled conversation with my friend Rebekah. We were both in awe of how God is teaching us and revealing things to  us...at the very same time! Not only that, but the very same concept!

We discussed how crucial our response to the "waiting" periods of our life are. Even if we are not waiting, per se, but just going through a very mundane and slow time.

Girls, we are learning that this is when God does His greatest work in our hearts! It makes us stronger, wiser, and "ready" for what's to come for us. 

However, we must "worship in the waiting", "serve in the waiting", and "trust Him in the waiting."

Without further adieu, be blessed by Rebekah's story. Oh, so good!

In… the… waiting…
by Rebekah Vepraskas

I think it’s remarkable and funny at the same time when God speaks to you.  Sometimes, you don’t even have the subject on your radar screen.  You know what I mean?  And, then- ping, ping, ping- the subject or thought is everywhere you look and your friends are hearing the same thing(s) and message(s) from God.  I love my Lord and I love how He works. Jill and I were squealing on the phone this morning about God and the new things He reveals.

So, I bet you want to know about this new thing, too?!  Well, of course! This past Sunday, our pastor taught on JOHN 20:19-31. You may remember the story, it is the account of Jesus appearing to the disciples, but Thomas was missing. Remember that story? Famously, Thomas said, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in His side, I will not believe."

It's the modern day "I'll believe it when I see it!" The rest of the story is that Thomas waited for one. whole. week. to see Jesus. Wow.  Jesus came and He gave Thomas exactly the proof He needed.  What if we rewind a little, though?
In our small group on Wednesday night, we talked about waiting for Jesus and what that must have been like for Thomas.  Also, what it's like for us when we wait for Jesus to show up.

It can be hard, right?  Lonely, too!  And sometimes communication tends to shut down with Him. We may be waiting, tapping our foot, wondering about our prayer results and where God is?

Well... if we consider waiting and really pause there, how can we wait in a Christ honoring way? A waiting that doesn't include blaming God, counseling God, convincing God... A waiting that is valuable and enriches our souls.
I feel like God has shown me three new things about waiting.  (That sounds very pastorish.  Forgive me in advance!  There are 3 ideas, though!!)  :o)

1- If not for waiting, would we have an electric toaster God? Where we pray and in 2 minutes or less, God gives us just what we asked for? Consider this: what if we did have an automatic prayer answering God, and if we knew what was best for us in the scheme of our whole lives (which we don't, we know nothing about the future.)

Would we even know when God shows up and a prayer is answered?

Would we just expect Him to see it our way and answer every prayer—just being entitled to answered prayer. --Just like we expect that toast to pop up warm and toasted.

We don't appreciate the toast like we should and we also wouldn't appreciate the presence and goodness of God. The omnipotent, loving, merciful God who can enter a situation in your life and make it good. In ways we never even dreamed of...

I have never even thought about that before this week. Can it be that waiting is crucial factor in our faith walk and with waiting we can clearly see our Lord when He works in our lives?

2- So if we warm up to idea of waiting, what next? Waiting with trust. Letting go and giving it to Him over and over again.

3- What does that look like?  He’s been showing me that it takes constant prayer. Praying about it all. As a wife, mother, semi-career lady and child of God, I have started praying more than ever before. Why? Because I need him. I need help.

 I am talking about praising God for every big and small blessing during the day, asking for direction, asking for safety, asking for Him to use me, to have me reflect His love. And, then, saying to God, "Lord if this is You, show me."  He will. He promised to lead us through the Holy Spirit. But how can He if our communication with Him is in an impatient, frustrated stance?

I feel challenged to appreciate waiting, thanking God for how He is preparing me during the waiting and knowing that He is also at work.
Waiting with trust, overt trust for whatever He has in store. Including the bad stuff, because God can be GLORIFIED in every situation.   We just have to be willing to give Him GLORY.

Praying constantly, and inviting God into our laundry day, the grocery store trip, our tax return, the Spring cleaning we need to tackle, a new project or into a completely mundane day. I have been inviting Christ into the lives of the patients I see in the hospital.  It has been such an honor to pray for these strangers who in a matter of moments are pouring their hearts out to me as I evaluate them.

His mouth is watering, He wants to be a part of that fold in your life. The pause where you are waiting for God. There is a whole world with Christ inside that little area, just waiting.

I am writing to you now from Jasper, Georgia.  Our family is on a church retreat up here and I am about to lose power on the laptop and I have a tiny signal on somebody’s wireless connection up here. :o) But, one more thing, I wanted to share this with you.

I have a 1 year old baby who we brought along on our family getaway.  I didn’t bring his milk because I knew we wouldn’t have a fridge in our room.  I thought, I will get a lay of the land, figure out the fridge hurdle and run back out and grab a gallon of milk before dark.  This was my bright idea at 4pm, before we left Atlanta.  Well, at 9pm tonight, we were wrapping up the night’s activities and I was stressing about milk.  I had asked all of my mommy friends “in the know”- no one knew where a fridge was and I was worried that everything was closed because we’re in a totally remote area, way, way back in the mountain woods.  Milk?  Yeah, right? I hadn’t even seen a gas station for 20 miles before arriving here. It was looking pretty hopeless and I was imagining myself driving all over the mountains to find milk for Sam.  I just needed to lay my baby down… 
I started praying, in my frantic, panicky feeling, I prayed for direction and a way to take care of Sam. I couldn’t concentrate during worship, I prayed, though, asking Him for a solution.  My friend asked me to check the Dining Hall and pointed out the building to me. (The dining hall? It’s 9pm!)  I walked that way, just a little bit skeptical.
I walked in and found a girl who thought she may be able to ask the kitchen manager about milk.  They brought out a big gallon of milk.  GREAT!!!!  I poured some in Sam’s cup and thanked them profusely.  They said, “Oh! Take the whole gallon, also, there is a fridge in the suite above your room, we will keep that suite unlocked the whole weekend and you are welcome to use the fridge and let us know if you need anything else.”

It was milk, y’all.  It was a small detail.  Did the Lord care? Yes!!!  Did He blow my socks off answering my prayer with a whole gallon of milk in my hand before I even knew it—in the middle of the woods?  Yes!!!!  Pray, y’all, PRAY!  He wants to hear from us and He is waiting to inject His goodness, grace and love into our little, mundane lives.

If you are waiting, I want to encourage you not to wait on God silently.  “Pray without ceasing.”  1 Thessalonians 5:17

Link arms with me and let’s open ourselves up to all He has. Even and especially during the times in our lives where we are itching for answers.  Let’s itch for Jesus and trust Him with the outcome. Whattaya say?  Let’s find the beauty in waiting.

With much love and prayer~ may peace be with you,

The milk that God provided!

Apr 20, 2012

Friday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Job 2

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls! Whew, what a week!

We have gone from 1 John to Job!  Talk about a change of scenery!

Job is about to take an even bigger turn, girls. Hold on to your sparkly little ball caps! A big roller coaster ride coming up for our friend, Job.

Today is Friday, so you know that that means: We have a Friday Challenge!

God laid this idea on my heart on Wednesday. I could hardly contain myself to wait until today to post it. But, I did.

**I challenge us to speak of God's glory today. Not just THINK on His glory, or sing of His glory in our car by ourselves our with our children. Today is different.

**Speak the words in your heart out loud for others to hear!**

"For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved." Romans 10:10

 Let me explain...

My whole entire life I have really loved the Lord. (sometimes not walking with Him, but I loved Him anyway.) During these years, I kind of kept all of my feelings for Him inside. He knew I loved Him, that was enough, right?

Well, a couple of years ago, I became good friends with a girl named Vicky Palmer. Vicky taught me about speaking up and speaking out about Jesus! I admired her boldness and her faith so much!

here's Vicky and me!
(for all you visual girls!)

I heard her stories, and I wanted that kind of faith! I wanted her courage and her faithfulness!

 What was keeping me from it?

It was my timidness and my insecurities. I would think that if I spoke of Him often and of all that He was doing on my behalf, then He may suddenly forget about me and then I  would look stupid or silly.

Dumb thinking, right? Well, that was me. Dumb.

I had convinced myself that as long as I was thankful on the inside, praising Him on the inside, and being a good little Christian girl on the outside........was enough.

It was enough to get to Heaven, yes. But, I wanted MORE! I wanted to tell the world about my Jesus! I was bursting on the inside to speak of my Man! My King! My Savior! The One who died for ME! (whew, I'm working up a sweat just thinking about Him!)

Finally, I slowly began to be bolder in my walk. I would speak things, or say things that I felt like the Lord was doing in my life. It began to get easier and easier to be bold.

Now, I am off the charts out loud crazy in love with my Jesus.

How does this look? Well, I bombard my friends with texts, emails, stories...anything and everything to express my LOVE for my Lord and to share what He is doing all around me!

I even text pictures of something that God shows me during the day in relation to a particular journey that I am on. (I just did this yesterday!)

Let me ask you this, friends: If you were in a relationship, wouldn't you want your beloved to speak of you? Tell stories about you? Confess their love for you, out loud? For all the world to hear?


If you are a momma, how does it make you feel when you hear your babies tell you how much they love you and appreciate you? Especially when they tell others about you! Off the charts awesome, right?

Don't we kind of like it when others toot our little horns a bit? It makes us feel loved and special!

Doesn't He deserve our adoration? Are we so concerned about how others perceive us that we are willing to miss out on the blessings that come with boldness in our faith?

It's not that He needs us to proclaim His Glory. He IS Glory. Period.

But, we need to proclaim His Glory! It's really for us! Our hearts change, our faith increases and our boldness soars!

Bottom line:  The more we trust Him and reveal Him to others out loud, the more He reveals Himself to us!

Oh, goodness. I just may burst out of my in-need-of-a-tan skin!

Don't get me wrong, I have a super long way to go with this boldness thingy. But, it sure will help to have y'all with me on this journey! Together we can do this!

Girls! Today is the day! Step out of your little comfortable spot, and take a step of faith and boldness with Jesus.

You may be thinking......"What do I say?? Things are tough right now, I don't really have a lot to say about God's goodness and grace. This season in life stinks."

Here is my answer to that: You are alive. You are here on this Earth. Your Man (Jesus) died for you

That's enough Glory to proclaim for the rest of your life, sweet sister.

Be bold, girls.

You have absolutely nothing to lose. And everything to gain.

growing bold,


"So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most." Hebrews 4:16

Apr 19, 2012

Thursday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Job 1

Good morning, SHINE! It's a great day to be alive and serve the Lord!

It feels good starting the day off in His Word, doesn't it? YES!

My sweet friend, Lisa, is guest blogging today. Her words pierced straight through my heart. I needed to hear this. It never fails that God gives me exactly the message that I need.

Be blessed, sweet SHINE girls.

Little Step...Big Results

I have been thinking a lot about our daughter, Jenna Skye, this week, as next week is her birthday. She will be 4.

Prior to having her older brother, Max, we struggled with infertility for 5 long years. Numerous doctors appointments telling us we would never have children outside of medical intervention.

We did not feel led to go that route, so we just left it in the Lord's hands. Which, of course, was easier said then done. I am a very black and white personality (this is not always a good thing!) and would think, "Okay, HE made my ovaries, HE knows what is happening (or not happening), HE's got this..."

Psalm 139:13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb.

In those 5 years that were already brutal, we lost 2 babies. I cannot express to you the pain in living through that. I will just say now, that I look forward to seeing those faces. Putting my cheek against theirs and telling them how much I've missed them. Jesus come quickly!! AMEN?!?! :)
After successfully having Max, I was done. My nest was full, my heart was full, we had our boy. I was good.

My husband was not.

Of course he never pressured me. Always said that he completely understood why I did not want to travel down that road again. He felt so much of what I felt in my reservation and frankly, fear. We had walked a dark road, together. Sat close on the couch together, saying nothing. We felt our loss', together.

But I knew his hearts desire.

So I started talking to the Lord. Out-loud upstairs, usually while folding laundry, I guess that's when Max was napping.

I cried. Told HIM all the reasons I did not and felt I could not emotionally, sign myself up for a possible loss or 9 mos of high-risk pregnancy appointments. Been there, done that.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Okay, so we've all heard these 2 verses many times. I'd heard them many times, even had them memorized. But I had to put the "trust in then Lord with all your heart..." into action. Not just nonchalantly say these verses. I really had to walk it. Through gritted teeth and hot tears streaming down my face. Walk.

He started working on my heart. I will be honest and say, so many times when I felt him so gently nudging me along, would say, "no, I can't, please don't make me." Then would follow-up my protest by expressing to my husband, one more time, "about a 2nd baby, I just can't", to which he would kindly reply, "I understand".

Then one day, mid-morning, I'll never forget...it came over me like a wave. I called my hubby and said, "today, I can try..."

Nine months later, Jenna Skye was born. I will back up a bit and say, when I took that pregnancy test I laughed and said out-loud to my Savior, "wow, You really want us to have another baby!"

It was again, 9 mos of a high-risk pregnancy...it was tough. There were some scary moments in the first 8 weeks of pregnancy if it (she) was viable and would survive.

So here's my challenge to you. Are you needing to say, "today, I can try..." about something the Father is pushing you to do? Are you scared? Yep, I get it. You could be scared of rejection, isolation, loss, life-change, hurt...

Let's go back to the verses in Proverbs 3. Trust in the Lord. I believe this is a command, not a suggestion. Does He make mistakes? No way!!

Lean not on your own understanding. I understood loss and disappointment. But this verse says not to rest/lean/rely on that.

In all thy ways, acknowledge Him. Verbalize (acknowledge) what you know about HIM. He is all-knowing. He is all-powerful. He is faithful. He is so good!! He loves unconditionally. He is perfect. He is holy.

And He shall direct thy path. This is not a maybe, if He remembers, if you've been faithful, if you deserve it. No way girls, HE SHALL!!

Please hear me say, I understand being scared. I understand not wanting to do it. I understand how things are good, why would you want to jump into something so unsure?

If He is speaking to you...you must take the next step. Is it sure to be free of pot-holes, bumps or bruises. Unfortunately, no. But you have to Trust in the Lord...so He can direct thy path.
Oh y'all, what if I would have missed out on Jenna? I did not know how I much we all needed that sweet, sassy, funny little thing in our lives. She is an extension of me I did not know was missing. She brings out a sparkle and grin in her Daddy, that Max and I never did!! ;-). And she is a firecracker in her big brothers cautious, introvert ways. Thank you Father, for Jenna Skye.

Dear Lord, I want to pray for the ladies reading this who are not wanting to take the next step, Father you know each of their reasons. Wrap Your comforting arms around them. Whisper in their ear, "I got this" as they rely on You with their future. And we praise your Holy Name in all You are going to do
. We love you, Your SHINE girls.

Jenna Skye

Apr 18, 2012

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: 3 John
Happy Wednesday, SHINE girls! 
Remember what today is?
All together now....Worship Wednesday! Yay!
So, wherever you are, whatever you are doing--worship the Lord!
Beware: It's contagious. You will spread your Joy to those around you. 
I have a very special guest blogger today, Kim Jaynes. Kim and I go way back. Like, really way back. She knew me before my hair was this blonde. Yep, that's way back.  She has good, really good blackmail pictures. So, I am nice to Kim. Very nice.
Be blessed by my friend and big sister in Christ, sweet SHINE sisters!

Wednesday SHINE
by: Kim Jaynes
Good morning SHINE girls! 
Jill and I go back in time about 27 years!  She was ten years old when I met her. She, and her sis (my BFF), were playing in a yard down the street from where my parents were building a house. We hit it off from the start and the rest is history!
We have been through a lot over the years and she has always been like a little sister to me!  We have shared so many memories and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without my Jilly!
Well………when Jill asked me to blog for her today I was, of course, honored!!!  I immediately said yes (because this is what I do when someone asks for my help!) Then, after hanging up the phone, I thought…..”What have I agreed to?”  But, being raised to be true to my word……there were no options..…guest blog I would!
 I truly am not worthy of such an honor nor am I wise enough to lead any charge to glorify God but with His guidance I pray that some or all of this message will resonate with at least one person!!
Let me give you a little background before I go into my “light bulb” moment when I realized what was keeping me from a true relationship with God…………
Like most good church going little girls, I was saved and baptized at the age of ten.  Then sometime between age ten and puberty…..I jumped off the path God had set for me and straight onto the fast paced highway of the flesh! I spent most of my teen and early adult years so far removed from God it would make most of your heads spin! 
When I think of some of the things I have done, I am in complete and total awe of the wonderful blessings God has so mercifully and graciously given me over the years despite so many poor choices!
It was not until I was 28 years old, sitting in the pew listening to an evangelist preach one Thursday night, that I literally felt the Holy Spirit move!  There was no denying what was going on!  The more determined I was to stay on that pew, the stronger I felt the spirit urging me to move
So from the age of 10-28 I had lived a lie!  I would say, “Yes I am a Christian” but my walk was anything but Christian like.  An 18 year lie!!  That was 18 years in the wilderness, by choice! Ok, I am 40 so that is almost half a life of living lost and searching for something to fill the many voids left by living OF the world instead of a Christian IN it!!  I had conformed to the ways of the world!
 I walked the isle of that church that night, tears streaming!  I rededicated my life to God and chose to be re-baptized.
The rest is history…..right?  WRONG!
I am so thankful for God’s promise in Joel 2:25 “of giving back the years that the locusts have stolen.” My years were not stolen, I gave them away!
I wish I could say that my life did a total 180 degree turn at that point, but my walk has been and will continue to be a work in progress! 
I realized a few years ago (about the age of 33—yes five more years) that I had interference in my relationship with God! There was a barrier, something just was not right!   I realized I was reaching one hand out to God and hoping for all He had to offer yet I had the other one firmly gripping things I did not want to lose control over!
Part of what I held on to was my unwillingness to forgive those who had really hurt me!  A defense mechanism I had perfected, or so I thought.  I was a professional at putting up a wall the instant someone made an attempt to cause me pain.  In reality, I was only burying the pain and holding that person hostage. Or was I holding myself hostage?   
I realized that satan was oh so pleased with my hardened heart!  He reveled in my unwillingness to forgive, even when I had no conscious thought of what I was doing! I was allowing him to have victory because I refused to be vulnerable, I refused to completely let go with both hands and trust God with everything!
So forgiveness was my barrier and here is where the revelation begins………………
What do you think of when you hear the word FORGIVENESS?
Webster says it is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, and/or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution
Did you get that last part??  CEASING….Stopping, bring to an end, letting it go. No longer expecting vengeance!! No longer expecting payment, no longer holding that grudge!!!!

YES, I know that this can be HARD!!
 Oh do I know! 
I was genetically predisposed to be a grudge holder; it was a joke at family reunions!  We could all hold a good ol’ fashioned grudge or two!

For years I carried around a seed of un-forgiveness as if it were some sort of battle star or medal of honor I had accumulated along life's tough road of “hard knocks”---about 20 years of carrying and feeding this seed to be exact! Even though I really did not think about this "seed" at all and I actually thought I had dealt with it and moved on---I was oh so wrong! 

But the closer I was drawn to God and began studying His word the more I realized that the little tiny seed had rooted deep in my heart and had grown into a strong oak like tree that was producing very bitter, sour fruit in all areas of my life! I had allowed that seed of hurt to turn into anger, then resentment.  Pretty soon bitterness had set in and that small tiny event was a stronghold in my life! Any future event in my life that brought some sort of reminder emotion to the surface would send me in a tail spin crash landing, even if it only related to that seed in the smallest way!
Any mention of that person’s name would stir up very powerful emotions of anger and hurt but I could’ve won a Grammy for my performance because I could convince anyone that was old news!  I was such a great actress, I had myself fooled!

I am going to go out on a limb and be completely transparent......I even went so far as to get a tattoo (yes!) to represent a time of moving on after I had thrown the seed to the side of the road--or so I thought! HA.....joke was on me....I do love God's sense of humor! Now I have this "medal" permanently inked on my body (I was smart enough to get in an inconspicuous place!). Let me say that I do not have a problem with tattoos; I actually kinda like some of them!  But now, my tattoo serves a reminder of the poor choices I made when I did things MY way instead of its original intent of marking, what I thought to be, a milestone moment!! Talk about irony!

Why do we or why do I feel justified in doing something so silly? Keeping a grudge? Carrying this around like some 50lb ball on a chain!??

Why not just let it go?

Well, for me, my CHOICE to plant this seed and then give it nourishment for all those years was my way of
 "demanding punishment or restitution" and it was also a self defense mechanism!  You know......"I am NOT going to let that happen ever again!"

Guess what...I was trying to control that which was not mine to control! 

 Is that my job? Am I the one who's "owed" something??

Absolutely not!  That attitude only resulted in the total loss of control!!!

I had been giving power to a lie from satan! 
 "If I forgive then I am telling them that what they did is ok!!"  THAT IS A LIE!!   That is what happens when we continue to live in our flesh!  We make stupid decisions-----> like getting a tattoo to commemorate a not so memorable event!  haha

Were the actions against me ok?  NO! But my
 REaction was just as bad or worse!

I had justified a million reasons why I needed to stay mad and I would demand "payment" every time this "person" was in my presence! I shudder when I think back to how cruel I was to this person!  I was giving the thief power over my life and allowing him to take away the joy that God intended me to have!

Anyone else still with me??
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

But, in the end, I had caused a lot of pain to that other person because I thought they deserved it! I was also punishing myself and those around me!
Time went on and I was blessed with a wonderful husband and three of the most amazing children any woman could hope for!  I had happiness!  I had love! I had all I had hoped for!  But as long as I harbored that one tiny seed from long ago I was not able to have the relationship with God that he had intended for me to have!  As long as my relationship with God was off track, then so were all of my relationships!  There was no true joy, no life to the fullest with an attitude like this! All because of ONE TINY SEED!!

 I had built a wall around my heart so thick and so tall in order to guard it and divert such a painful injury from coming my way ever again that the wall was covering my eyes!  I was blinded by my flesh! 
Anyone in your life needing your forgiveness?  Anyone you NEED to forgive in order to remove that barrier between you and God?
You will, in the end, receive FREEDOM that can only come from obedience to God!

Who knows...................You may even free that person from the bondage you have had them in!! 

I pray that God will show you ANY area of your life where you need to show forgiveness!  Sometimes we do not even know that we are harboring seeds of bitterness due to an unforgiving spirit until we dig deeper!!   I pray that you will get to a point of complete and total forgiveness! I pray that God will give you the eyes to see any area that you need to address and give you the wisdom, strength, and heart to address it!

As long as we walk around wearing the past hurts like war medals......we cannot have the relationship with God that He so desires!  We cannot experience the full blessings that God has to offer and we cannot expect for Him to offer us the forgiveness He promises if we cannot forgive others!
 John 10:10  14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

2 Corinthians 2:5-8 Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure—not to put it too severely—to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. (attitude: stand ready to forgive)

Ephesians 4:31-32 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.(attitude: loving and forgiving just like God forgave you)

God commands us to love like he loves us.....

Matthew 22:36-40 36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Can we seriously love like Him--- the unconditional, no matter what someone does/says I still love them way--- if we are still holding a past hurt hostage?!  

Give it to God.....HE WILL set you free from whatever it is!

I did make peace with this person a few years ago and it was one of the most freeing experiences I have ever had! Almost like getting air after being under water for a long period of time!

In return, I got an apology as well! What an unexpected surprise!  A God thing, I am sure of it!

Are you ready for freedom from and no longer a slave to a past/current hurt?

Are you ready to get God's full grace and blessing..........You have to offer that same thing to others first!?

The CHOICE is yours to make!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And it is a choice only you can make!

It probably will not be easy! But nothing worth having comes easy!

Love you all!!
Kim & Christian

The Jaynes Family
Kim, Griffin, Dylan, Cali Rose, and Christian

Fun times!

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