Aug 31, 2012

Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Micah 5

Happy Fun Friday! This is my favorite day of the week! My kids and I have a tradition of making a silly face and taking a picture of ourselves every Fun Friday! Try it with your kids, or your hubby, or your friend! It's FUN!

Here's today's picture. :-)

Can I just be honest? I think Satan is on the attack the MOST on Sundays at our house. Do you find that to be true as well?? It seems that Sunday is the day that EVERYTHING seems to go wrong.

This past Sunday, my family and I went to church, came back home and stayed around the house all afternoon doing this and that.

Well, for some (hormonal) reason, I got very upset with Lem. I truly do not even realize what caused it. The last thing I remember was crying to him saying that the garage was a mess, my car looked like it had not seen a bath in over a year (probably true), and that the house looked like a bomb had gone off while we were at church. (maybe two bombs)

I was lashing out to him because I didn't feel like he was "helping" enough.

Oh yikes. I was ugly. Real ugly.

Lem sat there and listened as I rattled off how "un-helper-ish" he was. I went on and on and on and on and on. You get the picture.

After my little rant was over, he asked me if I felt better for venting.

I huffed and walked off.

Later that night, we were in bed.

I had a hard time falling asleep. The Holy Spirit was convicting me real good. Shoot.

I kept hearing Him tell me to apologize to Lem.


So, against my flesh, I woke him up and told him I was so sorry for my behavior. I told him that God was really "on me" about some things and that I took it all out on him, instead of dealing with my junk.

After the apology, I slept in peace.

The next morning, I awoke with a fresh perspective.

I realized that I was lashing out at Lem because of my own poor choices. I had chosen to keep myself really tied up and busy that weekend and the previous week.

The result?

A messy house, backed-up laundry, and a grumpy momma. (me.)

God was showing me that Lem had nothing to do with my outburst. Instead I was lashing out because I had over-committed and under-prayed before making certain decisions that week. NOT a good combo.

I kept hearing the Lord saying, "There are many good things, Jill...but choose the BEST thing. Me."

He was right!

We as women, momma's, students, whatever we are...get caught up in the moment and make all kinds of promises and commitments that we just cannot keep. And probably were not ever "called" by God to keep.

I have a rule of thumb when I make any decision now:

  • How will it affect my marriage?
  • How will it affect my children?
  • How will it affect my ability to care for the above?
  • Will this be for His glory, or is it a self-glorification thing? (yikes)
If there is any doubt after asking the above questions, I have to say no.  

Saying no is hard, girls. We are programmed in this world to say YES, YES, YES!

We feel inadequate if we say no.

As I was typing this post, my friend Mary text me and apologized for being unable to fulfill an obligation that she had made for an upcoming event with a few of her friends. She said it just wasn't going to be the best decision for her family. She would be gone when she really needed to be home. It would make her weekend too crazy and cramped. I smiled and thought: Great job friend.

I text her back and told her that it was so fine and that she had made the right choice.

Girls, it takes humility to admit that maybe something isn't best for us. We want to prove that we can do it all, meanwhile everything crumbles as we try to hold it all together.

Our Friday Challenge:

I challenge you to pray before making any decisions today and this weekend. Pray, pray, pray. This will teach us to pause, pray, then make a decision. Imagine how much more peace our lives will have! Imagine the impact you will have on others if you tell them that you need to pray about this first. If you are bold enough to take a break and pray about it, God will be bold enough to give you the answer, sweet girl. 

"Don't make rash promises, and don't be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few."
Ecclesiastes 5:2

I think back to the story of Mary and Martha in the New Testament. Jesus came to their home to visit. Mary sat at His feet and soaked up His Presence. She listened intently to Him. I picture her quiet, and gazing up at His face completely unaware of the world around her.

Martha, Mary's sister, on the other hand, ran around busily doing this and that. She was caught up in activity, instead of being caught up with Jesus. (I've SO been there)

Here is an excerpt of the scene where Martha is complaining to Jesus:

"But Martha was distracted with much serving. 
And she went up to him and said, 
“Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”
Luke 10:40

Here is Jesus' response:

"But there's only one thing you need. 
Mary has chosen what is better, and it is not to be taken away from her."
Luke 10:42

I've been Martha before. I never want to be like her again. There's no peace there. We miss His voice because we cannot be still enough to hear it.

"Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for Him."
Psalm 37:7

I've been led to this verse below several times over the past week. Until writing this post, I didn't realize why He was showing it to me. I think we need to hear it, girls. We need His gentle reminder.

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

finding mary in a martha world,


Aug 30, 2012

Thursday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Micah 4

Happy Serve Day Thursday, sweet SHINE girls! Go and serve someone today! Buy them a cup of coffee, a diet coke, a sweet tea...anything! Just serve someone in your path. Maybe it's just helping a friend, being an ear for someone who needs you to listen. Pray that the Lord will put someone in your life today to serve. He will!

As we serve others today, I realize that a heart that serves can only come out of a heart full of thankfulness.

What's the one thing that dries up a servant's heart? Bitterness and unthankfulness.

How does this happen? When did our little hearts become so bent on being bitter and not budging?

It's been my experience that if I am not proactive in creating a thankful heart, sure enough, bitterness will set in.

What happens when we get a bitter heart, or lose our gratitude? It spills out to all around you. It's true.

It's like a bad cold that keeps spreading germs. Unless you take some meds to clear it up, it just gets worse and worse.

Have you ever been around a bitter person?

You know---the person that you have to get prayed-up before you can talk to or hang around?

Do you notice that they suck the life right out of you? They criticize, they point fingers, they complain, they feel sorry for themselves. You feel like you need a shower after hanging out with them because of all the bitterness and ingratitude spewing out all over the place.

Can you relate?

My friend Melissa went to the doctor yesterday because she was suffering from a really bad cold. They offered her the choice of a weeks worth of antibiotics or a cortisone shot.

Yep, you got it...she took the shot. Can you blame her?

I met her for lunch soon after. The longer we sat, the better she felt. The medicine was getting into her blood stream and it was healing her body.

By the end of our lunch she was all smiles and ready to conquer the world!

I giggled as I got back to my car. I imagined that shot being the Word of God. Potent, powerful, and fast-acting!

If bitterness has taken root in your heart, sweet girls-- here's the good news: The Lord will quickly pull that root up.  You just have to go to Him to let Him do it. 

Just like my friend Melissa going to the doctor, we must go to the Great Physician for our healing.

A heart that has grown bitter only needs an ounce of thankfulness. Oh, how that thankfulness will take root if you let it! Spreading all that goodness around.

Whatever is going on in that sweet little life of yours, try gratitude. Try praising Him for what you DO have. You will be amazed at how quickly your perspective changes. The thankfulness will  overflow to those around you. The critical eye and bitter heart will have no place in your life anymore.

Girls, let's don't let bitterness suck the Joy and goodness out of our lives. Let's look at ourselves instead of looking at others (to blame and criticize), and get a shot of thankfulness!

"See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many."
Hebrews 12:15

getting my shot,


Aug 29, 2012

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Micah 3

Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE girls!

We have a very special guest blogger today. My long time friend, Danielle Copeland, is sharing a part of her incredible testimony.

She and I have had countless conversations because we bond with similar struggles. Through the years, I have seen Danielle grow stronger and stronger in her faith walk and her dependency on Christ. 

It has been a beautiful thing to watch unfold. (tears!)

Danielle is beautiful, talented, and the most fun person to hang out with. She and I share a love for all things shopping and fashion oriented. So, I totally love hanging with this girl. ;)

Sit back, grab your coffee and be blessed by Danielle's journey.

Tuesday SHINE:
by: Danielle Copeland

Hi SHINE Girls!

When Jill first asked me a month ago to do a post I didn’t know what to think.  What did I have to say?

Yes, I am a Christian…Yes, I go to church…Yes, I have my quiet time…but I was a mess.

Plain and simple. 

You see I struggle with fear and anxiety on a daily {sometimes hourly} basis. It has been a part of me for 20 years this September – something I want to get rid of desperately.  I have tried therapist after therapist to no avail. I have leaned on friends and family only to frustrate them. The one person I needed to go to was God – I knew this, but I didn’t want to give up my control in handling this.  I didn’t think he was “real” enough to handle my fear. It was too big.

I have prayed, read books, memorized scripture, sang praise songs but I did not give it to God. You see, I was scared that if I gave it to Him completely I would lose control.  He would make my worst fears come true to teach me a lesson in trusting Him.

Satan had me in the tightest hold you could get. 

One that almost tore my marriage apart.

One that almost destroyed friendships.

One that almost damaged my ability to mother my kids.


But guess what? Satan is NOT going to control me and I am not going to control him or my fear.
One of my greatest fears is me or my kids getting sick.  The actual fear “emetophobia” is another post…another day. But this fear has controlled my life for 20 years.  Until now.

My sweet boy started preschool yesterday.  I am not scared that he is not going to like it or he is going miss me.  He is going to love it!  What I am scared of are all the germs he is going to be around and possibly bring home.  This fear caused me to pull him out of preschool last year after a month.  But yesterday was a NEW DAY!

Eli & Me 
You see in my search and talks with God over the past month I have prayed that he would protect us.  That he would take my fear away.  That he would heal me. Fervently I prayed for this.

But I was also doing this:

  • Calling the preschool to see how they cleaned the toys and how they handled sick children.
  • Teaching Eli how to religiously wash his hands.
  • Buying new vitamins and probiotics.
  • Reading Psalm 91 and claiming it over my home.
  • Obsessing over the Facebook posts of friend’s kids who were sick.

Now most of you would think that this wasn’t a big deal.  Each of these things is smart and proactive.  But I wasn’t doing just that – I was trying to sideline God and control it still.

My son’s favorite song is Our God by Chris Tomlin.  He asks to hear it every day. 

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome and power
Our God, Our God.
Our God. My God.

As I was standing in church on Sunday, the band started playing this song.  For some reason I listened to it differently. 

And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who can ever stop us
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
Then what can stand against?
Then what can stand against?

What can stand against us?? It was like God was speaking just to me in this crowd of hundreds.  Tears poured down my face as I realized I am not alone in this.  God is in control – thankfully.  Not me. 
I realized that Eli {my sweet 3 year old} has been singing this song in my ear for the past year.  I thought it was cute and endearing but never really listened to what he was saying. Change the words sweet SHINE girls…

MY God is greater.
MY God is stronger.
My God is Healer.
My God is with me.
What can stand against me?

I wept and wept as I imagined His face looking down at me and saying – Sweetheart, let go.  I have this.  I am YOUR God.  I am big enough. I am great enough. Nothing can stand in my way.

The band ended that song and started another – Mighty to Save by Hillsong.

Savior, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.

Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.
Give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
So I surrender.
I surrender

Girls, I am surrendering. 

My 36th birthday was on Saturday.  God spoke to me on Sunday…the start of my week…my new life.  This fear has controlled me for 20 years but no longer.  I know it’s not going to be easy but I am giving it to God.  He is big enough.  He can move those mountains of fear.  He conquered the grave.  He can fill my life – not fear. 

My new life is here. 

Join me in this journey.  Whatever you are struggling with – fear, anxiety, depression, guilt, bitterness, unforgiveness.  HE IS BIG ENOUGH.  He can walk with you. He can carry you.  He can heal you. 

I command you – be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

As Lee and I drove Eli to school yesterday morning guess what came on the radio? Not a cd I put in but the radio.
Our God by Chris Tomlin. J

Eli & Me walking into school yesterday

Girls – God knows exactly where you are and what you need.  I am grabbing his hand like Eli grabbed mine this morning and walking with Him.


My family

Aug 28, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Micah 2

Good morning, sweet SHINE girls! I hope this week has gotten off to a good start for you.

I just have one thing to say, then I will let you get to your reading.

Whatever you are going through at this very moment, it came as no surprise to the Lord. He knew you would be exactly where you are.

Trust Him, girls. He will carry you. Dig deep into His Word, and fall into His arms. He's ready to catch you.

You are never alone. He has never left you, and He never will.

Okay, girls, back to your reading.

I love you!

digging deep,


"Be strong and courageous. 
Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, 
for the LORD your God goes with you; 
he will never leave you nor forsake you."
Deuteronomy 31:6

Aug 27, 2012

Reading Plan for the Week of 8/27-8/31....

Reading Plan for the week of 8/27-8/31....

Monday 8/27: Micah 1
Tuesday 8/28: Micah 2
Wednesday 8/29: Micah 3
Thursday 8/30: Micah 4
Friday 8/31: Micah 5


As we begin a new chapter in Your Word, we ask that You cleanse our hearts to be able to receive the Gift of Your Holy Word.

Forgive us of our sins, Father. If we are holding a grudge, or if we have an unforgiving heart, please show us, and help us to let it go.

Our hearts cannot receive what You have for us if we are holding onto sin in any way. We want fruit in our lives, Lord. Fruit that comes from being planted deep into the cool, nourishing soil of Your Word. Through obedience and a cleansed heart, we are able to grow the most beautiful and sweet fruit. 

Let our lives reflect Your fruit, Holy Father. As we dig deep into Your Word, let our roots spread and grow stronger day by day.

Be with us this week. Protect us. Shine Your light on us, Lord, so that all may see Your Presence dwelling inside of us. Let our faces shine with Your Love glowing from the inside out!

In Jesus name we pray,


Aug 26, 2012

Prayer Requests and Praises for the Week of 8/26-9/2.....

Please leave your prayer requests under this post. We love lifting our SHINE girls to the Throne of the Lord daily. We have a team of girls, pouring over your requests and speaking your needs to the Father.

If you have trouble leaving a comment, please email us at We would be happy to post your prayer here on the blog for you.

Aug 24, 2012

Friday SHINE girls weekday give-away winner....

Ready for the SHINE girl give-away winner......

Drum roll.....

Angela Miller is our SHINE girl winner!

(my sweet Lem drew the name this time!) 

It's funny that "Angela" is the winner, because my sister, Angela, is the one donating this SHINE girl prize!

The prize is:

Matt Redman's brand spankin' new CD! YES!

Can I just say that we have this in our car...and it is AWESOME!

It will go perfectly with your Worship Wednesday sweet Angela Miller!

Thank you for donating this prize, Angela Crowe! :)

New give-away coming soon, girls! Get ready!

Happy Week-ending!

Love and more love!


Friday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Acts 28

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls! Want to know something FUN? We will have our SHINE weekday give-away drawing this afternoon! Yay!

I LOVE give-aways!

Today ends our reading in Acts. I'm a little bummed. I love Paul. He's a rock star in my book. Wouldn't you have loved to hang out with him and just let his fire and fervor rub off all over you?

Me too.

So, as I was driving my little dumplings to school yesterday, I call my sweet Lem. I am telling him to have a good day, and blah blah blah, and then BAM.

He starts bringing up money, and the gas card, and some other stuff that I cannot recall because my mind kind of went fuzzy.

If there is ONE thing that I do not ever want to talk about first thing in the morning, it is MONEY. Bottom line, it's not the best way to start off a day.

I like rainbows and sunrises and red birds and butterflies.... not talk of spending money, or to be more specific, me spending too much money. 

The kids were all squished in the car, so I was trying to respond kindly back to him. Before I said something that I would definitely regret, I hung up on him. YES, shamefully, I did.

Joseph said, "Mommy, you didn't tell Daddy good-bye. What happened?"

I lied and told him that we got disconnected. (shame on me!)

Let me clarify something about my wonderful marriage: Lem likes to save, I like to spend. End of story.

Before I go further, let me just say that I was in the wrong. I knew I was in the wrong. Shoot.

As soon as I hung up on him, I knew I should not have done that. I knew I should have bowed my head in humility and owned up to my poor stewardship.

Not 2 minutes after me hanging up on my darlin' husband, I get an email notification on my phone. I'm still driving at this point, so I wait to check it when I get to the carpool line.

Lo and behold, it was an email from a precious SHINE girl telling me how much SHINE encouraged her each morning and what a blessing it was to her.

I could feel the Holy Spirit prompting me to make amends with Lem. This email was my reminder that although this online ministry is wonderful, if my home life is all out of whack, then everything else will be out of whack as well.

Are you following me? Sometimes, I have been so spread thin, and so bent on doing things "my way", wanting to make others think that I can do it all--and do it all well,  that my family has gotten the left-overs of me. NOT good.

Girls, I know it's hard when the world is pulling you to be involved in this, and be a member of that, and be the president of this, or the organizer of that. It makes my head spin to think of all of the things beckoning for our time and attention. There is nothing wrong with being involved. Nothing.

But, girls, the Lord has put some very specific people in our paths to take care of first and foremost. For me, it is my Lem,  my Joseph, my Presley, and a handful of others in my very inner circle.

It's not always a very glorious position. Especially to the world. To the world, tending to our flock just isn't quite enough. Often we believe the lie. We then spread ourselves thin, because the world says we should. We should be super-woman, according to the world. We should be able to do it all, and do it all perfectly. With a glossy little smile!

It's a lie. God never calls us away from our flock. Our flock is our treasure, girls.

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:21

With all my heart I believe that if I am taking the best care that I can of my little flock, then I will have the Lord's overflow to be able to minister to others. BUT, if I am helping everyone,  always available for everyone, doing this, doing that, and volunteering for everything under the sun....guess who will suffer??

My family will suffer. My flock. 

When I get to Heaven and get to meet Jesus, He will ask me how well I took care of my sheep. My flock.

Friend, you may not be a momma, you may not be a grandmomma, or you may never be.  However, we ALL have some very specific "sheep" in our paths. God has put them in our care very purposefully to tend to.

Maybe your flock includes a sibling, a grandparent, a parent, a neighbor, a co-worker, a friend in your path....maybe it's your husband. 

Ministering to others, serving those in our little circle, that is what we are called to do, girls.

When we are doing this the very best we can, I believe He then can broaden our circle. (if He chooses)

"If you are faithful in little things, 
you will be faithful in large ones. "
Luke 16:10

Again, it's the narrow road to be able to find contentment (as Kim so wonderfully posted about on Tuesday) and joy in pouring ourselves into those God has placed in our paths instead of stretching ourselves so thin that nothing is really done well. When stretched that thin, we are really not good for anything. Just tired, worn-out, and exhausted.
(i know this from experience!)

Our Friday Challenge:

Pray today about the sheep in your care. If you are not sure who they are, ask the Father. He will gladly point them out to you. Ask the Lord to show you how to best take care of them. If you have neglected them in any way, ask Him to forgive you and then move on. I challenge you to hone in on the sheep in your path. Minister to them, tend to them. Out of the overflow of His Love pouring out from you,  you will be refreshed and able to give more. Isn't that cool?

"Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be, not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away."
 2 Peter 5:2-4

tending sheep,


Aug 23, 2012

Thursday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Acts 27

Happy Serve-Day Thursday, sweet SHINE girls! I challenge you to serve someone today. Serve them a compliment, a kind gesture, a random blessing, anything. Just serve. The blessing will fall right back on YOU.

Isn't God cool like that? When we bless others, He in turn, blesses us. Ahh!

So, I was mopping my floors yesterday. Yes, you know by now that when I mop, God speaks to me. Every.Single.Time.

I used to mop with music on, but now I keep the house silent so that I can clearly hear Him. Oh, girls. Does He talk to me!

Not always what I want to hear, but He speaks none the less to this little heart of mine.

Yesterday, I was talking to Him right back. He and I were going over some "things" that He has been dealing with me about. It's been several months now, and we are still "dealing" with these things.

You would think I would be good to go, and on my way by now. But, as you know, I can be hard-headed and rebellious at times. Which only, in turn, slows the growing process. Shoot.

Let me let you in on a little secret. I like validation. I do! I love to be affirmed, encouraged, and liked! (don't we all?)

Well, here is the problem with that. I have always looked for my validation from "people", rather than God.

Yes, I said it. Out loud. Kind of.

Whether it was from my older sister, my Momma, my Daddy, my friends, my husband, , my kids....I craved it. Like a drug, I craved it.

And, to be quite honest, I still do sometimes.

Here is the problem: God wants me to crave HIS validation alone. 

Girls, it is hard. Like, really hard.

In the past, I have gotten myself into some big messy jams, because of my wanting -to -please- people ways.

I was one big fat hot mess.

Well, the Lord took His big red marker and circled this part of me and basically said, "Umm, sweetie, we are getting rid of this. It's not good for you. It's not good for anyone. Hang on tight, because we are doing some surgery on this part of you."

Oh my.

It has been hard, my friends. SO stinking hard at times. I have had to wean myself off of some things and some behaviors that were just not His best for me. So hard. But so worth it.

Yesterday, I went to an exercise class that involves a bike. It's called "spinning". Hot, sweaty, and tired,  I heard the instructor say to stand up and keep your bootie close to the seat of the bike. Well, if you know anything about spinning, you know that keeping your bootie close to the bike while standing and peddling is hard. It burns. Badly.

It would be easier to bounce around instead of having a controlled stance hovering that bootie over the seat.

But, guess what? The power, the muscle, the strength comes when our booties stay hovered and start burning. That's where the sweet spot is.

At that very moment, bootie hovering over the seat and all, I heard the Lord tell me:  just like my bootie staying close to that seat, He needs me to stay close to Him.

I'm not gonna lie, it can be painful at times. It goes against the very grain of this world--and our flesh--to stay close, like really close, to Him.

Girls, you know exactly what I mean. Sometimes, we get curious and think it will be fun to tip-toe out of the realm of His presence and protection just to see what's going on over there.

Don't do it.

Just like with Him molding me to depend on Him for validation, He is molding us ALL for excellence. He is molding us to stay close to Him. To crave only Him and not the world.

It feels good to be "wanted", and "needed", and "desired", and "talked about", and "praised" by the world...doesn't it? Oh, but that is the furthest place He wants us to be, sweet friends.

I honestly did not even realize my "addiction" to this approval thing until He started weaning me away from it. Oh, sweet girls, it has been a sucker punch to my flesh. But, a much needed one.

We, as His SHINE girls, read one chapter of His word a day. Just one. It doesn't seem like a whole heck of a lot, but oh girls, it is. It is molding us. Word by word, chapter by chapter, day by day. He is changing us--slowly, deeply, and beautifully.

I know some days can be hard to find the time to hover with Him. Everything is thrown at us and we are just too busy to stay hovered. Fight it, my friend. Busyness is the devil's playground. Fight for Your Man, Jesus. Seek that time with Him. Make it your priority, girls. Let Him wean you away from anything that is hindering your walk with Him.

Let that bootie of yours burn if you have to while you hover with Him, sweet girl. I know the burn, I know it well.

I know it's hard to stay on the narrow road when everyone else is having (or seeming to) a jolly old time on the big wide road.

Oh, friend. There is only emptiness there. Trust me on that one.

I have learned that lesson all too well with this "validation" struggle.

 I would crave the approval of others, get my fill, only to need it again so quickly it would make your head spin.

However, when I look to Him, and not the world,  for my validation, I find a never-ending supply of fulfillment. Oh, and it feels so good.

He is teaching me, daily, to stay close to that well of fulfillment. Not to look back and revert to my old ways of being an approval addict. There is nothing there. Only emptiness.

Girls, whatever is tempting you to bounce off the narrow road and onto the highway that leads nowhere, I urge you to stay hovered with Him. You are not missing a thing. I promise you that.

Our strength, our power, our peace, our purity, our grace......only comes by hovering right there next to Him. Stay hovered, despite the invitation of this world to come and play.

"'Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 28-30

What do you say, girls? Hover, anyone?

finding that sweet spot,


Aug 22, 2012

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Acts 26

Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE girls! Celebrate the Lord today by worship! Turn up the music and praise Him loudly! It feels so good!

 Speaking of Worship Wednesday...have you entered the SHINE weekday give-away we posted? If not, go here, and comment, and be entered to win an awesome prize! Drawing will be this Friday!

Today, my friend, Samantha Schlund, is posting. I love this girl. She never ceases to amaze me with her boldness and her faith in the Lord.

She is also one of our SHINE Prayer Partners. Which means, she prays for ALL of you....every day! See, don't you love her already?

Be blessed by Sam's post today. I know you will.

Samantha and her beautiful daughter, Ryan.
Once saved, always saved??
By: Samantha Schlund

Once saved always saved?? I have seen this question weekly on a church sign for a couple of months now. It got me thinking....I have some people in my life that say they are believers (saved) but you would not recognize them or the way they live their lives as believers, I have some in my life that accepted Christ in preteen or teenage years but in their adult years have turn their backs to God and say they are unsure, now unwilling to acknowledge what they once believed, and then I recently had a conversation with a family member about this very subject.  So I have thought about it a good bit lately, I have looked it up online and read both sides of the argument some say yes, some say no.....both sides using scripture to back up their argument. So, this is my opinion....based on what I have read, but more based on how I have lived in my life since I was saved 12 and a half years ago. 

I think we are asking the wrong question - I think the question should be once you are saved will you chose to surrender?? See I believe that once you are saved...(once you have accepted and acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior) you are are forever His.  I know from personal experience that He does not leave you nor forsake matter what! This is not to say that believers are without sin - we are ALL sinners, with one sin not being any greater than the next in Gods eye. This does not mean that being a believer makes you without or immune to the consequences of your sin in this world or in eternity. We will all stand before God on judgement day....ALL of us, those that have accepted Jesus Christ and those that have not.    

At 25 years old I understood that I was offered the gift of salvation because of the great love and sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. I understood that my "good" deeds would never be enough for me to enter heaven - that my sin ever how large or small meant I fell short and someone had to pay that it me or my Savior.  I will never forget the way I felt that day, it was amazing, it was wonderful and freeing - I literally told everyone I came across  -including the elderly couple I was showing a home later that afternoon :) But those that knew me between the ages of 25 to 34 will tell you that I certainly did not live as if I believed that there was anything after this life on earth....I made many poor, very ill advised, regretful decisions in my life. To be honest, looking back there were times that I made so many bad seems that I was ONLY making bad choices. There were consequences in this life for those choices and there very well may be consequences in heaven...but I am certain that losing my salvation is not on the list. Salvation is a gift for your acknowledgement and belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that His death on the cross and then His resurrection was payment for your sin. The Lord sees and knows your heart, you can not hide anything from Him. He knows if you truly believe just as He also knows when you are fully surrendered. 

I can tell you that the first time I called out to Him at 25 years old...truly called out, He answered me and led me to the church were I received the precious gift of salvation. I can tell you that every single time I cried out to Him after that first time He always answered...I did not always listen, but He was always there, always faithful, He never once left me and was patiently waiting on my surrender.....and I am sure heart broken at my refusal of Him, heart broken at my rebellion. Had you asked me during that time if I was going to heaven should I die, I probably would have  answered you "yes"...but in my heart I was not certain, because I knew that I was living my life as if the only thing that mattered was the moment I was currently in. Proof of this fact is that several years ago we had a "earthquake" in Atlanta...maybe you remember it if you were in the area in I think 2002...anyway, I awoke from a dead sleep to my dog freaking out and my armoire rattling - an overall weird feeling...and my first thought "It must be the rapture, and I just got left behind" Seriously...I am not making this up!! I thought Jesus came for His people and left me in my bed because of how poorly I was living my life. 

However today, looking back,  I can tell you that I am certain that had my day come to pass during those years that heaven was my destination because I accepted the gift of salvation. Remember the criminal hanging on the cross next to Jesus just before his death having lived a life he acknowledged deserved his punishment of death on the cross? That criminal (sinner) recognized Jesus as God. At his acknowledgement Jesus said to him " I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:40-43) Because salvation is a GIFT, we can not earn it. 

Only in the past couple of  years can I also testify that if/when you make the commitment to follow the Lord, when you lean into Him, trust Him, communicate with Him....simply surrender to Him - everything in you changes. Your life here on earth is different - not without trials, hurt, & confusion but you have a peace, hope and security that is completely absent without your surrender to Him. Without your searching for God's truth and will in your are living a life (many times) as if there is nothing on the other side, that all that matters is right here right now...and you miss out on your BEST life here on earth (which is His best for you) while preparing for your place in heaven. 

I believe that if you accepted Christ into your heart and accepted the gift of salvation....fully understanding the sacrifice made on your behalf as payment for your sin - then you are saved once and for all, no matter if you were 5, 25, 55 or 75 when this happened. Once saved always saved!! And you are called to live a different life, you are called to follow the teachings of the Lord, you are expected to love the Lord God with ALL of your heart and then demonstrate God's love to everyone around you. We are called to work daily on our relationship with our Creator, called to reflect Him when others look upon us, called to be unafraid to speak God's truth while remaining gracious, loving and non judgemental. We are called to shine so brightly that everyone around us is drawing closer to the Lord. We are called to live our lives being true and authentic. We are called to pray and seek the Lord!  You (me, all of us) will will sometimes flat out fall on your butt! But once you have surrendered to Him it is easier to get up, dust off and try again....because you know your future is secure. That there is absolutely NOTHING that can separate you from Him! (That makes me smile, with a lump in my throat, full of gratitude! THANK YOU Jesus!)

So I think the better question is - once saved will you seek His word, guidance, and will?? will you surrender your life? Do not question the priceless gift He has offered, instead focus on Him, draw closer to Him so we can be shaped by Him to reflect His love to others until the day comes when we stand before the throne. 

Much love!!!! 


Aug 21, 2012

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Acts 25

Good morning, SHINE girls! 

I hope you are getting comfy with the book of Acts and rolling around in the goodness found there. Paul inspires, doesn't he? Oh, man, I cannot wait to see him at the pearly gates one day. I have a lot to say to this fella. :)

My long, long, long, long time friend, Kim Jaynes, is posting today here on SHINE! 


I love sweet Kim. She is a go-getter, a wife, a mother of 3, a teacher, and a wonderful friend. Kim is the kind of girl who can do anything she puts her sweet mind to. Did I mention she has a heart the size of Texas? Yep, she does.

She makes me feel lazy when I'm around her, because she is so high-energy. I LOVE this about her! 

Kim shares a very timely story regarding contentment. Wherever you are in this season of  life, contentment can be found. Get ready girls, some precious wisdom coming up. Grab your coffee and absorb the goodness.

For all my "visual" is Kim with her beautiful family!
Don't ya like having a face with a name? :)

Tuesday SHINE
by: Kim Jaynes

Summer is over and it is back to the school schedule!!

Back to work, homework, meetings, open house, soccer, football, dance, gymnastics, band, school supplies, paperwork, scheduling worries, emails, turning stuff in, housework, laundry, dinner---oh my, what’s for dinner?, bath time, bed time, and....and on and on!

If I gave you a Stress-o-meter to gauge your level of stress, what range would you be in right now? (scale of 1-10 with 10 being most stressed)

Be honest, you are the only one who will know your answer!

I am at a 10+ ---at least!

I am talking headaches, tight shoulders, and tired, grumpy, irritated stress! YEP!

Let me rewind to last week for a minute to just show you how cool God is (and I did not share all of this with the morning group)-

Last Thursday- I ordered the books, What Women Fear, for our Tuesday morning prayer breakfasts at school and had started planning for the breakfast. I had my list going--- Introduce our book, discuss our reading plan and such--it was ALL on my list (which I lost)!

Well, when Sunday rolled around and I had not received my email confirmation that the books had shipped ......the stress increased!

I started rationalizing all the reasons I just did not have time for doing this thing on Tuesday mornings at 7am this year! 

Then, as if He was right in front of me, God sent me a clear message.....give it to me, I got this!

Ok….I will put something together, was my thought!

In the essence of time or lack thereof........I started asking God to lead to me to a verse or anything that would benefit the group for this morning.

As I sat in church Sunday evening with Cali asleep on my lap (after spending the night off and swimming all day), I laid my Bible next to me with one hand and I lost my spot from what the Pastor was discussing.  Grrrrrr…now one handed I must find my spot……but wait…..the Bible flipped open to Philippians!

My eyes were drawn to a verse that had been highlighted at some point and some notes I had jotted down under the verse from a Priscilla Shrier simulcast.  I read the verse and the notes and thought, thank you God....this is good!!

The weekend continued business as usual! Then, Monday came and the migraine that entered my brain about 2pm was planning that night for the next day did not work out!

Seriously, I needed to get it together for Tuesday time for a headache!  I felt as if satan was doing all he could to keep me from doing anything productive for the breakfast!

Again, in my mind I had started worming my way out of facilitating the prayer breakfast! Thoughts went from- I am back full time, three kids involved in 482 activities, husband overloaded with his work,  housework, grocery shopping and cooking, commitments here and there, blah blah blah……to..... I can let Jenny take over, she can do it (love ya JH).

As I rushed around that morning something kept telling me to get a book I had been reading! I went out to my car without the book and thought I am already late and not going back in!  It is ok I got my verse and we will keep it short and sweet!

I hustled out of the house towards my car...UGH....Dylan had parked behind me! So back in I went! As I did.....the nudging to get the book returned! So I grabbed it!

Finally got to school realizing I had forgotten to remind Mrs. Madeline I was coming early so, door was locked!  AM I EVER GOING TO MAKE IT IN?……was running through my mind!

6:56am I get in my room!  YES!!

I flipped open this book for some ideas that would add to the discussion for the morning and, I KID YOU NOT, the first page I turned to had the exact same verse as the one I had been drawn to at church on Sunday evening! In the book I had underlined the verse and placed a sticky note right beside it months ago! 

OK, now if God wasn't telling me to focus on this verse, then I was officially losing it!

Here is the verse……….
10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:10-12

Contentment in every situation.....EVERY?  I need to learn to be satisfied in any and every situation? 

I am supposed to be content when nothing I had planned had gone right! When every obstacle in my path slowed me down and I was so unprepared for Tuesday morning!

YEP, that appears to be what is says!

But I don't wanna!!<(insert pitching of fit-haha)>
The fact that Tuesday morning and my plan for the prayer breakfast had NOT fallen into place at all was because God had other plans!

Unfortunately for me, I had allowed quite a few outside forces and distractions to consume me the days leading up to Tuesday morning!

Seriously, I know we all have so much to do as moms, wives, daughters, and friends! So little time to achieve the tasks we are given much less the things we want to do! I also know that there are many people around us with so much going on in their lives that it makes my problems seem petty and insignificant!

Guess what?

God is not surprised by any of the things that come our way but he does charge us with the tasks of relying completely on Him. He has it all planned out! He has written the script for our life but we have to let him be the director! If our faith is strong, He will carry us through any season of life BUT in those seasons we must learn to be CONTENT, satisfied! 

He also wants us to be grateful! And have an attitude of gratitude!!

Unfortunately, it seems I am pre-programmed to an automatic attitude of INgratitude when times get tough!  I focus on the bad, not the good! I let the negative consume me!  Anyone relate?

In the book (the one I grabbed that morning) One Thousand gifts, the author, Ann Voskamp, makes it her mission to find blessings in ALL seasons of life both the good and the bad!  She uses the Greek work Eucharisteo which means to be grateful, feel thankful, to give thanks, thanksgiving.  She has typed this word was right under that same Philippians verse in her book!

A spirit of thanksgiving!!

OK on top of being satisfied I am to also be grateful!?? Thankful for what I have, thankful for blessings even when I am in a state of chaos!

The Bible refers to giving thanks 37 times in the New Testament!
Guess that is a pretty important topic for God! ;o)

This is going to require some work on my part and some intentional focus on putting God first! 

We are intentional in other areas of our lives so shouldn’t we work to be just as intentional with our relationship with God!? Think about it……we want to loose weight---we are intentional in diet and exercise, we want our day to run smoothly---we are intentional in our lesson planning, we intentional about nice clothes---so we spend money at the mall! 
But, in the end, none of those provide true contentment…….. Do they???

So here is my challenge for you……………in all situations……be intentional on being CONTENT and GRATEFUL with what God has given! We are promised blessings and we are blessed!  But, often times we miss out on or overlook the blessing(s) because our focus is off or we have an attitude of ingratitude!

I leave you with the words of Priscilla Shrier that I jotted down in my Bible under Philippians 4:10-12:
…in abundance or in need we must learn to be content. Through this contentment, “I can do all things through Christ”!  Not because what I have is sufficient but because MY GOD IS SUFFICIENT!

You, too, can do all things through Christ!!

Love you all,


Aug 20, 2012

Monday SHINE....

Reading Plan for the week of 8/20-8/24:
  • Monday 8/20: Acts 24
  • Tuesday 8/21 Acts 25
  • Wednesday 8/22: Acts 26
  • Thursday 8/23: Acts 27
  • Friday 8/24: Acts 28
Happy Monday, SHINE girls! What better way to start off our week than in God's Word! Hello! Nothing gets a week on track like soaking up our Lord and His Word!

Do you want to be revived this week? Do you need power this week over something going on in your life? Do you need strength to make it through this day, let alone this week? 

Are you craving some peace? Are you craving His presence, perhaps because you feel so alone? Are you in need of a big ol' dose of joy? Are you fighting a battle that seems like it will never ever end?

Girls! You came to the right place! The ONLY place! God's Living Word!

I encourage you to do your reading this week. Let it be your first priority. Spend some time putting Him first in your day. It makes all the difference in the world!

When you feel like you just cannot take another step forward, my friend, call on the name of Jesus. Oh, sweet  girl, He will carry you. Just let Him.

At the bottom of this post, I posted 2 scriptures. The second scripture (Psalm 91) is the one that I pray over my family every single morning. I want to pray it over all of you today as well. I encourage you to read it, and pray it out loud. Pray it over your loved ones, sweet girls. Powerful. 


Hear our prayer. Oh, how we adore You! The Maker of Heaven and Earth, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

We bow down in complete adoration of You, Lord. 

Father, our burdens are heavy. We cannot face this life without You. Pick us up and carry us. We need rest in Your big, strong arms. 

Revive us, Lord. Renew our minds and our hearts today. Breathe Life into our lungs so that we can face this week with Your Power. 

Oh, how we need You. Nothing else will do. Nothing.

We love you, Father. 

In Jesus name, Amen.

Psalm 85:6
" Will you not revive us again,
    that your people may rejoice in you?"

Psalm 91

1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 They say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, 
    my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
    from the fowler’s snare 
    and from the deadly pestilence. 
4 He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge; 
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
    nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
    nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
    ten thousand at your right hand,
    but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
    and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
    and you make the Most High your dwelling,
10 no harm will overtake you,
    no disaster will come near your tent.
11 For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways; 
12 they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
    you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because they love me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue them;
    I will protect them, for they acknowledge my name.
15 They will call on me, and I will answer them;
    I will be with them in trouble,
    I will deliver them and honor them. 
16 With long life I will satisfy them
    and show them my salvation. ”

Aug 19, 2012

Prayer Requests and Praises for the week of 8/19-8/26....

Please leave your prayer requests and/or praises in the comment section under this post. If you have trouble leaving a comment, please email your request to, and we will be happy to post your request for you.

Girls, prayer is powerful. It is what draws His will into our lives. Oh, the power in praying, girls! Huge!

"Now faith is confidence in what we hope for
 and assurance about what we do not see."
- Hebrews 11:1 

Aug 17, 2012

Friday SHINE...

 Today's reading: Acts 23

Good morning SHINE girls! This is Rebekah. We are more than half way through Acts and it's jam packed with faith in action. You guys, it deserves a SHINE post.  :)

Seeds of Boldness… what I’m (still) learning from Acts-
Rebekah Vepraskas
The disciples are poster boys for out loud faith. Aren't they?! Boy, do they inspire me.  Luke chronicles these “acts” of the Apostles-- The verbs of the Apostles. The bottom line of who they were. 
I am trying to use these seeds of boldness in my life to build my faith, walk and witness to others. But... I have a confession. (I am horrible.) 

I used to bristle under my mother’s request to "pray for a problem" over the phone. It was always my problem, by the way, she was being such a sweet friend to me. But, I ran from prayer. Ugh--- it drove me crazy! I would actually (sometimes) tell her "no, I can't." Granted, sometimes, I was at work and unable to stay on the phone, but often I was just annoyed. Do you know what she did? She told me “that’s fine, darling, hang up and I will call you back and pray on your voice mail” and she suggested I could listen later and agree with her in prayer. As much as it annoyed me, she planted a seed in my life, a seed to pray. I wasn’t a very good prayer partner years ago, but it has made me much more willing to use that muscle of prayer today and pray. A work in progress! That's me! So, I am learning from Acts...
  •  The GIFT- The Holy Spirit for us all- Acts opens with Jesus giving this gift to His disciples.  From then on, the Holy Spirit has been available as our comforter and peace. I think the Holy Spirit is a strength giver, too.  He gives strength in our faith, strength in our boldness, strength in our walk—Strength in our “Acts.”
  • The Lord uses challenges to spread FAITH in HIM- The Apostles or disciples would tell the good news and then often flee for fear of imprisonment or death.  This only spread the WORD faster. The disciples didn’t stop telling the GOOD NEWS when trying times came. Their message was constant even when their homeland was not.
  • Keeping our message constant- This grows the faith of others’ tremendously.  When we share our faith through adversity, others are amazed, surprised by the positive threads of hope in the face of a huge challenge.  I think of believers with life threatening illnesses. How inspiring is their faith in adversity? That unexplainable peace attracts so many to Christ. We have a friends (David Boyd, Stuart Smartt, Caroline Ingle St. John, Linnetta Foster) whose cancer battles were the beginning of a rich Christian walk for so many. Especially me. How we respond to life impacts others' lives.
  • The act of boldness {Talk about Jesus} It’s not easy. (But, not nearly as hard as the job the Apostles set out to accomplish!) We live in a world devoid of Christ. It’s so foreign to even hear small symbols of faith in our language and conversations with each other. Does it have to be? This is what I am trying-- Even at work, my kids' schools, with my neighbors and strangers at the grocery store.
Good Luck="God Bless You"
That’s Lucky!="What a blessing!"
A trying time=“God can turn this to good!”
A huge raise, a new job="That's God’s provision"
A friend calls with a huge challenge=(A chance to pray)
  • PRAY- When a friend calls with an insurmountable problem. Exercise Prayer. Engage God in the equation. When we pile on, validate and commiserate without prayer for our friend-- our friend is left with diminishing hope. Listen and pray. He is our Help. We are not each others' help. Talking is great, praying is better. We are often distracted on our way to God by our friends. If we pray together, we are suddenly back on track.
  • They were flexible in the Holy Spirit – In Acts, Chapter 8, Philip was riding along (at the Holy Spirit’s prompting) with an Ethiopian man. Philip was “telling him of the good news about Jesus…” Acts 8:35. They passed by water and the Ethiopian man asked if he could jump out and be baptized by Philip. They did and the man was miraculously changed. Wow! Would we all see the water we are passing as water that held purity and sanctification? Being willing to follow the Holy Spirit is huge. No matter how unlikely it may seem.
  • Forgive others- The disciples were misunderstood, lied about, stoned, imprisoned, bullied… they forgave. They kept on doing the will of God, spreading His message. If we are distracted by the wrongs of others, it only delays our growth in Christ. If the disciples had gotten distracted by how hostile people were toward the good news, the good news would have been a fire fizzling out---Others are wrong, we must get over it. Go, forgive and ask God for direction, He promises to make our paths straight. What if the love you extend to the unlovely is the only grace they ever experience. What if they saw Jesus in you?
  •   Our Acts- Now, what are the Acts of SHINE girls? If Luke were to write a book about us, what would it say? How are we living? What are our verbs? We know what we do says a whole lot about who we are. We must stay focused on ourselves and our own lives and grow in Faith and Relationship with God. It's the tip of the iceberg. But, it's faith in action.
Dear Holy Spirit come near, please, we need You. Fill us with goodness, peace, hope and love. Help us to reflect our faith and love in Jesus Christ. Sanctify and purify our hearts. Help our actions to speak boldly of our life in Christ. It all takes boldness. Help us to be bold, Dear God. Give us the strength we need to persevere in our faith and bring Glory to Your Name, in  Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love you girls!

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