Feb 27, 2013

Wednesday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Hebrews 9:1-15

Happy Worship Wednesday!

In light of yesterday's post, I have a Worship Wednesday video to share.

I told my children on the way to school yesterday that God's angels were surrounding them day and night. They have nothing to fear at school, or late at night in their little beds. The enemy cannot touch them because they belong to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Do you, yes you, believe this to be true?

Just in case you are not sure, check out Psalm 91:11:

"For he will command his angels concerning you
    to guard you in all your ways"

If this doesn't give you reason to stand up and worship today, I don't know what will!

Whatever you are facing today, remember and believe His Angel Armies are surrounding you. The enemy cannot penetrate what belongs to God. You belong to the Father. Oh, what joy! 

Rest in this Truth, sweet friend. You are surrounded by God's angels. You are His. 

I was at Passion Church the very first time Chris Tomlin played this song. I know it was God's love song to me, personally.

It's also His song to you. 

Take a minute, and soak up the Truth in these words.

whom shall we fear,


Feb 26, 2013

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Hebrews 8

Good morning, SHINE girls!

As I was reading Hebrews 7 yesterday, I came across a passage that jumped right up at me and hit me straight in the face.

"He sacrificed for their sins once and for all when he offered himself." Hebrews 7:27

I had to read it again to fully receive the Power of this verse God was speaking into my heart.

Let me explain.

I have struggled greatly with fear. This is no secret to many of you because I have poured my heart into the pages of this blog regarding this very thing. I have also spoken to and tried to minister to many girls regarding this struggle and how He has helped me to overcome it.

God has given me Victory over fear.

However, there are days that I forget I am Victorious over this.

There are days when my mind runs rampant with irrational thoughts and scenarios. On these days, I am not "taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ", as 2 Corinthians 10:5 clearly tells me to do.

A year and a half ago, I mistakenly told another struggling friend: "fear is just my thing. it's my struggle."

Looking back to that conversation, I was so wrong.

Back to Hebrews 7:27...

God's translation for me, Jill Hill: "I died already for that sin. This is not yours to carry. Fear was nailed on that cross with Me. Once and for all."

I have learned that there will be days where my mind will wander. It will go to those dark places of fear and worry. I am human, after all.

However, He has taught me that it's not mine to carry. It never was. I have a choice whether I want to "live there" in those thoughts, or believe His Promises and Trust in Him in all things.

My daughter told me just yesterday that she hated the night time. She cried and told me that she feared a bad person coming into her room and killing her. She said she prayed over and over and over at night and still felt scared.

I looked into her tearful blue eyes and asked her if she trusted Jesus to take care of her.

At that very moment, my heart skipped a beat.

In that moment, I heard Jesus whisper to me, "I ask you the same thing, Jill. Do you trust me? Do you trust Me to take care of you?"

Suddenly, I was telling her all of the things that I needed to hear for myself.  Every word I spoke to her was like I was speaking to myself in a mirror, reaffirming them in my very own heart.

I don't know what your struggle is, friend. However, I do know what it's NOT. It's  not yours.  It's His. It was nailed on that cross.

I'm not saying that we won't struggle. Oh, we do and we will.

However, we have the power and the access to walk in Victory because of Him.

Do you find yourself saying the same prayer over and over regarding a particular struggle? If so, let me encourage you: He's already heard that prayer and He's already answered, my friend.

He answered it on that cross. Once and for all.

"therefore, He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them." Hebrews 7: 25

Walk with me today in Victory, sweet friend. You don't have to feel victorious to know it's True. It's just True. God's Word tells us so.

"For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin." Romans 6:6-7

once and for all,


Feb 25, 2013

Monday SHINE....

Reading Plan for Week of 2/25-3/3:

  • Monday 2/25:  Hebrews 7:15-28
  • Tuesday 2/26:  Hebrews 8
  • Wednesday 2/27: Hebrews 9:1-15
  • Thursday 2/28: Hebrews 9:16-28
  • Friday 3/1: Hebrews 10:1-18
  • Saturday 3/2: Hebrews 10:19-39
  • Sunday 3/3: Hebrews 11:1-22
Happy Monday, SHINE girls!

First and foremost, a HUGE birthday wish to my precious Momma! 

Without you, this little post could NOT be possible. Thank you for encouraging me to  pursue writing & blogging--but mostly to pursue the Lord. You knew my strengths way before I ever did. {as mothers always do!}

I love you and I thank God for you every day. {I'm even okay with my kids loving you a lot little more than they love me. I get it. Completely.} 

So, SHINE friends, for the last two months I have felt my heart pressed for us to learn the Beatitudes. Together.

{yes, you read that right}

I keep turning to them over and over in my Bible. It's no coincidence, it's His leading. Who am I to argue?

Let's follow Him, shall we?

The Beatitudes come from The great Sermon on the Mount that Jesus spoke to His followers and disciples.

You can find the story in Matthew Chapter 5.

You may already know these gems, or you may not. 

However, I feel overwhelmingly led to learn them together with you as part of our Memory Mondays.

With that said, here is our Memory Verse for this week:

click on picture to share, download, or print :)

So, what exactly does it mean to be "poor in spirit'? 

I'm certainly not even close {as you well know} to being a bible scholar. 

However, in this case I believe it refers to the condition of our hearts.

I looked up the Message version of this verse and this is what it says:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

Not sure about you, but there are many days that I feel at the end of my rope.

Isn't it so true that when we are at the end of this rope, and on our knees, we cling and clutch to the Lord like never before?

Could this be what it means to be poor in spirit? Not to just cling to Him when we are desperate, but a daily clinging to Him and letting our flesh fall to the wayside?

As I type this, I envision us hanging on tightly to a cliff. God is our cliff. As we are hanging there, our possessions start falling off of us into a deep abyss. Our shoes are falling off, our backpacks, water bottles, all that was on our body is falling down, down, down.

Do we even care that it's falling away in that moment? We are so desperate to stay clutched to that cliff {the Father} that we happily let the baggage hanging from our bodies fall. We know what we need, the rest is dead weight.

In that moment, I believe we become poor in spirit. Emptying of ourselves to get more of Him.

Jesus said this in Luke 14:33:  “No one of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” 

I think Jesus means that our hearts must be so surrendered to Him that we would do whatever He asks in order to be with Him.

Many times we are willing to surrender things. However, we also tend to hold on tightly to things for fear of losing them. {this hits home in a BIG way with me.}

We can tend to put a value on these things and/or people over our value in Christ. At least until we are on that cliff, fully aware of the Only thing we need.

What are you hanging on to that needs to be surrendered to Him? What are you so fearful of losing that it is keeping you at arms length from the Father?

Remember the cliff? Arms length will do you no good. You need to be fully wrapped around Him in order to be truly surrendered. 

As I am typing this, the Lord is showing me some areas that I have not surrendered. Ouch.

shaking off the dead weight,


Feb 22, 2013

Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Hebrews 5:11-6:8

Weekend Reading: 

Saturday 2/23: Hebrews 6:9-20
Sunday 2/24: Hebrews 7:1-14

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls! Isn't Hebrews a breath of fresh air? I just love God's word. It's always fresh and always new.

Do you have your scripture memorized this week? Every day this week when I was getting dressed, I would think of being clothed in salvation and robed in righteousness. 

It kind of makes you stand a little taller, doesn't it?

This entire week, I have been really trying to focus on enjoying the small things around me. The small things and moments that I sometimes miss because I am preoccupied with "bigger" moments.

God has been showing me that our lives are  made up of small. All the small parts come together to form the big masterpiece portrait. It makes sense.

We can miss these seemingly small parts though because of our attraction to the "big" stuff.

Yesterday, I had some housework beckoning my attention. Instead, I took some time to go outside in the sunshine, sit in a well-worn chair, and write some letters to friends. The housework will always be there.

 In that moment, as the sun was warming my face, I was cherishing each person to whom the note was written. Quietly thanking God for these people that He has put in my life. Oh, the thankfulness that I had in just those few solitary moments.

Time stood still. Or so it seemed.

God was showing me to enjoy, Jill, enjoy.

One of my all time favorite authors, Ann Voskamp, says it best:

“I only live the full life when I live fully in the moment.” 

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

Take the time today to notice the small. Live fully in each moment.

Look out your window
Step outside and breathe some fresh air
Melt into a child's innocent eyes
Listen to others as they speak to you. Fully engage in that moment as they are speaking.
Pray over that laundry you are folding and give thanks for those that will be wearing them
Enjoy the trees and the scenery as you drive...wherever you are.

These are just a few suggestions. Your moments will be different. Make them your own, and live in them. You will be amazed at how different your day goes.

Cherish this day.

Every second.

noticing the small is not-so-small,


Feb 20, 2013

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Hebrews 3:7-4:13

Happy Worship Wednesday, sweet SHINE girls!

Get your worship on today, friends.  In all you do, worship your King! While you are getting dressed, driving, sitting in traffic, pouring your coffee, at the grocery store. Wherever your are, worship Him!

If we can truly get in the habit of continual worship to our Savior, imagine how our lives would be changed. Wow!

Speaking of change, Erin Davis is posting today about how scripture has changed her life.

Be blessed, be inspired, and be encouraged by sweet Erin. Love on this girl and pray for her. She is constantly praying for all of you. She is one of our dear precious SHINE prayer girls. You can check out more of her story from last May if you would like. Her post is found here.

Eva’s Verse
by Erin Davis

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

This is the first verse that Eva (my 5 year old daughter) and I memorized together! We took on the challenge from Jill to memorize scripture! On Monday mornings we can’t wait to get our verse. We start looking for it around 6:30am so we can write it on her bathroom mirror before we leave the house!

What is meant to be a fun, simple exercise for my daughter has turned out to be a life changing exercise for me! I have ALWAYS heard that God speaks to us through His word. And many of us have experienced this. However, I was not expecting Him to teach me SO VERY much about my life through such a short, simple verse.


"The Joy of the Lord is my strength"

It is no simple task to get a 5 year old to memorize something. We wake up and repeat the verse...and go over it while she brushes her teeth. We repeat it in the car in the mornings and again on the way home. I find myself repeating it at work as well. It is now a part of our everyday!

I then found myself wondering what this particular verse meant.

"The Joy of the Lord is my strength!"

Hmmmm.....it sounds nice ...but I don't really "get it".

That first Friday rolled around and Eva and I memorized our verse. We treated ourselves to a piece of candy or two (or in Eva's case 3 or 4) and went on our way. Life went on and more verses came.

Then the week before Christmas, our Pastor called and asked me to share my testimony in church as part of his sermon. He said that Chad (my sweet hubby) and I have been through a tough few years and he wanted me to share how God was getting us through. I told him that I would...hung up the phone...and started to think...

I took a few days to reflect on my life. I guess we have been through a lot in 24 months time:

  • - I lost my mom to cancer. She was my best friend and biggest fan! 
  • - Chad has been fighting a "mystery illness" for almost a year...which we still don't understand. We have heard terms such as rocky mountain spotted fever, pneumonia, pulmonary lesions, lupus, and wegners granulomatosis. (google it!) 
  • - Then a few short weeks after Chad got out of the hospital he lost his job. This was a job he was so excited about...a job that he worked hard for...a chance for financial freedom! It was a HUGE blow to his self-esteem and a MAJOR blow to our finances. 

So, I guess on paper all of that looks pretty rough.

But the reality is... It has not been.

You see, the day my mother died is the day I surrendered myself to Jesus. I decided to give my ENTIRE SELF to Him because the way I was living before just was not working for me. He woke me up and called my name! It was time!

I decided to follow Jesus on April 7th, 2011.

It has been 1 year, 9 months, and 29 days

...and friends ...life has NEVER.BEEN.BETTER

Please understand that I did not say that life has been easier because clearly it has not been easy.
However, circumstances that should have shattered my world and thrown me into darkness and despair did not and have not.

Instead I am OK, in fact, I am JOYFUL and STRONG and HAPPY!

Realizing this brings me back to that sweet, simple verse.

"The Joy of the Lord is my strength"

WOW! I understand! I get this verse now! This verse is my life.

So the next time a friend ask "how do you handle it all so well" or when someone says "I could never go through all of that!" I will simply say: "The JOY of the Lord is my strength". This verse is my life and it can be yours too!

With JESUS there is NO better way to live.

I encourage you to memorize the weekly bible verse and store it in your sweet little hearts…you never know what God might do with it!

I pray that each of you sweet girls surrender every aspect of your life to Jesus. Ask Him to show you how! And be on guard...because He most certainly will!

Our little Eva

Our family 

Feb 18, 2013

Monday SHINE.....

Reading Plan for week of 2/18-2/24:

  • Monday 2/18: Hebrews 2
  • Tuesday 2/19:  Hebrews 3:1-6
  • Wednesday 2/20:  Hebrews 3:7-4:13
  • Thursday 2/21:  Hebrews 4:14-5:10
  • Friday 2/22: Hebrews 5:11-6:8
  • Saturday 2/23: Hebrews 6:9-20
  • Sunday 2/24: Hebrews 7:1-14
Happy Monday, darling SHINE girls!

I've come to love Mondays. 

You think I'm crazy, right?

Here's why I love Mondays: We get a new Memory Verse. Plain and simple.

I cannot even begin to tell you how memorizing scripture has truly changed my life.

The kids and I started doing this about 3 years ago, and my life hasn't been the same since.

I'm going to be real. 

There are some days that I am in such torment from the enemy that all I can do is recite God's Word and His Truth over and over and over. 

There are days when the enemy uses every old predictable weapon he can manage to throw my way. 

When this happens, I go to my arsenal of scriptures hidden in my heart {knees shaking and teeth chattering} and I recite them over and over. Standing on the Power of His Truth.

 The enemy cannot stand the word of God being spoken, so he has to flee.

"Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil,
 and he will flee from you." James 4:7

I just looked up the word resist on my handy online dictionary. Here's what it says:

  • to exert force in opposition
  • to exert oneself so as to counteract or defeat 

Did you catch that? To exert force in opposition. Meaning, to be prepared in full defense mode. Meaning again, that the enemy is on the attack.

This is no surprise to us, right? We know the enemy wants to attack us because he wants us to shut our big mouths about the Lord. He wants us to be silent and be miserable and live in torment. 

Here's the good news: We win every time because we have God and His Word. Period. Battle over. Every single time God will win.  

However, we still need our tools {scripture} to counteract these attacks the moment they are fired at us. 

The enemy is very subtle. Sometimes we fall headlong into his path because we are not carefully walking in God's truth day in an day out. We are not on full alert with our arsenal of Truths attached firmly in place.

This is a trap door for many of us. We then revert back to old thinking, old lies and old sin. The enemy wants us to stay there in that mud and wallow around in that torment until we just cannot move.

However, when we know TRUTH, we know better. We know that we do not belong there in that mud pit. For heavens sakes, we are redeemed! We have been clothed in righteousness. Those old raggedy clothes have been burned and we are robed in His Grace, Righteousness, and Mercy!

I have tears rolling down my cheeks. This  just truly knocks me to my knees.

Our robes are beautiful, girls. They are pure, they are holy, they are made from Holy Cloth.

What do you tell children when they get new shoes? Stay out of the dirt and mud!


God tells us, His children, the same thing.

Sweet girl, stay out of the mud.

Walk in Truth with your robe draped around those precious shoulders barely able to hold up under the Glory and Splendor of His Grace.

The enemy will do his best to throw mud at us. To make us think we belong back in that mud pit.

It's a lie. A big one.

Walk in Truth. Walk in His Word.

Recite your memory verses over and over and over until you say them in your sleep.

Until we take our last breath, the enemy will be trying to throw mud on our pretty white robes.

However because of His Truth hidden deep in our hearts, we "shall be clothed in strength and dignity and laugh at the days to come", and we will continue to be "draped in His righteousness."

Our Memory verse this week is:

Envision your robe today, sweet girls. Take in the beauty of how the Father has adorned His daughter. 

It's a breathtaking sight.

staying clear of the mud,


Feb 15, 2013

SHINE Winner.....

Happy Fun Friday again, SHINE girls!

Pardon the interruption....but we have a SHINE girl drawing winner to get to!

My handsome fella drew the winning name today. 

Since it's Valentine's Week, I thought it only appropriate for him to do the honors. ;)

here's Lem!
thought you may want a visual.
we had a fun friday lunch date today.
this is us saying hello. to you.

So, Lem drew the winning SHINE girl......and the winner is......


Yay, Ashley!

This bracelet will be adorable on your cute little wrist!


New give-away coming soon! Stay tuned....

Happy Weekend, friends!

God bless you and be with you wherever you go.



Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Leviticus 26

Happy Fun Friday, SHINE girls!

I'll make this short and sweet so that you can get on with your sweet little day.

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

Let's make a point today to tune out the world and tune into Jesus.

I mean, really make a point.

We live in a day and an age where noise is just a part of our day. We even like noise when we sleep sometimes. {fans, t.v.'s, etc.}

Our ears have gotten so accustomed to noise that we kind of feel strange when we things are silent.

Turn off your phones, t.v., and radios for 10 minutes.

We are so connected to the world that we often end up disconnected with the Father.

Spend these 10 minutes soaking up your surroundings. Find God in the very place that you are. Listen with your eyes, and see with your spirit. He is there.

Inhale the sweetness of a quieted spirit and mind.

"...the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,
which is of great worth in God’s sight."
1 Peter 3:4
Be prepared....you will want to make this a daily habit. Once you experience the peace that comes with being silent before Him, you will desire it more and more.
tuning out,


Feb 14, 2013

A love note from God....

Today's Reading: Leviticus 25

Happy Thursday, SHINE girls! It's not just any old Thursday, it's Valentine's Day!

I'm not sure how you are feeling today. Some of you may love this day. Some of you may dread this day. Some of you think of today as just another Thursday, nothing special.

Wherever you are and whatever you think of this day, I have something to share with you.

Something that may make you stand up a little straighter, smile a little bigger, and feel a little warm and fuzzy in that pretty heart of yours.

This all came to me on Tuesday as I was getting 2 cavities filled. {yes, two}

I had asked a few friends for prayer because I abhor going to the dentist. I do. I really do. Nothing against my very nice dentist, but everything against that drill that he uses. Good gracious alive.

My sweet friends must have been on the line with the Lord the whole time on my behalf because I felt such a peace, despite the two {near} strangers peering over my wide open mouth. {With a drill or two.}

I sat in that chair in full peace and in full on conversation with God. Valentine's Day was on my heart and mind. I prayed for those of you that do not like this day. I prayed for those of you that love this day. I prayed for all of you who will read this. And those that may not read this.

As I prayed, I kept hearing His voice telling me that He wants me to tell you {yes you!} how much He loves you.

You may be married and happy. You may be married and miserable. You may be divorced. You may be separated. You may be dating. You may be single. You may be widowed.

Whoever you are, and whatever your worldly status....He wants you to know that you are taken. You belong to Him. Forever betrothed to your Prince Charming.

I'm going to try my best to express to you how He told me {as I was sitting in that dentist chair} just exactly how much He loves you.

A love note from the Father to you.

Here goes.

Princess of Mine,

Oh, how I adore the very breaths that you take. Every breath you let out, speaks an unspoken love song to my ears. Only I can hear the sound and make out the words. You don't even know you are speaking to me when you breathe, but if you only knew the intimacy we shared.

I'm surrounding you with every move that you make. Your presence will never escape the grasp of My arms around you.

Although I see how you struggle and strive, my grasp will never let you fall. You struggle even though you are settled peacefully in my Capable Hands.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. I made every aspect of your being. I knit you together piece by breathtaking piece. Even the things that you do not like about yourself, I made them to please Me. I made them because I wanted you to look exactly as you do.

If you only knew the delicacy of your design, you would never see yourself the same again. If you only knew the Joy I get from just one glimpse of you.

You are the apple of my eye. You and only you.

I'm all that you need. Truly, I am all that you will ever need.

Some days you understand this concept, but many days you do not. You search and strive for a person or a thing to fill the void in your heart that only belongs to Me.

You will never fill this void with anything other than Me. I designed you in this way.

I am jealous for you. Yes, I am jealous for you.

I long for you to quiet your mind and your heart and be with Me. I long for you to trust Me and to fall headlong into My waiting Arms. I long for You to see me in the Glorious landscape I designed for you and only you.

Each day, I beckon you to see Me. To hear Me. To speak to Me.

If you only knew the Love I have to give You every day. Your heart would not be able to understand the depths of this Love I have for you.

I love watching you sleep. Perhaps because you are truly at rest. Your heart is not worried or anxious.

You will never be out of my sight, precious one. I will never let you go.

Others will try to seduce you and lure you away from Me. They are my enemy.

I will fight for you. I died for you.

Do you see how much I love you?

You are my Princess. My beloved.

Feb 13, 2013

Wednesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Leviticus 24

Happy Worship Wednesday, SHINE girlies!

In celebration of Valentine's Day tomorrow and President's Day {and NO school!} on Monday....

I thought we should CELEBRATE!

What better way to celebrate than a SHINE weekday give-away!

It makes me so happy to GIVE away a PRIZE to one of you precious little things!!

This prize was donated by my Mother-in-Love...Jane.

She took me shopping on my birthday a few weeks ago. {yes, she's the best!}

As we were browsing a local Madison store {Teal Couture--great store!}, she saw this bracelet and said: "I want to get this for a SHINE give-away!"

Of course, I was thrilled. My head envisioned it dangling from one of your pretty little wrists.

isn't she lovely? she's light seafoamy green with a gold cross.
it would look great on YOU!
{for the record--it's been really hard not keeping it for myself. so serious. :)} 
I will draw a name this Friday, so get your name in the drawing!
Since it's Love week, I will be love-y and just let you leave your sweet name under the post in the comments. That's it. No hoops to jump through. Just your pretty little name.

Like this: Jill Hill 

Got it?

Easy, right?

Okay, sweet friends. Enjoy this Worship Wednesday! Sing loud and proud to your King today!

praising Him {and cherishing these last few days with the cute bracelet above},


Feb 12, 2013

Tuesday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Leviticus 23

Happy Tuesday SHINE girls! If you live in Georgia, you are probably reading this while the rain is pouring down outside of your window.

Rain used to make me sad. It would bring me down.

However, God has recently shown me that He is in all seasons and all weather! Literally and figuratively speaking. :)

Our God is in our Presence through it all. The Rain, The Sunshine, The Snow, the Hot and the Cold.

Don't you just love that?

Today, we have a beautiful SHINE girl sharing her story. Emily is one of our college SHINE sisters, and she is diligently seeking the Lord. Oh my goodness, how this blesses my heart!

I can only imagine what the Lord has planned for her precious little life. She is boldly and confidently pursuing His will for her life.

Her story shows that no matter where you are in life, God has plans for YOU. He is just looking for someone to say: "Yes, Lord."

Be blessed, inspired and encouraged by sweet Emily.

My Story
by: Emily DeJarnett

First, I want to say thank you to Jill and everyone who has posted on the SHINE blog. Even though I don’t know many of you, you all have taught me so much. Just being a junior in college, I’m still sheltered from a lot of the “adult stuff”; this blog gives me a lot of comfort about what’s ahead. Also, I really appreciate Jill giving me this opportunity to share what God has been doing in my life lately. It kind of happened by coincidence that we were going to reach out to one another at the same, time... of course, I don’t think it really just a coincidence. J I emailed Jill asking for some prayer about a big door God had opened recently and she encouraged me to take the big step and be prepared to see God produce some major fruit. She was so right.

To give a little back-story, last month I attended the 4-day Passion Conference in Atlanta with 60,00+ other 18-25 year olds.  When I tell you it was life changing, I really mean it. Looking around at the packed Georgia Dome filled with people my age seeking the Lord through worship and prayer and asking how our generation can glorify Him in HUGE ways cannot accurately be described in words. To be honest, I was expecting to experience your typical “high” and then get back to Athens and fall into my old patterns. Well clearly, that was not enough for God. Louie Giglio opened the conference with a sermon on the “immeasurably more” that God wants to do in our lives. That phrase, “immeasurably more”, was the string that connected every song, sermon, and scripture together throughout the week. In addition to the big group sessions, we were broken into community groups and then even smaller family groups for discussion, reflection, and prayer. During one of our breakout sessions, we spent time reflecting on Ephesians 3: 14-21.

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

I’ve heard these verses before in church and various bible studies… In fact, one of my bible study leaders ends our time together each week with these verses as her prayer for us (Again, not a coincidence). The words “immeasurably more” really stuck with me. During our family group time we all said we believed God is able to do the immeasurably more in our life but believing that He will was a lot harder. I mean, how much can God do through a bunch of 20 year old college students juggling school, social life, sorority, etc? But the reality is, is that most of the time, God is waiting on us to open ourselves to the work He wants to do, not the other way around.

I came back to school with this idea really heavy on my heart. I’ve gotten really frustrated in the past with God not “moving mountains” or doing extraordinary things. After venting my frustrations to my small group leader, she challenged me to start asking God to open my eyes to the “immeasurably more” He was ready to do in my life.

Fast-forward to 3 weeks later when I was with my mom at my grandparent’s house helping her care for my sick grandfather. My mom showed me an intercessory prayer card that my grandfather had received from a church in Madison that my parents don’t even attend. It was so clear how powerful prayer can be. It was like a like a light bulb went off. How much do I really spend in community praying together for the needs on our campus or within our friends? Not much. Prayer has always been something we end a bible study with and apart from that, we do it alone on our own time. I again thought back to Passion where we spent lots of time in prayer together and how amazing it was. It really opened my eyes to the power of prayer and how vital it is that we spend time praying together.

I unloaded all of these thoughts onto my small group leader at breakfast one morning. When she was finally able to get a word in, she asked if I would want to lead a weekly prayer meeting. I am definitely a talker but praying aloud is really uncomfortable for me. I always try to make my prayers sound so eloquent but I tend to get nervous and my words come out in a jumbled mess. But literally, this was God putting a billboard in front of my face basically saying, “I’m waiting on you!! Stop thinking and just do it!” It was so clear that I couldn’t not take this step.

So for the last few weeks, a group of about 10-12 girls have been meeting at 8am on Monday mornings for about 45 minutes to pray. We pray for our campus, our families, specific requests, or pretty much whatever that is on our hearts that day. I’d like to think we are becoming our own sort of intercessory prayer group. In just these few weeks, the impact has been incredible. Just this week, a friend that we had prayed for by name literally minutes before texted one of the girls in our group asking if she could go with her to the campus ministry meeting the next night. It really doesn’t get much clearer than that. This is the immeasurably more we have been praying for!!

I am really excited to see where things go with this prayer group over the next few weeks and hopefully months. I have no clue where God wants to take us but He has made it so clear to me that sometimes taking that first step is all He is looking for to do the immeasurably more in our lives

Emily & Friends at Passion 2013
From left: Kelly, Emily, and Emily DeJarnett 

Feb 11, 2013

Monday SHINE....

Reading plan for Week of 2/11-2/17:

  • Monday 2/11: Leviticus 21, 22
  • Tuesday 2/12:  Leviticus 23
  • Wednesday 2/13:  Leviticus 24
  • Thursday 2/14.: Leviticus 25
  • Friday 2/15:  Leviticus 26
  • Saturday 2/16:  Leviticus 27
  • Sunday 2/17:  Hebrews 1
Happy Monday, SHINE girls! 

We are continuing on in Leviticus this week and then on to Hebrews next Sunday! I think Hebrews will be a little refreshing, don't you? :)

So, all weekend I thought about the post from Friday. I really, truly, tried to have a "laughing at the days to come" spirit. 

If you are anything like me, you need a little push some days. Some days you just need a focus to zoom in on so that you won't get side tracked, or even heaven forbid--thrown off the track. 

My focus this weekend was being lighter. Any time a "heavy" thought came to my mind, I immediately forced a smile upon my lips and chased that thought away at mach speed with Truth from His Word.

Girls, no matter what is going on in your life right now, you can choose laughter. You can choose joy. You can choose to see the grace and the joy in this very moment.

It's certainly something we have to choose. 

Last Friday, the Lord presented some opportunities in my path that certainly could have warranted a growl and a grimace from my lip-glossy mouth. 

However, I thought of our Proverbs 31 example, and threw my head back with a hearty laugh instead. Seriously, I did.

I was at home by myself several times when I did this. I'm sure an onlooker would have thought I was taking a ride on the crazy train. Perhaps, I was. But, it felt good.

Imagine how the enemy must hate it when we react positively in a negative circumstance. How he must scowl. The enemy fully expects us to give in and to lose our peace and joy.

Oh, but when we feel God's presence even in the chaos and the messes, it will surely bring a smile to our lips. A radiance to our faces. 

Now, let's imagine what the world will see. They will see a woman who is unfazed by her circumstances. They will see a woman who, although someone has mistreated them at the check-out counter, or took the parking space they were waiting on,  they smile and offer grace instead of sarcasm and anger.

They will see a woman who whole-heartily trusts in the Lord, not in her circumstances. 

Imagine how this would effect all around us. Our friends, our husbands, our children. Whew, talk about a profound influence this unfazed woman would have!

I believe we can be that woman. I do!

We just have to practice it, day in and day out. 

You've probably guessed what our Memory Verse is this week:

click on picture to download, share, or print :)

Will you clothe yourself with strength and dignity today? Will you choose to trust Him in all of the chaos and messiness that surrounds us? Will you throw that pretty head back and laugh a hearty laugh with me?

Many are watching you. They want to see an unfazed woman desperately. They want to see a woman filled with Hope, Joy, Love, and Grace. 

Let's show them this woman. 

choosing laughter,


Feb 8, 2013

Friday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Leviticus 17

Happy Fun Friday, sweet SHINE girls!

First and foremost, I believe we have a SHINE drawing to get to from last Friday! Remember Melissa's awesome post? Hard to forget, isn't it. Such good stuff.

Well, Melissa wanted to give a away the brand spankin' new Chris Tomlin CD, "Burning Lights"!

Let me just say that I have this CD, and it will rock your socks off! Every single song is good!

My little Presley drew the winner for this drawing. :)

Our SHINE girl winner is: 

Lisa T.

Yay, Lisa! Email me and I will get you this hot CD in your pretty little hands. 

So, my post today has a little something to do with a song on this CD.

It's titled, "Whom Shall I Fear?"

Have you heard it? Oh my. So good.

My little Tuesday night bible study group is reading a book called, "Calm my Anxious Heart."

Last week, we talked a little bit about the woman from Proverbs 31. You've probably heard a thing or two about this lady. She's the godliest woman, ever. 

Well, one of the descriptions of her struck me hard in the heart. I have heard this verse before, and I loved it. However, this time when reading it, it struck me differently.

"She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come."
Proverbs 31:25

Notice the highlighted sentence. She can laugh at the days to come.

This sentence has been going through my head over and over since Tuesday night. I envision this beautiful godly woman throwing her pretty head back and laughing a graceful laugh when faced with adversity, fear, the future, and the unknown.

She is confident Who has her future in His hands. She knows that God will be with her no matter what is to come.

Last night, my family and I got home late from a school function. We were all starving. I scrambled to feed the kids the chili in the crockpot, and then sat down to a bowl of cereal for myself. 

As my {sweet} husband Lem sat down, he mentioned that the chili wasn't as good as usual. 

I {not at all in Proverbs 31 woman style} lost it. Whatever came out of my mouth, I do not recall. It's all kind of fuzzy now. 

Soon after that comment, my 11 year old son is complaining that he cannot get his basketball shoes off and needs me to help him. 

My 6 year old nephew is beckoning me to help him find a towel for his shower. 

My daughter is incessantly pulling at my shirt wanting to take me back to my room for some "girl talk." 

Calgon take me away.

In those very moments, I thought about that sentence, "she can laugh at the days to come."

I thought about what this Proverbs woman would do in this situation. 

I imagined her laughing and being playful and not at all stressed about the chaos surrounding her.

Wow, I certainly had a long way to go.

I thought:  why not just enjoy the moment and roll with it. smile through the tears and just go with it.

So, I did. 

I hopped up and helped my son with his shoes. Showed my nephew the towel hanging on the back of the bathroom door, and scooped my daughter into my room for some girl talk.

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

I want us to laugh today. I want us to find the good, the joy, the life, the excitement, in whatever our day holds. I want us to laugh at the very thing holding us back from laughter. 

We can be so serious. We need to lighten up. Laugh more. A lot more.

Whatever we are facing today, we are promised that we can laugh at the days to come. If we trust Him and if we believe Him, we have nothing to fear. Let's truly get wrapped up in trusting Him through the chaos surrounding us, instead of running from it or worrying through it. 

Let's dive right in and find the glimpses of His joy speckled all over our situation. 

What is stealing your joy today and keeping you from laughing at the days to come?

Anger, bitterness, divorce, worry, fear, rejection, depression, illness, financial instability, body image issues?

Whatever it is, find the laughter as you think of your future.. Find the joy in being alive this day, this moment.

"A cheerful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
Proverbs 17:22

I cannot imagine how it will please the Father as we settle into trusting Him more. Relaxing in Him more. Living in the moment with Him more.

Read the words to this song below. It perfectly sums up the reason we truly have nothing to fear and can laugh at the days to come. 

"Whom Shall I Fear (God Of Angel Armies)"
by Chris Tomlin

You hear me when I call 
You are my morning song 
Though darkness fills the night 
It cannot hide the light 

Whom shall I fear 

You crush the enemy 
Underneath my feet 
You are my sword and shield 
Though troubles linger still 

Whom shall I fear 

I know who goes before me 
I know who stands behind me 

The God of angel armies 
Is always by my side 

The one who reigns forever 
He is a friend of mine 

The God of angel armies 
Is always by my side 

My strength is in Your name 
For You alone can save 
You will deliver me 
Yours is the victory 

Whom shall I fear 
Whom shall I fear 

I know who goes before me 
I know who stands behind me 

The God of angel armies 
Is always by my side 

The one who reigns forever 
He is a friend of mine 

The God of angel armies 
Is always by my side 

And nothing formed against me shall stand 
You hold the whole world in Your hands 
I'm holding on to Your promises 

You are faithful 
You are faithful 
You are faithful 

I know who goes before me 
I know who stands behind me 

The God of angel armies 
Is always by my side 

The one who reigns forever 
He is a friend of mine 

The God of angel armies 
Is always by my side 

The God of angel armies 
is always by my side

Feb 7, 2013

Thursday SHINE....

Today's Reading: Leviticus 16

Happy Thursday, SHINE girls! You are still hanging in here with Leviticus and me, right?

Ok, good. Don't leave me hanging out here in the Old Testament. ;)

Today, I have a special guest SHINE girl.

Amanda emailed me a few weeks ago, and I was so touched by her story. I asked her to share it with all of you, and she agreed. You will be so glad she did.

Although I have never met this precious girl, she offers such hope and inspiration. Just through a few emails, I could feel her light shining through the computer screen and warming my face! For real.

Grab your Bible, a blanket, and your coffee.

Be blessed by your beautiful SHINE sister, Amanda Dunn.

My story of healing
by: Amanda Dunn

My name is Amanda Dunn. I've been married for 4 years and I have a beautiful, precious 21 month old son. God has recently shown me his love, grace, comfort, and healing in a way I've never experienced before in my life.

Amanda, Landon, and Stephen
On Wed January 2, I was diagnosed with Bells Palsey, which is temporary paralysis of the facial nerve. It affected my left side. I went from enjoying all of life's simple pleasures, to having difficulty eating, drinking, and talking. My left eye would not close on its own, so I had to wear a patch. Accompanied with the paralysis of my facial nerve and muscles, was extreme nerve pain around my eye and neck. It broke my heart that I didn't have the ability or energy to give to my son as I usually do. Needless to say, it was a painful and emotional experience.

I never asked God "why me?" I'm honestly a little surprised that I didn't ask that question. Having all of life's normalcies taken away made me so grateful for little joys and comfort that we all have when healthy. I longed for one of those so called "bad days" I thought I was having when I was well and took life way too seriously. In my quiet time with God, I felt his love in such a peaceful way and I knew that He would heal me. I didn't know when, but I trusted that it would come. I was also so blessed to have an amazing support system in my family and friends. Prayers were going up fervently. God heard and He responded quickly.

Along with Gods love and grace, He laid something on my heart... There is joy in every single day...  Many little joys that are so easily overlooked. I had gotten so bogged down recently with stressing over the littlest things, taking on the worry myself instead of giving it to God, and over thinking things people around me would say or do. All the while, God was waiting with open arms... Longing to love me and to take over for me... Longing to free me of worry, anxiety, and stress. During my time with Bells Palsey, a friend of mine said "find your blessing in this storm." Those words spoke volumes to me. And praise God, I found my blessing! Even before God healed me, God gave me so much peace and reassurance. I couldn't wait to share what He had done to my body, heart, and mind.

The doctor told me that my condition could last 30 days or longer... But that age was on my side. Our amazing heavenly Father  healed me by 80% in only 2 1/2 weeks!! I returned to work 3 weeks after being diagnosed. And today, 4 weeks from the onset of the condition, I am completely free of Bells Palsey!! I am smiling the biggest smile as I write this; a smile that could not form only a couple weeks ago. I am free to share Gods love, grace, and comfort. I am free to live a life of abundance and joy. I am free to let Christ live through me as I speak and go through this life.

My prayer is for all of you to notice ALL the little joys around you. God has placed so many wonderful blessings in our lives, blessings that are present even during life's storms. I've realized that once we give our worries to God, we are free to rest in Him. And then we are free to let our lights shine. My light was dim before Bells Palsey, but now I am renewed by Jesus and it is shining brightly!

How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you. (Psalm 31:19 NIV)

Feb 5, 2013

Tuesday SHINE.....

Today's Reading: Leviticus 13:47-14:32

Hello sweet  SHINE girls! How are you today?

Aren't  you thankful that we don't live back in the days of Leviticus? Goodness gracious alive!

I know our reading has been a little on the gory side these last few days. All this talk about sacrificing lambs, doves, calves, birds, etc. 

It's exhausting the lengths one had to go to for cleansing of a sin. Not just a sin, but skin diseases, child birth, mildew, etc.  My whole day would have been spent at the alter on my knees with a sacrifice to the Lord. 

Imagine how defeated we would feel, day in and day out. It would take a whole lot of Holiness to keep us going. A whole lot of Moses and Aaron spurring us on.

As I was reading this, I couldn't help but to see the bigger picture in all of this. Not just the bigger picture, but the MAIN picture in all of this!

Girls, Leviticus has made me realize how desperately the world was for a Savior. A Sacrifice. An Atonement for our sins.

Leviticus has made me realize just how blessed we are to live in a day and an age where the sacrifice (the dirty work --so to speak) has already been paid. 

Are you following me? 

God gives us the whole entirety of His Word to feed on day by day so that we can get the full picture. Not just bits and pieces of the "good and inspiring" stuff, but the whole nitty gritty details of the manifestation of His Word!

It would be kind of like  only showing someone the last 20 minutes of my all-time favorite movie "Gone With the Wind".  Yes, it is a great ending. However, the significance would be lost on the person watching it. Right?

The person watching would not have any real attachment to the characters, to the emotion, to the depth of the love story being told.

This is why it's important that we read His Word in entirety....day by day.

He has a lot to show us, girls. Hidden deep in the words of Leviticus, is the true weaving together of the greatest true story ever told. The story of a much needed Savior for you and me.

So, as you open up His Word today, thank Him for these words. These life-breathing words to our soul.  Not one pen-stroke of His Word will ever return void. Ever. 

"It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it."
Isaiah 55:11

As you open your Bible today, remember this verse. Remember that every single word will produce fruit in your heart. You may yawn the whole way through it, but little by little, day by day, your garden will be overflowing with the prettiest fruit you have ever seen. 

Not only will you benefit, but those around you will benefit from your garden. You will help to feed the hungry around you with the fruit that you have sown from the daily obedience of reading His life-giving Word.

Keep tending to your garden and it will never run dry, sweet girl. 

developing our green thumbs,


Feb 4, 2013

Monday SHINE....

Reading Plan for the Week of 2/4-2/10:

  • Monday 2/4: Leviticus 12:1-13:46
  • Tuesday 2/5:  Leviticus 13:47-14:32
  • Wednesday 2/6:  Leviticus 14:33-15:33
  • Thursday 2/7: Leviticus 16
  • Friday 2/8: Leviticus 17
  • Saturday 2/9:  Leviticus 18
  • Sunday 2/10:  Leviticus 19, 20

Happy Monday, SHINE girls! I hope your weekend was fantastic!

My weekend was a dreamy whirlwind. My sweet husband whisked me out of town for a little get-away. It was surreal being by ourselves with nothing to do--except whatever we wanted! 

We kept looking at each other and saying, "This just feels strange!" But, in a good way, of course! :)

As we came home late last night, it felt good to walk through the door. I had missed my kids, my house, my pets. My familiar surroundings were such a sweet sight to behold. I was home.

Do you ever feel this way? Do you feel like you would do anything to get away and then realize that your heart is just permanently attached to your humble little surroundings?

What an incredible feeling of gratitude we have when we have a little perspective in our lives. Sometimes we long for something else, something a little different. Then, we realize, that what we have is exactly what we need

The Lord knows what we need, and just how much we need. Too much or too little of any certain thing may not be good for us. So, he delicately and intricately provides the perfect portion of what we need in each situation. He knows what we can handle, and what we just cannot.

Our memory verse this week is:

"LORD, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; 
you have made my lot secure."
Psalm 16:5

Some of you may be in a situation that makes it hard to say this, or to believe this verse. I urge you to say it, memorize it, tuck it away in your heart, and believe it. 

Trust that He is taking care of you. Even though at times it may feel like He's forgotten about you, it simply is not true. He has made your little lot secure, trust Him with it. Release those longings to Him, and roll around in some contentment.


Help us to trust You today. Help us to believe that You are Sovereign and You have made our little lots secure. You know what we need. You also know what we do not need. You hold our future in Your big, strong hands. 

Thank you for your attention to our lives. Thank you for loving us so much.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

grateful to be home,


Feb 3, 2013

Prayer Requests and Praises - February

Prayer Requests and Praises for the month of February

Please comment so that we can pray specifically for your needs or celebrate the praise of what God has already done in your life.  Either way, we are anxious to lift you up to our Father as He is waiting on us to do just that.

James 5:16

The Message (MSG)
16-18 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.

Feb 1, 2013

Friday SHINE

Happy Fun Friday!  
Are you keeping up with the reading in Leviticus?  Kind of heavy, huh? ?  

As I was reading this morning the italicized headings in my Life Application Bible kept standing out to me…The Burnt Offering, The Grain Offering, The Peace Offering, The Sin Offering, The Guilt Offering…and that’s only chapters 1-5.  I am so thankful to be living in 2013 because I am not sure my life would have consisted of much more than a bloody, gore-filled slaughter house back then!

As soon as I finished my SHINE reading, I opened the book that my Bible Study is reading right now (Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow…Kelly mentioned it on Shine this week, too).   This week’s reading focused on Philippians 4:6-7, which says:” 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”    

What a stark contrast from the book of Leviticus.  My mind is overcome with gratitude and praise when I think about this…everything changed because one man – the holy son of God – walked on this earth!   We have access to the one true God through prayer and petition (in the absence of a sacrificial animal!!) all because of HIM.

The author of our study went on to describe a two-step process to contentment and peace.  First, there is our part, from verse 6 (6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God).  

The second is God’s part, which Paul writes about in verse 7 (7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus).   Have you ever thought about it that way?  When we have a concern or problem in our life and we intentionally take it to God, His response is that He guards our hearts and minds with peace! This leads me to our Friday Challenge…what are your worried or anxious about?  Has God allowed something in your life that has you down?  Name it and write it down.  Next, give it to Him in prayer.  Thank Him for taking it and for giving you HIS peace in return.  Sweet SHINE sister, depending on your burden you may have to repeat the prayer over and over.  But He promises His peace – and it will come.  

I have recently joined a Facebook group that does specific exercises each day to push ourselves to work harder.  When we’ve completed all of the sets of exercises for the day, we comment “done.”  Will you do your spiritual exercise with me today?  

Name your burden and purposefully give it to God.  Tell him you want HIS peace and thank Him that it is freely given.  When you have done this, please post a comment that says “done” right here on SHINE.   

We’ll draw a winner from all who participate and send you the new Chris Tomlin cd, “Burning Lights.”  

Thanks for journeying with me to contentment!  

Love, Melissa

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