Jul 30, 2014

The Strong One....

July Reading: Psalm 1-31 {Read a Psalm a day}
July Memory Chunk: Psalm 1:1-3
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain" Hebrews 6:19

When bad news comes, it feels like someone punches you in the stomach. You are totally in your own world, doing your thing, and then BAM, news comes out of the blue that rocks your quiet little world.

This happened on Monday.

My precious friend Kim was diagnosed with breast cancer.

I cannot even believe that I just typed that sentence. It doesn't seem real or possible.

When you get this kind of news your body and mind go into a state of shock. Like, you hear it, but it doesn't quite sink in for a few hours.

It sunk in last night. With another punch in the stomach.

I was driving home from my mom's house. I was finally alone with my thoughts. My daughter had fallen asleep in the seat beside me, so I was safe to pray out loud and shed some tears.

I prayed. I cried. I prayed. I cried some more.

Here's the thing. I know Kim will be okay. I just know she will.

Kim is a fighter. Kim is strong.

The part that makes me sad is just knowing the journey ahead. A part of me feels selfish for feeling so sad. This isn't about me. This is about me being strong for my friend. Yet, it's hard.

Kim is the strong one. 

She always has been.

Kim is the rock.

She always has been.

Kim is the big sister in our relationship.

Kim has always protected me like a big sister.

Kim has always given me the advice, the comfort, the words of wisdom.

Kim is the strong one.

My mind keeps going back to something she did for me about 6 years ago.

Lem, Joseph, and I had the stomach flu. Nasty, nasty stuff.

Presley, who was 3 at the time, was the only one not sick.

Kim called me and told me to pack Presley a bag. She was on her way over to pick Presley up and keep her for the weekend.

Who does this?????

Kim does.

Presley could have been sick too. She could have gotten Kim's whole family sick. I mean, you don't mess around with the stomach flu.

Kim didn't care. She came to my front door, grabbed Presley, and left.

I will never, ever forget that day.

Kim is the strong one. 

Kim loves and she loves hard. What a gift it is to be on the receiving end of her love.

Kim's trust and faith are in her Heavenly Father. Kim will not waiver.

Kim is strong, because she knows where her strength lies.

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

Celebrating Kim's birthday last October!
From left: Scarlet, Shelly, Kim, and me. 

Will you pray for our Kim today?

Thank you so much.

Don't panic I am with you.
There's no need to fear
for I am your GOD!
I'll give you strength,
I'll help you,
I'll hold you steady,
I'll keep a firm grip on you!
Isaiah 41:10

finding my strength,


Jul 28, 2014

No Offense....

July Reading: Psalm 1-31 {Read a Psalm a day}
July Memory Chunk: Psalm 1:1-3
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

Today we have a guest post by Suzanne Chambers. She's posted before, and it was a huge blessing.

Grab your coffee, and be encouraged and spurred on today by her wisdom. 

No Offense Intended
by: Suzanne Chambers

Last Sunday in our Young Marrieds' class, a really good teacher shared some great truths.  I could take about 5 different blog posts to tell you about his lesson (and maybe I will.....) but one thing that he tossed out as an aside really stuck with me.  He said that he and his wife pray "to be un-offendable".  He went on to explain that they want to be folks that don't get their feelings hurt easily, don't assume the worst in terms of motive, intent or message but instead believe the best about people and situations.

Sounds like an application of I Corinthians 13: 5 to me where Paul explains that LOVE  is  not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered. 

Can you imagine what our homes would be like if husbands and wives and brothers and sisters weren't "offendable"?  Our churches?  Our communities?  Our country?  Our world???? What would happen if, instead of letting our feelings get hurt and then reacting out of retaliation or at least self-protection, we just let go of the offense.  No keeping score of the last wound received or delivered.  No assumptions that someone else intended to hurt us with that remark or exclusion or slight. No desire to inflict pain in an effort to alleviate our own.

Wow.  That would make a whole lot of difference in our marriages.  In our friendships and our parenting.  In our neighborhoods and our schools and our churches.

That's become my prayer, too.  To be unoffendable.  I hope you'll join me.

And we'll see the fruit  - because Love Never Fails.  (I Corinthians 13:8)

Jul 24, 2014

The Prayer That Changed Everything....

July Reading: Psalm 1-31 {Read a Psalm a day}
July Memory Chunk: Psalm 1:1-3
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it." Psalm 24:1-2

 My husband Lem and I have been married for 15 1/2 years. Yes, we married when we were 5. ;)

As time passed, children were birthed, finances were strapped, things started to change.

Suddenly, I saw Lem differently.

I began to see his flaws. Magnified.

When life gets a little crunchy, this tends to happen. Things that normally would not bother you suddenly become a big painful thorn in your side. This was the case for me.

My happy fairy tale world, suddenly exploded in my face.

He got on my nerves. He never seemed to say the right thing. He never seemed to do the right thing.

And, I told him so.

Years passed and I prayed the same prayer over and over and over, "Lord, change Lem! Make him nicer, kinder, more thoughtful, more spiritual!"

Oh if y'all could see my prayer journals! My tears are splattered all over the pages. Lament after lament of asking for God to change Lem.

Make him more suitable for me. Make him different, Lord. Change him!

One day, I got really angry with the Lord. I was frustrated because none of my prayers were being answered. Nothing changed. Lem was the same and I was even more bitter.

I cried my eyes out to God and told Him how I felt. Tears flooding my face, I told the Lord I was done praying for Lem. It wasn't working, and I was done.

Lem came home from work that day and we got into an argument about something. Afterwards, I looked him square in those big blue eyes that had captured my heart at the age of 21, and told him I was going to stop praying for him to change. I told him none of my prayers were being heard and I was tired of praying them day after day after day. Tearfully, I confessed my unhappiness with his "unchanged" ways.

The look that he gave me I will never ever forget.

His blue eyes showed the hurt his heart must have felt.

All he said was this, "I have never prayed for you to change, Jill. I had no idea you were so unhappy with who I am."


Knife to my bitter little heart.

Suddenly, I knew what the problem was. The Lord shined His bright Light of Truth and Love all into my dark and shadowy heart.

I was the problem.

I was the nagging wife.

I was the one that needed to change.

From that day forward, my prayers changed. Drastically.

My new prayer for my marriage is two-fold.

It goes like this:

"Lord, change my heart. 
And Lord, bless Lem! Bless Lem BIG!"

This simple prayer has changed my marriage. This simple prayer has changed my life.

Instead of praying for him to change, I pray for me to change.

Instead of praying for him to change, I pray for him to be blessed. Abundantly.

Lem is not mine to change. He really doesn't belong to me, he belongs to the Lord. And, the Lord does a pretty stellar job at changing hearts. Especially our own.

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

Lord change me,



Jul 22, 2014

A Lesson to Remember....

July Reading: Psalm 1-31 {Read a Psalm a day}
July Memory Chunk: Psalm 1:1-3
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.             
   Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, 
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
 your rod and your staff, they comfort me             
   You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
 You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.             
    Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23

As we come to Psalm 23 today in our reading, I am jolted back to a moment several weeks ago.

If you will remember, Psalm 23 was our memory chunk last month. I really wanted my kids to learn this one with us. It's a powerhouse of peace.

My daughter struggles with fear from time to time. I've written about this before. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree in this family.

Night time is the hardest for her. She gets fearful many nights.

This one particular night, she had gotten into bed and I told her I would be there shortly to tuck her in.

I took a little longer than expected, and when I finally turned the corner to go to her room, I stopped dead in my tracks.

My daughter was whispering Psalm 23 through tears. She stumbled through the words, but she kept reciting the Psalm over and over.

My heart melted right there in that hallway outside of her bedroom.

The Lord revealed something to me in that moment that I will never forget.

I will not always be able to be with my children, but He will.

There are so many times when I want to be the one to soothe them, to nurse their fears and scary moments away. I want them to know I will always be there to dry their tears, take away their pain.

But, when I am not there, what will they do? How will they cope?

God showed me right there in that hallway that my children need to be taught to depend on Him in these moments.

As they grow older, and further away from the safety of my arms, they need to know where their true security lies...with Him. Not me.

Soon after my daughter prayed and recited Psalm 23, she fell asleep peacefully. You have no idea how much I wanted to wake her up and tell her that I was right there outside of her room. I wanted to tell her that I was just about to go tuck her in and soothe her fears.

However, I didn't.

I knew the Lord was teaching me, as well as her. My job is to train her up in the way she should go, not to train her up to depend on her momma.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

My daughter is learning where her strength and peace lie. Her momma is learning the same lesson.

training in progress,


Jul 20, 2014

What is your heart's desire?

July Reading: Psalm 1-31 {Read a Psalm a day}
July Memory Chunk: Psalm 1:1-3
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

"May He give you the desires of your heart and make all your plans succeed." Psalm 20:4

We all love this particular verse in Psalm. Perhaps, this is your first time reading it. What's not to love about it, right?

There's not a woman in the world that doesn't want the desires of her heart met, and to top it all off,  for all of her plans to succeed.

However, when we read the Word of God, we must look at the whole counsel of God's Word. We cannot just pick and choose the verses we prefer and build our foundation upon that verse.

This can be dangerous.

We must ask daily for God's wisdom when reading scripture.

For example, just looking at this verse, it would seem that God will give you everything your heart ever wants, your every desire. On a silver platter.

This is not true.

The truth is that God is sovereign. His will overrides ours, and it should.

Thank Heaven all of my heart's desires over my lifetime haven't been granted. Goodness knows where I would be!

We must build our desires around Him. He should be our one true desire.

When David wrote this Psalm, this was David's desire. Yes, David wanted God's favor, His Wisdom, His blessing. But, the one thing that David desired most was God.

Read on a little further in Psalms and you will find this prayer of David's:

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

God was David's one true desire. His life was a testament to this. Yes, he made mistakes, big ones. But David's heart was devoted to God in a profound way.

Surely because of David's greatest desire being God, it made his heart change. In fact, scripture even tell us this.

"After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.' Acts 13:22

When God becomes our greatest desire, our own desires change.

His desires become our desires.

As we drove down to the beach a couple of days ago, I had a ball of yarn in my lap, a gold crochet hook in my right hand, and my trusty little "how-to-crochet-the-easy-way" book squeezed next to the yarn in my lap.

I spent the entire car ride, all 5 1/2 hours,  trying to learn a new craft. The thing about crocheting, is that you have to start a foundation row first. Everything is built upon and around your foundation row.

Each time I started building on my foundation row trying a different kind of stitch, I would end up ripping it right back out. Back down to the foundation row.

Sometimes I would think I really had something going, and then bam, I had messed up somewhere and gotten off track with my rows. This would leave big holes in the pattern I was trying to make.

The Lord kept reminding me as I stitched, that our faith walk is like this foundation row.

He is the Foundation.

We can make beautiful, intricate things when we are stitched into Him, our Foundation.

 However, we can also get way off track, and end up dangerously far from our Foundation. {kind of like my crocheting looks sometimes!}

When we look at the whole counsel of God's Word and see what Jesus commanded us to do, we have instructions for staying stitched into God's foundation.

"Jesus replied: “'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

Breaking it down, Jesus teaches us that the greatest commandment He has given us is this:

To Love God, and to Love others.

The end.


How simple is this?

Yet, how hard is this.

We get away from our foundation when these two things are not being lived out.

When these two things are not stitched firmly into the foundation of our lives, oh girls, everything will start falling apart. Just like my crochet project.

We can even be doing some seemingly "good" things and be far from our Foundation if those "good" things are not stitched in love.

Girls, we don't have to be hyper-spiritual and full of biblical knowledge to get this.

We need to Love God first.

We need to Love others second.

Who needs love today, friends?

My children could care less how much biblical knowledge I have. All they really want is for me to love them. That's it. That's the greatest way I can show them Christ.

Let's don't fool ourselves into thinking that others are swayed by our love and devotion to Jesus. They are only swayed by our love for Jesus when it's poured out onto them.

The world doesn't care about how much quiet time we have, how many bible studies we attend or teach,  or how many scriptures we have memorized.

The world craves the Love of God. Oh, and how the world needs the Love of God.

Love is what will draw their hearts to His.

So, bottom line....

Do you want God to give you the desires of your heart? Do you want your plans to succeed?

Stay on the firm foundation of Christ by....

Loving God.

Loving those around you.

Your plans will succeed, because those are His plans for you.

How do we start?

Make it a daily prayer that God will help you to Love Him first, and Love others second. Before anything else, ask Him to make this your life mission. Ask Him to keep you stitched tightly into the firm foundation of His Love in every single thing you do.

Girls, He will fulfill this desire of you heart. In ways that you cannot even imagine.

staying stitched to Him,


Jul 17, 2014

Do you like me?

July Reading: Psalm 1-31 {Read a Psalm a day}
July Memory Chunk: Psalm 1:1-3
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.
The Lord has been nudging me to tell this story for a while. I've been wrestling with Him over it. Of course, in the end, He wins. So, here goes.
In the Fall of 1992, I was crowned homecoming queen at my high school in Conyers, Georgia.
I remember when they called my name, I looked around, wondering where Jill Allgood was.
My sweet daddy said, "Jill, it's YOU! You are the one they are about to crown!"
What? I was overwhelmed with disbelief.
When they put the sparkly crown on the top of my hair sprayed head, I remember thinking, "This is the GREATEST moment in my life! Nothing will ever compare to this day!"
How wrong I was.
For many, many years after that day, I spent my life trying to be everyone's homecoming queen.
In fact, some of my nearest and dearest friends will lovingly tease me and call me "HQ".
I polished that crown for many years thinking that I had to life my life living up to that crown. It became an idol. Not the crown itself, but the life behind the crown.
The people pleasing girl, the sweet girl, the do-anything-to-be-liked girl, the craving affirmation girl...you know...THAT girl.
For a very long time, I didn't know who I really was. I became who everyone "wanted" me to be. I fit whatever role made them happy, in almost all of my relationships.
If you know what I'm talking about, then you know it's a dizzying cocktail of self-love and self-hate.
I loved myself when I became what I thought others wanted me to be. On the other hand, I hated myself for becoming what I thought others wanted me to be.
When Facebook made it's debut several years ago, it was like a drug for an affirmation queen like myself. It fed every ounce of my desire to be "liked", noticed, and "followed". I could not get enough of the affirmation that it gave.
Birthdays were my favorite. I would read every word, over and over. Always making sure to comment back on the well wishes. Yes, people pleasing to the millionth degree.
In 2012, the same year, God brought SHINE girls to life, He also started the process of refining and pruning me in this affirmation area. God knew it had to go, I knew it had to go. However, I didn't know if I could live without the affirmation from others.
I remember telling the Lord, "God, it's just who I am. Please don't change me. People like this about me."
As soon as those last 5 words came out of my mouth, I knew the depth and the breadth of this paralyzing disease of people pleasing. I mean, I had spoken the words myself.
My life had revolved around the drug of affirmation and the desire to be liked.
God was ready to wean me. He had better things for me. Like His affirmation, and His alone.
In June of 2012, I deactivated my Facebook account. It's sad that I still know the month and day. It was like a death. A death that I didn't ask for.
I mourned the loss. You probably think I am crazy, but it's true.
I was lonely.
I was sad.
I was depressed.
I was unnoticed.
Who would I share my family pictures with? Who would I tell all the cute and funny things my kids said to? Who would I tell all those great status quotes to? Who would I encourage with God's scriptures and share His goodness with? Where would I go when a needed a big shot of affirmation and likes?  And for Heaven's sake, who would ever remember my birthday??
My Heavenly Father, that's Who.
It has been a long and painful process of weaning. I have felt every thorn that has had to be pulled from my affirmation craving heart.
However, which each thorn, it gets easier and easier for me to truly trust Him and lean into Him for my affirmation.
Throughout this process, we have had countless quiet times together. Just He and I. My time with Him became more special, because somehow it wasn't as rushed. He became my first priority for the very first time.
My desire to be liked, noticed,  and sought after, was fulfilled in the purest and most beautiful way. By the Lord Himself.
He has filled most of these holes. I still have a ways to go, but I am so much closer than I was two years ago.
I still have the tendency to look to others for approval, however, I now know the other side. I know the peace that comes with surrendering to Him in this area. Laying my flesh down, as He breathes affirmation into my weary spirit.
It still gets lonely some days. Even with all of you, and this incredible ministry that He has laid in my lap, my flesh still can get lonely. I crave connection and communication with others.
When this happens, I try to remember to go to Him first. Seek connection with Him above anything or anyone else.  
Then, I might  make a phone call, send a text, interact with my children, sit next to my husband on the couch as he watches ESPN, send a letter to a friend, ask a friend over for coffee....
I have tasted {after much wresting}the fruit of surrender and obedience, and it is the sweetest thing you have ever laid your mouth on.
My prayer is that by telling my story, even the ugly parts, you draw closer to Him on your journey. Maybe your journey is different, maybe it's strikingly similar.
Whatever the case, I pray He speaks to your heart.
I am not in any way advocating logging off of Facebook, or logging on to Facebook. I am only sincerely advocating guarding our hearts before we do.
We must never find our value or our worth in anything other than God Himself.  
Say a prayer before logging onto social media. Ask the Lord to guard your heart from any kind of  jealousy, need for approval or likes, criticism, comparisons, or anything else that will rob the joy right out of your beating little heart.
I can say this, because I lived it, friends. I know the great things that can happen on those sites, and I know the heartaches that can stem from those sites.
Guard those hearts with God's Truth.
"Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life."  Proverbs 4:23
"but in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord" 1 Peter 3:15
Limit your time on those sites. I would spend so much time browsing my phone, refreshing it for updates. My daughter actually said to me at one point, "Mommy, do you love Facebook more than me?" Yikes.
God has better for us, friends. So much better.
Yes, we can be blessed by an encouraging status update, but nothing takes the place of Him speaking directly to us. We don't need others to translate His Voice. He will speak right to our hearts if we put Him first. Who wants leftovers of His Word when we can have the main course with Him, day after day. We need to put away our phones, our computers, our Ipads, and communicate with the One who desires us most.
 Oh the things He will tell us! Oh the things He will show us!
"Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heard, that I may fear your name." Psalm 86:11
taking off my crown,

Jul 16, 2014

Your Greatest Assignment.....

July Reading: Psalm 1-31 {Read a Psalm a day}
July Memory Chunk: Psalm 1:1-3
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

Before I start this post, I just want to encourage you to memorize our chunk of scripture this month. The ONE thing, besides the Grace of Jesus, that has changed my life the absolute most, has been God's Word.

When we "hide His word in our heart" as Psalm 119:11 tells us, our insides change. We breathe in the scriptures, and we exhale His truth. Something marvelous begins to happen in our souls. We are renewed, refreshed, and encouraged to "keep going".

His words will bubble up and remind us of His Promises and His Truth when the world is trying to convince us otherwise.

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

As we dive into this scripture today, let's look at the word "assigned".

Good ol' Merriam-Webster defines "assign" as this: to give someone a particular job or duty : to require someone to do a particular task

So, when we apply this meaning to our verse, it tells us that the LORD gives us our job and tasks. We don't decide what we do, HE does. Not only this, but He "requires" us to do this particular task.

I'm not sure about you, but this causes my shoulders to release a whole lot of unwanted stress and tension. He is in charge of me. Not the other way around.

As women, we are task masters. We have or daily to-do's and we hit the door running most days.

What a fresh breath of sea salt air to know that God Himself is the One really in charge! Sure, we can make plans, we can dream dreams, we can set goals.....

However, the Word tells us this: "In His heart a man plans his steps, but the Lord determines his steps." Proverbs 16:9

Y'all, surely you hear that freedom bell ringing in the background. THIS is PROFOUND if we really start to absorb the truth of it all.

On days when I sleep through my quiet time, when I forget to do something I had marked down on 3 of my calendars to do, when my laundry makes me want to go into the corner and suck my thumb for hours, when I have to tell my kids for the MILLIONTH time to be nice to each other....

I can say to the Lord, "Lord, YOU have assigned me this life! You knew the kind of day I would have. You foreknew my melt down at Publix because my daughter rammed into the back of my heels with the buggy 4 times! You knew I would come home to a boat load of dirty dishes after a long day!"

When we grasp the peace in this scripture, we begin to see the grace in all of it.

  • We see our Heavenly Father with us in the dirty laundry.
  • We see Him with us as we try to make sense out of a checkbook that seems to never balance in our favor.
  • We see Him in the loud mornings with our children, when all we want to do is hit our knees in the bathroom and cry our sleepy eyes out.
  • We see Him at the job that we are tired of going to, day in and day out, as we daydream for better days.

Girls, He has assigned us this life.

He will use us to further His Kingdom, exactly where He has us.

It may not look like what you imagined, maybe even far from it. Oh, but don't you think for one second that He doesn't have a master plan working on your precious behalf.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

Y'all, you can take this with you to the BANK. He is working for GOOD in your life.

Even through our darkest hours, He is working to bring together His perfect assignment for our life.

Who are we to argue?

My new prayer for the last few weeks has simply been this:

"Lord, Your will be done on Earth as in Heaven"

When I wake up to fussing children, "Lord, Your will be done today."

When I am confused about which path to take, "Lord, Your will be done in this situation."

When a relationship is strained, "Lord Your will be done in this."

When life just seems too overwhelming, "Lord, Your will be done."

Really, there is no better way.

He has given us an assignment.

Instead of arguing with Him over our assignment, let's thank Him for what He's doing through it. The lives that will change forever because we allowed "His will to be done."

The very next line in that scripture reads this: "You have made my lot secure." Psalm 16:5{b}

Security. Who doesn't want some of that?

Thank you Jesus for our assignments. None is greater than the other. We are all a part of Your master plan as we carry out our tasks each and every day. Your will be done, Lord. On Earth as in Heaven.

resting in my assignment,


Jul 14, 2014

Feelings Lie....

July Reading: Psalm 1-31 {Read a Psalm a day}
July Memory Chunk: Psalm 1:1-3
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

I'm in love with the book of Psalms. The end.

Maybe it's because my boyfriend, David, ahem, wrote most of them. Either way, I'm full blown smitten.

I can relate to this book. In a big way.

Have you noticed how dramatic these psalms are? I mean, I can relate to some dramatic! "Dramatic" is my favorite language.

The psalmists pour their hearts out in this book. They lament, they cry, they grovel, they weep. They are living out real life right before our very eyes.

If God could pen our thoughts, wouldn't they sound similar to these words in Psalms?

Don't we all have these same thoughts from time to time?

For example, read this Psalm from 28:1-5:

O Lord, to You I call. O my Rock, listen to me. If You will not hear me, I will be like those who have gone down to the grave.   Hear my cry for loving-kindness as I call to You for help, and when I lift up my hands to Your holy place.  Do not drag me away with the sinful and with those who do bad things. They speak peace with their neighbors, while sin is in their hearts.  Pay them for their work and for the sins they do. Pay them for the works of their hands. Give them what they have earned.  They do not think about the works of the Lord and what His hands have done. So He will pull them down and not build them up again.

So, let's put it in 2014 real woman life:

Oh, Lord, listen to me! Hear my cry! Are you listening? If you don't hear my cry for help, I will die in despair! I need your love and kindness in this situation. I need you to do something and quick! Please don't turn away from my request, I need an answer from you! Please bring justice to this situation! I need you NOW! Show Yourself Mighty, I need You!

Ever had one of those talks? Or something similar?

You're not alone.

Now, let's move on to the very next verse following this desperate plea for God's help.

Psalm 28:6-9:

6 May honor and thanks be given to the Lord, because He has heard my prayer. The Lord is my strength and my safe cover. My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. So my heart is full of joy. I will thank Him with my song. The Lord is the strength of His people. He is a safe place for His chosen one. Save Your people and bring good to what is Yours. Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

You see what I mean?

Uh, the psalmist was crying in his soup the first part of the Psalm, yet immediately remembers the God He serves.

The God Who hears his prayer.
The God Who Is his Strength.
The God Who is his safe place.
The God Who is his shepherd.

These dudes are struggling with their feelings. They are struggling with their flesh. BIG time.

However, as soon as they confess how they feel, they immediately begin to recite TRUTH.

What is Truth?

The Truth is the opposite of how we feel. It's the exact opposite of what our feelings try to convince us of.

God's Truth overrides our feelings. God's Truth exposes our feelings and the lies within.

Fear has been the biggest feeling and stronghold that I have ever had to overcome.

I had to learn to change my feelings into fact, into Truth. When my mind would go haywire, producing feelings of fear, I had to fight them with Truth, with scriptural Truth.

I'm not kidding when I tell you that I have many 3x5 notecard flip books FILLED with scripture to combat fear. I would recite each one of them, hands shaking, mouth quivering, tears flooding my face.

For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His holy tent. In the secret place of His tent He will hide me. He will set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27:5

The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom shall I fear? Psalm 27:1

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,  for God is with me. Psalm 23:4

The Lord will keep you from all harmhe will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:7-8

These are just a sampling of the pieces of Truth that I have in these little books. God's Truth has healed me from fear. My feelings no longer get the best of me when fear strikes it's ugly little head. I now rest in Truth.

God's Word proves true in countless feelings that we face each day.

When we feel injustice is being done to us, or someone we love...

He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:6

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

When we feel unsure, shaky, and anxious...

Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:1

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. Psalm 28:7

When we feel rejected or forgotten...

"The needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish" Psalm 9:18

"Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." Psalm 23:6

"...weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning." Psalm 30:5

Oh, do y'all see it?

God has a Truth remedy for every feeling that we face!

What are you feeling today?

Fight those feelings with Truth. Shine the Light of God's Healing Word over your feelings, and walk in victory today.

When we stand on the Rock of God's Word instead of falling prey to our feelings,  we stand on Truth.  His Word never returns void. Ever.

"so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:11

back to some Psalm reading,


Jul 11, 2014

Down Right Dirty.....

July Reading: Psalm 1-31 {Read a Psalm a day}
July Memory Chunk: Psalm 1:1-3
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

"Blessed is the [woman] who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers. But [her]delight is in the law of the Lord, and on [her] law [she]meditates day and night." Psalm 1:1-2

The verse above is the beginning of our July Memory Chunk. I have inserted the feminine nouns and pronouns to give it a punch for us women.

When I break this verse down, I begin to clearly see the directive as it pertains to everyday life as a woman.

*Blessed is she who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.

Who am I seeking counsel from? Who am I sharing my inner thoughts and struggles with? Are they a safe place for me to share?  Will they lead me down the right path? Will they lead me to the Word of the Lord, or will they lead me to the world's ways?

*Blessed is she who does not stand in the way of sinners.

Who am I hanging out with? Are these people positive role models and influences? Are the people that I hang out with doing things that I know to be sinful?

*Blessed is she who does not sit in the seat of mockers.

 Do I confess to believe one thing, yet my actions and words prove otherwise? Would the world know that I am in love with Jesus if they just observed my actions and not my Sunday morning church attendance? If I didn't have the opportunity to ever open my mouth, would people know I was a Christian?

*But her delight is in the law of the Lord, and on her law she meditates day and night.

What am I spending my time doing? What kinds of things am I meditating on? What kinds of things am I showing the world means the most to me?

When we break it down, it seems a lot more applicable, doesn't it?

I don't know one soul who doesn't long to be blessed! Remember the verse starts out with, "Blessed is the woman..."

Much of who we are becoming has to do with who we are hanging out with.

If we truly want to be sharpened, encouraged, and spurred on, we must surround ourselves with sharp people. Life will wear you down if you try to do this life on your own.

"As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend." Proverbs 27:17

"He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." Proverbs 13:20

God created us for fellowship.

God created us for community.

Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another -- and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25)

We must make sure the people we are in fellowship with are encouraging us. We must make sure they are cheering us on to be our best and not dragging us down in the mud and slime.

We must make sure that WE are not the ones dragging others down in the mud and slime.

"Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone." Colossians 4:6

I have left conversations feeling stained. Y'all know what I mean? Kind of like a ketchup packet that exploded on your gorgeous new blouse.

My stomach will be in knots, and I leave the conversation feeling....dirty.

I had no intentions of the conversation going South, but somehow, in some way, it did.

When we talk about others in a bad way...

When we dish about the latest gossip in town....

When we share another's secrets that we swore would not leave our lips...

When we talk about things that we KNOW are none of our business...

When we speak accusations about someone or "stretch" the truth for "effect" when repeating a story...

We suddenly get dirty. Down right dirty.

Are you tired of getting dirty?

Me too.

How about we choose to be a blessing today with our words and actions?

Let's strive to be the kind of woman who:

  • believes the best.
  • forgives. 
  • doesn't gossip or slander.
  • minds her own business.
  • doesn't slander her man, or anyone else's man for that matter.
  • tends to her own family business.
  • sees the good.
  • believes the good.
  • turns the other cheek.
  • is humble.
  • looks to bless those around her.
  • extends grace.
  • strives for purity instead of perfection.
  • surrounds herself with other women who desire the same.

Let's read the rest of that verse from above...

"[She] is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever [she] does prospers." Psalms 1:3

I want some of THAT.

How about you?

out of the mud,


Jul 9, 2014

Bible Study Rehab.....

July Reading: Psalm 1-31 {Read a Psalm a day}
July Memory Chunk: Psalm 1:1-3
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O most High." Psalm 9:1

I'm the kind of girl that loves to share anything and everything with my girlfriends. If I find the perfect mascara, or the perfect shade of lip gloss, you can bet I will be telling all who will listen about my great discovery.

It makes my heart happy to share good news, good finds, and good deals! I want my friends to be in on the goodness!

I am even more apt to explode at the mouth when God lays fresh revelation on my heart! I can never shut up about it. I want everyone to know! Whether they want to hear it or not!

So, this post is dedicated to sharing with my girlfriends some things that the Lord has revealed to this heart of mine lately. It's actually been a slow uncovering, and I am just now putting the pieces together wide eyed and mouth gaped wide open.

Few things I have loved more in my life than going to bible study. I mean, I would plan my whole week around my bible study night. I would plan in advance the dinner that I would serve to my family as I was gone that night. I always tried to make it one of their favorites!

I would take my little Bible, my little notebook, all of my nerdy little notes, and walk into class just bursting with excitement.

Then, at the end, I would leave, come home, and usually find the house in a heap of disarray.

Lem is a good daddy, so he is not going to spend his time cleaning up when he can be playing with the kids. And, when I say "playing", I mean making a big fat mess all in the name of fun. *smile*

I would sit down with Lem, after cleaning up the mess, and tell him all about what I had learned. I would go into detail about the Hebrew and Greek origin of the words from scripture passages we were reading. I would go into even more animated detail as I explained the life of David, Samuel, or whoever else we were studying.

As you can imagine, he was less than eager to listen.

On a good night, I would stomp off and just go straight to bed if he didn't listen the way I wanted him to. On a not so good night, I would tell him how "unspiritual" and "ungodly" he was and that he just "didn't understand". I would then stomp off and pray for his "ungodly" heart.


What my naive little heart didn't know then, was that I was creating a huge crevice in our marriage. I was constantly wanting to study the Bible, and to be filled and "puffed up" with knowledge. I craved it like a drug. I wanted to know more and more and more.

I was resembling my dear sister Eve from the book of Genesis. She wanted that knowledge desperately. Even when God had warned her to stay away from that tree and just enjoy life in the garden with her husband Adam.

She couldn't resist. She bit the apple, and the rest is history.

My desire to study the Bible so intently at that time wasn't necessarily a "bad" thing, but it certainly was not the best thing for our marriage.

I was running a hundred miles one way, and Lem was content exactly where he was.

Herein lies the problem:

I began chasing after a type of super-spiritualness, that quite frankly, turned Lem in the complete opposite direction.

I needed someone to admit me into Bible Study Rehab, and quickly.

Now, I cannot speak for Lem's feelings, but I will tell you that we struggled. A lot.

I would always blame it on "the devil" for trying to get us off track. I would dive deeper and deeper into the Word, begging for the Lord to help Lem to be more "spiritually in tune".

I would beg and grovel for God to change Lem's heart, not having a clue that it was my heart that needed the greatest overhaul.

The Lord has taught me that going on a spiritual island all by myself, is not where He wants me. It never has been.

Yes, He wants me to know the Word. Yes, He wants me to pray.

However, none of this should be at the sacrifice of my marriage. It should go hand in beautiful hand with tending to the heart of my marriage.

 When I married Lem, we became one flesh. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh" Genesis 2:24

This means that when God sees me, he sees Lem. We are intertwined as one flesh in His eyes. How cool is that?

If my heart is growing further away from my husband's all in an effort to become "super spiritual" and "puffed up with knowledge", the Lord is not glorified. Not even an ounce.

When I walk out the door, leaving Lem and my family night after night after night after night, all in the name of studying the word of God, the Lord is not glorified.

However, when I choose to focus on being a better wife to Lem, a better mother to my children, and actively living out His Word, instead of just knowing it, God is glorified.

"But don't just listen to God's word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves." James 1:22

I vividly remember coming home from a 2 day women's Christian Conference being filled to my eyeballs with good teaching and good memories. However, only to end up feeling bitter at Lem for not being on the same "spiritual high" or level that I was! I would feel even more distant from him because of my spiritual pride. *so hard to say out loud*

Y'all, we don't have to add another bible study or a 3 day women's conference  to our plate to be considered a "good Christian woman". That is absolutely false.

I will never ever win over my husband, children--or anyone for that matter--for Christ by how many scriptures I have memorized, how many Bible studies I have attended, how many conferences I have registered for, or how many Christian books I have read.

These people don't care about how much I know. They just want to be shown love .They want to be cared for. They want to be nurtured. They want to be shown the Love of Christ.

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins." 1 Peter 4:8

We teach so much more by our actions than we will ever teach by our accomplishments.

My children are constantly watching me. What are they seeing?

A momma who runs out the door with her Bible every chance she gets to escape?

Or a momma who teaches them God's Word by taking care of them. Taking care of their Daddy. Watching the words that come out of my mouth. *a big one for me*

"Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead." James 2:17

This new awakening regarding bible study for me is refreshing!

I  still love to study God's Word, and always will. My perspective has just changed.

Studying His Word should encourage and enhance my relationships, not stifle them because of my goody-two-shoe ways. Studying His Word should change MY heart, not make my heart bitter because it's not changing those around me.

All of this takes a huge weight off of my shoulders. I don't have to be that good little bible study girl. I can be who God created me to be!  A wife, a momma, a daughter, a sister, a friend....who  lives my life doing what I was created to do. Show the Love of Christ to those around me.

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn't love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

Lord, help me not to be a noisy gong! *gasp!*

Let's take a deep breath today.

Breathe in God's Grace.

Breathe in His Love.

Now let's exhale it to all of those precious ones around us.

putting my faith into action,


Jul 4, 2014

You are Enough......

July Reading: Psalm 1-31 {Read a Psalm a day}
July Memory Chunk: Psalm 1:1-3
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

I'm not exactly sure of the day it started. I guess it really doesn't matter when.

However, I know exactly the feeling I felt in the pit of my stomach each time the thoughts came to my mind.

Somewhere, somehow, I came across something online that made me question everything that I was doing....ministry-wise.

It was a perfectly decorated website. It was filled with long, beautiful words of encouragement, countless scripture links, advertisements, printable scripture memory cards, beautiful faces of the women writers, etc, etc.

My heart sank.

I mean, hello, I know these incredibly awesome sites are out there. They encourage millions and millions of women on a daily basis. Why on this day, did I feel like a failure? Why did I feel like suddenly everything I was doing ...was not enough. And never would be.

Y'all, I am being incredibly honest and vulnerable.

The moment I clicked back into my reality world of the life of Jill Hill, not a super-sized overflowing ministry of thousands and thousands of women, I wanted to cry.

I heard a familiar voice, one too familiar for my taste, tell me this: You are not enough, and you never will be.

I know better than to listen to this voice. It has tried to deceive me, trick me, mislead me, consume me, overwhelm me.....many times.

This voice is the voice of the enemy.

Sound familiar?

For several weeks I struggled. I mean, really struggled.

I asked my prayer girls to pray that the Lord would show me what this all meant. Was I really not doing enough? Was there something I was missing? Should I be doing more at church? Doing more in my community?

Several days after I confessed to my prayer girls what I was going through, I went for a walk in my neighborhood.

I pleaded with God, tears just a flowing, words just a spilling. "Lord, show me what you want me to do! I just want to please you. I want to know that I am doing Your will! Show me, please!"

Before the last exclamation mark could be reiterated, I heard this in my spirit, "Jill, I will never tell you that you are not enough. Ever. That's not my voice. You are being deceived."

I could have melted on that asphalt in 7 seconds flat.

The Lord had just freed me from the chains of self-loathing, self-condemnation, self-pity and the biggest chain of all, self-absorption, in one single Holy Spirit filled breath.

How could I have been so deceived? Why would I believe a voice that clearly does not line up with  God's Word?

Girls, we can be deceived. So easily.

Why do you think Satan went after Eve, instead of Adam in that garden? We are very, very susceptible to deception.

I'm not saying that men aren't. I am just saying, from my experience as a woman, and from Eve's deception in the garden of Eden, that our little hearts can believe a lie in the blink of a mascara'd eye.

I'm not the only woman that has believed she "wasn't enough".

I sat across from a beautiful, godly woman at dinner recently. I asked her what she had been up to, and this was her answer: "Well, I really feel like I should lead a bible study or something. I just don't feel like I am doing enough."

This precious friend has four children. Four.

I looked at her bewildered that she could ever think such a thing and said this: "You are raising your children to be godly men and women. You are doing enough."

As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I knew those words for me as well.

This woman has been a mentor to me. She and her husband both have taken Lem and I under their wise wings, and have helped us grow in Christ.

How could she, of all people, feel this way? How could she, of all people, think that she wasn't doing enough??

I'm so tired of the comparisons. Comparisons are the thief of joy. Period.

"but when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. (2 Corinthians 10:12)

(thank you, Kelli B.!)

I'm so tired of the insecurities we feel when we look at our life in view of what we are seeing others do.

We are believing a lie when we think that what we are doing doesn't matter.

Every second that we stop and believe such lies, is another second that we are not doing what we were created to do. The enemy wins, we lose.

I was created to be Lem's wife, his helper in life.

"The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Genesis 2:18

God also blessed me with children to raise, to nurture, to train, to teach, to protect.

"She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness" Proverbs 31:27

If that is not a full time ministry, then what is??

We all have a ministry. It may not look like the world's version of ministry, but it is God's ministry none the less.

You are doing enough.

You are doing enough.

You are doing enough.

The truth of the matter is, there is always something else we can be doing. Always! Even things considered to be really good things.

However, every time we say "yes" to something new, we are  saying "no" to something else. We must be careful in what we say yes to. We must be sure that it won't be a threat to our peace and our home life.

I have said yes to many things only because I wanted to feel as if I was "doing enough".

Can we break this heavy chain today?

Let's look ourselves in the mirror, or in the faces of our children and loved ones today and say, "I am doing enough." With a big fat smile.

You win, the enemy loses.

I am doing enough,


Jul 1, 2014

Speak it, sister!.....

July Reading: Psalm 1-31 {Read a Psalm a day}
July Memory Chunk: Psalm 1:1-3
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

 Today, we begin a new chapter of the Bible! Are you excited? Me too!

I have chosen something light and easy for the month of July. Many of you are traveling, have kids home with you, or you just plain have a lot on your plate this month.

We will be reading a Psalm a Day. There are 31 days in July, so we will read 31 Psalms this month.

Brilliant, right? *tongue in cheek*

A new memory chunk too, Psalm 1:1-3. You will love these scriptures, pinkie promise.

I have a little story to tell you about the book of Psalms.

Psalm has a very special place in my beating little heart. For many reasons.

In May of this year, {May 9th to be exact}, the Lord prompted me to memorize a Psalm a day. How did He prompt me, you ask?

Well, I was reading through the book of Psalms that day, and I felt this nudge {hello, Holy Spirit}, to get to know the Psalms better. To make them more personal in my day to day life.

I wasn't really sure how to incorporate this, since my days were already kind of crazy and full. How
could I carry a scripture memory card with me everywhere I went, and then remember to look at it?? I could barely remember to brush my teeth as I left the house!

This is why God is God, and I am not. He let me in on a genius way to help me remember my Psalm for the day.

"Type it on your phone. Text the psalm to yourself each day, and you will have it at your fingertips all day long."

Hello, brilliant. Just brilliant.

There's one thing I never leave home without....my PHONE. *sad, but true*

Y'all know I am not smart enough to think of this myself. It could only be from God!

So, from that day on, I have texted myself Psalms to try and memorize each day.

The reason I text it instead of putting it in my "notes" on my phone, is because I see it a lot more often on my text screen. I would have to actually pull up my notes, an extra step I really didn't need.

Here's the truth of it all....

It's not that God wants me to just have a head full of Psalms to pull out of my hat and regurgitate to anyone that would listen.....no, that's not it at all.

He wants me to have Psalms in my head and in my heart because that's where my head and heart always need to stay.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8

The Lord knows this little heart of mine better than I do. He knows how quickly it can spin off into a muddy ditch if I am not careful. He knows how quickly my thoughts can get away from me if I don't have the Word of God to reign them back in.

When I "on purpose" fill my head and heart with the goodness and truth of His Word, I stay on track so much better.

Obviously, that story I told y'all on Friday was not a Psalm memory day. It sure should have been though! Maybe if I would have been singing Psalms, I would not have fallen off the wagon so hard with my ugly mouth!

When you read a chapter a day of Psalms this month, soak it in. Read it slow. Read it aloud if you can. God loves to hear our voices praising Him!

When I say a Psalm, or any bible verse out loud, it seems even more powerful! It produces even more faith in my heart when it is spoken.  My ears are able to hear it. My brain then processes it differently than if I would have just silently read it.

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

Think of it this way: We can think many great things about our loved ones. However, when we turn those thoughts into words, they mean something! They seem to stick! They also bless the receiver in a huge way!

When we speak God's Word out loud, or even have it spoken to us,  we give the words power in our lives. We make the words become not just something to consider or to think about, but something being declared with  authority.

There are so many instances of where God and Jesus spoke in the Bible. Let's give His Word a voice, shall we?

Are you ready for some Psalm reading, girls?

Let's do this!

a psalm a day keeps the doctor away, *cheesy, I KNOW*


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