Sep 26, 2014

Running on Fumes....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here. 

"Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me." Psalm 54:4

As we finish up the month of September of focusing on prayer, I hope that we have set our minds and hearts to maintain the discipline of prayer.

Discipline sounds harsh, doesn't it? I use that word because to discipline is to train. We must train ourselves to pray each day.

Prayer doesn't come naturally, for any of us. We tend to pray when things are urgent and we don't seem to know what else to do.

This is not what God wants for us. God longs for us to sustain a life of prayer. Prayer keeps us close to Him. Prayer maintains the relationship between God and us.

Today, Lem and I have been married for 16 years. Isn't he a cutie??

It is easy for us to get into a groove of not communicating. We are busy! We have children under our roof, and things get crazy.

We see each other every morning, and we see each other at night when our tired heads hit the pillow. We are together. However, we are not always in sync.

He and I must be intentional about our relationship. We must be intentional about spending quality time together. There is nothing better in this world than face to face time with my man! However, in this season of life it will not happen unless we make it happen.

It is the same with prayer. God is with us. Always. However, are we always with Him? Are we intentional about being with Him. Really, being with Him?

Our days get away from us. The moments slip by. We can get ourselves into a constant state of dizzying business, and find that we are just too busy to stop and pray.

When we lack in prayer, we lack in energy. We lack the spiritual fervor it takes to get us through each day. We run on fumes, and never stop to fill up. Eventually, we run out of gas.

Our bodies,our spirits, every part of us runs much better on prayer!

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26

Lem and I could go another 16 years and not say a word to each other. We could live day to day in our own worlds and never stop to engage with each other. However, what would that do to our marriage?  Our marriage would be lifeless, powerless, dull.

Who wants a relationship like that? NOT me.

I see it the same way with our relationship with The Father. We must be intentional about being with Him. Talking to Him. Sharing with Him. Listening to Him.

It will not be easy! As with any relationship, there will be distractions. BIG ones.

Remember our sister, Eve, in the garden? She was lured away by the serpent. The enemy caught her eye, and she fell for it. Sin entered the world because she lost her focus. She was pulled away.  Lured away.

We have the same enemy using the same trick today. He may not use a fruit to lure us, but oh how he uses other things. Just look at the distractions around you this very second. Your phone, your computer, your favorite app on your phone, your television....


All of this can tend to lure us away from what our spirits really crave. Intimacy with The Father.

How do I know? Because I have to constantly fight them on a daily basis. I have to intentionally turn my phone off in the morning when I have my time with the Lord. I have to intentionally turn my phone off when my kids get home from school.

I know myself too well. Just like Eve, my curiosity gets the best of me, and I am pulled away. Again.

We must train ourselves to pull away. We must train ourselves to pray.

The more we pray, the more we will want to pray. When we know what it is like to be full again, with our spirits nourished from prayer, we will never want to run on fumes again. We will stop at all costs, and pull away to be with Him.

Jesus lived a life of pulling away to pray. Just scan through the New Testament and see how He intentionally pulled Himself away to be with God. [Mark 1:35. Mark 6:45-46, Mark 14:32-34, Luke 4:42, Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12]

If Jesus needed to, we surely need to.

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

Be intentional in your praying. Starting today, make prayer a part of your life. Be intentional about pulling away from distractions. The distractions will not pull away from you. No matter what your schedule holds, make prayer fit in. God will help you and sustain you as you seek to be with Him.

Go, fill your tank.

no more fumes,


Sep 24, 2014

Awake, Oh Sleeper.....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here. 

When the Lord laid on my heart that that we would be praying for the world this week, this post was the one that kept coming to my mind. A friend of mine forwarded me this post from a fellow blogger a few weeks ago. It blew me away.

Not just me, but apparently many other people. It went viral and literally around the world.

Be blessed by Candace's words today. Completely God-breathed.

Awake, Oh Sleeper!
by: Candace Roberts

Candace and her beautiful family

Burdened is the only way I can describe my heart recently.  I have this constant feeling in the pit of my stomach that something is very wrong.  It’s a feeling like one of my children is in danger and I am helpless to protect them.  I go to sleep at night with the feeling and I wake up with it.
Around the world, Christians are suffering for their faith.  They always are, but lately it has been overwhelming to watch and hear about.  The headlines on Christian persecution do not end right now.
  • Over 250 schoolgirls were kidnapped by a terrorist group named “Boko Harem”.  These girls were kidnapped because they attended a “Western”, “Christianized” school in Nigeria.  The Islamic extremists forced most of them to convert to Islam, raped some, and sold some as child brides.
  • In Iraq and Syria, an evil, twisted faction of Al Queda named ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) is currently waging war without rules on Christians and minority groups.  They are beheading children and adults and placing their heads on poles around the country (if you have a hard time believing this there are some really insane and unreal pictures of it on the internet).  They have chased thousands of families from their homes and into the mountains where they are dying of thirst because it is a better alternative than being raped and beheaded.  Many have pushed their children off the mountain to save them from a worse fate.  They are calling it genocide and what else can you call it when over 1500 are murder in one day??
  • In Gaza, Hamas, another Islamic terrorist group is using innocent civilians as shields and setting up rocket launchers in public places.  They are also shooting rockets into Israel every day which threatens innocent Israeli families.  This kind of evil has stated things on the record like “we love death like Israel loves life”.
  • Ebola is a disease with worldwide repercussions.  Though it is wreaking havoc so far away, we still feel the shockwaves like they are right here in the US.  Ebola does not play favorites and it leaves only 40% of its victims with life still in them.  It has yet to be a threat in our country (despite the huge uproar about bringing our sick citizens home for treatment), yet it has wiped out over 1000 people and does not look to be slowing as people hide when they are sick rather than seek medical attention.
  • China is cracking down on churches as we speak and many have been demolished by the government.  While this may pale in comparison to some other threats, imagine showing up at your church on Sunday morning to find it flattened.
  • There are rumors of war in Ukraine again as Russia lies in wait for another opportunity strike.  And with the focus turning toward Israel/Gaza and Iraq, it could be days or weeks before we see casualties once again in this region and our Christian brothers and sisters are once again in harm’s way.
With so much travesty happening to people of faith all over the world, I have found it difficult to carry on as normal.  I mean, what if it were me?  It could just as easily be my family?  What makes us, as American Christians, think that we are above facing life threatening circumstances?  And how should we respond, as Christians, to this heart-wrenching news that we are facing every day?
I struggle, I really do.  I struggle because the way that I want to respond…what my human nature wants to do is to feel guilty… for everything.  It wants to feel guilty that I am swimming in a pool when so many children are dying of thirst.  It wants to feel guilty that my children are all healthy while others are dying of the blood loss that comes with Ebola.  It wants to feel guilty that I live in a country where I can post on Facebook what I think about Jesus without fear that someone will be knocking at my door in 15 minutes to take me to prison.  It wants to feel guilty that I am not on a plane to serve internationally…that I am not on the mission field…that I am not in a position to contribute to a solution on any of these fronts.  So with this guilt, I went before the Lord.
I sat outside and looked into the blue sky and cried out to my God.  “What in the world, God? WHAT IN THE WORLD?  Why are you allowing the nations to rage?  Why are you letting them say ‘Where is your God?’  Why aren’t you doing something? Rise up and defend Your NAME!”  And here is where He took me almost right away.

“For we don’t want you to be unaware, brothers, of our affliction that took place in Asia: we were completely overwhelmed—beyond our strength—so that we even despaired of life.  Indeed, we personally had a death sentence within ourselves, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and He will deliver us. We have put our hope in Him that He will deliver us again while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.”  2 Corin 1:8-11

Did you hear what Paul just said?  He didn’t lay a guilt trip on his fellow Christians.  He didn’t say, “Why weren’t you with us in Asia?”  He didn’t say, “While you all were getting to live your life in peace, WE were in Asia despairing of life.”  He didn’t say, “God had to deliver us because you all were unwilling to come to our rescue.”

NO, he said these two things… The grievous trial that made them despair of even living was given so that they would not trust in themselves, but in the God who raises even the dead (He became their ONLY hope) AND the PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS HELPED HIM!  Can I just shout it again?  THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS DELIVERED A GIFT TO HIM THAT EVEN THEIR PRESENCE COULD NOT.

American Church!!!  Awake, oh sleepers!!!  These things are meant to shake us awake.  God is giving us an opportunity to watch Him do great things AND to be prepared for the days that WE will need the prayers of the saints!!  I will take it as far as to say, if you are not in a time of desperate need of prayer, you should be desperately praying for someone else.  THERE IS NO TIME FOR SLEEP! There is no time for wasting away in recreation. It is time to WAKE UP and PRAY!
As I meditated on this Scripture, I began to realize… I began to see with different eyes… I began to get a zoomed out view of these happenings around the world.  When do people cry out to God?  I don’t mean followers of Jesus.  I mean, the normal, average person…when does he/she cry out to God?  When no one else can save.  And you know what? Noone can save all the people in Africa that are perishing from a vicious disease.  A cry is going up to a Higher Power.  And you know what? Thousands of Christians and minority groups are seeking refuge together on a mountain and in churches and in small villages in Iraq.  These people are watching children leave for eternity together.  I cannot imagine that the Gospel is not really powerful when spoken in such situations.  And you know what?  China’s underground church is GROWING.  Despite strong resistance from the Communist party, Christianity in China is on the rise as people devote not just their time and money, but their VERY LIVES to Christ in order to share the Word.  Theirs is no shallow Christianity that ducks at the slightest shadow.  It is brave and strong and firm.  And you know what?  We see Jesus working all over the world.  In the evilest of evil, He is working.  HE IS THE HOPE and many people are starting to see that.  Unfortunately, it has always taken “shock” to call people back to God…even from the very beginning when it took a worldwide flood.

So now that we have established hope in the midst of articles filled with horror…now that we have established that guilt is a useless distraction from your real job as a Christian…let’s talk action.
Stop feeling helpless and start crying out to God on the behalf of these people who need help from Somebody far more able than any of us.

Stop wishing you could be the hero and start joining your cries with those of these suffering saints who need miracles beyond our capabilities.

Stop wandering around in guilt and start asking where the Lord wants you positioned in this battle…is it in your church leading a prayer meeting?  is it on your knees in your bedroom? is it in one of these affected countries?

Stop reading articles that make you feel sick and start printing them out and laying them before the Lord, asking Him to intervene in specific situations.

Stop wondering if you could ever make it through the reality that saints in other nations are facing and start taking active steps to search out Christians, missionaries, and pastors in these nations to pray for them…to write encouraging words to them…to give money or resources to the cause of Christ where they are.

Whatever you do, STOP SLEEPING.  There is no time left for snooze on the alarm clock.  These people NEED our prayers.  Our prayers are the best gift that we can give to them.  Whatever you do, don’t just read this!  Get with the Lord and ask Him where He wants you in this battle formation.  ASK HIM what you can do to serve these people around the world.  May they, one day, be able to say, “He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and He will deliver us. We have put our hope in Him that He will deliver us again while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.

Sep 22, 2014

If not you, then who?

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here. 

I wasn't planning on posting today. However, you know how God can put something on your heart and you just HAVE to talk about it? Yeah, that's where I am. 

First, I came across this incredible little hidden verse in our reading last week. It KNOCKED my fuzzy pink socks off! 

"I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly." Psalm 40:10

When I read scripture, I apply it personally. I apply it to my life, my world, my people. 

This verse spoke to me on so many levels, I wanted to SHOUT it from my rooftop to anyone that would listen. 

Will you do me the honor of being the "great assembly" today? I sure hope you will. For a few minutes anyway.

I have to be honest with you and tell you that all of this prayer that we have been doing has put me in a very tender and vulnerable place with the Lord. Prayer draws us intimately close to Him, and it softens our hearts more than anything else can. 

As my heart has been pulverized by His faithfulness and His affection, I begin to get a glimpse of His love for us. Just a glimpse because the totality of His love would overwhelm me and knock me out cold. 

Not only do I see His love for me, but I see His love for us. Slowly my eyes are being peeled open to a world in desperate need of a Father. Our Father God. 

I have a new sense of urgency for our fellow men, women, and children across the globe. I have a sense of responsibility to do.....something. Part of doing what I can, is having eyes that are opened.

Opened eyes are the first step. They can only come by a heart willing and asking for them to be open. 

As I cried my ever-lovin' eyes out in the car last week over something, I got angry. 

I was angry over some things happening to children. Some information was shared with me, and my heart broke into a million pieces. 

I cried out to God. I may have even yelled at Him. I told Him I didn't understand. I told Him that He had to do something. This wasn't fair for these children.  He had to act. Immediately.

My spirit was weeping to my Father. Not just my spirit, but my flesh, every ounce of it. 

When we know the unconditional love of the Lord, we can share our honest feelings. We can yell, scream, pitch fits....because we know He will still love us. He is our Father. 

This is where I was last week. A tantrum mimicking that of a 3 year old in my car. 

God, me, and my tears. 

Soon after my rant, I turned the radio on. I was tired. I was worn-out emotionally and I just needed to be swept away by some good music. 

The song the Lord hand-picked for my ears to hear was this:

"Do Something"
by: Matthew West

I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

I’m so tired of talking
About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
“I’m gonna do something”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we’re never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still
No we won’t stand still

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something 

I asked God immediately to show me what to do. 

His response was simple....

Jill, I want you to pray. 

This was not the response I had wanted to hear. I wanted a direct command of action. Something I could sink my hands into, to feel like I was doing...something. 

Again, I tell you to pray. If not you, then who? Who will pray?

A peace washed over me like I had not felt in a long, long time. 

A peace only perfect enough to come from Him. My Father. 

Yes, Father, I will pray. 

I wonder how much of our world could be changed if we were to pray more, and talk less. Really, I wonder. We talk about how things need change, how horrible things are....

When God desires us to simply..... pray. 

"The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much" James 5:16

What if it just started here, today, with all of you. What if all of us chose to pray for our world today. Nothing too wordy, or too fancy. Just simply, "Thy Will be done with Your people, Lord, Thy Will be done."

Will you join me? Will you stop today, tomorrow, and the rest of this week and pray for our world?

God hears us, sisters in Christ. Oh, He hears us! If He can hear little ol' me in the car out here on a lonely country road, He can hear ALL OF US! We are HIS! He hears the cries of His people....

"In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears." Psalm 18:6

My hands are shaking as I type this because I feel the urgency to do something. His people are waiting on our prayers. Will you join me on your knees?

Psalm 46:1-7

1 God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
    and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
    and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
    the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
    God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
    he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress.

if not us then who,


Sep 20, 2014

We have a WINNER.....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

We have a winner in our SHINE Girls Give-Away!

The winner receives my absolute favorite prayer book....EVER. "Prayers That Avail Much", by Germaine Copeland.

My daughter, Presley, drew the winning name!

Congratulations to

Please email me at to let me know how to get this book to you. :)

I am so excited for you, Erin! Yay

[Girls, If you have a SHINE prize that you would like to donate for our next give-away, let me know!]

Happy Weekend, SHINE girls. It is GORGEOUS outside here in Georgia!! I hope you all are enjoying your day!

going back outside,


Sep 18, 2014

Forever Changed....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

If you haven't entered or SHINE girl Give-away, it's not too late! Go here and enter. I will draw a name tomorrow!

As I thought about our next prayer focus this week, I knew I had to ask my friend Erin Davis to post.
Erin is one of the girls in my prayer circle group. We text or talk to each other daily. Erin has taught me so much through her walk with Jesus. So much.
The thing Erin has taught me the most is how to pray. I mean, like, really pray. 
Erin has the gift of prayer. Like you have NEVER seen. 
She will kill me for telling  y'all this...BUT! Erin will go into the bathroom at her work, HIT HER KNEES, and pray. I am not joking. 
She has taught me so much! If you don't have a friend that will hit her knees to pray for you, start praying for one today. I am not kidding! Pray, today. 
Be blessed by her words today. God is doing some awesome things in her life. 

Forever Changed
by: Erin Davis

Give me Your eyes for just one second

Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing

Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see

This song was my heart’s prayer during all of 2013. This is also the year that we started on a journey known as foster care.
The Lord called our family very specifically to love these foster children. I was beyond excited and ready to begin this journey with Him.
I wanted to be His hands and feet. I desired to help the hurting, mend their wounds, and love the “least of these” in my community.
I envisioned ministering to these children, teaching them about Jesus, and witnessing to their parents.

We became an approved Foster home at 4:30 pm on March 20th, 2014. The first foster child walked through our door at 6:30pm that same day.

And in the blink of an eye…my eyes were open….reality hit…and it tore me apart!

I was overwhelmed!!!!

Were these things really happening to children in my own backyard?
How did I not know?
Why aren’t people outraged about these things?
Why had no one told me?

I realized that I had been living in a bubble. I chose not to see past my own nose.

I paid no attention to the strange faces staring back at me at the store, at the local park, or even in the pews of my own church.
My eyes were not open to the pain and darkness surrounding me…or maybe…I did not care enough to see it
Chad and I have had the privilege of loving 8 children so far through the adventure called foster care.
Despite the darkness of their situation, these babies are a LIGHT that SHINES so brightly in my world.
They are DAILY reminders of God’s unending LOVE, GRACE, and MERCY in a fallen world.
They have done more for me then I could ever do for them. They are precious and we are beyond grateful that He allowed our family to be a part of their story.
I am FOREVER changed.

One thing I know for sure…
I can never go back to the way I was.
My eyes have been opened.
The need is too great.
I can promise you this…
An adventure waits for anyone willing to partner with Jesus!
Begin with simply asking Jesus to open your eyes!  Get on your knees and pray for your neighbors! Open your heart to the unlovable, the outcasts, and the broken. And then wait and watch as God does the rest!
Your life will NEVER be the same!
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Proverbs 3:27
Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:5-6

Sep 17, 2014

Count your blessings, not your problems....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

Remember my friend, Kim, that I told you all about? You can read the story about her here.

Well, I just want to share her latest Caringbridge post with all of you. I know you will be just as encouraged and inspired as I was.

Take a moment, and let Kim's faith spur you on today. You will be blessed, I promise you this.

Want to follow her journey? Go to and search for "Kim Jaynes". You will be so glad you did. She's an amazing girl. See for yourself.

Thankful for things BOTH big and small
by: Kim Jaynes

I have heard people say that when you are faced with a trial in life, your perspective on things alter completely! And I can tell you from this experience so far.....nothing could be closer to being true!

When I first got the diagnosis my mind started scrambling......past, present, future!

Each week brings more questions.....What if, What about, What next, and so on!

Every pain or ache causes me think that my entire body is cancer ridden! One with this disease tends to become hyper-vigilant and probably a little on the hypochondriac side too!

Of course death has crossed my mind (on more than one occasion). After all, cancer is the leading cause of death in women (lung cancer #1, breast cancer #2).

I am well aware that we all will die one day!

But, do I want to die from this??......I can answer with a resounding NO!

I have asked, told, and begged God to spare me in this life for a LONG while!  It is not that I am afraid of dying and what happens after this life because I know my salvation is secure!

BUT....I am not ready to leave this earth and the people I love who are still in it! I do not think God is finished with me and my purpose on this earth yet. So my prayer is that my "one day" is many, many, many, many, many..........days years away!!!

There have been some really, really hard days!

There have been some hard days with sprinkles of good throughout!

But there have also been some really good days and those far outweigh the bad!

In all of it, there moments to be cherished and I am so thankful for that!  Moments that are big and moments that are small!  I treasure each and every one! Because when your mindset changes to "this may be the last time I......." you tend to see things with a new set of eyes!

This weekend we had the chance to see my oldest son Dylan do his thing in the Vandy (Vanderbilt College)band. He attends Belmont, but marches for Vanderbilt!

It was me, my man, and our three gifts from God! I cannot imagine anything more precious than time spent with family!  I felt great all weekend, we ate, visited, laughed, and were all together!  This was a BIG thing and for that I am so very thankful!

There are many little things that take place on any given day.  Before getting breast cancer these things would, most likely, have gone unnoticed or at least were not seen as a blessing. But now that I tend to focus on the blessings and not on the business of life I can see things a little more clearly.

Hugs from a teenage son, a middle school girl wanting to sit in my lap, a text from a college boy, a husband who starts my shower in the morning, a mother who keeps our laundry clean, friends cooking dinner.......little gestures of love that can get so easily lost in the hustle and bustle of life!

So my advice to you.....soak up your blessings both BIG and SMALL!  

Put God first and be the Jesus that your family and friends need to see (especially your children!)

Slow down and enjoy your family! Family should always take precedence over all other things but God!

Show some love to those around you.....give up on the gossip and time wasted being mad!

Count your blessings and not your problems!

All of our days our numbered.....what if we all lived like today was the final number???

If you have hair...count that as a blessing.....the most frequent question I have had so far is......."has your hair started to come out yet?" started last Tuesday and I was hoping it would hold on through the weekend! And it did (another blessing)...........but I could knit a hat from the pile that came out this morning! As well as the strands that continue to let loose as the day progresses.

So shaving day!

I have opted for a wig but you may see me in a bandana or hat! Who knows....we will see!  I am not looking forward to being bald....but things could be so much worse! So if bald is as bad as it gets....then I will take it.

" Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." James 1:17

Tallying up the big and the small gifts,

Sep 15, 2014

Eyes Wide Open.....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here.

"They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them." Psalm 44:3

God has been doing something to my heart over the past few months. Since last November, actually.

I confessed it to my prayer girls recently, and now I will confess to all of you.

He is literally crumbling my heart.  My eyes have been opened to things I never saw before. Sometimes, I want to close them back.

I have a very close friend that started fostering children this year. She told me the exact same thing this past Saturday evening. "Sometimes, I wish I could just go back to being comfortable. My eyes have been opened to the hurting, and it is very uncomfortable", she said.

When God gets a hold of your heart, it literally crumbles. It feels like a pulverization process. It becomes tender and delicate, and easy to bruise.

That's what's happening here. With me.

Tears come almost daily now. I see things that I never noticed before.

For example, I was in a local fast food restaurant recently. I noticed the manager. She was small, with a petite build. She was so friendly. Several times she asked us if everything was okay.

I then saw her cleaning the table behind us. She was so precise, so intentional, about making that table clean. As I saw her lean over to brush the crumbs off of the seat, I broke down crying. Yep. See what I mean?

God prompted me to pray for her. Right then, right there. Not out loud, but in my heart.

I wondered what her life was like outside of the restaurant. Was she loved? Was she a mother? Was she married? Was she.....happy?

Her life inspired me that day. I saw the passion in her eyes for making sure others were taken care of. She was a true servant.

She was literally living this verse out:

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24

The next day I was in my local grocery story. The cashier never made eye contact with me. She seemed sad. I tried to make conversation with her, it didn't work out too well. I prayed for her immediately. God was prompting me again to pray on behalf of His people.

Soon after, my foster mother friend gave me some details of the child that was just placed in their home. Again, my heart crumbled some more.

On the way to take my kids to school the next morning, I had a long talk with my children. I shared with them the stories of the broken families, broken homes, broken children that surround them. The heartbreak they endure.

I encouraged them to look for children around them at school. Lonely faces. Distant eyes. Withdrawn behavior.

Seek them out, I pleaded. Talk to them. Smile at them. They are hurting. Pray for them.

I want my kids to have opened eyes. I want them to see those in need. I want them to do something. I want them to pray.

This week we will be intentional about .....

Praying for our community.

We are all surrounded by great needs. Great hurts. Great pain.

Our prayers are a bridge to Jesus for our community.

Will you be a part of building this bridge?

How can we do this?

Start praying for your cashier. Your bank teller. Your child's teacher. Your fellow co-workers. Your students. Your waitress. The family sitting next to you at church. Your mail carrier. Your trash pick-up people.

Pray for anyone that comes across your path each day.

Get ready for some big walls to crumble in your heart. Get ready for your eyes to start burning due to God prying them open to the world around you.  The people who were just "people", now become those you will fervently pray for.

Prayer changes our hearts. Prayer opens our eyes.

The greatest way to show love to others is to pray for them.

my eyes are still burning,


Sep 13, 2014

A SHINE girl Give-Away....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here. 

I am loving this intentional praying stuff. I mean, I love to pray, but when I am faced with something very specific to pray for, it infuses my prayers with even more purpose.

We have covered marriage and children. Next week, we will cover another important aspect of our prayer life. You will just have to wait until Monday to find out. No sneak peaks. ;)

So, I have something AMAZING to give away to one of you. I mean AMAZING.

This book was introduced to me two years ago by my friend, Lisa. We were having lunch and she told me about this book. I knew I needed it.

Lifeway bookstore was located [conveniently] right behind the place where we were eating lunch.
After we ate, we headed right over.

I picked it up, and was hesitant at first because of the cost of it. It was a hard back book, so it was more than I expected.

To be honest, I needed some new mascara that week and I was contemplating the book or the mascara. Seriously.

The book was purchased. The mascara had to wait a few more weeks.

Purchasing this book was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. It has changed my prayer life.


Because it is God's Word in prayer form. It covers any and every possible scenario in your life that needs prayer.

The pages in my book are worn, highlighted, dated, and written in. I have cried many tears while praying the prayers in this book over my family, my friends, and my loved ones.

I want you to have this book.

Prayers that Avail Much
by: Germaine Copeland

I just purchased a copy and will give it away to one of you beautiful SHINE friends!

Here is what you need to do...

Just comment under this post. Your name, is really all I need.

If you happen to already have this book, please still enter. You can bless someone HUGE by giving it to them. It's a game changer in our prayer lives. Trust me.

I will draw a name next week. Spread the word to your friends! Bless them by the opportunity to receive this book and begin praying God's Word more intimately than ever.

You are loved, SHINE friend. You are fervently prayed for. Day in and day out.

with so much love,


Sep 12, 2014

A Soul in Need....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here. 

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" Psalm 42:1

What is your soul panting for today? Really, think about it. If you were to look back on yesterday, the day before, the day before that, last month, last year...

What does your soul panting look like?

Is it for peace peace in your home or marriage?

Is it for healing?

Is it for financial relief?

Is it for joy?

Is it for the well-being of your children?

What if our soul only panted for God. Nothing else.

What would that look like?

How would that change our days?

I think it would change our days drastically.

When our soul is panting, the only fulfillment is God.

We fill our lives with so many other things....fillers. 

Fillers can never take the place of God.

If we are too busy for God, we are too busy.

If we are too busy to pray, we are too busy.

Life is chaotic. It's spinning. It's busy.

We often find ourselves running in circles exasperated by the end of the day.

Some days we plop in bed, and remember that we didn't pray once that day. Not once.

Our souls are panting for God. Dehydrated, empty, starving.

If you see a hungry man on the road, do you give him advice or do you give him food?

You give him food. He doesn't care about your advice until his belly is full.

When our souls are empty, hungry, and thirsty....

We need to feed it with God.

Our lives will be so much more effective and productive after we spend time with Him and feed off of His Living Word.

Our Fun Friday Challenge:

Meet with God today. Wherever you are. Stop. Be still. Talk to Him. Listen to Him. Read His Word, and let Him breathe life back into your weary soul.

a panting soul,


Sep 10, 2014

Getting Specific.....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here. 

Praying for our Children
by: Lisa Inlow

I Thessalonians 5:16-18  Rejoice always, pray continually, giving thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

This is a tough passage to live out, right?!

In this post I'm going to focus on praying continually...for our children.

For me, prayer is a state of mind.  It's part of my day.  I talk to the Lord about everything.  And so many of those prayers, are for my 2 kids.

I'm going to rattle off scenes and scenarios, painting pictures of my days and how praying is just part of it.

We quote Psalm 91 together, a lot.  Other times I quote it aloud in the car, on my walk or just doing my thing here in the house.  I have also recently, typed it out, printed it, and put it in my kids backpacks.  I picture it as full on armor on their backs!  Praise Him!!

While picking up in their rooms, or honestly, walking in their rooms, then promptly walking out (disaster areas I tell you)...I will sit on their beds, my hand on their pillows and pray.

Things they are experiencing now, behavior or obedience issues.  Other times their spouses, and the type of home they are growing up in now as little ones.  Asking too, that my children, and their future spouses love HIM, above each other.

There's something about their beds and pillows.  I guess it's the quiet and still of night.  I ask the Spirit to speak to them during those hours.

A bunny trail thought if I may.  I tap on my kids hearts and tell them to start listening to the Quiet Voice.  I explain how He works, whispering gently, nudging them the right way.  I tell them ways the Spirit talks to me.  And how we have to learn what that voice sounds like.

I also pray for my kids when I'm folding their laundry.  Their socks, I ask Him to guide their feet.  Keeping them on the path of Truth.

I get really specific on this one too.  Asking Him to not have my daughter walk into frat houses when she's in college (she's only 6, but hello, pray now!).  I pray her feet will not take her to backseats of cars, into bars or places the Spirit urges her not to go. "Lord, give her the confidence to walk the other way"...

And with my boy.  I pray about his friendships.  His sensitivity to the Spirit.  That he and his little sister will be friends, forever.  That no matter their age, they will enjoy each other, long into adulthood.  And I pray, that the Light of Christ will shine through him, drawing others in.

What a joy to go to the Throne on their behalf!!  Ah, I love it!! To pour out my mom heart to the One!  The one who knit them together, inside of me!

Will each of you join me?

Dear Father, We love you so much!!  We come to you and pour out our deepest desires and concerns on behalf of our children.  Thank you Almighty God for your crazy love for each of us!!  Amen.

Sep 8, 2014

Hitting Our Knees.....

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here

Happy Monday, girls! How is your prayer life going? I sure hope it has been jump-started since last week. Whew, mine sure has!

Last week our focus was on praying for marriages, this week we have a new focus....

Praying for our Children.

Now, hold on! Those of you who do not have children, let me grab your arm and drag you right back into the conversation. K?

If you are breathing air at this moment, you need to be praying for the children in your life. We ALL have children somewhere around us. Even if you do not know any personally, we need to be praying for the younger generation. When I say younger generation, I mean 21 and under. Yes, all those children!

Perhaps nothing has brought me to my face faster [carpet burns to prove it!], than the prayers I have prayed for my children. Goodness gracious, it is a full time job.

In fact, several years ago the Lord gently reminded me that I needed to pray for my husband before I pray for my kids each day. Gulp.

Yep, He sure did.

I had never thought of that before. My husband wasn't quite on my radar like the little people I gave birth too.

I obliged the Lord's nudging. A little begrudgingly, if I am honest.

Each morning, I still try to pray for my hubby first. However, you can bet your favorite pink lipgloss that my kids get most of the rest of my day in prayers. [Sorry, Lem!]

Here is how I see it: The prayers for my children will live on way after I am long gone. These prayers will touch their future relationships, marriages, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Get the picture?

Our prayers for our children will live on forever. And ever. And ever.

Overwhelming? Yes, it is.

Can our prayers really change and mold the lives of our children? YES!!

"And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people." Revelation 5:8

"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people" 1 Timothy 2:1

“So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders.  Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.  Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,  that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors." Deuteronomy 11:18-21 

I often tell my very own mother that I can actually feel in my spirit the prayers that my great-grandmother prayed over me. I can just envision my godly great-grandmother praying over her future generation decades ago.

Each time we pray over our children, we are fortifying their lives with the Will of God to be done. Not our will, but His Will. 

If you do not have your own children yet, now is the time to start praying for them. Yes, right now.

If you do not plan on having any children, pray for the children around you. When you see a child, ask God to nudge your heart to pray for them. You may be the only one lifting a prayer on their behalf.

If you are a grandmother, you know how desperately prayer is needed. It is needed until you draw your last breath. My mom has told me before that there is never a time that you will stop praying for your children. The prayers change, but the prayers stay fervent and pressing none the less. Perhaps, even more so.

Our younger generation will be the ones fighting the enemy in perilous days. They need our prayers. They need to be covered from head to toe with the Armor of God, through our prayers.

I want to give you some ammunition today to get you started. You probably already have your own arsenal of prayers, but if you don't, this will be a good place to start.

Write these down. Hang them up in your child's room. Tuck them away in their book bags. Circle their rooms with prayer every time you walk by their room.

Have prayer-stops to nudge you to remember to pray. For example: every time you see a sunset, pray for your kids. Every time you stop at a red-light, pray for the children around you. Every time you unload the dishwasher, lift up your children, or the children around you. Find a reminder that works for you, and do it!

My prayer-stop is folding my kids laundry. I sit on their beds and pray the fire out of those little shirts and pants. It works for me, because my laundry is over-the-top and never-ending.

Okay, so let's get straight to the good stuff. Here are just a few scriptures to guide us as we lift up the children in our lives:

I keep asking that the God of our LORD Jesus Christ, the glorious Father may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. Ephesians 1:7

 You did not choose me , but I chose you and appointed you to go bear fruit-fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 15:16

Finally, let The Lord make you strong. Depend on His mighty power. Put on all of God's armor. Then you can stand firm against the devil's evil plans. Ephesians 6:10-11 

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

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Psalm 1

[the one above is one of my personal favorites--I insert their names into this scripture daily]

"And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man." Luke 2:52 

[this is the one I probably pray the most, inserting their names---"and Joseph will grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man"]

Now, it's your turn to share. Would you list a verse or two that you love to pray over your children?

We all want to know.

What prayers do you pray? What scripture do you use? Please share!

bring on the carpet burns,


Sep 6, 2014

Praying Through the Stillness......

September Reading Plan: Psalm 31-60
September Memory Verse: Psalm 34:1
Prayer Requests go here.
New to SHINE? Go here. 

Good morning, girls! I have the incredible honor of posting one of our precious younger SHINE sisters story.  I'm amazed by her wisdom and faith. If you have younger women in your life, please consider forwarding this post to them. It's really good wisdom---for any age. :)

Praying through the Stillness
By: Erin walker

Happy Saturday, SHINE girls!

My name is Erin. I’ve been following the SHINE girls blog for about 2 years, and it has been an incredible blessing. I’m constantly amazed at the Spirit’s timing and how the very scriptures and truths that Mrs. Jill posts and shares are the very same ones that He is teaching me in my personal walk. This happened just this past week with the challenge for us to pray for marriages and the scripture “Be still and know that I am God” in Mrs. Jill’s vlog and also in Mrs. Sarah’s story.
This past summer I graduated from college. Four years ago when I was a freshman, I remember thinking to myself, “For sure, in the next 4 years I’ll meet a great guy here at school, we’ll date, get engaged toward the end of our senior year, and be married sometime after graduation.”

I’m smiling as I type this because, guess what? The Lord had a different path for me. In those 4 years I  met a number of great guys, but I never dated a single one of them, I’m not engaged to any of them, and I’m also not married to one of them either. I’m still single!

I remember there being periods of contentment where I was happy as single and not interested in being in a relationship. Other times, my dear roommate G and I would pile up on my bed and commiserate as to why we were still single and couldn’t find boyfriends. :) Of course, we would overdramatize and laugh about our “misery”, but there certainly were seasons that I felt like everyone else was in a relationship and there must have been something wrong with me for no one to pursue me.

This past March, I was content with where I was, not comparing myself to others who were in relationships. It was during this time that the Holy Spirit began to lead me in ways that I could start praying and preparing for my future husband and our marriage.

He has been the perfect Teacher, revealing the purpose of marriage, a more realistic view of this commitment, and how to prepare for this lifelong bond through a variety of resources. He’s opened up His word, showing instances of His sovereignty and control and what He desires from me as I wait on Him. Girls, ask Him to teach you- He will, He wants to! He is faithful in this and has shown up time and time again, blowing me away with His perfect instruction and insight.

And here is where I am especially thankful for the blessing that SHINE girls is- Recently I’ve noticed that I’ve made myself busy, busy, busy with learning and taking in all that I can concerning all things relationships and marriage- so much so that it has become my focus in prayer, quiet time, study, and conversation. Just within the last week and a half, I’ve been putting aside the Spirit’s gentle voice saying to me, “You’re making this into an idol. Focus on Me.” When Mrs. Jill introduced our challenge to pray for marriages,instantly, I thought, “Ooo yay! This goes right along with what has 
been reoccurring in my life these past few months!”

And then the Lord spoke so clearly through Mrs. Jill and Mrs. Sarah and how He has revealed Psalm 46:10 to each of them.

“Quiet down, Erin. Be aware of Me and acknowledge Me in this season. Wait on Me.”

Still. Frozen. In awe.

And get this- The word “know” in Psalm 46:10 is “Yada” in Hebrew. One of its closest synonyms is the word “nakar” which means to acknowledge”… Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Girls, He’s teaching me to quiet down and to trust and follow His leading-His perfect leading that is so good and fulfilling to follow- so that I will be prepared to be still and follow my husband’s leading one day.

It’s been a good, rich season of learning, listening, reading, and studying about this next chapter in life that will come- and I know that He’ll continue to teach on this subject. I’m looking forward to quieting down and being still while He leads. He is so good!

I am praying for you all!

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