Sep 29, 2017

Just Breathe....

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Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10

I recently signed up for some yoga classes. Two precious friends teach at this studio, so I decided to give it a try.

In the past, I have always kind of rolled my eyes at yoga. It wasn't challenging enough.  Or so I thought.

Boy, was I wrong.

Here is why I love yoga: It forces me to slow down. And breathe.

Breathing is something that we often forget to do.

Slowing down is not even on most of our radars.

Why is this?

In my early parenting years, I thought by the time my kids became teenagers life would slow down.

It is completely the opposite.

Life will never slow down.

There will always be something to do.

There is a story in the bible that I can relate to so  much. It is the story of Mary and Martha.

Jesus comes to visit and Mary sits at His feet soaking up every word. Martha on the other hand is busy and distracted. She cannot sit down because there is just too much to be done. Oh my, can you relate?

Here is the passage:

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

I have been Martha so many times. Inviting company over and stressed to the max before they even get here. Dreading that I even asked them over!

Seriously? What is wrong with me.

Suddenly, I notice every single dust spot in my house. Every single flaw. I notice suddenly how small my kitchen is and how some [most] of our plates are chipped. Then, I yell at everyone not to touch a blessed thing or they shall surely DIE.

Martha, Martha. I get you.

Here Jesus was at her house. Jesus, the Son of God. Surely she wanted everything to be perfect.

But,  her sister Mary wanted only one thing...she wanted to be with Jesus.  To slow down and sit at His feet. She wanted to inhale His presence, breathing in His holiness.

Mary lived in the present, Martha lived in perfection.

Mary probably did some Holy Yoga from time to time. [kidding]

I love to write. It is pure therapy to my soul. However, sometimes I just don't make time for it. There are just too many demands. Or are there?

Maybe I just cannot slow down enough to stop and do the things I enjoy. The things that bring joy to my heart.

Mary stopped. She quieted herself. She knew what her heart needed.

I have a challenge for us. Well, it is really for me, but I would love for you to do this with me.

Let's stop. Breathe. Inhale. Exhale.

Let's notice what is happening right in the very present. Oh, don't you see? That's where Jesus is.

He is with the people around us. The little faces we feed everyday. The big husband face we tend to. The little puppy face that gets into every living thing.

Jesus is there. In all of it. Right where you are.

We keep the plates spinning so fast that we don't stop and put those plates down, and breathe. Breathe in the sweetness of your child's breath. The humming of a dishwasher that holds those chipped plates that the very loves of your life eat from. The birds chirping out that window that needs cleaning.

He is in all of this.

"But will God indeed dwell with mankind on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You; how much less this house which I have built. 2 Chronicles 6:18

What do you say we take time to breathe today?

If you are with me, send me a note via email, or leave a comment. I need to know I am not alone here. I need to know there are more Martha's out there in pursuit of Mary-ness.

We can do this. Together.

grabbing my yoga mat,


Sep 20, 2017

Do you want to be great?

And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

I have recently seen this versed lived out before my very eyes.

Many times I have struggled with the meaning of what Jesus was saying here. He was asked by the disciples this question: "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"

Jesus replied aptly to their question sending shock waves to their system I would suppose.

Little children? Such little knowledge? Such unlearned ways? Really?


Jesus says this next: "Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Again, shock waves.

In our minds we think the greatest should be the holiest in deeds, the one who prays out loud at every and any opportunity, the one who quotes the bible day in and day out...

But, Jesus says the greatest will be like children.

What is it about children that Jesus would say such a thing?

Recently, I observed this and finally this scripture came to life.

One of my children was treated unfairly by a friend. My child was criticized by a couple of friends who this child looks up to greatly.

The heart of my child was broken.

So, of course, the heart of this child's momma was broken as well.

Not just broken, but flat out mad.

So mad that I could not see straight.

Suddenly, every part of Jesus inside of me wanted to exit the nearest door.  You know what I am talking about Momma's?

Yeah, that kind of mad.

I wanted to set the record straight with the children who had hurt my child AND their parents.

Yet, the response I saw in my child changed me. And humbled my prideful heart.

My child was forgiving. Beyond belief.

So forgiving that I wanted so badly to say, "You don't have to be so nice. Tell these kids off!"

But, I didn't by the grace of the Living Jesus inside of me.

I watched this child extend grace beyond measure as I watched with my mouth agape.

This child hasn't lost an ounce of sleep. All is well in this child's heart.

It's harder for me. I wanted revenge for the hurt. I wanted to rescue my child and bandage up the wounds. Just like a momma bear would do.

However, this child showed me better.

We will do well watching children interact. They trust easier. They forgive easier. They let things go easier.

Children don't put up walls and fortresses around their hearts. They are on open door inviting others in.

Whew. I am telling you...I am begging Jesus for a heart like a child's. A heart that loves without conditions. Forgives without holding grudges.

And, can we talk about humility here?

That's probably the hardest part.

When we have been hurt we swell up with pride and anger...

Just the opposite of humility.

Here's the thing...

We can read the bible every morning from cover to cover.

We can tape scripture up all over our houses.

We can attend every church service.

But, y'all...

If we don't change and become like little children, we fail miserably.

Peace will escape us if we don't change our hardened adult hearts.

I am sickened by my heart at times. Oh, but I see there is HOPE.

Hope for the battered state of my heart...

Hope for the anger that fogs up my way to see Jesus...

Hope for the pride that kills off every ounce of humility...

Friend, do you want to be great?

Change and become like a child.

back to childhood,


Sep 11, 2017

On this day....

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned." Mark 16:15-16

I will never forget this day 16 years ago.

It changed me forever.

I had just given birth to my first child.

It was a gorgeous September day. He and I had just went for a stroll around our neighborhood. I was just getting into the swing of being a mother.  Life was so sweet. So innocent. So perfect.

Until, I heard an alert come on the news about 30 minutes after our morning stroll. Something in my heart knew all was not well. I could just sense something was wrong.

I sat in my green rocking chair, holding my 5 week old baby boy. My eyes were glued to the screen.

My pulse began to quicken and a felt a cold chill go down my neck.

My first panic attack.

I thought I was about to die right there in the green chair holding my newborn.

Life changed in the moment.

My eyes were opened to evil in a way that I had never seen before.

I realized in an instant the sanctity of life. The utter amazement of breath in our lungs and the rhythm of the beating in our hearts.

I wonder if this is how Eve must have felt when her eyes were opened to sin? When she realized that life would never be the same after she took the bite of that fruit.

Perhaps there is a moment for all of us. A moment when we must choose....will it be a life or will it be death.

In the years to follow after 9/11, I had a choice to make.

Would I choose to live in panic, fear, anxiety and torment?

Or, would I choose peace, joy, and faith.

I could not have it both ways, I soon discovered.

After many years, many doctors, many medicines, I finally found the cure.

Jesus Himself.

He was there all along. Beckoning me to His side.

I knew Him, but I didn't know Him.

One day, I opened God's Word in a desperate pursuit of peace. I found peace, and so much more.

I think about the many who did not know Jesus on that September day, 16 years ago. They had no idea their lives would end that day. No idea.

They probably thought they had forever to choose life. Forever to choose Jesus.

But, they didn't. And neither do we.

The state of our world brings anxiety to my heart. Not anxiety over war, or storms.....but over the lives of those who still don't know Jesus.

This keeps me up at night. I picture their faces. Precious faces.

What if they don't know about Jesus? What if they don't know Who He is and what He's done?

Or, what if all they know of Jesus is religious people who judge them and turn their backs on them.

Or, religious people who reflect anything but love, gentleness, peace, and kindness.

Or, religious people that attend faithfully to their church services, but hold hatred and grudges in their hearts against others.

Or, religious people that say all the right things, but their actions show anything but love.

"These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." Matthew 15:8

Or, religious people who think they are showing love by not sharing Truth in a loved one's life. We watch idly on the side lines as if we pity them and their sin. Shame on us.

May our pity never stop us from sharing the Gospel of Jesus. Even if they turn away from us, may it never be that we turn away from them.

Pity will not change a heart. But, Jesus can.

Are we loving others enough to tell them about Jesus? Or, are we afraid we will offend them.

For Heavens sake, if we offend them, then count it all joy.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds" James 1:2

Who do you need to share Jesus with today?

Listen, we don't need to be bible scholars to talk about what Jesus has done in our lives. We just need to have courage to speak up, and love other enough to tell them.

speaking up,


Sep 7, 2017

What are you being accused of?

[Original Post 9/24/15]

Hey, friends. Can we have a little chat? I'm not too happy about something.

This "something" is bugging me in a BIG way. In fact, I am downright MAD about this thing.

As I was reading in my Bible this morning, in Zechariah to be exact, I came across something.

I had to pause, and read it again. And again. And again.

In the passage of scripture, God calls Satan "The Accuser".  Here, see for yourself:

Then the angel showed me Jeshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD. The Accuser, Satan, was there at the angel's right hand, making accusations against Jeshua. Zechariah 3:1

This got me thinking of a few accusations the Accuser himself has thrown my way. Let's talk this out for a minute. Have you ever heard a little whisper inside of your head accusing you of things?

See if these words sound familiar to you...

You're a horrible mom.
You're kids deserve better than you.
You're not smart enough.
You're not pretty enough.
You're nothing special.
She is so much better than you.
You're too old.
You're too young.
You're fat and you always will be.
Nobody likes you, anyway.
Just keep your mouth shut, nobody really cares what you have to say.
You're not cut out for this.
You're a failure at everything.
Your marriage is over.
You may as well give up.
Nobody wants you.

I could go on for days with the accusations. Even years.

I am sick to death of these LIES. Why is it so much easier to believe a lie than the TRUTH?

Here's what God says...

You are beautiful.
You are God's masterpiece and perfect design.
You were created for a purpose.
God chose YOU to be your kids momma, and YOU are the best mom for them.
You are smart because you have the mind of Christ.
God has a future and a hope and a plan just for you.
You are the apple of God's eye.
You can be used at any age! [think about Sarah and Abraham]
You are wanted.
You are desired.
You're marriage is Holy in God's eyes.
You are oh-so LOVED.

All of these truths are backed by scripture--every last one of them. Look them up for yourselves.

Listen to what God tells the accuser in the next sentence of that scripture:

And the LORD said to Satan, "I, the LORD, reject your accusations, Satan. Yes, the LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebukes you. Zechariah 3:2

Did you hear that? Read that one more time.

God, the Creator of the Universe, REJECTS AND REBUKES, the Accuser.

God calls Satan out for who he really is....a LIAR. An ACCUSER.

Satan knows God's truth will set us free. Satan knows that if we believe God, we will further God's Kingdom in a huge and mighty way. Satan knows that if we break the chains of the accusations, he will have no jurisdiction in our lives anymore. Satan knows that once we believe God's truth we will fulfill our God-appointed and God-given destinies. So, the accuser continues to accuse.

Are we believing the accusations? Are we paralyzed from these lies? Are we so chained to these accusations that we are giving up our God-given freedom and purpose on this earth?

I am sick to death of this.

The Accuser is a LIAR.

Say that with me out loud--THE ACCUSER IS A LIAR.

Will you refuse,  REFUSE, to believe the lies of the accuser??

Whatever lie he has been whispering, YELL TRUTH back to him!

He has been exposed for who he really is. An accuser. A liar.

God called him out.

Will you call him out too?

Break the chains of the accusations today, and believe what God says about you.

Who created you?

Who designed you and knitted you in your mother's womb? [psalm 139:13]

Believe Him.

Believe Him.

Believe Him.

And, while you are at it, tell the Accuser to go back to HELL where he came from. The Accuser has NO authority over you anymore.

breaking some chains today,


Jeremiah 29:11
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.

Sep 5, 2017

Let it be....

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:10

I do not like pain. Of any kind.

I will go to great measures to avoid pain. Avoiding danger, rejection, or hurt of any kind, I look for the path of least resistance many times.

Recently, I watched as my husband disciplined our little puppy. I got mad at him because I thought he was being too harsh.

Lem said back to me, "If I don't train him now to do the right thing, he won't be an obedient dog."

He was right, but I didn't like to see my puppy get in trouble. I like the fun, the cuddling, the playing...not the disciplining.

I realized at that moment that I had a habit of trying to avoid pain and trying to help others avoid pain as well.

A heart of compassion is good, but it must be balanced with proper wisdom. I must know when to show compassion and when to realize that God will often bring suffering to bring the best possible fruit.

One of my children went through a very hard season recently. It broke me. I could not stand to see this child so unhappy and heart broken.

I would have given anything to make this child happy. Anything to save this child from suffering.

However, during this time, the Lord taught me so much about the need for suffering. The value in suffering. The discipline of suffering.

I watched my child grow closer to the Lord. I watched my child have more compassion on others that were suffering. I watched my child grow in character like nothing else would have grown them.

This child recently said to me, "I am glad I went through the painful season, Mom. It helped me to see things differently and change my heart in some ways."

More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

When we see those we love suffer, it breaks us. We try any measure to take their pain away. But, I am learning to pray them through the suffering instead of trying to rescue them from it.

I cannot rescue anyone. Only God can do this. Only God can see the big picture of the suffering. Who am I to try to step into the middle of what God is doing in the life of someone else?

Yes, we should be compassionate. Yes, we should help when we can. But, no, we should not try to rescue them from what God is doing through all of this. We will wear ourselves out trying to salve every wound and we will also keep the sufferer further and further from the fruit of that suffering.

Sometimes we do things that we should not be doing because we don't want to disappoint another person. We want to save that person from a little pain, so we end up walking a path or extending ourselves into places that God has not called us to. All for the sake of wanting to protect someone from a little pain.

In God's infinite wisdom, He has a purpose for the suffering. He has a purpose for the times when we have to say yes to God and no to another person.

When we try to please man and not God, we walk on dangerous ground. When we are not obedient in what He is telling us to do, we get out of His will and it's not a good place to be.

Pain is part of the process.  Discipline yields fruit. Labor brings life.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

When I was in labor with my second child, I was rushed to the hospital. The doctor told me I needed to have a C-section immediately. I was petrified. I was so scared of being cut wide open on that table. I was fearful of the suffering that was looming ahead of me.

I looked over at my husband and said, "I can't do this, Lem! I am so scared! Please don't make me do this."

He took my hand and said, "Jill, there's only one option here. You have to do this to see your baby girl. You have to go through this to see her face. There is no other choice."

He was right.

When I saw her angelic face, I forgot about the pain. It quickly escaped my memory. All I saw was the sweet fruit of all of that labor. I would have done it a million more times to hold her in my arms.

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. 2 Corinthians 4:17

Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.
The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, in the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.
One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.
The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.
At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!
The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!
As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.
            But neither happened!
The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.
It never was able to fly…
As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong his mother took him to talk to a scientist from a local college. He learned that the butterfly was SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings.
 Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions hurt the butterfly.
letting it be,

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