Dec 30, 2019

You are called...


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Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8


In the Fall of 2011, I felt a calling.

It wasn't audible, but it was certainly palpable.

Up until that point, I had not read God's Word. Yes, I had read passages, done countless bible studies, memorized a few scriptures...

But, I had never sat down to read the Bible.

I did not know where to start. The thought just seemed too overwhelming.

However, when the call came, I felt it. I knew it. I had to do it.

The call was a pressing nudge. Not forceful or demanding.

Nervously, I reached out to a few friends in late December asking them to read the Bible with me. I needed accountability. I knew I would NEVER finish if I did not have someone walking alongside me on this seemingly daunting journey.

To my surprise, the handful of friends quickly jumped in. Little did I know that God had been calling them as well.

Those few friends invited more friends. By January 1, 2012, we had a few hundred girls that had the same calling to read God's Word.

The first few days, I would email all of the girls the reading plan and then discussions along with it

With two small kids, and a third child under my roof during that time as well, I could not keep up with the emailing and adding of emails to our new SHINE Girls group.

On January 3rd,  shortly after we started our reading, I sat down on the floor of my room. Laptop on my knees. I prayed that God would help me to be able to continue this. It felt overwhelming. It felt like too much.

My exact words to the Lord were this, "God, you called me to this. Open a door for me to continue. I cannot keep this up. The demands of my home, husband and kids are just too much. Help!"

A few minutes later, a thought came to my mind.

A blog.

I was already blogging for my family because I loved to write. So, now, I would just start blogging our reading plan and discussions!

It took about 5 minutes for me to create this blog.

I sent an email out to the girls, directed them to the blog, and that is how it all began.

Here we are, 8 years later, and the calling is still alive and well.

For all of us.

We are all called to read God's Word. We are all called to know Him. Intimately.

Life gets busy. Demands press.

The calling remains....

God's Word is our bread of life.

It is our source of wisdom, peace, joy, discernment, prayer, faith, understanding.

Without it, we cannot be fully walking in His plan for us.

He instructs us in His Word. He teaches us. He molds us. He shapes us.

When I look back over the years at the posts on this blog, my heart is truly overwhelmed by the changes that have taken place in my own life.

Not just the physical changes, but the changes in my heart. My soul. My mind.

I am not the same person I was in 2012.

Praise the Lord for that!

And, the good news is, I am still changing. He is still molding and shaping me.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12

Read that scripture one more time.

When we read His Word, it puts a mirror to our hearts, our motives, our desires.

We see the Truth when we read His Word.

Without His Word, we don't have Truth. We have a mirage of what we "think" is truth.

Friends, I still feel this same calling so deeply in my soul.

The calling to read His Word together.

Maybe you have been with us since day one, maybe you are  new reader. Whatever the case, we are so glad you are here.

Accountability is key.

Grab some friends and do this together.

Meet weekly, or monthly...or keep up via email and text.

Just stay accountable.

Grab a little notebook and write down scriptures God highlights for you.

You will love looking back on these pages one day to see God's Hand directing your steps.

This year, we will continue the same plan we started at the beginning of 2019.

I love to hold the Bible in my hands when I read, but some of you prefer it online. Either way, find a way that suits you best.

The Bible Plan we are following is a One year bible. It has a daily devotional, and then a few chapters a day to read.  Every 7 days or so is a reflection day, with no reading. A good to to catch up if you fall behind. :)

You can find it here on Amazon. 

I have just discovered that they do not offer the bible plan online anymore. So, if you do not want to purchase, I am happy to post the plan here on the blog.

Will you join me again this year?

I need His Word more than I need air.

I am betting you do as well.

To get us started, here is this weeks plan:


1/1: Genesis 1-2
1/2: Genesis 3-5
1/3: Genesis 6-9
1/4: Genesis: 10-12
1/5: Genesis: 12-14
1/6: Genesis 15-17
1/7: Reflect & Rest 



Let's do this,


jill




Dec 20, 2019

Cocooned....

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I really wanted to write a cozy little post about Christmas joy.

But, as I sat down to write and prayed...my heart was led differently.

Before Jesus was born, many had been waiting for Him-The Messiah-for decades after decades. Many would die never seeing or knowing when His coming would finally arrive.

When the prophets stopped prophesying at the end of the Old Testament, there was total darkness for 400 years. Not physical darkness, but spiritual darkness.

In the past year, both of my children have been through some hard times. Both found it hard to see that anything good could come out of the situations they were in.

As a parent, it is very hard to watch your child suffer. You want to take the pain away, but you cannot.

I wonder if that is what God was enduring as His people waited...for so long.

Suffering is brutal.

Watching your children suffer is a whole different kind of brutal.

I told a friend recently that watching your child suffer is like someone taking your insides and twisting them up in all different directions.

Suffering is physical. It does a number on our bodies.

400 years.

God's people sat in total darkness.

Galatians puts the birth of Jesus like this...

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. Galatians 4:4-7

But when the fullness of time had come...

So, something had to take place first.

The people had to be ready.

Everything had to be in order.

The time had to be ripe.

Could it be the same with our suffering?

As I watch my children suffer, I see a transformation taking place.

I see their hearts softened in a new way.

I see any ounce of pride turn into humility.

I see self-centered turn to empathy.

What if I would have protected them from all of that?

What if I jumped in and put a barrier around them and was somehow able to ease their self pitying demands of justice?

I remember when Joseph was little.

I read a story about a butterfly.

It begins as a caterpillar. 

Then, creates a cocoon around its body. 

Metamorphosis takes place. 

A struggle in the cocoon takes place. 

A little boy walking by sees the struggle and grabs something sharp to help the struggling butterfly. 

He felt sorry for the poor struggling butterfly. He just had to set it free. 

Little did the boy know that the butterfly would now never fly. 

The struggle in the cocoon is what it would need to develop and strengthen his wings. 

The butterfly would limp for all of its days now. 

The cocoon was opened too soon. 

So often, I am reminded of this story.

The struggling, the suffering, the pain....

In the fullness of time, something beautiful will come.

If we try to change the fullness of time, or jump in before the time is ripe...

We never get to experience or let our children experience the full metamorphosis of change.

What are you enduring this season?

What suffering is taking place in your heart or the heart of a loved one?

I encourage you to read 1 Peter.  It may shed light on suffering. It sure has for me.



Jesus was the long awaited answer to God's people. He was their long awaited HOPE.

He is our answer too.

He is our HOPE.

Suffering seems eternal while enduring it.

But, the fullness of time always comes. 

The butterfly always emerges when left cocooned in God's protection and care.

Be encouraged, precious friend.

A change is taking place.

Pray. Lean in. Quiet your heart. Listen.

He is doing a work that only can be done through suffering.

The Light will dawn.

In the fullness of time.



it is well,


jill






















Dec 11, 2019

When you don't feel significant...

Commit your work to the Lord,  and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

This time of year always gets my stomach in knots. I get a little anxious about the new year coming up.

I reflect on the past year, and I have that gnawing feeling, again, that my life just doesn't seem significant. 

Ever feel this way?

As I was mopping my floors today, my left side started to ache from bending over with the mop.

My mind was suddenly filled with this scripture, "Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."1 Corinthians 10:31

I smiled and said to the Lord audibly, "Okay, God, I am mopping these floors for you."

I was reminded in that moment that what I was doing was significant. It mattered.

The world would never know that I took so much care and time to mop my floor for my family, but God knew.

I don't clean and mop because I am a neat freak. I do it because I want my family to feel loved. And welcomed. And warm when they walk through the door each day.

To be honest, most days they have no idea the things I have done each day to try to make this home a place of calm and comfort for them, And, that's okay.

God knows.

One of the biggest struggles I have is feeling like my life matters. Is important. Is significant.

Often, I get my significance tangled up with the world's view of significance.

I forget that in God's eyes...

I am significant.

And so are the things that I do.

All of it.

The tiniest details of my day matter to Him.

Do I honor Him with these details, or am I constantly trying to drum up greater significance for my own pride?

As I was mopping today, side aching,  I heard a whisper in my soul..."They will remember. Your family will remember how well you loved them. "

I almost slipped on my wet floor.

My throat started to close, and tears welled up in my eyes.

Oh, Father. Let it be so. 

When I start to feel insignificant...when I compare my accomplishments to others...

I go back to this memory....


Of being a little girl. Dreaming of the day I could have a family of my own. Driving my children to school each day. Packing their little lunches. Going home to prepare for their return...

God answered those child sized prayers. More than I could ever imagine.

It's not what we do that makes us significant...

It's Whose we are.

It's Who we belong to.

If we submit our work, toilet scrubbing and all, to the Lord...

He will make it matter. He will give us a return greater than we can imagine.

Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20

His Kingdom will be expanded here on Earth because we chose to give our work to Him.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6

You are worthy.

You are significant.

You matter.


back to the mop,

jill



re-posted from 12/6/17

Dec 10, 2019

He is home...

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I rolled out of bed with a light heart. A merry heart. An anticipating heart.

Gingerly, I made the coffee, plopped down on my well worn couch, grabbed my bible, and sat there holding it against my chest for a moment.

Thank you, Father. I am so grateful.

The words melted down my lips.

I meant it.

I wasn't just trying to make God happy with me, or check off the "thankful" box.

I truly meant it.

My boy, my oldest child, was coming home from college today.

Since the moment he stepped out the door that warm August day to go to college, I have been preparing for his return.

As the months ticked by since August, I found myself falling into a pit of sadness.

I miss him.

I miss seeing his shoulders hunched over his breakfast plate in the too-early light of school day dawns.

I miss buying the extra breast of chicken, and the bigger can of green beans.

But today, he is back home.

Only for a few weeks, but I cherish it none the less.



These past few months have changed me.

There has been loss everywhere it seems.

Big losses.

Shattered families. Kids left without daddy's and without momma's all around me.

After a phone call recently, I fell on the cold cement of my carport and just cried...

Lord, what is happening?

When I felt like the weight of the world would bury me, I would call on Jesus. Beg Him to comfort me.

He always did and He always does.

In many ways, I have learned to surrender in a whole new way.

Not just by saying the words, but by living the words.

Gratitude has molded my heart in a new way.

I see life a little differently now.

Compassion and empathy pulse through my veins harder than they ever did before.

Jesus has given me fresh vision in this season.

Things and people I may have missed before, I see now.

How hearts ache.

How hearts break.

How we all are just one big broken mess.

Really, if you opened us up and peeked into our insides you would see it.

A jumble of organs with broken parts and broken hearts.

Still beating, the heart,  none the less.

When we grieve, and when we cry, and when we hurt....

We start to become one with people in a new way.

I see in on the Cross...the suffering...

How it brought HEALING.

How it opened eyes, and cut through curtains....long standing curtains.

Our suffering makes us better people.

I don't know how or why, but it just happens.

God tells us this over and over in His Word.

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

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

When we see our children or loved ones suffer, we get angry at God sometimes. Or/And, angry at people. 

We don't understand, and we raise our fist at God, and sometimes at people, who allow this to happen to the ones we love. 

Yet, I am starting to see it differently now. 

I am seeing there is fruit...

The tiniest of gleam....

I see it. 

The hard stuff. 

The hard days. 

The not understanding why all of your prayers are seemingly going unheard....

Then, one day, you wake up. 

You feel this Joy. This Gratitude. This Warmth. 

The suffering changes into something beautiful. 

And NOT possible, without the suffering.

Perhaps all along you were numb. Numb to true compassion, empathy, humility...

Until your heart bleeds out of its chest wall. 

Maybe it is a severed relationship, a diagnosis of a loved one, a phone call that changes the course of your life, a job loss., a college kid, a financial disaster, a marriage uprooted by sin, an aging momma or daddy....

Whatever the bleed....

The suffering that comes with it....

Will leave you changed. 

With a new heart. 

And new eyes. 

Only Jesus can do this. 

Without Him, the suffering will harden us, bitter us, sour us, close us off.....

Oh, but if we surrender to Him in our suffering....

We get a glimpse of Glory. 

A glimpse of Jesus' love for us. 

His rallying for our good, not just our good, but our BEST. 

I go on and on, I know. 

But, I just have to tell you...

Hold on to Him. 

When the days are long...

When the nights are dark...

When you feel like you cannot breathe...

Call out His Name.

Bury your face in His Word.

Surrender whatever breath you have left in your body.

And wait.

And wait some more.

And just when you feel like the darkness will never end...

You begin to feel the Warmth.


Suffering changes us. In the best way.


My heart is more full than it has ever been.



hanging out with my college kid,


jill




Nov 22, 2019

Windows...

As she burrowed her head underneath my arm pit, I felt the wet tears soaking my night shirt. Her hair was a matted mess. Blonde strands sticking to the side of her cheeks and chin.

I couldn't understand what she was saying through the heavy fog of tears getting caught up in her throat.

Finally, it was audible.

"I feel their pain, Momma. I feel it in my bones and on my skin. I hurt with them."

I knew exactly what she meant.

My 14 year old daughter was mourning with those who mourn. She was wearing the heavy blanket of grief that comes when death swallows up a life unexpectedly.

Early that morning, we had left our house to attend a funeral.

The boy was 24. Young and full of life.

The boy was our cousin.

His young wife, and his four year old daughter left behind to make sense of the broken pieces shattered around them.

When the call came, my breath left me. The air dissolved from my lungs.

I quickly remembered my breathing exercises. Shorter inhale, longer exhale. Repeat.

Two weeks before, another cousin had left the Earth the same way. A car crash.

He was in his forties, leaving behind a young daughter.

Fear can grip your heart like a clamp with news like this. Fear can make you crazy if you let it.

Fear has no place here, I kept whispering it over and over.

Fear makes you want to call all your loved ones and tell them to stay where they are. Or better yet, come home. Huddle together. And to never leave. Or drive. Or do anything that could harm them.

Fear is irrational at best.

Fear will drive a mother crazy.

As I sat in the stained glass funeral parlor on a soft pew, I heard these words in my heart.

O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” 1 Corinthians 15:55

I wanted to stand up and shout it from the rooftops of that place. 

I wanted to scream out loud, "death has no place here!"

My cousin was saved. He loved Jesus. He loved his family. 

As I stared at the windows around me, I saw prisms of light breaking through. 

A warmth coming in that cold room with a lifeless body. 

My cousin was no longer with us, he was in the Warmth of God's Arms. I knew this. I felt this. 

Those windows filled my heart with so much HOPE and even JOY through my snotty tears. 

I heard the sound of the preacher talking, but my eyes stayed fixed on those windows. The warm glow was drawing me in. 

For the first time in weeks, I felt a burst of Strength. And Joy. And Hope. 

It was filling my lungs, my heart, my chest wall, my entire body was being saturated by it. 

We will be okay. 

The smothering feeling began to lift. I felt lighter suddenly. 

We will be okay. 

With death comes a re-birthing of sorts for those left behind. 

It happened when my friend Heather died when I was in my mid thirties. Something changed inside of me. 

God used my friend's death to make me more alive. How is that even possible?

Only God brings beauty from ashes. Life from death. 

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory. Isaiah 61:3

"Momma, we will see him again......"

My daughter's words were a balm to my soul. 

Of course, I knew we would. But, I was so focused on the horror of things left behind to sort through. I had almost forgotten...

Faith as a child. 

I get it now. 

They see what we cannot sometimes. 

As we snuggled close together in my bed, she whispered faintly...

"The windows, Momma. Did you notice the colorful light in the windows today during the funeral?"

I nodded, astonished that she saw too.

"Yes, baby. I saw...."



seeing the beauty in all these ashes, 


jill


















Nov 12, 2019

When you need HELP....

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As my husband and I raise teenagers, our constant prayer plea is this, "Lord, please give us WISDOM."

God's Word tells us that true wisdom only comes from God.

All wisdom comes from the Lordand so do common sense and understanding. Proverbs 2:6

We can search wordly books, talk shows and podcasts for wisdom in parenting, but true wisdom will only be found in God's Word.

Situations arise daily that I find myself asking again....Lord, I need wisdom here. I do not know what to do. What is the right thing? What honors You? 

If you have children of any age, you probably are asking the same questions.

Here are some things that Lem and I have done over the years. I hope it encourages you as you journey through the trenches of parenthood. Let me say, we are still majorly in the trenches. So, we are not experts by any means. Clearly.


[IT IS SO HARD TO BE A PARENT. Can I get an amen?]


1) Admit that you do not have all the answers. (Proverbs 3:5)

2) Admit your weaknesses to the Lord in this area. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

3) Seek God's Word. DAILY. (Matthew 7:7)

4) Seek God in prayer. CONSTANTLY.(1 Thessalonians 5:16)

5) Listen for His answer. (Proverbs 2:1)

6) Be still. Try not to jump on a bandwagon because other parents are doing it. Wait and hear from the Lord first. Just because it may be okay for their child to do something, does not mean it is okay for your child. Be still. (Psalm 46:10)

7) Seek out wise parents that have walked the path you are on. (Proverbs 15:22)

8) Ask for a heart of humility. Pride can eat us up if we are not careful. NOTHING is worse than the fall from pride. (trust me on this one!) (Proverbs 16:18)

9) Do life with fellow believers. Create community with those around you. You will learn so much just from doing life with others. (Psalm 133:1)

10) Walk the walk, and not just talk the talk. Ooh. This one is the hardest. (trust me again.) Often, what our children learn is "caught", and not "taught". This will take every ounce of the ones listed above to help you. You will still fail at times, and you will get right back up and keep persevering. (humility, remember?)  (1 John 2:6)


Lem and I are still working on all of these things. Every day brings new challenges it seems. Sometimes every moment! (my blonde is quickly turning gray)

However, we have a Helper. We have a Counselor. We have a Teacher.

His name is Jesus.

We are not alone on this journey. He called us to this mission....perhaps the holiest and hardest mission of all.

He has equipped us to do the work.

He will finish it to completion.


gray hair and all,


jill






Nov 11, 2019

Arise, Shine.....

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"Let your light shine before others." Matthew 5:16

As I was walking my dog, I found myself praying. Asking God again and again, "what is my purpose in this season, Lord?"

Recalling the long lengthy voice message to my prayer circle sisters earlier in the day, tears welled in my eyes. I had asked them for the one millionth time to pray that God would show me my purpose.

Have you been in this place?

Maybe life has always been crazy and dizzying and now you find yourself in a quiet home.

Or maybe your life has always been organized and happily predictable and now you find yourself in the spin cycle with kids, husband, dogs, work, and laundry.

I have now been on both sides.

And BOTH sides I found myself asking the same pondering question..."What is my purpose?"

I hesitated to write today because it seems the theme is the same. The season remains and it just seems it is getting old with the same song and dance as I write.

But, I also know that I am not alone. There are many of you that feel the same way.

The enemy would love for us to stop talking about it. To just shut up and keep it all inside. Buried deep in the dark.

The enemy loves the dark.

Jesus brings the Light.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it. John 1:5

The enemy desires to extinguish us. And not just physically. 

He wants to suck every ounce of purpose and desire and community and joy right out of our lungs. 

He wants us to live in complete darkness. Hiding our gifts. Hiding ourselves.

The biggest affront to the enemy is to shine in the darkness.

I know first hand how easy it is to melt in the dark.

To lose hope and joy and faith all in one fail swoop. Or diagnosis. Or loss. Or divorce. Or disappointment.

I have had to FIGHT myself out of those thoughts. And yes, I do mean FIGHT.

Like a mad woman I would paste scriptures about Joy all around my house. I would say them out loud in my car and in the shower.

I thought so many times....I don't even know if  joy is possible....but I need it to be.

Earlier this year a friend gave me this scripture and I go back to it over and over.

Today, I want to share it with you.

It has been the LIGHT in the days that are dark.

It has been the HOPE when I have landed face first in hopelessness.

It has been the JOY when my heart was cold and lifeless.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come,
    and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth
    and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the Lord rises upon you
    and his glory appears over you." Isaiah 60:1-2



Friend, are you looking for your purpose?

You are in good company. 

As I was asking God these things on my walk, I felt this compulsion to go home and write. 

So, here I am. 

Writing. 

What is it in this moment that the Lord is asking of you?

It is probably something simple. 

Take the step. 

Change the diaper. Fold the laundry. Sing a song. Write a song. Visit a neighbor. Cook the meal. Call the person. 

Purpose is wrapped up in the smallest of tasks. 

Lord, help us to remember this. 

"Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right. May all who are godly rejoice in the Lord and praise His Holy Name." Psalm 97:11



finding purpose,



jill







Nov 6, 2019

Shut my mouth....

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How do I even begin? I am not even sure when it started.

It is so much easier to tell stories of my kids, or loved ones. The stories about what God is doing in my heart are harder to tell. They go deep into the crevices of my soul and often I have a hard time putting the experiences into words.

Alas, I will try.

A few months ago I felt the gentle pull of the Lord away from things that I enjoyed doing. Really good things.

I didn't understand it and even felt selfish for pulling away. I felt a lack of peace regarding things that I had so peacefully enjoyed before.

I questioned my heart. I questioned God's leading. Or was it God's leading?

At the time, I didn't know for sure. I just knew that I didn't feel the ease of peace.

It didn't make sense. I felt I had grown a lot in the past year and had much to share regarding experiences. I wanted to surround myself with people to be able to share what my heart was overflowing with.

But, the Lord asked me to stop. To be still. To be quiet.

Uh, what?

It was an odd thing. Aren't we supposed to live out loud our faith? Aren't we supposed to go out and make disciples?

I was confused. But, I knew that God was not the author of confusion, but of Peace. [1 Corinthians 14:33]

My mouth suddenly felt like it was taped shut. I felt the pull to be quiet, and to pray. And pray. And pray.

My fingers didn't even feel the pull to write. I had no idea what was happening in my heart, so I had nothing to write about. I had plenty of stories to tell, but my heart was drawn like a magnet to quietness and prayer.

I began to discipline myself in prayer. Prayer does not come easy. It just doesn't. It often feels pointless if I am being honest.

We are more prone to "do", and  to "talk" it out.

Or, at least I am.

I would discipline myself in prayer by making it a practice to pray over every single person I came into contact each day. EVERY one.

This led little time for me to talk about myself, or to talk about anything really.

It also led to a lot of listening.

Listening to my children more.

Listening to my husband more.

Listening to the lady that rings up my groceries every Monday morning.

We learn a lot by listening. A whole lot.

I can pray as I listen. It's much easier to do this than pray as I talk.

I thought so much about Mary, the Mother of Jesus, how the Bible said, "she pondered all these things in her heart."[Luke 2:19]

As I listened more intently to the spoken and the unspoken cues of people, I began to feel the deep pull for them to feel the warmth of Jesus. Without me saying a word.

This is hard for a wordy girl.

I mean, how would they know I was praying for them unless I told them? How would they know about all the great things Jesus was doing if I didn't tell them?

Oh, I shudder as I type.

It was all about me. Me, me, me, me.

Did I not think that God could speak to them apart from me?

I liked the feeling of leading someone to Christ. To pointing the way and being the "one" with scripture at the perfect time.

Oh, y'all...

God was [and is] working on my heart.

I began to see the working of God all around me as I sat back, listened more, talked less, and prayed more.

Recently, the most incredible thing happened.

I had been praying for a young mother that I see each week. Every day I would see her, I felt the urge to pray for her. I felt she had lost her way somehow and needed Jesus.  This lasted for several weeks.

Last week, she approached my friend and me. She asked my friend about what church she attended. My friend proceeded to tell her, and then an entire conversation pursued, between the two of them, about faith.

I sat there dumbfounded. And, like a third wheel.

I wanted to jump in so badly and say, "Hey!! Let ME talk to to you! Come and visit MY church! I have what you need! I have been praying for you!!"

So embarrassing to admit my true thoughts.

They continued in conversation, and I quietly walked away.

"God, what are you doing? I have been praying for her! Why did you use my friend to talk to her and not me?"

Slowly, my vision became focused. I saw so clear what God was doing in my heart.

Did it matter who led her to Christ? Did it matter which church she attended?

What mattered is that God heard my prayers, and He answered them.

And guess what? I got no credit. From anyone. NOT ONE PERSON.

But, God knew.

Was that not enough for me?

Oh, the pride. Oh, the stinking pride.

Are we willing to go behind closed doors, to be anonymous....and seek the face of God on behalf of those around us? Are we willing to step back and let God get the Glory?

Or, are we getting in His way. Is our pride keeping Him from answering our prayers.

Are our mouths bigger than our ears? Do we talk more than we listen?

Lord, change us.

Let us be willing to have hearts on fire with prayer, without one person knowing it.

There is a time to pray out loud, and a time to pray in secret.

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6

How quickly we say YES when asked if we will pray about something for someone. And, just as quickly we forget.

Are we so busy portraying our wisdom and Christianity that we forget what is needed most?

1I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- 2for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 1 Timothy 2:1-2

So often, in church and in the world, we are urged to be vocal. To let our intentions and our desires be known. To speak!

Could it be that our loud words are getting in the way of the gentle whispers of God?

In all of our efforts to be great missionaries, are our mouths drowning out our prayers and hushing the Holy Spirit?

Oh, Lord, change us.

Is it possible to lead obscure, quiet, prayerful lives?

Jesus sure did.

He made no commotion about Himself. He often was drawn to quiet places. Seeking the face of God. Often when everyone else was sleeping.

Lord, help us to be like Jesus.

Hearts bent on You and not ourselves.

Help us to be okay with not being in the spotlight. To live obscure lives. In Your Mighty Shadow.


shutting my mouth and opening my ears,


jill


(re-post from 11/9/17)








Oct 29, 2019

Quiet.....

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"make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, 12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

This verse comes to mind often these days. 

Leading a quiet life gets more difficult by the day. 

You would think with one child off at college, and only one child left in the home, life would be quieter. 

It really is not the case. 

Noise doesn't just mean voices and chaos. Noise can be white noise, just buzzing loud enough to steal away our peace and quiet.

Noise distracts us and pulls us away. We are so accustomed to noise, we don't know what to do in silence, or stillness. 

We get antsy. 

We pick up our phones, send another text, scroll another few minutes...and we are right back in the middle of noise. 

Connection is good, as long as our primary connection is God. 

What is our ambition?

Maybe we need to look at our calendars and see what fills it the most. 

Or, maybe we should take a look at our phones and see what catches our attention and draws us in and keeps us from having quiet-er soul. 

Relationships can get noisy too. 

We can over-do conversations and end up saying things we never meant to say. 

We spend too much time talking that we don't listen, pause, and take a breath. 

An older mentor once told me the best advice...

She said that we should not spend more than 10 minutes on the phone with others because it will lead to gossip and/or saying meaningless things. 

She told me this way before social media became a thing...

Her wise words still resonate.

The bible warns us not to become "busy bodies".

Yet we hear that some of you are leading undisciplined lives and accomplishing nothing but being busybodies. 2 Thessalonians 3:11

Busy bodies are constantly stirring up conversations, gossip disguised as prayer requests, and slander. 

If we are not careful, we lose our way, and our feet come right out from under us. 

I think that is why the first part of the above scripture in 1 Thessalonians is, "Make it your ambition". 

We can become ambitious about many things.

But are our ambitions in line with God's Word and leading a quiet-er life?

I for one, have been off track countless times. 

This verse never fails to draw me back in and reset my heart. 

We can have a quiet heart even in a choatic life. 

No matter how busy we are, it is still possible to have peace and quiet. 

I think of Jesus when the storm arose out in the middle of the ocean. 

He slept peacefully as the others were literally freaking out. 

His Heart was One with God and His connection was peace and quiet. 

Oh, I so want a life like this. Don't you?

How about we start today. 

Grab a notecard or sheet of paper. 

Let's write this down..

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life...."

Now, put it somewhere you will see it often. 

Mine will be in the car. :)


quieting down, 


jill



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