Aug 13, 2019

Do you love me?

I remember before my children even took a breath of Earth's oxygen--telling them I loved them. I would rub my swollen belly and talk to them. I would tell them stories of how much they were already loved. 

Most mothers feel this way about their children. Love for our children is something God roots deep into the fabric of our souls. 

However, somewhere along the way, we have the tendency to quit speaking this love over them. We think it, but we do not say it. 

The older our children get, we decide that they already know how loved and cherished they are. 

Or maybe, we just aren't affectionate by nature. Kind words are not easy for us to summon up, even if we feel them. 

Our children need to hear those words. Over and over and over and over. 

We need to take their little faces in our hands, lift their little chins and say, "Do you know how much I love you?' 

Or maybe if are children are grown and taller than us, reach up to their little chin and point it down to our eyes and say, "Do you still know how much I love you?"

Words are powerful. God's Word tells us over and over the power of the spoken word. 

The book of Proverbs teaches us point blank and bold that our tongues have the power of life and death. 

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

What is our tongue saying to our beloved children?

What are our children hearing when we speak?

Listen, we will never be perfect parents. Ever. 

We will have regrets, and probably many. 

However, God's word says in 1 Peter 4:8 that "love covers a multitude of sins." 

And all the momma's in the house said AMEN. 

What would your child say when asked the question, "Does your mother love you?"

Have they been told enough to know. Have they been held and hugged and kissed on their little foreheads enough to believe that we really really do love them. 

We learn this so well from Jesus. 

Jesus was tender. He loved. And loved well.  

He touched. Touch often brought the healing. Isn't that something to ponder?

Maybe you were not brought up in a home with affection. It doesn't come easy for you. 

It's okay. Let's do it anyway. 

Let's do it awkwardly if we must. 

Our children need to see us, feel us, hear us. 

Our children really won't remember a lot of things that we think are important. 

Like, how clean our floors were. Or that all the laundry was perfectly ironed and folded. (NEVER going to happen)

What they will remember is how loved they felt. 

Speak it over and over and over. 

Have you noticed in the Bible that God often repeats Himself when He wants to get a point across?God knows we need to remember and to know and to believe what He is telling us. 

It is the same with our kids. Tell them. Over and over. Pretty soon they will remember, know, and believe it. 

They will roll their eyes when the teenage years hit, and say back to you, "I KNOW."

Keep telling them anyway. Those are the years that they especially need to hear it from us.

Years ago my nephew (very young at the time)  spent the night with us. I overheard him tell my son, "Your mom loves me soooo much. It's almost weird."

I giggled when I heard it from the other room. 

Something struck deep when he said those words to my son. 

Yes. Yes. Yes. I thought to myself. 

That's it. 

He knows without a shadow of a doubt, he is loved. (even if he thinks I'm weird!)

Momma's, we cannot let another moment go by without telling our kids we love them. 

Yes, actions are good, but words are POWERFUL. They stick to our bones. 

When actions are combined with words, it is the absolute perfect storm of love. 

Our kids will never be too old to hear us say we love them. Never. 

Ask any adult that had a parent who never said those words....they have deep scars. 

Let's speak the words, "I love you", over and over and over into their listening ears. 

Make them get tired of hearing you say it. 

Draw them close, big or small, and let them feel your arms wrapped around them. Kiss their foreheads and tell them how loved they are. 

We will never be perfect. However, my prayer and hope is that our children know despite all of our shortcomings, we love them fiercely. 


becoming a broken record of I love you's, 



jill














Aug 12, 2019

Goodbye....

Since writing is therapy to me, here goes...

We moved my son into his dorm this weekend. All went really well. No tears. Just new adventures and schedules and new people.

Until he walked out the door this morning to make his journey to school. 

Something melted in my heart when he held onto me a little longer than usual in our hug. 

I was so good...until that moment. 

My daughter, who was already trying to hold it together, fell apart. 

Her fresh mascara streaming down her cheeks. 

"Be strong, Jill. Be strong for them." I kept repeating this over and over in my head. 

Last night I tossed and turned. I kept waking up with anxious thoughts running through my mind. 

"Lord, help me here. I need you to give me...something."

I heard these whispering words in my heart, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need." 

Psalm 23, one of the very first scriptures I helped to inscribe on the hearts of my children. I was now repeating these same words. Over and over. 

I fell back asleep with these words on my lips. 

He comforts us. He brings us peace. 

Again, I pictured Mary. The mother of Jesus. 

She endured the suffering. At the foot of the cross she endured. 

She watched so bravely as her Son left her....for good. 

Mary could have easily ran off and closed her eyes to this moment of suffering and pain. 

But, she didn't. She chose to stay. To endure. To be fully present. 

I'm reminded of some words from my friend, Kelli. Her mother passed last year rather unexpectedly. As her heart heals from grief, she said she was learning to eat the fruit of the moment that God gives her. Sometimes, it is bitter, she said. Sometimes it is sweet. Yet, she eats. Accepting the fruit from His Hands. 

Kelli's words soothe me as I take a bite of bitter fruit. Not quite ripe with sweetness, but knowing that God has good plans. 

I trust Him. With my all of my heart. 

My son was at the table eating breakfast early this morning. Disheveled hair, and sleepy eyes. I walked over and kissed his forehead. I glanced at his phone on the table in front of him. 

He was reading the Bible on his phone. 

There is not one thing on earth that could have made my mother heart sing more. Not one thing that could have assured me more...that this child was ready. 

God is so sweet and tender. He knew what my heart needed. 

He knew that moment would be seared forever on my heart. 

The fruit was sweet, oh so sweet in that moment. 

Whatever season you find yourself in...

Eat the fruit of it. 

Be present and receive what His Hands provide. 

Mary saw Jesus again...in angelic Glory. 

Without the bitter,  the sweet richness of the fruit cannot fully blossom. 

Several weeks ago,  a friend asked me to sub for her Monday morning yoga class for the entire month of August.  I excitedly said yes, but really regretted it this morning. I was tired, and sad. And just did not have the energy to teach. Who wants a teacher that cries the whole class?!

However, being surrounded by a room full of people, most older than me who have walked the path that I am walking, brought sweet healing.  It brought life into my wounds, and was exactly the salve I needed. 

God had already prepared for that moment. He knew I needed to teach this morning. Way before I knew. 

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8

May we choose to eat the fruit He provides. He is good. 


i have all that i need, 


jill







Aug 9, 2019

Step by Step...

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The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way. Psalm 37:23

Tomorrow we will move our oldest child into a dorm.

My head has been preparing for this moment for a long time. My heart has some catching up to do.

He will be okay. I will be okay. We will all be okay.

But, it will be different. And hard at times.

Like, when I make an extra plate for dinner and then remember that he will not be at the table. Or, when I go to his room to wake him up and remember that he is not there in his bed here at home.

So often I think of Mary, the mother of Jesus. How she knew from conception that this boy in her womb was not her own. She knew that he did not belong to her, but to God.

Isn't that the case with our own children?

They are not ours.

We are entrusted to raise them and disciple them, but they are not ours.

They belong to God. They are made in His Image. Bearing His heart and mind.

No one on earth loves my child like God does.

No one on earth knows what is best for my child like God does.

When Jesus was young, he separated from his parents, and they could not find him.

He was in the Temple. Soaking up teaching and the Presence of His Father.

God had already put the Plan in Jesus's heart...even at such a young age.

This is true of our little sheep as well.

We may try to plan their lives, but God determines their steps. [Proverbs 16:9]

 They have a trajectory that He alone knows.

We must allow that plan to unfold without hindering it with our own emotions and plans for the child.

The same goes for us, the parents. He has a plan for us as well.

I know no other life but motherhood and duties inside the home.

It is my love and has been my purpose for so many years. Beginning with a childhood desire that was birthed in my heart so many decades ago.

And, it will remain for a few more years this way with a daughter still securely in our nest.

However, a new season still awaits. Change is still unfolding.

I must trust His plan even when it seems different and weird...and new.

He establishes my steps. [Psalm 37:23]

God will prepare you for the next step...even when you have no idea what that step is. You will look back one day and say....oh, I see what He did there.

He is gentle, and kind. He is patient with us. He is a loving Father. He doesn't force our way, but He gently leads us. He takes our hand in His and He walks with us step by step.

We are never alone.

When darkness comes and night surrounds, He is there.

There is no darkness in Him. [1 John 1:5]

Maybe you don't have a child leaving the nest, but there is change on the horizon.

Trust the Lord. He will lead you. He will guide you. He will comfort you.

God never changes. He is ever present. Ever faithful.

May I ask a favor? Will you pray for our family and this transition?

Please know I am praying for all of you as well. Praying for your cup to overflow with God's blessings and goodness! Praying that your faces will shine with radiance the Love and Joy of Jesus Christ. Praying for whatever season you find yourself in, that peace flows through your pulsing veins. A Peace that surpasses all understanding.


looking ahead,


jill










Aug 5, 2019

What I'm learning.....

My oldest child turns 18 today. He keeps reminding me that he is officially an adult. I laugh, squeeze his little cheeks and tell him, "sure thing, darling."

The youngest child started high school this week. 

When I started this blog, my oldest was in 5th grade and my daughter was in 1st, I believe. 

Goodness, they say time flies. It is true. 

I have been preparing for this day for a long time. Since 2009, to be exact. 

My oldest nephew left for college that Fall, and my sister literally fell apart. 

She had never ever had separation anxiety from her children. So, I KNEW I better start praying every day for when that season came in my life. 

10 years later, here we are. 

My oldest will move into his dorm this upcoming Saturday. 

Here are some things I have realized as I mother teenagers....

you will go back to sleepless nights. just like you did when they were babies. trust me, you will not be able to sleep once they start driving. until they finally arrive home for the evening, sleep will elude you. i was recently reminded of this scripture. such a perfect picture of God's love for us. He never sleeps either! so, relax, you are in good company. 
He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps. Psalm 121:3-4

you will doubt yourself and your parenting. daily. you will question and re-question your decisions. this is where much much much prayer will come in. seek the Lord daily, minute by minute on their behalf. He will lead you, but you must ask Him. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5

you will find yourself (especially on the older end of the teenage years) wanting to spend more and more time with them. they are little adults and their personalities are so much fun to explore and discover. you will even get your feelings hurt a few times when they choose their friends over you. this is normal. stay away from guilt-throwing. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

you will have to daily depend on Jesus for your worth and value. the less your children need you, the more you start to question your purpose and your worth. you will often feel lost and get this overwhelming feeling of "what next?" don't stay in that place. read your bible and read His Truth over your life every single day. surround yourself with godly mentors and friendships to pour into you. you will need them. 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

pray. and pray some more. i never ever ever thought it was possible to pray without ceasing as Paul instructs us. you will soon find out, it is very possible. and quite possibly the only thing that will keep you sane. 1Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

keep pouring into them. they will roll their eyes and look away and mumble things under their breath when you have another "teaching" lesson. do it anyway. relate everyday thing back to the bible and stories from the bible. like, david, or paul, or esther. they will get tired of these stories, but tell them anyway. they are sponges and they will soak it up whether they  want to or not.  Repeat them again and again 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. Deuteronomy 6:4-7

walk the walk, and don't just talk the talk. this is by far, hands down, the hardest to do. our kids are always watching. soaking things in. how do we treat people? how well do we serve others? how do we speak of our parents and to our parents (their grandparents). be careful, they will speak about you the same way you speak about your parents one day. so, make it wholesome and good.  point out the good in all people, and stay away from insulting others in front of your children. they will repeat your actions and it just may fall back on you. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8


take advantage of any time you have with them. when they are little, try not to give them headphones and an ipad all of the time in the car. use that time to talk to them. tell them stories. learn scripture and make songs out of the scripture. my kids and i used to do this every day on the long car ride to school. we lived 22 minutes from the school. yes, i wanted to just have some peace and quiet without having to talk, but i KNEW it was precious time to pour into them. Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ. Romans 10:17

get to know your children. ask them questions. check their devices. REGULARLY. let them know that you check it often. this will create accountability and make them think twice. know their social media accounts. check to see if they have accounts that you don't know about. this is not being nosey, it is parenting. check to see who follows them and who they follow. be vigilant about this. kids want a lot of followers, so they often will pay to get them. this creates a very big breach in their privacy. Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 1 Peter 5:2

we have had a family rule since phones were introduced to our children.  they do not go to sleep with their phones in their rooms. at a certain time each evening their phones  have to be "turned in" for the night. no child or teenager needs their phone while they sleep. it will only create sleep disruptions and can also create temptations for our kids. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

side note--a dear friend of my son's joined our family at the beach one summer. the boy was 16 at the time. his precious mother called me to request that I take her son's phone up at night. i told her i certainly would, and in fact we had the same rule. your teenager is never too old for rules and safety. 

listen to your own parents. when they notice things about you or your children, listen. we often think we know more than they do, but we really do not. they love you and your children more than anyone else on this earth. heed their wisdom and advice. they often notice things before we as parents do. years ago, my mother told me that i was on my phone too much when i was with her. i was defensive at first. i told her i had "important" things to do. she looked at me and then looked back at my children strapped in their car seats and said, "are we not important?" i will never forget that day. it made an impact on my heart and i heeded her wisdom. far from perfect in this area, i strive to be present. limiting phone time dramatically when with my loved ones. Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12

These are just a few thoughts I am having today. I am sure this will not be the last time you hear me trying to share what I am learning through mothering. 

Keep in mind, precious mothers, motherhood is a calling. A very high calling. Nothing on earth, besides Jesus and your marriage, comes before this incredible duty. 

Guard your nest. Pray over it daily. Protect it. Love it. Nurture it. Take care of it. Defend it. 


back to the birthday fun, 


jill
















Aug 2, 2019

Under the shade tree....

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"but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life." John 4:14

The air was cooler than normal today. I put my laundry on hold and made a run for the door to catch the breezier feel in the air.

I love to walk. It is my thing. I love to pray, talk to Jesus, and just breathe in His creation as I walk.

This particular morning, I was short on time. Lunch plans with my mom were looming, and I needed to make this walk quick.

As I was rounding the corner back to my house, I spotted him. He was sitting under a huge tree at our local school track.

I had not seen him in a while.

My pulse quickened. What should I do?

I really wanted to check on him and say hello, but I knew that would entail more time than I had. He liked to talk.

The Lord whispered so sweetly to my heart, "you said you wanted to seek out the lonely, Jill. you just wrote about it. here is your chance. this opportunity is not for him, it is for you."

I knew what I should do. But, I didn't want to.

Before my head could talk me out of it, I walked through the little fence leading to the track and to the tree that my friend was sitting under.

We made conversation. He filled me in on where he had been.

The talk is often awkward. What do we have in common?? Nothing really.

We talked anyway.

Lord, what is the point here? I silently asked.

After a few minutes in, I remembered the story of the woman at the well. The story that grabs my heart each and every time I read it. The story that I had just this week written about here on my blog.

My friend, David, was not at a well. He was sitting under a tree. He was finding shade from the sun. All alone. He, his bag of books, and this mighty tree.

I suddenly realized we were not so different.

How many times have I sat in a lonely place....so many times.

I am not homeless, but so often my heart craves for Home. In the arms of Jesus.

My friend is homeless. He lives in his van.

His temporary home.

We spoke about God and Jesus and religion...again. 

He told me again for the thousandth time that I was never going to convince him that there is a God.

I smiled and nodded, looking down at my shoelaces.

"You are right, David. I just want to be your friend." I replied.

His eyes met mine. He wanted to believe me I could tell. He wanted to believe that I was not just some bible thumping Christian looking for souls to save.

He needed a friend.

Jesus doesn't call us to save, fix, and heal others. He calls us to love. To befriend. To notice. To reach out.

I have fallen short so many times.

I can see the loneliness. I can smell the empty. I can almost taste the despair in his eyes.

Swallowing back fear and trepidation I boldly asked him...

"But, what do you have to lose, David? What in the world do you have to lose by believing?"

He looked down. For the first time ever, he had no response. No answer. Just a gentle shaking of the head.

After the silence, he begin telling me a couple of jokes.

I laughed and told him I had to go...but I would definitely be looking for him again under this tree.

He was trying to stretch the conversation....I could tell.

The loneliness was piercing.

I finally turned to go and felt this sadness wash over me. Oh, Jesus. I don't understand. What will it take for David to believe?

Oh, David. You just have no idea how much you are NOT alone. Jesus is with you. He is always with you. He has never left you, although you have left him.

Again, he and I are not so different.

I am a believer in Jesus with all of my heart...

But, I have often left Jesus.....clinging to my rights and my hurts and licking my wounds not once reaching out to Him....

Souring from the inside out at times because I forget....

I forget that He will NEVER leave me or forsake me. [Hebrews 13:5]

 I forget that the insults that fall on me, fall on Him. [Romans 15:3]

I am the woman at the well.

Alone. Rejected. Sin-filled.

Yet, He comes. He finds me. He rescues me. Every single time.

And He gives me Living Water to this parched soul.

He sits under a tree....

I sit at the well....

We are not so different.

Looking for quenching...

I have finally found it...

He is still looking...

We are not so different.


I have etched David's name in my prayer journal so many times....

Will I see the fruit of those prayers? Maybe not.

But, just like Jesus whispered to me as I was contemplating approaching David today....seeing him is not for him, it is for me. 

I need the reminder.

Lest I forget and stay at the well.

I am hopeful that David will drink from the Living Water one sweet day....in the meantime, I will meet him under that tree.

He has found the shade....I am hopeful that he will find the Water.



getting up from the well,



jill








Aug 1, 2019

Our kids are thirsty....

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They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. Psalm 1:3

Finally, it happened. We got new grass. We also planted some  trees and bushes to liven up our landscape somewhat. Remember the story about the weeds? Yeah, well we still have plenty of those too.

The first week our yard was complete I spent every single day watering bushes and trees. Twice a day. Sometimes three times if it was a really hot and dry day.

Never in my life have I watered anything outside. Ever.

I was more of an inside work girl. Until now. [eye roll]

Day after day I stood over those bushes and trees watering. Watering. Watering.

It was incredibly boring. And long. It usually takes about 45 minutes to hit them all. [Yawn]

However, God gave me an insight as I was watering those newly planted trees one day.

He reminded me of why I was watering them.

I was watering them because they were dependent on me for nourishment.

I was watering them because they were young and tender and new.

I was watering them because I wanted them to be strong and not wither under the hot sun.

I was watering them because I wanted to sit under those trees one day and be refreshed by their beauty and stature.

In that moment, as I was pouring fresh water on my baby trees, I pictured my children.

My job is to water them. Daily.

My job as their mother is to soak them in the Word of God while I still can. While their roots are forming and deepening.

Just like watering those plants, it has to be consistent. I cannot just water my kids when I see them starting to wilt. I must water them to keep them from wilting.

The hardest part of watering these plants is not seeing much fruit at first. They look the same day after day.

But, I know that just because I don't see growth and nourishment....it is happening.

Just like with my children.

I don't always see a lot of growth. In fact, I can get downright discouraged and want to throw my tired arms up in the air and give up.

But, then I remember....

I must keep watering them.

My job is to water...

God's job is grow them.

I don't know how my children will turn out in the end.

I pray daily they will be strong men and women of God.

However, God has the ultimate job. He grows the heart. He also decides how tall they will grow, and what kind of fruit they will produce.

I cannot hover over an apple tree and make it produce peaches. I just cannot.

God decides what comes from the plant...

We just water.

Daily.

The best way to water our children is by prayer.

Another way to water our children is by reading the Word over them. Teaching them in daily instruction about God.

They will get tired of your stories. Trust me. But, their hearts are like sponges. They will drink in the water even if you don't think they are thirsty.

Standing over my children and being anxious of how they are turning out will not produce a better fruit. It will only drive me crazy and my kids too.

But, I know if I just do the job of watering...

God will be the one that allows the growth when I step away.

I don't have to hover over those trees to make them grow. I just have to be consistent with them. Giving them fresh water and trusting God with the rest.

My prayer is that He will send others to water my children when I cannot be there. Pouring water into their thirsty hearts, sprinkling  them with Truth.

[Thank you, Lord, for those that water our children! Teachers, friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, mentors, youth leaders...praise God for them!]

My prayer is to one day sit back and look at those trees that were watered so fervently and remember fondly the long, hot days of watering them. I hope those trees will be tall, statuesque, strong-rooted, and reaching high towards Heaven.

I pray those trees will bless many from generation to generation. Bringing refreshment and joy to all that sit under their broad branches.

I pray those same deep roots and broad branches for my children. May their lives bear much fruit and extend from generation to generation.



time to water,

jill


(re-post from 5/30/17)





Jul 30, 2019

When your "calling" is fuzzy......

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This post came to me in the middle of the dark night. I woke up with the title on my lips. 

Sometimes the Lord speak to us as we sleep. Possibly because our hearts and minds are quiet and free from distractions. 

A common prayer I pray over my family is for God to speak to us as we sleep. I ask Him to impart dreams, desires, wisdom, thoughts, knowledge into our minds and hearts. 

He speaks in dreams, in visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on people as they lie in their beds. Job 33:15


A question I am always asking the Lord is, "what is my calling, Lord? what is my purpose?"

I get this antsy feeling sometimes that maybe there is something I need to be doing that I am not. Maybe I have missed out on the greatest calling of my life because I was not listening when He called me. 

Waves of fear crash over me at times that when I get to Heaven He will shake His head at me and tell me that He had so much more for me, but I never listened to Him and discovered it. 

When these thoughts come, I have to immediately take those thoughts captive and hold them up to the Truth of God's Word. 

Jesus boldly told the questioning Pharisees, when He was asked what the greatest commandment was....

 "37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

So, more than our occupation. More than our gifts and offerings. More than our talents and desires. More than our great knowledge of the Bible....

We are to Love. 

Love God. 

Love others. 

Without these, nothing else matters. 

We can devote our lives to sharing the gospel and miss the mark here. 

So my question to all of us is this....

How well are we loving others?

Loving God is the easy part. 

Yes, we love God. Of course we do!

But, how well are we loving others?

In our busy culture, we find it easier to connect with those we love due to technology. 

However, how much of a sacrifice of love does that take?

Time is love. 

When we take the time to see each other face to face. To listen to each other free from distractions. To genuinely encourage and support each other. To ask each other with all sincerity, "how are you doing?" and really mean it. 

Loneliness is at an all time high among our younger generation. Screen time has taken the place of relationships. Anxiety has become the buzz word and therapists are common among our youth. 

Adults are also lonelier than ever. We have more anxiety and depression than ever recorded before. 

So, what is the deal?

We are pushing our children and ourselves to find our "calling". Find our purpose. Fulfill our destiny. 

Books upon books upon books are written on success. And fulfillment. And keys to happiness. 

When Jesus took a detour from his journey and sought out the woman at the well, we see what love looks like. 


We see Jesus seeking the lost. Seeking the lonely. Seeing the sinner. Seeking the shunned. 

It is so easy to hang out with people that have it all together, or seem like they do. It makes us look better and feel better. 

Jesus did the exact opposite. 

Jesus was about the individual, not the crowd. 

Maybe we have it all backwards. Maybe, just maybe, it is much more simple than we think. 

If the greatest commandment is to Love God and Love others....then isn't that our calling?

To seek the one. Not the many. 

I have been on the receiving end of love like this from a few dear people. 

They reach out. They ask questions. They speak truth. They take the time. 

Today, let's look for an opportunity to love like this. 

To look for the "woman at the well", so to speak. 

Ask God to lead you and show you. 

Someone needs a listening ear. A touch. A hug. An encouraging word. 

Our calling is to Love. 

Pure and simple. 

Search no more. 



going to the well, 



jill

Jul 26, 2019

But, I don't want to....

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"Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
 Matthew 20:26-28

Some days I have about twelve topics for posts that I have running through my little brain. I will write down notes and scriptures to remind me when I finally get to write. Sometimes I even write on the mirror [with a dry erase marker] in my bathroom as I am putting on my makeup. Good stuff happens right there at my bathroom vanity. Who knew such spiritual things could happen as you apply your mascara?

Usually, when I do finally sit down and write, the Lord leads me in an entirely different direction. Which always makes me think, "Oh, Okay, Lord. I get it. That whole lesson I was going to write about wasn't for anybody but myself. Right? Got it."

Well, this post is for all of us, I suppose. 

My daughter and I were out walking recently in our neighborhood. It was early in the morning and there was a slight chill in the Autumn air. I had worn my jacket and had reminded her several times to bring hers as well. She told me for the fourteenth time that she would not need a jacket. Okay then. 

Five minutes or less into our walk, she said she was cold. I turned my head so she couldn't see me furiously roll my eyes. A few times. [yep, sure did]

I knew she would get cold. I even told her so. 

We were already a good distance from the house and I did not want to go back to the house to get her coat. Really, just because I wanted to prove a point. I was right. She was wrong. She needed to learn a lesson.

Really mature, aren't I. 

A few seconds after I had these less than graceful thoughts, I heard this scripture in my heart, "'The Son of Man did not come to serve, but to be served." 

Seriously, it came like a bolt of lightening to my heart. UGHHHH. 

I knew what I needed to do. But, I didn't want to do. 

Again, I hear Words straight from scripture to my [shivering] heart, "I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate." Romans 7:15

Paul wrote those words in the book of Romans. Paul gets me!! Listen to the scripture following this one.."For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out." Romans 7:18b

So, there I was walking with my daughter. I knew she was cold. I knew I should give her my jacket even though I didn't think she deserved it. But, I didn't want to give it to her. I wanted to teach her a lesson. Furthermore, I didn't want to be cold!

I pictured Jesus in my head. I pictured us walking together and what He would do if I were to get cold. 

It was pretty clear what He would do. He would strip Himself of every piece of clothing to make me warm. 

Am I a follower of Jesus? I sure want to be. 

So, if I want to follow Him, I must do what He would do. 

Paul then goes on to say in the book of Romans this little ditty:

Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. Romans 13:14

I took off my jacket. The wind ripped right through my shirt .

My daughter was surprised that I handed it right over to her. 

She smiled hesitantly and said, "Wow, Momma. Thank you so much."

My daughter learned a sweeter lesson than my words ever could have taught her that brisk morning. 

She learned what serving looks like. When it's not convenient. When it's not what you want to do. When it's going to make you feel uncomfortable. 

Serving is putting another's well-being above your own. Every single time. 

Whew. It is not always easy. 

However, I have learned a secret in serving others. Want to hear it?

The more we serve others, the easier it gets. The sweeter it gets. 

There is also another miraculous thing that happens when we serve others....

We are served by God. 

Here is what I mean by this...

He pours into us when we pour out. Every single time!

One Summer I was struggling with panic and fear really, really bad. I had told my husband that I was going to get back on medicine although I did not want to. I was devastated that I was going to have to take medicine again. During this time an opportunity came for me to serve with a dear friend at a place in town with underprivileged children. 

We poured our hearts into these precious souls that Summer. It was life-changing. More for us than for them. 

At the end of the Summer, I realized that I had not had ONE fearful moment. NOT ONE. Y'all, this was HUGE for me. HUGE.

I was so caught up with helping these precious children that I didn't have a moment to think about myself and my suffering. 

God had poured every last ounce of refreshment back into me that I had poured out that Summer. 

Not only that, but at the end of that Summer, a miracle occurred. Something that my husband and I had been praying about for YEARS came into fruition. In an amazing way. 

Do you see this?

We were created to serve. When we serve, we are fulfilling God's design for us! 

As we serve others, He serves us. 

His way is the complete opposite of the world's teaching. The world tells us to put ourselves first. 

God tells us that in order to be great, we must be a servant. 

I love the way this looks. I picture us bent down washing feet, just as Jesus washed His disciple's feet. 

Jesus, the Son of God, a servant. It makes no sense, does it?

Oh, but that's why it's so miraculous. 

I challenge all of us to be intentional about serving. 

Look for ways every second to serve in what you are doing. 

As I was brushing my teeth yesterday, [again in my bathroom], I was thinking of a way to serve my husband in a way that would bless him. Want to know what I did? I cleaned the goo off of his electric toothbrush. Yes, gross, but true. I don't think he has noticed yet, but that is not that point. ;)

As I was making my breakfast that same morning, I noticed there was only enough milk for one bowl of cereal. I wanted that cereal! [If you know me, you know it's true] I used that as  an opportunity to serve Lem. He got the bowl of cereal. He never even knew I had left him the milk. [although I really wanted to tell him how I had served him!] 

But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3

Warning: Serving does not come naturally, as Paul says in Romans. However, the more we use this serving muscle, the stronger it gets. 

Let's go and serve. What do you say?


buying more milk today,


jill


(re-post from 10/18/15)

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