Jan 13, 2019

Are you lonesome tonight?


 “And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14



I have this problem.

Until now, I have been completely unaware of it. 

Here is the thing...

I get up early and read my bible. Every single morning. 

I pray. I journal. 

My day begins about an hour later. 

The day goes on. 

I talk to Jesus. A lot. 

I talk about Jesus. A lot. 

But, there is something I have discovered. 

I don't like to be alone. Ever. 

Really. Like, ever ever ever ehhhhhhhhverrr. 

It is kind of a joke in my family. If my husband goes out of town, I have it all lined up for me and the kids to go somewhere. To be with people. 

Something about the quiet....it makes me feel strange. 

Anxious. 

As long as people are in the house with me, I am good. 

As soon as they leave, I have to find something to do. More often than not, I just leave and find someone to be with. 

My whole life. This has been my story. 

However, recently, the Lord has opened my eyes to this pattern. This fear of being alone. This fear of being by myself for more than an hour or so. 

Perhaps, this is why I write. 

I feel like someone is with me. Reading along. Talking. Listening with me. 

It helps the loneliness disappear. 

Not that I am lonely....

But scared of being alone. 

So, God is working with me on this. 

Day by day. 

One baby step at a time. 

My oldest will be going away to college this Fall. 

God is preparing my heart. I can feel it. 

I think about Abraham and Sarah. 

We have been reading about them in Genesis. 

God had big plans for them. A child! Many descendants!

But, they just could not be still and wait. 

They just kept making their own plans, doing things their own way--hello, Hagar--and everything just kept falling apart. 

Stillness eluded them. 

I understand. 

So very much. 

How about you?

Is quiet deafening to your ears? 

Is it easier to be in a loud noisy environment because at least you have people around you?

Or, maybe you are quite the opposite. Craving some stillness and alone time. Wishing you could escape to a private island--I can see my mother raising her hand. She and I are quite opposite on this!

Whatever the case may be....

Let's learn to get comfortable wherever we are. 

Whether in the crowd, or in the quiet. 

His seasons are for a purpose. 

We grow in these uncomfortable places.  

We become in tune with Him because we are desperate for Him to comfort us here in these places. 


A friend told me recently that God took her through a season of sitting through her grief. Instead of escaping the pain of her grief, He taught her to sit still through it. Acknowledge it. Accept it. Sit with it. 

I am trying to apply the same principal with my fear of being alone. 

Acknowledging it. Accepting it. Sitting with it. 

Knowing God will stretch me--drawing me even closer to Him. Feeling the comfort of His Presence in a whole new way. 

Oh, friend. 

Wherever you are...


Be where you are. 

Try not to run from it. 

Try not to wish it away. 

Sit with Jesus. 

He is with you. 

Will you remind me of this too?



finding rest in being alone, 


jill


Are you reading the Bible with us? Oh, please do! Go here and see what we are reading this year. OR contact me at shinegirlsshine@gmail.com OR find us on instagram @shinegirlsshine We would LOVE to have you read with us each day!









Jan 8, 2019

Don't stop....

So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived. Genesis 19:29


We are in the thick of some drama here in the book of Genesis. Good Lord.

Today, we read about Abraham and Lot.

Lot was spared being torched to death by fire because of Abraham's faithful prayers over him.

Some friends and I have been discussing this over Marco Polo. [do you use that app? It is pretty cool]

Anyway, we want to know why God spared Lot, if not just because Abraham asked Him to. Lot ended up being tricked into sleeping with his daughters---yes, you read that right. The daughters went on to have babies...and who needs Netflix when we have this drama??

So, I cannot help but see the mercy of God here.

Abraham was faithful. Oh, so faithful.

He prayed for his nephew Lot to be spared from the fiery raining sulfur--and God spared him.

My question to you is this...

Who are you praying for right now?

Maybe it seems hopeless. Hopeless with a capital H.

Maybe it seems like there is no way God could answer this prayer.

Maybe it seems that all of these years in desperate prayer for that child, that husband, that aunt, that uncle, that mother, that father, that friend....

Seem pointless.

Read this story in Genesis again.

God heard Abraham's prayers. And He answered.

Did Lot really deserve to be rescued? I do not know.

But, I do know that Abraham pleaded for Lot's life.

And God answered.

Don't stop pleading for the lives of those around you.

Just when it looks like fiery sulfur will rain down, God will rescue and deliver. In just the nick of time.

Don't stop praying,


jill

Jan 2, 2019

In the beginning...

I cannot quit thinking about Adam and Eve.

What would I have done in their situation? I blame them constantly on the state of this sinful world. And my heart at times.

But, would I have done anything differently?

I would like to think so.

However, Truth has a glaring Light that shines through the places of your heart you thought were hidden. Even hidden from God.

When I settle in with Jesus, just He and I, I feel so much Joy. I also feel so much sorrow.

I can clearly see the state of my heart when I am truly surrendered to Him. He allows me to see the places I long to hide. The ugly parts. Just like when Adam and Eve hid from God after they ate of the forbidden tree. I often try to hide....

The parts that have a hard time loving others.

The parts that don't understand why it is never ever ever easy to do the right thing.

The parts that are prideful.

The parts that know that deep down fear is a mangled mess in many areas of my life.

The part that lets insecurity decide who I am.

The part that lets the words or  lack of words from others decide who I am.

I get sick to death of my own self.

When I get that sick feeling....

I know...

That He loves me.

That He has to show me these things, or I cannot change.

I cannot change what I do not open my eyes to.

We can live a life blind as heck to our own sin.

I have done it.

I have seen others do it.

Mission trips, church attendance, feeding the poor, teaching Sunday school....


Does NOT reflect a pure heart.

Trust me on this one.

A pure heart is aware of their shortcomings.

Aware of the sin that so easily entangles at times.

Aware that it could very well be our child in the same mess as our neighbors.

Aware that the more I stick my nose in the air to people and look down on them because they are not as spiritual as me....than I am worse off than they are.

I am sick to death of judging others.

I am sick to death of being judged.

There is One Judge.

His Name is Jesus.

People may throw stones at you, but Jesus steps up to say..."He who has not sinned, cast the first stone.." John 8:7

As we read through the Bible together this year, my prayer is that He continues to mold us. To chisel us. To shape us into His image.

It just will not happen apart from time spent with Him.

There is a world out there....a world desperate for us to wake up from our spiritual self-righteous haze. It needs us to have a heart like Jesus. To see the broken. The ugly. The mess.

But. we must see it in ourselves first.

Compassion, true compassion, comes from a heart that knows it is no better than the heart of the one who's sins are more visible. Hidden sins are no less than outward sins. God sees it all.

May we take off the fig leaves--and present ourselves to Christ. Broken, scarred, marred, and torn. 

Then, and only then can we reflect Him.


Keep reading, girls. It's only the beginning.


goodbye Eden,


jill







Jan 1, 2019

Dear SHINE Girl,

Dear SHINE girl,

Happy New Year! Can you even believe it is 2019? Goodness gracious. Weren't we just ringing in 2018?

Today marks 7 years of this SHINE girls blog. SEVEN!

If you have been on this journey with me since day one, God bless you sweet friend. And I truly mean, God bless you. You have seen the ups and downs and ins and outs of my life for the past 7 years. Some good and some not so good stuff.

Thank you all for sticking with me. Even through months and months of dry spells. You, dear friend, have hung on with me. I so appreciate you.

When I look back on the early days posts, I often cringe. I have opened up, no I have sliced open, my heart to all of you over the years.  I have left my insides on the pages of this blog. I know it must have been a lot to take in at times...goodness.

The desire of my heart from the very beginning was to read God's Word together. To grow together. To learn together. To hold each other accountable...together.

This has not changed. One single bit.

Although I do not post nearly as much as I used to, I still think of all of you so often. Remembering your sweet words, prayers, and encouragement.

Since Instagram became a thing, I started slowly writing on that platform. It is just easier at times, and faster.

However, my heart will always be here. On this site.

I am going to continue to write to you, if you will let me into your sweet world.

What a privilege it is to have you here as a reader. It is truly an honor.

This year, I am starting a new reading plan. I have purchased the Daily Walk Bible by Tyndale.
 It is a one year devotional Bible. Each day has a reading--beginning in Genesis.

I will post from time to time what I am learning. If you would like to join, I would love to have you. We have several friends on our Instagram page joining. I hope you will too!

My deepest desire is that no matter what reading plan you decide on....you will daily meet God in His Word. Friend, it will change you.

When we meet with Jesus every day, we begin to look more like Him. Sound more like Him. Love more like Him. It is just inevitable.

I am praying for you. I am praying that God will show you great and mighty things this year. I am praying that you draw closer than ever to His Throne.

Seven years. I cannot even believe it.

Thank you for your friendship over the years. I could cry my eyes out thinking of the prayers we have prayed over each other through the years. Truly, it has been the best thing to ever happen in my spiritual walk.

I would love your feedback as we read along. Join me here or on our Instagram account @shinegirlsshine or @lemandjill

You are oh so loved.

Happy New Year, precious one.


Seven years and counting,


jill




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