Nov 19, 2020

Man in a van...

 For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:14

"Did you hear about the homeless man that died?"

I was just about to start my YogaFaith class when one of my students asked this. 

"Wait, what? You don't mean the homeless man that lived in the gold van...." I inquired. 

She responded, "Yes, I think that's him."

My heart sank. 

Please, Jesus, no more bad news. 

Collecting myself, I mustered my way through the class. 

As soon as I got to the privacy of my car, I wept. 

David, the homeless man in a van,  was my friend. I have written about him several times, here and here and here. 

We had talked countless times. 

Some friends and myself had tried very hard to share the gospel of Jesus with him. He refused to believe. 

Frustrated as we were, we decided that eventually he would believe. He just needed more time. 


God had brought him to my mind many times in the weeks leading up to his death. My husband had even seen him and talked to him very recently. 

I just keep asking The Lord, "What was the point? Why did you put him into my life?"

David was hard headed and stubborn and refused to believe anything I spoke of Jesus. But, he always listened. He always questioned. Then always, like clockwork...

He would shake his head and say, "Nahhhh."

As the days go by since his death, I see a little clearer now. 

I see not how I changed David's life...but how he changed mine. 

David opened my eyes to a world that I often do not see. 

After meeting David, I was jolted out of my comfort zone and into a cold, cruel, lonely reality that exists...

For so many.

God has put homeless people into my life for the past 8 years. Every one of them leaving scars on my heart. 

The first one was Zora, with the 8 children. All boys. 

I wanted to help her so badly...

Until the Lord spoke so clearly into my heart..."Jill, just be her friend. Nothing more. Nothing less."

And then there was the precious lady at the homeless shelter...

And then there was Robert....

And then, David. 

All 3 of them have changed me in different ways. 

All 3 of them did not need me...

But God knew how desperately I needed them. 

Often we don't recognize the pride, the self-centeredness, the greed, the glutton...

Until we are faced with the most humble souls on planet Earth.

Perhaps this is how the woman at the well felt when Jesus approached her. Naked in her sin. Uncovered. 

Yet, at the same time, her eyes were opened. She was made whole. 

I have no inspiring words to write.

I have no catchy story to tell. 

I just have to tell you about David. 

He was my friend. 

And I miss him already. 

My prayer for my friend is that he is finally Home. Resting his weary head in the Arms of Jesus. 

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

Nothing is impossible for those who believe...Mark 9:23


goodbye friend, 


jill



Nov 17, 2020

What concerns you?

 Sometimes God will just knock me over the head with His Words. It hits me so hard that I am dizzy almost for days. 

Recently, this happened. 

I was reading through a prayer book and these words stood out on the page like a neon sign. 

The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands. Psalm 138:8

I gasped loudly when I came across it. 

Several years ago, I had prayed this fervently over a child of mine. This child was facing a fierce battle of the enemy, and I prayed it desperately to God inserting my child's name in the verse. 

My mind was filled with gratitude as I looked back on how far this child has come since those dark days. 

In that season, I would pray those words over my child, but honestly, I would only half-believe them. 

Don't get me wrong, I WANTED to believe them. I NEEDED to believe them. But, deep down, I just wasn't sure if God would pull through on this. 

Do you know what I mean?

Have you felt this way? You want to believe so badly. You have no choice but to HOPE with all of your heart...

But goodness, sometimes it just seems like there is no way God can make this better. It just does not seem possible. 

There is a verse that my daughter drew for me a long time ago. It is stuck to my fridge with a magnet. 

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7

Here is how I picture this verse...

I imagine getting up in the middle of the night from my bed...pure darkness. 

I know the way to my bathroom, but I cannot see an inch in front of me. 

I walk slowly. I trust that I know the way to get there. 

However, I have to remember and trust the way or I may run into a piece of furniture (or step on my dog). 

I have faith that I will make it to the bathroom...but it can be a bit wobbly of a walk. 

We have this idea at times that our faith has to be rock solid and unwavering...

I think that would be awesome. 

But, often, I think our faith does waver...yet we keep praying. We keep reading that scripture desperately wanting to believe it to be true. We keep putting our HOPE in the Lord...even when no hope is in sight. 

We keep walking. Blind as a bat, but sure of the way. 

He is the Way. He will perfect that which concerns us. He will perfect that which concerns your loved one. 

What concerns you right this very second?

How about taking that step of faith. 

Dark as it is...take the step. 

He will be right beside you. 

It may take a while for you to begin to see His plan...

But, He is perfecting it all the while. 


still dizzy, 


jill







Oct 22, 2020

Doing unto others...

 Over the past week some sad news has hit our small community. 

A parents worse nightmare. 

A 16 year old boy named Jacob diagnosed with cancer. 

As the days linger on waiting upon waiting on pins and needles for more updates-- I can only imagine how his parents feel.

Yesterday I sat on my back porch imagining the scenario with one of my own children. My throat closed, my eyes welled with tears and I just sobbed. 

How do you help someone in this situation? Your mind scurries for ways to help ease their pain, to help in some way be comfort to them. 

Instead of racking my brain on ways to help, I thought to myself, my own mother heart..."What would I want someone to do for me if my child was in the hospital?"

I knew immediately. 

I grabbed my Bible, opened it to the most worn pages in the Book....Psalm 91. 

I prayed it out loud  on my back porch. Inserting the boys name as I read, I pictured his face in each passage. 

My mother heart, more than anything else in the world, would be for my community to pray God's Word over my child. To put their name in the passage and lift those prayers of God's own Words right back up to Heaven to His ears. 

Peace came as I read. I pray this family felt God's Comforting Hand in that moment. 

"Do onto others as you would have them do unto you." The Golden Rule from Luke 6:31.

This. This is what I would want done if I were in their place. 

God's Word tells us over and over to pray without ceasing. To lift each other up in our times of need. 

Yes, we are also to be the Hands and the Feet of Jesus when we can, but so often what is needed most is our prayers over them. 

There is nothing greater than prayer. 

I am reminded of a story in the Bible. A boy and his father. The boy was unable to speak or hear. His body would convulse and be thrown to the ground in seizures by these awful spirits. 

The disciples were unable to heal him. They did all they knew to do...but still could not heal the boy. 

Jesus was able to heal him immediately. 

Amazed,  the disciples asked Jesus how He was able to heal the boy. 

Jesus responded, "This kind can only come out by prayer." Mark 9:29

Could this be the missing link in our lives?

Are we praying, are we really truly praying fervently and unceasingly?

I am convicted greatly with my own words. 

This morning I read about the persistent widow  in Luke 18 asking the judge for justice from her adversary. She begged, she pleaded, day after day. 

Finally, because he was so tired of hearing her and seeing her face every single day, the judge granted her what she asked for. 

How much more will God answer our prayers if we will only ask and keep asking? We are His children. He loves us so much. Yet, we give up on prayer so easily. We get tired. We relent instead of persist. 

Father, forgive us for our lack of faith. Help us to pray. Help us to pray without ceasing! Help us to lift others needs up as if we are the one needing what is being asked. 

When a Christian shuns fellowship with other Christians, the devil smiles, When he stops studying the Bible, the devil laughs. When he stops praying, the devils shouts for joy. -Corrie Ten Boom

Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure. -Dwight L. Moody

Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you.- St. Augustine

There is nothing to be valued more highly than to have people praying for us; God links up His power in answer to their prayers.-Oswald Chambers


Would you stop where you are and lift up Jacob and his family? God hears us.


headed back to the porch, 


jill






Oct 14, 2020

Zipping it...

 Listen twice, speak once. 

The preacher's words hit my heart hard and I felt them. 

I looked over at my kids as we were intently listening, and they too were struck with the message. 

One of my kids, I will not say which one, but SHE had a little bit of a rough patch with her tongue that entire weekend. 

She even admitted her cheeky comments and sassy tone. 

However, none of us were expecting the sermon to be on taming the tongue. 

It was hard not to look over at her, but as soon as I thought better of it I was reminded of my own tongue follies. 

Goodness gracious, I certainly had no place pointing a finger. 

My nephew was also with us as we listened to the sermon and I could see his eyes secretly glance over at the kid with the mouth folly all weekend just to see her reaction. I giggled a little, I admit. 

God was not just speaking to her, He was using a megaphone to get my attention as well. 

 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:5-6

Umm, wow. Read that little doozie again. 

Let's break it down..

-the tongue is small

-yet, it makes great boasts. hello, pride. 

-a forest fire begins with a small spark. see, notice the word small again. 

-the tongue is a fire, evil among all the parts of the body. eeeek!

-the tongue corrupts the whole body, in fact the whole course of our life can be set on fire by the tongue. 

-the tongue is set on fire by hell--the enemy, satan. double eeeeeeek!


Hold on for just a second while I grab a glass of water to gulp down. 

God is serious about this issue. 

Our tongues are dangerous. They are a small part of our body but a HUGE part of the course of our life. 

Life and death come from the tongue. 

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

Have you ever been criticized or made fun of or been looked down upon verbally?

Of course you have. We all have. 

We often remember those words like they were spoken yesterday. They still hurt. They still burn around the edges of the scars left on our hearts. 

I often hear words pop into my head that were spoken over me a long time ago...the enemy whispers these words into my unsuspecting ears. 

See how that works? Someone spoke that spark of words, and the enemy tries to fan that flame still today. 

Many therapists and counselors will tell you that verbal abuse (hence, the tongue), leaves an indelible mark on us. Those words can haunt us and destroy us if we do not replace those words with God's Word and His Truth over us. 

You can have a million affirmations but the statement that we remember most will be the one that daggered our hearts the deepest. 

The tongue. 

The small, narrow body part inside of our mouths has the power of life and death. 

How are we using our tongues these days? Oh my. Just flip on the news or social media and you will see the forest fire of words. 

Listen twice, speak once. 

Are we listening to others? Or are we just trying to get our point across. 

Are we praying before we respond or are we just spewing out flames?

Think about conversations you have had this week. With friends, with the spouse, with the kids, with a co-worker, with the clerk at the grocery store, even on social media...

Are  we speaking life or are we speaking death?

We are made in God's image. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, and you believe that He died for your sins...you have been made NEW in Him. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

We have this great commission....to reflect Jesus day in and day out. To take up our cross and follow Him...even when it's hard. And it will be!

Our hearts must change in order for our tongues to change. 

My kid with the tongue follies crawled into my bed last night. She curled up next to me and said, "Momma, I think my heart is changing. God is doing something in my heart."

I smiled, blinking back tears and whispered, "My heart is changing too."


taming this tongue & this heart day by day, 

jill




Oct 7, 2020

You are always on my mind...

Happy Wednesday and Happy Fall! Eek! This weather in Georgia is so refreshing lately! My 10,000 steps a day are suddenly so much more enjoyable! 

I love how God brings seasons. He is so creative, isn't He?

If you are reading along with us in the Daily Walk Bible, we have finally landed in the New Testament. And everyone said Amen! 

Don't get me wrong, I love the good O. T., but there is NOTHING like the Words of Jesus in the N.T.

I could soak in the book of Matthew for days and days and days and never get tired of it. 

If you are not following along, it is a good time to start reading with us! You can find our bible here. Guaranteed the best $12 you will ever spend!

On this beautiful Wednesday morning, I want you to know, I pray for you often. Yes, you. 

In the words of the late great Elvis Presley, You are always on my mind. (cheesy, i know)

God brings you to my heart so often on those daily steps I take and I am burdened with your burdens. I am overwhelmed by your circumstances. I grieve the things you are grieving. 

But, it doesn't stop there. I release those burdens to the Lord in prayer. I ask Him to be your Comforter, Your Peace. Your Compass. Your Hope. 

I have been forever changed by women in my life who pray. 

I know first hand the POWER of prayer. 

Years ago, I read the book of Job. The words that seared into my heart were:

"when Job prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes. In fact, the LORD gave him twice as much as before! Job 42:10

There is so much TRUTH in these words. 

Only in God's Kingdom can praying for others restore your own heart in the process. 

I will never ever understand how it works, but it does. 

The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”
― Soren Kierkegaard

When we pray for others something shifts in the spiritual world. Strongholds are loosened. The enemy runs. Power is released from Heaven. God's perfect Will is done. 

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven. -The Lord's Prayer

I challenge you, I challenge us...

Pray for someone today. 

Write their name on a piece of paper and put it somewhere you can see it. 

Pray for them throughout your entire day. Lift their name up to Jesus. Over and over. 

Prayer is a discipline. It takes intention. 

However, the more we pray, the easier and more natural it becomes. 

Paul tells us in the New Testament to pray about everything, and to never stop praying. 

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Are you in need of a miracle today? Do you need Hope? Do you need restoration?

Pray for someone. 

God will do a work in your heart as you pray. 


walking and praying, 


jill








Oct 5, 2020

Right where you are...

 As I listened to the sermon, my mind was racing. 

I haven't done enough. I need to do more

Our preacher was preaching from this scripture, "As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. James 2:26

Suddenly, my mind was filled with thoughts of guilt. I wasn't doing enough good deeds. I needed to do more. 

The message was packed with goodness, however, I interpreted it wrong in my heart. 

Instead of praying and asking God to let the message speak to me, I quickly jumped into my own interpretation of it. 

Those thoughts lasted throughout the day. 

As I sat next to a sweet mother in the stands of watching our girls play volleyball, I was once again pounded with guilt. 

This mother has 3 adopted children. On top of the slew of biological children she is already raising. 

I listened to her as she talked about some hardships with one of her adopted children. Instead of listening intently to her pain, I was focused on my own guilt. My lack of deeds. My not doing enough pity party. 

Here she was raising an army of children, and here I was doing what?

This morning as I was in my Bible, God spoke to me. Words I needed to hear. Words I could have heard yesterday if I would have talked to Him, sought Him, prayed to Him. 

I know that guilt is never from Him. Ever. 

Conviction is good and healthy. Guilt is deadly and poisonous. 

I began to write in my prayer journal and this scripture just breathed right into my lungs...

"If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won't be honest with greater responsibilities. Luke 16:10

As I pondered those words, my heart began to see my life differently. I began to see my little home and my little family. I pictured Lem, my husband, and my two children. 

Was I being faithful in this area? Was I doing my best in being a faithful wife and mother?

Peace washed over me. 

God has called me to this place. Right here. 

He has not called me to be in a thousand other places. At least not right now. 

If I take my attention off of my family and the many needs here, I would not be faithful to my call here. 

God has me here. In this season. 

Seeing my life in this way takes the pressure off. It takes the guilt off and throws it into an ocean of mercy. 

God has many good deeds planned for me to do right here. In my home. On my little street. In our little town. Among the people right under my nose. 

These deeds will probably never get noticed publicly, with applaud and ringing affirmation...

But God sees. 

He sees the small and faithful things we do each day.

He sees us waking up early to get some time in with Him. Tiptoeing into the kitchen to pour that first cup of coffee and praying the little ones stay sleeping. 

Preparing lunches. Scrubbing the dishes. Emptying the dishwasher. Washing clothes. Folding clothes. Paying bills. Driving to work day in and day out. Helping with homework. Carpooling kids. Sitting on bleachers until your bottom is numb. Cheering on kids as they play sports. 

God sees. 

And, it matters. 

You may not realize it now, but some day you will. 

The impact you have on your family is bigger than you can ever imagine. 

Your presence means a whole lot to those people around you. 

Your faithfulness in your seemingly mundane tasks are important. 

These deeds that you do every single day are building a foundation for God's Kingdom. 

God's economy is different than the world's economy. Little things are big things. 

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew  19:14

He sees the heart. He sees what we do not see. 

Keep up your good deeds, sweet friend. 

Taking care of that sweet family of yours is making a difference. 

LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance. Psalm 16:5-6


back to the dishes, 


jill



Sep 29, 2020

I wanna be like you...

 A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold. Proverbs 22:1


He walks into my class each week with a smile on his face. He always asks me how I am doing and how my weekend was. 

No matter the mood I am in each Monday, Eddie makes me smile. 

Eddie is a gentleman in every sense of the word. He is kind. He is joy. He is loyal. 

Before I ever met him, my friend had told me all about him. He had a reputation in our YogaFaith circle. He leaves an impression on everyone he meets. 

Eddie is a widower. 

He keeps himself busy by being a blessing to all who come across him. 

Rare do you meet someone as consistently kind as Eddie. 

There have been times I've walked out of teaching a yoga class feeling depleted. Feeling like the class did not go well. 

Without fail, Eddie will encourage me. He will speaks words of affirmation and tell me new things he is learning in class. 

Eddie is an angel on Earth. 

Jesus shines on Eddie's face. 

I want to be like Eddie. 

I want to be the aroma of Christ when I leave the room. 

I want people to see Jesus on my face, in my words, in my actions. 

Eddie has figured this out. 

Humility. 

Kindness. 

Joy. 

Peace. 

Love. 

If you don't have an Eddie in your life, strive to be an Eddie. 

Look around, notice those in your midst. 

Smile more. 

Laugh more. 

Ask questions more. 

Be a light in the dark.  Just like my friend, Eddie. 

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matthew 5:14-16


keep shining Eddie, 


jill


Sep 28, 2020

Don't get lazy....

 Recently, I was walking some of my 10,000 steps a day with a friend. She asked me for some parenting advice. 

When anyone asks me advice on any given situation, I pray immediately that God would give me His Wisdom and His Words. 

Often, our own thoughts and ideas can cloud our wisdom. We must be careful when offering any advice that we pray and ask God for guidance first and foremost. Well meaning words can end up doing more harm than good if we don't seek wisdom before we speak. [Trust me, I know this from experience!]

As we talked through her parenting situation, she shared with me some books she had been reading on parenting. My heart was moved. 

My friend was seeking wisdom everywhere she could. She was desperate to be the best mother she could be to her kids. She didn't want to just act on instinct and feelings, she wanted to be intentional and purposeful as she mothered. 

I was so moved by her humility and effort that I texted her later and told her what an encouragement she had been to me. Also, I told her what an amazing mother I thought she was! She was truly seeking wisdom and insight to help her in her motherhood. 

"Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe." Proverbs 28:26

We can sometimes get lazy. We don't feel like seeking help, or reaching out, or praying. We just want the situation [whatever it is] to dissolve on its own. 

However, we are foolish when we do this. We are foolish when we become lazy with parenting. 

Our children need us to be sharp. They need us to seek wisdom from God and from other wise friends. 

This world [the enemy!]  will eat them alive if we are not daily seeking wisdom to guide them and direct them on their paths. 

My husband and I are watching the spin off series from The Karate Kid movie, Cobra Kai. I am in no way endorsing this show, by the way. It has some bad language that could totally be left out. [insert an eye roll here]

However, one thing that stands out to me is the impact that Daniel's teacher, Mr. Miyagi had on his life. 

Mr. Miyagi was wise. He was a teacher to Daniel. He spent time with Daniel teaching him lessons about life. 

Daniel's life was impacted greatly because of Mr. Miyagi. He changed the course of Daniel's life because of his steadfast devotion, teaching and wisdom he gave to Daniel. 

We have this same opportunity with our children!

However, we must consistently sharpen ourselves by prayer, reading God's Word, walking with other believers, seeking wisdom from well-worn Christian books at times....

Laziness will tempt us. Distractions will turn our heart and eyes away from this call. 

We must be diligent. 

We must prepare. 

We must sharpen. 

We must engage. 

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, so that what you hope for may be fully realized. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Hebrews 6:11-12

What we inhale each day, will be what we exhale back out onto our families. 

Let's inhale God's Word. Let's inhale wisdom. Let's inhale prayer. 

Our kids desperately need us to exhale Truth back into their little hearts. 

"When she speaks her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness." Proverbs 31:26-27

Motherhood never expires. I have a kid in college, and one still at home. No matter the age of our kids, 1 to 100, they still need our wisdom and teaching. 

Let's do not for a second think that our children are wise enough without us. They will always need a word of Truth, encouragement, wisdom, teaching from us. Motherhood does not end when the kids leave the nest. In many ways, it begins again. 


staying sharpened, 


jill






Sep 24, 2020

Are you a life-giver?

 A friend sent me a text this week. It was regarding a post I had recently written on here. 

She thanked me for continuing to write. 

It came out of the blue. 

I thanked her, and held on to her encouraging words. Her words breathed hope into my lungs. 

Her words reminded me that words are important. Encouragement is important. 

Her words also reminded me to pick up the gifts/tools He has given me...and use them. 

Have you ever been in a dry place....and someone walks in and gives you a drink of water? I do not mean a literal drink of water, but words of hope. Encouragement. Life breathing and life giving words. 

These crazy pandemic-driven days are hard. 

Hope is in short supply. 

Encouragement is in short supply. 

We need to to speak life to those around us. We need to notice, and participate in life. Often we just observe instead of actively participating. 

Have you ever thought something really wonderful about someone but never told them? Maybe you just forgot or maybe you thought..."they probably already know and hear compliments and encouragement all the time."

We need to start speaking those life giving words. As soon as the thought pops into our heads, speak it out. 

God created us to sharpen each other. Build each other up. 

"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.." 1 Thessalonians 5:11

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17

Can I just be honest?

Often we may think that pointing out good things in others reflects our own weaknesses. Maybe our insecurities keep us from building others up. 

I surely have held back words due to my own feelings of lack and insecurities. Wrongly I have thought that encouraging others would only spotlight those weak areas in my own life. 

My daughter plays sports. I try to make a point to compliment other girls on her team to their parents. Not just insincere words, but true encouragement. I want them to know that I "notice" their daughter and how well she is playing ball. 

Sometimes I think competition can dissolve our desire to encourage in this manner. But, it shouldn't. It should bolster our desire to let other parents, friends, family, whoever know that you notice. 

Building others up actually builds us up as well. Isn't cool how obediently following God's word is ALWAYS for our benefit?! We think we are blessing others, when in turn God goes right ahead and blesses us!

When we choose to encourage and speak life, God fills up our hearts in ways that never could have been filled otherwise. 

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38

Here's the thing...

It takes intention. It takes purpose. 

In order to become life-speakers, we have to practice it. We have to pay attention. We have to notice. 

Our tendency is to get wrapped up in our own little bubble and suffocate. 

Let's pop those bubbles and be life-giving word givers. 

My feet felt lighter after my friend texted me her words. 

I needed those words, even when I did not know I needed to hear them. 

I challenge you, I challenge US: 

Speak encouragement to those around you today. In person, by text, by phone call, by mail...

Just do it. 

Someone needs to hear it. 


paying attention, 


jill






 given to you...

Sep 15, 2020

What if...

 I have trust issues. 

With God. 

Not always, but more often than I want to admit. 

I find myself replaying or imagining a scenario in my head. Over and over. 

Even, I find myself preparing for the worst possible outcome over something I am praying over. 

I find that I am in this place now. 

We have a decision to make as a family. I have prayed and prayed and asked God to open or close doors in this situation. 

My heart and head still have doubts. 

It is almost as if I don't trust the outcome even when left in God's Sovereign Hands. 

Can you relate?

These thoughts have absolutely consumed me the past few weeks. 

What if we get it wrong?

What if the choice ends up a painful one?

What if...

What if...

What if...

 The doubts are never ending. The mind spins. The heart races. The worry consumes. 

Yet, I know God goes before us. 

He has prepared the way for us. 

Why, then, is it so hard to just let it go and trust God?

Why is it so hard not to become cynical and questioning and all things lacking faith?

This feeling, is almost like a mold over my lungs. It suffocates. It depresses onto the heart. 

It is hard to focus on other things. 

I am afraid of heartache. I know the reason for this constant doubting and upheaval of faith. 

 I am self preserving. 

There. I said it out loud. 

Actually, I am self preserving someone I care about as well.

I cannot bear to see them/us have heartache...again. 

I am afraid. 

I am fearful. 

There. I said it again. 

What if God doesn't bring good from this? What if His plan is to mold us and prune us...again??

We have been through heartache and we have been better for it. 

But, can I be just really gut punching honest? I am not real happy with the thought of more heartbreak...even when it brings good fruit.  It is hard. 

It is really hard!

Heartache hurts. It scars. It leaves a hesitancy in your soul that whimpers when the thought of going near something again could possibly bring more pain. 

I think of Jonah. 

We are reading it now in our Bible Reading Plan. 

He knew where God was calling him. 

But, he did not want to go. 

He ran. 

And was even thrown off a boat into the belly of a fish. 

He wanted to avoid the "Plan". God's "Plan". 

I know how Jonah feels. 

Often, I want to run the other way. 

I want to hide in a bush or in the belly of a fish-- until God forgets about His "Plan" for me. 

The problem is, He never forgets. 

He knows what we do not know. He sees what we do not see. 

"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.

 As I type this, a precious friend just sent me this text. I am going to copy and paste it for you to read. It overwhelmed my soul with Peace and I pray it does yours as well...

 Aren’t you so thankful that God sees us and knows our hearts before we even ask? And He lovingly hears and answers us over and over! He’s got all of us. So thankful! Praying we all rest in His peace and trust Him. He’s the best Daddy. He sees the beginning and the end and knows how it all plays out. He is ordering our steps and we can trust that He has us. He’s in control of each and every detail. 

He is the maker of heaven and earth, and He cares about us and loves us so much! Praying each of us feel the warmth of His love and comfort and peace today. God, let us not be anxious or overwhelmed by our circumstances...let us receive the overwhelming peace of Your Spirit in us. Breathe on us today, Holy Spirit. Fresh wind. In Jesus’ name.

 This friend had no idea I was in the middle of writing a SHINE post, but God did. He knew we needed these encouraging words to spur us on. To remind us that HE SEES. HE KNOWS. HE CARES. HE GOES BEFORE US. ALWAYS. 


we can trust Him, 


jill



Sep 14, 2020

Leaving the 99...

 “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish" Matthew 18:12-14

There is a question I have pondered on and off for the last few years. It is something that wakes me up at night, and causes my heart to beat rapidly in my chest. It has haunted me at times, like a shadow looming over me beckoning me to acknowledge it.

The question is this: What is my purpose?

This question has caused anxiety, fear, panic even in my soul. What if I am not fulfilling my purpose? What if I am not doing....enough?

Some days, I am certain I know my purpose. It seems as clear as a crystal glass. However, other days, I am uncertain of just about everything.

I have asked God, "What can I do for You? How can I be of the most use?"

The answer has not been clear.

Until recently.

I have been reading through the book of Matthew. Inhaling the words of Jesus. Studying His life with a magnifying glass. I want to know Him. I want to really know the Son of God. I want to know the Man that died on a cross so that I could live and be in fellowship with a Holy Father.

His Purpose was so clear. Not once did He ask, "Father, what is my purpose?" He always knew.

How did He know?

He knew because He was in constant fellowship with The Father.

It is only when we stray from Him that we become unclear and confused.

God is not the author of confusion, but the author of Peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33

The purpose was never self-centered for Jesus. It was others-focused.

Notice how He poured His teachings into only twelve disciples. Twelve.

Yes, more followed Him, but He focused on twelve.

When He was walking in a crowd of people, He felt the touch of one woman at the hem of His garment. One woman.

 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.  She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

She was important to Him. Although she was a nobody by the world's standards, she was a priceless treasure to Jesus.

Jesus didn't look to the world to find His Worth, He looked to the Father.

Jesus wasn't after a good reputation, a huge following, or making a name for Himself...

He was after the hearts of sinners. Like you, like me.

He was after the poor, the destitute, the rejected, the neglected, the leper, the adulterer, the prostitute....

He was willing to leave the 99, to go after the one.

You, are the one.

Wrap your pretty mind around that, sweet sister.

So, as I ask Him, "Lord, what is my purpose?"

I now see that it is discovered in the life of Christ.

The question becomes instead:

Lord, what is Your purpose? What are Your plans?

One little change in the pronoun from "my" to "Your" changes everything.

It becomes a declaration of surrender, of trust, of a heart that desires the Will of God over any selfish ambition of my own.

It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that we have no purpose because we are not "successful" by the world's standards.

I have never written a book. I have never had a publishing opportunity. My blog has not to my knowledge ever gone viral.

If I look for my purpose in numbers or in crowd popularity, I seem to be a complete failure.

But....

What if God wants me to focus on the one, instead of the many?

What if it is a husband who is not aligned with Christ? Or even an unbelieving husband?

What if it is a wayward child whose heart seems to be hardened beyond repair?

What if it is a niece or nephew who has fallen into sin or a destructive lifestyle?

What if it is a sister or brother that is not easy to love and has even turned their back on family?

What if it is a co-worker who needs to know the Hope of Christ?

What if....

God's purpose for us is not found in the many...

But in the one.

What if our purpose is the very same as Jesus' was...

To make disciples of those in our very midst. Beginning with the one.

What if  leading your husband to Christ is God's entire purpose for your life?

What if teaching your children to love the Lord with all of their heart, soul, and mind was the reason you, momma, were created?

What if showing the love of Christ to that so very hard to love family member was the reason you are here on this Earth?

Gosh, it sure narrows the road, doesn't it?

Our purpose becomes much more simple.

Simple, yet Holy.

Holy, because it puts the spotlight on Christ, and not ourselves.

That, my friends, is the purpose.

We must learn to disciple and take great care and interest in the life of one. Jesus will handle the multitudes.


finding His purpose,


jill

 

re-post from  8/14/16

Sep 1, 2020

Finding my way...

 I find myself in a quiet house again. The boy is off at college. The girl begins her sophomore year of high school. 

Looking back, I knew this time was coming...again. I just seem to never be ready. 

When I was a little girl, all I EVER wanted was to be a mother. I had no desires to work outside of the home. 

I would sit on that big yellow school bus watching mothers walk their children out to the bus stop in their house coats and huge mugs of coffee. I wanted that. Desperately. 

Senior year, my high school counselor asked me what I wanted to "do" after high school. I looked down with cheeks blushing and found these words falling out of my mouth,  "Umm, well.....I want to get married and have children."

He told me he had never had anyone tell him this and then thanked me for being honest. 

Those dreams never died. 

God fulfilled them in His time, and I will be grateful until I breathe my last breath. 

So, when I find myself in a quiet home....

I am unsure of how I am to feel. 

He brought me here. I knew this was coming. I know He has plans for me after my children leave the nest...

But, I also feel unequipped for anything else. I feel utterly inadequate at attempting life outside of this house. 

Vulnerable and honest and raw....and true. 

If I let it, sadness will come in waves. I steady myself and swallow hard. 

Every season has purpose. 

I dig my heels in and repeat what I know is Truth. 

He has a plan. He has a plan. He has a plan. 

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

Motherhood fits me. Like a well worn pair of shoes. I am comfortable here. 

I know I will always be a mother, long after my kids begin new lives with new people. 

But, it is the mundane. The chaos. The crazy. The carpools. The long waits for practice to be over. The constant tripping over big teenage shoes scattered all over the floor. 

This is all I know. And have ever known for a very long time. 

My prayer daily is. "Lord, use me. Use any gift you have given me to serve others. I need to be used up."

He shapes our hearts. He chisels and He smoothes. 

He wants us dependent on Him and Him alone. 

I find myself immersed in the book of Daniel. I think of him often throughout my days. 

He prayed. He prayed. And he prayed. 

Lord, is this what you want from me?

I have time to do this. I can do this. 

Perhaps these quiet seasons that come are for this very purpose. To pause. To pray. 

We can be busy and still pray...

But, something happens in the spirit when our world is quiet. When the rhythm of life slows down for a bit and you can actually hear yourself think for once. 

You hear things you could not hear before. You notice things you never noticed before. 

So, I will be content here. I will steady my heart and I will trust in a plan much bigger than mine. 

He is Good. He is Faithful. He is Sovereign. This, I know.

What season do you find yourself in at the moment?

What if we trust God here. What if we surrender it all to Him. The busy, the quiet, the lonely, the chaos...

Lay it at His feet and ask Him to lead the way. Ask Him to give us Grace and Patience and Mercy as we navigate this unfamiliar path. 

"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. " Psalm 119:105


still tripping over tennis shoes, 


jill







Aug 19, 2020

Here we go again...

 Hi!

It's me. 

I am still here! 

Kids are back in school, and life is kind of, sort of, weirdly, going back to normal-ish. 

Today, I took my son and my nephew to lunch. Their first day of college for their sophomore year is TOMORROW. 

As I looked at their suddenly not teenager, manly features, I gulped back a huge lump in my throat. 

They are so grown.

My heart has a hard time catching up with reality at times. 

I always feel like I am ready to let go again...

Then, the pain of missing seeing my boy and his face every morning sneaks right up on me. 

Years ago, I began to pray for this season. I watched my sister go through it with her first born, so I KNEW it would be difficult. 

God is FAITHFUL. 

He has answered all of those prayers, yet, my flesh is still very weak at times. 

I miss waking him up in the morning. 

I miss our long, very long, walks and talks around our small town. 

I miss his smile that always makes my heart skip a beat or two. 

I miss him being here. 

It is strange getting those 3 plates out for supper again. 

Change is hard. Always. 

Looking out my window, I see a big and beautiful butterfly flittering around. 

What a perfect reminder of change. 

I don't want my kids to stay cocooned forever....

I want to see them fly. 

But, I miss that cocoon often. 

I think on those sweet days of him lugging his book bag, way too big for his 5 year old shoulders. 

Our lunches outside at his school. Back in the old days when you could actually visit your children at school. 

Pushing the back of his seat on that new bcycle, holding him steady as he peddled.

His first soccer game at 4 years old...bribing him with skittles to go onto the field. 


Good grief. Here come the tears again. 

If you are a momma, it is okay to cry. It is okay to not be okay at times. 

Motherhood stretches our hearts in ways that can be very, very painful. 

It is worth every pain. 

Nothing in this world has ever brought me face DOWN on my hardwood floor before Jesus like motherhood has. 

Nothing in this world has made me more raging MAD like a momma bear when her cubs are messed with, like motherhood has. 

Nothing in this world has HUMBLED me to the lowest depths like motherhood has. 

Nothing in this world has made me more PROUD than motherhood has. 

Nothing in this world has revealed more of my FLAWS than motherhood has. 


If you are a mother, hang in there, sweet one. 

The ride is bumpy and changing and oh so very unpredictable. 


God sees you. God sees me. God sees us. 

He is right beside us, holding our often trembling and empty hands. 

If we could only see just how near He is....


Here is a good reminder...read it out loud. Again and again...


Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.

13 

For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 
How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 
Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.



never alone, 


jill


Jul 24, 2020

Wisdom over words....

These days are hard to understand. Even for the wisest among us, things can seem murky and unsure.

It is wise to be careful what we intake through social media and news outlets. We must filter everything through God's Word.

More and more I am learning as I get older to be quiet. To listen. To be silent.

I have a hard time learning and listening to God when I am constantly talking, talking, talking.

Opinions run rampant these days. Everyone has one.

Fools talk incessantly, wise people listen.

"Fools have no interest in understanding, they only want to air their own opinions." Proverbs 18:2-3

There are some well meaning, albeit unwise folks, who think that it is their purpose in life to set things straight. To open the eyes of others. To get people to see their version of truth.


“Do not call conspiracy
    everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
    and do not dread it. " Isaiah 8:12


But, what does God say? That is what we need to be asking.

We all have opinions. Every last one of us.

Yet, are we seeking God's answer and instruction?

I have found myself over the past few months regurgitating things I have seen and read that sound wise.

Yet, I am convicted greatly because I have not prayed or asked the Lord His thoughts on the subject.

We all want to think we know better. Or we know what is best. Or we know what is "really" happening.

And, the truth is, only God really knows.

Yet, so often we don't ask Him.

How do I know this?

Because if we did, we would have much less to say.

When He speaks, we silence our mouths.

We stand in Holy awe and reverence when He speaks.

I don't see a lot of that happening these days.

"Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." Proverbs 1:7

Many days, I find myself wanting to lock myself in a room with God and plead with Him for wisdom. I think of Jacob. The God-wrestler.

"I will not let you go until you bless me", Jacob pleads with God. (Genesis 32:25)

I found these words coming out of my soul on repeat. I will not leave until you give me wisdom, Lord. Desperately I need it.

I hear conflicting things. Conflicting news.

Wisdom is in high demand.

Yet, I hear His Voice whisper, "I am not the Author of confusion, but of Peace." 1 Corinthians 14:33.

Even relationships can be messy.  What to do, Lord? How can I please you in this situation that seems so dire and messy?

Often there is no tangible solution.

It is just a command, "Love each other as I have loved you." John 13:34

Ok, got it. But, what does that look like in my everyday life?

Then the scripture that is daily my reminder...

"and to 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
Ok, got it. 
Lead a quiet life. There it is again. 
Mind my own business. 
Tend to my work. 
Basically, quit trying to figure everything out and tend to my own little red wagon as my momma would say. 
God did not intend for me to save the world. He sent His Word and His Son to do that. 
I just need to listen. Seek. Pray. Mind my own business. 
And most of all...LOVE one another. 
If we keep it simple, God will handle the rest. He will not let us down. He will continue to fill us with wisdom if we continue to ask Him. 
He won't leave us in the dark. 
He will speak. When we stop talking. 

listening more. 

jill

















Jun 18, 2020

The Cure for Anxiety....

Life is strange these days. Difficult. Hard to understand and wrap our hearts and minds around.

Anger, hurt, violence, despair, hopelessness, fear, ANXIETY, doubt, confusion, chaos...

Just some of the few emotions and actions erupting around us and inside of us.

I remember when September 11th happened. My first bout with anxiety began, and lasted for a very long time.

The world seemed like it would never be back to normal. And, in many ways, it is not.

But, things did get better. Eventually getting on an airplane was easier. Fear subsided and life moved on.

The thing I have to keep in mind during these times is that we were not made to crave the comfort of the world. We were made to crave Heaven.

When we find ourselves restless and longing for what used to be, we need to look no further then this scripture...

"This world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come." Hebrews 13:14

When we begin to get to comfy with our surroundings, our faith fades. Our passion for spreading the Gospel wanes.

Think about your own life.

When things are very tough and hard, don't you find yourself clinging more to Jesus? Desperate for His Peace?

On the flip side, when things are going perfectly smooth...health is good, finances are good, relationships are good...

We tend to get comfortable. Lazy even.

We become lukewarm. Neither hot or cold.

“‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." Revelation 3:15-16

Times like these wake us up to from our comfortable, lukewarm spot.

Friend, we will never ever be comfortable here on this earth. This earth will fade away. And all that we hold dear will as well.

Matthew 24:35 says, "Heaven and Earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear."

Instead of being afraid and fearful of these times, NOW is the time to draw near to Jesus. To know Him more. To see what He says. To learn what He teaches.

His Words are the only words that will remain.

Revival comes through times like these. Throughout history, it proves to be true.

The enemy would love to make us believe that things are hopeless, people are depraved, and our prayers are useless.

He lies. He is the father of lies.

What the enemy meant for evil, God will make good. (Genesis 50:20)

The enemy is not afraid of lukewarm Christians. He knows Revival will not be spurred from lukewarm.

We must have hearts on fire for spreading the Good News of Jesus.

What else does this world have to offer the hopeless during these times? Absolutely nothing.

Let's open our bibles. Turn our eyes to His Words.

Pray. And pray some more.

Then, ask for God to give us opportunities every day to share. To show love. To show hope. To point others to Jesus.

When we hate our brothers and sisters, Christ is mocked. We cannot truly be Christ followers unless we love like Him.

The best cure for anxiety, hopelessness and despair?

Jesus.

If you had a cure for cancer wouldn't you want the world to know? We surely would not hide it under a rock.

We must be bold in our love. In our actions.

How about instead of posting scriptures on instagram and facebook, we call someone, text someone, go and visit someone.

LOVE others right out of our comfort zones.

It is time for us to step out of our cozy houses lived behind screens.

The enemy is out there.

We must be too.

We must bring the Sword of The Spirit to battle...God's Word.

 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God. 1 John 3:10


no more lukewarm,


jill














Man in a van...

  For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Hebrews 13:14 "Did you hear about the homeles...