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







Zipping it...

 Listen twice, speak onc e.  The preacher's words hit my heart hard and I felt them.  I looked over at my kids as we were intently liste...