Aug 4, 2021

We have moved...

 Looking for Shine Girls? We have moved to a new space!

You can find us at www.jill-hill.com

Also known as Rise and Shine with Jill Hill!

Come on over and say hello! 

The website there is updated and much more user friendly! Cannot wait to see you!


something new, 


jill


Jul 21, 2021

Keep going...

Whoever pursues righteousness and love

    finds life, prosperity and honor. Proverbs 21:21



 For the past couple of weeks, I have had zero motivation to read my Bible. ZERO. 

Maybe because we had been out of town, maybe because I had been sick...I am not sure. 

It was frustrating. I felt spiritually dry. As dry as that Las Vegas heat. 

Every morning, I would sit in my bed and prop up on pillows. I had my Bible on my night stand right next to me. 

I would stare at my Bible for a few minutes, not feeling an ounce of desire to dive into it. 

Here is the thing...

I did it anyway. 

I picked it up. I opened up. I went to the daily reading plan. 

THIS is when it is good to have a daily plan to read. It helps us to stay motivated and on track. It would be easy to say, "I don't really know where to start or what to read, so I think I will skip."

Every day, there is something to read when you are on a reading plan. At times like these...it is NECESSARY. Trust me. 

Day by day, I just opened God's Word and read. I honestly still did not feel motivated, but I still did it. 

I grabbed my prayer journal and would write down scriptures that stood out to me. I would write them slow and pray that God would let them resonate on my heart. I desperately needed some faith action.

Little by little, that desire returned. It took some time though. 

There are many seasons we will find ourselves in that are dry. Like, really dry. 

Do it anyway. 

Pick up your Bible and read. 

Read when you don't want to read. 

Pray when you don't want to pray. 

Love when you don't want to love. 

Do the opposite of what you "feel" like doing. 

Motivation will wane...I promise you....but do the next thing anyway. 

Put your bible on your nightstand so that you have no choice but to see it each day. 

Make yourself pick it up...

Make yourself read...

God will fill you with His Words. He will nourish your soul. 

Day by day, that desire will begin to slowly arise. 

It may take some time. 

Be patient. 

Keep reading. 

Keep praying. 

For many years I thought when these seasons came that something was really wrong with me. I thought I had lost my passion and my faith...

Now, I see that it is just a season. A season to keep planting, even when you feel like there is nothing else left. Keep going. 

This is all part of the journey. 

Be bold enough to ask God for motivation as well. Ask Him to give you the desire to read, to pray, to keep going. 

I have had to pray that prayer many times. 

He always, always, answers. 

Keep going, friend. 

You will be so glad you did. 


marching on, 


jill

Jul 19, 2021

Lonely Hearts Club...

 

 God places the lonely in familieshe sets the prisoners free and gives them joy. Psalm 68:6



Well, it finally happened. 16 months into the Pandemic, my husband and I both got Covid. At the exact same time. Yay. 

Our family had just returned from a two week vacation that began in Orlando and ended in Las Vegas. 

Presley, our daughter, had two big national volleyball tournaments in both of those locations, so we made it into a family vacation. 

The day after returning, I felt off. Like, way off. 

I shrugged it off to jet lag and just being worn out from travel. 

Three days later, I ran a fever and felt extremely tired. Still, I thought it must be a little bug or virus from the airplane. 

It wasn't until the 4th day when I lost my taste AND my smell....that I knew. 

UGH. 

Covid. 

Had to be. 

After a rapid test at our local urgent care confirmed positive for both my husband and myself, the hunkering down count down was on. 

Let me tell you...this was the hardest part for us. 

No leaving the house. No social contact with anyone besides each other. No hugs. No kisses from the kids. 

It was hard. 

Every single day I would sit on our back porch and just watch birds flitter and flutter. 

My life had gone from a whirlwind of crazy madness to complete and utter stillness. 

Here is the irony...

I remember just a few weeks before sitting on my back porch wishing I could linger a little longer. Life was FULL, and we were constantly in the car. I remember thinking what it would be like to have a quieter life...less noise, less activity. 

Wow. God really showed me!

Those 10 days of quarantine were very hard. 

I was lonely. Even though my husband was with me the entire time, it was still lonely. 

Many times I thought about people I knew that were widowed and alone. I thought about how lonely they must be on a daily basis. 

I thought about those in nursing homes with no one to visit them. 

I thought about orphans waiting to be put in a family. 

As my husband and I were out walking one day during our isolation, I told him that loneliness is cruel. 

I told him that loneliness had to be the hardest thing to endure. We were getting just a small glimpse of it. 

The Lord used this time to speak volumes to me about reaching out to others. Next door, on both sides, reside widows. 

Have I checked on them enough? Have I sat with them and talked to them lately? 

It had been a while. 

I felt ashamed. 

My busy life had left not much time to check on others. 

This stillness had opened my eyes. 

How about you?

Have you ever felt lonely? If even for a season?

Do you have someone in your life that may be lonely?

I hope and pray it doesn't take an illness again for me to see clearly again. 

Sometimes our world has to come to a halt in order for us to get perspective. 

In the days and weeks to come, I want to be more intentional about checking on others. I want to actively pursue those who may be lonely. 

In just 10 days, I saw a great need. A need to reach out to others. To seek out the lonely. To pursue them and check on them. 

Now that we are back in the land of the living, I hope to be different. To use what I have learned for good. To be better. To be more intentional. 

And maybe, to sit still a little more watching those birds. 


Elisabeth Elliot wrote in the book that never leaves my nightstand, “St. Augustine said, "The very pleasures of human life men acquire by difficulties." There are times when the entire arrangement of our existence is disrupted and we long then for just one ordinary day - seeing our ordinary life as greatly desirable, even wonderful, in the light of the terrible disruption that has taken place. Difficulty opens our eyes to pleasures we had taken for granted.” 


back to the ordinary, 


jill






Jun 23, 2021

Write it down...

 





Rise and Shine sweet friends!

If you are following along in our Daily Walk Bible, I hope you are soaking in the goodness of Psalms each morning!!

Ahh! I keep my pen and journal close by and write down some of these life nourishing Psalms. I need them etched on my heart forever. 

The book of Psalm resonates with every heart. The longing, the lamenting, the anger, the bitterness...

Intermingled with much praise, worship, repentance, laughter, and joy....

Sounds like a day in our everyday life, doesn't it?

Oh, the emotions!! 

Through these heart soothing Psalms, we are reminded to praise. Not just praise when we are happy, but to praise when things are not good. To praise when we feel the opposite of praising. To praise when we have been wronged and hurt and misunderstood. 

But I will give repeated thanks to The Lord, praising Him to everyone for He stands beside the needy, ready to save them from those who condemn them. Psalm 109:30-31

Let them praise The Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them. Psalm 107:21

Light shines on the godly, and joy on those whose hearts are right. May all who are godly rejoice in The Lord and praise His Holy Name! Psalm 97:11-12

These are just a few of the many I have scribbled down in my prayer journal. I need to be reminded daily, if not minute by minute, to stop what I am doing and PRAISE Him. 

We are often wired to worry, to be anxious, to over think situations, to focus on the negative, to take things out of context....

Jesus wants to re-wire us through Praise

I can tell you with 100 million percent certainty that a heart that praises is a heart full of JOY. 

Years ago, I began writing down blessings in a little notebook. I was in my early thirties and my life just seemed like one big stressful pile-up. 

I had gotten the idea from a book by Ann Voskamp called 1000 gifts. 

My children were smaller and the many chaotic details of my days were overwhelming. 

I began to write down everything I saw that was a gift from God....the smallest of things. 

coffee in the morning.

wildflowers in my yard.

red birds.

children playing outside. 

morning sunlight through my kitchen window. 

messy floors. (yes, even this!)

Slowly, day by day, I felt this new Peace washing over me. A contentment and a joy that I had not felt in a while. 

When my heart was focused on praise, my life changed. My attitude changed. My words changed. 

Gentleness replaced harshness. 

Joy replaced discontentment. 

Mercy replaced unforgiveness. 

Humility replaced pride. 

I felt as if God had given me this secret....this secret of Praise. 

Suddenly, I realized I had unlocked the greatest treasure box of all time. 

The good news is, it is available at all times!

We just have to re-wire and re-train our brains to remember

I am a big fan of writing things down. If I do not write it down, IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. 

So, I encourage you, I challenge you...

Begin writing down Psalms you are reading. 

Date them. 

Read them. 

Re-read them. 

Keep a journal of your blessings. 

Carry it around with you. 

Your heart will began to soften. Your countenance will change. People will notice. 

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine on us...Psalm 67:1

If you have fallen off the wagon of reading your Bible, I encourage you to pick it back up. 

Find some time in the early morning if you can....or whenever you can squeeze in a few minutes. 

We need His Word like we need air in our lungs. 

"He sent out His Word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death." Psalm 107:20

Would you mind sharing a Psalm that you love with me? I would love to know the words God is using to nourish your heart. You can email me at shinegirlsshine@email.com or text/call me to share!

Today, I am heading out to buy a new notebook. I want to fill it up with the many gifts that surround me each day. Will you join me? 

Let's praise God and count our many blessings together, shall we?


counting blessings one by one, 


jill






Jun 18, 2021

Rise and Shine...

 SHINE Girls began in January of 2012. It seems like so long ago. 

My children were much smaller. Life was different. 

Many of you know how it all began, and if you do not, scroll through some early posts and you will see just how God brought it all together. 

I was (and still am) just a busy and overwhelmed mother who desperately needed Peace and Truth. 

At the time, I was severely struggling with anxiety and questions about my purpose in this life. 

Gently, and sweetly, God whispered for me to come. To open the pages of His Word. To listen to His instructions instead of the worlds. 

I would wake up at 4:15 am to sit with Him. It was the only time of the day that I could be fully present with Him. It was hard some mornings, but I knew I needed Him and it was worth being tired. 

In 2012, social media was sort of on the newer side. So, SHINE Girls was much like a small social site for women to talk, pray, and share their stories. 

Blogs were very popular at that time, but now the tide has changed. 

Most women use social media (Facebook, Instagram) as a way to communicate and ask for prayer. 

Slowly, this blog has evolved to more of a devotional. Telling stories, sharing encouragement, learning God's Word together. 

For several years now, I have felt The Lord moving in a different direction. Through much prayer, and much help from a wonderful web designer, the change is starting to take place. 

Small changes, but changes that represent where we are now. A new chapter, a new beginning, so to speak. 

I will share with you more very soon, but as of now, I just wanted you to be the first to know! 

You will still receive my emails if you subscribe. 

The emails will be a little different, as far as format, but nothing major. 

Now, I will let you in on the biggest secret of all....I have only told my family! 

This is something I have prayed about and searched God's Word for...and He answered in a big way. 

SHINE Girls  will now be called Rise and Shine. 

There are several reasons God led me to this name, and I will share some of those in the days to come. 

For now, I just wanted to let my sweet friends in on the exciting change! 

Our site will be updated, renovated, and much more user friendly. Eek!!

If you are receiving emails, nothing will change for you. 

We will have a new, our very own, web address which I will share with you as soon as it is completed. 

The new site will be here for those that want to know more about Rise and Shine and to see past posts and stories. All of the content from SHINE Girls will be on our new site! 

Not long ago, when the decision was made to change the name, I asked the Lord to affirm this. I prayed and prayed. 

I felt peace it was the right decision, but I just needed a little something from The Lord. A little wink or nod that this was the right direction. 

The same afternoon that I confirmed the new name to the web designer, I saw this as I was checking out at TJ Maxx. 

Not only was it our new name, but the inside of the mug is YELLOW. My favorite color ever!!



**For the record, I really liked the mug to the right of this one as well... Hot Mess Express. A very accurate description of life these days. **

I would love to know your thoughts! This current blogger site is very spammy, but I welcome your emails and texts! Our new site will be much easier to navigate and leave comments. Yay!

I am so excited to Rise and Shine with you in the days and years to come! 

YOU are the reason I still write. Your encouragement, your support, your faithfulness. 

I am so grateful for all of YOU!


rising and shining together, 


jill






Jun 16, 2021

Grocery Stores, Grapes, and My Big Fat Mouth...

 You can always bet that when I write a post on mouth follies, I will surely fall into sin with my mouth shortly after. IT NEVER FAILS. 

It's kind of the same concept when I am trying to teach my children something, when secretly, I am the one that needed the lesson the MOST. 

Well, sure enough, I wrote a post on June 4th about the words of our mouth being the meditations of the heart...and just a few days later I fall flat on my face with this sin. 

I was having a bad day. Just moody. Grumpy. Short tempered. 

We were in the grocery store and the build up was happening. I was ready to get home. 

My daughter and I were arguing about something, I honestly do not even remember. 

A few seconds later the words came out of my mouth. As soon as they did, I wanted to melt on the floor and die. 

Her eyes welled up with tears...right in the middle of Ingles. Yay. 

I started sweating profusely, almost as if sin was just pouring out of my body through my sweat glands. Yay. 

I immediately grabbed her and hugged her and told her I was so very sorry for being so short tempered. 

We were both crying now. 

We rounded the corner of the aisle, and of course we run into someone we know. Eyes swollen with tears and faces glistening with rolling sweat, I tried to smile at my friend but knew I looked pathetic. 

We went to check out our groceries and we picked up the grapes from the buggy and they flew all over the floor. EVERYWHERE. 

The lady in front of us, surrounded by grapes at her feet,  gave us a memorable look, complete with an eye roll. 

Lord, please just get me home. 

This day could not get any worse. 

We finally made it to the car and I was apologizing profusely to my daughter for being such a horrible momma. 

She cried, I cried, we all cried. 

I felt like those smooshed up grapes all over that grocery store floor. 

I was a mess. 

When my head hit the pillow that night, I tossed and turned. I was so convicted by my behavior. 

I eventually crawled in bed with my daughter because I needed her to know how sorry I was. 

I prayed the whole entire night. Begging God to forgive me, and for my daughter to have no memory of what a horrible momma she had. 

Images of her sitting on a therapist's couch when she is in her mid twenties crying about her mean momma haunted me all night long. 

I could not forgive myself. 

I knew God had forgiven me, but I was having a hard time feeling deserving of grace and mercy. 

The next morning, after not sleeping a wink, I grabbed my coffee and hit the couch with my Bible. 

I needed God desperately. 

I laid the Bible on my heart and just begged God to speak. To heal my heart. To heal any wounds I had caused with my big stupid mouth. 

He led me straight to the book of Psalms and watered my weary soul...

This was the passage...

21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
    and I was all torn up inside.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant—
    I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
23 Yet I still belong to you;
    you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    leading me to a glorious destiny.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
    but God remains the strength of my heart..

Psalm 73:21-26

I read those words over and over again, letting them seal into my bones. 

I was forgiven. I was free from guilt and shame. 

Yet, I was having a hard time believing that I deserved forgiveness. 

Shame wanted to steal my joy. My peace.

I was walking with a limp feeling like a terrible mother. 

God was reminding me that nothing had changed. I still belonged to Him. 

Why is is so hard to move on from our sin?

I realized that morning that maybe the hardest part of all with sin is our own forgiveness and willingness to move on. 

We often want to sit and sulk in it and let the pain bury us into a muddy pit of self-loathing and shame. 

The enemy would have loved for me to stay in that place. To bury myself in the loathing and the guilt. 

God was taking me by the hand, the hand that He never let go of...and walking me right into forgiveness and grace. 

His mercy takes my breath away. I do not deserve it. None of us do. 

But, His Mercy isn't conditional. It is limitless and unconditional. 

Friend, if you have found yourself in a place that feels like quick sand because of sin...

I understand. 

But, God has forgiven you. He has redeemed every part of the situation and He desires to free you from the chains of shame. 

The experience in the grocery store that day humbled me to a whole new level. It once again reminded me of my desperate need for Jesus. I am utterly lost without Him. 

The same day my mouth exploded I had written down this quote in my prayer journal..

"God permits injustice. He allows things and events to happen in our lives that prune us and shape us." Elisabeth Elliot

I had also written..

"In acceptance lies peace". 

So, even though my mouth sinned, God will use it to prune me and shape me. 

I have to accept that I sinned and that I am not perfect and that I need Jesus more than I need air. 

In acceptance lies peace. 

These experiences actually can grow us into better disciples if we let them. We begin to have more compassion and humility. We see clearly the depths of our own sinful tendencies and we begin to be more merciful towards others. 

Whew. My eyes are certainly clear. 

My daughter wrote me a note the night of this incident...I cried my eyes out when I read it because I did not deserve her words. 

I realized in that moment...her words were a reflection of Christ. His love overwhelms. 

"Momma, thank you for everything you do for me, even if I don't always act like it, I am so thankful for you and our friendship. You are the best mom ever, I hope to be like you and have a heart like you some day! Thank you for being my BFF! I love every minute with you!"

Her words were so opposite of how I felt about my mothering. Yet, Jesus in His Great Mercy, redeems the broken and brings much beauty from ashes. 

He has removed our sins as far from us
    as the east is from the west.

Psalm 103:12


swimming in a sea of grapes and forgiveness, 


jill



Jun 4, 2021

Oh that mouth....

 Good morning and happy Friday! 

My daughter and I leave for the beach today and let me tell you...it could not come a moment too soon. 

These past few months have been a stirring of crazy activity. We are exhausted. Mentally and physically. 

I am so happy to have landed in the book of Psalm for our reading plan. I need it. Desperately. 

As soon as my eyes flutter open each morning, I cannot wait to hit start on the coffee pot and sit with my Bible open inhaling God's Truth. 

It is the only reason I can breathe. 

This morning, a verse captured my attention. It is a verse I have memorized and pondered on through the years, but this morning, it spoke deep into my heart. I needed the reminder, and I needed it badly. 

"May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14

Just a gentle reminder....just because our mouths do not utter what our hearts are meditating on does not mean we are not sinning. 

Often, I have prided myself on being able to keep my mouth shut when situations arise that infuriate me. Well, friends, this is only half the battle. 

We have a heart issue as well. Our heart is what God is most concerned about. 

When my children would get in trouble when they were smaller, I would tell them that the problem was a "heart issue". I told them that sometimes we grow weeds in our heart and we need to constantly be pulling up those weeds. 

Eventually, those weeds come out of our mouths into words and often actions. Which lead to big consequences. 

Yikes. 

Let me give you an example..

This past weekend we were at a volleyball tournament with my daughter. Our referee made several back to back bad calls. 

It was frustrating to say the least because we were in the semi-final game and the point spread was close. 

Parents are yelling from the side lines, some of the players were even yelling at the ref. 

In my heart, I was yelling at the ref as well, but I composed myself and kept my mouth shut. 

However, in my heart, I was just as guilty as the ones yelling and screaming. 

The thoughts going through my heart and mind were far from pure. 

I took a deep breath and I prayed for the ref. 

I knew the only way to combat this anger and frustration was to replace those feelings with prayer. 

Prayer creates humility. 

Pride is the opposite of humility. 

On the sidelines as a parent, pride can destroy us. 

It takes root deep in the heart and before we know it we do not recognize who we are anymore. Pride is the enemy's best tool to separate us from humility and from fellowship with others. 

Pride is not always visible to others...but it is visible to God. 

He sees the heart. 

The only way to combat pride is to have a heart change. 

Meditating on scripture, meditating on prayer, meditating on gratitude...

These are the cures for pride. 

A runaway mouth comes from a runaway heart. 

A heart departed from God's Word will surely lead to a mouth out of control. 

Ask me how I know...

Friends, I honestly do not believe that this is a one and done solution. This is an ongoing work of pulling weeds. Day after day. Sometimes minute after minute. 

Those weeds will suffocate and spoil the softest of hearts. 

We must put our gardening gloves on...and pull up those weeds by the root. 

We must saturate ourselves in God's Word. Over and over. 

Let's begin today shall we? 

Inhale His Truth today. Breathe it in deep. Our words will be sweeter, kinder. Our hearts will reflect Christ, and our words will sweeten instead of spoil. 


pulling up weeds, 


jill



May 27, 2021

Walking on Sunshine...

This past month has been a doozie. See previous posts, if you want to know all of the crazy things that have happened to our little family in this month alone. 

Don't get me wrong, I am very grateful for the many blessings God surrounds us with daily, but goodness gracious....it has been a whirlwind of crazy occurrences this past month!

This week was not much different. 

My precious mother-in-love came to our little town on Tuesday and spent the day with my daughter, Presley. 

They went shopping, ate lunch, and then made about 50 cookies for Presley's high school volleyball fundraiser. 

I was so thankful for this cookie making gesture because I had to work that day, so it was ONE thing less on my plate to do!

As I pulled in the driveway from work, I had a funny feeling in my tummy. Sometimes, God prepares us. I believe that with all my heart. 

I walked in the door, no one was home. 

My dog was laying prostrate on the floor with a very naughty look in his eyes. 

You know where this is going....

I looked around frantically for the cookies...

On a whim, I decided to check the laundry room. Maybe my daughter had stored them in there to keep away from our dog, Bo, who will eat anything in sight...including our underwear!

I slowly, with a deep inhale, opened the laundry room door. 

Crumbs of chocolate chip cookies were all over the floor. 

5 cookies remained. FIVE. 

Bo had eaten 45 cookies. FORTY FIVE. 

The cookies were due to be turned in early the next morning. I was exhausted and drained. 

And, I still had to take my daughter to a 2 hour practice that night. 

"Lord, Why?!!"

When my husband walked through the door, I dreaded telling him. I was going to wait until after her practice to give him time to mellow out from a long day at work. 

However, he knew immediately when he walked through the door that Bo had gotten into something. Our doggie had guilt all over his hairy little cookie-crumb-filled face. 

Lem threw his hands in the air and just said, "Can we PLEASE catch a break?!"

I finally just busted out laughing. I knew that in the big scheme of things, this was not a big deal. Lem wasn't quite to that point yet. He looked at me like I had lost my mind and just walked out the door. 

Oops. Too soon to laugh, I guess. 

The next morning, I drove to my hair appointment. Thank you, Lord, for hair appointment days. 

I was just so ready to sit in that big black comfy chair and not have to face cookie eating dogs, and exploding hot water heaters, and a car that has been totaled by a deer, and a leaky ceiling in our bathroom. 

I just wanted to melt in my hair dresser's chair for the rest of the afternoon. 

It was a nice break from the reality of life. I love the sweet girls that work at the salon. It felt good to escape for a bit. 

Finally, it was time to leave. 

I took my purse, feeling fresh and new, to the checkout counter. 

Allison, my hair girl, was ready to check me out. 

I grabbed for my debit card, waiting for the final number to pay. Long inhale...deep exhale..

She looked at me sweetly and said almost in a whisper, "Jill, you're mother in law, Jane, paid for your hair services today."

I gasped, and asked her to please repeat what she just said..

She smiled and said, "Your mother in law paid for your hair. You don't owe anything. "

Immediately, my eyes filled with tears. Allison's eyes did as well! The two sweet girls that assist Allison were standing there and they were just smiling from ear to ear. 

I hugged all 3 of them and told them how blown away I was! They were blown away too. 

I could not stop crying. 

Finally, I walked out and got in my car. I could not believe someone could be that generous and thoughtful. Especially, when I needed it the most. 

It was so timely. And so special. And so unexpected. 

After calling my mother in law and profusely thanking her, I called my dear friend, Erin. 

Erin and I had just been talking that morning on the way to the salon, so I could not wait to tell her what my mother in law had just done. 

I will never forget what Erin said.

"God knows what we need. He's so intimate with us."

When someone blesses you so sweetly, it inspires and encourages you to bless others. 

I asked God the whole way home how I could pour out a blessing on someone else just like my mother in law had poured out to me that day. 

When we bless others, it creates a domino of blessings around us. 

My challenge for you and for me today: BLESS SOMEONE TODAY. 

It doesn't have to be an extravagant gesture. Sometimes the smallest things are the most needed. 

Pray and ask God to lead you. HE WILL. 

He knows what others need...even if it seems silly or small to us, sometimes it is exactly what that person needs in the moment. 


A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25





still walking on sunshine over here, 

jill




May 24, 2021

Fools rush in...

 Our reading plan has us in the book of Job. 

I have read this book several times over, and I am just not in the mood to read it again right now. It is a great book to read and many lessons to learn. HOWEVER, I just need a little escape from bad news. Can you relate? 

So, I am taking a break from the reading plan until June 1st to be precise. On June 1st our reading plan moves on to the book of Psalms! Praise Jesus. 

Who doesn't need some Psalms in their life?! I know I do!

I am so glad that God led me to the book of Matthew last week. He knew I would need it!!

Me and my big, big, big mouth have a hard time. 

Over the years it has definitely embarrassed me. More times than I can count. 

Recently, it could have been very, very, very bad. 

I am so thankful, like on my knees-groveling-kind of thankful, for a husband who is wise. 

We had a situation come up with one of our children. *deep breath*

In my eyes, this child was being extremely mistreated by someone. I was livid. Livid does not even begin to describe the feelings that were fuming through my veins. 

I was ready to give this person a piece of my momma bear mind. I really did NOT care about the consequences of my mouth at this point. I needed them to know that they were HORRIBLE and that I despised them. 

Whew. It is hard to write about now because I feel a little ashamed for being so upset. 

In those moments, and I am pretty sure most of us have had them, it is hard to think straight. We ONLY see our version and our hurt. It is very difficult to see the clear picture. 

This is where my husband, Lem, comes in. 

I call him on the phone and spew my poisonous mouth to him. He calmly listens and then, making me more upset, he tells me to calm down. 

UGHHHH. I hate when he does this. 

I want him to get mad with me!!! I always feel so immature when I am the only one spewing meanness. I want him to join me!

He doesn't. EVER. 

He says in his wise, which I hated at the time, voice..."Let's just wait and see what happens. Give it some time and see if it will work itself out."

WHAT!!!

The Lord reminds me, AGAIN, of the words of wise Naomi in the book of Ruth...

Then she said, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will turn out; for the man will not rest until he has concluded the matter this day.” Ruth 3:18

Be still. 

Wait. 

Be patient. 

These words sound like nails on a chalkboard when you are a momma bear ready to pounce!

I knew Lem was right. Deep down in my soul, morning after morning of reading God's Word...I KNEW what God wanted me to do. 

But, I did not want to do it. 

I wanted to react. And confront. And fight. 

The Lord and my very wise husband were saying the exact opposite of what I desperately wanted to do. 

Be still. 

Wait. 

Be patient. 

Many times in the past, I have not heeded these words. And have paid the price dearly. 

This time, I did. 

With every fiber of my being wanting to call this person and confront them---I did not. 

I sat still. I waited. I was patient. 

A few days later I learned that I was wrong. 

The matter did work itself out and my view of the situation was distorted. 

There were things I did not know that shed light on the situation. 

I would have looked like a complete fool if I would have reacted out of my flesh. 

We all know that feeling....of shame, regret, foolishness. 

Lem and Jesus showed me a different way....

The way of stillness. 

The way of waiting. 

The way of praying. 

Our husbands are not perfect, but so often they can see what we do not see. They can see the bigger picture when all we see is one side of a situation. 

Our husbands are the leaders of our home. Even if they are meek, even if they are quiet, even if they are least likely to be leader...

God has designed it this way. 

Listen to your husband. 

Even when you think he surely must not have an ounce of sense...

Listen to him. 

Respect what he says. 

Honor him. 

You will be so glad you did. 

We are foolish when we go against our husbands. Plain and simple. 

A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. Proverbs 12:4

My husband is not a bible scholar. He is not at church 24/7 or a deacon or an elder at our church. 

And, it doesn't matter. 

God has given our husbands, no matter how spiritual they are, the leadership role. We are to honor and respect them..as unto the The Lord. 

 In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands. Then, even if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words. They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives. 1 Peter 3:1

The world teaches us the opposite of this. 

We must know God's Way, and not just know it...

But, live it. 

Meanwhile, I will be at Wal-Mart looking for some cute patterned duct tape for this big mouth of mine. If you see my mouth taped up, pray for me!


the struggle is oh so real, 


jill





May 18, 2021

The Golden Rule...

 Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. Matthew 7:12

Yesterday morning, The Lord led me straight to the book of Matthew Chapter 7. I even wrote about Matthew 7:7 in yesterday's post. 

Well, after I finished typing up the early morning post, my daughter yelled from her bathroom that she did not have any hot water. 

My husband was swallowing down his cereal and hollered back that it was probably because he had taken a hot shower right before her. 

Little did he know that about 4 minutes later he would walk to the basement and find it puddled in water. Water, everywhere. 

The hot water heater exploded. 

Yay. 

Keep in mind that in the past month we have had the following occurrences...I say this through a teeth gritted sarcastic smile:

-our 16 year old daughter was in a fender bender--and it was her fault. her car is still in the shop being repaired. YAY.

-our air conditioner went out the same week as her accident. yep. same week. very thankful for a brother in law who took good care of us. YAY. 

-we hit a deer on Mother's Day night. my car is still being evaluated by our insurance agent...so no car for a long while. YAY. 

-we had a leak in our master bathroom ceiling from heavy rain. the exact same spot we had a leak a few months ago and paid a good bit of money to repair it. YAY. 

-as we were clearing the stuff from the basement I bent over to grab a box and pulled something in my back, letting out an ugly sounding yelp. it was lovely. my kids and husband laughed. very supportive family. my back still hurts. YAY. 

So, this post does have a point. I promise I am not having a pity party....well maybe a little one. 

When my husband was ankle deep in water, his cell phone rang. 

It was his friend, Steve, asking a question about something business related. 

Lem told his friend Steve about the fiasco in our basement.

Not long after, Steve was at our door to help. 

Steve stayed about 9 hours to help Lem. Yes, NINE. 

My son and I were able to escape the chaos due to errands that needed to be run. It was TAX DAY on top of everything else we had going on. YAY. 

After our errands, my son and I decided we needed a walk. ANY excuse to escape the scene at home. 

On our walk, my son said something that melted me. 

He said that Steve showing up at our door encouraged and inspired him to be more of a helper to others. 

"Mom, it's so easy to not have time and to not offer to help people because it is inconvenient. But, when you have someone offer to rush over to help, it reminds you of how good it feels to receive help from others. I want to be that kind of friend."\

I quickly nodded my head in agreement, "Yes, Joseph. I know exactly what you mean."

Just last week a sweet friend dropped off a meal for us. It was so out of the blue and unexpected. She knew we had been in the car accident the weekend before and that we were still out of sorts a bit. 

She called me on the phone and asked if I was home. I told her I was and she almost immediately showed up with dinner for 4. 

It felt like a million dollars in that moment. 

I had to get my daughter to volleyball practice and dinner had not EVEN crossed my mind. Since I am sharing a truck with my husband, I was still trying to figure out the details of getting her to practice. 

My friend was an angel to me that day. 

I did not even know I needed her....but God knew. 

When Steve called my husband yesterday morning, I don't think for a second it was a coincidence. 

I am so grateful to Steve. Because of Steve, I could go run the errands that needed to be done that day so Lem could stay back and clean up the carnage. 

Some people are natural helpers, and others of us really want to be. 

In the words of Mister Rogers...I think my first time EVER quoting him here...

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers, you will always find those who are helping."- Fred Rogers

Look for the helpers. Wise words, Mr. Rogers. 

I really want to live the Golden Rule verse out. But, it takes much intention. Much thought. More than that, it takes much time. 

The fruit is so sweet though, isn't it?

Let's be helpers this week, shall we?

Let's also thank the helpers around us. They are not looking for fanfare or praise, but let's give it to them anyway. 


getting by with a little help from our friends, 


jill





-

May 17, 2021

Ask, and ask again...

Good morning, and Happy Monday! Today, let's meditate on these scriptures from Matthew. I am undone by these Holy Words. 

We often give up. We stop praying. We stop asking. And really, if we are honest, we stop believing. 

I find it easier to write my prayers in a journal. I like to go back and remember. Months later, I can see God's hand in a way that I may not have seen it at the time. 


Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened



still knocking, 


jill

May 12, 2021

Oh Deer....

 Mother's Day ended with a crash. 

Literally. 

The day had been absolutely perfect up until about 9:00 pm that evening. We went to church, catching up with faces we had not seen in months. 

We had lunch with Lem's mom and then had a cook out at my sisters house to celebrate our mother. 

It was perfect. 

We left my sisters house for the 35 or so minute drive home. Usually, I drive us home from there, but this particular day Lem offered to drive. 

3 minutes into the ride, a gigantic deer ran right into our car. It happened so fast that I actually did not even know what happened. 

Our car came to a screeching halt, all 800 or so it seemed airbags deployed and smoke filled the car. 

It felt like we were in slow motion. I could hear myself screaming, but was unable to process what was really happening.

We all jumped out of the car and chaos ensued. Cars were flying by us, not one person offered to help. I kept thinking how strange it was that no one even asked us what was wrong. 

Our car was sitting in the middle of the 4 lane road with lights flashing and blinking and smoke billowing. 

The deer and her two babies  that she was fully swollen bellied with were strewn all over the road. It was a horrible scene. 

My daughter could not stop crying and shaking and all I could do was thank God that we were okay. 

Soon, my sister and her family arrived on the scene to assist us and make sure we were okay. The police soon followed. 

My heart rate finally slowed down and I took in the scene. 

My car was new, we had just purchased it in December. 

The windshield was smashed right where I was sitting. The airbags were bubbled out through the doors. Yet, I felt the Presence of God washing right over me. 

My sister kept saying I seemed awfully calm. 

 It was Jesus. 

Just that morning, I had written something in my prayer journal. I had not thought twice about the prayer I wrote until I finally got home late that evening. 

I jumped right in the shower to wash the trauma, the gruesome deer scene, and the ringing of my ears away. I needed to sit and just let that hot water fall over me. 

As I was sitting in the shower, gratitude overwhelmed me. I started crying. Hot tears falling down my face. 

We were okay. No one was hurt. 

I was just so thankful I could explode. 

As I was giving God all the thanks and praise, He reminded me of something. 

My prayer journal. 

I hopped quickly out of the shower and told Lem to grab my prayer journal and read what I had written that morning. 

Unusually, I had time to write in my journal early that Sunday morning. Normally, I do not write on the weekends because we are just so busy. 

However, that particular morning, Lem and Presley had gone on an early run together and I had some quiet moments to sit, read God's Word and journal. 

When we flipped to what I had written that morning, a lump caught in my throat. 

Lem looked at me with wide eyes. "Wow." He said. 

I had ended the prayer entry with these two sentences...

"Protect us from harm, accidents, tragedy and evil! Surround us with your angels and put your armor of protection over us."

God wanted me to look back, to remember. To see. 

He answered that prayer. 

Just that morning in church the preacher asked us what was holding us back in our faith walk...He asked us to prayerfully think about the one thing that was holding us back...

I closed my eyes and ask God to show me...what was holding me back from full surrender to Him..

Trust. 

The word kept falling on my ears and on my heart. 

Trust. 

I looked to the right of me and there was a huge wooden cross on the wall. I had never noticed that the cross was also the shape of a lower case letter t. 

Trust. 

I told Him right then and there that I trusted Him. He was in charge of my life and the life of my family. 

Lord, loosen the grip and help me to Trust You. In all things. 

The next day, after the accident, and after going back to my prayer journal and the church service...

I just swelled up with gratitude. 

How could I not trust Him? How much more intimate could He be?

I think sometimes, we just do not trust that He will come through for us. We are worried that He will let us down if we finally surrender it all to Him. 

We are afraid of what others will think if we talk about God so intimately and tell stories of His Faithfulness...

I am learning that the opposite is true. The more we Trust and Believe and tell it to all and anyone who will listen...the more we will see Him. 

He opens our eyes a little bit wider every single time we decide to Trust Him . To take that step of faith and obedience. 

I know it is of no coincidence that we just began reading the book of Esther in our Daily Walk Bible reading plan. 

Esther was so brave. So brave. 

She could have remained quiet and protected herself from the wrath of her husband, the King. 

However, with a little nudge from her uncle, and with prayer and fasting...

She boldly stepped out. 

God used her to save His people. 

She spoke up and spoke out. 

Has God laid something on your heart? Are you willing to step out and say it, to walk where He is asking you to walk?

You can trust Him. 

He will never fail you. (Hebrews 13:5)

For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?" Esther 4:14

Are we willing to trust Him? 

Are we willing to walk by faith and not by sight? (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Faith and trust are like muscles. They only get stronger when they are used. 

Practice them often and you will see God's intimacy in ways that will blow you away--and also those who are watching!

Maybe start a prayer journal. Talk to Him intimately. 

Ask Him to speak to you. 

Keep asking. 

He is Faithful. 


My prayer journal entry 5/9/21




Trusting with a capital T, 


jill









May 7, 2021

Laughing at the days to come...

 “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Proverbs 31:21


There is no way I can let this week pass by without a post on motherhood. 

From the time I could form a thought, I knew I wanted to be a mother. 

It was a desire placed in my heart by God and I knew that one day, He would fulfill it. 

My senior year of high school, I remember sitting in my guidance counselor's office. He asked me where I was planning on going to college, and what career path I was leaning towards. 

I looked down at my feet, straps of my sandals pressing hard against my early 90's  tanning bed colored skin...

Clearing my throat, I said, "Sir, I really want to be a wife and a mother. I am not sure of much past that."

I don't know why my cheeks flushed to a bright red, but they did. 

He was surprised. He had not ever been told by a student those words. 

My kids laugh every time I tell them this story. They are just shocked that my one ambition in life was "motherhood and being a wife."

My daughter, wanting to be anything but like her mother as an independent 16 year old, laughs the hardest. She tells me she wants to dress up every day and go to work and live in a big city. 

"No pony tails and yoga pants for me!" She throws her head back and giggles. 

I tell her to pursue those dreams of hers. God gives us those dreams and desires. 

I also tell her that her heart may change...and that is okay too. 

Perhaps the biggest thing in motherhood that I have learned...is to laugh. 

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22

 “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. Proverbs 31:21

And to learn to adapt to change. 

Change is inevitable. God is the only One Who does not change

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8

Our children grow up. 

Our children will rebel. 

Our children will let us down. 

Our children will make us wonder where on Earth we went wrong as parents. 

Our children will break down every single solid ounce of PRIDE we have ever had...and then some. 

Our children will make us eat our words. 

Our children will make us realize how little control we really have in life. 

Our children will bring us flat faced to the floor in prayer more than anything else in life. 

When my kids were little, I would dread them growing up. I would picture them grown and independent and I would cry and beg God to let the years go slow. 

What I did not know at that time, was how incredibly fun it is to watch your children grow. 

Yes, it is hard. 

But, it is so rewarding to see them become who God had designed them to be. 

When my son was a senior in high school. I felt two very distinct feelings...

One feeling was that of relief that he had made it through high school, and all of the teenage angst it entails. 

The second feeling was that of sadness that a huge part of my daily routine with him was over. 

His entire high school years,  I spent on my knees in prayer. 

I asked God to open my eyes and to help me be INTENTIONAL in every way. 

I stepped back from social media, I stepped back from anything that would take distract me from being present during that time. 

I knew that these years were important. Even though he was more independent in some ways, he desperately needed me in other ways. 

I became a better listener instead of always talking, talking, talking to him. 

I became an observer. I did not want to miss a second. 

When he graduated from high school, my heart was prepared for the next step. 

What I did not know was how my heart would be ready. All those years worrying and fretting about the day he would leave the nest...I was not factoring in God's Faithfulness. 

Friend, God is Faithful. Every step of the way. 

Factor in His Faithfulness. 

The more my kids grow, I am learning that my plans for them is not God's plan for them. I have to ask for forgiveness over and over for trying to force my agenda at times. 

God's plan is better. Even if we don't see it at the time. 

I believe that motherhood burns away pride and sometimes it is painful. 

There are several scriptures that I cling to on a daily basis when praying over them. I will share a few...

"Lord, whether they turn to the right or to the left, let them hear Your Voice saying, "this is the way, walk in it." Isaiah 30:21

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on my children; establish the work of their hands -- yes, establish the work of their hands. Psalm 90:17

Help my children to grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man. Luke 2:52

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. 1 John 4:4

In everything they do,  let them have great success, because the LORD is with them. 1 Samuel 18:14

The Lord is their Shepherd, they have all that they need. Psalm 23:1

Lord, contend with those who contend with my children. Fight against those who fight against them. Psalm 35:1

Let my children be still, and know that You are God. Psalm 46:10

One of the hardest parts of motherhood has been trusting God with my kids. It is true. 

Slowly, I have had to loosen my grip and let God have his way. I have seen time and time again that the sweetest fruit comes from the hardest times. 

When I think that there is NO way that something could be God's will for them, I eventually see the humility and character that was developed due to the struggle. 

Not just for them, but for myself. 

If you are reading this post and you are not a mother...

God has probably put someone or maybe even a few people in your life to pray over and mentor. Motherhood is not always biological. Motherhood takes shape in many ways. 

The heart of a mother prays, tends to those who need an ear to listen, or a table to sit at. 

The heart of a mother makes sacrifices for others, often putting herself last. 

Teachers are the first people that come to mind. Perhaps no one spends as much time teaching and pouring into our children as their teachers. Pray for them often. 

Many women are spiritual mothers to those around them...and they are very important to God's Kingdom. 

I will end by telling you a little secret. Keep it just between us...

For many years, I begged God to let us have more children. I begged my husband as well. The answer seemed to always be a resounding No. 

Not long ago, God opened my eyes to something beautiful. 

If I had more children, I would not be able to be as close and involved with my nieces and nephews and other precious younger ones God has put in my life. 

God knew what was best. He always does. 

Trust Him. 


Factoring in His Faithfulness, 


jill






May 3, 2021

The Waitress...

 We walked in the restaurant and there was not a booth empty. Not one. 

Well, actually, there were several, but because of Covid restrictions, they were taped off. 

My daughter and I sat down and waited for a booth to clear. 

A waitress asked us what we needed. I told her in my kindest voice that we were waiting for a booth. 

She did not respond. She waved me off flippantly and went back to her work. 

It seemed odd that she was not very friendly. Not even a tiny bit. 

My daughter, who is often much more perceptive than me when others are "not being kind", looked over at me and asked if we should leave. 

Nope. We are staying. I pasted on my half fake smile and waited for a booth to clear. 

Finally, two men got up and my girl and I grabbed the open booth. 

The same unfriendly waitress looked over at us and rolled her eyes. She was very obvious and very clear that she did not want us to grab the booth. 

I was so confused. Why was she so upset with us?

Again, my girl asked if we should leave. 

I could feel that warmth going up my spine. That warmth when someone is being rude or unkind. 

That feeling when you want to say something back and stand up for yourself or just make a big fat scene and march out the door. 

I took a long breath and remembered what my pastor had JUST preached on...

He had asked the question..."do we act like we have been spending time with Jesus?"

Those words pierced me. 

I had spent a good amount of time with Jesus that morning. 

But now, Jesus seemed like a far away stranger! 

I was getting upset...my throat was tightening, my pulse was quickening...

What would I do?

I could just get up and march right out with my daughter. 

I could tell the waitress that she is rude and she does not represent this business well. 

OR...

I could sit there and be kind. 

I could sit there and act like I had been with Jesus that morning. 

Let me tell you...it took every bit of The Holy Spirit for me to stay seated. 

The waitress had been rude. She had messed up my happy mood, and I even felt foolish for staying to possibly be humiliated more by her rudeness. 

My thoughts kept going back to my 16 year old daughter. 

How would she remember this day?

Would she remember her momma retaliating back at this waitress? Or would she remember her momma choosing to stay put in that booth....choosing kindness over putting the waitress in her place. 

I had to play it out in my mind. My emotions and my blood pressure were sky high. 

Would I bow down to those, or would I bow down to Christ in humility?

Jesus loves this waitress just as much as He loves me. 

How will I treat one of His beloved?

Oh man, trust me, it was hard not to get up and walk out. 

A small voice in my heart kept repeating, "Show her love, Jill."

My daughter asked me for the third time..."Mom, are we going to leave?'

I took a deep breath and whispered back to her, "No. We are staying. Everyone has bad days. Today is hers. Let's show her some grace."

She finally came over and took our order. 

Our meal came, and we ate. It was a sweet time with my girl. 

All of the weird emotions and hot feeling up my spine disappeared. 

Jesus had been present. 

He cleared the path for Grace, and I , more than the waitress, needed  Grace the most. 

As I sat down to tell you this story, I pulled my prayer journal in close. I opened it up to the page from this morning...from my time with Jesus. 

I had written down this verse. God had led it to me before my eyes were barely open to see...sleep was still settled into the creases of my lids. 

“No, this is the kind of fasting I want:
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
    lighten the burden of those who work for you.
Let the oppressed go free,
    and remove the chains that bind people. Isaiah 58:6


After writing out that scripture passage, I wrote directly underneath

"Lord,  I will free those who I have imprisoned by unforgiveness...."

By staying in the booth, by showing kindness despite my bubbling pride, I freed her from my own bitter hearted imprisonment. 

How many have I held hostage, Lord? How many do I have wrapped up in chains due to my bitter heart of unforgiveness?

I saw her name on her name tag and will never forget it. She has not left my thoughts. 

I have prayed for her throughout this day and will continue. 

God put her in our path...He showed me the bitterness of my own heart at times. 

He showed me that even after spending time at His feet that morning...

My heart will still bend towards wrong if I allow my emotions to take over. 

Lord, let me represent You well. I want people to see Jesus. Even when it is uncomfortable. 


praying for my waitress, 


jill
















Apr 8, 2021

Joseph's Story...

 Two weeks ago my college boy son came home for the weekend. It is always wonderful to see his sweet face and to soak in his presence. 

When he walked through the door, I could tell something was off. It's that momma discernment kind of thing. I just knew something wasn't right. 

He has been taking a religion class at school. It has been tough on him. He is learning about different religions and it has been confusing him and rocking his faith. We have had many discussions, which I feel very ill equipped for. 

I have dreaded the hard questions he asks me and his father, and I have begged and pleaded with God to give us wisdom to help answer some of his questions. 

Joseph, my son, is a deep thinker and has a very academic mind. I, on the other hand, have a very child like faith and have a hard time with apologetics and deep theological conversations. But, I have been praying my way through these hard talks with him. Blundering at times it seems. 

Joseph pulled me aside that weekend and shared that he was really, really struggling. He said he was in a very dark place with his faith. He said he was begging God to reveal Himself to him. In some way, in any way. Just a sign, a sliver of hope to cling to during this dark season. 

My heart sank. I felt like I could just melt into the crevices of our hardwood floor. I wanted to go away and not face this. It was hard seeing my boy struggle and to see the light escape from his green eyes. 

That Sunday, he left to go back to college. 

He texted me the very next day and asked me to please pray that God would help him and reveal Himself to him. With a very heavy heart, I agreed. 

The next morning, I sat down and spilled my heart onto the lines of my prayer journal. I was desperate for God to help Joseph. I was frustrated because my son had taken this class to help strengthen his faith and to equip him to witness to others with different faiths. It seemed to be doing exactly the opposite. 

It was Holy week of all weeks. I decided to fast that week as well. Not only because of my need for God to help my son, but for my own heart and weaknesses. I needed Jesus and I needed faith just as much as Joseph did. 

On Wednesday, I had not heard from my son. I decided to text him around 9:00 pm. 

Immediately he responded with this, " Mom, I have the most amazing God story to share with you! I will call you when I get back to my apartment."

My heart fluttered. My palms were sweaty and my mind raced with anticipation. 

An hour goes by. Still no phone call. UGH. 

Finally, around 10:30pm, he calls. 

He shared his story...

"Mom. You have to hear this! God answered our prayer!"

I immediately put the phone on speaker so that Lem could listen as well. 

Joseph told us he had been invited to Wesley at the UGA campus. It is a Christian fellowship gathering offered on Wednesday evenings. 

He had not been to Wesley in a year. He had been attending another Christian fellowship offered the last few months, but had not even been to that one in a few weeks. 

A few friends invited him that night to go with them and he agreed, half heartedly. 

He went on to tell us that it was a good sermon and he gleaned much from it. 

However, at the end of the message,  a young college girl, one of the leaders of Wesley, went to the stage. 

She cleared her throat and spoke these words, "I have to share something on my heart. It may sound crazy and I may not even be hearing the message correctly, but I have to be obedient to The Lord right now.......Is there a Joseph here??"

My son immediately looked around at the crowd of 75-100 kids, and saw no one else answer...so, he raised his hand slowly and said, "I am Joseph."

He then walked up to the stage to where the girl was standing. 

She continued, "God has been stirring my heart this entire service to tell you that He sees you. You are not alone. He sees your struggle and the enemy is trying hard to disrupt your faith. Stay rooted in God's Word and stay strong in your faith. God is with you, Joseph. He hears your prayers and He goes before you. He has a plan for your life and the enemy is trying hard to distract you. God is with you, Joseph."

My son was in awe, standing there completely shaken to the core. 

He then walks back to his seat. His dear friend, Hannah, is crying her eyes out. She knew Joseph's recent struggle and she too had been struggling with her faith. 

At the end of the service, Joseph walked up to the girl that gave him the message. He thanked her for being obedient and bold in standing up on that stage not knowing if she was even hearing correctly from God. She did it anyway. She risked humiliation, yet she still obeyed God. 

As I am soaking in the story over the phone, I am completely in awe of the magnitude of God. The intimacy of God. The mercy of God. The love of God. 

He heard our prayers. And He answered them. 

I was praying that God would just help Joseph do well on his biology test in hopes that it would bolster Joseph's faith. 

But....

God did IMMEASURABLY MORE than I hoped or asked for. 

Never, in a million years, did I imagine Him speaking to Joseph and revealing Himself to Joseph in that way. 

A few mornings later, I came across my prayer journal entry the morning before this happened. 



He hears our prayers, sweet friends. Keep asking. Keep praying. Keep believing. 

He will do immeasurably more. 

I took Joseph to lunch a few days later. The light was back in his green eyes. His face was glowing like a 10 year old. I had not seen that lightness of spirit in him for so long.

God had restored his faith. 

And mine. 

I have told this story to everyone that will listen. Joseph has shared it as well. 

Friend, do not give up. Ever. 

He sees you. 

He hears you. 

He loves you. 



forever changed, 


jill



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