Feb 25, 2021

Oh Mother...

 There it was. Spelled out in big bold loopy black letters. My own handwriting, sure enough. 

"Pray more. Say less."

God had given me this Word one week ago today. I had prayed the words out loud. I had begged God to help me live those words. Pray more, Jill. Say less, Jill. 

A few days later I knew exactly the purpose of His Words to me that dark and early morning snuggled on my couch nursing a hot mug of coffee. 

Knee deep in a conversation with one of my children, I felt the urge to speak out my thoughts on a particular dilemma they were facing. 

I quietly prayed for Him to give me words...He didn't. 

He reminded me to pray instead of say. 

Let me tell you...it was the hardest two minutes of my life. Holding back words. Holding back my opinion on the situation. 

However....

I felt peace. I knew I was to say less. I knew I was to pray more. 

As a mom of teenagers, I do find that talking less and praying more reaps better fruit. 

When my babies were small, talking, talking, teaching and more teaching with my words was important. 

However, as they grow up, I see the discipline and the reward of a quieter life through prayer over them. 

It is not easy some days though! Sometimes I just want to tell them ALL OF MY THOUGHTS whether they want to hear them or not!

I go back to the words of Samuel....some of my very favorite words in scripture. 

"Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." 1 Samuel 3:10

Often, I say these words to The Lord. I desire to listen, instead of talk all of the time. 

I want to do the same to my people. Listen more. Talk less. Pray more. 

As a communicator, it does take much discipline. I love stories. I love to talk. I love to share. I love to offer advice. 

However, I am seeing the greater fruit in listening. In quieting my mouth and going to prayer instead. 

Through the years I have written out particular scriptures to pray over my children. I recently did this again to help me in my prayer time. To use His Words instead of mine when praying over them. 

I will share some of them in hopes of encouraging you in your own motherhood journey. Many times,  I just don't know how to pray for a certain situation my kids are facing. I don't have the words because my heart is overwhelmed for them.

 God's Word does all of this for us! His Words are Truth. His Words are Peace. His Words are Wisdom.

Here are a few I have been praying over my teenagers...

For He knows the plans He has for my children, declares The Lord...plans to prosper them and not to harm them , plans to give them a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Lord, help them to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18

The Lord Himself watches over my children! The Lord stands beside them as their protective shade. The sun will not harm them by day, nor the moon at night. Psalm 121:5-6 

Lord, Don't let my children be selfish, not trying to impress others. Let them be humble, thinking of others better than themselves. Let them not look out only for their own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Phil 2:3-4

For God has not given my children a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 1 Timothy 1:7

Let my children rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything let them give thanks to You! For this is God's will for them in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

The Lord will perfect that concerns my children...Psalm 138:8 (my favorite one to pray right now!)

Lord, teach my kids to number their days, that they may gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12

May the Lord bless them and keep them; may the Lord make His face shine upon them and be gracious to them. May the Lord turn His face toward them and give them peace. Numbers 6:24-26

The Lord is my children's Shepherd, He is all that they need. Psalm 23:1

Lord, may my children be successful everywhere they go; and may an entire generation of godly people be blessed through them. Psalm 112:1-2

Oh, Lord, contend with those who contend with my children. Fight against those who fight with them. Psalm 35:1 (I probably recite this one in my sleep!)

Greater is He who is in my children, than he who is in the world.  1 John 4:4

Let the fear of The Lord teach them wisdom, humility precedes honor. Proverbs 15:38

Lord, let them always pray and never give up! Luke 18:1

Establish the work of their hands, Lord. Psalm 90:17

Lord, let my children give their burdens to You and You will take care of them. You will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22

Father, give my children a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God! Psalm 40:3

Help my children to guard their hearts, Lord, for it determines the course of their life. Proverbs 4:23

Lord, let my children avoid all perverse talk, staying away from corrupt speech. Help them to look straight ahead and fix their eyes on what lies before them. Proverbs 4:24-25

Surround my children with godly friendships, Father. Iron sharpens iron. Proverbs 27:17

Father God, when things are hard and there seems to be no possible way, let them remember that You are The Lord their God, and you opened a way through the waters, making a dry path through the sea. You will do the same for them! Isaiah 43:16

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

May my children live by faith and not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

Whether my children turn to the left or to the right, let will hear God's Voice saying..
"this is the way --walk in it. " Isaiah 30:21


I feel peace just typing these w ords of Truth out here. I trust Him with my children. I will let Him have His way with their hearts. His way is better!

 My job is to pray. 

My friend Kelli recently gave me the most sobering and holy advice...

She told me that she often prays for God to do whatever it takes to draw her children's hearts to His. 

Wowzers. 

That is a hard prayer to pray. But goodness gracious...what trust it shows to pray this prayer!

We can trust Him with our children. No matter how old they are...they belong to Him and He desires their hearts!

It is so hard to remember this when they are struggling and suffering. However, we  must keep this perspective at all times. He uses the hard times to strengthen their faith and to draw them to His loving embrace. 

I never want to get in the way of this. I want to step back, quiet my mouth, and pray. 


saying less and praying more, 


jill







Feb 19, 2021

When you feel like you suck...

For the past few weeks I have been in this downward spiral of guilt. 

Feeling guilty for not being a great wife. 

Feeling guilty for not being a great mom. 

Feeling guilty for not being a great friend. 

Feeling guilty for not being a great daughter. 


The list goes on for days.

Making up my bed recently, I begged God to forgive me for being so sucky lately. 

Seriously, do you ever feel this way? Do you ever feel like you have someone whispering in your ear...

"You literally suck. Can you do anything right?"

Well, my friend Christa recently pointed out that we actually do have someone whispering this into our ears. The enemy--Satan--The accuser. 

God's Word names Satan "the accuser of our brothers and sisters" in Revelation 12:10

God does not make us feel sucky and guilty. NO. 

God gently convicts us and points the way for us in His Word. He is not standing over us with His big arms crossed just shaking His head at our suckiness. NO. 

God's Word so lovingly tells us...

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness." Jeremiah 31:3

The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

I could post scriptures for days about God's tender love and care for us. How He longs for us to see what He sees in us. 

So, why do we forget?

 Like my friend Erin said. "Why is the enemy's voice so loud and clear, yet we struggle to hear God's voice?"

Whew. Sit on that one for a minute. 

Friend, we must seek His Voice. We must listen for Him above all of the distractions and all of the enemy voices telling us how much we suck. 

The enemy's voice will actually begin to depress us. Literally, press our spirits down. We will be miserable and self-loathing. 

The enemy wants us to focus on self. 

God tells us to focus on Him

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

The next time we feel like we suck, let's tell the enemy and his taunting accusations to flee! Let's go to God in prayer and in His Word to find Truth. 

I am so grateful for friends to remind me that satan is an accuser. He will accuse you of anything and everything. He is a LIAR. 

If satan has been accusing you for a long time, I beg you to pray right now and ask God to help you tune out the enemy's voice. Tell God that you are not believing anymore of satan's lies. 

You are made in the Image of God. You are treasured, chosen, adored, and loved. 

No matter what the enemy is accusing you of, here is the Truth of the matter...

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


satan sucks, 


jill





Feb 4, 2021

Who do you follow?

 "Then he said to the crowd, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me."

Luke 9:23


Jesus spoke these words to a crowd of people as He prepared them for his upcoming death. He told them that He would "suffer many terrible things", and be "rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law". [Luke 9:22]

As we know, all of these things did happen. He was persecuted, rejected, mocked, beaten, spat upon, and then hung on a cross until He took His last breath. 

We also know the good news. He arose from death 3 days later perfectly intact. Just as He said He would. 

I have been pondering what it means to follow Jesus, to really follow Him. 

In His own words He says it looks like this:

-Turn from your selfish ways
-Take up your cross daily
-Follow Me

We must be careful not to water down these words, or only apply the things He says that are "comfortable" for us. Also be careful of anyone teaching anything contrary to the words of Jesus. Study His Word. Get in there on your own and check out His Truth. Don't just take what you hear to heart, hold it up to the Word of God. He will shed light on the Truth. 

Let's break this teaching down of following Christ...

Turn from your selfish ways: 

Who am I seeking to please each day? Am I striving to make my name great, or God's? Am I willing to deny my time, my comfort, my pleasures, my money, my reputation...in order to follow Christ?

Am I concerned over what people are thinking about me to the point these people become idols?

Am I seeking the approval of man over God?

 Am I seeking the interest of others over my own? [Philippians 2:4]

Is my time so important to me that I am not willing to pause, and help someone else in need?

Is there someone in my own family, or circle of friends that I need to reach out to even though it may take a lot of my resources and energy?

Are we so in love with our church and our "religion" that we close the doors on those that are on the outside? Does our attitude reflect a heart of love, or a heart of judgement and condemnation? 

Selfishness preserves our heart. It encases it with cold legalism and religion instead of breaking it wide open to ooze out love to others in need of a touch of His Grace and Compassion. Our hearts were not made to be preserved and frozen, but to be cut-wide open, bleeding for others to know Him. 

Lord, help me to turn from my selfish ways. Help me to deny myself when I want to surrender to the demands of my flesh. Break my heart wide open and free it from self-preservation and selfishness.  

Take up your cross daily:

Am I willing to totally die to myself? Am I willing to be totally surrendered to Christ that I will follow Him at all costs? Including losing some friends along the way? Am I willing to carry the cross even when being a Christian gets hard and uncomfortable? Even when others mock me or roll their eyes at me? And to love them anyway?

Taking up our cross daily is not a burden we pride ourselves of carrying as some like to believe. It is not meant to be viewed as a martyredom on our part before God. No. That kind of thinking takes the focus off of Christ and puts it on us. This is not what "taking up our cross" looks like. 

Taking up our cross is totally surrender to Him. To His Word. To His Ways. To His Love. To His Mercy. To His Compassion. To His Humility. 

Lord, help me to take up my cross daily. No matter the persecution that comes my way. 

Follow Me:

Perhaps this one has pierced my heart in the biggest ways. It is the one I probably struggle with the most. 

As humans, we have a tendency to want to be followers. We are like sheep constantly in search of a shepherd to lead us. 

Since the beginning of time, this has been a problem with us. 

We are so quick to make an idol out of people, things--anything. 

In this day and age, I find it no coincidence that we have "followers" on social media. Not only that, but we have many that we "follow". 

Friends, we must be careful who we follow. Let me say that one more time--we must be careful who we follow. 

Several years ago, I was following someone on Instagram. She is an amazing woman of God--known by many. However, I found myself wanting to be just like her. I was envious of how witty she was, how her family seemed so perfect as she home-schooled her slew of children. I found my joy being suffocated because her life looked so much prettier than mine. 

People hung on her every word. I was one of those people. 

I found myself wanting to be like her. Although, my life was so much different than hers. 

She did not do anything wrong, it was my heart that was in the wrong. She had become an idol to me.

The Lord showed me during that time, that I was putting women of God like her in a place above Him. I got so caught up in the glamour and the praise of her life, that it made me feel inadequate in my own. 

Again, God is using her to minister to many. She was not the problem, my heart was. When we put our faith in people, instead of God, we start to crumble. We lose our Joy. We lose our sense of value in Christ. We lose all the way around.  Our gifts become stifled and suffocated. 

Comparison is the thief of Joy. 

We become enamored with their lives, their stories, their wittiness, their families, and we forget the One we are truly to follow--Christ.

Who are we following, friends? 

Who has the most influence in our lives?

Lord, let it be You. Help us to follow You completely and remove any idols that have come before You. If we are following anyone other than You, please reveal this to our hearts. Shine a light on places where we have made idols. We repent, and we desire to follow You-above all others. 



Lord help me to follow You,


jill

re-posted from 11/06/2015



Feb 1, 2021

And one to grow on....

 "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

Over the weekend, I had another birthday. 

As I get older, I really do appreciate each year of life. 

I also appreciate things and people that I probably took for granted in my earlier years. 

The brevity of life is very clear as we grow older. 

I am totally tracking with the Psalmist who wrote Psalm 90:12...

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

The older I get, you can be sure I am starting to number my days!

This past week, my heart has been so full of gratitude. I actually left lunch with some friends recently and cried the whole way home. 

No, no, no, not hormones. 

I was just so overwhelmed with gratitude. I cried my mascara right off and told God that I did not feel like I deserved the blessings He gives me. 

Honestly, I wasn't having a pity party, just a straight up honest to goodness truth telling moment. I told God through those tears that I did not feel worthy of the family and friendships in my life.

 I told Him that I wanted to make sure I was faithful in all of the things He has given me. 

Faithful in my marriage. Faithful in motherhood. Faithful in being a daughter. Faithful in being a sister. Faithful in being an aunt. Faithful in being a friend. 

Faithful with the people and opportunities He has given me. 

I want to speak well of people. At all times. It can be hard when someone has hurt you--or worse-- hurt someone you love. 

I want to speak well of my husband to others--not complaining or daydreaming of someone else's supposed greener grass. 

I want to speak words of life over my kids--not words of agitation, guilt, impatience, and frustration. 

I want to be present with those around me. 

Many, many things can pull at my attention throughout the day--especially my phone. 

Being faithful in all of these areas requires discipline and managing my hours and minutes and even seconds well. 

This desire to be faithful, is not just a new years resolution, it is a lifetime journey. I want to be faithful because God is so very Faithful to me. 

As I look back on my life, I see every reason in the whole wide world for God to have abandoned me and to have thrown His Holy hands up in the air and walked away rolling His eyes. 

I have let Him down. 

I have sinned. 

I have turned my back on Him. 

I have disobeyed Him. 

I have chosen the wider path many times. 

I have screamed at Him. 

I have told Him He was not good. 

Yet, just like a Good Father, He never ever left me. 

He is Faithful. 

He has taught me unconditional love by the way He loves me. 

He has shown me oceans of Grace over and over and over when I did not deserve an ounce of it. 

He has loved me at my worst. 

He is Faithful. 

I will never, this side of Heaven, be able to comprehend His Love for me. My human heart will never get it. 

But, I desperately want Him to know how grateful I am... for His Faithfulness. 

I wanna be faithful in all the ways I can. 

I wanna represent Him well to anyone that will listen, because He has represented me when I was unworthy to be represented. 

So often I have thought of faithfulness as this lofty and holy goal that was just absolutely out of reach. 

He is showing me that faithfulness is a heart issue. It is not something to be acquired by how many scriptures we have memorized or how many Sundays we go to church...

Faithfulness shows up in the tiniest of moments.

 In my thoughts...

In my reactions to people that step on my toes--or a loved ones toes...

In the way I treat people--all people...

In the way I treat my family...

In the way I spend my time...

In the things I let my eyes see...

In the things I let my ears listen to...

In the words that come out of my mouth...

In the way I live my life outside of the view of others...

God sees. 

He sees it all. 

He is El Roi--The God who sees me. 

I want Him to see faithfulness. 

Not perfection, oh so far from that...

Just a heart desiring faithfulness. 


another year older, 


jill



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