Us

Us

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Divide and be Conquered....

“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand." Matthew 12:25

The best way to describe it is a restlessness within my spirit. A severe awareness of some enormous spiritual warfare taking place in our homes. Right under our own roofs.

I am sick to death of it. I have moaned and groaned and cried out to God on behalf of this warfare attacking our families. We MUST do something.

Do you know that the enemy's plan is to divide and conquer? Do you know that the best way that the enemy can spread evil and his plan is by first getting a foothold into our families? Once he divides us, he is more easily able to conquer us.

Jesus tells us this: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10

We must not be deceived any longer! We must open our eyes to the enemy's tactics and LIES. He is a thief. He is a liar. He is a destroyer.

There's a war raging around us. A battle for our hearts! A battle for our loyalties! A battle of our marriages! A battle for our children! A battle for our families!

Yes, I am passionate about this! I will NOT sit on the side lines and allow ONE more family to be destroyed by separation. I will PRAY fervently. I will LOVE the fire out of those around me. Even when it hurts like HELL!

There is a lack of love going on. More like a lack of CARE. People are becoming immune to their fellow brothers and sisters. We are so consumed with SELF. We are so consumed with how something will affect us. If it doesn't affect us, we shrug our shoulders and move on.

Y'all, God tells us to look not only to our own interests but to the interest of others. [Phil. 2:4]

Are we heeding this call?

Or are we letting our flesh win these battles. All the while the enemy takes on another win--another family.

If you don't think the enemy is after your family, think again. He is out to destroy you.

Let that make you mad enough to do something.

What do we do?

Jesus tells us this: "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” Luke 10:19

Love like Jesus.

Speak Truth like Jesus.

 Pray like Jesus.

Love is only powerful and effective when combined with Truth. Jesus was the perfect combination of love and truth. The Pharisees before him were bent on law, not love. Jesus came to fulfill the law with LOVE and TRUTH.

We are not loving like Jesus if we are not speaking truth to those around us. Not the world's kind of truth either. Not truth's based on our opinions or on pop culture.

God warns us in Revelation 3:16: So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Aren't we being luke warm when we insist on love without truth? Aren't we avoiding the truth to make a more comfortable path for us and them?

God's Word is the only truth. Our opinions mean nothing. It's His Word that stands True. The only rock that holds.

We cannot sit idly by and water down His Word thinking we are showing love. THIS is not Christ-like Love.

save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Jude 1:23

Are we loving each other enough speak truth? Or are we walking on egg shells around hard issues because we don't want to come across as judgemental.

We are not the judge. There is only ONE Judge--God.

Our job is to love like Jesus. Speak Truth like Jesus. And for heaven's sake to care enough to do both.

People want to hear truth. Our spirits were designed for God's Truth to resonate.

Be clear that the enemy has your family on his target. He is out to divide and conquer.

The good news is that "He who lives within us is greater than he that is within the world!"1 John 4:4

Love until it hurts. Speak the truth of His Word even when it's uncomfortable.

The battle belongs to the Lord. Rest in that.










Thursday, May 14, 2015

Two are better than one....

When my children were born, I began a journal for them. I would write them letters each time I had the chance to sit down. Which was very rare.

I still write in these journals when I have time. Which, again, is very rare.

Today I witnessed such love and friendship among my circle of friends. I was literally moved to tears over an act of love that was done for our precious friend, Erin. Erin's husband Chuck was in a terrible accident at work two weeks ago. Truly, it is a miracle he is alive.

Chuck will be coming home from the hospital this weekend. Finally.

On a side note, we are trying to raise 10,000 to help them in their time of need. If you feel led to donate any amount, please visit this Go Fund Me link. Thank you so much.

Erin's friends decided that we all needed to make her home "ready" for when they arrive. It was a beautiful sight to see my friends cleaning, scrubbing, folding clothes, vacuuming, and wiping down counter tops. A sight I will NEVER forget.

Here we are...I promise I don't usually wear a dress when I clean. Although, I am a dead ringer for June Cleaver in this picture.



When I pulled out of the drive way, I broke down in tears. I was literally broken by the love that took place in that house.

I immediately thanked the Lord for friends like this. I then prayed that my children would be surrounded by these kinds of friends.

Here is a letter that I wrote to my daughter Presley telling her the importance of friendship. I am definitely not an expert on the subject, but I have definitely learned some things along the way.
Words will never be able to properly convey my heart, but here goes.

Dear Presley,

Today I witnessed a beautiful sight. I wish so much you could have been with me. I would have loved for you to witness such a gift of love. You surely would have never forgotten this day. I know that I never will.

Here is my take away from today:

Choose your friendships wisely.

Pray for God to guide you to the right friends.

Surround yourself with godly girlfriends.

Be a good friend.

Show up for your friends. [Even when you don't know what to say, show up anyway.]

Make time for friendships. [you will need them one day.]

Be a loyal friend. If you would not say something to your friend's face, then do not say it behind her back. This is HUGE. People will catch on quickly if you are always tearing down someone else.

Be the kind of friend that you want in return. [enough said]

Be an encourager of your friends. Always. No matter what.

Be an encourager of your friends marriage. NEVER dog your friend's spouse. Ever. Support your friends marriage every chance you get. Be very leery of a friend who sets you against your spouse. Dangerous ground. Very dangerous ground.

Be a listener. Let me repeat: Be a listener. Don't hog the conversation with all of your stuff. Take time to hear your friend. You just may learn something by listening.

Pray for your friends. Daily. Cover them in prayer. Thank God for them and pray blessings upon them and their family.

Don't take everything personal. Really, it's not all about you. Be a big girl. Try not to be so sensitive to every little thing in your friendships. It's annoying to be so sensitive that people have to walk on eggs shells around you.

Encourage your friends to be friends with each other. This is the BEST thing ever. When the people you love meet other people you love, it just makes life FUN!!!

Love your friend's children. Take the time to get to know them. Talk to them. Look them in the eyes. The friends that I am the closest to, LOVE my children. This is so HUGE. When friends love on your kids, it makes for an even sweeter friendship.

Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. EVERY single time. This will give your heart so much peace. So MUCH PEACE. Never assume the worst. Ever. Give everyone in your life mercy. Endless mercy. Because you will want mercy as well.

Nobody is perfect. Not even you. Don't expect your friends to be perfect. They will fail you in this. And you will fail them. Be gracious and make it a habit to overlook their faults on a very regular basis. You will want them to overlook yours.

Support your friends. Be their biggest fan. Toot their horn for them. Tell the world of their gifts and talents. Everyone needs a friend like this. Even if you think they don't need another fan...they DO! Be their biggest cheerleader.

Do not ever be jealous of your friends having other friends. Encourage them in other friendships. Be glad for them. Nobody likes a jealous friend.

Jealousy will enter in at some point with certain friends. FIGHT against it with prayer. Jealousy will destroy relationships in one fail swoop. Do not let your friendships be taken down by this ugly green-eyed monster. Pray against a jealous heart on a daily basis.

When your friends find success, be happy for them! Be truly happy for them! Let them know how happy you are---and mean it!

Call your friends back. Text your friends back. Even if it is just a short little message. Let them know they are important. It's rude and tactless to never respond.  Try to be diligent with this. [I am still working on this too!]

Know your friends' birthdays. Call them or send them a card. Celebrate them! Don't you love to be celebrated?

If you are caught in the middle of a conversation where another friend is being torn apart, be brave. Speak up and take up for your friend. Silence is not always golden. You can still be kind to the friends that are tearing to pieces the other friend. Just let them know you do not want to be a part of this kind of conversation. Your friends will appreciate your bravery. And they will probably secretly hope to have your courage one day. They will also know and appreciate that you would take up for them as well.

Be leery of friends who always have a "secret" to share about someone else. They will be sharing your secrets too. Be careful. The bible tells us not to "throw our pearls to pigs." Take this to heart. Along with this, guard a friend who has entrusted a secret to you with your life. Throw away the key.

Remember, friendships can go through seasons. Don't get discouraged if you find yourself a little distant or out of sync with certain friends. Don't focus on the distance. Focus on the ones you have right in front of you in that season. Seasons come and go. Enjoy each friend in each season.

Don't forget to LAUGH with your friends! Even in the sad times, find the JOY! God's Word says that a cheerful heart is the best medicine. IT IS TRUE.

Surround yourself with different ages of friends. Older ones, younger ones, and ones that are the same age. You will learn from ALL OF THEM. I promise you this!

Have at least one or two friends that are mentors to you. Friends that you can learn things from in being a wife and in motherhood. Do not be intimidated by these kind of friends. Soak up every ounce of their wisdom on a regular basis. I cannot stress to you how important this is! Highlight this one!


Oh, Presley. I am praying for your friendships. What a gift it will be to my heart to see you surrounded by godly girlfriends as you grow up. You can count on me to daily encourage you in this area. I will daily pray for you to be that kind of friend as well.

I love you. So much.

your biggest fan,


Mommy
 
 
Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.
Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?
Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Friday, February 20, 2015

Forty is the new....Forty

So, this is the year I turned 40. I know, you are shocked, right?! ;)

My friends hosted a wonderful dinner for me at Cafe Milano a week before my birthday. I was a teary-eyed mess. I blame it on 40 year old hormones.

I tried to tell each of them how much they meant to me and how precious their friendships are to my heart. I blubbered my way through it as best as I could.

Little did I know, that the following weekend, I would walk into my friend, Kim's house, and find ALL OF MY FRIENDS and their SPOUSES singing happy birthday to me!

Yes!

It was a HUGE SURPRISE. I still cannot believe that I had NO idea about this party. None.

The funny thing is, I was having a very emotional week. Shocker, right? I even texted Lem that week and told him that I felt like I had no friends and that nobody liked me. You know, typical mid-month hormonal crap.

I do have the greatest friends. And when I feel lonely again, I will remember my birthday week and how much love I felt surrounded by precious people.

40 is weird. It just feels weird to say. I don't feel 40. I guess none of us ever do.

However, there is so much good at this age. I feel comfortable in my skin. Like never before.

My marriage is stronger than ever.

My kids are such a blast at the ages they are!

Things that used to bother me, do not bother me.

I have a lot more grace than I did in my early thirties.

I have realized that life does not revolve around me and the way I perceive things.

I let things go.

My relationship with Christ is stronger than ever.

I don't feel the need to strive. To be liked. To be noticed. To be sought after. I am content.

Contentment is a gift.

I am much more thankful than I was in my thirties.

Each day is a gift. I see that now.

I have so much more grace for myself as well. I don't feel the pressure to be a certain size. I just want to feel good in my jeans.

Honestly, forty is good.

Really, really good.


Here are some pictures from my birthday. I have more to post, well, in another post. Stay tuned.

I apologize in advance for the overload of my face in EVERY picture. I wanted to capture every friend---uhhh, with me of course.

Beth and me

Mary and me

Kelli and me

Mom and me

Amberlee and me

Erin and me

Kelly and me

Lisa and me

Kim and me



Rebekah and me

Bible study girls birthday dinner!

"Mommy, make a funny face."

Presley and I enjoying milkshakes after our
manicures--on my birthday.
Manicure: Courtesy of my friend, Melissa. ;)

Presley brought me breakfast in bed. All by her precious self.
Coffee mug: courtesy of my friend Lisa. ;)

And if you are wondering what is in the bowl, 
it's Greek Yogurt. With peanut butter. And honey. And blueberries.
The girl knows her momma well. 





Monday, February 16, 2015

Help me with my kids please....

As I finished the last chapter in Genesis, I closed my Bible and had a moment of silence with Jesus.

Tears flooded my eyes because I was not ready for this book to end. I had grown close to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. The words on the pages of my bible came alive in my spirit and my heart.

With tears streaming down my cheeks, I prayed this prayer:

"Lord, I want to be like them! Please give me a heart to follow Your commands. Not just follow Your commands, but to teach Your commands to my children. Lord, let my children love Your Word! How can I teach them to love Your Word? Show me, Father. I want them to crave Your commands and Your Truth more than anything in their precious lives. Please help me to teach them well, Lord. Not just by my words, but by my actions."

I opened my Bible back up and started the book of Exodus. After reading two chapters, I wept to the Lord again. Y'all God's Word is tearing me up!

I am changed each time I read it. My heart desires more and more and more. His Word is Alive. It's true.

His Word is teaching me about motherhood. In a profound way. Although the Old Testament was written over two thousand years ago, it still resonates with us. Exactly the way God intends it to do.

Our spiritual ancestors are teaching us how to pray for our kids. How to teach our kids. How to live a life of faith for our children to bear witness to.

In a world that tries to annihilate our children daily with pornography, addiction, perversion, body image issues, material wealth, and so much more...

We are not left without a weapon to fight back! We have God Almighty on our side! NOTHING else can fight the enemy and his fiery lies like God's Word and prayer.

The two combined are the deadliest combination we have this side of Heaven. We must use them.

 "..in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. " Ephesians 6:16-17


"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22


For many years, my weapons sat dusty on a shelf. My Bible was never opened. Ever. My prayer life was stagnant, unless I was extremely desperate.

His Word has changed all of this. His Word has taught me how to be equipped. Equipped to fight the battle the enemy wages against me and my family.

Never again, will I be without my weapons of warfare.

Our children are in the fight of their lives and they have no idea. The dangers are lurking on social media, in their schools, outside of their schools, everywhere.

The battle is REAL.

"Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. " 1 Peter 5:8

The enemy is on attack and we must learn from our spiritual ancestors.

We MUST pray.

We MUST teach them God's Word.

We MUST be diligent over their comings and goings.

Who are they hanging out with? Who are their friends on social media? What kind of comments are they leaving on friends pages? What kinds of comments are being left on their pages?

We MUST open our eyes.  The enemy is waging war on the hearts and minds of our children. God has given us the job of protecting them, equipping them. If we don't, who will?

Our churches are wonderful, but they are only an accessory to us in raising our children. It is not the church's job to be the sole care giver of our children's spiritual growth.

It us up to us...the parents.

We must quit being so defensive over our children, and scared of hurting their feelings when we tell them "no". We are not called to "make them happy", we are called to "train them in the way they should go, so that when they are old they will not depart from it." [proverbs 22:6]

We must come together as parents and support each other in this daunting task of child-rearing. When we see a child in danger, we must love the child and the parent enough to shed light on the situation. We must be able to talk to each other as parents and express our concerns over each other's children.

When we shut down and become defensive over our children,  it blinds us to truth, and our children are left paying the consequences of our pride.

Not sure about you, but pride went out the window when I birthed my first baby! Nothing brings us to the lowest rung of the humility ladder like our children. Just when we think we deserve a "Mother of the year" award, they will do something to knock that title right out of our prideful little hands. Oh yes. Every time.

For the record, please always let me know if my children are in danger. Whether they are in danger of a bad reputation,  poor character, or  actual physical danger--I want to know. If you see my child or hear of my child doing something that could endanger them, please love me enough to tell me. It may sting and hurt, but I cannot help my child if I do not know they are in danger.

Our society and culture has spoken fear into the hearts of parents. Fear of "getting involved". Teaching us to just "mind our own business" instead of helping each other out when we are in need. Fear of being "too overbearing" or not "politically correct" as parents.

This is contrary to God's Word.

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

We must love each other enough to pray for each other. Support each other. Encourage each other. Speak the truth in love when needed.

We must love our own children enough to open our eyes. Check their phones. Check their computers. Check out their whereabouts. Regularly.

If they have a phone, Ipad, or tablet, remove them from their rooms at night. [I learned this from my pastor]. Put them in a place where they cannot access them. Our children may not like it, but one day they will thank us for it.

 Ignorance is not bliss when raising our children. Ignorance is dangerous.

If we are too busy to do this, we are too busy.

God never intended for busyness to take the place of raising our children.

He has equipped us with everything we need to fight the enemy as he battles for the hearts of our children. We must be prepared for warfare.

A war needs an army. An army of believing parents. Standing together in the trenches, outside of the trenches, and equipped with God's Word and prayer.

Even with standing on the Word of God over our children, and praying the daylights over them, our children may still stumble. And greatly.

This is a call to persist. At all costs. Never give up on God's plan for your children. He can do mighty things with a mistake-filled life. Just ask Jacob, and Moses, and King David.

"Instead of your shame you will have a double portion" Isaiah 61:7

As we fall on our faces before God and ask Him to help us in our parenting, let's remember to:

-Pray.
-Read His Word daily.
-Pray for accountability in parenting--friends, family, neighbors. Others that can help keep watch over our children.
-Ask God for wisdom in parenting. Ask Him all day long!


"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." James 1:5


Gosh, Genesis has taught us a lot, hasn't it?

Let's keep reading,


jill

Our little stars.....

Back in December my babies participated in a guitar concert at our local coffee shop, Perk Avenue. 

Presley sang "We are never getting back together" by Taylor Swift. Joseph played his guitar to "Silent Night."

Needless to say, we were PROUD!!! Here are a few pictures of them and their supporters!




Maw Maw & Paw Paw

Kim & Aunt Angie

Anna-Joy

Amberlee & Jordan


Presley and Mr. Kris [her guitar teacher]



Joseph plays Silent Night with Emily and Mr. Kris


William, Aunt Jess, Uncle Rob, and Mama Jane 

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Christmas Story--well, kind of....

This time of year holds many special traditions for our family.

One of them being Santa Claus pictures. Since my children were birthed, we have taken them to see Santa Claus at a local mall. I have 13 pictures proudly displayed on my kitchen counter representing each year the kids saw Santa. Until this year.

Let me explain...

Monday of this week rolled around and I gasped. Literally, out loud, I gasped.

"We haven't had our annual Santa pictures taken! We must get to the mall now!"

The kids and I jumped into the car and drove the 45 minute drive to the mall.

My thirteen year old son was less than thrilled. I can't imagine why.

We walked right up to the picture line for Santa. I squealed because there was NO one in line. NO one. God had shone His favor all over us!! I just knew it!!

I proudly stood there with my children in tow ready for our annual Santa picture.

The [not so kind] elf man said, "I am sorry, ma'am, but Santa is going on an hour break."

In the sweetest voice I could find I replied, "Oh, sir, but this will only take a second. My kids are big, they smile easily, and they will be done in just a few minutes. Simple!"

The elf man replied, "Umm, no, I am sorry. You will have to come back, Ma'am."

My face started to get flushed. The back of my neck was starting to feel prickly. I could feel my emotions rising a little too quickly.

"Sir, I will buy the biggest package you offer if you will just let us get one quick picture!"

The elf man looked at me like I had totally insulted him. Well, I suppose I did.

"Ma'am, we only have one size package. That's the only package you will be able to get. Now, I am sorry. Come back later."

I felt like I was in a bad Christmas movie. You know, the ones where the Mother goes nuts over the smallest thing going awry? Well, yeah, that was me. The nutty, Christmas sweater wearing, Mother.

My thirteen year old son took my arm and said, "Mom, let's go. Please."

I lingered for a moment, hoping to catch Santa's eye. Surely if he saw how distraught I was he would offer to stay another minute and have one last picture with my oh-so-darling-children.

For a moment, I wished that I had re-applied my lip gloss and combed through my wind-blown hair. Maybe then I could have caught Santa's eye. [terrible, I know]

Santa wasn't budging. Neither was his elf man.

Off we walked into the bleak blur of hustle and bustle. Tears stung my tired eyes. I couldn't keep them from running down my face.

I failed. No Santa picture. No nothing.

I wasn't sure if I was more upset about not having the picture with Santa, or embarrassing myself trying to bribe the elf man. Ugh.

Eventually, I succumbed to the fact that this year we would have no Santa picture. Oh well. The world would not end.

Until the next day...

I had a revelation! There was another mall! I could take the kids to see Santa there! This time, I called the mall. They assured me that Santa would be there ALL day.

He was. Until it was time for his break. The minute we walked up to see him. I am NOT kidding. The little elf girl told me to come back in an hour and a half.

WHAT?!!!!

I prayed for Jesus to take the wheel of my tongue. I had to bite my tongue down hard, and I mean hard.

I walked off with my kids shaking my head in despair.

We got half way to the car and I had an idea.

We went right back to the Santa picture line where everyone had left for their hour and a half break. [good grief]  I told my kids to sit right down in Santa's chair and I would take their picture. [I thought this was a brilliant idea!]

However, my kids were too scared to sit in Santa's chair without him there. [I may or may not have rolled my eyes]

Biting my tongue I replied, "Fine. Just stand there and I will take your picture."

"But Mom, what if they see us and we get in trouble?"

I responded, "I DARE them to say something."

The kids smiled. The crazy momma [me] took the picture. And off we went.

We got our picture. Just without Santa. [picture at bottom of post]

I was happy. They were happy. It was a wrap.

So, I learned a few things these last couple of days.

One...take the kids to see Santa earlier!

Two...I have issues.

Three...I really should have better control over my flesh in times like these.

Four....Praying saved me from making front page of the local newspaper for not controlling my emotions.

Five.... the world will not end if things don't go exactly like I plan. In fact, it just makes for a better story to talk about next year.

We will laugh about this, life will go on, and I will have  picture to frame for my kitchen counter. It will just be Santa-less.

That's okay. Christmas is about Jesus. The Joy He brings. The Peace He brings. Especially to a distraught Christmas-sweater wearing momma.

Merry Christmas, friends!

 May His Love surround you and may His Peace cover you.


But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:10-11


Monday, December 1, 2014

You are Ten....

a sweet cake for a sweet girl!

admiring your yummy cake!

a morning walk this Summer with you on St. Simon's Island

blowing out TEN candles as family looks on!

celebrating at Mama Jane's with pizza and strawberry cake!

Your birthday morning---you are TEN!

checked you out early on your birthday!
 we were sitting in line at carpool waiting to get Joseph!

my baby girl with curlers in your hair
the night before you turned 10!!


Dear Presley Jane,

As I type, you, Daddy, and Joseph are out having dinner with Maw Maw and Paw Paw. I am devastated to not be there. As you know, I woke up sick this morning. It started yesterday. You prayed last night with tears in your eyes that I would not be sick today--on your big birthday.

I would give anything to be cooking your favorite meal, spaghetti, tonight. However, you know I will make it up to you as soon as mommy is better.

I just wanted to take a minute and tell you how much you mean to me.

You are the sunshine in my days.

You were born on a cold December day, but you are absolute WARM SUNSHINE.

The little things that you do, that make you so perfectly you, make me melt.

Your toes are my favorite. I have been obsessed with them since you were born.

Your dimple on the top of your left cheek. It is the most precious little feature I have ever seen.

My favorite thing to do with you is snuggle in my bed. We love watching movies together while the boys are in the den watching sports. You are forever my girl.

Sometimes, as a mommy, I feel guilty that I am not doing enough. I guess all mommy's feel this way sometimes. I constantly question myself and wonder if you know how much I love you.

Do I spend enough time with you? Am I too strict? Too lenient?

I am constantly trying to make sure I am a good momma to you.

You will probably have these same thoughts when you are a momma. You can read this letter again, and rest assure that you are not alone.

Your daughter or son will adore you. It's not about doing everything right, or being perfect, it's just about being there. A smile. A hug. A kiss. Encouragement.

As a mommy, there are many distractions that are tempting to lure us away from our kids and our families. I can only imagine that by the time you are a mommy, it will even be much harder.

Presley, don't let the world pull you away from the ones you love. It will try. Really hard.

Pray to the Lord and ask Him to help you keep your life in proper order. God first. Your husband and your kids next. Nothing is more important than the time you are given to spend with your family.

Sometimes I wish I could just keep all of you in this house, and never let you go. I want to soak up every single ounce of you. I don't want to miss a moment with you.

Daily, I pray that God will give me the strength to watch you and Joseph grow up. I know He will.

However, even when you are grown, I will still have a very  important role. Your mother. This job never ends. It's in full-demand at all times.

I need my mother just as much today as I did when I was your age. Just in different ways.

God created mothers to care, nurture, support, encourage, cheer on, listen, and talk to. This goes on your whole life! How happy this makes me!!

Presley, I will make mistakes. I have made many already. However, I know that that's not what you will remember. You will remember the times when I wasn't trying. When I was just being your mother. Loving you.

I am still in absolute AWE by the fact that the Lord gave you to us to raise.

He must have thought we were the perfect family for you. How BLESSED we are!!!

I love you, Presley Jane Hill.

Happy 10th birthday, our angel.


love,

mommy






Thursday, September 18, 2014

Because I need them....

I have had some things going on with some very close loved ones. It's been hard.

Today, I sat down and wrote down some scriptures for a friend going through something. As I was typing them, I realized God wanted me to know them too. He wants me to rest in them. Really, rest in them.

He wants me to not just know them, but believe them.

He is our Rock. Nothing else will hold, friends.

We must trust Him with the details. Peace comes rushing in when we let Him do His thing.

Insert your name, or a loved one's name in the scripture. It is powerful. See for yourself. :)


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 3:18

A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense Proverbs 19:11 


 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

The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'" 2 Chronicles 20:17

Contend, O LORD, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me! Psalm 35:1

The LORD is my light and my salvation-- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life-- of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness James 3:18

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:14

The LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you will only move upward and never downward if you listen to the LORD your God’s commands I am giving you today and are careful to follow them. Deuteronomy 28:13

Friday, September 12, 2014

On my back porch.....

Sometimes life moves so fast that we miss the little things. The things that we think will always be there.

Tonight, Lem and I had a rare few hours on the back porch together. Presley is away at a friend's house, and Joseph was inside reading a good book.

The days in our house are crazy and busy, and we are constantly running from one place to another. I hardly ever get to see my husband. And when I do, we are both tired, exasperated, and ready to go unwind. He unwinds by the television, I unwind by going to sleep. :)

Another day goes by, another moment in time passed.

We awake the next day to another dizzying life.

Here's the thing....

I know all of this is fleeting. It goes by so fast.

At times my heart gets so jolted by this realization that it can make me crumble. I have always been so utterly aware of these moments. These little moments in life that we sometimes miss because of the busy.

I hate busy.

Yet, tonight, in the quiet, in the dark, on the back porch....

I longed for busy.

I longed to hear Presley's voice asking me to help her with something.

I longed to hear all about Joseph's cool new book, or a story from his day at school.

I longed to hear little Danny's excited voice running through the house as he chases Presley and Joseph.

The quiet was too quiet. 

Lem was with me, so it wasn't that quiet, but it was deafening compared to our usual life.

I sat there, talking to Lem, with a huge lump in my throat.

I love our life. I love our family.

There is nothing that I want more than to be present in each moment with them. Every single moment.

The little things suddenly become the big things.

The only things, really.

I used to have such big dreams for my life. When my children get older I will ___________.

I don't remember those dreams anymore, nor do I want to.

I just want to live where I am....forever. Or until God calls me home.

Seasons change, things change. I know this.

However, I want to look back on each season with a smile that I lived it fully. Fully present.

As God would have it, my friend sent me a sweet note in the mail today.

She wrote this: "choosing to do the small things with GREAT love is what changes people's lives. Never stop, never quit....the little things are ALWAYS the BIG things."

How did God know I needed those words today?

He always does, doesn't He?

As the dark grew deeper out on that back porch tonight, Lem took my hand and asked me to dance with him.

I obliged.

With a lump in my throat, we started to dance.

It was one of those little moments, that will be remembered as a big moment.


Thank you, Father, for this life. Thank you for making my childhood dreams come true. Being a wife, being a mother.....these are the BIG things. 







Sunday, August 31, 2014

Avoiding Extremes....

When bad things happen around me, I tend to go in lock down mode.

Let me explain.

When I hear the horrible news of children getting cancer, or young mothers and fathers coming down with deadly diseases, I panic.

I tend to think that surely there is something I can do to protect my loved ones. Surely if we consume more organic fruits, veggies, and vitamins, we will be spared.

God recently pointed me to some of the most powerful words in scripture that He has ever shown me. He may as well have knocked me over the head with a brick. It was that profound.

It was a normal day. I had visited our local "health" food store and spent more money than was in my budget that week. Of course, I rationalized it as "doing something good for my family."

I came home, and went to one of my favorite health/natural living blogs. I was making sure I got all of the vitamins and concoctions that she had told me that I needed to keep my family "safe".

Check. I had everything. We were "safe".

Later that day, I was having my quiet time with the Lord. Just sitting there doing my thing, flipping through the Bible and asking Him to speak to me.

He did. Big time.

Here is the first verse He showed me:

“Do not call conspiracy
    everything this people calls a conspiracy;
do not fear what they fear,
    and do not dread it.
 The Lord Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy,
    he is the one you are to fear,
    he is the one you are to dread.
Isaiah 8:12-14


I was fearing what people fear. I was putting my faith and trust in worldly things instead of in Christ Jesus. It was crystal clear what He was telling me.

The next verse He showed me brought such a relief to my soul. I will write this verse down and tape it up in my kitchen. Maybe even tattoo it to my wrist, although it is long, so maybe my thigh. :)

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.  They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.  For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5 because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.

If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed.  Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come." I Timothy 4:1-8

God is telling me that I should not fear what goes into my body, or what does not go into my body. He is bigger than vitamins, organic chicken, and phosphate-free soap. Pray before eating. Give thanks to Him before eating. Put my trust in Him, not the cleanness of my food.

He is the One that keeps me safe. If I reverse the order and make "safety" an idol, I move Him out of first place in my life.

If I look to the world to "preserve" my temporal body in a way that is out of balance with my trust and faith in His protection,  then I live in a self-made, self-protected illusion.

My goal here on Earth is to work on the eternal treasures, not on the temporal. My body is temporal. It will not be with me, at least in the sense of how it is now. My spirit will go on, the gifts of the Spirit will live in eternity.

The Lord freed me that day. He was telling me to pray before I partake in any food. Give thanks for that food. And enjoy.

I am set free from the self-condemning thought of not always being able to feed my kids organic, grain-fed, grass-fed, or whatever else kind of "fed" I am told I should be feeding them. I cannot keep up. I never will. The list is too long.

I will instead pray for guidance from Him, and not the world. I will pray for Him to lead me in this daunting task of motherhood and protecting my kids. I cannot do it without Him. I cannot do it with the world's wisdom.

However, I can do it with His help. With prayer, and thanksgiving, I can do this. I can live a guilt-free, fear-free life of freedom in Christ.


"So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don't get tied up again in slavery to the law." Galatians 5:1

My prayer is that God will take away any desire of my flesh that wants to "preserve" it. I am asking Him to preserve the "eternal" in my life. To not just preserve the eternal but to grow it and give me craving and burning desire for those things.

The fruits of the Spirit that will live on in eternity....


 love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control.

I want to grow these fruits. I want to focus on these things and not self-preservation.

Please hear me when I say that I am not saying we should neglect our bodies and abuse them with things that we know to be hazardous. Or, that we should not have a desire to be healthy.

I am saying that our desire to be healthy should be kept in check and in balance. Our desire to be physically healthy should not overrule our desire for our spiritual health.

We should read labels, we should be aware of what goes into our bodies. However, we should be the most concerned with the eternal fruit that comes forth from our spirits.

"For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Romans 14:17


"It is good to grasp the one and not let go of the other. The man who fears God will avoid all extremes. Wisdom makes one wise man more powerful than ten rulers in a city." Ecclesiastes 7:18-19

I can breathe a sigh of relief that I am not in charge. I never was. God is sovereign, and He always has been. I will trust Him, I will listen for His voice, and I will enjoy life instead of fearing it.


breathing a sigh of relief,


jill