Sunday, October 31, 2010


Yesterday was the Rise and Shine Women's Retreat and now a day later, I find myself at a lack of words. Moments before the doors opened everyone who would be on stage gathered for final instructions and once they were given Lysa TerKeurst closed in prayer for the team.

She asked God to interrupt us and mess us up in the best sort of way! And now 24 hours later, I can say that prayer has been answered for at least one...

HE is messing with me...I am overwhelmed by all HE did...I am thankful for the privilege it was to be a part of something so good and so GOD!

The title of this post says it all...I am speechless, but as He helps me sort things out I promise to return and share more about a wonderful, wonderful day!

Until then a BIG thank you to each and every one of you who has been lifting the event, the team, Lysa, the attendees, everything in prayer! None of this could have happened without it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

My Mentor and Me

Hello to all of you visiting from Renee’s blog; thanks for taking the time to stop by!

Today I want to take a minute and share what my mentor, aka my spiritual mom, and me are up to - the two of us are blessed to be part of the Rise and Shine Women’s Retreat Team and the event we’ve been planning and preparing for takes place tomorrow!! Very exciting!

Yesterday morning I thought about the days to come - the work, the stress, the joy, the excitement! The more I thought the faster my mind began to race and then God slowed me down. I simply went and sat alone (in a house with 4 little ones that doesn’t happen too often!!) with HIM! As I did that He filled me with His peace and calmed my spirit.

But in that time He did even more, He reminded me - He reminded me of what this is all about - HIM!! He reminded me of where He’s brought me. He reminded me of people He’s used in my life. He reminded me He is in control and if we are willing and available He can use us. He reminded me He is so good!! He reminded me He is BIG and I am small; I am weak, but HE is strong! I was reminded He is a giver and my relationship with Him is such a gift.

I closed that part of my day truly feeling blessed! Because I am, but before I got up to really start the day I took a moment to pray. I asked God to keep me in that place…not just in the days leading up to Rise and Shine, but always! Day in and day out, I am blessed, loved and strengthened because of HIM. It’s true every weekend doesn’t hold the excitement and anticipation of this one, but still HE is there. The circumstances change but He does not!

Just yesterday I received a note in the mail full of compliments about the book and the impact it made on this specific reader. I was touched by her words and appreciated them so much, but her closing comment is what really struck me. She said, “I hope to find Him (Christ) someday the way that you have.”

Like I said her words have impacted me, actually in two ways - 1) I am committed to pray for this gal - specifically that she will know Christ in a very personal and powerful way and 2) I don’t ever want to take my relationship with Christ for granted - it is not something everyone has and it is not by my doing - He chose me!!

Friend, thank you for visiting today! I pray you’ve been blessed and I pray you are encouraged to make an impact in the life of another. I also pray you’ve been reminded of the value of your relationship with Jesus Christ! At the same time if this talk has you wanting to know more please feel free to contact me I’d love to share more.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


If you are regular visitor to my blog, you have heard about the “Rise and Shine Women‘s Retreat.” This event will be held Saturday - 4 days from today!! It is a complete honor and blessing to be part of the wonderful team that is organizing the retreat, but last night I was feeling the pressure.

Over a week ago a friend asked, “Are you feeling the pressure as crunch time hits?” At the time I had a two part answer - I really wasn’t stressed with the detail part of it all, but I was feeling the pressure of living out what Rise and Shine is all about. Rachel, one of our team members had said a bit about the team, the volunteers, everyone involved being the face of Rise and Shine and that really hit me.

So fast forward to this week…with plans to meet for our last team meeting today I’m feeling a little stress with all the details that need to be taken care of and loose ends that need to be tied, but still it’s the daily rising and shining that is the challenge.

You see, tomorrow we take our little man Jed in for an echo cardiogram because last week at his 12 month check the Dr. heard a heart murmur. She has assured me I don’t need to worry - according to every thing else he is a healthy little boy. But still we want to make sure. And really I have peace that his heart is in God’s hands and believe the results will be fine. My bigger fear is the sedation process…worry can set in when I think about that, but that’s when God whispers to my heart, “Jill rise and shine - trust me.”

Then there’s the financial side of things - I know this test will be costly. Just 6 months ago we changed insurance meaning more of the expense is ours… Again my mind can go, but He continues with the same message, “Jill, rise and shine - I will provide.”

I could go on, but you get the idea…you too have daily struggles - it doesn’t matter if it’s health, money, relationships…we all have difficult moments in our life. Whether they are big or small is irrelevant as well, regardless of what they are they can create pressure.

The other day as I talked with God about this, I was struggling with why rising and shining, basically living out my faith sometimes has to be so hard. And why does it have to feel like such pressure. It may sound crazy but He brought my basketball days to mind…

Back then I liked the pressure…yeah it could be nerve wracking, but yet I enjoyed the intense moments, felt like I’d accomplished something during victories when the game was tight and learned valuable lessons when I fell short.

God has used those memories to speak me - as a point guard I knew when the pressure was on and last night was reminded of three things my coach used to say to me in those moments. “Slow down!!” “Keep your head up!” “Look down the floor!”

Today as I gear up for some intense possibly pressure filled days ahead, I pray I will not only hear God say that to me, but will listen and obey! I pray things will go according to HIS time while I keep my eyes on HIM and focus on HIS eternal plan! And when things get too intense I pray I remember I still have the option to call a time-out - my heavenly coach is always available!!

Before I was able to post this, we were reading our daily devotions and as my husband read, these words touched my heart -

"We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers." 2 Corinthians 1:8-11a

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Waiting for Rise and Shine

In 11 days the Rise and Shine women's retreat will be taking place! In a way I've been looking forward to this since last October when the first retreat was held. This year Lysa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 will be joining us and I know God has great things in store.

We have been meeting and planning for close to a year and it's exciting to see all the details coming together. God is obviously putting the pieces together once again and I'm anticipating Him filling in the gaps this year as well.

It's been wonderful to connect with others who are attending this year through our Facebook page and it will be great to put a face to a name. There are so many things to look forward to, but at the same time there are so many things to do yet!

I know in the days ahead there are loose ends we need to tie up, final decisions to be made and finishing touches to be put on. And there are prayers that we must continue to pray!

But at the same time there's more...the other day as I was anticipating the day of Rise and Shine, I realized though the day is special and will be blessed, I really don't need to wait! God will speak on the 30th, but if I listen, He will speak today as well. God will create connections, but He'll also bring people across my path today. God will use me at the retreat in Cedar Falls, but He can work just as powerfully through me today in my home. His presence will be real at Orchard Hill Church, but He's here right now even as my children argue!

All of these thoughts remind me that Rise and Shine truly is more than a retreat; it is a way of life. I know the 30th will be wonderful, but at the same time, "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24 It doesn't matter where we rise and shine; the important thing is we allow His light to shine!!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

When the sun shines...

The other day I was driving down the road and the sun was shining! Outside it was a cool, October day in Iowa, but on the other side of the window I felt the sun’s power! As the temperature inside the vehicle rose my mind went to work and I took some time to really think about the big ball of fire in the sky.

Let me share some of those thoughts -
When the sun shines it’s presence is known!
It has the power to produce heat and light.
It can bring joy - picture my kids swimming on a hot summer day.
It brings peace - my husband combining on a nice, dry fall day.
The sun sustains life - the crops my husband is harvesting are evidence of that.

It was only natural for these thoughts to lead to some more; as I marveled at the beauty of God’s creation I was reminded of another Son that shines! And it’s amazing when you think about the similarities between the two -
When Jesus shines, His presence is known!
He warms our heart and lights our way!
He brings joy!
He brings peace!
He not only sustains life, He created it and is the Bread of life!!

God didn’t allow my thoughts to stop at this, no He took things a step further…you see I’m part of a team that is organizing the Rise and Shine Women’s Retreat that will be held in less than 4 weeks. So the idea of “rising and shining” has been on my heart for quite some time!

My prayer for this retreat is that women will not only walk away encouraged, refreshed and renewed, but they will be given a spiritual wake-up call! One that inspires them to rise and shine daily!! Because when the Son shines through us, His presence is known and His power can be felt; hearts are touched and what was dark becomes light. By rising and shining a difference can be made; His joy can carry someone through the pain and His peace can calm another during the storm. Ultimately by rising and shining, He may use the light in us to not just sustain life, but to save it eternally!

To think all these thoughts were the result of the sun shining! Think about what could happen if someone sees THE SON shining through you today!!