Tuesday, July 31, 2012

She Speaks '12 - The Prayer Room: Yet Another Surprise

There's still so much to say about She Speaks, but today I want to focus on the prayer room. If you've never been to a prayer room, specifically the one at She Speaks, I want to share one thing...it is holy ground. God is there!

It is a great place to go and be alone even in the midst of 650 women, but it's also a place where God speaks. You see each year the P31 women pray specifically for everyone who will attend. They also "randomly" place our name under a name of God...3 years ago I found my name and God spoke powerfully. Needless to say I was looking forward to a similar experience this year!

So Friday night I found myself in the prayer room, I spent some time quieting my heart and just soaking it all in and then moved to the front of the room to find my name. I circled around looking at every paper, recognizing some names, stopping to pray and wondering where mine would be. I wondered what God had to say.

I came to the very last table, the very last paper and there it was, Jill Beran, attached to the sheet that said, "Jehovah Saboath - The Lord of Hosts, The Lord of Armies." And my first thought, that's the same place it was 3 years ago. My thoughts continued and I came to the conclusion, yes, the battle still goes on.

I then read the rest of the sign and jotted down these words, "The Lord of heaven will always fulfill His purposes, even when the hosts of His earthly people fail." I quickly wrote down the scripture verses and then attended my first session.

Later that night, my roommate and I were talking about our names of God and how we were each surprised to find our name under the same name as when we previously attended.

Honestly it was a bit of a left down; I was ready for something new, ready for the battle to be over. By the next morning God had given me something new.

I was up and a bit nervous about my publisher appointments, but the emotion that had hit hard was doubt. I mean really, me meet with a publisher, one the same gal who'd accepted Renee Swope's book.

Then God spoke to me, Jill, I'm the Lord of Armies, 3 years ago that calmed your fears as you felt opposition from outsiders, but right now you are your own worst enemy. Ouch, that hurt a bit, but it was (and is) so true.

Friend sometimes it's others who fail, but often times it's ME!! Though that happens, God's purpose will prevail. Does that mean I went to the meetings and received a contract for my book? No and perhaps I never will, but it does mean I walked in with confidence and complete trust in the ONE who'd brought me to that place.

1 Samuel 17:45 was one of the references listed on the Name of God sheet. It says, "David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied."

This verse, one I'd actually unpacked a bit in chapter 2, helped. Through these words, God reminded me, He is a consistent God. His Word is alive. He's not going to move us on until we've learned the lesson He is currently teaching, even if it's been three years!

And the thing with God is there is always more to learn, not sure why I was surprised! Friend, can I encourage you today if something He's done or said has left you surprised or wondering, don't just accept it as fact, dig in and ask Him to help you understand. I believe you will find a message, a powerful one, just like I did. And you will grow in the process, just yesterday I dug even deeper and for the first time found myself reading commentaries instead of just listening to my pastor quote them.

I have much to learn about Jehovah Saboath and I have to believe there's much more God wants to teach you as well!!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A day late...

Sorry for the delay in posting the winner to my give-away; a migraine set in and changed plans for the day! Thank you all for taking part and sharing this post with your friends. I was encouraged by your words! If you didn't win the book, I pray you will look into getting a copy for yourself!

So now for the news you're all waiting for -

Danielle Jones
is the name
my little lady drew as the winner!!

Congrats to you Danielle! So thankful I had the opportunity to meet you at She Speaks; your sweet smile still brings a smile to my face! Pray this book blesses you and we're all wondering how your husband responded upon hearing the title!!

May you all have a blessed day!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

She Speaks 2012 - Seriously God?!? and a GIVE-AWAY!!!

In my previous post, I shared how my journey to She Speaks began and now I'll pick up where that left off...I had listened to my husband and registered for She Speaks. Part of me was excited; I'd been there before and knew I'd be blessed, but part of me still wasn't sure.

Honestly it was a big financial investment and leaving my husband and 5 children at home for 3 days was a hard concept to think about (well except in those moments where I'm tempted to come UNGLUED! Yes, that's a plug for Lysa's new book).

God knew I was uneasy about all of this and brought peace and confirmation in a way only He can; really it still leaves me shaking my head. On March 26, I received this message via email, "Congratulations! You entered Zondervan's Facebook contest and your name was randomly chosen today to be the grand prize winner! You're going to get $1000 Visa voucher."

I'll be honest I read the email and initially thought what is this? Then I wondered is this real? Then I noticed who the message was from - Sheila Gregoire, an author I was introduced to on the Moms Together Facebook page. It was all coming back to me...her publisher ran a Second Honeymoon Contest to help with the launch of her new book. This email was for real...I'd won $1000!! Unbelievable, so I called my husband to share the news!!

He was surprised as well and then asked, "How did you win this?" I gave him the quick answer, "It was a give-away to help launch a book." And then he asked the question, the one some of you may be thinking, "What book?" That day as I answered him on the phone I began to blush and even today as I type my face is as red as my shirt, but I'll say it anyway, "The title of the book is The Good Girl's Guide to Great Sex."

So I'm back to the title of this post, Seriously God? I mean really me the girl who never wins, wins $1000, but more than that - Seriously God, I win because of a book about sex? Job, my husband, simply said, "God has a sense of humor!!" He's right because I'm the girl who doesn't hold hands in public and the mom who about crawled under the pew when her son sounded out the three letter word the pastor had spelled in the pulpit. (Yeah, the one that starts with s and rhymes with Chex!)

Eventually I got past all of this and realized I'd won for a reason...the publisher may have selected my name at random, but God knew. He knew the money would bless me and He knew the book was one I needed to read. Since I'm still blushing I'll spare you all the details, but I do want to say the book is worth your time...this is a topic we often avoid, but it's one we need to address. Not just for ourselves, but for our spouse, our family and really society in general. I would encourage you to visit Sheila Gregoire's site and learn more about her message and improve your marriage!! Follow this link - Shelia Gregoire or to purchase this book click here.

So how does this connect with She Speaks...shortly following my husband's words about God's sense of humor, he says, "I guess you don't need to worry about the money for She Speaks." I responded, "Well, me going to North Carolina by myself really isn't much of a second honeymoon." To my surprise he says, "Oh that does more for our marriage than you know!"

That might appear to be a crazy statement that makes no sense, but please hear what he is saying...being who God made us to be and doing what He calls us to is what we need to do, it's what we're created for and as husband and wife it's what we need to support and encourage in one another. Don't worry we are going to get away and be blessed, but Job's words again left me thinking, "Seriously God?" I am so blessed with a husband who believes in me!

Now I come to end of this post, a story it's taken me nearly 4 months to share because really I fear the thought of letting people know I read a book about sex...I mean seriously God! But the conference this money helped pay for is changing my heart; I'm becoming less concerned about what others think and more focused on doing what God says.

So friend, today I used a word I never have on my blog! I bought a book I never thought I would, I read it too and today I'm going to give one away! Not because I have to but because I want to...if you are a wife or will be some day this book is for you. If you're a mom and fear those conversations this topic will create this book is for you! Sheila shares from God's Word and her own experience a message we all need during a time when 50 Shades of Gray and Magic Mike are making too big of an impact.

Honestly I'm again saying Seriously God? as He leads me to do something I've never done, but friend obedience is what it's all about!!

So how have you found yourself shaking your head and echoing those same words? Share your thoughts in the comments and be entered to win a copy of the book for yourself! Post a link to the give-away on Facebook and be entered to win again! (Just let me know you did and leave a way for me to contact you - your blog link or email address.) Stop by on Friday and I'll announce the winners...looking forward to hearing how her husband responds!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

She Speaks 2012 - How it all began...

Have you ever done something and when it's over you're left speechless? That happened to me this weekend...I was blessed to attend Proverbs31 Ministries She Speaks Conference in North Carolina. It was amazing, but I'm struggling to sum things up and put it all into words, so today I'm going back to how it all began.

Three years ago I was blessed and a bit scared (OK a lot scared) to attend...it was a huge step for this stay-at-HOME Mom, who rarely left the farm let alone the state!! But God did it and before I left NC I knew I would return.

A year ago our little Jesse arrived days before the conference, but a good friend called from the Embassy Suites as SS came to a close and God put it on my heart to begin praying about attending in 2012. All thru the fall and into the winter, God confirmed His plans for me to go, but as registration neared a lack of confidence settled in.

I mean there was the financial side of things, my nursing baby who was a MOMMA'S boy, the thought of leaving 5 children home and the doubts, especially the doubts. I mean really God, why me? A simple farmer's wife who's only platform is my steps out the back door! But it wouldn't go away, so I kept praying...

Registration opened and my husband (Job) and I began to talk about it more; he clearly supported me and assured me all would be fine. But little Miss Indecisive just thought and thought about it until I nearly drove myself C-R-A-Z-Y!! Finally one day, Job asked me, "What are you going to do?"

I replied, "Whatever you tell me to do." Then I clearly remember walking away and praying, "Lord, help me accept what He has to say." Because honestly at times I thought it was my flesh that wanted to have a little break, see some friends and be filled up by some amazing speakers. I anticipated God telling me no thru my husband (and my insecure, fearful self wanted that) so I began to prepare my heart for that very thing.

Time  passes and after a long day of field work, Job says to me, "You're not going to believe this..." So I respond, "OK" and he continues, "I was listening to country music in the tractor today..." He was right that was a surprise, but I didn't say a word because I knew there was more. He continues, "A song came on about life moving by, things changing and how we need to do things now. It was as if God said, 'Jill needs to go to She Speaks, that we shouldn't wait."

Honestly this surprise was bigger than the fact that he had listened to country music, but the only reaction it created was tears. I knew realistically it made sense for my husband to say "no" so this conversation confirmed God's call...a confirmation that overwhelmed me and reminded me of Isaiah 55:8-9 -

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my 
ways,” declares the Lord.   “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are 
my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

 As I sat in North Carolina this past weekend, this verse came to mind quite often, I'm so thankful God opened doors, confirmed the call and is writing my story. A story that is not yet finished, so stop by soon to hear the next piece of my journey to She Speaks 2012. Until then, I encourage you to trust the One whose ways are high...

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

How do you spell...

The title of this post is a question I often hear, especially from my little perfectionist daughter, but I understand, the teacher in me doesn't like spelling errors either. But lately I've been thinking about my blog, the one you thought was extinct since I haven't posted since May. And every time I do a question comes to mind. You see, I can start to feel guilty like I should have been posting regularly and can even allow this to create doubt as I find myself working on a book proposal. I mean who am I to think I could write a book when I can't even create a weekly blog post? Really...

So the last couple of weeks each time these thoughts entered my mind, so would the question, "How do you spell summer?" The answer might surprise you; I know it would bother my daughter! But since I'm taking a break from teaching, I'll accept this answer...for the last 6+ weeks in our house we've been spelling summer like this B-U-S-Y!! As my son would say, "That breaks all the rules!" But it's true!

We've had VBS, swimming lessons, field work, sleepovers, weddings, fair, potty training...and honestly this summer I'm being challenged to spell love a bit differently as well, so I'm intentionally trying to take T-I-M-E with my little people who are growing up way too fast! So though summer is busy it really is going well and I'm thankful!

I hope the next few days continue to go well because I know they will be busy! I'll keep up with the T-I-M-E spelling of love too, only this weekend I'll be spending time with the One who loves me in a way only He can. I have plans to fly to North Carolina Friday AM for Proverbs 31 She Speaks Conference. I'm excited and nervous all at the same time. I know this is part of God's plan and I know He will meet me there, but the reality of leaving Job and the kids is hitting and creating some guilt and fear.

As I type all of this and allow my thoughts to get a bit overwhelming, God is giving me another spelling word. I hear Him ask, "Jill how do you spell TRUST?" Without giving me time to respond, He whispers, "O-B-E-Y!" So true...friend I'm not sure how God is asking you to spend your busy summer or what time to share with those you love, but I pray we will open our ears to hear His plan and then show we trust Him as we obey!

Before I bring this to a close, I'd love to share one more thing: lately I've been challenged with another spelling word...care. One way God has been showing me, I can spell it is P-R-A-Y. I can do a lot of things to show I care about the ones I love, but the greatest thing I can do is pray. I might think I know what they need, but God loves His people more than me and He created their needs, so I trust He can fill them. So with that, I'd love to ask you to pray for me in the days to come...I'm so thankful you care!!

A few specifics -

For my final preparations in these last few days - the writing I need to finish up, packing and preparing things for Job and the kids while I'm gone. And for the ability to really enjoy Jesse's 1st birthday on Thursday!

Please pray for my family when I'm gone...last night Joy was already feeling a bit nervous about it. I'm asking God to bless the time they will enjoy together and with everyone who will be helping out. I'm so thankful for Job's support in all of this...he honestly believes in what God can do through me more than I do myself. I'm grateful for his willingness in all of this and pray God will bless him in big ways!

Please pray that I wouldn't worry, I'd rise above the doubt and simply be who God made me to be! I'm asking Him to empty me of myself so He can fill me! I want to let go of my expectations and embrace all He has for me!

Thank you friend and please I want you to know I care...if you have a prayer request please share and I'd be honored to take the time to lift you up!