Valerie Jones

{Live with Purpose. Lead with Passion.}

I am a blogger, worship leader, and speaker who helps worship leaders and team members connect with purpose and passion in life and leadership by offering encouragement, community, and practical resources so that they can thrive in life and leadership, both on and off the platform.

Thanks for stopping by!

{Blowout | Day 23 of 31}

Ready? Go.

My trusty dictionary gave me inspiration for this prompt. The definition explains a blowout as the "sudden rupture or malfunction of a part...due to pressure." Maybe your mind's eye sees an automobile spin out of control after a tire blowout. Or, if you're a parent, you may be remembering a time the diaper failed and a blowout ruined your dinner along with your favorite shirt. Gross. But, spiritually speaking, have you ever been in a spot where you felt like you might blowout? You know, where your heart feels overwhelmed and can't bear the weight of one more struggle.  When you feel exhausted, but life keeps pressing in. Yeah, me too.

In those moments, though, you find sweet grace. In those moments, you learn something about being pressed but not crushed (2 Corinthians 4:8). I love how the psalmist put it. "When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; He brought me into a spacious place." Yes! A spacious place where I can breathe in His grace and rest in His unfailing love. With my heart in His very capable hands, it's safe.


{Off | Day 22 of 31}

Ready? Go.

My teammates and I used to tell each other "Shake it off, make the next play!"  It's good advice, on the court and off the court.

It is so easy to be distracted and tangled up in what's going on around us. It trips us up, knocks off our game. I've had to shake off quite a bit over the last year. It's exhausting. Sometimes, I did fine. Other times, not so much. A friend of mine who saw me around Christmastime last year told me recently that she could see the heaviness in my eyes and could feel it in the air. It was always thick, suffocating. Eventually, our family moved away from the situation. That didn't go very well either, hurtful words and accusations were flung about and landed like daggers. But we figured creating distance would offer some relief. It did, for a second. But, it would creep back up now and then and try to entangle us. Even as recently as today someone said something about me that wasn't true or kind. Church hurt is one of the worst kinds of hurt, you know. I figured out that sometimes shaking it off is a process. And, without God's grace and help, whatever progress I make won't stick.

But then, there's this: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12: 1-3, NIV

Fix our eyes on Jesus. Do not lose heart. Yes. There's nothing else to add really. This is the key to everything. All the time. In every situation.




{Five Minute Friday | Park}

It's Five Minute Friday. That means unplanned, unedited, straight-from-the-heart-to-the-paper writing. Yep, you just write whatever comes out based on a word you're given. If you have five minutes, you should give it a try!  Find out how here.

This week the prompt is {PARK}. This is also Day 21 of the 31 Day Writing Challenge! WOO!

Ready? GO.

I do love going to the park. There's a beautiful one nearby our home. It has plenty of wide-open space to run and breathe. Or, maybe not to breathe if you happen to be a bit out of shape. And, perhaps not so much running. But one can't argue that certain feeling of freedom that comes when you're standing in the middle of green space -- free and clear of all the things that make our cities crowded.

At the park, you can hear the wind blowing through the trees. I love that. Julia loves to count butterflies and grasshoppers. Some days we go just to play. We picnic. We lay on a blanket a find shapes in the clouds. Other times, I go just to sit and be still. Being in His Creation reminds me that God is one of beauty. It reminds me that He's very specific in what He does. (I mean didn't fifth-grade Life Science blow your mind? Or astronomy?) There's just something sweet about being in creation acknowledging the beauty of the Creator.

It reminds me of what Paul writes in Romans 1:20. It goes like this:  For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

Maybe take a walk in the park this weekend and look up and around. Listen to the trees. Watch the clouds float through the sky. Count butterflies if you must! But, at some point, stop and know that God is God, and everything you see around you is proof.