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!

Filtering by Category: Devotional

{Afraid | Day 2 of 31}

Go.

Day 2 | {Afraid}

I used to be afraid. I'm not talking about the kind of fear you brush aside quickly. No, it was the kind of fear that smothered and crippled. I was afraid of people. I was scared of bad things happening to people I love or to me. I was fearful of the worst-case scenario. I suppose one could boil it down to my need for control. Yeah, that's it. I was afraid of things I couldn't control. My life felt like one, big giant "what if?" Yeah, that's no fun.

But then, I figured out that all the things weren't mine to control in the first place. Somewhere along the way, I had forgotten that God holds the universe in the palm of His hand. And, somehow I had forgotten that circumstance does not determine God's goodness or change what is true about His character. God is who He says He is. Always. Without exception. When you let that truth settle down deep into your soul and change your heart and mind, then fear loses its power. Faith remembers that God is who He says He is, and the what if becomes even if . . .

We do not have to be afraid. We are not alone. Because, Jesus.

Jesus changes everything.

Stop.

{Five Minute Friday | Loved}

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 {LOVED}.

Ready? Go.

I'm sitting here in a hotel lobby just thinking. We have a big, hard day ahead of us and I'm feeling...well, I cannot quite wrap my words around it just yet.

But that's ok.  Why? It's ok because I am loved. 

I am loved by the Creator of the Universe -- the God in whom all things hold together. And, that's what He's doing for me in this moment, holding everything together. That's what He always does, after all. That reality is enough to take my breath away and fill my heart with gratitude. He loves us with lavish, reckless, unfailing love. And because of that, we can live our lives loving others well.

My Papaw did that, you know. He loved others well. He was kind and generous. Always. He was also honest. Sometimes, he loved you well by telling you a hard truth. I appreciated that about him. I am thankful for his life, one that was well-lived. Yeah, he lived well because he loved well. That's the kind of girl I want to be. Because here's the thing: when you belong to Jesus, that's what you do. You love others well. You love others BIG. Because that's how you've been loved. Jesus changes everything. His love compels. That's the story I want my life to tell. 

Stop. 

{Five Minute Friday | Done}

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 {DONE}.

Ready? Go.

Done. That word has a nice ring to it when I’m blasting through my to-do list like a girl on a mission. Confession: I love the feeling of checking the box. I can’t be the only one who gets overly excited when I check a box, any box. Anybody else? I’m a list maker. A box checker. A paper-calendar keeper. Oh, and a rule follower to boot. Yeah, I want things to get done and get them done well (really well) and on time.  Yet, there are days, even in all my striving, that things get missed and left undone. I’m just a girl. I’m just a girl with days crammed to the brim with all the things. You know what I mean? 

It’s not like that when the Lord goes to work, though, is it? When He does something, it gets done all the way and perfectly. He doesn’t miss a thing. Ever. 

He does the thing, and He declares it finished. And, it is. That’s what He said before He took His last breath, you know. “It is finished.” What Jesus accomplished for us at that moment changes everything. We can rest in the power of that truth. And, hope abounds. It. Is. Finished. All the way. For all time. What He’s finished cannot be undone. 

Stop. 

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{Five Minute Friday | Accept}

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 {ACCEPT}.

Ready? Go.

This word stirs up all kinds of things in my mind. Perhaps, that's indicative of this season of life. There are lots of things swirling in my heart and mind. So many things. Today, I'm landing in a place where acceptance is part of loss. You suffer loss. You grieve. You accept it. 

During my life, I have known the weight of a grieving heart many times. I have grieved the loss of friends and community. I have mourned the loss of a marriage.  I have lamented the loss of two children. Grief is exhausting and cumbersome. When you are walking under the weightiness of it, it threatens to squeeze the life right out of you. I'm grieving a few things during this season, you know. And, I'm heartbroken. But, if I've learned anything at all, it's that grief doesn't have the final word. 

It can't. Because of Jesus. He is Hope and Truth. Jesus changes everything. 

I suppose to survive you accept what is in front of you. You adjust. You redefine. You find a new "normal. You realize nothing will ever be the same, not really. But, oh, sweet friends. Can I tell you something? Lean in a bit because this is important. HE remains. His perfect faithfulness and steadfast love on full display. Look for Him. Grab hold of Him. After all, in Him, all things hold together. Nothing -- not one tear, not one prayer, not one desperate cry for help -- escapes His attention. 

Be encouraged today. Accept that He loves you so, even on the worst of days. Grab hold of the truth of Scripture and let that truth be what informs every other thing in your life -- the good, the bad, and all the in-between. 

Because, Jesus. 

Stop. 

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{Unyielding Love}

Goodness, it's been a while. I'm knee-deep in all kinds of stuff over here - some good stuff and some hard stuff, but I've missed sitting and writing. Life is moving at lightening speed. A little too fast for my taste.  Confession: Easter snuck up on me. It's my favorite holiday, and I was so disappointed in myself for that. I was sitting on the edge of my bed the Thursday evening before when it dawned on me that the next day was Good Friday. You guys. Just no. It's given me a reason to pause, to just stop.

When something like this happens, my default is to revisit the immediate past and question everything. I find myself saying "was that best thing there?" or "could I have done better here?" or "maybe I shouldn't have said that." If I'm not careful, my mind wanders down the rocky path of "what-if, " and my perspective gets all jumbled up. Yeah, sometimes that happens. There's never a day when I get it all right. But, I am so thankful for a God who loves me fiercely and pursues me relentlessly. His love is like no other. That's what the cross demonstrates.

Before I was born, He loved me.
Before I uttered a word, He loved me.
Before I attended my first church service, He loved me.
Before I sang the first worship song, He loved me.
Before I had the capacity to understand, He loved me.
He. Loved. Me.

And, there's more.

He loved me even before I loved Him back.
He loved me even when I've been angry with Him.
He loved me even when I've run from Him.
He loved me even when I was a total mess.

He meets every imperfection, every flaw, every weakness with perfect, strong, steady love. It's an unyielding love. And grace, sweet grace. It becomes even sweeter in light of His perfect holiness. It blows me away every time. Here's the thing: There's never been a moment when He hasn't loved me. There will never be a moment when He doesn't love me. The same goes for you.

If you're feeling a bit frantic and busy, pause and let this truth settle deep in your soul and bring with it a sigh of relief. There. That feels better, doesn't it?