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: Five Minute Friday

{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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{Five Minute Friday | Play}

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 {PLAY}.

Ready? Go.

It's the sweetest when my youngest girl runs up, eyes wide, and invites me to play. There's such anticipation in her voice, such joy on her face. She always flashes her best smile. It used to easier to play with her when she was a bit younger. She was much easier to entertain and a lot less bossy. 

These days it's not enough just to BE with her, half-heartedly playing. I have to be in all the way. And you guys, my best Barbie voice is, well, it's pretty lame. Sometimes, I just can't. One more Barbie conversation might send me right over the edge. But, then I remember how important it is to play. It encourages imagination. It stirs creativity. It's good for a laughing and smiling. You know, it helps with being not SO SERIOUS all the time. For her and me. When you're doing your best Barbie voice, you can't help but feel a bit lighter. But there's something else, too. There's a certain amount of vulnerability in our capacity for play. As adults, I mean. The same goes for our ability to rest. We have to know and believe that everything isn't going to fall apart because we disengage in the grown-up business of life and have a little laugh. When you play, it helps keep things in their proper place. All too often the things that keep me from playing can wait.

Yeah, I don't want to forget how to play. I want to make room for fun and laughter in our lives intentionally. Every day. 

STOP.

{Five Minute Friday | Blessing}

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 {Blessing}.

Ready? Go.

The word {blessing} gets tossed about frequently, doesn't it? So, I pulled out my trusty dictionary before I started writing. This word, especially in the context of church culture, carries the tiniest bit of tension for me. It isn't that I am not incredibly blessed. I am. So are you. It's just that it feels like a slippery slope toward a path that relies considerably on my circumstance and my stuff rather than on what should be my source of gratitude and contentment. 

It's easy to feel blessed when I have my toes in the sand and sweet tea in hand, or when my kids are a glowing example of my super-awesome (Ahem, I mean subpar on a good day.) parenting skills. It's easy to recognize God's goodness when I am living in my best case scenario. But, what about when I'm not? What then? Am I quick to be grateful in those less-than-what-I'd hoped for moments? Listen, there's nothing wrong with having good things and enjoying good things. It's just that my primary purpose in life can't be accumulating blessings for myself. Joy, contentment, and gratitude aren't meant to be tied to things that are so unreliable and can change in a moment. 

Because even in the less-than-best-case scenario, we as believers are remarkably blessed.  Here's the thing: Jesus is our greatest blessing. And, He brings incredible context to every other thing in our lives. 

Stop


 

 

{Five Minute Friday | Friend}

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 {FRIEND}.

Ready? Go.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the prompt. See, the Lord and I have been talking a lot about this. It seems over the last several months, many people I called friend have wandered away or become somehow unavailable, several of them without explanation or conversation. I'm relieved to see some of them go if I'm honest. But, with others, there's a certain sense of loss. Confession: I'm quite needy these days, craving connection with particular people face-to-face. But, I'm not great at making time for that outside of my daily grind. And, the sting of rejection is a very real thing to sort through when you reach out with no reply. That's where the Lord and I have been sorting some stuff out. See, the thing is, some people make you better and others, not so much. I want the former to be true of me. So, I'm asking Him to teach me how to be a friend who is an honest and lovely representation of Jesus. I'm also asking Him to show me where to invest and where to let go. That's a hard process.

There's another piece, though. I found myself again looking to people to satisfy some deep thing in me rather than to Jesus. And, y'all, it's just not possible. Goodness, at some point, it seems I could check that box. But now and then, I find that I slip back into old patterns of people-pleasing because my soul is longing for something that only Jesus can give me. In seasons of transition, it's especially easy to slip back. I am oh so thankful that God continually pursues us.

Here's the thing: Jesus is enough. I know, that seems shallow and cliche. But it comes from a belief deep in my soul, anchored firmly in His unwavering love. Nothing else will ever be enough, especially when I neglect the most important One. Sometimes we do that you know? We overfill our lives, our hearts, and minds until we don't have much room left for Him. And though we're busy or living "full" lives, something is missing. Even if we can say we have everything we want, apart from Him, it's all meaningless. When I find myself in a spot where I'm missing something or someone, He's always the remedy. May I encourage you today sweet friends if you are struggling with feeling alone and isolated? He's our most constant companion, a friend that sticks closer than any other. Start with Him. He is enough. Let Him be the One we think of first. Yes, always Jesus.

Stop.


{Five Minute Friday | Abandon}

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 {ABANDON}.

Ready? GO.

After Hailey died, I would not go back to the apartment. I just couldn't. The nursery area was set up and ready; all the beautiful, tiny baby girl clothes were tucked neatly in the wardrobe. But, Hailey wouldn't be coming home with me, and I didn't want to walk back into a something that reminded me of her death and reinforced the pain. I was terribly angry with God. I begged and pleaded with Him for months to save her, heal her tiny heart. I reasoned with Him that because I'd already suffered the loss of my baby son, He owed me this. Never mind how messed up that was! I know. (That's a story for another day.) When He didn't come through for me, it sent me into a spiritual tailspin. I felt abandoned. Lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, the feeling settled deep into my soul. One minute I would weep bitterly and the next I would be filled with a kind of quiet rage. But God saved me. He reached down into the dark pit and pulled me out into the light. His light.

Guess what I was failing to realize during my time in the pit? That truth is always truth despite my feelings. I felt abandoned. But the truth found in Scripture says He never leaves us or forsakes us.  I felt as if He'd turned His back on me and was unconcerned with my heartbreak. The truth is He would stop at nothing to heal the brokenness in my soul and heart. I know that now. I believe it.

That's what faith does. Faith always declares the truth in the face of insurmountable circumstance. In those weeks and months following that loss, I failed to let my faith go to work and instead let my feelings determine what I believed to be true. Here's the thing: What God says about any given situation matters infinitely more than what I think about it.

The truth won in my heart and life. God never abandons us. Instead, He pursues us, draws us close to His heart. May I encourage you today, sweet friends? God knows precisely where you are, and He knows even the tiniest detail of your situation. Look for Him. Listen for Him. You are sure to find Him. 

STOP.