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 | 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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{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