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 Tag: devotional

{Why | Day 4 of 31}

Day 4 | {WHY}

Go.

Oh goodness. Sometimes, you have to let go of the need to know why. You have to be ok not knowing. Confession: I'm not always good at that. But, thankfully Holy Spirit is patiently teaching me. There was a time past when, instead of trusting God's nature, I demanded answers from Him. Why did that happen to me? Why didn't you protect me? Why didn't you heal her? Why did you let him die? There are SO many things wrong with this mindset. But, here’s one: I mistakenly believed God owed me some explanation. Real talk? He doesn't. God can handle my questions. It's just that my heart was angry and bitter. And, that's never good. Sometimes, we believe we have earned the right to be angry, and we guard the wounded places of our hearts. But God wants unrestricted access to our wounded hearts and the broken pieces of our lives. And when you invite Him to work in those fractured, hidden places, guess what happens? You start asking different questions. Instead of demanding answers to all of the whys, you start asking God to reveal something of Himself to you. You begin asking Holy Spirit to teach you things, to make you more like Jesus. You learn to lean into the truth that Jesus changes everything. Here's the thing: We have to want Him more than we want answers to all the why questions. He wants to be the one thing we desire above all else. We have to trust Him more than we need to have every answer. Because, friends, there are seasons of life when HE is the only thing that makes sense. Besides, He's perfectly trustworthy. He never gets it wrong. Never.

Stop.

{Believe | Day 3 of 31}

Day 3 | {Believe}

Go.

I have a lot of words rushing through my brain. So many words and only five minutes. Here's the thing: what you believe matters. But, there's a difference between having a superficial belief in something and a deep-seated belief in something. When you grab hold of something and let it become part of who you are, it will inevitably show up in the way you do life.

What you believe may compel you in some areas and bring restraint in other areas. Either way, what you believe shows up in hundreds of tiny ways throughout the day with every choice you make. It matters. It just does.

So, here's the question. Does what you believe about Jesus change the way you live? What if we become people so compelled by Christ's love for us that we show up and live like people who BELIEVE Him. Like we belong to Him. What if we engaged day-to-day with a deeply rooted belief that Jesus changes everything. Yeah, what if we did that?

Stop.

{Story | Day 1 of 31}

The Five Minute Friday community is the best! I love the spending five minutes just writing. I joined the 31 Day Writing Challenge two years ago, and I decided to participate again this year. When I started a new teaching job last year, my time to write seemed to vanish. Instead, there were lesson plans, parent emails, and all the things that go with being a teacher. And, that's ok. But I miss writing. If you aren't familiar with Five Minute Friday, here's the scoop. FMF means unedited, straight-from-the-heart-to-the-paper writing. Yep, you write whatever comes out based on a given prompt in five minutes flat. So . . . Here's to the Write 31 Days challenge, five-minute Friday style! I'm excited, and I'm glad you stopped by. I hope that at the end of 31 days, you find a collection of posts that encourage you and maybe even stir something deep inside your soul. At the very least, perhaps we can be reminded that we aren't alone and that there is always hope.

Day 1 {Story}

Go.

I love a good story. Don't you? I appreciate words, so it's no surprise, I suppose, that a well-written story is one of my favorite things. In any good story, there's usually something that you can follow beginning to end. You know, like a thread that ties it all together. In Scripture, that's Jesus. In my life, let that be Jesus. We all have a story to tell. We're living it every day. I used to be very protective of & private about my story. A certain amount of vulnerability is inevitable when you talk about your life. Vulnerability is uncomfortable. And, then there’s this need for control. I tell you the story — but I can’t determine how it lands with you. I used to worry and then worry some more about what people might say or think. But, not anymore. The Lord corrected me. He changed my heart and mind and reminded me that this story, my story, is His. He's already written it, and He knows how it ends. My story is His because my life is His. My priority is always to aim people in the right direction—away from me and toward Him—in everything I do. Here's the thing: my story paints a picture of God's relentless love and unfathomable grace, redemption, and hope. Because, Jesus. That's the story I want my life to tell. I want my life to point people toward Jesus. I don't want it to be about me. It's not about me. It's about Jesus. Always.

Jesus. Changes. Everything. Yeah, He does. Grab hold of Him today, friends. Look for Him. Listen for Him. Let Him tell His story through your life. He's perfectly faithful, and He knows what He's doing.

Stop.

God has a story to tell through your life. Let Him tell it..png

{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. 

the world is your oyster.png

{Five Minute Friday | Refine}

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 {REFINE}.

Ready? GO.

I sat down more than once today to write this post. The words wouldn't come. But a song came. Sometimes songs do that for us, put words to the things we can't articulate, and we find it precisely embodies what we want to say. In this season, these words give voice to something that's stirring in the depths of my soul.  

My delight is in You, Lord. On Your Word, I set my heart. You are peace. You are calm for my restless soul. You light my way through the dark. I want to know You even more. Holiness is my desire. Purify, burn in me, come and make me clean. You refine me in Your fire.

Here I am, open arms. Draw me close to Your heart. You're my life. You're my refuge. My delight, Lord, my delight is in You.

Refiner's fire. My heart's one desire is to be holy, set apart for You, Lord.
I choose to be holy, set apart for You, my Master. Ready to do your will.

Here I am, open arms. Draw me close to Your heart. You're my life. You're my refuge. My delight, Lord, my delight is in You.

Yes. And amen.

STOP.


 

 

*My Delight Is In You // © 2013 worshiptogether.com Songs Worship Together Music sixsteps Music Sixsteps Songs Sweater Weather Music A Thousand Generations Publishing (Admin EMI CMG). CCLI Song No. 6517953 . // Words and Music: Christy Nockels, Jessee Reeves, Chris Tomlin