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: everyday life

{Five Minute Friday | Middle}

Well, hello there, friends. It's been a little while since I've written. That was by design - just taking a little rest. What better way to say hello after a break than with Five Minute Friday.

Five Minute Friday 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.

The prompt is {MIDDLE}.

Ready? Go.

I'm not the kind of gal who wants to be somewhere in the middle. When I'm in, I'm all in. Otherwise, why bother? I suppose there are good things and not-so-good things about being an all-or-nothing kind of gal. Sometimes, it keeps me from starting. Sometimes, it means I have super-high (and super-unrealistic) expectations of myself. That's no fun, but hey, I'm working on it! It's just that I don't want to spend my days in a rut, you know, going through the motions in a kind of mindless, aimless way. That's kind of what it feels like in the middle to me. Do I begrudge the ordinary stuff? Absolutely not. Sometimes, the common, everyday tasks are where being all in matters most. Yeah, for sure. Here's the thing: Jesus gives meaning to whatever I'm doing. Scripture says to work with all our heart at whatever we find to do.  It says to do it as if you were doing it for Him. Whatever. We. Do. You know what that means? We don't have to compartmentalize our lives into "Jesus-stuff" and "everyday stuff." That changes things, doesn't it? That load of laundry? Do it for Him being thankful that you have running water, a washing machine, and clothes to wear. Gratitude and joy push you out of the middle into a place where you live intentionally and with purpose. In every moment. Yeah, what if we do that.


Col 3.23-2.png

{Date | Day 29 of 31}

Ready? Go.

Some days you never forget. The date is etched in your heart and mind long after it has passed. The memories attached are sometimes sweet, sometimes not. Yeah, I have a catalog of those kinds of dates.  It's good to remember. I've found over time, as God works things out in me, those dates that represented pain come to mean something more than that. He does turn mourning to joy, after all. Yesterday, I added a new date to my catalog.

Julia, my four-year-old, was playing in her room. I was using the restroom, her big sister was in the shower, her big brother visiting a friend, and her dad was working at his desk. I heard her running down the hallway, and before I knew it, the bathroom door flew open. She was standing there, tears streaming down her face, looking utterly terrified. “I swallowed a penny,” she stammered and then she started getting sick. She turned around and ran offto find her Dad. Besides being indisposed, I must have looked a bit afraid. I gathered myself and headed down to find her. I’m not going to tell you that I wasn’t a bit of a mess. The tears filled my eyes and about the same time, my stomach started doing somersaults. I couldn’t find my words, but managed to squeak out a one-word plea toward heaven. My mind has a nasty habit of immediately taking me to the worst-case scenario when something like this happens. 

I made it downstairs and saw my little one standing on a towel, bent over, heaving and vomiting. Here dad was with her. I turned right back around, more tears, and lost my breakfast in the stairway. On my hands and knees, I had to remind myself to keep it together. The conversation in my head went something like this: Come on, Valerie. Don't you know who you belong to. Stop it. Ask for His help. I managed to squeak out another prayer. “God, please help her.”

About that time, I heard Julia. “There it is, I got it out.” She was pointing at a quarter lying in the mess on the towel. A quarter. That’s quite a bit bigger than a penny. I found a seat on the steps and she hopped into my lap. We were both covered in stuff I’d rather not discuss. Thank. You. God. I said it over and over again. 

This morning, Julia climbed up beside me in bed and we had a chat. She was feeling fine; she explained that her throat wasn’t hurting today. I asked her if she understood that God helped her when she swallowed that quarter. She shook her head and told me, “I was talking to Him in my head. I couldn’t talk out loud because I was throwing up.” I reminded her that we needed to thank God for keeping her safe and helping her.

A few minutes later she was chatting with her Dad. She was holding up a quarter. She thought it was THE quarter. (I don’t know how in the world she had another quarter.) “Daddy, this is the quarter. I swallowed it and God reached down and pulled it out of my tummy.” “I was asking Him in my head, and He did.” 

Yes. He absolutely did. 



{Weekend | Day 20 of 31}

How about another list? Yes. Great! 20 Things I love to do on the weekend. Not all twenty, every weekend. But at least a few make the cut every weekend.

  1. Sleep in. (You know, 9:30ish.)
  2. Read a book. 
  3. Go to the park with the kiddos. 
  4. Sit on the deck and stare at the trees. 
  5. Plan for the following week. 
  6. Do a little writing.
  7. Peruse blogs I follow.
  8. Netflix a movie.
  9. Stay up late and fall asleep on the sofa with my hubby. 
  10. Clean the house.
  11. Eat out. 
  12. Visit with friends/family. 
  13. Play.
  14. Take a short road trip. (Usually involving volleyball)
  15. Go window shopping.
  16. DIY projects. (Which usually requires a trip to Lowes or Hobby Lobby. Yay!) 
  17. Sit at the piano. Play. Sing. Play some more, without playing anything in particular.  
  18. Blast worship music in the house while we cook/clean. (That's not specific to weekends!)
  19. Go to small group which, for the time being, is church for me. 
  20. Take a nap. 

I suppose I appreciate those weekends that settle into rhythm at a slowed pace. You know how I like space to breathe. What are your favorite things to do on the weekend?

{When You Take The Step You Thought You Couldn't}

I held my breath and pressed the button. Launch campaign. What. In. The. World. 

Can I tell you something? I'm terrified. All those things I explained to you before -- the fear of rejection, the fear of being misunderstood -- are still there.  But I wasn't kidding when I told you that Jesus was working on me. You know what else? When God goes to work, so does the enemy. He tries to intimidate, distract, discourage, and isolate. He doesn't get to win. 

So, here's where I landed. Even if people think I'm selfish or, no one wants to help, that's ok. See, another thing I've been working on with Jesus is this: Do it afraid. If I believe what I say about God, then I have to. 

So, late last night, I decided to take the next step. You know, the one that seemed impossibly hard. My sweet husband said a prayer with me, and then I pressed the button. This morning, I wanted to throw-up. And, take it back. Instead, Jesus and me, we get to work on the waiting and trusting. Part of the process, I already see, is stripping away some deep-seated insecurity. My heart and my life are His, and He has this situation well in hand. 

May I encourage you today, sweet friends? He has your heart and your situation well in hand, too. Trust Him. Let Him go to work. 

If you want to help, there are two ways you can do that. Take a look here and here.  

{Five Minute Friday | Listen}

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 {LISTEN}.

Ready? GO.

This one should be easy, but it's not. I think our culture has a listening problem. I'm sure that's because there's a lot of noise, so many distractions. I get it. It can be hard to sort through all the competing voices and listen.

There are times, though, when I fail to listen because it requires something of me. It compels me to respond, to act, often to do something. That's when I let what I hear sink into the deepest parts of me. I want to be that kind of girl -- one who listens and is moved to respond. With my family, my friends, with God.

Jesus talked quite a bit of hearing but not listening or understanding. His brother James spoke about it also when he said, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says."

Yeah. Listening and doing have to go together.

I've learned there is one voice I yearn for above all others. One that guides, corrects, teaches, encourages. It keeps my feet firmly planted on the ground and my heart anchored in truth. And, that's God's voice. God's word -- it's priceless. Yeah, that's the thing I want to let sink into the deepest part of me and shape me. His voice is the one I want to compel me to move and do and be. When God speaks to me, He sees my potential, the person He created me to be. He knows how to make me the best version of myself.  Of course, I want to listen. I want to lean in and take in every single word, and then do what He says. God, help me to do that.

May I encourage you today, sweet friends? If you're having trouble hearing His voice, pause. Be still. Listen on purpose. And, tell Him you're listening. I promise He has something to say.