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: five minute friday

{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.

{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.

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{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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