Author Archives: Jill

Instrumental Beauty

I was able to experience something wonderful a few weeks ago. On Friday night my husband told me to get all dressed up and he whisked me away to a surprise destination. He was celebrating me, for I had finally reached the 50 year mark in my life. We arrived at our secret place and as I entered the room that held this wonderful gift awaiting me, I found myself standing in an auditorium filled with the sounds of instruments tuning and voices chattering. We found our seats right up front, sat and drank in the sights and sounds as we waited. The lights dimmed and the room was immediately silenced. One violinist stood and glided his bow across the strings of his instrument as the Orchestra tuned in to his lead. Applause erupted as the guest pianist floated across the stage, bowed and took her place at the grand instrument. More applause as the conductor walked out, bowed and stepped upon the box. Silence fell once again as she lifted her baton and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra prepared to delight their audience with sounds of Beethoven and Mahler. I was mesmerized for 2 hours watching the movements and emotions of the beauty before me as each person became one with their instrument…one with their fellow players…following the written music set before them…following the conductor as she led the way. It filled my heart with great joy. What a wonderful blessing to experience something so beautiful…so satisfying…so perfect.

A thought comes to my mind…this picture of beauty, satisfaction, perfection…isn’t this a small dose of what the Body of Christ should look like? The Bible says that we are one body with many different parts (1 Cor. 12:12) and when we individually “make a careful exploration of who [we] are and the work that [each of us] has been given and then sink ourselves into that [taking the] responsibility for doing the creative best [we] can do with [our own lives]” WITHOUT “being impressed with [ourselves] or comparing [ourselves] with others” (Gal 6:4-5 MSG) it is then that as we gather together for one purpose that we can become one with the instrument of our lives…one with our fellow brothers and sisters…following the instructions God has given us through His word…following Christ as our Conductor leading the way. How beautiful the Body of Christ would be to the world. Maybe then…the Body of Christ could draw crowds of people and they would sit mesmerized by the beauty of many different parts moving as one…flowing together in unity. How mysterious…how delightful…how simply refreshing that would be.

I have a lot to learn. It takes hard work and lots of practice to know your instrument…to know just where to place your fingers so that what is played is perfect and beautiful to those who hear the notes you play.

“Make a careful exploration of who you are” – learn your instrument, “and the work that you’ve been given”—learn your finger placement, “sink yourself into that” – play beautifully.

Out With Old In With the New

So much is changing in my life and I’m learning to embrace the “new” in my life as the “old” slips away. Not to say the “old” was bad…not at all. But God is taking me in a different direction…and right in the midst of it all He is teaching me His ways.
My husband and I were talking the other day about this “new thing” and he mentioned how it’s in the unknown…the uncomfortable places in our lives that God develops His character within us…maturing us. If we allow Him to strip away our agendas and Trust Him, listening for His voice in all that we do and say and everywhere we go, then we begin to change from the inside out.
I’m learning to pay attention to that “still small voice” that has been trying to push past MY reasoning….MY agenda. God is a mystery, you know, and sometimes His ways don’t make sense to my small way of thinking….I tend to forget how BIG God is and I try to fit Him in this small box of mine. I so want Him to make sense. But He doesn’t and He never will and I’m glad I serve a God that is bigger than my box of reasoning. Why would I serve a God that I can comprehend? It would be like the video games my sons used to play…once they figured them out they would move on to the next game….bored with the old, hungering for the next new challenge.
God is expanding my territory. It’s uncomfortable, it stretches me, it’s scary, it’s exciting and I’m growing, I’m learning, I’m trusting and I’m finding my voice.
Out with the old and in with the new. All my hope is in the Lord anyhow. Why not just step out? Outside that box in which I’ve been living.

“Forget about what’s happened;
don’t keep going over old history.
Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new.
It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
rivers in the badlands. Is. 43:18-19


It was in the late Summer of last year when I was driving through the Tree Street area with my mom that I saw it. A frog had jumped up on the windshield of my vehicle…while it was moving! And held on for several minutes as I kept driving. It was the strangest thing! I’d never seen anything like it. I was sharing this with a friend and she said, “Jill, that is cool. F.R.O.G. Forever Rely On God”. I thought about what she said and realized how significant that was because I was praying about a major decision in my life that would be a big change for me…and that was all I needed to know. F.R.O.G.

It’s been several months since then and I did make that change in my life. And although it has been difficult at times I think about that little frog that jumped up on my windshield reminding me to Forever Rely On God

Second CD Update

Thank you so much for your patience. We are in the process of designing the cover of the new CD and getting it fine tuned and ready for duplication. Once we put our order in we will post sample snippets of the songs that are featured on this new project. I hope you will like the new CD!

Beauty Secret

Don’t you just love this time of year? The warmer weather that awakens the bright colors and fresh smells of Spring from her slumber. It just does something to your spirit. It gives you that extra energy you’ve been searching for all Winter. It puts a little bounce in your step and a twinkle in your eye. It’s like we want to come out of hibernation…there’s people everywhere! It’s feels good.

The air smells so sweet and fresh from blossoming trees and opening flowers. It makes my walk with Noah (my Yorkie) a little more enjoyable. There’s a large bush in the yard just around the corner from my house that blossomed beautifully with vivid pink blooms during those warmer days we had in March and into April. I looked forward to seeing it every time I walked over that way. I would stop and stare at it as if drinking in its beauty to quench the lack I had from the past few months.

One morning as I stepped out to take my little Yorkie for a walk, a blast of cold air hit my face. I noticed the frosty windows on the car as my little dog pulled me out to the road. Uh oh. I started my walk and held my breath as I rounded the corner…my heart sank as I looked up to see that the pretty pink flowers on my favorite bush had turned an uncomely brown. I thought, “maybe there would be new blooms that would show themselves”, but each time I would inspect the bush, the flowers remained that unattractive brown color and I would look away and keep walking.

I was thinking the other day, how our journey with the Lord can be that way at times. We can be going about the Father’s business with peace in our hearts and smiles on our faces…then all of a sudden something happens or something is said that knocks our feet out from under us. The peace slips away and is subtly replaced with fear. The smiles change to wrinkles of worry worn across our foreheads. Our pretty pink blossoms turn an uncomely brown.

We try to figure out what went wrong and what we could have done differently. We want to change things and so we try everything within our own power to make the situation better…and the unattractive brown color remains.

And then, when we’ve exhausted all of our energy, all of our resources, and we’ve grown weary from trying…we give up the fight that roars within. That’s when we realize we are rendered powerless and we turn to THE ONE who is ALL POWERFUL…God the Father, who sees all and knows all. And with NO CONDEMNATION whatsoever, because HE is patient and kind and HIS love NEVER runs out, HE gathers us in HIS arms and rejoices over us with singing. HIS strength moves in on our weakness and peace invades our fearful hearts. The lines of worry soften and our mouths relax into a smile.

I don’t know about you but I want to live a LIFE of peace. No more battles raging within. I don’t know if I’ll ever get there but I’m learning that when I TRUST at ALL times from the “bottom of my heart and quit trying to figure things out on my own” (Prov 3:5) that I will be “like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by the stream and will not fear when the heat (or frost) comes; But its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” (Jer 17:7-8)

It began with a whisper, “TRUST IN ME”, and now it is blatantly etched in my mind and my heart, “TRUST! TRUST! TRUST IN ME!” That’s what I hear the Spirit of God speaking to me. That’s what I HAVE to do in order to be at peace at all times. I want to be like that tree bearing fruit at ALL times…even when things hurt or don’t go my way…even when I’ve been betrayed or heartbroken. TRUST IN GOD and bear good fruit. TRUST IN GOD and remain fragrant with beautiful pink blossoms…never turning brown.

I look forward to next Spring when I am able to enjoy the glorious pink colors of that bush on the corner as it awakens to the warm sunny days, but until then, as I walk past, observing the frost bitten blossoms, I am reminded that even in the difficult times of my life, when I TRUST GOD, I can still wear beautiful pink flowers giving off a sweet aroma that attracts others to HIM. And I am at peace. TRUST GOD and remain fruitful and full of beauty.

The Way Home

I was at Books-A-Million the other day perusing through some books and picked up this one that was entitled, “23 Questions About Hell” by Bill Wiese. One of the questions referred to there being only one way to heaven. And the story goes that there is only one way you can get to this guy’s house and if you try to go another route, you will get lost and not reach your destination. So it is with God guiding us to His home.

The ONE WAY to God’s home is through JESUS CHRIST the Son of God. He left His place in heaven and was born of a virgin. He lived a life of trust and obedience to HIS HEAVENLY FATHER and exemplified peace, strength, stability, unconditional love, forgiveness, grace, joy, and much more in the midst of pain and suffering. Then He was betrayed, accused, beaten beyond recognition and sentenced to die the death of a thief. He lived an innocent life but died the death of a thief, taking upon HIMSELF sin, sickness, disease, hate…It doesn’t seem fair….an innocent man dying an accused death. I’m so grateful the story doesn’t end there! Let me just pause here and breathe a prayer of thanks to Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, for willingly dying the death of a thief…thanks Jesus. The rest of the story is that Jesus was buried in a tomb and was raised up after being dead for 3 days! He is living! He is active in my life! He is my WAY home!! I’m an alien in a foreign land. This is not my home. But while I live here, just as Christ lived a life of peace, love, strength, stability, joy, etc., so can I. BUT it’s not easy. The only way I can have peace, stability and assurance is trusting HIM from the bottom of my heart and quit trying to figure things out on my own. It’s a battle I face every day. I am weak but HE is stronger. And when I accept my weakness and allow Him to be strong in me, I am one step closer to HOME.

The Gift of Waiting

God told me to wait…again….

He said to me through my daily devotions ~ “Much much stress results from your wanting to make things happen before their times have come. One of the main ways I[GOD] assert MY sovereignty is in the timing of events….Instead of dashing headlong toward your goal, let ME set the pace, slow down, and enjoy the journey in MY Presence.” (excerpt from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young)

And so I wait. I wait for healing. I wait for restoration. I wait for redemption. I wait for chains to fall away. I wait for salvation. I wait for broken hearts to be mended. I wait for revelation to come. I wait for doors to open. I wait…I wait…I wait.

Waiting is a gift…really. It’s a process for me. A process that grows shorter with each lesson learned. But as I work through the swelling of emotions with each phase, I finally grow weary of being tossed around in that dangerous dark ocean. And I know the only one I can change or control is myself. For I know in the waiting that the only source of peace I have is the assurance of serving a GOD who is bigger and stronger and loves me like crazy and will cause ALL things to work together for my good and HIS glory (Romans 8:28). HE knows all. HE knows every heart involved in each situation and what that heart holds….and HE loves every heart. So I lean on HIM and I tell HIM my stories of woe and HE listens and whispers softly to me, “I’ve got this, sweet child of MINE.”

And I wait…with assurance that GOD is taking care of it. I wait as HIS peace settles over me and calms my spirit. Because in the waiting I learn to trust HIM. And I am changed…for my good and for HIS glory.


At the end of every year, don’t we all have a tendency to look back and take an inventory of our lives? I do. I looked back over this past year and realized the many giants I faced and I breathe a prayer of thanks to my Heavenly Father for not giving up on me or getting frustrated with me.

God is so patient. I can be so stubborn at times…wanting to do things my way or wanting to see things go the way I think they should go….me, my, I…but then God reminds me that His thoughts are bigger than my thoughts and His ways are bigger than my ways. It’s true. I think I know what is best but I don’t. Not at all. I don’t know the heart of other people involved. I can take a guess from what I see but is that REALLY the truth? Only God can see the truth…ALL of the truth. I mean…God sees the pain, the disappointment, the struggles, the betrayal, the loss, the fear…I only see what I’m allowed to see from that person’s heart and then make assumptions from what I see. Hmmmm….

So I face the giant with little knowledge of what I’m up against. I just know it doesn’t feel so good and I want that feeling to stop. And when I have exhausted my own strength…because that’s what I do…(I face the giant with my own evaluation of the situation…making my guesses and my assumptions based on what I see with my own eyes and what I think is going on.) Evaluating with my little mind. When I have finally realized that I actually know nothing at all…then I look to THE ONE who knows everything and I give up the fight. Because the fight is with me, myself and I…”It’s not fair!!!” I scream at my Heavenly Father who is not surprised by my ranting because He has been watching over me this whole time. And then the emotions of my own heart that I’ve kept all nicely bottled up begins to erupt in waves of regret, disappointment, fear, insecurity, unworthiness, hurt, brokenness…and so this is what I’ve been fighting…really…me, myself and I.

So the giants that I have had to face over this past year have been a blessing in disguise…because when I finally give up the fight and come face to face with that which is within me and lay down my ways and my thoughts to God’s sovereignty, I find peace. I give myself a pep talk. “It is what it is. Submit to the sovereignty of the Lord. Trust Him. He sees all. He knows all. He loves all. His way is better. Give it up, Jill.” So I look up and trust Him a little more. And with each situation that takes me by surprise or doesn’t go my way…I fall to my knees…eventually…some times sooner than other times….and that’s when my grip loosens and The Father rushes in with the calm of His peace and the anchor of His hope and the strength of His grace and those familiar feelings of despair, of not being good enough, of being forgotten…slip away with the tide as His waves of love wash over my weary soul. And I am grateful that He is not ashamed to call me His own. Always His. Never forgotten. Never alone. Always loved…always. I bow my head and my heart to THE ONE who paid the price of death so that I could live.

Giants are just that…giants. They are bigger than me…in every way…bigger. But I smile because I have SOMEONE on my side who fights the giants for me who is way bigger than any giant. And I am glad. I just have to trust HIM – The One True God who made heaven and earth and all that is in them in 6 days and then propped His feet up on the earth as His footstool and rested on the 7th. The earth is His footstool (Is. 66:1; Matt.5:35). Think about it…that’s a big GOD…bigger than any giant I would ever have to face.

The Brown Horse

I took my dog for a walk today. We walked over to where the horses were lounging in the field close to where I live. As I got closer to the field the brown horse noticed me coming and lifted his head up and ran over to the fence to greet me. He had never done that before. Oh, sometimes he would mosey on over to the fence in curiosity and sometimes he would lift his head and then go back to pulling at the grass as if to say, “Oh, it’s just you.” But today the brown horse literally ran over to me and along the fence as I walked toward the field and along the gravel road. I had to laugh because it just took me by surprise. But then I remembered the last time I walked through there I told the brown horse I would bring him a treat…perhaps an apple? I wonder, did he understand what I said to him a week ago and just knew I had his treat? How strange. It seemed as if he was waiting…waiting…waiting on me and then when he saw me he just got so excited!! Only to be disappointed because sadly I did not have anything to give him. I talked to him for a bit and said I would be back because after all, I did promise him a treat. So I went back to the house and found 2 apples and quartered them and cut the seeds out and walked back out to the field. This time he did not run over to me but I started talking to him and held out my hand with the sweet treat resting in my palm. He sauntered over and his soft lips grabbed the treat from my sticky hand. He munched and I held out another piece for him to enjoy. I was delighted by his gentleness in retrieving the sweet treat from my hand and how he guided me to feed him from the bottom of the fence….there was an electric wire stretched along the top…of course, the bottom of the fence…well that makes more sense. I was waiting to see if the other horse would join us and once he figured out his friend was munching on sweet treats from the lady with the orange hat he made his way over to us. As I walked back to the house I thought to myself, “I’ve started something now.” I really know nothing about horses, except, they do like apples. I guess, I will have to have a treat in my pocket every time I walk over that way from now on….because I can just bet that the brown horse will expect me to deliver.

The Treasure Hunt

I’m reading a book by Ann Voskamp entitled, “One Thousand Gifts”. I love how she writes…it’s very poetic. I read her story and how she is challenged to find something to be grateful for each day…no matter what is going on…whether she is washing dishes, playing the role of referee to her children as they argue back and forth, preparing for a child’s funeral, rushing her son to the ER in hopes that his severed finger can be saved…whatever the case may be.

My spirit is awakened to something that’s not really new but feels new. I guess it’s where I am in my walk with God. He’s so patient with me…waiting…waiting…waiting. Waiting for me to “get it” as I struggle to see clearly through the fog of circumstance…searching for TRUTH.

I am becoming aware. Aware of this present moment. Practicing to be “all in” as I dig for the treasure that hides away within the heat of an argument, or the pain of loss, or the fear of the unknown, or the frustration of being so out of control. I have to dig deep, deep, deep. My instinct is to run. That would be the easy thing to do…run! Run as fast as I can and get far far away!! But I want to practice this “new” idea. Practice. Practice. “Practice makes perfect,” resonates from the folds of my memory and I smile because I remember how I practiced the clarinet and I was good…I wasn’t perfect but I was good BECAUSE I practiced. Too bad practicing the hunt for treasure in the midst of being pressed in from all sides isn’t as simple as practicing the finger placement on an instrument (and that’s not all to learning an instrument).

I say “practice” because to hunt for the treasure of being grateful, especially when it’s not so obvious, is not a natural thing for me to do. It’s so easy to get caught up in the feelings of loss, anger, betrayal, confusion, frustration…and my vision becomes distorted. I see my child through eyes of frustration instead of acceptance and love. I see my husband through eyes of anger instead of eyes of forgiveness. I see my future with eyes of fear instead of eyes of faith.

But I don’t like this place and so I cry out to the ONLY ONE who knows me inside and out, Jesus Christ. He was there when I was conceived in my mother’s womb. He was there knitting every detail of my little body together, forming me, shaping me, breathing life into me…awakening my soul, spirit, mind, body. Sealing me with His kiss of approval. I can trust Him because He knows me. And I pour out the deep well of my heart to Him and He doesn’t flinch. He is not surprised by the dregs of my soul…my tears of sorrow. And my dear Heavenly Father sings over me and washes my eyes to see clearly again and pours into me His love, His peace, His grace…

I want to be “all in” the present moment of my life whether the circumstances are pleasant…or not so much. Digging for the treasures of a quiet moment that settles an anxious heart, the strokes of fiery pink sitting on the evening horizon, a perfect round moon piercing the black of the night, the scent of evergreen swirling around in the cool of a morning walk, the rainbow of colors displayed as the sun shines through prisms hanging in the window….

I don’t want the day, the moment, my life to pass by and I’ve totally missed the jewels that God has placed along the way…so I have tried to become more aware of what is going on in the present. I fail miserably at times and forget to be intentional about practicing “being all in” and looking for the treasure hidden in that place and time. But God is good, and He knows me, and He walks with me, and gently reminds me to “stop and smell the roses.” He wants me to see the bouquet of jewels that He has offered me. He delights in my gathering them and drinking them in to be near Him and Him near me. It’s His way of saying, “Look daughter, look at this gift I have for you. I love you and I want you to know that I am here…always here.” And when I know, that I know, that He is always near me…then my vision seems to be a little clearer and my senses a little sharper to the hunt for the treasure.