The Light in the Crazy

My friend Lance Gibson posted this this morning, and the immensity of this promise settled into me like it hasn’t before. 

“I am the Light of the World.” Being raised in church, that has always been about Christ as Savior, but goodness, that really takes away from Him and all He accomplished and is able to give and relate to. 

He is the calm in the crazy. 
He is the place we look for how to live now.
He is the hope for relationships and praying for prodigals.
He is the out of the blue financial provision when the bills are big and the bank balance is small.
He is the peace when the company is struggling and you are wondering what to do now.
He is the One who assures us we have purpose and make a difference when life changes and who we’ve always been isn’t who we are now.

He is the light in all the darkness.

Any time we can’t see two steps in front of us because of circumstantial darkness or darkness because we are limited and blind to the next thing or possibilities, He is the light.

And when we are in Him, not just believe in Him as a Savior or teacher, but live in who He says He is as an intercessor, provider, creator, counselor, healer, the original Hope Dealer…when we live in that place in Him…we don’t live in darkness because light isn’t knowing what is next. Light in knowing Him and that He is not only in the moment with us or that he has already in the next thing, but that He has fully provided for the next thing and the thing after that and the thing after that. In Him is no darkness, only full provision wrapped in the Light of seeing Him in the fullness of who He is.

Have a fabulously lit day!
Jerri Kelley

One of Those Days

I slept horribly last night, but woke up early. Spent time on the phone with a friend having a reaction to pain meds. Then I went back to sleep only to wake up to multiple texts asking if my son was at college today because they had locked down the campus due to an active shooter. He was home, but dear friends were there. I was able to reach them. They were locked down and safe, and then were released when the caller’s report proved to be a hoax. And then…

Y’all, it’s been a day.

In fact, it’s been several days, and if I can be real with you for a moment, I’m tired.

My mind is tired. My emotions are tired. My soul is feeling worn, and my body is whipped.

And it is easy to do what a few folks who have called in the last week have done, which is talk for a long time about all the negative things going on in their lives, and there are some negative things, and they would be getting to me too.

But tonight, I don’t want to hash out the negative stuff. I don’t want to sit in the middle of what has me tired. Tonight, if you don’t mind, I want to take a few minutes and pray for those of us who are tired. Maybe you need this prayer for you. Maybe you feel it for someone else. Either way, thank you for joining me as I hold my Father’s hand and share my needs with Him. I pray you are blessed. ❤

Father, tonight I come before you and bring each reader with me because we’re tired. We need to sit by your still waters and graze in your green pastures. We know you are our ever present help in times of trouble, and we know you will never leave us or forsake us. We know in this world we will have trouble but not to fear for you have overcome the world. We know in Christ we are more than conquerors. We know you will bless those who bless us and curse those who curse us. We know you are fully on our side. We really know.

We also know that you say to be still and know you are God. We know you took your disciples with you to mountainsides to rest. We know you slept in the bottom of a boat in the midst of a storm, and right now, we feel like we don’t have the space to take a nap or hide on a mountainside.

Father, we need a few things.

We need physical rest. We have not had good physical rest, and we need it. I ask you to deal with everything that keeps us from deep, restorative sleep. I ask you to make our bodies restful, ease any aches or discomforts that keep us awake. Still and calm our minds and any anxiety that keeps us awake. Bless us with sleep that restore our whole being.

We need mental rest. We know we think about a lot that is not imperative. I ask you to remind us when we’re doing that so we can repent and stop. I ask you to show us where our problem solving is causing the problem. Show us when we’re wasting energy and need to let things go.

I am drained emotionally. Will you please show me where the happy is that my heart and soul need? And nag me if I am nervous about going because it is outside my usual routine or seems odd. I appreciate that you are invested in my emotional and spiritual health and have no problem being persistent when necessary.

We could also use spiritual food. I don’t just mean a spiritual high from a given song or worship style. I mean scripture and revelation that feeds us and gives muse directions for how to feed our whole being so we can fulfill our purposes you have declared as well as enjoy this wonderful life you’ve given us.

Father, thank you for how attentive you are to all our needs. You are very kind and trustworthy. We are so very grateful.

In the name of your Son Jesus, I lay these needs before you and trust you to give them the attention and answers they need. Thank you. Amen.

Brianna Chacon: Builder of Iron Women

That beautiful woman beside me if my dear friend Brianna Chacon, Jesus lover, mom, wife, mayor, community activist, and builder of women.

Yesterday we took time to eat at one of our favorite places and be women. We talked about not being 20, body changes, working out, life, families, challenges, and faith. We talked about what God is doing in our lives and through us and what we see coming and are praying into.

Bri told me about the #GodSquad and the way the Lord is working in the lives of the women at her church and in her small group. She told me how the Holy Spirit is showing up in prayer time and touching lives. Then she told me about the challenges she has faced as the leader and facilitator and the incredible ways the Lord has uplifted her and encouraged her when attacks came. It wasn’t all victory and shouting. Some of it was tender and vulnerable. It was all beautiful and powerful and very real.

All of it blessed me, encouraged me, and challenged me, but that is what you get when you hang around Brianna, thankfully, which is one of the reasons I love hanging around her.

In Proverbs, it says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (27:17)

When I think of this verse, Bri is one of the iron women I think of. I think of the way she speaks tenderly and encouragingly to women, how she encourages their faith and relationship with God. Truth is, Brianna is one of the fiercest, strongest women I know, and she is also one of the most nurturing, kind, loving, and accepting women I know, too.

I believe this paradox is what makes her such treasured iron. She has fierce faith, high standards, and deep love, and that is a powerful combination.

That is the kind of empowering combination that sits with women where they are as they they become who they are created to be. That is an iron woman building other iron women.

What Does the Voice of God Sound Like in Real Life

I am often asked what the voice of God sounds like or how to know when God is speaking. In the Bible we read, “God told this person this stuff,” and we assume it is some booming voice from heaven, and even if it is booming, it is at least audible. I can tell you I have heard an audible voice that was unmistakably God a few times, but more often than not, it’s an internal thought or knowing. Here are two examples from this week.

I am often asked what the voice of God sounds like or how to know when God is speaking. In the Bible we read, “God told this person this stuff,” and we assume it is some booming voice from heaven, and even if it is booming, it is at least audible. I can tell you I have heard an audible voice that was unmistakably God a few times, but more often than not, it’s an internal thought or knowing. Here are two examples from this week.

At the beginning of the year I spent time seeking God for His desire for this year. I asked for directions on my writing, social media presence, physical health, social life, and career. One of the things I felt strongly led to do is get fit. Not “lose weight” but get fit. Get in the gym, lift some weights, and do some cardio. Build muscle, trim down, and build endurance. So for the last few weeks I’ve been in the gym four days a week doing just that. I do weights and spent 20+ minutes on cardio. I started with light weights, low reps, and shorter cardio times and intensity so my body could acclimate and I didn’t hurt myself. It has been going great. 

Last week I was having my morning quiet time, journaling and praying, and I had the thought, “I need to be stretching every day so my muscles stay loose.” When I was in high school and even when I worked with trainers, that statement was drilled into my head. You stretch so you don’t hurt and so you don’t injure yourself. Stretching keeps your muscles loose and your body able to handle hard work.

Now, understand, I hate stretching, so I took that thought, held it up to my body at this moment, and realized my body was fine. I didn’t ache. I was sleeping okay with no residual muscle soreness. I was good, so I promptly dismissed the thought as a voice from coaches past.

Jump to Monday morning when I rolled over to my left side, and the pressure hurt in my hip joint. Probably just stiff from sleeping, so I ignored it. Tuesday when I worked in the yard my hip ached from the tightness, and I knew what it was. I had the same deep ache from muscle tightness when I was training for a 5K. The ONLY answer is stretching, so I did. I would lean my hip out and stretch the deep muscles at the joint. It hurt, which means things are really tight, but I was too busy for that 30-minute stretch thing. Yesterday I had to run some errands and get groceries. My hip throbbed the whole time. At one point I prayed, “Lord, can you please do something about this?” And immediately I had the thought, “Yeah. I can tell you to stretch.” And I remembered last week, that thought during my prayer time, the one I dismissed thinking it was just a voice from past coaches. Nope. It was not a voice of past coaches. It was the voice of God.

Example number two.

As I mentioned, yesterday I had errands to run and needed to get groceries. One of the thing I needed to pick up is potassium because I ran out Monday. I don’t take supplements every day, but when I know I haven’t gotten enough in food, I use supplements, especially since I’ve been working muscles and getting fit. Instead of just taking potassium, I take the muscle trifecta of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. 

Yesterday I stop by to pick up some potassium, and I thought I should get a bottle of all three, which made no sense because I just bought a bottle of one of them two weeks ago, and I knew I had plenty of the third. I only needed potassium, and I am trying to streamline my life by not having unnecessary extras, so I only bought potassium.

Last night I was getting ready for bed, and I knew my body was running low on the trifecta so I went in my bathroom to take the supplements. Opened the medicine cabinet and picked up the empty bottle of potassium to toss it, except it wasn’t empty. It was about 1/3 full. Not good. That means…yep, the calcium bottle was empty. I didn’t need potassium. I needed calcium. Had I listened to the “Thought” that said to buy one of each, I would have bought what I actually needed.

Now you might be wondering what makes me think those were God talking. A few things. 

One, both of those “Thoughts” went against my natural bent. My bent is to hate stretching and not buy stuff I don’t need (unless it is books, and then He is usually the one saying, “You don’t need that.”). 

Second, every morning I pray for God to bless my day, to lead me into His will, and give me strength and wisdom to do His will. His will is for me to be healthy and fit. Both of those “Thoughts” had to do with my physical ability to sleep well and to be physically able to serve Him. NOW ,I see that those “Thoughts” were direct responses to my prayers. 

Finally, those “Thoughts” were pre-emptive. The Word tells me God goes before me, not just in location but also in time. Both of those “Thoughts” were pre-emptive in that they addressed things to come, like the pain that I feel now and finding out last night I didn’t have calcium. Did I know they were pre-emptive then? No, which is why I ignored them, but if you look at the Bible a lot of God’s words are based on what people didn’t see. Noah and the flood. Joseph and the famine that was to come. The entire Promised Land journey. I had no reason to have those thoughts based on what I knew, which is another reason to believe God is speaking based on what HE knows.

It would have been great if God’s voice sounded like a booming voice from heaven, but honestly, I have found it rarely booms. Instead, God’s speaking often just seems like thoughts or “just feel like I should do (whatever)”.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to stretch before I go back to the store to buy some calcium.

Copyright @2023 by Jerri Kelley

Lent and 1 Corinthians 13

As of yesterday, we have entered the season of Lent. While I am not Catholic, the Protestant church I am attending observes Lent, and this year I feel compelled to observe it myself.

I have only observed Lent one other time. Ten years ago, the year we ended up moving from the home where we had lived since my son was born. That year the Lord told me to meditate on 1 Corinthians 13 for the entire 40 days. Less than two months after Easter, my family knew it was time to move. 

The morning we were to go look at houses I heard in my mind, “It won’t look like you expect, but you will know as soon as you walk in the door it is the house.” 

The realtor and I had five houses we were going to view, and I had a feeling on one of them. It was a house I didn’t want, but something told me it was the one. It turned out to be the first house we viewed, and I didn’t want it. It was a HUD home with all kinds of issues. Most of the flooring was gone. Light fixtures were gone. Holes in walls, and that is what we saw just walking through. Plus it all needed to be repainted. I didn’t want that house. I didn’t want the work. We had come out of a hard season, and I wanted some rest, not this.

Then I heard my realtor call from the front living area, “Did you see this on the wall?” Lands, what now?

I walked into the room where she was and looked at the adhesive letters that started at the door and went all the way around the room.

“Though I speak with the tongues of man and of angels…”

1 Corinthians 13 encircled that room.

For the next six years the black letters were visible on the maroon paint. When I repainted that room, I left the letters and painted over them. While I know that isn’t the proper way to do things, I also feel you can’t go wrong when 1 Corinthians 13 is part of your foundation. 

When I think about Lent, I think about that year and how the Lord used my 40-day meditation to give me direction and to give me peace in choosing a hard road I would not have chosen on my own, but a road that was ultimately good and blessed, and I wonder what this year’s Lent observance will ultimately hold, how He will use it, who I will be when its purpose is fulfilled.

February 23, 2023

Copyright @2023 by Jerri Kelley