Shine- Part 1 (Before the Shine book)

It was August of 2000 and there I was in an Acting class, attending a small community College, 10 hours from home The same College that months before I auditioned for a Disney World Show, fresh out of High School. I was sure I’d get the job (bahaha silly girl) but by God’s Grace I did not. In walks the acting teacher, tall, red headed, red lipped, vibrant, commanding your attention (by the shear presence of her light) kind of a woman and her smile matched the glow of the heart on her sleeve. I had never acted (officially) a day in my life yet in every acting class from then on a piece of me found its match. Of course then I thought it was because of the acting classes but in truth it was the holy Spirit living in her that was stirring my heart and beginning to put the pieces together. The music she played, the words she used, the belief she had in us, her wisdom, her talent, her patience, her vision, I could go on for days. Needless to say, a reverence for her grew. Surely though, I was just another student of hers. Surely, she didn’t really have much to say about me…..(or so I settled with)

The Spring performance curtains had closed and my first semester of college had come to an end. After the show the parents, students and teachers gathered for pictures and congratulations in the lobby. Later that evening, to my surprise, my mom said, “I really like your acting teacher”. She said that she had walked up to her and my dad and asked, “Are you Jesie Shalawylo’s parent’s?”. They said yes and she proceeded to tell them what a talent I was and how much I had grown as a performer throughout the year. What?!  You know the Sally Fields movie when she says “They like me! They really like me!”? Well, that was my “she likes me, She really likes me!” moment. bahaha! In all seriousness though, that was a pivotal moment of truth that planted in my heart.

The transition of being an 18 year old girl from Northern Virginia to a college student in Franklin Tennessee proved to be very difficult for me. Learning how to be on my own and grasping for ideas of who I was, only to find I had no idea. Then here was this woman who I looked up to and she took the time to share the light she saw in me. When I thought there was no light to be found. Looking back on it now, isn’t that just like the Lord. To seek you out. To speak truth about you with the intention of bringing your light to the surface. Mmmm. I just love it. And I just love her!

Her name is Allison Allen. She was my college acting teacher and is now (among many other things) the author of “Shine”, a book about stepping into the role you were made for (that description pales in comparison to its actual fabulousness. We’ll talk about that later though). My point in all of this is that Allison has been in the Shine business way before #theshinebook. I have so many more God/Allison moments to share with you guys over the next few weeks. I wish it could be days but who knows the next time I’ll get a chance to sit down again. 🙂

I just finished her book “Shine” a few days ago and I want to read it again to be sure I’ve soaked up all it’s goodness. I also want to encourage you all to read it! It is full of awakening thoughts and tools to dive deeper into your trust in the Lord.

You can get “Shine” at the usual book stores and of course you can Amazon it right to your door step or your friend’s, or your daughter’s, or even someone who drives you crazy’s. hehe

Link to the Shine book: https://www.amazon.com/Shine-Stepping-into-Role-Were/dp/080072819X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1512059520&sr=8-1&keywords=Shine+book

Merry Christmas time guys!!

 

 

 

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When you’re a bad example…

 

I have recently been preparing for a family event and began to pray that I be a good example of Christ during this time. In His faithfulness, He gave me this scripture, “Live wisely among those who are not Christians, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and effective so that you will have the right answer for everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6)  Done. Thank you, Jesus. I’ll do that, just like you say…. and I set out on this personal mission to fulfil this scripture through my own capability. Because sure I can do that. I know the Lord. I feel close to Him. I’ve totally got this. bahaha! Yeah, until I slammed a very delicious alcoholic beverage. Aargh!

I know better than this. I know my weakness ” just one shot” that throws all of my self control and purpose to the wind. Do you have a weakness like that? One of the things that places the vail back over the alter? A thing that lets Satan slip in to feed you lies?

Anyway, the past few days have been full of disappointment in myself, not wanting to speak to Jesus because I’ve felt I’ve failed Him in some way. Finally, I cried out in Thankfulness and repentance to Him and this is what HE SAID via “Jesus is Calling”………

Bask in the luxury of being fully understood and unconditionally loved. Dare to see yourself as I see you: radiant in my righteousness (what? me?) , cleansed by my blood (Thank you, Jesus). I view you as the one I created you to be.  It is my life within you that is changing you from glory to glory (Praise you, Jesus. You are so good) . Pause briefly from time to time so you can consult with the Holy One inside you (that’s where I lost it. Thank you, Jesus. Yes, I will do my best to remember to do this.) He will not force you to do His bidding, but He will guide you as you give Him space in your life ( yes, I give you that space Lord. Take all of it. Take everything.).

Isn’t the Lord’s discipline the sweetest thing?! Man, I love Him.

Listen, I just want to encourage you guys (and myself). A journey of perfection is unrealistic. We are constantly being changed. Find peace in your ‘bad examples” through Jesus’ relentless devotion to our purification. We can walk in Righteousness, In truth and in Holiness because of the redemption His sacrifice afforded us. It is finished and we are no longer slaves to sin.

 

Give it to me. (even if its gross)

Sohand, I started the week stressed out and wound up. I have a lot on my mind, girl part things are upon me, four kids, football, Dance project. Aargh. All the things!

Tuesday night I bribed the twins with the Zoo in the morning if they stayed in their bed’s and went to sleep. Good news is, it worked! Bad news is, it worked.

We wake up Wednesday morning and of course they remembered the Zoo bribe. I have to take them, but I have so many things! We go to the zoo. I am a total bummer of a mom. Just taking them form one thing to the next, checking  my phone, being grumpy. We pack up to go home about noon ( I still haven’t shakin the grumpy) and as I’m driving home and praying, I see this truck in front of me. It has a huge hand on it. The hand is held out like its waiting for someone to put something in it and I feel the Lord say, Give it to me.

You know when your toddler puts a grape in their mouth, chews it up and decide they don’t like it? Then, they start to gag and make disturbing noises. So, you quickly put your hand under their mouth and say, give it to me. Well, it was that kind of, Give it to me. All of your things, they can feel like chewed up, gross grape spit but God still wants it. Bahaha! So, gross but its so true! Give him your gross.

Love you friends!

P.S. I did give it to Him, right then and there. Okay, more like I puked it to Him but whatever.

A to go cup, just in case

latteAs I was driving to my favorite coffee shop this morning I thought to myself. I’m gonna get a to go cup even though I get to stay and sit today. I found it strange though that instead of looking forward to the moment I was sitting with a nice cup of coffee, I was preparing for when the moment would end. See, to go cups (at least I think) keep the coffee hotter longer, not to mention if I have to leave without finishing it.

My husband has this endearing ability to unpack his suit case into the provided drawers of a hotel room. We could be staying in a hotel for one night and he unpacks his suitcase? I mean what’s the point? You’re just gonna have to pack it back up the next day.

Well, truly it is a virtue to be able to sit down with a cup of coffee and enjoy the moment of it and to be fine with having to leave a little bit of it behind. And what a  virtue it is to be committed enough to where you are that you unpack your suit case, no matter how long you may stay.

Isn’t it just like us ” I’m not sure I’ve committed” kind of people, to get a to go cup, just in case. To keep our suit case packed, just for the convenience ( or the protection) of it.

Lord, I pray my friends and I can sit in moments with you ( and the ones we love) and truly enjoy them. I pray we will unpack our suitcases and be in the place you’ve sent us with no thought of our expiring minutes.

Queen of Waiting (too long)

So, this waiting thing. We’re called to wait, right? What does that even mean? I’m still figuring that out. This week I am the self proclaimed Queen of Waiting…. too long! I wait too long. I do nothing in fear that my something will not be good enough. So, here’s my something for the week…

The bible talks about “waiting” 106 times in the bible. The first time is in Exodus 21. Verse 12 begins with the Lord saying if you kill a man you should be put to death and verse 13 says if it is an accident and you  “lie not in wait” , God will deliver you into his hand, then He will give you safety. When I read that I’m like ok, what in the world is “lie not in wait”? The definition of “Lie in wait” is to hide or conceal yourself.

-Do not hide yourself or your sin from the Lord. He wants to give you safety. The term “lie in wait” shows up almost 70 times in scripture. They all pertain to someone or a group of people waiting in secret to strike an unexpected victim. When we “lie in waiting” we rot in our boredom and insecurity.

Other times we see “waiting” in scripture it is with courage, strength, and expectation

Psalm 27:14 Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord. Psalms 37:7 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.  Psalms 62:5 My soul, wait only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.

-Waiting takes action. To have courage means we must walk through things we are afraid of. To take strength means we must do things that we don’t think we can do on our own. Expecting means to expect that something or someone will arrive soon. If you are expecting company you’re probably going to clean your house or make some coffee to offer them. There is action in our waiting.

Other times we see our waiting is heart wrenching and ugly. We must have Hope in it.

Psalms 69:3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. Psalms 39:7 And now Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee.

-Pray without ceasing. Walk in prayer all day long. Constantly talk with Him. Constantly ask Him to speak to you. This world hurts us and the ones we love. Pray for everyone. Write your prayers down and when someone asks for prayer or you say you’ll pray for them. DO IT! Pray boldly and through scripture.

The last time waiting is mentioned is in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 And they speak of how you are waiting for the coming of God’s son from heaven – Jesus, whom God raised foro the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgement.

-Talk about the Lord in  your waiting. He is worthy of our praise and our evangelism. Share your testimony when the Lord calls you to. It is easy to think that your story isn’t as important or worthy as another’s. That is the furthest thing from truth. We are charged with telling the Good News to those who need it.

Here’s to Waiting with you all. May we all be a true Queen of Waiting.

Moana 7,000 times (I know your name)

“I have crossed the horizon to find you. I know your name. They have stolen the heart from inside you but this does not define you. This is not who you are. You know who you are. Who you truly are.”

These are the words Moana sings to a fire demon as she is tryin to restore its heart and they get me every time. It is my guaranteed ugly mom cry moment of the movie. I mean, aren’t they so Gospel?!

Part of our job description as a parent is to be able to watch the same movie several hundred (thousand) times a day, for weeks at a time with our sanity still in tact. Moana is that movie these days. A little background incase you haven’t seen the movie, It is a story of an Indian princess who goes on a mission to restore the heart of Te Fiti. Te Fiti was a beautiful goddess with a lush fruitful land but after her heart was stolen, all of her beauty left her and a fire demon (named Te Ka) was born; spreading it’s destruction throughout all of the earth.

At this point, Moana tells the Sea to let Te Ka come to her and the Sea Parts (Moana parts the sea! what?! I love it!), creating a path for Te Ka to get to Moana. Te Ka rages toward Moana and Moana just slowly walks toward her, singing these words “I have crossed the horizon to find you. I know your name. They have stolen the heart from inside you but this does not define you. This is not who you are. You know who you are. Who you truly are.” At this point Te Ka and Moana are literally face to face. Moana’s forehead is touching Te Ka’s. Te Ka closes her eyes ( almost as if she is surrendering) and lets Moana put her heart where it belongs. As soon as the heart is restored pieces of her burnt skin start the break apart and fall off to reveal her true identity, Te Fiti.

Wow, can we just sit here and let what just happened soak in for a second…… I mean goodness gracious, if this is not a picture of Jesus’ love, I don’t know what it is. There are so many parts of this I love, I can’t even take it.

God, your God will restore everything you lost; He’ll have compassion on you; He’ll come back and pick up the pieces from all the places where you were scattered. No matter how far away you end up, God will get you out of there. God will cut away the thick calluses on your heart and your children’s hearts, freeing you to love God with your whole heart and soul. (Deuteronomy 30:3-6)

The truth this story reveals:

Moana parts the Sea – Jesus makes a way for us. (Isaiah 43:16)

“I have crossed the horizon to find you.”  (Luke 1-10) If even just one sheep was lost would you not go search for him until you find him.

“I know your name.” (Luke 12:7) the very hairs on your head are numbered. (Isaiah 43:1-2) God calls you by your name. (Psalm 139:13) God has knit you together in your mother’s womb.

“They have stolen the heart from inside you but that does not define you.”- (Ephesians 2:10) you are God’s handiwork. (Jeremiah 1:5) before you were born I set you apart.

“This is not who you are.”- (Psalm 139:14) you are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Colossians 2:9-10) and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.

“You know who you are. Who you truly are.”-  (Galatians 3:26) in Christ you are a child of God through faith.

In the end, Te Fiti is completely restored to her original beauty and returns to her peaceful slumber. She even forgives the one who stole her heart. Are feeling broken, burnt out, abused, ripped off, maybe even mad about where you are in life or who you are in life? Jesus is walking toward you. He is not afraid or intimidated by your sin. Jesus came to restore your heart. I love how Te Ka closed her eyes and allowed Moana to restore her heart. She surrendered and said Yes. Saying Yes to the Lord is a daily choice. Yes, you can have my struggles. Yes, take my sin. Yes, help me forgive. Yes, I trust you with my heart, and Yes, I want you to restore my heart.  When you surrender your heart to the Lord all of those broken, dead pieces of you break apart and fall off.

I’m so thankful that the Lord reminded me of these truths through this movie. I love waiting on Him and watching Him Show up. Ask the Lord to show you something this week and then Wait and See.

The Couch Mouse (He is in it ALL)

I created this blog about 4 months ago. I thought about creating it 2 years before that. Once it was up I thought, now I have to write something. What am I gonna write? So, I waited. Not knowing what for. Then, what I like to call “The Couch Mouse” happened…..

I say “happened” lightly because I am currently in full swing “Couch Mouse”. In the past couple of weeks there have been some signs of mice activity in the house. I called the pest control service. Roger (the pest guy) comes out and assures me the  mice have just run through the house and right back out. “You don’t have a problem. It’s just been cold. They’re looking for warmth”. He set up a few traps just in case. O.K. So, I cleaned out the closets and pantry and went on with my life. Out of site, out of mind. WELL, a few nights ago I am up getting my daughter some milk. As I pass the upstairs couch I hear a Rustling. Like, something’s snacking. We have NO pets. Everyone else in my house is asleep. All of them as quite as a little mouse, except for the mouse! I run and get a trap we had in the laundry room, I quickly push it under the couch and hall A back to my bed. The next morning I call the pest control guy (OBVIOUSLY!). Roger comes back out, looks all around and no mouse to be found. He set up sticky traps everywhere, turned over the couches and chairs and assured me there were no mice in my couches. He told me to call him if I needed anything and went on his way. I am on pins and needles the rest of the day because I know I heard a mouse in my couch. The next morning I went downstairs, turned on a cartoon for the littles, grabbed a cup of coffee and got ready to sit on the couch. Right before I was gonna sit down something (I like to call “something” The Holy Spirit) told me to move the couch cushion first. So, I did and A MOUSE! A MOUSE! scurried all in the couch. Gross. I literally run out of my slippers and into the kitchen. One of my daughters (Cohen) says “mommy, there’s a mouse? Can I see him?” No! No! Mommy has to figure out what to do. I am now standing on the coffee table about to straight up DIE. Just then my husband (Pryor) walks through the front door (Praise THE LORD!) and we devise our plan of attack. In the end, my husband kills the “Couch Mouse” (with the broom) and I begin to clean like a mad woman (not with said broom) because I am completely grossed out.

Now, I cant stop cleaning, I’ve bought every single d-Con trap Target has in stock and I haven’t sat on my couches in days. I am exhausted. This sucks. Mice suck. Then today I started to feel a stirring. The Holy Spirit asking, Who told you to move the couch cushion to reveal the mouse? Who does this mouse remind you of? It hides in the shadows. It creates anxiety and fear. It’s tiny and helpless yet humans find themselves cowering in fear of it. Satan! You dirty rotten scoundrel. Yes friends, I am comparing Satan to a mouse. Now first, Do I think Satan sent the mouse or the Lord sent the mouse to teach me a lesson? Absolutely NOT.  Life is life and life happens. The wonderful thing about a relationship with Jesus is when you invite him in, (into ALL of it) he uses it ALL. He speaks through it ALL. Even through a “Couch Mouse”.

Here’s what we know about Mice. They hide in dark places and come out in the darkest of hours. They are filled with toxins. They poop about 100 times an hour(gross). It takes maintenance and attention to get rid of them.  Just like a mouse Satan has no real power (Colossians 2:14-15). Just like a mouse he hides in the shadows. He is full of toxins and bacteria.  He drops hundreds of lies an hour hoping to make us feel unsafe, unworthy and unable. (2 Thessalonians 7:10) Just like mice, it takes maintenance to ward him off and preventative measures to keep him away (Ephesians 6:10-18). Here’s what we know about Jesus. Jesus is the Light of the world (John 8:12). He is full of goodness (Ephesians 3:19). Jesus is all powerful (Hebrew 1:3). Jesus is truth and He has good plans for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11)

Listen, Satan has been trapped by the blood of our savior Jesus Christ. All the tools we need to defend against him are found in our relationship with Christ. We have to invite him in. Invite him into it ALL. As silly as it seems to compare Satan to a mouse or to think that a mouse has anything to do with Satan’s plot against me. The truth is, Jesus cares about it! No matter your situation, addiction, infidelity, fear, depression, or ANYTHING keeping you from God’s Love. He cares and calls those things out of your life. Jesus cares about your “Couch Mouse”! How funny would a T-shirt that says that be?

In all seriousness, I hope this will be a source of encouragement and inspire a time of reflection. Where is Satan hiding in your life? What is the Lord trying to reveal to you? Have I given the Lord ALL of my life? Where do you need to set a trap so that you can catch it before it spreads to other areas of your life? If you have not asked Jesus into your heart, Please do. Don’t Wait any longer! He has so much to Show you, personally. In and through ALL of your life. I promise you will not regret it. You just Wait and See.