31 Day Challenge….Yikes!


Scroll down to read the inspiration behind my 31 days of seeing glimpses of God’s glory in my everyday life. You can then click on each link to read my “glimpse” for each day.

Day One: What Have I Done?

Day Two: Perspective Changer

Day Three: Seeing Past the Holy Huddle

Day Four: The Lord’s Day

Day Five: To Rescue or Not to Rescue

Day Six: The Sun

Day Seven: Lessons from the Sun (and the Son)

Day Eight: Lots to See

Day Nine: Holy Socks

Days 10 and 11: It Really Does All Come Down to Love

Day 12: Hate vs. LOVE

Day 13: We’re in this Together

Day 14: Sometimes you have to choose to see

Day 15: Seeing Through the Father’s Eyes

Day 16: My Helper

Days 17 and 18: More than a Glimpse

Day 19: Gifts

Day 20: The Rock

Day 21: Your Horse, Your Story, Your Girl

Day 22: True Power

Day 23: The Arms of Love

Day 24: Fun on the Farm

Day 25: What Real Worship Looks Like

Day 26: Rest

Day 27: The Power of Silence

Day 28: Extraordinary in the Ordinary

Day 29: A Prayer that Could Change Everything

Day 30: Sometimes You Gotta Look Hard

Day 31: Done!

A friend encouraged me to try the 31 day blog challenge. It is a community of bloggers who commit to writing a post every day in the month of October. The posts all have to relate to a particular theme of your choosing. I scrolled through the website and found topics such as: 31 days to a cleaner home (yes please!), 31 days to a tighter tummy (will it hurt?), 31 ways to use the color red (what now?). All of those topics sound intriguing, but what would I write about???

As I processed this and prayed over it, I started to dismiss the idea as not being something I could contribute to. But then I heard that voice – that quiet whisper that you want to pretend was just your imagination. The internal voice that prompts you to do something you so don’t want to do. Have you ever heard that voice? The Holy Spirit rarely shouts to me; instead He whispers, He excites, He makes clear.

“You can write about seeing Me each day for 31 days.”

“Um…what was that Lord? No, please no. What if I don’t “see” You one day? What if there is a day when I have nothing but white space to turn in? How am I going to “see” evidence of You 31 times in a row????”

“You ask Me to show myself to you and then write what you SEE.”

I’ll spare you the days of back and forth I did with God. Let’s just say I may have resembled a little child who argued and negotiated with her Daddy about doing  something she didn’t want to do. But in the end, He won.

So, starting tomorrow I will link up to the “mother blog” and begin posting once a day about the evidences of God in my mundane life.

Ya’ll I am scared! I have NO idea what this will look like or what I will SEE, but I am trusting the One who gave me eyes and the One who promises to reveal Himself to us.

It seems fitting that where I live has been completely overcast for almost an entire week. A week without the sun! (This Florida born girl is not happy!) But here’s the cool part and what I took as confirmation of God’s calling: Just because I can’t SEE the sun, doesn’t mean it’s not there. And it doesn’t mean I can’t SEE evidence of it. The sun still rises in the east and sets in the west. The plants still grow. I still have to wear sunglasses when I drive. Yes, the evidence of the sun remains, even when the clouds obstruct our view.

And the evidence of The Son is all around us, even if circumstances obstruct our view. So my prayer is that God will remove the blinders: the doubt, the fear, the pride and anything else that obstructs my view of Him and reveal a glimpse of His glory to me each day. (Oh my word…as I just wrote that sentence the sun came out for an instant!!!!!!! OK, God is soooo AWESOME, and I think I just saw a glimpse of Him for today 😉 )

Will you join me on this challenge? You don’t have to start a blog or anything, but maybe you would be willing to pray that prayer with me over the next 31 days and then record for yourself how you SEE evidences of God each day.

I am still a little nervous, but suddenly I am far more excited!

Much love (and SEE you tomorrow),


Dose of Sunshine

You are my sunshine
You are my sunshine

One evening my then six year old daughter was taking a bath when she called me in, “Mama, come here! You have to see this!”

As parents of young children know, a command like that can conjure up all sorts of frightening images of what they are about to see 😉 but in I walked to behold whatever it was….

I was relieved to find that my daughter was simply looking at drops if water on her arm!

“Look mama, I have leprosy like the Tin Man in the Bible!!” – she said while smiling!
“Ummmm?????” (I didn’t know where to start….do you address the leprosy first or the fact the Tin Man was most definitely not in the Bible???)

I went with the Tin Man: “Sweetie, the Tin Man wasn’t in the Bible. And he definitely didn’t suffer from leprosy.”

“Mommy, your funny. There was a Tin Man in the Bible and Jesus healed them, but only one Tin Man came back to say thank you to Him.”

Sunshine Truth: Both the Tin Man and the Ten Men had reasons to be grateful 🙂

*The “Ten Men” aka “the Tin Man” story can be found in Luke 17:11-19.

These weekly “Dose of Sunshine” posts are in honor of the sweet, funny and silly things kids do that bring laughter and truth into our lives. If you have a Dose of Sunshine story you would like to share please leave it in the comments or email me directly at jmbleakley@gmail.com

Actively Waiting

“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope..” Psalm 130:5


I was asked today how my book is coming along. At first I wanted to make up some information like, “It’s being reviewed as we speak!” or “I except to hear back any day now.” But the truth is I have heard nothing and I don’t know if I will. I have no idea if the proposal has even been read, or if the delete button was hit as soon as the email was received.

Having your “baby” out there for strangers to review is a scary feeling. Not even knowing if said strangers received your “baby” or if they are even interested in reviewing it creates a unique cascade of emotions: did they get it? do they hate it? are they reviewing it? did they delete it? am I going to hear back….ever????

And so, through no choice of my own, I wait. My book waits. My characters wait. But I’m somewhat begrudgingly learning that waiting does not have to be a passive sport. There is so much work to be done while I wait. I can tweak chapters; I can rework entire sections; I can take on other writing projects; I can search God’s Word and be encouraged by others who had to wait on His timing; I can surrender my agenda and purposes to God’s; and I can walk through other doors that are opening for ministry opportunities I had never entertained before.

I LOVE the book God laid on my heart to write. I LOVE the true story behind the book, and I pray that one day I can share this story with others. And while I certainly don’t love the waiting game, I do love the lessons God is teaching me during this time.

Are you in a place of waiting on God’s timing? It is so easy to get discouraged (trust me I fight this battle everyday), but may I encourage you to actively wait. Ask God to show you what you CAN do in this time. Maybe He is opening a door to a different ministry. Or leading you to a Bible study. Maybe He is calling you to share your waiting story with others. Or drawing you to His Word.

Let’s actively wait together; trusting His timing and His plans. They are usually always different than ours – but they are also always infinitely better!

Much love,


Dose of Sunshine

These weekly “Dose of Sunshine” posts are in honor of the sweet, funny and silly things kids do that bring laughter and truth into our lives.” 

You are my sunshine
You are my sunshine

Over the summer my daughter’s very best friend in the whole wide world moved several hundred miles away. There were many tears as reality slowly set in and the permanence of the move became undeniable. Playing at each other’s houses turned into facetime playdates, giggling fits in the back of a car were substituted with text messages, and whispered secrets with each other turned to whispered prayers for each other.  

They have found a way to keep each other in their hearts, but even more amazing than that is how this family has chosen to keep God’s Word in their hearts and home. The family was able to build a new house in their new state. Once the walls were up the family went into the half-way finished home and wrote Bible verses on the walls. What a beautiful picture of building your life on God’s Word and His promises!

My friend sent me a picture of what her daughter wrote on her wall:


It says: “Hide God’s Word in your heart, just like we are hiding His Word in our walls.”

What a beautiful reminder to all of us that we need to hide God’s Word in our hearts.

Lies and half-truths are at constant war with real truth. The only way we will be able to spot a lie is if we know the Truth. I love this precious reminder written in the script of a sweet little girl who means the world to my daughter.

Thank you sweet Libby! We miss you ❤

(If you have a Dose of Sunshine story you would like to share please leave it in the comments or email me directly at jmbleakley@gmail.com)

Sometimes You Just Gotta Look Up

This blog turned one year old over the weekend 🙂 It has been such a great journey for me to record the evidences of Jesus which He allows me to see in my mundane little life. I thank you for being willing to read about that journey. As I was reflecting back over some of my first blog posts, I was so moved by one that I decided to re-post it here today. It was at the beginning of my son’s 6th grade year and it testifies to his struggles. God is so incredibly good and we all made it through the first year of middle school! It was nice to go back and see just how far God has brought us in just one year. I hope you are encouraged by this today:

(“But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” Psalm 3:3)

My son wouldn’t look at me. Frustrated, exhausted tears streamed down his eleven year old cheeks, and he didn’t want me to see him cry. He is in his first year of middle school and it is proving much harder than he thought it would be.  He has worked harder this week than any other in his life, and was upset over a test that he did not think went well.

My little boy is growing up and taking on more responsibility. He is learning time management, how to set priorities, self-motivation and natural consequences. But learning is hard, growing pains hurt, and as little boy fights with emerging teenager, the stress begins to take its toll. He is tired, frustrated, grumpy, excited, silly, sweet, opinionated, defeated, and triumphant all within a span of five minutes sometimes!

I was having my own internal war as I watched him cry. The mama bear in me wanted to scream at the teachers for giving him too much work, the perfectionist in me wanted to interrogate my son to see what he was doing wrong and fix it, the counselor in me wanted to work on coping strategies and self-talk. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit in me brought Psalm 3 to mind which silenced all the other voices in my head.

As I looked at my sweet boy hiding his face in the sofa cushions, I knelt down beside him and asked him to look at me. He sat up, but would not meet my eyes. I gently lifted his head and looked into his watery blue eyes. At that moment, I thought about all the times God has lifted my head: all the times I knew I had blown it, the trials that felt too hard, the times when shame kept me from running to Him, the times I had tried to do things my own way and messed everything up. During those times, I felt unlovable and unworthy and yet, my King gently took my head in His loving, powerful hands and lifted my eyes to meet His.

I told my son, through my own tears, that I loved him no matter what. I explained that my love does not depend on his performance or a number written on a test paper. I am proud of him for trying his best and for doing it without much complaining. I wanted him to see my face and my eyes as I told him I will always love him and we will figure this middle school thing out together.

My words were the same ones I have spoken before, but his reaction to them was different. He really seemed to believe me this time. He hugged me and walked away lighter. The defeated vibe was gone, replaced by hope. As I sat there pondering his reaction, I realized that he saw in my eyes I really meant what I was saying.

However, while I do mean those words, my love is not perfect and I will mess up. But God’s love is perfect and He never messes up. When God lifts our heads, He desires that we see Him for who He truly is: our perfect Creator, King and Redeemer. It is overwhelming to think that God loves me; just as I am in this very moment. I don’t have to perform well for God to love me. I don’t have to get myself together for God to love me. I don’t have to feel lovable for God to love me. He just does! God is love and He loves me. That is a mind blowing truth.

Today, if you are feeling unlovable and unworthy I urge you to ask God to lift up your head and lead you to His word, so you may SEE just how much He loves you.

Dose of Sunshine – The True Street Evangelist

You are my sunshine
You are my sunshine

A few years ago my husband was out back burning some leaves while my kids were drawing with chalk on the driveway. My then 9 year old son asked me if it was ok for him to write some on the street. I walked out front to watch for traffic so that he could draw (that is what I thought he was going to do.)

I was so busy watching for cars, noticing the weeds growing by the mailbox, and chuckling at my then 5 year olds attempts at spelling that it took several minutes for me to realize what my son was actually doing.


He was writing out the Gospel in the street! He tends to be very shy around adults, but he wanted grown-ups to know about Jesus so he decided to write out a message of hope and love so that anyone riding by or walking by could read it.


He explained that Jesus loves them and wants them to be with Him in Heaven. He then said all you have to do is have your sins forgiven by praying and asking Jesus to forgive you and give you eternal life. My own little “street” preacher! He even inspired his sister to get in on the action – although her spelling made her message a little harder to understand 😉


I think she was trying to write “Gospel”…thankfully her spelling has gotten much better!

While the street preaching was going on in the front, the burning leaves resulted in a captivating and inspiring moment out back.



I know it was a result of smoke, air and sunlight, but I also know that God used those substances to make His pleasure known. How He must have smiled at the scene going on in the front yard. I know I sure did!

Sunshine truth: All it takes to change a life is a willing heart, and maybe a piece of chalk 😉

In Search of JOY

“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5


I can be cruising through life with a smile on my face and a song in my heart and then BAM! Party over. What causes such an abrupt deflating of my balloon? Other’s attitudes and moods.

This is a constant battle for me. I seem to be hardwired to take personally a loved one’s bad mood. The bad mood may have nothing to do with me, but that doesn’t matter to this chronic people pleaser. “Must fix bad mood” becomes my obsessive mantra.

But have you ever tried to fix someone else’s bad mood? Let me break it to you: you can’t – it doesn’t work! Oh it may for a minute or even a day, but you cannot change someone else (oh if only I could permanently learn this lesson!)

So what happens to my mood after my attempts at fixing other’s moods fail? I get down, depressed, and in a bad mood. To quote the psalmist, “My soul is downcast.” I feel as though I have allowed others to steal my joy.

But the minute I think that, I realize it’s a lie; for how can someone steal my joy if it is something that Jesus put within me? (“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11.)

If Jesus’ joy is literally in me than no one can possibly take it away! So then why do I become so joy-less? I think I have figured that out: I allow other’s moods and attitudes to build walls around my joy.

Think of joy as a warm light in your heart. A light that chases the darkness away and allows us to SEE Jesus in our every day to day lives; a light that wraps itself around us when things don’t make sense and reminds us of God’s sovereign reign; a light that shines brightly in the darkness of this fallen world.

When I allow other’s moods to affect my joy, it is like I begin placing bricks around my “joy light.” My joy is still there (because Jesus put it there) but it becomes hard to see because I have allowed others to hide it. Does that make sense?

So now that I know the problem, what is the solution??? I think I may have stumbled on something yesterday which God confirmed to me today. Yesterday after realizing that I was allowing my joy to be hidden, I sat down and wrote a letter to my heart (does that sound weird to anyone?) As I wrote I reminded myself who God is and what He has done in the past. I reminded my heart that this trial is only temporary and that my joy is Jesus.

After my “Dear Heart” letter (not at all like a “Dear John” letter) I turned on some worship tunes. And then I sang – my heart out (or more appropriately – I sang my joy free!)

It is really hard to have a downcast soul when you are singing praises to your Creator. I’ll admit it took about 5 songs until my heart caught up to my words. But keep singing until your heart believes the words coming from your mouth. Then this morning my devotional was from Psalm 42, where the psalmist instructs his downcast soul to trust in the Lord. It is a beautiful Psalm and instruction manual for down times. I urge you to go and read that Psalm today!

Did my solution fix anyone else’s mood? Nope. But did my joy return? Absolutely!

Maybe your not a chronic people pleaser (and for that be eternally grateful 😉 ) but maybe your joy is being hidden by other circumstances today. One thing I am learning is that our joy is independent of our circumstances. My friend, I pray that you will talk to your heart. Remind yourself that God is so much bigger than your circumstances and that He has given you the gift of indwelling JOY. Let Him remove the bricks that surround your joy. Let His love and His light pour over you today. Press into Him and ask Him to meet your needs. Then trust Him to do what is best as you snuggle into His arms and bask in the glow of pure JOY.

Much love,

Dose of Sunshine: All Consuming Fire

You are my sunshine
You are my sunshine

A mom was at her wits end over her son’s unthankfulness and complaining. She had tried all sorts of discipline strategies, encouragements and rewards, but still the complaining and grumbling continued.

She decided to change tactics and send him to God’s Word instead, “I want you to search the Bible and write down verses about not being thankful and about complaining. Then come find me and tell me what God says about it.”

The boy slumped into a chair and started flipping pages in the Bible. After about 20 minutes he went in search of his mom. “Well son, what did you find out?”

“Mama, I’m so sorry. Thank you for everything! I will never ever complain again!”

Mom was taken aback by his attitude, and amazed at how instantly God’s Word had transformed her son. “Well, good. I’m so glad. So what exactly did you learn?”

Mom, fully anticipating him to speak about Philippians 2:14 or 1 Thessalonians 5:18, was shocked (and a little amused) when her son exclaimed, “God sets complaining kids on fire!”

“What???? What are you talking about?”

“Numbers 11:1 says, ‘Soon the people began to complain about their hardship, and the LORD heard everything they said. Then the LORD’s anger blazed against them, and he sent a fire to rage among them, and he destroyed some of the people in the outskirts of the camp.’ ”

Mom was wide-eyed and shocked at the obscure verse her son had managed to find. She knew she should talk about context and law versus grace, but she suddenly saw the glorious opportunity she had inadvertently been handed, “Yes, well…um….you just go think about that!”

Mom’s note: Surprisingly my son has been much more grateful and far less complaining recently! 😉

Sunshine Truth: Sometimes a simple time-out doesn’t look so bad!

When Our Failures Bring God Glory

“Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'” Matthew 19:14


I was in tears. The morning had been awful. Just awful. It was the Lord’s Day, but it felt like it had been hijacked by satan. The frustration started before we even left the house. The attacks firing preemptively. I breathed a sigh of relief when we entered the worship center. My family went in ahead of me as I took a quick trip to the restroom. When I returned I realized that I would have to squeeze my way down the middle of a row of people. Not ideal for an introvert. Nothing like drawing attention and grimaces from people as you shimmy past them. But I trudged forward. Only to realize after arriving at the center of the row that I WAS IN THE WRONG ROW!!!

Ugh. Shimmy back out. Face turns bright red. Shimmy down correct row. Sit down. And thank the Lord we are praying so I can recover from that loveliness.

After service we went up to our second grade classroom. Where the all out assault began. We always have a big class, but this week it seemed much larger. We always have several loud and exuberant children, but this week they were all bouncing off the walls. This would be our last week with this class and I wanted to sit around and love on them, sing sweet worship songs, and pour godly wisdom into their bright shining faces. (I know…but a girl can dream right?)

Instead, I was met with chaos and unruly behavior. Kids who normally never act out were showing a different side. I was shaken. My dreams going up in smoke. None of them were the least bit interested in my “Kumbaya” kind of morning.

Enter the voice. You know that voice. The one that taunts and tears down. The one that whispers, “You are no good at this. What kind of teacher are you? You aren’t able to teach God’s Word to them; you can’t even control them for five minutes. You should quit.” The thoughts were taking over my mind. In hindsight it wasn’t that big of a deal, but satan sure made it feel like a big deal that day. The taunts were relentless.

We played a loud game and then went next door for music time. My husband sensing my imminent breakdown, played more songs than usual. I took the opportunity to head to the restroom and cry. I was composing my resignation letter. (do you even need one of those to quit Sunday School teaching???) I was broken. I felt like a failure. “You write all this curriculum, but you can’t put it into practice.”

From the depths of my soul I cried out, “God, these thoughts are NOT from You. I ask that You be my shield and stop them from continuing to penetrate my heart and mind.”

I left my safe-haven and went back into the room with the hooligans children and prepared to teach the lesson, convinced it would fall on deaf ears. I glanced at the clock and realized we only had 10 minutes left. “Well, so much for teaching!”

Testimony. “Where did that word come from?” I heard the word in my heart. I glanced at the story I was supposed to give and noticed it was basically Paul giving his testimony. I felt a different kind of whisper this time. Not taunting. It was breathing life.

I shared my testimony with the kids. I invited others to as well. Four of them did! I said that if anyone was there today and did not have a testimony, a story of when Jesus freed them from sin and became their King, that I would love to help them have a story before they leave.

That’s when I noticed her. A little wisp of a girl on the front row. Her body leaning forward, her eyes fixed on mine, her head shaking yes. She seemed ready to run into my arms. “Lord, are You calling her to You right now?”

We prayed, I dismissed the class, I gave hugs, but the entire time I watched her. She stood in front of me – silent, but pleading with her eyes. “Sweetie, do you have a testimony?” A shake of her head and a tear was all I could see as my own eyes filled with tears. “Mrs. Jen, I want to have a story. I want Jesus.”

I could write thousands of blog posts and never fully capture what my heart felt at that moment. This little girl wanted Jesus!

I had the honor of leading her into the family of God that day, and it was all because of my failure. Had the morning gone the way I had planned, we would not have talked about testimonies. Had I not been broken by the evil attacks on my thoughts, I would not have been sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s call to talk about testimonies that day.

Are failures fun? Not at all! But can God use your failures for His glory? Absolutely!

I was blown away this past Sunday by the grace of our Lord. He had called that precious girl’s name and nothing was going to stop Him from receiving her into His Kingdom….not even an awesome “Kumbaya” last Sunday school class! 😉