What is it about this song that just gets to me? I can remember driving to pick up one of my children from elementary school (and that’s been YEARS ago), hearing Mercy Me’s “Word of God Speak” come across my radio, and I just start singing right along with them, raising my hands (ok, one hand was on the wheel), and crying like a baby. Each time I hear that song I get choked up. Last night was no different. I’m driving down the interstate, “Word of God Speak” begins to play on The Joy FM, and I think to myself, “Stephanie, you might want to pull over.” I didn’t, but the tears still gently trickled down my face.
In the first verse of this song it says, “I’m finding myself at a loss for words, and the funny thing is it’s okay. The last thing I need is to be heard, but to hear what you would say.”
There are numerous times that I am at a loss for words. It may be due to a circumstance that has occurred in someone’s life and I am empathetic yet haven’t experienced what they are going through myself, so my words are quiet yet prayerful. There are seasons when my words are silent because God is working on and within me. Sometimes I feel that my words are unworthy to be heard for the situation at hand, so my actions will speak more volumes than I could even articulate. Or, maybe, God just simply puts His hand over my mouth to keep me in control. Whatever the reason is for my quietness, God’s always got the right thing to say and how/when/through whom to say it.
In Psalm 19:1-4 we read, “The heavens proclaim the glory of the God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak, night after night they make Him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.”
The sky, day AND night, proclaim the glory of the Lord…WITHOUT speaking a word.
God created the Heavens and the earth, and guess what…He created you as well. When you are a child of God, you should have the desire to proclaim His name and share of the glorious things He has done and continues to do for you. Why? Because Christ lives in you! This gives you assurance of sharing His glory. (Colossians 1:27)
John, the apostle of love, mentioned the word proclaim three times in the first three verses of 1 John 1. He declares that Jesus IS the Word of life and IS eternal life. John proclaims this because he wants others to have fellowship with them, as his fellowship is with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Not only to have fellowship, yet so that others can share FULLY in the JOY that comes from the Lord.
Paul beautifully proclaims the Supremacy of Christ, His existence and purpose of His life, and the reason why he does so in Colossians 1:15-29. Paul does this to warn others, to teach of the wisdom of God, so that others can have a relationship with Christ. It wasn’t a bed of roses for Paul. He had many struggles during his proclamation, but he knew that he could continue sharing God’s love through the mighty power of God, not his own strength.
We too should “live to tell what the Lord has done.” (Psalm 118:17)
We too should “spread God’s fame throughout the earth.” (Exodus 9:16)
We too should “give thanks to the Lord and proclaim His greatness. Let the whole world know what He has done.” (Psalm 105:1)
We can do this without even saying a word. 1 John 3:18 says, “Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us SHOW the TRUTH by our ACTIONS.”
Be a DOER of the word. (James 1:22)
“If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by LIVING an honorable life, DOING good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13)
“Let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will PRAISE YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER.” (Matthew 5:16)
I hope that I’ve encouraged you to proclaim God’s love, even without saying a word. Allow God to speak TO you and THROUGH you.
Have a beautiful, fall-crisp, weekend, and always remember to enjoy soaking up The Son in the sunshine.
Love you all, Stephanie.
Renovating a home has been a process of renovating my heart as well.
We are EXACTLY one week away until we close on the sale of the home which my husband AND children were raised in. It all seems surreal, yet exciting!
As I sit here on the only chair left in the home, I am reflective on the process, and my heart and ears are wide open for God’s voice. Yes, I feel His presence and am basking in His love.
Walking through each empty room reminds me that this home is still full of memories.
I wanted to jot a little diddy down for you to know that I’m still around. I so appreciate those of you who message me wondering where I’ve been. Becoming accustomed to no Wi-Fi is interesting. Yep, you heard right…limited, if any at all, Wi-Fi. Living off the grid, folks (sort of).
Stay tune or warning…there’s much more to come. Praise God that He isn’t like Wi-Fi. He is limitless!
Grateful for the verse-of-the-day today:
“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” Psalm 37:4
One of my favs!!…As you can tell by reading these journal entries: please click here.
I do pray that you have a blessed day. Go put a smile on someone’s face. Enjoy soaking up The Son in this glorious weather.
Stop trying to be someone you’re not.
Stop comparing yourself to others.
Start allowing GOD to change the way you think about yourself.
Start learning, knowing, and believing that God’s will for you is perfect and best for you.
Don’t take it from me, read His breathed words for yourself:
So God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. Genesis 1:27. God created you from the beginning. He created you to be like Him.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalms 139:13. Yep, He’s a knitter. While you’re all snug as a bug in your momma’s tummy, God was interlacing each part of you.
Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, You are the potter; we are all the work of Your hand. Isaiah 64:8. Well, lookie there. God’s not only The Creator and a knitter, but a The Potter too. Oh, and so much more! He’s STILL molding you. Permit God continue to form you into the person He desires for you to be.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11. Oh, friend, did you not only read those words but truly hear them. Reread. God KNOWS the plans that HE has for YOU. They are great! Unimaginable! Full of hope! He’s got this.
So, to wrap it all up…Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
The Message translation says, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.” FIX YOUR FOCUS ON GOD.
I pray that you will always enjoy soaking up The Son as you go about your day. Allow Him to permeate within you, and radiate through you. -Stephanie
Or renovating a home and in the middle of living between two homes AND sleeping on the floor AND eating dinners out AND not having my convenient washer and dryer at my beckon call AND…has me like….
Both of these examples would have me feeling two totally different emotions.
Well, let me tell you that my 25th wedding anniversary weekend with my man and two dear friends (who were also celebrating their 25th year) in Nashville, Tennessee had me like….WOW!!!
I can’t believe that a southern-country music lovin’-fried chicken eatin’-sweet tea drinkin’ girl like me has never been to Nashville, but it’s true. Now I can check that fabulous city off my bucket list (or maybe I should go back to for *wink*).
I just want to share with you our list of places/events that we enjoyed. Hopefully, I will encourage you to take a trip yourself to Music City U.S.A..
Visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame is like walking through the Smithsonian of country music. The memorabilia, stories, photographs, interactive exhibits, etc. were at times overwhelming, yet I found myself having numerous moments, when listening to or seeing a deep-rooted country musician’s name or photo, reminiscing about the “good ole days”. Memories of where I was at a certain time in my life was priceless. Even if you don’t have an ounce of country music history in our psyche, the Hall of Fame is a must on your to-do list while in Nashville.
Hatch Show Print, this little gem is located in the same building as the Hall of Fame. Hatch print design has been around since the late 1800’s. Yep! I did browse the store, click a photo of me holding a “Will you marry me?” (again) sign to text to my man (who was still browsing the Hall of Fame), and purchased a sign to display in my home, but, looking back, I wish I would have taken the time to visit it’s rich history. Check this little gem out when you exit the Hall of Fame.
Bars/Lounges’/Honky Tonks/Eateries/whatever you choose to call the plethora of venues in and around downtown that showcased gifted musicians, are beaming with talent. A establishments that we visited were: Legends Corner, Rippy’s, Tootsies, Layla’s ( we had to go into this one…that’s one of our dog’s name), The Second Fiddle, Tequila Cowboy, and Honky Tonk Central. We were there in the late morning early afternoon hours. The streets and venues were crowded with visitors (already!) trying to catch the next up-and-coming music star. ALL these folks could SING!
Now, where I thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment was at The Listening Room and 3rd and Lindsley. These are two venues where you can sit, enjoy a meal, and appreciate the God-given ability of these individuals without the hustle and bustle of the “bar scene”. Oh. My. Goodness!! Can these people sing!! These are songwriters who have found their niche in the business; anywhere from writing for and touring with well-known musicians, creating songs for movies, to cutting their own albums. The in-cre-di-ble musicians we have the privilege of hearing for two nights were: Briana Tyson , Patrick Thomas, Cameron Bedell, Cameron Bedell, Gabe Dixon, and David Ryan Harris. These are just a handful of artist amongst a sea of talent in this town.
Are you ready for some “treats of eats”? We hit the “must do” list which was recommended by friends, and other friends must have felt the same way. The wait may have been lengthy at times, but worth it. Checkout:
- The Pancake Pantry which was established back in 1961, and is still family owned and operated today. The blueberry and original buttermilk pancakes were on my list, then plate, then tummy. Delicious!
- Biscuit Love started out as a food truck back in 2012. Now, it is nestled in The Gulch area (where we stayed) in Nashville, and a line of eager to eats folks wrap themselves around the corner to enjoy homemade biscuits prepared in a variety of ways. I partook in the biscuit and sausage gravy plate. Mmmmmm.
- The trip wouldn’t have been complete without a stop at Hattie B’s. Between the four of us, we sampled (ok, chowed down on) these four heat levels of fried chicken: “southern” (that would me be…no kick to it, just simply delish), “mild”, “hot”, and “shut the cluck up!” (that would be Dave…sweating on the first bite).
- Barista Parlor. This eclectic place was established in 2011. The setting is in a former garage (I think). I’m no coffee connoisseur, but they specialize in roasting/brewing/and whatever else you do to coffee. The menu is more of a bakery style, yet I enjoyed a sausage and jelly biscuit. My cohorts waited for their coffee, while it was being perfected by the coffee barista.
- Sunday Brunch at Adele’s. This was our final stop before departing for home, and boy oh boy and am I thrilled that we did stop at Adele’s. The locale of Adele’s was walking distance from our apartment. (Most places were, this was just the closest.) We strolled the street with our suitcases and the hostess was gracious enough to secure them behind her station while we delighted in the scrumptious brunch buffet.
You may be wondering if we departed Nashville without seeing the main attraction, and my reply would be “No way!” The Ryman Auditorium. HELLOOOO!! I am not going to spoil your experience to The Ryman. You MUST go! The history of the former Grand Ole Opry blew me away. The story of how Captain Ryman became a God-fearing man after being presented the gospel by pastor Jones, to the making of the tabernacle (yes, it was a church before becoming the Opry), from the dedicated story of Lula C. Naff (my new favorite “Rock Star”)…I was IMPRESSED. We took the backstage private tour. It was well worth it. You have to make sure you view the film of the making of The Ryman. “The Church of Country Music” was revived and is still being an incredible soundstage for entertainers of all genre.
The Grand Ole Opry House. Need I say more? We were there the same weekend that the Opry was celebrating its 91st birthday. The Opry’s 91st Birthday Bash had me at “Hey, y’all!” With food trucks, more entertainment outdoors, to seeing a star whom I used to pretend to be when I was a youngin’ by performing on my family’s fireplace hearth while playing her album on our record player. Crsytal Gayle still has those piercing blue eyes and llllooonnngggg hair.
The final bit of entertainment news to inform you about was The 37th Annual Nashville Octoberfest. Our timing was perfect! A Birthday Bash AND Octoberfest. Nashville was the place to be last weekend. Oh, okay, most every weekend! Germantown was booming with people of all ages and pets. We saw the quickest parade (about 5 minutes) I’ve ever seen in my life. The vendors of craft and foods were lining the streets.
I must inform you that Nashville’s “southern hospitality” was top notch. Every place we visited was staffed with pleasant and accommodating employees. So much that the new convention center that Nashville had built was built by tourism dollars, no taxes from the Nashvillians.
I hope that you are encouraged to visit Nashville. If you need a place to stay, there are plenty of hotels and motels, but we used the link https://www.airbnb.com/. This allowed us to rent a two bedroom/two bath apartment with our friends in a comfortable and homey setting.
God bless, and have a fabulous day. – Stephanie
At this time (8:30pm) twenty-five years ago, Tim and I were on our way to stay our honeymoon night at the luxurious hotel, The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida, before departing the next day for a cruise.
I can recount many memorable moments that trip, but the memories that we have had over the past twenty-five years of marriage are more than numerous (if there even is such a thing).
I often ask more seasoned married couples what their secret has been to staying together all their years. Now, others are asking me the same thing.
This evening I opened a card from my mother and on the front it quoted 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. I’ve heard it at several wedding, during sermons, and bible studies all my life, but when I read the words on the card from my mom, it took me right back to when Rev. Tommy Warnock read that scripture at our wedding. (That would have been Tommy with a mustache then, for those of you that know and absolutely love him.)
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
A marriage is about being patient, kind, honoring, selfless, understanding, forgiving, truthful, trusting, hopeful, and loving each other unconditional. Tim and I have tried our darndest to keep God’s word true in our marriage.
God is the center of our relationship. Prayer is essential. Laughter is prominent. Quality ALONE time together is a requirement. When momma and daddy are happy…the family is happy.
That’s why we are getting away now…see ya! Nashville Bound. Time to get-away with my honey. We love you kiddos, but time to get outta town.
I love my man, and am so grateful that God gave me him to have and to hold from this day forward.
I pray that you will always enjoy Soaking up The Son in you walk with Him.
This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; 10 that you will see the difference between what is important and what is not and choose what is important; that you will be pure and blameless for the coming of Christ; 11 that your life will be full of the many good works that are produced by Jesus Christ to bring glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:9-11
Can I get an “Amen”?
Not only was this Paul and Timothy’s prayer for the church of Philippi, but from me to you as well.
Thank you for Soaking Up The Son with me. God is great! Love, Stephanie
This journey began back in November 2014 when we first signed the contract what was possibly going to be our future homeland. Then, this peaceful acreage and home actually became ours on the last day of August 2015. Almost TWO YEARS later…today is moving day.
The other night, while we were solving the problems of the world under the stars in our quaint backyard, Tim and I calculated that the home we are leaving has been my husband’s home for forty years. When he wasn’t living here, his parents were. When our third child was born, the opportunity arose for my in-laws to purchase a phenomenal historic home (which Jany restored so magnificently), and we purchased the home that Tim grew up in to raise the next generation of Shuffs. That was nearly 15 years ago. Our children (except for Hunter) have very little memory of our first home, so THIS home has memories embedded in all our minds that we will treasure for a lifetime.
People often so sincerely asked, “How is Tim feeling about moving from his childhood home?” Or “Is this going to be difficult for y’all?” Or “How can y’all leave the beautiful home you’re in now?”
We often respond, “If we were having to move away, it might be a different set of emotions, but since we are moving to a place where we are desiring and have prayed about for years, we are excited about the next phase in our lives.”
There’s been a feeling of HOPE throughout this process. A HOPE of what is to come. A HOPE for healing. A HOPE for more memories to be made.
Just like we know that our earthly home and body is ONLY TEMPORARY, we have our HOPE on what is to come.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18
He also says to the Son, “In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth and made the heavens with your hands. They will perish, but you remain forever. They will wear out like old clothing. You will fold them up like a cloak and discard them like old clothing. But you are always the same; you will live forever.” Hebrews 1:10-12
While I was just reading this out loud to Tim, I got choked up. (Whew, I wasn’t expecting that.) Tim said to me, “Houses don’t have memories, people do.” Precious. So true. And we have MANY wonderful memories that we are taking with us, and there are many more fabulous family memories to be made in our new home.
I pray that you will place your HOPE in the things to come…Heaven.
Have a beautiful day.
Thank you for Soaking Up The Son with me. -Stephanie
God either has a great sense of humor, is whispering in my ear, shouting in my psyche, or most likely all three this morning when I read today’s scripture.
“What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what he wants you to do. Then he will give you all these other things you need. So don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Tomorrow will have its own worries.” Matthew 6:33-34
He knows just what we need to hear, and when we need to hear it.
Thank You, Lord!
For a “logical/common sense girl” and her “financial minded” man, this reconstruction process has been interesting. We are blessed with fine workers and a Christian contractor. We know “construction always takes longer than expected”. God’s got this. It’s crunch time.
“No worries, Stephanie. I am giving you what you need.” –God
what about you? Do you need a gentle or SHOUTED reminder to rely on God for all your needs because He’s got your best interest at heart?
Here’s is a MUST HEAR/SEE video by Natalie Grant singing “King of the world”. (PLEASE click here)
Yes! Yes, He is!!
Have a wonderful day.
I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie
This past weekend Tim was in north Florida and Holly and I went to Georgia. We timed our return home so we could meet at an exit, have Holly ride with her dad so they could visit before she abruptly had to get back to college once we were home, and then follow each other back home.
While following my man’s immense truck I thought to myself, “I’d follow him anywhere.”
Then The Man (God) touched my heart and whispered in my ear, “Follow Me anywhere.”
Throughout the trip back home I kept having “God thoughts” pop into my mind about following God.
- While following behind Tim’s massive vehicle I couldn’t see what was in front of me, or I should say him. I had to TRUST in his ability to GUIDE me away from the danger of other vehicles and debris along the road. Such as it is with our walk with God…we don’t know what lies ahead for us in life. God does. We must TRUST in and FOLLOW the Lord in our daily walks. He WILL GUIDE us along the right path when we seek His will for our lives. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6. Keep your eyes on Jesus. “I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8.
- Did I say other vehicles and debris along the road? Yes. We will have OBSTACLES in life. Romans 16:17 says, “I appeal to you, brothers, to WATCH OUT for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.”Some hindrances come our way via man, and others…possibly God. (What do you think?) During those times of being face-to-face with the hurdles in life, hold on to what is true: “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Romans 5:3-5. So be careful of the obstacles in your way. Be sure to turn to God’s word when being tested. He WILL GUIDE you through and around them.
- There were moments when I wanted to get in another lane because it appeared that another lane was going to get me where I wanted to go quicker. Yea, I tired, but in the end…I should have stayed behind Tim. Such as it is with my walk with God. There are those times when I want to move ahead and get to a destination more rapidly than the route God was/is taking me, but…as it was with my man, The Man has a better plan. “Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.” Proverbs 4:25
I’m grateful that God whispered thoughts to me while driving the interstate. Keeping focused on God sure assisted in passing the time instead of getting frustrated with traffic.
Following God is the way to go. Will you follow Him?
Have a wonderful day.
I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie
Ten more days. Ten more days until College Hunks Hauling Junk pack up our furniture and haul it to our newly (well…almost) remodeled home.
I’m like a kid on Christmas each day (which is EVERY day) I visit, waiting to view my new present. Last Friday, after my bible study, I went out to check on the progress. A bible verse came to my mind that we had just studied about in class that morning. After walking around and knowing how much longer we have until move in day, Mark 9:24 came to life for me.
24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24
I sent a text to my patient-with-me-contractor and said, “Two weeks away! Like the scripture says, ‘Lord, I believe. Help me in my unbelief.’”
I do have faith in the professionalism and timeliness which my contractor has, it’s just…my mind gets racing with ALL that needs to be done and it’s hard to believe that it will all be ready come September 29th.
I think to myself, “IF this gets done on time….” Then, Mark 9:23 jumps on me. This is where Jesus replies to the father of the demon possessed boy after the daddy describes how long the boy has been dealing with this demon and the severity of it all, and pronounces “But IF you can do anything, take pity on us and help us”.
Jesus replies, “What do you mean, ‘IF I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
I believe! I believe! Just help me with my unbelief.
No matter what your situation is, whether it’s a home renovation to a demon, or ANYTHING in between, BELIEVE! With God all things are possible. (Mark 10:27)
Have a beautiful day!
I pray that you will always find time to soak up The Son in the sun, rain, sleet, or snow. Love, Stephanie.