Growing Strong Roots

While reading a devotional this morning, “Grow: Becoming More Like Jesus” the author talked about how trees are the second most mentioned living thing in the Bible (humans being first), The author went on to compare humans to trees; if we have a strong root system (faith and obedience to God) and a source of water (connections and support) we will grow strong and healthy.

I love this metaphor because it is true. As my roots grow stronger through my time and work spent all for His glory, I realize how the streams that feed me come from one source, God. Whether it is a song, devotional, ministry work, writing, time spent with friends, groups, conversation, or work I know He is feeding my roots so I can weather any storm.

One perfect example of this is our new project, the Feed Your Spirit podcast, released last week. After its release, we heard from some people about how they connected to the message our guest talked about. Their roots were fed through a connection made between a set of headphones. This is one way God is working through us to provide water to help His trees grow strong. Like a tree I know I will bend and sway through storms but with God’s love, I will not break. Love ~ Jill

“They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.”  Jeremiah 17:8

Feed Your Spirit with Ellen

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Feed Your Spirit: A Podcast talking with ordinary people about those moments in life when God’s word gives you just what you need, when you need it most. We all have those moments when we randomly open our bible and there it is – His words of faith, renewal, courage, patience, or a good ol’ dose of tough love fills us with what only He can give. Hosted by the 2 Scripture Sisters, Jill and Denise, this conversation-style podcast aims to share stories that will feed your spirit. 

On today’s episode we talk with our dear friend, Ellen. She is a wife, mother, owner of multiple businesses, volunteer, and world traveler. Ellen shares with us how she navigates the struggles of being responsible for employees as well as the victories that come from hard work and come from trusting God with it all.  

With the determination to consciously live in the word, we invite you to plug in and prepare your heart as we Feed Your Spirit with everyday stories of God’s grace from everyday people.

Ellen’s favorite… 

Scripture: Be still and know I am God (Psalms 46:10) 

Devotional: The Greater Devotional by Steven Furtick 


Other mentions in the show: 

Ellen’s Business Websites:   

Church:Bayside Chapel 


Listen to our new episode now!

Feed Your Spirit…God’s Call to Create

A couple of years ago Denise and I were talking about our walk with Christ and our love for devotionals. It was then we felt a calling to write together. We are both creative people, read constantly, and love to write. After several manuscripts (see A Deep, Humbling, Wake-Up Call) and my return to the workplace (see Breaking My Chains), things went quiet for a while. Then, one morning while out for a run, God planted a seed in my mind and heart. At the same time, while out for a walk, Denise had the same seed planted. When we talked later that day, the seed took root. We knew immediately it was God calling us to create together again. 

Why a podcast?

Well, Denise and I share a love for listening to stories and interviews in this platform. I have been a guest on a few about education in the past, and we figured it was our way to answer God’s call. Over the next few months, with the assistance and support from friends and family, Feed Your Spirit was taking root and sprouting. One day, during a visit to Denise’s, we spent a couple of hours in a coffee shop (locating inside a local chapel), the podcast had a format, list of potential guests, various platforms, and was added to our website. There were some bumps in the road with editing and the website, but we kept hearing God tell us to keep moving forward, His hand was on this project. After several months, weekly Skype sessions, countless texts, and a lot of learning, Feed Your Spirit is released. 

Our intention with this podcast is to share everyday stories from everyday people about how God has touched their lives. As our introduction to the podcast says, “This is about those moments in life when God’s words gave you peace, strength, or a good old dose of tough love.” 

Visit the Podcast tab and take a listen to our first two episodes. You can also listen and subscribe in iTunes, Google Music Play, iHeartRadio, or Stitcher. We hope you enjoy the podcast (don’t forget to rate and subscribe) and let us know how you connect with our guests, provide feedback, and share with your friends and family. Don’t forget to share it and tag us @2ScriptureSisters on social media. 

Love ~ Jill

Drifting: An Aimless Course

Do you ever feel like you are watching your life go by without being in it? It’s pretty scary. What’s even more frightening is that you can have this feeling for years before realizing that something may be wrong. But when you do realize that you drifted, you wonder how much of your life did you really miss and then you reset your course to get back into the present.

I, like many, experience this feeling throughout different times in life. On June 12th I turned 45. My age rarely bothers me; however, this year is weighing heavily on me. According to my estimates, and family history, I’m lucky if I have another 40 years left. I understand this is a lifetime to many but for some reason, it is hitting me hard and panic is surrounding me.

When this feeling starts, I usually disconnect from those around me and go inside my head to refocus my course. Doing this comes at a price. Everyone notices. Everyone comments on how they can tell something is “off” with me. I don’t explain, I usually respond with, “I’m fine.” Because how do you tell people that you just need space and time to refocus? How do you tell people that it’s nothing they can help you with? How do you tell people that you want nothing more than to put yourself into a hole and be alone with your thoughts and to be alone with God?

Jesus did this often. He knew how to spend time in solitude. He knew how to set boundaries. He, unlike me, knew when it was time to be alone with His father. So while I’m in this type of mood, I’m turning to the word of God. I’m letting His word give me solitude, give me peace, and surround me with His love to rid of the panic. After some time, I know His gentle hand will lead me back on course to fulfill my calling. I have to trust that He will grant me enough time to accomplish all that He placed in my life. I have faith in Him.

Love, Denise

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. ~Mark 1: 35

Breaking My Chains

Anxiety is crippling. It is a tool that Satan uses against us to keep us away from God. That is very easy to say, however, when you are in the throes of letting anxiety get the better of you, it is not easy to see.

I used to think I could identify when I was in the anxiety storm, my stomach would be a mess, my insides would feel like they are vibrating, my brain would not be able to focus on anything for longer than 5-10 minutes, and I am forgetful. Last year was particularly bad for me. I walked away from a job I loved because changes within the district caused debilitating anxiety. I was out of work for a year. I was a mess…depressed, anxious, not exercising, not able to focus on any project, not following through on any commitments, and I felt alone. I had applied for over 100 jobs, some would result in interviews, but more often than not, it was nothing but crickets.

One would think, wow, a year off, I could be so productive! But when you feel like you are in the bottom of a deep, dark, pit, there is nothing that can bring in the light. Only one person knew how I was feeling, my sister. I even hid this from my husband! I put up a good front, I was active in church ministries, I cooked dinner every night, I did the housework, etc. On the outside, no-one knew how I was suffering. Then, God intervened. I received a call from an old colleague with an opportunity to return to administration. I jumped on it, even though the district is a 90-minute commute each way! I thought this was it. Finally! I can leave depression and anxiety behind me!

For the most part, I did. I love my job, my staff, my kids, and my work. Then this May hit with a vengeance. May is always a stressful month for NJ educators. This is due to the demands of state testing, contract renewals, end of year planning, summer planning, and looming deadlines weigh down on us. On top of all that, and the daily demands of being a school administrator, I felt like there was a 100-pound weight on my shoulders every time I got into my vehicle to go to and from work.

It wasn’t until two weeks ago that I realized how stressed out I was. I wasn’t sleeping regularly, I wasn’t eating properly, I wasn’t exercising, I wasn’t writing, I wasn’t reading, I wasn’t spending productive time in His word, I wasn’t doing anything but driving to work, working, and driving home. Repeat. Satan was using my anxiety in a new and different way to keep me from God. A way that morphed and disguised my symptoms as work-related stress. Comparing Satan to a chameleon is an understatement.   

I knew it had to stop. One Saturday, I spent 4 hours and gave myself permission to not do anything or be anywhere but in His word (this is a big deal for me, more to come on that on a later post). I spent the entire morning losing myself in my devotional, the Gospel, and listening to my Worship playlist. It was then that He woke me up to the fact that my anxiety was back; Satan had used it in a way which attacked my body and mind in a devious way. I had let it creep back in and pull me away from His word. As I spent more time in His word, I was able to recognize how strong of a hold my anxiety had on me. I was able to start to break the anxiety chains, link by link that bound me. On that Saturday, I made a promise to God to spend some quiet time every day in His word, no matter how stressful work is, how many things are on my to do list, or how bad my voice may sound singing His praise driving to work. By making the commitment to spend time every day in the gospel, I am able to take steps closer to God and further away from anxiety.

Love, Jill

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy. ~Psalm 94:19

Learning the Hard Way

My parents used to say that if we didn’t listen to them, we’d learn the hard way. I watched my older sister, Jill, “learn the hard way” several times and while that didn’t necessarily deter me from making my own mistakes, the saying stuck with me. Call me stubborn but here I am approaching 45 years old and still “learning the hard way.”

As most of you know, I’m on this path to become an author. It’s been several years in the making but I’ve let so many other things in life become the priority. I’ve said “yes” too many times when I actually meant no. Whether it has been putting other people’s priorities above my own or saying yes to too many subbing jobs, it doesn’t matter. I haven’t protected my writing time. Time that has been graciously given to me by God and an extremely patient and supportive husband. And now, God is letting me know that I am going to have to learn my lesson the hard way.

See over the past year, I have applied for seventeen permanent job openings within the school system that I substitute teach in. 17! That’s seventeen time-consuming applications. It’s also seventeen rejections. Seventeen times on the brink of depression for not getting a more stable job that in all reality only pays a few dollars more on the hour than what I currently make as a sub.

So what do we naturally do? We pray about it. However, when I pray about it, I keep hearing God say to me over and over again, “I’m telling you what you need to do, why are fighting my calling?”

This past week, I got another two no’s and I try hard not to let it kick up the dirt of depression but it does, maybe not as strong as it has in the past but it’s still there seeping into my confidence. When I sit quietly and think back on my week, I can clearly see what I am like when I’m home writing and what I’m like when I sub.

When I sub, I am completely depleted. My energy is next to zero. My patience towards my son is low. My interest in making a healthy dinner turns into a frozen pizza or a take-out menu. I want nothing more than to crawl into bed at 3:30 in the afternoon and stay there until the next morning. My whole life, everyone always told me that I have teacher qualities and ask how come I’m not teaching. I’ve always known that it’s not for me. So why do I sub? Well, it’s added income for trips, hockey, lacrosse, and a few other treats. Plus it’s the same schedule as my son who is the top priority.

Now when I write or focus on my new publications company or work on 2 Scripture Sisters, I’m energized. I don’t necessarily follow a 9 to 5 schedule but I can go long periods of time researching, learning, planning, and writing. And I still have the energy for my son and husband when they get home later in the day. It’s my true calling. It excites me for what it can become. I just need to be stronger at saying “no.” I have to become a protector of my writing time like the protector I am to my son. A shift in my mindset has to happen and God is helping me do this.

How is God helping me with this shift? By saying no. He is the one keeping the doors for all those open jobs sealed shut. I mean He’s not even cracking it open just a smidge. He won’t let me even put one toe on to that path because it’s not my path to take. He has made it very clear which path he wants me on. If you don’t know what I talking about, please read my previous blog post.

So what am I doing now besides learning the hard way? I have one more sub assignment before school lets out and I have no intentions on applying for any more jobs. Whether or not I’ll be subbing next year is up in the air. But I do know that writing, developing my publications company, and working to build up 2 Scripture Sisters will be my focus this summer along with my son, the pool, and hockey camps.




Know that God has overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.

                                                              Job 19: 6


A Deep, Humbling, and Frightening Wake-Up Call

As a writer and an overall creative person, I’m never short of ideas. However, what I lack is stamina, perseverance, and confidence. I’m not an implementer. Or at least that’s what I’ve been telling myself from 2017-2018 and into the early months of 2019. I rely heavily on others to get the job done. I’m quick to suggest ways to improve a story or a situation and I’m great at “what if…” scenarios. Unfortunately, “what if…”  and “how about doing this…” can get you only so far in life.

I have a serious confession to make and though it’s not easy to admit considering I have only admitted this secret to my husband, my sister, and my close friend who is also a creative person, but here it is…I have fifteen (15) unfinished manuscripts. I actually have nineteen manuscripts. Four are completed with two rounds of edits and several rejections.

Believe it or not, it’s not the rejections that stop my progress. I actually don’t mind being told “no, your story isn’t for us” because it usually comes with some constructive feedback. But clearly, they all lack something. So they sit in a drawer, unrefined.

With that out of the way, there is one story that I want to focus on. This is the novel that weighs on my conscious every day I breathe. I’ve been working on and off of this story for over 2 years now. Most people would say stop, put it aside and come back to it. People have offered to be beta readers and hold me accountable but none of that works for me.

This story pitch immediately raises eyebrows and excites many when I tell them about it but I can’t finish. For the longest time, I didn’t know why. There is an agent who is eager to read it if I move it to another age group (middle grade to young adult) so I can include more “adult” themes into the story. I can see her point but I can’t bring my story and characters to that point. So what do I do? I let everything in life take priority over this one story. I say “yes” to so many other projects and jobs that can justify my delaying the finishing of this story.

So here’s the part of this “confession” that brings me to the title of this blog post. One night I had a dream that shook me to my core. I woke up gasping for breath, heart racing, a tear, and sweat-soaked pillow, and sheer physical exhaustion from panic. I have anxiety and suffer from panic attacks but never had I experienced one in my sleep.

In my “dream” it was my judgment day. I sat at a large conference room table with about twelve people all around. Some people I knew and others I didn’t. God passed out my unfinished manuscripts and other story outlines to them. As He passed them out, He told me that since He has given me the gifts of a supportive husband, time, and imagination I have no excuses as to why I never fulfilled my purpose of storytelling. As each person read through the manuscripts and story outlines they were excited at the potential that these stories held. I fought with every ounce of strength in me to get them back, yelling, “those are mine!” I felt as if someone was taking my child away from me. It was deep. It was humbling. It was frightening. I fell to my knees sobbing, bruised, regretful, and sad. On the brink of being utterly broken, He lifted me up and gave my stories back to me and with a warm embrace, I woke up (figuratively and literally).

It was tough love. It was an awakening that I will never forget. I am working towards finishing these manuscripts one at a time. I now know what has stopped my progress. All these years I’ve been focused on the wrong purpose. I was writing in hope of fame and accolades. I was writing to appease the commercial markets. I wasn’t writing with a God-filled spirit. I wasn’t writing to glorify Him. Knowing this, I now confidently say “no” to many other busying things to protect my writing time. I am filled with a new spirit to get healthy so I can live long enough to write stories and to continue sharing His grace through the gift of the storytelling.

He is the one laying a path for me to walk. Today, I boldly and obediently follow His path. I pray you will surrender whatever it is that you struggle with to Him.