DAILY DEVOS RETURN…

As you all know, the #ATLdevo began back in September of 2014, and ran until about August 2015. Every single day, I made it a discipline to write what I was learning with Jesus, and posted it ONLINE, and not only that, but delivered every morning to the inboxes of 80+ people. NO PRESSURE!

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The feedback was incredible. Just incredible. Let me quote some of the emails/texts/messages I’ve gotten throughout this year of writing…

“We, your devo followers, are so thankful you said yes. I know you’re growing from it and it’s a big encouragement.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you for your obedience in doing this devotional. This devotional continues to raise me out of so many heart-heavy situations.”

“I look forward to these devotions every day! Thank you for your heart! It is making a difference in my life! Thank you for your obedience!”

“Oh my goodness, you don’t know how your messages speak to me. The last couple of ones I find myself crying and asking God for more of Him!”

“Very thankful for your ministry here. It’s been too long since I journaled about the goodness of the Father and too long since I’ve been still and quiet early in the day. Love the prompts as well! Keep serving faithfully as you are!”

“Thank you for your inspiration and interaction with daily verses and uplifting words. Your obedience to God is one of the many gifts He’s given. You are a treasure to those of us receiving them.”

“Thank you for your daily devotionals. Really great stuff and God inspired.”

“I have been going back and reading the Phylla House devos: SO GOOD! I might use them next year for my class :D”

“Thank you Helena, for allowing God to use you in our lives! Today’s devo… it was exactly what I needed.”

“Your devos are amazing and I can hear your voice as I read them! So great! Thank you for blessing me and so many others with them already!!!”

These are quotes in reaction to the devos I wrote in 2014 to 2015. I picked 100 of those devotionals and published them in a book! You can buy that book here!

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Why am I charging for this book? Well… I have 80+ people who got it for free, one page at a time, via email and reading the Phylla House blog where the devos were originally hosted. The subscribers actually got more than that, because some of the devotionals didn’t make it into the book. After that, I prayed hard and pulled the devos from the blog, edited them fiercely, and published them in tangible form.

The cool announcement is that I’M DOING IT AGAIN!!! Fresh devos, page by page, delivered to your inbox, free as birds, imperfect  probably, full of late-night/early-morning Love.  You can subscribe to the Phylla House blog and see it unveil one page at a time, as God teaches me over the next year. How does that sound?

And then, God willing, at the end of 2016, I’ll revise the devos and publish them in book form once more, in time for you to gift them to your friends and family, having “already read it” if you know what I mean 😉

I hope you’ll come along with me.

The journey starts again on January 6th, 2016.

Much love,

Helena

Tasting Fear and Freedom

There are moments in life when you can taste fear. You can feel it in your belly, the cold. Brain goes foggy. Eyes go teary. This is it. This is where all the worst case scenarios are true. It’s over. It’s not gonna happen. It’s the sinking versus swimming, and the flight versus fight. Helpless. Out of control. In pain. Stuck in trauma. Transported back to that place when you’re a little bitty and everyone leaves and they don’t see you, and they don’t notice. You reach for your throat but you can’t scream. There’s just a burning knot you can’t swallow down. Words don’t line up properly, they scramble out of order, forgetting common sense. Intentions blur, as do resolutions. You don’t know how to fix it, or how to escape it. Fear manifests and stands like a monster, looking you in the face.

Be thankful when God places you in front of an impossibility, because He wants to teach you about His heart and nature. Are you willing to experience His peace and faithfulness? Are you willing to cling?

When I am afraid, I will trust in You.
When I’m overcome, I will cling on to the Rock that is higher.

How many opportunities do we really get to look fear in the face and yell ‘Jesus’? In those real deal moments, do we roar? You bet I roared tonight. It took a long call, a Sozo session, a glass of water, countless tissues, and turning my phone off, but you best believe I got to ROAR and God carried me from being miserably afraid and helpless to the ROAR of His goodness and His promise in my life.

When hearts and lives are on the line, how do we fight back? Do we cower and freak out? I repented today of thinking my fear was bigger than God’s power. I repented of the case I built with unforgiving judgment, and the record of wrongs I kept. I get to see God’s perfect faithfulness shine here. That’s an opportunity. I’m gonna take this night and count it as an opportunity for God to show up and do what only God can do, and for me to show up and do what only I can do: trust and release.

102913He’s a Good, Good Father. He will not let me be put to shame. It’s nights like this when I renew my vows to Him. Okay, Jesus… so this is what pain and fear feel like. I hand them over to You, and I thank You for letting me experience what it is to be human.

Thank You for showing me that Your perfect love casts out fear, rejecting it and disabling it. Thank You for open eyes and ears to hear Your truth and Your goodness. Thank You for quiet nights alone when I get to trust You’re fighting the battles You need to fight. Thank You for “this is not your battle, but the Lord’s” and the hard reset. Thank You for grounding me in a good way. Thank You for Your ways that are higher than my ways, and for Your timing that is beautiful and better than my timing. Thank You for being in absolute control and for being Trustworthy. Thank You for being King of my heart.

Thank You for the opportunity to stop measuring my impossibilities and yield to Your possibilities. Thank You for coming through for me, even when I don’t yet know the outcome, I know who You are and Your nature, and that’s a win. Thank You for instilling in me Your  confidence in the quietness. Thank You for teaching my heart to run to You. Thank You that one fearful night yields so much fruit, that the enemy’s plans to kill, steal, and destroy have been reversed into Your powerful new life, abundance, and restoration.

Bravo, King Jesus. Bravo. Only You could do that.

There are moments in life when you can taste freedom. You can feel it in your belly, the warmth. Brain is aware. Eyes are focused. This is it. This is where all of God’s promises are true. It’s real. It’s happening before your eyes. It’s the swimming versus sinking, and the fight versus flight. Powerful. God-ordained. In Love. Released in newness. Brought into the place where you’re embraced by Unfailing Love Himself, eyes locked with His. Words aren’t needed. There’s just a humming, steady peace. There’s a holy alignment of thoughts and desires. Intentions sharpen, as do resolutions. You don’t have to work for it, just breathe it in. Love manifests and stands like a King, looking you in the face.

How To Move Forward

Oh if only I had a dollar for every time I’ve felt stuck or unsure what to do. I’d be so rich, you guys.

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With that said, here’s what I do to move forward when I don’t know what to do. Ready?

DO WHAT YOU KNOW IS RIGHT. Do what you can, today. Do things that are good.

Eat a meal that nourishes you. Drink lots of water. Take a good shower. Rest. Pray like you’ve never prayed before. Write things you’re thankful for. Show up to where you know you need to show up. Listen to music you like. Go for a walk/hike/jog, or watch the sunset or sunrise. These are things you can do.

Put in the good things, and let the rest settle out. It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to not be okay. If you cry, let it be. If you can’t cry, that’s alright. Today is really all we have. We carry so much of the past, and worry so much about the future, and today just gets overwhelmed. Breathe. Let today be a breathing day.

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God is gonna be God all the time. Yesterday, today, and forever. And we’re just people. We’re humans. We’re His kids, but we are so much like kids. We oftentimes don’t know better. We want things we shouldn’t have. We fuss when we’re being well-parented. We don’t always grasp the concept of order and time, of priorities, especially Kingdom priorities. We need to rely on His love and protection, not our own understanding of protection. Are you asking God for guidance markers and listening for His answers?

Those who look to Him are radiant. Their faces are never covered with shame. Those are Bible words, not my words. They promise your radiance when you look to Him. The Bible is a pure source of wisdom. Are you reading it? Read it. Open it. Pray to Holy Spirit. Let Him teach things to your heart.

A note on boundaries: Get your wisdom where wisdom comes from: God. Listen to Godly friends you trust, but don’t lean heavy on them. You know what I mean about leaning heavy? Have you ever had someone bigger than you lean on you hard? Sometimes we lean with our emotions on our friends instead of leaning heavy on Jesus. The friends who have good boundaries will direct you to lean on Jesus, and help in that process. Without good boundaries, you might run into codependence and strained relationships. God is strong and ready to listen. You never go to voicemail when you call Him. Let Him have it first and foremost.

Do what you know is right. Take one small step at a time, asking God for guidance. Get your wisdom from God, first and foremost, and lean heavy on Him.

That’s how I’ve moved forward in the past, and God gets the glory for healing and leading me. I pray that you find Him sure and faithful, and that His love covers you in every season of your faith.

Opportunities

I’ve been writing less because the book  tired me out. I spent so much time reading my own words that I didn’t want to do that for a while, much less edit anything. I’ve been reading other people’s words, and working A LOT. I figured I’d write a small blog, that it’s better than nothing at all. 😉

Here’s an encouraging little story from work. As you probably know from reading my blogs, I work nights as a laboratory scientist at a pediatric hospital. On the nights that I work, I review the status of each of our neonatal patients to see if any of them have been discharged. We keep an index card on every patient under 6 months of age, including basic information on them in case the system goes down.  I get to hold each index card and read each name. And? I have the great opportunity to pray for every single in-patient that is younger than 6 months, by name, each night. ALL THE SWEET BABIES!

Last night I prayed for each little one, again. I thought about the opportunities we have to lift people up in prayer. They’re everywhere, you know. In the news, at work, in front of you, and on your social media feeds. Don’t forget that access is for a purpose.

Seize the opportunities.

 

You can read about my first book here.

My First Book

Hey people who read my blog 🙂

I’m sure you’ve heard the news… and if not… prepare to be dazzled *drumroll*

I RELEASED MY FIRST BOOK.

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photo cred: Allison Adams, who I’m pretty sure got her copy before I even did. @allison_rie

Notice the intentional way I worded this. Released. I say that because it was a struggle. I had to accept that I didn’t have time in my lifetime to make everything perfect. I had to be vulnerable and stop second-guessing myself. You don’t want to know how many times I read those 138 pages before I let them go. I pre-forgave myself for any errors.  I reminded myself that the releasing of this book was an act of obedience, not a cry for affirmation. I was called to make disciples of all nations, and I’m not gonna wait for the affirmation of any other authority other than the One who gave me the call.

The task before me is pretty obvious. People are getting ‘saved’ left and right, and then what? They plug into a church and go once, maybe twice a week. Then what? Go to a community group, maybe go through a book study. Then what? They’re told to spend time with God, and it’s “quiet” time and they’re told to read the Bible. That’s… not very specific. Put anybody that wasn’t raised in the church in that situation, and it’s intimidating or boring. I wanted to help with that, because my times with Jesus are not intimidating or boring.

I wrote devos daily for almost a whole year. And obediently, I published them on a blog. THEN, I took the 100 best/favorites, and edited them rigorously, and released them as a book.

I’m happy that this is a tangible book, that the pages can be manually turned, and that it’s sniffable. Now I’ve granted you the opportunity to use a bookmark with baby animals and those awkward tassel beads. You can highlight it, mark it, doodle in it, and ruin it completely for a second user. And most of all, you get the feeling of the book arriving in the mail, and I can picture you tearing off the chunky packaging to find it inside. Can you have any of that with an ebook? Nah, bro.

I know there are some of you who would buy a $50 book just because my name was on the cover, and you’re the people who funded my mission trips and my internship at Adventures in Missions. You get behind every single thing I do, and it’s never about the money. Lucky for you, the book is listed at $14, which is about how much you spend on two Starbucks drinks that get consumed in two hours. This book on the other hand, contains 100 days of devotionals, and hours of my writing and editing. Perspective.

I chose to self-publish because I didn’t want anybody else to edit my book. I know that sounds all stoic, but really. No. English is my second language, but I have read my share of books and blogs, and the ones that hooked me contained genuine style and unpretentious words. I didn’t want an editor to stifle that. I didn’t want someone to say “that’s not right” when I’m clearly not trying to write a formal English paper in MLA format. I did that in college, many many times. I got A’s in all my English classes, which were Honors classes. I can write for a grade, but this is different. I want to teach people from a standpoint of humility. I want to write how I speak. That means I don’t follow all the rules. And it also means I stop trying to impress people. If you want hard reading, knock yourself out. There are plenty of books out there for you. This is for young readers, or busy readers, or people who are okay with a ridiculous joke or quote in the middle of something terribly serious. I’m done taking myself so seriously, and I will reflect my freedom in my words. I find this freedom welcomes people as they are, and it frees them up from the lie of having to be perfect. I’m not, and I wrote a book. Ta-da.

Now go do your thing, chase your dream, because I have paved the way for you called “imperfect” and “still good” and “enough” and “no excuses.”

Your turn, champ, your turn.

You can buy the book here:

A Tree of Life Devotional
A Tree of Life…
Out-of-the-box Expe…
By Helena Jordão
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I Point…

I point, you look. You look out of instinct, but also out of trust. You look because you were already looking at me. You look because I turn to look too. If you don’t understand what I point to, you look back at me to explain what it is, where it is. Then you look again, to understand the new information I’ve just told you. You want to see what I’m seeing. I point, you look.

Knowing this makes me hesitant to point. I won’t make you look at something that isn’t worth looking at, something I don’t trust to be worth turning toward. I don’t want to waste your time. I don’t want to cry wolf. I don’t want to lose your trust.

For a little while, you’ve been looking at me, waiting for me to point, waiting for me to talk. I haven’t been, on purpose. To my left are some burned bridges. To my right is some familiar territory. Guess where I’m gonna point to? My familiar territory.

I will wow you with bells, whistles, safe things, pleasant things, edifying things, and worthwhile things. I will tell you what I’m currently celebrating, like my new corner desk, my new turquoise chair, my new yellow flowers, and oh MY NEW JOB!

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I’ll tell you about my love, and how we’ve had hard conversations that have made us even closer. 7 months and going strong, praise the Lord!

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I will tell you all about Phylla House and how I will be publishing the #ATLdevo in a book format for you very soon. Hence why there is a current pause on the publishing of the devo. I will also be publishing the curriculum for the 24 weeks program, Refuge, geared toward inner healing, creative worship, and exponential discipleship, and focused on divorced, widows, and single moms. This very summer I will be publishing these little books. Look at that. I’ll be signing my name to that. I’ll be endorsing that.

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God’s still, small voice sometimes is loud. Sometimes His peace is like a tidal wave. I can tell you that sometimes He keeps answering the same prayer and waiting for us to believe Him, over and over. That’s what I’m finally doing. Are you ready to move forward? I am. I’m ready to point, if you’re ready to look. Shall we?

The Myth of Busy

When people ask me what I’ve been up to and I answer, their first response is usually to inform me that I’m busy.

I work full-time night shift at a hospital, am the director of two ministries, go to ministry school on the side from September to April, and I’m part of my church’s inner healing team. On top of that, I take on several ministry calls a week, have a serious boyfriend, quality friends, and I manage to leave the country twice a year. So sure, that might be more than the usual. Granted I don’t have kids. If I let myself think of how much that is, instead of taking one day at a time, then I would drive myself crazy.

Right now I’m going through a training at work, so my hours are noon to 10:30pm. It’s an exception. So today I woke up at 9:30, made breakfast, started getting ready. Had a phone call at 10, which happened to be my ministry school year 2 interview. At 11am I had lunch packed, I was ready to go, and I drove to work. Got there way early, and had some free time to think and be. Worked from noon til 10:30. Got off work and drove home quietly in the car. Got home and here I am, writing this blog. I usually write for about an hour before sleep, whether I am going to sleep at night or in the morning.

That’s how you have the #ATLdevo cranking out daily, and these blogs coming your way. That’s how you have posts on Phylla House and Kisa/Dorcas Widows Fund, and pictures on the Instagram (working on that). Included are a few blogs that post on the CODE Ministries site, that I submit once a month. And if you see a gap in the posts, it’s because something else needed my attention more that day. It’s a tug for time, but God has blessed me with a flexibility and a passion to take it on. Speaking of flexibility, check out this picture of me sleeping soundly in a bumpy African bus. That’s a miracle, fam.

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I want to pray a blessing over you and your schedule, that the Lord gives you “skip down the hallway” joy at work, that He fills up your time with reminders of Him, and that He gives you some incredible, illogical rest. Whatever you’re taking on that is a big chore, I pray a surpassing zeal to see it through. If not you, then who? If not now, then when? Ask yourself if what you’re doing is an honor. And if it is, receive that honor. If it’s a good job, receive that honor. If it’s a task you were chosen for, then be thankful for it. Rest is real, but rest is also an attitude. Rest means that some days you have to say NO and mean it. Rest also means that you need to give yourself grace. But I pray you run hard this race, like an athlete going for the gold. Don’t wish away your capacity to accomplish incredible things for a false sense of rest. Ask the Lord what rest is for you, and claim that.

That’s currently what I’m learning about my day-to-day schedule. Sure, it’s full. But I am not overwhelmed. I feel rested. I don’t dread any of it. I like every part of what I’ve chosen to do. I don’t wish away the very things I was entrusted with. I don’t wish away my strengths or my gifts. I want to flex, I want to sweat, and I want to burn bright. At the end of a full day, my sleep is sweet and my heart is overflowing. I lay down my head knowing I held nothing back. That’s the lifestyle I want to build, and that’s done one day at a time.

How do you feel about your schedule? Are you busy or intentionally full?