Dec 312015
 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercyhe has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1 Peter 1:3-7

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 13:15

My sister in law asked me what was my favorite gift was this year.  I didn’t have to think long.  It was Evie.  My 12/12/15 birthday baby.  Having gone through 9 months of a challenging pregnancy, her long awaited arrival was sweet.  With only a couple weeks into maneauvering a family of 5, the meaning of Evie’s name (even amidst my kidney stone hospital run 4 days after her birth, lack of sleep, nursing woes, the too many billyrubin pricks, and Christmas craze/sickness which befell upon everyone) strangely rings true for me now.  “Life”.

Her life has brought me life.  Just as our God promises abundant life to those who believe and follow Him, His gift of the life of Evie to me has overwhelmed me with unspeakable peace, joy and hope at the end of this year.  In remembering our four and a half years of infertility, I am grateful to God.  For my three when I had come to accept I wouldn’t have one.  For girls when I planned on boys.  For making it clear that Evie’s life was in His timing, His control and His perfect plan-not mine.  And ultimately, that our.  God.  Is.  Faithful.  And.  Can.  Be.  trusted.  Fully.  Evie=life.  God=the life giver.  Evie=a blessed, good gift to me.  God=THE giver of ALL good gifts.

Over the past couple weeks, I believe the Lord has been bringing someone to my mind.  Over.  And over again.  (These consistent, persistent thoughts, seeming out of my typical thought patterns is typically a sign to me that God is nudging me to act in some way for Him.)  I do not know this person well.  In fact have only met them one time, but know of their story.  Their story is one of chronic pain.  Inability to live life much outside the walls of home.  Everyday reliance on family to care for and meet financial, and physical needs.  And in our one, brief moment of meeting, the word HOPE flooded my entire being.  And this word continued to appear in the days and weeks which followed our interaction-a Facebook invite popped up “A night of Hope”; our sermon series at church was on “Hope”; and scriptures, as well as songs, involving a certain word (I think you know) permeated my days.

I knew I was to contact this person, pray for this person, do something for this person but didn’t know exactly how to proceed.  That’s when I believe God made my next step clear.  Our church gave everyone a $30 gift card to pass on to a person of our choice.  To bless them this season.  This person came immediately to my mind.  This financial blessing was definitely not the way I thought the Lord would have me proceed.  I told my husband I believed God placed someone on my heart to give this to.  And He graciously agreed to the choice.

We emailed but have not been able to connect with this person yet.  But I trust His timing will be perfect.  And it is this morning in which  I have been able to lift my head briefly from the new Mom fog and get a quick swig of coffee (from our new machine which actually uses whole beans-I feel so spoiled, but I’m ok with it) and some in the Word/fix my eyes on Jesus time (while the miracle moment happened- the babe was sleeping, the girls were happily occupied and the house looked decent enough for me to feel grace/freedom from my Father for some much needed time with Him).  And this person was brought to my cloudy, rummy mind again.  And the three songs which came on K love nearly brought me tears as my heart went out to this individual.  And I actually did cry as the Lord brought to mind what my next theme verse I would be writing on was, “Love is always hopeful”.  There was that “hope” word again.

Then my moment of God time was interrupted by Evie’s newborn cry.  (The gas breaks up those sleep patterns much more often than i would like.)  I decided to put try her for the first time in the “Baby Bourne” carrier.  It had worked before for the other girlies, hoping for the best with this one as well.  As my husband helped me get her all locked in snug to my chest, I continued to find His Spirit speaking in my everyday new baby routine.  Evie fought with all her might with her little hands, feet and bobbing head to break free, but then finally relaxed.  Was calmed.  And found peace and rest in just being held.

May we, on this day before the New Year, also stop fighting.  To be in control of it all.  To know and understand it all.  To do and be it all.  And be held by our heavenly Father’s loving arms-finding true peace in our current circumstances because He is THE Prince of Peace.  Finding true rest from our anxieties and worries when we give our burdens to Him because He cares deeply about them and about us.  And finding true HOPE for our now and tomorrow’s New Year because we know He is the only true HOPE we base our lives upon, knowing His plans for us are good and hopeful (Jer 29:11).

As this is a “too be continued” story since we have not yet given our $30 gift card to the individual I believe God put on my heart/mind, I wait in hopeful expectation as to how God will show up, be glorified.  And may you be encouraged by our God of Hope as you wait in expectation as to His good gifts and plans He has for you in 2016 as you allow Him to hold you in His loving arms of HOPE today.

What trial in your life are you going down the “giving up”/”quitting” path?  Will you ask God for His strength to persevere in the hard and restore to you His hope today?

Would you be willing to ask God what area you need to submit to Him in this New Year?

 Would you take the opportunity in the beginning of the New year to lay down fears to the Father and ask Him for courage to step out in faith (not sight) in response to the Spirit’s “nudge” ( “new mission” of obedience) He is calling you to?

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Dec 112015
 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.  Hebrews 10:39

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  Matthew 14:29

Without faith it is impossible to please God.  Hebrews 11:6

I woke up this morning with the musicale Newsies song, “Now is the time to seize the day” on continual repeat.  It was the day before my due date.  An induction is planned for tomorrow.  But I am holding out hope.  Praying in faith.  Asking.  For our baby girl to come today.  Tonight.  And so “Now is the time to seize the day”.

To “seize” something is to:

“take hold of suddenly and forcibly; Take (an opportunity or initiative) eagerly and decisively.”
synonyms: grab, grasp, snatch, take hold of, get one’s hands on;

And the opposite of “to seize” is:  “let go of;  release”

Today I had no plans on the calendar (which was also what was on the agenda for yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that).  Kind of a strange feeling being in this holding pattern.  Waiting for our baby girl.  So I did something I may not have the time or ability to relax into in the months to come-take a shower.  Actually blow dry and straight iron my hair.  And visit my husband for some quality time at his office (with a slight hidden agenda of being there for “Friday Donut/Primo Coffee” day while the girls are in school.)  Oh.  The.  Simple.  Joys.

As I was giving the Administrative Assistant the “latest baby coming updates”, one of my husbands colleagues passed by and looked at me somewhat strangely (of course this was nothing new since being called, “The Death Star” from Star Wars among other shocking comments seemed to be at the top of everyone’s mind as I entered any space with my protruding belly).  But his comment was different.  He said, “You seem strangely calm for possibly having a baby at any time.”  And I was.

In spite of what I knew was around the corner (all unknown labor stuff), I had prayed for His peace.  I was taking hold of this very day-seizing this day-without fear.  In a state of active peace.  Prepared and ready.  I am choosing to clutch these next 24 hours in a peace filled, expectant pattern, joy embracing, confident stepping, faith shielding space.  And I have no doubt my loving Father is right by my side.  Actually on all sides, having gone before me already.

William Carey said, “Expect great things of God, and attempt great things for God.” Peter seized the day.  Stepped out of the boat in faith.  And took action to miraculously walk on water to Jesus.  He many times gets a bad rap for his doubt which came after, but I see him as the ONLY one who actually “seized the day” in faith.  Noah built an ark when there was no rain.  Moses lifted up his staff and parted the Red Sea.

My “seizing the day” today so far has not entailed some grand act of the miraculous as Peter, Noah and Moses displayed.  But that’s just fine.  Maybe your day will also look similar to mine.  My “seizing the day” has gone something like this:  Choosing His peace over thoughts of anxiety about what tomorrow may bring;  Casting my cares/worries upon Him because I know He will take them and cares about them (and me);  Embracing the joy moments of quality time with my husband and family;  Listening to the Spirit’s still small voice which encourages me through the Word and others; Standing in faith, knowing that no matter what, I am loved and never left alone.

So “Carpe Diem” my friends!  (Latin for “seize the day,” an aphorism found in the Roman writer Horace’s Odes, this phrase has been used in English since the early 1800s.  Used to urge someone to make the most of the present time without concern for the future.)   Do not allow worry and fear of the future to rob you of living the vibrant, God ordained, faith filled life He has for you today.  Lean into the Spirit’s nudges which call you to action without knowing how things will end up.

We are only “a mist” the Bible says which is here on earth for a little while.  May you be called a “mist of faith”.  Not holding back.  Not being afraid of the “what if’s”.  Not being complacent with the earthly norms.  But seizing.  every.  opportunity.  to.  grab onto Jesus.  And watch in expectation as He grabs onto you as you walk by “faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

What action can you take to “seize the day” today and respond in faith to the Spirit’s leading?

Is there a decision you are allowing fear of the unknown/lack of sight to lead rather than trusting Jesus/living by faith?  Will you ask God to help you have courage and not be afraid?

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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