Sep 052017
 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit John 15:5a

Saw a random tomato plant on my run this morning.  And, “What makes a tomato plant random?”, you may be contemplating to yourself.  Well then, my friends, thanks for thinking this one through a little when you could be doing something else way more productive, and I will try not to let you inquiring, throwing me a bone, minds down in my upcoming answer.  And here it is in one word folks, “location”.

Let me dive a little deeper (mainly because I struggle NOT to go here) by giving you a little history about me and pretty much my most dreaded, hand shakes when I even write it, word, horticulture.  Now, those of you who know me well (or actually have just seen me anywhere casually outdoors), understand my talent to know exactly what any living green would not want, and then do just that.  So, truly, even discussing how or why or when of a tomato plant is well beyond me, but “here I am nonethless” (the phrase I also say more than not as I follow Jesus).  So now that you understand my qualifications to enter into this conversation, I am sure your self-confidence will only be strengthened as you read on.

Back to the random location of this tomato plant.  I would expect a typical tomato plant to be located amidst other tended-to veggies in a backyard  (Oh, how I dream of the veggies that could have thrived with most anyone else in my backyard boxed beds my father-in-law built for me). Or perhaps next to 100’s of other look alike tomato plants where a farmer raises a massive harvest for the community to enjoy. But no, this tomato plant was in an environment where it was “not like the others”.  Outnumbered big time.  Amidst wild flowers, weeds, and in a cement island in the middle of the street (no like minded veggie peeps insight).

But it was not these aspects which made me do a double take on my run.  No, it was in fact the reality that this tomato plant was THRIVING.  The color of its red beauties and abundant vines of green being presented to all who came near was magnificent.   It was bearing fruit and blooming where it was planted.  And the random location afterthought only made it more beautifully strong to me as I considered the obstacles it must have had to overcome to thrive in such a challenging environment.

If you will go with me, lets take this rising veggie to a deeper, spiritual place (and once again, I have to go here people!  Sorry!)  I wonder if you currently feel you are in a random/out of your comfort zone location right now-in a neighborhood, job, church, school, family, city in which you feel like our tomato plant friend, “out of place”.   Maybe you are feeling alone without some good friends to confide in, or feeling unequipped to handle the children God has placed in your care, or are in a school where everyone else seems to have turned down Harvard to be here, or can’t seem to do “the right thing” to save your life in your job, or are having difficulty loving your family, or are out of your comfort zone as you step out in a faith centered ministry.  Well, if this is you, let me give you a word from our loving Father today, “Hope is on the horizon”.  You are where you are for a purpose, His purpose.  Your past or present failures do not define who you are, your circumstances do not dictate your attitude and your looking to relationships to expose your spiritual giftings will only lead to discouragement.  Bloom where you are planted my friend.  Thrive in this unexpected place God has planted you in.  And find hope todayas we fix our eyes on Jesus- gaining His perspective through His living Word, thanking Him for some of the “overlooked blessings” we currently have, and stepping in faith filled courage by His Spirit to love Him and love others.

So when you see some excellently thriving veggies in this season, remember, it is not random where God has you working, living, ministering in this season.  Root and ground yourself in the love of Jesus, for you, today.  And in His purpose for you:  to THRIVE where your planted.  And do not loose heart as you maneuver this challenging environment in your own, unique sort of way.  God made you beautiful to thrive-because Kingdom fruit happens when we are connect to the Vine Jesus.  Here is my prayer for you, my sister:

I pray that out of the riches of His glory, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love… Eph 3:16-18

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 292017
 
Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love Eph 4:2
It all started with my season of “being the chair”.
To sum it up, this lovely season was about me being humbled and waiting.  It was about the “not yets” in regards to my God given dream of speaking to women.  But really, I am not seeking pity, my friends.   I had come to terms with truth- it was not God’s timing for this specific dream to take flight – I must trust Him in my now.
But you see their was still a problem-Even though I was “good to go” emotionally and mentally speaking, I felt my current purpose in this season was not “good to go”.  In fact it was all systems stop.  I felt tied down physically and spiritually.  I was getting antsy people!  I mean, I was waiting on this God given dream, sure, but were my God given giftings/passions simply on hold in the meantime?  Was my adventure rollercoaster ride as a Kingdom worker out of order?
I began to delve into my deep inner psychiatrist (and this is usually where things can go wonky real quick).  I began to ponder if this was all God had for me in the now….to just be still.  To just wait.  Anyone with me?  Because this felt fairly ineffective for the kingdom….and even as we know “patience is a virtue and those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength”, I had to ask God if there was more to this waiting thing….then just waiting.
So I did.  On one of my morning “runs of bliss” (picture a Snow White scene with the birds chirping, sun shining, in addition to children at home) I point blank asked God, “I feel I have no purpose as I wait, is there anything I can do as I wait on You?”  And it was impressed upon my mind and heart in this moment as I believe the Spirit responded to my cry by saying, ” Seasons of waiting are always coupled with seasons of loving”.  Then the scripture “Bear with one another in love” came to mind and I pictured myself again as “the chair”.  A chair is still, yes, waiting, but a chair holds others up as it is still.  A chairs job description is to bear the weight of the person sitting on it.  Likewise, when we are “the chair” spiritually in a waiting season, our job description is to “bear the weight” of another’s pains, trials, questions, concerns, fears, and tears.  And do you know what words proceed this job to bear in love-you got it, be humble and patient.  The season of being the chair involves patience, waiting and humility-all still, inactive characteristics, but they are coupled with the action word to love.  This was a comfort to me-we are called to take action in love in our seasons of being “being the chair”.
God allowed me to flashback to a painful “being the chair” season of 4 and a half years of waiting for our first baby.  I remember being real tiffed with God at His lack of ability to produce in what seemed to be everyone else but me!  I also recall the need to shift perspective.  Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have (and in the meantime being real ineffective for the Kingdom/His “now plans” for me), God gave me purpose and the action of loving those who were right in front of me.  And oh how in this “season of being the chair” I had the privilege to love on one who we now call our “adopted daughter”.  Time while we waited for our own biological daughter, meant time we were instead to be loving another of God’s children.  Now fast forward 9 years (a month ago) as I cried at our “adopted daughter’s” wedding and sent her off to start a new life with an amazing man of God.
So if you are in a “season of being the chair” never think all this waiting and being humbled and being patient is for not.  God.  Is.  At.  Work.  In.  You.  And your work you are called to take action in is one word:  Love.  Find hope that “He who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion” Phil 1:6.  Find joy in your current purpose to love those you rub shoulders with today.  And do the impossible with Jesus-be active in your season of waiting.
Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jun 292017
 

Being confident of this that He who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Phil 1:6

This season has been a humbling one.  Bummer, right?  You may have experienced this season I am speaking to in which everything in you is crying out to “be known” and you get to the end of a day and wonder, “Did anyone actually see me?  Did anyone actually care about me?”  And you recognize in your mind that God see’s you and love’s you, but somehow there is a disconnect between your mind and heart?  If so, I feel you sister.  But let me tell you, within a series of discouraging days/occurences, I strangely found hope.

The season of “being the chair”-It all started with a real, Spirit inspired dream and passion to “speak life” to other women.  So I set out to get some speaking engagements lined up (thinking, well if the Lord is calling me to this I am sure ALL doors will open wide.) and after months of call after call after email after video email after Facebook after flyer I was flooded with an overwhelming unanimous response-NO.  NOT interested, NOT at this time, NOT what we’re looking for, NOT-You.  I wish I could say my faith soared to new heights as the rejections kept coming, but I can’t.  The discouragement bug took me to a devastated place.  I began to go down the “I am NOT” train of self pity and honestly didn’t want to get off it.  I began to entertain the lies of the enemies which spoke into my identity and said, “You are not good enough of a speaker”, “You aren’t special in any way”, “You don’t have a big God given plan”, “You were made to only assist other’s in their talents/dreams”, “Others are so much more gifted than you are”….and the infiltration of the enemies barrage kept up in full force in my mind and heart.

And I told God, “I am NOT useable to you”, and sweetly and ever so gently this God phrase was highlighted in my mind above all the other yuck-“Are you willing to be the chair?”.  “Hmmmm….I am not quite sure I am tracking with you, Lord.”  Since my slowness usually calls for a follow up question I responded back by saying, “God, what do you mean, what do you have to say about what it means to be the chair?”  And in my mind I imagined a simple, wooden, no frills chair with Jesus sitting on it and I heard my “inside out” God say to me in love, “You are the chair, your job is to support me and hold me up.  It’s not all about you and making your name known, it’s about glorifying my name and making me known to the world.  You serve me only-an audience of one, not other’s view’s or opinion’s of you.”  Wow.  I realized in that interaction that it would be a challenging season up ahead for my little ol pride.

Even though the Lord in His goodness gave me a “heads up” that there would be rejections, overlookings, and many times of me feeling less than, it still hurts.

A couple days ago, I got a hard rejection and I had a plan to go pick strawberries with my Mom, sister in law (and her 2 year old and my 18 month old (I mean you gotta live on the edge every now and then, am I right?)  So as I was taking a shower (no shaving, no lingering as to attend to my little one) I had a break down.  I cried because I felt I couldn’t take another discouraging thing happen to me.  Life was getting me down people!  So as the tears mixed with water happened I spoke outloud to God and said, “Lord I need your love, I need to know your good purposes for me are in store.  But God impressed upon me words to a song,

“If the struggle you’re facing, is slowly replacing your hope, with despair.  Or the process is long and your losing your song in the night.  You can be sure that the Lord has His hand on you, safe and secure, He will never abandon you.  You are His treasure, and He finds His pleasure in you.” 

I cried some more, because this song my loving God gave me spoke directly to my hearts need.  And I couldn’t remember the songs chorus-I wanted more of the God given affirmation.  Then the chorus finally came to me, and it was well worth the wait-

“He who began a good work in you, will be faithful to complete it, will be faithful to complete it.  He who started the work, will be faithful to complete it in you.”  And now the floodgates really opened- water, tears, water, tears.  Our God is faithful.  Just as He pulled David out of the menial, lowly, servant going task of tending the sheep to be King over Israel (even when ALL others-God’s ministers, his family, all others thought it would have to be someone else), so our God is faithful to start a work in us and continue to work in us in order to sanctify us/make us like Jesus to fulfill our God given purpose in HIS TIMING and in His “inside out” ways.

So… take this truth to the bank and cash it in today my friend if you are questioning your self worth/God given dream right now because I am right there with you.  His plans for you are good, you were made for a specific purpose, and you can trust He is working it out even now in the hard.  Persevere.  Receive His love today.  Wait on Him.  Fix your eyes on Jesus in this storm.  And He will hold you up, give you strength, give you peace, give you hope, and encourage your soul.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 242017
 

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Heb 12:2a

 It was a Monday, which means for me my day involves clean up.  Clean up.  And maybe a little grocery shop to mix things up a bit.  So, in order to “do the do”, my 3rd born daughter has to roll.  With.  the.  flow.  But let’s be honest people, she. is.  used to it.  She attends her sister’s plays, dances and sports games until she is blue in the face.  She is the expert “take a nap here, there anywhere” girl.  I am pretty sure she kicked a soccer ball before she walked.  She has been mulled and licked ALL over by Simba (our Golden Retriever) so many times I am pretty sure she will need counseling soon.

So I take on the mound of dishes.  She undoes most of my work by pulling out the spoons and placing them on the floor.  I wash off the table, she grabs a snack in the pantry and “goes to town” as this “traveling baby” “makes her mark” in our home.  And if this wasn’t enough to make you cry a little, our dog joins in to compete for the “messiest mark award”. (And he may win my friends as I am pretty sure the amount of hair everywhere else is more than tripled the amount which is currently on his body.)  And as I double, triple back, I dread the anticipated question from my husband, “So what did you do today, honey”, because he will have to restrain my arms, legs, and mouth as I cannot say what I will do.  With these dark memories of hours prior. “The intense amount of work coupled with nothing to show for it” ones somehow take. me.  down.  And it’s not pretty.  Oh it’s not pretty.  Please tell me I am not alone.

And I digress.  Because I needed to verbally process this.  So thank you.  See, proven right here and now that writing really is therapy for the soul!  So, the Monday happened.  Along with some serious vacuuming.  You see vacuuming is my biggest talent.  Well, I shouldn’t say vacuuming alone is my talent, but vacuuming with a toddler.  Or rather vacuuming.  With a toddler.  And still keeping her alive.  Now this is where I shine.  My secret isn’t complex.  But it does involve multitasking.  My secret isn’t hard.  But it does involve concentration.  My secret doesn’t beg for hours of skilled training.  But it does require a question to be asked on a continual basis.  And now I know you all want in on the “million dollar method” of vacuuming with a toddler, so here it is.  As I vacuum and cannot see my roamer or hear my roamer, I ask myself in my mind on a regular basis, “What’s she up to?”  And then I check to see where she is.  And as I do this on a continual basis, there.  Is.  Life.  For her (and for me truthfully, but I’ll explain more on this later).  Because I am multitasking- performing the task at hand, while “fixing my mind/concentrating/making myself aware” to what my daughter is up to, I am in tune with her happenings as well as mine.  So they intersect throughout the day.  Now what I do in my day WILL change because I keep taking my focus back on her.  She leads me to go “outside for a couple minutes and play”, for example, as she pounds on the slider door, when I was initially planning to just finish that last run of dog hair filled carpet by the door.  But it. Is. My.  Job. to keep my eyes fixed on her.  Just as it is our job to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus in our day.

So how do we “spiritually multitask”, if you will?  We 1- “do the do” of whatever job, activity, chore, or personal contact is on the designated schedule. But 2- just as I was vacuuming and continued to ask the question throughout the day, “What’s she up to?”, we must ask our mind and heart on a regular basis, “What’s He up to?”  What’s His Spirit up to in this setting and then take a couple seconds to check it out!  Does anything come to mind in that moment.  Allow the Holy Spirit to speak about what He is doing and what we should change to “keep in step with the Spirit”.

So get out their my “spiritual multitasker friends” and in His Name enjoy a CHANGED, life giving day as you bravely trust in Jesus and keep connected with Him as you ask Him “What are you up to?”!

 

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 182017
 

 

Yesterday I found myself contemplating, “What’s next?”  You see, it was a typical Monday.  But it was the day beyond Sunday.  The hipe and celebration of the main event on Resurrection Sunday came and went.  Don’t get me wrong, I.  Was.  Pumped. For it people.  Summing up this day in one word was “more”.  I sang with more gusto and volume on the “He is Risen” parts of the songs.  I made the rounds during the “meet and greet” and gave more hugs than usual (and if you don’t know me, this is quite an intense statement).  The stage had more.  Lights, flowers, instruments, large wooden signs and pillars.  The people were more.  Than doubled to the typical Sunday attendance.  I cried more.  As each person came up out of the baptism water a new creation in Christ.  It was a spectacular event for a spectacular King we serve.

But here I sat-beyond Sunday.  And I found myself coming up a little dry.  Coming up a tad discouraged.  Coming up with questions for what the season would hold.  The wind had been somewhat taken out of my sails.  And for Pete’s sake, it was only yesterday I had experienced my Savior’s MORE as I entered into His coming up celebration, so why was it I couldn’t come up with His joy, peace, and purpose in my now?

As I reflected in this state of aftermath, I found myself recognizing my need to keep coming back to the presence and power of the “coming up” One.  Even though I had “drank from the firehoses of spiritual highmountain highs” the day before, today was a new day to fix my eyes and remain in Jesus.  It is not a one time event which qualifies us to live in the MORE-it is a daily decision, a daily walk, a daily discipline to enter into the presence of Jesus.

My prayer for you and I today and all the day’s beyond Sunday is we would choose time in the presence of Jesus to: gain a life filled word from the Living Word, think and act with a renewed mind/perspective from the Living One, and taste of the Living water which refreshes our thirsty, weary, worn out soul.  To choose Jesus today is to choose true life, my friends, because He is “THE Way, THE truth and THE LIFE” (Jn 14:6)!

Jesus says, “If anyone is thirsty, let Him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within Him.”  “Just as the Living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the One who feeds on me will live because of me.”  Jn  7:37-38; 6:57.

What do you need MORE of in this season?  Will you ask THE Provider to provide for you needs?

Have you relied too much on the “main events of faith” in your past instead of being active to “remain” in Jesus today?  Will you ask God, through His Spirit, to awaken your mind and heart to Himself in your now?

What discipline could you implement/continue to implement in order for you to encounter the Presence of Jesus beyond Sunday? 

In what way could you grow MORE in Jesus?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Mar 172017
 

I’ve been thinking.  A. lot.  Which is somewhat detrimental to my overall efficiency throughout the day, but sometimes it’s good to mix things up a bit, right?  But seriously, read the below with caution because I warn you-my below journey caused me to do some serious soul searching, heart changing, life risking stuff and will offer you to do the same.  But the beauty is, if you are willing.  With a little spice of courage given from our good God.  The end result is a true, never turn back, rockin it with joy, purpose and freedom kind of life.  So buckle up and get ready for the ride my friend if you so choose.

Now, has your mind ever been a little slow to catch up with what your heart (nudge from God) is telling you to do?  And then the result is absolutely nothing.  Changes.  In.  Your.  Life.  For.  The.  Better?  And you wonder why?  Where I end up is hanging out too much of the time is in a state of mental denial and rationalization, equaling a paralyzed state.  My paralyzed state is my control or comfort state though and to change feels as though I were cutting off an appendage of my body.  Graphic?  Yes.  But sorry, you’re getting the real and raw rather than the sugar coating today my friends.  Here is where the “cutting off of the appendage for Jesus” happened for me this week:

This concept of claiming my identity as a “servant” of Jesus has been my “thing” during these weeks leading up to Easter.  It has been an eye opening season of recognizing, by God’s grace, some food, drink, activities which I regularly cling to for comfort.  And let’s be honest, I have known this for awhile but like I said up above, the mind was a little slow to catch up with the heart.

No one can serve two masters: Either he will hate the one and love the other,or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.  You cannot serve both God and money. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”  Mt 6:24-25

The Matthew Henry Commentary gives this insight, Serving Jesus looks like this:  “It is something the soul will have, which it looks upon as the best thing; in which it has pleasure and confidence above other things. Christ counsels to make our best things the joys and glories of the other world, those things not seen which are eternal, and to place our happiness in them.  God requires the whole heart, and will not share it with the world.”

The words “devoted” and “despised” stood out to me in this verse.  And I thought about my “unwind rituals” in the evening after a long kid and chore filled day.  I felt the Spirit gently bring this question to my mind, “What food, drink or activity would cause you to DESPISE the someone or something forcing you to give it up?”  Immediately with this one question, I was able to determine which “desires of the flesh” had become my master instead of Jesus.  Ouch.

Do not love the world or anything in the world.If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world.” 1 John 2:15

So guess what?  I am finishing off the rest of the weeks before Easter with some “dying”.  To.  Masters.  Other than Jesus.  Am I a little scared?  “Yes.”  But am I confident by the power of His Spirit I can do this in His strength and in “cutting off this appendage” I am only being strengthened and equipped to step into the “next” plans He has for me?  Knowing the Kingdom rewards are real and best when we trust and obey Jesus?  “Yes.” I can take Him at His true Word every time, “my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Phil 4:19  And “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”  Mt 6:333

  • So I challenge you, my friend, with the “cutting off the appendage” question-“What food, drink or activity would cause you to DESPISE the someone or something forcing you to give it up?”  And whatever comes to mind, are you willing to give it up with me and trust God to bring you His all surpassing joy from being obedient as you make ONLY Jesus your Master you are DEVOTED to?
  • What needs to be repented of/confessed/layed down in your life in order for you to die to the flesh in order to embrace the true, abundant life in Jesus?
  • What area of your mental thoughts needs to come “in sync” with your heart/Spirit’s leading so in unity you can bring glory to the Name of Jesus?
  • How can I be praying for you?  Email me at jillianmwillis@gmail.com

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Mar 012017
 

So, I set out with a strategic plan, that’s right people.  My spontaneous, right brained self was in a giving mood-it was time for the dormant logical, mathematical left brain (in which my husband uses every minute of the day) to have a turn in the driver’s seat.  Although this activity felt strange, I pushed through.  And I did have to verbally process it with someone or I am pretty sure my brain would explode.  And I digress.  All this to say, I came up with a Lenten season plan-No sugar or carbs (oh the joys of fasting-or as I call it, Getting rid of the thing which, if someone asked you to not incorporate this in your day or week, you get a little eye twitch because it doesn’t feel real fun or even possible.)  Ouch.  Since pretty much most of what I eat involves one of these (not really, but you get the point).

But in all seriousness, fasting is a spiritual discipline which only benefits us as it draws us closer to looking more like Jesus-submitting to the Father’s will and way and not our own in our day to day (and this ultimately is true life and freedom). I want to eat healthier, I want to “go to” my God for direction and comfort in the day and not have a looming donut dancing in my mind’s thoughts.

And now we get to today.  Today, some celebrate Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.  6 weeks of preparation/a season of grief in remembering Christ’s death on the cross in anticipation of the end-the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter.  I have to admit, having not grown up in a church which partook in the Lenten season, or held an Ash Wednesday service for that matter, I was not quite sure what this day entailed.  So, I got pulled out all the spiritual stops and googled it (sorry to the Lenten scholars out there who are cringing and finding some flaws in my below summary) and here’s what I found:

The distinctive activity of Ash Wednesday services is the “imposition of ashes.” Ashes in the shape of a cross are placed on people’s foreheads as a reminder of our mortality and sinfulness.  The primary purpose of Ash Wednesday entails the biblical roots involving creation, sin, mortality, death, grace, and salvation.  It is also centered around the scriptures, “weep with those who weep” and  “confess your sins to one another.”

Pastor Mark D. Roberts says:

What I value most about Ash Wednesday is the chance for us all to openly acknowledge our frailty and sinfulness. In a world that often expects us to be perfect, Ash Wednesday gives us an opportunity to freely confess our imperfections. We can let down our pretenses and be truly honest with each other about who we are.  

So, in light of Pastor Roberts words, I confess to you my imperfections, on this Ash Wednesday: Because in spite of all my left brained efforts of carefully strategizing my no sugar/carbs fasting plan beginning today, I am drinking a Pumpkin Spice latte as I write this post.

You got it, a sugary sugar drink with extra sugar is what I ordered this morning at my favorite local coffee shop.  What a way to kick off the Lenten season as I forgot and failed right from day. 1.  Wow.  Pretty sure this 6 weeks is going.  to.  be.  long.  But I tell you this because our God is not up in heaven shaking His finger at me at this moment, because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, He is extending grace, grace and more grace mixed with some of His crazy love.

And so I encourage you to join me for the next 6 weeks and prayerfully consider something you could “let go of” in order to focus more on what God has for you in this season/year.  And if you aren’t perfect or you forget or you fail or fall to temptation, will you remember my  “failure from day 1”?  You are not alone and His promises of “His grace is sufficient for you” and “His mercies are new every morning” and “His love never fails” are for you, as they are for me today.  

And no matter whether you choose to incorporate a strategized fasting plan or not this Lenten season, will you promise me one thing?  Bask in the grace of our loving Father God and listen to this song by Hawk Nelson and “live like you’re loved” today-  Because we have life in His death.  No shame, no guilt, we are only more than enough as we walk in the freedom and love and identity as a child of God.  

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 072017
 

I was humbled this morning.  And it’s not the blatant humbling process I undergo on a regular basis when literally fall on my face and must somehow regain composure with a laugh to let others know the ER run is not needed this time.  You see, my klutziness is a given.  My defensiveness and inability to “let IT go for the sake of relationship” seems to “trip me up” and my deep, inner self-righteous self is left out there for all to see.  And it is in this “pride fall” I lay today, causing me to wish there were golf mulligans (or do over’s) in real life.

Of course we were at the happiest place on earth, oh I just realized you might be thinking of something different, to clarify we were at McDonalds play place.  I recognize my Mom points just went down the tube, but when the only other option on this rainy, no school day is cabin fever, there is no shame here to claim, “I’m lovin’ it”.

I walked in with my girl crew-one on the hip, and the school aged ones sporting an eclectic ensemble from Fancy Nancy Easter dresses to soccer socks with stars and patterns galore.  My look was somewhere in the middle of these and so we were representing fashion at its finest people!

As the older girls ran to check out the tubes, the little one and I were on our way up to order my “lovin’ it” coffee.  A haphazard looking man (finally someone on my same page) greeted us quickly with a, “If you could let me order first that would be great because I am late for a dentist appointment and I am only going to order an Egg McMuffin.”  (I thought in my mind in response, “I am sure he thinks at the looks of our girl crew that we are going to buy out the place with happy meals, but little does he know the reality of my “one coffee please” order.  He thinks he knows me and is judging me, but he has no idea.  My mental defensives was on a roll in these couple seconds.)

I wish I didn’t have to use the “hind sight is 20/20” phrase so often.  I wish the Spirit would speak with a little louder voice to overwhelm my flesh nature instincts.  Ah but my pride.  Gets.  In.  The.  Way. 

And so my response was the jaded, “I guess you can go, but all I was going to get was a coffee,” and my tone and walking away nonverbal language only lovingly complimented my words.  Gotta love how I am the poster child for this verse in this moment-“let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col 4:6.  J   Even as the words left my mouth I thought about the THINK analogy I use with my girls to check to make sure their conversation is, “True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind”.  Talk about a Mom of the Year award for hypocrisy at its finest.

I have to say I felt bad but it was too late to do anything about it.  But what happened next made me feel like the scumb of the earth.  As I went to pay for my “1 coffee” order, the gal at the register said, “Oh, actually it’s free.  The guy before you said he would pay for your “1 coffee”.  Ouch.  I was just killed with kindness-when what I really deserved was a consequence for my pride filled, defensive driven, grace lacking attitude and actions.

I could barely drink the coffee.  I once again had been “tripped up” and humbled by my inability to respond out of the Holy Spirit’s fruit of “self-control, patience, kindness, gentleness”-I mean, just pick one and we would have been good to go.

But in our times when we trip up, mess up and fall is when we most need to look at the kind filled, grace filled face of Jesus.  And understand “His grace is sufficient”.  And He still desires to use us for His good purposes, in spite of our “falls”.  So I picked my “shot to the ego” self up and went to the place I know I can always find Truth.  Grace.  And hope.  God’s Word.  Because at this pivotal point when I fail, shame is right there to suck me in.  And take me down, down.  But just like when sin and failure hit Adam and Eve in the garden and their response was to hide from God in shame, so this is where we still go today when we sin and fail.  But we must fight this desire to hide in shame and look up to the opposite of shame, which is glory.  Jesus came and died so we no longer have to live in shame, so why are we still “shaming it up when we should be glorying it up”!

When you are thinking shame, instead think, my God has given me glory!  We are forgiven.  Given grace in all the weakness.  And sent out to continue on in glory, and giving glory to His Name!

And in that very moment we are running away to hide, God grabs our hand to stop the motion, and grabs us with two hands on our face, looks at us in the eyes, and says, my beautiful daughter,

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.  Isaiah 60:1

And it is sitting in this true purpose and hope, with this book in my lap, that my heart, mind and spirit finds rest.

I wonder if a past “failure” or possible future “failure” is on your mind today.  Will you bring it to Jesus, the grace giver, and receive His “always coming” grace?  Will you sit with the “grace filled book”/the Bible today to enrich your heart, mind and spirit?

How can you extend grace and forgiveness, like Jesus extends to us, to someone around you who is more than “on the naughty list” in your book?

Talk with the Lord about someone you can “kill with kindness” this week as we contemplate on the kindness our Savior extended to us on the cross and continues to extend to us when we mess up?

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 272017
 

Somebody.  Help.  Me.  Were my inward groans as I laid on my living room floor while my phone rang.  I Literally.  Couldn’t.  Move.  The Jillian Michaels 6 week Abs workout had devastated my body.  And the run from the day before completely sealed the deal.  As I processed with my own thoughts, since that was my only option at this point, I contemplated my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions-Getting back into the 6 week Women’s WOW Hour:  Where waking up early is lifegiving.  Sure I had gotten up 1 hour early to spend time with God for 30 minutes and exercise for 30 minutes atleast 4 days a week last year at this time, but today is a different day.  And my current sprawled out posture is speaking louder than any past success.  My brain began the rationalizing train-This year presents new challenges of a toddler addition to our family.  The baby weight seems a tad more than I experienced with my 2 other girlies.  I have taken on more responsibilities as Mom, wife, student, minister, ect.  The weather is colder outside than last year.  The mid day time seems much more appealing.  I was in need of a booster shot of hope.  And speaking of shots, my rabbit trail mind went to the horrendous episode I had this week with my 1 year old getting her vaccinations.

The nurse meant well, but frankly did a terrible job.  She accidentally touched the needle while in the midst of giving the final 5th shot.  So as my screaming child just having had shots in both legs and arms is looking at me with questioning, pain filled eyes the nurse says, “Sorry, I have to go get another shot because I contaminated this one.”  Nice.  And 10 minutes later, as I have just soothed my sweet baboo to a non snotty nosed, gasping for air state, she gave her one more shot.  And this.  felt.  like.  Absolute.  Abuse.  As our day was completely shot (no pun intended, well actually it was), I contemplated why I put both of us through this pain.  And my only comfort was this fact:  The future benefits far outweighed the current pain.

All that lovely shot story to say, just like vaccinations future benefits far outweigh the current pain, so disciplining ourselves to wake up early to meet with God and exercise future benefits far outweigh the current pain.  We call exercising regularly, getting up early and prioritizing time with God disciplines for a reason.  It hurts.  But the current hurt is NOTHING compared to the INTENSE JOY, PEACE, HOPE, STRENGTH, HEALTH and PURPOSE-ultimately LIFE we get when we.  Get.  Fit.  Fit for the day-mind, body and Spirit fit.

Fit is not a destination, it is a way of life.

As I continue to lay on the floor, I am encouraged and I want you to be too.  I want you to know if you start WOW Hour this Monday, January 30th and follow through with these disciplines for the next 6 weeks, you.  Are.  Not.  Alone.  I am in.  You will have me and hopefully I will have you for some sweet accountability.  And here our some inspirations to get our minds, Spirit, and body prepared for the upcoming WOW Hour 6 week Challenge.

Inspirations as we embark on the WOW Hour 6 week Challenge:

  • From the Chronicle’s of Narnia:  As Aslan said to Prince Caspian when he said, “I don’t think I’m ready”, so I say to us, who may not feel able or ready for this 2017 WOW Hour 6 week challenge-“It is for that very reason I know you are.”
  • From my physical trainer friend:  You gotta practice to get better
  • From a wise person:  No pain, no gain!
  • From the Bible:  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.  Galatians 5:1
  • From Jeremy Camp, words from the Song “Give Me Jesus”:  In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus
  • From and unknown person:  I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday
  • From an unknown person:  “It is not easy, but it is worth it,” “I CAN and I WILL” now repeat that everyday.

Join me in the WOW Hour 6 week journey starting this Monday my friends and watch as you see your mind, body and Spirit change for the better.  You can implement my workout plan of 2 Jillian Michaels 6 week 6 pack Abs videos and 2 30 min runs a week or make up your own 30 minute exercise routine!  Watch as you get healthy and whole to live out the ordained purpose today and in this year that God made you for!  You’ve got this because our good Father has got you!

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 172017
 

 

Striving for the unattainable perfection of tomorrow is like a hampster running a wheel and going nowhere.  Fast.

I have a new grace filled, hope filled, peace filled picture as I fight for Jesus to take hold of me in my day rather than the anxiety which has plagued me in the past.  Visualize this clip:

“A little girl dressed in white, strolling on the beach with colored vibrancy from the Son/sun and blues, whites, and creams textured beneath.  She kicks up the sand, hand in hand with her heavenly Father.  He stoops down to be at her level.  And she is unaware she should have a care, because of the where-in which she has chosen to be”.

This is where I want to be.  Today.  And everyday.  On this ALL love, no expectations, only grace filled walk with my Father throughout the day.  Because I have struggled with anxiety in the past, I continue to rely on God to free me from this tendency to worry.  And because I am learning to walk in my “freedom beach walk with God”, I have a heart to pray for others in similar chains.  The Lord “puts in my path” others with my similar anxiety struggle and just this week I prayed for God to release His peace to guard the hearts and minds of 3 friends in my same boat.  So if you are in this pattern of guilt/worry/stress/anxiety hampster wheel, I.  Get.  You.  And would love to pray for you (send me an email or comment below my blessed sister).

Because sometimes, you need to stop the running to begin the thriving.

P.S.  For my friends with clinical diagnosis’ of depression and anxiety and bi polar and others, please hear this message with hope and not discouragement:  Do I believe we live in a fallen world with troubles and chemical/biological ailments that plague us?  Yes.  Do I believe we have a sovereign God who uses the wisdom and medicine of doctor’s as a part of His plan and purposes for us?  Yes.  Am I trying to say if you only do the below 3 steps what you struggle with will be gone forever? Not necessarily.  But I am saying we serve a God who is the God of all hope, a God who is faithful, and a God who is the ultimate healer.

 So Lord, today, meet my friends who have not been relieved of this biological struggle with anxiety.  Meet them in their frustration, questions, and fears in the unknown.  Thank you that you promise to never leave or forsake us.  You are the Omnipresent God, with me right now and with each of my Sister’s in Christ who are hurting right now.  Here’s the deal:  We are ready to be used by You, in all our given ailments and troubles, for.  Your.  Glory.  No matter what you choose to give or what you choose to take away.  Your.  Will.  Be.  Done.  And we praise Your Name today, because You are worthy of it.  Thank you for your true Word and Spirit which is THE Solid Rock we stand on in times of unknowns.  And we “press on to win the goal to which we are called heavenword in Christ Jesus.”  And today-we “fix our eyes on You, Jesus” for the next step we have in Your powerful Name.  Amen

3 “anxiety free/peace for me” steps with Jesus in 2017:

  1. “Your day, Your way” saying to start the day– before my feet hit the floor each morning this is my mental mantra.  Spending time in God’s Word, even if it is one verse, for 1 min before the “have to’s” begin WILL.  BEAR.  FRUIT-Lasting fruit, Kingdom fruit, lifegiving fruit, in which our God dictates the day’s happenings and we respond to His Spirit’s leading.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33
  2. REFUSE to RESUSE the worry thoughts of the enemy-When the “worry monster” begins to fill our thoughts, we say, “No way!”  Satan may be cunning and persistent, but he is more than predictable.  He tries the “same old negative, doubt filled, hopeless filled”/ areas we are weak in attacks to derail us from our “walk on the beach with God”.  WE.  CAN.  CHOOSE. what true, lifegiving thoughts we will think on today-Choose the “Way, truth and the life”/Jesus thoughts! We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 and …whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8
  3. Recognize His Perfect Peace Doesn’t involve the “Being Perfect Piece”-Since we serve THE Prince of Peace, who gives to ALL believer’s freely, we need only recognize we WILL NOT find relief in looking to some “keeping up with the Jones’s” item of this world or “if I only”/comparing our bodies or personalities to someone else, or expectations for perfection in any given area.  Our identity is as a HIGHLY valued Daughter of the King and it is ONLY in receiving His “forever-like Christmas present” of peace amidst the worlds troubles which we find rest.  Pray “Jesus Your peace” in. the.  very.  moment.  you feel anxiety.  And then, “trust in the Lord with all your, and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov 3:5) as He begins to bring healing and hope for your mind, body, and Spirit.  Get off the “hampster wheel” of anxiety which gets you nowhere and grab Your Father God’s all knowing/all loving “sand hand”, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34 and Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27

Are you currently struggling with negative swirling thoughts or an inability to find rest and peace in the busyness of the day?  Our God wants to meet you and give you His peace, will you ask Him for it and ask another to pray for you?  

What in your life are you trying to control and it’s not working?  What can you let go of today to be able to let God be God and you practice a deepening trust in His timing and will?  (I would love to pray for you personally, but also know you are gettin’ prayed for sister, by me, whether you like it or not-“May His freedom, peace and grace be yours as you “beach walk” with your heavenly Father, today”.)

What area do you have high expectations, close to the need to be perfect in, and what is your process for handling when things are not “perfect”?  What new system can you implement to hear God’s true words of “therefore there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” and act upon this rather than the world’s, others or your own pressures you are striving for?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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