Jan 292016
 

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  1 Peter 3:8

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind (also translated “being like-minded”), maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; Philippians 2:1-4

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  Matthew 7:11

It was the first.  Time.  Going it alone.  It was almost like the movie, “Three men and a baby”, except minus the three men and insert “two girls, a mom” (which equals “Two girls, a mom, and a baby” if you haven’t had your coffee yet this morning).  I have heard the horror stories of going from 2 to 3 kids-“you have to switch from one on one to zone defense”, or, “now no one wants to have you over for dinner”, or, “having no time for yourself becomes the norm”, or, “now you have to divide your brain to multitask three ways, which is almost impossible” and many more.  And they are all true.  (A sincerely, heart felt hats off to mothers with more than 3 children.  Seriously.  You are my hero’s.  And I need your autograph.)

My oldest’s lunch was packed the night before to allow more time to get everyone ready for school in the morning.  Check.  The well laid out plan of attack had circled my mind over the past week as I anticipated this day-“If I get up at 6:45am I should be able to start laundry for the day, then start bowling water for oatmeal while I turn on the fire and read my Bible.  While oatmeal is going, I can run upstairs and make sure the girls outfits for the day don’t look like we are dressing for “Mismatch/backwards Day” and call out reminders for teeth brushing and bed making.  The baby “Should” sleep all the while.  During breakfast I will nurse the baby and then put her in the carseat (trying not to forget the needed binki).  And myself getting ready for the day-well, that was the part that had to be alleviated.  Sweats, sweatshirt, cozy boots, and ponytail was my new mantra.

The morning went off just as I anticipated, except for the minoot fact that my house looked like I was getting ready for a garage sale. (I guess the cleaning up part comes at some other point.)  Oh and the aftermath was a doozie as well-  I was afraid someone might talk to me and I would have to answer and if it was possible to have a word be your best friend, mine would have been “massage”.  Thankfully I had made plans to be with close friends.  Who don’t judge by outward appearance.

Our friend time together wasn’t necessarily what I was anticipating, but it was much, much better.  Instead of mustering up what I would need to repeat the morning I had for the next day, I got to muster up hope.  The word “hope” was in order for my friend.  Her daughter had been having night terrors for the past couple weeks.  For my friend, this meant getting up 20 times in the night.  No more solutions in play.  An an inability to find compassion and understanding.  Tears of tiredness, guilt of a mother, and toiled up past childhood memories of pain.  Ultimately, hope had vanished from the scene.

I thought about my morning, but it quickly left my mind as I was drawn into love expressed by affectionate compassion (like in the above scriptures), and hope for my weary, tear stained friend.  I thought about the scripture, “Love always hopes”.  And was humbled by that mornings mission to do just that.  My other friend was “of the same mind” (like in the above scriptures).  And we spent our morning listening.  Praying for a miracle to occur in hearts, minds, and sleep patterns.  And putting all our hope in Jesus.  My discouraged friend is usually the one ministering to others and had a hard time receiving our love.  She found multiple phrases to express this, “I so shouldn’t have come this morning.  I am so sorry guys.  Seriously, this is a bummer, you don’t have to keep listening to this.  Let’s talk about something else.”  But we two who had gathered with our three didn’t comply.  But were expectant for our God to meet us and answer our plea for Him to do a mighty work.  And I am so glad we did.

The next morning, I missed a call from my friend we had hoped and prayed for.  With crazy schedules over the next couple days I wasn’t able to connect, but I wondered how her night, which had typically been too many wake ups to count, had been.  I saw my other prayer warrior friend at a coffee date a couple days later and she said, “Did you hear about the night terrors?”  I said, “No, I missed a phone call from her and haven’t been able to reach her yet.”  My friend said, “For the past 3 nights her daughter has not woken up ONCE with a night terror!!!”  Wow.  Praise God.  It was a miracle.  It was a brilliant display of Christ’s body coming together in one mind-answered prayer -God’s faithfulness-love always hopes-and a good gift given by the Father to His child.  Oh-Amen Jesus!

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 112014
 

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”  1 Corinthians 12:4-11

My cheerleader past self comes out in my present self every now and then.  (Okay.  More like every day.) I cannot stop myself  from cheering on the random stranger running past me.  “Keep it up!”  Is my typical phrase, however I have been known to throw in a “Good work!” or “Way to go!” on any given day.

On this particular morning run I had an “Ah ha” moment about my “cheerleader instincts”.  A woman with a dog was running towards me.  I said my typical, “Keep it up!” and she smiled and said, “You too”.  Directly after this quick correspondence I was surprised at my overall feeling.  I felt joy from the tip of my head to the bottom of my feet.  And it was a crazy, giddy joy.  I know if you could have seen my face it would have had a big grin on it.

So I contemplated what it was about that 2 second chat that made me so overjoyed?  And then it hit me.  I was using the gift God gave me.  The gift of “Cheerleader” (as I call it) or Encouragement or also called Exhortation.  And when we are acting in the gift(s) God gave us, there is incredible joy.

For a long time I was unaware of my gifting areas.  I didn’t want to appear prideful and ask someone what gifts they saw in me.  I didn’t think to ask God.  And to be honest, I didn’t feel I was missing out by living in ignorance.

I will never forget a particular week when the Holy Spirit allowed me to hear from friends, neighbors, strangers the words, “you are really an encourager” over.  and over.  and over again.  This was a turning point for me.  A confirmation in my own spirit of how God had made and gifted me.

It all started to make sense why I felt so at home cheering the football players on at high school games.  Why I also could never contain myself from yelling “You got this!” to my softball team mates at bat.  Why motivating a friend towards their God given potential felt so life giving.  It was because I was acting in my God given gift of exhortation and didn’t even know it.

I say this not to toot my own horn in boasting, because all the good in me is the Jesus coming out of me.   But I tell you this in a, “I am thankful, and humbled for who God made me to be” statement.

So after this week of God revealing through others His gifts of grace to me, I decided to not shy away from my strengths.  But to walk confidently in my new found identity in Jesus.

I have been praying lately for God to give me opportunities to use my gifts.   It is a two sided blessing when the body of Christ is aware of, desires to use, and owns and acts upon their God given gifts.  No joke, I feel beyond blessed when I GET to use my gifts to strengthen the body of Christ or GET to be a blessing to someone in a time of need.

So this is a call to action my Sister’s!  The amazing thing about God is that He gives gifts to ALL His children.  For a long time I would compare myself with others and feel bad that I didn’t have the gifts that they had, but this was only because I was unaware of my own.  When we find out and are willing to use our gifts EVERYONE in the body wins!  And we as Sister’s can work to “call out” the gifts we see in one another.  Knowing God is using and has gifted her just like He is using and has gifted me.

So take this as a Cheerleader Ra Ra chant of “You can do it” and/or “Keep it up” in using your God given gift(s) to bless others.  If you are unaware of the giftings God has given you (and the Bible tells us we ALL have been given gifts to build and strengthen the Body) step out and ask a close friend to share what they believe your strengths to be (you can read through the spiritual gifts list in 1 Corinthians 12).  You can ask God to reveal them to you.  Or for fun, here is a link to take a free spiritual gifts assessment if you have never taken one and would desire to (http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/test/adult).

My prayer is that we would affirm one another in our God given gifts.  Regularly ask God to give us opportunities to use them.  And intentionally think up ways of how we can be a blessing to others.  And we know we SO get the good end of the deal in blessing, joy and purpose when we step out to give.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Mar 112013
 

MAKING A QUILT IS ON MY SHORT LIST OF DARING UNDERTAKINGS.  My husband and I were newly married.  We were doin’ the job thing, doin’ the school thing.  But we needed a creative project.  My husband, the Mathematical mind that he is, loved the thought of cutting 100’s of shapes and piecing them together to form a work of art.  Specifically, a quilt.  I went along with the idea, not being a seamstress by any means, or having a clue about how to even begin.  (Gotta love the give and takes of marriage.  This one happened to be a give, but I was way overdue.)

We started in November and set our hopes on quilt Christmas presents.  We went to JoAnn’s and found an abundance of fabric choices.  In order to “save our marriage”, we set a color scheme.  This way we were both able to get the fabrics we wanted as long as it was one of our previously decided colors.  We bought his strange fabrics and my trendy ones (the beauty of telling the story from my perspective).

Because our deadline was a bit overzealous, the quilt became THE activity outside work and school.  Cris cross applesauce on the floor.  Cutting triangles till our fingers were blistered.  Threading the needle.  Again.  And again.

By the grace of God we finished the quilt in time for Christmas.  We had accomplished what we thought to be impossible.  I reflected upon our finished work.  What started as a compilation of disjointed, contrasting styles of fabrics cut into pieces, was now a cohesive, beautiful patterned blanket.

This messy process of learning to make a quilt represents the sometimes difficult process of creating community.  For the past couple years we have not been in a small group.  We have gotten stuck in doing the Sunday morning rat race. We get the family out the door to church, listen to the sermon, sing some songs, and wade through the crowd to pick up our kids from Sunday School.  We feel disconnected from others and are desperate for close community.

Just like our quilt took hardwork, energy, and time, so does forming community.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  The logistics of childcare, coordinating busy schedules, dealing with differing opinions on activity choice, and cleaning the house at times feel overwhelming.  But the rewards so outweigh the challenges.

Community is a choice.  But it is EXACTLY what God desires for us.  It is EXACTLY what we NEED to weather the storms of this life.

We are in the process of piecing together a weekly small group.  It is with unexpected fabrics of people, including neighbors, friends, and co-workers.

We are letting go of the “should be’s” of doing Christian community and embracing what is.  Community can be creative.  It doesn’t HAVE to look a specific way.

Community looks like:

  • Inviting couples/families for dinner in or dinner out.
  • Setting up regular play dates/coffee dates.
  • Coming together for game nights.
  • Weekly exercising together.
  • Gardening together.
  • Spring cleaning together.
  • Participating in a book club together.
  • Regular meetings in a home, church, or coffee shop to study God’s Word and pray.
  • Praying together whenever and wherever.
  • A girls night at the beach.
  • Women’s bible study.
  • Regular movie nights.
  • ________________ (What are you are doing or could do to connect with other believers?)

A patchwork community quilt.  Made with creativity.  Woven together by God.  Worth the work.

Acts 2:42 “They (the believer’s) devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

Have you felt disconnected from your church body?  Are you doing life with other believer’s?  How can you creatively engage with others this week?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 262012
 

I always wanted a sister.  In fact I came up with a sweet plan to make this dream a reality. 

When my mom was pregnant with my 3rd sibling, I told my younger brother to say that he bet the baby would be a girl.  I then would bet the baby would be a boy.  (My 8 year old self had a full proof plan.  Manipulation of my younger sibling.  Reverse Psychology-Want a girl, then say you want a boy.  Also, cross your fingers every times you say you want a boy.)

Needless to say all my hard work did not pay off.  No sister.  I cried when I found out the news in the hospital.  There went all my dreams of playing tea party, barbies, and dress up.  I would just have to make due with the playmates I was given.

Memories of life with brothers and no sisters:

  • Dressing my brother in a leotard and forcing him to practice ballet with me.
  • Being the “keeper of the peace” between my 2 brothers.  My younger brother was the master of teasing.  My older brother was the master of falling for it.  Everytime.  It took it upon myself to rescue my younger brother from my older brother’s clutches and give my older brother a couple of one two punches for good measure.
  • Playing Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles with my brothers in our “Nintendo Nook” because I didn’t have anything better to do.
  • Having numerous talks with my Jr. High brother that wearing sweat pants to school EVERY DAY was a fashion statement he would regret.
  • Taking turns in our pretend play.  Wedding first, then cowboys and Indians.
  • Forcing my brothers to play MASH.  (For those of you who didn’t have the privilege of playing this, you could see into the future. Where you would live, who you would marry, what car you would drive, and how many kids you would have with just a paper and pencil.)

As you can see, I was deprived of sister fun as a child.  I may have never had a sister, but the blessing/irony is that I now am the mother of 2 little girls.  I am daily surrounded by the laughter/love of 2 sisters, the sharing or lack of sharing of 2 sisters, the frustration/anger of 2 sisters, the mess of 2 sisters, the play of 2 sisters, and the uniqueness of 2 sisters.

The featured picture is of my girls.   I chose this picture because it was one of the few in which they were being loving to each other.  🙂  This picture represents an older sister taking care of a younger sister.   The younger sister looking to and wanting to be like her older sister.

When we belong to the family of believers, we have many sisters in Christ.   We play the role of older sister in some relationships and younger sister in other relationships.  In either role, we are one in the same faith, the same love, the same forgiveness, the same Spirit, the same purpose, and the same hope for the future.

So let’s build some lasting sisterhood memories.  Let’s encourage one another.  Let’s be present.  Let’s be the “keeper of the peace” when there are disagreements/differences.

We are called to “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”  When was the last time you yelled out loud in pure excitement for a sister who received a blessing?  When was the last time you sat with a sister and cried with her in her pain?

A verse to ponder:  Eph 4:2-5 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

How has a sister in Christ been there for you?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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