Nov 032015
 

“The second is this:  Love your neighbor as yourself”.  Mark 12:31

I took the phrase “Howdy neighbor” and embraced it to a new level today.  (I am also embracing and caressing my first cup of coffee with pumpkin pie creamer as I write this.  Oh.  Yes.  Feel the love.)

I haven’t been as diligent to take regular walks during this pregnancy.  But today I was making “the walk” a priority.  As I set out my front door I was thankful the rain train was not heading full speed ahead like it had been the past week.  I was surrounded by brilliant fall trees.  My husbands oversized sweatshirt (about the only clothing which would fit).  And a street full of neighbors (which were seemingly gone and busy- as was typical to how they and we rolled most days).

One step.  Two steps.  Three steps.  But no more.  I spotted our neighbor in the midst of “Goodwilling it”, adding a bed to their truck and felt led to atleast give a friendly “Howdy neighbor” to her.  But then felt led to linger a little longer.  We exchanged pleasantries.  She encouraged me that it “wouldn’t be long now” due to my oversized belly (which was impossible now for others NOT to comment on).  This was the beginning of what would be a 30 minute neighbor to neighbor conversation in the road.  It was unexpected and unplanned.  But God ordained.  And therefore the walk was postponed.

But let me tell you.  This conversation was life giving to me.  I got the opportunity to partner with the Spirit to encourage a Mom who needed it.  I do not know exactly where she is spiritually, but I know she was seeking counsel.  With tears in her eyes as we ended our conversation she said, “I asked God for help and He sent you to go on a walk so you could encourage and help me.”

Wow.  Humbling beyond belief.  God’s grace beyond measure.  A blessing beyond blessing to start my day.  And to think my agenda and the thought of “lost time” could have squelched me of this moment.

After this interaction I amazingly still had sufficient time for a walk.  (or actually waddle would be more corrrect as I am due in a couple weeks).  I enjoyed breathing in nature and God’s presence with each step.  I felt compelled to go a little shorter distance than I typically had done earlier in my pregnancy.  Almost home I prayed God would give me more “God ordained” moments like the one I had just experienced with my neighbor.  One step.  Two steps.  No more.  I saw a Mom getting out of the car with her baby girl.  The “howdy neighbor” urge came on strong again.  And although we had never talked before, she was my literal neighbor.  And we began a conversation, not so unlike the one moments earlier (including pleasantries and my oversized belly).  We talked loudly as we were a distance apart but as the conversation progressed, we moved closer.  I came to find out she is an unbeliever.  But we shared many things in common.  And the conversation was full of laughter and yet sharing of life’s challenges.  She may not have accepted Jesus with me right there in that moment, but I know a seed was planted.  I got to share my story (which always includes Gods grace and love) and show her the love of Jesus.

Wow.  Humbling beyond belief.  God’s grace beyond measure.  A blessing beyond blessing to start my day.  And to think my agenda and the thought of “lost time” could have squelched me of this moment.

Some would say it was unfortunate that I had lost time talking when I was supposed to have been walking.  But if there has been one thing that I have found to be true 100% of the time in my life, it is when God nudges, time doesn’t matter.  Too often have I allowed my “time intensive/perfected” schedule to override the “God ordained” interaction beckoning me.  Too often have I allowed my priorities to trump His.  And too often have I missed out on the life giving moments the Spirit offered but I selfishly put my present needs above another’s.  But there has not been one time in which I have followed that quickening of my Spirit to speak or act and my scheduled time/activity/schedule/work hasn’t also gotten done.  It may not be done in the exact time frame I was expecting, but our God is good and gracious to reshift our priorities to His.  And I have had more than I can count instances in which He actually extended my time and productivity so I never “lost time”.  Time is NEVER “lost” when responding to the Spirit rather than our own schedule.  Time is only GAINED.  For.  His glory.  And our righteousness.  Joy.  And peace.  Which equals abundant life!

My daughter’s new song she plays on repeat night and day is fitting for me today and maybe will encourage you when making decisions today as to where you will spend your time:

“There’s more to this life.  Than living and dying.  More than just trying to make it through the day.  More to this life.  More than these eyes alone can see.  And there’s more.  Than this life alone can be.”

I thanked God for the opportunity to literally “Love my neighbor as myself”.  To “look after” someone else in love.  This 2nd greatest commandment in the bible I have always thought of in regards to ALL people, (which it is) but today it didn’t include the ALL of  a family member, teacher at my girls’ school, friend, church acquaintance, co-worker, or stranger at the grocery store.  Today God nudged me to love on two women within two blocks of where I live.

How can you give a “Howdy neighbor” today?

Will you trust God with your time and lay down your current priorities/scheduled activities?

Will you ask God to give you more opportunities to love other’s/have “God ordained” moments in your days?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 222014
 

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:4-5

There are times when I am focused on the task at hand and times when my mind is swayed by everything else around me.  It was a time when the latter was evident-the word “concentration” was far from my reality.

I was running on my regular nature path.  But for the life of me I could not stay on it.  Let me explain.

I saw a florescent wad of cloth off a couple feet to my left.  I was strangely drawn to it.  Who knows, maybe I had left it on a previous run?  I followed my curiosity to the field beside me. I found it was a boy’s shirt.  Truly not life changing.  Or even slightly exciting.  And most definitely didn’t belong to my girl power kiddo’s.

I was able to move on from this sighting fairly immediately.  I was about to get back on the path when something else mysterious caught the corner of my eye.  It was a deer.  Now this was a little more exciting-an untamed animal in the wild.  And I was mesmerized.  By its calm, staring demeanor.  And if this wasn’t enough of a little piece of heaven, another deer came to join.  And then another followed right behind!   I stood only three feet away from three deer and breathed in and out slowly with eyes fixed on the group.

After the deer party ran into the woods, I headed back to the path to run.  But surprisingly there were multiple other distractions that took me off the path.  Once for roadkill (curiosity getting truly getting the best of me this time), and a sprinkler (happened to turn on with the perfect timing so I received two showers instead of my typical one for the day).

In all of my inability to stay focused on the running route at hand, there was one thing which kept bringing me back to the path for which I had come in the first place.  One thing that helped me refocus on running.  One thing that was so beautiful, there was nothing I could do but respond with action.

The Brilliant Sun.  Rising to mark the new day.  Lighting up the entire sky with brightness.  And when my mind and feet had wandered off the path, this sun beckoned me to look up.  It was as if it was almost daring me to stare into the light because no other shirt, deer, or distracting circumstance below held a candle.  And strangely looking into the light jolted me out of my Curious George moments and reminded me of what I was here to do.  Run.  on.  the.  path.

It is the same way with the light of Jesus.  God shines His light on our path-behind.  before.  in the very present.  And it beckons us to follow.  Anytime we fix our eyes on Jesus, the light of the world, our current “off the path” distractions cannot compete.  Any “off the path” things such as sin, worry, dark places of depression, family crisis, financial issues, trials, busyness, lies, doubts, or insecurities to be seen clearly for what they are.  Satan’s plan to kill, steal, destroy and distract us from God’s plan and love for us.

Turning to focus on the light of the Son gets us out of our mundane, anxiety driven, sin bound, weary minded, restless, fruitless selves and reminds us of our identity, love and calling in Jesus (just like focusing on the sun reminded me of the run on the path I was meant to do).  The light of Jesus reminds us that He will use our difficult circumstances and weak areas for the good of His Kingdom.  That His Word gives specific guidance to our now.  And that no darkness can overcome it.  No matter whether you are currently on the God’s path for you, just stepped off the path, have been too busy to recognize if you are or aren’t on the path, have never been on the path, can’t remotely even know where to begin to get back on the path, our God see’s.  And holds out loving arms of grace to each of us.

So let’s look to the Son/”Sun” today and be welcomed onto His path of light and life.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 112014
 

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Col 3:23-24

I know we all get butterfly stomachs of exuberant joy when this word one word is on the books for the day. “Housekeeping”.

It is the inevitable job of making a home a home. But it was also biblical Martha’s downfall moment. Others give advice of “Let cobwebs lie and be with others”, but also to “practice hospitality regularly”. A conflict of my soul.

On a run my mind was flooded with how this “housekeeping” word has recently bombarded my life. #1-The looming laundry which seems to accumulate with every soccer camp, swimming lessons, and camping trip of the summer. #2-“Let’s get some housekeeping items taken care of”, says the administrator each morning and evening at my recent women’s retreat. #3-“Houskeeping”, calls a voice outside our hotel door, then a knock, knock as my husband and I call back “No, thanks” and roll over on our 1 night anniversary get away. #4-Writing on this blog to cover what seems to be only “housekeeping” items of the in’s and out’s of the Fast Run, and how to’s of participating in/training for a race.

I recognized I tend to run with a “housekeeping mindset”. Unfortunately, not only do I do the “housekeeping tasks”, but my mind is bound to them.   This “housekeeping mindset” puts me in a state of anxiousness. Frustration. Worn out. And resentful spirit.

Oh Lord, free my mind from housekeeping mindset of planning, bound to the task managing/productivity, and anxiousness to get it all done. This distracts me from You. And others. Give me Your balance of doing and being so I can be the homemaker, hospitable woman you have called me to be. I want to get good at the ministry of “housebeing”. Teach me how to sit and rest at your feet as Mary did, even while everything around me screams “clean me, and finish this project”. Because You alone usher me into a life of abundance, peace, and purpose.

The reality is certain items/jobs must be addressed in order to create safe, fun, peaceful surroundings for strangers and loved ones-but we don’t have to live here. We don’t have to live so focused on the “housekeeping” that we miss the “housebeing”.

I am ready to let the laundry lie for a moment, the “have to cover Fast Run details” to rest and be. Present. With my youngest daughter and “be the baby while she tucks me into bed”. With my husband on the phone as he is away, truly celebrating his highs and empathizing with the lows. With my writing and write out of my love for Jesus not out of the need to explain it all. With a crying woman who needs prayer, and a hug of tears.

I am in need of a re-setting of my mind to “housebeing” instead of “housekeeping”.  With an understanding that I am looking to my faithful God to determine when it is a “do the dishes time” and when it is a “let the dishes go” time.  I want to serve my God with joy no matter it be the spilled mess at hand or the park play time with my girls.  May we embark on our day today serving God and not man or our own agenda.

Because this, my Sister’s, is what we were made to do.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 142013
 

IT WAS 6:30AM.  I WAS NEARING THE END OF ONE OF MY WEEKLY RUNS ON THE TREADMILL.  A SLOW WORSHIP SONG CAME ON MY IPOD AND INSTEAD OF DOING MY TRADITIONAL SKIP OVER IT METHOD, I DECIDED TO LET IT PLAY.

Now this was a strange sensation.  My legs were moving quickly, my arms were pumping, and I was out of breath.  In stark contrast, my mind was being calmed by this peaceful, slow moving worship song.

I realized this is the reality of how I want to live life.  Embracing a fast paced American routine, while concurrently looking to the peace/purpose of Jesus in my thoughts.  Bringing Jesus into my crazy day is just like me listening to a peaceful worship song while running my guts out.

Set you minds on things above, not on earthly things (Col 3:2).

Looking to heaven instead of to earth for my foundation to stand on, wisdom to give, and thoughts to rest on.

My week of crazy days-the peace of Jesus, in spite of the unrest of the situation at hand:

Monday:

Lord your peace as I talk and cry on the phone with a troubled friend.

Tuesday: 

Lord your peace as I leave my girls for a couple nights.

Wednesday:

Lord your peace as I prioritize time with my husband, time for writing, time with my husband’s students, and time to rest.

Thursday: 

Lord your peace as I return to my girls after being gone a couple nights.

Lord your peace as I respond to Your still small voice to help a single mother maneuver children on the plane.

Friday: 

Lord your peace in the mall as I am paying for items while Sadie is absolutely destructive.

Lord your peace as I am loosing my patience frequently with my girls and my husband is gone for a couple days.

Saturday:

Lord your peace as I drive late, with fog and no GPS. 

Lord your peace as I apologize to a friend for my lack of sensitivity in my words.

Lord your peace as I struggle with how to respond/comfort my girls in an overcrowded McDonalds playtime.

Sunday:

Lord your peace as I restrain from my comfort foods.

Lord your peace as I fight to fully listen, be present, and have rest with my family.

A day about others.  A day about letting go of control.  A day about bravery.  A day about Kingdom purpose.  A day of peace.  A day of unknowns.  A day of giving.  A day of reliance.  A day of weakness turned to strength.

Over the past 2 months I have tried to develop a practice of praying “Jesus your peace” in the very moment I felt stressed, impatient, depressed, fearful, angry, tempted, or inadequate.  I wasn’t perfect.  Yet I will continue to strive to “pray without ceasing”.  My prayer for me and you in 2013 is that we would REMEMBER Jesus.  Taking in His peace in the midst of the crazy.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God.  and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Phil 4:6-7

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 182012
 

Huge mound of laundry to fold. Beds need to be changed. Hampers overflowing. Sink full of dishes.

Need to figure out how to recover the money I spent via paypal on running shoes that never came and how to reimburse myself for medical expenses from my new flex account.

Two soccer games today, birthday party for a friend, wedding reception. Maisy needs a bath.

Plane tickets and hotel for conference in a few months. Need to order more reusable lunch baggies and the next history book for the kids. Behind on responding to email! Need to schedule time to see my mom.

Aaron doesn’t have any work shirts—need to iron. Haven’t exercised all week! What am I going to make for dinner?

“Recollection is the gentle art of prayerful gathering-in…one calls back the scattered, fragmented self, strewn about one’s world

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like trash on a windy day.”[1]

Re-collecting. Collecting ourselves again. We are pulled in too many different directions as we try to keep all the plates spinning at once. It is the nature of managing multiple lives. It would be unavoidable even if it were only food, clothing and shelter we

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cared about.

But when it hits us lying awake at night that it’s little souls we are tending, well then it seems like we will never adequately cover all the bases.

The logistics and great responsibility of mothering scatter us far and wide in mind and body. And then we go and fling ourselves around further, from the mall to facebook to coffee dates to a hundred projects, in our hunger for connection and significance. Our little souls are needy too.

It is so hard to pull back, isn’t it?

I have a “recollection” candle on the kitchen sill…blue like the ocean, with little rocks around it from my favorite beach.

I light it regularly, take a deep breath and ask for help. My sprawling tentacles and all they are seeking are drawn in slowly. I become smaller, tighter, able

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to be held as I remember that there are other forces at work in the world besides me.

When the moon draws back the waters, there is an empty stretch of beach underneath. The

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practice of recollection uncovers an empty space inside…it can be hard to bear. But we light the candle and we try. Over time we discover that it feels good to have room inside.

“In returning and rest is your salvation. In quietness and trust is your strength.”[2]

Each kid picked out a “recollection candle” of their own this fall and we are trying 15 minutes of prayer and reading before school in the morning. I light their candles and they go in their rooms and close the door for some alone time with the Holy Spirit. Little bearers of fire, learning to bear the quiet.

What problem or project are you cycling on that you could let go, withdrawing your attention and energy in the interest of recollection?


[1] Loretta Ross, Letters from the Holy Ground, p. 136

[2] Isaiah 30:15

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