Nov 172015
 

Love never gives up. 1 Corinthians 13:7a 

I felt nudged by the Spirit to start a women’s prayer group.  Five months prior I had stepped out of my Worship Pastor job, various ministry commitments, and truly any activity which required me to be present.  My pregnancy sickness left me couch ridden and unable to do much of anything else but simply survive the day.  But a new dawn had risen.  I found myself able to leave the house and clean my house.  Now all which was needed was to have people over to my house-and thus, our Refreshed women’s prayer group began.

Never lead a prayer group before.  So as I charted this new territory, I once again had to rely on the Lord for the “how to’s”, “how come’s”, and “how can I’s”.  And I have absolute confidence in His ability to calm my fears and lead me as a Good Shepherd whenever I start something new.  This confidence comes from remembering His past faithfulness in Every.  Other.  Unknown circumstance.  And starting this “Refreshed” women’s prayer group has been no exception to this truth.

Last week everyone in our group cried at some point during our sharing/times of praying for one another.  (Of course this is not too earth shattering since we are all mother’s and I am pretty sure once you become a mother part of the job description is to cry at the drop of the hat when someone’s feelings are involved.)  We were praying for our children by name.

The tears came for one blessed mother as she said one of her children’s name’s and attached the word, “Lost”, in regards to how to parent her.  This mother explained further that for two years she had been unable to do school drop off’s without her child crying and clinging in desperation that she didn’t want to go.  Day’s and week’s and month’s of trying to problem solve this.  Day’s and week’s and month’s of a mother’s feelings of guilt and shame as other mother’s seemed to watch with eyes of judgment.  Day’s and week’s and month’s of feeling inadequate and unable.  And after day’s and week’s and month’s of no change, she was fed up.  Giving up.  And had used up-all.  her.  faith.

So this is where our group of six stepped in with our faith.  We had faith for her.  We prayed fervently for a change in this child.  We prayed fervently for wisdom which only comes from above for our dear friend.  We had hearts which were bursting big with belief in our God to do the impossible.  We were asking for a “mini miracle” which was 2 years and coming.

As my friend was walking to her car after our prayer time together I felt Spirit nudged to call out to her and say, “I have GREAT HOPE for you my friend.”  And I did.  And this stemmed from this amazing truth from God’s Word that, “Love never loses faith.  Love believes all things.”

The next day our group of six got a text from this “Lost mother”.  Here is what she wrote (I have this mother’s permission to tell you her story, however I am using different names to protect their privacy.):

So listen to this….Here is a picture of my girls walking into school together.  Yesterday, Julie almost had a panic attack and I had to walk her inside the building to her classroom.  Julie has never had the confidence to walk into school by herself, I’ve walked her in since Kindergarten (and she is in 2nd grade this year).  You guys, I don’t have words.  From yesterday to today it is an absolute miracle.  The power of prayer is incredible.  I’m at a loss for words.

We all have voiced times of worn, troubles with marriages, mothering, health, and friendships, and prayer needs so beyond us we don’t even know how to put them into words.  But we do not battle alone.  We understand as God’s Word says in Eph 6:12, “Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world” and that one of our biggest weapons is to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions…. Eph 6:18a”.  And so we continue to pray for one another.

I can’t tell you of ALL the other testimonies which came out of the above prayer time and other prayer times we have had because it would be pages and pages long, but I can tell you our group of six is a group which does not major in the minors.  And we see “major’s” as any situation we are living in fear over or believe to be an impossible to change in our own strength/control.  We see “major’s/mini miracles” as victory in Jesus over our own or other’s changed mind’s and hearts and actions.

We can each testify and give glory to God because we have witnessed over and over strongholds torn down.  Chains broken.  The impossible becoming possible.  Supernatural healing happening.  All due to the faithfulness of our God.  And the power of prayer.

And out of this the Lord has changed my heart and mind to see clearly two reoccurring themes.

1.-God is faithful-God really does hear and answer prayer.

2.  We are to never lose faith- to believe all things are possible through Jesus when we pray for our loved ones.  Prayer is a powerful weapon.

Who in your life is having trouble “never losing hope/faith” and you could in love and faith stand in the gap for them and pray with them?

How can you incorporate more prayer into your daily schedule?  Will you ask Jesus for courage and confidence in His Spirit to pray when fear/worry arises in you and your loved one’s lives?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 292015
 

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.  Hebrews 8:12

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

Can a woman forget her nursing child, fail to pity the child of her womb? Even these may forget, but I won’t forget you.  Isaiah 49:15

I have a daughter who wants to be walked into school and one who doesn’t.  One who likes only frosting and one who eats only the cake.  One who is most happiest looking for acorns in nature and one who plays princesses most days.  Oh how our God made each of our children unique.  And beautiful.  And oh how He made each of their mother’s unique.  And beautiful.  Creativity equals our God.

I was walking my oldest daughter into school.  It was the second week of classes and so the “new school routine” wasn’t nearly as scary as before-for me.  (Always fabulous when the confidence of the child far outweighs the confidence of the mother.)  When we went into the typical gym drop off spot there were no 1st graders to be found.  (slight panic attack)  As I surveyed the area I saw a sign which indicated K, 1st and 2nd graders were playing and lining up outside today.  (normal breathing was back).

We walked outside and I could not believe the sight.  It was as if I had happened upon an ant colony.  In which you can barely walk without stepping on one of the zillion ants underneath your feet.  Now insert children here instead of ants.  Mass.  Kid.  Crazy.  All.  Around.  And it seemed this was the place to send off my soft spoken.  Tiny (to me).  Precious.  Girlie.  “Well, I guess you can go play honey,” (I said with extreme reluctance).  And she proceeded to run off.  Into the zillion “ants”.

Then it happened.  The emotions wave hit.  Hard.  My eyes filled with tears.  “No one knows her.  No one see’s her.  She has no.  one.”, were the thoughts behind the waterworks.  Then as quickly as the emotions came a still small voice spoke to my spirit and heart, “I know her name. I see her.  I got her.  I could never forget her.”  (Oh for Pete’s sake I can’t even write this without tearing up.  In the kids playland Safari Sams nonetheless.  Pretty sure I am beyond.  All.  Help.)

As I wiped away the tears, my heart found rest.  In.  Him.  In the fact He knows Lucy.  He made Lucy.  Just like He knows me and made me.  Within the next moments this song came to mind:

I have a Maker, He calls me His own.  He’ll never leave me, no matter where I go.  He knows my name.  He knows my every thought.  He see’s each tear that falls.  And He hears me when I call.  

(“He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker)

What comfort.  What compassion.  What a personal.  Loving God we serve.  And He remembers.  The good.  Of our intricate make up.  And He forgets.  Our confessed mess ups.  So maybe I could try to do the same.

When I am upset with my husband, friend, co worker, or family member and am prone to think of/remember their past mess ups (sin and wrong towards me), I can say “No”.  And instead “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b)-in which in this case would involve forgetting. their. bad.  And then I can their good.  Remember their God-given strengths.  Unique makeup.  And if I need a little extra help, I can ask God to assist me in this “remembering the good” process.  Help me to see them how He see’s them.

So the next ant you see may you remember.  You may be small.  But your God is big-Your child may be small.  But your God is big.  You may have messed up.  But your God remembers it no more-Other’s have messed up.  But you can choose to remember it no more.  You may feel alone.  But your God see’s you and knows your name-Your child may feel alone.  But your God see’s them and know’s their name.

To live like Jesus is to forget and forgive the bad of another and remember the good instead.

Is there someone you are prone to remember/bring up their past sins?  Will you ask God to help you remember their good and forget their bad?

Will you entrust your small child(ren) into the hands of our big God today?  Will you entrust yourself into His hands?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 172015
 

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5

Of course the 1 Corinthians 13 scripture, “love is not easily angered” was all I could think about.  That is, as I was currently in the midst of fighting off being easily angered.  This seems to be how the conviction of the Holy Spirit plays out in my life on a regular basis.  And I wish I could tell you my anger was the “righteous anger” type, over something of spiritual significance or logical sense.  But I cannot.

The struggle of my anger was birthed in trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole.  Not literally.  But figuratively, as it relates to an activity we all know and love-a birthday party.  Let me explain.

It was my daughter’s 5th birthday and I couldn’t seem to make her “dream theme” work out.  She wanted a “Queen squirrel” party.  My husband commented in response to her theme request, “You sure can tell our kids have grown up in the “Netflix/DVR/no commercials” society because you don’t see any stores marketing “Queen Squirrels”-no barbie party for her- this is her very own creation.”  Hense my frustration.

How was I to win any Mother of the Year awards when I couldn’t come through for my daughter on her birthday?  (I do not actually seek this award, but I recognize I place unrealistic/unnecessary pressures on myself to “be all and do all” for my children.  So Lord, forgive me of this pride which all around never bodes well.)  My internal temperature was rising as I was shot down by all my “go to’s” of Amazon, Target, Fred Meyer, Kohls and Pintrest for ANY sort of “queen squirrel” party decor.

After hours of mental anger (okay, and some outward snips at my husband and children who were not wise to be asking anything of me in this state), I came to a place where I could breathe more easily.  I resolved to the obvious conclusion. Queen squirrels do not co-exist/make sense for the majority of Americans.  So I stopped trying to look for them out in the world and decided to bring pieces of each of these things together to create my daughter’s imaginary world.   I was at ease in letting go of trying to make “queen squirrels” become a “thing”/suddenly appear in our nearby Target store.  And became excited about the creating and entering into the joy of my daughter’s world.  This looked something like a hodge podge array of decor-queen plates, mixed with a squirrel holding acorn cupcakes;  A song sung and book read about squirrels with a princess/queen movie immediately following.  Two seemingly unrelated/unable to be combined entites from the world’s standard-queens and squirrels-were joined together.  And a different world, my daughter’s world, was brought to life at her party.

I am thankful we as believer’s in Jesus live in belong to a different world as well.  A Kingdom world.  A world which is not so unlike my daughter’s party in which “queen’s and squirrel’s” coexist.  Where suffering and glory don’t co-exist.  And even go hand in hand.  Crazily, we can “glory in our sufferings”, as it says in the Romans passage above.  Knowing whatever struggle it is we are currently facing, if we hold onto Jesus, will result in perseverance, then character, and finally, hope.

So we stand on solid hope today.  In the midst of the shaky hard we are facing.  Even when the earthly people around us tell us “queens and squirrels” or our suffering and hope cannot co exist.  Even when other’s do not understand our unlikely, unrelated attitude of strength, peace, and joy in our trialing circumstance.  Because we will overcome in Jesus.  Knowing this world is not our true home.   And we will never feel truly at home until we get to heaven.  In which “Queen Squirrel parties” will be oh so commonplace.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 082015
 

Ah yes.  The oh so true scripture verse of Proverbs 16:18 (“Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.”) was a journey into the great unknown for me this week.  (I only wish!)  You know how you get an annoying song stuck in your head and it won’t.  Leave.  Your.  Brain?  Well, it wasn’t quite a song this week that was on repeat for me.  But something of equal consistency and frustration.  It was a phrase.  That not only wouldn’t let up in the mind but also wouldn’t let up in my life.  “Pride comes before a fall”.  As I did the dishes.  Drove to pick up kids.  Lead worship practice.  Did the Jillian Michaels work out video.  I hold out hope that one of these love attributes I will have down pat.  But unfortunately, the 1 Corinthians 13 “Love is not proud” was not the one.  I got to learn, again, how to:

Get. Over.  Myself.  And Get.  Under.  God. 

Know it all and got it all versus Modest moment #1-My daughter-  Normally we stick to our tried and true city parks, but today we happened upon what we believe to be Newberg, Oregons best kept secret.  (When it comes to parks that is.)  Tucked away on a hill in a small neighborhood we found the slide and climbing structure of my girls’ dreams.  The scene was perfect.  Sun.  (But not too much).  Good attitudes from both girls.  (And me. Which can I say is rare to get a 3 out of 3 in this category.)  Park to ourselves.  (Was feeling like and hopeful to achieve some good quality fam time.)  My youngest daughter headed straight for the climbing structure.  After 5 minutes of intense climbing her first words to me were, “I am a good climber, Mom!  I don’t even have to use 2 hands like other kids.”  And no sooner had her last word left her mouth than her footing slipped and she fell.  Not far.  But right on her bottom.  On the bark chips.  No real injuries other than her pride.  Pride literally came before a fall.

Know it all and got it all versus Modest moment #2-My Wisdom- After much prayer and research, my husband and I had decided where to send our girls to school.  I felt confident.  The peace that surpasses all understanding.  I was good.  to.  go.  I ran into multiple friends who were not in the same place.  They were struggling with the where to?  Why?  What if’s?  Of the school decision.  (Insert the Mighty Mouse music here-“Here I come to save the day!”)   Sure, my motives were pure.  I legitimately felt concerned for their well being.  I desired the best for them and their kids.  I felt humbled to pray with them.  But something beyond my words and actions in these conversations was off.  If I am being honest, I felt pride.  Pride because I had it all together.  Pride because I knew and they didn’t.  Pride in the wisdom I could offer.  Pride in the peace I had.  Little did I know the 180 degrees I would be turning.  The next day.  Lo and behold, we found out the next day that our school tweaked some fairly crucial policies which left me with some intense unfulfilled expectations.  So intense and so unfulfilled that I began to question everything about our previously rock solid school decisions.  And I immediately began to scramble for other options for my kids for school next year.  I didn’t check in with the Lord about it.  Didn’t trust His already given peace.  (Did not “pass GO” or “collect $200” in Monopoly/playing to win for the Kingdom terms.)  In other words, I went from having ALL the pride, peace, and wisdom for my friends to having ALL the stressed out brain aneurisms a person can take.  Or to put it even more simply-I fell.  On my bottom.  In the bark chips.

Know it all and got it all versus Modest moment #3-My prioritising of projects and people- My.  Stuff.  Is.  Important.  What I got going on.  Is. most. important.  (To what you have going on or are doing.)  And I kind of know who or what should take precedence.  At any. given. time.  (Or so I thought.  Before this week.)  My husband had had an interview that day to determine whether he would get a job promotion (this was pretty much his final promotion he could get in his line of work.)  So, fairly big deal.  He had texted me that it had gone well during the day and I gave him a good 5 minutes before dinner to share other thoughts about how things had gone.  (Check.  Good, dutiful wife.  Listened to her husbands thoughts on important interview.)  What was strange is after dinner he kept bringing up more tidbits about the interview and analysing certain elements about it and called me in multiple times to come discuss in the other room.  My multitasking dimension went into full swing.  An “oh really, honey” to my husband, while looking in the fridge and asking my daughter, “now which kind of yogurt did you want for your lunch tomorrow?”  A “Hmmmm…that’s interesting” to my husband, while looking at my phone for the upcoming schedule of activities for this week.  A “well, I’m so proud of you” to my husband while looking in the sink for the next dish to load in the dishwasher.  You see, going back to my initial statements- I prioritise well.  My stuff is most important.  My husband got his time and now other projects needed my time.  Pride.  Pride.  Pride.  But when my husband stopped talking and said in so many words that he felt not respected/heard by me, I saw.  My pride.  And how I had fallen.  A song that had been on the brain all week immediately made an appearance again.  But this time it rooted in a new way into my soul, “My eyes are fixed on You, sovereign Lord, King of glory.”  I saw clearly.  How my eyes were not fixed on God in this moment.  My pride had gotten in the way.  My eyes looked to my priorities for that day.  Hour.  Minute.  If I was in an “eyes on Jesus” mode, I would not have pridefully been eyes fixed on projects.  They would have been on my husband.

Oh Father.  May our eyes be fixed on you today.  May we recognize ALL our giftings, wisdom, good acts are in You and because of You.  It is of nothing we have done.  We thank you for your amazing example of humbling Yourself so much so that you even died for us on a cross.  May we live out our true identities.  In which you speak to us softly the many reasons You love us.  Are proud of us.  Are gifted uniquely.  But also remind us when needed that this world does not revolve around us and our projects and needs.  Thank you for picking us up when we mess up and fall.  Thank you for still loving us the same.  Even when we think we are “all that”.  We confess that you God and we are not.  Your ways are best.  You are on the throne.  You are Lord of ALL.  THAT.  And.  more.  May our eyes be fixed on You.  Today.  And every day.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.  Proverbs 11:2

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 202013
 

I WAS ON A TRIP WITH MY HUSBAND AND A GROUP OF 28 COLLEGE STUDENTS.  One of the students had the idea to take pictures in a museum, mimicking the posture and face of each large statue.  A historical king holding his sceptor, an Egyptian mummy, Mary and baby Jesus, and Greek goddess were a few.

I laughed so hard I peed my pants a little.  I felt like a child again.  There was freedom in simply having fun.

Immediately, a particular car ride (just before I left for this trip) came to mind.

I try to pray in the car for my girls on our way to preschool, or other activities.  My usual prayer goes something like, “Lord, please help Lucy and Sadie to learn about You, to be kind and loving to others, and to make some new friends.”

I recently asked them if they had anything they wanted prayer for, my oldest daughter Lucy spoke right up.  She said, “Pray that I would have fun!”

Wow.  The fun factor was not on my radar.  Sometimes I have difficulty being in the moment.  Not thinking 50 steps ahead.  Not being terribly serious and task.  Not living in freedom and joy.

As a mother, some of my greatest joys have been to see my girls laughing and enjoying life.  Laughing so hard as I spin them on the tire swing.  Laughing so hard with our game, “big bear is gonna get ya”.

A friend recently handed me the photo on this post titled, “Jesus Laughing”.  She said “Jesus loves to see you having fun.  He laughs with you.”  It makes sense that Jesus feels the same way about His children enjoying life that I do about my children having fun.  But for some reason, this was a new concept to me.

It brought happy, comforting tears to my eyes to visualize my Savior not so seriously.  Freedom and happiness flooded my soul.

Our Father says:

I desire overflowing joy for you, my child.  I love to watch you having fun.  I recognize you have many tasks to get done.  But make sure to take time to enjoy moments with others.  Freedom in Me means allowing yourself to let go of the serious face.  Freedom in Me means laughing and dancing and being silly as a child.  I created you to live with as carefree spirit.  Full of the excitement and adventure I have purposed for you.  Not bound by negativity and troubles of this world.  Rejoice with me, my child, as I rejoice over you.

“As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”  Isaiah 62:5b

“The One whose throne is in heaven sits laughing.”  Psalms 2:4jb

When was the last time you belly laughed?  What could you plan this week for the sole purpose of having fun?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 292012
 

We are about to enter a season of purple.

Seriously. It’s not just my opinion! The Church even says so.

The liturgical Christian church uses color to help us think about different rhythms in our life

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with God. Purple is for preparation, and we’re heading there this Sunday for four weeks of purple loveliness 🙂 (See previous post for the significance of purple to me.)

Kids latch onto and love the liturgical colors materials in the atrium (the space where we host a weekly contemplative Bible and prayer experience for kids). They relish the solemn procession when it’s time to change the color of the cloth on the prayer corner table. They sing the colors song at the top of their lungs and ask to do it again and again. And they sit in silence as we unveil one color at a time and introduce them to the great variety of ways we can enjoy God’s presence.

White is for celebration, for the great feasts of Jesus—the feast of the nativity and the feast of the death and resurrection of Jesus. White like light.

Purple is for preparation—the time before the feast when we are getting ready.

Green is for ordinary time, or growing time. The time after the feast. We humans may have a penchant for drama (God too at times?), yet most of the liturgical year is green.

(That slow and steady growth that unfurls in the midst of the ordinary must be worth something.)

And Red is the color of great love—it’s for Pentecost, or the feast of the Holy Spirit. The One who pours the love of God into our hearts.

Even though advent means coming, these 4 ish weeks before Christmas are all about waiting.

My first pregnancy was culminating during advent, and 12 of those days of waiting were after the due date. I so wanted to be vibe-ing deeply on the peaced-out Mary-the-mother-of-Jesus channel. It could have all been so holy and meaningful.

It wasn’t. I was grumpy and resentful and anxious.

Isn’t that how it goes with waiting?

Deeper down feelings show themselves. Our sense of our own power is rattled. Purple is stirred.

Our guts groan.

Can we let it be? Knowing that the space in us and in our lives is womb? That something is growing in there

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room inside is the point?

Or will we rush around with preparations, avoiding feelings, taking control and trying desperately to make it all holy and meaningful?

When I was training to be a catechist (guide) for the Montessori-based kids experience I described above (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd), there was an emphasis on the “prepared environment.” Most of the guide’s work is getting the atrium ready so the kids can work independently while the catechist plays butler where needed.

But when I went through the second round of training, my teacher mentioned this idea of catechist as prepared environment. Whatever it is we do to make ready the external surroundings, can the children find a spacious, grounded center inside us?

That’s a question I’m holding this advent. I am hoping I can stand the agitation of my “internal purple” that space and waiting inevitably bring…

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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