Aug 032016
 

It’s the word of faith that welcomes God to go to work and set things right for us…..Scripture reassures us, “No one who trusts God like this-heart and soul-will ever regret it.”  It’s exactly the same no matter what a person’s religious background may be:  the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help.  “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.”  Romans 10:3-15 (excerpts from the Message)

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.  1 John 5:14-15

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  Isaiah 55:8-9

Only 1 out of the 4 “Daughter dates” happened. And I though I don’t have any tattoos on my body, I have this memory tattooed on my Mama heart, mind, and Spirit.  Never to be erased.

It began with some morning love.  In the form of a Mom and a Mocha, an oldest Daughter and a Drink of White Chocolate Cocoa.  Quality conversation reigned.  And the quality of it wasn’t in the topics at hand, but the ability to be oh so present.  With the eyes.  Ears.  And heart.

Our 2 part date meant a quick change after breakfast to “do nature”.  I call my daughter the “Creature/Nature whisperer” because if there is a tall tree, a stream, and God’s animals/insects present, she is all in.  Having caught the spotted creation and caught the joy of simply being in God’s creation.  Her “do nature” request was for her and I to visit the nearby stream and look for creatures.  Simple.  Was my thought.  I knew the spot where we were headed was a playground for insects, lizards, salamanders, dragonflies, frogs, butterflies-everything which made her heart happy.

I prayed out loud, with her, that God would help us find a creature (Why do I tend to pray those “already know this will come true”/”knowledge by my own insight and sight” kind of prayers?).  I went in with conquering hope because I knew odds were more than good.  For our treasure hunt to end real well.  But after an hour of muddy clothes.  Ice feeling feet.  And questions from my daughter such as, “Do you think God will let us find a creature, Mom?  We prayed.  I just want to find one creature!”  My hope was dimming.  It was one of those times where you don’t know how to answer your child.  “Come on God, come through!  One creature is all!”  I prayed over and over again to myself with a tear on my lid.

I was flabergasted.  Frustrated.  And feeling faithless.  “Let’s go to the other side and check things out girl,” I said trying to sound cheery while doubting the decision as I spoke.  As I lead the way I wondered why my response to all this had left me real emotional.  “I mean, what’s the big deal about finding a creature, right now and right here?” I thought to myself.  And then I realized why.  This time spent with my oldest was precious and hard to come by these days.  I felt it was “my time to shine” with her.  I knew it was time I may not have much of this coming year juggling 3 and with full school days.  I had placed high expectations of conquering in the hunt (for creatures, in which she so often was successful without my presence) and answered prayer front.  But now coming up with a “no go” on both accounts.  Was too much for me to comprehend myself, let alone explain.  To this 7 year old innocence.

My daughter interjected with an idea, “Hey Mom, you know how uncle prayed and people got healed on their mission trip?  I can pray and ask God to make it so my feet don’t hurt in the ice water and I can look better for creatures that way!”  She prayed real simply, a childlike faith prayer, “God, help my feet not hurt in the water.”  Then she proceeded to walk in the water with ease.  “Look Mom, Jesus helped us!”  I replied, “Praise Jesus!”  But to be honest, my heart behind my words lacked something.  Even in the face of a mini miracle of love from our Father to His child, my fixated self couldn’t let go of what I didn’t have.

But time was our enemy.  The call from the husband came and we had to call it quits.  With no creature to show for it.  Then the conversation which I felt far from equipped to have.  Happened.  I prayed for wisdom from God as I stumbled through it with such things as, “I know it’s disappointing, I know we prayed.  But we know God is good.  And He has a reason for not answering our prayer right now…..”  I remember my girl saying after what felt to be circular ranting, “Oh, like God may have not wanted us to find a creature because it would have bit us!  Right, Mama?”  “Right”, I replied as my daughter was the teacher in that moment.  My heart left heavy and faith felt dried up but I had.  To.  Trust.  In the not.  understanding.

As we picked up our bikes and our spirits to head back, I noticed a fluttering white on the path.  “Wait!”  I yelled.  “Stop!”  And there was a white butterfly in front of us.  Our one creature.  My daughter “did her thing” and slowly crept.  Creeped.  And grabbed it to put in our jar.  Faith.  Like.  A.  Child.

Our God responded to our prayer with a “Yes”.  But it was in His way.  His place.  And His timing.  He is on the throne.  And we can trust Him completely in our all.  Because He.  Is.  Faithful.

Is there something troubling you or that you currently are trying to control?  Will you remember the truth that anyone who calls “Help God, will get help” and that He “hears our prayers”, trusting God for His “higher ways”/outcome with this decision/person/circumstance?

How can you, as God’s most prized creation, glorify Him today?  What part of God’s creatures and creation can you thank Him for?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 302013
 

Amidst all the waiting and change our family has been experiencing recently, I have been completely intoxicated with Leeana Tankersley’s book Found Art.  Her writing has been the perfect companion during such a tumultuous time.

Leeana’s book begins by quoting a handful of verses from Ecclesiastes and maintains an undercurrent of resting upon these very verses throughout her story.  I have been meditating on these verses myself, especially when I’m tempted to think things are out of control or that they’ll never end.

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens;

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build up,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embracing and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil?  I have see the burden God has laid on the human race.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  Ecc. 3:1-11

These verses remind me that the waiting and change I face today is a part of life.  There are many different seasons in life.  Many of them include a period of waiting.  To change, to heal, to grow, to move on, to rest.

As I explained in my post last week, I’ve come to realize these waiting stretches can tend to bring out the worst in me.  The anxious me.  The insecure me.  The angry or bitter me.

One thing I cannot escape through the waiting is the not-so-subtle reminder that I am not in control.  I don’t always get to call the shots or make up the timeline.  But God IS in control.  He holds my times in His hands and it is not a mystery to Him.  I find peace in this, when I let it sink into my heart.

Along with recognizing and resting in the fact I am not in control, I’ve also come to realize I can choose to not let these times be wasted. Will I allow myself to be moldable, teachable, changable during these stretching times?  The easier thing would be to give into the pull to become numb, closed off, or stuck.  But taking the harder, intentional path means being willing to take part in the story God is orchestrating in my life.

“He is making everything beautiful in its time.  While we wait, we must breathe and heal and grieve and become.  We don’t see the beauty immediately, but as we look back, we find the art in and through it all.” – Leeana Tankersley, Found Art.

I love these words.  God is in the swirling emotions that accompany waiting.  He is longing for us to open our hearts to Him.  To see the beauty in what He is doing in us.

Where does waiting find you today?  Are you open to seeing the beauty God is creating in you?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 232013
 

I’ve never done the waiting thing well.  When I think back to any major life changes, I’m afraid to say the waiting period right before, deeply affected me.  And the affect was usually an ugly one at that.

To wait: to remain stationary in readiness or expectation.

This is where I find myself today.

A few major changes have been brewing in our household for some time now.  We are moving out of state (back down to California), my husband is taking on a new role at work and we are expecting our third baby this fall.  Even though my husband and I feel at peace with our decision to make such a major move, it doesn’t come without a certain amount of pain, anxiety and grief.

We’ve been juggling my husband’s travel schedule, preparing our home to sell and then having our house on the market. We are arranging the details of getting possessions down South, I am fighting morning sickness, all the while trying to cram in quality family and friend time.  We’ve said good-bye to our regular routines: Bible study, girl’s night, preschool, play dates, gymnastics, etc.

And now, due to several circumstances, our move date has been pushed back.  For the third time.  Bringing about a serious denial of the impending change.

For this reason, I have found myself in a constant tension.  Trying to brace myself for the ground to shift beneath my feet.  But it hasn’t yet.  Not really.

This period of completely stopping our routines was a wonderful luxury at first.  Then ever so slowly my expectation, anxiety and attitude began wearing down.  Giving into negativity and a “woe is me” mentality.

Maybe it is because I’m pregnant, or maybe it is because of my past experiences, this waiting time reminds me all too much of the pregnancy process.  I spent the week leading up to each of my children’s arrivals encompassing the very definitions of impatience, moodiness and negativity.  It was bad.  I didn’t even want to be around me.

Our waiting to move has worn me down in a very similar way.

Our good-byes have gone on and on, emulating nothing like ripping off the bandaid quickly.  Living in our home, as it’s staged and ready for viewing appointments at any time, has acted as a constant reminder that our home will very soon not be ours.  Pain and grief.

I know what lies on the other side of change.  We’ve done this move before.  It is uncomfortable.  Induces growing pains.  And truthfully, brings out all of my insecurities of fear, perfectionism and shame.  Fears of being alone, not having community and making mistakes.  Thinking I need to do the actual move and emotional process perfectly.  Thinking I will not be the wife my husband needs, or the mother my kids need.

There is much to grow into and much to be processed in the coming months.  Thankfully, I have not stayed in this place of worry and repulsing negativity.  This has come through being reminded over and over again: I am not in control, He is.  He is the one who holds our times.  I share all of this, because waiting is a part of life.  And waiting is hard.  Because waiting stretches us.

When did you last experience a stretching time of waiting?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 112012
 

Sometimes God doesn’t follow

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the rules.

When the nation of Israel wandered in the wilderness, God led them with a pillar of fire. And when they wondered and wandered too far off, he purified them with refiner’s fire.

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Hey God…whatever happened to “don’t play with fire”?

And how ’bout “don’t fight fire with fire”??

This force seems too wild and uncontrollable to be God’s choice for leading and correcting his people, let alone something he would allow to flicker and roar inside us! When I see fire in myself and my kids, I become fearful and controlling, trying to restrain or contain it.

Yet scripture reveals that God’s activity in the world is not something tame, safe, or contained—it flows with the dynamic energy of FIRE.

The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a Bible and prayer experience for children I unwittingly plunged into 5 years ago. Interestingly enough, fire shows up here as a consistent image. The children gather to work alone or in pairs in a roomful of humble, homemade, Montessori-like materials. They play, pray, and contemplate their way through God’s mysteries in the narratives and parables of the Bible.

And among these materials, a red flame is the symbol for the Holy Spirit.

  • In the annunciation event, the angel tells Mary that the Holy Spirit will overshadow her and Jesus will begin growing inside her. Then the angel leaves her for some alone time with the Holy Spirit. While the children reflect on this, they can hang a red wooden flame on top of Mary’s house.
  • A clay version of this same red flame marks the city of Nazareth on a relief map of Israel. As children work with the map, they can connect the wild events of the annunciation (and others in Jesus’ life) to an actual place and time in geography and history.
  • During our Pentecost celebration every year, red paper flames decorate folding cards, each naming a different gift or fruit of the Holy Spirit. And actual flames dance on candles at the prayer table as we gather to think about which gift each of us needs that year.

We consider God’s power coming to rest on us like the tongues of fire did on the heads of those at the first Pentecost.

His very presence and power pulsing inside each one of us…

That’s a lot to handle, learning to be bearers of fire.

I was running on the treadmill the other day

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with worship music pounding in my head. No one else was around so I raised my hands up high, like prayer, like victory, like YES to life and God and light. Like NO to fear and holding back and darkness. I prayed for the fire to come stronger and fuller, flooding me and our whole family (especially my fire-y son Michael). Burn, baby, burn…

 

How do you make room for fire-y energy in yourself and your kids, even when it’s unrefined?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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