Jun 212016
 

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10

“Come,” said Jesus. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus.  Matthew 14:30

His peace in fear is real.  His protection in fear is love.  And His purposed life in spite of fear is radical.

Reality is I am is a city girl.  Who wants to be a country girl.  And this fact is highlighted when visiting my inlaws beautiful country home.  You see me in the country is like a kid in a candy store.  I am in awe of the beauty around me and all thinking goes out the window, only acting upon this passion.  I am pretty much afraid of all animals, and there are pretty much a bounty of “free roaming” animals in the country, but God’s treed countryside beckons me and all I want to do is get in it.  My love for bugs and snakes are also in the same above category and these creepy crawlies will find you at my in laws house, and yet this fact doesn’t stop me nature heart either.  The common occurrences of prickly berry bushes and poison oak are not familiar phrases to my ears, and it’s obvious my city girl radar is nonexistent as I romp through the green.  I am unable to function real well in the country, but I keep comin back.  Because I heart nature.  And I can’t stop myself from gettin me some.

During our last visit to my in law’s,  I “got me some” as I set out on a nature run.  And I had an experience like none other.  I now know what it feels like NOT to be protected.  And it’s not a good place to be.  Let me share with you the 2 moments which made my life flash before my eyes.  It involves 2 dogs and 2 Sarah’s.

I set out on a run at my in law’s house in the country.  And I tried be smarter than before.  Other times I ran into, literally, 2 large dogs at their neighbor’s house down the road and thankfully the attacker’s were called off, but just in the nick of time.  This time my mother in law suggested I drive past the “dog house” and park down the road a ways and then run.  Genious.  I thanked her for her brain and said, “thank goodness it will be a dog free run this time.”  And I spoke too soon as usual.

About halfway beyond the “No dog zone”, a dog approached.  Actually to be specific a German Shepherd came bounding towards me in a full sprint.  In the split second I guarded myself.  With what I was holding in my hand.  My cell phone.  Which amazingly proved to be not a weapon and not helpful.  Pretty sure my heart hasn’t done that kind of rhythm before.  My fear left me at a standstill.  (Which I believe is actually a good thing based on my memory of 3rd grade dog etiquette facts.)  And then I saw people.  Oh the hope which filled my soul.  The owners voiced the command which may as well been directly from heaven, “No boy!  Come!!”  The dog was protecting his peeps instictively.  But thankfully he was obedient to their commands.  Meaning no ER run for me.

But the craziest thing emerged from this fear filled moment.  I found purpose.  God given purpose.  For me to live out the “good works God had ordained for me before I was born”.  A life giving conversation happened.

His peace in fear is real.  His protection in fear is love.  And His purposed life in spite of fear is radical.

Owner Sarah and I talked for about 20 minutes about the rough.  Of being a mom, wife, and worker.  The school which wouldn’t quit.  The mothering of 3 girls (not a coincidence I found myself in that same 3 girl zone.).  The husband working graveyard.  But by the grace of God I got to speak some Father’s love into Sarah this day.  In her busyness and lack of energy her inability to get back to church was real.  I felt a Spirit’s nudge to ask her about the church my in law’s go to.  Come to find out she went there with her girls years ago.  I told her I would be praying for her to go back and I believed God’s love for her and her family meant he wanted to do 3 things for her in her stepping out in this act of faith-1-extend her time to get all her school work done even though they spent time going to church 2-energize her and fill her up instead of drain her by taking all kids without their dad on her own.  3-Find a support network of family to love on her during this challenging season.  It was raw, real, and purposed.

You may feel too sorry for me if I shared I got chased down by another dog only moments later.  So I won’t tell you about that.  And you may get too excited about the “non coincidence purposes of God” if I told you I had another life giving conversation with another Sarah owner of this dog as well.  So I won’t tell you about that.  But I will tell you this.  2 dogs taught me fear happens in our day to day, but it is what we do with it that matters.  2 Sarahs taught me if we fix our eyes on Jesus through the fear (just like Peter could walk on water by fixing His eyes on Jesus) we will have miracle moments.  I wonder what fear may be on your heart today.  What “dog” is chasing you down and you think you can’t escape?  Do one thing.  Fix your eyes on Jesus.  Let Him protect you from the “dog fear” in His amazing love (I can guarantee He has more than a cell phone defense at His arsanal.)  And then do one more thing.  Watch for an opportunity.  To live out your Spirit given gifts of leadership, serving others, encouraging others, giving to others, showing mercy or empathy to others.

Key word here is “Others”.  My “others” were “Sarah’s”.  Your “others” may be your son or daughter or husband or co worker or child care giver.  Jesus has your “Sarah’s” for you to minister to today.  So fix your eyes on Jesus today instead of the waves of fear or “fear dogs” which are chasing you.   Do this, so you can “walk on water”, doing “non coincidance” things today and ultimately fulfill your purpose.  Trust me.  You WILL find true life and your identity as you act upon these “good works” He already thought about before you were born!

His peace in fear is real.  His protection in fear is love.  And His purposed life in spite of fear is radical.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share
Dec 112015
 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.  Hebrews 10:39

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  Matthew 14:29

Without faith it is impossible to please God.  Hebrews 11:6

I woke up this morning with the musicale Newsies song, “Now is the time to seize the day” on continual repeat.  It was the day before my due date.  An induction is planned for tomorrow.  But I am holding out hope.  Praying in faith.  Asking.  For our baby girl to come today.  Tonight.  And so “Now is the time to seize the day”.

To “seize” something is to:

“take hold of suddenly and forcibly; Take (an opportunity or initiative) eagerly and decisively.”
synonyms: grab, grasp, snatch, take hold of, get one’s hands on;

And the opposite of “to seize” is:  “let go of;  release”

Today I had no plans on the calendar (which was also what was on the agenda for yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that).  Kind of a strange feeling being in this holding pattern.  Waiting for our baby girl.  So I did something I may not have the time or ability to relax into in the months to come-take a shower.  Actually blow dry and straight iron my hair.  And visit my husband for some quality time at his office (with a slight hidden agenda of being there for “Friday Donut/Primo Coffee” day while the girls are in school.)  Oh.  The.  Simple.  Joys.

As I was giving the Administrative Assistant the “latest baby coming updates”, one of my husbands colleagues passed by and looked at me somewhat strangely (of course this was nothing new since being called, “The Death Star” from Star Wars among other shocking comments seemed to be at the top of everyone’s mind as I entered any space with my protruding belly).  But his comment was different.  He said, “You seem strangely calm for possibly having a baby at any time.”  And I was.

In spite of what I knew was around the corner (all unknown labor stuff), I had prayed for His peace.  I was taking hold of this very day-seizing this day-without fear.  In a state of active peace.  Prepared and ready.  I am choosing to clutch these next 24 hours in a peace filled, expectant pattern, joy embracing, confident stepping, faith shielding space.  And I have no doubt my loving Father is right by my side.  Actually on all sides, having gone before me already.

William Carey said, “Expect great things of God, and attempt great things for God.” Peter seized the day.  Stepped out of the boat in faith.  And took action to miraculously walk on water to Jesus.  He many times gets a bad rap for his doubt which came after, but I see him as the ONLY one who actually “seized the day” in faith.  Noah built an ark when there was no rain.  Moses lifted up his staff and parted the Red Sea.

My “seizing the day” today so far has not entailed some grand act of the miraculous as Peter, Noah and Moses displayed.  But that’s just fine.  Maybe your day will also look similar to mine.  My “seizing the day” has gone something like this:  Choosing His peace over thoughts of anxiety about what tomorrow may bring;  Casting my cares/worries upon Him because I know He will take them and cares about them (and me);  Embracing the joy moments of quality time with my husband and family;  Listening to the Spirit’s still small voice which encourages me through the Word and others; Standing in faith, knowing that no matter what, I am loved and never left alone.

So “Carpe Diem” my friends!  (Latin for “seize the day,” an aphorism found in the Roman writer Horace’s Odes, this phrase has been used in English since the early 1800s.  Used to urge someone to make the most of the present time without concern for the future.)   Do not allow worry and fear of the future to rob you of living the vibrant, God ordained, faith filled life He has for you today.  Lean into the Spirit’s nudges which call you to action without knowing how things will end up.

We are only “a mist” the Bible says which is here on earth for a little while.  May you be called a “mist of faith”.  Not holding back.  Not being afraid of the “what if’s”.  Not being complacent with the earthly norms.  But seizing.  every.  opportunity.  to.  grab onto Jesus.  And watch in expectation as He grabs onto you as you walk by “faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

What action can you take to “seize the day” today and respond in faith to the Spirit’s leading?

Is there a decision you are allowing fear of the unknown/lack of sight to lead rather than trusting Jesus/living by faith?  Will you ask God to help you have courage and not be afraid?

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share
May 282013
 

“Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” – C. S. Lewis

Over the past few weeks, I have found myself pouring over a few books.  Some are new to me and some old.  The three I’ve found myself pondering and encouraged by most are Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies, Leeana Tankersley’s Found Art and Shauna Niequist’s Cold Tangerines.  In each book I find myself saying, “oh good… I’m not the only one.” or tear up because their words are straight out of my heart.

As I recently found a moment to reflect on their stories, I found all these authors to have something in common.  They are the deepest and truest definition of an individual being real.

Through their writing, they share their beautiful lives with reckless abandon.  Not merely the interesting facts, but they go deeper still.  They share the truth so many of us would be too scared to tell.

All of these women have experienced times of being both far from and near to God, seeking clarity to the rawest of questions, feeling desperately alone and broken, finding God in the most unique and captivating places.

All of these women have proven themselves courageous in facing their fears and weaknesses, while defining their faith.

Among all women, these are a few of the beautiful ones.

As I went walking this morning by myself, in glorious silence, I found myself longing for more of these kinds of women in my life.  I understand, of course, not all of us will ever find the desire or ability to share our lives on this kind of level.

But this is what I crave.

I crave relationships where pretending is a forgotten way of survival.  Where we could air out our flaws, knowing judgement would not be the first response.  Where we could see how God is redeeming and making our hearts beautiful because we are honest with each other about what needs transformation.  Where we could feel less isolated and alone in facing our doubts and questions because our hearts are intertwined by bravery.

This is the beauty in choosing realness.  And it’s knee-knocking scary in the same breath.

“True friendship is a sacred, important thing, and it happens when we drop down into that deeper level of who we are, when we cross over into the broken, fragile parts of ourselves.  We have to give something up in order to get friendship like that.  We have to give up our need to be perceived as perfect.  We have to give up our ability to control what people think of us.  We have to overcome the fear that when they see the depths of who we are, they’ll leave.  But what we give up is nothing in comparison to what this kind of friendship gives to us.  Friendship is about risk.  Love is about risk.  If we can control it and manage it and manufacture it, then it’s something else, but if it’s really love, really friendship, it’s a little scary around the edges.”  – Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines, (p. 50)

To me, choosing this kind of realness in relationships is like choosing to enjoy a vase of fresh peonies on my table versus a painting of peonies hanging on my wall.  I can breath in the beautiful aroma.  I can experience God’s unique creation first-hand.  I don’t have to imagine what the experience would be like.  I get to have the real thing.

Are you desiring these kinds of relationships too?  Can you be the first to be brave and share something real with a friend you trust?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share
Nov 232012
 

“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.” – Viktor E. Frankle, Man’s Search for Meaning

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

Share