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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Nov 302015
 

 

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and persistent in prayer.  Romans 12:12

Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.  Isaiah 40:31

Oh the terror of what could have been for this Thanksgiving.  And a poem to prove it:

 It was the Night Before Thanksgiving and the Willis clan, had some various happenings that were not a part of the plan.

The pregnant Mama said, “I think that it’s time”, and the Dada monitored contractions, with each whimper and whine.

All the while the oldest daughter couldn’t seem to swallow, “I have a bad sore throat Daddy, I probably can’t do anything tomorrow.”

The Daddy tended to all his girls with ever loving care (but thinking ever silently that this Thanksgiving would split his every hair)

The morning of Thanksgiving came without a baby hospital run, but Urgent Care was a must indeed, for the Strep throat medicine time had come.

So we are thankful, yes we are, to have not ruined Thanksgiving for one and all, we praise the Lord this baby stayed inside and did not come to call.

Even though my sweet daughter had to be quarantined with only a constant stream of movies and 7-up to keep her company, Thanksgiving happened.  And the good part is that this Thanksgiving brought to light 2 character traits in my girls I had never noticed before.  2 traits I can be thankful for in them and am motivated to work on displaying these “Jesus characteristics” myself.

I admired my oldest daughter’s lack of complaining and ability to keep a positive attitude in spite of her disappointment and painful state.  I am pretty sure when I am sick my style is to make sure to let people know how badly I feel.  Over.  And over again.  I throw a great pity party also when everyone else is getting to do something fun and I can’t.  So today is the day to turn over a new leaf.  (Choosing His perspective and attitude in the final stretch of this sick, difficult pregnancy.)  To close my mouth when I want to spew complaints and pains.  And instead look to Jesus.  To provide me with joyful hope.  Strength as I wait on Him.  And patience in affliction because we are not in control.

My youngest daughter got some serious attention this Thanksgiving, being that she didn’t have to split Aunt/Uncle/Cousin/Nana/Papa time with her older sister.  And she loved every.  Minute.  Of it.  But the one inspiring characteristic she displayed and I could not get over was her persistence.  The adults were talking after the meal and she politely invited everyone to watch her dance show.  Most of the family said, “Oh good, maybe later though.”  So she waited.  Then she made the rounds again and said, “The dance show is starting, please come!”  Some came.  But she shamelessly wanted everyone to attend and so the asking continued.  And what do you know but her persistence payed off.  Everyone attended the show.  And I admired her persistence.

As I contemplate these “Jesus characteristics” in the light of my own life and in relation to how I love other’s I am humbled.  Both of the above traits come to a bottom line for me, “Love never gives up”, as it says in 1 Cor. 13:7a.

Maybe you are in a time of trial, waiting, or physical pain.   My prayer is that you would find strength and hope in Jesus today. Or maybe you know of a friend or family member who is in a troubling time.  As I was nudged by the Spirit to pray for a woman fighting the cancer battle the other day, I wept for her.  I prayed that we, as the body of Christ, would surround her and meet her physical, spiritual and emotional needs.  And my prayer is the same for you.  That in love, you would not give up on others who are sick and in trial.  Because we know, “Love never gives up”.

Maybe you have been praying for a loved one for a long time.  To come back to Jesus.  Or to come to Jesus.  But maybe over time, your persistence in prayer has dwindled.  This Thanksgiving brought my lack of persistence in prayer for those without salvation to my attention.  I thought about these specific individuals who need salvation.  And I thought about times when I was good about praying for them.  But truly, now, if I am being honest, I had given up on them.  I had given up hope for change because I wasn’t seeing it.   So just as my youngest daughter was persistent in asking others over and over and over again to attend her dance show, I need to be persistent in praying for my loved ones that they would come to the “Jesus salvation show”.  Because we know, “Love never gives up”.

What have you been complaining about that you can instead ask for help from Jesus to be patient, self controlled, and have a changed heart in?  Will you also give your worries and complaints to Him and allow Him to take them/have control over them?

Is there someone you have given up praying for?  Will you, in love, not give up and persist in prayer instead?

Who can you show the love of Jesus to today who is sick?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 022014
 

“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 throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.”  Ecclesiastes 3:3-5

Surreal.  Surprised.  Sad.  Is the state of my soul today.  It is my first.  Time I have gone down this road.  Realization this “new” is crashing down on me whether I like it or not.  Born baby girl going off to big girl Kindergarten.  And I am undone.”

“Firsts” have a way of beckoning us to the days of yesterday.  I remember all my baby girl’s “firsts”:

Seeing her tiny self for the first time and having a one track mind.  And actually yelling my one track mind to the nurses, husband, and mother, “She has dimples!”.

Cheering on her belly laying, giraffe chewing self to take a risk and roll.  Over.

Ever so carefully sliding my fingers out of her tiny ones and being filled with an immediate ecstatic body rush as her right foot takes a step.  Then her left.  Then her right again.  All on her own.

(And I am absolutely fighting back, no, streaming down tears as I write this-Kind of like when I watch ANY episode of “Little House on the Prairie” or truthfully any commercial involving a family playing together-I know, don’t judge me.  I have what I like to call, the “Gift of Tears”.)

No longer having her reliant on me for every meal (On the other hand, still reliant on me for every meal.  Just a change in presentation.)  Watching each hilarious expression for peas.  Pears.  Prunes.  The mess was every minute worth the entertainment of my bald, Bumbo sitting baby.

What I thought would be weeks of potty training turned out to be.  Well-weeks of potty training.  But oh how it made the joy so much sweeter when somewhere in the midst of my maxed patience for washing wet underwear, the rainbow stickers motivated her enough to care.  And using the toilet on a regular basis became our “new normal”.

Laughing at her silly love for words.  Said in different forms.  Combined with others to equal complete nonsense.  Which in turn equaled nonstop fun for the whole fam.

Realizing I had an “Art girl” when the only thing to stop her from crying every time I would leave her at Bible study was to mention they had Smelly Markers.  And remembering the humbling conversation when I said to a group of moms, “And yea, isn’t it so frustrating when you have to try and wipe off crayon from your walls?”  And the response from the 10 present was a blank stare of confusion.

Experiencing my heart beating outside of my chest.  As she went down a hill.  On a balance bike.  Going past the “speed limit”.  But she survived.  Learned.  And relied upon balancing rather than her feet for stability.

I could continue on about her petite feet, too long of a toothless grin, birthday themes of rainbows and love for gardens and smelling flowers, but then I would never be present in the moments of today.  It is helpful to remember all of my Lucy’s “firsts” because they were moments of intimacy, growth, and opportunities to overcome challenges.  At that time they were “new”.  Scary.  Unknown.  Change.  I wasn’t sure how I would ever thrive or feel comfortable.  But I was sure I so needed my heavenly Father.  I looked to Him for comfort, direction and wisdom.  And He didn’t let me down.  Not.  One.  Time.  And He won’t let me down.  Right.  Now.  Either.

Mourning an end to the day of “the known” is necessary to bring us into the sunrise of the new day.  But we cannot stay here. We must recognize one day is done and another is beginning right before our eyes.

Remembering too long turns into regretting the now.  Wishing it were then.  Sad it isn’t then.  Listening to Satan’s lies that “this new will never be as good as it was back then.”  And becoming discontent and depressed becomes the reality of life with this “first”.

As I venture into my current season of “firsts”-maneuvering as a Kindergarten mother, upcoming speaking opportunities at women’s retreats, and upping my mileage in training for this marathon, I plan to rely on my God.  Trusting His faithfulness and love to see me through today.  And I have complete confidence that whatever “first” we are currently wading through, He is right beside us.  With each.  First.  Step.

So may we embrace the “firsts” coming our way in this season.  And may today be a day of gratefulness.  For all the gifts and blessings from the Lord.  For every “bursting with love heart memories.”

Let us walk confidently and expectantly for the good that God has in store for us and our loved ones.  For today is a day to “Rejoice in the day the Lord has made” (Ps 118:24).

And this is my prayer:

Oh Father, would you go with my girl today.  Stay real close.  Hold her tightly when unkind words are said.  Give her laughter with other children.  Provide her with a good friend.  Help her to learn when is the time to sit quietly and listen and when is the time to let loose.  Give her opportunities to show your love and compassion and help to others.  Help her be a blessing in that classroom.  Allow for space to grow in the giftings you have given her.  May she remember you will help her when she is anxious, afraid, or hurt.  May she experience Your love and faithfulness in every difficult and fun activity.  May this day mark the beginning of a pattern.  Of doing life with You.  May you uphold her, surround her, love on her today.  As I have come to know you ever so gently do, when we step into a “first”.  Thank you.  For the work you have done in the past and the work you will continue to do.  In her.  And in me.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 272012
 

Four years ago I thought my life was over.

My husband and I had been married for nine months.  I was finishing my third year in my dietetic program.  And I was pregnant.  The news hit me like a freight train.  I spent the first six months of my pregnancy just trying to accept and make room in my heart for our baby.

I mourned all the newlywed things we wouldn’t get to do: travel, go to concerts, go to restaurants at ten o’ clock at night.  I was also convinced I would lose any resemblance of looking pretty forever.

But here was the major fear that crippled me: I wasn’t actively living out my past eating disorder, but I knew deep inside my mind that I was far from healthy.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  Psalm 73:26

I chose to desperately pour out my heart to God.  Telling Him my fears, my anger, my inadequacies, and trusting Him to heal me became my reality.  Part of God’s provision for me during this time was to go back to my therapist during my pregnancy.

Little did I realize the beautiful gift God had in store for me.

“Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is.  Blessed are you who run to Him.”  Psalm 34:8

Not only has my little girl brought me so much joy, love, and laughter… God has also brought an immeasurable amount of healing to me because of her life.

It’s an incredible comparison: how we love and view our children is a glimpse of how God loves and views us as His children.

Since my daughter Harper was born, God has brought this comparison to mind daily.  It has challenged me in the way I view myself, the way I speak of myself and the outpouring actions stemming from those beliefs.

On so many occasions, I have looked at myself in the mirror as I get ready, noticing my stretch marks, my circles under my eyes, my less-than-Victoria Secret-like breasts… and then in walks Harper.  Looking up to me.  Emulating my every move and attitude.

And I am caught dead in my tracks.

It is only a matter of time until my daughter will see through this facade.  One day she will see how my glance in the mirror is one full of self-hatred rather than self-acceptance, judgement rather than grace, the world’s standards rather than God’s.

How can I help my daughter see herself the way God sees her, if I can not even see myself through His light?

I’ve cried over this question.  Prayed over it.  Been desperate over it.

God has made me see my need for new eyes.  And He has given me a beautiful new perspective.

  • When I think, speak or act out something about myself that reflects self-judgement, self-hatred or what the world says I should be…  God reminds me of Harper.
  • I ask myself: how would I feel, as her mother, if I heard Harper say this about herself or do this to herself?
  • For example: If I find myself focusing on what I think is an imperfection in myself – something I might close my eyes and shake my head at or think “I don’t like that.  I’m not good enough”…  I then imagine if I observed Harper doing or saying the same thing about something she didn’t like about her body.
  • I’ll tell you the truth: there has never been one time, when picturing Harper treating herself the same way I treat myself, that my heart wasn’t absolutely broken and crushed.

THIS is what God has given me.  A perspective to see how His heart breaks over His daughters rejecting, criticizing and wishing away exactly who He has created them to be.

I invite you to try thinking of your daughter (or another little one) the next time you think, say or do something negatively towards yourself.  Would you act in the same way towards yourself if she were watching or emulating you?  Through this, did you get a glimpse of how God sees you?

Meditate on this verse today:

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”  Psalm 139:13 & 14

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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