Aug 112014
 

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,  to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.  All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”  1 Corinthians 12:4-11

My cheerleader past self comes out in my present self every now and then.  (Okay.  More like every day.) I cannot stop myself  from cheering on the random stranger running past me.  “Keep it up!”  Is my typical phrase, however I have been known to throw in a “Good work!” or “Way to go!” on any given day.

On this particular morning run I had an “Ah ha” moment about my “cheerleader instincts”.  A woman with a dog was running towards me.  I said my typical, “Keep it up!” and she smiled and said, “You too”.  Directly after this quick correspondence I was surprised at my overall feeling.  I felt joy from the tip of my head to the bottom of my feet.  And it was a crazy, giddy joy.  I know if you could have seen my face it would have had a big grin on it.

So I contemplated what it was about that 2 second chat that made me so overjoyed?  And then it hit me.  I was using the gift God gave me.  The gift of “Cheerleader” (as I call it) or Encouragement or also called Exhortation.  And when we are acting in the gift(s) God gave us, there is incredible joy.

For a long time I was unaware of my gifting areas.  I didn’t want to appear prideful and ask someone what gifts they saw in me.  I didn’t think to ask God.  And to be honest, I didn’t feel I was missing out by living in ignorance.

I will never forget a particular week when the Holy Spirit allowed me to hear from friends, neighbors, strangers the words, “you are really an encourager” over.  and over.  and over again.  This was a turning point for me.  A confirmation in my own spirit of how God had made and gifted me.

It all started to make sense why I felt so at home cheering the football players on at high school games.  Why I also could never contain myself from yelling “You got this!” to my softball team mates at bat.  Why motivating a friend towards their God given potential felt so life giving.  It was because I was acting in my God given gift of exhortation and didn’t even know it.

I say this not to toot my own horn in boasting, because all the good in me is the Jesus coming out of me.   But I tell you this in a, “I am thankful, and humbled for who God made me to be” statement.

So after this week of God revealing through others His gifts of grace to me, I decided to not shy away from my strengths.  But to walk confidently in my new found identity in Jesus.

I have been praying lately for God to give me opportunities to use my gifts.   It is a two sided blessing when the body of Christ is aware of, desires to use, and owns and acts upon their God given gifts.  No joke, I feel beyond blessed when I GET to use my gifts to strengthen the body of Christ or GET to be a blessing to someone in a time of need.

So this is a call to action my Sister’s!  The amazing thing about God is that He gives gifts to ALL His children.  For a long time I would compare myself with others and feel bad that I didn’t have the gifts that they had, but this was only because I was unaware of my own.  When we find out and are willing to use our gifts EVERYONE in the body wins!  And we as Sister’s can work to “call out” the gifts we see in one another.  Knowing God is using and has gifted her just like He is using and has gifted me.

So take this as a Cheerleader Ra Ra chant of “You can do it” and/or “Keep it up” in using your God given gift(s) to bless others.  If you are unaware of the giftings God has given you (and the Bible tells us we ALL have been given gifts to build and strengthen the Body) step out and ask a close friend to share what they believe your strengths to be (you can read through the spiritual gifts list in 1 Corinthians 12).  You can ask God to reveal them to you.  Or for fun, here is a link to take a free spiritual gifts assessment if you have never taken one and would desire to (http://www.spiritualgiftstest.com/test/adult).

My prayer is that we would affirm one another in our God given gifts.  Regularly ask God to give us opportunities to use them.  And intentionally think up ways of how we can be a blessing to others.  And we know we SO get the good end of the deal in blessing, joy and purpose when we step out to give.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 112013
 

A COUPLE WEEKS AGO I HAD A TEARY MOTHER MOMENT.  I have teary mother moments often, (especially during February craziness, which I wrote on last week) but this one enveloped tears of joy versus pain

After finishing our usual 30 minute clean up from breakfast, I round the girls up to get ready for the day.

Our morning routine in a nutshell: 

  • Teeth brushing- Includes the ABC song and many promptings that Mommy needs to brush as well.
  • Hair fixing-Using the special Dora brush, I endure screams of, “I don’t want you to brush my hair” and calmly reply with multiple responses of, “We must brush our hair or there will be larger tangles.  Mommy will be very gentle.  Please don’t move your head or it will take longer to finish.”
  • Getting dressed-Includes the changing of sweet 2 year old Sadie’s poopy diaper, while I role-play multiple barn yard animals.  I call to Lucy in the other room to see if she has put on her underwear.  I respond to her “Mom, is it a short sleeve or a long sleeve day?” question.
  • The laundry event-I lift up each girl to help them put every piece of clothing in the wash.  I often have to separate the girls as they struggle to keep their hands to themselves.

Knowing this morning would encompass all of the above battles and additional unexpected ones, I took a deep breath in.  Then out.

Sadie grabbed my leg and said, “Hold me Mama.”  I pulled her up to put her on my hip (I recognized my baby is gettingheavier) and we started up the 2 flights of stairs.

Then it happened.

Sadie turned to face me, laid her head on my shoulder and squeezed my neck with all her strength.  I pulled back due to her extreme closeness and I realized there was no way she was letting go.

I continued to fight her for a couple more steps and then gave in.  It is at this place of surrendering my strength and will that I experienced the necessity of the relentless hug.

Relentless hug defined:  Persistent, insistent, unyielding embrace.

A smile came to my face, tears to my eyes, and a weight was released from my mind, body and spirit as Sadie continued her death grip around me.  I was caught up.  In her arms.  And every other agenda item for the day took a back seat.

I was caught up in the goodness of God to give me Sadie as a daughter.  I was caught up in the grace of God to allow me to stop my everyday chaos.  To focus on her loving embrace.  To be thankful and present in the moment. 

And then it was as if Sadie’s tiny hands were transformed into the large, strong hands of Jesus. This brought fresh tears to my eyes.  To rest in my Daddy’s arms, is to know everything is going to be ok.  Loved.  Comforted.  Content.

Just like I resisted Sadie’s hug at first, I also resist Jesus’ arms of love during my day.  I resist and say,

I got this.

I’ll just have another cup of coffee and be fine.

I am too busy to look to You.

Jesus is extending a virtual, relentless hug to you right now.  Stop resisting.  Only close your eyes and release your burdens to Him.  Now take in His perfect embrace.

“He tends His flock like a shepherd:  He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart…”  Isaiah 40:11

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 242012
 

I GUESS I AM OFFICIALLY WHAT YOU WOULD CALL A RUNNER.  A GIRLFRIEND ASKED IF I WOULD TRAIN FOR A RACE ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF AGO.  Her job of convincing me to do this was even tougher than if you have ever tried to manage/entertain multiple toddlers.  On a plane.  For 5 hours.  Alone.

I reluctantly said “Yes”.  Mainly because I thought she was pretty great.  Quality time with a girlfriend is like a chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven.  Sweet.

And it was.  My friend and I talked and ran together.  We held each other accountable to fit in our runs for the week. We would say, “You go girl!” for encouragement during a hard run.

There were day’s when my friend’s “You go girl” was the only thing that kept me from quitting.  I was having to work hard.  At something I wasn’t very good at.  Not fun.

I dug out my journal from my bottom dresser drawer and began to write about my running journey.

Well, we made it to race day.  We finished the race.  No record times.  But not last.  I was so proud of what we had accomplished.

This marked the beginning of a new season in my life.  Running, writing, encouraging, and leaning into God.

5 Reasons Running Changed My Life:

  1. It gives me a consistent exercise schedule
  2. It gives me alone time with God
  3. It compels me to write
  4. It gives me opportunities to love and encourage others to run their race well
  5. It helps me grow mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally

When’s the last time you said “you go girl!” (or something within that vein) to a friend?  And this time I am talking about encouragement outside of the exercise setting.

Just like my friend and I desperately needed each other to run our race well, we also need other women to encourage us as we run our race of life.

  • The toilet overflowed again.  The creativity for dinner is gone.  American Idol is over.  The rain is constant.  The children can only make messes.  The husband is doing fantasy football.

Shared experiences = empathy.  We are all in this together.  We all need a little motivation to not give up when things are hard.  We share the goods with the bads.  We don’t have to run our race alone.

My prayer for you this year is that you would be inspired to grow in your love for Jesus.  That you would always be ready to give a “You go girl!” to encourage another woman.  That you would find hope, grace, and love in His Word.  And that you would train for a race.  (okay, the last one is not for real.  But I wouldn’t talk you out of it if you were inclined to give it a go.)

A VERSE TO PONDER:  Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

  • SHARE YOUR STORY.  CONNECT WITH OTHERS.   What things encourage you when you are having a tough day?

 

 

 

 

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