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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Jan 292016
 

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  1 Peter 3:8

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind (also translated “being like-minded”), maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; Philippians 2:1-4

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  Matthew 7:11

It was the first.  Time.  Going it alone.  It was almost like the movie, “Three men and a baby”, except minus the three men and insert “two girls, a mom” (which equals “Two girls, a mom, and a baby” if you haven’t had your coffee yet this morning).  I have heard the horror stories of going from 2 to 3 kids-“you have to switch from one on one to zone defense”, or, “now no one wants to have you over for dinner”, or, “having no time for yourself becomes the norm”, or, “now you have to divide your brain to multitask three ways, which is almost impossible” and many more.  And they are all true.  (A sincerely, heart felt hats off to mothers with more than 3 children.  Seriously.  You are my hero’s.  And I need your autograph.)

My oldest’s lunch was packed the night before to allow more time to get everyone ready for school in the morning.  Check.  The well laid out plan of attack had circled my mind over the past week as I anticipated this day-“If I get up at 6:45am I should be able to start laundry for the day, then start bowling water for oatmeal while I turn on the fire and read my Bible.  While oatmeal is going, I can run upstairs and make sure the girls outfits for the day don’t look like we are dressing for “Mismatch/backwards Day” and call out reminders for teeth brushing and bed making.  The baby “Should” sleep all the while.  During breakfast I will nurse the baby and then put her in the carseat (trying not to forget the needed binki).  And myself getting ready for the day-well, that was the part that had to be alleviated.  Sweats, sweatshirt, cozy boots, and ponytail was my new mantra.

The morning went off just as I anticipated, except for the minoot fact that my house looked like I was getting ready for a garage sale. (I guess the cleaning up part comes at some other point.)  Oh and the aftermath was a doozie as well-  I was afraid someone might talk to me and I would have to answer and if it was possible to have a word be your best friend, mine would have been “massage”.  Thankfully I had made plans to be with close friends.  Who don’t judge by outward appearance.

Our friend time together wasn’t necessarily what I was anticipating, but it was much, much better.  Instead of mustering up what I would need to repeat the morning I had for the next day, I got to muster up hope.  The word “hope” was in order for my friend.  Her daughter had been having night terrors for the past couple weeks.  For my friend, this meant getting up 20 times in the night.  No more solutions in play.  An an inability to find compassion and understanding.  Tears of tiredness, guilt of a mother, and toiled up past childhood memories of pain.  Ultimately, hope had vanished from the scene.

I thought about my morning, but it quickly left my mind as I was drawn into love expressed by affectionate compassion (like in the above scriptures), and hope for my weary, tear stained friend.  I thought about the scripture, “Love always hopes”.  And was humbled by that mornings mission to do just that.  My other friend was “of the same mind” (like in the above scriptures).  And we spent our morning listening.  Praying for a miracle to occur in hearts, minds, and sleep patterns.  And putting all our hope in Jesus.  My discouraged friend is usually the one ministering to others and had a hard time receiving our love.  She found multiple phrases to express this, “I so shouldn’t have come this morning.  I am so sorry guys.  Seriously, this is a bummer, you don’t have to keep listening to this.  Let’s talk about something else.”  But we two who had gathered with our three didn’t comply.  But were expectant for our God to meet us and answer our plea for Him to do a mighty work.  And I am so glad we did.

The next morning, I missed a call from my friend we had hoped and prayed for.  With crazy schedules over the next couple days I wasn’t able to connect, but I wondered how her night, which had typically been too many wake ups to count, had been.  I saw my other prayer warrior friend at a coffee date a couple days later and she said, “Did you hear about the night terrors?”  I said, “No, I missed a phone call from her and haven’t been able to reach her yet.”  My friend said, “For the past 3 nights her daughter has not woken up ONCE with a night terror!!!”  Wow.  Praise God.  It was a miracle.  It was a brilliant display of Christ’s body coming together in one mind-answered prayer -God’s faithfulness-love always hopes-and a good gift given by the Father to His child.  Oh-Amen Jesus!

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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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

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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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Oct 162015
 

Love always protects...1 Corinthians 13:7a

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  Ephesians 4:15

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  John 17:15

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Ephesians 6:16

It seems everyone wants to protect me from just about everything these days.  (Being pregnant somehow brings out friends, family and even stranger’s “Mama bear instincts”)  Here are a few of my latest conversations:

  • “How about you stay home instead of traveling to the East Coast.  I would hate for you to encounter difficulties on the plane and/or being so far from home”, says my Mom, and quickly grandma and husband agree.
  • “Mama, you shouldn’t eat that pizza because it will make you puke,” says my youngest daughter.
  • I thought it would be fun to go hiking with the family at Silver Creek Falls, my husbands response was, “Um….no….there is no way I am allowing you to walk up hills and slippery areas where you could easily fall.”
  • An everyday comment from my girls and husband to each other and the dog is, “Stop-be careful of Mama’s tummy!”
  • “Now let me do those dishes while you go sit and rest honey, I don’t want you to overextend yourself,” says Mom.
  • While in the checkout line at Safeway the conversation between the checker and person behind me in line was, “Now I don’t want to see you in this store any more until that baby comes because I don’t want you to have this baby right here in line” says the checker.  “Well, I think we could deliver this baby if we had to so no worries, we will take care of you”, says the stranger behind me.

And the above is only a handful of the conversations over the last couple months.  Even the strangers who pass by me on my outdoor walks treat me like I have the plague by nonverbally moving off the sidewalk onto the street.  I guess protecting me against them bumping into my large belly.

If I am being honest, most of the time the “we are protecting you” interactions and conversations occur I have an immediate inner reaction of, “Get off me!  I don’t need this protecting!  I can handle this on my own.”  I feel as if I am being held back from the good everyone else gets to do.  I feel unable.  Weak.  Boxed in.  A dagger to the pride.  And these emotions are the focus.

But when I consider the reality and heart behind where my loved ones are coming from, I recognize it all boils down to they.  Love.  Me.  And are showing it.  By protecting me from potential harm.   Protecting me from doing without thinking.  Really, protecting me from myself at times.  Because I recognize their spoken words of truth are for me well being.  They are willing to say the hard thing, or keep me from doing the enjoyable thing, to keep me safe, healthy, and happy.

I pray for my girls as I walk by their schools for God and His angels to protect them and the entire place against the evil one.  I take Jesus’ example to us to heart as He prayed for His disciples to be protected.  I am thankful we do not have to fear because we have an all powerful God who is able to overcome the plans and attacks of the enemy.

So when the trouble of life hits us, we can call out to our protector God.  Who wraps us tightly in His arms of love.  For He is our shield.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.  Psalm 91:1,11

Is there someone you need to “speak the truth in love” to this week in order to protect them from trouble/potential harm?

Is there a current trial/troubling circumstance in which you need our God to help to shield you/protect you?  Will you pray in faith for God to do what He promises and protect you from the evil one?

Will you think about those people in your life who care for you enough to “protect” you with their true words/actions of love?  Then will you thank God for placing them in your life, lay down any pride, and think good will towards them as they love on you?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 012014
 

“Not so fast.  You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works.  Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.”  James 2:18-19 (the Message)

It was a typical Wednesday.  Making my girls’ bagel and cream cheese lunch, cleaning up from the last night’s impulse nacho makings, and separating out the piles of keep versus trash mail.

I realized I hadn’t told my girl’s about my upcoming race.   I told them Mommy was going on a long run this weekend.  My youngest asked, “How far are you going Mama?”  I said confidently and proudly, “26 miles”.  My oldest daughter said, “Is that far?”  I said, “Yes.  Very, very, very far.  Many people never run that far….” and as the words were coming out of my mouth my eyes filled with tears.

The tears came like a wave.  A wave of overwhelm.  The wave that only comes when you are jolted into the reality that you are completely out of your element.  Out of answers.  Out of options.  Out of control.  Feeling absolutely-out.  of.  your.  mind.  (Atleast that is what everyone else keeps telling you and you are beginning to wonder if you should heed their warning.)

My thoughts, accompanied by the tears, went something like this- “I can’t believe I signed up to go this far, it is far-too far.  What was I thinking, I am NO runner!”  As much as I know God lead me to do this run, doubt was setting in.  Big Time.

Because it was only four.  days.  away.  The race was so soon I could taste the sweat mixed with disgusting tasting energy gels.  It was go time-race time.  Conflicting feelings continued on as I contemplated my soon to be fate.  Thoughts which seemed unable to coexist:

  • Excitement in participating in this new adventure-then terror for what this “new” would be like. 
  • Confidence in the training so far-then doubt to make it to the finish on race day. 
  • Content in the tampering down in miles this week-then only to know the contentment will end in days with the biggest run thus far. 
  • Dreading the distance which is ahead of me-then looking forward to the distance because this is what will be an accomplishment. 
  • Feeling I want to speed up my normal pace to get done quicker-then not wanting to go too fast and be too tired/sore to finish. 
  • A little anxious about the pain that is ahead-then a reality check that no pain means no gain. 
  • Doubting my ability and mental toughness-then standing firmly on my God’s ability to equip me for the path ahead. 
  • Curious about all the conversations I will have with God on this lengthy run-then at the same time a little nervous about the length of time to “pray and listen” with no I-pod.

After my wave of overwhelming thoughts had run its course my oldest daughter brought me a sign.  It was a sign she said she was going to hold up for me on race day.

It. was. a. brightly. colored. rainbow.

Underneath the rainbow it said, “I love you Mamy” (it was supposed to say “Mommy”, but the Kindergarten writing factor was too cute not to include it).  My tears welled up again.  This time it was not because of the “wave of overwhelm” as it had just minutes before.

Instead it was because I was reminded I was loved by my daughter.  I was reminded of the beauty of the rainbow promise that I was not alone in what lay ahead.

And the Lord so does this for us.  Every.  time.  we step out in faith.  He reminds us of His love.  He reminds us we are not alone in it.

So I am embracing the bittersweet thoughts in these next days when I think about the run.  And I will embrace the bittersweet of the actual run when race day comes.  Because I am reminded of His rainbow sign He holds for me when I feel I can’t do it anymore.  The sign of love.  Sign of strength.  Sign of hope.  Sign that He is with me.  Sign that He is faithful in keeping His promises.

You and I are exactly where we am supposed to be in saying “Yes” to Jesus-completely out. of. our. minds.-by the world’s opinion and ways.   But completely acting in. one. mind.  with our heavenly Father-which is a life of peace, joy and purpose.

So in the season we are in right now.  Let’s look to Him.  Holding up the rainbow sign for us as we run our race.   Let us rest in His intense love for us.  Joyfully persevere in our weakness.  Rely on Him for comfort and strength.  Ask Him for that next step.  And trust Him to equip us for the work He has called us to do.  Because we know He is faithful.  And He will take us to the finish line.  Victorious.

Would you join me in prayer for  “The Run Fast” this week and this Sunday as I am abstaining from personal comfort (putting my body through 5 plus hours of non stop running)?  Would you be willing to pray for God to do a work/break bondage in me, my family, friends, our country and world in regards to anxiety and addiction?  Thank you friends for you support and prayers-I am expectant for our God to bring healing and freedom on the run.

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 182014
 

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.  Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”  Psalm 23:4-6

It was another everyday run using my “Bloodhound characteristics” of a heightened sense of sight.  And wouldn’t you know my eyes locked onto a large red object a ways down in the middle of the road.  It definitely didn’t belong.  

My curiosity was on overdrive-a toy, a candle, possibly a frisbee?  Not sure.  But when you have been running for miles and are looking to God to speak to you through any means, you question every strange object in your path.

And so it was with this red.  Ahead of me.  I was ready for the extremely profound upcoming moment.

I reached touching distance.  And low and behold, it was.  A red.  plastic. cup.  Hmmm.  Not quite the thrilling, spiritual awakening moment this turned out to be.

But it was as if I was running in slow motion as I passed the cup.  Something in me was compelled to pick it up.  Examine it further.  But I didn’t.

And then I changed my mind.  I decided to turn around and get it.  If nothing else, it was cluttering up the street and needed to be put in the garbage.  (On a good day you will catch me doing a “keep the earth clean” act.   I also figured this was also a positive rolemodeling story to tell my girls.)

As I picked up the cup I noticed it was broken almost in half on the backside.  (I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised that a plastic cup in the middle of the road had been run over.)

And it was then that I actually did get that spiritual awakening moment.

I realized I was somehow relating with this cup.  The cup was broken.  Overlooked by most.  Didn’t belong.  Ran over.  In the middle of the path.  Alone on the road.  And So. Am.  I.

My real deal:

  • I have difficulty saying “I was wrong and I’m sorry” to my husband-Broken.
  • I was turned down by publisher’s and agents in my writing-Overlooked.
  • I struggle with home decor/organization and am surrounded by friends and family who all should write books on the subject-Don’t belong.
  • I am running a marathon without a clue of how/if I can finish-Ran over.
  • I have seen God’s faithfulness in the past and stand on His faithfulness for my future, but feel to be in this middle journey of questions, waiting and unknowns-In the middle of the path.
  • I am maneuvering this writing and speaking thing without a buddy beside me-Alone on the road.

But God sees me.  And He sees you too.  Right where we are.  Cracks and all.  In the awkward place we are in on the road of life.  In all our insecurities and inabilities.  And He shed His blood for us so we wouldn’t have to.  His red covers all our broken red cup places.  What love!

He picks us up.  Carrying our broken selves.  With the end result being a mended red cup.  Restored.  Filled up with joy and hope.  Filled up and actually overflowing with His living waters.

And then without us doing a thing.  Overflow happens.  His love and compassion  spills out of us onto a world in need.

So let us broken red cups unite!  May we be filled with thankfulness for His unconditional love today.  And may we always remember His plan for us is good.  His plan for us involves reliance on His strength.   His plan is about the giving of our whole lives to Him.  Cracks and all.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jun 162014
 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.  Isaiah 55:8

I went on a run at my parents house earlier this week and I was asking God where He would have me put my time and energy this summer. “Run a marathon” came to mind.

This had to be God’s idea because there is no way I have the gifting, motivation, or need to run a marathon.  My dreamed up plans up to this point for the summer had consisted of sleeping in, going to a pool with the girls as much as possible, hit the community free lunches at the park, and have some good eats while watching Netflix in my comfy black arm chair.  I guess you could summarize my plans for the summer in one word “lazy”.

God’s word “marathon” and my word “lazy” were not seeming to gell nicely.  This is how life with the Lord seems to go.  He has a completely opposite idea of how I should spend my time.  (But I have to give Him credit, His “out there” ideas haven’t disappointed me once yet.)

My ongoing chat with God went something like this: “Sure, Lord, I have done all the race lengths before it, but my half marathon was a year ago and it was quite the booty woopin.  It is true though that running with You is a joy, but I am not sure I can do it or have the time to put into training for that length of a race!  (Also it cuts back on my eating bon bons on the couch time.)”

I pondered this marathon thing some more as I finished the run and came into my parent’s house.  I went into the kitchen and my Dad strolled in and plopped a magazine down in front of me. “Thought you might want to read this,” he said.  I picked it up and the headline read,

“Winner of the Boston Marathon gives tips for exercise and health”. Hmmmm. Coincidance? I think not.

My husband was in support of it. I bought a book and read up on the training schedule and I had enough time to train this summer. I emailed a marathon running friend about what would be the best one to do and asked if she thought I could do it, she said “The Portland Marathon is a great first one to do (so close to home!) And yes you could do it.” Check. Check. Check. All was a go.  (“Okay God, you win.”)

I realize I go through a similar cycle with the Lord every time He asks me to step out in faith. I get scared. I get a little uneasy about doing something I have never done before. I give Him the reasons this was not in my plan and why I am not qualified/equipped/smart enough/talented enough to do what He is asking of me. I ask Him to confirm and confirm again.

And every time He gently confirms through others, His Word, an inner peace, and/or other “coincidances” that this is THE way for me.

He quiets my heart and says, “It will be okay. Do not be afraid. I will help you. I will be with you and lead you.”

And I realize “Yes” is the only real option. I think back to the “Yes’s in the past and they have brought me more life, joy, peace and purpose than I could have ever known.  So I say “yes” to training to run a marathon this summer.  Expectant for how God will do a work in me.  Saying “yes” to Jesus is the only way to live.  It is living real life.

What “first” is the Lord calling you into this season?  Join me in training for a race this summer, or stepping out in a way that you believe God is directing you.  Be brave.  Be a faithful daughter.  Be ready.  Because good is up ahead!

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jun 102014
 

I feel compelled to run my first marathon.  And also compelled to vomit due to the scary unknowns this “first” brings to mind as I write these words.

But I have found life in running with Jesus.  I would never have believed this fact if we were to have a conversation 3 years ago.  When I reluctantly said “yes” to a friend’s invitation to train for my first 5K race, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.  I may not be the fastest or talented, but that is not why I do it.  I do it because I found and continue to find life on the run.

I began to praise God for the sunsets and green all around me.  Talk with Him about my fears, questions, desires, requests and wisdom in mothering.  Find peace and purpose for my life.

The runs with my friend became a time of deep sharing and prayer.  A time of laying down burdens and being encouraged in Jesus.

I found life in stepping out in faith.  Stepping out with Jesus to do a “first”.  My “first” (5k race) seemed daunting, too much work, and wasn’t something I felt gifted in (or even remotely good at).

But over these last 3 years I have felt more joy, purpose, and peace then I ever have before.  Training for and running a race was a hand in hand working out my salvation/God’s direction for my life and working out my physical body.  My Spirit and body were stretched out of the comfort zone, but in doing this I found life.

So I will continue to step out in “firsts” for the Kingdom.  Going on my first rollercoaster last week.  Writing my first devotional.  Running my first marathon.  And I believe this is not just a “season of firsts” for me, but a lifestyle when saying “yes” to Jesus.  Following Jesus is about embracing “firsts”.  Overcoming fears.  And trusting in His love and promises through it all.

Our Father has a plan and a purpose for each of His daughter’s.  And He longs to give us life as we commune with Him.

I wonder if you have felt inclined or are currently feeling called to step out into a “first” in saying “yes” to Jesus?  And if not, if you would be willing to ask God if there is anything He is calling you to do in this season?

I would invite you to join me this summer in the “Life on the Run” 3 month challenge.   A two fold physical and faith challenge.  Physical-to train for and run in a race with a trusted friend.  Find a 5k, 8k, 10k, half marathon or marathon race to train for and sign up, then find one of the numerous training schedules online and begin!  Faith-1.  To read the Standing on Peace Running Devotionals each week from this site (or sign up to receive the regular emails) 2.  Make your couple runs a week “prayer runs”-talk with God in prayer as you sweat by yourself or with a friend.  It is a “workout” of your salvation and body in an effort to keep in shape physically and as a daughter of the King.

Prayerfully consider participating in this “Life on the Run” 3 month challenge this summer.  Let me know in the comments section or email me at jillian@standingonpeace.com if you are in and how your training is going!

My prayer is that you would step out and do this “Life on the Run Challenge”, even if running or participating in a race is a “first” for you.  And that you would find comfort, strength, encouragement and true life in running with Jesus.

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”  Jer 29:11-13

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 272013
 

THIS WEEK HAS BEEN MY GIRLS’ (LUCY IS 4 YEARS AND SADIE IS 2 YEARS) FIRST GO AT SWIMMING LESSONS.  LORD HELP US ALL!

I had forgotten the hard work and bravery learning to swim demands. I also didn’t anticipate the clenching-the-chair terror that comes from being a mother watching your child learn to swim.

Yesterday at the swim lesson, with a little song of “Ring Around the Rosie”, Sadie put her head all the way under the water!  And she came up with all smiles.

I let a deep breath in.  And then slowly out.

Next, it was Lucy’s turn.  Her face was shear terror, knowing what would be asked of her.  She stepped as close to the wall as she could without getting out of the pool.

The teacher’s arms reached out to her.  She shook her head and said, “I don’t want to do that!” about 10 times.

The teacher tried numerous tactics: comforting words, children’s songs, and various games.  All failed.  The last resort was used.  The force job.  The teacher grabbed Lucy’s kicking and crying body and put her under.

I’m pretty sure I scraped some of the plastic off my chair from anxiety.

But then the miracle happened.  When Lucy came up out of the water, she had the biggest smile on her face.  She had done it.  She had braved the unknown. She had conquered her fear. And there was pure joy in it.

Over the past couple years I have felt like my girls.  Like I am learning to swim for the first time.

I have been saying yes to God’s work and it has involved much new territory: running, writing, starting this blog, speaking, and leading women’s retreat worship.

All new.  All hard work.  All about learning.  All about conquering fears.  And in response to the Spirit’s voice I said as Lucy said, “I don’t want to do that!”  I went “under water” kicking and screaming.

But through this, I have found more joy and purpose than I have ever known before.  I wouldn’t live life any other way.

The Lord has brought me strength and comfort in each of these scary steps of faith with the scripture, “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.” Zec. 4:6

You see, we serve a God who is constantly at work and is always doing something new.

I wonder what new things He is doing in your life?  New relationships, new ministry, new habit of reading His Word daily or talking with Him in prayer daily.

Isa 43:18-19 says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

The question is, are we taking regular time alone with God in order to listen to Him?  Can He get our attention amidst our busyness?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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