Jun 152016
 

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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!  Luke 11:13

Love never loses faith; 1 Corinthians 13:7a

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  Luke 11:9

So I slowly.  Ever so slowly people-  Put on my favorite stretchy pants, shirt and running shoes this morning, and practically fell out the door.  My pace could hardly be called “running” (or even jogging to be fare) due to my extreme grogginess.  (Alright.  It also may have been due to the fact my “haven’t disciplined myself to work out body” was telling me “no” when I tried to “go”.)

As I ran, the dream I had been having when the brutal wake up happened was recalled to my memory.  It’s ironic because I cannot remember the last time I remembered a dream.  And it was even more rare because it seemed to be a spiritual dream, involving a reocurring scripture verse and sister in Christ.

I felt a Spirit nudge to text this individual about this scripture and dream.  (God has to make things clear to me and I don’t believe in coincidences-I believe in God ordained/Spirit prompted occurrences.)  How you ask?  Well, let me share.  First, I remembered the dream and it involved scripture (miracle of rememberings mixed with Truth).  And next, the first reminder on my phone from Facebook said this individual’s name with the phrase, “Let her know” attached to it.  Our God works through mysterious ways my friends.  And yes, (in spite of all the Facebook drama) even through Facebook!

The texting to my friend was my first order of business on my run (gotta love the voice command feature, however people may have given me the “you are weird” look more than once).  And then I got to thank my God for His goodness to me.  I thanked God specifically for “no rain on the run” (since the reality of the downpoor was imminent due to the wet all around me/clouds all above me and I hate running in the rain-and even more running in the rain with my dog)  I also prayed for friends and family who were on my heart.

But then I asked my Father to “speak for your child is listening” (in an effort to listen to God rather than continue my laundry list of needs and agenda) and a strange feeling came over me.  Warning-I am heading into the transparent zone so beware the upcoming statement people!  If I am being truly honest with myself, I was dealing with som yucky.  Heart issue stuff.   And yes lets call it out.  Jealousy.

I was wishing that dream I had for my friend had been for me.  I was wanting my Father God to have a Word for me.  I was needing some tangible love from Him.  Just.  For.  Me-What.  About.  Me.  (And as I write this I recognize fully I have written the word “Me” fulfilling the writing quota for the year.  Ouch.)  But this was the real of where my heart sat.

I wish my response to God’s love for another would have been different.  Selfless maybe.  Joyful and glad.  Other’s focused.  And many times I genuinely do “rejoice with those who rejoice”.  But not this time.  My faith in His constant love for me appeared nonexistent in this moment.

Having finished my run on a down note I walked in my front door, headed straight to the back door to let the dog out, and IMMEDIATELY it started to rain.  And IMMEDIATELY my heart fluttered a little as I received this good, love gift from my Father.  You would think being an Oregon girl that rain wouldn’t get to me so much, but God knows I cannot stand the wet, dreary rain run.  (And especially when the wet dog would be a reality as well.)  Now, once again this coincidance situation is back on the table.  Could it be coincidance that the rain started up right after I stepped inside and was needing to recognize some “Father love” to me? Not with the way I roll.

I may not have felt the rain, but I felt the love of the Father rain down on me this morning.  (He’s got enough to go around people!)  His love is deep.  Wide.  Long.  And doesn’t quit.  Not ever.

 May I never doubt this love rain which downpours for me.  For you.  Forever.  And may we testify to the love the Father has for us.  Because when it rains.  It pours.  

Consider what situation you are currently in and need some “Rain love” from the Father.  Would you ask Him to make you aware of His close presence and love for you?

What are you in need of?  Are you in financial need?  Physical strength?  Wisdom?  Peace about the future?  Freedom from fear or addiction?  Help to overcome an obstacle?  Love for a hard to love individual?  Purpose in the now? Whatever your need-God desires to hear, answer and love you through it.  So ask Him.  And allow His love to meet you right now.

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jun 232015
 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.  Joshua 1:9

Yes.  It’s here again.  Summer.  In our house this translates as many things, but I would say the word “transition” is the theme of it all.  Our transitions have included out of the early morning school routines and into the sleep in’s.  Out of my husband’s regular full day schedule of teaching courses and into him being home more with the family.  Out of the small group/bible studies/Awana programs, dance lessons (in other words the “regularly scheduled activities) and into the somewhat haphazardly changing schedule of swimming lessons, camps, family BBQ invites, park day trips, free lunch program, gardening upkeep, garage sales, and kiddie pool time in the backyard.

Last week was the start of swimming lessons.  We have done quite a bit of our “own lessons” in the pool, so I was somewhat hesitant as to which would be the best level to place my girls in.  But I went with my best guess.  (And was able to finagale them into the same time/lesson which was actually probably the main priority/ happy element of it all for me.)

The girls seemed to be fitting in with their group even though they were the only ones upholding girl power.  I was a happy, contented Mom as I watched their lessons for 2 main reasons:  #1- they seemed to be trying some new techniques which stretched their current abilities.  #2-Their teacher was organized and gifted-therefore my hard earned money was being put to good use.

I caught their teacher’s eye after the last lesson and said, “Thanks for all your hard work!”  He replied with an answer I wasn’t expecting, “It’s sure great when you have brave ones to work with!”

I had a mental chewing on the word “brave” for my entire drive home.  I thought about the prayer I had been praying for the girls as they entered these lessons, “Lord, help them to be brave.”  And next the 2 questions I always ask them after each swimming lesson, “Did you do something new?  and Did you obey your teacher?”  The 2 questions I asked them were absolutely correlated with the character trait of bravery.  The words from the song, “You make me wanna be brave” surfaced on the brain-“The way it always was, is no longer good enough.  You make me wanna be brave.”  Bravery is the mark of a good swimming student and it is also the mark of a good follower of Jesus.

Living a life of faith in Jesus requires us to be brave.  Much of the time.  I want to be living an ever growing, maturing relationship with Jesus.  And if I find myself at a standstill in my walk with God, doing things on autopilot as I always have been, “holding on to the pool’s edge without venturing into uncharted waters”, I may need to ask myself the 2 questions I asked my girls after swimming each day:  “Have I done something new lately (being stretched for the Kingdom, acting in my weakness)?”  “Am I obeying my teacher (God)?”  If the answer is “no” to either of these questions, I may want to have a heart to heart with my heavenly Father.

If obedience to my “teacher” is first and foremost, then the bravery piece will come into play as we step into the new with our walk with God.  Someone once asked me what was, in my opinion an easy answer of “Yes”- “If you knew without a doubt God was asking you to do something, would you do it?”  But this isn’t the reality most of the time for us as we live by faith, responding to the Spirit.  We don’t have absolute assurity.  We have what we believe to be a still small voice/idea that comes into our mind in which we believe to be from God, not from us.  We have a word in scripture which jumps out of the page to us in the morning and then later in the day a friend echos this same message of direction/wisdom for us.  We have a moment with a stranger in which our heart beats fast and we feel impressed to go talk with them.  All what seem to be the Spirit telling us to go-do-respond-AND then we.  have.  a.  choice.  To be brave.  Even when we are not SURE.  Even when we may look silly.  Even when we don’t have a clue what we are doing.

So I am challenged this summer to grow in my maturity/bravery as a “swimming student” with God, my instructor.  And my hope is that He will be thinking the same thing as my girls’ instructor said, “It’s sure great when you have brave ones to work with.”

Oh Lord help me be brave.  Like you.  For you.  With you.

(By the way, the Love it Up series is off for the summer/I am planning to have the rest available when the book comes out.  :))

 

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Mar 182013
 

I HAVE COME TO LOVE, APPRECIATE, BUT ALWAYS BE READY FOR THE CRAZY RIDE THAT IS OUR WILLIS FAMILY GATHERINGS.  (If you have toddlers in your extended family, you may relate with some of our situation below.)

Our family gatherings consist of:

  • Surround sound cries from children due to scraped/bumped body parts
  • The aroma of poopy diapers and fishy crackers
  • Laughter from all when the older cousins play “hide behind the big chair”, wrestle/dog pile, imagination space trip, or “Roll the pool balls”
  • Random vocal debuts of, “The Wheels on the Bus”, “ABC’s”, or “Jesus Loves Me”
  • Peas, cheese and spilled drinks on the floor
  • Multiple rounds of Pass the Pickle or Candyland
  • Babies/toddler’s who cry for 40 min before exhaustion kicks in and the nap happens
  • Disjointed, but somehow life giving adult conversations
  • Many reminders to take turns with the popular toys, say the “magic words”, try to go on the big girl/boy potty
  • Discipline
  • Grammy and Grandad’s ever present smiles and service to the crew
  • Distractions of lamps tipping over and other mysterious noises from the upstairs which need some investigating
  • 50 tries for smiles at the camera.  From all the children.  At the same time.
  • Worn parents who are out of wipes, patience and ideas

Last Saturday we celebrated Easter which included all of the above- a day of 6 toddlers, 148 eggs, and a lesson in sharing.

The Willis egg hunt began-My sister in law and I watched with smiles as our kids exploded with excitement.  As each child found an egg, they would follow the same drill, hold it up high, and say, “Look, I found one!” to whomever was within ear shot.

We as parents were on guard.  Ready to be the “fairness enforcers”.  Ready to shout out to our own children, “Now, you need to share with the little ones”; “Please give your egg to your cousin because they don’t have as much as you.”  “Could you help your cousin find some eggs?”

We were ready for the worst, but didn’t need to be.  I watched as my daughter yelled to her baby cousin to come take one of her eggs she had found.  At a concurrent moment, my nephew led the other baby cousin to an egg.

I witnessed my daughter quickly and happily give multiple eggs to her sister.  Then my niece helped her brother in the same way.

My sister in law and I looked at each other in awe of what was happening around us.  Because 99 out of 100 days, we would have to remind our kids to share.  Instead of us giving them a lesson, they taught us.

Unforced and joyful giving from the least of these.  (And I, being the crier I am, shed a tear.  Or two.)

The lesson I learned from the egg sharing moment:

  • Be aware of people who don’t have as many “eggs” as I do and be quick to do something about it.
  • Give first.  Without someone telling me to do so.
  • Don’t compare my “eggs” with others’ “eggs”.  Be content and thankful with what I have.
  • Hold my “eggs” loosely and be ready to give them up at any time.  Because everything I have is from God and to be used for God.
  • When I give, do it with a smile and good attitude.

Acts 2:45 “Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.”

2 Cor 9:7 “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Do you hold tightly to your rights and your stuff or are you quick to give when a need presents itself?  And when you give, is it with a happy heart or begrudgingly?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 262012
 

I always wanted a sister.  In fact I came up with a sweet plan to make this dream a reality. 

When my mom was pregnant with my 3rd sibling, I told my younger brother to say that he bet the baby would be a girl.  I then would bet the baby would be a boy.  (My 8 year old self had a full proof plan.  Manipulation of my younger sibling.  Reverse Psychology-Want a girl, then say you want a boy.  Also, cross your fingers every times you say you want a boy.)

Needless to say all my hard work did not pay off.  No sister.  I cried when I found out the news in the hospital.  There went all my dreams of playing tea party, barbies, and dress up.  I would just have to make due with the playmates I was given.

Memories of life with brothers and no sisters:

  • Dressing my brother in a leotard and forcing him to practice ballet with me.
  • Being the “keeper of the peace” between my 2 brothers.  My younger brother was the master of teasing.  My older brother was the master of falling for it.  Everytime.  It took it upon myself to rescue my younger brother from my older brother’s clutches and give my older brother a couple of one two punches for good measure.
  • Playing Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles with my brothers in our “Nintendo Nook” because I didn’t have anything better to do.
  • Having numerous talks with my Jr. High brother that wearing sweat pants to school EVERY DAY was a fashion statement he would regret.
  • Taking turns in our pretend play.  Wedding first, then cowboys and Indians.
  • Forcing my brothers to play MASH.  (For those of you who didn’t have the privilege of playing this, you could see into the future. Where you would live, who you would marry, what car you would drive, and how many kids you would have with just a paper and pencil.)

As you can see, I was deprived of sister fun as a child.  I may have never had a sister, but the blessing/irony is that I now am the mother of 2 little girls.  I am daily surrounded by the laughter/love of 2 sisters, the sharing or lack of sharing of 2 sisters, the frustration/anger of 2 sisters, the mess of 2 sisters, the play of 2 sisters, and the uniqueness of 2 sisters.

The featured picture is of my girls.   I chose this picture because it was one of the few in which they were being loving to each other.  🙂  This picture represents an older sister taking care of a younger sister.   The younger sister looking to and wanting to be like her older sister.

When we belong to the family of believers, we have many sisters in Christ.   We play the role of older sister in some relationships and younger sister in other relationships.  In either role, we are one in the same faith, the same love, the same forgiveness, the same Spirit, the same purpose, and the same hope for the future.

So let’s build some lasting sisterhood memories.  Let’s encourage one another.  Let’s be present.  Let’s be the “keeper of the peace” when there are disagreements/differences.

We are called to “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.”  When was the last time you yelled out loud in pure excitement for a sister who received a blessing?  When was the last time you sat with a sister and cried with her in her pain?

A verse to ponder:  Eph 4:2-5 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to one hope when you were called-one Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

How has a sister in Christ been there for you?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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