Jun 212016
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 072015
 

 

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.  Isaiah 40:31

“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.”  Jeremiah 29:11

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor 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

I was driving back from a “new beginnings” venture.  It was a park meet and greet follow up after our first preview service of the church plant.  Anytime a change, whether good or challenging, is on the horizon or befalls us unexpectedly, I begin to go more into my head than my heart.  So my drive home was just that-a lot of head brainstorming-with me, myself and I-what should can we expect our role to be in the church?  How can we get the marketing just right so people will come check it out?  Are we doing enough?  (Maybe you can recall or currently find yourself in a place of change and can relate with the brain crazy taking over.)  My heart was beating fast.  And if I am being honest, my curiosity was quickly moving to frustration and anger.  Because I didn’t.  Know.  What.  Was.  Next.  I wasn’t.  In.  Control.  And I seemed to be swimming upstream in search of peace.

My tunnel vision was called to a sudden stop as an unexpected brilliance of colors filled the left side of the sky.  This sunset was bright, bold, beautiful, it was lacking in nothing less than spectacular.  It was difficult to keep my eyes looking forward on the road when God’s firework show was happening in a different direction.  I happily welcomed the distraction from my current agitated heart state and under my breath I commented to the Creator, “Show off!”  (And He is the One who actually has the right to do it, I quickly recognized.)

My gaze had to quickly switch back to the road (go figure).  But even though this was a familiar route, I couldn’t help but recognize how many road signs I kept passing.  All were dictating to me what I could expect up ahead.  10 miles to Salem, strawberry U-pick in 2 miles, horse riding lessons next right, 20 mile an hour turn, and so on.

I realized 2 deep truths about my personality/flesh tendencies as I gazed out the window:

1-I want detailed, quick, step 1,2,3 “signs” (like I saw along the road) from God to make minor and major life decisions.  And if I don’t see the “signs” in my timing I easily get agitated and upset. I place too high a value in knowing the destination.

2-Unfulfilled expectations, circumstances which throw a kink in “my plan/ways”, also cause a little “fight or flight” feelings to arouse in me:  Causing me to say, “I am so consumed, angry and distracted in my mind and heart with this trial, pain, decision I am ineffective for the Kingdom” or” Well, I will just quit this work/friendship/ministry”.

I asked God some heart felt questions in this soul searching episode:

Lord, why are your road signs somewhat criptic?  Why are your road signs seemingly spaced real far apart?  Why do my emotions overwhelm so quickly when unfulfilled expectations arouse?  Why is waiting needed? 

Immediately, as if in perfect timing to my questions, the “show off sunset” creeped around enough for me to catch one last breathtaking glimpse.  And I heard my God respond to my heart and mind with this truth, “You always know the sun is going to set, but you do not know how it will set.”  Would it be a primarily pink sky with whispy clouds intermixed?  Would it have purple and red and orange with no clouds in the sky?  I can’t anticipate or expect how the sunset will look on any given night, but I do not even doubt for a minute that the sun will just keep hanging out at the top of the sky.  And so I wait.  And watch.  For the unforseen beauty to unfold before my eyes.  Always good.  But always unknown as to the specific color scheme until it arrives.

Maybe you have caught the spiritual analogy our Father was speaking loud and clear to me through this sunset.  It was a revelation to me.  The faithfulness, goodness, and love of God is like the undeniable truth that the sun is going to set each night.  We never have to doubt our God’s character and His living and active Word, the Bible.  In other words we can bank our trust in our Gods ever unfolding plan for us just like we can bank our trust in the fact that the sun will set tonight.  But a life of faith in Jesus means we do not know the how of our road ahead, just as we do not know the how of the color scheme/cloud pattern of the sunset tonight.  It means we bank on Jesus-THE way, THE truth, and THE life and we rest in His control.  His way.  And His unexpected orchestration.

Maybe you are in a time of unfulfilled expectations.  Wondering what God is doing, or if He is doing anything.  Angry with the circumstances/people around you. Questioning, still waiting where the road “signs” of the next are.  Of the how’s of our now and future-my prayer is that your strength would increase, not decrease as you wait on God. That your hope and trust in God’s good plan for you would increase, not decrease.  That your peace and joy in Jesus would increase and anger, frustration with the circumstances/people would decrease.

And may we wait.  In expectation.  For how God will unfold His great plan for us.  With a “show off sunset”.

 

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 112015
 

Thank goodness for the kindness of Jesus to me this week as I became aware of more than I would like to admit times when my kindness towards others fell short.  Real short.

Love Attribute #2:  Kindness=Care/consideration/selflessness versus Unkindness=disconcern for another, rude, selfishness-  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted…” Ephesians 4:32a

Kindness versus unkindness situation #1:  My husband and I took our kids to Awana’s (A Bible memory/game filled night for kids) as we typically do.  The beauty of this is they love it and our learning God’s Word, PLUS my hubby and I get a quick date night after we drop them off.  A win, win if I have ever seen one.

I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile and thought I should probably not go talk to her because there is a possibility it could be a long conversation and I don’t want to cut into our already short date night time.  I couldn’t help myself.  I jumped in with both feet and ended up talking to her while my husband is patiently waiting for me.

The problem here is I didn’t consider my husband’s needs.  I knew he would wait.  I was more concerned with my in the moment conversation than protecting our scheduled time together.  I see this now.  But in the moment all I wanted to do was justify my actions to my husband.  I didn’t want to listen to how my actions had been unkind to him.  Quarreling was on the tip of my “to do list”, if you know what I mean.  Then this scripture I had read only that morning came to mind, “”And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone,” (2 Timothy 2:24a).  Timely.  So, the Jesus kindness within me led me to hold my ever wanting to spew my rights, disagreements, and justifications, I pressed down the “quarrel in me”.  And apologised to my husband with a, “I’m sorry, honey, I won’t do that again”.

Kindness versus unkindness situation #2:  I was doing my routine dishes and dancin to the Christian radio station after dinner.  (Christian music plays more often than not in our house-for my sanity and overall need for the Jesus perspective/attitude in my heart and mind.)  My daughter said, “Mommy, I want Jazz music to do my dancing to.  Can you turn on some Jazz music?”  (First off, not sure where my four year old has even heard of Jazz music, but the main point is, the Christian music was my life blood and she was asking to change it??  Oh the depravity!)  I matter of factly replied, “Honey, you can do your dancing to these songs.”  Her prompt and dagger in the heart teared response was, “Mom, you always get what you want.”  (Gotta love those, showing your yucky self moments.)  Immediately, “Love is kind”, ran through my mind and I recognized kindness is about not getting what I want.  Being humbled by her statement I excitedly yelled, “You are right, so let’s get some Jazz on!”  She jumped up and down and said, “Mommy, do you know why I like Jazz music?”  “No, I don’t honey, why?”  I replied, intrigued now.  “Because it’s jazzy.”  She said.  (Well of course!  Isn’t that why anyone would love Jazz music?)

Kindness versus unkindness situation #3:  My last “kindness kick” story is about how the kindness of God brought me to tears this week.  I attended a worship conference at the end of the week and was hopeful to come away with encouragement, new ideas, grounding wisdom, and new friends.  What I was not hoping to come away with was smeared mascara from crying in the bathroom.  But unfortunately, the latter became my reality.  I felt God was asking me to hand out some of my “Sing Over Me” women’s devotional books.  My inner commentary is always my worst enemy as I considered following through with this, “The women will think you are prideful.  Why are you promoting yourself?  Who are you anyway to even have a book?”  As I sat in the restroom, the tears began to stream down my face as I felt bombarded with the “You are NOT” statements.  I felt so unworthy to be used by my God.  In that very moment the scripture, “I did not give you a spirit of timidity (or fear), but of power and love and self discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7) came to mind.  In my moment of fear and insecurity, the kindness of God gave me strength, courage and reassuring.  That He was with me.  And that I could do this with his help.  (Any fear of man and discouragement of who I am made to be in Christ is only from one fiery place!)

So I wiped all the mascara off my face and headed into the “women in ministry” session where I had been given permission to hand out my books.  I got the opportunity to share a little of my testimony and handed out the books to the women.  The Lord opened multiple doors through this to be able to pray for some women and encourage them in their faith journey’s.  But two woman’s words have stayed with me, “You are the reason I was supposed to come to this session”, and “Thank you for giving us these books, this was so kind, so very kind of you.”  I had not even thought about giving away these books as an act of love and specifically fulfilling this week’s focus of kindness.  But praise be to God that when we are obedient to His voice, His kindness comes out without us even being aware of it!  Oh how the kindness of God blesses me over.  And over.  And over again.

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”  Romans 2:4

“Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”  Psalm 63:3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 072014
 

“So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life-in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”  Phil 2:15-16

The alarm clock went off at 4:40am.  Which didn’t seem to matter since the sleep had been hit and miss up to this point.  I couldn’t believe today.  was.  THE.  day.

It had been four months of big time reliance on Jesus.  To get my booty out of bed in the morning and run.  To meet and speak to me on each run without music or other media filling the time.  To strengthen my body, heart, and mind to persevere when my body was in pain and my mind told me I couldn’t do it.  To provide me with prayer running buddies along the journey (I was amazed at the 20 different sister’s in Christ God brought to my side when originally my plan was to have just one running buddy-His ways are not my ways, but they are always better!)  To get me to this very day.

Race day.

It was surreal.  As I pulled on my most slim looking, tummy hiding, zipper including, lack of chaffing, favorite pants.  As I lubed up all areas to avoid potential pain.  As I looked in the mirror and brushed my teeth and thought to myself, “Is there any way I can get out of this?”  I realized something.  Just as Jesus had gotten me all the way up to this point, He also would get me through the now.

I can trust Him. 

It was five and a half hours of physical, mental, and spiritual battles as I ran my first marathon.  But Jesus met me on the run.  And there were three “JP tears” (Tears mixed with joy and pain) moments that pushed me to finish.  the.  race.

JP Tears Moment #1-I was only two miles in.  My mind went to crazy town thinking of all the ways I was inadequate.  Unable to go the distance.  Feeling tired already and knowing I had 24.2 more miles to go.  Things looked bleak.  I asked God for His peace to cover my mind, body, and Spirit.  And He gave it to me.  I looked up, fixing my eyes towards heaven for help, and what do you know was around the corner?  A gigantic George Fox University billboard ( my husband is a professor at George Fox University) and it said, “It’s your time to shine!”.  I cried.  Right there.  At mile two.  JP tears flowed because I knew God had whispered a little of His love to me in that very moment.  Confirming I was exactly where I was supposed to be. And that I could do this with Him.  And through the tears I said a offered up a one second prayer, “Thank you God for your graciousness to me”.

JP Tears Moment #2-The cool breeze of the morning was no longer.  The sun was beating down with an upcoming long stretch of hill and no shade.  There was a sign which pointed the half marathoner’s to the left and the full marathoner’s to the right.  The half marathoner’s were one mile away from the finish line and the rest of us were, well, how do I say, not.  (I highly considered jumping over to join the relieved face crew of runner’s going left.)  It was a moment of need.   As I passed the depressing “this way to finishing the half marathon sign” I heard someone yell, “You can do it Jillian!  You are strong, you got this!”  I felt a renewed sense of purpose and motivation to trudge on.  As I scanned the bystander’s to see who had so been so timely to call out my name on my bib, another stranger yelled, “You are lookin’ good Jillian, way to go!”  Then came the JP tears.  There was something so special about hearing my specific name called outloud.  Who cares whether it was a random stranger-It was a gift from God.  It was healing.  It was inspiring.  It got my feet to keep moving when everything else in me screamed “Quit!”.  It was a turning point of pushing through pain and doubt.

JP Tears Moment #3-I saw my family four times on the run.  I was anticipating their smiling faces as I grew closer and closer to each of their designated viewing spots.  Time seemed to stop as I caught a glimpse of them.  (Of course my glimpse didn’t start until I almost could touch them since my vision is quite hilarious without my glasses on.)  Then came the JP tears.  I had loved ones supporting me.  I had loved ones taking time away from all of what they could be doing to be present with me.  I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for each of them.

I was overcome this day.  With pain.  Unexpected joy.  Gifts and strength from above.  But most of all-I was overcome with the fulfillment of finishing. the. race. 

Knowing my training and hard work was not in vain.  Seeing the faithfulness of my God, once again.  And recognizing whether on a literal run or running the race of life, I wouldn’t have it any other way:  Looking to.  Giving glory to.  Including.  Listening to.  Loving-Jesus on the run is the only way to live!

So my friends- “Arise, shine, for YOUR light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).

Persevere in obedience and faith in Jesus as you “run your race of life” today!  Remember your work and obedience to Jesus is not in vain.  You will not regret bringing glory to Him in every word you say, job you do, and person you serve.  Enjoy the journey filled with “JP tears”, unknowns, and acting in weakness and faith.  Because He see’s you and is shouting out your personal name as we speak-In an effort to love on you, strengthen you, comfort you, and inspire you to overcome all trials, pain and obstacles-enabling you to finish your race strong!

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 252014
 

I was in a slump. In a funk.  Not in the mood to go on a run.  (This happens more than I would like to admit.)  Resistance.  Reigned.  It was oozing out of my deepest soul.  

But on a positive note, I was sporting my new “no chaffing” spandex.  The morning was a perfect temperature with a slight breeze.  My husband was good to go to watch the girls while I ran.  So why the intense battle within me to stay home instead of run?  To resist what I knew to be a life giving, spirit filling, and energy feeling activity?

My mind was playing the “discouragement, pitty party, and lies track”.  It went something like this:  “You have already been consistent for two months now on your training schedule and you deserve a break.  You are weary and tired and all this work is probably in vain since you won’t be able to actually complete a marathon anyway-what were you thinking taking on this big of a challenge?  There is no harm in missing one run.”

Even though my mind was overwhelmed by these tempting thoughts to stay home, I thought about this whole running thing being an obedience to God in the first place.  How He confirmed through a peace in my Spirit, His Word, a Marathon runner’s magazine “randomly” given to me, and the support of my husband that this race was this was God’s will for me in this season. And I had a newfound motivation to put those new “no chaffing” spandex to use.  Good use.  They were not meant for sitting on the couch at home (And oh how I have wished that simply putting on workout attire would miraculously help me achieve weight loss/exercise goals.).  They were not meant to sit in a drawer.  They were were meant to run in.

It seemed like a small victory.  But it actually was a big one in overcoming this mental battle.  I went on my run.

I began to think about how easy I succumb to listening to the “Discouragement track” Satan loves to play throughout my day.  Unfortunately he uses this tactic almost every time I am faced with the choice.  To obey Christ. Or not.  I began to analyze the themes of this track.  And came to a revelation.  Even though the words of the discouragement track are contextually different, the message remains the same.  And when this message plays, it is a red flag to me.  And I choose to see God’s reality and truth behind the lies.  Then I am then ready to fight off the enemy’s attacks.  And be an overcomer in Jesus.

Here are the “D” messages of the “Discouragement track” and it is a red flag I need to fight off this attack of the enemy:

  • I Deserve to do what makes me happy and comfortable.
  • I begin to Doubt my ability to carry out God’s plan.
  • I believe a Detour won’t make a difference.

Here are the “D” messages/scriptures of truth to overcome the “Discouragment Track”:

  • Deserve thought-God promises to give me everything I need in this life and I know serving Him requires putting my selfishness aside.  I am truly free and joy filled when I am following Jesus.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”  Phil 4:19

“I am crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me.  The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”  Galations 2:20 and

  • Doubt thought-I love the saying, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.”  We can expect we will be stepping out in our inability to follow Jesus because it is in our weak areas God is glorified.

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Phil 1:6

  • Detour thought-It is so easy to rationalize ourselves out of being absolutely obedient to God.  We think partial obedience is good enough.  But partial obedience is disobedience.  And in my life (with my directionally challenged self) a small detour on the road many times leads to getting completely lost.

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” I Corinthians 15:58

Live today with the confidence that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you!  Run to and for Jesus in whatever temptation, trial, or question you find yourself in today.  And know you are an overcomer in Jesus!

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 062013
 

Worry.

Silly thing to be addicted to, I know.

But it is true.

Scripture clearly states that we are to “worry about nothing, pray about everything” (paraphrase of Philippians 4:6). Yet I still worry.

Why is it that I worry?

Is it a false sense of control that if I worry things will turn out better? Or is it that if I worry about the worst, then when the worst happens I am prepared for it?

The crazy thing is, the worst almost never happens!

I used to think that my worry was associated to the stress I experienced during the economic downturn. But recently as I reflect back on my childhood and the early years of my marriage, I worried. In fact, I was a very anxious little girl.

What is it that I worry about? Money. My girls getting sick. Seriously sick. My husband dying (typically wives out live their husbands), me getting the “C” word (cancer).

On a good day I can keep my worry at bay. But there are days when it creeps in. Sometimes without me even realizing it.

I deeply believe that each one of us has a “loophole”, so to speak, that the enemy uses against us. It is the place that is our weakness. It may be self-doubt, a place of fear, a place where the enemy sneaks in, to distract us and rob us of our peace.

The moments when I am faced with worry, I can almost hear the whispers of the enemy pulling me down.

The key to victory is to discover and learn to recognize your “loophole”.  Then you can fight against the enemy when he tries to use your loophole against you.

For me, with worry, I have to talk with myself and walk through the scenarios I fear most. Asking myself, what is it that I am afraid of? IF my fear is realized, what will happen?

More times than not as I process through my worry, my feared outcome is far-fetched and/or if something bad were to happen, it likely would not be that bad.

I worry. We all worry sometimes. The key is not to be controlled by worry. To be aware of the worry and how it impacts us. To learn to release control over to God.

What is your loophole? Your unspoken spot where the enemy can creep in. Can you identify how it is robbing you of a peaceful mind?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 292013
 

Sometimes I just don’t feel strong enough for it all…

These were the words I expressed to my husband after he reminded me of our family schedule for the next couple of months.

Part of this schedule includes my husband’s travel for his job.   Which is sometimes a lot.

The reality of his absence not only includes missing my best friend and our kids missing their dad, but it means no extra hands to help with the things I’ve come to rely on him for.

His hugs.  His playing with the kids after work to get all their energy out.   His disarming our tired kids’ melt-downs as I get dinner prepared.  His giving me a moment alone each day.  His helping with the kids’ bedtime routines.  His help picking up the house at the end of the day.  His tender touch on my tired body.

He so beautifully shares life’s load with me, I crave him when he’s gone.

But there’s something about the challenge of my husband’s travel that shakes me to my core:  I fear it brings out the worst in me.  The raw, insecure, selfish, worst of me.  I fear I’m not strong enough – especially for my kids.  And because this challenge is a constant in our life, I fear my worst is playing on repeat.

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”  Psalm 34:4 (emphasis added)

We are all facing challenges.  We’re stuck.  Depressed.  A victim.  Longing for something that cannot be.  Trying to accept ourselves.  Fighting for our very life.

Sometimes our challenges find us tattered.  Begging us to raise the white flag.  Leaving us pleading with God to give us a different challenge – something we can handle for goodness sake!

As I’ve been thinking and praying about my feeling weak, God has brought a couple of truths to mind.

  • When we are weak, He is faithful to strengthen us.  We so easily forget to include God in our efforts to survive something.  To get through something.  But the truth is: He doesn’t just want us to survive our challenge – He want us to thrive in it and overcome it.  His strength is available to us, if we would just ask for and receive it.

“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually.” 1 Choronicles 16:11

“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”  Isaiah 40:29-31

  • Our challenges are part of His best for us.  God is not far off.  He has not forgotten about us.  He has not slighted us or given us His left-overs.  He knows EXACTLY what we need.  And it always includes a heart change.  Because it’s our heart He’s most concerned about.  Amidst our challenge He will accomplish His good work in us.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

“Oh Lord, you are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, in perfect faithfulness.”  Isaiah 25:1

Are you facing a challenge today you need strength to face?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 222013
 

Racing heart.  Sweaty palms.  Shaking knees.  The feeling I am going to stumble over every word that comes out of my mouth.  This was my physical state, as I drove to our Standing on Peace video shoot.

I opened my glove box, hoping to find a stashed away snack.  As I focused on the road, my hand blindly moved around trying to identify objects that might be food. In all my rush to hand off the kids and dinner to my husband, whilst being prepared for our video shoot, I hadn’t had a chance to slow down, pray and ask God to calm my spirit.  I was nervous and acting in my own strength.  Bad combination for me.

My searching hand finally came across a crinkling package.  Food!  Let me be more specific.  Sugar.   In the form of red licorice.  An entire movie theatre size package.  I opened it up and started biting away.  One piece.  Then two.  Three.  Four.  I resembled a wood chipping machine devouring branch after branch.

It wasn’t until I reached the last piece in the package when I came out of my eating trance.

What was I doing?

I was eating away my emotions.

Not a lot makes me more nervous than speaking in front of people.  Being on camera might second that.  My fears are an intertwining of tangled roots: fear of not being perfect, fear of not being able to speak the words I am thinking (If you are an internal processor, you know how I feel), fear of putting myself “out there”.

As I recognized why I had just consumed an entire package of licorice, I stopped my racing mind and prayed while I drove.

I thanked God for opening my eyes so quickly as to why I was emotionally eating.  I thanked Him for His grace to start over – that these moments don’t have to send me down a path of unhealthy eating, food obsessions and guilt.  I asked God to forgive me for acting in my own strength; for not trusting Him to give me the words to say. I asked for His peace.  For His presence to be with all of us as we did our video.  I asked for His blessing as I embarked on this writing journey.

Emotional eating is when we eat for reasons other than feeling hungry.  It often brings a sense of comfort when we feel anxious, sad, depressed, and/or alone.  It is an extremely common response to intense emotion.  And it’s exactly what I was doing on the way to our video shoot.

Practicing “in the moment pauses” as you eat is a powerful tool when fighting these emotional battles.

Stop and Ask Yourself:

  • “Why am I eating right now?”
  • “Am I truly hungry or am I emotionally eating right now?”

These two questions can help you become aware of the roots of your food struggles. Roots could come from any number of aspects in your life, such as fear, perfectionism, relational hurts, disappointments, loss, isolation, where you are at with God, etc.  Asking God to help you become aware of the roots of your struggle is a small act that can precipitate big realizations.

When do you find yourself emotionally eating?  Will you consider praying for God to bring you awareness to your roots of emotional eating?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 102013
 

When I’m sweaty and tired on a run, or neck deep in dishes at the end of a long day, or listening to fighting children, or feeling lonely, I hear a Voice say, “It’s okay that you’re messy and tired. I don’t want you to get it together or go faster or do it better. I want your faith. “

I think our kids would say the very same thing to us. More than anything else, I’m convinced what they need most from us is faith.

This morning before school, Michael was disrespectful and I was frustrated. Despite my best attempts and many strategies, the altercation ended with him getting out of the car at school in a tearful huff and slamming the door in a fury.

Hebrews says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And Romans says, “Hope that is seen is really no hope

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That’s tough! The seen and the unseen duke it out on the turf of our minds and hearts. I want to see humility and respect in my kid. I want a son who can communicate, who isn’t locked up or shut down. When Michael and I are in the thick of it, much of how I respond

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comes from a place of fear that he won’t end up with these qualities. It is easy to be driven by fear, as I grow anxious and impatient with what I see; I become desperate, impulsive, and pushy.

A friend I look to for her parenting acumen says, “Parent the child you want.” Interact with them as though they already have the qualities you so long to see in them. What would it look like for me to take on that hopeful, expectant posture with Michael? To believe I already have that emotionally intelligent son, and speak with

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him from that place of great peace and confidence?

In the catechesis, we gather after Easter and light the paschal candle as we read about Jesus, the light, coming into the world. We read about his death and snuff the candle. Then, as we meditate on the resurrection, we re-light the candle.

We wonder with the children about this new and powerful light that will never go out—the light that is stronger than death, stronger than evil, stronger than sin, stronger than darkness. And like the tongues of fire on each head at Pentecost, Jesus shares this light with us.

In this liturgy of light each child lights a personal candle from the Paschal candle as we say together, “Michael, the light of the risen Christ is for you…” “Heidi, the light of the risen Christ is for you…”

 

As you interact with your kids, how do you have faith in the light that is stronger than the darkness (in them and in you!)?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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