Sep 292015
 

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.  Hebrews 8:12

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

Can a woman forget her nursing child, fail to pity the child of her womb? Even these may forget, but I won’t forget you.  Isaiah 49:15

I have a daughter who wants to be walked into school and one who doesn’t.  One who likes only frosting and one who eats only the cake.  One who is most happiest looking for acorns in nature and one who plays princesses most days.  Oh how our God made each of our children unique.  And beautiful.  And oh how He made each of their mother’s unique.  And beautiful.  Creativity equals our God.

I was walking my oldest daughter into school.  It was the second week of classes and so the “new school routine” wasn’t nearly as scary as before-for me.  (Always fabulous when the confidence of the child far outweighs the confidence of the mother.)  When we went into the typical gym drop off spot there were no 1st graders to be found.  (slight panic attack)  As I surveyed the area I saw a sign which indicated K, 1st and 2nd graders were playing and lining up outside today.  (normal breathing was back).

We walked outside and I could not believe the sight.  It was as if I had happened upon an ant colony.  In which you can barely walk without stepping on one of the zillion ants underneath your feet.  Now insert children here instead of ants.  Mass.  Kid.  Crazy.  All.  Around.  And it seemed this was the place to send off my soft spoken.  Tiny (to me).  Precious.  Girlie.  “Well, I guess you can go play honey,” (I said with extreme reluctance).  And she proceeded to run off.  Into the zillion “ants”.

Then it happened.  The emotions wave hit.  Hard.  My eyes filled with tears.  “No one knows her.  No one see’s her.  She has no.  one.”, were the thoughts behind the waterworks.  Then as quickly as the emotions came a still small voice spoke to my spirit and heart, “I know her name. I see her.  I got her.  I could never forget her.”  (Oh for Pete’s sake I can’t even write this without tearing up.  In the kids playland Safari Sams nonetheless.  Pretty sure I am beyond.  All.  Help.)

As I wiped away the tears, my heart found rest.  In.  Him.  In the fact He knows Lucy.  He made Lucy.  Just like He knows me and made me.  Within the next moments this song came to mind:

I have a Maker, He calls me His own.  He’ll never leave me, no matter where I go.  He knows my name.  He knows my every thought.  He see’s each tear that falls.  And He hears me when I call.  

(“He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker)

What comfort.  What compassion.  What a personal.  Loving God we serve.  And He remembers.  The good.  Of our intricate make up.  And He forgets.  Our confessed mess ups.  So maybe I could try to do the same.

When I am upset with my husband, friend, co worker, or family member and am prone to think of/remember their past mess ups (sin and wrong towards me), I can say “No”.  And instead “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b)-in which in this case would involve forgetting. their. bad.  And then I can their good.  Remember their God-given strengths.  Unique makeup.  And if I need a little extra help, I can ask God to assist me in this “remembering the good” process.  Help me to see them how He see’s them.

So the next ant you see may you remember.  You may be small.  But your God is big-Your child may be small.  But your God is big.  You may have messed up.  But your God remembers it no more-Other’s have messed up.  But you can choose to remember it no more.  You may feel alone.  But your God see’s you and knows your name-Your child may feel alone.  But your God see’s them and know’s their name.

To live like Jesus is to forget and forgive the bad of another and remember the good instead.

Is there someone you are prone to remember/bring up their past sins?  Will you ask God to help you remember their good and forget their bad?

Will you entrust your small child(ren) into the hands of our big God today?  Will you entrust yourself into His hands?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 212015
 

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  Psalm 103:11-12

Just as Jesus’ mother Mary had moments in which she “cherished these things in her heart” with her child, so will I cherish the following moments with my children of failures followed by grace-followed by joy.

Yesterday was my youngest daughter’s first day of Kindergarten.  After multiple weeks of asking every day (usually multiple times a day), “How many more days till school starts Mom?”, the morning was finally here.  She was up much earlier than the normal “slow to rise” schedule we adopted over the summer.  After putting one of her favorite dresses on, she gave a shy smile and quick ballet turn when her Daddy commented, “You look beautiful, honey”.  Her confidence was evident.  My confidence was lacking.  Mainly due to the continual checking and re checking my “Mother’s first day of school to do’s” was on the up and up.  I resigned myself to the fact it was not.  But that by God’s grace hopefully “the ball that would drop” would not cause too much counseling for my girls in the future.

The morning came and went with the #1 Ball dropped when I didn’t have the ability to take a picture with my camera phone (due to it being maxed full of images).  (“Nice planning Mom”, I said to myself.) But my Superman husband came to the rescue thankfully with his camera phone.  #2 Ball dropped later in the week as my daughter commented that everyone brought something to share except her and one other boy.  (“Well, that is fabulous organization and recall, Mom!”  Was my inner commentary.)  And lastly, the #3 Ball dropped due to my oldest daughter having to be quaranteened to the “peanut table” at lunch because I had failed to recognize the granola was a filled with “peanut power”.  (“Oh the shame, oh the exclusion only I have caused my daughter!”  Was the thought on repeat in my mind.)

But oh, some sweet relief when I had the opportunity for a “Joyfilled -present-mother-moment” (you know the few and far between one’s where by God’s grace you are not multitasking and you allow yourself guilt free to just be. with. your. child. and. enjoy). My youngest daughter had a, “First day of school tea”, in which,  I had tea and she had pink lemonade.  I put in cream and a sugar cube.  So did she.  (Not likely additions to lemonade, in my opinion, but she drank it down with no hesitation.)  Then amazingly asked for seconds.

Next, she put a cookie on her plate.  Then put one on mine.  She ate her cookie.  Then proceeded to eat mine.  It wasn’t what we did during the tea that was anything extraordinary.  But It was the grace and joy I was bathed in during that very moment.  A perfect moment in which none of my past “mother mess ups” were on my brain, my God’s brain, or my daughter’s brain.  I thank God for these type of moments. To soak in the simplicity of everyday eye to eye conversation.  Enjoy cup of hot tea.  And be free from guilt and shame.

I am thankful my daughter’s don’t seem to remember my mother mess up’s like I feel they should.  (We may have a different story when the teen years hit us, but I am living it up now!)  They don’t recall to my mind all my “dropped balls” of their first week of school.  And they don’t bring up my last year’s or last week’s sin of relentless, unkind fire ball words spewing towards their unsuspecting selves as my patience is nowhere to be found.  Now that’s a true gift, my friends.

And it’s a gift our heavenly Father doesn’t remember our past sin either.  And He graciously gives us joy moments in spite of our failures.  So I guess it’s only fitting that I should also return the favor bestowed on me by my girl’s and God.  How about the time one of my friends gossiped about me behind my back?  Or “that thing” my husband can’t seem to get right even after 14 years of marriage?  Or when I got left out of the girls night for no apparent reason?  Well, it’s my turn to do some “covering up” with a “big blanket” any of the past sins of others.  Because I know this “big blanket” “uncovered” in my heart and mind only leads to bitterness, an inability for God to work in my life, and a lack of true freedom/peace.

Today I am making the choice to not.  be.  offended.  Let. It.  Go.  Forgive.  Let.  God.  Handle.  Their.  Sin.  And “cover up” in love.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 152014
 

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23

I missed out.  On running the 22 miler.  I should have gone this last weekend.  But didn’t.  And I am now 2 weeks prior to the race, which means going on shorter runs.  I chalk it up to a lack of motivation on an activity full weekend.  Tiredness.  Laziness.  Knowing the soreness that would be up ahead.  And a lack of diligence to call a friend to run with.  All of these excuses contributed.  But bottom line.  The opportunity came.  And went.  And I am sitting in the aftermath of the “wish I would have” regrets.

My husband had some friends over to play cards this weekend.  Usually on these nights I partake in some much needed “Netflix” time.  And this was exactly my plan.  First-get into some “comfies” on.  This consists of my 10 year old American Eagle sweatpants (what I would love to wear 24/7 if it would be acceptable), and an oversized t shirt (which isn’t quite to the holes in the pits stage in which my husband draws the line).  Check.  Second-put the girls to bed.  (Not as easy as the first order of business, but after answering the 20 questions, reading the additional story, singing one more round of “Oh How I Love Jesus”, and walking away saying, “No more talking now, it’s time for bed.” all seemed good to go.)  Check.  Third, get the Kix cereal late night snack and I Pad to take up to my private bedroom getaway.  Check.

As I was pouring my cereal a particular friend was on the brain.  I thought I could visit her tonight.

But the excuses started in, “She probably has plans already.”  “Well, I am sure my husband wouldn’t want me to leave the girls in case they got up and needed tending to.”  “It is getting too late and we wouldn’t get to talk much.”  “I really need some alone time.”  “I don’t feel like going.”  “It wasn’t what I had planned on doing.”  “My energy and motivation to have a long conversation is gone.”

In spite of the rationalizations of why not to call her, my friend’s name would not leave the forefront of my thoughts.  (I have typically found this to be the Holy Spirit’s way of prompting me to action.)  I asked my husband if I could go and he said, “Yes”.  So that was that.  There was nothing stopping me from making the call to see if my friend was up for a spontaneous visit.  Other than my own selfishness.  Lack of motivation.  Tiredness.  Laziness.  Knowing the upcoming talk would be an energy output.

And so I chose “Netflix Night” over obedience to the Spirit.  I didn’t go visit my friend.  I missed out.  Because the opportunity came.  And went.  And I get to sit in the aftermath of the “wish I would have” regrets.

Two missed opportunities.  In one weekend.  (No gold stars for me.)  Two times when my own stuff got in the way of “going the distance”.  For my race training.  For God’s Kingdom.

Somehow the excuses won out.  Obedience, discipline, commitment, the Spirit’s prompting took a back seat.  And the result was a lack of action.  Now I find myself swimming in a pool of  “could have, should have, would have’s”.  And I am finding it difficult to stop.

I ran into my “go to marathon guru friend” at the local Mexican takeout restaurant the next day.  I told her I missed the 22 miler.  She said most training plans only go up to 18 miles.  (Which I had done the weekend prior.)  I was extatic.  I wasn’t a total failure.  I would still be able to compete and complete the upcoming marathon race.

I felt a wave of grace.  A wave of unconditional love from my heavenly Father.

Later the same day someone shared with me that the friend I had felt compelled to go over and visit was in fact going through a rough patch.  Experiencing some serious health issues which I was unaware of.  My heart sank.  No wonder I had felt the Spirit’s prompting to head over for a visit.

Failure and condemnation were heavy.  I texted my friend to let her know I had thought about stopping by and that we needed to catch up soon.  But the moment was gone.  It wasn’t the same.

I confessed I was wrong for not acting on the Spirit’s leading and asked forgiveness from God.

I felt a wave of grace.  A wave of unconditional love from my heavenly Father.

I must find a lesson to be learned from my two mess up’s.  I must redeem what seems to be lost.

1.  I am thankful we serve a God who continues to want to use us in spite of our past failures, disobedience, and selfishness.  2.  I am thankful missed out opportunities are not a reason to quit.  3.  Continuing to swim in the pool of “could have, should have, would have’s” is not helpful or healthy for anyone.  We must learn to let go and let God take them.  4.  I am thankful we are not defined by our failures, but by the God who made us.  Our identity is in Christ!  5.  I am thankful His mercies are new every morning.  And we must accept grace for ourselves and be ready to extend it to others as well.  6.  We should be even more motivated to say “yes” to the Spirit.  No matter the circumstance or mood we are in.  And “go the distance” when the next mile marker Kingdom opportunity comes our way.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 132013
 

IT HAD BEEN YEARS SINCE I DROVE DOWN HWY 99 TO MY HIGH SCHOOL STOMPING GROUNDS.  I was on my way to pick up a forever friend for a girls weekend.  It had been too long since we had the opportunity to deeply connect.  Kids, activities, ministry, and distance have a way of causing years to pass quickly.

The scenery around me ministered to my soul.  I turned the dial down on Chris Tomlin’s song, “How Great is our God”, and began to sing my own.  A new song.

I thanked God for the green, green trees.  I thanked Him for the blessing of forever friendships.  High School lockers, choir concerts, mentor coaches, cheerleading competitions, and science fairs.

I sat with memories of the past.  But not all the memories were positive.

Failure to be in the “cool crowd”.  Failure to make the team.  Failure to step out and love the least of these.  Failure to see myself as beautifully created by God.  Failure to see the hurt inflicted by my sarcastic words and gossiping.   Failure to stop abusive relationships.

As I wallowed in this regretful place, I noticed the turn to my high school.  There were so many new houses, trees, flowers and signs.  I almost missed the high school because I didn’t recognize the new surroundings.

But not all of the terrain had changed.  I smiled as I drove by the massive cement building which held my indoor softball practices.  Where I tried over and over to get that drop ball pitch.  With mounting feelings of anxiousness, knowing the first game was tomorrow.

Then I sensed God whisper to me, “I make ALL things new.  Not just some, but ALL.”

God doesn’t make some things new and leave some old, like my high school stomping grounds.

He has taken my past failures and sin.  He has torn down ALL these “old buildings”, and has replaced them with “new buildings”.  Which are built on the firm foundation of Christ.  New buildings spring up all over as Christ lives in me.  “New buildings” are the fruits of the Spirit in my life.

A Father’s letter to His daughter:

I am a God who is all about new.  I am doing a new work in you and in the world around you.  You are new in your mind, heart, attitude, and actions. 

You may have a tendency to be drawn to respond out of what was successful or beneficial in the past.  To rely on human tradition and expertise. 

Throw out expectations of how things have been and how they should be.  Get rid of what you know and rely solely on Me to guide and equip you.  Be ready to act out of your weak area’s.  Humble yourself and respond in obedience. 

You WILL see fruit when you are connected to me.  I WILL be glorified in my ability to move the Kingdom in ways you find peculiar.  

Get ready to learn.  I am a unique God and My ways are unique. 

Trust me.  As I  fulfill the purpose I have for you.  Trust me.  As I build a new Kingdom.  Trust me.  In new ways. 

Now walk, my daughter, in courage and strength.  As we embark on a new journey together.

 You make ALL things new.

Rev 21:5a “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make ALL things new'”. (Bold added)

2 Cor 5:17 “He is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!”

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 272012
 

Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”

~Henri J.M. Nouwen

I am both relieved and reviled by this quote.

Generations of over-achievers have gone before me on both sides of my family. We don’t do things poorly. We push through until we get it right. Where we are weak, we work harder.

So I chafe hard against the idea that in the area that counts the most, that of love and relationships, I will not reach my standards for myself; I will not meet my own expectations.

And yet these standards and expectations exhaust me!

I am a limited, aging, needy, distracted human being.

This fact is a daily disappointment to me. But because it is the unavoidable truth, what a relief that it’s not perfection but forgiveness that is the “great work.”

Much of my time is spent running around cleaning up after people—their dishes, socks, crumbs, spills, careless words, and impulsive actions. The other day I stopped in my tracks, dirty socks in hand, as it hit me that this is how God spends much of his time as well.

“You restore the wasted years, you build the broken walls, your love replaces fear, your mercy makes us whole. Adopted, healed, and lifted…” (Aaron Keyes, I Am Not the

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). Tears sprang as I heard this song and was overcome by the sweetness of a God who runs around cleaning up my messes, fixing and repairing what I have broken. He is not above janitorial work.

Sometimes when I’m in the darkness of disappointment over a painful parenting moment or missed opportunity, a little light comes on. It dawns on me that the sting of regret doesn’t have to be the end of the story. The

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episode is still unfolding, the “great work” is yet ahead.

I pray under my breath for an opportunity to go back and ask forgiveness or give it, talk about it or listen. I pray for a chance to be present in the way I would have like to have been the first time around. I am amazed and humbled by how many times I get this chance.

Leonard Cohen sings, “Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

Do you have a story of a time when you loved poorly, and then saw

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the light and love of God come in a fresh way for you or your kids?

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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