Mar 012017
 

So, I set out with a strategic plan, that’s right people.  My spontaneous, right brained self was in a giving mood-it was time for the dormant logical, mathematical left brain (in which my husband uses every minute of the day) to have a turn in the driver’s seat.  Although this activity felt strange, I pushed through.  And I did have to verbally process it with someone or I am pretty sure my brain would explode.  And I digress.  All this to say, I came up with a Lenten season plan-No sugar or carbs (oh the joys of fasting-or as I call it, Getting rid of the thing which, if someone asked you to not incorporate this in your day or week, you get a little eye twitch because it doesn’t feel real fun or even possible.)  Ouch.  Since pretty much most of what I eat involves one of these (not really, but you get the point).

But in all seriousness, fasting is a spiritual discipline which only benefits us as it draws us closer to looking more like Jesus-submitting to the Father’s will and way and not our own in our day to day (and this ultimately is true life and freedom). I want to eat healthier, I want to “go to” my God for direction and comfort in the day and not have a looming donut dancing in my mind’s thoughts.

And now we get to today.  Today, some celebrate Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season.  6 weeks of preparation/a season of grief in remembering Christ’s death on the cross in anticipation of the end-the celebration of Christ’s resurrection on Easter.  I have to admit, having not grown up in a church which partook in the Lenten season, or held an Ash Wednesday service for that matter, I was not quite sure what this day entailed.  So, I got pulled out all the spiritual stops and googled it (sorry to the Lenten scholars out there who are cringing and finding some flaws in my below summary) and here’s what I found:

The distinctive activity of Ash Wednesday services is the “imposition of ashes.” Ashes in the shape of a cross are placed on people’s foreheads as a reminder of our mortality and sinfulness.  The primary purpose of Ash Wednesday entails the biblical roots involving creation, sin, mortality, death, grace, and salvation.  It is also centered around the scriptures, “weep with those who weep” and  “confess your sins to one another.”

Pastor Mark D. Roberts says:

What I value most about Ash Wednesday is the chance for us all to openly acknowledge our frailty and sinfulness. In a world that often expects us to be perfect, Ash Wednesday gives us an opportunity to freely confess our imperfections. We can let down our pretenses and be truly honest with each other about who we are.  

So, in light of Pastor Roberts words, I confess to you my imperfections, on this Ash Wednesday: Because in spite of all my left brained efforts of carefully strategizing my no sugar/carbs fasting plan beginning today, I am drinking a Pumpkin Spice latte as I write this post.

You got it, a sugary sugar drink with extra sugar is what I ordered this morning at my favorite local coffee shop.  What a way to kick off the Lenten season as I forgot and failed right from day. 1.  Wow.  Pretty sure this 6 weeks is going.  to.  be.  long.  But I tell you this because our God is not up in heaven shaking His finger at me at this moment, because of what Jesus did for me on the cross, He is extending grace, grace and more grace mixed with some of His crazy love.

And so I encourage you to join me for the next 6 weeks and prayerfully consider something you could “let go of” in order to focus more on what God has for you in this season/year.  And if you aren’t perfect or you forget or you fail or fall to temptation, will you remember my  “failure from day 1”?  You are not alone and His promises of “His grace is sufficient for you” and “His mercies are new every morning” and “His love never fails” are for you, as they are for me today.  

And no matter whether you choose to incorporate a strategized fasting plan or not this Lenten season, will you promise me one thing?  Bask in the grace of our loving Father God and listen to this song by Hawk Nelson and “live like you’re loved” today-  Because we have life in His death.  No shame, no guilt, we are only more than enough as we walk in the freedom and love and identity as a child of God.  

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 172017
 

 

Striving for the unattainable perfection of tomorrow is like a hampster running a wheel and going nowhere.  Fast.

I have a new grace filled, hope filled, peace filled picture as I fight for Jesus to take hold of me in my day rather than the anxiety which has plagued me in the past.  Visualize this clip:

“A little girl dressed in white, strolling on the beach with colored vibrancy from the Son/sun and blues, whites, and creams textured beneath.  She kicks up the sand, hand in hand with her heavenly Father.  He stoops down to be at her level.  And she is unaware she should have a care, because of the where-in which she has chosen to be”.

This is where I want to be.  Today.  And everyday.  On this ALL love, no expectations, only grace filled walk with my Father throughout the day.  Because I have struggled with anxiety in the past, I continue to rely on God to free me from this tendency to worry.  And because I am learning to walk in my “freedom beach walk with God”, I have a heart to pray for others in similar chains.  The Lord “puts in my path” others with my similar anxiety struggle and just this week I prayed for God to release His peace to guard the hearts and minds of 3 friends in my same boat.  So if you are in this pattern of guilt/worry/stress/anxiety hampster wheel, I.  Get.  You.  And would love to pray for you (send me an email or comment below my blessed sister).

Because sometimes, you need to stop the running to begin the thriving.

P.S.  For my friends with clinical diagnosis’ of depression and anxiety and bi polar and others, please hear this message with hope and not discouragement:  Do I believe we live in a fallen world with troubles and chemical/biological ailments that plague us?  Yes.  Do I believe we have a sovereign God who uses the wisdom and medicine of doctor’s as a part of His plan and purposes for us?  Yes.  Am I trying to say if you only do the below 3 steps what you struggle with will be gone forever? Not necessarily.  But I am saying we serve a God who is the God of all hope, a God who is faithful, and a God who is the ultimate healer.

 So Lord, today, meet my friends who have not been relieved of this biological struggle with anxiety.  Meet them in their frustration, questions, and fears in the unknown.  Thank you that you promise to never leave or forsake us.  You are the Omnipresent God, with me right now and with each of my Sister’s in Christ who are hurting right now.  Here’s the deal:  We are ready to be used by You, in all our given ailments and troubles, for.  Your.  Glory.  No matter what you choose to give or what you choose to take away.  Your.  Will.  Be.  Done.  And we praise Your Name today, because You are worthy of it.  Thank you for your true Word and Spirit which is THE Solid Rock we stand on in times of unknowns.  And we “press on to win the goal to which we are called heavenword in Christ Jesus.”  And today-we “fix our eyes on You, Jesus” for the next step we have in Your powerful Name.  Amen

3 “anxiety free/peace for me” steps with Jesus in 2017:

  1. “Your day, Your way” saying to start the day– before my feet hit the floor each morning this is my mental mantra.  Spending time in God’s Word, even if it is one verse, for 1 min before the “have to’s” begin WILL.  BEAR.  FRUIT-Lasting fruit, Kingdom fruit, lifegiving fruit, in which our God dictates the day’s happenings and we respond to His Spirit’s leading.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33
  2. REFUSE to RESUSE the worry thoughts of the enemy-When the “worry monster” begins to fill our thoughts, we say, “No way!”  Satan may be cunning and persistent, but he is more than predictable.  He tries the “same old negative, doubt filled, hopeless filled”/ areas we are weak in attacks to derail us from our “walk on the beach with God”.  WE.  CAN.  CHOOSE. what true, lifegiving thoughts we will think on today-Choose the “Way, truth and the life”/Jesus thoughts! We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 and …whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8
  3. Recognize His Perfect Peace Doesn’t involve the “Being Perfect Piece”-Since we serve THE Prince of Peace, who gives to ALL believer’s freely, we need only recognize we WILL NOT find relief in looking to some “keeping up with the Jones’s” item of this world or “if I only”/comparing our bodies or personalities to someone else, or expectations for perfection in any given area.  Our identity is as a HIGHLY valued Daughter of the King and it is ONLY in receiving His “forever-like Christmas present” of peace amidst the worlds troubles which we find rest.  Pray “Jesus Your peace” in. the.  very.  moment.  you feel anxiety.  And then, “trust in the Lord with all your, and lean not on your own understanding” (Prov 3:5) as He begins to bring healing and hope for your mind, body, and Spirit.  Get off the “hampster wheel” of anxiety which gets you nowhere and grab Your Father God’s all knowing/all loving “sand hand”, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.  Matthew 6:34 and Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  John 14:27

Are you currently struggling with negative swirling thoughts or an inability to find rest and peace in the busyness of the day?  Our God wants to meet you and give you His peace, will you ask Him for it and ask another to pray for you?  

What in your life are you trying to control and it’s not working?  What can you let go of today to be able to let God be God and you practice a deepening trust in His timing and will?  (I would love to pray for you personally, but also know you are gettin’ prayed for sister, by me, whether you like it or not-“May His freedom, peace and grace be yours as you “beach walk” with your heavenly Father, today”.)

What area do you have high expectations, close to the need to be perfect in, and what is your process for handling when things are not “perfect”?  What new system can you implement to hear God’s true words of “therefore there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus” and act upon this rather than the world’s, others or your own pressures you are striving for?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 052015
 

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching,you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”  Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”  John 8:31-34

 I AM the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:6

I have been bombarded with truth this week.  A little much if I do say so myself.  Part of me wants to deny it and run and hide from it.  The other part of me (the Spirit in me) recognizes truth, real truth, absolute truth, Jesus truth will only set me free.

One of my “truth moments” happened as my youngest daughter set out to give everyone in the family another name to go by.  I am guessing in her mind, we all needed to be called by what we were “all about”;  as in the 7 dwarfs for example.  She started out by naming her older sister, “Nature” (because truly, every time we dive into an area of forest on either side of the road she comments, “oh how I wish I could be in that nature and walk around, don’t you?”).  She proceeded onto naming herself, “Dancing squirrel” (because my girl’s have a crazy obsession with squirrels in play and real life and she joyful dances whenever she gets the chance).  My husband was then given the name, “Games”, (in which I chuckled to myself because of how right on she had been for everyone.  My husband’s strengths are in strategy and competition and his love for games is evident in spending time playing or reading up on various games).  I was the last to be named and I was curious and also a little nervous as to what I would be “known by or considered to be my big thing”.  And then out of the mouth of a child, the humbling truth of my name she blurted out, “Napper”.  She followed it up with an explanation, “Because you are always sleeping, Mom.  You love to take naps all the time.”  Ouch.  Whoever said the truth hurts was right.

As I walked with the Lord the next day I wrestled with my “Napper name”.  As I was giving Him my justifications of “why naps were happening a lot lately” I couldn’t help but notice a massive slug in my path.  I had never seen a slug on my regular walking route before.  But this fact isn’t the part which took my brain to all consuming thoughts about slugs.  It was the 4 additional slugs in my path which put my curious mind into overdrive.  I began to wonder what made the slugs come out today rather than any other day?  I Googled “Facts about slugs”.  And amazingly I gave myself a school lesson in slugs this particular morning (and most of you probably already know this fact, so thank you for humoring me by listening briefly to my “Ah ha” moment).  We had just experienced our first long, hard rain of the fall season.  This was the reason for the slugs coming out into the “slimelight” (Google included this and I admit I am a sucker for dry/play on words humor).  Slugs traditionally in the summer time will hide under rocks and hang out in dark, damp places, but when the rain comes, they feed on coming out into the wet ground in the light of the day.

And how does learning about slugs have anything to do with my life you may be asking yourself…well, I was asking God on my walk the very same question.  And He revealed His Truth to me.  He spoke to me about how when the Holy Spirit “rains down”/empowers/speaks to us, we, “like slugs” are imparted Truth.  Absolute truth.  Which brings us into the Light.  When others give us constructive criticism, or we feel guilt over acting upon our selfish/flesh/sin nature, we have an opportunity to test if this is real truth in which we should accept, ask forgiveness for, or simply learn from in order to be more like Jesus.  So as I thought back to my daughter’s “Napper” name for me, I recognized “‘testing truth” and “being sanctified by His Truth” should be continual part of my life as a follower of Jesus.

Ways we can test if a message/thought is True in this world;  the world says all truth is relative, but we as Jesus followers know God’s Word is the ONLY absolute truth:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Check the message/thought against the Bible and see if it follows it or is going against it

  • For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12                                                                    
  •  (Jesus prayed for His disciples) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.   Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  John 17:16-1                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2.  We must humble ourselves.  Then ask the Holy Spirit, who lives in us as believer’s in Jesus, to give us a peace about how to proceed from here.  Ask Him to reveal if this is absolute Truth (because He is actually the definition of Truth).  And if it is, what our response should be in order to allow this Truth to sanctify us (change us to be more like Jesus) and bring it into Light.  
  • Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.  James 4:10
  • When the Holy Spirit, who is truth, comes, he shall guide you into all truth John 16:13a
  • If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 1:5-7
  • Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.  John 3:20-21                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     3.  Ask a trusted, follower of Christ for wisdom to confirm the message/thought resonates with their spirit
  • But speaking (practicing) the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ.  Ephesians 4:15a
  • Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.  Proverbs 19:20

We must know and learn to recognize Truth.  We must humble ourselves to not be discouraged, defensive, or not accepting of Truth.  We must seek out ways to grow in Truth through the Holy Spirit’s gentle guiding.  And just as slugs leave a trail of slime wherever they go, we also leave a “mark” when we walk in the light of Jesus!  Because we know coming out into the “slimelight”, acting upon the Truth of God’s Word and guiding of His Holy Spirit of Truth only brings about True life, freedom, joy and peace.

 

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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May 202013
 

I WAS ON A TRIP WITH MY HUSBAND AND A GROUP OF 28 COLLEGE STUDENTS.  One of the students had the idea to take pictures in a museum, mimicking the posture and face of each large statue.  A historical king holding his sceptor, an Egyptian mummy, Mary and baby Jesus, and Greek goddess were a few.

I laughed so hard I peed my pants a little.  I felt like a child again.  There was freedom in simply having fun.

Immediately, a particular car ride (just before I left for this trip) came to mind.

I try to pray in the car for my girls on our way to preschool, or other activities.  My usual prayer goes something like, “Lord, please help Lucy and Sadie to learn about You, to be kind and loving to others, and to make some new friends.”

I recently asked them if they had anything they wanted prayer for, my oldest daughter Lucy spoke right up.  She said, “Pray that I would have fun!”

Wow.  The fun factor was not on my radar.  Sometimes I have difficulty being in the moment.  Not thinking 50 steps ahead.  Not being terribly serious and task.  Not living in freedom and joy.

As a mother, some of my greatest joys have been to see my girls laughing and enjoying life.  Laughing so hard as I spin them on the tire swing.  Laughing so hard with our game, “big bear is gonna get ya”.

A friend recently handed me the photo on this post titled, “Jesus Laughing”.  She said “Jesus loves to see you having fun.  He laughs with you.”  It makes sense that Jesus feels the same way about His children enjoying life that I do about my children having fun.  But for some reason, this was a new concept to me.

It brought happy, comforting tears to my eyes to visualize my Savior not so seriously.  Freedom and happiness flooded my soul.

Our Father says:

I desire overflowing joy for you, my child.  I love to watch you having fun.  I recognize you have many tasks to get done.  But make sure to take time to enjoy moments with others.  Freedom in Me means allowing yourself to let go of the serious face.  Freedom in Me means laughing and dancing and being silly as a child.  I created you to live with as carefree spirit.  Full of the excitement and adventure I have purposed for you.  Not bound by negativity and troubles of this world.  Rejoice with me, my child, as I rejoice over you.

“As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you.”  Isaiah 62:5b

“The One whose throne is in heaven sits laughing.”  Psalms 2:4jb

When was the last time you belly laughed?  What could you plan this week for the sole purpose of having fun?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 242013
 

Two weeks ago I shared how I have been trapped by perfectionism ever since I was a young child. Up until a few years ago I was convinced that perfection did exist and could be attained, if only I tried hard enough.

It was not until walking through the Beth Moore Bible study “Breaking Free” did I realize the strong hold fear and perfectionism had on my life.

I entered into the Bible study with the mind set of “I don’t have a strong hold. I don’t suffer from an addiction.” Boy was I wrong! Much to my surprise, I discovered my strong hold was fear. Fear is a close friend of perfectionism.

My tendency towards perfection has not disappeared, but instead of being controlled by it, I am learning to have better control of it.

The Lord is gracious and teaches me, if I am open to it.

Here is what I have learned:

1) Perfection does not exist. This one took me a long time to grasp. It does exist in a Pottery Barn catalog, but not in reality.

2) I am not perfect nor will I ever be. The only human who was ever perfect is Christ.

3) It is ok to be good enough. This one is still hard for me to accept. God loves me despite my faults and His opinion is the only one that matters. If I endeavor to give each day my all, that is good enough.

4) Striving for perfection as a mother, wife or in my home robs me of joy. Learning to hold my expectations loosely allows me the freedom to enjoy life more fully. Life is about relationship with others and experiencing Christ’s joy. It is not about the perfect birthday party or having the best dressed child.

5) Daily living only allows for some things to be accomplished and that is ok. This is something I am currently working on. Setting my mind to spend an hour accomplishing a task and being ok when I have to stop. Believe it or not perfectionists are often procrastinators because we think the time has to be perfect and the project has to be done perfectly. Unless that can happen, why start?

6) Stop waiting for the “moment of arrival” when life will be perfect. Life will never be perfect. Each day and every moment is a time for learning. The “moment of arrival” will occur only when I am with my Savior.

I still have much more to learn but am already feeling some freedom from perfectionism. And to be honest, it feels good!

Do you feel captive by perfectionism? What is one step you can take today to start your journey to freedom? 

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 282013
 

This lent–and probably this whole life–I am

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trying to become more like Seth.

To rest in my humanity, and in my limitations… To rest in the love and grace of God…

This kind of humility leads to great freedom. And it also involves suffering—the death of that idealized version of myself that can go faster, farther, better, and deeper.

I decided to give up alcohol for lent this year, which basically means forgoing my nightly 5 o’clock glass of wine.

So I guess I’m giving up my idealized version of myself with her exacting standards… as well as the glass of wine I feel like I need after keeping pace with her all day!

It’s been hard! I’m facing the raw realities of little ol’ me, and a fair amount of restlessness as a result.

I can see now that my ‘over-functioning self’ and my ‘evening glass of wine’

are two strategies I have routinely employed to avoid suffering.

“There is no other way to life and to true inward peace than the way and discipline of the cross. Go where

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you will, seek what you want, you will not find a higher way, a safer way than the way of the cross. Arrange and order everything to suit your desires and you will still have to bear some kind of suffering, willingly or unwillingly….There is no escaping the cross. Either you will experience physical hardship or tribulation of spirit in your soul. At times you will be forsaken by God, at times troubled by those about you and, what is worse, you will often grow weary of yourself.”

~Thomas a Kempis

Lent is a time to face suffering…like Jesus, who “set his face toward Jerusalem,” toward the cross.

And we walk the road of lent with the resurrection in view. We can face the death of our false selves and the death of our coping mechanisms…even in our restlessness we can face the suffering that accompanies this journey because it does not define us.

Thomas Merton writes, “It is of the very essence of Christianity to face suffering and death not because they are good, not because they have meaning, but because the resurrection of Jesus has robbed them of their meaning.”

There is no escaping the cross. And our attempts to do so make matters worse.

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So lent is the time to look death and suffering in the eye (in whatever forms they come to us). It is not a time to bear our burdens bitterly, but to practice making light of them. It is a season for learning to face and make faces at suffering, because it’s got nothin’ on us.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And

Apply happy have. Kiddo

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that is what we are. ~1 John 3:1

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Feb 152013
 

I’m not the expert on the topic of vulnerability. In fact, I’m far from it.

I do know, we’ve all been burned, beat up and bruised by our experiences with vulnerability.  We’ve been scared, walled off or numb to it.  Some of us want to open up, but are only at the “thinking about it stage”.

I will say there is wisdom in choosing who will be kind with your heart.  Who will hold it gently, without judgement.  You can be choose-y when it comes to those you want to expose your heart to.

Although I’m not the expert, I can share what my life experiences have taught me.  Maybe something from this page will glitter for you.

  1. Vulnerability is Uncomfortable.  When I am about to share something deeply personal with someone, when I am about to expose a part of my soul, I am usually accompanied by a racing heart, sweaty palms, or churning stomach.  Rarely has sharing my story been as comfortable as talking to myself in the mirror.  Opening ourselves for possible wounds goes against our nature.  It does get a little easier each time though.
  2. Vulnerability Often Breeds Depth.  More times than not, when I have shared my heart with someone or exposed a weakness of mine with them, an unknown depth is introduced into the relationship.  Our souls can connect on a real level.  It does away with the tendency to stay on the surface, which can offer little meaning.  I have a collection of what I call,“heart friends”, now because I am trying to choose the path of sharing the intricacies of me.
  3. Vulnerability Brings Freedom.  Once I have shared my heart and it has been received, a burden is often lifted.  My shame, my darkness, my insecurities no longer fester in the darkness, but are brought into the light to process, heal, and hopefully help others.  “For you are all sons of light and sons of day.  We are not of night nor of darkness.” 1 Thessalonians 5:5
  4. Vulnerability Can Turn Perceived Weaknesses into Strengths.  I used to think my eating disorder was something to be ashamed of.  Something I should keep to myself.  But since practicing talking about it with others, I see that it is changing from a perceived weakness to a strength.  Others who suffer familiar pains can relate.  They can feel less alone.  They can see hope.  Some of the things we are most scared to be vulnerable about are the exact things someone else needs to hear to move on, to breathe, to feel normal.

I love this quote I read today:

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.   Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

– Brene Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead

Are you craving to be more vulnerable in your life?  Are you wanting more depth in a relationship?  Do you have someone who will be kind with your heart?

 

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