Jun 082016
 

And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.  Matthew 10:42
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.  Acts 20:35

My daughter gave me some perspective this week.  (Why is it my kids are continually teaching me the love of Jesus, I am pretty sure that me, the parent is supposed to be the one imparting all wisdom.  And yet, doesn’t seem to be the case much of the time as I have to continually swallow yucky stuff on a regular basis, like taking cough medicine when I have to swallow my pride, my selfishness, my lack of patience and my kids are the one’s feeding it to me.  Awesome, Lord.) 

Anyway, my oldest daughter who is 7 told me a story which brought tears to my eyes.  She told me she was sitting as usual in the 1st grade line in the gym waiting for their teacher to bring them to their class to start the day.  She said a boy was sitting by her and she overheard him say to someone else that he didn’t have a snack. She said, “Mom, I felt bad for him.  I knew he would feel bad in class when he had nothing to eat and everyone else was eating something.”  She continued by saying, “So I gave him my snack.  And I gave him the cheese pretzel snack.  Not the other cheese stick and meat stick one.”  And right about here is when the tears filled my eyes with overwhelming Jesus love I just witnessed in my daughter.   (you see, you have to know the backstory to understand what a selfless act this truly was.

The truth was that as we were hurridly trying to get out the door that morning my daughter requested cheese pretzels for one of her two snacks.  She doesn’t usually make requests, but I had splurged and purchased these pretzels as an end of the year treat.  She knew it.  Didn’t get them usually.  And wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to include these special ones. )  And so now you may get the tears response to the fact that she gave the cheese pretzels, in other words her best, her favorite, her “firstfruits” to the boy, (but ultimately to Jesus because we know scripture says, “what you do for the least of these you do for me”).  My daughter concluded her story by saying, “And you know what Mom.  He was SOOOOO happy.  And that made me SOOOO happy.”  And I replied with an addition of, “And it made your mama and Jesus SOOOO happy as well!”

So once again, Jesus taught me, through my daughter, that rejoicing happens in true generosity and selflessness.  My daughter could have had a very different response.  She could have not done anything in this situation.  She could have even been a little happy in the thought that she had a snack and he didn’t.  This being the delighting in evil thing we are looking at this week.  But instead she experienced rejoicing and many others did to as she acted upon The Truth in God’s Word which says as is written above:

Matthew 10:42
“And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

Acts 20:35
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

My daughter challenges me to give relentlessly-I see over and over the grace and gift of giving my daughter has from the Spirit.  It’s real hard to out give her and we have to simmer her down at times to not have her immediately go buy for someone once she receives a bit of money.  But I love this about her and she inspires me to be better because this is not one of my strengths/spiritual gifts.  And I love how we as the body of Christ are all given various gifts and as we work together we function real well to bring the love and light of Jesus to a hurting world.  I can even rejoice in this truth that we are not created the same, having the same gifts, and seeing the gifts God has given others should be a place of joy for His Kingdom not a place of depression or comparing.  Because I have been given gifts too, and so have you.  Going against our culture’s evil values of “greed, all out for me mindset” and taking God’s true word and acting upon it means joy.  For you.  For others.  And for our Father who see’s it all.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Mar 182013
 

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

Our family gatherings consist of:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The lesson I learned from the egg sharing moment:

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

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

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

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

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 212013
 

There I was.  On the airplane.  Weeping uncontrollably.  The stewardess came to ask me if I wanted anything to drink.  I was a sight to see.  As I smeared the mascara from the middle to outside of my face, I blubbered out mid tears, “It’s this book. It got to me”.  (Humbling moments such as this one seem to find me often.)

It was the book, “Kisses from Katie”, by Katie Davis.  A Christmas present I received from my sister in law.  Little did I know the intense emotions I would fight back as I encountered the story of this young woman’s journey of obedience to God.  I tried to explain to my husband how Katie’s story moved me to tears.  (He still didn’t fully relate with my emotional self, but such is my life as a woman.)

When God spoke, Katie said “yes”-even when it was to go to Uganda instead of partaking in the American dream of going to college, getting married, and living in wealth.  Even when it was to adopt thirteen Ugandan children.  She lived with “spiritual richness in material poverty, versus living with spiritual poverty in a land of material wealth.”

How Katie’s faith caused me to re-evaluate my life for 2013:

  • She confirmed my heart for adoption. Katie explained, “The truth is that there are 143 million orphaned children and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases and the 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes or under other horrific conditions and the 2.3 million who live with HIV add up to 164.8 million needy children.  And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to be Christians.  If only 8 percent of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left.  I have the freedom, the opportunity to do something about it.  The truth is that He loves these children just as He loves me, and now that I know, I am responsible.”
  • I had an introspection moment of seeing my own selfishness.  Do I truly love Jesus and others in my daily actions?  Am I roledmodeling a life like Jesus to my children? I pondered what deliberate ways we as a family could serve the poor and open up our home to others.  Katie’s words are, “I don’t always want to help other people.  There are certain days when I want to do what I need to do and keep moving.  But so often when we stop to be kind, when we don’t really want to, that’s when the sacrifice becomes most rewarding.”
  • She helped me understand that living life to the fullest was my choice. I want to live life rejecting fears, embracing risk, obeying God’s promptings throughout the day, and welcoming strangers into my home.
  • I recognized I can live with much less and give much more.  Holding loosely to earthly possessions and comforts in order to give more to those who are struggling to survive.
  • I have a new thankfulness and purpose in my motherhood.  “It is God’s work, that in bathing and clothing and serving children, we are truly being the hands and feet of Jesus.”

This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees His brother in need but has no pity on Him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 Jn 3:16-18

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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