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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Feb 072017
 

I was humbled this morning.  And it’s not the blatant humbling process I undergo on a regular basis when literally fall on my face and must somehow regain composure with a laugh to let others know the ER run is not needed this time.  You see, my klutziness is a given.  My defensiveness and inability to “let IT go for the sake of relationship” seems to “trip me up” and my deep, inner self-righteous self is left out there for all to see.  And it is in this “pride fall” I lay today, causing me to wish there were golf mulligans (or do over’s) in real life.

Of course we were at the happiest place on earth, oh I just realized you might be thinking of something different, to clarify we were at McDonalds play place.  I recognize my Mom points just went down the tube, but when the only other option on this rainy, no school day is cabin fever, there is no shame here to claim, “I’m lovin’ it”.

I walked in with my girl crew-one on the hip, and the school aged ones sporting an eclectic ensemble from Fancy Nancy Easter dresses to soccer socks with stars and patterns galore.  My look was somewhere in the middle of these and so we were representing fashion at its finest people!

As the older girls ran to check out the tubes, the little one and I were on our way up to order my “lovin’ it” coffee.  A haphazard looking man (finally someone on my same page) greeted us quickly with a, “If you could let me order first that would be great because I am late for a dentist appointment and I am only going to order an Egg McMuffin.”  (I thought in my mind in response, “I am sure he thinks at the looks of our girl crew that we are going to buy out the place with happy meals, but little does he know the reality of my “one coffee please” order.  He thinks he knows me and is judging me, but he has no idea.  My mental defensives was on a roll in these couple seconds.)

I wish I didn’t have to use the “hind sight is 20/20” phrase so often.  I wish the Spirit would speak with a little louder voice to overwhelm my flesh nature instincts.  Ah but my pride.  Gets.  In.  The.  Way. 

And so my response was the jaded, “I guess you can go, but all I was going to get was a coffee,” and my tone and walking away nonverbal language only lovingly complimented my words.  Gotta love how I am the poster child for this verse in this moment-“let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col 4:6.  J   Even as the words left my mouth I thought about the THINK analogy I use with my girls to check to make sure their conversation is, “True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind”.  Talk about a Mom of the Year award for hypocrisy at its finest.

I have to say I felt bad but it was too late to do anything about it.  But what happened next made me feel like the scumb of the earth.  As I went to pay for my “1 coffee” order, the gal at the register said, “Oh, actually it’s free.  The guy before you said he would pay for your “1 coffee”.  Ouch.  I was just killed with kindness-when what I really deserved was a consequence for my pride filled, defensive driven, grace lacking attitude and actions.

I could barely drink the coffee.  I once again had been “tripped up” and humbled by my inability to respond out of the Holy Spirit’s fruit of “self-control, patience, kindness, gentleness”-I mean, just pick one and we would have been good to go.

But in our times when we trip up, mess up and fall is when we most need to look at the kind filled, grace filled face of Jesus.  And understand “His grace is sufficient”.  And He still desires to use us for His good purposes, in spite of our “falls”.  So I picked my “shot to the ego” self up and went to the place I know I can always find Truth.  Grace.  And hope.  God’s Word.  Because at this pivotal point when I fail, shame is right there to suck me in.  And take me down, down.  But just like when sin and failure hit Adam and Eve in the garden and their response was to hide from God in shame, so this is where we still go today when we sin and fail.  But we must fight this desire to hide in shame and look up to the opposite of shame, which is glory.  Jesus came and died so we no longer have to live in shame, so why are we still “shaming it up when we should be glorying it up”!

When you are thinking shame, instead think, my God has given me glory!  We are forgiven.  Given grace in all the weakness.  And sent out to continue on in glory, and giving glory to His Name!

And in that very moment we are running away to hide, God grabs our hand to stop the motion, and grabs us with two hands on our face, looks at us in the eyes, and says, my beautiful daughter,

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.  Isaiah 60:1

And it is sitting in this true purpose and hope, with this book in my lap, that my heart, mind and spirit finds rest.

I wonder if a past “failure” or possible future “failure” is on your mind today.  Will you bring it to Jesus, the grace giver, and receive His “always coming” grace?  Will you sit with the “grace filled book”/the Bible today to enrich your heart, mind and spirit?

How can you extend grace and forgiveness, like Jesus extends to us, to someone around you who is more than “on the naughty list” in your book?

Talk with the Lord about someone you can “kill with kindness” this week as we contemplate on the kindness our Savior extended to us on the cross and continues to extend to us when we mess up?

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 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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Oct 222012
 

HERE’S THE TRUTH:  WE DON’T HAVE TO FEEL GUILTY ALL THE TIME.  There is a light beyond the “guilt clouds”.  There is hope and peace.

Here is the end to the “I am a terrible mother for leaving my girls for 5 nights” story I wrote about in a previous post.  As I entertained my guilt ridden thoughts in the airport, I saw sun through the clouds.

I realized I could force my thoughts in a different direction.  Instead I could choose joy and peace.  I could be thankful.  This was a revelation.

A smile came to my face as I pictured my girls at “Nana camp”.  I thought about all the treats my mom had planned.  About the “schedule of activities” on the books.  About the privilege to even be able to go on vacation.

I took a deep breath in.  Then out.  A weight was lifted.  And I was grateful.

This heart of gratitude lead me to pray.  I prayed for wisdom and joy for my mom.  I prayed for obedience and joy for my girls.  I prayed that I would resist the lies of Satan and hold to the Truth.  Jesus.

This was a vacation like no other.  Free from kids.  Free from bondage.  Free from guilt.  I lived it up!  And you can too.

7 Ways to overcome guilt with God’s truth:

  1. I look to God for my self worth not others.  1 Thes. 2:4b “We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts.”
  2. I don’t have to fear.  Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father”.
  3. I can be content in every situation.  Phil 4:12-13 “I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”
  4. Failure is an opportunity to embrace the grace and forgiveness of God. Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
  5. I can be thankful and pray in all circumstances.  1 Thes 5:16 “Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
  6. I am beautiful.  I am exactly who God created me to be. Ps 139:13-14a “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
  7. I can choose what I think about.  Phil 4:8 “Finally brothers, 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.”

What truth in scripture helps you fight Satan’s lies?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 152012
 

 

 

 

 

TOP 10 LIST OF THINGS THAT GIVE ME GUILT:

  1. Going the extra, extra mile kids birthday party pictures on Facebook (see picture)
  2. Eating a cheeseburger and fries
  3. Going away for awhile and having to leave the girls
  4. The Pottery Barn magazine
  5. The Victoria Secret model commercials on TV
  6. A friend’s vacation pictures
  7. My 4th cup of coffee in the morning
  8. Turning on a TV show for my kids to watch
  9. Missing my quiet time with the Lord
  10. We have pizza for dinner
  11. A dirty floor, dishes, and toilet
  12. Working women
  13. Marathon runners
  14. Friend’s that do craft projects
  15. Failure in one of my roles as mother, wife, friend, sister, daughter, or child of God
  16. My daughter throwing a tantrum in public
  17. My dead plants
  18. Organic food
  19. Seeing children in activites/sports my child is not signed up for
  20. The ultra organized in photos, house, job

Well, woops.  Thought it would be a list of my top 10.  Guess I doubled that.  Couldn’t restrain myself.

All of the above say to me “You are not good enough.”  “You should be ashamed of yourself.”

We all have are own list of people or things that cause us to feel inadequate.  The individual or situation may trigger the guilty feelings.  But they are not to blame.  We decide how we will respond to those feelings.

Our self worth is shot when we go against the cultural norms.  Our world thrives on making us feel that we NEED to look and act a certain way.  That we NEED to have specific things. And when we don’t.  Guilt.

THE STEPS THAT LEAD ME TO A DAY OF “GUILT CLOUDS”:

  1. Condemning thoughts enter my mind triggered by my own insecurity
  2. I entertain them-don’t put them out of my mind
  3. I compare myself with others
  4. I look to others opinions rather than God’s opinion
  5. I believe Satan’s lies
  6. I doubt my self-worth
  7. I become self-focused rather than others focused
  8. I open the flood gates and accept more lies from Satan
  9. I become overcome with guilt
  10. I live out my thoughts through my actions:  I become crippled to live in freedom and joy for the day

Well that is depressing.  But my reality.  How quickly the “guilt cloud” covers me.

Just like the Oregon clouds leave us hoping for clearer days, guilt leaves us discontent.  We are not satisfied with how God made us.  With what God has given. Guilt brings out the worst in us.

It all comes down to this: 

When I am faced with the temptation to embrace the guilty feelings, will I:

A.  Listen to the Spirit’s truth

B.  Listen to Satan’s lies

  • A VERSE TO PONDER:  Gal. 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God?  Or am I trying to please men?  If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

Do you relate with any of my “Top 10 list of things that bring me guilt”?  If so, I would love to hear…misery loves company!

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 082012
 

IT WOULD BE FIVE NIGHTS AWAY FROM MY GIRLSAND I HONESTLY I COULDN’T WAIT.  My anticipation of the trip made the 50 overnight preparations for the girls somewhat bearable.

Then somewhere along the way my attitude of happiness changed.  As I was waiting to pre-board our plane at the Portland airport, I started re-thinking my decision to go on the trip.  That right there was my problem.  I started thinking.  I doubted myself.

“Am I being selfish for leaving the girls?”  “Am I a terrible mother?”  Yes I thought it.  Yes I held onto the lie.  Yes it became my reality.  I shed a tear.  And I was stricken with guilt.

Webster’s defines guilt in 2 ways:

1.  The fact or state of having committed an offense.

2.  A feeling of responsibility or remorse of some offense, or wrong.  Whether real or imagined.

The 2nd definition is the guilt I experienced when I was leaving my girls.  It is the remorseful feeling that I fight often.  And the terrible thing is it is an unjustified feeling 99% of the time.  It is all in my head.  It is not truth.

But I started to feel the same guilt as if I had actually committed sin.  (See the first definition of guilt above.)  My guilt was founded on our cultural norms, and Satan’s lies in my mind rather than the Word of God.  I had allowed Satan’s questioning and opinions of others to dictate my thinking.

The “guilt cloud” had hovered over me again.

The Guilt Cloud Analogy

In Oregon we are used to the grey, cloudy, overcast days.  We have become accustom to living in the dreariness.  It is especially a bummer because many times with clouds comes rain.  And when rain hits, it spoils all our outdoor fun.

Sometimes we are so focused on the bad weather outside that it cripples us to participate in other activities.

We do however look forward to the days of blue skies and sun.  Everything is brighter.  We are full of joy on sunny days. If I could choose a day of cloud sky or clear sky, I would choose clear sky every time.

The “guilt cloud” in my life is much the same.  I lack the ability to have joy because of the “weather” in my mind.

There is a darkness that dictates all my thoughts and decisions.  I compare myself to others.  I feel bad about myself.

The bad news is we can’t choose what the weather will be like in Oregon.  The good news is that we can choose what the “weather” will be like in our minds today.  We can choose to keep the “guilt cloud” hovering or we can choose to embrace God’s sunny day of truth.

  • A VERSE TO PONDER:  Col. 2:8 “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.”
  • What is your favorite season and why?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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