Apr 122016
 

Well, those unfulfilled expectations snuck up and bit me in the booty.  Again.  And here’s some more transparency for you.  It was a morning of self pity.  And I couldn’t seem to shake it.  It was a morning of the nasty word “defeat”.  And it resonated all too well.   It was a morning of where my word for the month “hope” was no where in sight.  And I needed.  to.  hear.  good.  words.  from.  God.

After tries and tries of marketing my book in various ways I recognized I hadn’t talked with God about how He would desire for me to “get the book out there”.  I felt a nudge from the Spirit a couple months ago to go about marketing in quite a strange, seemingly not productive way.  When I asked the Lord what He would have me do with this stack of books that had been sitting for a year in my closet, I heard the phrase “One book at a time”.  Hmmm….and after making sure the Lord knew how non grand scale of reach this would have, I obeyed.  And I have been relying on Him.  Each week.  Asking Him, “Who this week, Lord?”  And He has been faithful every week to bring a name to mind.  And the Lord has been asking me to cook up His recipe; excluding my own “logic ingredients” and including many cups of “courage, humble, listen and obey ingredients”.  And I have been absolutely amazed at how He is strengthening my faith and allowing me to “taste and see that the Lord is good” with these mini miracle cakes which come out of the oven each week.

So why am I in a state of self pity when from the paragraph above it would seem all is well?  And I am glad you asked because I will tell you.  One of the names I believed I was to send a book to was a famous female Christian author and speaker who I have followed and adored for years.  Even though I peed my pants a little when I felt this nudge of the Spirit, I pushed through the fear.  I wrote a lengthy letter to her and sent off the book.  (This was even more of an accomplishment if you know me because you have never and probably will never receive anything from me if it is getting there by the post office.)  There was hope, though, in sending this off.  I thought to myself, “Yes, this is going to be the “one book at a time” person who will read my book, love it, respond to my letter to ask if I would come speak with her at her next venture.  Good thinkin Lord!”

And so I got a letter in the mail today.  With the return address of the above author’s ministry name listed.  I literally held my breath as I opened it.  But as soon as my breath was held, it was let out quickly with a breath of defeat. It was written by her “correspondence team”.  A form letter.  Lifeless words filled my heart as my eyes took it all in.  And the “D words” settled down deep.  Devastated.  Defeated.  Done.

I cried a little.  Then looked to my God to support me in my self pity state.  He was good to me.  My devotional for the day talked about how self pity is not walking in trust in God.  And if we feel self pity the thing to combat it is to give Jesus praise and thanks because we can’t have self pity at the same time as when we are thanking God.  So I decided to do this.  (Although it was more than hard.)  And then I flipped the scriptures and said, “Lord, I need a word from you to give me hope and comfort.”  And praise.  God.  Wouldn’t you know He was so good to have me flip open to the very scripture He gave me to send and write to the author I had just been so disappointed by.  It was as if He was saying, “You heard me right, you are on the right track, be patient, I still have plans for you.”  And then He went one step further-the Spirit highlighted the words “learned to acclaim you” in the scripture.  I looked up the word “acclaim” in the dictionary and it means “to praise”.      He said to my heart, “You are blessed today because you are learning to praise Me even when it’s hard-you just did that.  The scripture doesn’t say “blessed are those who acclaim” but “blessed are those who LEARN to acclaim”.   I am teaching you how to praise Me.”

Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence  Psalm 89:15

God continued to speak love into me as He as I flipped open to this verse:

Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us Hebrews 12:1

And if that wasn’t enough goodness of God to fill me with encouragement and hope, I put on a new work out DVD and had to smile as the instructor said, “Let’s punch out defeat this morning!  Don’t quit.  Finish the race strong!!”

So whatever you find yourself disappointed by, discouraged by, defeated by this morning, get off of the self pity train and jump on the thank and praise God train.  Let’s finish the race strong because we KNOW His timing is perfect and His plans are BIG.  Continue on in patience and perseverance the race with Jesus my friends and we WONT be disappointed in the end!

What can you thank and praise God for today as you “learn to acclaim/praise” Him?

What unanswered decision, defeat, disappointment, or unfulfilled expectation do you need to trust Jesus and fix your eyes on Him as you “run with patience”?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Dec 312015
 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercyhe has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.  1 Peter 1:3-7

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 13:15

My sister in law asked me what was my favorite gift was this year.  I didn’t have to think long.  It was Evie.  My 12/12/15 birthday baby.  Having gone through 9 months of a challenging pregnancy, her long awaited arrival was sweet.  With only a couple weeks into maneauvering a family of 5, the meaning of Evie’s name (even amidst my kidney stone hospital run 4 days after her birth, lack of sleep, nursing woes, the too many billyrubin pricks, and Christmas craze/sickness which befell upon everyone) strangely rings true for me now.  “Life”.

Her life has brought me life.  Just as our God promises abundant life to those who believe and follow Him, His gift of the life of Evie to me has overwhelmed me with unspeakable peace, joy and hope at the end of this year.  In remembering our four and a half years of infertility, I am grateful to God.  For my three when I had come to accept I wouldn’t have one.  For girls when I planned on boys.  For making it clear that Evie’s life was in His timing, His control and His perfect plan-not mine.  And ultimately, that our.  God.  Is.  Faithful.  And.  Can.  Be.  trusted.  Fully.  Evie=life.  God=the life giver.  Evie=a blessed, good gift to me.  God=THE giver of ALL good gifts.

Over the past couple weeks, I believe the Lord has been bringing someone to my mind.  Over.  And over again.  (These consistent, persistent thoughts, seeming out of my typical thought patterns is typically a sign to me that God is nudging me to act in some way for Him.)  I do not know this person well.  In fact have only met them one time, but know of their story.  Their story is one of chronic pain.  Inability to live life much outside the walls of home.  Everyday reliance on family to care for and meet financial, and physical needs.  And in our one, brief moment of meeting, the word HOPE flooded my entire being.  And this word continued to appear in the days and weeks which followed our interaction-a Facebook invite popped up “A night of Hope”; our sermon series at church was on “Hope”; and scriptures, as well as songs, involving a certain word (I think you know) permeated my days.

I knew I was to contact this person, pray for this person, do something for this person but didn’t know exactly how to proceed.  That’s when I believe God made my next step clear.  Our church gave everyone a $30 gift card to pass on to a person of our choice.  To bless them this season.  This person came immediately to my mind.  This financial blessing was definitely not the way I thought the Lord would have me proceed.  I told my husband I believed God placed someone on my heart to give this to.  And He graciously agreed to the choice.

We emailed but have not been able to connect with this person yet.  But I trust His timing will be perfect.  And it is this morning in which  I have been able to lift my head briefly from the new Mom fog and get a quick swig of coffee (from our new machine which actually uses whole beans-I feel so spoiled, but I’m ok with it) and some in the Word/fix my eyes on Jesus time (while the miracle moment happened- the babe was sleeping, the girls were happily occupied and the house looked decent enough for me to feel grace/freedom from my Father for some much needed time with Him).  And this person was brought to my cloudy, rummy mind again.  And the three songs which came on K love nearly brought me tears as my heart went out to this individual.  And I actually did cry as the Lord brought to mind what my next theme verse I would be writing on was, “Love is always hopeful”.  There was that “hope” word again.

Then my moment of God time was interrupted by Evie’s newborn cry.  (The gas breaks up those sleep patterns much more often than i would like.)  I decided to put try her for the first time in the “Baby Bourne” carrier.  It had worked before for the other girlies, hoping for the best with this one as well.  As my husband helped me get her all locked in snug to my chest, I continued to find His Spirit speaking in my everyday new baby routine.  Evie fought with all her might with her little hands, feet and bobbing head to break free, but then finally relaxed.  Was calmed.  And found peace and rest in just being held.

May we, on this day before the New Year, also stop fighting.  To be in control of it all.  To know and understand it all.  To do and be it all.  And be held by our heavenly Father’s loving arms-finding true peace in our current circumstances because He is THE Prince of Peace.  Finding true rest from our anxieties and worries when we give our burdens to Him because He cares deeply about them and about us.  And finding true HOPE for our now and tomorrow’s New Year because we know He is the only true HOPE we base our lives upon, knowing His plans for us are good and hopeful (Jer 29:11).

As this is a “too be continued” story since we have not yet given our $30 gift card to the individual I believe God put on my heart/mind, I wait in hopeful expectation as to how God will show up, be glorified.  And may you be encouraged by our God of Hope as you wait in expectation as to His good gifts and plans He has for you in 2016 as you allow Him to hold you in His loving arms of HOPE today.

What trial in your life are you going down the “giving up”/”quitting” path?  Will you ask God for His strength to persevere in the hard and restore to you His hope today?

Would you be willing to ask God what area you need to submit to Him in this New Year?

 Would you take the opportunity in the beginning of the New year to lay down fears to the Father and ask Him for courage to step out in faith (not sight) in response to the Spirit’s “nudge” ( “new mission” of obedience) He is calling you to?

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 212015
 

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Corinthians 13:7

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  Isaiah 43:19

Getting back into exercising.  Is.  Not.  Easy.  Or fun.  After being on what felt like “house arrest” because this pregnancy sickness took me out of all things active, I am finally starting to ease my way back into our norm (whatever that is).  My “norm” looks something like daily dishes, laundry on Monday’s, texts to friend’s in order to sync schedules for various kid free and kid included activities, Pinterest pin dinners and the shopping for needed ingredients, a daily work out, and time with my Father/in the Word with my latest devotional book.  But trying to get back into the “norm” has been harder than I may have anticipated.  And I am recognizing some of my “norm” must change with a given season-and as challenging and uncomfortable as this may feel, I must surrender.  To God.  And His “norm” He has for me in my now.

I am learning to succumb and even thank Jesus for His new norm for me in this season (And you can too).

Here are my 3 “out with the old, in with His new” daily reality:  

1.  I am embracing a new routine-You have no idea how it pains me to write the following statement:  “I went on a walk a couple days ago”.  You, see, only woosies walk (and I so apologize for offending you if you are a walker-I understand my thinking is scewed and I am in need of heavy counseling for my flawed attitude.)  But you must forgive me. Because I am a runner in heart, body, and mind.  But the run wasn’t workin’ friends.  When I tried my old running “norm” with my daughter the other morning, I lost my lunch.  Literally.  And so you have to know.  My pride.  Was.  Shot.  As I put on my running shoes.  Stepped out of my front door. And got my speed walk on.  Pumping arms and all.

Thank you Jesus for Your new daily routine norms you have for me.

2.  I am willing to make changes in my attitude, activity preferences, how I spend my time in order to love others like Jesus does-You have no idea how it pains me to write the next following statement:  “We have a lizard living in our house”.  My oldest daughter is one with bugs.  Snakes.  Digging in the dirt for treasures.  And I would never have pictured myself encouraging these hobbies.  But now I am embracing them (the hobbies and yes, even the lizard).  Our God is about intimate relationship with us.  And if we are to love Him, we will love others.  And a part of loving those around us is caring about what they care about.  It’s not enough to be apart of the activities/hobbies I like or “get”.  The Lord has given me a new sense of laying down my selfish agenda, to build a home for what seems to be just about the ugliest creature I have ever seen (for instance).

Thank you Jesus for how you made each of us unique and how you have called us to love and appreciate one another.

3.  I am saying “Yes” to the Spirit nudges/Jesus’ agenda for my day, even when I am physically and emotionally weak-While speed walking the other day, I spent time thanking God for His beautiful creation.  I asked Him for strength as I still struggled to keep certain foods down and have strength to be the Mom and wife and friend and Daughter of the King He had called me to be.  I asked Him to show me how to “minister in my weakness”.  Right after this thought I saw a sign in front of me for a garage sale and underneath it said, “Benefiting missions”.  I passed the sign, wanting to keep with my fast walking pace and knowing I didn’t have any money on me to buy anything.  But then an idea, I believe to be a “nudge” from the Lord came into my thoughts, “you should go and pray for them”.  Hmmm.  Feeling pregnant.  Feeling uncomfortable.  Mainly for multiple reasons- I don’t even know the people at the garage sale, let alone if the “missions” the sale is supporting is even one I agree with.  I am needing to get stick to my exercise agenda and be home in a timely fashion.  But the prayer idea did not go away.  And i had just agreed to God to allow Him to do “ministry in my weakness”.  So I went.  And awkwardly browsed the sale.  With no means to buy anything.  But saw a girl in the corner putting out baby clothes.  I asked her if this was her garage sale and she said “yes”.  Long story short-I found out she was going on a week long mission trip.  Asked her if I could pray for her.  Did.  And she said, “Wow, that was so encouraging” as I left.  But truely-I was the one who was the most encouraged.  To be apart of God using me in my weakness.  To see saying “yes” to God’s nudges in ALL seasons only fills us with joy.

Thank you Jesus for Your new ministry norms you have for me.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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