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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Oct 212016
 

My daughter was dealing in what I like to call “extremes” this week.  Grade school pictures.  Happened.  And even though I tried to reassure her of the positives, her phrase to sum it all up to her Dad when first walking through the door was, “I got my school picture and it is %100 bad.”  And the bad does not stop here people.  This week just keeps comin’ at ya.

Emotions.  Oh to know and understand them.  This is the real chore.  With 3 girls under 7 in tow and home.  The 2nd “extreme”  came out while consecutively keeping a hula hooping session underway (she has watched her mother multitask and fail miserably, so I am sure her subconscious competitive spirit was in full swing).  “I came with my best friend to play the game with everyone, but when the circle came to my turn, they skipped me.  And my best friend didn’t even stand up for me.  And so I said, ‘Well, I guess you just don’t like me and don’t want to ever play with me.  You are not my friend anymore.’ ”  (Of course this is the reader’s digest version for you all.  I would be happy to expand the what was a 30 minute conversation of wading through tears and story plot if you email me.  And don’t have a life.)

The words of making up possible reasons or excuses for the others wasn’t a good idea.  The mama “Jesus teaches us…” only made the hula hooping the main event.  And the mama empathy seemed to move the slow faucet drips to a constant waterfall of tears.  So I was at a loss.  Once again.  In mothering.

But I couldn’t help but think to myself- “Man, she is definitely making a ‘mountain out of a molehill’ (don’t you love the intense analogy I used here).  If only she could see herself through the eyes of Jesus and me, to stand on truth here instead of focusing on the wounds of other’s.  Then her “NOT’s” mindest and heart could be propelled into the present and future as an opportunity to empathize with other’s in their times of woundedness and exclusion and find strength and unfailing love in the arms of Jesus.  He is the ONLY one.  ONLY Savior.  ONLY friend.  Who will never let her and us down.

As I looked on my daughter with self pity, the pride came before a fall as I found myself living in dual mindsets as her this week.  “A little birdie told me” of a conversation which happened among some of my dearest friend’s.  In which I wasn’t there.  But even though I had recently layed my heart and soul before them, without knowing it they crushed it.  Because when looking for someone to fulfill a specific role in ministry, my name wasn’t considered.  It was NOT a factor.  I was NOT considered.  Picked.  And at this point, I also, like my daughter, when to the “extremes” or the I’m “%100 bad” mindset.  I won’t deny it.  I was wounded.  And this is where Satan earns his paycheck.  I went to the dark place.  I didn’t believe God would ever use me, because He must think like everyone else and consider everyone else but me.  Because I am NOT.

Memories of 7th grade NOT being picked for the basketball team came to mind.  Of being the 8th bride in the “7 brides for 7 brother’s” Musicale (if you didn’t catch the gist there, I was NOT in the show due to their only being 7 brides and not 8.  Sorry if I just insulted your intelligence by explaining this joke, my husband tells me I am real good at doing this.)  And so.  the NOTs kept.  On.  Coming.  But I remembered what to do when “100% bad” hits.

Go.  To.  my heavenly Father.  And be.  In His lifegiving company.  And Sit.  Asking His Word to speak to me.  (Getting His download of me instead of others’.  And at this point I KNEW Satan was real upset.  So good!)  And let me tell you-I came out fully loved.  fully valued.  fully gifted.  fully rebuilt.  fully strengthed.  fully geared up to be sent out to serve.

I wonder if you are in a “%100 bad” mindset/circumstance today.  Well guess what?  When in the dark pit, there is one best thing to do.  Look up.  To Jesus.  And allow His light to shine on in.  Or maybe, like my daughter’s hula hoop, you are in a round and round and round cycle of negative/untrue/”hula hoop lies” thinking towards yourself and/or someone else and don’t know how to stop?  Will you ask God to enter into this place and guide you into all Truth?

And so I pray for you today, my sister, the same prayer I prayed for myself.  “Lord come and speak and help and renew.”  The outcome being the 100% bad mindset of “NOTs” (that other’s, ourselves and the enemy infiltrates our minds with) strangely amounting to NOTHING.  And we find ourselves humming the true song of the love, hope and purpose in the mighty name of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (The Message)  Strength from Weakness

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 292015
 

“Your statues are wonderful; therefore i obey them.  The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.  Direct my footsteps according to Your Word.”  Psalm 119:129-130; 133a

The running path makes all the difference.  I am picky when it comes to where I run.  I choose the path based on multiple questions:  Am I able to run with a view of nature around me (in other words, as little cars, city noise/smells as possible)?  Am I able to have a small amount of distractions?  Do my feet have space to run without being crowded to “walk the line”?  Is there dirt or pavement beneath my feet (because I would prefer dirt)?  Is it well lit (if I am going on a night or early morning run)?

I think I am so picky about where I run because I have made the mistake of choosing poorly before and I don’t want to “go down that road” again.  One path I chose I will never forget.  I chose it because it was conveniently located right outside my husband’s office and I only had a limited time frame.  At the beginning it seemed it would be easy and comfortable since I knew the area around his office well.  But it was anything but easy and comfortable.  I ended up having to tip toe my way around multiple sticker bushes because the path had not been well kept.  I tripped multiple times because of big boulders in the way.  After this path, I was scratched, bruised and stressed.  The running path makes all the difference.

When you find your path, you must ignore fear. You need to have the courage to risk mistakes. But once you are on that road… run, run, run, and don’t stop til you’ve reached its end.
José N. Harris 

The difference between choosing God’s path and choosing the world’s path makes all the difference as well.  The world’s path may seem easy, comfortable, and convenient, but just like my “i will never forget nightmare path”, it is marked by sin, which takes us down the road of selfish ambition, depression, anxiety, and ultimately leads to death.  Eternal death.  Not a real uplifting path overall, when you see what the end of it is, but it is surprisingly appealing at the beginning of it.

I am thankful our God has a designated path for each of us.  It is marked by life and light.  It is not one without trouble and pain, but along the way there is joy.  Peace.  Purpose.  And in the end it leads to life.  Eternal life.

We get the opportunity to choose God’s running path or the world’s running path each day.  We step with our feet in obedience to God’s commands and Word or we step with our feet in obedience with our selfish sinful desires of the flesh.

I find when I am not spending time in God’s Word, this culture has a way of sneaking into my mind and heart and beckoning me to think and act for myself.  To be concerned with earthly things rather than heavenly, Kingdom things.  Jesus even reprimanded Peter at one point saying in Mark 8, “Get away from me, Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”  Because our flesh is in constant battle with our spirit, we NEED to devote time to talk with God and read and think through His Word of truth.

When we are at a crossroads and do not know what path to choose, we can also have comfort that God WILL show us His good, in fact best path.  Scripture says His Word is light.  And so we can have confidence that His light will open and close doors, in His way and timing so we are not left to choose on our own.  In times of waiting on the Lord, it is not helpful to entertain fears in the now or the future.  Waiting times are an opportunity to be who we were made to be.  A faithful servant.  To actually put our feet, mind, and heart where our mouth is and Live.  By.  Faith.  Not sure of what is ahead.  Not understanding all the closed doors.  But trusting.  That our good God is in control.  And WILL open the well lit, sweet smelling, peace giving, purpose giving path which will ultimately.  End.  In.  Life.

Are your feet stepping on a well lit path or have you taken some sinful, dark steps off of it?  Will you ask God for forgiveness for following your selfish desires of the flesh and to light up the right path He has instead?

Will you rest in waiting on the Lord in His perfect way because “In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will”  Ephesians 1:11?

What fear will you give over to God today and “Run, Run, Run” to His arms of love where peace is found?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 072014
 

“So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life-in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”  Phil 2:15-16

The alarm clock went off at 4:40am.  Which didn’t seem to matter since the sleep had been hit and miss up to this point.  I couldn’t believe today.  was.  THE.  day.

It had been four months of big time reliance on Jesus.  To get my booty out of bed in the morning and run.  To meet and speak to me on each run without music or other media filling the time.  To strengthen my body, heart, and mind to persevere when my body was in pain and my mind told me I couldn’t do it.  To provide me with prayer running buddies along the journey (I was amazed at the 20 different sister’s in Christ God brought to my side when originally my plan was to have just one running buddy-His ways are not my ways, but they are always better!)  To get me to this very day.

Race day.

It was surreal.  As I pulled on my most slim looking, tummy hiding, zipper including, lack of chaffing, favorite pants.  As I lubed up all areas to avoid potential pain.  As I looked in the mirror and brushed my teeth and thought to myself, “Is there any way I can get out of this?”  I realized something.  Just as Jesus had gotten me all the way up to this point, He also would get me through the now.

I can trust Him. 

It was five and a half hours of physical, mental, and spiritual battles as I ran my first marathon.  But Jesus met me on the run.  And there were three “JP tears” (Tears mixed with joy and pain) moments that pushed me to finish.  the.  race.

JP Tears Moment #1-I was only two miles in.  My mind went to crazy town thinking of all the ways I was inadequate.  Unable to go the distance.  Feeling tired already and knowing I had 24.2 more miles to go.  Things looked bleak.  I asked God for His peace to cover my mind, body, and Spirit.  And He gave it to me.  I looked up, fixing my eyes towards heaven for help, and what do you know was around the corner?  A gigantic George Fox University billboard ( my husband is a professor at George Fox University) and it said, “It’s your time to shine!”.  I cried.  Right there.  At mile two.  JP tears flowed because I knew God had whispered a little of His love to me in that very moment.  Confirming I was exactly where I was supposed to be. And that I could do this with Him.  And through the tears I said a offered up a one second prayer, “Thank you God for your graciousness to me”.

JP Tears Moment #2-The cool breeze of the morning was no longer.  The sun was beating down with an upcoming long stretch of hill and no shade.  There was a sign which pointed the half marathoner’s to the left and the full marathoner’s to the right.  The half marathoner’s were one mile away from the finish line and the rest of us were, well, how do I say, not.  (I highly considered jumping over to join the relieved face crew of runner’s going left.)  It was a moment of need.   As I passed the depressing “this way to finishing the half marathon sign” I heard someone yell, “You can do it Jillian!  You are strong, you got this!”  I felt a renewed sense of purpose and motivation to trudge on.  As I scanned the bystander’s to see who had so been so timely to call out my name on my bib, another stranger yelled, “You are lookin’ good Jillian, way to go!”  Then came the JP tears.  There was something so special about hearing my specific name called outloud.  Who cares whether it was a random stranger-It was a gift from God.  It was healing.  It was inspiring.  It got my feet to keep moving when everything else in me screamed “Quit!”.  It was a turning point of pushing through pain and doubt.

JP Tears Moment #3-I saw my family four times on the run.  I was anticipating their smiling faces as I grew closer and closer to each of their designated viewing spots.  Time seemed to stop as I caught a glimpse of them.  (Of course my glimpse didn’t start until I almost could touch them since my vision is quite hilarious without my glasses on.)  Then came the JP tears.  I had loved ones supporting me.  I had loved ones taking time away from all of what they could be doing to be present with me.  I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for each of them.

I was overcome this day.  With pain.  Unexpected joy.  Gifts and strength from above.  But most of all-I was overcome with the fulfillment of finishing. the. race. 

Knowing my training and hard work was not in vain.  Seeing the faithfulness of my God, once again.  And recognizing whether on a literal run or running the race of life, I wouldn’t have it any other way:  Looking to.  Giving glory to.  Including.  Listening to.  Loving-Jesus on the run is the only way to live!

So my friends- “Arise, shine, for YOUR light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).

Persevere in obedience and faith in Jesus as you “run your race of life” today!  Remember your work and obedience to Jesus is not in vain.  You will not regret bringing glory to Him in every word you say, job you do, and person you serve.  Enjoy the journey filled with “JP tears”, unknowns, and acting in weakness and faith.  Because He see’s you and is shouting out your personal name as we speak-In an effort to love on you, strengthen you, comfort you, and inspire you to overcome all trials, pain and obstacles-enabling you to finish your race strong!

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 222014
 

“In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”  John 1:4-5

There are times when I am focused on the task at hand and times when my mind is swayed by everything else around me.  It was a time when the latter was evident-the word “concentration” was far from my reality.

I was running on my regular nature path.  But for the life of me I could not stay on it.  Let me explain.

I saw a florescent wad of cloth off a couple feet to my left.  I was strangely drawn to it.  Who knows, maybe I had left it on a previous run?  I followed my curiosity to the field beside me. I found it was a boy’s shirt.  Truly not life changing.  Or even slightly exciting.  And most definitely didn’t belong to my girl power kiddo’s.

I was able to move on from this sighting fairly immediately.  I was about to get back on the path when something else mysterious caught the corner of my eye.  It was a deer.  Now this was a little more exciting-an untamed animal in the wild.  And I was mesmerized.  By its calm, staring demeanor.  And if this wasn’t enough of a little piece of heaven, another deer came to join.  And then another followed right behind!   I stood only three feet away from three deer and breathed in and out slowly with eyes fixed on the group.

After the deer party ran into the woods, I headed back to the path to run.  But surprisingly there were multiple other distractions that took me off the path.  Once for roadkill (curiosity getting truly getting the best of me this time), and a sprinkler (happened to turn on with the perfect timing so I received two showers instead of my typical one for the day).

In all of my inability to stay focused on the running route at hand, there was one thing which kept bringing me back to the path for which I had come in the first place.  One thing that helped me refocus on running.  One thing that was so beautiful, there was nothing I could do but respond with action.

The Brilliant Sun.  Rising to mark the new day.  Lighting up the entire sky with brightness.  And when my mind and feet had wandered off the path, this sun beckoned me to look up.  It was as if it was almost daring me to stare into the light because no other shirt, deer, or distracting circumstance below held a candle.  And strangely looking into the light jolted me out of my Curious George moments and reminded me of what I was here to do.  Run.  on.  the.  path.

It is the same way with the light of Jesus.  God shines His light on our path-behind.  before.  in the very present.  And it beckons us to follow.  Anytime we fix our eyes on Jesus, the light of the world, our current “off the path” distractions cannot compete.  Any “off the path” things such as sin, worry, dark places of depression, family crisis, financial issues, trials, busyness, lies, doubts, or insecurities to be seen clearly for what they are.  Satan’s plan to kill, steal, destroy and distract us from God’s plan and love for us.

Turning to focus on the light of the Son gets us out of our mundane, anxiety driven, sin bound, weary minded, restless, fruitless selves and reminds us of our identity, love and calling in Jesus (just like focusing on the sun reminded me of the run on the path I was meant to do).  The light of Jesus reminds us that He will use our difficult circumstances and weak areas for the good of His Kingdom.  That His Word gives specific guidance to our now.  And that no darkness can overcome it.  No matter whether you are currently on the God’s path for you, just stepped off the path, have been too busy to recognize if you are or aren’t on the path, have never been on the path, can’t remotely even know where to begin to get back on the path, our God see’s.  And holds out loving arms of grace to each of us.

So let’s look to the Son/”Sun” today and be welcomed onto His path of light and life.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 082014
 

“And giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.  For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption and the forgiveness of sins.”  Colossians 1:12-14

I began the run.  In the dark.  And I continued the run.  In the dark.  For an hour.  And this was not just slightly dark outside.  Dusk.  Or dark, but street lights all around.  No.  Not joking.  Pitch. Black.  And then here’s me.   With no other light than the dim glow from my phone. 

Alone.  Surrounded by darkness.  Unprepared.  Scary.  Dangerous.  All come to mind to describe the beginning of this run.

As I ran around my regular nature loop, continually turning my phone back on for the little light, I couldn’t think about the fact that I was alone.  My feet kept moving.  I couldn’t think about the slow, hesitant pace I was going due to fear of falling.  My feet kept moving.  I couldn’t think about the what seemed to be neverending darkness all around me.  My feet kept moving.

All I focused on.  Thought about.  With all my might.  Was my little light.  Keeping that light shining.  Keeping that light right in front of me.  All would be well if my little light didn’t go out.

It was the little light that kept my feet moving forward.  Helped me see the stick, rock and bump in the road.  Ushered me into the new day.  And in spite of the  surrounding front, behind, left and right sides of pitch darkness, it pierced through.

After I got back from my run, my family got ready and headed off to church.  I always am anxious to hear about what my girls learned about in their Sunday School time.  Can you guess what it was about?  And yes, I am sure you have an idea.  “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine” was written on a glow stick bracelet as they walked out.

At this moment I had an overwhelming sense of God’s presence.  A thankfulness for the little light He had given me to run just hours earlier with.  A thankfulness for the little light I have inside of me, Jesus.  A thankfulness for His rescuing me from the dominion of darkness.

And my thankfulness turned to motivation.  To let my little light shine as I run the path He has set before me for today.  Others and myself have said, “There is no way the tiny, cell phone glow would make a difference in total darkness“, just like myself and others  say, “What difference will one smile make to the stranger?  What difference will giving away one clothing item to someone in need make?  What difference will loving an unkind person make?  What difference will saying I’m sorry make?  What difference will showing mercy when you were so wronged make?”  Well, it makes ALL the difference.

My little light showed how and where my feet should move along the path.  It also paved the way for anyone behind me.  So when we step out with our little lights of Jesus in this dark world, we end up seeing clearly the direction He has for us.  We stay on His narrow path.  We overcome Satan through Jesus’ Name.  We pull others out of darkness and into the Light.  Through our small selfless acts of love, generosity, compassion, and mercy, we bring the Kingdom of Light to this dark world.

So I have come to recognize Little Lights Do.  Make.  A. Difference.  You and I make a difference.  When we submit to God’s Word and be obedient to it.  When we say “Yes” to allowing Jesus, the Light of the World, guide our lives.  So will you join me today and act upon the Spirit’s leading, proclaiming, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine!”

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 152013
 

My sweet girl,

Today you turn four.  Four.  Your body is still so tiny, but your spirit is larger than life.  Reflecting an unhindered version we adults have mostly lost touch with.

Yesterday, your Mimi handed me a button that said, “Bearly 4 today!”  It’s the very button my daddy gave to me on my fourth birthday.  I wore the button on the lace collar of my floral, navy blue dress.  He took me to lunch, just the two of us, and I got to play on the playground while he looked on.  I felt so special.  Loved.  Adored.  To be on that date with just my dad.

Four is the first birthday I can vividly remember.  Four was the year our family moved into the house I most remember from my childhood.  Four was the year I became friends with Jesus.  Four was when I started a few important childhood friendships.

Four is a big deal my girl.

As if I didn’t believe it before: Every memory holds impact.  Every interaction shapes your character.  Every little thing that pours into you will eventually come out.

It is my prayer, on the harder days… the days when your faith falters, when your heart breaks, when you wonder your worth… you’ll remember your mama’s prayers for you.  That you’ll remember Jesus holds you close.

  • I pray your spirit will never be dampened.  That you will never allow others to smother the radiant light God has put inside of you.  That your joy, which makes your eyes sparkle, your dimple on your cheek to appear, your laughter to light up the darkest moment… will never be erased.  “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”. Matthew 5:16
  • I pray you will hold onto hope, keep it high as the heavens.  That you will believe life is worth living with everything you have.  No matter how faint your heart feels from circumstances, new beginnings are always possible.  Put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption”.  Psalm 130:7
  • I pray the Lord protects your beautiful, beautiful heart.  Keep it soft towards growth.  Keep it open to love.  It is the most vulnerable, most real part of who you are.  Others will tell you it’s about your beauty, your face, your body… that’s not true my girl.  “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” Proverbs 4:23
  • I pray you will overflow with love for others.  Love for anyone God puts near you.  Love for the hurting, the weak, the lonely, the invisible people.  A love that transcends differences.  Don’t overlook the importance to love yourself as well; to be kind to yourself.  “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love”.  1 Corinthians 13:13
  • I pray your eyes will look to Jesus.  In this life, you will have to navigate successes and failures, weather storms, carry burdens.  Jesus can make these moments so much lighter, if you let Him.  People will come into your life who you will think are special.  But remember they are not perfect.  Jesus is the only one who cannot disappoint.  “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith…” Hebrews 12:2
  • I pray no fear, no shame, no insecurity could ever make you feel unlovable.  Nothing could cause your dad and I to close our hearts, eyes, or arms to you.  Better yet, Jesus has loving kindness for you, always.  “But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength; Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your loving kindness in the morning, for You have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress.” Psalm 59:16
  • I pray if someday you feel stuck in life or find yourself bound to a hurtful habit…  that you’ll remember true freedom is within grasp.  Jesus can break any bondage you may find yourself within.  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1
  • I pray you find the beauty and meaning in the very hardest, perhaps impossible, things to understand.  This has been hard for me.  But this will be the bravest, most real and meaningful path you could tread.  “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” Isaiah 61:3

These are just a glimpse into your mama’s prayers for you, Harper.  Keep these things close to your heart.  I love you forever, my sweet baby girl.

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Jan 102013
 

When I’m sweaty and tired on a run, or neck deep in dishes at the end of a long day, or listening to fighting children, or feeling lonely, I hear a Voice say, “It’s okay that you’re messy and tired. I don’t want you to get it together or go faster or do it better. I want your faith. “

I think our kids would say the very same thing to us. More than anything else, I’m convinced what they need most from us is faith.

This morning before school, Michael was disrespectful and I was frustrated. Despite my best attempts and many strategies, the altercation ended with him getting out of the car at school in a tearful huff and slamming the door in a fury.

Hebrews says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And Romans says, “Hope that is seen is really no hope

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at all.”

That’s tough! The seen and the unseen duke it out on the turf of our minds and hearts. I want to see humility and respect in my kid. I want a son who can communicate, who isn’t locked up or shut down. When Michael and I are in the thick of it, much of how I respond

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comes from a place of fear that he won’t end up with these qualities. It is easy to be driven by fear, as I grow anxious and impatient with what I see; I become desperate, impulsive, and pushy.

A friend I look to for her parenting acumen says, “Parent the child you want.” Interact with them as though they already have the qualities you so long to see in them. What would it look like for me to take on that hopeful, expectant posture with Michael? To believe I already have that emotionally intelligent son, and speak with

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him from that place of great peace and confidence?

In the catechesis, we gather after Easter and light the paschal candle as we read about Jesus, the light, coming into the world. We read about his death and snuff the candle. Then, as we meditate on the resurrection, we re-light the candle.

We wonder with the children about this new and powerful light that will never go out—the light that is stronger than death, stronger than evil, stronger than sin, stronger than darkness. And like the tongues of fire on each head at Pentecost, Jesus shares this light with us.

In this liturgy of light each child lights a personal candle from the Paschal candle as we say together, “Michael, the light of the risen Christ is for you…” “Heidi, the light of the risen Christ is for you…”

 

As you interact with your kids, how do you have faith in the light that is stronger than the darkness (in them and in you!)?

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Nov 012012
 

Did I go too far? What do you think??

This is what happens when you have a daughter in midlife after marrying a jock and raising two other kids who are all boy.

Three-year-old Maisy Grace is all girl. From her long blonde ringlets to her coy smile to her curvy little girl body. She loves pink and purple, says my jog bra isn’t pretty enough and changes her outfit multiple times a day. She wants to paint her fingernails, put on jewelry, and

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wear the sparkly shoes.

I, on the other hand, don’t really know how to put on make-up and live in what my friend Gayll affectionately calls “dress sweats.”

Somewhere in college, enjoying the accoutrements of womanhood dropped very low on my docket. I was captivated by the person of Jesus, and by my band of friends who wildly and creatively experimented with putting his teachings into practice. That’s all that mattered to me at the time.

This was a powerful foundation for the road of adulthood ahead; at the same time, I can see now that I was awfully serious for a 20-something. And I missed out on some experimentation of other kinds.

(No clubbing in stilettos for me! Do you think it’s too late for giving that a try??)

Now I have a houseful of people on my docket…and am still too serious for my own good.

I labor over how to best spend our time and energy. With the barrage of plastic, screens, and over-stimulating distractions, I feel like I’m in a constant battle for quality. I want to “feed” my family rich fare in the way of books, activities, relationships, media (or lack of it!) and downtime. I want to foster wonder instead of dulling it. To this end, I am constantly evaluating…calculating…deliberating…orchestrating…

And then in comes Maisy with her sparkly shoes. “Mom you wanna put on this bracelet? Let’s put our underwear on at the same time, k? Ready, go! Why don’t you wear these pretty shoes? Mom why don’t you put on make-up like Amy?”

C’mon mom—we’re GIRLS! Aren’t you going to live it up? This is fun!

Something that has for 20 years seemed superficial and frivolous to me is now a much-needed foil for all my heavy over-thinking. Ironically, it’s also fodder for the very experience I’m working so darn hard to orchestrate for my kids.

Maisy has wonder over being a girl.

She is enjoying beauty. Delighting in creativity. Relishing freedom.

And she’s wildly confident.

She happily goes out in just tights, with tangled hair, chocolate on her face, and a gaggle of mismatched accessories.

She knows that the Light inside her is so strong it doesn’t matter what she’s wearing on the outside. So why not go for it and have fun putting things together without a second thought?

O God, give me this kind of confidence in my light…Your Light…so I can put things together around here without a second thought. So I can lighten up and play with purple and trust the thrown together outfit of our lives to be enough.

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