Jun 212016
 

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10

“Come,” said Jesus. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus.  Matthew 14:30

His peace in fear is real.  His protection in fear is love.  And His purposed life in spite of fear is radical.

Reality is I am is a city girl.  Who wants to be a country girl.  And this fact is highlighted when visiting my inlaws beautiful country home.  You see me in the country is like a kid in a candy store.  I am in awe of the beauty around me and all thinking goes out the window, only acting upon this passion.  I am pretty much afraid of all animals, and there are pretty much a bounty of “free roaming” animals in the country, but God’s treed countryside beckons me and all I want to do is get in it.  My love for bugs and snakes are also in the same above category and these creepy crawlies will find you at my in laws house, and yet this fact doesn’t stop me nature heart either.  The common occurrences of prickly berry bushes and poison oak are not familiar phrases to my ears, and it’s obvious my city girl radar is nonexistent as I romp through the green.  I am unable to function real well in the country, but I keep comin back.  Because I heart nature.  And I can’t stop myself from gettin me some.

During our last visit to my in law’s,  I “got me some” as I set out on a nature run.  And I had an experience like none other.  I now know what it feels like NOT to be protected.  And it’s not a good place to be.  Let me share with you the 2 moments which made my life flash before my eyes.  It involves 2 dogs and 2 Sarah’s.

I set out on a run at my in law’s house in the country.  And I tried be smarter than before.  Other times I ran into, literally, 2 large dogs at their neighbor’s house down the road and thankfully the attacker’s were called off, but just in the nick of time.  This time my mother in law suggested I drive past the “dog house” and park down the road a ways and then run.  Genious.  I thanked her for her brain and said, “thank goodness it will be a dog free run this time.”  And I spoke too soon as usual.

About halfway beyond the “No dog zone”, a dog approached.  Actually to be specific a German Shepherd came bounding towards me in a full sprint.  In the split second I guarded myself.  With what I was holding in my hand.  My cell phone.  Which amazingly proved to be not a weapon and not helpful.  Pretty sure my heart hasn’t done that kind of rhythm before.  My fear left me at a standstill.  (Which I believe is actually a good thing based on my memory of 3rd grade dog etiquette facts.)  And then I saw people.  Oh the hope which filled my soul.  The owners voiced the command which may as well been directly from heaven, “No boy!  Come!!”  The dog was protecting his peeps instictively.  But thankfully he was obedient to their commands.  Meaning no ER run for me.

But the craziest thing emerged from this fear filled moment.  I found purpose.  God given purpose.  For me to live out the “good works God had ordained for me before I was born”.  A life giving conversation happened.

His peace in fear is real.  His protection in fear is love.  And His purposed life in spite of fear is radical.

Owner Sarah and I talked for about 20 minutes about the rough.  Of being a mom, wife, and worker.  The school which wouldn’t quit.  The mothering of 3 girls (not a coincidence I found myself in that same 3 girl zone.).  The husband working graveyard.  But by the grace of God I got to speak some Father’s love into Sarah this day.  In her busyness and lack of energy her inability to get back to church was real.  I felt a Spirit’s nudge to ask her about the church my in law’s go to.  Come to find out she went there with her girls years ago.  I told her I would be praying for her to go back and I believed God’s love for her and her family meant he wanted to do 3 things for her in her stepping out in this act of faith-1-extend her time to get all her school work done even though they spent time going to church 2-energize her and fill her up instead of drain her by taking all kids without their dad on her own.  3-Find a support network of family to love on her during this challenging season.  It was raw, real, and purposed.

You may feel too sorry for me if I shared I got chased down by another dog only moments later.  So I won’t tell you about that.  And you may get too excited about the “non coincidence purposes of God” if I told you I had another life giving conversation with another Sarah owner of this dog as well.  So I won’t tell you about that.  But I will tell you this.  2 dogs taught me fear happens in our day to day, but it is what we do with it that matters.  2 Sarahs taught me if we fix our eyes on Jesus through the fear (just like Peter could walk on water by fixing His eyes on Jesus) we will have miracle moments.  I wonder what fear may be on your heart today.  What “dog” is chasing you down and you think you can’t escape?  Do one thing.  Fix your eyes on Jesus.  Let Him protect you from the “dog fear” in His amazing love (I can guarantee He has more than a cell phone defense at His arsanal.)  And then do one more thing.  Watch for an opportunity.  To live out your Spirit given gifts of leadership, serving others, encouraging others, giving to others, showing mercy or empathy to others.

Key word here is “Others”.  My “others” were “Sarah’s”.  Your “others” may be your son or daughter or husband or co worker or child care giver.  Jesus has your “Sarah’s” for you to minister to today.  So fix your eyes on Jesus today instead of the waves of fear or “fear dogs” which are chasing you.   Do this, so you can “walk on water”, doing “non coincidance” things today and ultimately fulfill your purpose.  Trust me.  You WILL find true life and your identity as you act upon these “good works” He already thought about before you were born!

His peace in fear is real.  His protection in fear is love.  And His purposed life in spite of fear is radical.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 032015
 

“The second is this:  Love your neighbor as yourself”.  Mark 12:31

I took the phrase “Howdy neighbor” and embraced it to a new level today.  (I am also embracing and caressing my first cup of coffee with pumpkin pie creamer as I write this.  Oh.  Yes.  Feel the love.)

I haven’t been as diligent to take regular walks during this pregnancy.  But today I was making “the walk” a priority.  As I set out my front door I was thankful the rain train was not heading full speed ahead like it had been the past week.  I was surrounded by brilliant fall trees.  My husbands oversized sweatshirt (about the only clothing which would fit).  And a street full of neighbors (which were seemingly gone and busy- as was typical to how they and we rolled most days).

One step.  Two steps.  Three steps.  But no more.  I spotted our neighbor in the midst of “Goodwilling it”, adding a bed to their truck and felt led to atleast give a friendly “Howdy neighbor” to her.  But then felt led to linger a little longer.  We exchanged pleasantries.  She encouraged me that it “wouldn’t be long now” due to my oversized belly (which was impossible now for others NOT to comment on).  This was the beginning of what would be a 30 minute neighbor to neighbor conversation in the road.  It was unexpected and unplanned.  But God ordained.  And therefore the walk was postponed.

But let me tell you.  This conversation was life giving to me.  I got the opportunity to partner with the Spirit to encourage a Mom who needed it.  I do not know exactly where she is spiritually, but I know she was seeking counsel.  With tears in her eyes as we ended our conversation she said, “I asked God for help and He sent you to go on a walk so you could encourage and help me.”

Wow.  Humbling beyond belief.  God’s grace beyond measure.  A blessing beyond blessing to start my day.  And to think my agenda and the thought of “lost time” could have squelched me of this moment.

After this interaction I amazingly still had sufficient time for a walk.  (or actually waddle would be more corrrect as I am due in a couple weeks).  I enjoyed breathing in nature and God’s presence with each step.  I felt compelled to go a little shorter distance than I typically had done earlier in my pregnancy.  Almost home I prayed God would give me more “God ordained” moments like the one I had just experienced with my neighbor.  One step.  Two steps.  No more.  I saw a Mom getting out of the car with her baby girl.  The “howdy neighbor” urge came on strong again.  And although we had never talked before, she was my literal neighbor.  And we began a conversation, not so unlike the one moments earlier (including pleasantries and my oversized belly).  We talked loudly as we were a distance apart but as the conversation progressed, we moved closer.  I came to find out she is an unbeliever.  But we shared many things in common.  And the conversation was full of laughter and yet sharing of life’s challenges.  She may not have accepted Jesus with me right there in that moment, but I know a seed was planted.  I got to share my story (which always includes Gods grace and love) and show her the love of Jesus.

Wow.  Humbling beyond belief.  God’s grace beyond measure.  A blessing beyond blessing to start my day.  And to think my agenda and the thought of “lost time” could have squelched me of this moment.

Some would say it was unfortunate that I had lost time talking when I was supposed to have been walking.  But if there has been one thing that I have found to be true 100% of the time in my life, it is when God nudges, time doesn’t matter.  Too often have I allowed my “time intensive/perfected” schedule to override the “God ordained” interaction beckoning me.  Too often have I allowed my priorities to trump His.  And too often have I missed out on the life giving moments the Spirit offered but I selfishly put my present needs above another’s.  But there has not been one time in which I have followed that quickening of my Spirit to speak or act and my scheduled time/activity/schedule/work hasn’t also gotten done.  It may not be done in the exact time frame I was expecting, but our God is good and gracious to reshift our priorities to His.  And I have had more than I can count instances in which He actually extended my time and productivity so I never “lost time”.  Time is NEVER “lost” when responding to the Spirit rather than our own schedule.  Time is only GAINED.  For.  His glory.  And our righteousness.  Joy.  And peace.  Which equals abundant life!

My daughter’s new song she plays on repeat night and day is fitting for me today and maybe will encourage you when making decisions today as to where you will spend your time:

“There’s more to this life.  Than living and dying.  More than just trying to make it through the day.  More to this life.  More than these eyes alone can see.  And there’s more.  Than this life alone can be.”

I thanked God for the opportunity to literally “Love my neighbor as myself”.  To “look after” someone else in love.  This 2nd greatest commandment in the bible I have always thought of in regards to ALL people, (which it is) but today it didn’t include the ALL of  a family member, teacher at my girls’ school, friend, church acquaintance, co-worker, or stranger at the grocery store.  Today God nudged me to love on two women within two blocks of where I live.

How can you give a “Howdy neighbor” today?

Will you trust God with your time and lay down your current priorities/scheduled activities?

Will you ask God to give you more opportunities to love other’s/have “God ordained” moments in your days?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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