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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Jan 292016
 

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble.  1 Peter 3:8

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind (also translated “being like-minded”), maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; Philippians 2:1-4

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  Matthew 7:11

It was the first.  Time.  Going it alone.  It was almost like the movie, “Three men and a baby”, except minus the three men and insert “two girls, a mom” (which equals “Two girls, a mom, and a baby” if you haven’t had your coffee yet this morning).  I have heard the horror stories of going from 2 to 3 kids-“you have to switch from one on one to zone defense”, or, “now no one wants to have you over for dinner”, or, “having no time for yourself becomes the norm”, or, “now you have to divide your brain to multitask three ways, which is almost impossible” and many more.  And they are all true.  (A sincerely, heart felt hats off to mothers with more than 3 children.  Seriously.  You are my hero’s.  And I need your autograph.)

My oldest’s lunch was packed the night before to allow more time to get everyone ready for school in the morning.  Check.  The well laid out plan of attack had circled my mind over the past week as I anticipated this day-“If I get up at 6:45am I should be able to start laundry for the day, then start bowling water for oatmeal while I turn on the fire and read my Bible.  While oatmeal is going, I can run upstairs and make sure the girls outfits for the day don’t look like we are dressing for “Mismatch/backwards Day” and call out reminders for teeth brushing and bed making.  The baby “Should” sleep all the while.  During breakfast I will nurse the baby and then put her in the carseat (trying not to forget the needed binki).  And myself getting ready for the day-well, that was the part that had to be alleviated.  Sweats, sweatshirt, cozy boots, and ponytail was my new mantra.

The morning went off just as I anticipated, except for the minoot fact that my house looked like I was getting ready for a garage sale. (I guess the cleaning up part comes at some other point.)  Oh and the aftermath was a doozie as well-  I was afraid someone might talk to me and I would have to answer and if it was possible to have a word be your best friend, mine would have been “massage”.  Thankfully I had made plans to be with close friends.  Who don’t judge by outward appearance.

Our friend time together wasn’t necessarily what I was anticipating, but it was much, much better.  Instead of mustering up what I would need to repeat the morning I had for the next day, I got to muster up hope.  The word “hope” was in order for my friend.  Her daughter had been having night terrors for the past couple weeks.  For my friend, this meant getting up 20 times in the night.  No more solutions in play.  An an inability to find compassion and understanding.  Tears of tiredness, guilt of a mother, and toiled up past childhood memories of pain.  Ultimately, hope had vanished from the scene.

I thought about my morning, but it quickly left my mind as I was drawn into love expressed by affectionate compassion (like in the above scriptures), and hope for my weary, tear stained friend.  I thought about the scripture, “Love always hopes”.  And was humbled by that mornings mission to do just that.  My other friend was “of the same mind” (like in the above scriptures).  And we spent our morning listening.  Praying for a miracle to occur in hearts, minds, and sleep patterns.  And putting all our hope in Jesus.  My discouraged friend is usually the one ministering to others and had a hard time receiving our love.  She found multiple phrases to express this, “I so shouldn’t have come this morning.  I am so sorry guys.  Seriously, this is a bummer, you don’t have to keep listening to this.  Let’s talk about something else.”  But we two who had gathered with our three didn’t comply.  But were expectant for our God to meet us and answer our plea for Him to do a mighty work.  And I am so glad we did.

The next morning, I missed a call from my friend we had hoped and prayed for.  With crazy schedules over the next couple days I wasn’t able to connect, but I wondered how her night, which had typically been too many wake ups to count, had been.  I saw my other prayer warrior friend at a coffee date a couple days later and she said, “Did you hear about the night terrors?”  I said, “No, I missed a phone call from her and haven’t been able to reach her yet.”  My friend said, “For the past 3 nights her daughter has not woken up ONCE with a night terror!!!”  Wow.  Praise God.  It was a miracle.  It was a brilliant display of Christ’s body coming together in one mind-answered prayer -God’s faithfulness-love always hopes-and a good gift given by the Father to His child.  Oh-Amen Jesus!

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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