Feb 182013
 

I MARRIED SOMEONE WHO IS THE DEFINITION OF ACHIEVER. UNFORTUNATELY.  When my husband took a strengths/personality profile, the words to describe him were:  achievement, competition, leadership, strategic.  All this to say, if I want to beat my husband at ANY game, I have to pray for divine intervention.

We were enjoying a weekend at the lake with my family.  (My husband and I were dating at the time.)  Nature.  Reading.  Snuggling by the fire.  A perfect setting.  That is, until the games.

Connect Four was our undoing as a couple.  I was determined to win.  He won the first 3 games, but he couldn’t win 4, 5, 6, skip to 10 in a row, could he?  Oh, but he could.  And he did.  (At this point I was in desperate need of a hug, which I wrote on in the first post of this heart encouragement series.)

My attitude was fairly stellar after the initial game.  I even kept my cool after the 3rd game.  I began to feel slightly antsy during the 5th game.  But after game 10, 6 Diet Cokes, and no pride to speak of, I was finished.  I couldn’t allow myself to fail one more time.

My husband and I haven’t played Connect Four to this day.  Eleven years of marriage later and the mere mention of  Connect Four causes my body to twitch with anxiety.  The only word that fills my mind is failure.

To fail:  To fall short of.  To be lacking.  To lose strength or vigor, become weak.  To stop functioning or operation.

Failure.  Hope lost.  Failure.  Self worth in questionFailure.  Mourning of loss.   Failure.  The reason I have lived life avoiding any risk.  Failure.  More about what others will think of me versus what God is asking of me.  Failure.  Being terrified to try again.  Failure.  Satan’s prime opportunity to steal my hope, purpose, and joy.

Jesus is my best friend, even when I label myself as a failure.  His plan and promises for me don’t change, even when the college ministry I helped start is shut down.  His extravagant grace doesn’t change, even when I respond in anger to my children and husband.  His lasting hope doesn’t change, even when I am crushed due to infertility.  His unconditional love for me doesn’t change, even when I look to sugar and caffeine for comfort instead of to Him.

My failures don’t change how Jesus sees me.  Jesus isn’t shaken by my past, present, or future failures.  I shouldn’t be either.  The song, “The Stand“, says, “He (Jesus) stood before my failures.  And carried the cross for my shame.”

Every man or woman who did something great in scripture, failed.  If they would have allowed their failures to cripple them, they never would have accomplished miraculous things for the Kingdom.

Instead of hiding from or being defeated by failure, Jesus says:

You are going to be ok, learn from it, and draw into Me.

I will use your failures to minister to others.

I don’t remember your shame, I don’t keep record of your failures. 

I will never leave you or turn away from you when you fail. 

Your failures do not define you. 

Take risks for My Kingdom in spite of the odds of success. 

Trust me and you will be equipped and strengthened to do what it is I am calling you to do.

Choose today to live life to the fullest.  Through His Spirit.  Failing, but learning from it.  Risking it all for the sake of His Kingdom.  Laying aside fears to stand in faith, love and hope.

1Peter 2:6b “…and the one who trusts in Him, will never be put to shame.”

Have you ever experienced failure that crippled you to try again?  What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?  

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 112013
 

A COUPLE WEEKS AGO I HAD A TEARY MOTHER MOMENT.  I have teary mother moments often, (especially during February craziness, which I wrote on last week) but this one enveloped tears of joy versus pain

After finishing our usual 30 minute clean up from breakfast, I round the girls up to get ready for the day.

Our morning routine in a nutshell: 

  • Teeth brushing- Includes the ABC song and many promptings that Mommy needs to brush as well.
  • Hair fixing-Using the special Dora brush, I endure screams of, “I don’t want you to brush my hair” and calmly reply with multiple responses of, “We must brush our hair or there will be larger tangles.  Mommy will be very gentle.  Please don’t move your head or it will take longer to finish.”
  • Getting dressed-Includes the changing of sweet 2 year old Sadie’s poopy diaper, while I role-play multiple barn yard animals.  I call to Lucy in the other room to see if she has put on her underwear.  I respond to her “Mom, is it a short sleeve or a long sleeve day?” question.
  • The laundry event-I lift up each girl to help them put every piece of clothing in the wash.  I often have to separate the girls as they struggle to keep their hands to themselves.

Knowing this morning would encompass all of the above battles and additional unexpected ones, I took a deep breath in.  Then out.

Sadie grabbed my leg and said, “Hold me Mama.”  I pulled her up to put her on my hip (I recognized my baby is gettingheavier) and we started up the 2 flights of stairs.

Then it happened.

Sadie turned to face me, laid her head on my shoulder and squeezed my neck with all her strength.  I pulled back due to her extreme closeness and I realized there was no way she was letting go.

I continued to fight her for a couple more steps and then gave in.  It is at this place of surrendering my strength and will that I experienced the necessity of the relentless hug.

Relentless hug defined:  Persistent, insistent, unyielding embrace.

A smile came to my face, tears to my eyes, and a weight was released from my mind, body and spirit as Sadie continued her death grip around me.  I was caught up.  In her arms.  And every other agenda item for the day took a back seat.

I was caught up in the goodness of God to give me Sadie as a daughter.  I was caught up in the grace of God to allow me to stop my everyday chaos.  To focus on her loving embrace.  To be thankful and present in the moment. 

And then it was as if Sadie’s tiny hands were transformed into the large, strong hands of Jesus. This brought fresh tears to my eyes.  To rest in my Daddy’s arms, is to know everything is going to be ok.  Loved.  Comforted.  Content.

Just like I resisted Sadie’s hug at first, I also resist Jesus’ arms of love during my day.  I resist and say,

I got this.

I’ll just have another cup of coffee and be fine.

I am too busy to look to You.

Jesus is extending a virtual, relentless hug to you right now.  Stop resisting.  Only close your eyes and release your burdens to Him.  Now take in His perfect embrace.

“He tends His flock like a shepherd:  He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart…”  Isaiah 40:11

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 042013
 

MY HUSBAND DREADS THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY.  FOR GOOD REASON. It is the month I put my princess tiara on and dream crazy big.  Not only does February include Valentines day, it’s also the month of my birthday.

What if my prince surprises me for my birthday with a romantic getaway to an exotic island and takes me dancing?  What if my prince puts rose peddles all over our home, writes and sings me a love song, and behind my back makes homemade Valentines cards for me with my girls?

The truth is, when February hits, my mind, heart, and attitude do a 180 degree shift. I draw into me.  I dwell on how tired I am.  Tired of giving.  Tired of me as a mother in which I am not thanked, affirmed or seeming to be valued.  Tired of me as a wife who feels more like the maid then the maiden.  Tired of listening to The Voice that says, take up your cross daily and follow me.  I instead choose to listen to the voice that says you deserve more than this, you have rights, so hold to them.

The problem comes when my prince can never seem to live up to my princess expectations.  Whatever he plans for my birthday or Valentines, it is never enough.

I must take my dreamy dreams into my own hands.  I pointedly share with my husband about my good friend’s  surprise massage she got for her birthday, I start my birthday countdown atleast one month in advance (bringing it up in conversation whenever possible), I plan my own party, and I make sure I make the choices for activities, lunch and dinners all month.

It is my turn to have my needs considered before everyone else. I should be served.  I am woman, hear me roar!

My meddling puts undo stress on the family and leads to unnecessary disagreements between my husband and I.  Result:  This princess is left feeling anything but pampered.

Bottom line:  I am selfish. (I am slow when it comes to my faults.  Thank goodness for a God of patience and grace.)   I hold to my rights.  I want to be served.

Our attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  Phil 2:5-7

I want this February 2013 to be different.  I need to practice being a servant like Jesus.   To be selfless rather than selfish.  (Instead of thinking, what are you going to do for me?  I want to think, what can I do for you?)  To practice laying down my rights and trusting God to meet all my needs.  If my God can wash dirty, smelly feet, then I can cook, and clean, and be grateful doing it.

I am thankful for another year with a healthy body, my girls to snuggle, a loving husband, food to cook, clothes to wear, with friends to laugh with, with a blog to write on, and so much more.   So happy birthday to me!

I may not always be pampered as an earthly princess would be, but I can have joy, purpose and eternal rewards in serving as a daughter of the King.  I am spoiled beyond words.

Fittingly, the song “I will follow Christ” came on as I was in the middle of writing this post.  Coincidence, I think not!

I will wear the name of Jesus, I will give him ALL my RIGHTS

As for me no matter what the sacrifice

I will follow Christ

“And Christ’s love compels us…And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again.”  2 Cor 5:14a,15

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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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.

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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