Nov 172015
 

Love never gives up. 1 Corinthians 13:7a 

I felt nudged by the Spirit to start a women’s prayer group.  Five months prior I had stepped out of my Worship Pastor job, various ministry commitments, and truly any activity which required me to be present.  My pregnancy sickness left me couch ridden and unable to do much of anything else but simply survive the day.  But a new dawn had risen.  I found myself able to leave the house and clean my house.  Now all which was needed was to have people over to my house-and thus, our Refreshed women’s prayer group began.

Never lead a prayer group before.  So as I charted this new territory, I once again had to rely on the Lord for the “how to’s”, “how come’s”, and “how can I’s”.  And I have absolute confidence in His ability to calm my fears and lead me as a Good Shepherd whenever I start something new.  This confidence comes from remembering His past faithfulness in Every.  Other.  Unknown circumstance.  And starting this “Refreshed” women’s prayer group has been no exception to this truth.

Last week everyone in our group cried at some point during our sharing/times of praying for one another.  (Of course this is not too earth shattering since we are all mother’s and I am pretty sure once you become a mother part of the job description is to cry at the drop of the hat when someone’s feelings are involved.)  We were praying for our children by name.

The tears came for one blessed mother as she said one of her children’s name’s and attached the word, “Lost”, in regards to how to parent her.  This mother explained further that for two years she had been unable to do school drop off’s without her child crying and clinging in desperation that she didn’t want to go.  Day’s and week’s and month’s of trying to problem solve this.  Day’s and week’s and month’s of a mother’s feelings of guilt and shame as other mother’s seemed to watch with eyes of judgment.  Day’s and week’s and month’s of feeling inadequate and unable.  And after day’s and week’s and month’s of no change, she was fed up.  Giving up.  And had used up-all.  her.  faith.

So this is where our group of six stepped in with our faith.  We had faith for her.  We prayed fervently for a change in this child.  We prayed fervently for wisdom which only comes from above for our dear friend.  We had hearts which were bursting big with belief in our God to do the impossible.  We were asking for a “mini miracle” which was 2 years and coming.

As my friend was walking to her car after our prayer time together I felt Spirit nudged to call out to her and say, “I have GREAT HOPE for you my friend.”  And I did.  And this stemmed from this amazing truth from God’s Word that, “Love never loses faith.  Love believes all things.”

The next day our group of six got a text from this “Lost mother”.  Here is what she wrote (I have this mother’s permission to tell you her story, however I am using different names to protect their privacy.):

So listen to this….Here is a picture of my girls walking into school together.  Yesterday, Julie almost had a panic attack and I had to walk her inside the building to her classroom.  Julie has never had the confidence to walk into school by herself, I’ve walked her in since Kindergarten (and she is in 2nd grade this year).  You guys, I don’t have words.  From yesterday to today it is an absolute miracle.  The power of prayer is incredible.  I’m at a loss for words.

We all have voiced times of worn, troubles with marriages, mothering, health, and friendships, and prayer needs so beyond us we don’t even know how to put them into words.  But we do not battle alone.  We understand as God’s Word says in Eph 6:12, “Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world” and that one of our biggest weapons is to “pray in the Spirit on all occasions…. Eph 6:18a”.  And so we continue to pray for one another.

I can’t tell you of ALL the other testimonies which came out of the above prayer time and other prayer times we have had because it would be pages and pages long, but I can tell you our group of six is a group which does not major in the minors.  And we see “major’s” as any situation we are living in fear over or believe to be an impossible to change in our own strength/control.  We see “major’s/mini miracles” as victory in Jesus over our own or other’s changed mind’s and hearts and actions.

We can each testify and give glory to God because we have witnessed over and over strongholds torn down.  Chains broken.  The impossible becoming possible.  Supernatural healing happening.  All due to the faithfulness of our God.  And the power of prayer.

And out of this the Lord has changed my heart and mind to see clearly two reoccurring themes.

1.-God is faithful-God really does hear and answer prayer.

2.  We are to never lose faith- to believe all things are possible through Jesus when we pray for our loved ones.  Prayer is a powerful weapon.

Who in your life is having trouble “never losing hope/faith” and you could in love and faith stand in the gap for them and pray with them?

How can you incorporate more prayer into your daily schedule?  Will you ask Jesus for courage and confidence in His Spirit to pray when fear/worry arises in you and your loved one’s lives?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 052015
 

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching,you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”  Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”  John 8:31-34

 I AM the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:6

I have been bombarded with truth this week.  A little much if I do say so myself.  Part of me wants to deny it and run and hide from it.  The other part of me (the Spirit in me) recognizes truth, real truth, absolute truth, Jesus truth will only set me free.

One of my “truth moments” happened as my youngest daughter set out to give everyone in the family another name to go by.  I am guessing in her mind, we all needed to be called by what we were “all about”;  as in the 7 dwarfs for example.  She started out by naming her older sister, “Nature” (because truly, every time we dive into an area of forest on either side of the road she comments, “oh how I wish I could be in that nature and walk around, don’t you?”).  She proceeded onto naming herself, “Dancing squirrel” (because my girl’s have a crazy obsession with squirrels in play and real life and she joyful dances whenever she gets the chance).  My husband was then given the name, “Games”, (in which I chuckled to myself because of how right on she had been for everyone.  My husband’s strengths are in strategy and competition and his love for games is evident in spending time playing or reading up on various games).  I was the last to be named and I was curious and also a little nervous as to what I would be “known by or considered to be my big thing”.  And then out of the mouth of a child, the humbling truth of my name she blurted out, “Napper”.  She followed it up with an explanation, “Because you are always sleeping, Mom.  You love to take naps all the time.”  Ouch.  Whoever said the truth hurts was right.

As I walked with the Lord the next day I wrestled with my “Napper name”.  As I was giving Him my justifications of “why naps were happening a lot lately” I couldn’t help but notice a massive slug in my path.  I had never seen a slug on my regular walking route before.  But this fact isn’t the part which took my brain to all consuming thoughts about slugs.  It was the 4 additional slugs in my path which put my curious mind into overdrive.  I began to wonder what made the slugs come out today rather than any other day?  I Googled “Facts about slugs”.  And amazingly I gave myself a school lesson in slugs this particular morning (and most of you probably already know this fact, so thank you for humoring me by listening briefly to my “Ah ha” moment).  We had just experienced our first long, hard rain of the fall season.  This was the reason for the slugs coming out into the “slimelight” (Google included this and I admit I am a sucker for dry/play on words humor).  Slugs traditionally in the summer time will hide under rocks and hang out in dark, damp places, but when the rain comes, they feed on coming out into the wet ground in the light of the day.

And how does learning about slugs have anything to do with my life you may be asking yourself…well, I was asking God on my walk the very same question.  And He revealed His Truth to me.  He spoke to me about how when the Holy Spirit “rains down”/empowers/speaks to us, we, “like slugs” are imparted Truth.  Absolute truth.  Which brings us into the Light.  When others give us constructive criticism, or we feel guilt over acting upon our selfish/flesh/sin nature, we have an opportunity to test if this is real truth in which we should accept, ask forgiveness for, or simply learn from in order to be more like Jesus.  So as I thought back to my daughter’s “Napper” name for me, I recognized “‘testing truth” and “being sanctified by His Truth” should be continual part of my life as a follower of Jesus.

Ways we can test if a message/thought is True in this world;  the world says all truth is relative, but we as Jesus followers know God’s Word is the ONLY absolute truth:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Check the message/thought against the Bible and see if it follows it or is going against it

  • For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12                                                                    
  •  (Jesus prayed for His disciples) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.   Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  John 17:16-1                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2.  We must humble ourselves.  Then ask the Holy Spirit, who lives in us as believer’s in Jesus, to give us a peace about how to proceed from here.  Ask Him to reveal if this is absolute Truth (because He is actually the definition of Truth).  And if it is, what our response should be in order to allow this Truth to sanctify us (change us to be more like Jesus) and bring it into Light.  
  • Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.  James 4:10
  • When the Holy Spirit, who is truth, comes, he shall guide you into all truth John 16:13a
  • If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 1:5-7
  • Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.  John 3:20-21                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     3.  Ask a trusted, follower of Christ for wisdom to confirm the message/thought resonates with their spirit
  • But speaking (practicing) the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ.  Ephesians 4:15a
  • Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.  Proverbs 19:20

We must know and learn to recognize Truth.  We must humble ourselves to not be discouraged, defensive, or not accepting of Truth.  We must seek out ways to grow in Truth through the Holy Spirit’s gentle guiding.  And just as slugs leave a trail of slime wherever they go, we also leave a “mark” when we walk in the light of Jesus!  Because we know coming out into the “slimelight”, acting upon the Truth of God’s Word and guiding of His Holy Spirit of Truth only brings about True life, freedom, joy and peace.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 292015
 

For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.  Hebrews 8:12

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

Can a woman forget her nursing child, fail to pity the child of her womb? Even these may forget, but I won’t forget you.  Isaiah 49:15

I have a daughter who wants to be walked into school and one who doesn’t.  One who likes only frosting and one who eats only the cake.  One who is most happiest looking for acorns in nature and one who plays princesses most days.  Oh how our God made each of our children unique.  And beautiful.  And oh how He made each of their mother’s unique.  And beautiful.  Creativity equals our God.

I was walking my oldest daughter into school.  It was the second week of classes and so the “new school routine” wasn’t nearly as scary as before-for me.  (Always fabulous when the confidence of the child far outweighs the confidence of the mother.)  When we went into the typical gym drop off spot there were no 1st graders to be found.  (slight panic attack)  As I surveyed the area I saw a sign which indicated K, 1st and 2nd graders were playing and lining up outside today.  (normal breathing was back).

We walked outside and I could not believe the sight.  It was as if I had happened upon an ant colony.  In which you can barely walk without stepping on one of the zillion ants underneath your feet.  Now insert children here instead of ants.  Mass.  Kid.  Crazy.  All.  Around.  And it seemed this was the place to send off my soft spoken.  Tiny (to me).  Precious.  Girlie.  “Well, I guess you can go play honey,” (I said with extreme reluctance).  And she proceeded to run off.  Into the zillion “ants”.

Then it happened.  The emotions wave hit.  Hard.  My eyes filled with tears.  “No one knows her.  No one see’s her.  She has no.  one.”, were the thoughts behind the waterworks.  Then as quickly as the emotions came a still small voice spoke to my spirit and heart, “I know her name. I see her.  I got her.  I could never forget her.”  (Oh for Pete’s sake I can’t even write this without tearing up.  In the kids playland Safari Sams nonetheless.  Pretty sure I am beyond.  All.  Help.)

As I wiped away the tears, my heart found rest.  In.  Him.  In the fact He knows Lucy.  He made Lucy.  Just like He knows me and made me.  Within the next moments this song came to mind:

I have a Maker, He calls me His own.  He’ll never leave me, no matter where I go.  He knows my name.  He knows my every thought.  He see’s each tear that falls.  And He hears me when I call.  

(“He Knows My Name” by Tommy Walker)

What comfort.  What compassion.  What a personal.  Loving God we serve.  And He remembers.  The good.  Of our intricate make up.  And He forgets.  Our confessed mess ups.  So maybe I could try to do the same.

When I am upset with my husband, friend, co worker, or family member and am prone to think of/remember their past mess ups (sin and wrong towards me), I can say “No”.  And instead “take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5b)-in which in this case would involve forgetting. their. bad.  And then I can their good.  Remember their God-given strengths.  Unique makeup.  And if I need a little extra help, I can ask God to assist me in this “remembering the good” process.  Help me to see them how He see’s them.

So the next ant you see may you remember.  You may be small.  But your God is big-Your child may be small.  But your God is big.  You may have messed up.  But your God remembers it no more-Other’s have messed up.  But you can choose to remember it no more.  You may feel alone.  But your God see’s you and knows your name-Your child may feel alone.  But your God see’s them and know’s their name.

To live like Jesus is to forget and forgive the bad of another and remember the good instead.

Is there someone you are prone to remember/bring up their past sins?  Will you ask God to help you remember their good and forget their bad?

Will you entrust your small child(ren) into the hands of our big God today?  Will you entrust yourself into His hands?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 212015
 

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.  1 Peter 4:8

For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.  Psalm 103:11-12

Just as Jesus’ mother Mary had moments in which she “cherished these things in her heart” with her child, so will I cherish the following moments with my children of failures followed by grace-followed by joy.

Yesterday was my youngest daughter’s first day of Kindergarten.  After multiple weeks of asking every day (usually multiple times a day), “How many more days till school starts Mom?”, the morning was finally here.  She was up much earlier than the normal “slow to rise” schedule we adopted over the summer.  After putting one of her favorite dresses on, she gave a shy smile and quick ballet turn when her Daddy commented, “You look beautiful, honey”.  Her confidence was evident.  My confidence was lacking.  Mainly due to the continual checking and re checking my “Mother’s first day of school to do’s” was on the up and up.  I resigned myself to the fact it was not.  But that by God’s grace hopefully “the ball that would drop” would not cause too much counseling for my girls in the future.

The morning came and went with the #1 Ball dropped when I didn’t have the ability to take a picture with my camera phone (due to it being maxed full of images).  (“Nice planning Mom”, I said to myself.) But my Superman husband came to the rescue thankfully with his camera phone.  #2 Ball dropped later in the week as my daughter commented that everyone brought something to share except her and one other boy.  (“Well, that is fabulous organization and recall, Mom!”  Was my inner commentary.)  And lastly, the #3 Ball dropped due to my oldest daughter having to be quaranteened to the “peanut table” at lunch because I had failed to recognize the granola was a filled with “peanut power”.  (“Oh the shame, oh the exclusion only I have caused my daughter!”  Was the thought on repeat in my mind.)

But oh, some sweet relief when I had the opportunity for a “Joyfilled -present-mother-moment” (you know the few and far between one’s where by God’s grace you are not multitasking and you allow yourself guilt free to just be. with. your. child. and. enjoy). My youngest daughter had a, “First day of school tea”, in which,  I had tea and she had pink lemonade.  I put in cream and a sugar cube.  So did she.  (Not likely additions to lemonade, in my opinion, but she drank it down with no hesitation.)  Then amazingly asked for seconds.

Next, she put a cookie on her plate.  Then put one on mine.  She ate her cookie.  Then proceeded to eat mine.  It wasn’t what we did during the tea that was anything extraordinary.  But It was the grace and joy I was bathed in during that very moment.  A perfect moment in which none of my past “mother mess ups” were on my brain, my God’s brain, or my daughter’s brain.  I thank God for these type of moments. To soak in the simplicity of everyday eye to eye conversation.  Enjoy cup of hot tea.  And be free from guilt and shame.

I am thankful my daughter’s don’t seem to remember my mother mess up’s like I feel they should.  (We may have a different story when the teen years hit us, but I am living it up now!)  They don’t recall to my mind all my “dropped balls” of their first week of school.  And they don’t bring up my last year’s or last week’s sin of relentless, unkind fire ball words spewing towards their unsuspecting selves as my patience is nowhere to be found.  Now that’s a true gift, my friends.

And it’s a gift our heavenly Father doesn’t remember our past sin either.  And He graciously gives us joy moments in spite of our failures.  So I guess it’s only fitting that I should also return the favor bestowed on me by my girl’s and God.  How about the time one of my friends gossiped about me behind my back?  Or “that thing” my husband can’t seem to get right even after 14 years of marriage?  Or when I got left out of the girls night for no apparent reason?  Well, it’s my turn to do some “covering up” with a “big blanket” any of the past sins of others.  Because I know this “big blanket” “uncovered” in my heart and mind only leads to bitterness, an inability for God to work in my life, and a lack of true freedom/peace.

Today I am making the choice to not.  be.  offended.  Let. It.  Go.  Forgive.  Let.  God.  Handle.  Their.  Sin.  And “cover up” in love.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 142015
 

I am now confident that in no way can I prepare myself for the conversations which will occur after my kids get home from school.  I can only expect that there will be many more of these unexpected moments with my children in the future.  My unanticipated conversation yesterday with my daughter was not a difficult one.  Thankfully.  It was not one which tested my mothering wisdom or skills.  It was simply hilarious.

So my youngest daughter’s first day of Kindergarten seemed to have been a success.  The only frustration seemed to be not being able to ride the bus home.  We covered a series of questions about learning, her teacher, her table mates, recess, snack, and friends.  But the friend comment was the one which made me chuckle from within.  I asked her, “Did you make any new friends?”  She said, “Yes”.  I replied, “What is their name?”  She didn’t miss a beat with, “I just call him Samuel.”  I questioned her with, “Now that is an interesting thing to say, is that his name or isn’t it?  Did you just decide to call him Samuel or what?”  She said, “When he told me his name it went right out of my brain and so I just call him Samuel now because I don’t know and can’t remember his name.”  (We talked about maybe it would be a good idea tomorrow to ask him his name again and then call him by that name.  :))

Some of us are gifted at remembering people’s names and some of us find this to be quite challenging.  How about with our God?  What are we currently calling Him and is it really His true name?  Or maybe have we forgotten it or really don’t know it?  Are we, like my daughter, just calling Him “Samuel”-using some sudo/false name?  I wonder if one of the below untrue names I have used before are on your heart and mind in your current relationship with God-

“I just call Him Samuel”/false names I have called God

  • I just call Him”Condemner”- because I believe I am a bad person (failed too many times), and God cannot use me or forgive me of my sin.  God’s True Name is “Savior”-For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  John 3:17
  • I just call Him “Stealer of my joy/fun”- because It seems all I am being compelled to do is get rid of every food, drink, activity which I love and other unbeliever’s are “living the high life”.  God’s True Name is “Life”-The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10
  • I just call Him “Unable and Uncaring”-because the trial I am in is causing pain/suffering and I feel hopeless and helpless.  God’s True Name is “Redeemer, Peace, Love”.  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33/ And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28/Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.  1 Peter 5:7
  • I just call Him “Liar”-because He hasn’t answered my prayer in my way or timing.  God’s True Name is “The Way, Trustworthy, Gift giver”.  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6/Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17

May we get rid of all the “I just call Him Samuel” names we are subconsciously or verbally outright saying about our good God.  May we today ask Him for forgiveness for calling Him by the wrong name.  And may we step forward in all our troubles, fears, with Him as He is our friend who’s Name is, “THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE” (John 14:6)

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 172015
 

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5

Of course the 1 Corinthians 13 scripture, “love is not easily angered” was all I could think about.  That is, as I was currently in the midst of fighting off being easily angered.  This seems to be how the conviction of the Holy Spirit plays out in my life on a regular basis.  And I wish I could tell you my anger was the “righteous anger” type, over something of spiritual significance or logical sense.  But I cannot.

The struggle of my anger was birthed in trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole.  Not literally.  But figuratively, as it relates to an activity we all know and love-a birthday party.  Let me explain.

It was my daughter’s 5th birthday and I couldn’t seem to make her “dream theme” work out.  She wanted a “Queen squirrel” party.  My husband commented in response to her theme request, “You sure can tell our kids have grown up in the “Netflix/DVR/no commercials” society because you don’t see any stores marketing “Queen Squirrels”-no barbie party for her- this is her very own creation.”  Hense my frustration.

How was I to win any Mother of the Year awards when I couldn’t come through for my daughter on her birthday?  (I do not actually seek this award, but I recognize I place unrealistic/unnecessary pressures on myself to “be all and do all” for my children.  So Lord, forgive me of this pride which all around never bodes well.)  My internal temperature was rising as I was shot down by all my “go to’s” of Amazon, Target, Fred Meyer, Kohls and Pintrest for ANY sort of “queen squirrel” party decor.

After hours of mental anger (okay, and some outward snips at my husband and children who were not wise to be asking anything of me in this state), I came to a place where I could breathe more easily.  I resolved to the obvious conclusion. Queen squirrels do not co-exist/make sense for the majority of Americans.  So I stopped trying to look for them out in the world and decided to bring pieces of each of these things together to create my daughter’s imaginary world.   I was at ease in letting go of trying to make “queen squirrels” become a “thing”/suddenly appear in our nearby Target store.  And became excited about the creating and entering into the joy of my daughter’s world.  This looked something like a hodge podge array of decor-queen plates, mixed with a squirrel holding acorn cupcakes;  A song sung and book read about squirrels with a princess/queen movie immediately following.  Two seemingly unrelated/unable to be combined entites from the world’s standard-queens and squirrels-were joined together.  And a different world, my daughter’s world, was brought to life at her party.

I am thankful we as believer’s in Jesus live in belong to a different world as well.  A Kingdom world.  A world which is not so unlike my daughter’s party in which “queen’s and squirrel’s” coexist.  Where suffering and glory don’t co-exist.  And even go hand in hand.  Crazily, we can “glory in our sufferings”, as it says in the Romans passage above.  Knowing whatever struggle it is we are currently facing, if we hold onto Jesus, will result in perseverance, then character, and finally, hope.

So we stand on solid hope today.  In the midst of the shaky hard we are facing.  Even when the earthly people around us tell us “queens and squirrels” or our suffering and hope cannot co exist.  Even when other’s do not understand our unlikely, unrelated attitude of strength, peace, and joy in our trialing circumstance.  Because we will overcome in Jesus.  Knowing this world is not our true home.   And we will never feel truly at home until we get to heaven.  In which “Queen Squirrel parties” will be oh so commonplace.

 

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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Sep 022014
 

“A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up.A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.”  Ecclesiastes 3:3-5

Surreal.  Surprised.  Sad.  Is the state of my soul today.  It is my first.  Time I have gone down this road.  Realization this “new” is crashing down on me whether I like it or not.  Born baby girl going off to big girl Kindergarten.  And I am undone.”

“Firsts” have a way of beckoning us to the days of yesterday.  I remember all my baby girl’s “firsts”:

Seeing her tiny self for the first time and having a one track mind.  And actually yelling my one track mind to the nurses, husband, and mother, “She has dimples!”.

Cheering on her belly laying, giraffe chewing self to take a risk and roll.  Over.

Ever so carefully sliding my fingers out of her tiny ones and being filled with an immediate ecstatic body rush as her right foot takes a step.  Then her left.  Then her right again.  All on her own.

(And I am absolutely fighting back, no, streaming down tears as I write this-Kind of like when I watch ANY episode of “Little House on the Prairie” or truthfully any commercial involving a family playing together-I know, don’t judge me.  I have what I like to call, the “Gift of Tears”.)

No longer having her reliant on me for every meal (On the other hand, still reliant on me for every meal.  Just a change in presentation.)  Watching each hilarious expression for peas.  Pears.  Prunes.  The mess was every minute worth the entertainment of my bald, Bumbo sitting baby.

What I thought would be weeks of potty training turned out to be.  Well-weeks of potty training.  But oh how it made the joy so much sweeter when somewhere in the midst of my maxed patience for washing wet underwear, the rainbow stickers motivated her enough to care.  And using the toilet on a regular basis became our “new normal”.

Laughing at her silly love for words.  Said in different forms.  Combined with others to equal complete nonsense.  Which in turn equaled nonstop fun for the whole fam.

Realizing I had an “Art girl” when the only thing to stop her from crying every time I would leave her at Bible study was to mention they had Smelly Markers.  And remembering the humbling conversation when I said to a group of moms, “And yea, isn’t it so frustrating when you have to try and wipe off crayon from your walls?”  And the response from the 10 present was a blank stare of confusion.

Experiencing my heart beating outside of my chest.  As she went down a hill.  On a balance bike.  Going past the “speed limit”.  But she survived.  Learned.  And relied upon balancing rather than her feet for stability.

I could continue on about her petite feet, too long of a toothless grin, birthday themes of rainbows and love for gardens and smelling flowers, but then I would never be present in the moments of today.  It is helpful to remember all of my Lucy’s “firsts” because they were moments of intimacy, growth, and opportunities to overcome challenges.  At that time they were “new”.  Scary.  Unknown.  Change.  I wasn’t sure how I would ever thrive or feel comfortable.  But I was sure I so needed my heavenly Father.  I looked to Him for comfort, direction and wisdom.  And He didn’t let me down.  Not.  One.  Time.  And He won’t let me down.  Right.  Now.  Either.

Mourning an end to the day of “the known” is necessary to bring us into the sunrise of the new day.  But we cannot stay here. We must recognize one day is done and another is beginning right before our eyes.

Remembering too long turns into regretting the now.  Wishing it were then.  Sad it isn’t then.  Listening to Satan’s lies that “this new will never be as good as it was back then.”  And becoming discontent and depressed becomes the reality of life with this “first”.

As I venture into my current season of “firsts”-maneuvering as a Kindergarten mother, upcoming speaking opportunities at women’s retreats, and upping my mileage in training for this marathon, I plan to rely on my God.  Trusting His faithfulness and love to see me through today.  And I have complete confidence that whatever “first” we are currently wading through, He is right beside us.  With each.  First.  Step.

So may we embrace the “firsts” coming our way in this season.  And may today be a day of gratefulness.  For all the gifts and blessings from the Lord.  For every “bursting with love heart memories.”

Let us walk confidently and expectantly for the good that God has in store for us and our loved ones.  For today is a day to “Rejoice in the day the Lord has made” (Ps 118:24).

And this is my prayer:

Oh Father, would you go with my girl today.  Stay real close.  Hold her tightly when unkind words are said.  Give her laughter with other children.  Provide her with a good friend.  Help her to learn when is the time to sit quietly and listen and when is the time to let loose.  Give her opportunities to show your love and compassion and help to others.  Help her be a blessing in that classroom.  Allow for space to grow in the giftings you have given her.  May she remember you will help her when she is anxious, afraid, or hurt.  May she experience Your love and faithfulness in every difficult and fun activity.  May this day mark the beginning of a pattern.  Of doing life with You.  May you uphold her, surround her, love on her today.  As I have come to know you ever so gently do, when we step into a “first”.  Thank you.  For the work you have done in the past and the work you will continue to do.  In her.  And in me.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 302014
 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”  Romans 12:2

My oldest daughter has had a “go to” book since she was old enough to sit up and flip pages.  This book is currently, and has for years sat on her nightstand.  We call the book, “The Dog Book”.  (Probably fairly self explanatory.)  You have a dog temperament question, you want to know what breed just walked past you, my daughter most likely will be there for you.

This next statement may sound strange to you so gear up.   I feel like I am a dog-A Bloodhound.  To be exact.  When I run.

As I train for this marathon, I feel compelled to do it without the help of an I-Pod or audio books.  Which makes some serious time left to my own thoughts, along with spending time with God.  In this journey there is one truth I have found:  Because my senses are not tuned in to music, a book, or talking to someone, they are perked up elsewhere; Making me and the Bloodhound more alike than I would like to admit.

For all of you dog lover’s and my daughter Lucy, this may be a recap for you, but for the rest of us, here is a little Bloodhound synopsis from “The Dog Breed Information Center”:

“The Bloodhound thrives on the hunt rather than the kill. It takes great pleasure in tracking and has been used to hunt animals, criminals, runaway slaves and lost children. Today this slow mannered, rich sounding breed is both tracker and companion. Although it has a pleasant temperament, it is not easy to obedience train, most likely largely due to the fact that it gets distracted from human command, more interested in all of the exciting strong smells around him.”

The ways the Bloodhound and I are alike:

  • Heightened senses of smell, sight, and sound.
  • Easily distracted by surroundings.
  • Doesn’t follow human commands.
  • Wired to find lost people.

It is crazy to notice what I am tuning into on my “free of noise” runs instead of tuning out like I normally am in the mode of doing in my day to day routine.

Eyes-I am taken back by a field of brilliant magenta flowers on my left.  A prestine, manicured lawn on my right.  A pop can where it shouldn’t be.

Ears-  The city sounds of cars whizzing by.  The “out of the city” sounds of bird songs.  The “Good job” from another runner not “tuned in”.

Nose-The city smells equalling the gaustly combination of car exhaust, Burger King, garbage and chinese food, with a hint of freshly made donuts.  The “out of the city” smells of lilacs, cow manure, and hay.

Just as the Bloodhound has difficulty following human commands and is honed in to finding the lost, so should we, as Daughter’s of The King, display these personality traits.  We follow Jesus’ commands, and not people’s commands.  Following Jesus means following Jesus.  And not other’s.  Following Jesus means doing life different.  From the typical American woman, mother, wife, employee.  From the way we respond to difficulty and trials.  From the way we interact with others.  From the way we show unconditional love.  Forgiveness.  And Compassion.

When we become too engrossed in distractions around us and forget to use our “Bloodhound” makeup, we can become tuned out to the Kingdom mindset and life.  When we have some time to be without-The noise of music, tv shows, technology, phones, Apps, Ipods/pads, facebook, Pinterest, email, online shopping/games-we remember our true selves within.  Our true identity, our true mission, our true makeup in Christ.  And our “Bloodhound”/Kingdom/Heaven focused heightened senses come out strong.  And we find ourselves in a strange place of rest.  Refreshment.  And Rejoicing.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 112014
 

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Col 3:23-24

I know we all get butterfly stomachs of exuberant joy when this word one word is on the books for the day. “Housekeeping”.

It is the inevitable job of making a home a home. But it was also biblical Martha’s downfall moment. Others give advice of “Let cobwebs lie and be with others”, but also to “practice hospitality regularly”. A conflict of my soul.

On a run my mind was flooded with how this “housekeeping” word has recently bombarded my life. #1-The looming laundry which seems to accumulate with every soccer camp, swimming lessons, and camping trip of the summer. #2-“Let’s get some housekeeping items taken care of”, says the administrator each morning and evening at my recent women’s retreat. #3-“Houskeeping”, calls a voice outside our hotel door, then a knock, knock as my husband and I call back “No, thanks” and roll over on our 1 night anniversary get away. #4-Writing on this blog to cover what seems to be only “housekeeping” items of the in’s and out’s of the Fast Run, and how to’s of participating in/training for a race.

I recognized I tend to run with a “housekeeping mindset”. Unfortunately, not only do I do the “housekeeping tasks”, but my mind is bound to them.   This “housekeeping mindset” puts me in a state of anxiousness. Frustration. Worn out. And resentful spirit.

Oh Lord, free my mind from housekeeping mindset of planning, bound to the task managing/productivity, and anxiousness to get it all done. This distracts me from You. And others. Give me Your balance of doing and being so I can be the homemaker, hospitable woman you have called me to be. I want to get good at the ministry of “housebeing”. Teach me how to sit and rest at your feet as Mary did, even while everything around me screams “clean me, and finish this project”. Because You alone usher me into a life of abundance, peace, and purpose.

The reality is certain items/jobs must be addressed in order to create safe, fun, peaceful surroundings for strangers and loved ones-but we don’t have to live here. We don’t have to live so focused on the “housekeeping” that we miss the “housebeing”.

I am ready to let the laundry lie for a moment, the “have to cover Fast Run details” to rest and be. Present. With my youngest daughter and “be the baby while she tucks me into bed”. With my husband on the phone as he is away, truly celebrating his highs and empathizing with the lows. With my writing and write out of my love for Jesus not out of the need to explain it all. With a crying woman who needs prayer, and a hug of tears.

I am in need of a re-setting of my mind to “housebeing” instead of “housekeeping”.  With an understanding that I am looking to my faithful God to determine when it is a “do the dishes time” and when it is a “let the dishes go” time.  I want to serve my God with joy no matter it be the spilled mess at hand or the park play time with my girls.  May we embark on our day today serving God and not man or our own agenda.

Because this, my Sister’s, is what we were made to do.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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