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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Oct 072014
 

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

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

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

Race day.

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

I can trust Him. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 222014
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 172013
 

Today was suppose to be my follow up post about perfectionism but it just did not seem appropriate (I will share more about perfectionism next week).

In light of the recent tragic events in Boston and a friend of ours loosing all he owns in a house fire over the weekend, my heart has been heavy. These types of events have a way of shaking and waking me up to the world around me. When I hear of tragedy, it seems to highlight the blessings in my life and causes me to hold tightly to those I love.

This afternoon as I was praying and reflecting on the loss of those deeply affected by tragedy, I couldn’t help but wonder how do we continue to stand on peace in the midst of pain? In the midst of loss? How do we feel safe? How do we comfort our children?

Here are a few things that came to mind:

1) God is peace:  “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful.” John 14:27

2) Breathe: When chaos strikes, I can feel as though all is lost. The simple act of pausing and taking a deep breath does me a world of good.

3) Pray: First and foremost in the midst of pain and tragedy I try to press into the Lord. He IS my strength and refuge. Each and every time I have prayed for the “peace that surpasses all understanding” the Lord has always followed through.

4) Comfort those around me: I can take time to stop and notice those around me. Give a hug to someone that needs it. Be encouraging to those in need of encouragement. By caring for others, I am blessed and comforted in the process.

5) Allow myself to be comforted: If I am hurting, I can tell someone I trust. I can allow friends and family to care for me. I do not have to have it all together 100% of the time.

6) Spend time with my children: Since I have children I was thinking through when tragedy affects them.  If they have experienced (or heard) about a tragedy, I could spend extra time with them playing, reading, cuddling. It will reassure them that they are safe and loved.

7) Share with my children: Again, if my children are aware of a tragedy (they hear about them easier than we think), I can talk with them about it. I can share with them how I am feeling and acknowledge their feelings. I need to be sure to keep all information given age-appropriate.

8) Don’t watch the news: I can be informed but resist the temptation to continually watch the news or view photographs online. Even as adults those images can last a lifetime in our minds and often do more damage than good. To this day I can instantly recall the images of 911.

9) Look for the helpers: Tragedy is painful and heartbreaking however in the midst of all tragedy, the wonderful gift of humanity can be found. If I look hard enough I will see it. Those selfless people that step into a dangerous situation to help another or those willing to give to those who have suffered loss. It is a reminder that there is still good in our world.

10) God has a plan: I know how cheesy this can sound! But it is truth. Just as I love my children deeply and look out for their best interest, God does the same for me. I may not see it now or understand it but I can believe that He loves me and wants what is best for me.

How do you find peace during times of suffering?  

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 252013
 

TEARS ARE INEVITABLE (SOMETIMES).  LAST WEEK, I BROKE DOWN CRYING IN THE MIDDLE OF BIBLE STUDY ANNOUNCEMENTS. Not a shining moment for me.  This would be the second close friend moving away this month.

I had been trying to stay strong from the moment I heard my first friend was leaving.  I didn’t want to appear weak and vulnerable.  But when I heard this second announcement, my unexpressed emotions were loosened and the floodgates opened.

Have you ever been barely keeping it together and then something or someone pushes you to the point of tears flowing like a river?  That was me.  Crying uncontrollably.

My tears were tears of sadness. Loss.  Unfulfilled expectations.  All the while, being surrounded by many women whom I just met for the first time.  Talk about showing weakness.  Talk about revealing my lack of self-sufficiency.

Why do I feel as though someone just kicked me in the gut?  I have other friends.  I will still be able to talk with these friends. 

I know moving is God’s best for them.  I am excited for their new adventure. 

Why do I have to be left behind?  Why am I being so selfish as to make this all about me?  Why can’t I hold it together? 

I didn’t understand this new position I was in.

I understood the challenges of moving away from close friends and community.  I had cried myself to sleep many nights as my husband and I moved from Oregon to Texas, Texas to Spokane, and finally, Spokane to our current home in Newberg.

I now recognize there is pain whether you are the one moving away or the one left behind.   God is teaching me truth as I struggle with my friends leaving.

When friends leave us or we leave our friends:

  • There are deep emotions to be expressed.  It doesn’t help anyone to act like the feelings don’t exist.  After I cried I felt much better!
  • Experiencing sadness and feelings of loss means you were doing exactly what you should have been doing. Living in community.  Investing and serving others.  Showing the love of Jesus by loving others as you would love yourself.
  • God see’s our pain and will provide opportunities for new community.  Another friend who I hadn’t see in awhile is going to the Bible study I recently started.  She comforted me with an empathetic hug and listening ear in my moment of, “tears flowing like a river”.
  • We become aware of our dependence on God and others to help us run our race of life well.  I am reading the book called, “A Clearing Season”, by Sarah Parsons, which is a praise to God for His perfect timing.  Sarah says as American’s we don’t like to admit dependence on anyone or anything because that would make us weak.  In contrast, divine strength is “made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).  It is only in expressing our vulnerable, natural human limitations (showing our weaknesses to one another), that we exercise courage and tap into God’s power.  We are weak by nature, but made strong by our ability to connect authentically, ask for help when needed, and unmask the reality of our self sufficiency.  We are strong when we depend on God and on the body of Christ. 

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  Prov 18:24

Do you have difficulty depending on God and others?  Will you allow our God and the body of Christ to provide for your needs?  Will you decide today to prioritize living in authentic community?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 072013
 

I AM LEADING WORSHIP AT MY CHURCH IN A COUPLE WEEKS, SO I BEGIN MY REGULAR PROCESS OF PRAYING THROUGH WHICH SONGS TO INCLUDE.  AFTER 30 MINUTES OR SO, I BREAK TO CHECK OUT FACEBOOK. 

The rabbit trail of photo’s and status updates somehow leads me to Google Images.  A particular image captivates me.  I can’t look away.  Visualize rainbow color behind shadows of men, woman, and children partaking in everyday activities.  The caption reads “glorifying God”.

Immediately the next image shows a particular worship song’s lyrics I was considering and now will include in my worship set.  “Take my life and let it be, all for you and for your glory.  Take my life and let it be yours.”

I question if I have what it takes.  Am I truly willing to give over not just part of my life to God, but all of it?  My body, spirit, mothering, marriage, friendships, jobs, activities, service, family, pride, money, desires, comfort is no longer in my control.  But all for the use of God.  All I am for the chief purpose of bringing Him glory.

We are sister’s in Christ.  We share both common and unique trials.  When we remember, restore, and share our trials, not only are we changed, but God is glorified.

We also can pray for opportunities to share our trial snapshots.  Through the power of His Spirit and grace, we can speak His message of truth for His glory:

You are not alone

You are loved deeply and fully by Jesus

You can find healing and restoration in His name

You were made to fill a purpose that only you can do

You no longer have to live in fear and anger

God desires to work all things for the good of those who love Him (God) and are called according to His purpose.  You can minister to others just by telling your story.  You can comfort others experiencing similar pain.  (2 Cor 1:3-4)

I want to create The Sister’s Redeemed Photo Album.  An opportunity for women to share their story with other women.  This photo album will be filled with verbal images/snapshots of brave women’s trials.  ( In my previous post I shared some snapshots from my struggle with infertility.)

Here is my dilemma.  I can’t create this Sister’s Redeemed Photo Album alone.  I need your story to make it happen.  Would you prayerfully consider helping?  Would you be willing to actively join other women of our standing on peace community, step out in faith, and share from your heart?

It’s your snapshot of pain and redemption.  It’s your snapshot of a promise fulfilled.  It’s your snapshot that nothing is impossible with God.  It’s your snapshot of God’s love.  Only you can share it.  And other women need to hear it.

Here are some questions to ponder about your past trial(s):

  • What was your all time low in the trial?
  • What was a point of change or revelation?
  • What did others do to help or hurt you?
  • Did God reveal Himself to you in any way?
  • How did you find redemption from this trial and how can you testify to God’s faithfulness today?

Using the above promptings, here’s how you can help me form our Sister’s Redeemed Photo Album! (I will be formatting a post of our album after it is complete.  I will only include first names in the post, no last names.):

  1. Copy the below example (Name, trial, painful memory snapshot, and restoration memory snapshot) and email me your information by Feb 1, 2013jillian@standingonpeace.com
  2. Write down one sentence describing a vivid memory of your pain and then another sentence describing a memory of your restoration process.  That’s all, not too tough right?  (These do not have to be perfect sentences, just give me your info-that’s the important part!)
  • Here’s an example for you to follow:
  • Name:  Jillian
  • Trial:  Infertility
  • Painful memory snapshot:  Running to my room to sob on my bed after my friend announced they unexpectedly got pregnant.
  • Restoration memory snapshot:  Looking up adoption information on the computer and experiencing an unrelenting peace and submission to God regarding my future.

I will be praying for you as you consider sharing your story with others.  My prayer is that all of us would allow God to “take our life and let it be all for Him and for His glory!”

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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