Dec 112015
 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.  Hebrews 10:39

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  Matthew 14:29

Without faith it is impossible to please God.  Hebrews 11:6

I woke up this morning with the musicale Newsies song, “Now is the time to seize the day” on continual repeat.  It was the day before my due date.  An induction is planned for tomorrow.  But I am holding out hope.  Praying in faith.  Asking.  For our baby girl to come today.  Tonight.  And so “Now is the time to seize the day”.

To “seize” something is to:

“take hold of suddenly and forcibly; Take (an opportunity or initiative) eagerly and decisively.”
synonyms: grab, grasp, snatch, take hold of, get one’s hands on;

And the opposite of “to seize” is:  “let go of;  release”

Today I had no plans on the calendar (which was also what was on the agenda for yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that).  Kind of a strange feeling being in this holding pattern.  Waiting for our baby girl.  So I did something I may not have the time or ability to relax into in the months to come-take a shower.  Actually blow dry and straight iron my hair.  And visit my husband for some quality time at his office (with a slight hidden agenda of being there for “Friday Donut/Primo Coffee” day while the girls are in school.)  Oh.  The.  Simple.  Joys.

As I was giving the Administrative Assistant the “latest baby coming updates”, one of my husbands colleagues passed by and looked at me somewhat strangely (of course this was nothing new since being called, “The Death Star” from Star Wars among other shocking comments seemed to be at the top of everyone’s mind as I entered any space with my protruding belly).  But his comment was different.  He said, “You seem strangely calm for possibly having a baby at any time.”  And I was.

In spite of what I knew was around the corner (all unknown labor stuff), I had prayed for His peace.  I was taking hold of this very day-seizing this day-without fear.  In a state of active peace.  Prepared and ready.  I am choosing to clutch these next 24 hours in a peace filled, expectant pattern, joy embracing, confident stepping, faith shielding space.  And I have no doubt my loving Father is right by my side.  Actually on all sides, having gone before me already.

William Carey said, “Expect great things of God, and attempt great things for God.” Peter seized the day.  Stepped out of the boat in faith.  And took action to miraculously walk on water to Jesus.  He many times gets a bad rap for his doubt which came after, but I see him as the ONLY one who actually “seized the day” in faith.  Noah built an ark when there was no rain.  Moses lifted up his staff and parted the Red Sea.

My “seizing the day” today so far has not entailed some grand act of the miraculous as Peter, Noah and Moses displayed.  But that’s just fine.  Maybe your day will also look similar to mine.  My “seizing the day” has gone something like this:  Choosing His peace over thoughts of anxiety about what tomorrow may bring;  Casting my cares/worries upon Him because I know He will take them and cares about them (and me);  Embracing the joy moments of quality time with my husband and family;  Listening to the Spirit’s still small voice which encourages me through the Word and others; Standing in faith, knowing that no matter what, I am loved and never left alone.

So “Carpe Diem” my friends!  (Latin for “seize the day,” an aphorism found in the Roman writer Horace’s Odes, this phrase has been used in English since the early 1800s.  Used to urge someone to make the most of the present time without concern for the future.)   Do not allow worry and fear of the future to rob you of living the vibrant, God ordained, faith filled life He has for you today.  Lean into the Spirit’s nudges which call you to action without knowing how things will end up.

We are only “a mist” the Bible says which is here on earth for a little while.  May you be called a “mist of faith”.  Not holding back.  Not being afraid of the “what if’s”.  Not being complacent with the earthly norms.  But seizing.  every.  opportunity.  to.  grab onto Jesus.  And watch in expectation as He grabs onto you as you walk by “faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

What action can you take to “seize the day” today and respond in faith to the Spirit’s leading?

Is there a decision you are allowing fear of the unknown/lack of sight to lead rather than trusting Jesus/living by faith?  Will you ask God to help you have courage and not be afraid?

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 162015
 

Love always protects...1 Corinthians 13:7a

Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  Ephesians 4:15

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.  John 17:15

In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Ephesians 6:16

It seems everyone wants to protect me from just about everything these days.  (Being pregnant somehow brings out friends, family and even stranger’s “Mama bear instincts”)  Here are a few of my latest conversations:

  • “How about you stay home instead of traveling to the East Coast.  I would hate for you to encounter difficulties on the plane and/or being so far from home”, says my Mom, and quickly grandma and husband agree.
  • “Mama, you shouldn’t eat that pizza because it will make you puke,” says my youngest daughter.
  • I thought it would be fun to go hiking with the family at Silver Creek Falls, my husbands response was, “Um….no….there is no way I am allowing you to walk up hills and slippery areas where you could easily fall.”
  • An everyday comment from my girls and husband to each other and the dog is, “Stop-be careful of Mama’s tummy!”
  • “Now let me do those dishes while you go sit and rest honey, I don’t want you to overextend yourself,” says Mom.
  • While in the checkout line at Safeway the conversation between the checker and person behind me in line was, “Now I don’t want to see you in this store any more until that baby comes because I don’t want you to have this baby right here in line” says the checker.  “Well, I think we could deliver this baby if we had to so no worries, we will take care of you”, says the stranger behind me.

And the above is only a handful of the conversations over the last couple months.  Even the strangers who pass by me on my outdoor walks treat me like I have the plague by nonverbally moving off the sidewalk onto the street.  I guess protecting me against them bumping into my large belly.

If I am being honest, most of the time the “we are protecting you” interactions and conversations occur I have an immediate inner reaction of, “Get off me!  I don’t need this protecting!  I can handle this on my own.”  I feel as if I am being held back from the good everyone else gets to do.  I feel unable.  Weak.  Boxed in.  A dagger to the pride.  And these emotions are the focus.

But when I consider the reality and heart behind where my loved ones are coming from, I recognize it all boils down to they.  Love.  Me.  And are showing it.  By protecting me from potential harm.   Protecting me from doing without thinking.  Really, protecting me from myself at times.  Because I recognize their spoken words of truth are for me well being.  They are willing to say the hard thing, or keep me from doing the enjoyable thing, to keep me safe, healthy, and happy.

I pray for my girls as I walk by their schools for God and His angels to protect them and the entire place against the evil one.  I take Jesus’ example to us to heart as He prayed for His disciples to be protected.  I am thankful we do not have to fear because we have an all powerful God who is able to overcome the plans and attacks of the enemy.

So when the trouble of life hits us, we can call out to our protector God.  Who wraps us tightly in His arms of love.  For He is our shield.

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.  Psalm 91:1,11

Is there someone you need to “speak the truth in love” to this week in order to protect them from trouble/potential harm?

Is there a current trial/troubling circumstance in which you need our God to help to shield you/protect you?  Will you pray in faith for God to do what He promises and protect you from the evil one?

Will you think about those people in your life who care for you enough to “protect” you with their true words/actions of love?  Then will you thank God for placing them in your life, lay down any pride, and think good will towards them as they love on you?

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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May 122015
 

Do you ever want to throw the Proverbs 31 mending, cleaning, encouraging, perfecting everything woman expectations right in the trash?  Have you ever been or are currently in a season of waiting, neediness, helplessness, or unproductivity, pain, or trial?  Does this verse- “I am weary God, but I can prevail…” -resonate most accurately with your now?  If so, I am right with you my friend.    It is in this verse, the Proverb directly before Proverbs 31, that I camped out this Mother’s Day.

Pregnancy from the pit of you know where.  Extreme exhaustion.  And vomiting.  All day.  But a thankfulness to God to be able to muster up a smile and “that is such a beautiful green candle you made for me honey.  You know I love green,” comment to my wide eyed 6 year old.  Laying on the couch.  Or bed.  Were the big changes of scenery my body stammered to.  A beautiful rose boquet was brought to my side.  I forced a smile and “thank you” while the only thought in my head was, “Please move them quickly because my blood hound sense of smell is about to due me in”.  I got some reprieve from the toilet bowl and slept being awoke to a sweet 4 year old with another gift for her sick Mom.  Again thankfulness for weakness turned to strength to respond with a hug and “I see you made this green cross.  It looks like it took a lot of work and I love the color and design you did.”  Cancelled dinner plans with extended family and instead I turned in to bed at 8 am.  This was anything but a Proverbs 31 serving Mother’s Day for me.  But I can’t say the same thing for my Mother.

My mother anticipated all the same fun plans I had for Mother’s Day only to have each of them cancelled.  A lovely dinner out with extended family.  Not so much.  Presents from her daughter.  Not a one.  A relaxing day at the spa.  Nope.  Time to put up her feet.  Not when she was waiting on “sick me” hand and foot.  No, her Mother’s day wasn’t at all what she had envisioned.  But I didn’t hear one complaint.  Not one “poor me” comment.  Instead, she so beat out the Proverbs 31 woman in my mind.  With her self-sacrificial service in cooking.  Cleaning.  Caring for.  Her husband.  daughter.  And grandchildren.  On.  Her.  Special.  Day.  What an example.  Of being Jesus’ hands and feet to other’s.  Even on THE day of the year when all would say it is her hands and feet that should be being pampered.

A Mother’s Day I will never forget.  For three primary reasons.  1-Because my weariness and sickness humbled me so I could recognize I will not always be able to measure up to the Proverbs 31 woman.  And that’s okay.  We need to receive help and strength from God and other’s in our “unable to” seasons and give thanks to God for His provision and sustaining, loving hands that get.  us.  through.  the.  day.  2-I got to witness a Proverbs 31 woman in action.  And I thanked God for the blessing and example my Mother was to me.  3-I realized unfulfilled expectations though a real bummer can be opportunities to seek out and thank God for the small glimmer’s of joy found amid the clouds.

My prayer for you and I is this:

May we give all our burdens and pain to the loving Father who cares and see’s us.  May we find grace and peace as we allow God to help us in our times of need.  May we embrace God’s provision and thank Him for it as other’s are His hands and feet to us.  May we let go of our own or others’ expectations for us because we know the expectations of our heavenly Father are  never overbearing or burdensome.   May the Lord give us life, freedom, and joy in our titles of mother and/or wife, and daughter of the King.  May we always fix our eyes on Him, finding purpose and hope in this and every season.

“And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:1b-2a

How can you express your gratitude to God for His provision of your needs in this season?

What self imposed or other’s imposed expectations do you need to let go of in order to allow God’s true expectations to reign?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 052015
 

 “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”  Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

My grandmother always quoted my grandfather in an old golf saying, “Never up, never in” she would yell to the scared sole ready to make a difficult putt into the final hole.  As somewhat frustrating as this scenario was at the time, I cannot help but think how these words ring truth to my now.  Character traits of fear, hesitancy, and timidness are not found in Jesus, neither should they be found in us, His followers.

To “swing” our clubs to win the hole parallels how we should live our lives faithfully in whatever season we find ourselves in.  If we seem to find ourselves on the OUTS of normal routines, we live IN to this season of gratitude for God’s provision and the gifts of receiving love.  We are called to live life with Jesus, to be faithful to what He is calling us IN to in the now, and to do it all in the grace, power and strength of His given Holy Spirit.

I know I am called to a new IN with Jesus, but right now all I feel is on the OUTS.  Of pretty much everything I was IN before.  The news of this pregnancy was most definitely God ordained.  (And it seems whenever I mention something in my life to be “God ordained”, it usually involved “not being ordained” by little ol’ me.)

And if I am honest with myself I am having to be vulnerable in my mourning the loss of all my INs from before.  Today I sit in the reality how I am OUT:  Of my previous calling as Worship Pastor at my church.  Of all leadership/life giving commitments.  Of every activity in general.  Of commission to be giving/serving in any capacity to my girls, friends, family and neighbors.  Of schedule with the Love it up-Putting on 15 love attributes in 2015 blog writing.  Of the carpool.  Of my regular Bible reading.  Of control in my bodily functions so much so there is a slim chance I will finish a conversation without having had to go puke at some point.  Of the luxury to plan what tasks will be accomplished in a given day or week.

I am out. Of. my. mind.  in. overwhelming. weakness.

And friends.  This is where I live.  Today.  But I am compelled to write.  Because I believe when we are called OUT of a particular season we are called IN to a new season.  (Another way to look at it, a friend said the other day, “When we are called FROM something, we are called TO something else.”)  And this is where my hope is found.

That even though I feel on the OUTS, I am IN the midst of God’s loving hands.  He put IN me the new life of a growing baby.  It is IN this growing of this baby that I am put IN a state of reliance on God and others.  I believe the Lord nudged my heart to lean IN because this would be a season of receiving.  Refreshment from the kind texts of close friends.  Meals from the body of Christ to keep my family nourished and cared for.  Daily help from a servant hearted mother.

This is what I believe my Father spoke to me in ministering to my heart, but I also believe this is for each of you as well:

Your worth is not determined by your season in life.  Your worth is not determined by your productivity in the day.  Your worth is not determined by the numbers of friends or opinions of friends.  Your worth is IN My Son, Jesus.  Alone.  You are fully loved.  Beautifully and wonderfully made.  And permanently secured in My grace filled arms.     May you stand firmly IN My truth and love today, My precious daughter.

What season/calling/activity do you find yourself OUT of? (something you have found yourself doing in the past but for whatever reason are not currently doing.)

What season do you find yourself IN today?

Will you ask the Lord if you are “swinging your club” to being faithful IN this season? 

Are you looking to anything other than Jesus to find your true worth?  If so, will you lay this down before Him and allow Him to fill you with affirmation and wholeness in His loving arms?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 182013
 

Momma: “Georgia Mae, what would you like to say to Jesus tonight?

Georgia Mae: “I want to know where He is. I can’t find Him.”

Momma: “Because you can’t see Him, right?”

Georgia Mae: “Yes. I can’t see Him. Where is He?”

Momma: “Well, after Jesus came back to life, He lived with His friends for awhile and then God took His body up into Heaven. But then, Jesus came back to us as the Holy Spirit. We can’t see Him as the Holy Spirit because He is like the wind when it blows in the trees. We know it’s there but we can’t see it.”

Georgia Mae: “Okay, but where IS He? Where does He LIVE?”

Momma: “Now that He is with us as the Holy Spirit, He can live inside you and me.”

Georgia Mae: “Where inside me?”

Momma: “Where do you think He lives?”

Georgia Mae: “I think there is a little tiny baby Jesus living in my womb and when He’s ready, He’ll come out! (Pats her belly and then says with a sing-song voice) Hello, baby Jesus, I love you.”

On their birthday, I tell my children their birth story. We talk about where I was, what was happening, how I felt. They have a good sense of what a womb is: A place that gives life. A place of deep connection. A place of safety and nurturing. A place that when you are ready, you emerge out of with celebration and joy (and real pain – I don’t sugar coat it.)

When I see marriages crumbling around me, when I feel so tired of petty politics, when I feel the heaviness of just getting through the day, I ask Georgia Mae’s question: “But where IS He? I can’t find Him.” Like her, I expect Him to be somewhere outside, doing something “out there.”

But in the Christian worldview, God only lives “in here.” God’s dwelling place is no longer a building or that gold box from Raiders of the Lost Ark; it is you…and me…and when you get all of us together, we “rise to become a holy temple in the Lord…[who] are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:21-22)

Jesus is no longer out there. He is in here. Do we nurture that life? Is it a place of interdependence, of safety, of deep connection for Him and for us? Is it a place that when He is ready to emerge, we let Him come out when and how He wants to and we welcome Him with joy and celebration? (and at least submit to the attendant pain?)

Whether we became a mother by birth or adoption, welcoming a child into the world is a wonderfully unpredictable event. We don’t have any idea when He will show up or who we can become when we welcome Him.

May we pray as Georgia Mae does: “Hello baby Jesus, I love you. Please come out whenever You feel like it.”

How do you experience your inner life with God? How does your inner life with God prepare you for welcoming Him into your mothering and the world around you?

  Heather Fosth is her husband’s best friend, a mother of two dynamic, wildly different children(ages 10 and 6) and a sometime spiritual director. If given the choice, she would always be in her garden.

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Jan 302013
 

Ok, I’ll admit it: I’ve always been a cereal girl. It’s been my post-race snack after high school cross country, comfort food in college and my favorite breakfast food. But while I was pregnant, I got unexpected news that would change not only my breakfast routine, but my perspective as well.

My relationship with food has not always been a good one. Being a perfectionist, I’ve spent much of my life reading nutrition labels and wanting to control every bite I took.

However, I was in a good place when I got pregnant. I finally had freedom, peace and enjoyment when it came to food. I’d embraced the idea that pregnancy would change my body, but I was determined to do everything I could to be the “perfect” pregnant woman.

To me, this meant I would enjoy “eating for two”, but I’d also work out like crazy so as to not gain much extra weight.

Until the halfway point of my pregnancy, everything was normal. My husband and I were thrilled when we learned that we were expecting a little girl.

Then, around the 20 week mark, I had to take a routine glucose tolerance test. After failing it, and a more extensive test
that followed, I got the less thrilling news that I had Gestational Diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes (GD) is a diagnosis of elevated blood glucose levels in pregnant women. The hormones in the placenta that help a baby develop can also block the insulin from doing its job: changing blood sugar into energy.

When I got the news of my GD, I was shocked and embarrassed. For someone who prided herself on eating healthy and being active, this was not what I expected. Didn’t overweight people get diabetes?

I was frustrated. After finally experiencing peace and enjoyment over food, I was going to have to analyze and read the labels of everything I ate to monitor the sugar content. I had to prick my finger three times a day to check my
glucose levels. The fun of “eating for two” was over.

Many people- including dear friends of mine- deal with much more serious struggles during pregnancy. But as I look back on my months with GD, I realize that it wasn’t wasted. I did learn a few things about perfection, sacrifice, and of course, sugar.

  • Perfection is impossible. The definition of a perfect pregnancy wasn’t contingent on how cute I looked or how much weight I gained. Embracing the imperfection in my situation allowed me to connect with others and recognize my dependence on God. Letting go of the desire to be perfect is a skill I hope to pass along to my little girl.
  • Sacrifice is a cornerstone of parenthood. I experienced unique sacrifice early on as I had to give up many foods I loved (hello, cereal!) that weren’t good for my baby. Recognizing that I needed to prioritize my child was good “perspective shift” for my self-focused mentality.
  • I made healthy changes to my diet. I was careful to limit my sugar (carbohydrate) intake… especially in the morning. This meant exchanging my beloved cereal for a protein-rich breakfast of eggs; granola bars and crackers for almonds and Greek yogurt. Changes like this allowed me to manage my GD and also my pregnancy weight gain. I was able to gain only a moderate amount of weight and lose it quickly after delivery.

Though I would have loved a more simple pregnancy, I realize that it was still amazing because of the gift of my beautiful daughter and the things I learned along the way. And guess what I now crave in the morning for breakfast…. Eggs!

By guest writer Beth Cieminis: Beth is a stay at home mom to her little girl, Leah. She has a background in teaching physical education. She and her husband reside in Orange County.

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Nov 292012
 

We are about to enter a season of purple.

Seriously. It’s not just my opinion! The Church even says so.

The liturgical Christian church uses color to help us think about different rhythms in our life

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with God. Purple is for preparation, and we’re heading there this Sunday for four weeks of purple loveliness 🙂 (See previous post for the significance of purple to me.)

Kids latch onto and love the liturgical colors materials in the atrium (the space where we host a weekly contemplative Bible and prayer experience for kids). They relish the solemn procession when it’s time to change the color of the cloth on the prayer corner table. They sing the colors song at the top of their lungs and ask to do it again and again. And they sit in silence as we unveil one color at a time and introduce them to the great variety of ways we can enjoy God’s presence.

White is for celebration, for the great feasts of Jesus—the feast of the nativity and the feast of the death and resurrection of Jesus. White like light.

Purple is for preparation—the time before the feast when we are getting ready.

Green is for ordinary time, or growing time. The time after the feast. We humans may have a penchant for drama (God too at times?), yet most of the liturgical year is green.

(That slow and steady growth that unfurls in the midst of the ordinary must be worth something.)

And Red is the color of great love—it’s for Pentecost, or the feast of the Holy Spirit. The One who pours the love of God into our hearts.

Even though advent means coming, these 4 ish weeks before Christmas are all about waiting.

My first pregnancy was culminating during advent, and 12 of those days of waiting were after the due date. I so wanted to be vibe-ing deeply on the peaced-out Mary-the-mother-of-Jesus channel. It could have all been so holy and meaningful.

It wasn’t. I was grumpy and resentful and anxious.

Isn’t that how it goes with waiting?

Deeper down feelings show themselves. Our sense of our own power is rattled. Purple is stirred.

Our guts groan.

Can we let it be? Knowing that the space in us and in our lives is womb? That something is growing in there

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room inside is the point?

Or will we rush around with preparations, avoiding feelings, taking control and trying desperately to make it all holy and meaningful?

When I was training to be a catechist (guide) for the Montessori-based kids experience I described above (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd), there was an emphasis on the “prepared environment.” Most of the guide’s work is getting the atrium ready so the kids can work independently while the catechist plays butler where needed.

But when I went through the second round of training, my teacher mentioned this idea of catechist as prepared environment. Whatever it is we do to make ready the external surroundings, can the children find a spacious, grounded center inside us?

That’s a question I’m holding this advent. I am hoping I can stand the agitation of my “internal purple” that space and waiting inevitably bring…

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