Jun 082016
 

And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.  Matthew 10:42
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”.  Acts 20:35

My daughter gave me some perspective this week.  (Why is it my kids are continually teaching me the love of Jesus, I am pretty sure that me, the parent is supposed to be the one imparting all wisdom.  And yet, doesn’t seem to be the case much of the time as I have to continually swallow yucky stuff on a regular basis, like taking cough medicine when I have to swallow my pride, my selfishness, my lack of patience and my kids are the one’s feeding it to me.  Awesome, Lord.) 

Anyway, my oldest daughter who is 7 told me a story which brought tears to my eyes.  She told me she was sitting as usual in the 1st grade line in the gym waiting for their teacher to bring them to their class to start the day.  She said a boy was sitting by her and she overheard him say to someone else that he didn’t have a snack. She said, “Mom, I felt bad for him.  I knew he would feel bad in class when he had nothing to eat and everyone else was eating something.”  She continued by saying, “So I gave him my snack.  And I gave him the cheese pretzel snack.  Not the other cheese stick and meat stick one.”  And right about here is when the tears filled my eyes with overwhelming Jesus love I just witnessed in my daughter.   (you see, you have to know the backstory to understand what a selfless act this truly was.

The truth was that as we were hurridly trying to get out the door that morning my daughter requested cheese pretzels for one of her two snacks.  She doesn’t usually make requests, but I had splurged and purchased these pretzels as an end of the year treat.  She knew it.  Didn’t get them usually.  And wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to include these special ones. )  And so now you may get the tears response to the fact that she gave the cheese pretzels, in other words her best, her favorite, her “firstfruits” to the boy, (but ultimately to Jesus because we know scripture says, “what you do for the least of these you do for me”).  My daughter concluded her story by saying, “And you know what Mom.  He was SOOOOO happy.  And that made me SOOOO happy.”  And I replied with an addition of, “And it made your mama and Jesus SOOOO happy as well!”

So once again, Jesus taught me, through my daughter, that rejoicing happens in true generosity and selflessness.  My daughter could have had a very different response.  She could have not done anything in this situation.  She could have even been a little happy in the thought that she had a snack and he didn’t.  This being the delighting in evil thing we are looking at this week.  But instead she experienced rejoicing and many others did to as she acted upon The Truth in God’s Word which says as is written above:

Matthew 10:42
“And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

Acts 20:35
In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

My daughter challenges me to give relentlessly-I see over and over the grace and gift of giving my daughter has from the Spirit.  It’s real hard to out give her and we have to simmer her down at times to not have her immediately go buy for someone once she receives a bit of money.  But I love this about her and she inspires me to be better because this is not one of my strengths/spiritual gifts.  And I love how we as the body of Christ are all given various gifts and as we work together we function real well to bring the love and light of Jesus to a hurting world.  I can even rejoice in this truth that we are not created the same, having the same gifts, and seeing the gifts God has given others should be a place of joy for His Kingdom not a place of depression or comparing.  Because I have been given gifts too, and so have you.  Going against our culture’s evil values of “greed, all out for me mindset” and taking God’s true word and acting upon it means joy.  For you.  For others.  And for our Father who see’s it all.

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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Apr 082015
 

Ah yes.  The oh so true scripture verse of Proverbs 16:18 (“Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.”) was a journey into the great unknown for me this week.  (I only wish!)  You know how you get an annoying song stuck in your head and it won’t.  Leave.  Your.  Brain?  Well, it wasn’t quite a song this week that was on repeat for me.  But something of equal consistency and frustration.  It was a phrase.  That not only wouldn’t let up in the mind but also wouldn’t let up in my life.  “Pride comes before a fall”.  As I did the dishes.  Drove to pick up kids.  Lead worship practice.  Did the Jillian Michaels work out video.  I hold out hope that one of these love attributes I will have down pat.  But unfortunately, the 1 Corinthians 13 “Love is not proud” was not the one.  I got to learn, again, how to:

Get. Over.  Myself.  And Get.  Under.  God. 

Know it all and got it all versus Modest moment #1-My daughter-  Normally we stick to our tried and true city parks, but today we happened upon what we believe to be Newberg, Oregons best kept secret.  (When it comes to parks that is.)  Tucked away on a hill in a small neighborhood we found the slide and climbing structure of my girls’ dreams.  The scene was perfect.  Sun.  (But not too much).  Good attitudes from both girls.  (And me. Which can I say is rare to get a 3 out of 3 in this category.)  Park to ourselves.  (Was feeling like and hopeful to achieve some good quality fam time.)  My youngest daughter headed straight for the climbing structure.  After 5 minutes of intense climbing her first words to me were, “I am a good climber, Mom!  I don’t even have to use 2 hands like other kids.”  And no sooner had her last word left her mouth than her footing slipped and she fell.  Not far.  But right on her bottom.  On the bark chips.  No real injuries other than her pride.  Pride literally came before a fall.

Know it all and got it all versus Modest moment #2-My Wisdom- After much prayer and research, my husband and I had decided where to send our girls to school.  I felt confident.  The peace that surpasses all understanding.  I was good.  to.  go.  I ran into multiple friends who were not in the same place.  They were struggling with the where to?  Why?  What if’s?  Of the school decision.  (Insert the Mighty Mouse music here-“Here I come to save the day!”)   Sure, my motives were pure.  I legitimately felt concerned for their well being.  I desired the best for them and their kids.  I felt humbled to pray with them.  But something beyond my words and actions in these conversations was off.  If I am being honest, I felt pride.  Pride because I had it all together.  Pride because I knew and they didn’t.  Pride in the wisdom I could offer.  Pride in the peace I had.  Little did I know the 180 degrees I would be turning.  The next day.  Lo and behold, we found out the next day that our school tweaked some fairly crucial policies which left me with some intense unfulfilled expectations.  So intense and so unfulfilled that I began to question everything about our previously rock solid school decisions.  And I immediately began to scramble for other options for my kids for school next year.  I didn’t check in with the Lord about it.  Didn’t trust His already given peace.  (Did not “pass GO” or “collect $200” in Monopoly/playing to win for the Kingdom terms.)  In other words, I went from having ALL the pride, peace, and wisdom for my friends to having ALL the stressed out brain aneurisms a person can take.  Or to put it even more simply-I fell.  On my bottom.  In the bark chips.

Know it all and got it all versus Modest moment #3-My prioritising of projects and people- My.  Stuff.  Is.  Important.  What I got going on.  Is. most. important.  (To what you have going on or are doing.)  And I kind of know who or what should take precedence.  At any. given. time.  (Or so I thought.  Before this week.)  My husband had had an interview that day to determine whether he would get a job promotion (this was pretty much his final promotion he could get in his line of work.)  So, fairly big deal.  He had texted me that it had gone well during the day and I gave him a good 5 minutes before dinner to share other thoughts about how things had gone.  (Check.  Good, dutiful wife.  Listened to her husbands thoughts on important interview.)  What was strange is after dinner he kept bringing up more tidbits about the interview and analysing certain elements about it and called me in multiple times to come discuss in the other room.  My multitasking dimension went into full swing.  An “oh really, honey” to my husband, while looking in the fridge and asking my daughter, “now which kind of yogurt did you want for your lunch tomorrow?”  A “Hmmmm…that’s interesting” to my husband, while looking at my phone for the upcoming schedule of activities for this week.  A “well, I’m so proud of you” to my husband while looking in the sink for the next dish to load in the dishwasher.  You see, going back to my initial statements- I prioritise well.  My stuff is most important.  My husband got his time and now other projects needed my time.  Pride.  Pride.  Pride.  But when my husband stopped talking and said in so many words that he felt not respected/heard by me, I saw.  My pride.  And how I had fallen.  A song that had been on the brain all week immediately made an appearance again.  But this time it rooted in a new way into my soul, “My eyes are fixed on You, sovereign Lord, King of glory.”  I saw clearly.  How my eyes were not fixed on God in this moment.  My pride had gotten in the way.  My eyes looked to my priorities for that day.  Hour.  Minute.  If I was in an “eyes on Jesus” mode, I would not have pridefully been eyes fixed on projects.  They would have been on my husband.

Oh Father.  May our eyes be fixed on you today.  May we recognize ALL our giftings, wisdom, good acts are in You and because of You.  It is of nothing we have done.  We thank you for your amazing example of humbling Yourself so much so that you even died for us on a cross.  May we live out our true identities.  In which you speak to us softly the many reasons You love us.  Are proud of us.  Are gifted uniquely.  But also remind us when needed that this world does not revolve around us and our projects and needs.  Thank you for picking us up when we mess up and fall.  Thank you for still loving us the same.  Even when we think we are “all that”.  We confess that you God and we are not.  Your ways are best.  You are on the throne.  You are Lord of ALL.  THAT.  And.  more.  May our eyes be fixed on You.  Today.  And every day.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.  Proverbs 11:2

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Mar 252015
 

To walk in humility.  To consider other’s as better than ourselves.  To have a servant attitude like Christ.  To hold our tongue when we could so let others know we are all that and more!  To lay down the pride was this week’s overall challenge.  And boy did I have opportunities this week to practice “Do not boast” love attribute of 1 Corinthians 13.  

Boasting versus Humility Moment #1-New friend-

Of course the sermon passage this week was Luke 14:11 which says, “he who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Fitting.  Very fitting.  It was obvious the boasting challenge was on.  Throughout the week I found myself operating with a new device/gadget called “The Boasting Checker”.  Meaning, my brain was continually evaluating, “to boast or not to boast, that is the question”. I met someone new at Bible study and as we talked I was cautious.   I asked her a lot of questions.  (This was a safe zone for not boasting about me.)  But then she asked what I did for work-I stated I was the worship pastor at our church.  And then kept going with, “I am also considered lead pastor at our church since we are in a team model and all 5 pastors serve as the senior pastor.”  Immediately I had a check in my spirit.  Went too far with that follow up comment.  Wasn’t necessary and wasn’t living out humility.  I guess my “Boasting Checker” didn’t catch this one.  On the way home from bible study I took a deep breath in. Then out.  Then asked for the Lord to forgive me of my boasting and prideful spirit.  (And I asked Him to fix my “Boasting Checker” gadget to have better luck next time.)

Boasting versus Humility Moment #2-Old friend-

It was Kindergarten round up day and this being the second time we have done this, I was strangely at ease.  Even though we have been unsure about which school to send our girls to in the past, today was not that day.  My husband and I were rock solid with this decision.  Rock solid with peace.  Rock solid in the vast wisdom we could extend to any needing soul.  A got the opportunity to talk with 2 old friends in regards to the half day versus full day/public versus private versus homeschool versus bilingual program options.  I asked God to give me wisdom for each of my friends and show His love to them in this place the challenging place they were in.  And He did.  But somewhere along the boasting continuum, my “rock solid” state I was in turned into a prideful spirit.  My rock solidness looked somewhat like, “I know the best choice, I know it all, I have things really put together” in my mind, heart and am sure overflowed out of my mouth.  (It’s hard to get away from the scripture, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45)  It’s a bummer to recognize even in doing good work for the Kingdom, my pride still comes into play.  And I HAVE to remember that any GOOD done for someone is not because of ME.  Alone, I can do NOTHING.  It is ALWAYS the Spirit at work in me which produces spiritual fruit.  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

Boasting versus Humility Moment #3-God talk-

As I ran with the Lord I asked Him what was at the root of my struggle to boast.  Boast.  Boast.  And boast some more.  Am I so lacking.  Deficient.  Insecure that I must compensate by talking myself up?  I believe He responded to my question by directing my thoughts to the NOT portions of the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13.  He whispered to my soul that all the “DO NOT’s” in the chapter stem from a deeper lie that we carry.  And ironically, it is an “I AM NOT/I HAVE NOT” deep lie, that moves us to participate in the surface issue of boasting, or envy or other DO NOT statements of the love chapter.  We take control of the building ourselves up instead of trusting THE BUILDER (maker of us) to do this work.  For example, when I believe the lie that I am NOT enough-I take control.  I don’t trust God.  And I boast to others that I AM enough.  Or when I believe the lie that I must have more clothes, toys for my kids, newer cars, or a better tv or house to be happy/successful in our culture, saying I do NOT have enough-I take control.  I don’t trust God (to provide/give abundant life).  And I compare what I have to what others have and I get jealous/have envy when they have more (success, material things) than I do.  When we start to have the “I AM/HAVE NOT” untrue statements going through our minds, we must go to God to “renew our mind with I AM” true statements from His Word-we go to the Great I Am for our “I AM” statements.  Here are some I hold to today:

I am a child of the King.  I am created perfectly by the Potter.  I am intended to bring Him glory.  I am valued highly.  I am destined for a great purpose.  I am weak, but in Him I am strong.  I am dead to sin but alive in Jesus.  I am forgiven.  I am free.

Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God or am I trying to please men?  If I were trying to please men I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Galatians 6:14a

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or a cheap desire to boast. But be humble towards one another, always considering others as better than yourselves. Phil 2:3-4

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Mar 232015
 
Since I have been primarily focusing on the current love attribute for the week, I haven’t thought much about what was the one coming up next.  But as I sit to write about this #5 attribute of “not being proud”, I have to chuckle to myself.  One of the scripture’s I kept hearing over and over in my mind yesterday was “and all your righteousness acts are like filthy rags” ( Isaiah 64:6b).  Fairly fitting.  Timely.  For dealing with this “arrogant and proud” week.  

Our #5 1 Corinthians 13 “Love it up” attribute this week is:  “LOVE IS NOT PROUD”.

Webster’s defines the word, “Proud or prideful”, for us:
  • having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.
  • having or displaying feelings of scorn for what is regarded as beneath oneself.
Friends, here are some like minded words for “proud/prideful”, to further expand our mission this week (In other words these are the DO NOT do’s for this week):.

conceited, egotistic, cool, high and mighty, lordly, lofty,  vain, self important, puffed up, presumptuous,  

know it all, domineering, superior
And to follow up with some words opposite to being prideful (which is what we want to be-in other words DO these this week!):
humblelowlymodest, submissive, compliant, yielding

Of all the like minded words of “prideful”, the words, “know it all and superior”, were highlighted in my spirit.  Questions which beg for difficult answers are, “Do I respond to criticism and someone telling me I have hurt them in some way with the attitude of, ‘Well, I only responded in that way because of…..’?”  “Has blaming others become habit?”  Bottom line being I am right.  I know what’s what.  And it is always someone else’s problem.  Hmmmm.  Not fun questions to ponder over coffee and scones.

Of all the opposites to “proud or prideful”, the word “modest” jumped out to me.  Our last week’s attribute, “to not boast”, is so similar to this week’s attribute.  Many of the opposite words like “humility” are the same, as well as the like minded words.  But while “boasting” requires an outward change, the prideful spirit is requiring an inward change.  A mindset change. A changing work of the Spirit.  To be modest and humble in heart is our goal.

I am already convicted with this love attribute of pride.  I am convicted about the good things I am doing in response to God’s Word and His Spirit’s leading.  Not because what I’m doing is wrong, but my heart behind my obedience is off.  We should be obedient to God and His Word.  But we shouldn’t have a prideful, “wow, I’ve got this Christian thing down” heart attitude when we do.  I am reminded again that nothing I do makes me righteous.  It is only Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross which makes me righteous before God.  And I know this.  But sometimes.  Okay maybe more times than I would like.  I forget.

So this week does not seem to involve any outward actions on my part.  The pride battle within ourselves unfortunately is much of what Jesus was so frustrated with the Pharisee’s about.  But Jesus knew the ticket to removing pride:

Get. Over. Yourself.  And Get. Under. God.

Quotes/Verses to say NO to the prideful spirit this week:

  • Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.  It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly Than to divide the spoil with the proud.…Proverbs 16:18-19
  • Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Philippians 2:3
  • “As long as you are proud you cannot know God.  A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.” C.S. Lewis
  • “All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.”  Sophocles
  • “It is better to lose your pride with someone you love rather than to lose that someone you love with your useless pride.”  John Ruskin
  • “Through pride we are ever deceiving ourselves. But deep down below the surface of the average conscience a still, small voice says to us, something is out of tune. ” C.G. Jung

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 012013
 

HAVE YOU EVER VISITED A NEW CHURCH AND CAN’T SEEM TO BLEND IN?  You feel completely clueless as to what is and isn’t acceptable.  You are hesitant and awkward as you sing, greet the person next to you, and heaven forbid it is Communion Sunday.  It feels as though everyone is staring.  At you.  Constantly.

This has been my reality on multiple occasions.  Every time it is the same story.  I have now just come to grips with my inability to “fake it”.

We were attending my nephew’s baby dedication.  We had never visited their church before.  (You may sense the foreshadowing.)  And yes.  Luckily.  It was Communion Sunday.

I meticulously watched how to “do communion”.

IT WAS A FOUR STEP PROCESS:

  1. Go up front and take a piece of bread from server #1
  2. Dip the bread into the cup of juice from server #2
  3. Quickly eat the soaked bread (so as not to get drips on the church attire)
  4. Calmly and quietly go back to your seat

Straight forward, no sweat.  “I could do this Communion process in my sleep,” I thought to myself.  Waiting in line for my turn something caught my eye up ahead.  I noticed a tragedy.

Someone sunk their bread in the cup.  Alert the elders!  The whole scene brought a sick smile to my face.  In fact I even leaned over to my husband to clue him in.

Yes.  I judged. “How could the person have been so clumsy?  It’s not rocket science to dip a piece of bread into the cup.”

It was my turn.  And would you believe it?  I sunk my bread too.  Classic example of pride coming before a fall.  I hung my head in shame.

Why do I judge others so quickly?  My first response should be grace and mercy.  It’s what Jesus did and does for me.  “Mercy always triumphs judgement”.

It’s possible my new mission should be to start a support group for us “all thumbs communion dippers”.  Come on, I know you’re out there!  We would practice, practice, practice and then…who are the expert dippers now?  They say your greatest area of ministry is the place where your biggest life lessons have been, right?

This embaressing moment actually helped me see my legalistic, self-righteous mindset at times.  How often do I look down on someone for what they did or didn’t do “right”?

Even if I don’t say anything, I think it.  I am thankful for moments like these that humble me.  Lately it seems these teachable moments are not so few and far between.  They are every day.

Lord give me humility.  Forgive me of my self righteous attitude.  Help me see others as better than myself.  Give me grace and charity for my brothers and sister’s in Christ who think, act, or worship differently than I do.

Matthew 7:1-2 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Is there a specific brother or sister in Christ you look down upon?  Are you willing to humble yourself, forgive, and make peace if necessary?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 292013
 

I HAD A LOWER BACK INJURY FOR THE PAST COUPLE WEEKS.  IT DEFINITELY PUT A CRAMP IN MY RUNNING STYLE.  When I started having intense pain, everyone said I must stop the regular routine of being a “do-er” for it to heal.

It was only after the injury I realized how much improper bending and lifting filled my day.  How my street running could be taking a toll on my body.  How bath time, cleaning up time, park time, grocery shopping time all strongly rely upon using my back.

I had to humble myself to ask for help.  Over and over again.  To lift a tiny basket of laundry.  To put my girls in the swing.  To bring in the groceries.  To take out the garbage.  To carry a bag up the stairs.

I hated saying multiple no’s to lifting up my girls for a snuggle.  I wouldn’t dare say it aloud.  But I was thinking it:  I am not getting old!

It was a challenge to know when to start running again.   I was desperate to have it back in my schedule, because running “fills me up” to be a better mom, wife and joy filled woman.  My back wasn’t hurting for a day.  I thought I was ready for the run.

I didn’t want to tell my husband of my plans to begin running again because I could see the future.  He would say it was too soon.  Unfortunately he put two and two together when he saw me.  In my running gear.

My Husband:  You aren’t planning on going running today are you?

Me:  Oh.  Well.  Yea I was.

My Husband:  You know you could injure your back permanently or make it much worse if you don’t take time to let it heal completely.

Me: Uh huh.

My Husband:  You can do what you want, but I don’t think it is wise for you to go for a run.

Me:  Uh huh.  (Looking down.  Sad face.)

I was frustrated with my husband.  I was tired of living with this hurt.  Someone was to blame.

As time passed, I calmed down from my disappointment and recognized it wasn’t that my husband was enjoying depriving me of something I loved.  My injury was not his fault.  And his saying “no” was actually a reflection of his immense love and care for me.

Just like my husband was looking out for my best interest, so our God is looking out for our good.  But just like I didn’t like to hear “no” from my husband, I don’t like to hear “no” from God either.

Me:  Why aren’t you taking away this struggle Lord?  You know the desires of my heart, why am I still unsatisfied?  Why can’t things go back to normal?  My patience is all used up.
God:  Remember my unfailing love for you.  Remember I am here beside you to comfort and help you.  It pains me to see you hurt.  I know it is difficult when I answer “no”.  When you don’t understand why this is happening.  When you can’t see the future.  Trust me.  My plan for you is good.  Nothing in your life will be wasted.

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future.”  Jer 29:11

Are you a friend that tells another friend if they are doing something that is detrimental to their overall health?  Are you willing to hear a “no” from the Lord and trust He has your best interest at heart?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 252012
 

For years I have felt compelled to pray the strange prayer that my sons would be prodigals instead of elder brothers.

Rather than knowing only their own pride, performance and striving after perfection, I want them to know deeply their need for God, and the thrill of mercy flooding all their inadequate places.

But seeing those inadequate places is hard to bear.

One of my life mentors has a strong, extroverted personality and isn’t afraid to be blunt and sometimes confrontational. This can be an incredibly valuable quality, yet his wife and I joke that when Mark sins, he sins boldly!

The same is true for my oldest son Michael, who I’m beginning to understand in some new ways this year. When Michael sins, he sins boldly. When he’s struggling, his inadequacies are out there for everyone to see. He can’t hide his fire, and when it comes out in an unrefined way, it makes me cringe. It’s hot and uncomfortable.

Yet these are the moments when my prayer is being answered. Because until inadequacies are truly exposed, there can be no deep experience of God’s mercy.

I think of myself as a pretty authentic person, but it’s easier to let my weaknesses be seen after I’ve processed and cleaned them up. Then when I share about them, I come off as self-aware and mature.

I don’t want my deepest inadequacies to be seen live, the ones that would really make you cringe. Like the day after Michael got home from a week of overnight camp when I yelled at him, “Why are you so hard to live with?”

“Then the Lord said to her, ‘You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish but inside you are filthy.’” (Luke 11:39)

As hard as it is for me to see (and know others are seeing) Michael’s emotional outbursts and 10-year-old bravado, it’s dawning on me that he is a model for me of transparency. His fire burns away any false, superficial exterior so that what is on the inside

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can be seen on the outside.

With Michael what you see is what you get. It’s real, it’s live, it’s in the moment—not shared later with wise overtones.

As we keep refining, I keep reminding myself that my kids’ reckless prodigal moments (and mine!) are an opportunity for an experience of mercy—every time. And I would much prefer this to

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a life of seeming maturity on our outsides while judgment, resentment, and pride are building on our insides.

For it is not prideful striving or covering up that will get us a clean cup in the end. It is being seen at our worst by a Father who hikes up his robes and comes running in response. It is mercy flooding our filthy places.

How do you help your kids experience mercy when they are at their worst?

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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