Sep 052017
 

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit John 15:5a

Saw a random tomato plant on my run this morning.  And, “What makes a tomato plant random?”, you may be contemplating to yourself.  Well then, my friends, thanks for thinking this one through a little when you could be doing something else way more productive, and I will try not to let you inquiring, throwing me a bone, minds down in my upcoming answer.  And here it is in one word folks, “location”.

Let me dive a little deeper (mainly because I struggle NOT to go here) by giving you a little history about me and pretty much my most dreaded, hand shakes when I even write it, word, horticulture.  Now, those of you who know me well (or actually have just seen me anywhere casually outdoors), understand my talent to know exactly what any living green would not want, and then do just that.  So, truly, even discussing how or why or when of a tomato plant is well beyond me, but “here I am nonethless” (the phrase I also say more than not as I follow Jesus).  So now that you understand my qualifications to enter into this conversation, I am sure your self-confidence will only be strengthened as you read on.

Back to the random location of this tomato plant.  I would expect a typical tomato plant to be located amidst other tended-to veggies in a backyard  (Oh, how I dream of the veggies that could have thrived with most anyone else in my backyard boxed beds my father-in-law built for me). Or perhaps next to 100’s of other look alike tomato plants where a farmer raises a massive harvest for the community to enjoy. But no, this tomato plant was in an environment where it was “not like the others”.  Outnumbered big time.  Amidst wild flowers, weeds, and in a cement island in the middle of the street (no like minded veggie peeps insight).

But it was not these aspects which made me do a double take on my run.  No, it was in fact the reality that this tomato plant was THRIVING.  The color of its red beauties and abundant vines of green being presented to all who came near was magnificent.   It was bearing fruit and blooming where it was planted.  And the random location afterthought only made it more beautifully strong to me as I considered the obstacles it must have had to overcome to thrive in such a challenging environment.

If you will go with me, lets take this rising veggie to a deeper, spiritual place (and once again, I have to go here people!  Sorry!)  I wonder if you currently feel you are in a random/out of your comfort zone location right now-in a neighborhood, job, church, school, family, city in which you feel like our tomato plant friend, “out of place”.   Maybe you are feeling alone without some good friends to confide in, or feeling unequipped to handle the children God has placed in your care, or are in a school where everyone else seems to have turned down Harvard to be here, or can’t seem to do “the right thing” to save your life in your job, or are having difficulty loving your family, or are out of your comfort zone as you step out in a faith centered ministry.  Well, if this is you, let me give you a word from our loving Father today, “Hope is on the horizon”.  You are where you are for a purpose, His purpose.  Your past or present failures do not define who you are, your circumstances do not dictate your attitude and your looking to relationships to expose your spiritual giftings will only lead to discouragement.  Bloom where you are planted my friend.  Thrive in this unexpected place God has planted you in.  And find hope todayas we fix our eyes on Jesus- gaining His perspective through His living Word, thanking Him for some of the “overlooked blessings” we currently have, and stepping in faith filled courage by His Spirit to love Him and love others.

So when you see some excellently thriving veggies in this season, remember, it is not random where God has you working, living, ministering in this season.  Root and ground yourself in the love of Jesus, for you, today.  And in His purpose for you:  to THRIVE where your planted.  And do not loose heart as you maneuver this challenging environment in your own, unique sort of way.  God made you beautiful to thrive-because Kingdom fruit happens when we are connect to the Vine Jesus.  Here is my prayer for you, my sister:

I pray that out of the riches of His glory, He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love… Eph 3:16-18

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 292017
 
Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love Eph 4:2
It all started with my season of “being the chair”.
To sum it up, this lovely season was about me being humbled and waiting.  It was about the “not yets” in regards to my God given dream of speaking to women.  But really, I am not seeking pity, my friends.   I had come to terms with truth- it was not God’s timing for this specific dream to take flight – I must trust Him in my now.
But you see their was still a problem-Even though I was “good to go” emotionally and mentally speaking, I felt my current purpose in this season was not “good to go”.  In fact it was all systems stop.  I felt tied down physically and spiritually.  I was getting antsy people!  I mean, I was waiting on this God given dream, sure, but were my God given giftings/passions simply on hold in the meantime?  Was my adventure rollercoaster ride as a Kingdom worker out of order?
I began to delve into my deep inner psychiatrist (and this is usually where things can go wonky real quick).  I began to ponder if this was all God had for me in the now….to just be still.  To just wait.  Anyone with me?  Because this felt fairly ineffective for the kingdom….and even as we know “patience is a virtue and those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength”, I had to ask God if there was more to this waiting thing….then just waiting.
So I did.  On one of my morning “runs of bliss” (picture a Snow White scene with the birds chirping, sun shining, in addition to children at home) I point blank asked God, “I feel I have no purpose as I wait, is there anything I can do as I wait on You?”  And it was impressed upon my mind and heart in this moment as I believe the Spirit responded to my cry by saying, ” Seasons of waiting are always coupled with seasons of loving”.  Then the scripture “Bear with one another in love” came to mind and I pictured myself again as “the chair”.  A chair is still, yes, waiting, but a chair holds others up as it is still.  A chairs job description is to bear the weight of the person sitting on it.  Likewise, when we are “the chair” spiritually in a waiting season, our job description is to “bear the weight” of another’s pains, trials, questions, concerns, fears, and tears.  And do you know what words proceed this job to bear in love-you got it, be humble and patient.  The season of being the chair involves patience, waiting and humility-all still, inactive characteristics, but they are coupled with the action word to love.  This was a comfort to me-we are called to take action in love in our seasons of being “being the chair”.
God allowed me to flashback to a painful “being the chair” season of 4 and a half years of waiting for our first baby.  I remember being real tiffed with God at His lack of ability to produce in what seemed to be everyone else but me!  I also recall the need to shift perspective.  Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have (and in the meantime being real ineffective for the Kingdom/His “now plans” for me), God gave me purpose and the action of loving those who were right in front of me.  And oh how in this “season of being the chair” I had the privilege to love on one who we now call our “adopted daughter”.  Time while we waited for our own biological daughter, meant time we were instead to be loving another of God’s children.  Now fast forward 9 years (a month ago) as I cried at our “adopted daughter’s” wedding and sent her off to start a new life with an amazing man of God.
So if you are in a “season of being the chair” never think all this waiting and being humbled and being patient is for not.  God.  Is.  At.  Work.  In.  You.  And your work you are called to take action in is one word:  Love.  Find hope that “He who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion” Phil 1:6.  Find joy in your current purpose to love those you rub shoulders with today.  And do the impossible with Jesus-be active in your season of waiting.
Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 082017
 

Hey my friends,

To be completely cliche, but know I am genuine-hope you had a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  I am slowly getting back into the new groove.  Making some needed changes-for example, GOING. TO. WORKOUT.  I know this is not a new discipline to strive for in January, but once again, seriously genuine about getting my body a movin!  I wonder as you look over your 2016, what stands out to you as some old and “not so lifegiving areas” which were not workin for ya.  And then as you are “out with the old”, what new spiritual, personal health and wholeness, or areas as a mother/wife/friend/worker you can discipline yourself to in 2017?  Now is your time to shine.  His mercies are new every morning and there is hope.  for.  you.  today.

So 2 options to consider for this January 2017-get in God’s Word more and get your body moving more.  If these 2 are resonating with your Spirit but you wonder, but how.  can.  I.  fit.  this.  in my already busy, I’ve got your back my sister’s!

Check out this free 6 week women’s video devotional series, starting Monday, January 30thWOW Hour: Where Waking Up Early Is Lifegiving!  Start out 2017 with a new lifegiving habit;  6 weeks of inspiring stories to encourage and hold you and/or you and a group of friend’s accountable to be in God’s Word and exercise!  Prioritize your wholeness and health as this program will bring you peace for your mind, body and Spirit- you’ve got a couple weeks to get a friend or two to join you on this journey.  Praying for you. to. rock. this.  I will be joining you so you will not be alone!!

And below here are some of my favorite bible study methods and workouts which you can incorporate with WOW Hour or just do on your own!  Just so you know….i am praying. for. you.  So get goin’ with Jesus in 2017, you.  will.  not.  regret.  it.  Look out for the life of enjoyment and purpose you’ve got in store with a Father who we get ALL good gifts from!

I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it … I have come in order that you might have life—life in all its fullness.  John 10:10

4 OPTIONAL BIBLE STUDY METHODS

  1. Dear Father, Dear Daughter MethodThis journaling method is how I structured my book, “Sing Over Me: A Women’s Devotional through the Psalms.” It is us, His daughter’s, writing to our heavenly Father, and then listening to hear what He says through His Word and Spirit to apply to our lives.
  • Pray, read (in God’s Word), then write to God. Then see if there is anything troubling your heart or mind.  Write about this to God.  As you write, be transparent.  Ask God questions about the specific situation.  Always end with what you need from God in this particular situation and the truths you know about Him and His Word.

 

  • Be still and ask God to speak. Then write down His promises- “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening” 1 Sam 3:10b  Make sure you are away from distractions and loud sounds in order to quiet your heart and mind before God.  Listen until you have wisdom, an impression, a picture, a verse, or overall peace about what you just wrote to God.  Write down any scripture and/or impressions you receive during this time of listening.  Do not be discouraged if you do not seem to hear anything, God loves to spend time with us in the stillness and He refreshes our heart, mind and Spirit when we are obedient to spend time with Him-even if we aren’t aware of it.  Write down promises and encouragement you found from God’s true, living Word.  Continue to sit in silence and practice the discipline of waiting to hear from the Lord.  Persevere in this discipline of listening to God.  I know I find it extremely difficult in our busy culture to drown out the noise of my own mind, but even more reason for us do as God tells us, “Be still and know that I am God” ps 46:10.
  1. Free Flowing Method
  • Pray for God to speak to you as you read a passage from His living Word (Heb 4:12).
  • Get on your computer or grab a notebook and pen and write what comes to mind! The key is not what we write about, but that what we say is honest and from the heart.  God desires to meet us right where we are, not where we feel we should be or want to be.  He wants true intimacy with us.  Just like there is no right or wrong way to talk with God, there is also no right or wrong way to write to Him.  We can simply tell Him what is on our heart.  If we are concerned about a particular relationship, we should write about it.  If we need to ask Him for forgiveness, we can write down our apology.  If we are excited about an answered prayer, we can express our gratitude.  If a particular scripture is resonating with us, we can expand on it and dig deeper in order to apply it to our current situation.  God has made us all unique, so use your own creativity and style as you write to Him!
  1. A.C.T MethodSome of us need a structured format or plan when starting a new habit. I am similar. I thrive under others’ good ideas for how to do things!  First pray for God to speak to you and read from God’s Word, then:
  • Ask- Write down your prayer requests, God says “Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest” (Mt 11:28).
  • Confess-Your sin, repent and turn to God for His refreshment and peace (Acts 3:19).
  • Thanksgiving-To God for specific ways He has blessed you, for what He has done for you, or simply for His character traits; write down your gratitude for our Father who is the giver of ALL good gifts in this life and the eternal life to come (James 1:17) .
  1. S.O.A.P Method – S.O.A.P stands for Scripture, Observation, Application and Prayer. Each S.O.A.P. entry can be one sentence, or it could be pages and pages of thoughtful note taking. Each day will be different as you move through digging deeper into God’s Word.
  • Scripture-After reading a chapter(s) from the Bible, write down the verse(s) which “the Spirit highlighted”/resonated/you had a pull to read over again
  • Observation-Write down what you observed or what truth stuck out to you in these scriptures.
  • Application- Think on how you can apply the verse(s) to your day, week, life, etc. and write about this.
  • Pray-Write out a prayer to God based on how your mind/heart was renewed to God’s ways instead of your prior ways of thinking/acting and ask Him to help you apply this truth in your life.  

30 MINUTE WORKOUT OPTIONS:

  1. Sign up for and train for a race (running or walking): If you are signing up for a 5K,8K,10K, or half marathon race the Hal Higdon training plans were what I used and found helpful in my training:  http://www.halhigdon.com/training/51137/Marathon-Novice-1-Training-Program
  2. Do a workout DVD with the exercise of your choice-pilates, step, yoga, dance, boxing, Zumba, ect.
  3. Do a YouTube workout with your favorite trainer
  4. Walk the hills in a nearby neighborhood
  5. Do a Daily Burn or some other Workout program App on the computer/Ipad/phone
  6. Do a workout class at the gym
  7. Swim laps at a local swimming pool
  8. Go on a bike ride (on a stationary bike or outdoors)
  9. Lift weights combined with a step machine, tredmill or sedimentary workout machine at gym or home
  10. Dance in your living room to your favorite 7 songs

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jun 212016
 

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:10

“Come,” said Jesus. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water, and came toward Jesus.  Matthew 14:30

His peace in fear is real.  His protection in fear is love.  And His purposed life in spite of fear is radical.

Reality is I am is a city girl.  Who wants to be a country girl.  And this fact is highlighted when visiting my inlaws beautiful country home.  You see me in the country is like a kid in a candy store.  I am in awe of the beauty around me and all thinking goes out the window, only acting upon this passion.  I am pretty much afraid of all animals, and there are pretty much a bounty of “free roaming” animals in the country, but God’s treed countryside beckons me and all I want to do is get in it.  My love for bugs and snakes are also in the same above category and these creepy crawlies will find you at my in laws house, and yet this fact doesn’t stop me nature heart either.  The common occurrences of prickly berry bushes and poison oak are not familiar phrases to my ears, and it’s obvious my city girl radar is nonexistent as I romp through the green.  I am unable to function real well in the country, but I keep comin back.  Because I heart nature.  And I can’t stop myself from gettin me some.

During our last visit to my in law’s,  I “got me some” as I set out on a nature run.  And I had an experience like none other.  I now know what it feels like NOT to be protected.  And it’s not a good place to be.  Let me share with you the 2 moments which made my life flash before my eyes.  It involves 2 dogs and 2 Sarah’s.

I set out on a run at my in law’s house in the country.  And I tried be smarter than before.  Other times I ran into, literally, 2 large dogs at their neighbor’s house down the road and thankfully the attacker’s were called off, but just in the nick of time.  This time my mother in law suggested I drive past the “dog house” and park down the road a ways and then run.  Genious.  I thanked her for her brain and said, “thank goodness it will be a dog free run this time.”  And I spoke too soon as usual.

About halfway beyond the “No dog zone”, a dog approached.  Actually to be specific a German Shepherd came bounding towards me in a full sprint.  In the split second I guarded myself.  With what I was holding in my hand.  My cell phone.  Which amazingly proved to be not a weapon and not helpful.  Pretty sure my heart hasn’t done that kind of rhythm before.  My fear left me at a standstill.  (Which I believe is actually a good thing based on my memory of 3rd grade dog etiquette facts.)  And then I saw people.  Oh the hope which filled my soul.  The owners voiced the command which may as well been directly from heaven, “No boy!  Come!!”  The dog was protecting his peeps instictively.  But thankfully he was obedient to their commands.  Meaning no ER run for me.

But the craziest thing emerged from this fear filled moment.  I found purpose.  God given purpose.  For me to live out the “good works God had ordained for me before I was born”.  A life giving conversation happened.

His peace in fear is real.  His protection in fear is love.  And His purposed life in spite of fear is radical.

Owner Sarah and I talked for about 20 minutes about the rough.  Of being a mom, wife, and worker.  The school which wouldn’t quit.  The mothering of 3 girls (not a coincidence I found myself in that same 3 girl zone.).  The husband working graveyard.  But by the grace of God I got to speak some Father’s love into Sarah this day.  In her busyness and lack of energy her inability to get back to church was real.  I felt a Spirit’s nudge to ask her about the church my in law’s go to.  Come to find out she went there with her girls years ago.  I told her I would be praying for her to go back and I believed God’s love for her and her family meant he wanted to do 3 things for her in her stepping out in this act of faith-1-extend her time to get all her school work done even though they spent time going to church 2-energize her and fill her up instead of drain her by taking all kids without their dad on her own.  3-Find a support network of family to love on her during this challenging season.  It was raw, real, and purposed.

You may feel too sorry for me if I shared I got chased down by another dog only moments later.  So I won’t tell you about that.  And you may get too excited about the “non coincidence purposes of God” if I told you I had another life giving conversation with another Sarah owner of this dog as well.  So I won’t tell you about that.  But I will tell you this.  2 dogs taught me fear happens in our day to day, but it is what we do with it that matters.  2 Sarahs taught me if we fix our eyes on Jesus through the fear (just like Peter could walk on water by fixing His eyes on Jesus) we will have miracle moments.  I wonder what fear may be on your heart today.  What “dog” is chasing you down and you think you can’t escape?  Do one thing.  Fix your eyes on Jesus.  Let Him protect you from the “dog fear” in His amazing love (I can guarantee He has more than a cell phone defense at His arsanal.)  And then do one more thing.  Watch for an opportunity.  To live out your Spirit given gifts of leadership, serving others, encouraging others, giving to others, showing mercy or empathy to others.

Key word here is “Others”.  My “others” were “Sarah’s”.  Your “others” may be your son or daughter or husband or co worker or child care giver.  Jesus has your “Sarah’s” for you to minister to today.  So fix your eyes on Jesus today instead of the waves of fear or “fear dogs” which are chasing you.   Do this, so you can “walk on water”, doing “non coincidance” things today and ultimately fulfill your purpose.  Trust me.  You WILL find true life and your identity as you act upon these “good works” He already thought about before you were born!

His peace in fear is real.  His protection in fear is love.  And His purposed life in spite of fear is radical.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Feb 022015
 

When it comes to food, I am all about the new.  Trying various online recipe’s for dinner, a friends’ raved about dessert for small group, and always ordering the “special” at a given restaurant is what.  I.  do.

My husband, on the other hand, sticks with his tried and true Chicken Marsala at Olive Garden, cookies and cream icecream flavor, and Papa Murphy’s Cowboy pizza.  I am pretty sure my food mantra is, “If you try it, you might like it” and his is something like, “If you try it, you might hate it” (not literally of course).

But for some reason, my try the new mindset does not transfer to other areas of my life so easily.  For instance, I have my regular running route I have used for years.  I know the distance.  I know the houses along the way.  I know how long before an uphill.  And how long before the desired downhill.  So to suggest trying a new flavor of path is to welcome radical living in my small world.

But today was a new day.  A day of embracing the extreme living.  A day of throwing caution to the wind.  A day where predictability was a past time.  It was the day to run a fresh, green, unknown, untried running route.  (And at this point the majority of you are saying, “She needs to get out more.”  And as I write this, I would absolutely agree with you.)

It was one of those strange fall day’s in Oregon in which the sun was shining.  My mother and father in law came to watch my youngest, and with my meeting being unexpectedly cancelled, the couple hours to myself was wide open.  A run with the Lord seemed like about the best thing I could think to do.  (I had slipped into my non running mode during these cold, wet days and it was time to pick it back up again.)  And it was.

Something in me called to go a different path.  Risk a little.  Try the new.  “Now, new food I can do”, I thought to myself, “New running path, this seems just a little too out there for me.”  But the wild hair inside me wouldn’t let up and I felt my shoes veer the opposite direction.  Of normal.  Expected.  And comfortable.

The path was rocky.  As opposed to my typical smooth concrete.  I ran through an orchard of tree’s.  My eyes were highlighting landscape all around me.  All was well.  Until my worry train brain joined the party.

I wondered where this path lead.  Would I get lost?  Would I get too far out and be too exhausted to finish the run back?  Would there be a lot of traffic?  Would the uphill’s out number the down?  Would the path take me to a scary section of town?  My mind was running faster than my feet were.

Just as I started to pray to calm my inner crazy, a dog from off in the distance was running full speed at me.  And barking.  Loudly.  And continually.  The inner crazy was back.

I stopped running to see if that would make a difference with the animal.  No.  I walked.  Still coming full speed.  I looked around to see if there were any houses, other paths to escape to.  No such luck.  I thought to myself, “Mace is always a good idea to bring on a run.”  But of course I didn’t have that great thought beforehand and it definitely didn’t help my current situation one bit.

Somewhere in all the trying and failing and scared for my life feelings, I prayed that God would help me.  Then I just kept running, the only thing that was left to do.  And praise God.  After what seemed to be the longest 3 minutes of my life, the dog turned around and went back to wherever he had come from.  Didn’t care where or why.  Just breathed in and out and felt real thankful.

This journey on the new road wasn’t over.  There is more of this story to tell.  But I took one thing away from this first section of the new path-true living is embracing the new.  In all its rocks.  Discomforts.  Questions.  Doubts.  Scares.  And humility.  In all its maneuvering of sights, sounds, smells, tastes and people.  Anticipation of what’s up ahead.  Highs of overcoming challenges.  Joys of brilliant God ordained moments.  Our God beckons us to take His hand and walk with Him on the new path He has for us in this current season.  The question is, will we?

What new person(s), project, ministry, job, attitude, perspective, or way is God calling you to this season?  If you don’t know, will you take some time to talk with Him/ask Him?

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? 

Isaiah 43:19

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 272013
 

THIS WEEK HAS BEEN MY GIRLS’ (LUCY IS 4 YEARS AND SADIE IS 2 YEARS) FIRST GO AT SWIMMING LESSONS.  LORD HELP US ALL!

I had forgotten the hard work and bravery learning to swim demands. I also didn’t anticipate the clenching-the-chair terror that comes from being a mother watching your child learn to swim.

Yesterday at the swim lesson, with a little song of “Ring Around the Rosie”, Sadie put her head all the way under the water!  And she came up with all smiles.

I let a deep breath in.  And then slowly out.

Next, it was Lucy’s turn.  Her face was shear terror, knowing what would be asked of her.  She stepped as close to the wall as she could without getting out of the pool.

The teacher’s arms reached out to her.  She shook her head and said, “I don’t want to do that!” about 10 times.

The teacher tried numerous tactics: comforting words, children’s songs, and various games.  All failed.  The last resort was used.  The force job.  The teacher grabbed Lucy’s kicking and crying body and put her under.

I’m pretty sure I scraped some of the plastic off my chair from anxiety.

But then the miracle happened.  When Lucy came up out of the water, she had the biggest smile on her face.  She had done it.  She had braved the unknown. She had conquered her fear. And there was pure joy in it.

Over the past couple years I have felt like my girls.  Like I am learning to swim for the first time.

I have been saying yes to God’s work and it has involved much new territory: running, writing, starting this blog, speaking, and leading women’s retreat worship.

All new.  All hard work.  All about learning.  All about conquering fears.  And in response to the Spirit’s voice I said as Lucy said, “I don’t want to do that!”  I went “under water” kicking and screaming.

But through this, I have found more joy and purpose than I have ever known before.  I wouldn’t live life any other way.

The Lord has brought me strength and comfort in each of these scary steps of faith with the scripture, “Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.” Zec. 4:6

You see, we serve a God who is constantly at work and is always doing something new.

I wonder what new things He is doing in your life?  New relationships, new ministry, new habit of reading His Word daily or talking with Him in prayer daily.

Isa 43:18-19 says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?”

The question is, are we taking regular time alone with God in order to listen to Him?  Can He get our attention amidst our busyness?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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