Jun 152016
 

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!  Luke 11:13

Love never loses faith; 1 Corinthians 13:7a

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  Luke 11:9

So I slowly.  Ever so slowly people-  Put on my favorite stretchy pants, shirt and running shoes this morning, and practically fell out the door.  My pace could hardly be called “running” (or even jogging to be fare) due to my extreme grogginess.  (Alright.  It also may have been due to the fact my “haven’t disciplined myself to work out body” was telling me “no” when I tried to “go”.)

As I ran, the dream I had been having when the brutal wake up happened was recalled to my memory.  It’s ironic because I cannot remember the last time I remembered a dream.  And it was even more rare because it seemed to be a spiritual dream, involving a reocurring scripture verse and sister in Christ.

I felt a Spirit nudge to text this individual about this scripture and dream.  (God has to make things clear to me and I don’t believe in coincidences-I believe in God ordained/Spirit prompted occurrences.)  How you ask?  Well, let me share.  First, I remembered the dream and it involved scripture (miracle of rememberings mixed with Truth).  And next, the first reminder on my phone from Facebook said this individual’s name with the phrase, “Let her know” attached to it.  Our God works through mysterious ways my friends.  And yes, (in spite of all the Facebook drama) even through Facebook!

The texting to my friend was my first order of business on my run (gotta love the voice command feature, however people may have given me the “you are weird” look more than once).  And then I got to thank my God for His goodness to me.  I thanked God specifically for “no rain on the run” (since the reality of the downpoor was imminent due to the wet all around me/clouds all above me and I hate running in the rain-and even more running in the rain with my dog)  I also prayed for friends and family who were on my heart.

But then I asked my Father to “speak for your child is listening” (in an effort to listen to God rather than continue my laundry list of needs and agenda) and a strange feeling came over me.  Warning-I am heading into the transparent zone so beware the upcoming statement people!  If I am being truly honest with myself, I was dealing with som yucky.  Heart issue stuff.   And yes lets call it out.  Jealousy.

I was wishing that dream I had for my friend had been for me.  I was wanting my Father God to have a Word for me.  I was needing some tangible love from Him.  Just.  For.  Me-What.  About.  Me.  (And as I write this I recognize fully I have written the word “Me” fulfilling the writing quota for the year.  Ouch.)  But this was the real of where my heart sat.

I wish my response to God’s love for another would have been different.  Selfless maybe.  Joyful and glad.  Other’s focused.  And many times I genuinely do “rejoice with those who rejoice”.  But not this time.  My faith in His constant love for me appeared nonexistent in this moment.

Having finished my run on a down note I walked in my front door, headed straight to the back door to let the dog out, and IMMEDIATELY it started to rain.  And IMMEDIATELY my heart fluttered a little as I received this good, love gift from my Father.  You would think being an Oregon girl that rain wouldn’t get to me so much, but God knows I cannot stand the wet, dreary rain run.  (And especially when the wet dog would be a reality as well.)  Now, once again this coincidance situation is back on the table.  Could it be coincidance that the rain started up right after I stepped inside and was needing to recognize some “Father love” to me? Not with the way I roll.

I may not have felt the rain, but I felt the love of the Father rain down on me this morning.  (He’s got enough to go around people!)  His love is deep.  Wide.  Long.  And doesn’t quit.  Not ever.

 May I never doubt this love rain which downpours for me.  For you.  Forever.  And may we testify to the love the Father has for us.  Because when it rains.  It pours.  

Consider what situation you are currently in and need some “Rain love” from the Father.  Would you ask Him to make you aware of His close presence and love for you?

What are you in need of?  Are you in financial need?  Physical strength?  Wisdom?  Peace about the future?  Freedom from fear or addiction?  Help to overcome an obstacle?  Love for a hard to love individual?  Purpose in the now? Whatever your need-God desires to hear, answer and love you through it.  So ask Him.  And allow His love to meet you right now.

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 222014
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 182014
 

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.  Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”  Psalm 23:4-6

It was another everyday run using my “Bloodhound characteristics” of a heightened sense of sight.  And wouldn’t you know my eyes locked onto a large red object a ways down in the middle of the road.  It definitely didn’t belong.  

My curiosity was on overdrive-a toy, a candle, possibly a frisbee?  Not sure.  But when you have been running for miles and are looking to God to speak to you through any means, you question every strange object in your path.

And so it was with this red.  Ahead of me.  I was ready for the extremely profound upcoming moment.

I reached touching distance.  And low and behold, it was.  A red.  plastic. cup.  Hmmm.  Not quite the thrilling, spiritual awakening moment this turned out to be.

But it was as if I was running in slow motion as I passed the cup.  Something in me was compelled to pick it up.  Examine it further.  But I didn’t.

And then I changed my mind.  I decided to turn around and get it.  If nothing else, it was cluttering up the street and needed to be put in the garbage.  (On a good day you will catch me doing a “keep the earth clean” act.   I also figured this was also a positive rolemodeling story to tell my girls.)

As I picked up the cup I noticed it was broken almost in half on the backside.  (I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised that a plastic cup in the middle of the road had been run over.)

And it was then that I actually did get that spiritual awakening moment.

I realized I was somehow relating with this cup.  The cup was broken.  Overlooked by most.  Didn’t belong.  Ran over.  In the middle of the path.  Alone on the road.  And So. Am.  I.

My real deal:

  • I have difficulty saying “I was wrong and I’m sorry” to my husband-Broken.
  • I was turned down by publisher’s and agents in my writing-Overlooked.
  • I struggle with home decor/organization and am surrounded by friends and family who all should write books on the subject-Don’t belong.
  • I am running a marathon without a clue of how/if I can finish-Ran over.
  • I have seen God’s faithfulness in the past and stand on His faithfulness for my future, but feel to be in this middle journey of questions, waiting and unknowns-In the middle of the path.
  • I am maneuvering this writing and speaking thing without a buddy beside me-Alone on the road.

But God sees me.  And He sees you too.  Right where we are.  Cracks and all.  In the awkward place we are in on the road of life.  In all our insecurities and inabilities.  And He shed His blood for us so we wouldn’t have to.  His red covers all our broken red cup places.  What love!

He picks us up.  Carrying our broken selves.  With the end result being a mended red cup.  Restored.  Filled up with joy and hope.  Filled up and actually overflowing with His living waters.

And then without us doing a thing.  Overflow happens.  His love and compassion  spills out of us onto a world in need.

So let us broken red cups unite!  May we be filled with thankfulness for His unconditional love today.  And may we always remember His plan for us is good.  His plan for us involves reliance on His strength.   His plan is about the giving of our whole lives to Him.  Cracks and all.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jul 142014
 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” Prov 3:5-6

Okay, so I was minding my own business on my typical 45 min training run. All beauty of God’s tree’s, birds singing, slight wind with a hint of sun surrounded me. And then it happened.

I heard a vehicle approaching and so I did my typical move over on the edge of the road as far as possible. As I am awkwardly running on half grass, half hard dirt and rocks, the loud roar of the engine seems right next to me. I turned to look and this monster truck zooms past like he was in a Nascar race. And he didn’t even have the courtesy to give a runner some space by moving over to the middle of the road. He sure nestled that white line right beside me. The nerve I tell ya!

But this was not the worst of it. Oh no. Not only was a freaked by the speed and proximity, because it was a gravel road, the air all around became dust. It was as if Tinkerbell had paid me a little visit. Except being able to fly was in no way part of the deal. Dirty dust literally filled all crevices in my body. I couldn’t see a thing in front of me, and I coughed to reject some of what I had already taken in. I was left in the dust. Literally.

Not fun. But as I took time to recover, I noticed my feet never stopped moving. In the mess of it all. Even when I couldn’t see where I was going. And I continued to rub my eyes to get the particles out. One foot went after the other. My feet kept doing what they knew to do in midst of this all consuming, unforeseen circumstance.

Similarly, as we venture into each day with God as our Shepherd to lead us, we are faced with “messy” situations. Troubles. Trials. Fears. And this circumstance or fear has surrounded us, as the dust surrounded me. Challenging and impacting our mind, heart, and spirit. We are left unable to see-What is in store for the future. The reason for it. How we are to continue on in freedom and peace.

But thankfully our feet know what to do. They keep moving one step at a time. Forward. In trust. In faith. In hope. In Jesus. When we are “left in the dust” by the world, we keep running with Jesus. We do not stop. Because we know He will get us through the dust cloud. We are never alone in it. And we can trust He will use it for good if we let Him.

Maybe you are in a troubling dust storm right now and you can’t see anything up ahead and you are overwhelmed. Cling to Jesus. He helps us when we don’t know which way to go. We do not have to be afraid. We do not have to live in anxiety. We do not have to go through trials alone.

May the God of peace settle us when the dust storms of life hit. May He strengthen us to continue moving forward in Him. May He clean us up in mind, heart and spirit, enabling us to bring Him glory and share our testimony. That He is faithful. Good. And provides for us in our times of need.

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jun 102014
 

I feel compelled to run my first marathon.  And also compelled to vomit due to the scary unknowns this “first” brings to mind as I write these words.

But I have found life in running with Jesus.  I would never have believed this fact if we were to have a conversation 3 years ago.  When I reluctantly said “yes” to a friend’s invitation to train for my first 5K race, it was one of the best decisions I ever made.  I may not be the fastest or talented, but that is not why I do it.  I do it because I found and continue to find life on the run.

I began to praise God for the sunsets and green all around me.  Talk with Him about my fears, questions, desires, requests and wisdom in mothering.  Find peace and purpose for my life.

The runs with my friend became a time of deep sharing and prayer.  A time of laying down burdens and being encouraged in Jesus.

I found life in stepping out in faith.  Stepping out with Jesus to do a “first”.  My “first” (5k race) seemed daunting, too much work, and wasn’t something I felt gifted in (or even remotely good at).

But over these last 3 years I have felt more joy, purpose, and peace then I ever have before.  Training for and running a race was a hand in hand working out my salvation/God’s direction for my life and working out my physical body.  My Spirit and body were stretched out of the comfort zone, but in doing this I found life.

So I will continue to step out in “firsts” for the Kingdom.  Going on my first rollercoaster last week.  Writing my first devotional.  Running my first marathon.  And I believe this is not just a “season of firsts” for me, but a lifestyle when saying “yes” to Jesus.  Following Jesus is about embracing “firsts”.  Overcoming fears.  And trusting in His love and promises through it all.

Our Father has a plan and a purpose for each of His daughter’s.  And He longs to give us life as we commune with Him.

I wonder if you have felt inclined or are currently feeling called to step out into a “first” in saying “yes” to Jesus?  And if not, if you would be willing to ask God if there is anything He is calling you to do in this season?

I would invite you to join me this summer in the “Life on the Run” 3 month challenge.   A two fold physical and faith challenge.  Physical-to train for and run in a race with a trusted friend.  Find a 5k, 8k, 10k, half marathon or marathon race to train for and sign up, then find one of the numerous training schedules online and begin!  Faith-1.  To read the Standing on Peace Running Devotionals each week from this site (or sign up to receive the regular emails) 2.  Make your couple runs a week “prayer runs”-talk with God in prayer as you sweat by yourself or with a friend.  It is a “workout” of your salvation and body in an effort to keep in shape physically and as a daughter of the King.

Prayerfully consider participating in this “Life on the Run” 3 month challenge this summer.  Let me know in the comments section or email me at jillian@standingonpeace.com if you are in and how your training is going!

My prayer is that you would step out and do this “Life on the Run Challenge”, even if running or participating in a race is a “first” for you.  And that you would find comfort, strength, encouragement and true life in running with Jesus.

“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 hope and a future.  Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.”  Jer 29:11-13

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 292012
 

I AM COMPETITIVE AT MY CORE, THOUGH I HATE TO ADMIT IT.   It had better be a life or death situation in order for me to stopWhen I go for a run, that’s what I do.  Run.

I saw a river on one of my runs.  God’s beautiful creation is my weakness.  Something inside me was compelling me to stop.  It was messing with my runner’s groove.

It was a “must take” moment with the Father.  I had to lay aside my runner’s pride to experience peace.  A song immediately ran through my mind, “I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river, I’ve got peace like a river in my soul”.  At that moment I did experience peace.

The conclusion I came to after having this much needed time with God:  Stopping brings peace.

Not only do I have difficulty stopping on my runs, I also find it hard to stop my daily “running” of chores and activities.  Our culture only knows busy.  I hear myself and others answer the question, “How are you doing?” by responding “I’m good.  But busy.”

We all have what seems to be too much to do and not enough time to do it in.  It makes the thought of adding in alone time with Lord a little overwhelming.

The continual “running” puts me in what I like to call “survival mode”.  I react to people rather than relate with people.  I do not tap into the Spirit’s wisdom and power.  Instead everything is in my own strength.  I am just trying not to totally blow it as parent, wife, or friend.

The ironic thing is that the times when I am the most busy are the times when I most need the Lord.

The Sabbath day was created for man.  God knew we needed to have one day to stop the doing.  Focus on relationship.  He sees that we NEED to “take time at the river”. (Matthew 11:28.)

I want to prioritize stopping one day a week.  Having a Sabbath day.  Not to put more rules of do’s and don’ts on myself.  But to try and lay to rest my mind, body, and Spirit.

Practically speaking this rest looks like a change in my attitude for the day.  Letting go of any expectations for myself or others.  Stopping the “to do” list in my mind.  Engaging in relationship with God, family and friends.

I want to also prioritize alone time with Jesus daily.  I would challenge you to do it too.  Even if it is only 5 minutes.  It is time to be at our Father’s feet.  And stop everything else.

Benefits of stopping:

  1. We are renewed and refreshed
  2. Worries and stress can be transferred to Jesus.  He takes away the burdens and replaces it with peace.
  3. Our priorities are re-aligned with God’s
  4. We find help and wisdom in order to respond to problems
  5. We encounter forgiveness, love, acceptance, strength, and hope
  • A verse to ponder:  Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”.

When is your best time to be able to meet with God?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 242012
 

I GUESS I AM OFFICIALLY WHAT YOU WOULD CALL A RUNNER.  A GIRLFRIEND ASKED IF I WOULD TRAIN FOR A RACE ABOUT A YEAR AND A HALF AGO.  Her job of convincing me to do this was even tougher than if you have ever tried to manage/entertain multiple toddlers.  On a plane.  For 5 hours.  Alone.

I reluctantly said “Yes”.  Mainly because I thought she was pretty great.  Quality time with a girlfriend is like a chocolate chip cookie right out of the oven.  Sweet.

And it was.  My friend and I talked and ran together.  We held each other accountable to fit in our runs for the week. We would say, “You go girl!” for encouragement during a hard run.

There were day’s when my friend’s “You go girl” was the only thing that kept me from quitting.  I was having to work hard.  At something I wasn’t very good at.  Not fun.

I dug out my journal from my bottom dresser drawer and began to write about my running journey.

Well, we made it to race day.  We finished the race.  No record times.  But not last.  I was so proud of what we had accomplished.

This marked the beginning of a new season in my life.  Running, writing, encouraging, and leaning into God.

5 Reasons Running Changed My Life:

  1. It gives me a consistent exercise schedule
  2. It gives me alone time with God
  3. It compels me to write
  4. It gives me opportunities to love and encourage others to run their race well
  5. It helps me grow mentally, spiritually, physically and emotionally

When’s the last time you said “you go girl!” (or something within that vein) to a friend?  And this time I am talking about encouragement outside of the exercise setting.

Just like my friend and I desperately needed each other to run our race well, we also need other women to encourage us as we run our race of life.

  • The toilet overflowed again.  The creativity for dinner is gone.  American Idol is over.  The rain is constant.  The children can only make messes.  The husband is doing fantasy football.

Shared experiences = empathy.  We are all in this together.  We all need a little motivation to not give up when things are hard.  We share the goods with the bads.  We don’t have to run our race alone.

My prayer for you this year is that you would be inspired to grow in your love for Jesus.  That you would always be ready to give a “You go girl!” to encourage another woman.  That you would find hope, grace, and love in His Word.  And that you would train for a race.  (okay, the last one is not for real.  But I wouldn’t talk you out of it if you were inclined to give it a go.)

A VERSE TO PONDER:  Hebrews 3:13 “But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

  • SHARE YOUR STORY.  CONNECT WITH OTHERS.   What things encourage you when you are having a tough day?

 

 

 

 

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