Jul 212015
 

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  1 Corinthians 13:7

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  Isaiah 43:19

Getting back into exercising.  Is.  Not.  Easy.  Or fun.  After being on what felt like “house arrest” because this pregnancy sickness took me out of all things active, I am finally starting to ease my way back into our norm (whatever that is).  My “norm” looks something like daily dishes, laundry on Monday’s, texts to friend’s in order to sync schedules for various kid free and kid included activities, Pinterest pin dinners and the shopping for needed ingredients, a daily work out, and time with my Father/in the Word with my latest devotional book.  But trying to get back into the “norm” has been harder than I may have anticipated.  And I am recognizing some of my “norm” must change with a given season-and as challenging and uncomfortable as this may feel, I must surrender.  To God.  And His “norm” He has for me in my now.

I am learning to succumb and even thank Jesus for His new norm for me in this season (And you can too).

Here are my 3 “out with the old, in with His new” daily reality:  

1.  I am embracing a new routine-You have no idea how it pains me to write the following statement:  “I went on a walk a couple days ago”.  You, see, only woosies walk (and I so apologize for offending you if you are a walker-I understand my thinking is scewed and I am in need of heavy counseling for my flawed attitude.)  But you must forgive me. Because I am a runner in heart, body, and mind.  But the run wasn’t workin’ friends.  When I tried my old running “norm” with my daughter the other morning, I lost my lunch.  Literally.  And so you have to know.  My pride.  Was.  Shot.  As I put on my running shoes.  Stepped out of my front door. And got my speed walk on.  Pumping arms and all.

Thank you Jesus for Your new daily routine norms you have for me.

2.  I am willing to make changes in my attitude, activity preferences, how I spend my time in order to love others like Jesus does-You have no idea how it pains me to write the next following statement:  “We have a lizard living in our house”.  My oldest daughter is one with bugs.  Snakes.  Digging in the dirt for treasures.  And I would never have pictured myself encouraging these hobbies.  But now I am embracing them (the hobbies and yes, even the lizard).  Our God is about intimate relationship with us.  And if we are to love Him, we will love others.  And a part of loving those around us is caring about what they care about.  It’s not enough to be apart of the activities/hobbies I like or “get”.  The Lord has given me a new sense of laying down my selfish agenda, to build a home for what seems to be just about the ugliest creature I have ever seen (for instance).

Thank you Jesus for how you made each of us unique and how you have called us to love and appreciate one another.

3.  I am saying “Yes” to the Spirit nudges/Jesus’ agenda for my day, even when I am physically and emotionally weak-While speed walking the other day, I spent time thanking God for His beautiful creation.  I asked Him for strength as I still struggled to keep certain foods down and have strength to be the Mom and wife and friend and Daughter of the King He had called me to be.  I asked Him to show me how to “minister in my weakness”.  Right after this thought I saw a sign in front of me for a garage sale and underneath it said, “Benefiting missions”.  I passed the sign, wanting to keep with my fast walking pace and knowing I didn’t have any money on me to buy anything.  But then an idea, I believe to be a “nudge” from the Lord came into my thoughts, “you should go and pray for them”.  Hmmm.  Feeling pregnant.  Feeling uncomfortable.  Mainly for multiple reasons- I don’t even know the people at the garage sale, let alone if the “missions” the sale is supporting is even one I agree with.  I am needing to get stick to my exercise agenda and be home in a timely fashion.  But the prayer idea did not go away.  And i had just agreed to God to allow Him to do “ministry in my weakness”.  So I went.  And awkwardly browsed the sale.  With no means to buy anything.  But saw a girl in the corner putting out baby clothes.  I asked her if this was her garage sale and she said “yes”.  Long story short-I found out she was going on a week long mission trip.  Asked her if I could pray for her.  Did.  And she said, “Wow, that was so encouraging” as I left.  But truely-I was the one who was the most encouraged.  To be apart of God using me in my weakness.  To see saying “yes” to God’s nudges in ALL seasons only fills us with joy.

Thank you Jesus for Your new ministry norms you have for me.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 222015
 

In the lives all around us the self-driven, self-seeking, self-esteem wishing priorities are evident.  And somehow we must find a way to step of the “self train” and enter into something better, bigger and best.  Something I am finding to be even more challenging than normal in my current state.  “Oh my Jesus, please show me how to lean into this ‘Love is not self seeking’ challenge’.”

Seek.  First.  His.  Kingdom.  And ALL the rest (the future worries, present pain, past hurts, current frustrations, current unknowns) will.  be.  taken.  care.  of.

Self-seeking versus Kingdom seeking moment-#1-My mother-Based on my current state, I keep checking the month to make sure it’s not April and that this “self seeking” love characteristic was simply God’s way of playing an April fools joke on my sorry self.  Turns out, “no”.  No joke.  Just real world lessons for me.  Jesus style. So-this word “self”or “it’s all about me” should pretty much be plastered to my forehead so those unknowing souls can quickly get caught up to speed about my current bedrested, all day sickness, pregnant self. Talk about feeling self-ish, self-reliant, self-undone.  This is more than humbling.  I find it much more comfortable to be the giver rather than the receiver.  Taker of the meal to the needy family, rather than being the needy family.  One extending a prayer of healing for a sick friend rather than hearing another’s prayer for me.

But as I sit in the “receiving” state, my mom, gets the “love is selfless” award of the year (and truly should receive this award for each year of my life).  Let me give you some examples:  she forgets to get dressed until halfway through the day because she is tending to my cold wash rag, eating every hour and a half, massaging, grocery shopping, laundry, dishes, and two girls’ needs.  When we found out I was pregnant and that it fell over my husband’s work planned 3 week trip abroad with his college students, she put her entire life on hold.  For me.  She has lived in my house and taken care of my oh so many needs, and let go of hers.  My mom is currently clothed as a real life Saint at the moment.  Truly.  The selfless love of Jesus.  Pours out of her. Onto a needy soul like me.  And I am forever grateful.

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Phillipians 2:4

Who do you need to thank today for their selfless acts of giving to you?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 132015
 
We are about half way through our love attributes!  Way to go everyone for taking on/praying about/writing about these attributes each week! And also kudos to you if you are reading their descriptions and my experiences and are implementing them in your home, work and play!  Maybe you are praying through each attribute that comes up and have been able to write on some but not all.  Whatever your amount of investment in loving others for these weeks have been, well done!  I know our Father is pleased when we prioritise loving Him and loving others (mainly because we remember He says these are the 2 greatest commandments!)  So, keep it up!  Your work is not in vain!  You WILL bear fruit for the Kingdom when you bear the fruit of His Spirit and love others!  

In response to our featured love attribute, I am a tiny bit scared.  For some reason it has been one I have dreaded.  I probably dread it because I know God has some work to do on me in this selfishness area.  I can hear myself chalking up/rationalising MY way, MY need, and MY opinion for the sake of the good of the all.  But lets be honest, many time the ME monster attitude rears its ugly head and is simply for the sake of Me.  Getting what I want.  When I want it.

Our #7 1 Corinthians 13 “Love it up” attribute this week is:  “LOVE IS NOT SELF-SEEKING”.

Webster’s defines the word, “Self-Seeking”, for us:
  • Self-serving;  overly concerned with one’s own desires, needs, or interests                                                                                                                          Friends, here are some like minded words for “self-seeking”, to further expand our mission this week (In other words these are the DO NOT do’s for this week):.
And to follow up with some words opposite to “self-seeking” (which is what we want to be-in other words DO these this week!):
 altruisticbeneficentbenevolentcharitablegenerous,greatheartedhumanitarianmagnanimousphilanthropic (alsophilanthropical), self-denyingself-givingself-sacrificingother-directed;diffident, selfless; self-reflective

Of all the like minded words of “self-seeking”, the words, “thoughtless, inconsiderate, and self-absorbed”, were highlighted in my spirit.  Questions which beg for difficult answers are, “Do I need to own up to my areas of weakness in which I can’t seem to remember people’s birthday’s?  How can I work at being more thoughtful-intentional about actively remembering/recognising others’ BIG day’s rather than only my BIG day’s?  In what areas of my life am I too “self absorbed” and am like a horse with those blinders on either side-only seeing tunnel vision, not able to look up and around at others’ stuff?  When was the last time I shrugged off/defended my actions when I was inconsiderate to my spouse, child, or friend and didn’t apologise for it?”  To be BIG enough to notice when we are small and weak is to be BIG enough to do BIG things for the Kingdom!  If we want to be great in God’s Kingdom, learn to be the servant of all- “So Jesus told them again, “It’s terribly hard to get into God’s kingdom!  In fact, it’s …If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others.”  Mark 10:24-25

Of all the opposites to “self-seeking”, the word “selfless” jumped out to me.  Jesus performed the ultimate selfless act of all time-He died for us when we were in the most unkept, unknowing, underrepresented, underwhelming, unpleasant state.  Jesus is the epitome of selfless.  He is selfless at its best.

When the time was right, the Anointed One died for all of us who were far from God, powerless, and weak. Now it is rare to find someone willing to die for an upright person, although it’s possible that someone may give up his life for one who is truly good. But think about this: while we were wasting our lives in sin, God revealed His powerful love to us in a tangible display—the Anointed One died for us.  Romans 5:6-8 (The Voice)

As we embark on this “Week of Selflessness”, may we allow our God to prune our “overgrowth areas”.  Areas of selfishness we have rationalised away, defended ourselves in, or even lived in unbenknonced to us.  May we say “Come Lord Jesus come” and do a work in us.  May we be open ourselves up to His Spirit revealing some ugly places in us.  Only to see how He will turn our ugly into beauty.  Christ like beauty.

It would do us good (and it is doing me some good even as I write this) to say the below prayer out loud.  If you are willing.  So find a space.  Right now.  And know I am speaking this right along with you, my friend (after I write it of course):

Jesus, more of You in my life.  Teach me how to be a servant of all.  To think of others before myself.  May the “ME monster” have no reign as YOU fill me with everything I would ever need.  Help me to be thoughtful in the BIG days of those around me.  Remind me to give all myself-and all my self issues.  self doubt.  self-esteem.  self insterests.  self reliance.  To.  You.  Take away my blinders so I can truly love on and SEE others.  In all their pain.  All their glory.  All their uniqueness.  All their weakness.  And enter in.  Deeply.  With.  Your.  Selfless.  Love.

A Quotes/Verses to say NO to the self-seeking spirit this week:

  • For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
    Romans 8:5
  • ““Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.”
    ― Oscar Wilde
  • ““Self-absorption in all its forms kills empathy, let alone compassion. When we focus on ourselves, our world contracts as our problems and preoccupations loom large. But when we focus on others, our world expands. Our own problems drift to the periphery of the mind and so seem smaller, and we increase our capacity for connection – or compassionate action.”
    ― Daniel Goleman,
  • “Almost every sinful action ever committed can be traced back to a selfish motive. It is a trait we hate in other people but justify in ourselves. ”
    ― Stephen Kendrick,
  • “Selfishness is a bad habit. That’s why I always rationally think through my decisions to act without regard for others.”
    ― Bauvard,  
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 112015
 

Thank goodness for the kindness of Jesus to me this week as I became aware of more than I would like to admit times when my kindness towards others fell short.  Real short.

Love Attribute #2:  Kindness=Care/consideration/selflessness versus Unkindness=disconcern for another, rude, selfishness-  “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted…” Ephesians 4:32a

Kindness versus unkindness situation #1:  My husband and I took our kids to Awana’s (A Bible memory/game filled night for kids) as we typically do.  The beauty of this is they love it and our learning God’s Word, PLUS my hubby and I get a quick date night after we drop them off.  A win, win if I have ever seen one.

I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile and thought I should probably not go talk to her because there is a possibility it could be a long conversation and I don’t want to cut into our already short date night time.  I couldn’t help myself.  I jumped in with both feet and ended up talking to her while my husband is patiently waiting for me.

The problem here is I didn’t consider my husband’s needs.  I knew he would wait.  I was more concerned with my in the moment conversation than protecting our scheduled time together.  I see this now.  But in the moment all I wanted to do was justify my actions to my husband.  I didn’t want to listen to how my actions had been unkind to him.  Quarreling was on the tip of my “to do list”, if you know what I mean.  Then this scripture I had read only that morning came to mind, “”And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone,” (2 Timothy 2:24a).  Timely.  So, the Jesus kindness within me led me to hold my ever wanting to spew my rights, disagreements, and justifications, I pressed down the “quarrel in me”.  And apologised to my husband with a, “I’m sorry, honey, I won’t do that again”.

Kindness versus unkindness situation #2:  I was doing my routine dishes and dancin to the Christian radio station after dinner.  (Christian music plays more often than not in our house-for my sanity and overall need for the Jesus perspective/attitude in my heart and mind.)  My daughter said, “Mommy, I want Jazz music to do my dancing to.  Can you turn on some Jazz music?”  (First off, not sure where my four year old has even heard of Jazz music, but the main point is, the Christian music was my life blood and she was asking to change it??  Oh the depravity!)  I matter of factly replied, “Honey, you can do your dancing to these songs.”  Her prompt and dagger in the heart teared response was, “Mom, you always get what you want.”  (Gotta love those, showing your yucky self moments.)  Immediately, “Love is kind”, ran through my mind and I recognized kindness is about not getting what I want.  Being humbled by her statement I excitedly yelled, “You are right, so let’s get some Jazz on!”  She jumped up and down and said, “Mommy, do you know why I like Jazz music?”  “No, I don’t honey, why?”  I replied, intrigued now.  “Because it’s jazzy.”  She said.  (Well of course!  Isn’t that why anyone would love Jazz music?)

Kindness versus unkindness situation #3:  My last “kindness kick” story is about how the kindness of God brought me to tears this week.  I attended a worship conference at the end of the week and was hopeful to come away with encouragement, new ideas, grounding wisdom, and new friends.  What I was not hoping to come away with was smeared mascara from crying in the bathroom.  But unfortunately, the latter became my reality.  I felt God was asking me to hand out some of my “Sing Over Me” women’s devotional books.  My inner commentary is always my worst enemy as I considered following through with this, “The women will think you are prideful.  Why are you promoting yourself?  Who are you anyway to even have a book?”  As I sat in the restroom, the tears began to stream down my face as I felt bombarded with the “You are NOT” statements.  I felt so unworthy to be used by my God.  In that very moment the scripture, “I did not give you a spirit of timidity (or fear), but of power and love and self discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7) came to mind.  In my moment of fear and insecurity, the kindness of God gave me strength, courage and reassuring.  That He was with me.  And that I could do this with his help.  (Any fear of man and discouragement of who I am made to be in Christ is only from one fiery place!)

So I wiped all the mascara off my face and headed into the “women in ministry” session where I had been given permission to hand out my books.  I got the opportunity to share a little of my testimony and handed out the books to the women.  The Lord opened multiple doors through this to be able to pray for some women and encourage them in their faith journey’s.  But two woman’s words have stayed with me, “You are the reason I was supposed to come to this session”, and “Thank you for giving us these books, this was so kind, so very kind of you.”  I had not even thought about giving away these books as an act of love and specifically fulfilling this week’s focus of kindness.  But praise be to God that when we are obedient to His voice, His kindness comes out without us even being aware of it!  Oh how the kindness of God blesses me over.  And over.  And over again.

“Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?”  Romans 2:4

“Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.”  Psalm 63:3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 212013
 

There I was.  On the airplane.  Weeping uncontrollably.  The stewardess came to ask me if I wanted anything to drink.  I was a sight to see.  As I smeared the mascara from the middle to outside of my face, I blubbered out mid tears, “It’s this book. It got to me”.  (Humbling moments such as this one seem to find me often.)

It was the book, “Kisses from Katie”, by Katie Davis.  A Christmas present I received from my sister in law.  Little did I know the intense emotions I would fight back as I encountered the story of this young woman’s journey of obedience to God.  I tried to explain to my husband how Katie’s story moved me to tears.  (He still didn’t fully relate with my emotional self, but such is my life as a woman.)

When God spoke, Katie said “yes”-even when it was to go to Uganda instead of partaking in the American dream of going to college, getting married, and living in wealth.  Even when it was to adopt thirteen Ugandan children.  She lived with “spiritual richness in material poverty, versus living with spiritual poverty in a land of material wealth.”

How Katie’s faith caused me to re-evaluate my life for 2013:

  • She confirmed my heart for adoption. Katie explained, “The truth is that there are 143 million orphaned children and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases and the 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes or under other horrific conditions and the 2.3 million who live with HIV add up to 164.8 million needy children.  And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to be Christians.  If only 8 percent of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left.  I have the freedom, the opportunity to do something about it.  The truth is that He loves these children just as He loves me, and now that I know, I am responsible.”
  • I had an introspection moment of seeing my own selfishness.  Do I truly love Jesus and others in my daily actions?  Am I roledmodeling a life like Jesus to my children? I pondered what deliberate ways we as a family could serve the poor and open up our home to others.  Katie’s words are, “I don’t always want to help other people.  There are certain days when I want to do what I need to do and keep moving.  But so often when we stop to be kind, when we don’t really want to, that’s when the sacrifice becomes most rewarding.”
  • She helped me understand that living life to the fullest was my choice. I want to live life rejecting fears, embracing risk, obeying God’s promptings throughout the day, and welcoming strangers into my home.
  • I recognized I can live with much less and give much more.  Holding loosely to earthly possessions and comforts in order to give more to those who are struggling to survive.
  • I have a new thankfulness and purpose in my motherhood.  “It is God’s work, that in bathing and clothing and serving children, we are truly being the hands and feet of Jesus.”

This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.  If anyone has material possessions and sees His brother in need but has no pity on Him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 1 Jn 3:16-18

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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