Jan 272015
 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:28-30

Today marks a day of change.  Fittingly, it is also the month which beckons it-January.  I had lost my self discipline somewhere along the way these last months.  All my “must have’s”, God driven passions have been put on the shelf.  But not today.

My inner commentary went something like this:

Writing.  Hmmm.  I know God would have me to be writing.  But I can’t seem to fit it in my day now with my new part time job.  And it would be a lot of work to start another book.  And it would mean getting up real early.  And I’m real tired in the mornings.  And it would mean getting up in the dark nonetheless.

Running.  Hmmm.  I know I previously found such life and intimacy with the Lord on my runs.  But I am watching my eating habits now and so I don’t really NEED to run for the weight loss benefits.  And I could sleep longer if I didn’t.  And my race is completed.  And running in the coldness is not a joy.  And it would mean getting up in the dark nonetheless.

Having a regular first fruits quiet, prayer, and God’s Word time.  Hmmm.  Sure I used to give God my firsts by talking to Him and reading His Word before doing anything else.   But with my new Pastoral position, I find myself reading God’s Word and praying with others sporadically during my day, versus having a regular-early- set time.  And I don’t want to “put God in a box” and say waking up with Him is a NECESSITY to do life with Him.  And my God is with me all the time and I shouldn’t HAVE to talk with Him privately at the beginning of EVERY day.  And I could sleep longer if I didn’t.  And it would mean getting up in the dark nonetheless.

So there is my mental list of excuses.  For NOT being obedient to what I believe God would have me to be doing.  To be honest, I was doing good for awhile.  My self discipline ranked real high.  Getting up early was part of my routine, it was never easy, but I had consistency.

I began to wonder where my consistency turned to complacency.  And here is what I think-I believe the game changed when I started listening to and acting upon my selfish, sinful desires rather than Jesus.  The rationalizations and excuses for NOT won out.  I chose flesh desires over Spirit desires.  I am a weak one, my friends.

And the enemy plays to my weakness.  Some themes from above came down to this, it is hard to obey Christ when:

  • I am afraid of the dark.
  • I have to get up early.
  • I don’t have accountability.
  • My life is undergoing change in routine.
  • The comforts of my body have to be put aside.
  • Regular self discipline is required.
  • Selfishness must be sacrificed.

Knowing my weak areas helps me to recognize when I am choosing complacency over consistency in Christ.  Knowing my weak areas is not something to be shameful of, instead, it is the reality of our human nature.  But the reality of my human nature does not mean I must succomb to it.  Because “when I am weak, then I am strong”.  Jesus in me is stronger “then he who is in the world”.  I have the ability to fight and win these spiritual battles when all the above weaknesses arise.  Always knowing, “there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus”, there is grace waiting when we are disobedient to the Spirit’s leading.

It gets me every time when I realize the enemy’s lie/selfishness tactics have worked.  I mean, it’s not like he is using new strategies.  He began with questions, self doubt, lies, playing to the desires, and a way to rationalize disobedience with Adam and Eve’s fruit eating episode.  And he continues to use what worked then, on us now.

The rub is this:  We will constantly battle an enemy who’s plan is to “kill, steal and destroy” us.  But-we serve a God who loves us SO beyond anything we could comprehend.  And, in turn, has fabulous, life giving plans for us here on earth.  It will not be easy to sacrifice our own selfish desires, while embracing God’s voice above other/our own, discomfort, risk, trust in Him, faith without seeing, a lack of control, hard work and self discipline.  But it is WELL.  WORTH.  IT.

Our loving Father says to us:

You need not fear the dark, my child.  Because I am with you in the dark.  When you feel bad-I am here.  When you battle selfishness and flesh desires-I am here.  When self discipline seems unattainable-I am here.  When excuses and rationalizations seem to reign, I am here.  When needs are beyond, I am here.  When rest is needed, I am here.  When waiting, I am here.  When hope seems far off, I am here.  When plans seem destroyed, I am here.  When weakness turns to strength, I am here.  When then enemy cowers in defeat, I am here.  When my Spirit equips you, I am here.  When my Word speaks real truth, I am here.  When mourning turns to dancing, I am here.  

When darkness turns to light, I am here.  

Come.  Walk with Me.  In the light.  My sweet child beloved. 

  

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 062013
 

“It really is too bad that some women get so moody and mean for one week each month.  Thank the Lord I don’t have that problem”, were my thoughts up until recently. Then my pride fell over my head like a ton of bricks.

It was that time again.  My ears heard my ugliness clearly.  My blatantly critical, angry, and short replies.  Unfortunately, my daughters had to succumb to my morning madness.

Lucy repeatedly asked for fruit snacks, my replies being,  “Why do you keep asking that?  I said no!”  Sadie tugged on me to come see her pillow rocket ship, “Don’t pull on me.  IN A MINUTE!”  Impatience at its finest.

My husband got a wonderful greeting as I yelled upstairs, “Do you think I could get some help?  I can’t do it all!”  When he didn’t come immediately I added, “Did you hear me?  What exactly are you doing?”

As I returned to browsing Facebook updates, I felt remorse for my unkind words.  But I was like an angry volcano.  The lava bubbling within me was ready to erupt on the next poor soul who dared approach me.

What could I do?  Everything within me screamed to get out of the house!  Burn off some steam.  So I did.

I was supposed to meet a friend for a play date, but instead said,  I will be late.  Due to my inability to function.  Trust me.  You don’t want to be around me right now.

I carouled the girls into the stroller, buckled them up and was off to my regular routine.  But as soon as I stepped out, a fierce wind pushed against me and my stroller.

It was a battle to even go walking speed.  The wind pushed.  I fell back.  I leaned my body forward and kept moving.  I covered small amounts of ground at a time, but eventually finished.

I didn’t break any time records.  But I didn’t give up.  And I am better because of it.

If I we were on a covert mission to be discrete, I could say to you, “I had difficulty “Pushing My Stroller” last week”, and we could smile understanding it was that time again.

Sometimes it’s easier to not try.  To allow the emotions to overtake me.  Or continue to excuse my behavior because I am a slave to my hormones.

The fierce “wind” of anger, is not impossible to overcome.  But I have to fight it.  Consistently.

Only with the Spirit’s help can I practice self-control, speaking kindly and respsonding patiently.  But I am not perfect.  The “wind” pushes me back and I yell at my husband and kids.

I want to push against the “wind” of anger.  I know with the help of the Spirit I can be victorious.  Not necessarily perfect.  But willing to say “I’m sorry” when the “wind” pushes me backwards.  Willing to be in the Word and offer up regular prayer for help to fight these feelings.  Prioritizing exercise to burn off some steam.

Not giving up, but giving in to responding differently.  To a new way of living.  “Pushing My Stroller” is an area of weakness that draws me to the One who gives miraculous strength.

“In your anger do not sin.” Ps 4:4

Have you had a difficult week of “Pushing Your Stroller?”  Will you ask for God’s help to fight the “wind” of anger in order to practice self control, patience and kindness? 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 292013
 

Sometimes I just don’t feel strong enough for it all…

These were the words I expressed to my husband after he reminded me of our family schedule for the next couple of months.

Part of this schedule includes my husband’s travel for his job.   Which is sometimes a lot.

The reality of his absence not only includes missing my best friend and our kids missing their dad, but it means no extra hands to help with the things I’ve come to rely on him for.

His hugs.  His playing with the kids after work to get all their energy out.   His disarming our tired kids’ melt-downs as I get dinner prepared.  His giving me a moment alone each day.  His helping with the kids’ bedtime routines.  His help picking up the house at the end of the day.  His tender touch on my tired body.

He so beautifully shares life’s load with me, I crave him when he’s gone.

But there’s something about the challenge of my husband’s travel that shakes me to my core:  I fear it brings out the worst in me.  The raw, insecure, selfish, worst of me.  I fear I’m not strong enough – especially for my kids.  And because this challenge is a constant in our life, I fear my worst is playing on repeat.

“I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.”  Psalm 34:4 (emphasis added)

We are all facing challenges.  We’re stuck.  Depressed.  A victim.  Longing for something that cannot be.  Trying to accept ourselves.  Fighting for our very life.

Sometimes our challenges find us tattered.  Begging us to raise the white flag.  Leaving us pleading with God to give us a different challenge – something we can handle for goodness sake!

As I’ve been thinking and praying about my feeling weak, God has brought a couple of truths to mind.

  • When we are weak, He is faithful to strengthen us.  We so easily forget to include God in our efforts to survive something.  To get through something.  But the truth is: He doesn’t just want us to survive our challenge – He want us to thrive in it and overcome it.  His strength is available to us, if we would just ask for and receive it.

“Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually.” 1 Choronicles 16:11

“He gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.  Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.”  Isaiah 40:29-31

  • Our challenges are part of His best for us.  God is not far off.  He has not forgotten about us.  He has not slighted us or given us His left-overs.  He knows EXACTLY what we need.  And it always includes a heart change.  Because it’s our heart He’s most concerned about.  Amidst our challenge He will accomplish His good work in us.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

“Oh Lord, you are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; for You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, in perfect faithfulness.”  Isaiah 25:1

Are you facing a challenge today you need strength to face?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 082012
 

It was after I bought the purple skinny jeans.

I started noticing purple everywhere. It wasn’t just Maisy’s favorite color anymore; purple had taken on a life of its own.

There was Maisy in her purple outfits, entreating me to join her in her delight with being a girl. But there was more—for Maisy, all of life involves this kind of delight. Her only priority is play. She is fully present to each new moment, utterly free and spontaneous, immersed in simple joy.

Perhaps there is no gift more precious than the gift of spontaneity, the ability of certain [people] and animals to act straight and fresh and self-forgettingly out of the living center of who they are.” (Frederick Buechner)

For Maisy, purple was on the inside too…and she was drawing it out of me…out from under the grown up layers of preoccupation, plans, and perfectionism.

And then there was my therapist in his sometimes purple sweater, listening me along the precipice of my own depths. We peered over the edge, and there was purple…shimmering under layers of anxiety and worn out coping mechanisms.

Purple became a poignant symbol for me of the place inside where blue and red come together, where a well of deep feeling and deep power sloshes and gurgles. The reservoir of our truest energy.

I began to wonder, what would it look like to live all of life from these rich depths, with passion splashing?

It scared me some, because it’s wild and unpredictable down there. And somehow along the way I’ve gotten the message that it can’t be trusted.

The refining of what’s inside us is a necessary part of maturing into

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adulthood and growing in our spiritual journey. Unfortunately, this process can leave many of us pretty disconnected from our purple.

It’s easy to live from a more surface place where responsibility, expectations, and tired striving prevail. Sometimes we’re more comfortable there anyway because our deep feelings can be too tender and our own power scares us.

As mothers overwhelmed with duties and the needs of others, how can we afford to make room for what’s deep inside us?

Yet how can we afford not to? To live otherwise is like trying to drive with the engine turned off.

All the heart, strength, and instincts we really need for life and mothering are in the purple well. So is the lovely energy of our own inner three year old—the straight and fresh vulnerability and trust, the self-forgetting confidence and joy. How desperately we need that!

“You must become like little children…” (Matthew 18:3)

No doubt, accessing

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and living from this place inside will be messy and painful at times. But all the best of who we are is in there. And I believe this is the very place in us where the love and strength of God reside as well.

What is in your purple well? What feelings and longings? What impulses and gifts?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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