Oct 212016
 

My daughter was dealing in what I like to call “extremes” this week.  Grade school pictures.  Happened.  And even though I tried to reassure her of the positives, her phrase to sum it all up to her Dad when first walking through the door was, “I got my school picture and it is %100 bad.”  And the bad does not stop here people.  This week just keeps comin’ at ya.

Emotions.  Oh to know and understand them.  This is the real chore.  With 3 girls under 7 in tow and home.  The 2nd “extreme”  came out while consecutively keeping a hula hooping session underway (she has watched her mother multitask and fail miserably, so I am sure her subconscious competitive spirit was in full swing).  “I came with my best friend to play the game with everyone, but when the circle came to my turn, they skipped me.  And my best friend didn’t even stand up for me.  And so I said, ‘Well, I guess you just don’t like me and don’t want to ever play with me.  You are not my friend anymore.’ ”  (Of course this is the reader’s digest version for you all.  I would be happy to expand the what was a 30 minute conversation of wading through tears and story plot if you email me.  And don’t have a life.)

The words of making up possible reasons or excuses for the others wasn’t a good idea.  The mama “Jesus teaches us…” only made the hula hooping the main event.  And the mama empathy seemed to move the slow faucet drips to a constant waterfall of tears.  So I was at a loss.  Once again.  In mothering.

But I couldn’t help but think to myself- “Man, she is definitely making a ‘mountain out of a molehill’ (don’t you love the intense analogy I used here).  If only she could see herself through the eyes of Jesus and me, to stand on truth here instead of focusing on the wounds of other’s.  Then her “NOT’s” mindest and heart could be propelled into the present and future as an opportunity to empathize with other’s in their times of woundedness and exclusion and find strength and unfailing love in the arms of Jesus.  He is the ONLY one.  ONLY Savior.  ONLY friend.  Who will never let her and us down.

As I looked on my daughter with self pity, the pride came before a fall as I found myself living in dual mindsets as her this week.  “A little birdie told me” of a conversation which happened among some of my dearest friend’s.  In which I wasn’t there.  But even though I had recently layed my heart and soul before them, without knowing it they crushed it.  Because when looking for someone to fulfill a specific role in ministry, my name wasn’t considered.  It was NOT a factor.  I was NOT considered.  Picked.  And at this point, I also, like my daughter, when to the “extremes” or the I’m “%100 bad” mindset.  I won’t deny it.  I was wounded.  And this is where Satan earns his paycheck.  I went to the dark place.  I didn’t believe God would ever use me, because He must think like everyone else and consider everyone else but me.  Because I am NOT.

Memories of 7th grade NOT being picked for the basketball team came to mind.  Of being the 8th bride in the “7 brides for 7 brother’s” Musicale (if you didn’t catch the gist there, I was NOT in the show due to their only being 7 brides and not 8.  Sorry if I just insulted your intelligence by explaining this joke, my husband tells me I am real good at doing this.)  And so.  the NOTs kept.  On.  Coming.  But I remembered what to do when “100% bad” hits.

Go.  To.  my heavenly Father.  And be.  In His lifegiving company.  And Sit.  Asking His Word to speak to me.  (Getting His download of me instead of others’.  And at this point I KNEW Satan was real upset.  So good!)  And let me tell you-I came out fully loved.  fully valued.  fully gifted.  fully rebuilt.  fully strengthed.  fully geared up to be sent out to serve.

I wonder if you are in a “%100 bad” mindset/circumstance today.  Well guess what?  When in the dark pit, there is one best thing to do.  Look up.  To Jesus.  And allow His light to shine on in.  Or maybe, like my daughter’s hula hoop, you are in a round and round and round cycle of negative/untrue/”hula hoop lies” thinking towards yourself and/or someone else and don’t know how to stop?  Will you ask God to enter into this place and guide you into all Truth?

And so I pray for you today, my sister, the same prayer I prayed for myself.  “Lord come and speak and help and renew.”  The outcome being the 100% bad mindset of “NOTs” (that other’s, ourselves and the enemy infiltrates our minds with) strangely amounting to NOTHING.  And we find ourselves humming the true song of the love, hope and purpose in the mighty name of Jesus.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (The Message)  Strength from Weakness

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 302015
 

 

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and persistent in prayer.  Romans 12:12

Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.  Isaiah 40:31

Oh the terror of what could have been for this Thanksgiving.  And a poem to prove it:

 It was the Night Before Thanksgiving and the Willis clan, had some various happenings that were not a part of the plan.

The pregnant Mama said, “I think that it’s time”, and the Dada monitored contractions, with each whimper and whine.

All the while the oldest daughter couldn’t seem to swallow, “I have a bad sore throat Daddy, I probably can’t do anything tomorrow.”

The Daddy tended to all his girls with ever loving care (but thinking ever silently that this Thanksgiving would split his every hair)

The morning of Thanksgiving came without a baby hospital run, but Urgent Care was a must indeed, for the Strep throat medicine time had come.

So we are thankful, yes we are, to have not ruined Thanksgiving for one and all, we praise the Lord this baby stayed inside and did not come to call.

Even though my sweet daughter had to be quarantined with only a constant stream of movies and 7-up to keep her company, Thanksgiving happened.  And the good part is that this Thanksgiving brought to light 2 character traits in my girls I had never noticed before.  2 traits I can be thankful for in them and am motivated to work on displaying these “Jesus characteristics” myself.

I admired my oldest daughter’s lack of complaining and ability to keep a positive attitude in spite of her disappointment and painful state.  I am pretty sure when I am sick my style is to make sure to let people know how badly I feel.  Over.  And over again.  I throw a great pity party also when everyone else is getting to do something fun and I can’t.  So today is the day to turn over a new leaf.  (Choosing His perspective and attitude in the final stretch of this sick, difficult pregnancy.)  To close my mouth when I want to spew complaints and pains.  And instead look to Jesus.  To provide me with joyful hope.  Strength as I wait on Him.  And patience in affliction because we are not in control.

My youngest daughter got some serious attention this Thanksgiving, being that she didn’t have to split Aunt/Uncle/Cousin/Nana/Papa time with her older sister.  And she loved every.  Minute.  Of it.  But the one inspiring characteristic she displayed and I could not get over was her persistence.  The adults were talking after the meal and she politely invited everyone to watch her dance show.  Most of the family said, “Oh good, maybe later though.”  So she waited.  Then she made the rounds again and said, “The dance show is starting, please come!”  Some came.  But she shamelessly wanted everyone to attend and so the asking continued.  And what do you know but her persistence payed off.  Everyone attended the show.  And I admired her persistence.

As I contemplate these “Jesus characteristics” in the light of my own life and in relation to how I love other’s I am humbled.  Both of the above traits come to a bottom line for me, “Love never gives up”, as it says in 1 Cor. 13:7a.

Maybe you are in a time of trial, waiting, or physical pain.   My prayer is that you would find strength and hope in Jesus today. Or maybe you know of a friend or family member who is in a troubling time.  As I was nudged by the Spirit to pray for a woman fighting the cancer battle the other day, I wept for her.  I prayed that we, as the body of Christ, would surround her and meet her physical, spiritual and emotional needs.  And my prayer is the same for you.  That in love, you would not give up on others who are sick and in trial.  Because we know, “Love never gives up”.

Maybe you have been praying for a loved one for a long time.  To come back to Jesus.  Or to come to Jesus.  But maybe over time, your persistence in prayer has dwindled.  This Thanksgiving brought my lack of persistence in prayer for those without salvation to my attention.  I thought about these specific individuals who need salvation.  And I thought about times when I was good about praying for them.  But truly, now, if I am being honest, I had given up on them.  I had given up hope for change because I wasn’t seeing it.   So just as my youngest daughter was persistent in asking others over and over and over again to attend her dance show, I need to be persistent in praying for my loved ones that they would come to the “Jesus salvation show”.  Because we know, “Love never gives up”.

What have you been complaining about that you can instead ask for help from Jesus to be patient, self controlled, and have a changed heart in?  Will you also give your worries and complaints to Him and allow Him to take them/have control over them?

Is there someone you have given up praying for?  Will you, in love, not give up and persist in prayer instead?

Who can you show the love of Jesus to today who is sick?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Nov 112015
 

 

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”  John 14:27

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

The goal is always to get out on time to go to church.  I will admit this “on time” phrase usually equals varied meanings between my husband and I.  Blame it on our different upbringings, varied personality traits, or lack of similar priorities, being early/”on time” has been an area I continually seek to improve in and yet you may not know it since failing miserably continues to be my norm.

As much of a task master as I felt I was being on this particular Sunday morning, it wasn’t enough to actually get us all in the car leaving plenty of wiggle room.  My husband has helped me see the beauty of “Wiggle room”. Wiggle room creates space and overall peace instead of anxiety and hurriedness when attending any activity.  Makes up for unforseen traffic.  Creates an ease of mind from those you are meeting with.  Promotes positive characteristics of dependability, respect, and consistency in which others see and value in you.  But.  I.  Still.  Wiggle.  Out. of having wiggle room as I head out the door most days.

As we drove to church, I calculated in my head if we would be able to squeeze in a stop at Dutch Bros and still be early/”on time” to church.  I asked the head “time keeper” in our house.  He said, “Probably not since the line is always super long”(what he is also saying is since we left with no “wiggle room” we have no time for extras).  But what to my wondering, Mint Mocha desiring eyes should see, was no one in the drive through at Dutch Bros coffee.  It.  Was.  Ordained.  By.  God.  My hearts desire could be fulfilled in this moment.  And this little before Christmas cheer encompassed my deepest soul (okay, maybe a little over the top, but sometime you need to drive the point home.)

As we pulled right into Dutch Bros we were once again greeted by a curly haired barista girl with ear to ear smiles and questions about our days plans.  We rolled down the girls window to let them give the low down to her.  My oldest daughter’s response to the, “What are you up to today?”, question was short and sweet, “Going to church”.  The barista was polite with her response but didn’t seem to share our same Jesus values.  My youngest daughter didn’t want to leave it at that though, she felt some more details should be included, “We go to church right over there at the Safari Sams building.  It’s real fun.”  My husband and I laughed a little and were somewhat surprised by the barista’s next comment, “That’s cool.  I try to get to church when I can because whenever I have gone I feel real peaceful.”

My husband and I discussed afterwards this somewhat unexpected portrayal of how an unbeliever (most likely) encountered the peace of Jesus when entering a church building.  And how this Peace, His peace, would be the very reason to go in the first place.

There is nothing like the peace of Jesus to be THE protector of our hearts, mind, and soul when in a time of unknown or trial.  This world, and the prince of this world, works overtime to cause fear and doubt as various troubles hit us.  I love the way Jesus loves and protects us from all the scary “what could be’s” of the future, “what should be’s” in our now, and let downs of the “what will no longer be’s” of past losses, and gives us His peace.  His peace overcomes.  His peace quiets us.  His peace speaks rest and hope to know it all is and will be well.

Thank the Lord for the protection of peace He offers you today.  And then receive His gift of peace in those places which currently trouble you.  Including plenty of “wiggle room” in your thoughts to have your mind renewed by His perspective.   Building in enough “wiggle room” into your agenda for the day to allow for those “God ordained” appointments He has for you.  And as your time is spent wiggling your mind, heart, soul and feet to Him, it is time never wasted.  His peace and love are always “on time”, just when we need them.

When has the Lord’s peace protected you from fear?  Will you thank Him for doing this?

In what relationship, troubling thought, or current trial do you need the peace of Jesus to overcome you?  Will you ask Him right now for His peace surpassing all understanding?

In what part of your typical day/weekly schedule are you prone to become too busy/distracted/burdened and are in need of some Jesus “wiggle room” to be included?

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 142015
 

I am now confident that in no way can I prepare myself for the conversations which will occur after my kids get home from school.  I can only expect that there will be many more of these unexpected moments with my children in the future.  My unanticipated conversation yesterday with my daughter was not a difficult one.  Thankfully.  It was not one which tested my mothering wisdom or skills.  It was simply hilarious.

So my youngest daughter’s first day of Kindergarten seemed to have been a success.  The only frustration seemed to be not being able to ride the bus home.  We covered a series of questions about learning, her teacher, her table mates, recess, snack, and friends.  But the friend comment was the one which made me chuckle from within.  I asked her, “Did you make any new friends?”  She said, “Yes”.  I replied, “What is their name?”  She didn’t miss a beat with, “I just call him Samuel.”  I questioned her with, “Now that is an interesting thing to say, is that his name or isn’t it?  Did you just decide to call him Samuel or what?”  She said, “When he told me his name it went right out of my brain and so I just call him Samuel now because I don’t know and can’t remember his name.”  (We talked about maybe it would be a good idea tomorrow to ask him his name again and then call him by that name.  :))

Some of us are gifted at remembering people’s names and some of us find this to be quite challenging.  How about with our God?  What are we currently calling Him and is it really His true name?  Or maybe have we forgotten it or really don’t know it?  Are we, like my daughter, just calling Him “Samuel”-using some sudo/false name?  I wonder if one of the below untrue names I have used before are on your heart and mind in your current relationship with God-

“I just call Him Samuel”/false names I have called God

  • I just call Him”Condemner”- because I believe I am a bad person (failed too many times), and God cannot use me or forgive me of my sin.  God’s True Name is “Savior”-For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  John 3:17
  • I just call Him “Stealer of my joy/fun”- because It seems all I am being compelled to do is get rid of every food, drink, activity which I love and other unbeliever’s are “living the high life”.  God’s True Name is “Life”-The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10
  • I just call Him “Unable and Uncaring”-because the trial I am in is causing pain/suffering and I feel hopeless and helpless.  God’s True Name is “Redeemer, Peace, Love”.  I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33/ And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28/Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.  1 Peter 5:7
  • I just call Him “Liar”-because He hasn’t answered my prayer in my way or timing.  God’s True Name is “The Way, Trustworthy, Gift giver”.  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6/Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17

May we get rid of all the “I just call Him Samuel” names we are subconsciously or verbally outright saying about our good God.  May we today ask Him for forgiveness for calling Him by the wrong name.  And may we step forward in all our troubles, fears, with Him as He is our friend who’s Name is, “THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE” (John 14:6)

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Aug 172015
 

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5

Of course the 1 Corinthians 13 scripture, “love is not easily angered” was all I could think about.  That is, as I was currently in the midst of fighting off being easily angered.  This seems to be how the conviction of the Holy Spirit plays out in my life on a regular basis.  And I wish I could tell you my anger was the “righteous anger” type, over something of spiritual significance or logical sense.  But I cannot.

The struggle of my anger was birthed in trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole.  Not literally.  But figuratively, as it relates to an activity we all know and love-a birthday party.  Let me explain.

It was my daughter’s 5th birthday and I couldn’t seem to make her “dream theme” work out.  She wanted a “Queen squirrel” party.  My husband commented in response to her theme request, “You sure can tell our kids have grown up in the “Netflix/DVR/no commercials” society because you don’t see any stores marketing “Queen Squirrels”-no barbie party for her- this is her very own creation.”  Hense my frustration.

How was I to win any Mother of the Year awards when I couldn’t come through for my daughter on her birthday?  (I do not actually seek this award, but I recognize I place unrealistic/unnecessary pressures on myself to “be all and do all” for my children.  So Lord, forgive me of this pride which all around never bodes well.)  My internal temperature was rising as I was shot down by all my “go to’s” of Amazon, Target, Fred Meyer, Kohls and Pintrest for ANY sort of “queen squirrel” party decor.

After hours of mental anger (okay, and some outward snips at my husband and children who were not wise to be asking anything of me in this state), I came to a place where I could breathe more easily.  I resolved to the obvious conclusion. Queen squirrels do not co-exist/make sense for the majority of Americans.  So I stopped trying to look for them out in the world and decided to bring pieces of each of these things together to create my daughter’s imaginary world.   I was at ease in letting go of trying to make “queen squirrels” become a “thing”/suddenly appear in our nearby Target store.  And became excited about the creating and entering into the joy of my daughter’s world.  This looked something like a hodge podge array of decor-queen plates, mixed with a squirrel holding acorn cupcakes;  A song sung and book read about squirrels with a princess/queen movie immediately following.  Two seemingly unrelated/unable to be combined entites from the world’s standard-queens and squirrels-were joined together.  And a different world, my daughter’s world, was brought to life at her party.

I am thankful we as believer’s in Jesus live in belong to a different world as well.  A Kingdom world.  A world which is not so unlike my daughter’s party in which “queen’s and squirrel’s” coexist.  Where suffering and glory don’t co-exist.  And even go hand in hand.  Crazily, we can “glory in our sufferings”, as it says in the Romans passage above.  Knowing whatever struggle it is we are currently facing, if we hold onto Jesus, will result in perseverance, then character, and finally, hope.

So we stand on solid hope today.  In the midst of the shaky hard we are facing.  Even when the earthly people around us tell us “queens and squirrels” or our suffering and hope cannot co exist.  Even when other’s do not understand our unlikely, unrelated attitude of strength, peace, and joy in our trialing circumstance.  Because we will overcome in Jesus.  Knowing this world is not our true home.   And we will never feel truly at home until we get to heaven.  In which “Queen Squirrel parties” will be oh so commonplace.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 072014
 

“So that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life-in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing.”  Phil 2:15-16

The alarm clock went off at 4:40am.  Which didn’t seem to matter since the sleep had been hit and miss up to this point.  I couldn’t believe today.  was.  THE.  day.

It had been four months of big time reliance on Jesus.  To get my booty out of bed in the morning and run.  To meet and speak to me on each run without music or other media filling the time.  To strengthen my body, heart, and mind to persevere when my body was in pain and my mind told me I couldn’t do it.  To provide me with prayer running buddies along the journey (I was amazed at the 20 different sister’s in Christ God brought to my side when originally my plan was to have just one running buddy-His ways are not my ways, but they are always better!)  To get me to this very day.

Race day.

It was surreal.  As I pulled on my most slim looking, tummy hiding, zipper including, lack of chaffing, favorite pants.  As I lubed up all areas to avoid potential pain.  As I looked in the mirror and brushed my teeth and thought to myself, “Is there any way I can get out of this?”  I realized something.  Just as Jesus had gotten me all the way up to this point, He also would get me through the now.

I can trust Him. 

It was five and a half hours of physical, mental, and spiritual battles as I ran my first marathon.  But Jesus met me on the run.  And there were three “JP tears” (Tears mixed with joy and pain) moments that pushed me to finish.  the.  race.

JP Tears Moment #1-I was only two miles in.  My mind went to crazy town thinking of all the ways I was inadequate.  Unable to go the distance.  Feeling tired already and knowing I had 24.2 more miles to go.  Things looked bleak.  I asked God for His peace to cover my mind, body, and Spirit.  And He gave it to me.  I looked up, fixing my eyes towards heaven for help, and what do you know was around the corner?  A gigantic George Fox University billboard ( my husband is a professor at George Fox University) and it said, “It’s your time to shine!”.  I cried.  Right there.  At mile two.  JP tears flowed because I knew God had whispered a little of His love to me in that very moment.  Confirming I was exactly where I was supposed to be. And that I could do this with Him.  And through the tears I said a offered up a one second prayer, “Thank you God for your graciousness to me”.

JP Tears Moment #2-The cool breeze of the morning was no longer.  The sun was beating down with an upcoming long stretch of hill and no shade.  There was a sign which pointed the half marathoner’s to the left and the full marathoner’s to the right.  The half marathoner’s were one mile away from the finish line and the rest of us were, well, how do I say, not.  (I highly considered jumping over to join the relieved face crew of runner’s going left.)  It was a moment of need.   As I passed the depressing “this way to finishing the half marathon sign” I heard someone yell, “You can do it Jillian!  You are strong, you got this!”  I felt a renewed sense of purpose and motivation to trudge on.  As I scanned the bystander’s to see who had so been so timely to call out my name on my bib, another stranger yelled, “You are lookin’ good Jillian, way to go!”  Then came the JP tears.  There was something so special about hearing my specific name called outloud.  Who cares whether it was a random stranger-It was a gift from God.  It was healing.  It was inspiring.  It got my feet to keep moving when everything else in me screamed “Quit!”.  It was a turning point of pushing through pain and doubt.

JP Tears Moment #3-I saw my family four times on the run.  I was anticipating their smiling faces as I grew closer and closer to each of their designated viewing spots.  Time seemed to stop as I caught a glimpse of them.  (Of course my glimpse didn’t start until I almost could touch them since my vision is quite hilarious without my glasses on.)  Then came the JP tears.  I had loved ones supporting me.  I had loved ones taking time away from all of what they could be doing to be present with me.  I was overwhelmed with gratefulness for each of them.

I was overcome this day.  With pain.  Unexpected joy.  Gifts and strength from above.  But most of all-I was overcome with the fulfillment of finishing. the. race. 

Knowing my training and hard work was not in vain.  Seeing the faithfulness of my God, once again.  And recognizing whether on a literal run or running the race of life, I wouldn’t have it any other way:  Looking to.  Giving glory to.  Including.  Listening to.  Loving-Jesus on the run is the only way to live!

So my friends- “Arise, shine, for YOUR light has come and the glory of the Lord rises upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).

Persevere in obedience and faith in Jesus as you “run your race of life” today!  Remember your work and obedience to Jesus is not in vain.  You will not regret bringing glory to Him in every word you say, job you do, and person you serve.  Enjoy the journey filled with “JP tears”, unknowns, and acting in weakness and faith.  Because He see’s you and is shouting out your personal name as we speak-In an effort to love on you, strengthen you, comfort you, and inspire you to overcome all trials, pain and obstacles-enabling you to finish your race strong!

 

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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Feb 252013
 

TEARS ARE INEVITABLE (SOMETIMES).  LAST WEEK, I BROKE DOWN CRYING IN THE MIDDLE OF BIBLE STUDY ANNOUNCEMENTS. Not a shining moment for me.  This would be the second close friend moving away this month.

I had been trying to stay strong from the moment I heard my first friend was leaving.  I didn’t want to appear weak and vulnerable.  But when I heard this second announcement, my unexpressed emotions were loosened and the floodgates opened.

Have you ever been barely keeping it together and then something or someone pushes you to the point of tears flowing like a river?  That was me.  Crying uncontrollably.

My tears were tears of sadness. Loss.  Unfulfilled expectations.  All the while, being surrounded by many women whom I just met for the first time.  Talk about showing weakness.  Talk about revealing my lack of self-sufficiency.

Why do I feel as though someone just kicked me in the gut?  I have other friends.  I will still be able to talk with these friends. 

I know moving is God’s best for them.  I am excited for their new adventure. 

Why do I have to be left behind?  Why am I being so selfish as to make this all about me?  Why can’t I hold it together? 

I didn’t understand this new position I was in.

I understood the challenges of moving away from close friends and community.  I had cried myself to sleep many nights as my husband and I moved from Oregon to Texas, Texas to Spokane, and finally, Spokane to our current home in Newberg.

I now recognize there is pain whether you are the one moving away or the one left behind.   God is teaching me truth as I struggle with my friends leaving.

When friends leave us or we leave our friends:

  • There are deep emotions to be expressed.  It doesn’t help anyone to act like the feelings don’t exist.  After I cried I felt much better!
  • Experiencing sadness and feelings of loss means you were doing exactly what you should have been doing. Living in community.  Investing and serving others.  Showing the love of Jesus by loving others as you would love yourself.
  • God see’s our pain and will provide opportunities for new community.  Another friend who I hadn’t see in awhile is going to the Bible study I recently started.  She comforted me with an empathetic hug and listening ear in my moment of, “tears flowing like a river”.
  • We become aware of our dependence on God and others to help us run our race of life well.  I am reading the book called, “A Clearing Season”, by Sarah Parsons, which is a praise to God for His perfect timing.  Sarah says as American’s we don’t like to admit dependence on anyone or anything because that would make us weak.  In contrast, divine strength is “made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9).  It is only in expressing our vulnerable, natural human limitations (showing our weaknesses to one another), that we exercise courage and tap into God’s power.  We are weak by nature, but made strong by our ability to connect authentically, ask for help when needed, and unmask the reality of our self sufficiency.  We are strong when we depend on God and on the body of Christ. 

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.  Prov 18:24

Do you have difficulty depending on God and others?  Will you allow our God and the body of Christ to provide for your needs?  Will you decide today to prioritize living in authentic community?

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Jan 072013
 

I AM LEADING WORSHIP AT MY CHURCH IN A COUPLE WEEKS, SO I BEGIN MY REGULAR PROCESS OF PRAYING THROUGH WHICH SONGS TO INCLUDE.  AFTER 30 MINUTES OR SO, I BREAK TO CHECK OUT FACEBOOK. 

The rabbit trail of photo’s and status updates somehow leads me to Google Images.  A particular image captivates me.  I can’t look away.  Visualize rainbow color behind shadows of men, woman, and children partaking in everyday activities.  The caption reads “glorifying God”.

Immediately the next image shows a particular worship song’s lyrics I was considering and now will include in my worship set.  “Take my life and let it be, all for you and for your glory.  Take my life and let it be yours.”

I question if I have what it takes.  Am I truly willing to give over not just part of my life to God, but all of it?  My body, spirit, mothering, marriage, friendships, jobs, activities, service, family, pride, money, desires, comfort is no longer in my control.  But all for the use of God.  All I am for the chief purpose of bringing Him glory.

We are sister’s in Christ.  We share both common and unique trials.  When we remember, restore, and share our trials, not only are we changed, but God is glorified.

We also can pray for opportunities to share our trial snapshots.  Through the power of His Spirit and grace, we can speak His message of truth for His glory:

You are not alone

You are loved deeply and fully by Jesus

You can find healing and restoration in His name

You were made to fill a purpose that only you can do

You no longer have to live in fear and anger

God desires to work all things for the good of those who love Him (God) and are called according to His purpose.  You can minister to others just by telling your story.  You can comfort others experiencing similar pain.  (2 Cor 1:3-4)

I want to create The Sister’s Redeemed Photo Album.  An opportunity for women to share their story with other women.  This photo album will be filled with verbal images/snapshots of brave women’s trials.  ( In my previous post I shared some snapshots from my struggle with infertility.)

Here is my dilemma.  I can’t create this Sister’s Redeemed Photo Album alone.  I need your story to make it happen.  Would you prayerfully consider helping?  Would you be willing to actively join other women of our standing on peace community, step out in faith, and share from your heart?

It’s your snapshot of pain and redemption.  It’s your snapshot of a promise fulfilled.  It’s your snapshot that nothing is impossible with God.  It’s your snapshot of God’s love.  Only you can share it.  And other women need to hear it.

Here are some questions to ponder about your past trial(s):

  • What was your all time low in the trial?
  • What was a point of change or revelation?
  • What did others do to help or hurt you?
  • Did God reveal Himself to you in any way?
  • How did you find redemption from this trial and how can you testify to God’s faithfulness today?

Using the above promptings, here’s how you can help me form our Sister’s Redeemed Photo Album! (I will be formatting a post of our album after it is complete.  I will only include first names in the post, no last names.):

  1. Copy the below example (Name, trial, painful memory snapshot, and restoration memory snapshot) and email me your information by Feb 1, 2013jillian@standingonpeace.com
  2. Write down one sentence describing a vivid memory of your pain and then another sentence describing a memory of your restoration process.  That’s all, not too tough right?  (These do not have to be perfect sentences, just give me your info-that’s the important part!)
  • Here’s an example for you to follow:
  • Name:  Jillian
  • Trial:  Infertility
  • Painful memory snapshot:  Running to my room to sob on my bed after my friend announced they unexpectedly got pregnant.
  • Restoration memory snapshot:  Looking up adoption information on the computer and experiencing an unrelenting peace and submission to God regarding my future.

I will be praying for you as you consider sharing your story with others.  My prayer is that all of us would allow God to “take our life and let it be all for Him and for His glory!”

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Dec 102012
 

In order for us to live lives of freedom, peace, and wholeness, we must have restoration from our past trials.  Restoration Defined:  ” The act of bringing back into use, bringing back to a former state of health.  Restitution of something taken away or lost.”

I got up at 5:50am to go on a run on the treadmill.  I realized I was sick.  I quickly ran to the bathroom to puke.  Great start to the day.  The Stomach flu took my husband and I both down.  On the same morning.  We begrudgingly took turns as to who could go take a nap and who was somewhat supervising the girls.

Mom and Dad graciously took our girls for the evening so my husband and I could just lay on the couch.  And not move.  My energy was gone.  My appetite was gone.  My health had been taken from me and I was utterly useless to the world.  All I thought about was myself.  And how miserable I was.

Doing life without dealing with a past trial/holding onto anger and bitterness from it, is like going through life with the flu.  We are unable to function at our peak, since we have had energy and joy taken away from us.

Our decisions are self focused rather than God and others focused.  We are unhealthy in mind, body, and spirit and our “sickness” is contagious to others.

Whether we like it or not, our unresolved trials creep into our present relationships and influence our decisions.  If we have never dealt with a past hurt, we are still living in bondage from it.

I know this step towards restoration of a past trial is not an easy one.  It wasn’t for me.

Through the years I struggled with infertility, I had days of trust and distrust in God.  But I came to a crossroads.  Either I could hold onto my anger, and do things my way/without God, or give my trial and pain to God and let Him take control of my life.  I chose the latter.

I clinged to my heavenly Father for comfort and strength.  I trusted in His unfailing love.  I held onto His promises in His Word.  That He had a hope and a future for me.  That He would use my trial for good.

And I can testify today that He is faithful.  He is the restorer of my soul.

When we surrender ourselves and our trial to God, He restore us.  He brings us back from sickness, to a place of health. He says we no longer have to hide away our brokeness.  He gives life again to all that we once lost-our self worth, our trust in/love for Him, our trust in/love for others, our ability to minister to others.

And we can testify that God is love.  God is good.  And nothing is impossible with God.

Take Him up on what He is offering you today.  Restoration.  No strings attached.  Only allowing our God, the Restorer, to bring you back to a life of health and healing.  Break the chains.  Live with peace and joy in Him.

1 Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.

1 Peter 5:10  And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Chrsit, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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