Feb 072017
 

I was humbled this morning.  And it’s not the blatant humbling process I undergo on a regular basis when literally fall on my face and must somehow regain composure with a laugh to let others know the ER run is not needed this time.  You see, my klutziness is a given.  My defensiveness and inability to “let IT go for the sake of relationship” seems to “trip me up” and my deep, inner self-righteous self is left out there for all to see.  And it is in this “pride fall” I lay today, causing me to wish there were golf mulligans (or do over’s) in real life.

Of course we were at the happiest place on earth, oh I just realized you might be thinking of something different, to clarify we were at McDonalds play place.  I recognize my Mom points just went down the tube, but when the only other option on this rainy, no school day is cabin fever, there is no shame here to claim, “I’m lovin’ it”.

I walked in with my girl crew-one on the hip, and the school aged ones sporting an eclectic ensemble from Fancy Nancy Easter dresses to soccer socks with stars and patterns galore.  My look was somewhere in the middle of these and so we were representing fashion at its finest people!

As the older girls ran to check out the tubes, the little one and I were on our way up to order my “lovin’ it” coffee.  A haphazard looking man (finally someone on my same page) greeted us quickly with a, “If you could let me order first that would be great because I am late for a dentist appointment and I am only going to order an Egg McMuffin.”  (I thought in my mind in response, “I am sure he thinks at the looks of our girl crew that we are going to buy out the place with happy meals, but little does he know the reality of my “one coffee please” order.  He thinks he knows me and is judging me, but he has no idea.  My mental defensives was on a roll in these couple seconds.)

I wish I didn’t have to use the “hind sight is 20/20” phrase so often.  I wish the Spirit would speak with a little louder voice to overwhelm my flesh nature instincts.  Ah but my pride.  Gets.  In.  The.  Way. 

And so my response was the jaded, “I guess you can go, but all I was going to get was a coffee,” and my tone and walking away nonverbal language only lovingly complimented my words.  Gotta love how I am the poster child for this verse in this moment-“let your conversation always be full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Col 4:6.  J   Even as the words left my mouth I thought about the THINK analogy I use with my girls to check to make sure their conversation is, “True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind”.  Talk about a Mom of the Year award for hypocrisy at its finest.

I have to say I felt bad but it was too late to do anything about it.  But what happened next made me feel like the scumb of the earth.  As I went to pay for my “1 coffee” order, the gal at the register said, “Oh, actually it’s free.  The guy before you said he would pay for your “1 coffee”.  Ouch.  I was just killed with kindness-when what I really deserved was a consequence for my pride filled, defensive driven, grace lacking attitude and actions.

I could barely drink the coffee.  I once again had been “tripped up” and humbled by my inability to respond out of the Holy Spirit’s fruit of “self-control, patience, kindness, gentleness”-I mean, just pick one and we would have been good to go.

But in our times when we trip up, mess up and fall is when we most need to look at the kind filled, grace filled face of Jesus.  And understand “His grace is sufficient”.  And He still desires to use us for His good purposes, in spite of our “falls”.  So I picked my “shot to the ego” self up and went to the place I know I can always find Truth.  Grace.  And hope.  God’s Word.  Because at this pivotal point when I fail, shame is right there to suck me in.  And take me down, down.  But just like when sin and failure hit Adam and Eve in the garden and their response was to hide from God in shame, so this is where we still go today when we sin and fail.  But we must fight this desire to hide in shame and look up to the opposite of shame, which is glory.  Jesus came and died so we no longer have to live in shame, so why are we still “shaming it up when we should be glorying it up”!

When you are thinking shame, instead think, my God has given me glory!  We are forgiven.  Given grace in all the weakness.  And sent out to continue on in glory, and giving glory to His Name!

And in that very moment we are running away to hide, God grabs our hand to stop the motion, and grabs us with two hands on our face, looks at us in the eyes, and says, my beautiful daughter,

Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.  Isaiah 60:1

And it is sitting in this true purpose and hope, with this book in my lap, that my heart, mind and spirit finds rest.

I wonder if a past “failure” or possible future “failure” is on your mind today.  Will you bring it to Jesus, the grace giver, and receive His “always coming” grace?  Will you sit with the “grace filled book”/the Bible today to enrich your heart, mind and spirit?

How can you extend grace and forgiveness, like Jesus extends to us, to someone around you who is more than “on the naughty list” in your book?

Talk with the Lord about someone you can “kill with kindness” this week as we contemplate on the kindness our Savior extended to us on the cross and continues to extend to us when we mess up?

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Oct 052015
 

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching,you are really my disciples.  Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”  Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.”  John 8:31-34

 I AM the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes unto the Father, but by me.  John 14:6

I have been bombarded with truth this week.  A little much if I do say so myself.  Part of me wants to deny it and run and hide from it.  The other part of me (the Spirit in me) recognizes truth, real truth, absolute truth, Jesus truth will only set me free.

One of my “truth moments” happened as my youngest daughter set out to give everyone in the family another name to go by.  I am guessing in her mind, we all needed to be called by what we were “all about”;  as in the 7 dwarfs for example.  She started out by naming her older sister, “Nature” (because truly, every time we dive into an area of forest on either side of the road she comments, “oh how I wish I could be in that nature and walk around, don’t you?”).  She proceeded onto naming herself, “Dancing squirrel” (because my girl’s have a crazy obsession with squirrels in play and real life and she joyful dances whenever she gets the chance).  My husband was then given the name, “Games”, (in which I chuckled to myself because of how right on she had been for everyone.  My husband’s strengths are in strategy and competition and his love for games is evident in spending time playing or reading up on various games).  I was the last to be named and I was curious and also a little nervous as to what I would be “known by or considered to be my big thing”.  And then out of the mouth of a child, the humbling truth of my name she blurted out, “Napper”.  She followed it up with an explanation, “Because you are always sleeping, Mom.  You love to take naps all the time.”  Ouch.  Whoever said the truth hurts was right.

As I walked with the Lord the next day I wrestled with my “Napper name”.  As I was giving Him my justifications of “why naps were happening a lot lately” I couldn’t help but notice a massive slug in my path.  I had never seen a slug on my regular walking route before.  But this fact isn’t the part which took my brain to all consuming thoughts about slugs.  It was the 4 additional slugs in my path which put my curious mind into overdrive.  I began to wonder what made the slugs come out today rather than any other day?  I Googled “Facts about slugs”.  And amazingly I gave myself a school lesson in slugs this particular morning (and most of you probably already know this fact, so thank you for humoring me by listening briefly to my “Ah ha” moment).  We had just experienced our first long, hard rain of the fall season.  This was the reason for the slugs coming out into the “slimelight” (Google included this and I admit I am a sucker for dry/play on words humor).  Slugs traditionally in the summer time will hide under rocks and hang out in dark, damp places, but when the rain comes, they feed on coming out into the wet ground in the light of the day.

And how does learning about slugs have anything to do with my life you may be asking yourself…well, I was asking God on my walk the very same question.  And He revealed His Truth to me.  He spoke to me about how when the Holy Spirit “rains down”/empowers/speaks to us, we, “like slugs” are imparted Truth.  Absolute truth.  Which brings us into the Light.  When others give us constructive criticism, or we feel guilt over acting upon our selfish/flesh/sin nature, we have an opportunity to test if this is real truth in which we should accept, ask forgiveness for, or simply learn from in order to be more like Jesus.  So as I thought back to my daughter’s “Napper” name for me, I recognized “‘testing truth” and “being sanctified by His Truth” should be continual part of my life as a follower of Jesus.

Ways we can test if a message/thought is True in this world;  the world says all truth is relative, but we as Jesus followers know God’s Word is the ONLY absolute truth:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Check the message/thought against the Bible and see if it follows it or is going against it

  • For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12                                                                    
  •  (Jesus prayed for His disciples) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.   Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.  John 17:16-1                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2.  We must humble ourselves.  Then ask the Holy Spirit, who lives in us as believer’s in Jesus, to give us a peace about how to proceed from here.  Ask Him to reveal if this is absolute Truth (because He is actually the definition of Truth).  And if it is, what our response should be in order to allow this Truth to sanctify us (change us to be more like Jesus) and bring it into Light.  
  • Humble yourself before the Lord and He will lift you up.  James 4:10
  • When the Holy Spirit, who is truth, comes, he shall guide you into all truth John 16:13a
  • If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  1 John 1:5-7
  • Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.  John 3:20-21                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     3.  Ask a trusted, follower of Christ for wisdom to confirm the message/thought resonates with their spirit
  • But speaking (practicing) the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Christ.  Ephesians 4:15a
  • Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future.  Proverbs 19:20

We must know and learn to recognize Truth.  We must humble ourselves to not be discouraged, defensive, or not accepting of Truth.  We must seek out ways to grow in Truth through the Holy Spirit’s gentle guiding.  And just as slugs leave a trail of slime wherever they go, we also leave a “mark” when we walk in the light of Jesus!  Because we know coming out into the “slimelight”, acting upon the Truth of God’s Word and guiding of His Holy Spirit of Truth only brings about True life, freedom, joy and peace.

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Mar 252015
 

To walk in humility.  To consider other’s as better than ourselves.  To have a servant attitude like Christ.  To hold our tongue when we could so let others know we are all that and more!  To lay down the pride was this week’s overall challenge.  And boy did I have opportunities this week to practice “Do not boast” love attribute of 1 Corinthians 13.  

Boasting versus Humility Moment #1-New friend-

Of course the sermon passage this week was Luke 14:11 which says, “he who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Fitting.  Very fitting.  It was obvious the boasting challenge was on.  Throughout the week I found myself operating with a new device/gadget called “The Boasting Checker”.  Meaning, my brain was continually evaluating, “to boast or not to boast, that is the question”. I met someone new at Bible study and as we talked I was cautious.   I asked her a lot of questions.  (This was a safe zone for not boasting about me.)  But then she asked what I did for work-I stated I was the worship pastor at our church.  And then kept going with, “I am also considered lead pastor at our church since we are in a team model and all 5 pastors serve as the senior pastor.”  Immediately I had a check in my spirit.  Went too far with that follow up comment.  Wasn’t necessary and wasn’t living out humility.  I guess my “Boasting Checker” didn’t catch this one.  On the way home from bible study I took a deep breath in. Then out.  Then asked for the Lord to forgive me of my boasting and prideful spirit.  (And I asked Him to fix my “Boasting Checker” gadget to have better luck next time.)

Boasting versus Humility Moment #2-Old friend-

It was Kindergarten round up day and this being the second time we have done this, I was strangely at ease.  Even though we have been unsure about which school to send our girls to in the past, today was not that day.  My husband and I were rock solid with this decision.  Rock solid with peace.  Rock solid in the vast wisdom we could extend to any needing soul.  A got the opportunity to talk with 2 old friends in regards to the half day versus full day/public versus private versus homeschool versus bilingual program options.  I asked God to give me wisdom for each of my friends and show His love to them in this place the challenging place they were in.  And He did.  But somewhere along the boasting continuum, my “rock solid” state I was in turned into a prideful spirit.  My rock solidness looked somewhat like, “I know the best choice, I know it all, I have things really put together” in my mind, heart and am sure overflowed out of my mouth.  (It’s hard to get away from the scripture, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45)  It’s a bummer to recognize even in doing good work for the Kingdom, my pride still comes into play.  And I HAVE to remember that any GOOD done for someone is not because of ME.  Alone, I can do NOTHING.  It is ALWAYS the Spirit at work in me which produces spiritual fruit.  “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  John 15:5

Boasting versus Humility Moment #3-God talk-

As I ran with the Lord I asked Him what was at the root of my struggle to boast.  Boast.  Boast.  And boast some more.  Am I so lacking.  Deficient.  Insecure that I must compensate by talking myself up?  I believe He responded to my question by directing my thoughts to the NOT portions of the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13.  He whispered to my soul that all the “DO NOT’s” in the chapter stem from a deeper lie that we carry.  And ironically, it is an “I AM NOT/I HAVE NOT” deep lie, that moves us to participate in the surface issue of boasting, or envy or other DO NOT statements of the love chapter.  We take control of the building ourselves up instead of trusting THE BUILDER (maker of us) to do this work.  For example, when I believe the lie that I am NOT enough-I take control.  I don’t trust God.  And I boast to others that I AM enough.  Or when I believe the lie that I must have more clothes, toys for my kids, newer cars, or a better tv or house to be happy/successful in our culture, saying I do NOT have enough-I take control.  I don’t trust God (to provide/give abundant life).  And I compare what I have to what others have and I get jealous/have envy when they have more (success, material things) than I do.  When we start to have the “I AM/HAVE NOT” untrue statements going through our minds, we must go to God to “renew our mind with I AM” true statements from His Word-we go to the Great I Am for our “I AM” statements.  Here are some I hold to today:

I am a child of the King.  I am created perfectly by the Potter.  I am intended to bring Him glory.  I am valued highly.  I am destined for a great purpose.  I am weak, but in Him I am strong.  I am dead to sin but alive in Jesus.  I am forgiven.  I am free.

Am I now trying to win the approval of men or of God or am I trying to please men?  If I were trying to please men I would not be a servant of Christ.  Galatians 1:10

As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Galatians 6:14a

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or a cheap desire to boast. But be humble towards one another, always considering others as better than yourselves. Phil 2:3-4

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 292013
 

As I was thinking and praying about what to write this week, I had a strong desire to write about something positive and uplifting.

Many of my posts have dealt with some hard stuff but today I want to focus on hope.

There are many books that have left a lasting impression on me but two of the most significant are The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith and One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.

Both of these books literally changed my life. They helped me change my thinking and how I see the world.

The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith walks you through the journey of discovering who God truly is by looking to the person who knows Him best, Jesus Christ.

Smith suggests that we all have ideas (narratives) about who we think God is and how He works in our

imgreslives. However, many of our ideas about God are incorrect even though we may not be aware they are faulty.

For example, I held a belief that I would never be good enough for God. That He held high expectations for me and I would never live up to His expectations.

Smith helped this false truth come to light. He helped me to understand God’s unconditional love.

One of the most amazing things about Smith’s book is that at the end of each chapter he shares a “soul training” exercise. An activity or concept to work through to help you develop true narratives.

For the first time, as I read a book I experienced the hope of actually adopting the new information to my life. So often books share wonderful ideas but leave you hanging as to how to make lasting change.

The second special book is Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. It opened my eyes to all the blessing around me.

For years I had been wandering around wondering where my joy was. I felt lost and guilty that as a Christian I was not more joyous. I had met joyous Christians and read about joy in Scripture, but I was at a loss for truly experiencing a lasting joy.

When I started reading Voskamp’s book I felt like I was reading my own journal! Her words, her feelings, fears, where just like mine. For the first time I did not feel alone.

In her amazingly poetic voice, Voskamp shares how thanksgiving comes before the blessing. That is, to experience joy we must give thanks and recognize all the blessings around us. Even give thanks for the tough seasons in life, for the little things and the not so fun things like dirty dishes and laundry.

Voskamp points to many places in Scripture where the key to being joyful in all circumstances is to give thanks. Naturally I would like to think I am a person that is thankful but I was blown away to see Scriptures that I had read several times, jump off the page. I had missed it. To be joyous is to be thankful.

I followed Voskamp’s leading and started a blessing journal, writing down each thing I was thankful for. Not only did it help shift my focus but it also encouraged me to take time throughout the day to notice. The birds, flowers, the little things that often go unseen.

Am I forever in a happy go lucky mood?  No!  Even though I wish I was. That it is not me. I am however, better equipped to experience joy. I give thanks more often and I pay closer attention to the little things.

What books have impacted your life?

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© 2012 Standing on Peace

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