Aug 292017
 
Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love Eph 4:2
It all started with my season of “being the chair”.
To sum it up, this lovely season was about me being humbled and waiting.  It was about the “not yets” in regards to my God given dream of speaking to women.  But really, I am not seeking pity, my friends.   I had come to terms with truth- it was not God’s timing for this specific dream to take flight – I must trust Him in my now.
But you see their was still a problem-Even though I was “good to go” emotionally and mentally speaking, I felt my current purpose in this season was not “good to go”.  In fact it was all systems stop.  I felt tied down physically and spiritually.  I was getting antsy people!  I mean, I was waiting on this God given dream, sure, but were my God given giftings/passions simply on hold in the meantime?  Was my adventure rollercoaster ride as a Kingdom worker out of order?
I began to delve into my deep inner psychiatrist (and this is usually where things can go wonky real quick).  I began to ponder if this was all God had for me in the now….to just be still.  To just wait.  Anyone with me?  Because this felt fairly ineffective for the kingdom….and even as we know “patience is a virtue and those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength”, I had to ask God if there was more to this waiting thing….then just waiting.
So I did.  On one of my morning “runs of bliss” (picture a Snow White scene with the birds chirping, sun shining, in addition to children at home) I point blank asked God, “I feel I have no purpose as I wait, is there anything I can do as I wait on You?”  And it was impressed upon my mind and heart in this moment as I believe the Spirit responded to my cry by saying, ” Seasons of waiting are always coupled with seasons of loving”.  Then the scripture “Bear with one another in love” came to mind and I pictured myself again as “the chair”.  A chair is still, yes, waiting, but a chair holds others up as it is still.  A chairs job description is to bear the weight of the person sitting on it.  Likewise, when we are “the chair” spiritually in a waiting season, our job description is to “bear the weight” of another’s pains, trials, questions, concerns, fears, and tears.  And do you know what words proceed this job to bear in love-you got it, be humble and patient.  The season of being the chair involves patience, waiting and humility-all still, inactive characteristics, but they are coupled with the action word to love.  This was a comfort to me-we are called to take action in love in our seasons of being “being the chair”.
God allowed me to flashback to a painful “being the chair” season of 4 and a half years of waiting for our first baby.  I remember being real tiffed with God at His lack of ability to produce in what seemed to be everyone else but me!  I also recall the need to shift perspective.  Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have (and in the meantime being real ineffective for the Kingdom/His “now plans” for me), God gave me purpose and the action of loving those who were right in front of me.  And oh how in this “season of being the chair” I had the privilege to love on one who we now call our “adopted daughter”.  Time while we waited for our own biological daughter, meant time we were instead to be loving another of God’s children.  Now fast forward 9 years (a month ago) as I cried at our “adopted daughter’s” wedding and sent her off to start a new life with an amazing man of God.
So if you are in a “season of being the chair” never think all this waiting and being humbled and being patient is for not.  God.  Is.  At.  Work.  In.  You.  And your work you are called to take action in is one word:  Love.  Find hope that “He who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion” Phil 1:6.  Find joy in your current purpose to love those you rub shoulders with today.  And do the impossible with Jesus-be active in your season of waiting.
Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Dec 112015
 

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1

But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.  Hebrews 10:39

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  Matthew 14:29

Without faith it is impossible to please God.  Hebrews 11:6

I woke up this morning with the musicale Newsies song, “Now is the time to seize the day” on continual repeat.  It was the day before my due date.  An induction is planned for tomorrow.  But I am holding out hope.  Praying in faith.  Asking.  For our baby girl to come today.  Tonight.  And so “Now is the time to seize the day”.

To “seize” something is to:

“take hold of suddenly and forcibly; Take (an opportunity or initiative) eagerly and decisively.”
synonyms: grab, grasp, snatch, take hold of, get one’s hands on;

And the opposite of “to seize” is:  “let go of;  release”

Today I had no plans on the calendar (which was also what was on the agenda for yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that).  Kind of a strange feeling being in this holding pattern.  Waiting for our baby girl.  So I did something I may not have the time or ability to relax into in the months to come-take a shower.  Actually blow dry and straight iron my hair.  And visit my husband for some quality time at his office (with a slight hidden agenda of being there for “Friday Donut/Primo Coffee” day while the girls are in school.)  Oh.  The.  Simple.  Joys.

As I was giving the Administrative Assistant the “latest baby coming updates”, one of my husbands colleagues passed by and looked at me somewhat strangely (of course this was nothing new since being called, “The Death Star” from Star Wars among other shocking comments seemed to be at the top of everyone’s mind as I entered any space with my protruding belly).  But his comment was different.  He said, “You seem strangely calm for possibly having a baby at any time.”  And I was.

In spite of what I knew was around the corner (all unknown labor stuff), I had prayed for His peace.  I was taking hold of this very day-seizing this day-without fear.  In a state of active peace.  Prepared and ready.  I am choosing to clutch these next 24 hours in a peace filled, expectant pattern, joy embracing, confident stepping, faith shielding space.  And I have no doubt my loving Father is right by my side.  Actually on all sides, having gone before me already.

William Carey said, “Expect great things of God, and attempt great things for God.” Peter seized the day.  Stepped out of the boat in faith.  And took action to miraculously walk on water to Jesus.  He many times gets a bad rap for his doubt which came after, but I see him as the ONLY one who actually “seized the day” in faith.  Noah built an ark when there was no rain.  Moses lifted up his staff and parted the Red Sea.

My “seizing the day” today so far has not entailed some grand act of the miraculous as Peter, Noah and Moses displayed.  But that’s just fine.  Maybe your day will also look similar to mine.  My “seizing the day” has gone something like this:  Choosing His peace over thoughts of anxiety about what tomorrow may bring;  Casting my cares/worries upon Him because I know He will take them and cares about them (and me);  Embracing the joy moments of quality time with my husband and family;  Listening to the Spirit’s still small voice which encourages me through the Word and others; Standing in faith, knowing that no matter what, I am loved and never left alone.

So “Carpe Diem” my friends!  (Latin for “seize the day,” an aphorism found in the Roman writer Horace’s Odes, this phrase has been used in English since the early 1800s.  Used to urge someone to make the most of the present time without concern for the future.)   Do not allow worry and fear of the future to rob you of living the vibrant, God ordained, faith filled life He has for you today.  Lean into the Spirit’s nudges which call you to action without knowing how things will end up.

We are only “a mist” the Bible says which is here on earth for a little while.  May you be called a “mist of faith”.  Not holding back.  Not being afraid of the “what if’s”.  Not being complacent with the earthly norms.  But seizing.  every.  opportunity.  to.  grab onto Jesus.  And watch in expectation as He grabs onto you as you walk by “faith and not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7).

What action can you take to “seize the day” today and respond in faith to the Spirit’s leading?

Is there a decision you are allowing fear of the unknown/lack of sight to lead rather than trusting Jesus/living by faith?  Will you ask God to help you have courage and not be afraid?

 

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Apr 302013
 

Amidst all the waiting and change our family has been experiencing recently, I have been completely intoxicated with Leeana Tankersley’s book Found Art.  Her writing has been the perfect companion during such a tumultuous time.

Leeana’s book begins by quoting a handful of verses from Ecclesiastes and maintains an undercurrent of resting upon these very verses throughout her story.  I have been meditating on these verses myself, especially when I’m tempted to think things are out of control or that they’ll never end.

“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens;

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build up,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embracing and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

What do workers gain from their toil?  I have see the burden God has laid on the human race.
He has made everything beautiful in its time.
He has also set eternity in the human heart;
yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  Ecc. 3:1-11

These verses remind me that the waiting and change I face today is a part of life.  There are many different seasons in life.  Many of them include a period of waiting.  To change, to heal, to grow, to move on, to rest.

As I explained in my post last week, I’ve come to realize these waiting stretches can tend to bring out the worst in me.  The anxious me.  The insecure me.  The angry or bitter me.

One thing I cannot escape through the waiting is the not-so-subtle reminder that I am not in control.  I don’t always get to call the shots or make up the timeline.  But God IS in control.  He holds my times in His hands and it is not a mystery to Him.  I find peace in this, when I let it sink into my heart.

Along with recognizing and resting in the fact I am not in control, I’ve also come to realize I can choose to not let these times be wasted. Will I allow myself to be moldable, teachable, changable during these stretching times?  The easier thing would be to give into the pull to become numb, closed off, or stuck.  But taking the harder, intentional path means being willing to take part in the story God is orchestrating in my life.

“He is making everything beautiful in its time.  While we wait, we must breathe and heal and grieve and become.  We don’t see the beauty immediately, but as we look back, we find the art in and through it all.” – Leeana Tankersley, Found Art.

I love these words.  God is in the swirling emotions that accompany waiting.  He is longing for us to open our hearts to Him.  To see the beauty in what He is doing in us.

Where does waiting find you today?  Are you open to seeing the beauty God is creating in you?

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Apr 232013
 

I’ve never done the waiting thing well.  When I think back to any major life changes, I’m afraid to say the waiting period right before, deeply affected me.  And the affect was usually an ugly one at that.

To wait: to remain stationary in readiness or expectation.

This is where I find myself today.

A few major changes have been brewing in our household for some time now.  We are moving out of state (back down to California), my husband is taking on a new role at work and we are expecting our third baby this fall.  Even though my husband and I feel at peace with our decision to make such a major move, it doesn’t come without a certain amount of pain, anxiety and grief.

We’ve been juggling my husband’s travel schedule, preparing our home to sell and then having our house on the market. We are arranging the details of getting possessions down South, I am fighting morning sickness, all the while trying to cram in quality family and friend time.  We’ve said good-bye to our regular routines: Bible study, girl’s night, preschool, play dates, gymnastics, etc.

And now, due to several circumstances, our move date has been pushed back.  For the third time.  Bringing about a serious denial of the impending change.

For this reason, I have found myself in a constant tension.  Trying to brace myself for the ground to shift beneath my feet.  But it hasn’t yet.  Not really.

This period of completely stopping our routines was a wonderful luxury at first.  Then ever so slowly my expectation, anxiety and attitude began wearing down.  Giving into negativity and a “woe is me” mentality.

Maybe it is because I’m pregnant, or maybe it is because of my past experiences, this waiting time reminds me all too much of the pregnancy process.  I spent the week leading up to each of my children’s arrivals encompassing the very definitions of impatience, moodiness and negativity.  It was bad.  I didn’t even want to be around me.

Our waiting to move has worn me down in a very similar way.

Our good-byes have gone on and on, emulating nothing like ripping off the bandaid quickly.  Living in our home, as it’s staged and ready for viewing appointments at any time, has acted as a constant reminder that our home will very soon not be ours.  Pain and grief.

I know what lies on the other side of change.  We’ve done this move before.  It is uncomfortable.  Induces growing pains.  And truthfully, brings out all of my insecurities of fear, perfectionism and shame.  Fears of being alone, not having community and making mistakes.  Thinking I need to do the actual move and emotional process perfectly.  Thinking I will not be the wife my husband needs, or the mother my kids need.

There is much to grow into and much to be processed in the coming months.  Thankfully, I have not stayed in this place of worry and repulsing negativity.  This has come through being reminded over and over again: I am not in control, He is.  He is the one who holds our times.  I share all of this, because waiting is a part of life.  And waiting is hard.  Because waiting stretches us.

When did you last experience a stretching time of waiting?

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Dec 112012
 

I wish I could tell you my “open palm” prayer revelation was my secret to staying in a place of peace.  I would be a hypocrite if I told you so.

I had a second epiphany about myself this week: patience is not a virtue of mine.  Not by a LONG shot.

If I’m cold, I want to be warm.  NOW.  So, I respond by immediately turning the car thermostat up to 82 degrees.  If I’m hungry, I want my food to be cooked.  NOW.  So, I respond by turning the burner on high, even at the risk of completely torching whatever it is I am cooking.  If I’m tired, I want to be asleep.  NOW.  So, I respond by (sometimes) skipping out on my responsibilities, in order to get into bed.  (To get myself back to functioning again, I must go to bed at 8:30pm. Yes, you may have guessed I am a morning person.)

I can remember countless times of waiting in my life.  I didn’t do any of them well.

Waiting… to be engaged to my husband.  To be healed from my eating disorder.  To be done with college.  To be done being pregnant.

Waiting… for my babies to sleep through the night.  For my husband’s traveling job to include less traveling.  For the pain from losing my brother to go away.

Today is no different.  I am waiting for answers and healing for my health.  Our family is waiting for answers in regard to my husband’s job and direction.  All answers that could literally mean huge changes for me and my family.

And I’m doing it again.

Flailing.  Praying open-palm prayers.  Jaw-clenching.  Praying.  Emotional eating.  Praying some more.  White knuckle-gripping my fists for control.  Praying and opening my hands even more.

I’m finding it isn’t about remaining in a constant state of pure peace.  I’m human. But it’s about what I do when the anxieties start to over-sweep me.  Do I open my palms and continue to give it back to Him?  Even if it means over and over again?

My husband and I were talking about this struggle for me to wait.  He reminded me of something very powerful, yet so simple.

Our ability to wait on the Lord is one of the truest forms of showing our trust in Him.

I long to do this better.  To wait and trust.  In peace.

I am going to continue my open palm prayers and handing my worries over to God.  Every. Single. Time. They arise.  And I’m going to meditate on His Word.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.”  Psalm 130:5-6

Are you in a place of waiting too?

Waiting for healing?  For direction?  For answers?  For relationship?

Do not be discouraged.  We can learn and grow through the waiting.  Even if it’s not what we want to do.  And we can remind ourselves and each other of Isaiah 30:18,

“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
He rises to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice,
Blessed are all who wait for him!”

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Nov 292012
 

We are about to enter a season of purple.

Seriously. It’s not just my opinion! The Church even says so.

The liturgical Christian church uses color to help us think about different rhythms in our life

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with God. Purple is for preparation, and we’re heading there this Sunday for four weeks of purple loveliness 🙂 (See previous post for the significance of purple to me.)

Kids latch onto and love the liturgical colors materials in the atrium (the space where we host a weekly contemplative Bible and prayer experience for kids). They relish the solemn procession when it’s time to change the color of the cloth on the prayer corner table. They sing the colors song at the top of their lungs and ask to do it again and again. And they sit in silence as we unveil one color at a time and introduce them to the great variety of ways we can enjoy God’s presence.

White is for celebration, for the great feasts of Jesus—the feast of the nativity and the feast of the death and resurrection of Jesus. White like light.

Purple is for preparation—the time before the feast when we are getting ready.

Green is for ordinary time, or growing time. The time after the feast. We humans may have a penchant for drama (God too at times?), yet most of the liturgical year is green.

(That slow and steady growth that unfurls in the midst of the ordinary must be worth something.)

And Red is the color of great love—it’s for Pentecost, or the feast of the Holy Spirit. The One who pours the love of God into our hearts.

Even though advent means coming, these 4 ish weeks before Christmas are all about waiting.

My first pregnancy was culminating during advent, and 12 of those days of waiting were after the due date. I so wanted to be vibe-ing deeply on the peaced-out Mary-the-mother-of-Jesus channel. It could have all been so holy and meaningful.

It wasn’t. I was grumpy and resentful and anxious.

Isn’t that how it goes with waiting?

Deeper down feelings show themselves. Our sense of our own power is rattled. Purple is stirred.

Our guts groan.

Can we let it be? Knowing that the space in us and in our lives is womb? That something is growing in there

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room inside is the point?

Or will we rush around with preparations, avoiding feelings, taking control and trying desperately to make it all holy and meaningful?

When I was training to be a catechist (guide) for the Montessori-based kids experience I described above (Catechesis of the Good Shepherd), there was an emphasis on the “prepared environment.” Most of the guide’s work is getting the atrium ready so the kids can work independently while the catechist plays butler where needed.

But when I went through the second round of training, my teacher mentioned this idea of catechist as prepared environment. Whatever it is we do to make ready the external surroundings, can the children find a spacious, grounded center inside us?

That’s a question I’m holding this advent. I am hoping I can stand the agitation of my “internal purple” that space and waiting inevitably bring…

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