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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Jul 212015
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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May 052015
 

 “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.”  Proverbs 16:9 (NLT)

My grandmother always quoted my grandfather in an old golf saying, “Never up, never in” she would yell to the scared sole ready to make a difficult putt into the final hole.  As somewhat frustrating as this scenario was at the time, I cannot help but think how these words ring truth to my now.  Character traits of fear, hesitancy, and timidness are not found in Jesus, neither should they be found in us, His followers.

To “swing” our clubs to win the hole parallels how we should live our lives faithfully in whatever season we find ourselves in.  If we seem to find ourselves on the OUTS of normal routines, we live IN to this season of gratitude for God’s provision and the gifts of receiving love.  We are called to live life with Jesus, to be faithful to what He is calling us IN to in the now, and to do it all in the grace, power and strength of His given Holy Spirit.

I know I am called to a new IN with Jesus, but right now all I feel is on the OUTS.  Of pretty much everything I was IN before.  The news of this pregnancy was most definitely God ordained.  (And it seems whenever I mention something in my life to be “God ordained”, it usually involved “not being ordained” by little ol’ me.)

And if I am honest with myself I am having to be vulnerable in my mourning the loss of all my INs from before.  Today I sit in the reality how I am OUT:  Of my previous calling as Worship Pastor at my church.  Of all leadership/life giving commitments.  Of every activity in general.  Of commission to be giving/serving in any capacity to my girls, friends, family and neighbors.  Of schedule with the Love it up-Putting on 15 love attributes in 2015 blog writing.  Of the carpool.  Of my regular Bible reading.  Of control in my bodily functions so much so there is a slim chance I will finish a conversation without having had to go puke at some point.  Of the luxury to plan what tasks will be accomplished in a given day or week.

I am out. Of. my. mind.  in. overwhelming. weakness.

And friends.  This is where I live.  Today.  But I am compelled to write.  Because I believe when we are called OUT of a particular season we are called IN to a new season.  (Another way to look at it, a friend said the other day, “When we are called FROM something, we are called TO something else.”)  And this is where my hope is found.

That even though I feel on the OUTS, I am IN the midst of God’s loving hands.  He put IN me the new life of a growing baby.  It is IN this growing of this baby that I am put IN a state of reliance on God and others.  I believe the Lord nudged my heart to lean IN because this would be a season of receiving.  Refreshment from the kind texts of close friends.  Meals from the body of Christ to keep my family nourished and cared for.  Daily help from a servant hearted mother.

This is what I believe my Father spoke to me in ministering to my heart, but I also believe this is for each of you as well:

Your worth is not determined by your season in life.  Your worth is not determined by your productivity in the day.  Your worth is not determined by the numbers of friends or opinions of friends.  Your worth is IN My Son, Jesus.  Alone.  You are fully loved.  Beautifully and wonderfully made.  And permanently secured in My grace filled arms.     May you stand firmly IN My truth and love today, My precious daughter.

What season/calling/activity do you find yourself OUT of? (something you have found yourself doing in the past but for whatever reason are not currently doing.)

What season do you find yourself IN today?

Will you ask the Lord if you are “swinging your club” to being faithful IN this season? 

Are you looking to anything other than Jesus to find your true worth?  If so, will you lay this down before Him and allow Him to fill you with affirmation and wholeness in His loving arms?

 

 

Jillian

Jillian

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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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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 Mom
Oct 252012
 

For years I have felt compelled to pray the strange prayer that my sons would be prodigals instead of elder brothers.

Rather than knowing only their own pride, performance and striving after perfection, I want them to know deeply their need for God, and the thrill of mercy flooding all their inadequate places.

But seeing those inadequate places is hard to bear.

One of my life mentors has a strong, extroverted personality and isn’t afraid to be blunt and sometimes confrontational. This can be an incredibly valuable quality, yet his wife and I joke that when Mark sins, he sins boldly!

The same is true for my oldest son Michael, who I’m beginning to understand in some new ways this year. When Michael sins, he sins boldly. When he’s struggling, his inadequacies are out there for everyone to see. He can’t hide his fire, and when it comes out in an unrefined way, it makes me cringe. It’s hot and uncomfortable.

Yet these are the moments when my prayer is being answered. Because until inadequacies are truly exposed, there can be no deep experience of God’s mercy.

I think of myself as a pretty authentic person, but it’s easier to let my weaknesses be seen after I’ve processed and cleaned them up. Then when I share about them, I come off as self-aware and mature.

I don’t want my deepest inadequacies to be seen live, the ones that would really make you cringe. Like the day after Michael got home from a week of overnight camp when I yelled at him, “Why are you so hard to live with?”

“Then the Lord said to her, ‘You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish but inside you are filthy.’” (Luke 11:39)

As hard as it is for me to see (and know others are seeing) Michael’s emotional outbursts and 10-year-old bravado, it’s dawning on me that he is a model for me of transparency. His fire burns away any false, superficial exterior so that what is on the inside

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can be seen on the outside.

With Michael what you see is what you get. It’s real, it’s live, it’s in the moment—not shared later with wise overtones.

As we keep refining, I keep reminding myself that my kids’ reckless prodigal moments (and mine!) are an opportunity for an experience of mercy—every time. And I would much prefer this to

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a life of seeming maturity on our outsides while judgment, resentment, and pride are building on our insides.

For it is not prideful striving or covering up that will get us a clean cup in the end. It is being seen at our worst by a Father who hikes up his robes and comes running in response. It is mercy flooding our filthy places.

How do you help your kids experience mercy when they are at their worst?

Admin

Admin

© 2012 Standing on Peace

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Sep 272012
 

Forgiveness is the name of love practiced among people who love poorly. The hard truth is that all people love poorly. We need to forgive and be forgiven every day, every hour increasingly. That is the great work of love among the fellowship of the weak that is the human family.”

~Henri J.M. Nouwen

I am both relieved and reviled by this quote.

Generations of over-achievers have gone before me on both sides of my family. We don’t do things poorly. We push through until we get it right. Where we are weak, we work harder.

So I chafe hard against the idea that in the area that counts the most, that of love and relationships, I will not reach my standards for myself; I will not meet my own expectations.

And yet these standards and expectations exhaust me!

I am a limited, aging, needy, distracted human being.

This fact is a daily disappointment to me. But because it is the unavoidable truth, what a relief that it’s not perfection but forgiveness that is the “great work.”

Much of my time is spent running around cleaning up after people—their dishes, socks, crumbs, spills, careless words, and impulsive actions. The other day I stopped in my tracks, dirty socks in hand, as it hit me that this is how God spends much of his time as well.

“You restore the wasted years, you build the broken walls, your love replaces fear, your mercy makes us whole. Adopted, healed, and lifted…” (Aaron Keyes, I Am Not the

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). Tears sprang as I heard this song and was overcome by the sweetness of a God who runs around cleaning up my messes, fixing and repairing what I have broken. He is not above janitorial work.

Sometimes when I’m in the darkness of disappointment over a painful parenting moment or missed opportunity, a little light comes on. It dawns on me that the sting of regret doesn’t have to be the end of the story. The

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episode is still unfolding, the “great work” is yet ahead.

I pray under my breath for an opportunity to go back and ask forgiveness or give it, talk about it or listen. I pray for a chance to be present in the way I would have like to have been the first time around. I am amazed and humbled by how many times I get this chance.

Leonard Cohen sings, “Ring the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”

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