Jackson Five Friday: Fear

Friends,

Do you have any unusual fears?  I’m not talking about normal stuff like snakes or mice, or even heights or spiders.  I’m talking about something that scares you senseless that is just not your everyday fear.  I have one.  It’s forgetting people’s names that I actually know.  When I know I am going to have to introduce someone fear washes over my whole body — it’s immediate head-to-toe panic.  Oh my gosh.  I’m going to forget their name.  Oh my gosh.  What is it?  WHAT IS IT??!!

I did this a few years ago to someone who I was pretty darn close to.  We were in a Bible study together and prayed together and went on retreats together.  It’s not like I could ever forget her name, at least not until I had occasion to introduce her to someone else.  It was mortifying when she was forced to help me.  And what’s really weird is that I am actually pretty gifted with names.  I know everyone’s name.  Right up until I need to prove it.

This random little clip of four-year-old Nate is exactly how I feel.  Does he not look inexplicably petrified?  I did this again last Saturday night.  I must have looked a lot like Nate, blanking out on a name I totally knew.  So embarrassing.

Our fears can be ridiculous and overblown and completely irrational, but the pop culture idea of having no fear is equally irrational.  Seriously, no fear?  Because I’m thinking it’s a real good idea to have a robust fear of heroin and roughly ten million other life destroying choices.  Fear of harming key relationships should also motivate us to set firm boundaries, and be zealously protective.  Some fears are undeniably good.

In fact, the Bible says that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.  This is so far out of our comfort zone that we may be prone to limit its application.  We wonder if this “fear” is  just  reverence for God’s holiness?  Maybe it’s just standing in awe of His power which includes the power to speak the universe into existence.  But I think the posture of needing to understand “fear of the Lord” in terms that we find appetizing is one of pride.  Part of it connotes an attitude of “I’m so loving and kind and enlightened that I can only know, seek, love and serve a God who casts out all fear.”  And the Bible indeed promises that perfect love casts out fear.  But guess what?  There’s a problem: we live in a fallen world and we possess fallen little minds.  We don’t yet know perfect love.  Perhaps we are just in the beginning of wisdom, where fear of the Lord is a stepping stone. What does it say about us if we won’t fear the Lord?  If we refuse to use that particular stone step?  On what basis could we possibly skip past it?

I don’t believe there is one.  I hope you’ll skip along with the stones the Sovereign Lord puts in front of you with the confidence that He knows best and that His Word is truth.

That’s my plan.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105 KJV).

With Love,

Kristie
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Jackson Five Friday: No Can Do

Happy Friday, Friends!

Do you ever stop to ponder the words of Jesus, “apart from me you can do nothing”?  Because honestly it’s such a grounding concept, such a pride killer.  I can’t take another breath on my own.  I can’t type another word.  I can’t do one good thing, not one.

I want to share the love of Jesus with others who may not know Him, but I also desperately need people in my life who live out the truth of John 15.  I need people who point to Christ instead of taking credit, people who abide in the vine and try hard not to forget that is what we are called to do.  Because honestly I am bummed out by people who bypass the truth and try to take the glory for themselves.  It’s not the way it works.  I find it terribly unbecoming, and I abhor my own propensity for it.  So I need people in my life who will preach it to me the way it is, a la Hall and Oates if need be.  I imagine we all do.  Because in so many words, God says, “Child, are you trying to take the credit?  No can do.  I can’t go for that.”

But I can’t go for that, nooo
(No)
No can do
I can’t go for that, nooo
(No)
No can do
I can’t go for that, nooo
(No)
No can do
I can’t go for that
Can’t go for that
Can’t go for that
Can’t go for that, yeah

In the end, our all-loving, all-knowing God will get all the credit, whether we give it to Him now or not.  May I be faithful to give Him every ounce of the glory and may God give me a supernatural love for those who do not.

Have a great weekend giving God all the glory and thanks!

Love,

Kristie

 

Jackson Five Friday: Celebration

Hi Friends,

I heard a thought-provoking lecture on suffering yesterday at BSF.  The speaker explained how she has endured suffering and learned through experience that the Bible’s stance regarding suffering is true: God will not let us be crushed.  Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed,but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9).

My BSF leader then followed up her affirmation of this biblical truth with the following statement:  “Therefore, I choose not to fear.”  I think this is one of the most profound statements I’ve heard in a long time.  Because we often live in fear of what could happen, and shudder when we hear about the suffering of others.  We rightly observe that there is so much pain in this world, and maybe it’s natural that all of it scares us senseless.  We act almost as if it’s our duty to be worried: only an irresponsible, uncaring person would fail to worry, right?  It may be popular, it may be natural, but it’s not biblical.  What an interesting juxtaposition to witness this petite woman make such a brave statement: “I choose not to fear.”

Today I’ve been analyzing how this principle has played out in my own experience.  Have the people in my life who’ve endured tremendous pain been crushed?  My mom hasn’t.  As you may know, she endured an unbelievable season of grief where she lost her sister, her husband, her brother, and her son in a three-and-a-half-year span, and only her sister was physically ill where we knew death was imminent.

But she was not crushed — she most assuredly was closer to despair than perplexed.  But she did not give up.  She did not abandon her faith.  She was not destroyed.

I’m sure you must be wondering why on earth I titled this post “Celebration.”  It’s not a mistake.  We have dear friends from Virginia here this weekend — one is little Will’s best friend since kindergarten and the other is one of Nate’s very best buds.  We have been counting down the days till their arrival.  We love these boys, and what a great reason to celebrate!  I sat down this morning thinking I would write about how important it is to build celebrations into our lives.  I decided to pull Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline from the shelf and read the chapter on celebration.  But what I read surprised me.  Foster wrote, “The spirit of celebration will not be in us until we have learned to be ‘careful for nothing.’  And we will never have a carefree indifference to things until we trust God.”

Is it possible to truly celebrate and be anxious at the same time?  Of course not.

Which brought me right back to yesterday.  Can I really celebrate the gift of having my boys’ friends here without adopting this beautiful, intentional stance?  I choose not to fear.

In fact, I want to choose not to fear each and every day, despite how many terrible things could happen.  I want to take all my burdens and cares to Jesus — to lay them at His feet and to trust that He is working it all out.  And when the occasion comes to celebrate, I want to celebrate with my whole heart.

Have a wonderful weekend.

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Sharp Sticks

Happy Friday, Friends!

It is a gorgeous day here in Tennessee and I am thrilled to report that Sam went to school three days in a row without crying and/or vomiting.  I’m really hoping and praying he’s turned a corner.  It is honestly such a sweet little school, with such lovely people, but I can’t argue with Sam, they do work hard.  He has not had the benefit of a ramp up, but I think he’s getting with the program regardless.

My dad often used the line, “Well, it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.”  This applied to almost every circumstance.  And certainly working really hard in third grade is not so terrible  — it’s better than a sharp stick in the eye, that’s for sure.

Plus, the promise of the Bible is that God will use all things for those who love Him for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).  It is not at all hard for me to believe that the challenges of making a huge transition like this are growing all my boys in important ways.  The secular wisdom of “you’ll be better for it” may sound empty and trite, but for those who love God, it’s an actual promise.  God takes our ugliest moments and weaves them into something beautiful.  He takes our best moments and weaves those in too.  Nothing is wasted.

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When we moved into our new house on Lookout Mountain, this wreath was on the front door.  It is a lot like one I used to have (might still have, somewhere), except much prettier.  It is a wreath formed with sharp sticks and adorned with little berry-like pieces.  In my book, Sharp Sticks: Essays of Embarrassment and Reflections on Redemption (2010), I wrote about my old wreath.

And life is not unlike that wreath — we all experience heartaches and disappointments, embarrassing situations and regrettable moments.  I’ve shared some of my own sharp sticks on these pages, but the wonderful news is that God never wastes anything….Every mountaintop experience and every visit to the valley will be used by God.

Of course six years ago, I was using mountaintop and valley experiences as metaphors.  Who knew I’d have daily literal mountaintop and valley experiences?!?!?  Well, God did.  Maybe He sort of smiled when I wrote that, “You just wait, Beloved, you just wait.”

How wonderful to know that God is working it all out, using all of my experiences to draw me closer to Him.  And what peace as a mother to know the same is true for Will, Nate and Sam.

As always, thanks for reading!

Love,

Kristie