Jackson Five Friday: One Hope


I skipped posting last week because I had the opportunity to spend a three-day weekend with my family.  No sporting events or other obligations, just the five of us hanging out.  I try to not take those times for granted.  I know my boys will soon be grown, and I’ll never regret any time I focus just on us.

But I have been thinking about all the events in the news too, from school shootings to the passing of Billy Graham.  It hasn’t been a very uplifting stretch.  Then last night I got horrific call.  A dear friend of mine in Virginia is facing unbelievable heartache.

The sorrows feel unrelenting, the waves of heartache bunched together like never before.  Where are the still waters?  Where are the green pastures?  I can tell you where they are not.  They are not in the news.  They are not in the laws.  No person, wise and old, or young and idealistic, can lead you there.  Why continue looking to anything in this world for answers?  It’s never provided any peace, any hope, not a single green pasture.  Apart from God, the bent of this world is utter devastation and destruction.  No one looking at facts could possibly deny it.

There is only one hope: Jesus.  His peace passes all understanding, both for this life and for the eternity that awaits.  His life gives ours purpose and direction.  His death marks our pathway to eternity with Him.  He is the Light of the World.  What sense does it make to reject Him and then rage at the darkness?  It’s an absurdity.  The Light was given for you and for me.  May we invite Jesus in to every dark corner of our hearts.  May our lives be just as Jesus described, like a city on a hill, shining brightly and undeniably for Him.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:14-16

With Love,



Jackson Five Friday: Torn ACL Blessing

Hey All,

Nope, no new injuries in the Jackson household. Praise God!! But I recently met a man who told me about how his torn ACL was a blessing. This gentleman was a Div I basketball player, and he told me how he needed this injury. He said it was vital that God humble him. At first, he said, he was angry. But that the injury ended up changing his whole outlook on life. Now, everyday he wakes up, he is full of gratitude. The obvious sincerity of this man brought tears to my eyes. I want to exude joy the way he does.

And I’d give anything for my boys to have this kind of never-ending gratitude. But can I be honest? They don’t. Not even close. Not a one of them. The thing is I feel like I’m not nearly as influential (for good or bad) as I thought I’d be as a mother. Let me give you an example. My sixteen-year-old has never ever, in his over 100 days of driving, said the following: “Have you seen my keys?” Nor has he ever, even momentarily, misplaced his phone. With me for a mother, how is that even possible? If there is anything at all I’ve been consistent about, it is showing him how to lose these personal items multiple times a day.

And then this weekend (hence the late post), the handsome, organized little devil went and swam his heart out at the Tennessee State Meet. He finished 5th and 6th in his individual events and both his relays were 2nd in the state. As you might imagine, I am bursting with pride. But I’m also just in awe of how much work and dedication and focus such a feat requires. Again, one may wonder if he is indeed mine.

But even for personality traits that I might like to give him, like a bent towards optimism, it’s the same story. I think mainly all three of my sons were born with certain dispositions and the influence of nurture is pretty limited. I should rephrase that. Parental nurture is pretty limited. Godly nurture, as the former Div I athlete illustrates, is limitless.

So parenting involves more prayer, more loosening of my own grip, more yieldedness to God’s will and means, than I ever could have imagined. A sense of peace comes not from knowing I’m doing a good job as a mother, but knowing that God has a plan. In fact, His plan is good, pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:1-2).

May I seek first His Kingdom. May I offer myself to God as a living sacrifice. May I never be conformed to the patten of this world, but renew my mind. Then I will know His good, pleasing and perfect will. May I live each moment yielded to the Lover of my soul.

Praying the same for all of you.

With Love,


Jackson Five Friday: Praying Away Traffic


I used to be in a hurry all the time.  I constantly cut it close, almost always arriving late.  I have honestly gotten much better.  God has thoroughly shown me over and over and over again that “hurry hurry has no blessings,” or in Swahili “haraka haraka haina baraka.”  Of course, I said better.  I’m not cured.  This week Sam and I were in a situation where I cut it way too close, and it was absolutely vital that we arrive on time.  When we were about ten miles away from our destination, the map on my phone turned red.  The route had some kind major incident and being that we were in the middle of nowhere we had no alternative route.  We were supposed to be 12 minutes out but the phone suddenly said 24 minutes.

Sam started to get really worried.  I was trying not to reveal how utterly sick I felt about creating this stressful situation.  Here was my inner dialogue.  “We should pray about this.  But shoot, I know Sam will act weird about it.  Maybe I shouldn’t even tell him that I’m praying about it.  What?  What are you saying?  Of course, you should pray about it with him!

I grabbed his perpetually warm little hand.

“Sam,” I said.  “We need to pray about this.”  And so I did.  I prayed aloud that God would please, please clear a path.

I know how trite this sounds, but when I looked at the map again, the red was gone.  The traffic, which seemed to be caused by a temporary, one-way flag situation — based on the fact that no cars had been passing in the opposite direction and then a whole slew did — was suddenly moving at full speed.  We never saw what caused the slowdown.  And yes, the path could have been about to clear anyway, but we’ll never know for sure because we did pray about it.  The most logical answer is that God answered our prayer, even though I do not deserve to have such self-inflicted stress relieved.  God heard our prayer and the traffic cleared.  Those are really the only two pertinent facts.

I am not advocating treating God like a genie in the bottle.  But I don’t just cry out to God in times of need.  I talked to Him a lot.  I tell Him how grateful I am.  I tell Him how much I love His creation.  I tell Him how much I need Him.  I beg Him for mercy and for wisdom.  I need to do this even more.  The Bible says, “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Someone once said, and I wish I could find the exact quote, that they talked to God more than they talked to anyone else.  That’s a telling statement.  With each passing day, may it be more and more true of me.

A.W Tozer said, “We please God most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms.”

May we all throw ourselves into His arms!  It’s the best place to be.

With Love,