Jackson Five Friday: Seasons of Waiting

Hey Friends,

Do you want to know what I’m waiting on this week? I’m waiting to see a single ray of sunshine! I truly have grown in my appreciation of the beauty of fog, but I have my limits. Endless fog and rain this week, and I’m so ready for blue skies. If you know me, you’re probably thinking, “Here she goes. She says this every spring.” I think I do. I cannot seem to overcome being overly influenced by weather. I’ve passed this along to at least one son too.

But waiting for fairer weather is one thing, sometimes waiting is much heavier. Do you have some unresolved issue that weighs on you? I do. Well, sort of. There is an area of my life that is aptly described as unresolved. It’s been a true season of waiting. But paradoxically the longer it goes on, the more peace I have. God’s plan is good. I don’t know what it is. But I trust it’s exactly the right thing, and that the timing, despite what feels like a long wait, will also be utterly perfect.

Psalm 27:14 says, “Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” If you are in a season of waiting I hope those words will comfort you. God has a plan for you and I’m praying you’ll trust Him.

Have a fabulous weekend. Sunshine is forecast for Sunday!

Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Solve the Riddle

Hey Friends,

Hope you’ve had a wonderful week. Honestly, I’m still recovering from last weekend when my oldest son’s swim team won the state title. It was such a great story of guys overcoming adversity, and swimming out of their minds. The 4 x 100 relay was the last event of the night. So long as they logged a decent time and didn’t DQ, they knew they’d win the state title. Video reveals just how long they waited on relay take-offs just to be extra, extra sure. Still, amazingly, their time was the fastest in the country recorded so far this year by a high school relay team. I screamed so much that I’ve been dragging all week.

I did manage to browse through a book I ordered: Frederick Buechner’s The Magnificent Defeat. It contains the riddle. He writes “It is so hard and it is so easy. And everything depends on it.”

Any guesses? Do you know what Buechner is referring to when he says it’s both so easy and so hard, and that everything depends on it? He is referring to prayer. And I could not agree more.

In some ways, praying is so very easy. Someone or some need can cross our minds, and we can so easily shoot up a prayer. But focused and consistent prayer is super challenging, even when we firmly believe nothing could be more important.

Ephesians 6:18 says, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Yes! May we all always keep on praying.

With Love,
Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: My People

Hey Friends,

I’ve had an epiphany: my kind of people are more likely to be cashiers in gas stations than zookeepers. Let me paint for you the difference.

I saw that a zoo in El Paso has a vindictive little program coming up this week for Valentine’s Day. You can have a cockroach named after your ex and then they’ll feed it to the meerkats. Seriously. Our culture loves to find ways to fuel rage. I wonder how many cockroaches will be named Donald Trump. I’m also curious how many of those who submit Trump’s name also have a “Hate Has No Home Here” sign in their front yard. Meanwhile, the Bible requires that we love and pray for our enemies. Zookeepers may not be “my people” but I’m committed to loving them and praying for those like them, are you?

Then this morning I had the most delightful three minutes in a gas station. It was a Pilot/Dunkin’ Donuts Express. It was early and I was grabbing some muffins while Will poured our coffees. I walked a few aisles over to grab something for Sam, when a woman yelled out in an extremely loud voice, “Oh my Gosh!”

Will, still back at the coffee station, somehow thinking I was the yeller, answered back very loudly and perplexed, “What???”

I’m easily amused, but the whole thing cracked me up. Then we headed over to the checkout counter, where a man and a woman, both Caucasian, were manning the desk.

The woman said to the man, “Will you call Tommy for his shower.”

“Sure thing,” he said, cheerfully and then boomed into the speaker, “Tommy your shower is ready!”

The woman rang us up. The man took the next customer, an elderly black gentleman.

The black man asked the cheerful white man, “How are you today?

“Better than I deserve, better than I deserve,” he answered with a smile.

“Me too, brother,” the black man said. “If only we could convince more people it’s true, the world would be a better place.”

I don’t think these two are feeding their exes to meerkats, do you? They exude joy and gratitude. They are my people — at least I pray that I am even a tiny bit like them.

One thing is certain: I am a sinner and every minute of every day I get better than I deserve. In eternity the discrepancy will be infinitely wider. Jesus paid it all. I’ll never get what I deserve.

“But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who long for your saving help always say, “The Lord is great!””

‭‭Psalm‬ ‭40:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Yes, may every person — from gas station attendant to zoo keeper, and all those in between — rejoice, be glad and say “The Lord is great!”

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Cilantro and Parsley

Hey Friends,

Last night I made some yummy tacos. We had both blackened mahi (leftover from Wednesday night) and spicy shredded chicken. The vital topping for these two taco varieties is, of course, cilantro. However, even though I popped in the grocery store yesterday expressly for cilantro, at dinner I was devastated to learn that I had grabbed Italian parsley instead. Maybe devastated is too strong a word. Maybe. The parsley was in the section labeled cilantro. But I didn’t have my glasses to read the tiny label. I think the mistake was especially deflating because I’ve done this before. In fact, I’m pretty sure this is the third time I’ve made this mistake.

But there are at least two spiritual lessons in my errant endeavor to properly top tacos.

First we are slow learners. I have discovered the triple-home-button method to magnify anything on my phone. I also possess a perfectly functional nose. I could have confirmed it was in fact cilantro with either of these reliable tools. But, I didn’t. I’m stupid and forgetful. Spiritually, we all are.

We never graduate beyond needing the most basic refreshers. God is holy. You are a sinner. But God loves you so much He sent Jesus to die for you and to pay the penalty for all your sins. You can live forever with Him but you have to lay down your plan and your way.

In my Bible study last semester I heard a simple illustration. Have you ever watched a two-year-old try to tie shoes? I think it’s possible you haven’t because praise God for Velcro! Anyway a two-year-old cannot tie shoes. But some will try for a while. Eventually the shoes get tied when the child is ready to admit they can’t on their own and asks for help.

Have you told God you can’t do it on your own? Or are you still flailing around, trying to tie the shoes of your life? God is ever-willing to help you, but He doesn’t wrangle you or force anything. Thankfully He is patient, and faithful, and full of love.

What are some other basic lessons you are apt to forget? I am inclined to forget that laying down my plans is a daily discipline, that each and every person (even those who propose or support legislation to kill babies) is made in the image of God, that I can’t earn God’s love or orchestrate how anything goes.

A second spiritual lesson from my parsley calamity, is that sometimes what you need looks a lot like what you do not. We need to pray for discernment. There are loud voices in our culture, probably all cultures, that say just what the serpent in the Garden said, “Did God really say?” And then after planting seeds of doubt, they follow up with harmful ideas and persuasions that are far more injurious than parsley on tacos.

Thankfully Jesus showed us how to refute those who would lead us astray. I’m sure you know what He said. He said, “It is written…”

Using God’s Word to fend off temptation and corrupting influences is always the answer. But to use God’s Word, you have to know God’s Word. Are you saturating 2019 with Scripture? I can always do better but have recently had success with a morning routine using the structure of the CBR Journal (www.thecbrjournal.com).

But whatever works for you, find it and do it. It’s time spent there’s a zero percent chance of regretting!

“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 ‭ESV‬‬

Have a fabulous weekend!

With Love,

Kristie