Jackson Five Friday: You Get You

Hey Friends,

Hope you’ve had a wonderful week. We got back Wednesday night from vacation, and are trying to get ready for school. Two of three sons still have summer reading to complete and so it’s going to be a push to be done by Tuesday. But it’s worth it. We had a lovely summer and a memorable capstone trip in which we logged more than a thousand miles in a rented Chevy Impala. We packed our 10 long legs into that little number and saw some amazing sights. One of my favorite pictures is the road selfie above — it paints a picture of just how cozy we were.

I don’t know about you, but I find maintaining routines difficult when my boys are home. I want to be present and attentive to them, but that often means chucking my own agenda. Ahh, but Tuesday is a brand new day. It’s back to consistency with reading and writing and exercising and eating healthy. The world is my oyster. At least that’s how it feels. I am also aiming to add in some regular fasting. I have never, whether the boys are home or not, been consistent with fasting, but I do believe it is an important spiritual discipline. Even the simplicity of Jesus saying, “When you fast…” is always convicting. His assumption was that His followers would fast, and yet I’ve never made it a regular part of my life.

Will has been intermittently fasting for years but pretty much none of his admirable self-disciplines have rubbed off on me. Recently he was fasting in an airport while traveling with our younger two sons. This simple fact illustrates how fundamentally different we are. I love munching, getting coffee, and people watching in airports. The idea of fasting while traveling would never occur to me. Anyway, we were chatting on the phone and he was getting a little impatient about some travel inconvenience and I said, “Well, you’re probably just getting hangry from fasting.”

And his response has been replaying in my mind.

“You don’t get hangry,” he said. “You get you.”

It’s so true. Fasting brings out you. It magnifies your struggles. Just like being inconvenienced or being treated unfairly or any hurdle in life, our existing propensities can intensify under pressure. Increasing self-awareness is only one of the many benefits of fasting, but how great to regularly get a fresh look at you, unfiltered.

The world says, “you do you” but it’s not usually a call to use your God-given gifts for His glory. It’s more in the vein of “leave me alone, I’m good just how I am.” That’s not the message of the Gospel. The Gospel tells us that God knit us together uniquely in our mothers’ wombs. He loves us just how we are, but we are meant to be lovingly transformed more and more into His image. We become our truer selves and better, unique reflections of Him.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Giving thanks today for a sweet summer, and praying for a season of discipline and growth. May we all continue to be transformed by beholding His glory.

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Buckets and Barns

Hey Friends,

Last Sunday I was out of town for a swim meet. Shocking, I know. But I went to church and heard a fantastic sermon. Do you go to church when you are on vacation or out of town? I have never once regretted doing so. In fact, I always find it so encouraging. No matter the state of the world, there are great people who love Jesus everywhere.

The pastor was preaching from James 4.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James‬ ‭4:13-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It’s a familiar passage, but he tied it to a modern day example I’d never heard before. He said, the guy who came up with the “bucket list” concept, Dave Freeman, hit his head at home and died. He was 47. Will and I are 47. Needless to say, Dave Freeman hadn’t checked off all the items on his list. None of us have a guarantee to live another day, or even to take another breath.

It made me think about when Jesus told the Parable of the Rich Fool who wanted to tear down his existing barns to build bigger ones.

And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God. ‭‭Luke‬ ‭12:19-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Do you have a specific list of things you want to do before you die? I do not. I try and live in the moment and soak up the places and experiences I am blessed to visit and have, but I’m not particularly inclined to check boxes. I love making memories with my family in new places. I enjoying trying new food and seeing new sights. But I also try to live in the reality that I may not wake up tomorrow. I want to live each day clinging to my Savior, grateful for every moment, and resting in the truth that this life isn’t all there is.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with making a list of what to do before you die, so long as one entry is already checked off: Know Jesus.

“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” John‬ ‭17:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

No bucket item or barn store can compare with knowing the only true God!

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Monday

Hey Friends,

I know “Jackson Five Monday” lacks the usual ring, but I’m just now getting to sit down and write. Still, the title is apt.

In May I followed through on a plan that had been brewing for years. I had planters installed to spruce up a somewhat barren view. I bought colorful flowers and enjoyed gazing at them almost every time I walked by. At least that’s what I did for a few weeks. But then I somehow missed watering them once or twice. They started looking more and more pitiful and yet I still forgot about them. Then I was out of town for a couple days, and when I got home it was quite evident that they were dead. My pretty flowers wasted away from utter neglect.

Isn’t that a picture of the Christian life? It only takes a day or two of skipping out on time with the Lord for me to notice the difference. My spirit begins to wilt like thirsty petals, and I may mistake my impatience for stress, but the truth is I need the nourishment of time with God and His Word. More than a few days and I feel unanchored, aimless and unmotivated. And we know that the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. We know we need to press on, but oftentimes knowing what to do — I knew these plants needed water — is not enough to do it. On my own, my life will always turn out like these flowers. I need the help of the Holy Spirit to do what I know I need to do.

“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.” ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭3:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬

But how is “pressing on” related to Mondays you may ask? Well, I love Mondays because they always feel like a fresh start. God’s mercies are new every morning but sometimes I feel readier to embrace them on Mondays. So, if you haven’t spent time reading God’s Word, journaling or praying yet today, there’s still time to kick your week off right. Your spiritual or literal flowers may be dead, but praise be to God, you can weed, uproot and plant new ones. God’s mercies are new every morning, and I pray today is a day you can boldly live into this truth, pressing on, confident that you are His.

With Love,

Kristie