Jackson Five Friday: Pray for Brad

Hey Friends,

Do you ever feel like you are just on a streak of sucking? That’s been my story this week. I have said things and done things and thought things that make me so so grateful for grace. I cannot fathom the terror of living in a world where karma was the only force. We’d all be so screwed. Instead, I am sitting on my couch watching snow pour down. It’s a lovely symbol of how God’s love washes away our sins, even the most crimson of stains.

One of my crimson stains this week involved inflicting harm on a stranger, Brad. Will and I were leaving a valet-only establishment, and poor unsuspecting Brad pulled Will’s car around. When I opened the passenger side door, I was overcome by the smell of cigarette smoke — a smell I detest and have a sensitivity for.

My first mistake, and it was a stupid one, was to audibly say, “Woah!”

Will, still near the rear of the car and Brad standing by the open driver door, both heard me.

Will said, “Woah what? What’s up?”

I tried to brush him off and just not answer, especially with Brad there, but Will asked again. “What’s the deal?”

Since I had not ridden there with him, I decided to try to play it off as a joke about Will.

“Just wondering if you took up smoking?” I laughed.

Poor Brad then said: “Oh, I didn’t smoke in the car. I smoked earlier, but not in the car.”

Will, trying to cover for me, God bless him, said, “No worries, my friend.”

Then Brad stabbed me in the heart by saying, “Smoking is one of the biggest regrets of my life.”

Can you please pray Brad is able to give up smoking? Can you please pray that Brad, although I’m unlikely to ever see him again, will forgive me? Sixty seconds of an unpleasant aroma did not in any way require me to react like some kind of a shrew.

We chatted with Brad for a few more minutes and Will gave him a ten spot, but how exactly do you make such an exchange right?

I’m not sure you do. The damage was done. The Bible tells us that the tongue is like the rudder of a ship. It’s tiny relative to the whole, but so powerful.

How would you rate your rudder control this week? Have you used words to encourage and lift up? Or have you instead been loose lipped with resultant undeniable damage like me?

“All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.”
James‬ ‭3:7-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

May we be ever mindful of the power of our tongue, and use it to continually praise our Lord and Father.

With Love,

Kristie

P.S. Except for posting this on Facebook today, I’m going to stay off social media for Lent. So if that’s the way you usually link to my blog, you’ll have to just check the website on Fridays: http://www.kristieejackson.com or hit the subscribe button and it’ll be emailed to you.

P.S.S. I’d love to know your favorite Lenten readings/devotionals. My favorite is the one pictured above, From the Grave by A.W. Tozer. If you are willing to share yours please put it in a comment here on blog, not Facebook.

Jackson Five Friday: Lasting Love

Hey Friends,

Last week I wrote about how love is patient and kind, and not a victim. I guess that probably awakened my senses all the more to victimhood. Golly, I’ve just been seeing it and its destruction everywhere I look. Well, everywhere but the Bible that is.

This week I studied Psalm 63 at Bible study. David penned it while being chased in the wilderness by his homicidal son, Absalom. One might think that the dire and horrific reality of such betrayal might lead David to play the victim, but, of course, that’s not at all what David did.

Instead, David chose to remember God’s faithfulness and sought to stay close to Him. The Psalm even makes the bold statement that God’s love is better than life. David vowed to praise God as long as he lived. Is that what I would do if my life was threatened in any way, much less by my own son?

Sadly, very few of us earnestly seek God the way David did. We do not recognize that knowing God is the longing of our soul. We try everything under the sun, denying the truth of St. Augustine: “Our hearts are restless till they find rest in thee.”

James Montgomery Boice has a wonderful three-volume commentary on the Psalms. In response to Psalm 63, Boice writes, “In view of such great love, isn’t it strange that we spend so much time trying to find satisfaction elsewhere, even in earthly loves, and so little time seeking and enjoying the lasting love of God.”

This weekend, may we all be more like David — sinfully flawed and yet determined to know the lasting love of God.

I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you…Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings. I stay close to you; your right hand upholds me. Psalm 63:2-3, 7-8.

The Rolling Stones wrote about lack of satisfaction more than 55 years ago, Augustine more than 1500 years ago. When will the world see that only God truly satisfies? When will I start living into the truth that God’s steadfast love is better than life? Praying it’s today!

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Love is Not a Victim

Hey Friends,

I hope you are having a wonderful day celebrating the ones you love. My husband slept in this morning, which is a rarity for him. I woke up fully rested just before 8, and when I opened my eyes, his gorgeous baby blues were staring right at me. This is how Valentines should begin.

But I’ve been thinking about what makes our relationship work. Our first date was February 21, 1991. And we’ve had twenty-nine years of cracking each other up, of bouncing big ideas off each other, laughing till our faces have hurt. We’ve had more than eighteen years of parenting. It is the hardest, most rewarding part of life together. But if you are with someone for almost three full decades guess what else you have a lot of? Opportunities to forgive. Was it Ruth Bell Graham who said, “A happy marriage is the union of two good forgivers?”

Because that is TRUTH. Sure, we are better individuals than we were in 1991. We are more serious about our faith and a whole lot wiser, but that doesn’t mean that 2020 hasn’t already had its own hiccups. There have been things said even in the last six weeks that are regrettable. We are fallen people and we don’t get through a day without sinning. No one on earth can attest to Will’s faults like I can. Likewise, no one is as familiar with the damage of my acid tongue the way Will is, and that is just one of my many shortcomings. But at the end of the day, love is always a choice worth making.

Love is patient. Love is kind. It forgives. It is not the victim.

Okay, that’s a paraphrase, but it’s true nonetheless. You know what the victim does not do? The victim does not laugh. Laughing has saved our marriage, and that’s not an overstatement. I mean, it has saved us in the short-term — in the midst of a tense situation. And it has saved us in the long-term — meaning the daily laughs bind us together in a supernatural way. I don’t need to explain it. I just know laughing together for all these years has knit us tight.

So, Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope it is full of laughs with all your special people.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I hope you’ll love others well this weekend, even when it’s more of a choice than a feeling.

Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Highs and Lows

Hey Friends,

Last week I wrote about how nice it was to be affirmed and loved on my birthday, which was Wednesday. Alas, the tide can quickly change.

On Friday I went to an event at the boys’ school which included an insane dunk contest and a luncheon featuring an inspiring talk by Gary Brackett. Brackett was sporting his Super Bowl ring that he won with the Indianapolis Colts. The moms I was hanging with said, “Let’s go meet him.”

I ended up being able to tell him how much I appreciated his faith through his many tragic losses. He lost his dad, his mom and his brother in a three year span. In our brief conversation we marveled that anyone could live through something like that without the Lord.

But then things turned south when a picture was snapped. The picture, and I can’t bring myself to share it, is me, then my tiny mom friend, then Gary, then my other friend, who is somewhat tall. I am wearing boots in the picture and it is in portrait mode angle.

Later that afternoon I showed the picture to Nate. Nate is usually sweet and thoughtful. He is a wonderful writer and has penned some of the best cards ever written. But when I showed him the picture he was aghast.

“Mo–om!!” he declared, “You look huge!”

Now I don’t know how many times you’ve taken a picture with an NFL player and yet you’ve been the one declared “huge,” but it was a first for me. A hilarious first. For days every time I thought of it, I’d crack up all over again.

But seriously if our identity rests in the opinions of others, we are inherently unstable. I don’t want to be blown about by ebbs and flows, I want to root my identity in who Jesus says that I am.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 1 John‬ ‭3:1-2‬ ‭ESV‬‬

I am a child of God, the daughter of the one true King. My worth is not determined by what others think. It’s not even determined by what I do or say. Instead, my identity is not affected by achievements or failures, but is firmly established as a co-heir with Christ. Life is full of highs and lows, but a right view of our relationship with God means our true identity is unchanging. There is such freedom found in living into this truth.

I hope you know that freedom, and have a fabulous weekend savoring your identity as a child of God!

With Love,

Kristie

P.S. In fairness to Nate he immediately said, “I don’t mean wide, Mom, I just mean tall.” But still…

P.S.S. An excellent song that aptly describes the truth I’m driving at is this.

I used to have the kind of radio in my car that you could pause and rewind. It’s such a great feature. But anyway we were on a late night road trip about a year ago, and this song came on. We were probably twenty-five minutes from our destination, and my husband decided he loved the song so much that he’d just keep rewinding it until we arrived. Nate was the only one awake to endure the seemingly endless loop. Somehow that feels a little bit like poetic justice about now.

These are the lyrics to Hillsong Worship’s Who You Say I Am:

Who am I that the highest King
Would welcome me?
I was lost but He brought me in
Oh His love for me
Oh His love for me
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
Free at last, He has ransomed me
His grace runs deep
While I was a slave to sin
Jesus died for me
Yes He died for me
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
I am who You say I am
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am
Oh, I am who You say I am
Yes, I am who You say I am
Who the Son sets free
Oh is free indeed
I’m a child of God
Yes I am
In my Father’s house
There’s a place for me
I’m a child of God
Yes I am