Tell Me Some Good News

Friends,

I almost never post on a non-Friday but I always feel a little boost when I sit down and preach to myself on the blog. I feel like I could benefit from daily blogging these days. I need to feed myself the truth, even when I have no appetite for it.

Today I opened my eyes, reluctant to start another day. I feel so beat down by people — not disease, not unrest, not the gloomy weather we’ve been having, not the fact that I will surely die — just people. I don’t ever remember feeling so widely disappointed. The fear and hypocrisy just get to me sometimes. Truly, have fear and hypocrisy ever been so rampant? Even among professing Christians? It’s devastating.

This morning, as my husband was about to leave for work, I was awake but resolved to just go back to sleep.

“Tell me some good news,” I said, eyes barely open.

“Tell you some good news?” He repeated.

“Yes, please. Please just tell me some good news,” I said.

“Uhh,” he stammered, trying to think. But then, being a wise and wonderful man, he exclaimed: “He is Risen!”

I smiled. He is indeed risen. I hope you have someone in your life who can tell you the best news ever first thing in the morning. When you feel discouraged, turning your eyes to Jesus is always the answer. Jesus is the one Person incapable of disappointing me. And just as the old hymn says, “the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.”

A corollary is that we shouldn’t expect anyone to meet our expectations. I fall into the pit of thinking people will act consistently, that they will be rational, that they will not be hypocritical, that they will not be filled with fear. But that’s 100% on me. Doing this is itself irrational and hypocritical. It is also giving others power over me they should never have. After all, my hope is in Christ alone.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Yes, because He is Risen, we know the hope. A glorious inheritance awaits. Isn’t that great news?

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: The Wisdom of Roy

Friends,

This week I met a guy who told me he walks every morning with a buddy. He said this buddy just complains nonstop about all that is going on in the world. Wisely this gentleman decided that they need to start their walk with listing five things they are thankful for. Gratitude is always the answer, and making a specific list always changes my perspective.

This wise new friend of mine was here to repair appliances. When he asked what my husband does, and I told him, he said, “Well, I know my number one for tomorrow morning: Thank God I’m not a hospital administrator during a pandemic.” So do let me know if you are local and need a charming, wise and reliable appliance repairman.

Anyway, yesterday would have been my parents, Roy and Judy’s, 61st wedding anniversary. I don’t know if weddings in 1959 all looked as magical as theirs, but the style and class coupled with their obvious joy made for great photographs. Sadly, my dad didn’t live to see the 21st century, but I can hear his commentary on much of it anyway.

One thing I know he’d say for sure: “Talk is cheap.” In fact, my inner Roy reiterates this on a daily basis. Has any society in the history of mankind been more prone to value statements over action? I don’t get it.

Our lives reveal who we are, not our statements. Twitter and social media in general have exacerbated the issue, but our calendars and bank statements remain reliable measures of what we truly believe. Listening is a lost art, while weighing in is the trend. Empty proclamations of goodness instead of soul-searching prayer. How did we get here?

The Bible doesn’t say, “Talk is cheap” exactly, but it does outline how we develop character.

And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5: 2b-5

Praying that as for me and mine, we will persevere, knowing that hope will never put us to shame.

With Love,

Kristie

P.S. If you think about the meaning of the word persevere, about all of its connotations, do any of them jive with mere statement making? I don’t think so. To persevere is an action. Talk is cheap.

Jackson Five Friday: A Different Kind of Fight

Hey Friends,

Well, the world is full of problems, isn’t it? It always been a fallen world, and it always will be, but the intensity of hurting seems greater than ever, at least in my lifetime. How do you personally try to stay the course, to not get overwhelmed? I pray, read, chat with friends. I sometimes meditate on Scripture, especially Psalms. I always benefit from laughing with my four favorite guys. Just tonight I had such a good laugh with my husband and it really is balm for the soul. I wish it was something that could be shared because I’d love to give you the gift of a great laugh, but alas not all things are blog-appropriate.

But really, no matter what comes your way in life, the bottom line is that we are called to trust God, His plan and His timing.

I adore this wisdom from Hannah Whitall Smith:

We are to fight the “good fight of faith,” as Paul exhorted Timothy; and the fight of faith is not a fight of effort or struggle, but it is a fight of trusting…It seems so unsafe to sit still, and do nothing but trust the Lord; and the temptation to take the battle back into our own hands is often tremendous.

I don’t know if you can relate to this. If there is an area of your life where there is nothing whatsoever to do, but to trust God. It is hard though. And of course there are other areas where we are called to be agents of change, and to be resolved in the face of every obstacle. That’s hard too. And although we could apply these principles to today’s world in general, in my own mind I am thinking of tangible, personal specifics.

I am praying that wherever we need to let go and let God, we’ll let go in trust. I am praying too that wherever we need to keep doing what we are doing despite the opposition, that God will gird us up to press on.

No matter what kind of fight you are facing, don’t give up.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

Hebrews 12:1 NIV

The race is marked out, may we run it with perseverance.

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: 2020 Questions

Friends,

I did something in January that I don’t think I’ve ever done before: I posted a list of questions to ponder for the year 2020. You know what wasn’t on it? Anything whatsoever to do with what is going in this inexplicable year. They’re still worthwhile questions, but I think the list needs to be supplemented. So, here are some additional questions that I think are important.

Who in your life is helping you to understand some experience you have not and cannot learn first hand? I’m not talking about reading an article or watching a video. I’m referring to learning from a friend, preferably one-on-one.

How can you fight injustice in your own community?

How can you listen to and empathize with someone else’s pain, and yet also encourage them to forgive?

Do you monitor your heart to ensure you are not letting bitter roots take hold?

Are you taking worries and fears to the Lord and not letting media or other sources stoke these harmful flames?

Do you ever try to justify hating someone?

Do you regularly ask the Lord to help you to clearly see the sin in your own life?

Do you aim to carry other’s burdens via social media? Or are you primarily carrying the burdens of friends with whom you have an actual relationship? Is it healthy to be continually weighed down by injustice in the world, when you could be contributing to the needs of people in your community?

The honesty of Linus may be relatable — certainly there are people who claim to love humanity while their own relationships indicate otherwise. But Christians are called to love not only their neighbors, but their enemies. Praying I will do better and better on this high calling — all for the glory of God.

“For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:46-48‬ ‭ESV‬‬

With Love,

Kristie

The Highest Calling

Friends,

The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. One of the highest callings to pursue this end is to mother. In fact, despite the horrific state of our world and the disrespect motherhood gets, I consider it the very highest calling on my life.

Yesterday one of the most important mothers in my life met her Savior. Jill Jackson not only gave my husband life, she raised him in the way that he should go. If you know Will, you know what I mean. I often talk here on the blog about how much I love my man, but I do not much talk about how accomplished he is, or how his work ethic is unparalleled. His mom raised him to believe the sky was limit and to work hard. She loved and cheered on her son so very very well.

This Mother’s Day we knew Jill might not have long to live. Both her sons, daughters-in-law, and seven grandchildren encircled her in bed. She laughed at our stories — she’s been delighting over my endless tales for 29 years. I told her about how Will and I were supposed to soon do a cooking class as a fundraiser and she cracked up about how funny that concept was. Will and I in the kitchen for charity? Surely there must be some mistake. Will is a faithful dishwasher but does not cook…at all.

Yesterday as Will was driving to see his mother before she passed (by God’s grace he did make it in time), I was chatting with an old friend, who happens to be black. I first met her twenty years ago in Bible study and she lives in the DC area. I wanted to interview her for a blog post, but even though we talked for over an hour, I feel like we barely scratched the surface of today’s issues. But one thing she did say applies to whatever you are facing. From the death of a loved one, illness, financial insecurity or the deep wounds of injustice, her words apply: “I can’t even begin to wonder what the Lord is doing. All I know is I am thankful He is in control.”

I too am thankful He is in control. I am thankful that, for the follower of Christ, to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. I am thankful that my husband had such a wonderful mother, and I hope I never lose sight of what a high high calling it is to raise my own sons.

Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:28, 30

With Love,

Kristie

P.S. Some of my favorite women are not mothers and yet I still see this call admirably lived out in their lives. I also feel like part of my calling is broader than raising my own sons. I love all of my nieces and nephews, my sons’ friends, and pretty much any child I come in contact with. One hour each week that I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be is when I teach second grade Sunday school. I miss those kids immensely. Anyway, just want to be clear that although there’s not a good word for “God-given, uniquely female intuition/compassion/wisdom” I believe using it to encourage one another is the role of every woman.