Jackson Five Friday: Blah Remedies

Hey Friends,

Hope you’ve had a great week. I’ve been feeling a little aimless. I had that weird week in Orlando for Dub’s swim meet and close on its heels–just three and a half days later–Dub and Nate kicked off Spring Break. Then Sam’s break only overlapped theirs for Good Friday and Easter Monday. So I’ve been mostly home for weeks, with a couple quick trips to Atlanta, and it’s felt like an absurdly unproductive stretch. I don’t do well with unscheduled life, especially if the weather is uninspiring. In the absence of adventure, sunshine and routine are my good friends.

Of course, there are remedies for blah days, but it can take resolve to put them to work. Exercise helps. Counting blessings helps. Preparing a yummy meal helps. Cleaning the kitchen until it’s spotless, then lighting a candle helps. Even making your bed can be the first step in the right direction. But reminding myself of God’s promises helps the most, and the Psalms are like a poetic anthology of promises. You can hardly help but be encouraged.

Today I read this one:

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord! O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning, more than watchmen for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption. And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭130:1-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Every word speaks to me, but what an incredible illustration of waiting on the Lord — to be more anticipatory than a watchman for the morning. Yes! May my soul always thirst for God like that!

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Justice Triumphs

Friends,

We are ever drawn to the truth that love wins, that mercy triumphs. But if we gloss over Golgotha we miss the depth of God’s love. Good Friday is about intentionally not glossing over Golgotha. Instead the aim is to examine our hearts and realize that today, the day that marks Christ’s death on the cross, is the day justice triumphed.

Sins have never been buried or forgotten without cost. But Christ took on my many sins. Jesus paid for all of them. Every single one of them. Only love beyond comprehension could do that. And yet I desperately want to comprehend it. I want to understand the cost so I can live a life of gratitude for all He’s done for me.

I ordered this devotional for Lent this year. It’s been wonderful. I’ve underlined and annotated like crazy because it’s so rich.

Tozer makes the following point, which is perfect.

This is a mystery too high for us, and we honor God more by believing without understanding than by trying to understand. The Just died for the unjust; and because He did, the unjust may now live with the Just in complete moral congruity. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.

I believe. I hope you do too.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah‬ ‭53:6‬ ‭

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Underdog Love

Hey Friends,

I’m pretty sure March Madness is more anticipated than Christmas for the teenagers in our house. They love this season and are faithful to decorate with brackets constantly strewn about. Plus, we all fell madly in love with UVA when Will went there for his MBA nearly a decade ago. However, given a very unusual string of events, all five of us went to bed at halftime of that wretched game. I was in Florida with the boys, where Dub was swimming in a national meet (can’t stay up till all hours and swim well), and Will was at a board retreat for work, with Saturday meetings all that next day. Even though I normally love underdogs, it wasn’t terribly joy-inducing to wake up to that twenty point loss. What in the world?!?

But I am totally loving Sister and her Final-Four-bound Ramblers. I love how the players hug her after each win. I love how remarkably well spoken she is. I love how the coach claims the glory belongs to God.

Tomorrow, churches around the world celebrate a high point for an underdog. Jesus, who was rejected by his own hometown, was paraded into Jerusalem like a king on Palm Sunday. Yet not a single person present at the triumphal entry could’ve guessed how the week would play out. The praise and adoration turned quickly to chants of “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

But maybe we crave the underdog victory, in part, because it’s a reflection of ultimate truth. The humble man on the cross, who was born in a stable and lived a modest life? Yeah, He conquered death! And I know what an undeserving piece of work I am. But I am loved beyond measure and am not only cared for in this life, but I get to spend eternity with the Lover of my soul. It’s incredible news for an underachieving, sinning underdog like me.

For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans‬ ‭6:23‬ ‭

Free is good, especially when you have no shot at earning it. I hope you too cling to this amazing victory!

Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Missing the Obvious

Friends,

It’s been an unusual week. I spent most of the last seven days at a swim meet with my oldest son. Since the meet draws swimmers from all over the nation, we saw many kids from the DC area, both former teammates and rivals. When I saw the name of one favorite teammate and carpool buddy up on the scoreboard, I realized he was swimming in the lane almost directly below me. I snapped a picture of him and texted it to his mom. I’d guess that the majority of swimmers travel with just the team and coaches — no parents. So it seemed reasonable to me to think this young man, Adam, was there without his parents.

“Go Adam!” I said in the text.

But here’s the hilarious part: the picture is of the back of both parents’ heads. These are longstanding friends of ours, but I was so focused on getting a shot of Adam that I didn’t even notice. I cracked up when my friend texted me back and told me. There they were, plain as day.

I feel like this is a spiritual reality for many in the modern era. People look at the skies and fail to see a maker, behold the ocean and deny its glory. They read the Bible and reject its plain message. How am I guilty of this? Where am I missing the obvious? It’s a disconcerting thought.

But I know the solution. I need to seek God with all my heart and pray for wisdom. I need to soak in and meditate on Scripture.

Praying now for the week ahead. May I devote myself to seeking, praying and meditating. I know then I’ll never miss what’s truly important.

Call to me and I will answer you, and tell you of great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: Learning from Lament

Hey Friends,

Hope you are all well.  It’s been a relatively quiet week in our house, which is kind of nice because I am traveling again this coming week.  My oldest son is missing a full week of school to participate in a national swim meet in Orlando.  It’s rough having to chaperone and all, but I think I’ll make the most of it reading poolside between events!  Seriously, although I wish our whole family could go, I’m super excited about this meet.  For the first time since we’ve moved to Tennessee, Dub will swim alongside former teammates from the DC area.  I love the rare instance where our new and old worlds collide.

Anyway, this week I’ve been thinking about how vital it is to know that God’s mercies are new every morning.  I’ve watched all three of my sons experience discouragement in different areas this week.  For Dub it was a challenging class at school, for Nate it was baseball, for Sam it was broken leg related (as an aside please pray he gets a boot at his appointment on Tuesday).  But I think no matter what the hard thing is, the lesson is the same.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:22-23

The world can feel so dark.  It wants us to believe that things will never be better — that tomorrow will be just like today.  But if you follow Christ, everything is working together for good, and you should boldly claim each day as a new beginning.  Yes, learn from your mistakes, but live in the freedom of knowing His steadfast love NEVER ceases.  His mercies never, ever end.  Embrace every new day as a gift, as a chance to do it right, praising God for His faithfulness.

When my sons are grown, when I’m not even alive anymore, I hope they’ll cling to the truth that God’s mercies are new every morning.

So when you see the sun rise this week, when you hear the birds begin to chirp, take a minute to thank God for the clean slate of a brand new day!

With Love,

Kristie

 

Jackson Five Friday: Karma

Hey Friends,

It’s been a heavy week. Any week you attend a funeral for a forty-eight year old is, by definition. But it wasn’t just that. So, I’ve needed a good laugh. And I got one at my own expense, as usual.

In October, the five of us spent a few days in New York City. It started out with just Nate, Sam and me tagging along on Will’s work trip. But then Dub’s swim team training trip to Florida was cancelled at the last minute because of a hurricane. He ended up flying up alone to Newark and navigating his way to meet up with me at Penn Station. As an aside, I think it’s fantastic to give kids — he was still fifteen at the time — a chance to do something that feels intimidating. I generally have a can-do attitude and I desperately want my boys to have confident independence when it comes to travel. Plus, can you imagine my 6 foot 5 inch son being an unaccompanied minor delivered at the gate by a flight attendant? How absurd is that? I was telling my brother, Jeff, one time about the airline regulations governing travel of a minor.

He could not stop laughing. He said, “I can just see Dub being walked out, hand in hand with the flight attendant. ‘Do you see your Mommy?'”

Hilarious, but no thanks!

Anyway, he made it and the four of us used the subway to dart all over the city. It’s a dirty way to go, but you can’t beat the ease and efficiency. The only problem was Nate. Somehow every time we went through the turnstiles he had an issue. He went too slow or somehow got jumbled up. The three of us were dumbfounded by how he could have an issue with something so simple.

“NATE!!” We gasped.

“What on earth? Nate!!!!”

I bet it’s obvious where this is going. Yep, I was briefly back in NYC this week to meet my grandnephew who will be two months tomorrow. After spending time cuddling with him, and delighting over his adorable dimples that he flashes constantly, it was time to go.

Wednesday morning we strolled with Baby to a local bagel place and then I ducked down the stairs to the Subway. I had a rolling suitcase and a shoulder bag. It was just before 9am so there were quite a few people flying effortlessly through the turnstiles. But my can-do attitude failed me. Somehow I got my suitcase handle stuck on the turnstile. It locked in place, my suitcase dangling from its steel arm. I tried to slide it off, yank it off. Nothing worked. The busy New Yorkers behind me were thrilled by my ineptitude. I pulled so hard that it bent the suitcase handle. Now it requires immense force to collapse into its slot, or to pull it up. I honestly don’t even know how I broke free. I just know after fighting with the stubborn turnstile for what felt like a very long time, it cried uncle and gave me back my battered suitcase.

Needless to say, our repeated, “NATE!!!”s were immediately cued up in my inner dialogue. I laughed all the way to Penn Station.

I got home that night at 12:15a. Nate had called me when I was maybe an hour away. I told him to go to bed. He begged to stay up.

“I just want to talk to you,” he said. “I just want to hear about everything.”

When I walked in, he’d not only waited up but cleaned up. The family room in particular was spotless. I plopped down and told him all about his new cousin, all about the funeral and he cracked up about how the turnstiles had taken revenge on his behalf.

I’ve been praying about connecting with this middle child who is sometimes lost in the busy mix. It’s amazing to me how faithful God is to answer my prayers. A number of sweet things have happened since I started praying specifically about it. Is there some interpersonal relationship you should be praying about more?

Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

He listens. May I seek Him with all my heart. Praying the same for you.

With Love,

Kristie

Jackson Five Friday: One Hope

Friends,

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,

Kristie