Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Over the past twelve months I have been on what I thought was a focused journey.  this week I was listening to a sermon and the preacher asked his congregation how many  had parts of their testimony they don't share.  It immediately resonated, because although I have shared a lot of my testimony, there are part that I have not shared or do not share regularly.

I have used the excuse that it is not my story to tell.  Often times in my life, I have been greatly impacted by situations that did not involve me directly.  For example abuse in my family.  I was not a victim of the abuse or the perpetrator, but as a child those events shaped a lot of my life.  Or as I got older, the illegal drugs, events impacted my life.  The death of my two best friends, I wasn't there but each of their life's and deaths dramatically impacted my life. 

I have been asked to share those stories, and at times I have shared parts in a small setting as I felt that the journey that I took and how those situations impacted mine could certainly help someone else who was in a similar situation. 

But as I listened to that preacher, I was reminded that I do not always know what journey people are on, and that sometimes I have to step out of the comfortable and share to help others.  I have to be willing to share the journey because it is freeing for me, and it is helpful for others.

The praise of comfort

I love praise and worship, individually, in small groups, as a corporate body, and in large crowds.  There is freedom in worship.  Tonight there was also revelation.

Over the past year I have learned a lot about myself and about my view of God.  I identified that I have the hardest time accepting the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, especially as a comforter  because I did not have a lot of nurturing in my life.  Emotions were not expressed and comfort was not received. 

Tonight as we sang, I was a little distracted by the little peeps that joined me.  I was enjoying the presence of the Lord, but also trying to keep an eye on them to make sure they weren't doing something they shouldn't.  My eyes were opened so I noticed, as I was turning around to look at them, I could see those around me with arms wide opening praising the Lord.  The universal sign of surrender, a stance I often have in praise, but not tonight.  Not at that moment in time.

My hands were, as they often are, over each other on my heart, like the sign for Love.  I have no idea where I learned to worship like that.  For a moment I felt guilty that I wasn't "surrendered."  But He gently reminded me I learned to trust Him and surrender (not that it is not a daily process) at an early age.  I lifted my hands to Him because He was the one I could trust always.  I surrendered before I knew what surrender was because I knew I couldn't deal with things without Him.  Even when I walked away from Him, He was there, and I knew it.

I needed to held Him close in worship, because I need to learn that He can comfort me.  For a few years now, I have found the freedom of emotions in worship.  Tears that have been bottled up for years flow freely before the Lord in worship.  I have poured out my soul in song and praise and prayers of groaning when words wouldn't come. 

Then I realized, I have been holding Him closer.  Initially if my hands were not raised, they were in front of me like a child praying.  I don't know why I did this.  But the past few months, it has been more of an embrace at times. 

God has been comforting me.  He has been guiding me through months of especially vulnerable times.  He has been drawing me close, but I have also been drawing Him closer.  Letting Him comfort me, nurture me, guard me.  I was focused on allowing people in to comfort me, but all the while He was drawing me in to let Him be my comforter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Miracle of Friends

Mark 2:1-12 And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”
And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the paralytic,  “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”  Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

Wednesday night one of my pastors shared this story during praise and worship.  He was talking about those who carried the paralytic, when he couldn't do it himself.  It was in reference to the church needing to help each other, and carry those who are down trodden.  As he spoke my mind went to a discussion with a friend who is trying to quit smoking.  She had started to ask a group of us for prayer, but decided against it because she didn't want to be a bother.  We quickly let her know, that we want to be there to support her.

As I went back and read this story, there are several things that I learn from this:
  1. It is important to seek out God for others' needs
  2.  Don't be discouraged by the obstacles
  3. Be willing to be inconvenienced when someone else has a need
  4. Lives must be lived in close proximity to others, with people that would press past pride or pain to help
  5. Some problems take the help of more than one person
  6. Be honest with others about the need
  7. Don't assume others know what you need - the crowd didn't move when they saw the paralytic
  8. Faith is seen in action
  9. Don't let the grumbling of others stop the miracle
  10. God is glorified when people see the need and the miracle
  11. Don't delay your miracle because you don't want people to carry you

Friday, December 12, 2014


It's Christmas season, and while I should be preparing for the holidays, I just can not seem to get in the mood.  I think a lot has to do with the fact that there seems to be a falling away from the true meaning of Christmas.  There were lights in my neighborhood the week of Halloween.  Every time I drove past them, I had to make an excuse in my mind to not be infuriated with my neighbor for this craziness.  I would tell myself that sadly, this was the last holiday a loved one would see and they were trying to bring joy to loved one who would soon be with the Lord.   I realize it is a little morbid, but I was really angry driving by every single day for TWO months before Christmas seeing those lights. 

Then came Thanksgiving, which was completely overshadowed by retailers that were preparing to rake in the $$$ with ads on the television, billboards, radio ads and flyers.  This has continued. Thanksgiving morning when I made it to work and looked out from the 6th floor window towards the mall, I though that maybe the day would be celebrated by the community with gratitude and family.  There was not a car on the lot.  By 10:30 the parking lot was full, and my dream of a holiday completely focused on thankfulness was gone.  

Today I went through the steps of preparing for Christmas.  It used to be one of my favorite times of the year.  I anticipated December 6th every year so that we could set the tree up (my daughter's birthday is the 5th and I wouldn't start celebrating Christmas until we celebrated her day while she was still in the house).  I loved the Christmas music, the lights, the excitement.  I loved to buy gifts for the kids and my family.  I liked to draw it out with my own version of the twelve days of Christmas.  

But this year, I am missing the Spirit of Christmas.  I am physically prepared.  Today at the urging of my friends and family I went and bought a new tree.  I hung the wreath on the door.  I listened to Christmas music and shopped for the kids and my husband.  I bought for those less fortunate.  I came home and set up the tree and wrapped the presents.  Instead of getting in to the Christmas Spirit, I have a headache!

In eight days we will start the festivities with my family get together, again this is something that I look forward to usually.  I like to prepare the food and bake cookies with the children.  I like shopping for the perfect dirty Santa gift.  None of that seems to even spark my interest this year.  People keep asking what I want.  Although  I did come up with two things and I know that I am hard to shop for anyway, I really can't think of anything I really, really want.

Instead I am preparing to fake it in a few days and drum up excitement that I don't feel, to put on a show. 

This post is part of the link up for the Five Minute Friday over at Kate Motaung’s Blog , where you write for Five Minutes on a specific word and the goal is to just write & no editing. (It is supposed to be a free write) 

Thursday, December 11, 2014


James 1:2-8 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

For about the past six and a half months, it seems that I have fallen in to various trials. Although at times it feels like the trials keep coming, I have learned about patience during this time.  I have learned to wait on God, with a peace that surpasses my understanding.   My faith has been tested in almost every area.  

Like a puzzle with small tiny pieces, this lengthy process of the working of my faith has been a true test of patience.   Up until the past six months, I have always looked at patience as waiting.  I have learned to wait on God over the years.  What I have learned is that patience isn't just about waiting, patience has to be worked out, and really the work, in my opinion is in the attitude.  I can't through impatience make things happen any faster,   However, in waiting, my attitude has been less than God honoring over the years. Over the past six months I have allowed God to deal with my attitude in the waiting.

It easy to think that I trust  Him in everything when things are going good, but when my world is rocked to the core, I realize just how much I depended on myself and others.  It is in the trials, I have been called to depend on God for finances, for my children, for health, my reputation, and ultimately to trust Him in everything.

I know that my faith is still being tested, and that the work is producing patience in my life.  It is not perfect yet, but in some areas God has dealt with my attitude and that work is complete.  Since He has produced the work before, I have the faith to know that He will do it again.   I know with God's wisdom that when those times come that I have the ability to just allow God to work the situation out, in His time, and without a bad attitude. 

 This blog is prompted from  Tuesday at Ten! The Tuesday blog Link up where you have 1 full week to use the prompt word to your liking!  Whether it be just writing a story behind the prompt word, or being as creative as you wish using photos, poems, art, or graphics – whichever creative way you choose. You have 1 week to write and link up your blog at the bottom of the page so that others can link up with you. Be sure to visit your “link up” neighbor and spread the joy of connection!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Emotional memories

The past week has been an emotional one.  It started with my son moving almost 1,000 miles away.  He is my first child to move away, and although I have peace about him going and am excited to see what adventures he will live out, it doesn't make the hurt in my heart less.  He has been preparing me for two years, with summers where he was gone.  The reality has not really set in that Sunday dinners will be missing one, since they were hit and miss anyway lately with work schedules and other activities.  But him moving, just intensified the next loss.

Sunday, my heart fell more.  I was sitting hearing the words, but my heart was sitting in the floor of my house in Beaver Shores where I was five years old, hearing that my daddy had failed.  The circumstances are very different.  Yet, very much the same as far as reactions and emotions and even how I am feeling.  Emotions that have been shut down, eventually like a balloon held under water come quickly to the surface. 

My father committed a crime, which would rock my families world.  I was five years old, I didn't understand what sexual abuse was.  It would be many years before I would understand what that meant and the magnitude of what he had done.  The events of the next few weeks, months, and even years shaped my life in ways that I am still unraveling.

What my five year old heart knew what that something had been going on for longer than that moment.  I remember sitting outside the closed door, while abuse went on in my house.  I didn't know what was happening behind the closed door, only that I was left out.  It was one of many closed doors I would be left outside over the next few months and years.  I would sit outside therapists doors weekly while my parents, and my sister went to therapy.    I would sit outside the pastor's door as my parents met with him.

No one thought about how this impacted my life.  No one thought about how I saw these events that I didn't understand.  There wasn't someone to talk to me about how I was processing these events.  Once I answered no to the first set of questions, it was outside the door I went and stayed for weeks and months.  My world was coming down around me, but the only thing I saw was  a wood door with wood paneling all around.  I hate wood paneling and wood doors.

What my five year old heart knew was that my family was being broken apart.  My dad would be out of the home while he was in jail, and for some time after.  I have no concept of time, even now as an adult.  I just know he was gone.  We visited at church, over ice cream, and at the park. We would meet at the Sunnyside Church, get in one vehicle and go.  Like clockwork.  Yet there was nothing normal about it, clocks don't just run on Sundays and Wednesdays.  It wasn't the whole family, just me and my older sister, mom and dad.  I guess my brother was out of the house by then.  I don't know where my sister was.  My family was broken.  I wish I could say I hate the food that our lives began to center around, but really, that was a place a comfort.  I knew emotions could be released before God, and that food brought joy.  It was a recipe for bottled up emotions and a food addiction.
What my five year old heart knew was that the people I loved and cared about were angry, hurt, broken. and there was nothing I could do to help.  I could see the anger at my sister, even when confronted with the truth, by his own words.  The pedestal that he had been placed on would not be taken away.  My father didn't ask for the pedestal, and he didn't belong on one.  My sister, the true victim, I don't remember where she was in all of it.  I only know that even now, she is hurt and broken over the responses that she received after the truth came out.  My mom, she was angry and hurt.  Every member of my family was impacted, but the only ones that got to express it were mom, dad and sister.

What my five year old heart wanted was to understand what was going on.  I sought out every possible way to gain information.  I became very good at listening.  To quiet this young child, all I needed to hear was a whisper from the next room, and I would quiet to hear the information I so desperately needed.  I didn't need details of what happened, the past was over.  Although I didn't understand then, my five year old mind knew what was going on before my family was torn apart.  Some of the things I heard, I didn't need to, but I needed to hear something.

I needed reassurance.  I needed safety.  I needed security.  I needed love.  I needed compassion.  I needed to know that how I was feeling was okay and normal.  I needed to know that even though everything was not all right, that eventually it would be right. 

As an adult now, faced with a situation where the reactions of my family are similar with anger, sadness, brokenness.  With my family that is now broken and fractured, with important members not around, I have peace in the situation - I know that God's forgiveness, grace and mercy cover.  That just as God forgave my father and there was restoration to the family, I know that God will cover this.  His love covers a multitude of sins.  He forgives us when we repent.  He restores.  I know that He is in control and I don't have to worry about all that.

That peace doesn't cover the brokenness of my family, for that I grieve uncontrollably at times.  I understand the hurt, the pain, the confusion, even the anger.   I still can't understand a family turning on each other. When I look and see the missing people, I find myself in tears.  I don't understand, even though I do understand that they might not need to be there right now because it would only be a source of division.  I understand more than most that healing has to take place first.  I understand that healing can't necessarily happen all together as we process things differently. I understand that premature reconciliation can be more destructive to the family than the events that tore them apart.

I don't understand pretending, that is not transparent, it is not real, it is not honest.   I need love and compassion, understanding.  I need to process, because this brings up so much more inside of me.  I need to hear truths, not rumors, negative comments, or nothing.  My place of safety and security is shaken, pretending that it isn't doesn't reassure me.

Perfect Love

Think about the child afraid of the dark.  The child is tormented in his/her mind about what might be out there in the unseen vastness that surrounds him/her.   The presence of someone else there with the child in the darkness does not make the fear go away, although it may appear better.  The turning on of a light, makes the fear subside, but only while it is on, and only because it dispels the darkness.  The fear is still there.

Fear is a powerful thing, it often immobilizes us from taking action.  It comes in many forms - fear of rejection, fear of failure, fear of disappointment, fear of judgement and other's opinions, fear of  intimacy, commitment, abandonment, change....  The list can go on and on.  Fear torments our very being.  Even when the fear is grounded in past experience, it becomes much larger in the mind than it was in reality. 

I John 4:18 NKJV  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.

Perfect love casts out fear.  It doesn't mask it, it doesn't just make it subside for a while.  It casts it out.  Why?  Because God is love.  God is bigger than anything that comes against us. His Word is a truth we can stand on in times of fear.  He is Love.  Love casts out fear when we have the revelation of His Word.

His perfect love casts out fear of failure....I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
His perfect love casts out fear of Disappointment...Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5
His perfect love casts out fear of rejection/judgement/others opinions...No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord. Isaiah 54:17

His perfect love casts out fear of intimacy....Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8

His perfect love casts out fear of commitment...Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him,
And He shall bring it to pass.
Psalm 37:5

His perfect love casts out fear of Abandonment...Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.  Deuteronomy 31:6
His perfect love casts out fear of change.... Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Hebrews 13:8

 This blog is prompted from  Tuesday at Ten! The Tuesday blog Link up where you have 1 full week to use the prompt word to your liking!  Whether it be just writing a story behind the prompt word, or being as creative as you wish using photos, poems, art, or graphics – whichever creative way you choose. You have 1 week to write and link up your blog at the bottom of the page so that others can link up with you. Be sure to visit your “link up” neighbor and spread the joy of connection!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Broken Path to Grace

Romans 5:1-2  (NKJV) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,  through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

My kid's are not perfect.  They never have been, a
nd I am not one of those delusional parents that thinks they were.  They are almost 22, 19 and 17 , and I can honestly say "I have great kids."  Yes, they have their moments.  Yes, there is room for improvements, but overall they are great.  I remember my parents always said "Wait until you have kids, they will be just like you. Then you will know."  I was not a great teenager, and neither were my husband, nor my daughter's dad. 

What does all this have to do with grace?  I have heard grace defined in two ways 1) Unmerited favor 2) God's bestowed ability to do what His truth demands.  

Romans 5:1-2 (NLT) Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.  Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

About a year ago or so,  I had a true revelation of God's grace.  I honestly don't know why I was overcome with the revelation.  I was driving in the car with my husband, and suddenly became very aware of God's grace.  I cried in His presence knowing that God's grace had covered my children and ultimately me as a parent.

As a sinner, I didn't deserve God's grace.  I suppose none of us do.  I am a product of a dysfunctional family.  I rebelled against my parents and walked away from God from ages 12-17, even though I knew I was His child.  I lied.  I lived an immoral life. I found out I was pregnant three days after my 16th birthday, although  in the back of my mind I knew even as I continued partying.  I am a divorcee.  I am often controlled by my selfish desire and emotions.  I am opinionated and strong-willed.  I like to be right, sometimes not taking in to account how that impacts others.

Yet, I have seen His unmerited favor in my life, even in times of trouble.  I have seen doors open, that should have remained closed.  I have seen doors closed that I really wanted open, but that would ultimately cause me more harm than good.  I have seen God's favor time and time again.  And I admit, each time I am blown away at His grace.  I am blown away that the God that created the universe, favors me.  He doesn't favor me because I am more special than others, but He favors me because He is special.  I see my children as an extension of His grace for me.

As Jackie, I can't begin to live the life His truth demands.  I fail even still, but it is because I get in the "I can do it mode" instead of remembering that "I can't.  He can.  I will let Him."  I forget to allow His grace to flow though me to do the things that He has called me to do.  I forget that I can rise above the past circumstances and live a Godly life.  

Yet, I can because His grace empowers me to do everything He has called me to do.  I  can look back on my life and know for certain that God's grace is the reason that my life is transformed.  Yes, there are areas that I still have a lot of work for Him to do, but most people would never believe the things that God has brought me through.  Never believe where God has brought me from.  But it is the broken path that I have walked, that makes me so appreciate God's grace. 

This blog is prompted from  Tuesday at Ten! The Tuesday blog Link up where you have 1 full week to use the prompt word to your liking!  Whether it be just writing a story behind the prompt word, or being as creative as you wish using photos, poems, art, or graphics – whichever creative way you choose. You have 1 week to write and link up your blog at the bottom of the page so that others can link up with you. Be sure to visit your “link up” neighbor and spread the joy of connection!