Live Simply

Journey of faith, fitness, family, fashion, and fun

Archive for the tag “Christ”

Confessions and Questions of a Pastor’s Wife


only king forever

Lately I have been feeling as if there is something more to what we call worship. There is something more than what we stuff inside of our Sunday morning box. There is something more than traditions that have been passed on from generation to generation. There is something more than what a certain denomination instructs us.

I am part of the United Methodist Church, and I was born and raised in a traditional United Methodist Church. It’s all I really know in regards to denominations. I was baptized as an infant, brought up in the children’s and youth ministries, and even worked as a Youth Minister in my hometown United Methodist Church before marrying and moving from that town. I am still connected with the United Methodist Church, but am now part of a contemporary UMC.

I share all of that to say, that lately I have been feeling a suffocated in this denomination. Not at all in my faith, just in the boundaries of this particular denomination. I feel as if somewhere along the way tradition, handbooks, and old mindsets have put it at sort of a standstill. It has become stiff. It leaves me searching for the life, the passion, the complete surrendered worship of Jesus.

Have we become so concerned with the way things have always been done, the business side of things, and handbooks that we have failed to be a holy and set apart people who have hearts that are bursting with worship of our Lord and Savior? Have we become a people more concerned with titles, roles, and committees that we have neglected the very reason the church exists? What happened to focusing on Jesus more than focusing on whose permission is needed to approve changes in the building? What purpose does a church bulletin serve in the actual worship of God? Does having a certain title or holding a certain position make our faith stronger? Do any of these things make me “Christian?”

My questions could go on and on, but that would probably take up a lot of space and therefore turn this blog post into a novel. My point in all of this is to say that my heart is yearning to just worship Jesus with no limits. I don’t want to be a stiff follower of Jesus. I want to be a WILD one! Yes, you read that correctly. I want my worship to be wild just like His love for me. I want to focus more on developing and growing my relationship with Jesus than on creating another committee. I want people to see Jesus shining through me.

My feelings can’t all be put into words at this moment, but I know that God is stirring my heart in this matter. He is calling me to more. He is calling all of us to more. We should want more.

Advertisements

Peace I Leave You…Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled


Image

There has been some crazy weather happening lately. I mean, one day it is snowing in East Alabama and the next day it is 75 degrees. It’s enough to make you ask, “What the mess is up any way?” And on top of the crazy weather there are other saddening and heart-breaking events occurring all over. It really is hard to turn on the news and hear anything good. I know. I get it. I understand, and feel ya on that one. And with all of these crazy and sad things going on, I have noticed a lot of social media posts and blog posts turning our attention to the end of times. Let me just go ahead and let you know that this post is going to be different. It isn’t like the other posts floating around out there. But it will have some similarities…I suppose. 

I am a follower of Christ. I believe in Him, know Him as my Lord and Savior, and love Him more than I can put into words. I am forever thankful for His great love, mercy, and grace that He has extended and shown to me. I do believe He will come to restore the earth and all of creation, and I believe it could happen at any time. Where I differ in most of the other posts is that I don’t go all, “Hide yo kids! Hide yo wife! Stock the pantry and stop what you are doing because it’s the end of the world as we know it.” Yea, I haven’t jumped aboard that bandwagon. I was brought up in a Christian household where we went to church every Sunday. My Mom had a story about Jesus for everything. And I read the book of Revelation during worship service almost every Sunday (yea, I had a fascination with that book of the Bible). I have been made aware of Jesus’ return and that it could happen at any time, and I should always be prepared. But I wasn’t told to go into panic mode and focus only on the end of times. 

I can remember my Mom saying, “I think Jesus wants me to live for Him every day, and if I am only focused on His return then how can I make sure that I am being Christ to those around me.” Yes, we should always be aware and be ready, but I don’t think that it should be our sole focus. If I begin trying to interpret every event and happening and running around like Chicken Little, then I stop showing love, being love, and doing all of the other things Jesus laid out for me to do in scripture. And I am also one who steers clear of books, people, and teachings that claim to know when, where, and how about Jesus’ return. Why? Well, because I am a firm believer that if God didn’t disclose this to His Son, He isn’t going to disclose it to Billy Bob. 

Please do not think I am discrediting the return of Jesus, because I am not. I believe He is coming. I believe it will be soon. But I don’t want to play the role of interpreter and predictor. I want to just be the disciple of Jesus that He has called me to be, and to make sure that I am doing everything possible to point people to Him. 

Be blessed friends. 

Grace & Peace, Jac

He’s The Remedy


I am going to start this post off by getting the ugliness out of the way. I didn’t sleep very well last night, at all. I was having some pains that were making it difficult to get comfortable. At 1:30 am my eyes popped open, and I wrestled with myself to go back to sleep. There was no way I was going to get up and do anything at that time of the night (I mean, those days are long gone). I finally got myself back to sleep only to have my eyes pop open again at 3:40 am. Ugh. This time it was a combination of needing to go to the bathroom and Alaska (our husky mix pup…..she is almost 7 months old, so get a picture of Godzilla in your mind) whining at my feet. I got out of bed and headed straight to the bathroom. I thought I would figure out Alaska’s problem after I dealt with mine. Alaska surprised me as I came out of the bathroom. She was sick. Again, picture Godzilla being sick. At 3:40 am, this dog had to get to sick. Really? I mean, doesn’t she know people sleep at that time of the day? So, half awake I proceeded to clean up her mess, only to discover this wasn’t the first time she had been sick while I was getting my beauty rest. Seriously?!? After I got everything cleaned up, Alaska and I headed back to bed. My alarm woke both of us up at 6:30 am, and we started this cycle all over again. Alaska, this time, was escorted outside so that she could be sick to her heart’s content without having to worry about having to clean it up. (Yes, I do have a heart and I love my dog dearly. Don’t start thinking I am all Cruella Deville over here.) Let’s just say the spring in my step this morning hasn’t been very “springy.” More like a zombie walk where one foot just gets dragged along for the journey. 

It was finally time to take the kiddos to school. Austin, Kirstin, Princess (the Chihuahua), and myself loaded up in the car and headed to school. I felt like it was a David Crowder Band kind of morning, so I hooked up my iPhone and played a bit of the Remedy album and a bit of the Church Music album for our morning commute. God has such a way of speaking (or singing) into our lives at exactly the right moment and with exactly the right words. We tend to miss it at times, but this morning I heard Him loud and clear. As the music played my attention was perked when the song “Remedy” played (from the Remedy album). 

He is the one Who has saved us
He is the one Who forgave us

He is the one who has come 
And is coming again
He’s the remedy

Oh, I can’t comprehend
I can’t take it all in
Never understand
Such perfect love come
For the broken and beat
For the wounded and weak
Oh, come fall at His feet
He’s the remedy
He’s the remedy

 

I began thinking on how the worst of days cannot compare to the saving grace and saving power of Jesus. He is the remedy for it all. He comes in like the knight in shining armor and makes everything right. Not even a lack of sleep stands a chance against Him. 

Then, my attention was drawn again to the song “Shadows” (Church Music album), as I heard these words:

Life is full of light and shadow 
O the joy and O the sorrow 
O the sorrow 

And yet will He bring 
Dark to light 
And yet will He bring 
Day from night 

When shadows fall on us 
We will not fear 
We will remember 

When darkness falls on us 
We will not fear 
We will remember 

When all seems lost 
When we’re thrown and we’re tossed 
We remember the cost 
We rest in Him 
Shadow of the cross

 

Again, God was reminding me that He has me. Zombie walk and all. He has me in His hands, and He’s not letting me go. No matter if I am plagued with a lack of sleep, unexplained secondary infertility, not feeling good, and whatever other situation and circumstance I can find myself in, He has me. 

I can rest in the shadow of the cross, knowing that Jesus Christ is the remedy for it all. He makes all things new. ” See, I am making all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) He makes wrongs right. He turns darkness into light. He holds me safe in His arms despite the chaos that may surround me. He brings joy where there is pain and sorrow. He brings hope when it seems all hope is lost. He brings love where there seems to be none. He brings grace where there is shame. He is the remedy. There is nothing too great for Him. 

Come fall at His feet, He’s the remedy. He’s the remedy. 

Listen to Remedy here:http://youtu.be/4DPdWn7m3I0

Listen to Shadows here:http://youtu.be/7TF35CmGB4k

Freedom


Image

 

What does the word FREEDOM bring to mind for you? Do you picture yourself? Do you picture someone else? Does it call to mind a financial freedom? Relationship freedom? Health freedom? Spiritual or emotional freedom? 

There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to what freedom can mean for each person. For the purpose of this post, I want to share some areas of freedom I have experienced. You see, there has been a lot of bondage in my life. Some was easier to break than others, while others seemed to be a bit more difficult. But when freedom came, it was oh so sweet. 

Spiritual freedom: I grew up in a Christian home. I went to church every Sunday and attended Sunday School. I knew about Jesus and knew all the songs about him. But as a teenager I drifted far from him. I slipped into a deep dark hole of bondage that had a strong hold on me. Drugs, alcohol, sex, and any other rebellious behavior was the norm for me. I still attended church and was even part of the youth ministry, but my heart was far from God. It wasn’t until after I suffered a miscarriage in my adulthood that I recognized my great need for Jesus again. I needed Him like I had never needed him before. And He was there to welcome me with open arms. And when I ran into His arms and allowed Him to embrace me, I experienced a freedom that I had not known before. True freedom. I didn’t need drugs, alcohol, sex, or anything else to try to make me happy. I had Jesus. The One true happiness and joy. He brought me true freedom. 

Financial Freedom: This area is an area still growing and developing, but still there is a sense of freedom here. I don’t mean a freedom that allows me to spend money wildly and without a care. But it’s a freedom where I recognize that all we have belongs to God in the first place. I can trust that the bills will be paid and our needs will be met. Why? Because it’s in God’s hands and not mine. I know that my security doesn’t come from the size of my bank account. My security comes from Jesus Christ alone. So even though we have bills to be paid, there is a sense of financial freedom knowing that our God is taking care of us everyday and every moment. Freedom.

Health Freedom: I always struggled with my weight and body image. I was never the super thin girl, and I was never the super big girl. But I never saw myself to be a beautiful woman created by God. I wasn’t the “Seventeen Magazine girl.” I tried to deal with my body image issues in unhealthy ways. Not eating. Binging and purging. And even when I thought I had finally “gotten it” and thought I was healthy, I still wasn’t as healthy as I could have been. I had no clue how important exercise and nutrition were, and that they go together at all times. Finally about a year ago, I connected with a now dear friend through social media, and this led to my journey that I a currently on. I became a health and fitness coach, committed to daily exercise, and took my nutrition serious. This has brought a freedom in my health. How? I have more energy. I don’t crave junk. I don’t give into my sweet tooth more times than I blink. I am more toned and flexible than I ever have been. Overall, I just feel good. Freedom. 

Your areas may be different than mine. You may have areas of bondage in your life that you desperately want to experience freedom. I don’t know what your areas of bondage are, but I do know that freedom can come. You can experience freedom in your life too. Freedom isn’t just for a select few. Freedom is for anyone and everyone willing to welcome it at any cost. You may have to make some sacrifices. You may have to cut ties. You may have to face ugly truths. But dear friend, it is oh so worth it. Freedom can be yours. 

Grace & Peace, Jaclyn

There is Still Hope


Image

 

Do ever have those moments when you just want to throw in the towel and walk away? When you just feel like screaming, “I quit”? Or maybe you just feel like all of your efforts are hopeless? 

Yea, we all have those moments. They may not be the same for everyone. Some of us may feel like that with our jobs. Some us feel that way in our marriages. With our kids. With our dreams. Maybe our health. Whatever the reason, we still all can relate to having these moments from time to time. 

It’s funny though to me, because whenever I start feeling like this. Whenever I have one of these moments, God quickly reminds me to not lose hope. A friend may offer me a word of encouragement. Or maybe someone I am helping shares with me a success of their own. Sometimes the reminder comes through my husband just telling me how much he loves me, or my kids saying “thank you.” 

Too often I fail to think on these “reminders” when I begin to feel like all hope is lost, until God sends another one my way. But when these reminders come, it is like a breath of fresh air sweeping over me. My soul breathes life. My hope is renewed. My smile is returned. 

Friend, I pray that during the times where you feel that all hope is lost, that you will be reminded that there is still hope. I pray that you have a flood of reminders, and that your hope is renewed. You are precious. You are valued. You are amazing. 

In the Midst of this Storm There is still HOPE


Today brought a lot of heartache and sadness to many of us. As a parent, I cannot even begin to fathom getting a phone call to say that someone took the life of my children. I don’t even want to think on that. And as a daughter who loves her parents and are thankful for all that they do in my life, I cannot wrap my mind around the thought of taking the life of one of my parents. Yes, today was a tough day. It was a hard day. It was a dark day. So many emotions to deal with. So many questions that don’t have answers. So much chaos.

As I drove back to the house today from taking our kids to spend the weekend away, I decided to listen to Hillsong. I had been running my own questions through my mind over and over, and just couldn’t understand why something so horrific and evil could happen. I mean, where was God? Did He take a break while all this took place in that elementary school today? Did He decide to turn a deaf ear or a blind eye? I needed to to just enter into His presence and rest with my questions. I needed to lay my questions at His feet and find a way to just leave them there. I needed Him to show up and show me that hope could still be found.

As He so wonderfully does, He showed up. He assured me. He gave me peace. And He used the song “Cornerstone” by Hillsong to do so. Friends, I don’t know why this happened today. I don’t know why evil decided today was a good day to show up. But I do know that God did not turn a deaf ear or a blind eye. His heart was breaking (and still is) as this tragedy unfolded. He was (and is) crying with all of us. He was there weeping with each parent that received a phone call today. He was there with each child and teacher at that school today.

My friends God was NOT absent. He was very present, as He always is. He cares deeply for each of His children, and not a single detail goes unnoticed by Him. I have to disagree with the posts that I have seen where the picture states, “Student: God where were you? God: I’m not allowed in schools any more.” Yes, we have been told that we can’t hold prayer in schools and teachers are not to discuss issues of faith with students. But that does not mean that God is not there. As a believer you carry God everywhere you go, and no amount of legislation can change that.

It wasn’t that God was absent. Evil just happened not to care that the Almighty God was there. Evil chose to ignore righteousness. Evil chose hate over love.

There is hope. In the midst of the storm, there is still hope. In the midst of this tragedy, there is still hope. As this song states, in the storm He is Lord of all. Nothing will change that. No amount of evil can change that. No amount of hate can erase that. Jesus is Lord, and He weeps with us all tonight. Jesus is Lord, and He comforts us. Jesus is Lord, and some day soon He will set things right. Evil will not prevail friends. Christ will triumph.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: