Live Simply

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

Archive for the tag “christian”

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.

Marriage is Far More Valuable than a Piece of Paper


I saw something yesterday that disturbed me, while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. It was one of those premade quote pictures, and it stated something along the lines about how marriage is just a piece of paper and all you really need is love. Well, a relationship that has a good love going on is great. Nobody wants a relationship that is loveless. But to go as far as to say that marriage is just a piece of paper, well, I have to put the brakes on that one. It makes me kind of sick to my stomach to think that someone has created such a cheap view of marriage.

If you have ever read any of my blog posts then it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I am a Christian. Yes, my faith forms my belief of marriage and shapes how I view it. And yes, I am divorced, so let’s not start trying to throw that rock around (I remarried, by the way). I realize that some of you may not share in my opinion, and I won’t think any less of you for that. But for me marriage is something that should be held to a very high standard. Our society has cheapened it and made us believe that it is far less valuable than what it really is.

God designed marriage. Therefore, I believe, if God designed it then it must be important. It must be much more than just a piece of paper. And if I am to walk with Christ than I must value it more than I would a piece of paper I wrote on. And even further, if I am to walk with Christ I must value my own marriage to the point where I take my vows seriously. I must honor my husband, love him, submit to him (oh yea, I went there….but not in the “I’m his dog” kind of way), cherish him, forgive him, share in his burdens, share in his celebrations, and so on. If I get mad at him over something, I don’t need get my pants in a wad and tell him that our marriage is just a piece of paper and means nothing. I don’t need plan out a divorce plan just because he doesn’t share the same opinions as I do. I don’t need to teach our children that marriage is nothing more than a piece of paper.

Nope, I am in for better or worse. I am in for the long haul. Yep, Brian isn’t getting rid of me. Ha! I don’t want to treat our marriage cheaply. I don’t want either of us viewing our marriage as merely something written down on a piece of paper. I want us both to see how sacred our marriage is. Yes, marriage is SACRED. God holds marriage very highly, and that is how I want to see it too. Look, let me just go ahead and tell you that I am beyond crazy about my husband and love him more than I could put into words. I couldn’t imagine not being married to this man. Maybe that is why I see our marriage as more than just a piece of paper.

I want our children to grow up and have spouses who love the Lord and hold marriage as sacred as it should be held. If I want that for them, then I have to lead by example now. I know I will probably step on some toes here and cause some of you to block me or unfriend me. That’s cool. Blessings to you friend. But I need to share what I feel isn’t said enough when it comes to marriage and relationships. If you are a Christian, then you can’t have a live in boyfriend or a live in girlfriend. If you are a Christian, you can’t divorce your husband or your wife just because you don’t feel like being married any more. If you are a Christian marriage is held to be highly sacred and something you don’t treat cheaply.

I know I have done a lot of rambling and it probably feels like I have been on my soapbox FOREVER, so I won’t keep you much longer. But if you are still reading this, I want you to know that you are treasured and loved child of God. He loves you with an incredible love, and He wants the best for you. That is why He has created marriage to be so sacred. He knows that divorce, adultery, sleeping around, and “shacking up” aren’t the best, and that is why He has given us guidance in these things. Is there grace? Absolutely. God is a God of second chances, so you can always come back. He will always wrap you in His arms and offer you His grace and mercy. But in order to receive His grace and that second chance, we must first walk away from what led us in the opposite direction. Then we must humbly come to Him in repentance and ask Him to show us the way.

So they are no longer two, but  one. Therefore, what God has joined together, let man not separate. ~Matthew 19:6, NIV

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. ~Ephesians 5:31, NIV

Grace & Peace, Jaclyn

Faith in the Raw


Image
T
his quote sums it up almost perfectly for me. No matter how many times I have told myself, “I will just give up. This is too hard,” I can’t throw in the towel. My desire to have a baby with my husband isn’t a desire like walking into Kohl’s and seeing that beautiful Vera Wang handbag that I would love to have. It’s a desire that goes much deeper, and one that can’t fully be expressed in words. So, here I am. Another month. Another cycle. Part of me wants to throw in the towel and just say, “Screw it!” The other part of me says, “You can’t give up. You want this child. Have faith.” 

Faith. You would think that as a Pastor’s Wife and Christian I wouldn’t struggle with faith, right? Wrong. I struggle with having faith just like anyone else struggles with it. There are times when I have incredible faith, and then there are times when it is difficult to even have the faith the size of a mustard seed. Today is one of those days. It’s been over 3 years and nothing has changed. I have no answers as to why my body isn’t conceiving our desired child. No magic tricks to share that got us success. No babies to even speak of. Just the same charted cycle month after month after month. The same “negative” pregnancy tests. The same ovulation predictor kits letting me know that there is nothing wrong in that department. Just the same. 

This morning I read from Hebrews 11, and verse 11 struck me. 

“Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word.” Hebrews 11:11, Amplified Bible

 

It is sort of obvious as to why this verse would stick out to me, right? I know. And then again this verse also had me telling God, “Please Lord, please don’t let me have to wait till I am as old as Sarah before I receive my child of promise.” Seriously, this is a concern of mine. I have shared it on numerous occasions with my husband. I want that “physical power” that Sarah received. I want her faith. But wait, didn’t she laugh first? Didn’t she think it to be a joke? Yes, she did. So, then where was her faith? Maybe it was in the fact that in the back of her mind she continued to cling to her desire, and when God shared that she and Abraham would have their child of promise she clung even tighter to that desire and hope. She may have been laughing on the outside, but maybe in the depths of her soul she was shouting, “Yes, Lord! Yes! I believe it! I receive it!” Maybe. Just maybe. 

I can share from my own experience that even though my husband and I have three children between us, the desire to have a child together is strong. Our desire to have this precious child doesn’t mean that we don’t love the three children we have now. Our child of promise is wanted. It is already loved. It is prayed for. My soul yearns for this precious child. My heart longs for Ada and/or Liam (maybe the Lord will choose to bless us with just one, or maybe He will bless us with both). 

So even though part of me is screaming, “Screw this! I am done! I have had enough of this emotional roller coaster. I am sick of the same crap every month. I am tired of seeing pregnancy announcements, birth announcements, gender reveals, and the likes plastered all over my social networks, all while I am over hearing dying inside. I have had enough of it!,” I can’t ignore the other part of me. The other part that whispers, “Don’t give up Jaclyn. It’s not a lost cause. Your pain will turn into joy soon.” And it might sound weird and crazy to some of you, but even though there are times when I am so mad at God and want to scream at Him over this pain, He is where I find the greatest comfort. I can do nothing apart from Him. I am afraid of the dark pit I might find myself in if I let go of Him for even one second. So I cling tighter to Him. I rest in Him. I bury my sobbing heart in Him. And I allow Him to hold me while I break into a million pieces. And He lets me. There is no other place that makes sense for me to be than in His arms. It is the only place that makes sense. 

I will continue to press on in faith even on the days where my faith isn’t even the size of a mustard seed. Why? Because I know my God is greater than any pain I might have. He is bigger than any doubt. He is more powerful than any disappointment and discouragement I might face. He is my God who loves and adores me no matter what. He is making a way even if I can’t see it. And He is forever faithful. The enemy will not have the victory because I am the precious daughter of the Most High God, and in Him is where I find my strength, hope, and faith. 

Awkward Moments from the Little Person


Image

Have you ever had someone approach you with a comment or question that kind of takes you of guard? Maybe even makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable about yourself, or causes you to questions things about yourself? I am sure we can all say that at some point in our lives we have had to deal with awkward statements and questions (and I don’t necessarily mean inappropriate sexual comments). And I am sure we can all relate in how uncomfortable it made us feel.

Well, I get some of these awkward comments and questions in regards to my size. Let me just go ahead and throw out to you that I am not a big girl. Really, I probably could audition to be one of the munchkins in The Wizard of Oz. I am only 5’2″ (without high heels), and I have a very small frame. I am the smallest out of my family. My sister who is 5 years older than me stands about 5’9″ to 5’10” tall, and my brother who is 2 years younger than me stands 6’3″ tall. My Mom is 5’5″ and my dad is about the same height as my sister. So, yes I am the smallest out of the bunch. I have never seen it as an issue.

So, back in 2004 to 2005 when I lost weight (not an extreme amount) I began having people say things about my size. I didn’t know how to take it at the time. Were they suggesting that I wasn’t eating? I had one person actually tell me that I didn’t need to be harming my body and that I needed to eat. Thankfully another person came to my defense and let that other person know that he never saw me without any food. I will admit that when the weight first began coming off, I wasn’t doing it in the most healthy way possible. I was depressed, and that is what triggered my weight loss initially. But it isn’t what kept the weight off.

Fast forward to the present. I actually do go about weight management and eating in healthy way. I still get comments about my size. “Jaclyn, are you losing weight?” “Jaclyn, you don’t need to lose any more weight!” “I believe you get tinier and tinier every time I see you.” For some people, these comments might be nice to hear, but for me there aren’t the comments I want. These are the awkward comments that leave me feeling uncomfortable. I begin questioning what I am doing, wondering what they actually think about me and what I am doing, and other crazy thoughts. It doesn’t make me feel all giddy. It doesn’t flatter me.

I know good and well that I don’t need to lose weight. I know that I don’t need to diet (that’s why I don’t). I am aware that I am small. I am aware that I may be smaller than I once was in the past. But what some people fail to realize is that I don’t workout and eat clean in order to lose weight. I don’t restrict myself. I don’t weigh myself everyday. I don’t obsess over calories. I don’t even use the word diet. I workout because I want to be fit. I want to be strong. I want to be in the best shape that I possibly can be. I eat clean because I want to fuel my body right. I want to treat my body right. I want to eat foods that are going to improve my health, not tear it down. And overall, I workout and eat clean because I want to honor God by taking care of the body He has gifted to me.

Working out and eating clean isn’t always about a goal to lose weight. It’s not a fad. It’s not a trend. It’s not a “new diet.” It’s a lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle that I choose because I want to treat my body right. I want to take care of my body. And I want to set a good example for my kids, family members, and friends. While there are some people who do have weight loss as their goal, it is not my goal. It may have been at one point, but it is not my goal now. Living a healthy lifestyle is my goal.

So, how do I deal with the awkward comments? To begin with, not so well. I have never smarted off or run away in tears, but I have let it eat me up on the inside. But I am learning to laugh it off now. I am learning to share in my own way of how I am just living a healthy lifestyle. And I am learning to not question myself or what I am doing to care for my body. I am learning to just be me. God created me, loves me, and cares for me. And I am fearfully and wonderfully made in his image.

Grace & Peace, Jac

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: