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Archive for the tag “grace”

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


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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

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Trusting in Him


Today I find myself thinking on this journey of infertility yet again. Seriously, it’s very consuming. Even when I try not to think about it, somehow my mind goes right to it. I see a post on Facebook of someone announcing their pregnant, or sharing a photo of their precious baby. I see a woman loving on her baby out in town as she runs errands. Someone asks me a question in regards to how things are going, or “do you want any more kids?” (because they don’t realize the journey I am on). Yep, it pretty much consumes my thoughts. 

Charts. Tracking. Articles. New research. Hoops. Hoops. Hoops. And more hoops. 

I feel like a flipping science project some days, and on other days I feel like a complete failure in this area, and then some days I am full of hope. Anyone walking this journey (or that has walked this journey) can completely understand the wild roller coaster of emotions. And just when you think you have a handle on our emotions, you flip out or melt down just like that. Hello crazy! 

I am not sure why some people get pregnant by just thinking about it, while other people can’t seem to get pregnant no matter what they do. It just doesn’t seem fair. Not at all. Yes, I catch myself going down this road every now and then. Just let me be real with you. It’s not pretty. I really don’t want to have the urge to scream at the young single girl who keeps popping kids out left and right. But the truth is, I do. I really do. I feel like Paul when he wrote in Romans 7, “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway.” (Romans 7:18-19, NLT) A bit of a battle within. And it is just that…a battle. A spiritual battle. A physical battle. A mental battle. An emotional battle. A battle in every way. 

Today I am thinking on how much I hate this journey. Seriously HATE it. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. I am thinking on the fact that I have been pregnant before, and I have a beautiful daughter from that pregnancy (and she is such a blessing). I am wondering why I am dealing with this since I have been pregnant before. Why is it that those who aren’t trying to get pregnant are plastering their “Ooops, it just happened,” statuses and pictures for those of us who would love an “oops, it just happened” to see? Why is it so difficult for those of us who genuinely want a child, to even have our desired child? Why/ Why? Why? My mind is spinning in all directions. 

Then I also am thinking on that even though I feel like my God has forsaken me and turned a deaf ear to my heart’s cries, I know He hasn’t. Even though I have told Him that I am angry with Him and don’t understand, He holds me in His arms and tells me how much He loves me. He holds my hand every step of the way on this journey, and when I feel like I can’t take another step, He carries me. He always carries me and holds me in His hands. 

Oh how I wish I had the magic formula to make all of this better. I so wish I could snap my fingers and find that infertility is just a horrible nightmare and not even real. But I can’t. I’m not God. But He is. And I have to trust Him no matter what. I have to cling to Him even when I feel like letting go. I have to press into Him even when I feel like He isn’t there. Why? Because deep down I know that my God is faithful, loving, merciful, gracious, and full of life. He can turn my darkness into light. He can take my mess and create a masterpiece. 

I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is good, and because of that I will trust in Him. He is my living hope.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcmUYDU-2DY/>Trusting in Him, Jac

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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

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

Breaking Comfort Zones, and Experiencing Grace and Love


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Yesterday was a day where I felt the Lord leading me out of my comfort zone, yet again. You know I have discovered that when God moves you out of your comfort zone in one area, more than likely He is about to move you out of your comfort zone in another area of your life. And it is really futile to resist, because one way or another, you will be moved out of it.

So, back to yesterday. I felt the Lord nudging me to check up on a friend who has just had a baby. I have not been a very good friend in checking up on her consistently, as it has been difficult for me. Not that I am not happy that she is experiencing one of the greatest joys a woman can ever know, but simply because I have found myself in a place that I never thought I would ever be. The place of secondary infertility. (If you haven’t read my story on this, I encourage you to go back a few posts and start from the beginning.) It’s not that I am not happy for my friend. It’s not that I am mad at her for getting pregnant and having this precious baby. It’s just a hard and difficult area in my life that I have to daily work through (some days are better than others). So, we have texted back and forth during her pregnancy and since her baby boy’s arrival, but I will admit I have been guarded. I have tried to pull back. I have even been a bit snotty. Yes, I am confessing here and being real with you guys. I have my faults and weaknesses just like anyone else, even as a Pastor’s Wife.

But yesterday as I was getting ready for church, I felt the Lord nudging me to check up on her. You know just to see how she was doing and how precious baby was. I tried to resist a bit, I admit. But I sent the text. We texted back and forth, and then it happened. The Lord had to do it again. The Holy Spirit was prompting me to apologize. Say what? Yep, He was telling me I needed to apologize for my behavior. I was like, “Seriously, Lord. Do I have to? (Just like a kid, right?) I mean, this is going to be uncomfortable.This will not be easy. It’s going to be awkward, God. What if she is mad at me? What if she shares with me that I have hurt her feelings or something? God, I will be exposed!” yea, all those thoughts went through my head. As I stood there with my phone in my hand, staring at our text conversation, I did it. It was hard. It wasn’t easy. It was awkward and uncomfortable. As I waited for a reply I even began replaying the conversation with God in my head. Then came the reply, ” I appreciate your apology. I know it’s been rough on you, and I think about that (and you) all the time.” What? Her accepting my apology really wasn’t took me off guard. It was the next statement. She was thinking about me. Even with my wrong attitude, she thought about me and my feelings. Talk about humbling. It still gets me as I look at it this morning. It’s not surprising in a way that this behavior is out of character for her. It’s surprising in a way, that despite how I behaved she never thought ill towards me. How Christ-like is that?

Does this mean, that my struggles with my feelings about my infertility are gone? Not at all. But I do feel a sense of peace and a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. God doesn’t push us out of our comfort zones as a means of torture. He pushes us out of them as a means of growth. He wants us to grow and blossom into the men and women of Christ that we are created to be. And we can’t do that in our comfort zones. I was hit with the uncomfortableness and the awkwardness yesterday, but most of all I had to face my own sin. I had to come face to face with my wrong attitude, and admit that I hadn’t been acting in a way that was Christ-like. And you know what I got in return? I got the love of Christ overflowing back to me. I received grace and love.

I pray that when God nudges you to step out of your comfort zones, that you are obedient. I pray that you experience the grace and love of Christ overflowing back to you as you break the bounds of your comfort zones. I pray that you choose to offer grace and love to those who step out of their comfort zones with you. Comfort zones are meant to be broken so that God’s love can be made known.

Grace & Peace, Jaclyn

New|Year|New|Things


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Here we are. New Year’s Eve 2012. For some of us 2012 was fantastic. New job. Promotions. New home. New car. New relationships. New family members. New faith. Love. Health. Happiness. For others of us 2012 was difficult and heartbreaking. Loss of job. Loss of relationships. Loss of family members. Loss of faith. Loneliness. Depleting health. Sadness.

Whatever 2012 held for you, whether it was full of joy or full of sadness, it is curtains closing time on 2012. The sun is setting on 2012, and tomorrow the sun will rise on 2013. A new year. A new opportunity. A year that will bring many changes. A year that will bring new things for all of us. So, I pray that we not close out 2012 feeling discouraged. Feeling discouraged that if 2012 was a great year that 2013 could be the year that everything falls apart. Feeling discouraged that 2012 was a more than difficult year and that 2013 will only hold the same. No! I want us to leave 2012 and enter into 2013 full of optimism & hope. Full of life & wonder. Full of excitement.

My friends, 2013 is going to be our year! It’s going to be awesome! It’s going to be powerful! It’s going to be full of goodness! So hold on to your hats, because 2013 is going to be full of life, and it’s going to be AMAZING!

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19, NIV

Grace & Peace,

Jaclyn

This Thing We call Parenting


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At this stage in parenting my daughter, this picture is pretty accurate. Just trying to be honest here peeps. Let’s face it, those of us that are parents (no matter how old our kiddos are) know that parenting is tough. It is not always parks, butterflies, ice creams, and laughs. Sometimes it is more like being in a high impact bootcamp training. There are no easy 1, 2, 3 steps to making parenting easy. Our kids didn’t come with manuals. We weren’t endowed with a massive amount of wisdom on how to be the perfect parent, when we became a parent. Nope, we just knew at the moment we looked at our kids’ faces that we were their parent, and we would love these kids like crazy. None of the hard stuff ever crossed our minds when we first laid eyes on those precious babies. 

Well, I find myself at the “tween stage” of parenting. To be honest, it is a very scary stage to me. Gone are the days of Dora the Explorer and Toddler tunes. They have been replaced with Good Luck Charlie and Justin Beiber. No more picking out outfits with cute little flowers and bows in the hair. She has her own sense of style, and a matching flowered outfit isn’t part of that style. And you can forget a bow! She is changing. She is growing into a young lady. A young lady with her own opinions, ideas, and dreams. A young lady who is very strong willed and stubborn. Parenting a tween is very different from parenting an infant, a toddler, or a pre-schooler. It is its own thing.

I am learning how to maneuver through this stage in parenting. Some days I feel pretty confident in my parenting ability, while other days I feel like I have been face down in the mud all day. It is a tricky thing, this parenting. Every kid is different. Every parent is different. You just have to find what works for you and your child. So, here are some points of encouragement for all of you parents that are finding yourself in this “tween stage” of parenting. 

  1. Be you. Sounds pretty simple right? Well, I think sometimes we just need to be reminded that it is ok to be who we are. And especially in parenting, I think sometimes our identities get lost. We often try so hard to be the perfect parent, the soccer mom, the taxi driver, the cook, and whatever else we can throw into the mix, that we tend to lose who we are. Some parents aren’t the soccer moms, the cooks, the theatre parent, or the taxi driver. And NO parent is the perfect parent (sorry June Cleaver). Be yourself. Your kid will respect and appreciate you for that.
  2. Be the parent. This another one that seems pretty simple, but again it is also another one that gets lost in the shuffle at times. Sometimes we try so hard to have our kids like us all the time, that it gets hard to distinguish between the child and the parent. It is ok to have your kid upset with you on occasion. So what if your kid storms off to their room & slams their door vowing to never come out, because you told them no! Come on, we all know they get hungry so they WILL come out of that room. And they WILL still love you, even though you told them no. Kids need boundaries. They need rules. And they need us to be their parents, not their BFFs!
  3. Be godly. Spend time with God. Read and study scripture. Pray daily for your kids, family, and other things. Be the example of Christ to your kids, so that they will grow in the ways of the Lord. Show them what it means to have compassion, love, grace, and to show mercy. Don’t just tell them about these things, live it! I am a firm believer in Proverbs 22:6 (“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”). My parents raised me in a Christian home, and I am beyond thankful for the example of Christ they were to me and my siblings.
  4. Be aware and connected. Know what your kids are doing, who their friends are, what their dreams & goals are. Know what they like and dislike. Know what they are listening to. Know your kid! Make time to spend with your kids. Play a board game with them. Watch a movie with them. Talk to them, and LISTEN to them. Even that little bit of time spent in the car each morning on the way to school, is valuable time with your kids. 

I am by no means an expert when it comes to parenting. I am learning. I make mistakes. I don’t always parent in the best way. But I do know that although parenting is tough, it is one of the greatest blessings that God has given me. And it is one of the greatest blessings God has given you too!

Grace & Peace, Jac

 

 

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