Monthly Archives: April 2012

Change of Plans and Abundance of Blessings

God sure does have a funny way of changing our plans. I bet he gets a good sense of humor out of the sheer human-ness of our planning. Am I the only one who thinks that God has an awesome sense of humor.

This last week has not gone AT ALL as planned. Last Sunday, I took my dog the vet to find out she had parvo and spend $800 to get her a 50/50 chance of living (which she did, by the way). A few days ago, I got some news that is going to completely alter the course of my life. Any plans I thought I had made, short term or long term, have all changed.

Someone once told me, our man-made plans are just something for God to deviate us from.

Life’s funny sometimes – how God uses the littler thing to be a blessing in our lives.

Although I have had a week full of pain, sickness, and life-altering news, I have also had a week so full of blessings that it’s almost impossible to be sad.

Blessings #1: A lesson from a 2 year old. Mackenzie brings me her water bottle and says, “Mommy, help me. I can’t do it all myself.” I smiled at the pure innocence of her statement and then I realized, that’s what God wants from me. Just as I delighted in helping Mackenzie open her water and seeing the smile on her face, God delights in helping me and filling me with joy. I think it’s really ironic how this hectic week, ended with Mackenzie making this statement. I believe God is telling me, “Hey Jacquie, just ask for help. You can’t do it all yourself.”

Blessing #2: Family day. Saturday was our family day. We set up the pool in the back yard for the girls and Robert and I did some yard work, I made some homemade pizza and reese’s shakes for lunch, and Robert and I had a movie night after the girls went to bed. And can I just say that my husband is amazing becuase he let me watchPuss in Bootsfor our date night, even though he didn’t really want to (and he may not admit it, but I think he liked it).

Blessing #3: A healthy puppy. I don’t think this one needs anymore explanation.

Blessing #4: A sudden change in plans – this really made me have to prioritize my life.

Blessing #5: Awesome neighbors who love my family and are always willing to help us out and be there for us.

I could probably go on forever with my blessings from this week, so we’ll call it there.

Look back later for a poem to go with this post. I would write and post it now, but it’s time to head off to church.

Blessings.

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How to Thank God When You’ve Lost Everything

What are the important things in my life? What are the things that I think I can’t live without? What are my priorities?

It’s easy to answer those questions with kinds, family, God, work, etc., until you lose something this is important to you.

Today I lost my wallet. The Bible tells us that we need to thank God, even for our trials. But can anyone tell me how I am supposed to thank God for a lost wallet? I mean, does God know what a pain it is to get everything replaced that was in there? (FYI, there’s a bit of sarcasm in that statement).

My first thought was: “Ugh! why is this happeneing me! I don’t have time to get all of this replaced. How am I going to get home?” (being that I live on a military installation). Moments like this help me to reassess my priorities…it’s just a wallet. Hopefully it will turn up, but it’s not the end of the world.

I guess I am trying to see this as a blessing instead of a trial because through losing my wallet I have been able to reassess some of my priorities and what I think is important. The things I carry around in my wallet are replacable. My priceless, irreplaceable belongings are still safe at home. So now I am thanking God for what is really important in my life and for reminding me how little importance other things have in life.

 


The Cross Inside Us

I received this email yesterday:

The Cross in Our Bodies
This is a pretty neat story and an interesting thing that few of us know. It’s brief, so please read. (FROM A DOCTOR)

A couple of days ago I was running (I use that term very loosely) on my treadmill, watching a DVD sermon by Louie Giglio… And I was BLOWN AWAY! I want to share what I learned….

He (Louie) was talking about how inconceivably BIG our God is… How He spoke the universe into being… How He breathes stars out of His mouth that are huge raging balls of fire.. Etc. Etc. Then He went on to speak of how this star-breathing, universe creating God ALSO knitted our human bodies together with amazing detail and wonder. At this point I am LOVING it (fascinating from a medical standpoint, you know.) . And I was remembering how I was constantly amazed during medical school as I learned more and more about God’s handiwork. I remember so many times thinking..’How can ANYONE deny that a Creator did all of this???’ Louie went on to talk about how we can trust that the God who created all this, also has the power to hold it all together when things seem to be falling apart…how our loving Creator is also our sustainer.

And then I lost my breath. And it wasn’t because I was running my treadmill, either!!!

It was because he started talking about Laminins. I knew about laminin. Here is how Wikipedia describes them: ‘Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue’ You see Laminins are what hold us together… LITERALLY. They are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell. Without them, we would literally fall apart. And I knew all this already. But what I didn’t know is what they LOOKED LIKE.

But now I do. And I have thought about it a thousand times since (already). Here is what the structure of laminin looks like. AND THIS IS NOT a ‘Christian portrayal’ of it. If you look up laminin in any scientific/medical piece of literature, this is what you will see —>

Now tell me that our God is not the coolest!!! Amazing. The glue that holds us together….ALL of us…..Is in the shape of the cross. Immediately Colossians 1:15-17 comes to mind.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible And invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or Authorities; All things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him All things HOLD TOGETHER. Colossians 1:15-17

Call me crazy. I just think that is very, very, very cool. Thousands of years before the world knew anything about laminin, Paul penned those words. And now we see that from a very LITERAL standpoint,we are held together. One cell to another. By the cross.

You would never in a quadrillion years convince me that is anything other than the mark of a Creator who knew EXACTLY what laminin ‘glue’ would look like long before Adam breathed his first breath!!”

Does anyone else find this absolutely amazing? This takes my breath away. God never ceases to amaze me. I mean, how wonderful is it that not only does the Cross hold us together spiritually, but it also holds us together physically. God was just waiting for us to make that corelation and to realize, once again, how powerful and wonderful he is.


God’s Puzzle

Maybe it’s just because I just visited a third world country or maybe my attitude is changing. But I don’t understand why so many people are so negative about everything. We have so much to be thankful and happy for and too often we take it all for granted.

When I first started talking to my dad, he asked me a few times, “is getting angry/complaining about it really going to help you or make you feel better?” And to be honest, the question drove me insane for a while because of course it wouldn’t make me feel better but if I had every right to be mad then why shouldn’t I be mad? I couldn’t understand people who were just happy all the time, life is not always good so how can anyone always be happy?

Well I think I get it now. It’s really easy not to be negative, esspecially in the hard times, when I remember that I have a God who knows and loves me and who has plans for me – plans to prosper and not despair (Jeremiah 29:11). I mean, if you fully understand the impact of that on your life, then what is there to be sad about? I can’t think of anything.

For a long time I was so negative about almost everything. I had a hard time finding things in life to be happy about. I couldn’t see how the puzzle pieces of my life could possibly fit into the bigger puzzle of the world.

But now, I think I can see it. If God created the world as a giant puzzle and everyone’s life was a certain number of puzzle pieces, I can see now how the puzzle pieces of my life can fit into God’s puzzle of the world. I had to experience life without my dad, I had to experience the pain that I went through. If I hadn’t been through the things that I have then I wouldn’t be able to help people in the way God wants me to. I believe that God wants to use me to help kids learn that the way they view their parents should not impact the way they view God – and how could I successfully do that if I had lived any other life?

God has a sense of humor sometimes in the way He shows us how everything in the world all fits together for His glory.

So yeah, there are things in my life that I can legitimately be sad or angry about….but what’s the point? Why bother being sad when God’s got it under control? Why bother being stressed when God’s plans will trump mine? Why bother being angry when God, who is just, will take care of things?

The world’s not perfect, but God is. Which one makes more sense to put my faith in?


That’s the same God

I know it seems kind if silly that I just recently realized this because this seems like an important part of being a Christian. I think that this is one of those things that most of us know in our heads but fail to recognize in our hearts – The same God who created the entire universe is the same God who created me and loves me.

I recently read the book, Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The main thing that I brought away from this book was that if the world doesn’t think I’m crazy because of my love for Christ, then something is wrong. But there were a few videos that the book asks you (the reader) to watch: The Awe Factor of God and Just Stop and Think. These two videos are so powerful in remembering/realizing who God is what He has done for us.

Two of my favorite parts of nature, two of the things that I find more beauty in than anything else, are a sunset on the beach and a star filled sky. And you know what just blows me away about both of those things – that the same God who made them loves me so much that He sent His only Son to die for ME! Stop and think about that statement for just a minute. Fill in your name where I wrote me and just think about it. Would you ever be willing to give up your child for people who rejected and abused you? I know I wouldn’t. But God did.

One of my favorite verses is Luke 19:10 – For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost. I think the reason I love this verse so much is because I was lost and when I realized the someone wanted to find and save me, I was amazed. I mean, to realize that God loved me so much that He sent His Son to earth to live and die for me, I am astonished. I wasn’t looking for Jesus. Jesus wasn’t lost, I was. Jesus was looking for me and He found me in the midst of my pain and He met me right where I was and brought me out of my darkness.

Jesus found me and saved me – not because I deserved it and not because I had asked for it, but because He loves me so much that He wanted to save me from my own sin.

 

The God who sent His Son to die for our sins is the same God who loves us.

The God who created the beauty in a sunset is the same God who loves us.

The God who created the smell of freshly cut grass is the same God who loves us.

The God who made the world and everything in it is the same God who knew me and loved me even before I was born and the same God who lives inside of me.

That alone just amazes me.


Dear Guatemala, You changed my life!

A few days ago, I got home from spending a week in Guatemala with a ServingHIM missions team. Before I left for this trip, I thought that maybe I would be able to help a few people and that I would probably learn a few things while I was there. And although those things happened, there was so much more. So for anyone who knows me well, can you guess what I did?…I wrote a poem about it, lol.

Guatemala
With the eyes of a child
I accepted His gift
And gave up my will
For what’s perfect, what’s His
He led me to spread
The great news of His love
With nations, with people
That I’d never dreamed of
I came to bless them
With the grace in God’s Word
And to share with them, How
God can heal any hurt

But the opposite happened
Their lives have blessed me
Their words have encouraged
And helped me to see
Our skin doesn’t matter
Our cultures don’t define
We’re all alike
All kids in God’s eyes
We all pray for the same
Joys in our hearts
And reach for the same things
That tear us apart
We all need Jesus death
To save us from sin
After we turn away
Again and again

In the grand scheme of life
It’s not about me
But sharing His love
And living in His glory

So what did I learn in Guatemala? I learned that we are all the same. It doesn’t matter where we come from, who our parents are, what we look like, what we wear, or how we were raised…we all want the same things in life – happiness! And the people in Guatemala are closed to happiness than most people I know. These people know what is important in life and they aren’t sad over the things that they don’t have because they know that those things aren’t important.

I also learned a lot about love. I don’t know about anyone else, but I know that I, quite frequently, struggle with loving other people. I know that the Bible tells us that it is important to love our neighbors. There have been many times where I’ve cried out to God, “How can I love this person? They are being so difficult! God, this is too hard!” But after this week, I finally get it. How does God love us? We are so difficult and we don’t deserve it. But God is gracious and merciful and I must be as well. The body of Christ is supposed to function to be a living example of God’s love for us, and that exactly what I want to be. I want people to see me and think, “wow, there’s something different about her,” and when they ask about it, I can give all the glory to God. It is only because I have fully experienced God’s love in my life that I am able to fully, without reservation, and without obligation just love other people.

The Guatemalan people are so humble, and their humbleness rubbed off on me while I was there. We prayed with many families while we were there and shared God’s love with many people. And can I tell you that not a single person asked a prayer request for themselves. Everyone I prayed with wanted us to pray for something that would benefit their families, friends, or even their nation as a whole – now that is powerful.

I was able to share the gospel with a lot of adults and kids. But some of the most powerful moments that I experienced were the moments when teenagers and young kids wanted to turn their lives over to Christ and asked me to pray with them. A little over four months ago, someone gave me the greatest gift ever – the gift of God’s love and I feel so blessed to be able to share that same gift with others.

I believe I know now what God wants to use me for. And this is probably kind of funny to anyone who knows me well – but I want to work with teenage kids, specifically junior high aged, who don’t know their fathers. I want to help kids to understand their image of God should not be based off of their image of their fathers. Earthly fathers, no matter how loving, will at some point let us down but our heavenly father will never let us down.

So here are some other poems that I wrote while in Guatemala:

The Twist
Long before my name
Was ever heard on earth
He knew my every step
Predicted all of my hurts
But what I never knew
God was there through it all
When I gave up on hope
He still broke my fall
I had let go of love
And I tried to end
The life he had given
That only He could mend
The years of abuse
Filled me up with pain
The guilt and the hatred
Added fuel to the shame
But here’s the twist
That has made me new
There’s a Savior who came
For me and for you
Our Savior was perfect
He was God’s own Son
His life was sinless
But He still died for us
Through my belief
I can live forever
In a place where
Sin’s control in severed

Help me to be
Help me to be Your feet
And walk to where You want me
Send me where I can do Your work
So Your glory will be seen
Help me to be Your hands
And give to those in need
Send me where I can heal
Where Your grace can feed
Help me to be Your voice
To share Your Word across the nations
Send me where I’ll spread the news
Of Your love for Your creation
Help me to be Your eyes
To see the lost and broken as You do
Send me to a place where I
Can introduce them all to You

Psalm 96
There’s a new song in my heart
That longs to praise His name
And share His grace with a world
That only He can change
The glory of what I can do
Is not mine to claim at all
But the glory of our God
Who loves us even through our fall
My soul is pleading to shout
His joy to all the nations
To share with all the love I’ve found
In the gift of His salvation
He is just, He is righteous
He is true and He is holy
Splendid and majestic
I live only for His glory

Double Life
A person split in two
One side people love to see
But the other side hides away
So that no one will see
The broken side of her life
She’s treated with contempt
The other side she’s love and nurtured
With a hope that can’t make sense
The shattered side is lost
And reaching out for help
While the happy side if proud
And boasts only in herself

She is happy but she is broken
And her happiness is fake
Which side will she give up
Only for Jesus sake

She’s looking in the mirror
Confused by what she sees
Which one did Jesus die for
Which one does she want to be
Jesus came for the broken one
To seek and save her heart
She dropped her pride at His feet
And begged for a new start
After hiding in her shame
Jesus took it all away
Took her two sides and molded them
With the power of His grace


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