Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Church

Very soon I will publish some posts about missions as a continuation of what I started a few weeks ago, but for now I need to tell you something. The last few weeks God has been doing a beautiful work in my heart in regards to the church.

For several reasons, which I will not get into right now, I have had a hard time getting involved at my parent's church. I really miss my little church in Fort Collins. The church my parents have been at for 2 years, and I 1, is large and until recently been full of strangers to me. The Word is faithfully preached and it seems that new believers are added every week. I praise God for those two things, for the churches I have been in the last 10 years, besides the church in Fort Collins, did not have either.

The beginning of December I was really struggling with my attitude towards the church. I was very critical, disinterested and apathetic. The last thing I wanted to do was go to church, be with a bunch of strangers and introduce myself to people who would forget me by next week.

A horrible attitude, I know.

Thankfully, very thankfully, God changed my heart. In my arrogance I could not even see that God was calling me to serve. It was easier to sit back and complain about how things should be done. Then, it was as if God spanked my backside and said, "Shape up. I love my Bride and you should, too." Funny thing, I thought I did love the Church because I complained about how She should be. Funny too, how complaining doesn't help fix anything.

The following song was instrumental (ha!) in really sealing the conviction I had already felt. Read the lyrics carefully and think about God singing this to you-

The Church
by Derek Webb
On the album She Must and Shall Go Free

i have come with one purpose
to capture for myself a bride
by my life she is lovely
by my death she’s justified
i have always been her husband
though many lovers she has known
so with water i will wash her
and by my word alone

so when you hear the sound of the water
you will know you’re not alone

‘cause i haven’t come for only you
but for my people to pursue
you cannot care for me with no regard for her
if you love me
you will love the church

i have long pursued her
as a harlot and a whore
but she will feast upon me
she will drink and thirst no more
so when you taste my flesh and my blood
you will know you’re not alone


there is none that can replace her
though there are many who will try
and though some may be her bridesmaids
they can never be my bride


What am I willing to do for the Church to see her pure, Christ-centered, discipled and serving Jesus? That is what God has been asking me. Right now I only have a partial answer and have started getting involved where I can use some gifts and passion.

I love you, Church!

(Thanks, too, to my mom and dad for challenging me outside of myself, to Dawn who always has to endure my complaining and to Joel for giving me a fresh perspective!)

Friday, March 14, 2008

A Birthday

The last few days I have been trying to publish this post and Blogger was not letting me upload pictures. Finally, it worked!

On Monday a little boy, Judah, turned 2 years old. He is dear to me, not so much for who he is, but for who his parents are. I have spent very little time with Judah and yet hours with his parents.

I met Matt E. in April 1999. In order to make an extremely long story short, we met, became good friends almost instantly, he went to college, met Dawn and fell in love with her, introduced Dawn and I, and now she is the dearest friend I have outside of my family.
Jaclyn and Matt in January of 2001-
a picture taken after we had been laughing hysterically

Dawn is amazing. Her constant friendship the last 7 years (give or take a few months) has been none other than a gift from God. I've posted sappy things about her before, so I will spare you too much more of that. :-)

So, on Monday she celebrated her son's birthday. Me, well, I celebrated Matt and Dawn. It has been a wonderful journey to be apart of and watch from, sadly, a distance. I will never forget the excitement in her voice when she called me exclaiming, "I'm pregnant!"

Many emotions flooded my heart and mind. Dawn, pregnant!?! It was amazing and impossible at the same time. This girl had giggled with me about things girls discuss, shared hard times, admitted faults, rebuked me in love and we had talked about everything under the sun. I had been engaged and unengaged before she and Matt were even engaged. And we had shared it all. Laughter and tears.

Now, she was going to be a mother.

We began talking pregnancy, morning sickness, body changes, labor, delivery, parenting, sleepless nights, nursing, hip pain, doctors appointments, baby names and hormone shifts.
Jaclyn and Dawn- May 2006
Dawn and her first-born son, Judah, when he was but a few weeks old.
Dawn and Judah a few days before he turned 2

Now she has TWO sons, has been married almost 4 years, has moved several times and was able to visit Colorado once! She is an amazing wife, mother, homemaker, sister, friend and follower of Christ. I admire her in more ways than I can even begin to count.

And Matt, well, who knew it would lead to this after meeting 9 years ago? (NINE!) He has been a constant friend through some very hard times. He is a godly husband and father. I respect him very much and it only grows more as the years pass.

Matt, Judah and Elijah!


And, well done, Mom and Dad E. May your children arise and call you blessed because of your love for the Lord. May your home be a light for Christ. May those around you give you honor because you are people who love Him! May your home be full of laughter, mercy, generousity, faith, love, purity and Godly offspring (at least a few more...)!

Love to you all!

Friday, March 07, 2008

An Earthly Goodbye

Caroline Stickley, center above, could enter the presence of Jesus any time now. What a wonderfully magnificent thought. And sad, too.

We, myself, Ben and Ann Marie, met Caroline last September when we visited some of OMF's retired missionaries in Pennsylvania. She is an amazing woman.

More on her later, when I have time, and as a tribute.