Monday, September 21, 2009

Spiritual Orphans

Her tiny cry pierced the air in the not so quiet Goodwill late Saturday afternoon. Not many people seemed to notice, but my eyes darted quickly around the room to find the source and my lips formed into a small smile.

She was brand new.

I passed her several times while browsing the skirts, checking the shoes and waiting for those who were shopping with me. The women attending her were of various ages and the sort of people one might label rough.

Her small, helpless, pleading cry continued.

The woman holding her carelessly flopped her around while scolding, "Hush up, quit crying." The one who appeared to be the Mother acted put out, but completely uncaring as she poked at the purses on the wall and advised her Companions coming out of the dressing room. The Holder walked around impatiently patting her on the back with more force than most would ever dream of using on one so little.

And her little cry grew louder in my heart.

Everything in my soul wanted to give her comfort and love like she had never known before. My arms ached with every cry to hold her and give her, even for a moment, a sense of security. My mind began imagining the life she will lead, the people that will be around her and the type of love that will be shown to her.

She is not the only one crying for love.

How many brand new ones are there desperate for love? How many will hear harsh words when all they need is a tender song? How many are lonely? How many are afraid?

There are many brand new ones, little people, children who will grow up spiritual orphans. They will have parents, but no love. They will have food, but no nourishment. They will cry and who will listen?

These times of grave insight and, what I believe is to me, visions of how God sees the world are few and far between. I am grateful when God gives them. When I am tempted to fall into a pattern of mediocrity or apathy it is like He grabs my shoulders, looks into my face and firmly commands, "Open your eyes! Wake up!"

Her cry will continue to echo in my heart.

Friday, July 17, 2009

God's Compassion

Bethany Dillon's music has been speaking to me more the last month or so than anyone else I have listened to lately. She is very insightful and I am sure, sometimes, that she is writing about me!

"Be Near Me"
by Bethany Dillon
I follow all the rules
Well, at least I'm trying
Hoping when my days are through
You'll be pleased
I've lived the longest days
Thinking my heart was so bad
Too scared to look in your face
Oh, if only I had
And is it alright
If I stay here all night
By the shoreline
I cannot believe you are angry or unjust
You've done nothing but have compassion on us
So be near me when I've given up
Be near me
I'm just like everyone else
We are all hiding
Acting like I have a wealth
Of knowledge and peace
But all I've ever wanted
And what men have given their lives for
Is a God who understands my weaknesses
A God that I can love
I believe you are good and righteous
You've given me your reckless love
So be near, be near...
I have recently been reminded of areas of insecurity that I have. It is not a new revelation, but as I think about it this time I am able to see more of the core in my heart. Many times I am not sure where the emotions or feelings come from- they just happen- and sometimes without the slightest warning.

I believe, with all my heart, that unbelief in God's promises is the sin that causes every other sin. When I take my eyes off of Him, His love, His mercy, His grace and His forgiveness I am bound to be miserable one way or another.

Yesterday in our morning devotion Wendell (my boss) read the following quote:

"I think I can trace every scrap of sorrow in my life to this simple unbelief. How could I be anything but quite happy if I believed always that all the past is forgiven, and all the present furnished with power, and all the future bright with hope because of the same abiding facts which don't change with my mood, do not stumble because I totter and stagger at the promise through unbelief, but stand firm and clear with their peaks of pearl cleaving the air of Eternity and the basis of their hills rooted unfathomably in the Rock of God. Mount Blanc does not become a phantom or a mist because a climber grows dizzy on its side."
~James Smetham~

He is so right.

And God is so compassionate. He is so patient.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Beyond the Original

The last few months I have noticed something about our society: people are so unoriginal! There is nothing new under the sun so I am not talking about that kind of unoriginality.

Let me explain.

I am sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I have been asked the same set of questions at least 300 times the last few months. No kidding. It goes like this:

"How is the wedding planning going?"


"Are you excited?"

Now, tell me, what are the answers to those questions? The majority of the people who asked the first question were not inquiring with a desire to help and usually just wanted an avenue to share their wedding planning advice. I certainly did not mind their input, but it just got tiring facing it day after day.

The second question is even more comical. It poses two problems for me-1. I am mostly an introvert. When I am excited I do not jump up and down with glee like some might. I felt like some doubted my excitement to marry Joel and took it as a concern they needed to address. 2. The simple and yet truthful answer, "yes," seems too boring. Therefore, I always wanted to figure out what else they wanted to know about my excitement or explain why my excitement looks like this: :-) instead of this :-D.

"Did you get the Swine Flu?"

"How is married life treating you?"


"Do you still love him?"

I guess the Swine Flu was a big scare while we were gone to Mexico on our honeymoon. I have one thing to say about that: the American Media must have been bored. The second question, wow, I am not sure what to even say. Joel and I have decided to never ask a newly married person that question.

First, "married life" is an inanimate idea which cannot do anything to us that we do not allow it to do. Again, the simple and yet truthful answer, "good," seems too boring for me. I have tried to come up with some good responses like, "God is teaching me a lot," "It's been fun," etc., but those are unoriginal answers to unoriginal questions and that is worse than asking unoriginal questions! ::Sigh:: There is no way to win here!

The last question of wanting to know if I still love him is just, well, strange. What if I said "no"? What would people do? My flesh wants to answer harshly with, "What kind of a dumb question is that? Of course I still love him!" My piety wants to answer, "I vowed to love him so I never will not love him. Love is not a feeling anyway." I just smile and give them the simple and yet truthful answer, "Yes, of course I still love him."

This is not the first time (nor will it be the last... pregnancy is worse I bet!) I have experienced people's lack of originality in question-asking. I guess, this time, it just struck me different as I learn and grow in how I want to relate to people. I am not, in any way, doubting the sincerity of the people who asked me unoriginal questions. I just want to know the heart. I want people to know I care about their feelings, emotions and spiritual well-being. I want to encourage them to follow Christ through the situations in their lives.

There IS one question, though, that I will NEVER get tired of being asked and will continue to ask, "What is God teaching you?" That question can be edited to fit any situation and needs to be asked more than it is.

Jesus was the master of asking the right question at the right time. I am sure he participated in humanly necessary questions like, "How are you? Where is the bathroom? Where is Mary?" Or maybe not, since he knew the answer already... The questions Jesus asked were meant for the hearers and aimed right at the core of their being.

As I got weary of people asking me these questions I thought, "What questions would Jesus ask me at this time in my life? What questions are there in Scripture that I need to asnwer?"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Leaders Are Readers

Joel and I both love to read and, if time allowed, would read all day long. Last Saturday we decided to go look at garage sales to see what we could find, which is kind of odd for two people who hate junk and will have little belongings. We set out at 8:30am.

We discovered that there are four main things people are getting rid of- baby stuff, VHS tapes, the most random junk and books. After buying a handful of books at garage sales we decided to also stop in at a little used book store neither of us had ever visited.

We bought the following (plus some!):

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Husband

I have a husband. His name is Joel. He is amazing. He is definately not perfect, mind you, but has qualities and a depth of character that few men I know can match.

There is a conversation Joel and I had that I will never forget. It was at the beginning of our courtship and it went something like this:

Joel: "You know, Jaclyn, I don't need you."
Jaclyn: "That's good. I don't need you either."
Joel: "My happiness does not depend on you, nor will I let it be based on you. If you decided tomorrow that you did not want to marry me- my life would not be ruined. My first love is Christ and my purpose is found in Him. I don't want a wife just to have a cook and a maid. I believe God has called us together to do more than that for Him."
Jaclyn: "I agree."

I am not sure why I was thinking about it this morning, but I had to smile. That conversation is such a reflection of who we are. And we love each other more because of conversations like it.
We do not need each other. We can be just as happy alone. Our hope and purpose in life is not, nor should it ever be based on one another. If we live with that idea then we run the risk of placing unrealistic expections on people to meet needs that only God Himself can fill in us.

Still, two are better than one. Marriage is designed by God to be the picture of Christ and the Church to the world. We cannot do that alone. Marriage was designed to produce children. We cannot do that alone.

So we do need each other, but our need is not based on us. Our need and desire for one another is so that God may be more glorified in our lives and in this world that so desperately needs Him.

Don't worry, we love each other very much! I belive we have a better and stronger love than those who feel the love that seeks to only please self. I cannot wait until we have been married 5, 10, 15, 25 years and know what true love really looks like.

Jeannie, a woman who has been a mentor to me for over a year now, shared, "You know, Jaclyn, we remember what it was like to be in love the first few years of marriage. It's nice. We have been married 40 years now, though, and love each other more than we ever have before. We would never want to trade what we have now for the young love we had then. It's so weak."
"This (marriage) is a profound mystery—
but I am talking about Christ and the church."
Ephesians 5:32

Monday, June 15, 2009

Blogging Something

So I set up an alarm on my work email for 10AM daily that says, "Blog something" and so far I have ignored it for 3 days. I thought that if I set up a reminder and just got into the habit of thinking about blogging that I magically would start blogging again.


I think it will be harder than that! :-)

Today has been a good day so far, but my head so desperately wants its pillow. I had lunch with one of my best friends, Darrah, which was truly delightful. Tonight Joel and I will go to the pizza dinner here at OMF with the new missionary candidates.

It was good to talk to Darrah. I have not seen her since the wedding! (Sad, sad!) She made me think about all that has happened in my life the last 2 months. Wow.

I have been reading Hebrews and studying John 15-17 lately. I have also just started a Bible study on Prayer and am reading a compilation of Andrew Murray's writings called, "Teach Me to Pray." Sunday mornings Pastor Ed is taking us through Acts, Joel is leading 1 John with the Jr. High kids, the leaders are reading 1 Timothy, Wednesday night Louie is teaching Titus and Joel and I are picking our way slowly through Psalms. How wonderful it is to be covered with the Word of God. And still I crave more. I cannot get enough. I want to know it inside and out. It want it to be apart of who I am.

So far to go... but, hey, as C.S. Lewis would say, "Further up and further in!"

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Here Goes Nothing

::Cough:: Yes, it has been months, again.

I have been through tax season, wedding planning, a wedding, a honeymoon and seven weeks of marriage since I have written here. What a journey it has been!

So, what is there to say that has not already been said by thousands of other people in the course of humanity? Who cares about what I think enough to read this blog? Does it have a purpose? If so, what?

I am a person that likes to have a purpose to all I do- including blogging. Is this blog a place where people are encouraged and God is glorified? Is it just to show off accomplishments, share pictures, make funny quips or rant about how miserable life is?

If so, then I will shut this blog down immediately. Life is too short for that.

God is teaching me a lot right now and I would love to think that me sharing what He is doing in my life will encourage someone. Only He knows.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


I cannot believe how slack I have become in blogging. Blogging is an interesting thing, anyway, and I think I lost interest in sharing my thoughts with the world.

Yet, I feel like I learn better when I am writing. I wish I could write and keep it simple, but when I get going I do not want to stop... and then it take hours to post one entry (which is why I stopped writing, to some degree.)

I also stopped writing because so much was happening in my life and it was impossible to document it all. I wish I had, to some degree, and then again, some things are better left confined to the heart.

Can I pick it up again? Can I keep it simple?

We'll see...