Sunday, October 30, 2005

something to think about...

if God can accomplish His purposes in this world through a broken heart, then why not thank Him for breaking yours?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

joby job job

i work at a lawfirm and i love it. i really do. never in a million years did i think i'd use the word "love" and "lawfirm" in the same sentence. it seems somewhat like an oximoron. but nor did i ever think i'd work in a lawfirm...

i've been working downtown des moines with this firm since the middle of august and i'm just beginning to realize right now how much i truly do love it and what a blessing it was to get this job handed to me on a silver platter. i had been working as a nanny for 10 months but had to quit because of my new school schedule... my old roommate told me to take her job at a lawfirm... long story short, i went in and i was handed the job on the spot.

i get to dress up everyday (which i enjoy) and i just hang out in the firm library until someone hands me something to do. i'm basically a slave. but i love it. in all honesty, it is teaching me more and more about being a servant.

whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (matthew 20:26-28, niv)

my official title is: courier/runner. i drive a lot, deliver court cases to judges, file important documents, pick up things from the lawyers houses, make copies, and every now and then make a stop at hyvee or walgreens. i meet people all the time, and when i do, i'm often filled with an unexplainable joy that fuels me to keep going the rest of the day. the other day i was walking into the court house downtown shivering, this man next to me turns and says (with a strong southern accent), "darlin'! it's not that cold yet... you just get ready!" this began a conversation about me being from chicago, the sox in the world series (yuck), him growing up down south... it was encouraging in ways i can't explain.

besides having the freedom i do and meeting so many different people, i work with some awesome people. i've learned there are a few believers in the office and that one of the lawyers i had always been intimidated by actually does ministry at junior high schools with people from a christian organization he's in. since then he's become one of my favorite people in the office. i love talking to him because i can see in his eyes the passion he has for middle school kids. i don't come across that often - its refreshing.

i've really connected with a few of the other lawyers and numerous secretaries. there is one specific secretary whom i love... she reminds me of a grandma. white hair, cute, talkative... love her.

on the other hand, there are a few crazy people at the firm... i like them, but they're a bit intense. one lawyer threatened to cut someone's hand off if they messed something up and another has been called "drill sergeant." makes me laugh. and then there's this other courier... lets just say he's a little... whats the word... different. :-)

it's a blessing that i have found happiness and joy in serving people the way i do with this job.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

dracula's castle

in june when i was in romania, our team made a stop in a town in transylvania to visit one of dracula's castles. they're very well known and people come from all over the world to visit them.

when i first found out we were going to one, i didn't think much of it. "cool. i've never been to a castle." this particular castle was extremely beautiful on the outside and a few places in, but the whole time we walked through it i felt sick. not "i have the flu" type sickness, but "i feel really weird and want out of this place" type sickness. we were there during the day and there were tons of tourists everywhere, but i couldn't help but feel weird walking through that place.

tonight i turned the tv on hoping to find something to watch for half an hour before going to sleep. i stopped on a channel that had a show on called "the scariest places on earth." these kinds of shows are ridiculous... but for some reason i stayed on the channel to see what "scary place" these people were at.

some lady came on and talked a bit about dark spirits and what makes a place scary. she then began to introduce this episode...

"tonight the mason family is going to be visiting one of dracula's castles in transylvania, in hopes of discovering the spirits that lurk behind these castles walls."

i thought about how it'd be weird if it was the same castle i visited over the summer, but pushed the thought aside. they interviewed the family then zoomed in on the castle they'd be visiting...

yeah... definitely the same castle i was in...

my heart just about stopped.

again, i hate these shows, but i really wanted to watch, yet i was really scared to. i do believe places like this, where in the past there were witches and satanic worshipers, that evil spirits or demons dwell. when we think of the spiritual world, often times only think about God and the good side... we forget that there is in fact an evil side and it is just as real as the Father is.

james wrote to the people saying, you believe that there is one God. good! even the demons believe that - and shudder (james 2:19, niv).

if we believe so strongly in the Lord, then we must be aware of the darkness of the spiritual world. i believe in satan and demons, but in no way does this mean i follow them or worship them. there is a difference between believing and following.

as i watched part of this show i again felt sick, but i also found myself getting a bit mad. the host talked in a creepy way trying to make the mood even moreso frightening. in ways it reminded me of a bad haunted house - slow quiet talking, noises, black cats, rats... everything was most likely staged. i felt sick probably because i began to remember how horrible that place was when i visited, but i was a little upset because of the way they were talking about evil spirits. they talked as if it was all a joke and a game - which i know it was a "game" for this family to go into this castle alone in the middle of the night, but they had them praying these prayers alone and together as they were put in different rooms by themselves. one of the prayers asked the spirits for forgiveness and asked if they would not harm them. i wanted to puke.

by no means was this a christian show, so of course they never once mentioned God, but it seriously got me flustered. i dont think thats the type of stuff to mess around with even if it is just a "game." just like tarot cards, ouija boards, witchcraft... it may seem harmless, but i do think there is evil within those things. they are not of God... they are actually the opposite of God, so it makes sense that there would be evil in them.

i think moses makes it pretty clear in deuteronomy...

let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium orspiritst or who consults the dead. anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord, and because of these detestable practices the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you. you must be blameless before the Lord your God (18:10-13, niv).

i myself had always pushed aside the other side of the spiritual world, but for the past 5 months i'm beginning to understand just how real it is and how serious it is. it's a lot more serious then people think...

i'll stop here, i could go on forever about this.

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ps - i'm going on episode 17 of season 2 of 24... oh... my... gosh... i am addicted and can't stop.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

heads-up seven-up

i spent the morning playing heads up seven up with 35 6th graders.

remember that game? when i was in junior high, heads up seven up was the game to play. everyone who is anyone played that game, and if you didn't, you were a loser. that still seems to be the way it is today. the second those lights go out and those thumbs go up on the air, it was on. no messing around here... serious business was taking place.

i have a confession though...

i was one of those kids. and by "those" kids i mean the ones who were brutally intense and treated the game as if it was a matter of life and death, but secretly i was cheating. people praised me for being so good and for rarely making an incorrect guess as to who tapped my thumb. i remember friends of mine and classmates thinking i had some super sense where i could tell who tapped me by the feeling of their hand. others thought i could tell who the person was because of the way that they breathed over me. and some people even thought that i had some sort of psychic power. i played along with all three. "i'm so good... i know."

i had this special technique that, at the time, no one ever caught onto. i am probably not the only kid who as ever done this, but i felt like i was. the key was to shift; re-adjust in my seat right before everyone started walking around. i never lifted my head or looked up, but my focus stayed on the ground. for a brief moment, i was able to catch a glimpse of the person's shoes who was doing the tapping. i thought i was a genius. after i saw the shoe, i re-adjusted once more.

i'd make my guess, get "oohed" and "ahhed", then it would be my turn to pick someone. it's harder to cheat when you're the person doing the tapping, but i was always sure to walk silently, and change up my tapping styles. throw people for a loop. tap softly, then slam down on the thumb. squeeze it, then pinch it. flick it, hit it. etc.

this morning brought me back to that. i chuckled as i watched these 12 year olds laughing hysterically and running around as if they didn't have a care in the world. all that mattered what who hit their thumb. kids who hated each other came together during the game. any drama that had been taking place between groups vanished for those 45 minutes. anyone who came into the classroom upset, found joy in this game and couldn't help but have a smile painted across their face. what is it about heads up seven up that gets kids so pumped?

i then began thinking about our walk with the Lord... what if we were as passionate about Jesus as kids are about heads up seven up? ridiculous comparison perhaps, but seriously...

if i walk into a room and someone mentions Jesus, why do i not drop all my fears and concerns and get completely hyped just like kids do when they hear the words "heads up seven up"? for the short amount of time that the game takes place, kids are immersed in it and see nothing better about life. i want to be that immersed in Yeshua.

like i mentioned before, i was a huge heads up seven up cheater. i cheated so i could be admired and to seem like i had it all figured out. i think we all play this type of game with the christian life and with the Lord. we try to act like we have all the answers and know exactly how to "win the game" when in fact we're only cheating. we pretend. we put on a happy face when we have found ourselves in depression because we think we'll be loved more if we're happy. we run around doing 80 things at once in order to look like a hero and to be appreciated and admired. it's a complete cop out. we're cheating, and we know it... yet we continue because it makes us feel good.

we do the same thing with God... we peek out thinking that He can't see us cheating. we continue to hide our desire of being... God... and think that He can't see us trying to be Him. since no one else can see us cheating, we automatically think that He cannot either. we're so sly. we think, "look at me God, look how good i am and how i have it all figured out", where in reality He can see right through us. the Father can see that we're acting the way we do and doing the things we do just to be admired.

we get in the habit of not reading our bible, but since we know scripture like that back of our hand, we can still quote verses nonstop in conversations - we then are seen as wise... i'm so great, look at me. we know the right words to say in prayer, even if our heart isn't there... listen to me, i'm so godly. we get involved with 8 different ministries to look good - look at me, i can do it all. we know we're cheating, but we haven't been called out, so that must mean that no one knows... we act like He doesn't know... we cheat and we shove it in His face.

don't be a cheater like me.

Monday, October 17, 2005


for the past few months my family and friends have been telling me about this show called 24 that is, and i quote, "one of the best shows ever." i really hadn't been that interested in watching it, but decided to give it a go the other day. i went and rented the first season on dvd just to see what the craze is all about.

i was only going to watch an episode or two...


i'm going on episode 13 of the first season.

i'm officially hooked. i don't know what it is, but there is something about this show that continues pulling me back. now i can see why everyone loves it. jack bauer is pretty much one of the coolest people ever, and watching 24 continulously (i'm on fall break so i'm allowed to sit on my butt all day and watch tv) makes me want to become a federal agent and fight crime.

so go watch 24. now.


sidenote: check out a band called mute.math. i first heard about them a couple of years ago, but hadn't really heard much from them since then. last night i went to see mae at the house of blues downtown chicago and mute math actually opened up for them.

i'd describe them as a mix between a hardcore postal service, u2, coldplay, 311.

"the heart of this project is worship and getting back to the basics of life by simplifying how you choose to lead yours." -paul meany, lead singer/keyboard

"the underlying message of the songs on this ep centers on accepting life's uncertainties and finding peace in giving it up to God."

Friday, October 14, 2005

that hurts

"why in the world are you spending so much time with grounded...?"

"have you guys even done anything with it yet? are you ever going to?"

"honestly, no one is going to help you."

"you're not doing it right."

"you don't know at all what you're talking about..."

"i think you're wrong and need to study your theology more."

... a few of the comments that i have received within the last week from friends of mine.

i'm gonna be honest... i'm tired of it.

Monday, October 10, 2005

theology smology...

recently the Lord has been breaking down my heart; in a good way. a lot of my focus the past few weeks has been on theological issues within the church and trying to understand exactly what God means by each verse in His book.

i am 114.65844675% sure that He's been chuckling at me, shaking His head sighing, "oh My child jackie..."

friends started asking difficult questions and estasblishing situations relating to the church and Christ that stopped me dead in my tracks. "that can't be right... but i don't know why..." and "good question, i'm gonna research it". i began emailing people like crazy, asking for their thoughts and/or if they knew of any books where i could get answers...

all i wanted to do was read theology... in my mind, that was going to help me have answers to any question ever presented to me. i started desiring to know as much information (and even more) as some of my friends and i wanted to be able to stand firm (and win) in complex debates concerning Christ. i wanted to be right. i wanted to know it all. i wanted to be the one people turn to with a question. basically... i wanted to be "the poo" (aka "the sh*t").

God has been good though. so good. by about the 3rd chapter of each book i began reading, He was not allowing any information to enter my head and make any sense. the words i read were quite similar to the teacher from charlie brown. "wah wah wah...wah wah wah..." this occurred with every book... i wanted to scream. and i did numerous times. usually it was when i realized there was no way i could understand what any of these theologians were talking about. after the 6th attempt at one of these books, i could finally see God getting a kick out of me... ever have one of those dreams where you show up to class in your underwear?... i haven't, but this was probably just as, or even more so embarrassing then that.

i had been caught craving knowledge and... wanting God's mind. yikes. that'
s embarrassing.

i'm so glad that i can't understand certain things; i know it would do more harm then good. when the Father wants us to understand something, He will allow us to. we cannot force knowledge. i'm also glad that He has created our minds to not be able to understand the bible to it's full. no way would we be able to handle the complete and utter Truth of every word and sentence written in His Word. that makes heaven so much more beautiful... all things will be understood. that hurts my brain to even imagine.

thankfully i'm not a theologian and nor has God called me to be one. i'm accepting and understanding that even though my friends may be able to read books where i can only comprehend what 3 of the words mean, i'm not inferior and nor am i dumb; that's often how i feel. when and if the Father wants to give me the knowledge and understanding, then i believe He will.

the second we find ourselves reading or debating with the goal of being right and having knowledge, that's when we must stop and redirect.

that's when God is shaking His head.

"oh child..."

Sunday, October 09, 2005


the 4 month old pup us cavenders adopted in early september. though he weighs close to 35 pounds already, he enjoys sitting on my lap and snuggling. his name is sammy and i love him a lot.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

banter from the brain

my mom and dad are coming to visit me this weekend. i'm excited. i think i hear express calling my name while they're here...

i got a message that my dad had to go to the ER tonight. i don't really know what's up, but say a quick prayer if you could. he has more tests tomorrow. (*tests went okay*)

tonight i drove past a dunk tank sitting on the side of the road... i wanted to pull over and take it. wouldn't it be fun to have a dunk tank? i think so.

i feel the most free i have ever felt... ever. no lie. God's up to something in my life and it's more amazing then i could ever put into words. i've given Him back control, and i'm finally allowing Him to work in the huge ways He's meant to and wants to. and let me tell ya... He's rocking my face off.

i decided that i want to take a 50 months off from work/school (a little over 4 years), drive around in a van (probably like the one above), spend 1 month in each state (though i'd have to fly over to hawaii...), meet tons of people, and just be a messenger for Christ. i think that would rock. any takers?

i got out all my sweaters this afternoon and i'm stoked to wear them. the weather is getting colder and it's looking more like fall. i love it.

i read through 1 john after immersion tonight. highly recommend it.

while working in a 6th grade classroom this morning, a boy came over to where i was sitting to turn on the radio before class. he smiled at me and then cranked up the volume to a christian station. he sat on a stool in front of the radio and began singing along. i wanted to just start talking to Him about Jesus, but had to stop myself. not allowed in schools. i'd quickly get the boot.

peanut m&m's are fabulous. i'm eating some right now. go get yourself a bag and join me in this magical experience.

i just shared the gospel with a friend... pray. she believes in God but doesn't think everything in the bible actually happened and struggles with believing Jesus is the only way to the Father. again, pray.

there were bouncy castles all over drake campus today for homecoming. reminded me of being 5 years old. beauteous.

i'm rediscovering how to worship. and He's even showing me new ways to worship.

it's late and i have to get up for work tomorrow. must be rested in order to carry all those files for all my lawyer friends. ps - friday is the busiest day of the week and i work all day all alone... it's exhasting.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

emo kids are my hippies

last night i went to the coheed & cambria show in chicago. it was phenomenal.

concerts do something to me that i can't quite explain. being able to watch a band find joy in playing their music for a crowd, brings me joy.

standing all around me were people wearing black shirts, with tattooed bodies, unusual facial piercings, and long shaggy hair. i found myself immersed in the emo world, feeling at first, out of place. my 7 ear piercings, which had always made me feel a little rebellious, suddenly made me feel like a pansy. as i stood around watching these people that were so fascinating to me (on a number of different levels), i wondered that maybe because i was obviously not living the emo life style, i became fascinating to one of them.

as coheed played, people sang along, heads bobbed up and down, hands flew up in the air, the mosh pit started up, and crowd surfing began... something about all of this fills me with an energy that again, i can't explain.

being surrounded by, and talking with these people, i was reminded of one of the last chapters in blue like jazz. donald miller shares about living out in the mountains for a month amongst hippies.

"i liked them very much because they were interested in me. when i was with the hippies i did not feel judged, i felt loved. to them i was an endless well of stories and perspectives and grand literacy reviews. it felt so wonderful to be in their presence, like i was special. i have never experienced a group of people who loved each other more than my hippies in the woods. ... so much of what i know about getting along with people i learned from the hippies. they were magical in community. people were grawn to them. they asked me what i loved, what i hated, how i felt about this and that, what sort of music made me angry, what sort of music made me sad. they asked me what i daydreamed about, what i wrote about, where my favorite places in the world were. they asked me about high school and college and my travels around america. they loved me like a good novel, a person john irving would write. i did not feel fat or stupid or sloppily dressed. i did not feel like i did not know the bible well or whether or not i sounded immature when i talked. i had always been so cautious of those things, but living with the hippies i forgot about myself. and when i lost this self-consciousness i gained so much more. i gained an interest in people outside my own skin... i cannot tell you how quickly these people, these pot-smoking hippies, disarmed me. because i grew up in the safe cocoon of big-christianity, i came to believe that anything outside of the church was filled with darkness and unlove... never in my wildest dreams would i have imagined there were, outside the church, people so purely lovely as the ones i met in the woods. and yet my hippie friends were not at all close to believing that Christ was the Son of God. this did not confuse me so much as it surprised me."

it's amazing how accepting and loving certain groups of people are. too bad christians are not usually considered to be one of those loving groups. that is down right sad.

these people at the coheed show were to me, what the hippies were to don. yes they drink enormous amounts. yes they swear uncontrollably. yes they smoke cigarettes. yes they smoke pot. yes they most likely do other drugs. but they sure do know how to love people. how is it that a lot of these people, who have no interest in knowing Jesus Christ, share so much love, while those who desire to be like Christ (love), are constantly judging and condemning people we don't know, along with our own brothers and sisters?

i think i love being at concerts like this because i'm surrounded by such loving people. people who want to hear your opinion, even if they don't agree with it. they love to hear others speak passionately about something. just as the hippies taught don how to love others... i feel that just being engulfed by different people at a concert or a bar teaches me more about how to love everyone i come into contact with. could it be possible that the Lord is using these people to teach me how to love more?

i know a christian organization that looks down upon hanging out with those who are not believers. going to clubs/bars, being in certain social organizations (sororities/frats, etc), and going to non-christian concerts is unacceptable. if you hang out with someone who doesn't know Jesus, it's because they are working on leading them to Christ, but once the person becomes a follower, they drop them and move onto their next project. yuck.

if i had to be around christians 24/7 for the rest of my life, i may go nuts. no... i would go nuts. i want to go into places like bars and nonchristian concerts. i want to go into these places because it's exactly where Jesus stood. i guess i want to be a rare example of a person passionate about the Lord, who listens and loves the people who hang out in these places daily. yes i will be persecuted at times, and yes some people will flee when they find out i go to church, and yes i will even flee at times, but i still have a deep desire to be put in the middle of this lifestyle.

plus... it's refreshing to be around people who aren't so tense and sheltered all the time. they're funny and really a lot of fun. now i know why i hung out with nonchristians all through high school. i'm able to connect with people who aren't believers on a level that i could never connect on with christians.

i'm ready to be put back in.
i'm ready to be taught more about love.
i'm ready to be a light.
i'm ready to be real.