Posts tagged #contentment

Jackie's Journey "A Treasure Found!"

This little dolly is the daughter of a my dear niece.  She is reading her Princess Parable Grace book from The Princess Parable Series.  I was reminded of the message of the parable in this book and challenged again to live in the blessing of God’s pursuing love, understanding that grace “is the will and power to do what God desires.” Phil. 2: 3  Not my desires with my will in mypower!

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What is it that God desires? What is His will?  

 I certainly know what my will is!  I am tempted daily, multiple times to give in to the cry of what my will wants!  We live in an age where entitlement and personal demands are rampant.  We see it in our homes, relationships, schools, churches and communities.  We saw it in the jungles of Panama.  The human heart is wicked and deceived. Deception believes a lie that begins when our mind and emotions agree on an error and it is fulfilled when we willto do it.  The world is screaming for personal rights…we hear it every day when one of us is complaining!  Contentment is elusive and unattainable by the ungrateful heart.  Whining and “woe is me” has become an acceptable sin! 

 As mom’s, God’s desire is for us to learn to walk in Hisway and to teach our little ones His way.  They learn ourway by watching and listening to us!   We will be held accountable for the spiritual teaching our children receive from us.  Seeing that they are nourished from God’s Word and given godly instruction is within our sphere of responsibility. 

 Many years ago, I sat in a hammock deep in the middle of the Panamanian jungle with my two little princesses, reading to them. Each book I picked up presented a unique challenge. It told a story but did not introduce my girls to a biblical worldview or a character quality they could incorporate into their young lives.  I would purpose to impose these two principles into the pages of every book I picked up in terms they could understand that had eternal values targeted. My heart was burdened for just such a book, not just for myself but also, for other young mothers who needed a tool that would give their little princesses both of these elements with a clear application and a pragmatic understanding of the Word of God.

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My two little jungle princesses! 

 My friend’s little granddaughter is being given the opportunity at a very young age to fall in love with a biblical parable. She will be challenged to respond to God’s pursuing love in the diary of Princess Grace at the end of the book.  Her heart will be inspired to live outside herself and to adopt attitudes that will bring blessing on her life.  This is the book I dreamed of, as a young mom living on the Colombian border!    Jeanna, my co-author, and I are blessed to be able to make “The Princess Parable Series”and now,  “A Royal Easter Story”, available to you and your little princesses.  

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I am an 18” Princes Grace doll!  I am a Limited Edition and now available at 

www.theprincessparables.com

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Posted on April 29, 2019 and filed under motherhood, announcements, spiritual growth.

Jackie's Journey "Culture Shock!"

                                                                    Our Kuna Home

                                                                    Our Kuna Home

Have you ever been in a situation where your heart goes “into shock?”

 My life was totally surreal!  The storm had passed.  We had pulled the mosquito netting over us in the darkness to keep the blood-sucking mosquitos and vampire bats from attacking us as we attempted to spend our first night in our remote location.  The jungle noises were as foreign as our locality!  Night passed slowly…

The jungle had a different face in the morning light.  I slipped out of our king-sized plywood bed that was topped with a firm 3” piece of foam rubber and welcomed the possibilities of the day.  Two little faces popped up out from under the netting.  Both were happy, dry and VERY hungry!

 Don’t you just love it??

 I surveyed the barrels all around the open room of our new home…eighteen of them!  Which barrel had a cooking pot for oatmeal?  No toast…no electricity! 

I am paralyzed wondering where to begin.  But two little rested and hyperactive girls have me well motivated…they are REALLY HUNGRY!

First Barrel:  Rice, beans and dry goods,

Second Barrel:  Clothes…no oatmeal!

                                   Third Barrel:  Pots and pans…yeah!  But still…no oatmeal!

While opening the thirteenth barrel, a beautiful young woman walked through our front door offering us bananas and mangos!!  Since I did not understand her language or culture and not wanting to be aggressively offensive (I REALLY wanted to grab that fruit!), I waited patiently for her to put the fruit in my hands and graciously thanked her.  I lifted my head toward heaven, whispering,  “Thank you, Lord… for the kindness of my new neighbor and for a perfect breakfast!” 

I had heard the women stoking their fires in the very early morning before light.  They had already eaten cooking bananas hours before.  They were now filing into our house with an understandable curiosity and began pulling everything out of every opened barrel!

 All I could think was…PLEASE, LORD, LET THEM FIND THE OATMEAL!

The Kuna women seemed to have an inexplicable interest in my appearance.  Did they think I was a man? I was too tall, too skinny, my hair was too short and I was wearing jeans! I was a nursing mother yet I towered over every living person in the village at 5’8”, except for my 6’ 2” husband.

Being the strong, confident woman I am, I took it all in stride…NOT!

Not at all!   This was totally surreal!  Would my life always be like the

last 24 hours?

Would they ever accept someone like me?

Clearly…. "culture shock" had set in!

While in training for this mission, the instructors (who were seasoned missionaries) introduced us to this phenomenon.   I told myself I was not going to be the “weak” one who goes into her village and gives in to her fears…that was for someone else…I hated failure! 

There are certain undeniable signs of culture shock:

Ø  Screeching in the night for your kidnapped baby who has been abducted by near-naked, tribal people who are “way deep into what you once considered your comfort zone”

Ø  Crawling into a bed that has been drenched by the rain coming through your bark walls and adjusting to the misting on your face through the mosquito netting, but unable to sleep

Ø  Furiously tucking in the netting around every inch of your bed…not knowing what is already in there with you…its pitch black after all!

Ø  Listening all night to the critters scurrying under your bed and in the open ceiling rafters and visualizing the unthinkable!  What animals are nocturnal in the rain forest?  All of them!!! 

Ø  Having an intense desire to communicate with the women busily dissecting our belongings, yet powerless to do so…

Ø  Etc., etc.

The dictionary defines Contentment as freedom from care or discomfort!

 Genuine Contentment is avoiding the bondage of personal expectations and realizing God has provided everything I need for my present happiness.  Contentment understands that if I am not satisfied with what I have, I will never be satisfied with what I want!  I Timothy 6: 6-8

 Was I content?   What were my expectations?

                                      Where was the fruit of my contentment??

Here I was again, finding Him in that secret place of my learning heart.  God was waiting for me to enter into His presence with thanksgiving, acknowledge His authority and claim all that is mine, regardless of my personal failure and present circumstances.  “God wants me to be present where I am.  He invites me to see and to hear what is around me and, through it all, to discern the footprints of the Holy.”(Richard Foster)

Pressing toward the goal, like Paul in Philippians 4:11,  “…I have learned (I continue to learn) to be content, whatever the circumstance...”

 What is your level of contentment this morning?

 “Blessed is the woman who listens to me, watching at my doors,

waiting in the doorway.  For whoever finds me, finds life and

receives favor from the Lord”   Proverbs 8: 34,35

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~Jackie Johnson - I am a former tribal missionary to the Kuna Indians on the Colombian border in Central America.  Fluent in several languages, my husband and I currently pastor a Spanish-speaking church in Southern California.  My passion is discipling and equipping dedicated young women for life, marriage, motherhood, and beyond. I am the mother of two daughters and the grandmother of three Princesses and four young Knights. 

Posted on September 3, 2018 and filed under Motherhood, Spiritual Growth, womanhood.

Jackie's Journey: Culture Shock?

Our Kuna home

Our Kuna home

Have you ever been in a situation where your heart goes “into shock?”  

My life was totally surreal!  The storm had passed.  We had pulled the mosquito netting over us in the darkness to keep the blood-sucking mosquitos and vampire bats from attacking us as we attempted to spend our first night in our remote location.  Night passed slowly…

The jungle had a different face in the morning light.  I slipped out of our king-sized plywood bed that was topped with a firm 3” piece of foam rubber and welcomed the possibilities of the day.  Two little faces popped up out from under the netting.  Both were happy, dry and VERY hungry!

Don’t you just love it??

I surveyed the barrels all around the open room of our new home…eighteen of them!  Which barrel had a cooking pot for oatmeal?  No toast…no electricity! 

I was paralyzed wondering where to begin.  But two little rested and hyperactive girls have me well motivated…they were HUNGRY!

First Barrel:  Rice and beans and dry goods, but no oatmeal!

Second Barrel:  Clothes…no oatmeal!

Third Barrel:  Pots and pans…yeah!  But still…no oatmeal!

While opening the thirteenth barrel, a beautiful young woman walked through our front door offering us bananas and mangos!!  Since I did not understand her language or culture and not wanting to be aggressively offensive (I REALLY wanted to grab that fruit!), I waited patiently for her to put the fruit in my hands and graciously thanked her.  I lifted my head toward heaven, whispering,  “Thank you, Lord… for the kindness of my new neighbor and for a perfect breakfast!” 

I had heard the women stoking their fires in the very early morning before light.  They had already eaten, having cooked bananas hours before.  They were now filing into our house with an understandable curiosity, and began pulling everything out of every opened barrel!

All I could think was…PLEASE, LORD, LET THEM FIND THE OATMEAL!

The Kuna women seemed to have an inexplicable interest in my appearance.  Did they think I was a man? I was too tall, too skinny, my hair was too short, and I was wearing jeans! I was a nursing mother, yet I towered over every living person in the village at 5’8”, with the exception of my 6’2” husband.

Being the strong, confident woman I am, I took it all in stride…NOT!

Not at all!   This was totally surreal!  Would my life always be like the

last 24 hours?

Would they ever accept someone like me?

Clearly…. culture shock had set in!

While in training for this mission, the instructors (who were seasoned missionaries) introduced us to this phenomenon.   I told myself I was not going to be the “weak” one who goes into her village and gives in to her fears…that was for someone else…I hated failure! 

There are certain undeniable signs of culture shock:

  • Screeching in the night for your kidnapped baby who has been abducted by near-naked, tribal people who are “way deep into what you once considered your comfort zone”
  • Crawling into a bed that has been drenched by the rain coming through your bark walls and adjusting to the misting on your face through the mosquito netting, but unable to sleep
  • Furiously tucking in the netting around every inch of your bed…not knowing what is already in there with you (it’s pitch black after all!)
  • Listening all night to the critters scurrying under your bed and in the open ceiling rafters and visualizing the unthinkable!  What animals are nocturnal in the rain forest?  All of them!!! 
  • Having an intense desire to communicate with the women busily dissecting our belongings, yet powerless to do so…
  • Etc., etc.

The dictionary defines Contentment as freedom from care or discomfort!

 Genuine Contentment is avoiding the bondage of personal expectations and realizing God has provided everything I need for my present happiness.  It understands that if I am not satisfied with what I have, I will never be satisfied with what I want!  I Timothy 6: 6-8

 Was I content?   What were my expectations?

Where was the fruit of my contentment??

Here I was again, finding Him in that secret place of my learning heart.  God was waiting for me to enter into His presence with thanksgiving, acknowledge His authority and claim all that is mine, regardless of my personal failure and present circumstances.  “God wants me to be present where I am.  He invites me to see and to hear what is around me and, through it all, to discern the footprints of the Holy.” (Richard Foster)

Pressing toward the goal, like Paul in Philippians 4:11,  “…I have learned (I continue to learn) to be content, whatever the circumstances...”

 What is your level of contentment this morning?

 “Blessed is the woman who listens to me, watching at my doors,

waiting in the doorway.  For whoever finds me, finds life and 

receives favor from the Lord." Proverbs 8:34,35

Posted on May 11, 2015 and filed under Motherhood, Character and Virtue.

Do You Ever Want to Escape?

I look forward to going on vacation.  Do you ever want to escape?

A vacation is an escape from the day-to-day routine where we get to explore, adventure and be alive.  Sometimes I just want to escape this reality I am living in.  In general, I love my life, but don’t you just wish you were somewhere else sometimes?

My family and I recently took a two week vacation to Hawaii thanks, in large part, to my mom.  My husband and I began to await the blessed time from the moment we booked the tickets. We entertained the idea of being together and showing the kids new places.  Every day I began to prepare for our up and coming adventure.

As we boarded the plane, all of us were overwhelmed with excitement.  A trip to Hawaii had been a dream for our kids for as long as we could remember.  When we arrived in the land filled with palm trees, warm and tropical breezes, we settled into a wonderful time.  But two weeks is a long time.

Days passed by. The excitement began to wear off and we began living life in Hawaii.  We were homeschooling, making dinner, doing laundry and dishes, and picking up the home we were living in.  Funny, these are all the same things that I do at home. 

And then my kids began to have attitude, being ungrateful and disobedient.  They argued about doing schoolwork and pestered their siblings.  Sadly, similar to the behaviors we work on at home.  My husband and I, who had been all giddy at first, sank into our regular routine and began to treat each other with familiarity.  I began to see the ugly faces of selfishness and disregard that I fight at home.

I pondered these things one morning.

I realized escaping from reality . . . from marriage . . . from children . . . from life, while blissful at first, will end up right where we were before.  The grass will look greener, but in real life we bring with us all the junk we had at home.  In Hawaii, we had just changed locations.  Sure, we went sightseeing, to the beach, surfing, and made all kinds of wonderful memories.  But the truth is that any ugliness in our hearts travels with us regardless of our location.

I might sit at home any day and just wish to be on vacation.  It is a longing for escape from what I don’t want to face; kind of like TV and movies for me.  But I will still love vacations.  God said to me one morning on the beach that I am a work in progress wherever I am.  My kids and my husband, they too, are His masterpiece that He is creating over time.  All six of us in our family are sinners.  So while I may long for a change of venue to somewhere tropical, I know that a vacation will not change our hearts and our souls and the escape will not have the effect I am hoping for.  Why do I think my kids will be better behaved driving two hours to Volcano National Park than they are here in Southern California?

I came home with a different appreciation for here and now.  Because I should never wish to be somewhere different than where God has me.  The grass is not greener, because it is a mirage.  When I get there, the grass will be the same color as mine.  The escape has all the hype without the follow through.

So for now, no matter if we are in Southern California, Hawaii, Australia, Germany . . . wherever the Lord leads us, I will remember, this is right where God has us.  All our “stuff “has made it to baggage claim with our luggage and we are to deal with it right where we are.  No fancy escape plan, just good old-fashion learning and growing, failing and forgiving, right where God has us.

1 Cor. 7:17 “And don't be wishing you were someplace else or with someone else. Where you are right now is God's place for you. Live and obey and love and believe right there!”