Posts tagged #family

Jackie's Journey: Sacrifice...What?

We are all living sacrifices…for something or someone…for good or evil!!

Some live life sacrificing for money; some for drugs and alcohol; some for sports; some for self-gratification, etc.  Most dedicated mothers sacrifice for their family.


My husband recently shared a verse with me that put “rubber on the road” in my understanding of sacrificial living! 


II Chronicles 12:14 says, “He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord”.


My idea of evil is unlimited in its ability to fill my imagination with what I see, hear and read in our frazzled culture today! 


 In the light of God’s definition of evil, what are we really living for?

Are we shortsighted, committed to doing our own thing?

According to this verse, evil is defined as not setting our hearts on pleasing God and His purpose for our life; not seeking the Lord, first and always.

All other pursuits are considered evil from God’s point of view!

So I asked myself…

In my life quest, I consider my pursuits sacrificial but am I actively setting my heart on seeking Him first in every endeavor?”

Isa. 50:11 promises us needless defeat and suffering when we “light our own torches to do our own thing”.

As busy moms and grandmas, how often do we look for God’s purpose when we are being consumed by a whirlwind of activity all around us?  We are teachers, taxi drivers, counselors and nurses… you fill in the blank!

Isa. 50: 10 states, “All believers walk in darkness”.  This means we are all shortsighted and blind to the immediate future.  We tend to sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.  By setting our hearts on pleasing God and having his purpose first in our lives, we find sacrificial living fulfilling, understanding that “all things work together for those who ‘set their heart on seeking God’ and are called according to his purpose”.

Are we too busy in our “life of urgency”

 to look for God’s purpose in our next interruption?

Is it a moot point when we are fractured with wrong attitudes and responses because we are being inconvenienced?

“I cried out to him with my mouth; his praise was on my tongue.  If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened…” 

Can He listen to you?  What do you set your heart on? 

What do you cherish above all?

~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. 

Reality Hit

Shortly after moving into our remote village, reality hit! 

                        Jungle living is a challenge at best! 

I was buried near the headwaters of a jungle river with . . . .

no electricity,

running water,

mud floors,

 and a very scary outhouse!!

I regularly found myself at the river washing three dozen diapers and hanging them twice daily because we lived in a rain forest that lived up to its name! The river could swell 8 feet in a morning rain!  Sweeping the village with the Kuna women twice a week plus sweeping my mud packed floor daily was a given.  I had to keep my dirt floors “clean”, I had a crawling baby, after all. 

My house was made with bark walls that had Indians peering through them day and night. I carried my 6 month old on my back and my 3 year old by one hand and  with pad and pencil in the other hand, we would jot down phrases or words for a linguistic box (what I would have given for an iPad!).  I would walk the village listening to the people talk, wanting to communicate, but not having the language yet.

I felt isolated. 

I had confrontations with some of the largest spiders, snakes and scorpions known to mankind. In the first months of moving into our village, some kind of large black cat (jaguar) came in at night leaving huge paw prints on the path near our house and carried off a mama pig, squealing for her life!!...

                                        You get the point…a lot of survival living! 

One sultry morning, I sat down discouraged and burst into tears. I was tired, overwhelmed and realized I was a total failure as a mother, wife, teacher, missionary…you fill in the blank!   Right on cue, our partners came walking into our house, asking what on earth had happened.  I quickly explained my dilemma and to my astonishment, they smiled!!  Now…I was thinking maybe a little word of encouragement and some comforting verses from the Word for all my effort was appropriate.  BUT NO, they kept smiling and agreeing with me!  “Yes, Jackie, you are a failure!

                                               WHAT??? WHO SAYS THAT???  

They went on…”You are NOW in perfect position to receive the grace and power of God!”  I began to process the biblical truth…it was true!  I could offer God nothing.  APART FROM HIM, striving on my own, I am a failure!  11 Cor. 12:9 say,  “HIS grace is sufficient for those who know they are a failure and weak and in need.  At that point of agreement with God, HE makes HIS power perfect in our weakness”! 

                                          Failure had become my best friend!

As the years passed and I listened to other Christian women struggling and striving to live the Christian life, doing good things BUT apart from HIS empowerment, my heart broke with compassion to see them set free, as God had freed me in the jungles in 1972.  Discouragement and the sense of failure are my “red flags” or signals that tell me I am striving in my own strength and I need to humble my heart and let HIM do it!  “Faithful is He who calls us who will also do it”. 

Today when I hear people choosing to “live off the grid” (a life of complete time-consuming inconvenience!) in remote areas (Alaska, for example), I am wondrously swept back to a time when I was driven by an intense desire to see an indigenous group of people hear the name of Jesus Christ…just once…

Posted on February 16, 2015 and filed under Spiritual Growth, Character and Virtue.

Unplugging the Family

We love to get away.

My husband and I love to travel.  We love to explore and be adventurers.  We love to leave the worries of home, the to-do lists and the constant pressure of life behind and “get out of Dodge”.  Sometimes we hop on a plane or jump in the car for a long road trip, but most of the time we go just a hour or two from our home to somewhere close to nature.  Anywhere that God’s creation is close enough to touch the senses and join together in the harmony of life.

This last weekend, we headed up to our local mountains.  We took away cell phones, Ipads and went wireless for the weekend.  This is a Young family rule for getaways.  With two thirteen-year-old boys on the trip (my son and a friend), it is always a stretch to get them to leave behind their cyber world.  I find even my girls and my six-year-old son blossom in the non-technical world of yesteryear.

Have you ever wanted to grab away their phones and yell “Look at me!”?

Do you ever feel like the invisible friends they are texting are capturing their hearts?

How did my six-year-old learn to love all these online games?

Yeah, me, too!

But when we get away and unplug – something magical happens.  Sure, they complain at first, but eventually, my kids are my kids again.  This weekend, we played games – old-fashioned board games. They played for hours in the creek behind the house.  The older kids found freedom biking around the lake and through the very small mountain community.  They were bored for awhile, but then their God-given creativity took hold and they built forts.  They baked.  They cleaned up the cabin.  They created memories.

As a family, we reconnected hiking to a near by waterfall.  We went biking and antiquing and bowling.  We watched a couple of family friendly movies together by the fire.  We laughed and we joked.  The young men come up with very silly ways to express themselves.  We had home church on Sunday.

Why is this important?

There are so many great reasons to unplug from technology and get back to the simpler things in life.  We have seen Matt. 6:21 come to life “For where you treasure is, there will your heart be also”.

First, I see the addictive personalities in my kids and in myself.  This lesson is only really learned when we take away the object of our obsession.  It is funny how they act like a minute away is a death sentence, but after the weekend they tend to need it less.  Second, I feel like life is happening all around my kids and they may miss it!  The true experiences and conversations are happening in the moment.  I work hard to help my kids understand that these minutes in time will not be repeated.  Next, when we are always connected it is harder to experience the quiet times need to spend time with the Lord and evaluate our own lives.  Something is always beeping or flashing to get our attention.  They seem to always interrupt our family conversation times.  Lastly, there is something entirely unique and wonderful about being face-to-face with others.  Yes, we can text and facebook, but nothing will replace the experience of looking at another person in the eye and sharing our heart and dreams.  Family time is meant to be shared together and not all co-existing in our own worlds.

Our family has decided that family vacations and getaways are our times together.  We also take off certain days at home too as “non-tech days”.  We hold on to them tightly because we know the world wants to rob us of these special times together.  So unplug with your kids and see what happens.

Do you need an “unplugged” vacation?

Posted on January 29, 2015 and filed under Parenthood, Spiritual Growth.