Posts filed under Motherhood

Jackie's Journey "Chance or Choice!"

 

“The great thing in the world is not so much where we stand, as in what direction we are moving”.  Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Unknown-5.jpg

“I’m glad for the Bible. It gives me a chance to see how other people chose…and the results.  There’s the contrast between Abraham’s choice and Lot’s choice before Sodom.  There’s Moses’ choice of his fellows rather than the riches of Egypt.  There’s Joseph’s choice in the prison house of Potiphar, and Daniel’s choice of the king’s vegetables rather than his meats.  Paul paid a glorious price when he chose his lot with the early Christians. Christ made marvelous choices when he set his face toward Jerusalem, at the Garden of Gethsemane, and in the Judgment Hall.

 Adam’s choice cost him Eden; Esau’s, his birthright; Achan’s his life; Lot’s, his home and herds; Absalom’s, his father’s throne; Saul’s, his kingdom; the rich young ruler, the companionship of Christ.  Judas lost his apostleship; Demas, his discipleship.  Pilate, Agrippa, and Felix chose wrong and missed immortality. Ananias’ choice fooled no one but himself.  Caleb and Joshua chose well, while Jonah’s first choice nearly shipwrecked himself and the crew….” Robert G. Lee

 As mothers, if asked how do we build the character into our children 

that is necessary for them to make right choices,  

would our answer prove we know how to choose

the things that matter most?

 “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”  William Jennings Bryan

 Life is a continuous series of choices determined by our wise or unwise decisions.  The Bible gives us a pragmatic biblical principle that teaches us that we reap a life with purpose and blessing, if we sow wise choices.  We reap what we sow… The opposite is also true…if we sow unwise choices, we will reap the consequence of destruction on our heritage and ourselves…

 What are you sowing?  What is the pattern of your life?

 Decisiveness is the ability to finalize difficult decisions based on the will and ways of God.  We build decisiveness when we refuse to reconsider or rationalize a decision that we already know in our spirit is the right choice!  “Rationalization is allowing my mind to find reasons to excuse what my spirit knows is wrong!” Romans 2: 21 

Are you a wise decision-maker?

images-5-5.jpg

The opposite of decisiveness is confusion and double-mindedness.   The mother who thinks she can ride the invisible and non-existent fence is fooling herself.   There is no middle or neutral ground.  “…That woman (man) should not think she (he) will receive anything from the Lord; she (he) is double-minded, unstable in all she (he) does”! James 1: 8

 I have never been the fastest decision-maker, but I have a treasured friend who makes me look like the “Road Runner”!  She meticulously finds every pro and con to every decision.  Detailing its purpose, longevity, functionality, and preference in comparison to a multitude of other possibilities.  I, frankly, am honored I made the cut and she has chosen me for one of her closest friends for almost 40 years!  There is one area of her life, however, where she has absolutely no difficulty in making a decision and consistently makes the right one.  Her secret…she is bent on seeking the will of God, above all else, disregarding her own will!  She is single-minded!

2015-02-23 14.50.46.jpg

Meet my single-minded friend, Nancy Sanchez

 When facing a decision, check your facts, seek wise counsel and make sure your goals are clearly defined. But most importantly, make sure that Matt. 6:33 is in play first…” Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (His Will!) and all these things will be added unto you”.

“I hate double-minded people, but I love your law.

You are my refuge and my shield.

I have put my hope in your word, oh God.”

Psalm 119: 113-114

IMG ME_0062.JPG

~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. 

Jackie's Journey "You choose...Calm or Chaos!"

images-2.jpg

I’m minding my own business…quietly reading through Proverbs… 

and the words “quarrelsome wife” keeps popping up on the pages!

 “Better to live on a corner of the roof than to share a house with a quarrelsome wife”. Proverbs 21: 9  

 Just ten verses later…” Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome or ill-tempered wife.”  And in the next few chapters…” Better to live…” an exact quote of Proverbs 21:9!! 

How important is tranquility to you?

 With chaos all around us (wives and mothers) what would it take for us to maintain a calm peace in our homes?  We just celebrated Mother’s Day a few weeks ago. A day set aside to encourage us in our commitment to our families. We are reminded of our role and responsibility to be all God has called us to be.  It takes two to quarrel and whether you live with a good listener or an argumentative person, it requires your participation to induce a “quarrel”.  No great revelation, but a great challenge for those of us who have our own opinion and think that opinion has value enough to be verbalized!

 Most attempts at resolving an argument are fought on the battleground of confessing the sin of the other person, rather than acknowledging our own.  No one ever wins an argument!  Our energy, limited as it often is, is spent recklessly.  Our focus is on our need to be right or to have a sense of personal value or to correct a false accusation, rather than the need to know God’s perspective and stepping into the classroom of life and growing-up! 

 What value does our argument have in the light of eternity? 

 How will it profit His life in us?

 In the heat of the moment the issue seems important, maybe even life-changing.  Our perspective is often clouded by our self-life, personal desires and expectations.  We are held captive by a force (Satan) pushing us to get our way or have the understanding we think we deserve from our husbands to validate our worth.  Self is demanding its rightful position in the relationship!  Satan stands back and just laughs!

images-1.jpg

 God’s design from the beginning has been to use our inability to resolve issues to draw us to a place where we hear His voice alone.  There is no argument worth sacrificing our peace with Him; no right or expectation is as important as pleasing Him in all our thoughts, words, attitudes, and actions.  Our weakness in being able to discern the greater need of identifying the real source of our disagreement and resolving issues more quickly, demonstrates our immaturity. “For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.”  Phil 2:21  

 Laying down our demand at the moment and sensing His quiet voice of peace in the chaos of our situation is what His life in us is programmed to do!  As mother’s, it is easy to lose focus temporarily and none of us is immune to its pull, but the peace of God that transcends all understanding will guard our hearts (plural) and minds (plural) when we choose to bring Phil. 2:1-3 into focus in that moment of decision before the climatic altercation gets a foothold.  Mom’s, this promise we can “take to the bank” … every time!

 The promise is the “God of Peace will be with us” if we put into practice that which we have learned or received or heard or seen from Him.”  Our little ones (and big ones!) are watching and listening to see if we “walk our talk”in the things we say to them to resolve their issues when they are arguing. 

walk_the_talk copy.jpg

Do they see God at work or hypocrisy with no hope?

Finally, sisters,” if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ or any comfort from His love or any fellowship with the Spirit or tenderness and compassion, then make His joy complete by being like-minded, having His same spirit and purpose.  Do nothing out of selfish ambition and conceit but in humility (not self-defense or rationalizations) consider the other person more important than yourself.” 

 However difficult this exercise is when in the thick of an argument, this is the admonition and solution to avoid whatever we feel is more important than maintaining our peace with Him!

 Our choice:  Peace or Chaos!

Which will you choose?

IMG ME_0062.JPG

~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. 

Jackie's Journey "A Cruel Companion!"

person-3160749_1280.jpg

After major emergency surgery in Panama my recovery was slow.  While my husband returned to our village in the jungle, I was taken in by dear friends who cared for me and our two daughters until his return and a doctor’s release to re-enter jungle work.  Christina attended the mission school during those months and I attempted to care for a very active three-year-old, Kim.  To say that she was lively would be an understatement.  Her boundless energy was an extreme contrast to my very slow and weak frame and keeping up with her was daunting.

 Kim, to this day, can walk into a room and the whole room lights up, full of energy.  Her middle name is Joy and she certainly brings that into our lives!  Her willful defiance to correction in those early days brought this young mom to an impasse…we would continually lock horns or I would just count my blessings and give in! 

 Ever been there?

 I have one of those faces that can’t hide anything.  I wear my emotions on my face, not my sleeve.  I consider myself to be a fairly even-tempered woman with a clear understanding of what it means to be angry.   I know the functional definition of anger, the peace I have to sacrifice to give into it, the guilt that results, and the pain required to resolve it. 

  One day at our friend’s home, Kim’s “lively activity” drew attention for some needed help. I was asked how I was going to respond to her. I answered the question with a silent non-verbal,… “what...what do you mean…?”  My face must have spoken loudly because I was then asked, “Are you angry, Jackie?”  I responded, “Of course not!”  My friend replied, “Jackie, look at your expression in the mirror” (there was a mirror on the wall where I stood).   

 I looked…and there was no denying the fact that my face said what my mind clearly denied…I was angry! Sometimes I pause and glaze over while processing, but this was different!  I slithered off into my temporary bedroom and made an attempt to rationalize my situation!  Don’t they realize how fragile I am?  This can’t be fair…I just had a Laparotomy, forty-four stitches inside and forty-four stitches to close…I was in bad shape…don’t I get a smidge of extra consideration???  My self-pity consumed me…why… I thought I was a victim (the biggest lie from the pit!), well…wasn’t I??  

Sound familiar?

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming….

Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming….

Anger is a cruel companion. The emptier the pot the quicker it boils!  Anger does everything to undermine truth and defeat us!  It is nothing more than “someone finding a right that I have not yet yielded to God.”  By that definition no one can makeme angry!  I choose it all by myself…I can’t blame anybody!  It is my fault!

images-16-2.jpg

 “When God wants to bring more power into our lives, He brings more pressure”.

A.B. Simpson

 There was no verbal argument and no laboring the point…just my humbly taking personal

responsibility and acknowledging …my guilt!

Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” Prov.21: 19   The last thing I wanted to be was that angry woman!  My children deserved a godly example, not an excuse!  My husband, bless his heart, deserved a wife free from anger to humbly love him unconditionally.  

 Anger and humility cannot dwell together…one has to go.

 Henry Drummond in The Greatest Thing in the World, wrote:

  “It is the intermittent fever which bespeaks unintermittent disease within; the occasional bubble escaping to the surface which betrays some rottenness underneath; a sample of the most hidden products of the soul dropped involuntarily when off one’s guard; in a word, the lightning form of a hundred hideous and unchristian sins.  For a want of patience, a want of kindness, a want of generosity, a want of courtesy, a want of unselfishness, are all instantaneously symbolized in one flash of…TEMPER.”  

 We call TEMPER by many socially acceptable names in an attempt to excuse it: impatience, frustration, wrong response, irritation, and annoyance…    We find clever ways to rationalize our anger.  We protect it, guard it, defend it, and yet its ugly head rears up and betrays us.

 I am grateful and forever indebted to the family who forced me that day in Panama to face my anger and its subtle and insidious hold on me!  That new light to recognize anger and its deceptions, to call it by name, to ask forgiveness and to walk in the promised victory keeps my Christian life liberated daily, as I continue to learn.

 Are you an angry woman?

 Is humility your signature attribute?

IMG ME_0062.JPG

~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. 

Jackie's Journey "Can You Imagine!"

f77b1e9ea04f0cbfa133dd8f6916bb73.jpg

Life had become routine in the Darien jungles of Panama. The sounds of Howler monkeys, the screeching of magnificent multicolored parrots and the beauty of the bright colored Toucan had become commonplace.  One morning we woke up to find two little spider monkeys on the front porch crawling on the girls bikes! 

images-8.jpg

I still could not reconcile with: the colossal spiders, the over-sized scorpions, the copious species of snakes, the blood-sucking vampire bats or the jungle army ants!  Nor would I ever find harmony with the dripping humidity and the ever-present roaches, chiggers and mosquitos!  However, I did learn to appreciate the large Iguanas for their tasty eggs.

 Daily, the Kunas would greet us, early, looking for sugar or oil and a morning visit.  We had become part of the community and they had begun to accept us.  We had brought healing medicine, oil, and sugar after all! 

 The Indians had, somewhere along the line, become part of our family and we had become attached to them and their way of life.  We had learned so much from them and were amazed at their physical strength compared to their small stature.  Their ability to take one bullet and return with a deer or two bullets and return with two deer was uncanny.  We, also, learned much from their survival skills in the dense jungle.  But their openness to listen to the truth of God’s Word after a year and a half of total mistrust and resistance was the most astounding of all!  

 Watching the young mothers with their babies and the respect and trust these women had for the older women in the village was heartening.  We had grown to love these very special people and had developed a mutually fulfilling relationship.  As they came to know Christ, our hearts were full of gratitude for the privilege of serving the King in such a rugged border region.

 The women swept the village once a week during dry season and it was an opportunity for Sue Gunsteens, my partner, and I to listen to the women chatter and hear the community gossip. You didn’t want to miss the sweeping because you would then become the object of their conversation that day!   

 However, I was consistently on guard because of something my Uncle, an orthopedic surgeon, had told me while he was visiting us at Language School.  He spoke quietly: “Jackie, you carry the TB germ from birth; it lays dormant now but could activate in the right environment or as you get older”. I was 25 at the time, so I only had to focus on the environmental issue, I thought to myself!  Then, a year or so later, during a Congreso meeting, we knew we had reached a level of tribal acceptance when they offered us a gourd filled with “Chicha” and everyonedrank from that one rustic cup!  Needless to say, I did not want to offend by NOTdrinking from it!  

 But for me the sweeping and the common drinking gourd became an act of faith because the sweeping stirred up the tuberculosis germs and of course, the tubercular women would contaminate that communal cup! 

 The Lord had given me a promise while we were in missionary training.

 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,

plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and future”.   Jer.29: 11

 The Lord used these powerful words of promise to banish my fear and sustain me as we swept the village, drank the “sugar cane-sweetened platano (cooking banana) drink” and treated the TB patients in their homes and the clinic.  

 He knew my future and had it planned. There was, therefore, no reason to be troubled.  My focus was not on my fear but the need to keep in harmony with Him, His assignment and His will.

 Are you ever preoccupied with the future and what it holds for your life?

 In a world full of uncertainties it is easy to “roll into” the pattern of helping God design your future, rather than simply submitting to Himand His plan

that comes with assurance and hope

IMG ME_0062.JPG

~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. 

Jackie's Journey "Grateful and So Blessed!"

Meet my niece, Olivia celebrating God’s gift of Fall!

Meet my niece, Olivia celebrating God’s gift of Fall!

Were you wondering what we did when the doctors would not release me to return to our village?  We were desperate to return to the only “home” we knew in Panama…

BUT God had another plan

 Gratefulness is recognizing the benefits, which God and others have provided.

From the pilot risking his life to save mine to the missionary families who sacrificially opened their hearts and homes to us to see me recover, my heart overflows with inexpressible thanksgiving for their generosity toward our family during this conflicting time in our lives. 

 Gratitude is the memory of the heart! 

It is said to be the parent of all the other virtues. 

My gratitude for those members of the field

that picked up the slack and totally covered

for me is overpowering.

 Norman and Barbara Slaymaker were the “little dorm” parents at the time of my emergency flight and surgery and they took the loving responsibility of my babies for six weeks after our pilot, Scotty, and his wife, Mary, filled the gap in those first few days in Panama City.  After leaving the hospital, John and Ruth Jenkins, our very busy field leaders, “adopted us” for another six weeks (!) until the doctors would release us to return interior to our post!  What a tremendous weight we must have been…a family of 4 for months!!! 

 My memories are scattered and few.  I isolated myself into a survival mode.  I really thought I was going to die.  I had no time for tears and cannot remember even wanting to cry during those weeks, although I am sure I must have and those whose care I was under would readily attest that I did!  My heart cannot express the genuine gratitude that is flooding my eyes and consciousness as I write this!  I am mentally rehearsing the personal cost of the missionary families that encouraged me during those days and blanketed me with prayer and hands of intervention!

 Why this flood of overwhelming gratefulness?  Why now?  What is it about life that at unexpected moments God opens our awareness to the magnitude of His Sovereignty, Majesty, Grace and Mercy on our behalf?

 I am sitting here with a keen sense of:

Ø  My Unworthiness…and His Holiness!  

Ø  My Pretense of thinking I have any kind of control in this life (other than to choose to walk with Him)…and His complete and encompassing Rule and Protection!

Ø  My Powerlessness…and His Omnipotent Presence, faithfully accomplishing His purpose with my blindness to His silent footsteps all around me!

Ø  My Desperate Need to express my gratefulness and indebtedness to God and others! 

 Do you make it a habit of thanking God and others

for the many things in life that others take for granted?

 I would like to express my gratitude to you for joining me each Monday morning and for your encouraging words.  I am like Olivia…so blessed!

 Will you take time today to reflect glory back to Him

for His faithfulness to you…

the Author of every blessing? 

 Let’s take today’s opportunity to acknowledge those

who have and are benefiting our lives!

IMG_0062.JPG

~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. 

Jackie's Journney "The World's Changed...Try to Keep Up!!"

images-3-2.jpg

All of us have the need to be relevant in every generation.  Something in us wants to make a difference. The effectiveness of all advertising is based on this premise.  We hear the younger saying,  “The world’s changed…try to keep up!”

As a young missionary in my 20’s my children needed me, my husband needed me, the tribal people needed us, our ministry was consuming and fulfilling, etc.  I looked to those older than I was and saw the need to glean from their experiences.  I had an unpretentious sense of relevancy!

 For 5 years in our 30”s we found our relevance in…pastoring, evangelizing, teaching, mentoring small groups and “trouble-shooting” in our home church.

 We weren’t in that “older” group yet!

 Returning to the field, still in our 30’s, we were busy dorm parents to 15 young people at the Mission School.  We had the “big dorm” and we were blessed with students from five families.  Our need to “turn the hearts of the children to their fathers…” (Malachi 4:6) and the ministry in the local Chame community kept us relevant…………... we were still viable!

 In our late 40’s our girls were in their teens and would soon start college.  Christina attended Biola and would bring her friends from school and church to meet us.

 We were becoming the “older” group that had more experience”!

 When asked to mentor a group of young college girls I excitedly responded believing God would give relevance through His Word.  Eventually a group of their prospective husbands took form, which my husband taught!  We were busy church-planting Spanish-speaking churches and over the next 15 years we saw God raise up seven young churches in Southern California, Mexico and Panama.                

 God’s was still using us!

 Still relevant to our culture and generation in our 50’s, even honored for our faithfulness to our God and His calling on our lives, we actively taught in English and Spanish. 

Now we were really in that “older” group and yet…

 God continued to open up opportunities to serve Him.  We had 7 grandchildren and they were magic!  Still church-planting, called to speak, teaching multiple mentoring groups weekly, trouble-shooting with young couples, and writing The Princess Parable Series were all welcomed responsibilities! 

 In our 60’s we watched our tiny grandchildren grow like my garden weeds (really fast!!) and they now stand taller than I do!

IMG_3655.JPG

Keeping relevant is an absolute pre-requisite to maintaining the open hearts of our grandchildren!  Finding that conversational relevance in a “generation time warp” is a prayer-filled occupation of mine!

 Now… here is the rub.  The world’s younger generation looks at “age” and determines its value.  Consequently, they, then, turn their attention to the more appealing relevance of younger mentors, pastors, and teachers, rather than the older generation.   

 We are, after all, each expendable to the more like-minded,

trendier, faster moving and thinking generation!

Can’t you hear it?  “The World’s changed…try to keep up”!

 God never changes…cultures do, ideologies do, and philosophies do…

 Relevance is a basic need to stay connected.

It is tied directly to an understanding of God and His inerrant Word!

 Scripture never changes!  It is always…relevant!

 Our present day cultural insurgence has been saturated in a declining morality of divorce, abortion, pornography, social-acceptance determined by social tolerance, adoption of the “acceptable sins” (you know…demanding personal rights, entitlement-I deserve this!, wrong attitudes, anger, deplorable speech, actions etc.).

 The young are bent on convincing their offspring to:

(1)  “Stand up for yourself; Be more aggressive” – disregarding God’s command to follow His example of serving others… first.

(2)   “Look for your own path in life” –disregarding the instruction in the Word to look for the Will of God…first

(3)   “Claim your rights; you are entitled” – disregarding God’s command to yield all your rights to Him… first.  No anger for your personal benefit.

(4)  “Be first “ at everything  - disregarding God’s command to make others successful…first!  

(5)   “Live in the Now” - disregarding kingdom teaching. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God….and all these things will be added unto you”. Matt. 6:33

 In a day when our culture is being eroded from within, our godly history is being re-written and the Word of God is being ripped of its inerrant integrity, we need relevance for our day if we are to present truth that promotes change.

 What can we offer that people need?

 We ask ourselves that question whether overtly or subliminally every time we come in contact with another person.  We are relevant when we discern the need of the individual we are speaking to and risk whatever it takes to meet that need for the other person’s success.

 It is not age that makes us relevant…it is His life in us as we aggressively stand up with Godly conviction and step into the space He puts us in… wherever, with whomever that may be!

 The purpose of relevance is to keep the truth of God’s Word

alive in us for the benefit of others!

 Will you make yourself relevant today in the life of someone who is in need?

IMG_0062.JPG

~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. 

Jackie's Journey "Me...Invisible?"

My youngest granddaughter, Megan and I

My youngest granddaughter, Megan and I

“Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long-life bring understanding?” Job 12: 12

 The “Mom Song” on Youtube is the voice of the ever diligent, often-unheard,

invisible Mother.

(www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lep8WE6bqwM)

 However, there is another category of individuals that are even more imperceptible…

 Regardless of our involvement in the lives of our children and grandchildren, they reach an age of development (if we have done our job) where their need for us lessens.  They now have their own friends and activities that occupy the time that was once ours!  Life is a whirlwind of academics, team sports, community outreach, horses, piano lessons, theater and musical practices and performances, tennis coaches and tournaments, swim practices and meets, church youth group activities, bible studies, revivals, camps, etc.…!

 Finally, one day… they get drivers licenses, go to college and get married!

 Keeping pace with all of this is a tremendous challenge…for all of us!  I am a grandmother of seven; my mother is a great-grandmother of 25 great-grandchildren! She lives on her own, cares for herself and is alert with a memory that would put an elephant to shame!  She gives new meaning to the verse in Job 12.  There are very few topics that have applicability to our everyday life, that if asked, she cannot wisely put in perspective, yet she often feels invisible and speaks of her sense of loneliness and need to keep relevant.

 I have thought about her statement and Job’s proclamation and wondered why in our 21st century culture the advanced in age feel they are being set to one side, listened to less and invisible in a large group of the younger generation.  

 These vital soldiers have earned their place among those that should be the most honored, respected and valuable in our culture. Titus 2: 3-5 admonishes “the older women to be reverent in the way they live and to train the younger..”  There is so much to be gleaned from these seasoned veterans that have gone before us, paving the way.  We will quickly step into the print they have left behind!

 Our local churches defer to the younger generation. The young fill the jobs in women’s ministry and teach the even younger.  They no longer turn to the older generation.  They have been replaced with quick and empty answers found in the latest technology, social media and their peers.

 BUT…“Is not wisdom found among THE AGED”?

 While in Panama, our good friends, the Jenkins, a couple with perfect pitch and harmony, put this definition below to music.  I have been humming it for years and sing it out loud when my natural inclination to think “I’m all that!” overrides what Scripture says should be the godly point of view!

 “Reverence is acknowledging that God is using in my life, people and events to produce the character of Christ in me”.  It is wisely looking at life’s situations (all of them!) from God’s point of view, not my own,

 THENthe warning:

Soooo… be wise my son (daughter), heed my instruction (instantly placing myself in harmony with Him and His will and directives), leave that road that leads to destruction, hallow my name (don’t walk in shame)…Proverbs 23: 17,18

 I want to be a wise mom, wife, grandma and whomever else I am purposed to be.  That means I am commissioned to look at all of life’s situations from God’s point of view and get out of His way. There is no way I can produce reverence and wisdom apart from Him.  He uses the people and events in my life to produce His character in me!  My job is to wisely yield all circumstances with a grateful heart, regardless of how it looks, seems or feels to me.  He knows what He is doing…It’s His plan…

The reward is Wisdom!

Will you join me in applying reverence to your life?

It’s a win…win.



IMG_0062.JPG

~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 November 5, 2018 and filed under Character and Virtue, spiritual growth, Motherhood.

Jackie's Journey "Little Much Afraid or Courageous Warrior?"

images-8.jpeg

All of us want to be warrior moms, equipped to

alter the direction of our future and those little ones who follow us!

 

I am the least likely to be involved in foreign tribal missions or to author a series of Princess Books or anything else… because I am, ALSO…the one who crusades against her paralyzing fear.

How many of you have read, “Hinds Feet in High Places”?  Well, …meet little “Much Afraid”!  My fear has always been connected to my failing someone’s expectation …mostly God’s and of course, the fear of the unknown (as a young mom…raising my girls in the jungles, tribal people, isolation, vampire bats, huge hairy spiders, 13” scorpions…)!  

I have a recent testimony of a young mom who has lived the majority of her parenting life worried that she is failing, scared that she is not doing enough, being enough or giving enough!  Always comparing herself to the success of others…

 Do you ever fear failure… as a mom… a wife…?

Just the responsibility of equipping our little ones

to survive victoriously in this perverse culture

should strike fear in our hearts!!

 Coming to understand, that I need to fear only two things…has freed me to walk thru that door of dread…instead of running the other direction (my natural inclination)!!!

 Can you guess what those two things might be?

1. The fear of God, who faithfully brings me to a particular: point, place or circumstance…to mature me spiritually…

  2. The fear of the consequence of sin!     Not failure… !

 When you fear God you fear the consequence of sin!

 When asked, “If you are so afraid, Jackie, WHY did you go into the jungles to open up a work among an Indian group that had never been reached before?” 

My answer is simple… “That the lamb of God might receive the reward of His suffering!”   I was aware of the need…I was compelled to go…FEAR AND ALL!

 “To Him who knows to do right and does not do it to him it is sin!  Jas.4:17

 Focusing on “walking thru that door of fear with Him”,… allowing Him to live and lead through me was more scriptural and liberatingthan focusing on what happens, if I fail and bear the prideful guilt of thinking… I should have done better …or done nothing at all!  “The highway of fear is the shortest route to defeat.” Wm. L. Brownell

                     Fear is wrong focus!    Trust in the wrong person!

 One sultry day in the jungle I was sitting at my rustic desk crying when our partners walked in and asked, “What happened?”  I proceeded to pour out my heart and confess how I was a total failure as a mother, wife, and missionary. 

 To my astonishment, my friend just SMILED and agreed with me saying, “Jackie, you are a failure“!

 NOW, WHO SAYS THAT!!!    

He proceeded with…BUT the good news is: You are now in perfect position to receive the grace of God with its power to live victoriously!”  ONCE I GOT PAST THAT UNANTICIPATED SMILE(!)… I began to process the biblical truth and he was right.  I could offer God nothing.  Apart from His empowerment, on my own, “so to speak” - trying, striving, bent on achieving… 

I am a ROYAL failure!

 BUT THAT FAILURE has become my best friend over the years because I now had a recognizable signal when afraid and I could get out of God’s way so HE could do what I was unable to do! 

“His grace is sufficient for me, for His power is made perfect in MY weaknessIn failure! 2 Corinthians 12:9  

My Husband, who calls it like it is… says “my weakness” is really “my strength in evil”!!  Whatever it is called…I was free…at last…I could surrender to His leading and allow His strength to be made perfect in my weakness.  I was finally at peace!

 Where do you find your strength?

IMG_0062.JPG

~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 October 29, 2018 and filed under character and virtue, Motherhood, Spiritual Growth.

Jackie's Journey "Choosing to Live Courageously!"

images-18.jpeg

No matter which side we are on in this “journey of motherhood”

 it is nothing less than challenging, is it not??

 School is in full swing again!  My hats off to teachers! I have taught in three languages and was a home-school mom.  I taught my girls in the jungles of Panama with E-Beka, which, by the way, was the only curriculum available in the seventies (I actually think, I may be one of the original home-school moms!) and I have had the joy of teaching all seven of my grandchildren to read.  My girls survived every imaginable curriculum and school setting because our lives were itinerate. If it’s any encouragement, they both are college graduates and one with a Master’s Degree! All accomplishments are God’s, in spite of me!

“If you have a child, then you have an assignment from God.  Whether by birth or adoption, whether you go to work in an office, on the mission field or in the kitchen, regardless of your age or experience or natural talent for nurturing, God has called you to be a mom.  And it’s an unrelenting, heart-wrenching, beautifully ordinary, holy job.” Elizabeth Elliot   

In this journey called motherhood, we are “christened” names like, “mama bears” when our little ones need a voice, “over-protective” when they are in what we translate a pending danger, “independent; not team players” when we don’t fit the mold and choose a different path of education or disciplining…       We are "warrior moms"… "outside the box" moms, courageously seeking what is best for our child!  

No matter where you are in your educational excursion with your children, all of us desire to become “conquering moms” with the future of our children in full view.  We are choosing to live courageously in a world that is bent on destroying our every effort! I am standing on the other side of motherhood, yet still a fully engaged grandmother.  I have had the privilege of having godly counsel along the course of my journey and learning a few things through the hard knocks of life (called experience).  There are five life-lessons on this life trek that have changed my life.  

Those of you who know me would recognize me as a wife, mom, friend, mentor, former tribal missionary, Bush nurse, Spanish-speaker, Bible teacher and discipler, lover of character and attitude training and teaching and, in my later years, an author of a series of books for children. 

What you do NOT know is…I am also the least likely to be involved in foreign tribal missions or to author a series of Princess Parable books or anything else…because I am the one who crusades against my paralyzing fear!

Join me next Monday for life-lesson Number 1…!

IMG_0062.JPG

~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 October 22, 2018 and filed under Motherhood, grandmotherhood, 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

IMG_0062.JPG

~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.