Thursday, December 12, 2013

used to

I used to be a master of schedules.  I used to manage all of my titles with ease, flowing from one thing to the next, orchestrating them all to work together.  My phone used to ring off the hook and my email box used to be full of requests and pleas for help.  Life was full and in my opinion at that time that meant life was good.  I had created a photograph of servanthood with me at the center and I believed that to mean that I was on my way to earning my seat in heaven.  I believed that the more I gave up the more selfless I was becoming. And the whole while I was getting pats on the back and that a girls and praise for paving the way of what it should like.  

But here is the secret, for a decade I grew more empty with each year.  I grew more self reliant and self righteous with each day.  I became more dependent on self and less reliant on my Father in heaven.  And the craziest thing is I wan't doing any of it for my fame, all that i was doing could be considered as good, God willed things.  But what I was doing it for was not true, was not needed was not necessary. I was attempting to earn my own salvation. I was attempting to earn something that had already been offered to me freely and all I had to do was accept that my role in it was quite insignificant. There was no way I could possibly do anything to deserve it or earn it because it had been given freely based on the love of my father in heaven.  Based on his desire to draw me close to him, to call me his own.

Gone are the days of my 10 steps to bring me closer to God, to help me walk closer, to give me more faith.  Because all I need is the cross.  All I need is the constant reminder that my role is insignificant but in Him I have significance.  In Him I have been given all I was every trying to work for.  All I have to do is believe and daily confess of my need for Him to forgive me. 

Oh and in this there is so much freedom, so much joy, so little stress and so much contentedness. I used to search for comfort and all I needed was to be content for I had already been offered all that I would ever need.

I am not sure that many from my past decade could look at my life and see me for the same person i used to be. I used to be driven, now I am patiently waiting to be prompted.  I used to be focused and implanted in all that I had surrounded myself with, now I walk surrounded by Gods love for  me and the rest just naturally follows. Before I would look from side to side and wonder why everyone else was just standing around, now I realize that God requires a lot more waiting in me and each person is on their own path.  I used to openly share all that I was doing right, now I feel the need to openly admit that this new path is hard and I struggle with the choice to choose the truth every day. But I am happier and more fulfilled than I ever have been.

In the past if you asked me who I was I would feel the need to pour out a resume of all I did, of all I felt I was defined by and had worked for.  Not anymore folks because I'm broken, forgiven, humbled and loved. Most folks don't see these titles as savory, most folks would feel a bit of shame associated with their need to be forgiven, their need to be humbled or broken and afraid that they needed to feel loved every day. I used to be most folks, I felt inadequate for my need and was sure that if I just tried harder I wouldn't feel like that.  Shame does not come from the cross though, shame was taken from us when Jesus died on that cross.  I can say whole heartedly I am needy for a savior and I am happy for that.  It is the one thing in this life that has ever satisfied me.  

Walk in love friends-

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


today was a day.

today was a good day.? no let me rephrase was a day that was bound to happen.

Elliot had a Dr.'s appointment scheduled for this afternoon.  he has had a standing appointment scheduled for every three months for the last 5 years.  every three months he must have a med check done to be prescribed medication that helps him concentrate.  Elliot has ADHD.  it has been something we have known for some time but Elliot hasn't. today though he heard those letters attached to him and since he has heard them before attached to others with negative connotation he lost it.  quietly and controlled he lost it right there in the dr.'s office. everything I had fought against and protected him from and built up was lost for a fraction of a moment.  his eyes said it all red rimmed and brimming with tears.  his eyes said what his mouth would say and question lied to me.  

in this moment my heart broke and I felt lost and alone and broken. i was most likely feeling the same as he was.  

the reason we didn't ever tell Elliot about his ADHD is because to us it is just a label.  a label that over the last 20 years has become a dirty word in some circles. a label that publicly has no positive attached to it. 

i have had mothers make rude comments, try to give me advice on parenting to "fix" it, encourage me to discipline more frequently or maybe just harder...I mean honestly if I could just get my crap together maybe my kid wouldn't struggle with this.  and then there is always the flip side, maybe lay off the sugar, don't feed them gmos, only choose organic, less tv, more books...yadda yadda yadda.  i mean french kids don't "get" ADHD. seriously i have heard it all and the sad thing is  so have our kids. it seems to me that as soon as we fail to understand something we have to quick come up with a solution, or an answer, or an opinion, when at times it may be beneficial to just realize you may never get it. sometimes we just need to leave things be and pray, maybe most of the time we should do this.

now don't get me wrong elliot knows there is reason for the pill he takes every morning not only that he is well aware of the reason.  he is aware of his struggle to concentrate to focus and he knows his medication helps him do this.  he also knows that it takes effort on his part as well to reign in his impulses and he knows he can ask God to help him through the whole lot of it.  so the only piece he was missing was the label.  and the ironic part is he was fine with all of the last described.  he didn't feel the least bit bad about those things about himself.  it was the label that broke him.

and so this was the choice we made this time-to withhold the label-it was the way we felt led to parent in this circumstance and i think it was right. but i know all the more today that being a mom, being a parent in general is a job that requires much grace, much prayer, much trust in our father in heaven.  I am constantly looking for the spirit to guide.  the twisted thing is our kids are looking for the very same from us and we have the divine privilege to point them to the cross.  I can't say I have always been really great at this...sometimes it seems easier to coddle and soothe with hugs and pats on the backs.  but the older my kids get the more i see their need for a savior and it could be because I see more of a need in myself as well.

today though was bound to happen and  i got to give it to him straight.  today with tears streaming down my cheeks i got to deliver the truth about my son to him.  i got to tell him that the reason his dad and i didn't want him tied up in a label given by a dr. was because we wanted him to be wrapped up in the labels that he has been given from God...forgiven, loved, accepted, chosen, wanted, adopted, delighted in, desired, sought after and much more.  today i told him those were his heavenly labels the ones that mattered the most. the ones that would always be there.  

my son elliot has adhd.  and as we told him i wouldn't change that about him.  i love him just as i try to love the rest of you, for who God has made you to be as if you already were.

walk in love friends.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Eyes Wide Open.

Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma of God.
Ephesian 5: 1-2

We Jagers....Us 4 Jagers + Grandma.....have been living in Spokane for a year.  And what a year it has been.  This has easily been the most difficult year of my life and not only on a personal level, but it has been a year of destruction and rebuilding in each and every corner of my life, in each and every relationship that I hold dear, in each and every piece of my faith and what I have known to be true.  It has been a year where I feel as if God came in the form of wrecking ball and then when we were brought to the point of having nothing left, nothing more to hold on to and almost nothing more to turn back to or remember he wrapped us in the love of the Gospel.  And it has been raw friends, it has been real and transforming and at times humbling to the point of tears. Everything I felt I had been doing right was so vividly called to the table, laid out and chopped into tiny pieces.  Each piece has been dissected.  My motives have been questioned, my abilities have been ruined and what is left is the ability to walk in love knowing that despite all of the destruction, despite all of the misgivings and the confusion, I am loved.  And not only am I loved, but I am known, and accepted, and adopted, and chosen.  That is the gospel.  

For my whole life I have been striving to get it together.  Striving to get my crap together. Striving to make God proud of me.  Striving to prove myself worthy and of value to the kingdom. I have done all of the right things for the wrong reasons and for the last 15 years my knowledge, my teachings, and my direction have failed me time and time again because the truth is in Jesus there is nothing we can possibly do to be any more worthy than we already are.  He died for us while we were still in sin. 

The verse above has become a pillar of truth for me, it not only comforts me but strengthens me. Not only affirms me but challenges me and it is a picture of who I  know myself to be now.   I am loved and if I walk in that there is nothing more I need.  If I am walking in love it is easier for me to deliver what I have been given to others, not needing anything in return because of what I have been given because of the place I've been given.  And I am telling you it is not easy, in fact it can be terrifying.  But I find the more I wash my self in the gospel the more I am able to confess my need and the more I can love not only myself but others.  There are no more should's or ought to's instead there is an ultimate desire to bless people because I myself am blessed.

Going into the previous year I felt the Spirit prompting us to follow God's lead in our move.  I felt prompted to be bold and to be brave and I thought the blessings would overflow immediately, that it would be overwhelming affirmed with a giant pat on the back, such as way to go.  That is so not how it went.  From the week before we moved to Spokane there have been speed bumps and at some times brick walls.  Realization of the fact that we so did not get or understand what God was doing or where he as leading us was evident.  We needed to trust, we needed to wait, we needed to be willing to be broken  and in some ways that is exactly where we are still at.

Our marriage has been rocked, we no longer have the time or the ability to connect one on one away from cherubs as we once did, Brian's job has a whole new set of demands and expectations and although I hate to make it sound like I am saying he is a really big deal it is more that he has been given much to be responsible for.  We are full on into homeschooling our children and that has been taxing on me as I have been thrown into a full on identity crisis on more than one occasion as I struggle to prove my worth and how could just teaching my children be enough ( I say this sarcastically).  We have an extra family member now who requires consideration and sacrifice and love.  There have been months in the last year that we have been apart physically more than together and that is just not something that we are used to or even knew how to begin to deal with. And all I knew sometimes was that I loved Brian Jager more than anything in this world enough to live through the hell that we had come to think we had robed ourselves in. And pretty much anything that we were rooted in before was shook because we were missing a piece of our faith that we had been taught early on.  We were doing it all without Jesus.  God sure but Jesus not so much.  Which means we were living in self reliance, and self righteousness and our expectations for each other were enough to make anyone run screaming for the hills.  And after a bit it nearly did. 

Our kids were rocked because I was rushing around to fix everything for them. For surely killing myself internally every night because their hurt was eating me alive.  Allowing myself to believe that I had single handedly ruined their existence that I had made a choice that was affecting them to the core negatively and surely they weren't going to get better. I would lie in bed at night praying that God would show me how to fix it.  I quickly took on the responsibility for our move rather than living in the truth of why we moved in the first place...we felt led.  No it was my screw up.  

I can tell you now it looks different.  Before I was a cracked pot that had not only become shattered over time but I was missing the piece that would put it all back together. I was brought to a point that i couldn't hold water or even be turned on the shelf to hide the the piece that I was missing.  And I allowed that to role over into my family.  And instead of submitting to anything I was quickly trying to gather the pieces and arrange them in a way that from the outside looked aesthetically pleasing.  I was a master controller.

I can tell you now though it still looks broken, oh yes you can see the glue and the tape that has been used to put me back together but I feel more complete now than I ever have.  My cracks are now something I feel loved for, they are cracks that I can show others to prove the promises I have been given, the truth that is mine to hold onto.  I can now speak and share that truth with my family as well.  My children know that I am not going to fix it.  I now tell them that I'm not going to fix their problems and then I  feed them the gospel.  I tell them that they are in fact not alone, that they are in fact constantly surrounded by God and the sacrifice of His son at all times.  And Elliot will now tell me ugh I know mom.....I love that, that is magic to me, that is music to my ears.  I can love my husband completely no matter what our week looks like, I know that I am not alone and it is no longer his job to let me know that.  I can now approach my day knowing that God will place exactly what I need in front of me each day, the only part that is up to me is how I treat it.  I am adopted by God the Father and accepted completely for who I am in each day.  I can fail miserably and it is recognized and challenged but not condemned.  

So I challenge you if you find that verse above to be a simple pill to swallow, read it again.  Do you really believe all of that? I thought I did.  Do you believe that you are his beloved child? Do you believe that you can love anyone simply because you yourself are loved by the God most high?  But most importantly is your faith personal?  Do you believe that Christ died for you knowing you for the mess that you are?  That He died for you specifically?  Because He did.  

 -Walk In Love Friends...because you are loved!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It's been awhile.

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I've taken a break for some time.   Life in general has swallowed me whole and somedays getting dressed seems like it should be optional as the day disappears. 

In the last months we have been studying the book of Ephesians in church and have been humbled and challenged over the ideas and callings we have in the area of community.  Jager's like to live in a life connected this is nothing new for us, but maybe the way in which we practice that has been stretched and tried and renewed.  We are called by God to a life of togetherness.  A life of speaking the gospel and its it truth to one another, a life of confession and reminder and practice of his grace and mercy.  The togetherness part we got, how to practice it as a reflection of what Christ has done for us has been the challenge.  But boy the difference it has made.  I feel peace that I have never felt before.
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The kids and I have jumped full into school.  We have taken on some lofty goals but believe that we can not only meet them but surpass them.  It has been challenging yet fulfilling as we count on God to give us the self control and focus that we need each day to complete what we need to complete.  Each day is different and comes with its own set of success and difficulties but that is okay.  

This year Elliot is taking on the task of completing two separate math curriculums.  His interests and gifting has given him a great desire to excel in this area and we see the benefit in giving him all he can handle for a leg up there.  Language Arts has been fun this year too as he is not as resistant to writing and expressing himself on paper....we still have a long way to come in this area but we are thankful for the direction and guidance we have received with our curriculum in hand and are humbling stepping forward in this are to do the best we can do.   Teaching Elliot in the subject of Language Arts has been a challenge of grace and love for me....his resistance has a way of quickly making me crabby and instead of that reaction I have been challenged to teach him in different ways that meet him where he is rather then demanding that he do it the way that is easy for me.  

Grace, Oh Grace.  Grace is making leaps and bounds this year in school.  I have been reminded that third grade is a transition year time and time again.  Her abilities have been strengthened and stretched and she is much more willing to push through things she finds difficult.  We are focusing on staying right on her third grade schedule for her core subjects while adding in some challenge reading and writing projects.  Creative writing proves to be her strength, she comes up with some of the neatest ideas as a way to express herself.  We are slowly getting to the root of her anxiety when presented with new things and working independently.  Homeschooling has given us the opportunity to retell her again and again that she is in fact not alone in this world or in her schoolwork.  And that failure in her schoolwork does not define who she is and that second chances are a real thing.  The message of grace for Grace has been a solid key in schooling her and it has "schooled" me as well.  

Together as a group (of 3:) we are focusing on learning the apologetics.  It has been fun to rehash why we believe what we believe together. In science we are learning about Gods creation on the fifth day as it relates to zoology which drops us right into the depths of the sea and surrounds us with his creatures.  We have decided to study this book with a couple of other families and we get together to do the larger projects together at the end of each proves to be fun and rewarding.  History is the last subject and we are using two separate curriculums to cover it, one focuses one that focuses on the middle ages, and the other is a study of each continent and its cultures as well as the influence of missionary work respectively for each one.
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In addition to all of that the kids are still going to the little school house just down the road for core studies on Monday and extra curricular programs on Friday.  Elliot is participating in chess, karate and an art class as well as P.E.   Grace is enjoying irish dance, art and drama as well as P.E.  We feel really thankful to be part of this program as the kids have built many relationships there and get a chance to be away from me;)

This post may have bored you to the core.  However it is the first question that most people ask me when we are catching up.  And rightfully so as we spend close to 20 hours of our week focusing on school.

I promise something more exciting next time.

Monday, September 2, 2013

There is Romance in the Contentedness

Romance :  
A mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful

Thats what our life has been as of late.  Amongst the pain and suffering and confusion it has been strangely beautiful.  God has us in the very palm of his hand in a very new and fresh way.  
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He is the creator of all things old and new.
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I felt completely humbled by the beauty I was able to experience this weekend. There was something quite romantic about the whole thing.  I love to create memories with my little family. I love experiencing things for the first time with them.
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I have found myself returning to a new state of contentedness and it looks nothing like it did before.  I have found that it has very little to do with the outside view or the physical workings of my life.  It has so much to do with the beauty that only God can bring to my heart. And when this boils over and into the lives of my little family there is something quite romantic that takes place.   photo DSCN2264_zps05257c37.jpg
Brian commented this weekend that when we come rich and famous he would bring me back to Glacier to stay in one of the fancy chateaus on the lake. I thought about this all weekend and I came to the thought that I would rather spend the cash on some fancy camping cots and spend weeks instead of days there.  That I would rather do it just as we had.  Because how it was to me was magic.  
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I loved watching my children take in the moments of adventure with eyes full of wonder.  This is why we endure the car complaints and crazy bedtime rituals that camping brings.  Because wether these memories we make affect them now or later at some point the snapshots in their minds will sprout into something.  And I hope that something is full of the romance and the knowledge that they witnessed the workings of a Creator this past weekend. 
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This world is full of these wonders.  These beauties.  And sometimes I just feel as if it is ours for the taking.  Its ours to explore.  Its ours to enjoy.  That our creator made it for us to enjoy.

Elliot's hands have grown to be identical in size to mine.  I find we he chooses to hold my hand I find it difficult for them to bind together.  This too is a representation of our relationship these days.  I am finding a lot of it to be uncomfortable and none of the approaches quite fit.  But we keep trying because we love each other.  Because God has given the little boy to me on loan...not to keep him small but to grow him up into the man he needs to be. We held hands a lot this weekend.  I found him hugging me unprompted in our explorations this weekend...a mother's love is a tricky one.
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On our drive home we experienced skies of purple that turned to gold that turned to the blackest of nights.  As I drove I thought of the night skies in Glacier, how it almost seemed as if someone had thrown a black sheet over the daylight and poked billions of tiny pins through it to reveal God's promise of light in the darkness.  We were able to see all of the light, all of the galaxies and in that I once again was reminded of the promises that were made to us in the creation of this place we are in temporarily.
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Those promises are deep and they are all encompassing as He reaches to grasp each dark spot in our lives.
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I am one blessed woman.  The commissioning I have been given in these blessings are great.  
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I am content in all that I have been given.  I am content with the idea that there is more to come.  
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I love that there is nothing that happens, there is nothing that we experience that is wasted if we are tightly tethered to the one who gives us this life.
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It is all beautiful in Him.
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And so we soak in the romance of it all.  Sometimes that adventures are more like quests to find the meaning.  Sometimes that can be a waste because all things are done in His time.
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Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dear Sweet Grace.....I am her Mama

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My Grace turned the beautiful of age of 8 last month.  In the last year I have been able to soak in how incredibly innocent, and pure and lovely this little girl is.  I often catch myself thanking God for how little she has naive she is able to be.  As young girls compared at this age of 8 we couldn't have had more different experiences.  Some of the  things I was exposed to by the time I was 8 are things that I hope she isn't even vaguely aware of for some time.  And so in mothering this little beauty I am always struggling with how much to tell her and how much to leave out.  I believe in telling her things and taking time to be gentle in my teaching her I am doing my best to love her completely.  A few months ago we were able to finally chat about how babies get out of their mothers.  Before that she was fully comfortable with the idea that mothers throw up their babies.  She knew deep down otherwise and would ask questions but quickly tell me she didn't actually want to know. One of my favorite things about Grace is that she knows her limits, she knows very well what she can handle, how much she wants, and is never afraid to call uncle when she's had enough.  

I must also tell you that in moving to Spokane the pair of us have been given the gift of some phenomenal girl friends in their respective age groups of course.  In fact personally I can say I have never had so many girlfriends in my life, women that I respect and love and am incredibly blessed to have share their lives with me.  Recently there have been lots of conversations of womanhood, and what that holds for our little rosebuds.  One of the lovely things about homeschooling is that you often have kids that are all different ages and grades that play together without thinking about the number that is attached to their little souls.  And so Grace has some girlfriends that are about 18 months older than her.  Her being tall makes it hard to remember that she is in fact much younger than these girls especially in the grand scheme of womanhood.  My biggest fear in all of this was that these girls would begin to learn and experience changes that Grace's body is not quite ready for.  That there would be girl talk that she found to be confusing or scary.  And as much as I would love for her to be little and sweet and love tutus and baby dolls forever I know that in a few short years we are due for some change, due for some opportunities, due for extreme growth and I find that to be a pink package full of tears and anxiety but also an opportunity for me to teach Grace how beautiful she is to be a woman, to be a daughter of God. 

And so the conversations had begun a few weeks back with my girl friends in how we were all going to approach this.  To be part of such a lovely group of women that love their girls enough to approach this with deep prayer and planning is a humbling thing.  These relationships are ones that I never saw myself having, rather relationships that others had.  To be in a group of women who love their girls already for what they are to become rather than being caught up in the mood swings and attitudes that are already budding is refreshing.  

My story of how these subjects were introduced to me is one that is better than most but still not quite what I wanted to give to Grace.  My mom was very open with me, laid it all out and then said well if you need anything let me know. I knew I could ask her anything.  That part is something I want to replicate with my Grace.  But I also want to give her more.  I want to give her self worth and self love.  I want to teach her that she is a gift that her body is a gift.  That it is never to be something she should ever feel like she has to give to another.  That is nothing she should ever be ashamed of.  That her value is much greater than her outward appearance, her boob size, or what size jeans she wears. That she is someone that God created specifically and purposefully.  

I believe that all of these subjects go hand in hand.  And I know with my Grace it all needs to be handled specifically and gently.  That we have to take it one step at a time. The first day we only got through the chapters on body odor and training bras and she told me we should stop for the day.  And thats when I knew I was handling this in the way that I should. That already she trusted she could tell me what was enough for her. 
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This mothering a girl thing has been incredibly healing for me as well as one of the greatest challenges I have ever been given.  But I have found with enough prayer and enough thought put towards who this little girl is has made it worlds easier than I ever thought it would be.  It is a gift to be her mother.  It is a gift that I experienced all that I have in the last 31 years especially the miserable stuff.  The things that made me want to die in my tween years are now coming back as blessings, they are now coming back as reminders of what I want my little sweetie to be prepared for.  Its a chance to give her what I wish I would have had....that's a gift folks.  

And so when things feel scary to me as far as what I feel I am being called to give her I think of how scary it might be for her if I don't.  And so we trudge forward.  We celebrate who we are at 8 and who we are to be at 13, and who we might be able to become by 31.  I pray that God will give me the grace I need to mother my Grace.  What a blessing it is!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Luck turns over to Blessing.....Fear turns to Hope....Worry turns to Trust

I prayed last summer that God would truly and tangibly teach me to trust.  That I would look at my good fortune/ luck as gifts rather than things that I had earned or done something to deserve. That my fear was actually sinful and a direct disrespect to Gods plans for if what HE has or has had for me were not goo enough.

I have received response and teaching in each of those prayers.  My faith in the last month specifically been transformed into something that is not only one that is humble but one that has made me more accepting of myself and who God has made to be.  

I have heard dozens of sermons preached over the last 15 years that challenged me to be Christ like, to DO as he would DO, to serve as HE would serve.  And all of these words have been true things in which to search for but I had spun them around in a way, that I am not sure I was striving in the right direction.  I heard a sermon preached just a few weekends ago that challenged me.  That I first I thought may be very backwards or even wrong(yep).  But after a few more sermons and some soul searching I think I have now come to the realization that I have in fact had it wrong for a very very long time.  It was the most freeing and lovely moment I  have ever had in what I believe was God's presence in my life.  I have not entered our gathering service without tears rolling down my cheeks in over a month and it has been so incredibly overwhelming for me. I have had to let go of the fact that people are probably watching me, that my children are sitting next to me, that many of these folks are new friends of mine and they don't know me well enough to know that when I am overwhelmed with emotion I cry....its beyond my control. It as if I am hearing parts of the gospel for the very fist time there is a new light to it all.

I have struggled most of my life with the overriding thought and understanding that I needed to earn all that I have, love, money, acceptance, grace, safety, comfort etc.  It is hard for me when I realize that people love me for who God has made made me to be.  When people accept for for all that I am or even worse all that I am not.  And my relationship with Christ with God has reflected much the same.  I have lived much of my time as a Christian attempting to be Christ like, to earn his love, his acceptance and his grace for me.  Thats why acts of service are so comfortable to me because than I have "earned my spot in the kingdom.  It at times has left me feeling empty, jaded, burnt out, lonely and afraid.  And I wonder how many people have struggled with this same sickness, this same sin.  

We have been hearing a sermon series taken from the book of Genesis this summer.  I have heard some of these stories that I have taught in my Sunday School class for a decade in a whole new light.  I have had light shed upon my sin that I have been justifying for just as long.  I have seen with my own eyes the parts of me that need to be let go. The parts that need to be enhanced.  And most of all I have seen that its not about being Christ-like as I have interpreted it to be.  I am so incredibly unable to be like Christ there is not a part of me that will ever be perfect or even close to it. But rather God wants me to be the Jessica that he intended me to be.  A Jessica without sin, a Jessica who realizes that his forgiveness and Grace is not about my doing, it is not something that I can ever earn or deserve, it is simply about his mercy and it is a gift.  

There are parts of my life that I have chalked up to dumb luck.  There are parts of my story that I though were to dirty, to dusty, to dark to allow myself to think that God was in fact right there with me.  That were times that he has given me blessing simply because he loves me.  That my deserving has nothing to do with the fact that I made it through those times was simply a gift.  

Blessing in my life has become a commission.  I am approaching life now with Gods blessing on and over me. Hoping and praying that others may feel Christ's love for them not because I am striving to be Christ like but simply because he lives within me and and is blessing me with the tools in which to be the Jessica that God intended me to be.  I still stink at this much of the time, but I am finding that my realization of my own sin comes much easier in this, that my ability to trust that my repentance brings true forgiveness and that I can trust that God's love is one thing that will always be with me no matter what I DO.  There is nothing I can do that will earn God's love, that will earn the Grace he so loving gives me, that I will in fact never probably never deserve it and that's okay. 

This has been so incredibly freeing to me.  At first I felt ashamed for not understanding this correctly.  For going so long having it all messed up. But as I told Brian this past Sunday on our drive home from Church, I felt that a big part of me had died and at first that was confusing and I wanted it back, I wanted the work back that made me feel so much a part of God's kingdom,  I don't want that anymore, I have felt like I have been broken and I was striving to be put together but I don't want that anymore either.  I just want to live with Gods blessing over me, in this new way.  It may be a number of Sunday's more before I can enter church without being overwhelmed with emotion but if that means living outside of the light I now see, I don't want it any different.

I challenge you to think of  A blessing as a commission rather than always an act, or as our sermon stated this past Sunday a really yummy hamburger.  

This song has been running over and over in my head for two weeks now.  It is one we sing in our services very often.  The words are so true for my own life.  The fear I have lived with so long and I am now rid of.

Brokenness Aside
All Sons and Daughters

Will your grace run out
If I let you down
'Cause all I know
Is how to run
[ Lyrics from: ]
'Cause I am a sinner
If it's not one thing it's another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful

Will You call me child
When I tell you lies
'Cause all I know
Is how to cry

'Cause I am a sinner
If it's not one thing it's another
Caught up in words
Tangled in lies
But You are a Savior
And You take brokenness aside
And make it beautiful

You make it beautiful
You make it beautiful

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Is this even working?

I've been in a funk.  I've been a little down.  My arthritis is back.  Pain took over sleep for a couple of months.  The lack of sleep led to a bit of the doldrums.  Good news is I think I'm better. I think it's fixed. Hopefully I can explain why I haven't been writing.  Basically no one wants to read the musings of a whiny baby, and so that's that.
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I used to work with a lady that in the heat of the moment at work would turn and ask, "Is this even working."  I would always giggle and smugly think, boy I can't imagine feeling that way all of the time.  To not be sure of oneself to the point of always thinking I was failing.  Funny how things work when we think we have it all together, someday we won't.
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And so I must share that often in the last three months I feel like looking from side to side and asking, "Is this even working?"  I have been in great pain which leads to a lot of personal discouragement in my life.  This label of arthritis seriously rocks me to my core because when it controls me I feel as if I can't do anything that I want to do.  I cant be the mom I want to be or the wife I long to be.  Getting out of bed becomes a chore and sleep leaves the building.  And so I didn't sleep for about 2 months and sleep deprivation led to a trip to crazy town.  And then I failed to be able to manage anything, which gave me a sad case of the doldrums.  All through this happening I refused to go to the Dr. because that would be admitting that I do have a medical issue and it in fact does affect me greatly from time to time.  And sometimes I can not control it.
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But never fear I have now been to the Dr. was put on medication (something I had been avoiding) which is helping tremendously and guess what I'm sleeping too.  Brian said the first night that I slept he woke up three times just to make sure I was alive because I hadn't moved a muscle. I have learned that asking for help isn't accepting defeat.  
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I have control issues, its known.  This year has been a large learning curve as to how much I am in fact actually in control of......very little:) 
 photo IMG_3393_zps5bca2f88.jpgI had a kind of break through with it all this week.  I remembered that happiness is sometimes a choice.  Life is very rarely easy and the good doesn't always come with the bad, very often things can be just bad.  But that doesn't mean that we can lose hope and faith is needed through it all.
 photo IMG_3386_zpsb1e9c45e.jpgIt has been difficult going through all of this without my support group, AKA my mom and mother in law and my best friend.  It is even harder to ask for help in new surroundings.  But I am learning that with God I can get through anything.  With a positive attitude he can help me even more.  And that I am just fine on my own, even though I miss my family dearly.
 photo IMG_3328_zps0e106261.jpgToday the kids and I traveled up to Green Bluff and picked cherries and apricots.  We had so much fun, just the 3 of us.  I am so blessed to have the pair of them.  We spent the hot, hot morning (it was 90 degrees out by 9:30) on ladders high up in the tree tops, searching for what the fruit trees had to offer.  And I attempted to leave my nervous nellie mom behavior in the car as my children were scaling giant ladders to reach the best fruit at the very top of the trees.  I realized then that I was choosing joy not sorrow.  I was choosing to have a day with my kiddos, enjoying some of God's greatest creation.  There were plenty of giggles, plenty of new facts learned about the food we eat.  And plenty of chances for us to help and serve one another.  

We were able to harvest about 40lbs of apricots and 10lbs of cherries.  We decided that we are only putting up food that is grown in these here parts of Eastern WA.  So not much on the berry front although they can be found they aren't quite the same.  We will be harvesting huckleberries when the time is right though.  

And so I move forward with a better outlook once again.  It is very much two steps forward one step back at times but the forward is definitely winning.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

You are my greatest SURPRISE!

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Tomorrow will mark the day that I became the mom to a double-digiter.  I will forever remember the night before the happening of said event with the brain made memory of my 9 year old boy dancing around singing the two words double digit over and over again.  What can I say 10 is a big deal.

For this old thinker of a mom, this post and this moment have been a long time coming.  After a decade of being a mom you would think I  would have been granted with some bit of Sage wisdom or if I could go back and do something different it would be a, b and c.  But if you asked me in this very moment I would tell you the wisdom can really be summed up in that of those brain made memories, some of them almost like videos they are so crisp, some of them in slow-mo because you believed for a second you may have been able to change it if you would have done things differently.  But I suppose the one bit of sage wisdom would be that I wouldn't change any of it....I don't wish for any of it to be different....not even the hard stuff.  And boy howdy has there been hard stuff, especially with my soon to be double-digiter. And if there is one other thing I would pass on it would be the encouragement to really get know your kids, don't be afraid of the sticky parts, of the things that you would maybe change (go ahead judge me for saying that out loud) figure out what makes them tick, strive to know who God has created them to be, because these facts are where the true blessings in mothering hide.

Tonight before I wrote this I laid in bed with the hubdub and reminisced about the day Elliot was born. We talked about how I nearly killed him for eating ranch doritos right before I went into hard labor, this is not the best choice when breathing in your wife's face through doubled up contractions.  We talked about how he made me watch the European Antique Roadshow through the whole bout of my labor.  And we talked about how our moms were there and how invaluable that was.  But mostly I thought about what a great team we made in that delivery room.  How I never felt alone for one second, how there was never a moment that I thought I wouldn't make it and the moment I had him I knew why.  The moment we had Elliot I knew that life would never be the same.  I knew we were in for something great.  That being Elliot's mom would forever be my greatest surprise.

Elliot was born into the world with the look of a little old man.  His face looked of that of someone much older and wiser of his several minutes old self.  And so it has gone for the past 10 years.  He is wise beyond his years this one.  We always joke that there is 50 year old man stuck in his body, constantly trying to take him over.  He loves to read the newspaper, he loves technology, he loves to debate, theology and faith based conversations are some of his favorite and they keep him awake at night.  He frustrates me to no end but he also amazes me beyond my wildest dreams. And I have learned a lot about him in this last year.

Often Elliot can be frustrating because he is frustrated:)  He likes to understand things to their core. He needs to know every parenting book out there will tell you that this is a big "no no" when parenting...because I said so should suffice in all situations with truly obedient children. But not my Elliot, his soul needs the explanation, and so it goes.  We have talked to him like an adult since he was 2 years old and it just how we do.  I threw out my parenting books at about the same time and instead I have strived for much of that time to surround myself with other women who have done it before, whom I respect and admire, not women with perfect children but women with lovely hearts and open minds.  Women who don't judge but support.  With mothering my children I have found those relationships to be invaluable.  And I pray daily that I can return that great gift by sharing it with others.  Because when your children are two you think you may know it all but when they are 10 you realize you know nothing.  And so now you know Jager's hate parenting books and classes and I keep trying to change it that but I think that recently I have become quite comfortable with the fact.

This year has tested my strength in being Elliot's mother, it has stretched and grown my love for him in ways I would have never dreamed.  It is funny how when they are born you think you couldn't possibly love them more than you do in that moment but the truth is it continues to mound like scoops on an ice cream cone.  Each bump in the road stretches and grows it almost simultaneously because the stretching requires the growing and vice versa.  But this year has also brought a new aspect to our relationship and that has been one of trust.  When our kids are small they trust us almost inherently, they learn early -if you do not raise them like wolves- that you are their source for just about everything.  Food, Love, Safety, Shelter to name a few.  But the problem or maybe the beauty rather is that as they grow they start to think for themselves and as that happens the trust can fade because you are not always making the decisions that they would like you to make.  We have had that for the first time this year and I have had to ask Elliot to trust me, I never have had to do this before. And it has been hard and it has rocked my mama world in ways I never imagined it to be rocked, and it has been painful but it also been oh so good.  God has used it to not only grow my relationship with Elliot but also to show me the flaws in my relationship with Him. And so for now I have earned his trust again, I am sure that will falter once or twice along the way but I continue to pray that I will have the wisdom enough to take the time to let him question me, so I can explain the heart of the matter.  

I have learned in the last year that Elliot is a justice fighter.  Oh boy, I think he got this from me and if he learns when to cast it out and when to reel it in he will find it to be one of his greatest assets and one of his biggest faults.  It goes way beyond don't mess with my mom for this kid.  He is an underdog finder, a broken winged bird picker upper, a stray dog lover, he roots for the losing team and will stand up for what he knows is right until the bitter bloody end and it can get ugly. He hangs on through the hard stuff and I love that about him.  He loves bigger than his heart can handle and I know that he will have his heart broken many more times in his life.  But he uses his heart for good and it's a beautiful thing.

But mostly I have learned that boys are weird and I still don't understand them, they make weird noises and smell funny.  I do happen to be quite fond of this smelly, noisy boy.

Bottom line though,  I am incredibly humbled and honored that God chose me to be Elliot's mom, he has brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined and definitely more than I have deserved.  I pray that when he is a dad someday -a long time from now- he will be blessed with as great a surprise as I have been.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Homeschooling Not So Confidential Volume 9865

The best part about homeschooling is that you are with your kids all of the time.  The worst part about homeschooling is that you are with your kids all of the time.

I had a lot of time to think about this truth this past weekend.  This past weekend I ended up having to take an unexpected trip to the west side to deal with the rental house.  It was unfortunate, the reasoning for my travel.  However, I didn't realize how much I needed the freedom to think without anyone else alongside of me.  Homeschooling does not lend much time for this and I walk around feeling quite imbalanced most the time. My psyche needs time to marinate on its own....I have learned this from our homeschooling experience.  

Homeschooling was never anything I ever saw myself doing.  My mother-in-law told me once that was interesting statement because I would always be willing to do what is best for my littles no matter what it is, and in this thought I suppose she is very wise.  I will always do what is best for my littles!  And what is best for them is homeschooling right now.

Before we moved I had one friend who homeschooled her children.  I taught at the homeschool cooperative in our area but if anything that experience alone furthered my original thought outside our home was what was best.  Well now most all my friends are homeschooling moms, our church is full of them.  I find myself finding them to be full of sage advice, I find them to have a similar heart to my own, I find that most of what they say or believe resonates within my own soul for mothering my littles too.  This is earth shattering to me.  I find myself saying, "I am not sure how this happened?"  The truth is I know exactly how this happened.  I tool a moment to ask God what he really wanted and then I listened and then with a terrified spirit and an anxious heart I moved forward.  

I am no more or less terrified than I was the day that I started. It is a humbling job, teaching.  It is a frustrating and taxing job.  I have had to become quite selfless and sometimes this causes me to be crazy about the things I think that I can not possibly let go of.  I am used to focusing on myself a bit, finding the nuggets that God has intended for me to find.  It is frustrating sometimes because I feel that right now there are no nuggets for me, but if I take time to spend with God every morning I find that there are more nuggets in every day just for me than I could possibly carry on my own.  That's what I have learned the most I can not carry any of this on my own.  

I have also learned more and more that my children's place is within my reach right now.  That if my heart is right than my arms are just an extension of God's for them.  Right now my arms are long enough to reach them still, in fact now at this point I can still wrap my arms around them whenever I feel the need.  But my main purpose now is to prepare them for when I can't reach them anymore. I don't feel at this point that this is anyone's else's job.  In fact I am not sure that it is a job at all.  It is love, it is care, it is a connection that comes from within. It is an understanding and a love for what GOD is creating them to be.  No one can understand them or this better than me. No one wants this more for them than I do. And so the best thing for them is to be with me. 

And so now you now know that after much deliberation we are homeschooling both kids again next year. 

Brian asked me how I felt about it all the other day.  I thought for moment and replied that it really isn't about me and what I can do on my own.  My sanity may fail from time to time but I am learning more and more that that is more of a testament of how much time I spending within the arms that reach for me.  

Please know this is my own journey not a reflection of what I think is right for everyone.  I also know how incredibly blessed I am to be able to take this time to devote to them without interruption.   

"He will perform the cause I hold in my hand." That makes it very real to me today.  The very thing "I hold in my hand" - my work today is the concern that is beyond my control, this task in which I have greatly overestimated my own abilities - this is what I may "cry out " for HIM to do "for me," with the calm assurance He will perform it. "The wise and what they do are in God's hands" (Eccl. 9:1) Frances Ridley Havergal...Taken from Streams in The Desert

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mommin it Up.

I know I have been absent but y'all know I can't pass up my Mother's day post this year.

This year has been my hardest year as a Mom to date.  All bets are off and the game has definitely changed. This past year God has used every facet of my life to prove to me that comfort does not lie with the things we can tangibly hold here on the earth, and that includes my children, my ability to fill my role as Mom.
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I could sit here and whine and cry about all of the things I have endured with my little cherubs but that wouldn't be an honest representation of how I really feel about it all.
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I was thinking the other night (instead of sleeping...what's new) about the very first moment my eyes met my children's after their immediate exit from my womb.  I was thinking about the emotions that transpire for most of us Mom's in that moment.  I believe a thousand lifetimes pass through our minds in that single blessed second.  There are feelings of hope, excitement for what's to come, milestones that are sought after and a drowning amount of bliss and thankfulness when you hold that naked pink baby in your arms for the first time.  I myself felt incredibly blessed both times.  I remember not wanting to take my eyes off of them in case it was all just a dream or a mirage with the fear that it would disappear as soon as I blinked.  It was that good people.  I didn't expect a healthy full term delivery with either of my babies.  Half of my pregnancy with each of them was spent in bed pumped full of meds to hopefully keep those babes nestled inside for as long as possible.  Warnings and classes of what it meant to have a premie and what would take place. Endless trips to the hospital to be rehydrated, or to have the contractions stopped. Vomiting constantly...oh the vomit.  Warnings of my own health and what could happen to me if the inevitable would happen, but you know what the inevitable didn't happen, I carried Elliot to two days before his due date and Grace to a month within it and I felt like I myself had been redelivered in those two moments....God blessed my socks off with two perfectly healthy tiny newborns to love and kiss and dream for.  And more than pride I was just grateful to hold them in my arms.
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The moments that don't flash before you in that time are the sleepless nights, teething, bumps and bruises, sassy mouths, potty talk, time outs or broken hearts.  When you have your second there is no flash of sibling rivalry or fighting.  There is no one that tells you that once you become a mother that their joys will be yours too and that there greatest sorrows and struggles will rock you to your very core.   
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And this is what I was thinking about as I should have been closing my eyes to sleep.  Why doesn't God give you those visions?  I think there are probably a countless amount of reasons.  I think first and foremost He knows that your love for your child will be enough to get you through all of those hard times.  That your love alone that is rooted in Christ for your children will simply be enough.  And, oh how it has been in the last year.  I think also that we already have all the tools that we need when they are born to us.  I don't think anything in our lives happens by accident.  Each experience good or worth praying for is used....nothing goes to waste in God's hands.  Some of those so called tools may be hard to reach or temporarily misplaced but they will be found sometimes in the most unlikely places.  Patience is needed while searching for them though:)
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I have felt discouraged, bewildered and lost in the last year an uncountable number of times.  But I have also been blessed by the experiences and discussions that have come with those hard times.   I have been blessed by my desire to ask God because there is no one else that I can confess some of these things to.  
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My children have held me accountable for my decisions this year.  Brian and I made this move with the well being of our family in mind.  With the future of our children in our sites.  There wasn't any selfish intent for us there.  We prayed for months over that decision and made it with the Lord's blessing and prompting.  This move has been one of the factors of my struggle to mother this year.  Children do not understand that their parents constantly have their best interest heart especially when the decisions involve so much change and pain.  And so I have stopped trying to explain all of this in that way to them anymore.  Rather I have had repeated discussions simply about God's plan for us, and my need to obey and follow His lead.  This has been the ticket.  As I said before I had the tools for these discussions but it took me a while to find them.  We have also had the opportunity to discuss confusion in the plans He has for us at times, that the confusion requires faith to be cleared up.  I am not sure I would have had the chance to have these conversations so soon with my kids had we not moved and for that I am grateful!  Being questioned by our children is not always comfortable in fact I think it is one of the quicker ways to put us on the defensive.  I have found with a bit of further thought though that sometimes they are our best reminders of what we need.  
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We have had days that I would rather forget in the last year but I have learned lessons that I would not trade those days for.  I have learned that bad days are really non-existent.  Sure some our more exciting and happy than others, but they are all a blessing in their own ways.  I have stopped praying for better days and started praying for each day on its on rather than a reflection of the one at hand.  God has so many nuggets of goodness that we unfortunately hide with our own expectations. We have expectations that revolve around just about everything in our lives, health, safety, finances, safety, inconveniences, stability. And isn't it true that we have expectations for motherhood as well.  Those expectations hold us back folks it keeps us from being able to experience what God really has for us.
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My expectations for motherhood were all seen in that first moment that I saw each of them.  I wanted them to be happy.  In fact their happiness is the main topic of my conversations with Brian about them. But being happy isn't always number one, in fact much more comes from our disappointments sometimes.  And even still happiness seems so much easier to mother than disappointment.    Happiness is something that only requires hugs, kisses, pats on the back and sometimes a lasso.  Disappointment though....boy howdy, disappointment can me simply the can never be sure which avenue it will take to melt itself down.  I can honestly say my kids had dealt with a very small amount of disappointment in their lives before the move.  It was always my goal to create a biome of green valleys and quiet streams for them to exist in.  Truth is that is not reality and that does them no favors.  Now we focus on the good and worth praying for equally recognizing each for what they are and the tailspin the latter used to send us into is much less most of time, because they are learning that it is a possibility.  They are learning that life has so little to do with what we want or what we "need."  
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I love being a mom but it has changed greatly for me over the last year.  It is not something I see as job anymore...not even a calling, instead it is something I see that I was always meant to be.  Sure the title was issued on the day they were born but God had prepared me for long before they arrived.  I was created to mother Elliot and Grace.  Once I realized that I felt indestructible.  I felt like I could handle it all. There will still be days that are hard, there will still be days that I have no idea what I am doing, but that does not mean they were bad, nothing is a loss. 
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Happy Mother's to all of you Moms out there.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A little photo catch up.

Spokane continues to prove itself to be beautiful and full of wonder as the days pass.

We are overwhelmed with the amount of time we are able to spend outside and how much there is to do.

One of our favorite things to do is hike down by the river, but we also love our bikes and playing at the dozens of parks that this city has to offer. 

In the last week most days have been in the 60's and the warmth in the breeze brings the promise of summer.  But for now we are enjoying what we have in the moment.
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It seems as the days pass we learn more and more about our little Gracer Girl.  She is no easy nut to crack.  She is thriving in homeschooling and most of her anxieties have subsided.  However she still cries about leaving for 10 years:)

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Some days we even do a bit of our schooling outside.  This makes everyone happy.

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I took Grace shopping for some summer things a few weeks back.  This dressing room sleighed me.  I mean I think I could have just died in that pretty pink room.  Grace has a strong love/hate relationship with shopping. But if it involves a snack she is in for the long haul.

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This is my new favorite photo of Elliot.  He loved having Todd and Jessie here.  HE also loves making us laugh and he succeeds at this very often!

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Speaking of Todd and Jessie they were here and I enjoyed having them as well!

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There is no caption good enough for this!

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Me and my big hunk of man on Easter.  

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My two little cherubs.  I finished Grace's dress at about midnight the night before.  

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This book is giving Elliot and I common ground.  Lots of good discussion.  I wish it would have been around for me in my pre-teens.  I suggest it to anyone.  Pick up a copy and read it.  It will make you better.  
You'll notice it is from the library.  That place continues to being one our favorite past times.  I have gotten over my fear of late fees...I consider them a membership fee for the library.  Nothing like a positive spin to erase the shame those librarians place on you.  When they tell me I owe ten dollars its a bummer but when it is only four I feel like I got a really great deal.

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Josherwoggie came to see us for a few days.  I just put his porta-crib away.  We all miss him like crazy.  

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Grandma and I worked together to make four of these little dresses for four sweet little girlies to wear on the cruise.  The cruise that we leave on in 4 sleeps.  

And that is the short version of the catch up.  We are almost all the way through our curriculum for the year and both kids are beyond where they need to be so that is oh so good!