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.