I Have the Wrong Name

Posted by on Tuesday, Aug 2, 2016 in Blog | 1 comment

When you’re younger, you spend a lot of energy assessing the baggage handed to you and trying to eradicate the inner darkness within. The beauty of age is that you stop wrestling with the dark and light that you were raised in and come to accept it as a part of your own inner life. That’s probably why I now, twenty-eight years into my marriage, feel I have the wrong last name. Twenty- eight years ago, I married and took my husband Steve’s last name. In the beginning it was weird to sign my new name on a check or hear it called out by another. “Mrs. Roese?” I would turn and look for my mother-in-law before realizing they were addressing me. Reflecting back now, I wish I hadn’t taken Steve’s last name. Not because I’m mad at him or because historically women were property of their husband and therefore took their husband’s last name, but because my married name doesn’t authentically communicate who I am or where I come from. In the Scriptures we see that names mattered. They told us about the person’s character (or the parents’ hope for their child). They told where they lived or what tribe they were connected to, which then told us about their religion, food preferences, rituals, etc. Names told us who the parents were and even what hopes their community had for the future. Names mattered because they housed identity. I was reminded of this while pondering through John Chapter 1 & 2. In the opening sentence, the Apostle John identifies Jesus as “the Word” (Rev. 19:13). “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). This name for Jesus is a powerful one — 1:12-13 indicates that you must embrace “his name” to be saved. So we have to know what John meant when he called Jesus “the Word”. Words are a means of communication. They express what’s on one’s mind. Jesus as the Word means his life, his words, and his deeds are the very words and deeds of God Creator in Genesis 1:1. The Word, Jesus, reveals God to us (John 1:18). The name holds so much meaning behind it. It communicates way beyond the actual letters of the name itself. My husband and I grew up in the same town in upstate New York. That means people in town know both of our families. When I’m home, it’s glaringly obvious that my married name is the wrong name for me. Steve’s parents owned the small Christian bookstore on the corner of Main Street and Elm. His mom taught kids in Jr. Church at Main Street Baptist...

Read More

It Boils Down: Meaningful Work & Relationships

Posted by on Thursday, May 12, 2016 in Blog | 0 comments

King Solomon boiled life down to this: “There is nothing better than to enjoy food and drink and to find satisfaction in work. Then I realized that these pleasures are from the hand of God.” (Ecclesiastes 2: 24) Work & relationships (food & drink occurred at the table with your peeps). I think he’s on to something. I have just finished a two-week run of fulfilling ministry work. The Summit in Austin, Missio Conference in Philly, She Can Teach Training in South Bend followed by preaching two services the following Sunday –  Mother’s day. It has been a rewarding few weeks. In those weeks I also experienced failure – twice I didn’t lead well. I’m grateful for those two experiences. They forced me to be gracious to myself, learn from my mistakes and move forward. It takes courage to pull yourself off the floor and get back into the arena called life. After preaching two services I flew home to Dallas. I was tired. Mother’s Day was coming to an end and I hadn’t expected much out of it. Work and travel. When I got home I was met at the door by my people. Steve had filled the house with flowers (Iris’ and peonies) and our house mate Amy was in the rocking chair waiting to hear how things went in South Bend. I went into my room to put up my suitcases and there leaning against some tulips was my daughter Madison. She surprised me. She flew in from Vermont so she could spend the next day with me. On Monday we went shopping for an outfit for my niece’s upcoming wedding. Then we headed to T.J. Seafood Market for a lingering lunch. Their lobster rolls are to die for. The waitress brought us drinks but seemed to be slow in taking our order. I found out later it was because Steve had asked her to delay. He and Madison had been waiting for Hampton to show up and surprise me too. Hampton took the greyhound from Austin but it was two hours delayed. I had no idea. I’m sitting there – starting to get irked that our waitress hasn’t taken our order – when up walks Hampton. Crying ensued. We spent the rest of the day just eating and drinking – enjoying one another’s company. Madison flew back to Vermont early Tuesday morning and Hampton stayed another day. He and his girlfriend Taylor made us some amazing ceviche. It’s been a few days since they all headed back to their respective homes and I’m back at work. I’m mindful this really is what the “good life” is all about: meaningful work and meaningful relationships. I’m grateful God has blessed...

Read More

150 Years Later

Posted by on Thursday, Aug 27, 2015 in Blog | 2 comments

August 16th I spoke at a church founded by my great-great grandfather, Rev. James Frazier. It’s been 150 years since another ordained Rev. “Frazier” (my maiden name) spoke in the pulpit. I’m still processing the profundity of it. One of the truths I’ve taken from the Book of Ruth is God uses things in our lives that will impact generations to come – and we die not even knowing it. Ruth gave birth to son. She died thinking that little one was God’s way of restoring her (and Naomi’s) life. She never knew the descendent of that little one would save the world. Jesus She never knew. She had a limited view. As I stepped into my great-great grandfather shoes I wondered, “Had he ever prayed for his descendants?” Surely he prayed for his grandchildren but did he pray beyond that? What about his great-great grandchildren? Did he pray for me? That I would be a child of faith? 150 years later I stepped into his pulpit and heralded the life-giving words of Scripture. It reminded me that I live so in the now. Maybe I think about the future but usually it’s the near future. Rarely do I contemplate that God may be weaving something from my life to impact others generations from now.  I have a limited view. We just don’t think 150 years do we? That God is weaving now for later. Way later. Imagine if we did. We would have such hope. Imagine the sense of purpose. Our lives matter. God is at work. Even when or if we can’t see it. Other’s benefit. Not just in the here and now. Not just in the near future. But 150 years from now. Ruth held that baby. I stood in the pulpit. It’s mind-blowing. Actually, it gives me...

Read More

Mothering Out of Fear

Posted by on Friday, Jun 12, 2015 in Blog | 1 comment

Yesterday I had coffee with a lovely young woman who is about to give birth to her third child. Three kids four and under. I’ve been there. As we chatted she asked a question that took me back to my young mom years. “Why did Steve and I decide to move from downtown Dallas to the suburbs?” What she wanted to know was how we, these radical Christian thinkers, ended up in a white, upper-middle class suburban bubble? I had to be honest. Twenty- four years ago we moved from New York to Dallas to attend Dallas Theological Seminary. I was a brand new Christian and a new mother. I was clueless. When Hunter was four we started thinking about school options, and I freaked. I started to ask Jesus if he would make a way for my kids to go to Christian school. His answer was clear. NO. He whispered to the recesses of my soul, “Jackie you want your kids to go to Christian school because you are afraid you will fail them in their understanding of faith. If you want your kids to walk closely with me you will have to show them what it looks like.” No. We moved to the suburbs because I was afraid. Afraid of so many things but mostly that I would mess up my kids. I had baggage from growing up under an abusive father. I had no idea how to be a Christian, and being a godly mother? Ugh, forget it! So I wanted to put as many walls around my kids as possible to make sure they had all these other means of knowing God—in case I sucked at it. God said no. He insisted I learn to lean into him and let him teach me how to mother. And since my kids’ lives depended on it, that’s exactly what I did. I share some of that story in my new book, Lime Green. I hope that when women read it, they find their own story in mine and learn to relax and lean into God in their mothering. Too often I sit with young moms and hear the fear in which they are operating. Which school? When should I put my kids in soccer? How much planned activity is too much or too little? Will they be deprived if I work outside the home? … and on and on we go. My kids are now grown, young adults figuring out their own way. Looking back, I can now say to young moms, just love like Jesus, unconditionally, and let Jesus speak about how to parent each child. To put it more simply, “Stop parenting out of fear,...

Read More

Keep It Real

Posted by on Tuesday, Jun 2, 2015 in Blog | 7 comments

It’s been a few years since we’ve hung out so we had a lot to catch up on. As we sat on the back patio Jenny shared how she’d been teaching her daughter, Annie (age 5), about the fruit of the Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23) Jenny taught Annie a song to help her remember. (Not surprising since Jenny is a musician). “The fruit of the Spirit is not a coconut, the fruit of the Spirit is not a coconut, cause the fruit of the spirit is Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self – control.” (Repeat) Although I can’t carry a tune, I too used to teach my kids songs about Jesus. Songs like “The B- I –B-L-E that’s the book for me, I stand alone on the Word of God, the B. I. B. L. E. “ Or “This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine. Hide it under a bushel basket? NO! I’m going to let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine all the time.” We parents sing these little tunes in hopes that they will help our children grow in their knowledge and faith. But have you ever noticed how selective we are? It’s kind of like what we do on Facebook. We only share part of the story, selective parts, “the fun, victorious, hey look at my amazing life parts.” We  all know that what we see on Facebook isn’t the “whole” story and yet we compare. We are left with a sense that somehow our life is less. The other day Annie came home from kindergarten upset. It seems another child told her the story in Exodus 12. You know the story – the one where an animal is killed and its blood is put over the doorposts so when death passes over it will only kill the Egyptian firstborn sons. Annie wanted to know why God would do this? Jenny said, “I didn’t want to tell her that story. In fact I didn’t know what to tell her. I just wanted her to learn about the fruit of the Spirit.” Ever been there? Have you ever wondered what happens to our faith when we learn only part of the story? How does what we’ve learned about Jesus in the Bible set us up for dealing with real life? Particularly the hard stuff.  Unwanted and unanswered stuff? Perhaps it leaves us like Facebook does, disappointed and disillusioned with our real life. When my son Hunter was 15 he sat in a truck with a dead baby between him and his friend Bill. He was in South Sudan and the mother of the baby died...

Read More