Saturday, May 19, 2012

Everything I needed to know about life, I learned from my mom

She was the first voice you ever heard. The pain it caused her to know you is beyond words, but as she looked at your face, she smiled and said, “It was all worth it.” Most likely you don’t remember this moment and neither do I. But it is a moment she will never forget.
From that point on, she was the one you ran to when you got hurt and who dried your eyes when you cried. She had no problem saying no to the things she knew would hurt you in the end and loved you when you were 17 years old and completely unloveable. 
There is truly no one like a mother. 
Instead of writing all the things I did to torture my mom, I want to remember all the wonderful times that we had together that will be forever seared into my memory. 
I feel like many of these things happened in the car. We would be driving to the store and my mom would say, “Jamie Lin, we are in a hurry. Can you pray for a parking spot?” We would pray and then when we found the spot she would say, “Now let’s thank Jesus for that spot.” My mom taught me how to pray.
As a child, I loved to sing. I would make up songs and sing them to Jesus as we drove along. One day I looked at my mom and said, “When I sing to Jesus, it makes me cry.” My mom taught me how to sing.
One time we say an ambulance and as was costumery, we prayed that Jesus would be with that person in the accident and asked that God would use this to draw them to himself. After we said Amen, my mom began to ask me if I knew where I was going when I died. Since I didn’t know, my mom shared with me the love of Jesus for mankind and how he wanted to be with me but my rotten sin got in the way so he came to earth to die on the cross to pay for my sins. That day I placed my trust in Jesus as my ultimate sacrifice. My mom shared with me the gospel of Jesus Christ.
My mom would take every opportunity to talk to people about Jesus and to love them with the gospel. She lived life with people, rubbed shoulders with them and was never afraid of getting dirty. My mom taught me the cost of discipleship and how sometimes it’s messy.
I could go on and on about how my mom taught me how to serve, how to cook, how to laugh, how to dance in the kitchen AND how to do a killer belly flop that has won more than one belly-flop contest, but I’ll save that for another day. 
My mom brought me into this world, but more than that, she taught me how to live in it without being of it. 
As I draw nearer to motherhood I pray that one day I can be half the mother my mom has been to me. If my children feel HALF as loved by me as I do by my mom, we’ll be doing good.
Thanks mom for investing in my life. You’ve made all the difference.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Honoring her because she honored Jesus...

It’s been a year. It’s been a year since I’ve seen her round face and strong dimples. It’s been a year since I’ve heard her sweet, gentle voice call my name.

As I sat on the plane, headed to her house, all I wanted to do was crawl up on her bed and tell her all the things that she missed this year. My first year of marriage to the most wonderful man, my new job and our new apartment. She missed multiple shoe shopping expeditions and candy runs... mostly because I didn’t do them since she wasn’t here. The plan this weekend was to do all the things that we would have done if she were here: buy a pair of shoes... preferably on sale. (If they are cheap enough, she’d tell me to buy two!) Go to the candy store and buy one of every kind that I like because life is too short to just choose ONE. Go to the dollar store and buy a good pen... or maybe a few pens and figure out which one is the best. Buy a bowl or a plate or a cup. Really whatever is pretty. It doesn’t have to match what I already have because it’s more about it being beautiful than matching. Watch a good cooking show and maybe go get a taco at 10:00 at night just because the craving came to me. The plan was to eat good food and not feel guilty about the calories, because let’s be honest: calories at Gramma’s house don’t count. Finally, I wanted to read about the goodness of the Lord and pour over his psalms highlighting places where he talks about heaven and healing because she has journals upon journals that do the same.

Yet, there are some things that are impossible to do. Drive all the way into downtown because we missed our exit due to excessive talking and laughing. Fall asleep next to her on her bed while we watch some crazy action movie. Recount old memories or days gone by. Watch back to back dollar movies to fill an entire afternoon.

Let’s just say I tried to do all of these things to no avail. I TRIED to go buy a pair of shoes, but couldn’t find one that I really liked. I TRIED to go buy 20 pieces of different kids of candy, but the Target we always went to has since gotten rid of that section of the store. I TRIED to go buy a pretty bowl, but Ross had a line with literally 100 people in it (and I would have had to find the FIND OF THE CENTURY to get me to stand in it). I walked away from Saturday a bit sad that I couldn't honor Grammee this way. But then mom put it all into perspective: if I could hear from Grammee right now, she would tell me to store up my treasures in heaven because at the end of life, they are just shoes gaining dust in a closet.

I guess it boils down to this: I always want to remember. I vividly remember the talks we would have about boys and how I shouldn’t keep secrets from my mom. I remember peeking into her room and she would be pouring over Scripture. I remember that she would get on facebook just to keep in touch with her grandkids. The woman I remember, I never want to forget, because I hope one day to be just like that woman.

Thank you Grammee for showing me how to walk with Jesus... miss you Grams.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Do you ever get stuck? You find yourself sinking slowly in the muck and mire of mediocrity. The more you try to struggle and MAKE yourself care about things that are outside yourself, the less you actually care and the more stuck you feel. It's not like anything is that bad. In fact, nothing is truly bad, it's all just... fine. When people ask you, "How are you?" Your response is "fine" and you mean it. Things aren't great and aren't bad, there just FINE - and there you are, stuck.
I found myself in just this position the other day. Honestly, I thought to myself, I would rather things be AWFUL than mediocre. My walk with the Lord had gotten to a place that I didn't like. You guessed it, fine. When things have been difficult in life, I have clung to the Lord for dear life because I had no other choice. When I was lost, I needed the good Shepherd. When I was broken, I went to see the perfect Doctor. I have so many memories of trying desperately to learn Spanish or having to plead with the Lord to move my lips to make sense out of the Spanish Bible study I was trying to lead. Dependance comes easy when I was in a new Ecuadorian culture and environment or when I get myself to a place that I literally cannot take even a baby step without falling on my face. But what do I do when I'm living in Dallas, work at a place that I've been for two years and find myself comfortable? I trust myself and life quickly becomes insignificant.
On Sunday, I cried out to the Lord and said, "I don't like FINE!" As we sat together, the Lord opened my eyes to something I had forgotten: to be thankful. These things that seemed ordinary just five minutes before became fountains of praise as I thanked the Lord for the ability to work at a place where I can share the gospel, pray for my amazing co-workers and see the love of Jesus lived out. It just wouldn't stop... how could I take for granted a group of amazing girlfriends who encourage me in my walk with Jesus and love to dig into the Word with me? Where would I be without our amazing Home Group who have stepped into our lives and let us into theirs? This time of praise could not end without thanking the Lord for an amazing partner in ministry. A man who rubs my feet when I'm sick, laughs with me until I cry, and shares adventure with me.

I walked away from this time with the Lord with a renewed sense of gratitude for life and ministry, but still wanting my walk with the Lord to be transformed. Like my friend Rhonda told me yesterday, "When you ask the Lord for something that he already wants to give you, he is MORE than happy to grant your request!" I went to church on Sunday waiting to truly hear from the Lord and that I did. Matt made this statement about the church at Ephesus: They didn't know how to pretend yet. They didn't know how to "play church" and "play fine." If they were lost and confused, they said so. If they were struggling, they made it obvious. As the church, we learn how to pretend. In doing so do ourselves and those around us a disservice. The Ephesians hid behind doctrine and lost their love and affection for Christ. Matt's question was this: Have you lost your affection for Jesus?
I'm choosing not to pretend - my answer is yes. I know how to study and how to dig into his Word (though I haven't been doing it much), but I have forgotten how much I truly LOVE Jesus. So I asked him to change that - to stir up my affection for Him.

In the past 3 days, this is what he has done: He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. (Psalm 40:2)

He has renewed my outlook on life and reignited my affections. Thank you Jesus!

Monday, January 2, 2012

A year with my best friend

Things seem so important in the moment, don't they? Will the wedding cake get there on time? Does my hair look right? What about makeup? And flowers and food and... as I look back to the day I married my best friend, things are a little more clear. I remember the crystal clear moments were my friends stood by me through the freaking out and the falling tears. I remember the people who made sure everything was beautiful and just perfect set in place. I remember my family overjoyed for being a part of my special day. But most of all, I remember my best friend saying I do. The moment we kissed feels like a blur. Walking down the aisle and saying, "We're married!" feels like it was yesterday.
This past year we have gone through a lot of change. We've moved downtown, hit the half-way mark of Seminary, changed jobs, joined an awesome small group and the list goes on and on. But Steven and I are used to change... I hate it, he loves it. We both view it as an adventure. We have definitely been on an adventure our first year of marriage and I can honestly say I've come out of the first year more in love, more comfortable, more of myself than I have ever been with anyone.
I think the thing that has surprised me the most about being married to Steven is how much we laugh and how many inside jokes we have together. In the coming year we are going to have to answer some huge questions together... the biggest being: what's next? Steven graduates, Lord willing in December of this year. After that, we're not sure what the Lord has planned. One thing we are sure of: we're in it together.
So now one year later, the cake, flowers, programs, and dresses seem much less critical. The cake has been eaten (last 2 cupcakes were eaten on December 18, 2011!), the flowers are wilted, but thank God it's not about the details of the wedding that are important, but the strength of the marriage. Here's to 2012 and the adventure the Lord has planned. Steven Andrew Rungaitis, I am the luckiest woman in the world to have you as a husband!