All The Ordinary Folks…

Tomorrow I go back to work. Maybe you do to…

I go back to work for another school year teaching precious kiddos. I will begin the time crunch juggle of being a full-time working mom with four kids who has an insane passion for writing and speaking about Jesus. And I will continue the dance of waking up early so I have time to write. And stealing minutes so I can plan for my weekly Facebook Live talks. And thinking and praying on topics when I have a second or two just so I can continue to do what my soul loves, and continue to teach and continue to raise four kids and try my damdest not to explode. And I know I am not alone.

In November, a friend asked me a question. And this question changed my life.

“At the end of it all, when you look back on your whole life, and you’re sitting at The Table in Heaven…Who would you be most proud if you pulled up a chair for them at The Table…Who do you want to make sure they are seated with you at The Table?”

And for me, the answer is…I want the gal who works at Wal Mart to know she has a seat at The Table. I want the bus driver for my special ed students to be sitting with me in Heaven too. I want the folks who are praying for their kids’ picture package not to bounce. I want the ordinary people who are staring at our crazy country and wondering where they fit. I want the folks who hope their gas lasts till payday. The people who know exactly how much their deductible is all the time. I want the everyday you and me who are thinking there are extraordinary people in the world, and they aren’t one of them…they are a nobody really…no one important…The ones who believe this lie and it colors their beautiful life.

The ones who don’t have a dime to donate, time to make a thing from Pinterest, or a breath before they finish drowning each day. Y’all. My people. The ones working their asses off to stay at home with their kiddos. The ones who wish more than anything they could afford IVF. The ones who find their days filled with prayers for everyone they love…and dental bills…and new school clothes…and groceries…and making all the money last the whole dang month…and savings is something so far from reality. This is who I want to see sitting right next to me in Heaven. Ordinary people. Dreaming of vacations someday.

And all the ordinary people…I want you to know I see you. I am you. I know what it is like to sell all your wedding china to buy school clothes for your kids. I have lost a home…mailed back the keys one October because we simply could not afford it anymore. I have prayed for hand me downs for my kids, and felt like the whole world might be right when a friend lost weight and gave me her clothes. I have walked through wondering if my marriage will make it…not for a day or a month…but for a couple of years when things were so dang hard. I have lost friends. I have had my feelings hurt in my 40’s. I have wished I was smarter, prettier, richer, funnier, skinnier, nicer, more helpful, a better cook, a better wife, a better mother, a better person and a way better Christ Follower. I have sat at my kitchen table and cried big old tears long after my family went to sleep because life ached in a way no one could understand. And I have held my husband’s hand in counseling and he has pushed me out the door to go to counseling and we have encouraged everyone we know to go to counseling…because the cost is worth it…and life is too short to let your past be your present prison.

If tonight this finds you and you are at the end of your rope, please know there is a world of folks who would tell you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. And when we are living lives moving mountains with tablespoons, find your people…your person…dig in…hold on tight and know there are others who know life is hard and God is good. And know this space is for you.
My hope is I can find you sitting next to me someday. And I hope I get to tell you how much Jesus loves you. I hope I can make you laugh real hard on a shitty day. I hope I can share my stories of my ordinary life with you, and let you know, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I would tell you God designed you with purpose…And He has a purpose for you on this planet…And believe it…believe He smiled the day you were born. You are doing amazing things. Even if no one knows.

So, let me encourage you, don’t give up. If you’re close to throwing in the towel, hold on just a little bit longer. If your dream seems dead, breathe some life back into it. If you are feeling helpless and afraid of what tomorrow has in store, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You are not forgotten. You are not meant to give up or give in or give way. Stand strong. Be bold and brave and fight the good fight for just a minute or ten more…I believe in you…I believe in all us ordinary folks busting our ass to see the extraordinary moments in the middle of our everyday ordinary lives.

Much, Much Love tonight to all my favorite ordinary people.

2 replies
  1. Jan Ward
    Jan Ward says:

    Oh my goodness, Jackie Hooks, darlin, you are amazing. I’m so fortunate to have the privilege to sit with you and all the rest of Gods ordinary people at the table with Jesus. You inspire me, you remind me that I don’t have to be setting the whole world on fire with mighty works for Jesus. I can continue to love folks in my little corner of the world, but I still have that seat in heaven. God Bless You Jackie Hooks and I’ll pray for a fabulous school year with great kiddos. Love to you and yours always, Jan Ward


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