Learning Curve

Photo Credit: Roger Arleryd

Photo Credit: Roger Arleryd


Bob Jones, the prophet came to our church a couple of years ago to share what God had been showing him.  Our church was packed with people, some had driven from out of state just to hear him speak.

And I don’t remember a word.

Correction: Of the entire weekend, I only remember one thing that he shared.

“When we stand before God, he’s going to ask us one question. . .  ‘Did you learn to love?'”

That resonated with me and through me – you know like those Looney Toones characters when they got smashed with cymbals and they reverbed into the next week.

Uh,that was me.

“Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’

“These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock.

“But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a stupid carpenter who built his house on the sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards.”

When Jesus concluded his address, the crowd burst into applause. They had never heard teaching like this. It was apparent that he was living everything he was saying—quite a contrast to their religion teachers! This was the best teaching they had ever heard.

Matthew 7:21-29 (The Message)

We can’t learn to love without God

God is love

And we can’t get to God without Jesus.

So, I’m still reverbing through life.  But it’s a good reminder of what really matters to God.  In the most simplest of terms we are here on Earth to learn to love.

And the best part is, Jesus gave us the cheat sheet to the test.

And then to top it off we’ve got the Holy Spirit to help teach us what that looks like against the backdrop of our own personal giftings and situations.

So, if you’re wondering what this life is all about.  What’s the purpose behind it all. . .it’s that you’re back in school.

The School of Looooove.

You’re here to learn how to love God and how to love people.

And that’s gonna look a little different for each one of us and that’s okay, it’s supposed to.

There are some people that are amazing artists and if they painted a picture for God, it would be a treasure.

Me, it would be a train wreck – for me that’s not love.

It’s a root canal, for me and God.

For some people it’s being out in nature, riding a horse and just talking to Him.

The last time I rode a horse, I fell off. . . backwards. . .and then got stepped on. . . twice.

It was not an expression of love.

It was an expression of pain.

But for me, to write is an expression of love.

I’m safer here in Starbucks than on a horse and I can’t offend anyone with my bad choice of paint strokes here either.

So, if you’re looking for the meaning of life. . .remember it all comes back to love.




Do you wanna know one of the things that I love most about God?


This is gonna sound stupid if you’re one of those confident people.  Always self-assured, never-self doubting.


I’m not, (deep inhale) but here it is, one of my most favorite things about God.


I love his human side.


That yeah, he is sovereign and good and righteous and all of those things.

But he’s also so down to earth.


Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Philippians 2:5-8 (The Message)


I read this and instantly I think of all the things I should be.








But then I realize, I’m totally missing the point.


I’m glossing over all of the humanness that he is.


He gets it.

He knows what it is to be human.


To breathe, to feel, to ache, to laugh, to love.


He knows.



There is this amazing God which we love to canonize, immortalize, and worship but we’ve sucked all of the relatability out of who God is.


I’m guilty too.


I get caught up in the supernatural stuff.

And yeah all of that is important too, but never as important as knowing this part of who he is.


I mean, aren’t there times when you want, no need, to come to God as a friend.

Not approaching him as the Supreme Being of the Universe (echo, echo, echo).


And sometimes not even as a Father.

But just as a friend.


Guess what?

He wants that too.



The God who holds worlds in his hands, can change the course of history with a breath, is raising the dead and healing people even as I type this, has a very secret part of him that wants to just be known.  Not for what he can give, but for who he is.


How many of us can say that we know God?


We know about him and his ache to save humanity.

We’ve seen what he can do.

And how he can change a life.

But when was the last time we just sat and chatted with him like an old friend.

Not wanting anything.

Not wanting anything but just to be with him.



I heard P. Diddy in an interview one time talk about feeling lonely.

He said that when you are rich and famous – people stop seeing you for you.

Only for what you can give.





Right now, there is a war between an overgrowth of dreams and the relationship that sustains them.

And if we’re honest, couldn’t we say we want our dreams more than we want to be with God.

I know we all want answers to our prayers and direction for the next steps in life.

And the frustration is palpable.

But God knows we need those things – he’ll give them when it’s time.


But for now – in this moment, it’s a season of just being with a friend.

Not for what he can give but for who he is.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard a song sum up all of this as well as Jen Johnson does.  I’ve got it linked at 3:39 but really, the whole song is right where I’m at.  Check it out.

A Little Longer


Photo Credit: By TanteTati, permissions through C.C. by 2.0


My story


Thought I’d share my story tonight.

I’m not sure why, except that our stories are important.

They help others to know they are not alone.

They can inspire.

They can give hope.

But most of all, they show the brush strokes of a God who puts all the pieces together of our brokenness into something beautiful.

I grew up with a deaf, schizophrenic mother.

And because of my mother’s mental condition, my dad and I suffered, for a lot of years.

My mother had times when she would do really well, but I remember more of the times that she wasn’t.

She was suicidal at times.

Homicidal at other times.

You were never sure, what to expect.

And most of it, I’d be happy to forget.

But because she wasn’t well and was hospitalized for so much of my childhood, I began living with other families.

I lost a lot of my identity.

Because that’s what a stable family gives a kid, a healthy identity.

And mine was well, shattered.

And here is a really good place to interject that if any kid needed a good healthy identity, it was me.

I was the kid with buck teeth and huge, I mean, HUGE glasses.

I had aviators before they were cool.

And as if that weren’t enough, I had the stereotypical Asian bob haircut. . . and I’m Asian.

It’s just wrong. Wrong, I tell you.

And no, I’m not going to post pictures.

My parents later divorced despite so much effort from my dad to keep the marriage together.

My mother moved back to South Korea and I learned to bottle up everything I was feeling.

Because that’s really what growing up is all about, learning the art of stuffing your emotions somewhere dark and deep.

I grew up well with that mindset, until the year that my mother was murdered.

She was murdered, beaten to death by a pastor.

She had confronted him about money that had been embezzled from the orphanage where she worked.

Her body was left in a ditch.

And believe me, I know this sounds crazy.

People don’t really have lives like this, unless it’s on t.v.

And even then, they get paid lots of money to have terrible things happen to their character.

Me, not so much.

But this is how my life unfolded and I’m telling you now, how it happened to me.

Fast-forward through about 10 years of guilt, fear, and general floundering through life and I found myself in a strange place.

I couldn’t bottle up my pain anymore.

It was leaking out through all sorts of really unhealthy ways.

I had a wall, a moat, and a man-eating crocodile around my heart.

No one was getting in.

But all my pain was leaking out.

You know, like some gross puss filled scab.

A puss-filled scab with a wall, a moat and a man-eating crocodile around it.

And I found my saved, Christian-self in dire need of a new type of salvation.

An emotional salvation.

I needed Jesus in a whole new way.

And I found out that it was not as painful to trust him with healing the darkest places of my childhood as it was for me to bottle it up.

Now, I gotta tell you. I had had some emotional healing in the past.

God had done some pretty amazing things even.

But this was different.

Things that had interwoven themselves with who I thought I was, were being unwoven.

So, and some of you know this part, I felt like I was supposed to start writing.

To start writing down everything I could remember from my childhood.

And I did.

And things began to make sense.

And I stopped stuffing.

And I started leaking from my eyes instead.

I cried.

And I cried.

And I cried some more.

I cried a lot.

Which makes me sound like I’m a big pansy.

Maybe I am.

But I’m an emotionally healthy pansy now.

So there, ha ha!

And I kept writing, you know, when I wasn’t crying.

When I got to a place that I couldn’t think of anything else to write, I thought to myself.


And my self said, “What?”

I said, “Self, don’t interrupt. You should write a letter to Korea. You know, to the orphanage where your mom was and ask if they have any belongings of hers or any details from her life.  Because well, closure is good.”

And after a lot of hemming and hawwing and more donkey-like behaviors from me.  I was finally convinced by friends and family to send the letter.

Weeks passed and I got a letter back.

I opened the envelope and 2 pictures of my mother fell out along with a letter saying that my mother was still alive.

Whoever had been murdered 10 years ago, was not her.

Mistaken identity.

I felt like I was on the Truman Show.

Another 8 years have passed since that letter.

And a lot of letters and packages have gone from our house to Korea.  And from Korea to our house.

And while things are not perfect, I am amazed.

Amazed at how God can take everything.  Even the parts of our stories that we thought were over and redeem them.

I guess that’s why we call Jesus, Redeemer.

My favorite story in the whole Bible is about Joseph.

He was sold into slavery by his brothers, taken to a foreign country, accused of sleeping around with his boss’s wife, and thrown into prison.

That’s poopy.
I don’t care who you are.
It’s poopy.

But after everything, he becomes the Prime Minister of the most powerful country in the world.
And when his brother’s come to his country to seek aid, this is his response.

Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid. Do I act for God? Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now – life for many people. Easy now, you have nothing to fear; I’ll take care of you and your children.” He reassured them, speaking with them heart-to-heart.

Genesis 50:19-21 (The Message)

God takes poopy and somehow makes it into a story worth telling.

He’s good at this kind of thing.

So, I’m not really sure why I’m sharing all of this with you tonight, except maybe just to say. . .

Your story isn’t over.

Jesus is still redeeming stories, all the over the world.

All throughout history.

For all types of people.

You and me included.


Photo Credit: “Typewriter” by tsg1, permissions through C.C. by 2.0

What Life Really Looks Like


I heard it today.

Or saw it, maybe is a better way to say it.

I saw it in my kitchen.

Did I tell you, I’ve got a magical spot in my kitchen?

Well, I do.

And it’s mine, all mine – except when the rest of the house wakes up, then it’s just a chair and a little brown table.

But for the few minutes in the morning that it’s mine – it’s life’s little sweet spot.  My chair, my table, my Keurig and some peace and quiet.  I usually read my Bible or a good book and drink my cuppa joe.

And for those few moments, it’s mine – all mine.

This morning, I was praying in my magical little spot.

And I was asking him, what I should be building in this season.  https://joyceackermann.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/sisu/

I’ve been feeling like I should continue to do what I’ve been doing: focusing on building up our family .

No mom, I’m not pregnant.

I meant, spiritually speaking.  You know, character building, relationship strengthening, identity shaping stuff – not buns in the oven stuff.

So building up our family, continuing to write, and incorporating more intercession into my daily life.

That’s pretty much it.

Nothing incredibly exciting.

It’s the stuff I’ve been doing.

All things I love, but definitely nothing new.

And so, I was asking God for specifics on way I could put those things into practice and what his take was on everything.

And a mini-movie of Jesus getting really excited about this season of building, started playing in my mind.  And his excitement was contagious.

And he was jumping.

Jesus was jumping.

Like a kid on a trampoline.

And he was laughing.

Sounds crazy, I know.  But this wasn’t me, remember “all the same stuff” was how I was looking at it.

And trust me, my coffee was not that strong.

But this is how God speaks.

He catches us off guard and loves to surprise us, if we’ll let him.

And I got to see a glimpse of what a season of building looks like from an eternal perspective.

So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.

Colossians 3:1-2 (The Message)

Jesus was excited.

Like jumping up and down excited.

And maybe this sound sacrilegious to you, but I promise you that God always puts things in pictures and words we can understand.

I live in a house with 3 kids and a beagle, jumping up and down only means one of two things: 1. super-excited or 2. I gotta pee.

I’m pretty sure it was number 1, no wait, not that kind of number 1.

Number 1 as in, Jesus is stoked about this season for you and for me.

So tonight, I’m hoping that you can see heaven’s perspective for where you are.

It’s not lack-lustre.

It’s amazing.

Take some time to look up.

Ask him to show you what this season of your life looks like from his perspective.

If you’ll let him, he’ll surprise you.


Photo Credit: “Jump” by Unsplash, permissions through C.C. by 2.0

Bound yet Free

We live an odd life as Jesus lovers.

We are free.

We are bound.

Free in our creativity, our expression, our choices.

Bound in our love to each other.

And I think most of the time the free in me is not at odds with the part of me that is bound to you.

Except. . .

Except last week, I found myself staring at our family calendar and found myself wishing desperately for a paper bag to breathe into.

All of the things I “had” to do were slowly creeping into the life I wanted to be living.

And I thought back on last month and realized I had started developing some weird twitches.


I’d be in our mini-van rapidly switching radio stations looking for the perfect song.

Don’t knock my mini-van – they’re the new black.


I’d had this monster craving for Doritos.

No mom, I’m not pregnant.


I found thoughts slipping into my day, whispering things like “What am I supposed to be doing?” and “What am I really supposed to be doing with my life” and the kicker, “Am I slacking? Should I be doing more?”


And more than anything else, I was tired and running on empty.


The only thing that seemed to satisfy was the Doritos.


But that only lasted for like 5 minutes.


Everything else I found myself running to felt like stale chips.

My very full, very fulfilling life suddenly became exhausting and empty.


And of course, this all takes place like a silent movie.

I had to step back and read the subtitles to understand what my erratic music choices and cravings for Doritos and questions about identity were trying to tell me.


I had gotten a little selfish with my time.

No, not hoarding piles of quiet time all to myself (sigh, I wish).

But not really considering that the gift of quality time is one of the best gifts I could give to those around me.

And I know that the enemy always tries to attack my calendar first.  Tries to get me running from obligation to obligation because it wears me down.  It distracts me from truly loving you.

And then, everything goes a little fuzzy and suddenly, I can’t quite remember what I’m doing here anymore.

Kinda like when you walk in a room and pause.  Wondering what you came in there for in the first place.

I was here for a reason. . .what was it?

So, the free in me is not at odds with the part of me that is bound to you.

I like you.  I love you. . .except when I get a little selfish (dude, get your own bag of Doritos) and truthfully, nothing makes me more selfish than when I’m tired.

Worn down.

Distracted by the minutiae of life.

And as I stared at our calendar, wishing for a paper bag and now, some more Doritos I realized that somehow our schedules had filled up with really good, well meaning things but nothing that really satisfied.

I had run out of energy for the important things.

The specific things that God has asked of me.


I had gotten suckered into the lie that I needed to be doing more.

And it’s dumb, but I find myself here, like every 9 months or so.

Realizing I’ve done it again.

Gone running with the butter knife, when I knew darn well I should be walking with it.

And it didn’t end well.

For me or the knife.

And so I took my blunt,bent butter knife and cut a few obligations and whatdya know, I can see my way forward through the haze of Doritos again.


It is absolutely clear that God has called you to a free life. Just make sure that you don’t use this freedom as an excuse to do whatever you want to do and destroy your freedom. Rather, use your freedom to serve one another in love; that’s how freedom grows. For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom. If you bite and ravage each other, watch out—in no time at all you will be annihilating each other, and where will your precious freedom be then?

My counsel is this: Live freely, animated and motivated by God’s Spirit. Then you won’t feed the compulsions of selfishness. For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day. Why don’t you choose to be led by the Spirit and so escape the erratic compulsions of a law-dominated existence?

Galatians 5:13-18 (The Message)


What is that God has called you to?

I’ll give you a hint. . . it probably isn’t more ministry.


Gasp, oh no she didn’t.  Did she really just say that?


Yes, yes I did.

Remember my last post?

Dauntless, baby.

M’kay, maybe a little sprinkle of Candor too.


What is it God has called you to?

I know for me, it took awhile to remember the answer to that question.

What do I know that God has asked me to do?

Staring at my calendar I had to take some time for reflection.

Did my litany of things I just had to do line up with anything God had told me to do?


Was I giving my whole heart to my hubby?

Yeah, guess I didn’t push him off a train.*

I must like him too much.


Was I giving my kids my undivided, unexhausted attention?


Was I writing?


Was I making an effort in my relationships to stay in touch?  To be the one who initiated actual conversation.

So I nervously started making some cuts and saying no to new things that came up.

I started untangling myself from the obligations and started coming back to what was essential for me and my relationship with God.

And my relationship with those around me.


My schedule looks a lot less cluttered, kinda like my head these days.

And I’m not there quite yet but I’m feeling nice enough to share my Doritos with you again so that must be a good sign.

Just don’t lick your fingers and stick your hand back in the bag.

That’s so gross.

What? I said I wasn’t quite there yet.



*please refer to last post before calling the cops. . .and, umm, maybe watch the movie too.

Outside the Faction

Can I just say, I loved, like seriously loooooved, write it on a notebook like a highschooler, L-O-V-E-D the movie Divergent.

And come on, lets face it, I’d totally be Dauntless.

(Quick movie recap from the author, Veronica Roth: “In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.”)


I live a crazy life.

I’m 32 and I still drink my coffee full strength, even after 5 pm.

I’ve got 3 kids all under the age of 6.

And, I drive a mini-van without a spare tire in the back.


Need I say more, I’m Dauntless, baby.


Jason says, I’d be Candor because I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut.

He’s probably right but since I think I’m Dauntless, he’ll pay for it later.  Maybe he’ll have to jump off a train or something.

I do have a point tonight.

I think.

Oh yeah, it’s this.

Don’t forget to live.


Christ has set us free to live a free life. So take your stand! Never again let anyone put a harness of slavery on you.

I am emphatic about this. The moment any one of you submits to circumcision or any other rule-keeping system, at that same moment Christ’s hard-won gift of freedom is squandered. I repeat my warning: The person who accepts the ways of circumcision trades all the advantages of the free life in Christ for the obligations of the slave life of the law.

Galatians 5:1-3 (The Message)


Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in a faction of Christianity.

I think we all do.

There are rules to keep.

Right ways to live.

Wrong things that shouldn’t be said.

Order that has to be kept.

And the truth is, it’s stifling.


Like choosing only one faction to live the rest of your life in.


But rules were never the point.

Jesus set us free so that we could live. . . free.


But the truth is, I don’t know how to live a life free.

I’ve been conditioned to follow rules.

We all have been.

And when God goes a little bit quiet in my life I tend to grasp for rules.

You know some sort of order.

I get sucked back into a Christian-faction mindset.

I suspect you would never intend this, but this is what happens. When you attempt to live by your own religious plans and projects, you are cut off from Christ, you fall out of grace. Meanwhile we expectantly wait for a satisfying relationship with the Spirit. For in Christ, neither our most conscientious religion nor disregard of religion amounts to anything. What matters is something far more interior: faith expressed in love.

Galatians 5:4-6 (The Message)

And so I guess it comes back to trusting him and living a life of love.

That’s how we do this freedom thing.

And that’s the thing that keeps us held together.



The Hangover

Yesterday I was hungover. . .

oh so bad, hungover.

You see it all started about 5 months ago.

I was praying and asking God how in the heck do I lose the baby weight from the ywins (pronounced yah-wins).  You know twins born a year apart, ywins.  Yeah, I love my girls but they forgot to take their extra baggage when they were born so I was left with an extra 15 pounds.

So anyways, I was praying and asking God what would be the best way to lose the weight.

And yeah, if you aren’t praying about this kind of stuff, you should.

God is a pretty smart guy and he cares –  because it matters to us and we matter to him.

So, I was praying and asking.  And the cover of a book that I had seen at a store kept coming to mind.  This book was all about cutting wheat out of a person’s diet and the reasons why.  It should be said, that up until then I had never read the book.

So I read the book and found it incredibly easy to cut out wheat.

Like crazy easy.

Like God-was-totally-involved-in-this-because-I-really-love-Panera easy.

And so that was last Fall and since then I’ve dropped those 15 pounds.

Which was awesome and did I mention – easy.

But here’s where I got into trouble.

These days, I live on veggies, fruit, meat, & Nutella.  But my major staples of diet are eggs, these awesome crackers made from almonds, and cheese.

So Tuesday, I was busy running errands and forgot about eating dinner.  Except on the way home my stomach reminded me and all I could think of was I really want to eat some cheese.

It should be noted that I am not one of THOSE asians.

I can handle my cheese.

So I stopped at the store and picked up some smoked Gouda and some Brie and some aged cheddar and some Welsh cheddar all to the tune of $20.

I know, I know.

So then, I run home and the hubby runs off to church for Men’s Group and I’m left with 3 wide eyed kids asking for goldfish crackers for their snack before bed.  So I’m busy feeding the kiddos snacks while trying to eat my cheese and crackers (dinner).  I think I ate like a pound of cheese. And after tucking everyone in for the night, I went to bed happier than a mouse in a cheese factory.

But then Wednesday morning came.

And ohhhh, did Wednesday morning come.

I sloshed out of bed.

My organs hurt.

I think my vision might have been blurred but that might have been from sleeping in my contacts.

I just wanted sunglasses and a laxative or 3.

I had no idea that it was possible to have a cheese hangover.

Lemme tell you. . .it’s like reliving those bad memories from college and having a baby – at the same time.

And I know you’re all wondering how I’m gonna tie a cheese hangover into something encouraging, you know something that points you to Jesus.

If you’ve ever had a cheese hangover that’s all the pointing you need.

I promise you, you’ll find him.

But, I realized somewhere in my cheesy haze that I had the faith to lose those 15 pounds.  I trusted that God was speaking, I trusted that I heard him, and I acted.  That’s faith.

What I was lacking, was wisdom.

Here’s where I find I trip myself up sometimes.

I am a smart girl.

No really.

I was a straight A student, in gifted classes, took Physics, Chem, Biology, Calculus  – you know those classes.  Plus, I wear glasses.

But sometimes I get so caught up by having faith and living by faith that I forget about wisdom.

And I think that in the church, I’ve seen people line up on one side of the fence on the debate of Faith vs. Wisdom.  It’s like a cage match and everyone is taking sides to see which wins.  But the truth is, Wisdom and Faith – they were meant to be friends.

These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
    David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
    to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
    for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
    and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
    still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
    the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women

Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
    only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.

Proverbs 1:1-7 (The Message)

Did you catch that last part – yeah verse 7?  Start with God.  That’s faith.

Wisdom without that foundation of faith in God is just a bunch of rules  – no fun.

Faith without wisdom – can leave a person really disappointed when God hands the reigns over to them after he’s shown them the ropes.

Ya gotta have both to really learn how to walk with God.

So in cheese hangover terms, faith was how I lost 15 pounds.  But wisdom is how I’ll keep it off, you know by planning my meals ahead of time, taking care of myself, and provided I use some wisdom to stay clear of the cheese cooler at the grocery store I’ll stay cheese-sober for awhile too.


I mean, sometimes a girl just wants some cheese.

Toddler Gangs

A two year old made me cry yesterday.

Correction, make that a two year old and a one year old.

And two classifies as a gang, in my book.

So a gang of toddlers dropped down on me yesterday and they yelled at me and drooled on me and wouldn’t take their naps.


They are my kids and yeah, they made me cry.

First time, come to think of it.


I’ve got a two year old and a one year old that have just come out of the flu and well, let’s just say crabby doesn’t even begin to cover it.

And I’m a little tempted to feel sorry for myself and agree with the feeling that I’m a bad mom.


But the truth is, I’m not.



Far from.

But I need to remember that I do a lot of things right when it comes to my kids too.  They are transforming into the people they will become, in part because of me.

My kids are learning to like vegetables.

My kids love people and they pray for the world.  (No really, they ask Jesus to “give everyone a hug, even the people we don’t know”)

My kids are hugged everyday by me.

My kids get to experience new things like the zoo and trampoline parks and museums (but only the fun ones).

My kids, most importantly, know they’re loved.


But I’m really tempted to beat myself up for having a rough day yesterday.


Come on, you do it too.

We’re all tempted to give in to the occasional pity party.

But it’s a party down a dark alley that usually leaves us passed out behind some gross smelling dumpster.

Not a good time.


But my sister reminded me of a verse the other day.  (Thanks M.!)

God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!

Lamentations 3:22-23 (The Message)


Today is a new day. 

His mercies are new every morning. 

You’re not a loser. . . unless you lost a game of Scatergories or something last night at a holiday party.  Then you might be a loser but it’s okay, God still loves you and he’s got a fresh batch of mercy for you.  He baked it up fresh like those tasty cinnamon rolls at the bakery.  Oh yeah, those gooey, yummy, cinnamon rolls. 

You know what I’m talking about. 

That’s God’s mercy. 

For you and definitely for me today.

So how ’bout you and I dust ourselves off, get up, and try again?






Ahhh. . .the crisp crunch of leaves underfoot, the smell of hot apple cider carried on the wind, the appearance of the elusive, upper lip caterpillar.  It could only mean one thing.

Movember is here.

For those of you unfamiliar with Movember, let me be the first, although I’m sure I won’t be the last, to highlight the holiday season that we have now found ourselves thrust into.

It is a season of testosterone.

Hairy, Furry, Fuzzy Testosterone.

It is the month where men everywhere sprout facial hair to spur on prostate health awareness.

And men everywhere have embraced their inner, um, fuzz with the same creativity and care that love struck artists have used to paint women.  I’m talking hours shaping, primping, and grooming the space of face found between nose and neck.

Yeah, it’s kinda a big deal.

And the styles range from the wooly upper lip caterpillar famously sported by Tom Selleck to Scottish long beards to Biker Chops . . . and yes, everything in between.  There’s the Evil Villan ‘stache, the Artist, the Gotee, the Hulk Hogan, The Zorro, the 5 0’clock shadow, and the list goes on and on.

Men have taken facial hair to a whole new category of creativity.

And I’ve got to say, I’m feeling a little inspired.

Don’t worry dad, I’m not going to embarrass you by showing up at your work with a fake mustache glued to my face.

Or am I?

But it has gotten me thinking about originality and creativity in sharing a common message.  I mean who would have thunk that it was possible to do facial hair a thousand and one different ways?

Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-19 (The Message)

So Jesus gives us a general overhead message that needs to be shared.

That he is the hope of the world.

He is here to heal us.

He is here to deliver us.

He wants to be our closest friend.

But then, he just kinda leaves it open ended.

It’s like getting a bunch of guys together at poker night and telling them that they need to raise awareness about prostate cancer. . . oh, and they should use facial hair to do it.

And I think we’ve panicked at times because our spiritual facial hair just doesn’t grow the way that that guy’s does.

Or we have these weird patches where we can’t grow hair and so it was just never our fate to grow Biker Chops.

And so we bail out on sharing who Jesus is to us, because we aren’t very good at talking to people.

But we can’t miss out on our part because our fur grows a different way.

But maybe, just maybe, you’re an artist and your paintings show Jesus gave you hope out of depression, maybe you use your tattoos to share your story of how God saved you from a hard core addiction, maybe you write poetry about no longer being an anorexic because you found absolute, unconditional approval in God, maybe you write a blog every week about how anal you used to be and how God is continually teaching you how to chill out.

Talking about Jesus used to freak me out. 

Not because I was embarrassed of him but because I was always wondering if I was sharing my faith “the right way”.

But besides loving Jesus, you start by simply by caring about other people and wanting them to  know and experience how much God loves them.  And then you just kinda let it flow through whatever follicle pattern you’ve been given.  For me, it’s writing, because God and the rest of the world knows that it is nearly impossible to string together a complete thought, let alone have a conversation with 3 kids under 5 hanging on your legs saying “Mommy” a million times in succession.

But whatever talking about Jesus looks like for you, it was never meant to be awkward.

Take a deep breath and remember, your mission is not to sell Jesus.

Movemeber would be seriously cheapened if it was all a scam to sell prostate insurance (that’s actually a funny thought though).

You aren’t a pimp and Jesus isn’t something to be pushed on people.

Talking about Jesus should be like Movember. . . natural, creative, and fun.


Photo Credit:”Cigar” by Ryan McGuire permission through C.C.

The God of Graham Cooke

I’ve been listening to a Brit lately.

No, not of the Spears variety.

He’s a he.  Not a she.  And not a Spears.

I don’t know how I’d never heard of him before, but I just wasn’t that cool, I guess.

Some friends from church invited us over for dinner and we sat around talking about this guy from across the pond named Graham Cooke.

And how he has this amazingly close relationship with God.

I was intrigued so I bought some of his stuff from iTunes and listened to him.

I swear to you, he changed my life.

Or maybe just my perspective.

You see, the thing is – I love God.

He is everything amazing and good.

And I talk to him daily.

Because God and I are tight like that.

But then this guy Graham Cooke comes along and when he talks about God he makes me want to know the God he knows.

When Graham talks, you feel the presence of God and you just know that God is good and kind and loving.

He talks about Jesus and he does it sounding very British and it makes me wish I was British, because maybe that has something to do with the close relationship Graham has with Jesus.

Maybe, I should start praying with a British accent.

I’ll say things like “that’s brilliant” and “‘ello Lord, ‘ets me.”

Problem is, I can do a British accent for all of 15 minutes before I crack myself up.  So I guess it’s good that God loves half-Asians too.

I’m not talent-less in the accent department though, I can do a pretty awesome impression of a Chinese take-out joint.  Check it out:

“You wanna Pesi wit dat?”

“How about some flied lice?”

If you’re trying not to laugh because that was so inappropriate, it’s okay.  You can laugh.   I’m Asian and I used to work in a Chinese restaurant.  I give you permission.

But whether I’m pretending to be British or just being my half-Asian self, I find myself wanting to know the God of Graham Cooke.

Uh, Joyce, isn’t Graham Cooke’s God and your God the same one?

Well yeah, technically – but the depth of relationship he shares from makes me want to know Jesus like he knows Jesus.

He talks about conversations they’ve had, cool adventures they’ve gone on, miracles they’ve seen and done.

And I want that.

And I want other people to feel that same way when they hear me talk about God.

To experience the closeness of who he is.

To know that God is not the bully that church history has made him out to be.

That God is passionate and cares about what we go through.

I want people to see how I live my life. . . and read the words I type. . . and hear the words I say. . . and be jealous for that kind of relationship with God.

Jealous to the point of asking the God of Joyce Ackermann to be their God too.

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.

John 3:16-18 (The Message)

I have to read that twice, because the first time it brings up memories of angry pastors talking about the destruction of the world and trying to scare people into loving Jesus.

But the second time I read those verses, I realize that the God of Graham Cooke is also the God of Jesus.  The one that loved us enough to save us from the downward spiral of this life.

He came to save us from our broken hearts, our hate, our depression, our pain and a life without belief.

And that makes me want to know the God of Jesus.

The God that is a Father to those who trust in him.

And I think that this is what Jesus had in mind when he sent his disciples out.

He wants humanity to look at us and say with jealousy, I want to know their God.