The Basket and the River by Jacqueline Hooks

Jackie Hooks Jacqueline Hooks is our guest blogger today. This is what she says about herself and her ministry:  “I am an everyday ordinary gal who started following Jesus less than a decade ago, and has fallen madly in love with the Carpenter King who saved my life and my marriage.  My husband and I are raising “four holy moly messes” (Jake 10, Jude 9, Grace 7 and Joshua 1).  I am technically a stay at home mom, but I rarely find myself at home, and the soap opera and bon bon life hasn’t found its way into my living room just yet.  I do occasionally allow for a small celebration when all the laundry is clean AND folded at the SAME TIME on the SAME  DAY…and that is typically twice a decade.

In 2012, God called me to begin Pruning Hooks Ministry.  Pruning Hooks is a grass roots group of “Everyday ordinary women serving Jesus allowing their everyday ordinary lives to become extraordinary”. It is a ministry founded on the principal that Jesus wants your daily life, and following Him is a lifestyle of loving and serving and walking with Jesus…no event needed…just a Savior and our hands and feet.   Jesus has called us to serve lunch and breakfast five days a week to Generation One Academy, provide monthly meals to residents of medical housing, love on teen moms in our area, help and encourage single moms and meet the needs of anyone God places in our path. Pruning Hooks gathers each month to listen to an ordinary woman share her Jesus Story which always encourages and reminds us how our amazing God works inside the every day. Because He wants our everyday …plain and simple.

And I write.  Writing has been the tool Jesus gave me from the very beginning of my life to navigate every treacherous road I have walked.  There are boxes of poetry notebooks and short stories stashed somewhere in my mom’s attic to prove it.  My hope is that my words inspire and encourage you to see Jesus in your everyday too.  He is right here waiting for each of us, in the daily mess, hoping we see He wants so much more from us and for us than we could ever imagine.  I pray my writing will lead you to Him.”

Visit Jacqueline’s website at: or like her on Facebook at:

Fingernails[4]I am running late this morning.  We got in from out of town, and I hit snooze 982 times on my alarm which equals about two hours of time, and I woke up at 7am instead of 5:15.  That will jolt you out of bed on the first day back to school after Spring Break.  Luckily, all outfits had been picked out the night before, and the plan was for leftover donuts for breakfast (feel free to judge that breakfast), and the kids had already planned on buying lunch too.  It actually wasn’t a bad morning.  Everyone seemed to move pretty quickly through eating, brushing teeth, finding jackets and shoes.  The baby woke up at the perfect time and he even got breakfast before we were out the door to take the big kids to school.  It was smooth and easy and there were lots of pats on the back reserved for me and my morning awesomeness.

Since we were running so late we decided to drive to school instead of walking with friends.  Waiting in the drop off line is a nightmare.  Always.  People cut in line, hold up traffic, and break all sorts of laws all while trying desperately to get their kids to school on time. I have to turn up the “Jesus Music” super loud so I don’t yell horrible things out the window to the other parents I will likely see in the hall someday.  It’s a crazy balancing act of kindness and stupidity all while keeping your place in the longest line ever.   Jake opted to hop out of the car when we were close to his entrance.  Jude got out shortly after him when we were close to his classroom too.  So, it was just me and Grace and Joshua who isn’t much for conversation at 14 months old.  Grace moved up from the back of the minivan to the captain’s chair.  She looked cuter than cute today partly because she had decided to wear a green frog hat my mom had bought her this weekend…partly because she is missing loads of teeth…partly because she is my girl and she owns a large portion of my heart.  We were talking about her incredible hat when I could feel the tears welling up and spilling all over my face.

“Grace, I love you more than anything.”

“You’re my favorite girl in the whole wide world.”

Ribbit“And YOU are my favorite Mommy,” says Grace.  And she hops out of the car.  Leaving behind the conversation we have pretty often when I feel the tears welling up and spilling over.  Always the same.  Always have to let her know just how much I love her.  You see, I am afraid someone is going to steal and hurt my daughter.  Because someone stole and hurt me.

This is how it feels to be a Mommy who lives inside the delicate balancing act of knowing fear and pain and the reality that bad things can happen to very good little girls, and living in victory with Jesus.  This is my daily tight rope and today, this morning, it feels like fear is going to win and I am going to lock all the car doors, take Grace back home where I can see her every second of every day and protect her from everyone. And I am Jochebed once again.  Making my tiny basket to hold everything I hold dear.  Knowing I will place my baby in a river y’all.  A river.  Knowing I will place my baby in a basket and put the basket in the river.  Some days it feels like too much.

In Exodus 1:22 – 2:10 we meet Jochebed, Moses’ mother (her name is revealed in Exodus 6: 20).  Pharaoh has issued an order that every Hebrew boy born will be thrown into the Nile River, and Jochebed gives birth to a son.  Oh the terror that must have consumed her heart when she saw the face of her precious baby boy, knowing his fate was to die.  And in that moment, of seeing his face, she chose instead to be courageous and brave and bold.  She would hide him.  And for three months she did just that, but there was a point when she could no longer keep her baby hidden, and she began to make a basket.  Coated with tar and pitch.  A basket she must have prayed over.  A basket she cared so completely about.  A basket that she lay at the feet of God hoping that He would have absolute care and control over her precious basket carrying her priceless bundle.  She put her baby inside a basket in a river.  And trusted in God.  And I can’t even imagine the scene at the edge of that river that day.  As she held herself together to not cause a commotion.  As she said a million and four things to insure her child knew how much she loved him.  As the tears welled up and spilled over, and she could not watch and she could not breathe and she could not believe that God would ask her for the basket and the baby and the unbelievable amount of faith required to simply watch the basket float away.

Grace You AreYou see, I am Jochebed.  I am placing my baby, my adorably quirky frog hat wearing princess in a basket every day.  My basket is not made up of tar and pitch.  My basket is made with words of love and encouragement and hugs and kisses…sometimes an annoying amount…because I have to let her know…she has to know how loved she is…in case someone steals her…in case the statistics are true…in case the river is too deep, and the current too fast and the basket goes under…I have to know she knows…

And as my car pulls away from school…

And my precious basket is skipping into her classroom…

God whispers into my ear,



He has the river y’all.  For all of us broken mommies out there…Know this:  He has the river too.  He is carrying that basket we made down the river and He heard every single one of our heart wrenching prayers and He saw every single one of our tears welling up and spilling over and He knew …

He has the river too.

“But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch.  The she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the banks of the Nile.”

 (Exodus 2:3)


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