Season of Quiet - The Story of Jackie Shives

Season of Quiet - The Story of Jackie Shives

by Haley Juhnke

Jackie Shives is gifted in spiritual direction and focuses on encouraging others, especially women, in their walk with the Lord. She has a calling to journey alongside others as the Holy Spirit conforms them to the image of Christ. She is married to the love of her life Caleb, and delights in her role as a mother of their two young daughters, Annabelle and Gloria. 

Season of Quiet

When Jackie stepped into motherhood, she was working full time but found herself facing constant disappointment in what she could provide. It felt like her role as mother and her responsibilities at work were at war. She was feeling a sense of angst and failure. Jackie felt called to stay home with her first-born daughter, Annabelle. The pace of life of staying at home was out of her comfort zone, yet she realized how important it was and that it was just what she needed in this season of life.

Her daughter Annabelle is now 3, and baby Gloria has joined them. Jackie continues to embrace this season of being home with her daughters, saying, “I absolutely love it!” even though it was not something she ever imagined for herself. When she felt God calling her to be at home, she reluctantly said yes. Jackie wrestled with fears that she wouldn't be able to use her gifts . . . that God wouldn't be able to use her, or she couldn't serve others—which she discovered was a total lie. Jackie replaced that lie with the truth—she was doing good work.

God had shifted Jackie’s audience from groups of 300 to her family of four. She noticed how quiet it felt and began to wonder, how is God going to use me? God led her to embrace that any work He calls His children to is holy and sacred, regardless of what it looks like. Jackie reflects, “I think I knew that, but I didn't really know it. My husband Caleb and I started to pray and ask God to show me: How can I be intentional in our community? How can I still find ways to mentor or to pour into women? How is it going to look? What can I pay attention to that You are calling me to?” Jackie discovered that her calling hadn't gone away, it just looked different in this season.

As Jackie continues to be obedient to her calling, God continues to reveal growth in the quiet places. While parts of her days do not feel quiet at all, the pace she now keeps feels more quiet. She has transitioned from being a person who goes, goes, goes all the time to one who is beginning to embrace a slower pace, one who is slowing down in her relationship with God. This has allowed her to be relieved of the heavy expectations she had placed on herself. She now slows down with her girls, and slows down with her husband to sit with one another and visit.

Jackie shares, “The quiet is an uncomfortable place to be, but I think it's becoming more comfortable for me. I think that change in me probably started way back in seminary when I was going through my formation and soul care program. They would have us go on silent retreats for four hours. And I was like, what am I going to do? Really? I couldn't even bring my Bible. They didn't want you to bring anything. They wanted you to just be with God. It was so jarring, but it makes you just sit and listen. While that's an extreme example, I think it was an experience that had me jumping-in-the-deep-end, and it has given me tools that are now incorporated into my daily life and even into the way we raise our kids.”

She continues, “Caleb and I both try to observe the girls. So instead of trying to insert ourselves into their play and feel like we need to comment on everything they're doing we just try to sit back and observe—What are they drawn to? What are they exploring? We really just watch them. I think God does that with us too. He involves himself, but He also watches and observes. He likes us to explore and learn. He's not going to just tell us things because we don't learn as well if we do it that way. I think the same is true with our girls. We just try to observe and that slows us down, and it also makes me not feel like I have to do all these things to help them develop—they're naturally learners.”

God is revealing to Jackie how to continue to slow down for herself in how she uses her giftings and talents, as well as within her relationship with Him. Slowing down to spend time with God has become a discipline. Her time with God has shifted after having Annabelle and Gloria and now she connects to God through not “doing” so much with Him. She carves out space to have quiet without anyone else around, whether that is during nap time or before anyone else is awake. Jackie will find a space in the living room to sit with a word: right now her word is Emmanuel. She thinks about how He is God with us and how that describes Him. She doesn’t journal, she just closes her eyes or finds something to stare at like the twinkly lights or the fireplace. If distractions come up, she gently reminds herself to return back to the word and reflect on it some more. She practices this for around ten minutes and feels like it makes the rest of her day more calm as she welcomes the day with a peaceful mindset. Some days her time with God may be reading a devotional or sitting with a scripture verse and coming back to think on it later in the day or reading something with the girls.


Planting Seeds

In this season, Jackie often prays, “God, show me where I can use my gifts and serve You as a mother to our girls. Because they are a part of my calling too, I'm journeying alongside them!” The calling of motherhood has really been beautiful and fulfilling. Jackie considers: How am I showing them God every day? How am I helping them become who God has made them? How can I shepherd them? As their mother, Jackie recognizes the abundant opportunities to plant seeds in Gloria and Annabelle's hearts. She will talk about Jesus and read books to Annabelle and Gloria in addition to finding natural ways to talk about God and faith.

Jackie delights in watching her oldest, Annabelle, in this fun age of understanding the world and God. “She puts her hands up when she hears a worship song. She knows when it's a worship song, she'll note it,” Jackie says with delight.

Caleb and Jackie also host a life group every other Sunday. They have volunteered with their church to provide this space, and in this setting, Jackie will find herself asking formational questions to help draw people out when they say something and sharing encouragement for them to just be present in that space.

Last summer while Jackie was nursing her newborn Gloria, she felt God share with her that she needed to do a retreat for women. Feelings of excitement and happiness washed over her as she thought about how beautiful it could be to help connect women with God in that space. The following Sunday, the pastor at her church preached about serving others and even said he wanted messages and emails to flood his office with ways that God is prompting them to serve.

Jackie decided she would present this idea that God had laid on her heart—the need for a retreat for women who wanted to become mothers someday, were currently pregnant, or were deep in the season of having children. She met with the church staff and they were on board to help make the event happen just four months later. Jackie never imagined she would have done a retreat on motherhood, but God opened the doors. “When you're obedient to God, He will just do things that you wouldn't have known or you wouldn’t have expected and it's really beautiful.” She had never met some of the participants prior to the retreat, so it was a sweet reminder to be intentional and more aware of who is placed within our world and take advantage of the opportunity to plant seeds of faith in their hearts.

Mentoring relationships have been a rewarding part of ministry in this season for Jackie as well as she offered to mentor students from Sioux Falls Seminary. She acknowledges that her decision to follow God’s nudge to stay home has provided the bandwidth to be present to this opportunity. She knows in the past she likely wouldn’t have been able to offer that space. It’s been an honor for her to come alongside each student’s interest in formational things and soul care, which is Jackie’s sweet spot. Since she has been through a similar program and had the chance to walk that road for years now, it has been a gift for her to share that wisdom and help other people discover what it looks like for them. She also acknowledges that the humble journey of pouring into one soul can be a powerful way to serve. Even though mentoring is another quiet calling, it is something she has really loved.

Within this space, Jackie is helping others discover that they don't always need to be learning and doing—there is Sabbath, and there is an importance of rest, quiet, and reflection. “When you spend time with God, that's the time you're being transformed. He's the one that can change us,” she reflects.

Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction helps people develop their personal relationship with Christ, while continuing to work on themselves. One way to view it is as a formal form of mentoring.

Jackie got involved in spiritual direction through her education at Denver Seminary. As students, they were required to see a spiritual director. In the beginning she found herself curious and even surprised at the tears that would accompany those meetings. She found it comforting to sit with someone who was committed to paying attention, prayerful attention, to her relationship with God. Her director would ask, “How is God moving in your life? How is your soul?” It helped her take the time to discover His movement within her days and to provide the silence to listen for those answers from within. Jackie cherishes giving this gift to others because of the deep appreciation of that gift within her own life.

“At the time, I was grieving my dad's death in a different way. I was newly married and we were living in a completely different state. So there were just a lot of things that I was figuring out and God was growing me. To have that space for spiritual direction was really good for me, so that's why I think I love it so much. I love offering direction to other people, because you're not teaching them and you're not telling them what to do or what to think. It really is a space where you are opening them up to what God is doing in their heart. As a director, I prayerfully help others create space to discover what God wants to show or reveal to them. Maybe He just wants His child to know, I am with you in this and I'm not outside of it. That can apply to your grief and your sufferings, your trials and your joys, the hard and the good . . . God is present. I think it's really transformative when we can see our lives as integrated with His spirit. ”

Jackie has offered direction to others one-on-one for six months up to a year, and she has offered the space to people at retreats through one-time experiences.

For those new to spiritual direction, it can be different to be welcomed into a space with a lot of silence and an emphasis on prayer. At first, it can be kind of hard, but as people orient themselves to the space, they realize how much they have been in need of the quiet. As they work on themselves, they are working on their relationship with God.

Jackie shares, “A lot of times the two are so interwoven because He made us, and really knowing ourselves is really knowing Him too and vice versa. John Calvin said that true knowledge and wisdom is knowing God and knowing ourselves and you can't have one without the other.”

Jackie Shives is grateful for the ways that the practice of spiritual direction and the quiet with God have helped her know a deeper and more secure identity in Christ. To connect w


Love Legacy Featured Article first appeared in Volume 14.

Haley Juhnke, founder of Love Legacy values life stories and captures them through a lens of love.

Love Legacy focuses on serving individuals and families that are holding tight to the realization that life is a time-sensitive gift. Whether this reminder has been through loss, grief, or a diagnosis, Love Legacy is willing to step into challenging spaces to capture genuine stories and emotions. Our life stories are significant, and Love Legacy aims to document the most important things in life before it is too late.

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