We are the Rucksdashels! I’m Jacki, and this is my dear husband of almost 10 years, Richard. We have two wonderful little loves named Eleanor (7) and Andrew (5). Oh and how could I forget our first baby–the yellow lab we call Evie!
I became a believer my sophomore year at Texas A&M. Before that time I grew up as the “good girl,” a pleaser who found my worth in how I behaved, how I looked, and how well others thought of me. I thrived on earning others affections and love. In college, God’s grace changed my life. Because of His free gift of salvation and unconditional love, I have been forgiven and I’m accepted. There is nothing I can do to earn His love or to lose His love.
I am secure, and as a result, I want nothing more than to love, obey, and thank Him with my life.
I love introducing and sharing Jesus with others. What once used to be a ministry focused towards fellow college students or co workers now has become a ministry to my family. I so desire for my children to know, love, be loved, and find their identity and worth in Jesus. To be transformed by God’s grace, and walk in the freedom He provides. I love to plan, to find creative ways to bridge truth and the gospel with my kids, and to celebrate how fun it is serving and loving God!
This space here is a place for me to share with you the process I go about in working that out…imperfectly. I am a parent who struggles, who screws it up, who forgets the truth that I am not enough but He is. I invite you to walk with me as we point our kids to the One whose love is perfect and the One who is their life.
My husband Richard and I have committed to spending intentional time with our kids in God’s word. We always find ourselves asking, “Where is a book that….?” or “I wish there was a resource that did…” A few years ago we found ourselves asking those questions when it came to finding a way to focus on Jesus’ birth at Christmas. Suddenly we found ourselves saying, “We should do that!”
We had already done the Jesse Tree with our daughter the Christmas before and loved the idea of sharing important stories in the Bible that led to an understanding of why Jesus had to come, why we needed rescuing.
It was a challenge to find something appropriate for younger children. We found ourselves looking ahead at each story and finding ways to tell it to our daughter that would make sense to her young heart and that would captivate her interest. We basically started writing mini devotionals of the Jesse Tree. Some friends expressed an interest in what we were doing and my husband and I began praying about how we could share the Jesse Tree with others.
The following December was when the first Jesse Tree Project group formed. We gathered other families that were interested in starting a meaningful Christmas tradition, wrote and expanded the devotional to include songs, daily stories, and activities to do together as a family, as well as made ornaments to pair with each story.
It was so much fun and I was blown away by the idea that 24 other families were sharing God’s Word together throughout the month of December. That was in 2011, and this past Christmas we had 225 families participating in the Jesse Tree together.
God has been so gracious to let us be a part of what He is doing. He is expanding this ministry not because of what we have done, but because of what HE has done for every single one of us.
We invite you to join us!