Barn Boots and Blessings

Finding God in the Junk Drawer

A much-needed reminder to ‘watch for God’

by Donna Frischknecht Jackson 


God spoke to me the other day.

I wasn’t standing on some mountaintop. Nor was I lying prostrate on the floor. I wasn’t even kneeling in the quiet of the old sanctuary of the little rural church I serve. There were no candles flickering nor Gregorian chanting in the background setting the stage in which to hear the Divine One speak.

There was nothing holy going on at all when God spoke to me…in my kitchen, while standing in front of junk drawer.

You know the junk drawer. That drawer filled with items you don’t want to throw away because, hey, you just never know when you might need that lone screw that came from something you have yet to discover is wobbly and missing one.

God spoke to me the other day.

In my kitchen at the junk drawer where squished in the back corner of the drawer I found a relic from a vacation bible school from years gone by.

It was rubber bracelet with the message “Watch for God.” Every year at vacation bible school, the program chosen for the children gave the option of ordering these bracelets. I was always supportive of spending the extra money on them because the message to watch for God was one I wanted the children to be constantly reminded of.

The extra cost was worth it. The kids loved the bracelets and even after vacation bible school was a fading memory, I would spot the children out and about on the football field, practicing the latest cheers, kicking a soccer ball, heading to school with backpacks burdening their little backs, wearing their “Watch for God” bracelets.

Every now and then a child would spot me, smile and wave, and then point to the bracelet and give me a thumbs up. I would return the thumbs up and if the child was in earshot I would say, “Keep on watching!”

Keep on watching for the God moments are all around.

I believed what I said to the kids. But lately, I have forgotten to keep my eyes wide open to how beautiful life can be. I’m not talking about watching for the beauty on the surface of things. I’m talking about how I have forgotten to watch for the beauty amid the ugly. Watch for the strength to come in the moment of incredible weakness. Watch for glimmers of a bright future in an aging congregation. Watch for ways in which God is calling us to be a new kind of church. Watch for moments of grace when a Sunday service just doesn’t go as planned. Watch for the multiplication of fish and loaves when the the church treasurer laments there just isn’t enough.

God spoke to me.

In my kitchen. From my junk drawer.

God reminded my anxious heart to keep watch; all will be well. God reminded me to look up and smile; greater things are yet to come.

I slipped the bracelet on my wrist.

Thank God for junk drawers.


Rev. Donna Frischknecht Jackson, interim editor of Presbyterians Today, is a former NYC magazine editor who traded in her heels for a good pair of barn boots when she was called to serve First United Presbyterian Church in rural Salem, New York. The little village sits on the Vermont border. She hopes to get chickens and goats one of these days. Till then, she writes, edits, preaches, tries to garden, quilts and shares the funny and moving moments that comes with being a rural pastor on her blog  Drop her a note at