Plane Coffee Mom

Chatting about Mission Aviation over coffee

Tag: #choices (Page 1 of 3)

The Ladies

Today I remember how coffee and tea sat in front of us while conversation swirled between our lives and our thoughts. We fired questions and shared events and stories.  Conversation slowed as it moved toward the changes God was making in our hearts and asking us to make in our lives. Both the volume and the speed of the conversation fell as it got more personal. The book study had grown out of a desire for mentorship, and times together had grown a trust and openness between us that was simply good.

These are amazing young women, the kind of people every one of us wants to have as friends. I can’t believe that I’ve been privileged to walk life with them to the degree that I have. I can hardly believe that God has allowed me these times of fellowship and this insight into growth. I am humbled by the fact that they trust me with parts of their hearts and space in their journeys. I’ve enjoyed the fervor of youth. I’ve been reminded of the joys and challenges of the first year of married life as we’ve met. I’ve gained insights into life and faith. I’ve heard God stories and shared some. God has rebuked my lack of faith through them and reminded me who He is through our times together. These times are a good gift, given by the Father of Light.

It all began with a tentative, “Maybe just you and I could do coffee one day?” from Madison. We’d met her husband and his friend when he did some work in a house we were renting. We were new to town, missing our oldest son we’d left behind, and determined to step into life and relationships.  He and Madison were dating, and after a few conversations he asked if he could bring her with him so we could meet her. One introduction led to another, and we found ourselves with a few college-age friends that were willing to join us for an occasional supper. Over the next couple of years the guys married their girlfriends, some of the girls moved away, and we gained two young couple friends whose visits brightened our days.

We met for coffee soon after Madison’s question, and she asked if we could invite Jess and maybe do a study or something. Jess was barely back from her honeymoon the first time she joined us, and the group was three. Madison chose a book which we all enjoyed, then we chose another. I watched newly weds complete a year of marriage, then another. I grew and saw them grow. Life happened, and we met to discuss it. I knew they’d eventually move on to the next place, but it took me by surprise when I realized the date of their departure was within a few months.

As these ladies prepared to move on to the next place God called them to, I was reminded of my own journey and the many hard goodbyes I’ve said. I was excited for the next step in each of their journeys, but I knew I’d miss them. We said our goodbyes one sunny day, and still I miss them.

I’m thankful that God orchestrated our paths crossing, and that each of us chose to engage with one another. I’m reminded that opportunities don’t last forever, and God gives each of us specific opportunities for specific seasons. I know there will be other ladies in my life, but there won’t be another group like this one… I’m so thankful I enjoyed this season!

Potential and Destiny

I’ve been going through a book called The Cure with a couple friends. The book has been good, and the last chapter in particular caught my attention. The authors talk about the difference between potential and destiny: potential being what we can accomplish with our talents, hard work, and dedication and destiny being what God has in mind to accomplish through us. In fact, this chapter came in the middle of various other conversations and information that also focused on similar thoughts. And when the same thing comes up again and again, I have to think about what God may be saying.

img_3514I’ve been pondering this thought in relation to right now and in relation to the past. Right now we are facing some changes as the house we’re renting is on the market. Reaching for our potential begs me to look at every available option, to make lists of what we need and want, and to focus on finding a perfect place to live. Walking in God’s destiny, or focusing on His destiny for me, calls me to quiet trust and patience. It seeks God and spends time asking Him for the perfect house. It scours ads and networks with friends with calm assurance that the house is there and it will come to light clearly. Destiny allows me to continue focusing on the people and tasks that God is calling me to instead of being consumed by the current issues.

As I reflect on the past, many of the same things apply. Do I interpret my past in terms of destiny, what God was calling me to, or in terms of potential, how my efforts and talents have paid off? Do I try to figure out whether I could have done better? Do I take credit for where God has brought me, or do I give Him credit?  I have been humbled by consciously interpreting the past in light of destiny, how God has brought about the impossible through normal, needy people. And it’s not just my past, it’s the past of my parents and my children. It’s being reminded that we are but a small part in an epic tale that God is writing, being amazed that we have a part in this epic tale.

And these thoughts give me deep hope for the future and grow my faith that God is creating something beautiful. Following Him leads me to His perfect destiny for me. Seeking Him is always the best option, obedience always key. I may not understand how this particular part of the path has meaning, but in God’s economy it is important. It may be that hidden in today’s mundane tasks is opportunity of eternal significance.

Arrived?

I awoke this morning exactly where I’ve wanted to be, the place I’ve worked so hard to journey to, the destination I have run, walked, and crawled toward. The place that has made bloody knees and  broken hearts worthwhile. The tree that is finally bearing some fruit.

And suddenly, I am not so sure. The journey has been amazing, and grueling and costly. But now that I am here, there are new battles to fight, new problems to solve, and new insecurities to prey on me.

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Where am I, exactly? It’s hard to describe, but maybe the correct word is “belonging”. I’ve moved enough times that I know the routines, and each time the newness gives way to routines and strangers become friends. The risks I took in reaching out to new people eventually begin to bear fruit, and relationships are born. Instead of being an outsider, I become an insider at some level, in some circles. I find a place in the circle where I can offer the things that God has so graciously gifted me with.

In the beginning, you reach out at every opportunity, and many of those efforts pay off at the same time. And so instead of asking God to open doors you begin asking Him to close a few. But each door already has a part of you inside, and the closing is painful, so instead of allowing a door to slam, you shove your foot inside, leaving a crack. And then you battle your way through managing all the doors you’ve propped open with a foot, an extra jar of homemade soup, a hand, or a well-loved shoe. This battle becomes deep enough that you discuss it in the second person, as though it isn’t you. As though it isn’t me.

And then I come back to the basics of God and life and love: not all these paths are mine, and it is ok if doors close to me. I am a part of the Body, and there is nearby, and likely willing, someone who is gifted to walked through some of these doors. Only some doors are mine, only one path is meant to be traveled by me. The others are yours. Or someone else’s. So, in this place where I’ve finally arrived, I choose to settle in and live in the rooms, on the path, designed for me.

My story, your story

It’s strange the way a story grows, the twists and turns it takes. It’s interesting to read and incredible to hear. Living the story is sometimes another matter. In my story, I’ve often wanted to skim the present, skipping to the end of a scene, the resolution of a problem, or the closure of a conflict. Yet when I look back at my story, each part of life that I wanted to skip was as full of joy as it was of sorrow, and each chapter of joy contained sorrow. It almost seems that one cannot exist without growing the other.

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And while my story has had its difficult questions, harder still are the questions that arise in my boys’ stories, harder to wait while they resolve their conflicts and harder to stand by while they make choices. And my friends stories, while unique, are also similar. We laugh and we cry, we hurry and we linger. We worry and we trust.

I look back and think how sensible faith would have been or was. Yet in the moment, faith is hard. It’s always hard. Not because I don’t believe God has this situation, but because I’d like to control it. I’d like to call it before it happens and understand the outcome for better planning. So, I often choose to fret.

Hope is another choice that is an obviously good option. Yet despair knocks on the door of my mind. Fear of the future seeps in and I forget that I know the end of the story. The end is good. Perfect, actually. And in this moment, for this situation, I can choose hope.

And the greatest of these is love, the easiest option to let go when things get tough. I want to hole up in my problems and misery, but truth says that love is a better choice. Instead of looking out only for myself, I can look out for other people also. I can choose to reach out instead of wishing other people would make more effort. I can choose to act kindly and humbly.

Faith, hope, love. They all ask me to take a longer view of the pain and the tears, to read the story as though I already know the ending. I do, after all.

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