Plane Coffee Mom

Chatting about Mission Aviation over coffee

Tag: community (Page 2 of 3)

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.

The Retreat

I’ve been to a couple of ladies retreats in my life. These were events aimed at helping women be all they can be, creating community, and sharing encouragement. The strange thing was, the event took me a few days to recover from. Yes, part of it was the work that was left undone at home and needed to be caught up on. I believe, however, that there were other things that left me exhausted at the end of a good time.

We are women, strong and beautiful. And broken. Sometimes when we come together we try to only be strong and beautiful: we try to hide the broken parts. Sometimes the beauty and the quiet reminds us our deep brokenness instead of healing our spirit. And sometimes when we look around a room full of beautiful women we believe the lie that we are the only one who is broken.

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We come together to bless and encourage and refresh, and we do that well. But sometimes there are also judgements we put on ourselves and questions about own value that destroy the blessings and drains us. Sometimes we find the needs overwhelming, and we give at great expense without understanding how to release the burdens to our Father after we have heard them. Sometimes we give and do not take the time to refill at the well of His goodness and grace.

These ponderings have helped me understand what to do with pain and how to find grace, particularly in groups. It has also been a good reminder that using our gifts is a positive thing, but we must also take time to sit at the Father’s feet and be fed by Him. The fact that something costs us does not mean it shouldn’t be done, but rather that we should do it intentionally and with purpose.

And so, I am back at the space where I am reminded that everything worthwhile is costly. And yet, eternity is at stake. So maybe I will attend another retreat sometime. Maybe, but only if it is mine to do.

My People

Since I went to a ladies conference a few weeks ago I’ve been thinking a lot about “my people”. Not the people who are like me, but the ones God has put in my life as a community. I’ve been challenged to invest with these people, these primary opportunities. To focus my energy and attention on the few and let the few repeat the process with their few. And the “my people” has become “our people” as I realize how much we enjoy serving and interacting as a family.

One of the questions we’ve had is, “Who are our people?” Our small family, the 4 of us, is an obvious beginning.  I have a “coffee and chat” friend that I meet with weekly, and she is definitely one of my people. There’s a group of 4 older students that come for dinner and to chat every so often, and they seem to fit squarely in our circle. Kaleb’s good friend Dylan and his family have walked their way into our hearts and lives, becoming part of our circle.
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Beyond this, it is not so clear. Garry has a group of people at Moody, but are they our people or his people? If we say the Moody aviation community, what does that look like– staff, students, or both? There is a Moody ladies group starting, is this somewhere I should invest, are these my people that I need to connect with? There are opportunities at church, but are they my opportunities, my people?
When I try to figure it out, it’s hard to figure. When I trust God to do His work, it seems easier. People come into our lives, and some of them take up residence. And maybe this is how people become our people, as if by accident rather than by choice. Maybe in some ways we do not choose this group, but they choose us. Maybe this is a place where faith is bigger than intentionality.
Your thoughts?

Wondering & Revolution

My grandmother used to say she was tormented in her mind. These days I feel with her, the nagging doubts, the questions, the wondering. In her case, I don’t think she knew the way out. In mine, I know. I must simply take the journey that it requires.

The journey? Looking the doubts, the questions, the wonders in the face and telling the truth about them. And then, living the truth. This moment, this day. And if getting from here to truth is a journey all its own, I take the first step.
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What do I wonder? I wonder about world poverty and the distance between affluence and starving. I wonder about how many clothes are in my closet and how much food we consume every day. I wonder at the millions of things we have access to and the way we use them.
And I see that there are things that can be done. And at some level, I think we must first take care of our own: we must live responsibly in our small circle. We must invest in people in ways that matter and provide what those closest to us need. We must set priority for the generations: a way of thinking and living that can outlive us.
This process of living well is living one step above those surrounding us, maybe. Maybe it is feeding our family healthy food, a value that can be repeated by neighbours and friends. Maybe that is followed by whole, local foods that enable the local small businesses to survive. Maybe this step is accompanied by building community where God calls us…. living with abandon for the least of these. Enabling them to not only survivie but pass on what they learn and what is invested in them. Maybe it grows to volunteering locally.
And maybe worldwide change is powered by our personal revolutions: because our revolution will lead some in our community to actually go overseas and repeat the process. Maybe what God says about the family, the church, and the state is actually true: we grow world leaders in homes with real families and real neighbors and true friends. And for each of us, our circle can grow organically and the world can be changed. Maybe.

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