Plane Coffee Mom

Chatting about Mission Aviation over coffee

Tag: friends

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!

The Christmas Move

I didn’t want to move. Not even a little bit. I was rather happily settled into a comfortable house in a comfortable neighborhood with a stable routine. Things could have just continued as they were. Then there was a windstorm followed by a tree removal. This led to a conversation which made it clear that things were going to change. Immigration issues came to light. Financial concerns got bigger. Employment realities changed.

The house we were in was going on the market. We cleaned up the house and people came to work on it and photograph it and soon people were coming to look at it. No more stable routine. The house was on display and the comfortable status was disappearing. An e-mail assured us we were moving. Only there was, as yet, nowhere to go.

We prayed about immigration and finances. A committed team joined us in seeking God and answers. Friends called to let us know they were going to help cover rental costs if we stayed. Anonymous friends left a cash gift in our mailbox. Someone offered to cover immigration costs and the lawyer assured us the process could move ahead. A check came in the mail. Friends intentionally overpaid for things they bought from us. The whole process was unheard of– we are missionaries on support, and support comes through expected channels. But this was totally unexpected! One by one, the questions we had were being answered, the only outstanding one being somewhere to live.

We took a second look at a house on a Wednesday, got keys on Thursday, and started moving furniture on Friday as we began packing up smaller things. Sunday the pastor mentioned that they were late getting their Christmas preparations under way, and I realized I hadn’t even thought about Christmas. Yet the season was over-shadowed by the move, and we told people we could use some help. We were amazed at the people who showed up with willing hearts, cleaning supplies, and vehicles. Exactly one week after we’d taken a look at the house, all our things were moved to our new house and the old house was cleaned. We breathed a huge sigh of relief, though there was still a large pile of things to move out of the old garage. Soon that also was done and we settled into serious unpacking.

By now Christmas was seriously upon us, just 4 days away. Garry hung two strings of lights, we spent a fun evening chasing down a few gift ideas we’d had for our sons, and then wrapped a few presents. The amazing thing was, Christmas still came. Regardless of how prepared we were or were not, Christmas arrived on schedule, December 25th.

And the reality is, we had an amazing celebration of Jesus. We were amazed at what God had done in getting us moved. We enjoyed family. We relaxed in our new house and were thankful to be warm and comfortable. We made new memories. We enjoyed family times in the new-to-us living room. We ate meals at our dining room table and gave thanks for food and togetherness. We started a puzzle and began organizing photos to scrapbook.

Given other options, I still wouldn’t choose to move over Christmas. But sometimes, the things we wouldn’t choose are the best gifts we could get.

Friends, friction, and prayer

I’ve heard that more people leave mission aviation because of problems with other people than for any other reason. I’ve seen it. I’ve experienced it.  Generally, the friction between my friends and me seems resolvable: there are godly ways to discuss, forgive, and move on. I am ok with agreeing to disagree. I don’t mind if they don’t like all my choices or I sometimes think they could have done better. All in all, when the problem is mine, I feel I have options on how to resolve it. The harder thing is when my friends have friction with one another.

IMG_2841 You know, when one friend quits talking to another friend or shares how upset they are with another’s actions. When friends have issues with other friends. When people’s children struggle. Often I can see both sides of the story, though sometimes I would naturally side with one or the other. But what can I do about their friction? How do I handle their relationships with one another when I value my relationship with both of them?

I’ve had cause to ponder these things, and my pondering have led me back to prayer. Not the prayers we grind out because they’re smart to say, nor the prayers that we utter when we’re at the end of our rope, but the prayers of faith spoken as a powerful weapon, the weapon we believe best suited to the current situation. Often the prayers of faith come only with the passing of time and running out of other options first.

Prayers that come from a deep-seated faith that God wants to answer are always the best option. These prayers are rooted in the promises and commandments of God. It’s these kinds of prayers that change situations while changing us. And it is these kinds of prayers that I find most effective when praying for friends who are experiencing friction. So, while I often take the long way around or the winding path, I find that this is a place where I find resolution and comfort when friends are walking through friction with one another.

This has been my journey, where has yours taken you?

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