Plane Coffee Mom

Chatting about Mission Aviation over coffee

Tag: friendship (Page 1 of 2)

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!

Old while Young

I felt old as a teenager and ancient in my early twenties. My memories of pain-free days as a young mom are few and far between. Now in my forties, I feel younger than I did two decades ago. While it strikes me as strange sometimes, it shouldn’t surprise me. Until my early thirties I struggled with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Every day began with the same mantra, “I can do this. I can make it through another day.”

All that changed with a simple, faith-filled prayer late one night. There had been many simple, faith-filled prayers before that one, but that night God answered in a miraculous way. Things changed. I woke the next morning with energy and a new hope for the day. I’ve been sick, I’ve been discouraged, I’ve been weary since then, but neither the chronic fatigue nor the fibromyalgia has returned. It’s an undeserved blessing, one for which I am grateful every day.

I would hate to return to the fatigue of those years, and yet I would hate to live these years without those experiences. There are so many things I learned in that time that I need every day. God used sickness in a powerful way to dispel my independence and to teach me about prayer. I began to learn about empathy as I lay exhausted on the couch, trying to pay attention to my two-year-old. I had to say “no” more times than I can count, and yet it’s a skill that still comes hard to me. Sickness taught me to value the temple that our bodies are and to take care of myself and others in ways that have proved valuable.

Chronic illness was a school that taught me things I would have otherwise have had no interest in learning. It pushed me into places that I would not have chosen to go. It changed my perception of myself and of others. In some ways, I experienced age before my time and am now given the opportunity to live my real age.

What has caught my attention lately is how common this is. Maybe not the exact circumstances, but the reality that we experience things for a purpose. Today’s trials have every opportunity to be tomorrow’s joys. Today’s hardship is training for tomorrow’s joy, and for tomorrow’s challenges. What we do with today matters, not only for how well we’ll sleep tonight but also for how well equipped we will be for tomorrow and the days, weeks and months that follow.

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?

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