Plane Coffee Mom

Chatting about Mission Aviation over coffee

Tag: friendship (Page 1 of 2)

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?

The Story Week

This week has been a week of stories. Telling stories. Hearing stories. Watching stories unfold. And once again, I have been impressed by the power of story to impact lives. The power of a story to point us to Jesus and the things He is calling us to. The power of a story to help us grow in community and understand the hearts of our friends.

I started the week with some stories. After all, I’d been gone nearly a year, and I knew that “How’s Spokane? What’s happening with you?” would be frequent questions. So I thought about it, about what has happened in the last year, in the last months, in the last week. And as I thought about it, my story became clear. God was up to something, and we get to be a part of it in very specific ways.

IMG_1851The questions I’d been asking in the middle of our move found answers in the forming of the events into a story. I was reminded of the questions and I realized many of them had been answered. And as I pondered, I got more excited about the story I had to tell of the last year.

Throughout the week I’ve told the stories of what God is doing again and again as I’ve met various friends. And with each telling, my excitement about the reality of my life has increased. I think they were encouraged also, because I heard many amazing God stories this week. (And yes, there were stories that are still unfinished also, stories that do not yet have a clear ending, stories that have pain and chaos and questions.)

And I realized that it is not only the stories we tell one another that change us, but also the stories we tell ourselves. The ways we interpret what is happening has a significant impact on our response and the eventual outcome. The stories we tell ourselves about our past are part of what determines our future.

And the best part of this story? We get to choose what we tell ourselves. We get to interpret what happens to us in the light of the truth of God, and that choice makes a difference.

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