l e n t :: day33_path

day33_path

The Road Not Taken

by Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

What path are you choosing?

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l e n t :: day27_spirit

day27_spirit

an oldie but the best representation of spirit  ::  Raena J, circa January 2015

Raena is thoughtful and creative.  Shy but attention-longing.  Bright and cunning.  Strong and willed.  Spirited.  All of which cause challenges almost daily.  All of which initiate the greatest gut laughter.  I would not be surprised if Raena became a world leader, a quiet poet, a famous dancer, a stay at home mom, or a ground-breaking scientist.  Her potential is limitless.  But my, parenting her is a difficult experience.  She challenges me, she finds my weak spots and she pushes those buttons.  Since her birth, I have grown more as an individual than I thought possible in these nearly 4 short years.  A college professor of mine often said we students would know nothing of sacrifice and surrender until we were married and had children.  He was right.

Spirit is strong but spirit is also knowing when and how to surrender and sacrifice.  Raena will someday start learning, the way I continue to as well, how to point her gifts and spirit for other-betterment and not self-achievement and success.   She’s a beauty.

How is your spirit growing?

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

l e n t :: day10_love

day10_love

Love means that I find your needs and wants as important if not more important than my own.  Perhaps at first that sounds a wee bit selfish, but I am being honest.  How did I know I loved Jeff?  His happiness became inherently more important than my own.  How do I know I love my dearest friends?  When they’ve had a bad day with their kids and I’ve had a bad day with my kids, I’m willing and wanting to go to their home, rock-a-bye a screaming babe, and wash their dishes.  Love isn’t losing yourself, but it is the daily crashing into other human beings and asking “Are you ok?” before checking your own wounds.  And when I think about it, I guess I don’t really love that many people, not in practice at least.  I need to work on that.

How do you love? 

If you want to read a bit more on love, my dear friend Caitlin Boersma wrote a beautiful piece including a summary of a challenging talk by Jen Hatmaker on loving like Jesus.

l e n t :: day4_injustice

day4_injustice

Justice can only exist when we stop building fences.  When complacency and apathy and American self-preservation and arrogance take a back seat (or perhaps jump completely out of the car) to compassion, empathy, a true embodiment of the Golden Rule, and the permeating concept of us FOR them verses us OR them.  When we decide that the war against slavery is worth more anger and awareness-spreading than the downfall of church décor and repetitive worship choruses.  When we realize that if we opened our doors to orphans that there wouldn’t actually be any orphans.  When we would value things (and vote for them with our dollar and lifestyle!) like healthy food and smart healthcare over entertainment and having a house as lovely or as large as our neighbor.  When poverty or OHMYWORD sin wouldn’t just disgust us but bring us to share and love and invite and pray and dance with more than just our better-than-ness.  I realize that I am a wee bit frustrated today but frustration is most often what moves us to action.

What frustrates you?  What injustice will move you to action?

Murky Clarity || More Transitions #IFLEAD2015

My hope was not left unfulfilled.  If you offer God your everything, God will joyfully pick you up, shake you up, take what you have offered, and expose more than you thought you had to begin with.  Well.  At least that is how I am experiencing it.

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The IF:Local Leaders Gathering created space for me to listen to the Lord.  Many people, especially my mom, continue to ask us: What is your purpose here?  Why are you back on the farm?  We have had no answer.  Sure, we’ve received a variety of words and of course we have desires but no real answer.  Make a lot of sense, right?  We’re not odd at all.  But, like I shared earlier, I had great hope for revelation during these last days.

It came.

And now I feel heavy.  I feel urgency.  I feel great responsibility.  I feel fear.  But I am grateful!  I came with a question (or 153,628,000 questions) and I came home with answers.  Last night, I shared into the late night hours with Jeff, my parents, and my mother-in-law, Liz.  While it was great to share, it seemed they didn’t quite understand the depth of the…words.  How do you explain such intense clarity that isn’t a program? that isn’t a how-to?  that is years of story and experience and desire and fear rolled into an intense culmination of vision and reconciliation and restoration and yet, still incredible fear?  That once again is — watch out! Change is a coming.  Not everyone likes change.

Perhaps my language was poor.  While I obviously started this blog, I do not consider myself a writer.  I am not gifted with words; I’m just a sharer.  I have no desire to figure out life alone and I want to invite others in to comment and encourage and prune.  Dangerous, sure, but necessary.

Or maybe, it’s not meant to be understood yet.

As the days roll by, I’ll share what I believe will be direction for our family-for our little unit and for the folks who call this farm their home.  I should probably make sure Jeff and I are together before I share with the e-world all that’s on my heart.  🙂

But before I sign off–Margie, Rebekah and Caitlin: Thank you for words of encouragement and for reminding me of love.  You get it.  And few will be able to approach the changes I feel I am about to embark on the way you will, and have.  I feel heavy but you help carry the burden, in a unique way. Thanks for being my team! You were already lighting fireworks before you even got home.

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And to the staff, board, volunteers, local leaders, and friends of IF:  Thank you for exhausting yourselves to push us toward the Lord and true discipleship.  You encourage us by example to do anything.  I appreciate your stories and hearts and continual pursuit of real life and bringing folks to Jesus’ ways, words, and works.  Thank for you sharing with us great tools.

Psalm 126

When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
    “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

Restore our fortunes, Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them

Here we go! #IFLEAD2015

Today is the day! Months of anticipation approaching their climax as I taxi down the runway: first stop Minneapolis to pick up some good friends from the Mitten, second stop Orlando for the IF:Local Leaders Gathering.

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Back in May, my dear friend Caitlin and I were calling back and forth onthe phone, having a bit last minute decided that we were going to try and snag some tickets to this event.  At that time, I didn’t know where I would be living come September or have any clue what finances would look like but we did it anyway.  Another one of those anythings.  God grabbed two more dear ladies from our IF:Holland leadership team and we booked flights and rooms.  Oh my.  Then this morning, I woke at 3:44, kissed my babies and said so long.  Now, the plane rises with the sun and the peace and joy are overflowing.  Steady, heart, steady.

The journey to today has been surprising.  The week after we moved to the farm, IF:Equip began a study of the beautitudes; each week we focused on one verse.  What an awesome reminder of how we are to live in relationships!  I loved how each week seemed so timely: reminders of grace when I was frustrated, or mercy when I saw pain.  There are no coincidences I guess.  Being at the farm has been tough — learning how to navigate the waters of relationships that have been long distance for at least eight years is not easy.  NOT easy.  My parents have been close friends to Jeff and me for years, but our family of four disrupts very particular rhythms.  Plus, we can be messy. 🙂  I love how God provides the words we need for our various seasons.

Then, a few weeks ago, IF:Equip began a study of Nehemiah in preparation for IF:Pray tomorrow night.  Nehemiah was an interesting man!  What amazed me was how he did nothing without first approaching God is prayer!  A good reminder.  Nehemiah, in good favor with a foreign king during a time of exile, was given even greater favor to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city of the Israelites.   He rebuilds, againts foes, gathering the community of God’s people, listing them by name over and over and over.  I love this image of community.

For tomorrow, I have unexplainable hope.  A night dedicated to prayer.  A little back story: as Jeff and I prepared to move to the farm this spring in a whirlwind, many people prayed over us and the farm.  We believe God was calling us back to the land of our family.  Words of healing, restoration, growth, unity, living dirt, permeated prayers and prophecies.  We believe God has great plans and desires for this land we’ve moved to in ways we cannot even imagine, that my Grandpa did not imagine, that parents have yet to imagine, and we want to step into that promise without fear or hesitations.  For those of you who don’t know, Healthy Homestead, my Mom and uncle’s business that operates on Grandma’s land, was named after 2 Chron 7:14:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Thus the name, HealTHY Homestead.  This land, and our family, is in need of great healing.  Unity, community, humility, grace….are lacking. So I send an  invitation to my family, and now to you who support us, near and far: join me in calling on the name of God, humbling ourselves, seeking Him who gives all good things, to interrupt our lives of security, independence and self-sufficiency and let us dive more deeply into relationship with God, where no part of who we are or how we live is left untouched by His influence, His love, and His truth.  Join me, in the name of Jesus, demanding that the devil release his grip on our hearts, relationships, and on this land.  Like the Israelites in their exile, we are ready to return to God to rebuild what He has given us – each of us individually important in the communal restoration, rejoicing in the Lord.

I have great hope.  More to come soon.