Honesty

Awhile back, I spent the weekend with a few other moms.  I was inspired, encouraged, and reminded that there is an army of amazing moms out there raising the next civilization.  These moms are intentional, thoughtful, gracious women who care about their families, who love God and are making a huge impact in our culture.  They want to raise healthy kids who are wise and kind, who will make good choices and lead fruitful lives.

Of course I’m aware that this is a big, eternal responsibility– raising children.  I want to do it well; I want to be intentional and I want our kids to thrive, to love Jesus, to make kingdom impacts wherever they go.  But sometimes I start worrying about doing it all correctly so that they’ll turn out right in the end, like a long division problem.  I soon start treating them like that– a problem to solve and fix.

My friend told me recently, “There are no secrets in families.”  I was telling her how I struggle to know how to introduce my children to Jesus, because I have an aversion to the Sunday school cartoon that’s been watered down to a kind historical figure.  My friend was reassuring me that even if I don’t say all the words right, what I truly believe is going to be revealed to my children, if you can call that reassuring.

To be honest, this realization made me lay down the parenting books and get counseling– for myself.  I want to know that what I believe is pure and true and righteous, because that’s what is going to be exposed to my children, if it hasn’t already.  I can say that I believe God is good, but if I complain about His gifts or His ways, do I actually believe He is good?  Opening my heart very, very honestly to a few friends has helped me discover the differences between what I say I believe and what I actually believe.

What if, instead of worrying about how to teach my children that God loves us, I live loved?  What if they believe it because my life has taught them that, on boring days and through dark valleys and on shining mountaintops?  At the end of the day, they will reject or embrace what they have been shown.  But at least I want to know that what they have been shown is pure and true and righteous.

I’m so grateful for encouragement from other moms, for parenting books and mommy blogs and inspiring examples.  I love teaching my children, a little every day.  However, my faith doesn’t hang on my ability to communicate everything perfectly, to set the best rules, to always make the wisest decisions, to follow new, wonderful ideas.  That would be a lot of pressure on me; pressure that would make me overwhelmed and frustrated.

Every day, I learn more about God as my Father and me, His daughter.  I’m in the middle of being a kid myself– I know how it feels to be corrected and forgiven and loved without limits.  I want my kids to go to sleep believing the same thing I believe when my head hits the pillow: I was loved and delighted in today, and I’m confident tomorrow will be the same.

Vulnerability

I don’t know why such uncomfortable things come into fashion, like high heels and skinny jeans– and vulnerability.  It seems vulnerability is all the rage right now and to be honest, I find it so uncomfortable.  Talking about it is easy enough.  It’s the part where you actually get vulnerable and bare your heart that can make me uncomfortable. Doesn’t the word itself sound a bit naked?

I’ve always tried to be a little bit real, but not too real.  I was told it’s dangerous to focus on being real because you end up excusing sin in the name of “just being real.”  You know what I mean?

Recently, Hj and I went with our dear friends to this marriage intensive in California.  We were assigned to a table with three other couples for the week.  At each meal, we took turns sharing our spiritual journey, according to how the Spirit led us.  Monday at dinnertime, it was our turn.

We sat around the table at a funky little Mexican restaurant with these three other couples and Hj started sharing as soon as the chips and salsa came.  He had prayed and heard from God what to share and what not to share.  There was nothing on the “not to share” list.  Hj went for it– he shared it all.

The food wasn’t good.  I cried and wept.  (But not so much about the food.)  And I was thinking, “God, is it really necessary to be so very, very open about everything?”  They listened, and asked questions, and told their own stories.  They heaped rich prayers and prophecies on us.

A few hours later, after I had snotted up a big mountain of tissues with my issues, I looked up into the kindest faces I had ever seen.  “I can’t believe I met you guys this morning,” I said.  They knew the worst of us and yet they saw the best in us.  They heard our struggle and they weren’t afraid.  They felt our shame and they didn’t run away.

 

Brené Brown says in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be really seen.  I wonder, why do I fight that?  Why do I cling to facades and “shoulds”?  What makes me fear letting go of expectations and just being truthful?  I’m talking about the little stuff too; the quirks and emotions that make me unique but I feel obligated to hide them because……?  Why?

We fear disconnection, Brené says, which is a simple definition of shame.  We’re ashamed of our true selves.  “If people knew certain things about me, would I still be worthy of connection?”  Hj and I plumbed the depths of that question that Monday night at dinner, and we came back with a resounding YES.  Those couples didn’t cut us off; they showed us that we would always be loved and belong, not because of the good things we have done, but because God the Father said we are worth it.  When He sent Jesus for us, He declared our worth.  If a painting sells for $2,000 it’s because someone saw that worth in it, not because the canvas and the paint actually cost that much.  When Father said He’ll pay for us with Jesus, He made it clear we were worth that much to Him, not because that is what a curator would actually have seen in us.  This is where our deep sense of belonging and worth are born, I believe.  We somehow know we matter, even though we technically don’t.

I like to think about where that resounding YES leads.  If I carry in my heart the truth that no matter what anyone knows or doesn’t know about me, I am still worthy of love and connection, where will that lead me?  I would love to find out.  I imagine it is a place of deep surrender, where there is only truth.  I imagine it leads to fearless connection in relationships, risks and agape love.  I know it leads to deep, deep, deep gratitude that the God of the universe took time to bend down, pick up a grain of sand, and say, “This one’s mine.”

This is where I am on my journey with God, as I am getting to know Him more deeply and He is getting to deeper parts of me.  I pray you are finding Him just as kind on your own journey.

Packing peanut

It’s about time for us to be responsible and tell you what is up.

We seem busy, and that is an easy thing to do around here. We recently realized that we have been in YWAM for more than a year and we still feel like we are the new people. We are finally getting to the place that we call this place home and it feels that way. One thing that really helped was ripping off our ugly old wallpaper. We got some guy to restructure our walls and I put a beautiful Polar Bear White on the wall. All of the sudden it made sense to put something on the wall and it looked good. Our two hotel rooms became a little less hotel and a little bit more a part of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things at Kairos are going good; we are breaking sales records like crazy. After having some problems with dying fridges and other things breaking down it is good to see that we are moving forward. Our shift manager has quit her job, so me and Ryan are doing everything. We are praying for someone else from YWAM to join our team and bring some new vision in. We are still training lots of people to run their own coffee business all over the world. We had a pastor from New Mexico come and join us for a little while to teach him how to start a cafe at his church. Right now we have Lisa with us who possibly wants to open a cafe in Nepal where she runs a hair salon. Ryan is going to visit a couple that went through training at Kairos and just opened a coffee house in Zanzibar, Tanzania. In April we will get 3 more interns through the School of Business and Entrepreneurship and train them to open their own coffee shop or cafe.

Joy will be staffing that school and I am so excited about it. It is a great opportunity for her to be more involved and help out our BAM team.

Not too long ago me and Joy went to a marriage conference in CA. We had such a good time working on our marriage and learning some valuable tools. I had been feeling a little bit down when it came to my relationship with God and was praying for breakthrough. We spent a lot of the week during the marriage conference listening to God and praying for other people. God spoke to me in some powerful ways. But the real fun came when we came back home and God kept on speaking to me. On the radio, I won 8 tickets to a worship concert and felt quite clearly who to take with. The current DTS was having giving night and I felt to give a certain amount of money to a boy, but I didn’t even know his name. The next day he came to me saying that his outreach fees increased and the money I gave was the exact amount he had to pay extra.
Those are small little things but they help me so much to know that God cares about us.