Saturday, August 13, 2016

Wandering in the Desert + a Christmas letter in August

My friend Micah introduced a new blogging course a week or so ago. Micah is an amazing writer and knows his stuff when it comes to blogging. I clearly need a kick in the pants when it comes to this, since I've posted practically nothing here for two years.

It's not that I haven't been doing anything, it's not that I haven't been living stories worth telling. It's not even that I haven't been writing (if you count stream-of-consciousness journaling on airplanes and long Instagram captions as writing, which in this season of life, I do). I just haven't been blogging. I haven't been following the sage advice of Anne Lamott: "Butt in chair. Just do it."

So when Micah posted about his Make Blogging Fun Again course, I figured that was a good place to start.

Our first prompt is to write a Christmas update letter. So awesome. Never mind that it's August and 90 degrees out. Never mind that I probably have exactly two readers at this point (Hi, Mom! Hi, Rae!). Never mind that I never really know what to say in Christmas letters even when I have a peppermint mocha in hand and the Nutcracker soundtrack streaming through my earbuds. Never mind all that. Let's go.
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A few weeks ago, I attended the Simply Jesus Gathering in Eagle, Colorado. What an amazing four days! The gathering centered on the life and teachings of Jesus, a stripped-down, non-churchy set of conversations about how people have encountered Jesus. I got to meet and hear many teachers and writers that I have admired for a while, through their books and the fount of wisdom that is Twitter.

One of those people was Idelette, the founder of SheLoves Magazine.

There was a time for conversation and prayer with the person next to you. Just so happens I was next to Idelette. We shared about a little about our current stories, a little about what was being stirred for us so far at Simply Jesus. Idelette asked me, "if you were to describe your life right now in one word, what would it be?" Without hesitation, I answered, "desert." She smiled and replied, "did you know that 'desert' means 'to listen'?" I replied that I did not, but thought to myself, "that's about right."

2016 hasn't been the easiest so far. In January we made the heartbreaking decision to leave the church we'd been part of for five years. In May God called me to step away from my job in yoga ministry, asking me to walk away from two programs I co-founded and couldn't have been more passionate about. In June our oldest kid graduated from elementary school, reminding me that this time with my littles is going way too fast. Our favorite mailman retired. (And Gary the Mailman deserves his own post. Soon, I promise). And the tiny, white puff of fur puppy that the cute roommate of my friend Timmy just adopted in 2001 is now my husband's and my very old dog, losing her sight and hearing and senses and control of her bladder, and every day I look at her and wonder if 2016 will be the year we have to let her go, too.

It's been a lot of loss, this 2016. Zora Neale Hurston wrote, "There are years that ask questions and years that answer." 2016 seems to be one of the former. I keep thinking about what Idelette said to me, about desert meaning to listen. So often there are questions and we want immediate answers. Over the course of this year, I've prayed a lot, asking God to answer me. Where are we supposed to go to church? What am I supposed to do for work? Who is supposed to be our spiritual community? How are we supposed to nurture and support and raise these kids in the way they should go? How are we supposed to know when to take our sweet girl to the vet for the very last time?

God isn't being super forthcoming with the answers. What I do hear is, "Wait. Relax. Be quiet. I'm right here. Listen."

And so I try.

I cling to the story of Jesus in the wilderness. The Bible says that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness. He met the satan while there, but it was the Spirit that led Jesus there. And in those encounters in the desert, Jesus became more of who he was meant to be. He was tested, but was refined by that testing. When he emerged from the wilderness, he was weak, but he was also oh, so strong.

I don't know how long this wilderness season will be. But I do know that I'm being prepared for something through it all. And while I wait in the desert, I long to listen, and to listen well.
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So, that ended up being a lot more intense than what I intended when I sat down to write. Isn't this supposed to be about making blogging fun again? Sheesh. :) 

What I intended to tell you about was:
+ The wonderful online class on creative prayer I had the privilege to lead this winter.



+ Becoming the first Opening Yoga Instructor with Mind Body Solutions, which means I've got deeper training to work with yoga students with disabilities. Yay! (Thanks to my student partner, Kati, for her willingness to learn and partner with me).

+ And being an ambassador for the very first Kids Yoga Day on April 8th.

+ The friends I made out in Arizona in May, who let me lead them in some yoga and opened their hearts to me, and helped me feel accepted, known, and loved.

+ The incredible week I spent in Minnesota in June with my teachers, mentors, friends at MBS, learning more about adaptive yoga and healing the deepest broken places of my heart. (Also getting to see some of my other favorite friends, including Micah!)


+ My oldest going en pointe. Squeal!

+ My middle winning her school's art contest to honor MLK with a poem about unity.

+ My baby losing his front teeth, confirming for me that I am no longer mama to any little, little kids. (Waah!)

+ Our awesome family trip to Ontario, Canada.
In front of the CN tower in Toronto
The Grotto in Bruce Peninsula National Park
Niagra Falls Boat Selfie
+ The way these ladies love and support me, even though we aren't all going to the same church anymore. As it turns out, we all still love the same Jesus.

+ How I am so excited to be a presenter at the National Kids Yoga Conference in Washington DC September 30-October 1 with my bestie and ministry/business partner, Rachel.



+ Oh, and the Simply Jesus Gathering in July. Where I was broken wide open to both the hurt in this world and the possibility of healing as we grow into the people Jesus has made us to be. (Pictured Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist and Out of Sorts and Pastor Ricky Bolden).

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I love this quote by Glennon Melton. "Life is brutal. But it’s also beautiful. Brutiful, I call it. Life’s brutal and beautiful are woven together so tightly that they can’t be separated. Reject the brutal, reject the beauty. So now I embrace both, and I live well and hard and real." 

Maybe that's exactly what this post is about, for me anyway. Learning to see the brutiful fullness of this year so far. If you're still reading, thank you. I'm grateful for your company on my journey.

4 comments:

  1. Wonderful and amazing! God hold you in the palm of his hand while you journey and I will be praying for his comfort and protection. Love, Mom

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  2. Love you - clearly we have a lot to catch up on!

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  3. Also, that ZNH quote is one of my all-time favorites. Not that you're surprised by that.

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  4. Make it three readers. <3 So many of my favourite things in this post. I didn't know dessert meant "to listen". So grateful for women like Idelette, Sarah and Glennon to listen to.

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