April 2017 Newsletter

April 2017
MOUNTAIN HAVEN- MINISTRY AT A GLANCE

Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $7,100.00 and Monthly Revenue Received: $1,877.00 Remaining Need:  $5,223.00

Current Ministry/ Ranch Projects: 1.) Chris started another Journey’s group in conjunction with her work at Family Crisis Center. There are 7 members and it will be a powerful group.

2.) Last month we shared that Mountain Haven is in need of one-time donations to supplement the monthly support in order to continue to stay consistent with the budget, complete projects and maintain the property. We have a few projects you can sponsor if you would like:

                        a.) The final shower in the retreat area downstairs needs to be completed.  We need to pour the floor, and tile the entire enclosure. (about $3,000)

                        b.) The tile in the entryway needs to be pulled up and reset, it is cracked and broken in multiple spots. (about $1,000)

                       c.) A deck needs to be built in the back retreat area to put the hot tub into and a cover needs to be purchased for the hot tub. We also will be building a wood boiler designed to heat the hot tub exclusively so it will be available for  retreating families and couples when they would like. (about $3,500)

                       d.) The rock needs to be finished on the two corners of the house. Most of it has been applied by students or by us, we would like to hire those last little bits out so the exterior of the house will be complete. (about $4,000)

                      e.) We need to purchase a corn pellet stove for the retreat area and install it.(about $1,000)

 f.) We are continuing to pay for our cabinets which are installed and look exquisite. (still owe about $2800)

Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened Last Month: 1.) Kevin and Chris went to Israel to visit our dear friend Robyn and fulfill a lifetime dream of learning more about Israel. It was an amazing, intense trip. 2.) Lilly performed in a dance competition in Denver, she danced in two numbers and did really well.

Top Prayer Requests: This is sexual assault awareness month, pray for our sexual assault survivors. Many have not dealt with the scars of the past and need support and understanding. I have the privilege of walking along side many of these fierce people in their journey to reclaim themselves.

Reconciliation

Newsletter April  2017

There is a lot of conversation about the themes of forgiveness and reconciliation. How are they really different? Do they act differently in relationships? I would say yes they do. Forgiveness is an act that one person can do alone, whereas reconciliation requires an exchange, of sorts, between two people. Let’s look at the greek words for reconciliation, and explore deeper how it can work in your marriage and other intimate family or friend relationships.

The Strong’s Concordance tells us the greek word is katallasso. The many meanings from scripture are “ to change, decisively changed, or exchange, coming to the same position.” Whereas forgiveness is a one man show. It merely requires one person to exonerate, remit, have mercy upon, or grant pardon or absolution to another person. There is not a part the other person plays. There can be and the hope is that there will be. But the deeper question we must ask ourselves in marriage, friendship and family is what relationships do we need to pursue reconciliation in and what relationships can we merely forgive from a distance, and continue to forgive until the heart of the other person experiences change?

When Kevin and I divorced, we both had a lot of forgiving to do. We had hurt each other deeply in the marriage. We had betrayed, abandoned, abused, and rejected one another. Miraculously Kevin experienced an encounter with God in a way he never had in any church or religious institution. It was in the garage of the home he was building while we were divorced. He was in one of the most broken states he had ever experienced and he knew God was wooing him; with no condemnation for his broken life and terrible choices. There was a change, a decisive, obvious change in his life. He then went on to exchange his angry, hurting actions for actions of surrender and obedience, he reconciled himself to God. In doing that, we got really lucky and his change affected me deeply and I saw something I hadn’t seen before. Genuine repentance and evidence that he was no longer going to live a selfish life; this deeply affected me in the midst of my own selfishness. As Kevin poured out his forgiveness to me for all the ways I had hurt him in our first marriage, and took responsibility for asking me to forgive him, I was changed deeply and a reconciliation occurred between us. We exchanged our old life for this new life. We were reconciled to God first, and we exchanged our old belief system about God for a new one that allowed us to experience His love fully; subsequently that allowed a reconciliation between us.

It is not always so. I tried for years to forgive and talk to my father before he died, I wanted to understand our childhood and all the things that had happened. I pursued him through conversation, visits, and letters; I believe I truly forgave him for abandoning us and not being what I desperately needed in a father. There was, however, no reconciliation. There was no mutually shared or exchanged relationship between us. There was just me granting forgiveness multiple times even when I didn’t want to. Me choosing to pardon him, have mercy on him, or release what I thought he owed me. Had there been mutual reconciliation to God, and then each other I know we would have shared many, many years of closeness and laughter. There wasn’t and that has left a deep hole in my heart.

It is important for us to always be willing to experience mutual change with a person who has hurt us, but we must also come to terms that it may not occur with some people. It takes “mutual” change and responsiveness to experience a life giving relationship. However, we can still have hope because we are given the gift of forgiveness and we are always able to grant forgiveness to others without bearing the weight of their lack of responsiveness to that gift. All too often I see people go into condemnation when a relationship cannot get better, or the other person won’t really change. All you can truly do is receive forgiveness from God for your own broken, messed up actions, attitudes and beliefs and in response grant others forgiveness based on that. If they continue to hurt you, abuse you, stay stuck in their behavior, or blame you for things you have repented of, there must be difficult choices to make about how/if to continue the relationship. We cannot be the agent of change for another person, we can be a living example of forgiveness but we aren’t designed to take the weight of their anger or hurtful choices.

This is a delicate understanding and we must make sure we don’t become doormats while simultaneously examining our hearts in search of ways we are still holding unforgiveness towards others. It’s a nuanced process and mutual change will be evident. It hurts when there is not a reconciliation in a relationship and I wish I had the answer to that complex situation. I think it boils down to the will of another person. It cannot be on us to bear the weight to change another person’s heart. All too often, we take that on and we feel burdened unnecessarily. We can only choose to walk in freedom and joy despite the choices of another.

If you are struggling with thee two concepts, we would love to talk with you and walk with you through this journey. Make an appointment. Also just take a minute and think about fragmented, lost, or broken relationships in your life. Are you able to forgive? Daily if needed? Is reconciliation possible and you have written it off or is reconciliation being mocked by the other person and a change needs to occur in the relationship? Think about it.

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