**Thank you to all of our faithful supporters & encouragers through the years. We appreciate you so much & are excited to discover what direction Mountain Haven will be heading as we seek answers, rest, & direction this next year.
MINISTRY AT A GLANCE
Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $2700.00, Monthly Revenue Received: $1557.00 Remaining Need: (+carryover need from last month) $1643.00
Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened Last Month: 1.) We took the plunge and Kevin finally had the major surgery for an ostomy bag on January 23. It is a huge life change but he is adjusting well and we are hoping for a life change that will be helpful for him and our whole family. He is excited to return to work and his recovery is going really good.
Top Prayer Requests: 1.) Pray we can be introspective enough to allow for changes within us that benefit our families and community.
Mountain Haven – February 2019 Newsletter
Introspection- Reflection- Connection
“ Your visions will become clear only when you look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” Carl Jung
When we moved back to Minnesota we decided to turn away for a time from the world we were living in on the mountain and in the throes of full time ministry, and come up to the North Shore to try something a little different for a time. We decided to take a respite in order to understand better the world within us. To take time to rest, but also to wrestle with doubts, process memories, and reframe experiences we had on the mountain and while in ministry. When we came here to Minnesota our lives spiraled into something completely different than we expected, we dreamed of, or we desired. How many of you relate to that? I am sure many of you do. I ranted, struggled, lamented, questioned, cried and basically protested; needless to say I did not have much patience.
I am not writing this newsletter having arrived at an epiphany, however I am writing with a renewed desire to live in the questions and lean into the unknown; and I am learning to have patience with all these things that remain unsolved in my heart. And all these circumstances that push against my ideas and plans for what my life, and the life of those I love should look like. I am learning not to compare my story with the stories of those around me- because this story we are living in is very much like an obscure science fiction novel found amidst a row of romantic novels.
I am alone out out here in my new job driving the long highways of Northern Minnesota, and the silence is refreshing and makes me realize that this introspection is hopefully leading to deeper reflection. The outcome I am hoping for is renewed connection with others. I keep revisiting my soul and my spirit in an endless loop of questions, doubts, reflections, fears, and musings; and then other times I am breathing deep, belly laughing, and living in the moment of transcendent joy with the kids or with Kevin, or just enjoying one of the kids activities or an activity with a friend. We find ourselves laughing at the ostomy bag, laughing at the sheer ludicrousness of this journey, and marveling at the things our kids are doing and the things we are accomplishing, despite our circumstances.
These are moments that allow us to truly be an image bearer of God without putting up all the pomp or circumstance or pressure on ourselves to have it all figured out. Moments that take our breath away and leave us introspective and wide eyed at night when the crickets are chirping and everyone else is asleep. The wonder that life goes on, that we work, that we carry on despite grief, trauma , pain and questions. This introspection compels us to reflect on who we are, how we are made, how we adapt, how we sabotage, what our defense mechanisms are, what walls we have up, who we need to forgive, ways we are stuck, and more importantly what is next?
At least this is my hope for introspection and reflection. As Socrates has posited “my friend care for your psyche…know thyself, for once we know ourselves, we may learn how to care for ourselves.” Or as Jesus himself demonstrated for us in the garden, being perfectly honest about his despair and about his agony. It was grueling, but this honest, introspective reflection prepared Him for a brutal and transformative journey where he was able to be perfectly honest about His feelings of forsakenness without fear of retribution from His father. And then later he was able to take the next steps and do the hard work asked of Him for his journey.
My friends why is it that our culture seems to look down on honest introspection and reflection? That there seems to be fear of getting stuck in a repeating loop of obsessive thoughts and thinking too much. Or the converse happens ; we only praise others for preparing for the future by working jobs, saving money, decorating our houses, and being perpetual slaves to western consumerism and normalcy. Somehow we are convinced that this is better for our souls or for our loved ones and culture? When I moved back out here to Minnesota, I wanted to slow down; dare I say I was desperate to slow down. My circumstances have been the opposite of slow- but I feel in my heart a renewed and lengthy exhaling breath. Like I’ve been underwater holding my breath, only to suddenly realize I have breathing apparatus- what a relief. Introspection and reflection provide me an opportunity to connect with Kevin, my girls, my friends, the community and God in deeper more meaningful ways than I ever knew. I used to chastise myself for having ruminating, obsessive thoughts (and let’s face it -I know I still do ) but the gift of these thoughts has been a compulsion towards introspection that hopefully has not not lead me to be more inward or more wrapped up in myself, but rather a desire to connect outward towards others in a way that matters more deeply and is more impactful than I could hope for.
Introspection allows me to see my weaknesses ; wrestle with them and talk to them and even feel them more fully. Somehow when I introspect and reflect on those weaknesses and fears, I recognize my impermanence and mortality -and I lean into the “now” of connection with other people. My hope is that these are the things that are eternity based and impart imperishable value into those relationships. That being present with others in pain, laughter, joy, need, or despair is a gift; but also a way to look deeper at my own reflection and exorcise my selfishness and my flaws once again.
Introspection and reflection, in my opinion make love a holy cause and lead to self sacrifice, commitment, and presence of being with another —- without judgment. Connection that changes all involved. Seek this connection today. Start by looking inward at one honest thing within yourself, don’t fight it just process it, think on it, grapple with it and let it ebb and flow until an action point comes to you regarding the very thing you are introspecting about. Then take the step that reveals itself. We can change the small world around us by changing the big world within us. Let’s start today.