**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 and Monthly Revenue Received: $1340.00 Remaining Need: $1360.00
Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened Last Month: 1.) Christmas was restful and spectacular, we spent it with family in Iowa and family in Minnesota, including a very special Eve with Brandon and Emily.. 2.) Kaisha sang a solo in her band “The Rubber Bands” she was breathtaking. 3.) Kevin is finally able to work and had been working and found a job that gives him independence so he can still deal with his health issues.
Top Prayer Requests: 1.) Pray we inhabit our lives wholly so we can be transformed and transform others.
Mountain Haven – January 2019 Newsletter
No More Us/Them Mentality
“ To Conquer Oneself is a Greater Victory Than to Conquer Thousands in a Battle.” the Dalai Lama
I think one of our biggest enemies is an us/them mentality. This seems to be a really strong mindset that shows itself when religion and judgment is at work within us. I especially see it in marriage and parenting. I see it in myself when I think my way is better, or my advice makes more sense. The other morning Kevin and I found ourselves in a hearty conversation (which by the way is so refreshing to me, since for six months he couldn’t argue or have an opinion due to his medical condition), so as much I want to get along with Kevin, I do not mind when we butt heads because I think we are both opinionated, strong, people who are willing to argue for what we are passionate about and I love our connection. So anyway, we were discussing the way we tend to resolve things with people. I was telling Kevin that I didn’t understand how it took him so long to come around to confronting people and he was telling me he didn’t understand or get how I could just make my mind up about things and talk to people about how I was feeling. He said that this is something that may never change in his life and he will probably always be this way. I sighed out loud because I was exasperated- but simultaneously I knew in that moment I was in judgment, I was putting my argument, my personality and my style against him (maybe he had the same mindset but I am not sure).
I think we all do this subconsciously in our closest relationships. The “us versus them” or the “either this or that” thought process. It is automatic to fall into this way of thinking and I believe it bleeds into our relationships in a subtle way. I think at the root of all of our “faulty” or dysfunctional ways of relating to one another is a selfish mentality that pits us against others. I do not think this is intentional or always at the top of our conscious processing. I believe most of it is family of origin patterning, habits, selfishness, excuses, and lack of intentionality with one another. We tell ourselves we know how the other person is or how they have been and we leave little room for surprise. We also allow ourselves to shift into automatic pilot and “do our thing”.
Recently, our son Brandon told me that I am still surprised by a lot of things at my age. Like a childlike wonderment I guess. I believe I have chosen an attitude of adventure, openness, and childlike awe, intentionally. I want to allow myself to be awakened all the time. But this type of thought process takes work because people are exhausting and I find myself just wanting to adopt a laissez faire and cynical, seen it all, been there-done that attitude; because I am tired. It takes work to love people and make time to know them and see them in new and different lights. It also takes time to consider their pain, and their frame of reference. Bigger than that, it takes time to know ourselves; to understand how we see others, the world, our children, our friends, our community, and the world at large.
I find it a challenge to become a citizen of loss, despair, vulnerability, humility and openness with Kevin, my kids, and with others. But I think the true joy of living is entering into the dark, unknown mysteries of others without an agenda and with a open eyed innocence of teachability. I think there are ways that we can do this. Here’s a few that might help us all:
We can stop teaching our spouses, our kids and others; and start trusting the image of God in them, the character of God within them. They are seeking the same creator of the universe that we are, or if they are not seeking Him, He is definitely seeking them.
We can express empathy through empathetic statements like “ I hear you”, “Im seeking understanding”, “I appreciate you:”, “I love your perspective”, “ I’m trying to understand”, “That sounds hard”, or even “tell me about that”.
We can hug them and hold them a lot.
We can share a weakness we are having instead of looking like we have it all together.
We can do something out of of our own comfort zone to be with them or to serve them. This is a big one that most of us struggle with. We all get comfortable, we don’t want to drive, or give up our money, or talk or listen to stuff that make us uncomfortable, we don’t want to eat something different, or stay somewhere uncomfortable, We are creatures of habit and we don’t want to be troubled with our love and sacrifice. I can speak for myself and say I don’t want to always listen to the stuff Kevin is interested in, or go see how his work is, or listen late at night when my kids are wanting to talk, or drive them when roads are slippery, or do activities Kevin wants to do, or listen when I don’t agree.
We can just be in their space with them even if we don’t want to. We can be quiet and let the uncomfortable feeling of not knowing , be ok
These are all sacrifices, and I believe every time we lean into a sacrificial mindset we break the barrier of us/them and we inhabit a world where we can heal through connection with another wounded soul. Just like Jesus showed his solidarity with our humanity through his life and death, I believe we are called to show that same solidarity with those we love by abolishing us/them mentalities, obliterating judgment, wrestling with certainty, and continually challenging ourselves to enter into vulnerable relationship with others. This will bring transformation, both for them and for us. Our kids will be free to explore who they are, and what they are about; and our partner will feel loved and ignited to new passions within the context of that accepting, agape love. And ultimately I believe we will experience transcendent joy that comes without an agenda.
I know for my new year I aim to be intentional about sacrifice, intentional about experiencing joy (even in pain), and intentional about knowing, accepting, and “being” with my family and friend in ways that assure them that God is good and gracious and not so far away. Happy 2019.