January 2021 Newsletter

Mountain Haven Marriage Ministry January 2021 Newsletter

Framing your new year

When you see a gorgeous picture painted by one of the greats like Kandinsky, Klimt or Monet you don’t pay as much attention to the frame if you are looking at the classic painting, but the frame holds the object of your eye. So, it is with life, our framing holds the masterpiece that is us; and without a sturdy frame we don’t have a secure picture to view. Our frame is shaped and built by our family of origin experiences, our traumas, our joys and our ensuing choices. I wonder how many of us need a remodel on our frame.

 As this new year starts there are so many ways our world is different than what we’d dreamed or wished. With COVID-19 we are living differently, and we are hurting in different ways. For us we have come off 8 surgeries, living in isolation and fear after multiple doctors’ appointments and diagnostic scares- to us the COVID-19 pandemic felt like another part of the discordant rhythm and tragic losses we had endured and experienced.

This is when the frame becomes so critical. What holds together our picture is fundamental to keeping the picture intact. If your frame is built out of flimsy material it will not hold together your gorgeous, effervescent, unique picture. Your frame is your worldview, your paradigm, your beliefs and your values. If your worldview is based on consumption, then chances are this pandemic has bred fear in you due to not having enough. If your worldview is based on increasing your social circles, then chances are you have been plagued with loneliness and the need for more people in your space. If your worldview is based on denial, then chances are you have ignored the things that have fallen a part in front of you in lieu of pretending that everything is ok. If your worldview is based on avoiding conflict, then chances are you have inadvertently missed an opportunity for connection with another person because you are afraid of hurt. You get my point, our worldview, values and paradigm views all come into full view when crisis tempts to shatter the frame.

The frame of our life is everything. When Kevin and I hit crisis mode after moving out here in 2018, much was exposed about my frame that I didn’t like. Judgments I had made about chronic illness because I grew up with a mom that was chronically ill. Fears that I had about loss and security because I had given up my life and identity in Colorado and was stuck in “Minnesota” alone in the tundra of Duluth for an extended period dealing with surgery after surgery and increasing financial burdens, fears, and crisis situations. My childhood family of origin experiences came out in full force and I was hit with the reality of self-sufficiency being my way out, but also my mortal enemy. I had a choice to connect with Kevin more despite his sickness or withdraw and go inward the way I had as a child. I had a choice to become bitter and despondent and at times I did.

Kevin was faced with a rage and anger about physical pain that he had not experienced before- a time to confront feelings of abandonment that were all too familiar from his childhood adoption. Both of us had moments where the frame of our lives could not hold the fullness of our pictures. I would venture to say our frames had to be replaced. We have had to forge new frames and a new perspective about suffering and chronic illness. Being in Minnesota was supposed to be a short-term rest and because of illness and children getting attached to schools and security, it has become a little more than that for us. The future is unsure but Minnesota has had to change to a little more than a rest stop for us, for the time. The frame of ministry has had to change- where once we did full-time ministry living in absolute dependence and faith on others and our work for our provision. We now work in our community and we frame our ministry in a different way.

One of the exciting ways that we will be framing ministry and our giving is through the way we offer help and support to families, couples and individuals. I (Chris) am taking a position as a therapist with Arrowhead Psychological services in Duluth MN starting February 8th. I am saddened to leave my position as social work and bereavement supervisor for Essentia Health Hospice. In my new position, I will be able to see anyone via telehealth. There will be a cash rate and a rate with insurance coverage. But the best thing about this position is that I am working with the agency owners currently to offer marriage and couples cash pay intensives. It is a way to continue to do outreach here in Minnesota while making a livable wage for our family and to continue to recoup and recover from the last 30 months of surgeries, illness and doctors’ appointments. Please Contact Chris if you are interested in seeing her for counseling, or if you know someone who is in need of counseling-763-286-3336.

It is a time for Kevin to continue to work hard from home doing a variety of self-employment endeavors, but also building a gorgeous A-frame home in Grand Marias that we will use to bless many couples, families and individuals with in the future. We also have a vision of utilizing this place for small weddings or pastoral get ways. Further we have a gorgeous cabin up on Loon Lake up the Gunflint trail, 1 1/2 miles from the Canadian border that we would love to use for those in ministry or just in need of a reprieve.

The future is endless and with Chris still working in her chosen and professional field, we can find ways to serve others- and Mountain Haven can be available for others that may need it with scholarships for counseling, marriage intensives or otherwise. As well as new and amazing locations to rest and retreat. It is a new and bright future and we have decided that the frames that once held our pictures have to be switched out as they cannot contain all there is; but our picture will still be vibrant, interesting, and will be used to bring joy, light and hope to many, many people for years to come.

Look today at the picture you are showing the world, look deeper at your frame. Ask yourself if it is time to deconstruct the way you hold your picture and the story you want to tell your family, and the world. Make choices to change your frame, address the substructure of our picture and find more beauty than you thought possible.

Call us, text us, or email us for details or to talk about ways to help, get involved, or get help. We love all of you and cannot thank you enough for believing in the power of unity, prayer, support and hope.


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