Mountain Haven Newsletter- June 2016
MINISTRY AT A GLANCE
Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $7,100.00 + project total needs (Back Deck, Cabinets, Shower in Couples area, Re-do cabin floor and wall repair $1,130.00 Left to raise) : $1,130.00 , Monthly Revenue Received: $14,432.00- We are finally starting to operate with a some funds in savings after our expenses praise God!
Current Ministry/ Ranch Projects 1.) Our women’s ministry weekend is happening August 19-21. Please check out the flyer and reserve your spot. It is for vigorous outdoor people who want to challenge their physical body while growing your emotional and spiritual side. 2.) Our wonderful house guest who has been living with us since May, will be headed to Israel in August. We have been loving our time with her and will miss having her living with us.
Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened Last Month:1.) We had guests for 19 days in June, and so far for 10 days in July. This has, by far, been the busiest month of visitors. Reserve your spot today to visit, or just come out for a personal rest, reflection and meditation time.
Top Prayer Requests: 1.) Pray for strength for people, it’s becoming more and more difficult to do the right thing in life, in marriage and in parenting. People are struggling to live intentionally.
The Burden of Compassion
Do you have deep awareness of the suffering of another person accompanied by the wish to relieve it? If not then it’s time to start thinking critically about how compassionate you are.
The word “compassion” was borrowed by the English from the French. The French word is originally from the Latin words “com” [with] and “pati” [to suffer].
1. Suffering together with another, participation in suffering; fellow-feeling, sympathy.(http://en.allexperts.com/q/Etymology-Meaning-Words-1474/word-origin-2.htm)
When I think about “suffering with” another person, especially my spouse, child or good friend, it doesn’t sound like a good time. Why should I be bothered to feel what someone else feels and to experience life through their lens? I have been doing case management, victim advocacy, child advocacy, parent support, and therapy since 1999 and I can honestly say that there is so much people in pain in the world to choose to “suffer with.” I have been advocating, educating, supporting, mentoring, coaching, or counseling to varying degrees for almost half of my adult life. Here’s the rub. I have to be intentional to do all these things in my family, but it seems to come so naturally when I am outside of those four walls. Not all the time, mind you, but only when there is something someone I love is suffering with. It’s easier to fix, ignore, deflect, distract or forget about the pain. It is a burden to carry the suffering with them.
I think Jesus understood this more then anyone could have, and He has called us to a life of sacrificial and uncompromising love. It is easy at first to have compassion on our loved one when they are sick, struggling, angry, addicted, or broke. But should this trend continue for longer than a month (or fill in the blank for those of you who long-suffer better than me) and it seems our patience runs thin, our words become sharp, our senses become deadened and our desire snuffed out. It sounds beautiful and deep to say, “I love you.” It is not as easy to say when your loved one is struggling again with the heavy depression, or they won’t pray with you, or your child is in a massive struggle with anxiety, or you can’t pay your bills and you need someone to blame, or your child is mouthing off constantly, or you feel the day-after-day tedium closing in on you. This is the burden we bear of compassion. The darkness of compassion, if you will. Darkness takes away the control you once had. In darkness you are desperate for light, you search for it, you seek it, you grope the wall, you claw the rock wall of the dark cave you are in to look for a way out. It is a burden you don’t want; but typically, you work harder in the dark to find a light, some light; any light- than when you are actually in the light. There is never apathy, there is always a fight for survival.
Are you fighting with all your heart, soul and mind for the good? For your family? For the truth? For connection? For forgiveness? For repentance? For healing? For change? For understanding? Are you loving others, and suffering with them, for your sake or for God’s sake? Or is it easy to pass judgment wondering why your loved one can’t just deal with their crap? Or get over it? As Peter Enns states in his book The Myth of Certainty “loving others is the most self-emptying, self-denying, thing we can do, because true love has the other person on the top shelf.” Do you have your loved on the top shelf, or do you depend on your tried and true ways of showing compassion to make a difference? It is easy to love in word, but so much harder in deed-after, deed-after, deed-after deed.
To suffer with another, to have compassion requires crucifying your ego- crucifying your knowledge of what is right and awakening to another’s experience of life. It is not about judging if their experience is right? Does it make sense? Is it well managed? Is it executed with grace and dignity? It is embracing the unknowing aspects of life and leaning into the mystery of unknowing. We are most like God, not when we know the answer, or fix the problem, or appear put together, but when we suffer with another like Christ suffers with, and for us. This is when transformation happens– when we offer true compassion. God does the changing, the healing, the repentance, we are a mere instrument. But compassion requires trusting Him with all of that.
I repent here- I repent with tears- I have not done this the way I need to in my family. I want an outcome, I want peace, I want things to go my way, I want to understand why, I want to trust that my ego knows better. I trust myself quite often, not God; but “trust does not work because we have captured God in our minds. It works regardless of the fact that, at the end of the day, we finally learn we can’t.” (Peter Enns- The Myth of Certainty) I can’t change, convince, bribe, manipulate, infiltrate, or connive my loved one to see it my way. I can “suffer with” them as long as it takes, as hard as it gets. I can disregard my infinitesimal agitations and give up my burdensome apathy and I can surrender to trust in the magnificent power of God to transform my situation. Ask yourself today how to “struggle with” another?
Better yet, ask them what it looks like. Then surprise yourself and then, and take the burden of compassion up again.