**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: $700.00 Remaining Need: $2000.00
Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened Last Month: 1.) The health battle continues to rage. Kevin has been recovering well from his ileostomy surgery but is having major Crohn’s complication still because his medicine is not working, many consults and Dr appointments are still happening to help him lead a manageable life. He was also diagnosed with Melanoma on his back which is at heightened risk due to Crohn’s and his medication regime and is scheduled for a surgical procedure on March 12 to remove it. 2.) Kaisha had a role in “One Act” a play competition where they came in second out of 12 schools competing in the state. She was amazing.
Top Prayer Requests: 1.) Pray we never stop illuminating the way for ourselves and others.
Mountain Haven -March 2019 Newsletter
Standing in Solidarity With Those You Love
“ The point of the Christian life is not to distinguish oneself from the ungodly, but to stand in radical solidarity with everyone and everything else. This is the intended effect of the Incarnation-symbolized by the cross, God’s great act of solidarity instead of judgment.” Richard Rohr
In the last ten months I have been changing. I am not sure it is for the better, or for the worse; but nevertheless I am changing, and it really hurts. I feel like I am a rubber band stretched beyond what I should be stretched, only to be stretched just a little more. I imagine that Kevin feels like the rubber band that has snapped. His body has betrayed him so fully in the last ten months, and really over the last 20 years. He has been through so much for such a young man. We have spent some time reflecting on the insidious nature of his illness, and how our last 20 years have been affected so radically by this disease. And reflecting on how much we probably ignored it many times so we could get on with the business of living.
We have always been go getters and adventurous people, in many ways I suppose this has made our lives more difficult. I know that with the last ten months of battling diagnosis after diagnosis, and managing upwards of at least 40 different doctors appointments, procedures or consults, and moving across country, applying for jobs and getting kids settled and comfortable; that we are exhausted and feel like the adventurous spirit has turned into a wholly different type of spirit- one of fatigue, cynicism, question asking, struggle, loneliness, and fear of the unknown. An adventure nevertheless.
I think it is an adventure of wits, faith, grit, determination, and character. An adventure that has lead to a free fall into the unknown. ( I know the appropriate christian response here is that the end of that free fall is not unknown to God, and I echo that and hope I don’t offend anyone who thinks this is a bleak look at faith- but the Psalms and Ecclesiastes are both helpful if this language bothers anyone). Kevin and I have not always stood in solidarity with one another through this time, in fact we have not seen eye to eye many times. We have hurt one another deeply out of our own emptiness and doubt. I think it is because we are both suffering in our own deep ways, and in our suffering we hurt each other; and we judge each other, while simultaneously clinging to the other to give us hope and life. Maybe akin to two people out on the ocean in a lifeboat fighting for survival and struggling to make sense of the route they should pick to lead them to safe shores. Perhaps we are looking too closely at each other, which I think is the tendency in intimate relationships when there is fear involved. As we are made to be image bearers of God himself I don’t think it is crazy that we look to another human for love, support, compassion and comfort during seasons of loss. It can just be very disappointing and lonely at times when we fall short. Or when we have no capacity to give more.
I have had many people ask me “What about Mountain Haven? What’s next?” We came out last June fully prepared to reprieve, rest, relax, and reflect on the last ten years of ministry and prepare a “future vision” to present to ourselves and all of our friends and family. All the while also enjoying dates with each other down by the lake and laughter and connection with friends and small groups that we would be part of. I know that when we have expectations -that can lead to disappointment, and I am guilty of that for sure. But I can honestly say I don’t know what’s next, I am having a hard time balancing coherent thoughts and maintaining the schedule and expectations of life right now. I think what I see is that when I came into ministry I probably did rely on my skills, my education, my training, my passion, my ability to be frugal, and my personality to keep things humming along at Mountain Haven. I am sure you can see a theme there; I depended on me a lot, and I think Kevin depended on himself a lot. He’s so talented, savvy and mechanical and able to do so much. So why not?
I want to make sense of what we are going through so I often in my mind try to explain it away by saying that we are now miraculously, through the epoch of sickness these last ten months, no longer relying on ourselves. I want to say this but I don’t think it is true. When we want answers, when we demand explanations or pontificate our latest belief and value system, or even project our own values onto one another then we are relying on ourselves. This is supposed to bring me comfort to have an explanation, and I think it brings many people comfort to explain their life, to make sense of it, to find an equation that matches up with what is happening. Essentially to place blame somewhere. This is not solidarity with one another. This is human judgment and the opposite of love.
I feel helpless and out of control saying that it hasn’t been any of those things we expected, and I wonder what it is about explaining ourselves to others that makes us feel so insecure and unsure of ourselves. It’s like if we can’t explain it to ourselves how in the world do we explain it to others? This is the battle Kevin and I find ourselves in with one another quite often. We expect an explanation for how we are adapting or struggling with what’s happening. I guess in some ways it brings shame, a struggle to be hidden from the world rather than seen because you don’t feel like a light, or a particularly great representation of Jesus.
But maybe I’ve been thinking wrongly about light. I’ve been trying to be a “ light” all the time putting pressure on myself to view circumstances in the right way, to portray myself adjusting correctly, to provide answers to these mysterious struggles. Perhaps this puts me at odds with others, or with Kevin, because again I am trying to do the right thing the right way. Perhaps I need to be thinking more about viewing circumstances and people through light rather than putting myself under pressure to just be the light correctly. The more I expect perfection from myself in response to the unknown I believe the more division I have in my relationships. I do not stand in solidarity with those that need me to be in a space with them that hurts, because I’m to busy trying to make sense and order out of madness. Which is driving me mad I think.
Again, it’s a leaning into the unknown which I do not like. I like to read a scripture, pray it and make it happen in cooperation with God. I like someone to tell me it’s going to be ok -and then my version of ok is what it turns out to be. I like to see an outcome that makes me comfortable and happy. Why? Because I am scared of the alternative which is sadness and despair; instead I try to “ keep the faith” , “ do it right” “ believe and confess the right things” – because that’s what seems like the Christian thing to do. But really I’m still trying in my own strength which is actually no strength at all if truth be told. So I want to be in this space, this life in solidarity with arms locked with Kevin whatever may come. And when peaceful circumstances return, we will adventure again in another way- hoping to impact the world around us with hope, generosity, light, vulnerability, and truth. In the meantime thanks to all who are standing in solidarity with us during this current adventure; and for illuminating in little ways, light to us and our kids as we continue on this messy journey of the unknown.
Today I challenge you to think about ways that your dogmatic ways of thinking and believing are creating a barrier for you to live with arms locked with the ones you love. Let light illuminate your own brokenness and use that to connect with the brokenness in others rather than judge them. Let it be a call to action.