October 2016 Newsletter
MINISTRY AT A GLANCE
Financials: Monthly Revenue Required: $7,100.00 + project total needs, Gravel for Driveway $750.00, Well Pump $3,600.00, Monthly Revenue Received: $2,360.00-
Current Ministry/ Ranch Projects 1.) Chris is starting a group for men and women in January called “Journeys.” This group is intended to walk with people through despair, disappointment, doubt and grief. If you are interested contact her and keep an eye out for a flier in the next couple weeks. 2.) Folks, please remember that Mountain Haven is a retreat facility open for your use for a rest, vacation, or reprieve. There is a complete basement apartment available for your use at a donation-only basis. Contact us to schedule your time away with your partner, loved one, family, or for your group meeting.
Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened Last Month: We had a “Zumba” dance party for Lilly’s 9th birthday. What a unique experience. We had moms and daughters all shaking their groove. It was really fun.
Top Prayer Requests: 1.) Couples that have been married for 15plus years face unique challenges. There are many hurting couples that are trapped in hopelessness that their marriage cannot get better 2.) Pray for hunting season as Kevin is working hard outfitting, to generate income for our family during this time and Chris is flying solo at the ranch and with the kids.
Sharing the Load
Imagine this: there is a mystic mountain, and a legend that tells you that at the top of this mountain is more treasure than a human could ever want, or need. It’s a race to the top. But what if, instead of putting on our climbing gear and heading out on our own, we grabbed hands with those around us and we promised never to let go until we had all reached the top? What if we shared the burden and excitement of the journey there? And once we arrived we equally shared the reward? In the Xhosa culture of Africa, there is a word “UBUNTU”, and it means “I am because we are”. This is a collective belief in the power of the community ( or the other) to share the burden, and to promote the idea that it is better for all of us to attempt to achieve happiness than for one alone to do it; and achieve it only for themselves. Unfortunately, friends, this isn’t the reality of being an American Christian. Jesus had twelve close disciples that he “did” life with. People that shared the tasks of spreading the gospel and building the kingdom of Jesus on earth. They collectively pursued community, confrontation, and compassion.
Their community was reflected in the way that they ate meals together, traveled and stayed in places together, went to weddings, private dinners, and community events together. There was a life that they shared, it involved activities and interactions with each other and others. Their confrontation was reflected in the way they could speak truth to one another and even have very different approaches to life; the way that each of them was gently reminded by Jesus about their areas of growth and weakness. And their compassion was reflected in the way they served the community and each other while carrying Jesus’ message to the weak, hurting and broken people.
When I think about community what comes to mind is “people you can do life with and be real about your day to day struggles?” As married couples and families we need the ability to share the burdens that may be too much for us. Is that something you have as an active part of your life? Is there someone you can call up and pray with when you feel angry or stuck in a pattern in your marriage? A trusted person who won’t judge you but will believe the best for you and maybe even show up at your doorstep with a pie and a smile to support you? Is your partner your community? Community is about encouragement, transparency, and support for each other in the messy times.
Confrontation is a necessary part of doing life together. The critical part about confrontation is to use it only as a tool activated by love. The reality is that many of us are afraid of confrontation. We don’t want to hurt people and frankly, we are to busy and absorbed in our own struggles to confront others. Confrontation requires us to be willing to balance our own brokenness alongside the brokenness of another. Knowing and believing that it is through Christ alone, that we will change anyway. We are necessary vessels that God is asking to speak truth into the lives of others that may be headed down a destructive path. Sometimes confrontation means standing in the gap through that struggle, sometimes it is just a phone call, text, or letter offering feedback or concerns; and sometimes it is follow through and holding others accountable. Most behaviors that require confrontation will also require follow up and care throughout a period of time. None of us are called to correct without considering how we then live in compassion with the other in their struggle. Consider who you trust to speak into your life in a way that will challenge you towards growth and healing. Are you listening to your partner if they confront you?
Lastly, that beautiful word compassion. Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.
Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related. While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. Altruism, in turn, is the kind, selfless behavior often prompted by feelings of compassion, though one can feel compassion without acting on it, and altruism isn’t always motivated by compassion.
(http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/compassion/definition) The idea expressed here is that we are motivated to do something about suffering. There is suffering all around you, not just in the farthest recesses of the world but in the very corner that you inhabit. Are you demonstrating compassion? It starts with truly having an understanding of God’s compassion on you, and for you. The more secure you are in God’s compassion and the more you understand that His compassion led him to act on your behalf despite your ugly, broken self; the more you will understand how to have compassion towards others. The kind of compassion that demonstrates, through action, that you care for another.
Community, confrontation, and compassion are all needed in the quest to share the load, and to climb the mountains of pain and success with others. It starts with your marriage, you family. Are you carrying the burdens with them? Or are you creating more burden for them to carry alone by neglecting your heart, your soul, and your own walk with Jesus? Do you have a mentality that isolates you from your partner and loved one or one that invites them in with vulnerable openness? It starts with you, one single person who is willing to invite your intimate loved ones into your journey rather than walking ahead of them or letting them lag behind. That old UBUNTU saying “I am because we are” is indicative of how we have the ability to be a person who walks carefully with another in our human frailty, or we have the ability to do it alone and experience the ache of disconnectedness. What will you choose today? And what will you need to change or address in order to do that?