**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: $400.00Remaining Need: (+carryover need from last month) $1,300.00
Something Interesting or Unexpected that Happened Last Month: 1.) Kevin was in the hospital for a couple days and the emergency room and they diagnosed him with Cdiff. Because of that we emailed the Mayo Clinic and finally got an appointment for October 23. It could be 1-7 days and we hope that second opinion will help us make a better plan for Kevin’s healing and some relief . 2.) Chris was able to get a job to help with the family’s financial needs and had to put off starting until November 1, after the Mayo Clinic Appointment. She will be working at Lutheran Social Services as an adoption counselor.
Top Prayer Requests: 1.) Pray for Kevin’s continued healing and our family to find a way to heal from the last 18 weeks of ongoing medical issues and battles and how to live with chronic illness. 2.) Pray for the comfort of all of our souls as we battle the complexity of living in darkness and light and resting in mystery.
Mountain Haven September 2018 Newsletter
Cohabitation of Darkness & Light
Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day. Darkness and light are but one.” Psalm 139:12
If you haven’t read St. John of the Cross’s, Dark Night of the Soul, I think it is worth a read. What does darkness really have to do with marriage or parenting? Actually quite a lot. If the psalmist tells us that darkness and light are but one, then we must be willing to embrace the dark parts of ourselves without being afraid or overpowered by it. We must be able to understand that darkness, to enter into the mortuary of silence, to surrender to the stillness of God and ignore the cacophony of voices rising out of the pain. We must understand that in God’s economy darkness and light are both conduits that allow us to live into the eventual answers. As Richard Rohr has often said darkness and light represent the two spiritual traditions of knowing and unknowing- but both can eventually lead to a true and enduring faith.
There is a darkness that shows itself in many ways in myself, especially in the last few weeks. I have such negative despairing thoughts. I fear for my future and the future of my husband, I am insecure about my way of dealing with all of these trials, I question my veracity as a wife and as a mother, I cuss, I cry often, I lament, and I get irritated with sickness, appointments, my kids whining, the happiness of others and empty platitudes. I guess some may call it cynicism, but maybe it is true darkness stripping away the evangelical outward appearances that I once carried quite well when we were running a ministry full time. I am not saying I was using false positivity but I question if it was a form of denial that denied the real darkness within me in order to survive the mountain, the loneliness, the turbulent economics, and the challenges of full time ministry. Then when we decided to take an actual sabbath, a rest, a time to heal, the pain and loss we were holding back was exposed. Again, we didn’t hold back the Crohns, the terrible pain, the sickness until we came here, (we don’t have that power) but perhaps we were living in a phantasmic version of reality that allowed us to continue to serve and supporte the mental image required of those in ministry. But what we did not expect was that to be stripped so fully when we came to Minnesota. Because it has, we have now been given an opportunity to coalesce the darkness and light and figure out how to live in that reality for our children and for ourselves.
There are many that argue that the act of reading the bible, attending church, or worshipping, or focusing on other things are enough to help you quiet and disempower the chaotic hell that is spinning around you, but I disagree with this premise. Being a fairly disciplined person, I am a junkie of daily disciplines, an addict of consistency, schedules and lists. This has helped create an orderly world for me in my approach to marriage and parenting. Sort of like being in the eye of the tornado and placing myself securely in the seat of a school desk to complete my homework while the storm rages. But this false reality I have tried to construct I believe, at times, minimizes my surrender and my faith and causes me to put the law on myself to “act just the right way” for Kevin, the girls and others. I fail miserably at this. I try to say the right things to the girls to help them understand why our world looks this way right now, and it rings false when I put the correct spin on it that even I don’t believe. But when I embrace them in their sobbing and I say “ I don’t know”, and “this hurts” and “ I am here for you and will never leave you”, I leave space for the divine to move on their behalf and I take myself out of the role of being the vessel that has to deliver just the right message. Or when I simply say to Kevin, “ I’m on your side” or “I am so exhausted, I want this to end”, I open up space for us to experience pain together and become stronger through our unity rather than suffering separately and in isolation.
Don’t get me wrong there are acts of discipline that are helpful, that create order and are honoring to God. But God requires our hearts, isn’t it he that says he will give us a new heart, a heart of flesh? That he will put a new spirit in us? So at what time did this spiritual journey became about us doing something that will give is the right heart? I can’t say I know how this mysterious process of giving me a heart of flesh will happen but I think it starts with the humanity of entering into life with its darkness and its light and not being afraid to give voice to despair. To strip away outward appearances and not deny darkness or your ugliness but to confess it- to a friend, to God, to your kids, to your spouse. The most precious and transformative light is that one that visits us in the darkest night of our soul; when our false selves are gone, and our rawest questions are exposed, and our deepest longings are unmet, and our anger is raging. That pinprick of light and hope doesn’t just come to us randomly, it needs fuel to create light and I am starting to see that the fuel may be a byproduct of my surrender in the darkness. Like the butterfly that emerges from a cocoon, suddenly it has wings. It is a new creature all because it buried itself in the darkness and hunkered down in the cocoon and waited.
Imagine a world of people that were able to be free to expose their doubts, their sadness, their temptations, their despair, their ugliness and know that they are not alone. That darkness and light have always coexisted together and Jesus entered the deepest darkness, not so we would never have to, but I believe so he could say “me too” and pave the way for us to also enter our dark night of the soul. To learn to be there for our children, our partners and spouses, and for others in their darkness. The way Christ cried out that his disciples couldn’t wait for him for even one hour as he was suffering and lamenting for his prescribed path, this is often our own cry to those we love. “Please loved one, tarry with me for this season?” Wait with me and sacrifice what your body feels, and be there in my pain. These are the actions that we are called to when we find ourselves or others in a place of darkness- actions of radical expression of faith. Being uncomfortable with the denial of our own pleasures, being asked to sacrifice when you don’t think you can any longer.
This is my confession that darkness and light coexist with in me. Sometimes I live in the light and I lovingly fumble along in my sacrificial ways, but more often I complain, get angry, make demands, ask more of Kevin and the girls then I require of myself. I must remind myself to tarry longer than the hour, to allow the darkness instead of creating a false self that is acceptable, to let them see me cry, question, and struggle. To reach out and hold their hands when I wish to run away and sleep and hide. To shut up when I want to plan, or lecture or make a list. I can bring light although the darkness appears to render me incapable of action, light exists within me. It exists within all of us. Allow the suffering, the doubt, the trail, the unresolved issue to bring it to the surface and then wait. All things on this earth can not be idolized as totally good or totally bad, because all things on this earth will decay including our theological beliefs, pontifications or treatises. Only God alone is good and he will be in charge of transforming your heart if you let him. The right behavior or the false self can never transform the heart. Remember as the Psalmist says “Darkness and light are as one.”