Roots

Going down deep

They stretch down

Reaching for a better footing

Reaching for life and sustenance

 

It takes a while

At first I felt like a small tree on the edge of a cliff

I wanted to be strong

I wanted to not just grow big,

But I wanted to grow deep

Gain strength that would sustain me in the storms

No matter my size or where it was I was growing

tree on a ledge

Close to the edge but what a view

Just to reach down and accept the water and nutrients that keep me going

It’s what matters

It’s what makes for green and growing inner core

Leaves and fruit possibly

But without the roots going down and soaking up the life-giving nutrients,

How can there be change on the outside?

 

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It’s a Friday and I’m joining in with Lisa-Jo and all the rest to write for 5 minutes with a one-word prompt – but without over thinking and deleting.  Join us?


Welcome

They didn’t question why we were there.

No grilling me to to see if I my life was in order.

Just openness and honesty.

A willingness to go deep when I broke the norm of chitchat

A taking me aside to really listen

To say “I understand” and mean it.

To cry with me.

To listen and not shy away or run away from me in my rawness.

Instead, embracing all that I was right there and then.

How thankful I am that they did that!

I found myself unfolding.

Relaxing and coming alive again.

It’s what happens when one truly welcomes another.

 

 

This has been a “Five Minute Friday” entry.

Writing for five minutes flat without editing, backtracking, or over thinking.

Joining Lisa-Jo and all the rest in the growing and very Welcoming crowd this Friday.

(Ok, so it’s the end of Friday, but I’m still joining in!)


(In) This Season

Hello!

I am so glad that you are here today!

If you are hopping over from {in}courage for the first time, “Welcome!” I hope you will feel at home right away!

If those who regularly read here are wondering what’s going on…

{in}courage, the blog home of Dayspring, has just launched 40 online groups called (in)courage Communities where you can connect with other women on a HUGE variety of topics ranging from new moms to empty nesters to social injustice advocates to women struggling with infertility to those with kids with special needs AND so much more. These groups are private, sacred spaces for you to be YOU in the season of life that you find yourself in.

I will be co-leading one of these communities! So here’s the deal…

The topic ::
A place to (in)courage those women IN ministry/missions/etc who are struggling in some aspect without a safe outlet to let their guard down and/or those coming OFF the field of missions/ministry/etc who are struggling in ANY aspect and would like to connect with those who understand.

For those of you interested in being a part of a group like that….you are in the right place.

Lindsey {that’s my partner} and I have a heart to reach out to those whose lives are/have been all about reaching out to others and along the way brokenness has become like a second skin due to major change, redirection, crisis of faith, discouragement, physical/mental illness, burnout, loss of support (financially or otherwise), or just have found themselves in a surprising period in ministry or from leaving a ministry…

(In) This Season was born from that heartbeat. “Where do we go from here?” in THIS season most unexpected…

Want to get to know us a little better and WHY this topic resonates with us….here’s a little more about who we are….

Libby Rosengren“I have been married to my best friend for 17 years and mom to 4 kids.  I am involved in homeschooling our kids, helping my husband with his business, keeping our home, blogging, reading, etc. Our family was in ministry in Peru, South America as missionaries for 8 years. That was 3 years ago, and I feel like I have left a part of my heart in Peru. We know that God still has something in mind for us there, but we are not sure what or how that will look. For now we are in the U.S. and at peace with where God has us.
Having faced burnout, depression, loss of support (both financially and otherwise), discouragement in ministry and major changes both IN ministry – and then – changes that caused us to move out of being directly involved in ministry, I have a real soft spot for those who struggle or have struggled with these issues in relation to ministry.”

Besides blogging here you can find me on Twitter: libbyrosengren

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Lindsey van Niekerk – “I grew up in Haiti for the first 16 years of my life {my parents are still there, by the way – for almost 40 years – Yeah, I know…they deserve a medal, right?} Then, I went to college, got my bachelor’s degree in psychology as well as in interpersonal &organizational communications {Shew! That’s a mouthful!}

I spent the next 10 years after that working as missions director, children’s pastor, youth pastor, & associate pastor.

I married the love of my life and my best friend {I know, I know…but it’s a cliche for a reason} 7 years ago, and we have lived on the East Coast of the U.S. as well as the great province of Gauteng in South Africa {he’s from there, by the way}. Chronic pain, infertility issues, interpersonal conflicts, impending depression & panic attacks, confounded by the stress of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that my parents were involved in{they are doing well now, by the way} brought us to the point of an indefinite time-out/sabbatical during this season of life and finding out what the next steps of God’s plans are for us.”

Lindsey’s Blog: The Little Missionary Girl All Grown Up

Twitter: lindseyfoj

Facebook: The Little Missionary Girl All Grown Up

So if (In) This Season sounds like the place for you, a safe space to interact with peers who understand your story, opportunities to share as little or as much as you want in a private setting, encouragement to write and blog together, and listening ears who will “just be there” without judgement or trying to fix you, then please email us at beautyoutofdust@gmail.com, and we will invite you to the closed/private Facebook group and provide more details of how you can get involved.

If you are a one of my regular readers (and are a women 🙂 ) and would like to check out all of the communities available, hop over to (in)courage to see what group speaks to you. This first session will run from October 2nd to December 2nd so the commitment is short term and you can be involved as little or as much as you would like.

Whatever you decide to do, we just want you to know how AMAZING you are and that God has just the thing FOR you, WHEN you need it! May His grace breathe life into your soul, giving you space to breathe and know that you are unequivocally, irrevocably His.
 


On Bravery…and something’s coming!

I told a friend in an email last week “I’m getting braver and braver.”

I’ve always laughed at the idea of me being brave because I am an introvert and quiet (well, at least until I get to know you!).

Sure, I made choices to marry and have children young, go to another country and learn to live and work there.

But I did it while shaking in my boots half the time! Much of the time I was a real scaredy cat!

I would want to run away from public speaking as we prepared to go overseas. Thanking my God in heaven every time that “opportunity” came up that my husband was great at it and didn’t mind getting up to talk for us.

Even in sharing what I’ve learned with other young women who would come into my home on a regular basis in Peru I found myself chickening out often times. How do I really know what I am talking about? How can I tell them with certainty that what I have to share is something they need to know?

So “getting braver” for me has been surprising at first and yet I realize with delight that to stand on Truth and believe brings a peace and a confidence that surpasses my fears. Even in my uncertainties I can stand on something completely sure.
As I learn to let go of lies that try so hard to keep me trapped, I find I can go ahead and speak TRUTH right out loud! Or even just allow myself to believe them and KNOW they are true!

Like for instance, here’s a statement of standing on truth, believing and being brave if I’ve ever read one:

“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” -Galatians 2:20 (NLT)

When I believe this and stand on it, I am letting go of lies to the contrary and God does things I never thought possible.

Well, duh! It’s because it’s in HIS strength!

So here I am jumping into some new things that I’d never thought I’d do. Ever.

And because I don’t have to do it in my own strength,

Because I don’t have to have it all together to do it…I feel braver.

The freedom found in this is moving me forward and helping me believe more in this God who “loves me and gave himself for me”.

Believe that He really IS the God of the impossible!

Tomorrow something is coming to my blog and more than that, into my life. Really it’s already a part of my life!

I can’t wait to share it with you, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow!

It’s totally God’s idea, He nudged me to get involved and I am just along for the ride! I look forward to this and share it with you because it really has nothing to do with me and I can’t wait to just let Him take HIS idea and run with it!

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“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.” -Isaiah 43:19


Focus

 

My mind tries to focus as:

the neighbor uses his leaf blower right outside the window

my 9 year old son asks for a cinnamon and sugar tortilla

my 5 year old daughter comes in the room to tell me something and ask me questions

something about rats on a game she plays with her brother…

birds are singing outside

cars drive by on the street

neighbor kids playing

focus

my to do list seems very long this week and the week is about over

the laundry piles high

the stack of invoices to process seems just as tall

people to feed

cleaning to do

focus?

 

focus on the gifts

focus on the fact that I can’t do it alone

I need my Father’s strength

I need his wisdom

He gives it

He never stops

 

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Today I am joining in on Five Minute Friday with Lisa Jo and many more – about a word.

Set a timer, type for 5 minutes without editing or over thinking or backtracking.

Loving this community of women who are connecting over one word – every week. Join us?


What is life about anyway? -guest post

Today I want to step aside and let you hear from my son, Dane. I know I might be biased, but he has a way with words and this time is no exception. As I process the things as I go through life these thoughts resonate with me.

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I have a sticky note pasted on my bible that says, “This is a STORY, not an ENCYCLOPEDIA.”  Because I forget.

I forget that a million Israelites wandering a desert in the Middle-East for 40 years is not about wandering the desert, but about how God sometimes takes long seasons to change our hearts in the ways they need to be changed.

I forget that Solomon being made the richest and wisest man in history by God because he asked for wisdom, not money or fame, is not about some up-and-coming king that got a little extra help from God, but about God’s desire for our hearts to be in the right place.

I forget that Jesus coming, performing miracles, dying, and coming back to life is not just about a man from heaven who helped a lot of people and cheated death.  It’s about the creator of the universe loving a planet full of messed-up people enough to come and exist among them, so far outside his comfort zone, caring about them so much that he didn’t care how broken or sinful they were.  He came and loved them anyway.

And I forget that my life is a story, and that this continuous struggle back and forth is not about self-control or my ability to be moral, but about my heart being changed, about God calling me to move forward and not backward.

Why do we forget that our lives are stories?  Stories make perfect sense.  The characters don’t understand why things happen the way they do, but when we turn the final page, we can see how each event was important, however dark it was.  Take Judas.  One of the saddest parts about Jesus’s story is how one of his disciples — no, one of his closest friends — sold him out, despite everything that the thirteen of them had been through together.  And yet, if Judas hadn’t done what he did, then things would not have happened as they were meant to.

But no, our lives aren’t a story.  They’re just a jumbled mess of random events that are the result of events set in motion a long time ago, and nothing really means anything.  There is no reason that God didn’t save someone’s mom from cancer, or that the homeless man downtown lost everything he owned.  We’re down here, and He’s up there, and who really knows why anyway?

And we believe that’s what the truth about life is.  But…really?

I guess that’s what memory is for.

Thinking back, I can see that the pastors tearing down my dad for not living up to their standards — an event I didn’t witness, and don’t wish I had — resulted in my family seeking out a church.  A seemingly random Facebook ad, a subtle nudge from God to my mom, and then Mosaic.  Uncertainty.  And every week, through uncertainty, Mosaic.  And healing.  New friends.  Close friends.  A wonderful place for my parents, and a wonderful place for me, though it took some getting used to.  The closest friends I’ve ever had in my short life made there, people I would trust with my life if it ever came to that, and almost none of them are my age.  But they’re exactly what I needed (and still do).

And books.  Books suggested by a fellow Christian kid met only a few times at a church youth group out in the country.  Books that changed my life, my view of God and Christianity.  And he became my friend (my best friend, in fact).

So many experiences, wonderful and not so wonderful, set off by the most insignificant of events.  A quick message to someone I’ve never met before.  Popping by for a random visit at a friends’ house, just as they are leaving to youth group.  So many different places, so many different wonderful people and lessons learned, and God.

There’s no way any of those things was an accident.  And there’s no way that there isn’t a God watching out for me.  The trick is knowing when and where he’s pointing.  I’ve been granted the grace to be guided mostly by the actions of others and what seems like happy chance (but is really Jesus bringing something I desperately needed into my life), but now it feels like he wants me to take my first real steps on my own.  And I’m scared.  And angry.  Angry that responsibility would be thrust on me, responsibility I feel I can’t bear, and why couldn’t life just be about surviving, or could I even just skip life and go Home?  But no.  And at the same time…I’m tremendously honored, and shocked.  You want…me?  But…I could never do that.  But I want to.  I want to help in that way.  I want to bless like I’ve been blessed, pass on these rare lessons I’ve learned.  And I’m confused.  What’s the next step?  Here or there?  When?  How?  So I ask, and wait.

This life is a story, if we’ll just look for the chapters, the major events.  Some people’s stories are happy.  Some people’s stories are sad, but that doesn’t mean the Savior’s handwriting isn’t all over the manuscript.  What about the man that was born blind that Jesus healed?

“‘Rabbi,’ his disciples asked him, ‘why was this man born blind?  Was it because of his own sins or the his parents’ sins?’

‘It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,’ Jesus answered.  ‘This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.'” – (John 9:2-3)

This man’s story was characterized by a disability, and probably a certain degree of estrangement from his friends and family.  Definitely a sad story.  But there was a reason.  The bad in our lives isn’t God trying to get back at us for doing bad things, or him just not caring.  Pain is a necessary prerequisite to beauty, more often than not.  That doesn’t mean that God cares.  And that doesn’t mean that we should just brush off pain, as if it doesn’t even matter.  It matters.  Anyone who has ever been in pain (in other words, every human being who ever lived) will tell you that.  It hurts when your marriage doesn’t work out, when your best friend dies, when you’re laid off and have no hope of providing for your family.  God does care that it hurts.  And he’s doing it for a reason.

“And since we are his children, we are his heirs.  In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory.  But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.  Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.  For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.” – (Romans 8:17-19)

Ultimately, this is about God’s glory.  Which we will share in.  The pain will all be worth it.

Life is a story.  Sometimes it’s happy, sometimes it’s sad.  But every event has meaning, although we can’t see it right now.

Life matters.  Pain matters.  You matter.  Don’t give up just yet.  There’s a reason for everything.  It will be worth it.

Dane is my oldest son and he writes over here at A Sword For The Kingdom. Check it out!


Change…

Sometimes it happens all at once.

Sometimes very slowly.

I question the “good” of it.

And then realize there’s a myriad of emotions that can occur at once.

At times I give myself a break in the process.

At times I try to hurry myself to get with it or conform to the new…faster already!

What does it show me?

I can be real, say what’s on my mind to someone safe.

I can be honest with myself and others.

And maybe, just maybe it will help this process when change must happen.

Maybe I’ll not find myself so worn out in the end?

And if I fight it, and if I don’t…

Isn’t there One still there with me in it either way?