Faith + Adventure

Oh my goodness, HELLO.

I wish I could jump out of the screen and give you a big hug. My heart is exploding with joy and anticipation in light of the fact that I am re-entering this writing journey. I have MISSED you, missed THIS.

A little recap… the summer closed with the Salt Bible 101 series fresh off the proverbial press, and we launched into the school year seven-strong, as Ellie had become such an integral part of our home. I began meeting with students again {I have an Academic Coaching business}, tried to figure out how to carve out time to volunteer at school, keep up our home, tend to the little men I still had inside of our walls {only the bigs are in elementary – 1st and 3rd} and of course, I desperately wanted to encourage others and to write. A few weeks in, I was realizing my writing time was being crowded out by other things, and I felt the weight. That old familiar feeling of “failure” haunted me as I thought that this would be just another project  I started with gusto but that disintegrated in the business and demands of life.

Suffice it to say, the Lord got my attention. He freed me from the burden of my own unrealistic expectations and told me that this hiatus was just for a season – a sabbatical of sorts. I am going to post more about the particulars of that story later this week, but for now, we have some catching up to do!!

We have big news.

After 11 years, we are stepping off of Young Life staff. Marshall served as the Area Director on Mercer Island for 8 sweet and rich years. We were engaged when he came on staff, and grew to a family of five in the midst of a community we will forever adore. We have expanded to a family of 6 + a nanny while in Issaquah/Sammamish  for 3.5 years and it has been a place that, through much trial, has blessed us immensely. There is nothing that has shaped us more than the people we have encountered within and because of the mission of Young Life.  And so we leave not with any bitterness, but with great gratitude for all it has done to grow us, prepare us, sift us, show us who we are and perhaps just as importantly, who we are not.

For many months, we have been praying these words that were put on Marshall’s heart: faith and adventure. We had a sense something was coming. We could have never imagined what it is that is actually unfolding.

faithandadventure

A year and a half ago, Marshall went to a significant time of training {Young Life has continued education throughout the time you are on staff – these college level courses crammed into a week are a gift!} where the Vanderbilt professor teaching a course on Personal Health and Ministry proposed the idea of mirroring neurons. In short, the idea works out to be something like this: In healthy homes, when we are in our infancy of life, our moms, or primary caretakers, are constantly looking at us and smiling, imparting to us love and care and delight, reminding us we are OK and meeting our needs in our distress. We learn that we are ok, that we are secure and cared for because of that face, and then reflect the messages we have received to the world.

He then asked the class, “Who is smiling at you?”

I remember sitting in a coffee shop in Kirkland as Marshall shared, and we evaluated who in our lives were mentors and friends – holy companions – consistent investors in our lives, people who sought after us, smiled at us in our distress, prayed for us, reminded us of the truths of God and our identity in Him. The number was few, but significant. The consistency was not always ideal, yet was deeply impactful.  We acknowledged our deep gratitude for those who had played that role even if for a season. And we decided that day that we wanted to be those people.

Now, I figured we would be those people when we were in our 60’s – wise and with all our wee men grown and out of the house, free to be more spontaneous and led by the Lord and present with others.

Evidently God had a different idea.

The seed that had been planted over a year ago took root just months ago when Marshall was asked by his counselor, “Who cares for you?” That conversation aside, something was stirred that day, and Marshall came home with a spark in him that had been missing for some time. A casual recap of the conversation as he was doing dishes and I was folding laundry led to the beginning of a great adventure. He finished relaying to me his thoughts, and turned and looked at me with this question, “What if we did that? Just. Deeply. Cared. For people?”

By this time, I was holding the laundry in my hand, not moving, looking back at him with a fluttering heart, and I responded, “Whatever this thing is that you are talking about – it is a divine idea. There is life in your voice and something to this.”

He doesn’t even remember me saying that.

That weekend Marshall had a staff retreat, and there was a thread throughout the weekend of health in ministry. Marshall’s  amazingly gifted and tender-hearted boss spoke of the times in ministry when he was “outwardly performing but inwardly dying”; it seemed as if everyone in the room was giving an internal nod. Whether they had known those seasons or were presently in one, there was a deep knowing – and then and there Marshall’s vision was confirmed.

There is such a need. When your whole life and job is driven by pursuing others, there is such a need to be pursued yourself, without an exchange of money for service, or a request that someone mentor or counsel you, but just because you are worth it. Because you are pouring out your life and need to be poured into. Not to mention the fact that many who most need care don’t have the money or energy or time to even ask for it.

cup-overflowA dear friend gave me this image: If a cup is constantly tipped, pouring out its contents into all the other cups around it, it empties and has to run back to its source; it is never full.  But if that same cup is standing firm, straight and tall, and the source is running straight into it from above, then it is constantly full to overflowing.

We are meant to serve out of our overflow, not out of our lack. God is a God of abundance. And our hope as we step out in faith is to develop relationships and create spaces where people might be encouraged, invested in, given tools  and language that might allow them to be in a posture to overflow.

If we are healthy, if we are cared for, if we have holy companions on this journey, if we remain firmly rooted and connected to the One that is the source of all joy and peace, justice and healing, hope and freedom, then we might overflow in the most glorious way into healthy marriages and families and friendships and ministries and businesses. We would be the church as God intends – a living organism, a body of believers, the bride of Christ not bound by a building or a period of time on a Sunday or a ministry or location or a people group or a strata of society.

We are stepping off of staff to walk out a vision that God put on our hearts just a few months ago, though as I look back, I see now that He has been shaping for many, many years. In short, we hope to create something that looks like life coaching and spiritual direction with a sprinkling of counseling that would encourage people in ministry. We hope to amass tools and questions and resources that might be offered, but more than anything, we just want to be present. To be those holy companions who pursue and ask and listen and pray.

I really have very little idea of what all this will look like even weeks from now, but I do know that I have never experienced more peace {with a thin layer of terror!} … it sure feels a lot like faith and adventure.

If you would be so bold to pray for us on this journey… it would be a great honor to have your heart entwined. Already I have more stories than I can count of the confirmations and the people and the resources that God has provided to keep us walking on this journey. There has been an undoing of old thinking and new space for what I believe might be more of the heart of the gospel that I believe so deeply transforms lives and communities. I am so excited to share as the Lord continues to teach…

If you made it to then end, well done you! I was making up for some lost time. All that said, we are walking by faith and not by sight… and in the deepest parts of me, I know that this is what this life is all about…

To adventure, my friends… with all its thrill and pain and fear and awe. To faith and adventure.

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3 thoughts on “Faith + Adventure

  1. AMEN!!! Cannot wait to see all the ways the Lord continues to unfold this journey for you. Admire, respect and adore you both…to faith and adventure!!

    Like

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