Tag Archive | community

Weird movie moment

I’m not a big movie person.  We usually go to the movies 2-3 times/year and we might rent something once a month.  I don’t really remember movies, nor do I like to watch them again.  (One caveat: I, like all normal 30ish people, watched The Princess Bride about 7600 times in the 80s and memorized most of the movie.  Can you believe that it came out in 1987?!  What?!)

This does have a point.  DH and I watched The Vow the other night and I remembered one of my other quirks that comes out sometimes when I do watch a movie.  The basic storyline is that Leo (Channing Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams) are in a car accident, she goes through the windshield and wakes up with amnesia and can’t remember her life with him.  (disclaimer: there is one quick shot of  Leo’s very cute bottom.)   As I’m watching him go through all the emotions of losing his wife and trying to win her back, here’s what’s going through my head.  “He needs his friends/church/small group to come around him and pray for him and bring him meals and listen and just be with him!  If only he had that support network and the assurance that God is going to work this all even though it looks hopeless.”  Yes, I know it’s a movie (actually this is based on a true story, but this happens to me even when it’s completely fictional).  I know I can’t actually change any of the story or have any influence on the characters.  But I want Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams to know what it’s like to know Jesus in their crisis and have a community group to surround them with love and encouragement!

Here’s the bottom line– I want EVERYBODY to have that!  I wrote in my last post about being Better Together and talked about the blessing of community that I have through my career.  I’m even more greatly blessed by the community I experience weekly through my church and community group.  It’s mind-blowing how much I love my church!  I can’t wait to get there on Sundays!   And our community group?  Seriously the best!  If you don’t have a church and live in the KC area, check out Indian Creek Community Church!

These are some of the best years of my life with Jesus and I love being on the journey with these people!  Do you think Channing Tatum would respond if I invited him to church?

Geography

Isn’t God good to give us guidance (unintended alliteration there, but hey– it works!)?  Sometimes I definitely wish He shouted, rather than whispered, and I must admit that there are many times when it’s unclear what direction to go, at least for a time.  That being said, there are other times when you follow what you believe God is directing you to do and there are such beautiful surprises and blessings that come from obedience.

This weekend I was telling a new friend about how we ended up at the church we both attend.  For 10 years we had gone to a church in Shawnee, which is about a 20 min. drive from our home in Olathe.  Our kids were both born and dedicated in that church (well, not literally there– we did actually go to the hospital– but you know what I mean), we were very involved, it was a great church that we loved.

Over time, we kept feeling this pull to be part of a faith community that was closer to the community in which we live, work, etc.  We wanted to be more involved throughout the week with our church family.  We also have a passion for inviting people in our lives to experience God through the local church.

Just over a year ago, we transitioned to Indian Creek Community Church, just a few minutes’ drive from our house.  It was a difficult transition, both for us and for our children.   For the first few months, I really questioned whether we had made the right decision.  We didn’t know anyone at our new church and it was uncomfortable at first, even though people were very welcoming.  It’s hard to go from a place where you’re known to a place where you’re unknown!  Thank goodness we didn’t give up just because it was a little challenging.

In this past year, we’ve really gotten to see the church be the church in so many different ways.  We live close enough that when someone from our community group is sick, I can run a meal over to them.  When there are devastating losses, I can swing by and pray/talk/cry with that person.  When I invite a friend to church, they say, “oh, I know right where that is, it’s just down the street from me!”.

Geography was always a challenge when I was growing up.  Not the subject, the reality!  Extended family was always quite a distance, so I mostly got to see my grandparents on holidays.  Then we moved to Africa when I was a sophmore in high school.  For most of my college career, my parents lived 10,000 miles away (they were still in Africa).  God blessed their sacrifice in many ways as well.  Now, as an adult, God has given me the blessing of putting down roots and staying in one place for an extended period of time!

I love the investment we are making in our community with our time and with our resources.  Our proximity to those with whom we’re “doing life” is a huge blessing.  Yay for geography!

 

Who knew?

I must say, I’m loving 2 Corinthians.  My favorite New Testament book has always been Ephesians, but I’m really digging 2 Cor. right now!  Who knew that there was such great stuff in this letter?  Okay, so it is divine revelation and all, but don’t you sometimes feel like there are just books in the Bible that you kinda want to skip over?  I don’t know why I felt that way about the books to Corinth, but I’m rediscovering them and loving what I’m reading.

Let’s start with 4:16: Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us,  on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.

Unfolding grace!  I love that picture!  It’s like we just get a little bit of the picture at a time, as though the grace he has for us keeps opening up more and more as we follow him.  His grace goes before us and behind us and around us, drawing us in and wrapping us up.

Or how about 1:9: As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened.  Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it [the persecution they faced], we were forced to trust God totally– not a bad idea since he’s the God who raises the dead.

We were forced to trust God totally.  Yeah, not a bad idea.  As I’m reminded about the fact that I’m only get a little bit of the picture at a time, it makes sense to trust totally the one who really does see the whole darn thing and is in charge of it anyway.

Personal story.  One month ago today (hmm, interesting–just realized the time line!), I asked some friends to pray with me for healing from some sleep issues that I’ve been dealing with for almost 3 years.  God answered with a yes!  I was healed… for about 2 1/2 weeks.  The issues have returned in the last week and a half and it’s been a testing of my faith to understand– well, actually, I don’t understand at all– to process the fact that I had a very temporary healing experience.  Why would God give that gift and then allow it to be taken away so quickly?  I know God to be gracious and kind, powerful, caring about the smallest details in our lives.  At first I felt betrayed, like God was playing a trick on me.  What the heck?

I could continue to interpret the circumstances in this light.  (Our emotions are the result of the way we interpret the circumstances, not the circumstances themselves!)  But I would be wrong, because that does not match up with the character of the God I know.  So, instead I choose to trust God totally and believe that there are many things I do not see.

As part of this journey, I’ve been also forced to choose between vulnerability and isolation.  It took courage to share with the people who had prayed for me, and with whom I had celebrated God’s answer, that the issues had returned and I was back to square one, in a sense.  I’m thankful that I had learned to recognize the voice of the enemy whispering to keep it to myself and not bother anyone with the rest of the story.  I know that isolation is death.  Did you hear me?  It’s that dangerous.  When I cut myself off from community, even in a small way, I guarantee that I will walk the wrong path for a while.  I need them to help me believe that God is good, to remind me that there is more we can’t see, to cry with me and feel my frustration.

Is this a small issue compared to what many are dealing with?  You betcha.  It’s not cancer or divorce or death.  But it’s another reminder that I am not in control, I am not in control, I am not in control.  My life is not my own, thank goodness, and it’s not mine and I don’t own it.  I am a strong, independent woman who chooses to throw my life completely on the mercy of the only one who can truly make life worth living and who is uncompromisingly FOR me, WITH me, CHEERING FOR me, and has the power to CHANGE me.