Okay, I’ll admit it. I fall into this crazy coffee addicted generation. Over the past little bit my love for the hot (or sometimes blended) cup of java has only grown. In the past 6 months or so I have also done a little traveling, and I have come to a conclusion. I would rather have a cup of coffee at a kitchen table than in a chain coffee shop. I have sipped from warm mugs in many living rooms and kitchens anywhere from Redding, CA to Pittsburgh, PA to Bethlehem, Israel, I love this about my life and job. Beautiful. What a privilege. There is something so precious about being with people in their homes. It is an invitation past all the walls we hide behind and brings us to a common ground. People, we are all simply people. People who know and have found what truly matters. Another confession, it is not really the coffee that I love. It is the relationships that this simple drink brings. It is the conversations had. It is the cultures’ experienced. It is the love and warmth felt in all of these places. It’s the laughter echoing off the walls. It’s the connection of hearts. It is the stories told. It is the encouragement uttered. Thanks to all of you who have welcomed me into your homes and your hearts. Thanks for the hospitality. I’m no Bible scholar, but I think that hot coffee could very easily be substituted here, “and if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” Matthew 10:42 Funny writing this, considering I don’t even have a kitchen of my own to invite you into, but when I do, stop in sometime…
Hmm… the seasons they come and they go. Seasons are such a beautiful thing. I think my favorite part of each season is the people God brings into my life. It seems times are changing in my life and quickly. I am maybe one of the biggest fans there is of “remember when’s.” Those of you who know me well know this. I love to reflect on the past, the laughter, the tears, the good, the hard, and the lessons learned. Hindsight seems to bring a crisper picture. Today I feel a bit in between seasons. Reflecting on the past, and trying to peak into what good gifts the next will bring.
Oh simplicity. I go back and forth, life is simple, no it is not, oh wait it is. No, I’m not schizophrenic, just learning about divine tension. The first time I heard it mentioned was in Israel. I have been pondered it ever since. This week I had the privilege of visiting Bethel Church in Redding, CA. It was such a gift. So many stories of the faithfulness of God, but I’ll get to that later… Back to this tension thing, well, the sermon on Sunday was on this topic. It was such a freeing message to hear. Sometimes I feel like screaming somebody just tell me what to do! But our God is far to creative for this. He is constantly pulling us close, through circumstances, problems, relationships, transitions, etc. He is simply saying come a little closer. Intimacy. That’s what He’s after. It’s not a formula. It’s not a pattern. It’s about drawing near. It’s about sitting at His feet, instead of washing the dishes. It’s about breaking a bottle of expensive perfume. It’s about grasping for the hem of His garment to receive that healing that only He can bring. Without the tension, we become independent of Whom we were created to depend. Divine tension. Hmm… Praise the Lord for it. Thanks Lord for new eyes to see your hand in this life.
I don’t normally write in such a melancholy form, but I figure there is some value in being raw, vulnerable, and honest. Israel, as you maybe already know, can basically be summed up as a kiss from heaven. We were spoiled rotten by the King of Kings. He invited us into His living room, and proceeded to give us gift after gift. We had opportunities to pour out as well. We prayed for people, served the House of Prayer, encouraged believers, listened a lot, laughed even more, and learned a ton. To be completely honest, leaving is like coming off some sort of high. It’s hard hit earth again. My tailbone is a little sore as reality is setting back in. I find myself somewhat overwhelmed. It is not from a lack of vision, but from an abundance of it. I know see even more the need for passionate service for our Lord. But I am struggling to find out where is the most strategic fit for me in “such a time as this.” I say all this because I am in desperate need for your prayers. I need to see a clear pathway open up in these woods I am wandering through. Or maybe I am in a desert? Anyway, you get the point…
I hate goodbyes
for moments never dull
He is so faithful
we had to part
another season to start
these memories forever in my heart
may vision arise
I hate goodbyes.
“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Even though our time in Israel is coming to an end, our hearts seem to be finding new capacity for these people and this place. Initially, all the information, experiences, and perspectives felt overwhelming, But now, as our minds have begun to adjust to the culture and a broader perspective, once again we find room to share the heart of the Father. Today, we were able to meet with a leader in the pro-life movement of Israel. She was wonderful to us, inviting us into her home and charming us with tea, coffee, and warm carrot cake. She shared about cultural mindsets, statistics, and testimonies of life. We were able to pray with her, which was really powerful. The biggest thing that stood out to me was that we all have our place in this battle for the unborn. Just like in Nehemiah, God has given us each our own task. For some it is prayer, others volunteering at a pregnancy center, another taking in a unwed mother, but whatever it may be, we must acknowledge the importance of each one’s part. We praise the Lord for allowing us to share this part of His heart, and are thrilled to see someone taking an active role here. With bigger hearts, greater revelation, and new connections, we will press on in this fight for life!