Friday, April 20, 2012

The 7th Year- wks 8&9: Monastery or Mission Control

I met a new mom last week at the playground. She has great kids, is married and is seemingly normal. In this society, she’s a rare gem. I was excited to tell my husband about her later that evening. His response poked a hole in my party balloons. 
“Is she a Christian?”
“That’s cool. But we need to make friends with people that don’t know Jesus yet.”
He and I have talked about this a number of times. We say that it’s a core value of ours. I have written about it and claim/aim/try to live out our ideas of not being a monastery mommy who raises bunker babies. 
Monastery mommies raise their kids in a petri dish or a greenhouse. The perfect environment, watering at the proper time, feeding and nourishing in ideal conditions. Not a weed or other bacteria in site. Safety.
Bunker babies have lived behind a concrete wall of protection, playing and interacting only with others previously approved to also live in the bunker. The only things that leave the bunker are attacks launched toward anyone not in the bunker. Safety. 
Our efforts in living in the monastery or bunker are exhausting and exclusive. Out of the world and nowhere near it. In the end, we end up being a people that have nothing in common with the much so, that we can’t even hold a conversation with anyone outside our walls. We don't even make sense to each other. 
Sounds like Satan’s perfect plan. 
“If Satan cannon succeed in his Plan A of taking your soul to hell with him, Plan B is to ensure that you do not take anyone else’s soul to heaven with you.”- Chole, The 7th Year.
The Enemy loves our monasteries and bunkers just as much as we do. He’s pleased when we keep ourselves so busy gathering with others just like us that we have no more time to meet people who aren’t like us. We have willingly relinquished the weapon we have- relationships. He laughs when we make the rules and spend time enforcing them. 
“Steal them or sterilize them”, Chole says, “might be the kingdom of darkness’ brutally efficient mission statement.”
Yep, we are going to heaven. But we aren’t taking anyone else with us. Ouch. 
Don’t get me wrong. I am total support of having like-minded friends and a support network around your family. We need to brush up against other believers for encouragement, growth, sharpening. I want my kids influenced by great role models and I desperately desire mentors and Christian friends for my family. We need to be in a community of believers and worship together. Going rogue isn’t wise. 
But, there is a difference between making your home (or life) a monastery or making it mission control. 
Mission control preps and de-briefs before and after intentional interactions. 
Mission control sends out. 
Mission control trains. 
Mission control monitors and sends support when extra help is needed. 
Mission control is visited often for resupply, rest, re-evaluation and recalibration of the original mission. 
Mission control is pro-active. 
Are we living to make it through unscathed? 
Are we living to multiple ourselves?
Are we avoiding the thorns because we are afraid of a few scratches and hard work, therefore letting them grow effortlessly?
Are we fighting them back with everything we’ve got so we can see the real life-giver do his thing?
I am glad I made a new friend last week. It’s nice to have people in our lives that we can relax with. But I am also glad my husband frequently reminds me that we are be strategic in who we spend time with. He is a result of a trained agent leaving mission control for a purpose. 
Satan won’t steal us or sterilize us. 
I know it sounds scary. It's terrifying, actually. But that's ok. Mission control has prepped us.
This is my reflection of the readings from weeks 8 and 9 in The 7th Year, an intentional e-journey of discipleship. You can find out more about it at 
Have a great friday! 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The 7th Year- Week 7: God math

"As I consider years past, I see your hand clearly in some spaces.
In other spaces, I acknowledge the presence of your hand by faith, not by sight."- Chole

We began a new section in the 7th Year e-journey. Moving from our own personal life scrolls (seeing God in the past) to a task in preparing to see the current and upcoming movements between God and myself. Prior to starting the task, Chole asked us to spend a few moments in prayer. The quote at the top of this post was part of her guided prayer. This line....."I acknowledge the presence of your hand by faith, not by sight".... stuck with me. 

How many times have we heard (or spoken) stories of knowing God was near because we saw signs and wonders happen? Those times are valid and wonderful, but what happens when we don't see or feel God moving nearby? It might be easy to think that God left us or backed away somehow. But deep faith is evident when we know God is near without the evidences seen by the eye. 

Looking back through my own life scroll, I can see times that I trusted, by faith, that God was near because I couldn't see with me eyes (or brain or skin or heart) that he was around. I depended upon the past history of him being with me and logically connected God's past history with his current activity. 

He was there when I ________ + he was also there when ________ + I trust his word = He was and is there when I can't feel him. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


We’ve started cutting through the strong overgrowth in the yard. Ten years without attention welcomes 4, 5, 6 inch thick vines to grow and develop the ability to take down trees. 

The brown and peely is the base of the vine, not a tree.
I was knee deep in chopped up thorny brush, Adison was waist deep in it. Her pants became snagged in the thorns and instantly she was worried. I pulled her out quickly and set her down in a place free of thorns. Then I remembered something. 

They put a crown of thorns on his head. 
A crown of thorns on his head. 
Thorns on his head. 

Thorns poking into my finger and scratching my arms hurt. I can’t imagine them pushed into my head. 
The potential for biblical imagery from this experience is tremendous. But since this is the week before Easter, I have been thinking about the pain Jesus suffered as he went to the cross for us. Surrounding myself in thorns and vines has been a reminder of why Jesus did what he did. 

 Please forgive us, Jesus. 

Tree covered in vines, we question
if it's alive or not. 
All that remains of this tree is the trunk,
everything else you see is vines...
not branches.

My husband snuck in some shots.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

7th Year- Week 6: Hemmed In

You hem me in- before and behind. 
You know me. 
You laid your hand upon me. 
You are there. 
Your eyes saw me. 
You are familiar with my ways. 
You know what I do. 
You are aware. 
(Phrases from Psalm 139)
This week for the 7th year, I added the last layer to my life scroll. I added my questions, revelations, commentaries and overall summary of all the previous 6 layers. I found common themes running throughout my scroll; both in God’s movements and my responses to His movements and other circumstances. I ask(ed) the same questions, or variations of the same questions repeatedly. Yet, through it all, God remained the same. 
He is my:
(ever) present
pursuer (as in caller, wooer, chaser)
These God-descriptors all were all woven numerous times throughout my scroll, reoccurring frequently. I know some of the descriptions don’t make sense to others and that’s ok. They don’t have to. At times, this doesn’t entirely make sense to me. But, I know they are true. 
A good hem is turned into itself twice and stitched in a way that is invisible from the outside of the garment. A hem encompasses the fringe of the fabric and ensures future unraveling. A hem surrounds, borders, edges, encircles, encloses, encompasses, corrals. 
Sounds a lot like my cinched-in feeling I wrote about earlier in this process. You can read about that here

Jesus hemmed in my fringe- whether caused by myself or other people- and protected against further unraveling. Jesus hemmed me into himself- before me and behind me- so that his presence was always there. At times, the hem felt invisible- as if one was looking at it from the outside- but it (he) remained present. 
I remain thankful for this 7th Year journey and invite you all to begin participating at any time. You can find details on how to participate through visiting the site,