Tuesday, November 3, 2015

We are not martyrs

We are not martyrs.

I want to make that very clear. Sometimes the work we do is hard, sure. I try to be honest when we're feeling discouraged or frustrated, because too often social media, and particularly Christians, present the face that all-things-are-perfect. We answer how are you doing? with fine, regardless of how far from fine we might actually be feeling. And I don't want anyone to feel less-than. To worry that because parenting or ministry is hard, they are doing something wrong. Being a mom and helping others is just hard because it's hard, especially when you're doing it right.

But let me assure you that we are not dying on the cross of ministry in misery. We actually truly love our neighborhood dearly. I genuinely enjoy friendships with my neighbors. We delight in spending time with hilarious teenage boys and lovely small ones who tumble underfoot. I cannot stop the grin that spreads across my face when I answer a knock on the door to find a kid who I haven't seen in years. Pulling him close, I exclaim over how big he's gotten, and we reminisce about that one time he stole a golf cart at summer camp when he was seven.

We are not extraordinary, and we certainly don't have very many (any!) right answers for all the questions. We simply make ourselves available. We decided, over nine years ago, that Jesus wanted our "yes," and that He cared about the marginalized. So we moved towards the margins and stayed.

But none of this can be about us, about Adam and Becca. We don't really have a larger growth strategy. We don't have solutions to problems, necessarily, because we simply love people and people are never problems. We take joy in what we do simply because it's fun. Living life poured out, alongside the often brokenhearted, we find ourselves closer to Jesus than we thought possible. With less certainty about theology, and more faith in Jesus.

I wonder, sometimes, what if something happens to us? Where will the kids go in the middle of the night? Who will they call for a ride, or for help finding a job? Where will they live when they have nowhere else to turn?

And this, as it turns out, is why we care about mentoring. Not as a strategy or a solution, exactly. Nor as anything except for a way to move more hearts to a place of availability, so all our kiddos have someone they can call. Because perhaps the people who have benefitted most richly from us opening our home are not the kids we have let stay with us, or the ones we have bailed out, or the ones we feed dinner; instead, it is us.

We do not give people dignity or worth or a voice. We simply affirm what they already possess. We hear them and see them, and then stand alongside them until they believe it for and in themselves. And we enjoy it. It's fun and it's beautiful, but that doesn't mean it's not also hard and brutal (brutiful as momastery says). It's BOTH/AND.

And the most important work we do mostly gets done in the dark. The quiet unassuming tasks of forgiveness, of choosing beauty, of finding truth. Of practicing compassion and forgiveness on the one person who is conveniently always around: myself.

I spent a few days last week on a soulcare retreat (again, more on this later), and on the first night all of the amazing women shared their stories. I cant stop thinking about them. About how beautiful and brave and just stunning they all are. Each and everyone one of them had a moment in their story, a still point in a turning world, where they met Jesus face-to-face and realized: this is it. But that moment, that "it," was something different for every single one of them (of us). And thank goodness that the Lord uses and multiplies all the quiet work we do in the dark, scattering it in different soil all across His wide world. Together, we listen and wait for His Kingdom come, thankful for every small and large way we get to play a part in bringing it forth. 

6 comments:

  1. You are such a special family...

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  2. I will say it again, my friend. Gosh, I love you.

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  3. I have been reading your blog for a while...love your transparency. This is a beautiful entry! I am looking forward to reading more about your time at the retreat!

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  4. This just blew me clean away. I can't agree more, and I thank you for giving s voice to these truths.

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  5. This just blew me clean away. I can't agree more, and I thank you for giving s voice to these truths.

    ReplyDelete

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