First of all, I know that my last couple of blogs have seemed “bleak.” For those of you who know me well, you can attest that I am not normally a “bleak” type of person. Maybe this made you concerned for me (aww…that’s nice. Thanks for your concern). Or, maybe it made you bored with me and leary of my future “blogging”. (well…screw you. I’m aloud to be bleak…pfft) After my last blog, though, I feel a need to give a shout out to the positives.
I am realizing more and more of our need for one another, or specifically, my need for others. (Which is pretty huge coming from a girl who prides herself on her independence and her need for no one.) Why does our American Society praise such independence? Is anyone really happy being an island? (I’d be happy ON an island, but not AS an island...just thought I'd throw that out there). I think there can be pride (in a good way) in pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, or being self-made, sure. But think on this: what would the depth of relationship be like with that person that holds out the hand that helps you up, when you’ve been struggling and yoinking on your bootstraps? Or that person that has loved you long before you were self made, and still saw something to celebrate in you? I’m just sayin’…we are told that we should be so proud and happy to be independent, but we were never intended to be alone in this life!
About 6 months ago, we were called to give up our home and move to Seattle to plant churches (blah. blah...I know you've heard this story). As you can imagine, giving your house away isn’t a super economic move. We didn’t have a lot of money to move…how fortunate for us that we are part of a family much bigger than our immediate one. The week that Micah announced to Compass that we were being called to plant churches in the Seattle area, a guy who’d been attending Compass for only 2 weeks (I'll leave his name out of this so I don't steal his praise down here and in turn gets jipped in heaven) approached him and said “Hey. I’m new here… but I was already asking myself: When’s this guy going to leave already?” He was joking, of course. (Looking back, I HOPE he was joking!) But, his next statement was this: “I just moved here from Lewiston, ID. I know it can be expensive, and I want to pay for your move.” He then went on to give us a significant gift that allowed us to hire movers, and put a down payment on our rental home. I never personally met him or his family.
As some of you may know, we came to Seattle to work (part time) at a church that will eventually be our “mother” church for a church plant, North Seattle Alliance. I’m going to be a little honest here. This church scared me. The median age is about 60, my kids doubled the size of the youth group, and we were here to help with a “redevelopment” of sorts to help this church make changes in order to reach its surrounding community. AND, for those of you who might have read earlier blogs, I had a fear of old people. I know. It’s bad. And, please believe me when I say that God has used NSA and the people there to change me. I am realizing that God has placed me in the perfect spot to get over some of my super dumb issues. I am also super excited about so many of the people at this church who have lived so much life...and I find that I want to learn from them, hear their stories...and just know them!
Anyways, I have been blown away and humbled by the generosity of the people here at NSA. In our first week of attending, they had us stand outside in the foyer so people could line up and meet us. (Which of course, makes me a little IBS), they then gave us a basket full of welcome cards from almost everyone in that church. And in nearly every card, there was a gift card for Fred Meyer, Albertsons, etc. This outpouring of generosity paid for our groceries for almost 2 months after arriving!
(Side note: I was amazingly humbled at the generosity of this church, and their genuine warm welcome, but there was one card that moved me to tears. When you’re a mom, your brain gets all switched around. Suddenly your first priority and thought is of your children and their wellbeing. You find that you hurt when they are hurt, and when my kids cry (about the real hurtful stuff anyways, not the dumb stuff that some kids cry about that just makes you mad) I cry for them, and I feel for them deeply…arguably deeper than they may feel for themselves. I think that’s just being a mom. Anyways, there was one card in the pile that was addressed to my children. All it said inside was “We know everyone is happy that you’re parents are here, but we are so excited that you are here too…” And inside were individual gift cards for each kid to Old Navy. Yeah. That made me cry! That was the best gift someone could give…to welcome and acknowledge my children.
I don’t say all of this to brag on all the gifts we’ve received or to say that gifts are the only way to care. I don't say this because I think that we need people's "love gifts". I am just grateful for a God who will bring me to a place where he graciously shows me the errors in my stupid thinking. He's allowed me to see my need for people of all ages, from all cultures, and from all different economic status' (?). And, I could not have imagined making this move without the support of our future family. And, it’s a comfort to know that we don’t have to make these huge, hard life changes on our own.