I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things

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Aloha!  

I hope your summer is going well! I loved the message this weekend at Willow and thought I’d share a few thoughts from it (and merge them with a previous post) Our summer theme has been the minor prophets and this week we looked at the prophet Micah. Inevitably landing on Micah 6:8: And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Let’s take our pick of the many areas to respond to globally with this verse, the injustice that we are made aware of daily. Phil brought the response to our own doorstep – to be conscious of the lonely, recognising that loneliness is a serious problem in our communities.

The bible says ‘God sets the lonely in families.’ (I’m sure that means via us?)  This is more than being alone, a state of being, in fact, being alone can be a gift (INFJ here) This is different, lonely is the emotion brought on by feelings of separation. Loneliness can be devastating, a riot in the brain that brings feelings of being uncared for, not celebrated, unloved.

Let’s backtrack to when loneliness entered – God created Adam and Eve and walked in the cool of the day with them. They were created for His presence, but as we know, sin entered the world and separated us from God. Shame, nakedness, and loneliness penetrated the heart, and we’ve struggled with this ever since, affecting many of our choices. Hurt and pain can isolate us, as we hide within the fear of rejection and misunderstanding. We deny ourselves grace, and we make unhealthy comparisons, enhancing loneliness on an island of echoes.

Good news.  

Loneliness does not exist within the Trinity – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in an adoring relationship. One does not function without the other. God is not alone, and God is not lonely. The trinity exalts one another, communing and honoring. It’s a sublime dance. Or as C.S. Lewis put it, ‘in Christianity God is not a static thing… but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you would not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.’

Let’s grasp this truth and let’s attempt the outworking of the dance… exalting, honoring, and working together and ‘as we limp toward transparency and community and friendship with our own fears and insecurities, we recognize that we aren’t alone. When we see that we are not alone, we can reach out to one another.’ Ann Voskamp.

Reach out.

As we all carry the blueprint of community, let’s find our place to belong, to find our people. For us, we have seen that in our church community – which we believe was God’s idea. We are better together! Eternity is written in our hearts while community is written on our front door, at our table, the coffee shops, where the people gather, wherever we choose to intentionally position ourselves with others. Our health could even improve, according to Caroline Leaf in her new book ‘Think, Learn, Succeed’ ‘Community involvement has been associated with mental health and cognitive resilience, reduction of chronic pain, lower blood pressure, and improved cardiovascular health. One recent study even indicates that social isolation and loneliness kill more people than obesity.’

Lord,

Help me to be aware that you are with me in every moment.

To know true community in you.

Help me grasp the truth that you desire to walk with me in the cool of the day.

In the valley and mountain. The confusion and fear. The celebration and hope.

Help us all to reach out and find our community.

Amen.

You are loved,  Michelle xo

‘I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things’ Mother Teresa

 

Stretched. Exploring Beauty.

Day 15
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Dear Girls,

Do you remember when Josiah asked recently ‘when you had a belly button was it an inny or an outy’ or the time Bella asked ‘why is your tummy cracked’.

Babies have a way of stretching you beyond recognition.

You did just that with my body when I was pregnant.

‘Ouch’ people would say as I walked past them. ‘Got to be triplets’ they’d whisper.

39 weeks.

Then at 39 weeks you arrived. Emptying my body of your life. And that skin, that wrapped around you and held you tight. It fell and refused to get back up. That rock cake now Pillsbury dough. The pressure to return to our pre-baby selves is strong. That was never going to happen with me with elasticity loosely offering control.

Your Dad and I watched a documentary about beauty last night. We saw children on catwalks, a Mom fulfilling her life through her child. We saw a face peeled off, sliced and made tighter. We saw women die from anesthetic in the name of beauty. We saw social websites for the beautiful rejecting the ‘not so beautiful’. We saw the creativity of photo-shop edit out the Creators design. Natural life replaced with an untrue sparkle in the eye, quickly obliterated with the words. You’re fat. We watched a world of dissatisfaction.

Now… I know this is not breaking news. But this message is loud this week.

Now, correct me if I’m wrong but I have raised you with a healthy body image. But I fight a bigger demon. And as you switch on your media, you are told, sold an alternative message. It’s a lie.

The biggest choice you will make is who to believe…

I will always encourage you to eat healthily and it’s not because you are gaining weight. I will ask why are you standing staring in the fridge when you have just eaten because it’s about health and good choices.

You know we do our best to eat well – for the most part.

You see me working out to the T25 Beachbody DVD, we all know that 25 minutes or thereabouts of physical exercise is recommended. I feel better when I exercise, I would like to live a long time, and I enjoy the endorphins and the energy that exercise guarantees me.

You know that alongside good physical health I will always speak of a positive body image.

It’s time to rock your own brand of gorgeous. Good health goes beyond sizes.

Some thoughts:

“Do you say that tree isn’t pretty cause it doesn’t look like that tree? We’re all trees. You’re a tree. I’m a tree. You’ve got to love your body, Eve. You’ve got to love your tree. Love your tree.” Eve Ensler, The Good Body.

“If we really knew who God created us to be we would never want to be someone else.” – Bill Johnson

Positive body image leads me to my final thoughts, for this letter anyway.

Let’s talk Maasai. The beauty of the Maasai living in a commercial village fascinated Robert Biswas-Diener he wrote here of his travels through Kenya. The Maasai were free from the influences of media. Of propaganda. How would they know how to be beautiful?

One question he asked was “How satisfied are you with your physical appearance?” To his surprise, everyone in the village regardless of age, number of teeth, or quality of dress, told him that they were completely satisfied with the way they look. They have simple standards for beauty; they focus mostly on those aspects of appearance they can control, and take character traits into account when deciding what is good looking.

In the Maasai language, the word for physical appearance (which roughly translates as a person’s “goodness”) can also be used to describe their morality. In fact, so closely related are these two concepts that the Maasai typically think about attractiveness in terms of both physical attributes and character traits alike, suggesting that beauty is not only skin deep.

When he asked the Maasai about what constitutes a perfectly good-looking person, their answers frequently included friendly, well respected, disciplined, and brave.

And girls, for you to believe this Maasai translation of beauty in the midst of the lie is the bravest thing of all.

I’ll leave you with a challenge.

‘Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. 1 Peter 3:4

Love, Mom xoxo

PS. It’s Friday night, time for pizza.

NaBloPoMo November 2013