As we’ve continued to settle into our roles here, despite the anxiety I’ve been experiencing, I have seen a continuous rhythm beginning to develop. This rhythm has come in the way the littles and I do school each day, the expectancy of J at lunch and his return after the buses leave for the day. It has come in the once monthly ‘“girls night dinner” and in the consistency of co-op meetings.
I remember thinking we’d never find any rhythm here. I remember feeling overwhelmed at the idea of creating new rhythms because it meant letting go, really letting go, of our old rhythms. The scariest part of moving here, for me, was the not knowing…
See, I’m a planner. I have our entire summer laid out on calendars on the fridge. I make my grocery list a full week ahead and I have my dinner menu written out at least two, usually three, weeks out. I thrive on consistency. The introvert in me needs the predictability. Moving to the Rez stripped that away…but God in all His goodness, has given us new rhythms. Rhythms that cause us to rely more heavily on Him, rhythms that cause us to pray boldly and speak life because that’s literally all we have at times. Our new rhythms have forced us to look deeper into ourselves, our marriage and our parenting to reflect on how we are best serving ourselves, our family and others.
Some of that reflection has taught us some hard lessons, especially the past few weeks. We’ve learned that even more than before we really must say exactly what we mean and then be prepared to fully stand behind our decision. We’ve learned that giving out of an overflow sometimes has to look different than we imagined or previously pictured. We’ve learned that walking alongside our partner churches and their congregations can’t look the same in every one. We’ve had to acknowledge those lessons, process them, accept them and choose differently in the future.
I was struck hardest by some of these lessons as I am the more emotional person in this partnership. (I know, that’s hard to imagine. Ha.) I can easily slip into bitterness when I feel an injustice has been done. I’m constantly working on that…working on forgiving and letting Jesus take care of the rest.
Several times in the past week, I’ve had some of my Navajo sister’s remind me that there are things I MUST let go of…there are things, moments, people, who will cause tension and I have to be willing to give them to Jesus. I cant be effective in my walk, in my home, in my classroom, my marriage or our ministry, if I’m holding on to things I can’t control.
On Friday evening, we went out to White Rock to have dinner with our Masani and to let Little Man see “his sheep”. While we were at the corral, I watched Masani as she called each of those sheep by name and they responded to her. I watched as she gently guided them back to the corral and was immediately able to spot one who was injured. I asked her a bazillion questions about why and how she handles them the way she does. I talked to her about when they’ll lamb and how many she expects and when she’ll shear them. And I was amazed at the knowledge, the gentleness and the fierceness of spirit in my beautiful friend. As J drove the kids up from the corral to the church and Masani drove her truck, I chose to walk. I chose a moment of peace. And I took this picture.
You might see dirt, and a building with a blue tin roof. I felt Jesus in this moment though. That dirt reminded me that everyone deserves a clean slate . No matter their offense, it’s not my job to take it up. And so, I made a choice to breathe in the crisp, cool air and let out the yuck of the past few weeks.
Then, this morning, we live streamed our church in Hattiesburg, MS. I want to preface this by saying that one of the many reasons I admire and respect Pastor Jeff is because he has ALWAYS (in my time of knowing him) been a man who was about loving others well. He has been a man of integrity, one who is consistent in his dealings with people and in the decisions he makes as he leads his flock.
In his sermon, Pastor Jeff talked about the movement they are making in South Mississippi. He talked about how God has been pushing him to do things he wasn’t really been comfortable saying yes too. He spoke about the things he thought he knew a better timeline for-and then he talked about submitting. Submitting to the One who knows best and saying yes to God. He spoke about hard things, tough spots, wrong turns happening so that God can squeeze you. So God can use every bit of you and then refill. Because He DOES refill.
My heart needed to hear those words this morning. I needed to be reminded that sometimes saying “Yes, Lord, send me!” doesn’t look like what we imagined and it most certainly isn’t always comfortable. And…it doesn’t have to be what I WANT! Yuck, y’all! My toes were on fire after hearing Jeff’s sermon today.
I want people to do right by the Navajo. I want people to do right by my family. More than any of that, though, I want people to know Jesus. I want them to see Him in His fullness. I want them to feel His presence as they come and as they go and when they come in my house I want them to get knocked down because the Holy Spirit is so strong they aren’t able to stand!! I want to live BOLDLY for Christ. I want my family to live and walk BOLDLY in the knowledge of who they belong to and who created them! I want my Navajo brothers and sisters to understand fully the beautiful miracle each of them was created to be and to find the purpose He’s lain before them. All of those are my WANTS though. Are they good wants to have? I feel like they are. Are they what God wants? I know some of them are, I also know some of them are Jesus with a little of my selfishness thrown in…and so does He.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, I want Jesus. And I’m going to continue to say yes-even when it’s hard…I’ll keep letting Him chisel me like the beautiful landscape in my desert because each cramp, bump and hiccup can cause me to be more like him…and to me, for me, that is my greatest desire.