Reflections of Allume

Now that I’m home I have been able to digest things I wrote while I was at the conference and here’s some of what came to me:

This blank page cries out to witness to the fact that it is here waiting for the words to be etched upon it.

Words that bring hope, love, freedom, charity, community, joy, healing, consolation, encouragement, commiseration, appreciation.

Words that banish shame, pain, wounding, bleeding, breaking, pride, arrogance. Words that express facts over the emotions of the moment.

Words that say balance, seek first the Kingdom, and write to your reader. 

Words that remind us to be generous, to walk with that sister out in the dry and lonely places, and to lift another up in prayer.

These words were also spoken without a sound- the look exchanged when a word made the connection, a hug, a squeeze of a shoulder, a casual arm around the waist, a fleeting smile, the deep down belly laughs waiting for the next pic to snap, the tears flowing.

And then, the words in metered rhyme across the page spoken out bravely and the stories told. The true expression of community’s meaning in the midst of the living, breathing community- we are here for you, we want you to give out your words, we want to hear them and breathe them in as you breathe them out, and  breathe them out again when we go back home. You have touched us in our inmost parts with the words The Word has given you to speak over us.

We left with clarity, joy, fulfillment, purpose, vision, new friends in real life, and so much more that He has graciously given from His Hand- and knowing we are better for it.

I realize this is fragmented, but those days were fragmented- I took the bits that were offered and they were indeed as nourishing as those cupcakes and cookies were- sweet to the taste!

“How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Psalm 119:103

 

 

Community

The word “community” has been floating to the surface recently in the language of the church in the same way that the word “engaged” took on new meaning in the education world a few years back. Community is a challenge for me. Community is what I desperately needed as a child in a world I didn’t understand.

“Why?” you ask.

I was a transient child. I went to 14 different schools between kindergarten and graduation. I learned early on that my safe place was church. But even that came with a caveat. You see shunning doesn’t only happen in the Amish way of life. At church, I was the outsider usually, the “new girl”.  I didn’t warm up easily, and perhaps my behavior revealed just how starved I was for normal.  I struggled for some sense of identity and belonging even though I didn’t understand it then.

Community has a lot to prove to one who has discovered she is still not sure she trusts in the meaning of that word. I realize that I’m happy as a clam all alone most days and I’m ok with people I know really well; that is my true comfort zone.  The easy route would be to stay at home in a velvet prison of my own making.

I’ve been in community. I’ve been involved in work that required my accountability and made me responsible in ways I was no longer willing to accept. I stepped out of that community when I stopped working and have been floating alone and with family and I like it. “But,” I hear you say, “family is community.” Well, yes, it is, just not the community I’m talking about here.

The idea of being a part of a community implies more accountability and responsibility and frankly, I’ve been worn out by those two words and taking that on willingly- well, that means stepping back out into the unknown It goes beyond the ties of blood out to ties that bind our hearts to one another through the Holy Spirit. God has told me that He designed me for community and that I have something to contribute and He wants me to be a part of a community.

So, Lord, what does that look like in Your eyes?

I think I may be about to find out…

I’ve been given an opportunity to throw myself into community in a big way this week; Allume is a conference for Christian women who are bloggers. Like me, they write, type, and carve out their feelings, their impressions, and lessons they’ve learned along the way to share with others who are traveling similar paths. They know that the Father is the Author and Creator of the universe; they share the same Spirit with me. We are IN Christ. Some have become entrepreneurs or published writers as a way of providing income and the ability to stay at home with their children.  Most of these women are much younger than me and may have babes in tow and new recipes, and ways to parent on their minds right next to finding the best bargain ever.

I’ve lived through that part of the journey and am in a different season of my life. I have no expectations from these few upcoming days other than to learn, to see how God fits me into community, and to walk away knowing a few new Christian Sisters who are on the same journey-seeking to be a part of community.

If that’s you, I feel like I know you already!

“One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

 “Just as iron sharpens iron, a person sharpens the character of his friend.” Proverbs 27:17