This post is a like a braid with the three strands weaving together.
Strand one: The Messy Middle
Earlier this week, this blog celebrated her 4th birthday! If you’re like me and think WHAT?! I thought she was three years old, have we really been doing this for four years? Yes, yes we have. Life has a way of sneaking up on you, doesn’t it. Here is my first post — part of me wants you to click over and part of me is a bit embarrassed with my writing ability at that time and would like to pretend I’ve always been awesome. (I see some family eye-rolling going on!)
I wrote about spending time in the Beijing Airport with a teacher whose mother had died and wondered when I’d get that type of phone call. Oh four years, you’ve been good to me and you’ve been hard. I love how the phrase “the messy middle” has taken hold and many of you use it too. It’s where we live, isn’t it?
(For those who count, this is the 490th post!)
Strand two: meeting people
I am flying today to Washington State to attend a writer’s retreat. One of the hosts is Kimberlee Conway Ireton author of Cracking Up: a postpartum faith crisis. I won a copy on a blog giveaway about two years ago and loved it so much I contacted Kimberlee to tell her Cracking Up was the Velvet Ashes book club book for September 2014. She was the first author I’d reached out to — since then I’ve also befriended Kay Bruner, Robynn Bliss, and Carolyn Jourdan.
You know how you have a dream and wonder if you’re nuts? I longed for a book club for cross-cultural servants but didn’t know if I was the only one who wanted to talk about books, ideas, faith, and how the all come together in life. Kimberlee’s book and participation in the book club was magical for me. She showed up and was so kind, and open and honest. So, when she publicized she was hosting a retreat, I knew I needed to see her in person and thank her. When it turned out the retreat was near this blog’s birthday (and an away Broncos game), it sealed the deal. Were it not for this blog, I would not have met Kimberlee.
Were it not for this blog, I wouldn’t know many of you. I’m so thankful you’re here and we can, in a weird cyber way, journey together.
Strand three: continuing friendships
A two-sided coin of living overseas for so long is that I know many wonderful people who now live far away from me. It’s a beautiful pain for my soul.
I want this space to also be a place where we can share together in the messy middle of life.
In May I interviewed my friend Katherine who I’d know from my days in China. She was pregnant with her second child and had been given a terminal diagnosis for the baby. Katherine and Jeff chose not to terminate and instead would accept what God would do, knowing God is not a genie in a bottle. Yes, they believe deeply in his ability to heal, but knew most likely this would not be such a case.
They live very near where my retreat is going to be! I know :)!!! So, when we first planned for me to visit, you can imagine what we thought the visit might hold.
Arabella Grace was born in August and is a living miracle. I get to spend time with their family doing wonderfully normal daily life — complete with a doctor’s visit and shots for both girls! In preparation for my trip, Katherine wrote: This one is excited to see you. How incredible that you actually get to meet her? This was not what we were thinking when we first discussed this trip…
It is incredible.
It is hard to put into words what this space has meant to many these last four years. Earlier this week I read in 1 Corinthians 8:1 “Now regarding your question about food that has been offered to idols. Yes we know that ‘we all have knowledge’ about this issue. But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church.”
You know I love knowledge and reading and learning, but love strengthens the church. Thank you for making The Messy Middle a place of true strength —strength based on love.
Grace and Peace,