“As I learn more about the seed of true self that was planted when I was born, I also learn more about the ecosystem in which I was planted–the network of communal relationships in which I am called to live responsively, accountably and joyfully with beings of every sort. Only when i know both seed and system, self and community, can I embody the great commandment to love both my neighbor and myself.” – Let Your Life Speak; Parker Palmer

This week has been some kind of whirlwind for my little circus family. It is always a test of the strength of my will, endurance, and sanity when the events necessary for The Restoration House (TRH) collide with daily circus life. I typically begin my week fully anticipating living in a state of “rush,” coupled with meltdowns of epic proportions and the over-consumption of tea, Chick-fil-a & chocolate in any form, (I gave up caffeine for Lent so the tea was out this time, at least).

Name Tags

Daniel, the kids, and I spent this week representing TRH at the Cedar Springs Presbyterian Global Missions Conference. The conference consists of seven days of activities and gatherings that both inform and challenge the church body, while also giving them the chance to interact one on one with some of the domestic and international missionaries the church so generously supports, (emphasis on the GENEROUS).

Needless to say, I began the week with my normal set of feels, the ones where I majorly look forward to being a grown up and representing TRH mixed with the crazy anxiety of praying my family doesn’t self destruct with adding extra to the already normal busy.

Saturday morning, the day of set up, I made it a point to say a very distinct and specific prayer asking the Lord to take away the anxiety and replace it with joy, that he would  just cover my children this week in the areas in which they struggle in times like these. All three have very specific symptoms they manifest when life goes into overdrive, which, don’t we all, really?

It’s Thursday now. We have yet another snow day and the kid count in my house is up to at least eight, at least that’s what the mound of wet shoes at the door tells me. We’ve yet to get home before 8:30 any night this week, and exhausted is an understatement. But let me tell you, I wouldn’t change a minute….well maybe the moment last night when Silas was hot and ripped his clothes off and ran down the church hallway, but other than that, not one minute.

Oh my word, we have been so, so very loved on this week! To reference Parker Palmer’s words above, we have been loved on by believers who seem, by all observation, to be trying to live “responsively, accountably and joyfully with beings of every sort.”  We have been surrounded by fellow learners this week. We have been greeted by folk who want to live in reciprocity with domestic and international missionaries, understanding that we have so much to learn from each other’s lives, callings, and passions.

Together with the Cedar Springs body this week, we have been challenged, shaken up to the point where just when you think you’re at the right road marker, looking out at just the right direction, map in hand, you discover there is a whole different way to approach the journey.

Through CSPC God has provided for our family this week. Besides the fact that I haven’t had to hurriedly prepare a single meal, every prayer I have prayed for peace for my children has been answered. God literally sent a 3rd grade angel boy to help my oldest son relax and be a part of the children’s conference. To hear that sweet boy assure my anxious son with the words, “It’s ok. I gotcha buddy,” was enough to soothe this tense momma’s soul, and remind me (again), that God certainly doesn’t need me to be “the one” all the time.

Being surrounded by people who seem to truly want to walk with us, not just support TRH financially from afar, has been so nourishing for Daniel and I this week. As founders and leaders we often forget, or get too busy to allow ourselves to stop for a second and be loved on, spiritually (and literally), hugged. And while the week has been busy, we have been refreshed, challenged, and gently coaxed into taking a deep breath and allowing ourselves to graciously receive.

We are reminded this week of the beautiful ecosystem in which God has planted The Restoration House, and in turn the single parent families of our community. We’ve gained a lovely glimpse into seed and system, self and community, and with much confidence, a renewed spirit, challenged minds, grateful hearts, and with more than a few new friends, we move forward, refreshed and on mission to love with great tenacity our neighbors as we love ourselves.