The weeks seem to be passing much more quickly now that we are in a routine. This weekend we were visited by a couple from our Sunday school class in Midland. They were in town to build support for their work in college ministry and came by for a quick tour of the village. I was working in the Market, but John-Mark and Truma took them to see what this place is all about. On Saturday, John-Mark’s parents came to spend the day with us. One of John-Mark’s old friends also stopped by for a tour on Saturday. It is so exciting for me when people we know get to experience the village for the first time. We do our best to describe how incredible this place is, but our words pale in comparison to what Community First truly is.
This last week has been tough on me. I’ve never done really well with routine. Doing the same thing every day kind of pushes me into a rut. This week I started to feel a little cabin fever. I only left the village once between Monday and Thursday, and that was to go to the grocery store. By Thursday, I was having a serious pity party. I honestly sat dreading leaving the trailer because I knew the second I stepped out the door my mood would change. I wasn't ready to be happy yet!
John-Mark and I are together a lot here, but we are never alone. When we are alone for the hour or so between Truma’s bed time and our bed time, we usually spend our time reading scripture or a book. We struggle to talk about anything other than Truma, community, The Field’s Edge, and the occasional funny/interesting thing we learn on social media. This wears on me quickly. Let me note here that I rarely tell my husband when I am upset about something. Now, don’t assume it isn’t extremely noticeable that I am upset, but I try really hard not to say anything. This is usually because I have all these thoughts of things that I do that he could (and probably should) call me out on and I just don’t want to be held responsible for those actions. So I just sulk. I cry when he isn’t looking. I tell him I’m ok. I try to ignore my feelings. Any of you ladies out there tracking with me on this? But, like any poorly built dam, eventually I fall apart. It all comes out. And my poor husband is standing there looking at me in shock because he doesn’t have a clue what I’m talking about.
Finally, after my amazing sister-in-law Misti sends me $10 to spend on ice cream, I decide I need to apologize for being a little hyper-emotional and just go DO something. I sent a text message apology (I know, I’m a coward sometimes) for my doom and gloom attitude, and we decided to take a family date to Luby’s *shout out to my awesome mom for the gift cards*. We had a really nice dinner and I felt like I got my second wind. I was ready to go back and dig into life once again.
John-Mark’s parents’ visit on Saturday morning could not have come at a better time. I served in the market until 1:30, so I missed their tour of the village, but we got a lot of time together afterward. Truma loved having her Bunny and Birddog here and exhausted herself running around like a wild woman during their tour. After Truma’s nap, we happened to run into a woman and her daughter who had brought out cookies, muffins and lemonade for an event that had gotten cancelled. I’m actually so glad they didn't get the memo. We took them on a tour around the village to serve their snacks to the people living in the tiny houses. I think the “cookie tour” may be something John-Mark and I recreate frequently. It was so nice to get the opportunity to meet more people and just spread joy in the form of delicious oatmeal butterscotch cookies.
I’ve been journaling a lot more this week. My writings have been pretty pitiful… basically me crying out to the Lord to ease my “suffering”. I feel like that is when I hear from Him the most. It’s a time that I set apart to write, pray and listen and I almost always hear from Him. This time the Lord spoke to me through a sermon at church. We’ve been attending the St. John’s campus of Austin Stone and the message this week hit me hard. The entire sermon was over 1 Peter 1:1, where Peter is setting up to give encouragement to Christians that had been or were about to endure persecution worse than anything I could ever dream up. Peter writes to the “elect exiles” (ESV), meaning they were chosen to live a life set apart for the Lord. These Christians were enduring persecution because they were set apart by God. It was a reminder that our suffering is never without purpose.
I’ll be honest, I left this sermon feeling beat down. Part of me felt completely un-justified for being such a baby about our circumstances. But while my suffering is minute compared to what others all over the world are dealing with, that doesn’t mean that it is ignored by the Lord. He is not surprised by anything and He is with His children through it all. Regardless of how big or small our suffering is, I am reminded that this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. (1 Cor. 4:17)
In spite of my personal struggles, our time here has been incredibly fruitful. I am learning so much from the people I interact with every day. Yesterday we met a new resident here. He had tears in his eyes as he told us how incredible it is to be in a place where he is so cared for. This place is a beautiful picture of Christ’s boundless love for us all. When I look into the eyes of my neighbors, I see so much more than I used to. I see God’s masterpieces.
This week I challenge you all to pray for the Lord to give you His eyes to see people differently. In a time of such heartbreak and division, we desperately need to love each other the way Christ first loved us.
Prayer requests this week:
- Our friend from CUTB in Midland that is struggling with dangerous health issues.
- For Truma’s sleep schedule. She has started waking up a lot between 3:00-7:00am and we are all exhausted.
- That we will get an offer on our house soon.
- Land for our village and provision to build it.
- Quick approval of our 501c3.
- Continued spiritual growth.
**If you have any questions about our faith in Jesus Christ, please send us a message. We would love to talk to you in detail about how the Lord has changed our lives.**