construction to get you out of the flat. I'm amazed that Isabella can still nap during this. It's constant noise from about 9am until 5pm when they HAVE to stop. Constant pounding and drilling... gives me a headache if we are home too long. But it's good too because it forces us to get out.
Mike bought me a subscription to a new magazine, Radiant (the women's version of Relevant), and I just received my first copy. As I was reading it last night, this article 'Soul Connections... developing deep, life changing relationships' really touched me and of course... made me think. This section spoke to me so much that I just had to post it here.
"It's risky business to put yourself on the line for another. To pursue true friendship means opening yourself to vulnerability. It also means pursuing relationships with a greater intensity than you're comfortable with."
"For me a true friendship is marked by mutual respect and a desire to serve one another and bear each other's burdens. Not all people have the capacity or desire for deep relationships. But as Christians it's our right to love people as Christ loved them and not to be afriad of getting burned. Whatever direction the relationship takes us, we can know that when we invest our hearts and time, God will produce fruit and make us more like Christ in the process."
It takes time and effort to cultivate a relationship, traveler and journalist Brenda Plonis says. Taking time for a friend is a true sacrifice for many of us, but one that we're called to make, and one that we'll benefit from in the long run. Leo Buscaglia, author of Living, Loving and Learning, says, 'Only when we give joyfully, without hesitation or thought of gain, can we truly know what love means.'
...her relationship with God is really the root of who she is. "Everything stems from it-the way I treat people, the way I react and respond, all reflects on my spiritual life. You can conceal it for a little while (fake it till you make it), but eventually, reality surfaces, and then you find yourself in a worse place than before because now you really don't know who you are."
Being in ministry it often seems so hard to have good, deep friendships... at least for me. In 5yrs we've moved three times and each time, we knew no one. Each time, it took me awhile to build good friendships and once I did, God moved us elsewhere. But it never struck me as something that's my 'right' as a Christian or that through my relationships, "God will produce fruit and make us more like Christ in the process." As I reflected on this, I realized how true it is and how I've changed because I've made the effort to build relationships. While what I previously wrote may be very frustrating at times, it has also been so good for me. I've learned that I need to be willing to put forth effort if deep friendships is what I'm desiring and not expect people to come to me. It's caused me to step out of my comfort zone and out of my shell a bit too. It hasn't been easy but it's been so worth it. And now not only do I have friends in HK, I have friends all around the world. So I guess, I say all that to say how blessed I am to have the 'right' to love people as Christ loves them. It also was a great reminder that the way I treat people, the way I react and the way I respond to others is a direct reflection of my personal relationshp with Christ. I think that's something I need to write on my hand (lol) so that I'll always stop and think before I speak/do.
Things for our new Children's Church set-up are falling into place and I'm so excited. Someone donated some couches and Mike so generously mopped the floor so now we just need to find some floor mats (mine disappeared somewhere) and some ways to make the room a little more inviting to children. Should be fun though.
We leave tomorrow for our retreat and I'm excited to get away. Please, please pray for good weather. This is such a different retreat that I'm anxious to see how God works. We have two students that we've really been trying to reach out to going along with with 7 other core students. I just know God's going to do some neat things.
With the majority of this post being relationship focused... I challenge you to send an email/e-card/phone call... whatever... to someone you want to invest in. Someone that you have the 'right' to love, someone that's worth being burned over, someone that causes you to be vulnerable and see how God changes you.
Grins and Giggles and big Belly laughs.... that's Isabella in a nutshell especially the night we took these pictures!