Chapter 1: The Value of Showing Up

If you got a chance to read the introduction and chapter 1, let’s chat! (If not, it’s not too late. Jump in whenever you can! Here’s more about our online book club for Just Show Up.)

Here are some questions to get us started. Feel free to answer any of them or none of them, and comment on something else. 🙂

  • What thought(s) struck you as new or surprising?
  • Any question come to mind as you were reading?
  • How was it to answer questions 1 & 2 on page 31?

 

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How to walk with hurting friends :: join me for an online book club?

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For months, I’ve been thinking about this idea of “just showing up.”

Actually, it must have been for years, because I asked a friend to bring this book with her when she was coming to visit us in Australia a few months after our first miscarriage.

That title encompassed what we’d experienced as many friends on two sides of the world chose to walk alongside us, our hearts grasping at breath after the loss of our baby.

My life was marked. Our family’s lives were marked. I can only imagine hard much harder our road would have been without them just showing up.

The book quietly testified to that truth from shelf by title alone until just a few weeks ago. The spine of the book unbroken until a sweet young friend of mine found herself a new member of the sorority none of us wants to be in — the women who’ve miscarried.

That’s when I went hunting for the book in a box yet unpacked. I opened it, asking God to help me know how to love my friend well.

Even after weathering the loss of two babies (another one, Gabriel, last December), I felt a wave of amnesia as to what had ministered to my heart so much. Help me know how to love her, Lord? How can I help?

Do you ever wonder the same when you hear of a hurting friend?

There can be barriers, can’t there? I don’t want to say the wrong thing. Or, I am a horrible cook. Or, I’m actually scared of medical things. Or, It’s too close to home. Or, My own wound is still so raw.

Those are valid concerns. If they weren’t, we wouldn’t be held back. But I’d like to offer that we were made in God’s image. And He’s always been in community with Himself, the godhead, as the Father, Son and Spirit. We were crafted from our very start for community. No wonder we long for that at our deepest level.

What would it look like to move toward others, empowered by the One who made us, knowing that we need to receive and we need to give? We need each other.

Here’s the synopsis of the book:

Kara Tippetts’s story was not a story of disease, although she lost her battle with terminal cancer. It was not a story of saying goodbye, although she was intentional in her time with her husband and four children. Kara’s story was one of seeing God in the hard and in the good. It was one of finding grace in the everyday. And it was one of knowing “God with us” through fierce and beautiful friendship.

In Just Show Up, Kara and her close friend, Jill Lynn Buteyn, write about what friendship looks like in the midst of changing life seasons, loads of laundry, and even cancer. Whether you are eager to be present to someone going through a difficult time or simply want inspiration for pursuing friends in a new way, this eloquent and practical book explores the gift of silence, the art of receiving, and what it means to just show up.

The author, Kara Tippetts, writes this in the introduction of the book. I absolutely love this.

Showing up for another says, “I see you. Your pain is known, and though I cannot make it better, I’m here and that’s what matters…

Friends. Community. It is the only way to know and be known. It’s where we see our own humanity and frailty, our gifts and our weaknesses. When we show up for one another, we invade each other in love and become witnesses to the truth that trials and sickness and pain are not the whole story. There’s more, so much more. We can remind one another that our lives are not a mistake. And, most importantly, that we are loved with an everlasting love.”

Maybe you’ve had a taste of a community of friends that seem to match Kara’s words. Or, perhaps, you haven’t but that picture stirs you to think that something like that could exist.

Join me in a very loosely organized online book club starting today.

  1. Buy the book (ebook, or audio) from Amazon or another bookstore, or borrow from the library. (Hoopla is my new favorite way to borrow audio books and listen from my phone or ipad.)
  2. Read the introduction and chapter 1 this week. (A quick and easy read yet so much to chew on, both on a practical-level and heart level.)
  3. Next Tuesday I’ll write a post asking for your thoughts. This is what I’m really looking forward to!

Until then, I’d love you to leave a comment on the blog with one practical way that someone has “shown up” for you, big or small, that really helped when you were going through a hard time.

 

 

 

 

National College-Bound “Scouting” Day

Hey, friends! Scott here.

Did you know there will be 10 million college freshmen entering a U.S. college this fall? Whew! What an incredibly important time to pray and help these young men and women connect with people who love Jesus on their campus.

I and about 15 others are crammed into a meeting room at Cru headquarters for National College-Bound “Scouting” Day.

Using Facebook, we and many others with Cru throughout the country are scouting out incoming college freshman who are Christians, so that we can offer to connect them with an upper-classmen that is involved with Cru.

Would you pray for us to be successful in finding as many incoming Christian freshman as possible, so they can get plugged into with other believers with Cru the first week of classes?

In addition to praying, here’s another way you can help:

If you know an incoming college freshman who might like to be connected on campus, here’s a quick and easy way you can help! Find out if Cru is on their campus and then let us know by filling out the form located at http://www.cru.org/helpstudents.html

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We are so hopeful for many, many college students to respond to the very good news of Jesus this fall!

10 years later

Ten years ago, Scott drove to Ft. Collins, Colorado in his brown pickup. He didn’t know anyone but me and a handful of my friends. 

He’d taken vacation from his IT job to check out this Christian missions group at our biennial conference, and ask God whether he was to join as a missionary. 

He and I talked with two Cru HR folks over lunch at a table at this same Qdoba. God was stirring. 

And today, ten years, we are here eating lunch. Tears of gratitude to God who is fully capable of changing the world all Himself, yet He chooses to involve us. 

To involve you.  

Hope for Other Broken-Hearted Families

June 20, 2017

On a rainy day in early December, Scott and I walked down the labor and delivery floor hall, passing oversized photos of smiling babies on the walls. Our hearts and our overnight hospital bag weighed heavy. Our baby’s 13-week heartbeat was gone and we had come to be induced and deliver him.

Dani stood waiting for us at the end of the hallway. When we approached, I began crying. She hugged me with such tenderness, more like a treasured friend than a patient.

Today, almost seven months later, Dani (below, holding bear) again stood waiting for me at the end of the hallway. This time, I hefted a cardboard box filled with gifts. Scott carried two boxes behind me, with kids in tow. And just like before, tears filled my eyes when I neared Dani, and spilled over when we hugged.

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Joy and sorrow mixed, as our family presented the first of 36 weighted Comfort Cubs and “Quietly” instrumental CDs to Dani’s nursing team (some pictured below) to give to other bereaved mamas and their families who lose a baby, whether a few ounces or 10 pounds.

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I was given one of these bears the day Scott and I met our tiny Gabriel, then held and said goodbye to him. The weight of it caught me off guard as it felt more like a baby than mere a stuffed animal. I sobbed.

The letter, written by a mom who’d lost a full-term baby, ministered incredibly to my heart. She wrote about the weight of that moment and of the significance of my child. As I read about her hope in Jesus I almost immediately pictured a different scene—a mom who wasn’t yet a believer in Jesus, holding a bear and the letter. I knew God was stirring something.

My due date was to have been May 22nd, so Scott and I decided a way we’d honor the life God gave us in Gabriel would be to raise money to buy 24 bears and CDs (the CD is one that brought me great comfort these last months).

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We were stunned when God doubled that, moving 52 individuals and families to give enough to purchase 48 bears and CDs—enough that we’re giving 36 to my beloved Florida Hospital and 12 to St. Elizabeth’s in Lincoln, my hometown hospital.

Last night I stayed up late fluffing each bear and tying around its neck my letter of comfort and the hope of Jesus. As I did, I asked God for insight in how to pray for the mom who would hold that specific bear. Oh, the things that came to mind and the subsequent tears.

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We’d love for you to pray with us for the 48 moms and their families who will have had to say excruciating goodbyes to their baby(ies) the day they receive these bears.

And pray with us amidst the incredible loss and ache that many, many would place their trust in Jesus as a result of His work of comfort in their life? (P.S. If you’d like to know more about the cubs, the CDs or talk more, please comment below and we’ll connect.)

Opportunity to give hope to others as we approach Gabriel’s due date Monday

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I’m not one for stuffed animals, but when Joy offered this bear to me, I gratefully reached out and received it.

A moment later, my brain registered the fact that the bear wasn’t a fluffy, win-at-the-fair animal. It was unusually heavy, almost like lifting a gallon of milk assumed empty, but actually full.

I sobbed.

A weighted bear.

It was in the first hours after Joy’s incredible team of nurses settled me into the hospital room, given me hugs and space and time I needed before I was induced to deliver Gabriel, carried 15 precious weeks.

With Scott next to me, we talked with Joy and soon found that her compassionate care stemmed from a love for God. She told us about a gift she had for us, given by a woman who’d lost a full-term baby.

Joy returned to the room a bit later with the weighted bear. I became the 4th in a line of women touched by loss and the gift that placed weight into empty arms and acknowledged the weight of a precious life lost.

My bear and precious letter was from Erin Ashley, a mama who’d lost a baby girl at birth. She’d received her bear from Lindsey, a mama who held then said goodbye to two baby girls. Lindsey received her bear from her nurse who’d experienced loss.

“Dear friend,” the letter began, “My heart is burdened for you as I write this letter, knowing that in this moment you are experiencing a depth of pain and trauma that so few parents will ever experience.”

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“To have weight means to have significance, and everything about this moment–and your little child, and the story God is writing in your life–is weighty. It’s significant.”

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Last November, Erin Ashley (center) and her family presented 12 Comfort Cubs to Joy (right) labor and delivery’s head nurse at Florida Hospital-Altamonte.

One month later, on December 6, 2017, I received one of those bears.

This week I learned that there is only 1 bear left, meaning 11 of us mamas (and families) have lost a baby in just 6 months at this hospital in this little part of the globe. My heart drops with that news, knowing that my story of delivery of a tiny baby in miscarriage at a hospital is rare. Wow, what would that number have been if we also knew how many miscarriages happened outside those hospital walls in those months?

An Opportunity for You

Gabriel’s due date would have been this Monday, May 22nd. Our family longed to celebrate his tiny life by celebrating other tiny lives and comforting moms and their families and pointing to Jesus, our very great hope.

So, here’s an idea. How about we, together, put more Comfort Cubs and an instrumental CD, below, (listen here) that’s ministered to me incredibly–into the arms of those who face loss this next year?

Here’s how you can give, if you want to come alongside us. 

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Like being on a pit crew (May newsletter)

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“My Mac laptop is so slow. I’m think I might need to get a new one. Is there anything you can do?” Cristina asked us.

Cristina is a young woman who serves with Cru’s hispanic ministry, Destino. This ministry was born out of a dream that Latinos could come together to worship Jesus without sacrificing the unique expression of their cultural heritage.

She arrived in Plano, Texas to attend a conference for all Cru missionaries whose passion is to reach ethnic minorities with the gospel.

As a service to these staff members, my (Scott) team flew there to make ourselves available to fix any computer/phone problems they were having.

I glanced over at Javier (photo, above), who is a certified Mac technician sitting at the desk with me. “Here, I’ll see what I can do,” he said, reaching for her computer.

Cristina’s Mac is 6 years old and has several failing parts, but not a total loss. While she attended the conference sessions, Javier worked on her computer. Cristina’s laptop went from almost unusable to performing like it was brand new!

Over the next few days my team upgraded computer parts on laptops, removed computer viruses, and replaced smartphone batteries as well as offered one-on-one training about how to use various software programs.

It’s a bit like a pit-crew team. We help our missionaries like Cristina with her computer, getting her fixed up and back on the track to do what God’s called her to.

Technology is a wonderful, wonderful tool to help life and ministry work much more efficiently. We all get stuck sometimes and need a little help!

Thinking about Revelation 7:9, I look forward to the day when you have the privilege of worshiping the Lord side by side with Cristina, and representations from every tribe, tongue and nation.

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