Saturday, March 27, 2010

My Community

The number one question I get asked when talking to other mom's about my blog is, "Do you feel like blogging is a way for you to let out all your frustrations from the day?" I quickly respond with an emphatic, "Yes!"

I am constantly surprised at the community I feel I have through blogging. Even though I don't personally know most of the ladies of the blogs I follow I am consistently encouraged by the passions and struggles we share. Through pregnancy, labor and delivery, potty training, and nasty attitudes you guys are here sharing your stories. We share recipes, homeschooling tips, and humorous stories. I look forward to sitting down and reading from you everyday.

As a SAHHM (stay-at-home-homeschooling-mom) my world sometimes seems limited and lonely. I am realizing now that my community is far reaching. From my family, my friends, my church, and my blogging community I have the support I need. But sometimes I need to reach out to let these people know that I need them. Something I'm sure we all struggle with.

I am speaking at church tomorrow about this very thing and wanted to share my message with you. It's long so bear with me. Let me know if you have any questions. And comments are, of course, always welcomed and appreciated. Also, I didn't type out the scripture passages so you might want to look them up so this makes more sense.

Message for Sunday, March 28, 2010

Last week when I said I had something to share I was referring to a word of thanks that's been on my heart for you all. As I've prepared for today, though, it has become a word of thanks plus what I pray is a word of encouragement to us all.

Just For Me Brownies Story

A few years ago our dear friend Becky sent my mom a recipe for Cookie Dough Brownies (recipe at the bottom of the page). On the recipe card in the space where you write how many servings there are Becky had written, "Just for me! :) She told my mom that she makes these brownies and keeps them in her freezer and would keep them for herself. It was her emergency stash. I'm sure most women have one of those. I know I do.

I also know that one of the only times we women do share our stash is if a girlfriend comes over and we're gonna sit down with our coffee or tea and have a little treat while we our struggles and our hearts with each other.

These brownies have three layers. To make the brownies correctly you have to give each layer time to cool and set up. But with each layer the brownies get better and better. I see that in relationships too. The more layers we get into with each other the better the relationship gets.

Keep this in mind as we talk through these verses.

Mark 10:46-52

Blind Bartimaeus wants to receive physical sight.

Jesus, being all knowing, could have healed him. *No questions asked. But Jesus stopped and asked, "What do you want me to do for you?" Not what do you want or what do you need, but what do you want me to do for you.

*( ie. Woman with the issue of blood - Matt 9:20-22)

For Bartimaeus to say he wants to see is him committing to what seeing means.

What did receiving physical sight mean to Bartimaeus? What was he now aware of?

What does it mean for us to receive sight spiritually speaking?

I heard a clip from a Bible study video today that explains this well. It's like God is saying to us, "You think you are here. Let me show you where you really are. then let me show you where I want to take you."

Seeing the bad is hard. And while seeing the good is relieving, most times it's hard because it's like the war is on and sometimes the fight seems harder than being ignorant of the situation. (example: finances, weight, a fight where you realize you are the one at fault) And sometimes having the faith to get through your circumstances is a fight on it's own.

Now lets look at Mark 10:47-49 specifically.

It's like a typical high school movie.

The unpopular kid is picked on & mistreated until the cool kid in school pays attention to him. Then all those who had just been ignoring and mistreating him turn around and now act like they've been friends with the unpopular kid forever.

But they aren't his real friends. Just like these people around Bartimaeus. They shove him out of the way and ignore his pleas for help. Until Jesus calls him out and pays attention to him.

What a contrast to the story of Luke 5:17-20.

This paralytic man was close enough to these men that they would carry him to the place where Jesus was.

They were close enough to him that when they couldn't get through the doorway they carried him up on a roof, tore the roof apart, then lowered him down in the middle of a meeting right in front of Jesus.

They had the faith and the ability to do what he couldn't.

Romans 1:11-12

When I first read vs 11 I assumed that the spiritual gift Paul was talking about was prophecy, teaching, tongues, ect. I also thought it seemed a little bold of Paul to say he would be imparting these gifts to the people.

But when we read vs 12 Paul clarifies what he means.

He explains that the spiritual gift is "you and I being mutually encouraged by each others faith".

Not just Paul encouraging them with his faith, but them encouraging each other. I know that for me sometimes I don't have faith for my situation but I can for my friends and vice versa. But we have to let each other into those struggles in order to be encouraged by each others faith.

TVBC is really good at loving each other. We bring meals, and visit the sick, and go to the hospital to be with each other. And I love it. Being on the receiving end of this love a few times in the last year has given me more of an appreciation for this ministry. And hearing from friends and family who have never seen this kind of love from a church before has opened my eyes to see how rare it really is in our culture.

Today what I want to encourage all of us to start doing is to go deeper. We all need stretcher bearers in our lives. People with whom we are so close we let them get in on the nitty gritty parts of our lives and hearts.

I'm sure we all have a friend or two that we share some of our private thoughts and struggles with. But how close are we letting each other get to our hearts and deep struggles.

We all need these kinds of relationships and we need each other. I'm not saying that these relationships don't exist. I want to encourage us to have more of them.

I tell Nathan almost everything. But there are times when I need advice in my marriage and I need to seek out other women to counsel me. When it comes to being a mother and struggling with my kids advice from a women who's been in my shoes is so helpful. I'm not necessarily going to find these things in just one person though.

Older women need the younger just as much as the younger need the older.
ex: raising kids, relating to husbands, help around the house, advice on growing up, mentoring, commiserating

Younger men need the older men and vice versa.
ex: raising kids, relating to wives, help with projects, financial advice, commiserating

Couples need each other
advice, commiserating, children

How big is your personal community?

How close do you let your community get to the issues of your heart?

Who is in your community?

It's time we pull out our Just For Me stash and let each other in.

Also, here's a list of books I've been reading lately that have ministered to me in this place I am right now:

Battlefield of the Mind - Joyce Meyers

When I Lay My Isaac Down - Carol Kent

Get Thin, Stay Thin - Arthur and Judy Halliday

Just For Me Cookie Dough Brownies

1 tsp salt, 2 C sugar, 1&1/2 C cocoa. Combine. Then add: 1/2 C oil, 4 eggs, 2 tsp vanilla. Mix well. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Cool completely.

Filling: 1/2 C butter, 1/2 C brown sugar, 1/4 C sugar, 2 Tbl milk, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 C flour. Cream together and spread over cooled brownies. Chill (about an hour).

Melt: 2 C chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1 tsp vanilla. Pour over chilled brownies. Freezes well.

I store them in the freezer so they last longer. :) Enjoy!


Rachel said...

That's a really great message! And so true. Deeper relationships are amazing...I have just started having more of those in the past few years, and it is so enriching to my life!

I also love the term SAHHM. I'm going to have to remember that one...

Andrea said...

Shiree thanks for posting that. I actually don't have that recipe of my mom's. I am very glad to get it. I miss her so much. I miss her advice on relationships, marriage, work and just life in general. She was such a wise and loving woman. I know she cannot be replaced, but I am also becoming aware of the vital importance of community. Before I was reading your blog I was searching for churches in this area hoping to find one we can connect with.

pistolsnprincesses said...

Oh Andrea, I pray for you guys constantly. I know that I don't know how deeply you miss your mom, but know that I do. It brings tears to my eyes often. You are right about everything you said about her. She was amazing. I can see that she past that on to you. I hope that you do find a church that you'll connect with and will be praying for that. I've already started a new batch to put in the freezer for friends that pop by. Love you!

pistolsnprincesses said...

Rachel, Isn't it funny that the things we want the most are hardest to do. I hesitate more often than not when it comes to relationships. I am learning how to push through that fear and embrace the wonderful relationships God has blessed me with.

Also, I love that people started abbreviating the SAHHM stuff. It's way to ling to type every time.