My family and I are in a season of major adjustment. June, July and August were all about uprooting, traveling, and change. Now we’re midway through September, and the proverbial dust is beginning to settle. Now is the time we’re supposed to be adjusting and finding our new normal. Or whatever normal looks like when going through re-entry and living in temporary houses for a one-year home leave.
Somedays I feel like we’re catching our stride. Life is grand. We play a family game of hide ‘n seek in our OWN PRIVATE BACKYARD. And it is glorious. Other days, life feels like it’s caving in, and we’re all a mess. I bite back tears and tell myself, “Nope. Not here. Do not loose it in the middle of Wal-Mart.”
Re-entry is like that. A roller coaster of highs that make you squeal with delight and twists and turns that make you want to throw up. (Please excuse the drama queen in me. She’s going through re-entry.)
I don’t know what kind of adjustment you’re facing right now. You may be fresh on the field, in re-entry like me, adjusting to a new team or a new season of life. Sometimes (speaking from experience) it’s the little adjustments that catch us by surprise and leave us stressed and floundering.
Whatever your adjustment, I want to share what’s helping me right now.
Yes, cliché. But not. Not for me right now.
Have you ever focused on the verbs of Psalm 23? Here are God’s verbs: He makes me lie down, he leads me, he refreshes me, he guides me, he comforts me, he prepares for me, he anoints me.
And my verbs? My job? To lie down, to walk, to fear not, to dwell.
That’s it. That’s the shepherd-sheep relationship.
You guys, we have a Shepherd who is absolutely there for us every step, who is tenderly concerned with our well-being, and who promises to lead us through every rough and rocky part of the journey.
If that isn’t hope and comfort, then there is none. Sometimes we get so busy serving and doing for God, we forget he wants to take care of us. When is the last time you laid down and let yourself be tended to by your Shepherd?
Secondly, we have a flock. We are not alone. The Shepherd gives us the joy of togetherness with others. We are part of the great big, beautiful herd of God’s people. But also we have this sisterhood flock of women who are living the same kind of life, who understand on a soul level the adjustments required of cross-cultural living.
You know what I do on those days when the adjustment is hitting hard and the fears for the future are piling high? I text my friend who is states away and also going through re-entry. And she says, “Yeah, me too.”
There is so much comfort in solidarity; so much consolation in knowing this has to be normal because she’s feeling it too. We wallow together for a while. Then we nudge each other to walk on, to lie down, to fear not, to dwell.
Maybe you’re longing for this kind of camaraderie. Maybe you’re excited to be finding it in your new Connection Group. Maybe you’re super bummed you missed out on Connection Groups this session.
We feel like there are so many of us here at Velvet Ashes that lap up the sweet community and sharing that we have here. And yet we’re hungry for more. We want more “this is me and what’s going on in my life” kind of sharing.
Well, guess what. We’re creating ways to do just that. Distance doesn’t mean we can’t have togetherness. We can be this sisterhood spread out across every nook and cranny of the globe, but living alongside one another in sweet, everyday community.
Let me explain. Lauren Pinkston, our beloved Instagram Manager has been pressed to the max with PhD work, motherhood, and ministry. So she stepped out in obedience and is passing the baton onto our new Instagram Manager, Tawni Sattler. (Don’t worry! Lauren will still gift us with her amazing writing and remain at the heart of our community).
Tawni is here with a heart to create more avenues of connection for our community. We’ve dubbed her our Creative Community Builder.
Here’s what we’re going to do:
Every Friday, starting today, we’re going to introduce ourselves on Instagram. If you’re not on Instagram, trust me, it will soon become your favorite (or only?!) form of social media. Be sure you’re following @velvet_ashes.
Whether you love or hate selfies, take one and post it. Do it so we can see your made-in-the-image-of-God face. Tell us about yourself, and check out @velvet_ashes for a prompt question. Then, here’s the important part, use the hashtag #FridayIntroductions and #VelvetAshes. That’s how others will be able to find and connect with you.
Then throughout the week use the hashtag #VelvetAshes to let us into your world. This could be anything –a picture of your favorite local market, your daily commute, a favorite recipe, the cockroach you killed today, or a picture of you buried under a pile of smiling students. Share glimpses of what your Velvet Ashes moments look like — the joys and the sorrows — we want to know you and support you!
Plus, we want to introduce some brand new hashtags that will allow you to find and connect with women in your region of the world. We LOVE our big global community and all the same issues that we face regardless of where we live. But we also know there is a certain level of understanding, issues, and camaraderie that exists for people within their own regions.
So IN ADDITION to using #VelvetAshes, also use one of these seven new hashtags to identify your area: #VelvetAshesEurope, #VelvetAshesAsia, #VelvetAshesAfrica, #VelvetAshesME (Middle East) #VelvetAshesOceania #VelvetAshesNA (North America) #VelvetAshesSA (South America).
We can’t wait to see the tribes form and bond within these seven different regions of the world!
Finally, we want to invite you to open up your everyday life and share it with all of us, by taking over our Instagram feed for a day! You’ll post 4-6 images as you walk us through your day. This is so fun, both to do and to see! Come sign up for a day here and check out the guidelines.
So what are you adjusting to this September?
How is the Shepherd and the flock comforting you and helping you adjust?
Are you raw and overwhelmed today? Do share! We’ll remind you we’re here with you…
Will you join us on Instagram?
This is what we call The Grove. It’s where we all gather to share our thoughts, our words, and our art on our weekly prompt. So join us in the comments. Show us your art work by adding an image. And link up your own blog posts on this week’s prompt. Click here for details and instructions.