Have You Seen? {April 19th, 2020}

Last Week’s Theme: Victory

Living in Victory by Rachel Pieh Jones—”People are definitely afraid right now, around the world, in 2020. Uncertainty increases our fear, anxiety over an unknown future or outcome. COVID-19 is making the rounds, disrupting lives, and when will it end? What will be the outcome? Who will we be through this? Who will we be when this ends? When will it be back? Will we be prepared? The disciples lived in fear, too, after Jesus’ death, before the empty tomb. Most of them abandoned Jesus on the night he was betrayed. Few stood vigil at the cross. And then they congregated in a room together, grieving and confused and probably frightened of what would happen to them because of their public association with this now-dead criminal. Eventually, these same fearful people step out into the light. Something drastically changed that transformed them from scared to victorious. The main thing, the primary thing that happened, obviously, was that they discovered a resurrected Jesus!”

Socializing {Book Club} by Rachel Kahindi—”This had me thinking about all of our plans that have been changed, postponed, and cancelled lately. We had taken for granted that our plans would go through. We planned carefully, considering things that could have gone wrong. We even made some contingency plans because we know things go wrong sometimes, yet it didn’t matter. Things we could not have foreseen and contingencies we couldn’t plan for nullified our plans. How do you cope when plans don’t work out? In the last chapter this week, Eleanor is offered a promotion to office manager and asked to take over planning the Christmas party. I have some trepidation about how that will go, but in the end, I believe Eleanor will succeed. What do you think?

Emptied by Stephanie Prater-Clarke—”I don’t know about you, but my knowing that God’s got this has not always equated to my living it in real time. There have been so many moments in the last several weeks where the onslaught of it all has left me feeling vulnerable, not victorious. Maybe it’s the fluidity of the situation and the constant change in restrictive measures leaving little time to plan. Maybe it’s the conflicting reports and all that scientists are yet to know or the fact that for all of governments’ efforts, we still don’t seem to be in front of this. Maybe it’s living in this small island economy that is so heavily dependent on the rest of the world when the rest of the world has been temporarily closed. Maybe it’s the indefinite timeline and the sense of desperation that we all pray does not fester from the wait. Whatever it is, the magnitude of the situation has brought me to a place of vulnerability and is emptying me of any reliance I’ve had in the façade of the familiar.”

Hiding with Eve by Joy Smalley—”So they create. They create a community of beings that can share in their likeness. Beings that can love and be loved, beings that can co-create and enjoy all the purity and goodness that right relationship offers. Faithful and kind. Generous and trusting, seeking the good of others along with their own. It was perfect. It was whole. Then that fateful day comes. The day that Eve is deceived, believing she ought to be more than what she was. It must have been awful, that moment she felt shame for the first time. It would have washed over her instantly. Fear, inadequacy, disgust and self-loathing all at once, demanding that she hide herself and shield the truth, demanding she pass responsibility onto another.”

From Around the Web

2020 Mini Debriefing Guide

Are You Doing Enough

Marriage in Cross-Cultural Work

The One Where She Gets Stranded on an Island

Expat Self-Care Guide to Coronavirus Re-entry

Let’s Stop Telling Each Other How to Grieve

Finally, When Grace is In the Way

And Now For Next Week

The theme is…

Paul had it all, didn’t he? Education, zeal, position.

But he said that he put all that behind him, forgotten because of the all-consuming joy of pursuing Christ.

As many of us make space in our week for the Velvet Ashes retreat, the focus might feel like it shifts to us. We have time to feed our hungry souls, rest, and find refreshment. These are all worthy goals and we want them for you!

But let’s also look beyond ourselves. Let us say with Paul, “But everything that was a gain to me, I have considered to be a loss because of Christ.” (Philippians 3:7)

How is the Father stretching you, stretching your faith to look beyond what is right in front of you? Has He asked you to let go of your rights, your status, to pursue Him?

We want to be part of that together this week. If you are participating in the Velvet Ashes retreat, make sure you tag us on social media and use the hashtag #VelvetAshesRetreat! Also share what the theme of Beyond Myself is stirring in you, using the hashtag #VelvetAshesBeyondMyself.

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