Before we dive into book club, the Velvet Ashes Team has to say how incredibly touched we are by all of the responses to the Retreat this past weekend. The freedom and renewal that you all have expressed is a vision come true, and an absolute answer prayer.
One of the many amazing parts of the retreat was the fact that we had 92 countries represented in the retreat. 92 countries!
We’ve been planning and scheming behind the scenes at Velvet Ashes for months to create a way to connect the lives of women in their different regions of the world. That was the heart of Velvet Ashes when we began. We just didn’t know back then how it would happen. Now we do…
Today we proudly unveil our brand new Community Map.
Want to know other women who are serving in your area of the world? Want to connect with kindred hearts around the globe? Then come put yourself on the map!
You can share just the information that you want to. You can enter your location as either a city, or a country, or a region of the world. If needed, you can even have it be “undisclosed.” You have the option to share your own website and social media links as well.
We’re picturing ladies discovering friendships they never would have otherwise. We’re imagining ladies brand new to the field finding a lifeline to ask their questions to. We’re hoping returning ladies find each other back in home countries. We’re envisioning “local gatherings” during future Velvet Ashes Retreats.
Are you catching the vision?
We’re giving away $50 Amazon gift cards to TWO of the first 200 ladies to join our Community Map. So head on over and join the Map!
The Velvet Ashes Team
Now turning it back over to book club!
Do you expect me (Amy) to make mistakes?
Well, I’m not one to disappoint in that area 🙂 … meaning if you expected a mistake, you’re right. At the end of last week’s book club I only mentioned chapter 8 of Expectations and Burnout: Women Surviving the Great Commission (by Robynn Bliss and Sue Eenigenburg). When really the plan was 8 and 9; I forgot to check with the plan. So, if you haven’t read chapter 9, you’re in for a life altering metaphor. I’ll mention it later, go read now. And, I’m sorry!
Finally someone has shared the truth about the work and how it tends to be laced with stories of disappointment instead of miracle after miracle. I do hope this is changing with more blogs being willing to challenge “using” people in newsletters (and in using them, only presenting half truths) and about the mundaness of much of our daily lives.
But I realize change often comes slowly and we’re still under the pressure of supporters unrealistic expectations.
As you read through chapter 8 I bet you could relate to the themes: health, infertility, local friends in our daily life (house help, landlords, language tutors), local beliefs, our own families. I’ll be curious to hear what stood out to you, but in rereading this chapter I had forgotten Shivraj had aplastic anemia.
Talk about confusion with God and his timing. My dad had aplastic anemia in the early 80s and also nearly died. He was kept alive by over 100 blood and platelet transfusions. Being the early 80s there was still much we didn’t know about diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C (actually called Hep Non-A/B at the time). During his treatment of aplastic anemia he contracted Hepatitis C, which ended up costing him is life 30 years later at the young age of 74.
We are grateful for the extra 30 years. Grateful. He died on a Wednesday. The headline one month later, on a Wednesday morning? Cure for Hepatitis C FOUND!
Really? One month. Why couldn’t the news (which quoted my dad’s doctor) have come in five weeks? or 42 days? Why didn’t it come when we weren’t still having little punches in the soul every Wednesday? He missed it by one month.
I imagine I skipped over little details that might have felt like a punch in your soul. If you’re comfortable, we’d love to hear in the comments.
The list of questions at the end of chapter 8 are ones to be pulled out regularly and work through. Here are a few to wet your appetite if you haven’t gotten to read the chapter yet. Do we go into cross-cultural ministry not expecting anything of ourselves or God? Do we take any and all expectations and water them down until we can merely survive overseas and think we are successful? Bottom line: How do we embrace a sometimes harsh and below-our-expectations reality and still expect that our awesome, powerful, almighty God will work in and through us? Let’s talk in the comments about these questions and not just gloss over them.
Tip #8 had this amazing thought: “Yes, I can pray. But when my prayers become cajoling, manipulative, magic-invoking, plea bargaining, or demanding, I’ve crossed the line. Those are not Spirit led prayers. Those are prayers where Robynn thinks she knows best.” Isn’t that a helpful distinction?
And then chapter 9. Wow. The sermon Lowell preached with the metaphor of a swimming pool versus the ocean is one to keep. I have used that one over and over since I first read it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, that chapter right there is worth the price of the book.
This is topic of God and expectations is one I hope we don’t rush through because of the complexities and confusion. We started it a little bit talking about idols and marriage. How do we hold in tension that God is trustworthy but not predictable?
In light of the retreat and what God released you from, how will is influence your expectations of God? Or his of you? So much to digest. Feel free to do it in small bites and to come back to the comments throughout the week. No pressure for well thought out comments. What stirred in you this week?
P.S. Next week we discuss chapters 10 and 11: Burnout — symptoms and causes. Then we have ask an author, get your questions ready! And the in two weeks we’ll have a wrap up week since so much has been going on, we need time to process.
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