Dessert Night

A happy heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.
                                                                                                                                          Proverbs 17:22

I’m still feeling filled up! While the physical satisfaction from some good food, good dessert and good wine is long gone, my heart is happy, my spirit joyful. Why?

Dessert night.

It’s easy. Invite a few friends, everyone brings a dessert. Kids play, friends chat. I can’t believe I haven’t been doing this for years. Our circuit of pastors and families is great. We have a Christmas party and a summer picnic, but it just isn’t enough for me. We have friends and gatherings, but I need time with people who get where I’m coming from, to hear that they are struggling with the same things at their churches or at least have struggles with their churches. It’s a time to say, “I love this life, but it’s hard.” And, “It’s not just me?! I’m not the only one!” 

The thing is, I kept waiting for other people to create this kind of gathering. I spent time mumbling to my husband that we didn’t get together enough, assuming everyone’s life was too busy. I was intimidated by the prospect of cleaning my house enough, so that I wouldn’t panic when people walked in. And making up scenarios where there were toys everywhere and I had stacks of dishes on my counters for days. 

And then, life happened and I simply needed people. 
The isolation couldn’t go on any longer. So I sent a group text, and told a few couples to bring a dessert. Do you know what happened? They showed up. And I realized something – that was my biggest fear. That no one would show up. That’s why it took me 10 years to invite my fellow workers over with any kind of regularity. Deep down I didn’t want one more rejection, one more too busy, but here’s the truth – it’s worth it. It’s worth the risk for connection and growth and life together. 

After one evening with these friends, I was filled up and ready for life. Ready to reach out and continue to fill up others. You will be too, I promise. Isolation is a tool of Satan to tell us we’re all alone in this journey, that no one understands. 
But I guarantee that someone does. That’s how God created it to be.

So… dessert night, bonfire night, grilled cheese night, Uno night. I don’t care what it is- just do it. 🙂 Open your calendar, your home, your willingness for God to create community for you. This risk is worth it. It is His medicine for a happy heart.

What kind of night (or afternoon!) would you or do you host? Does your circuit or group of friends hold any special gatherings to connect?

We’re in this together…

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil.
                                                                                 Ecclesiastes 4:9
Above all, keep loving one another earnestly…
                                                                                 1 Peter 4:8

Yesterday, Jonah had a crudey hockey game. He didn’t play horrible, but he got trampled and scored on 10 times. In goalie land, that stinks. And it feels stinky. I walked into the locker room after the game to find my son with his head hung down, still sitting with all his pads on. He looked tired and defeated. 

I tried to encourage him, build him up. He’s still relatively new at this hockey thing. He played hard and stopped a million shots. He’ll get ’em next time. All my words and encouragement were good and maybe even helpful, but only made so much of a difference. He still sat slumped over and dejected.

And then…light. A puck landed square in Jonah’s lap. I looked up to see a skinny little hockey teammate. He slapped Jonah on the shoulder and said, “Good job, Jonah. We’re lucky to have you, man. I’ve been there. It’s hard.”

He went back to have a seat. Jonah turned the puck over. Written on the puck was the word “WOW” in boy handwriting. Jonah looked up at me and said, “Where are we eating dinner? I’m hungry.” And I knew he would be just fine.

Someone – nay, a teammate, a comrade – lifted him up. He said in a thousand different ways, “We’re in this together.” 
What a difference together makes.

There are dark and difficult times in life. There are also just moderately junky days, embarrassing moments, and times we feel let down or like we let everyone around us down. What makes the difference?

God created the church for a purpose. He’s a God of relationship. When those around us rally and take a moment to recognize that we aren’t an island, we aren’t a ship tossed alone at sea, but we are a body, built and knit together in Him, this is how we reach around us. Who are the ones that need to hear “I’ve been there. It hurts. But you’re not in this alone.”? Who is waiting to have the puck land in their lap and to be lifted up by the acceptance and warmth of the team?

Maybe it’s you, maybe it’s your pastor, maybe it’s one of the youth, maybe it’s your grouchy neighbor. There is One who has walked the dusty road, who knows what it’s like. Who embraces us because He loves that which is broken, not just to fix it, but because it is broken and he sees Together in broken.

Either way, sister, brother, you are not alone. 
We are in this together. 

Jonah carried that puck around with him all day today. I think he learned this life lesson long before I ever did. He can move forward. He’s ready to be all in, because he’s not in it alone.