Mark 24:4a “Then He said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear.”
This week I have been crazy busy working my regular 40 then adding an extra 4 hours to a side project, for good measure. With Taylor standing in the gap, watching over my fury kids, each night I squeezed in moments at my Savoir’s feet, under the tutelage of the well known blogger and author of “Ministry in Ordinary Places,” Shannon Martin.
She lives in the same small city I work, Goshen, IN. She shares the challenges of ministry and the mind set of “staying put,” aka staying where Heavenly Dad plants you.
The book has traveled with me to many places, including my DJ dental appointment in California. I had to apologize to Grace, who lent me the book, as a back cover corner is now dog-eared from being crammed into my carry on (I’m still so very sorry Grace!).
On the flight home I was seated by a coworker, Enrique. He was reading his book, me this one. When they announced our preparation for decent, we both packed away our reading material and struck up a conversation about the topics.
When it was my turn, I grabbed my phone and began to read various nuggets I had pulled off the pages and tucked into my heart. Enrique was so empressed he suggested writing a book about the book-the Cliff note/nugget version. I laughed and told him they were already written much more clearly than I could ever convey in the book: Ministry in Ordinary Places.
Since I have once again been sitting at the feet of Shannon, I want to share just a few of the nuggets I have gleaned from her insights into life, ministry, and loving the hard to love. If you are challenged, I encourage you to read the book as this is but a sampling of her words of wisdom(I challenge you to stop and ponder each nugget before taking in the next statement):
Listening isn’t hard in an echo chamber
God created 5 senses and talking is not one of them.
Her mom: “You don’t know what your family picture hanging on the walls of heaven looks like, but it’s beautiful,”(their children are by choice-adoption).
Gratitude and sorrow: The best way to carry something heavy is to carry something equally as heavy in the other hand. If the bucket of sorrow grows heavier? Keep filling the other bucket .
The way of resurrection is also the way of the cross-it goes both ways
Maintaining safe distance asks nothing of us.
We don’t “do life “ together as much as we redefine it.
When we dare to move toward, rather than away from, each other, our reward is the solace of intimacy.
The blackest night, the moon shines the brightest
Material offerings in sincere love never cost as much as they pay.
The path from neighbor to friend only feels long when we watch each other from a safe distance.
Henri Nouwen: “listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends.”
If Heavenly Dad has spoken to you through Shannon, you are welcome for scooching over so you could join me at her feet.
Until next time: Blessings!