Deane's Blog

courage

evening thoughts

Deane Watters4 Comments

It has been a quiet weekend. We've been watching basketball and wrestling mostly, not doing much. It is unusual for me because I like to "get stuff done." Too much sports on TV enables me to find any number of reasons to retreat to my writing studio to play with words or pick up fabric. My alone time this day has a tinge of something in it that doesn't feel directed, focused, or brave. If I  ignore it, the thing might stay hidden a little longer and that feels good for today.

I know how to get to this unsure feeling. I could open my notebook, start writing and very quickly it would surface. I have trained my heart. Get alone. With pen in hand open the notebook. Put the date at the top and start writing. Very quickly what is inside will surface and words will pour out on to the page. It will become very clear very quickly what is happening inside so I can work through whatever it is.

But today, I choose to hold back; to let whatever is pressing find rest in the dark. It will still be there tomorrow.  Clarity will show itself after a while. Let it wait.

I'm sitting in my studio at my writing desk looking out the window toward the waning sunset. A trio of black birds enjoys a group dance on the breeze, circling in open space with black branched treetops and graying back lit clouds. A slight breeze tugs at the boughs which allows them to enter the ballet. More birds join as they sway and soar and slice the space with wide open wings. Gliding up, falling down and across in smooth beautiful form, all somehow soaring together. Flying north, suddenly they rotate and turn south again, as though a conductor is carefully directing: back and forth, in and out, up and down.

If I could fly with them I could soar with no cares in the world, feeling the air lifting my body to the heights with my fellow black birds, in step with the unheard rhythm of the evening sky.

For today, can I be free of the confines of life, the fears that so aggressively set their sites on me? Can I fly with the crisp air under my wings as I trust the air to hold me, for my body to do what it was created to do? Can I trust the Creator of time. Am I able to trust the way life is?

I am not a bird. I do not find ease upon the the skies, face to face with the treetops. But today I will fly my own dance of courage, keeping in step with the rhythm of my heart, my life, and even the way I thought life would go. Asking for faith and trust in the grand Creator, I find peace that whatever happens, I will be OK, moving gently to wherever the breezes of this evening's night sky might lead me.

 

travel plans

Faith, FamilyDeane WattersComment

I am in the almost-last-minute mode and want to let you know what Brian and I will be doing for next five weeks. On Thursday morning at 6:00am we will be on a flight heading out of our country. We have the opportunity to travel with seventeen college students, led by our son and daughter-in-law, to an asian country where we will participate in a linguistic/cultural exchange at a university there. Twenty local college-aged young people interested in English and American culture will join our students by attending classes and rooming together in the dorms. Afternoons will be spent sight seeing, eating, shopping, visiting their homes and much more which will provide opportunities to build friendships. Within these relationships, spiritual discussions can take place.

Joel and Rachel asked me to join them on this adventure so they will be free to lead, encourage and direct this large group. Of course I am eager for any opportunity to love on my grandchildren and to support our kids in their work, so I agreed to go and care for Lucy and Charles. While I'm with the children, Brian will add his experience to the group by interacting with students, building friendships and leading one of the morning lessons. His assignment is to teach about American geography. That same day, one of the local students will instruct about the geography of his/her country.

We are excited for the opportunity to serve in this way but also know the realities of travel, sleeping in beds that are not-our-own, unusual food and the foreign language barrier. We have gone on many trips similar to this but we feel this will be exceptionally challenging as well as extremely rewarding.

To minister alongside Joel and Rachel is a privilege and an unusual opportunity. We are blessed to have adult kids who want us to be with them! Being their best encouragers is our number one plan!

Sharing our faith is at the heart of this project so would you pray that God would guide, protect, encourage and delight us? Sharing the details of how God has been preparing me for this journey is material for a future blog. Just know that it has been amazing and I am more ready today, emotionally and spiritually, than I was even a month ago. It has been quite the ride!

While quietly talking about our faith, sharing stories about our families and life in America, we will also be respectful visitors eager to learn all we can about a new culture and what it means to live in this country.

Posting pictures and stories will have to wait until we return mid-August. In the meantime, please pray for us. Travel is extremely long requiring flights and a train ride until we finally reach the city where we will live for the following four weeks. The return trip will be just as long and exhausting but there will be an inspiring reward at the end - getting to sleep in our own beds!

Have a great summer and I'll get back to you as soon as I can when we return. Plan on stories of great adventure and God's incredible faithfulness.

 

 

 

 

 

courage

FaithDeane WattersComment

Sunday mornings find me sitting around a table with ten to twelve women considering what it means to chase after the heart of God. COURAGE was our topic this week. I write to uncover what COURAGE means to me. Courage is: not living stuck but moving forward, doing it even if afraid, choosing to not be offended even though I have every right to be, stepping outside my comfort zone, facing the giant right in front of me, slamming the brakes on the need to perform, treating time as a treasure - to be savored and appreciated, not being afraid to confront when necessary, admitting when I am wrong, being confident, agreeing to forgive, daring to love well and deeper, taking risks to dream big, offering grace, having faith even when twenty one men have been beheaded because they were Christians, looking back and embracing what God has allowed in my life, speaking up, listening well, waiting, trusting that God is near, sovereign, kind and good, respecting God and not taking him lightly, enduring suffering by leaning in to hear the whispers of the One who knows and loves me well, not being intimidated by those who want to make me look foolish.

When David came to the camp of the Israelites, he found them cowering because the giant, Goliath, mocked God and intimidated them. David stepped up and slayed the enemy with the first of five stones because he "believed God was bigger than the man he faced. He believed God was real and with him." (Jennie Allen) He saw the jeering offense as being against God and outrage gripped him. He stepped up and did the thing even though it appeared impossible and unreachable to those around him.

Surrounded by brave ones, I ponder their battles: The one who perseveres in the midst of deep loneliness... she who lost many babies through miscarriage... he who lost his father and read his eulogy in subzero temperatures... the one whose mother died when she was a teenager and has grown into a beautiful woman her mother would have been crazy about...the mother whose son broke her heart...the mom with a son in the ER longing for answers... parents who lost a dear one to suicide...one who has taken in a young man in need of solid love, guidance and lots-of-food...the sister who grieves the loss of her best-friend...the daughter who yearns for her mother's love...she who had a violent father and even now can't quite dare to trust or believe that God is love...the one who longs for freedom from depression...the son who aches for his dad's approval...the daughter who has been kicked out...the one who cries out to feel "good enough" and "known"...she who suffers every day with chronic pain...one who writes, hesitatingly, carefully, beautifully revealing her painful childhood... Each stands tall to courageously face every new day.

If only we could seek to view our sorrows, our incredibly painful trials, as offenses against God, not against us. While stepping through the mounds of unbelief, discouragement and fear, might we simply believe he is real and trust him? Exercising a deep courageous faith as invisible as he is may appear foolish. But can we stand strong? He alone gives what we need to keep getting out of bed with hope in our hearts and a fresh joy rising as the sun peeks through the trees bringing early morning light.

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Father God,

We live afraid. Everything feels big, icy, cold and immovable.

What are we missing out on because of this fear?

Come, rest with our suffering hearts that we may feel assured that you know.

Let us hear your sighs, see your tears, feel your nearness,

And rise up to let nothing, not even our sorrow, mock the living God.

Put the pebbles in our hands and fuel the strength to keep throwing until those giants called unbelief, fear, doubt and anxiety shrink and cower in the corner, knowing they have encountered the living God. They can no longer thrive. Let us hasten to action. May the victory be yours.

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.         2 Timothy 1:7