Deane's Blog

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

How will I be different?

FaithDeane Watters1 Comment

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We are now sixteen days into the season of Lent. I  ponder my direction:

When I wake up on Resurrection Sunday morning how will I be different? What am I preparing for?

If Easter Sunday comes and I'm more worried about the ham in my oven than I am about my spiritual condition, then I think I have missed out. It becomes just an easter bunny sunday.

In the book, Found: A Story of Questions, Grace and Everyday Prayer author Micha Boyett finds herself undone at feelings of unimportance and lack of prayer after the birth of her first child. "My first year of motherhood I lost prayer. I lost early mornings of quiet, mornings in my pajamas with a Bible in my lap, mornings when I spoke my mind's chaos into God's ear and let the chaos come back ordered, holy sealed. I lost peace. I lost clarity and certitude...I blamed myself." She longed to experience God again. While reading Kathleen Norris's The Cloister Walk, she learned that "The Benedictines, more than any other people I know, insist that there is time in each day for prayer, for work, for study and for play." She proceeded to study the monastic perspective and apply what she could into her own experience. She met with a spiritual advisor and went after a deeper satisfaction in her spiritual life. "The antidote to exhaustion is not necessarily rest. The antidote...is whole heartedness." She views wholeheartedness as "allowing every part of me to be loved by God." This is her story of returning to wholeness and faith.

I love the word wholehearted! How can I allow every part of me to be loved by God so that Easter morning will find me fully entering into rejoicing because Christ died and then came alive again?  For me, it means:

  • Loving and listening to my self
  • Resting in grace, God's and mine
  • Loving deeper so Christ will be known
  • Deliberately scanning my eyes over the early morning milky colored sky with birds chirping in the woods as the sun peeks through, feeling the pleasure.
  • Opening the Word and seeing what joyful thing God speaks out that day
  • Embracing today so tomorrow won't be my hyper-focus
  • Staying awake to the movement of God all around me
  • Finding one beautiful thing to photograph each day
  • Praying with abandon, believing God, with much hope and joy
  • Living in thankfulness instead of discontent

My Easter morning goal: to wake up ready to wholeheartedly celebrate Christ's beautiful work on the cross and his resurrection.

I will be ready by living this next moment with grace toward myself and others. By staying awake to God's nearness. By being in the Word to remind myself of  the "today-ness" of His story. To search out a fresh perspective of Christ's work and to be open to understanding my fear so that today can be freely lived. By serving my fellow travelers, as Jesus did.

Reading about Boyett's path toward wholeheartedness was a delight. I'm composing my own trek in that direction and it certainly is a beautiful journey.

On to a fully anticipated and joy-filled Resurrection Morning!