Feb 22, 2008

The Village

I'm blessed to be able to work at a great ministry called The Leadership Centre Willow Creek Canada.
Lately, we have been hearing the statement, "It takes a village to raise a child"
We feel like this statement somehow resonates with what God has called us to do as a ministry. To be a "village" for leaders all across Canada.
As as staff we have been asking God, "what does this look like for us here as a ministry, both inside the building as a staff, and, how do we become a "village" for leaders in Canada?

Simultaneously, my sweet daughter has spent over 7 weeks, in a health crisis. Each week has become more difficult for her to move. She started by dragging her left foot and "wabbling" in her ability to walk. Now, 7 weeks later, she cannot move at all in the morning, she is completely stuck and in obvious discomfort. She requires 2 staff to try and pull her body upright, just to begin her day. She has been unable to stand, even with 2 staff trying to help her, and once they get her standing, she is stuck - bent over. This is her state, in a nut shell. The reality of how she is doing, would take too long to describe. The point is that, although we have been to the hospital, and xrays, and labs, and doctors offices over and over again..... we have no answer and no relief for her. To say that I have been concerned is a huge understatement.

In the midst of all this, I heard direction from God on how to approach this, on how to fight against the hopelessness and despair that attempts to hit my spirit. I learned the key is in worship, and wrote about it on my previous posts. This key has guarded me. Now looking back over 18 years, 14 surgeries and countless hospital stays and tremendous obstacles.... this has been my only key to survival and overcoming. I remain dedicated to worship Him, proclaiming the truth from His word and His promises through song, through a life of worship.

The other key for victory has come through my "Village"
My friend Joanne wrote a great post this week about - "We All Need People"
She wrote:
"People come in and out of our lives - - so many of them have more purpose than I think we sometimes give them credit for. God walks our lives in and around others, purposefully showing us more about life, love and Himself."

All week God has given me various people from my "Village" to come and bring spiritual nourishment, a listening ear, and comfort to me. They are everywhere, and I need the sum of them, all put together.

From the amazing workers at Lindsay's home, (without whom I would be lost), to my Blogger and Facebook friends, to my understanding boss (Brian), to the staff at work, ...you know who you are ...(who pray daily with me), to my immediate co-workers who patiently listen to me tell my story and try to wrestle down the hard questions in my heart (Pat and Brad ), to my kids, who show grace when I'm weary, to my worship team, who wars with me, and my family who carries us in prayer.

I, have a huge "Village", and have needed it, to help raise my sweet child, and better yet, to help me as I learn on this journey.

Today, my mom called me at work. She knew that I spent another 5 hours at the hospital with Lindsay, with no answers. So, on her midnight watch of prayer for me, she heard another promise from God found in 1 Peter 1:7. It was like fresh water, and kept me determined to follow my course of overcoming with God.

These have come so that your faith--of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire--may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 1 Peter 1:7 - NIV Version

Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory. - The Message

This is what being an overcomer looks like. It looks like one, who, although tested by fire, chooses to worship God anyways. It looks like someone, who realizes that they need the "Village" or the body of Christ to pursue this life of faith.

This is what I think "The Village" looks like:

6 God's various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all. 7 Each person is given something to do that shows who God is: Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! 8 The variety is wonderful: wise counsel clear understanding 9 simple trust healing the sick 10 miraculous acts proclamation distinguishing between spirits tongues interpretation of tongues. 11 All these gifts have a common origin, but are handed out one by one by the one Spirit of God. He decides who gets what, and when. 12 You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts - limbs, organs, cells - but no matter how many parts you can name, you're still one body. It's exactly the same with Christ. 13 By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain - his Spirit - where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves - labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free - are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive. 14 I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn't just a single part blown up into something huge. It's all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. 15 If Foot said, "I'm not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don't belong to this body," would that make it so? 16 If Ear said, "I'm not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don't deserve a place on the head," would you want to remove it from the body? 17 If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? 18 As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it. 19 But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of. An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn't be a body, but a monster. 20 What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. 21 Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, "Get lost; I don't need you"? Or, Head telling Foot, "You're fired; your job has been phased out"? 22 As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way - the "lower" the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. 23 When it's a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. 24 If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn't you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair? 25 The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don't, 26 the parts we see and the parts we don't. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. 27 You are Christ's body - that's who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your "part" mean anything. 1 Cor. 12 - The Message.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow what a post i cryed im praying for you and lindsey . and yes lindsey is an overcomer and so are you . im privleged to have a friend like you and you helping with anthony the way you did . and lending your most amazing daughter to help out with anthony in our time of need. so im going pray for lindsey morning day and night .

Shari said...

Wow, this post has really struck a cord with me (this is a good thing)

The following is from Joyce Meyer's booklet " Never Lose Heart". I felt this entry describes something you have journeyed ... and an area that you are an incredible living example in. It is evident that you choose to "Under the Shadow of His Wings".

Abiding In Protection

God has a secret place where we can dwell in peace and safety.

The secret place is the place of rest in God, a place of peace and comfort in Him. His secret place is a “spiritual place” where worry vanishes and peace reigns. It is the place of God’s presence. When you and I dwell in Christ or dwell in the secret place, we do not just visit there occasionally, we take up permanent residence there.

The secret place is a hiding place, a private place, or a place of refuge. It is the place we run to when we are hurting, overwhelmed, or feeling faint. It is the place we run to when we are being mistreated or persecuted, when we are in great need, or when we feel we just cannot take it anymore.

We need to be firmly planted in God. We need to know the Source of our help I every situation and in every circumstance. We need to have our own secret place of peace and security. We need to rely on God and trust Him completely.

God want us to take refuge under the protective shadow of His wings. He want us to run to Him!!

Holly said...

Cheryl,
Our whole family (us, the kids, and my parents) are praying for your "Sweet pea". We are praying for you, Sid, Matt and Alyssa too.

I loved that excerpt from the Joyce Myer book that Shari wrote out for you.

I am praying for peace and strength, hope and for answered prayer for you and your family.

joanne said...

So well said, Cheryl.

Isn't God amazing?! Your "village" is a gift from His hand every day, every moment. I love His gifts!

I rejoice with you at the testimony of your village!
so glad to be here:)
xo

Jen said...

Cheryl

Soooooo many prayers wrapped in HUGS going out to sweet Lindsey...and all of you. We love you very much and are praying for wisdom , answers, even greater support and Healing.

I love your post about the village...I am so glad that you are feeling loved and supported during this extremely difficult time.
Wish I could hop a plane and come even if it was only long enough to Hug you and Lindsey.

Thank you for the update, I was thinking about Lindsey this morning and wondering what was happening....we'll continue to trust God for you all.

Cheryl said...

Thank you my village friends! I value the input from each of you.
Shari, thanks for taking the time to write out the words from Joyce.
Interestingly enough, a week ago, God reminded me of the song "Under The Shadow" that I had written, and He told me that I needed to pull it out again, and listen to it, and join in and sing along with the CD. So, I did... over and over and over, constantly for days.
Thanks for your obedience and prayers everyone.
I know He will answer us.

Roxanne said...

Cheryl, I know you have invested in the village. You have been a huge support to so many lives. I know you will reap a harvest from the seed that you have sown so willingly.

Shari said...

As I was reading your post - it reminded me of your sharing how God had given you the song "under the shadow" in a time that sounded similar to this (see I was listening! LOL)... I do believe in the midst of it all God has some treasures - perhaps even a new song!
Abundant Blessings

Cheryl said...

I'm all for a new song!!!