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Waiting for the Warmth.

Today the sun is shining but the wind is still a little cold. We are waiting for spring at our house. Eden Grace, the 3 year old, keeps reminding us that it is spring so it shouldn’t be so cold. The wind whipping our hair and assaulting our noses speaks differently. The sunshine and the tulips peeking out along with the grass turning green all boast of Spring, but the temperature hasn’t quite delivered yet. We are still waiting for the warmth.

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In Minnesota our winters can feel like forever. The cold air chafes, the sunshine is deceiving and life is buried under frozen ground and piles of snow. Don’t get me wrong, winter isn’t all bad. Fire places and snowmen along with Christmas lights, boots and sweaters brighten up our days and weeks but after awhile, even for the winter lover, winter gets old and everyone is ready for the warmth.

I feel that many things about my life this past year I could classify as a winter season. I have watched things dies, literally and figuratively. Dreams were buried when we were faced with an inactive ultrasound and a still baby. Then again as we unexpectedly lost a community, friends and ministry. Then again when a loved one was diagnosed with cancer and suddenly what we knew was disappearing fast.

This week is the one year anniversary of saying goodbye to our Ilya born stillborn at 20 weeks. The grief that I have experienced was not like anything I have felt before. It knocked me off center and took my breath away and still does although the span between is better. The warm days less few and far between. The ground thawing. The healing doing its work.

Even in winter seasons things still grow and beauty is still seen. The smell of a fresh cut evergreen tree or the vision of fish below the ice. Life doesn’t stop altogether and when we pause to look for the signs we see glimpses of life. So it is in my winter, in the midst of all the death that my evergreen tree was growing green among the white. It stood out as a reminder of the faithfulness of the one who brings the seasons and buries the dreams for a time. My tree is Stories Foundation a vision of love and community and fighting for people and humanity and justice and all that really matters. And it has grown by leaps and bounds in my winter.

This week as a foundation we took our biggest step of faith yet. We put out there for you and the world our heart and vision. Our strong desire for action and change, for love and community. In daring, fearful, breath-stealing humility we said we can’t do it alone and we need you. We need you to come and decorate our tree. To make it a gathering place. To adorn it with yourselves and share it with your neighbors so we can touch the stories of the hurting and the broken next to us in the turn-lane and across the ocean.

Whenever faith as an action shows up, which is really the only way it can because faith without action isn’t faith at all, things happen. Like dogs go missing, dogs you got to help you with the heartache of losing your still baby and your GG goes back to the hospital and your enemy throws daggers at your vision and identity and you feel like the ground of your very soul is shaken and you no longer are sure you can make it. But you do. Because life is to be lived. The enemy doesn’t win. The Dreamer and Life-Sustainer planted that darn tree and there is no going backwards so you move forward and beg the world to join you for the sake of the hurting and for the sake of community and for the sake of believing in something beyond ourselves. For the sake of me and for the sake of you.

Any tried and true Midwesterner knows that what follows the frozen winter is worth waiting for. Every year we gasp with awe at the new buds forming on trees and the tulips, daffodils and crocuses popping up with green and yellow and purple from the dreary ground. The death that has reigned must give way to new life. It is the rule of things and every year it happens without fail.

These are a lot of words from the core of my being to say that life is hard and sometimes the wind and winter are so dark and cold and it looks like spring is coming and their are hints but the warmth hasn’t made it. Yet we believe that it will come again like with every year before it and so we wake up every morning and plant a garden and think about the beach because it is a sure thing.

As in our lives when winter feels like forever remember spring is on its way and even in the darkest coldest days there are signs of life because life is always being lived even if behind the scenes or under the ice. In the order of things, for life to be born there has to be death. And anyway, spring is so much more rewarding after a long cold winter.

Stories Foundation

Stories Foundation exists to inspire, empower and equip people to do their part in fighting against injustice. All of this will be done via our venue(s), Stories Cafe and Stories Food Truck. The action behind the venues is to see community come together around good food, good coffee and common purpose, to better love and serve each other and be more aware of those in need and be encouraged to know that we each have a part we are able to fulfill.

Stories Food Truck

See the Stories Foundation vision come to life before a Cafe is opened by being a part of launching the Stories Food Truck, a Cause on Wheels that is truly a “For the Community, By the Community” effort. The Food Truck will spread awareness about social injustice, love the local community through great food and coffee and by connecting them with local and international nonprofits.

Slavery is real and we need your help. Pledge to the Stories Food Truck today.

 

 

 

About Stephanie Page
Steph is a mom to four girls and wife to one very supportive man. She is the Executive Director of Stories Foundation and is passionate about fighting for freedom both spiritual and physical. Her days consist of car pooling, ministry, parenting and lots of coffee.

2 Responses to Waiting for the Warmth.

  1. Well said, Stephanie. The literal wait for spring every year teaches me more than a most Bible studies. Spring WILL COME, it’s not a wish, it’s a certainty. But when the world is raw and the snow keeps coming, it’s hard to live in that reality. It grows a tenacious and gritty faith in me.

    I’ve written about this metaphor A LOT on my blog, because it speaks so powerfully to me. Here’s one example, to repay you for your words.

    http://www.lovewellblog.com/2011/04/endless-winter.html

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Longing for Heaven

Longing. We have all felt it. Missing, aching, yearning, striving. The feeling of wanting something to bring satisfaction, warmth, comfort, pleasure.

Emptiness. The moment you achieve what you longed for and still have the gnawing on the inside of your chest. The realization that you can’t wait for the next rush, climax, success, affirmation, attention. You are already planning it. Thinking of it. The place of satisfaction is so short lived you wonder if you even experienced it at all.

Comparing. Looking, measuring up your success and ability next to everyone else’s success and abilities. Wanting what’s not yours, chasing after dreams that you long for that will inevitably leave you, longing.

Whether you and I want to admit it or not I believe this is the plight of the human cycle. This is the battle at it’s truest form. The always living for the next high whether it be; attention, fame education, success, pleasure, comfort, money, beauty. We are a people defined by our grasping. Those who grab hold know that what they have in their hand is never enough and those who can’t quite attain are forever envious of those who seem to grasped the allusive.

Peace. Contentment. Worth. Affirmation. At the root of our longing are these things. No matter what form our longing presents itself in, it boils down to these 4 seeds.The desire for peace, contentment, worth and affirmation is what drives our seeking and striving.

In Abraham’s life I speculate as I read chapter 13 of Genesis and because I know Abraham was human too that he struggled with these same feelings. We see Abraham and Lot who he brought with him as he followed God’s call at a crossroads. They both are wealthy and their employees are fighting, there isn’t enough room. They can’t share the space. Lot was Abraham’s nephew and I can imagine Abraham had given him a hand, maybe was a Father figure to him. So he did the humble thing suggesting they separate, letting Lot choose first. Lot chose the best.

We know from more of Lot’s story that he had a wife and children. He settled in a land close to the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah which makes me think he and his family found a place there, community, maybe even notoriety. Abraham on the other hand was isolated away from the city. He had a few close friends and wealth, but no heir, no babies at all. I wonder if Abraham questioned what God was doing in his life as it seemed his nephew had all the “blessings” while he was waiting on a promise.

I don’t know about you, but I can relate to Abraham. Does it ever feel like everybody else is getting everything you feel God promised to you? Do you ever wonder if you have been forgotten about? The longing is deep and real.

We see from the story of Abraham that Lot’s choice really didn’t do him much good. He ends up getting captured and Abraham has to go rescue him and ultimately Lot looses his wife and his daughter disgrace him because of the company he kept and the city he chose. The pleasures, wealth and places he fit in didn’t end up doing him much good in the end.

That longing that we all have it will never be, never be satisfied by anything apart from a relationship and daily surrendering to the Lord of All. Fame, success, money, beauty, education, pleasure, comfort, none of that is bad except if it becomes the why for your life. If you and I are striving for, chasing down anything other than God, if we are living for anything other than his promise we have missed and are missing the contentment, peace affirmation and worth that we so desperately long for. The ache deep inside of us is only satisfied by sitting at the feet of Jesus and bringing others to join us.

The world’s way of striving always looks better. Especially with the right filter, perfect makeup and no evidence of the outtakes. But God’s way IS better. His way may be harder in the middle, it will take more of him and a lot less of us, it will require faith and trust beyond what you think you have to give but in the end we will see his faithfulness and his promise fulfilled.

In Ecclesiastes 3:11 it says that “God has set eternity in the heart of man…” I believe this is the root of our longing, for eternity. Eternity with our Creator God. And until you and I choose to live for the eternal things, the ones that last, we will always find ourselves coming up, longing.

Explore the idea of home with me through November while looking at the life of Abraham. Get every post to your inbox so you don’t miss one by signing up here.

About Stephanie Page
Steph is a mom to four girls and wife to one very supportive man. She is the Executive Director of Stories Foundation and is passionate about fighting for freedom both spiritual and physical. Her days consist of car pooling, ministry, parenting and lots of coffee.

Making a Home a House.

When we move into a house, duplex, fourplex, apartment, camper, RV we begin setting up our things. Making it ours. Our style of furniture, our pictures, our colors. The things that make the new living space a home. A place that reflects us. A place we belong.

Then when it is time and there is a change we pack everything up again. We take the things off the walls, take apart the furniture. Everything goes back into boxes and the home that we created becomes what it was when we moved in. A house, a duplex, an apartment, RV, camper. Walls and doors, cupboards and closets.

My husband and I have moved 11 times in our almost 13 years of marriage. I remember the first house we called our home. It was in Uzgohrod, Ukraine and after days of travel and no sleep we arrived. I was determined to unpack instantly, making the space ours.

In Western culture we often define worth based on what a person owns, where a person lives, how a person looks. Even if we don’t admit it these are the criteria that naw at us. We have a favorite book in our house You are Special by Max Lucado. It is about a village of wooden people who spend all their time giving out star stickers for those who look and act right and dot stickers to those who fall short. Every time I read it I am struck by the weight of the truth of it. This is how we live our lives, looking at the outward appearance and handing out invisible stickers.

In the book the wooden person who is the main character, Puchinello, is always getting dots. Finally after meeting someone who didn’t have any stickers he went to visit the Woodworker, Eli and in meeting him he learned that he is special because of what Eli, his maker, thought and that it didn’t matter what the others said. The book ends with a dot sticker falling off a he leaves the Woodwooker’s shop. This is how I want to live my life, with the expectations of a world of people with invisible stickers not having any affect on me.

When I read the account of Abraham in Genesis 12 and I read of him packing up his household, not once but likely multiple times as they traveled in a nomadic way I can’t help but think of his wife, Sarah.

Oh women like their homes, don’t they. I like pretty things and spaces where everything looks and feels just right. Sarah moved with her husband also following God’s call to get up and go.

She had to come to a place of realization, as I hope each of us will consider as well, that a home really has very little to do with the four walls that we find ourself surrounded by. A home is the people that are within the walls. A home is characterized by the purpose that it has of bringing warmth, love, light and encouragement to those who crave these very things. In the end it doesn’t matter to our Maker if the home is big or small, new or old he doesn’t give out stickers as our peers do, he simply desires us to steward the gift of the place well to allow the space that we call home to be a place of home for others.

The buildings we call home are really only walls, doors and floors. What makes them home is what each of us brings to the space and who we share it with. We have all been given a great gift if we have been given a safe space to call home, now who needs to be invited in?

Explore the idea of home with me through November while looking at the life of Abraham. Get every post to your inbox so you don’t miss one by signing up here.

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About Stephanie Page
Steph is a mom to four girls and wife to one very supportive man. She is the Executive Director of Stories Foundation and is passionate about fighting for freedom both spiritual and physical. Her days consist of car pooling, ministry, parenting and lots of coffee.