Making People a Part of Your Journey

Life Lessons on Manitou

A month ago, our family attempted our toughest hike to date. The famous Manitou Incline in Manitou Springs, Colorado.The Manitou Incline is a converted rail-car track. It is an intense one mile ascent with a 2,000 foot elevation gain. Not for the faint of heart or those lacking determination!

Our family was excited and as ready as Floridians could be for this hike. One portion of the experience that I had not factored in were the people we would meet along the journey. We thought we would arrive early enough that very few people would even be on the trail. That was an inaccurate assumption! The trail was full even at 6:00 AM on a Saturday.

There were military service men and women hiking for conditioning, a local set of twin brothers and their younger brother who hike the trail everyday and twice on Saturday, and a woman with a prosthetic leg, along with a host of out-of-towners and tourists just like us.

One man in particular made our acquaintance and a lasting impression as well. His name was Don. Don is a father of three grown boys and a first timer at hiking Manitou. He stopped periodically to ask us questions about our kids and comment on what a great job we were doing as parents for having our kids attempt something so difficult at such an early age. (We may have been crazy, but we accepted commendable too.) He encouraged us and visited with us when he could have carried on and continued with little thought of the family of four attempting the same journey he was on.

But he didn’t.

Don made people a part of his journey, and we benefited from his encouragement and company.

As we neared the summit of Manitou, there was Don waiting on our family and cheering us on to the finish. He waited to take our picture and celebrate with us. He took the time to text the pictures to my husband and give him some pointers for navigating the four mile descent down Barr Trail. Don wasn’t obligated to go the second mile, but the second mile is why he is more memorable than many other people we hiked the Incline with that day.

As we bustle about our everyday jobs and activities, let’s strive to make the second, memorable mile for someone who is walking the same direction we are. Who knows, maybe in taking time to encourage and celebrate another person’s journey will forever change our own.

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*Photo courtesy of our friend, Don.

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I Have Not Love

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Jesus,

Help me. I have not love. At least not love enough.

Your Daughter,

Brooke

P.S.

I only love because you first loved me. Thank you…

How numerous the opportunities to kneel or to break by 10:00 in the morning! Today, the rare occasion in which the children awake me…at 6:00 no less; I choose to kneel. Sending daddy off to work; kneel again. A visit with Little E’s case manager, I kneel as the kids either obey the first time… or not. But wait, wait for it, here it comes…I bend…then break.

Crayons are given, coloring pages laid out, one book is read, and the starting of another. It is at this point it all comes unglued. I bend something mighty and the peace breaks into the very pieces which cannot be picked up.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.~John 13:34-35

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1

If I am in fellowship with Christ, then shouldn’t I demonstrate love in action? Even with the provocations of three children? Instead, I bend and so went the clanging pieces of broken people clashing loud… the absence of patient love.

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People are fond of quoting the verse, “God is love.” But, C.S. Lewis rightly questions the meaning behind these words. Are we misusing these words as mere semantics for the thought that every love people express is God? Here is what Lewis has to say in this regard:

But they seem not to notice that the words “God is love” have no real meaning unless God contains at least two Persons. Love is something that one person has for another person. If God was a single person, then before the world was made, He was not love. Of course, what these people mean when they say that God is love is often something quite different: they really mean “Love is God.” They really mean that our feelings of love, however and wherever they arise, and whatever results they produce, are to  be treated with great respect. ~ Mere Christianity, p. 151

God is love expressed in his three state relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and then to His creation. To sustain my relationship with others I require the love of God as infused by daily filling of the Holy Spirit. The filling that I should seek and lean into through prayer and the reading and memorization of Scripture.

In the church, love is the most needed as the culmination of gifts that God has given His people: teaching, acts of service, giving, admonition, etc., are utilized. Whether preaching the gospel in our home,  to the body of Christ, or to a lost world, love is the essential key for others to see Christ in us; for others to know that we actually believe what we profess.  I realize this  especially when I have chosen to stomp my feet, dig in my heels, and demand the obedience that is required from our children as their mom.

Jerry Bridges perfectly illustrates the effects of the absence of love in the following story:

I remember hearing of one university student of whom it was said, “He can lead people to Christ, but no one wants to room with him.” Whether he could, given that immaturity of character, truly lead people to a saving knowledge of Christ may be questioned by some. But whether he could or not, it is true that a great big dose of love was needed to make him truly effective. ~ True Community: The Biblical Practice of Koinonia

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After the kids had listened to the second story and sat there as quietly as possible in obedience I penned the note above. I need more of Christ because I need to love others more… I must choose to kneel.

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10 Reasons Why I Like Being a One-Car Family

 

  1. Added family time– The four of us rarely enjoyed family time in the car prior to becoming a one-car family a year ago following our devastating car accident which you can read about here. Being a (youth) pastor’s wife means Sunday is not family day, but a work day. It took some major adjusting on this mama’s part to remember that getting our children to church was my mission as a helpmate to Ron and his vocation. Now that we are a one-car family I continue to be a pseudo single mom on Sunday and Wednesday, but after church we return to our family of four status as we now enjoy riding home together most Sunday’s.During the week the kids and I enjoy taking Ron to work even though this means everyone is ready for the day a little earlier than we might be if this responsibility was omitted.  Together time in the car allows us to confer about scheduling, work out any early morning spats, or just enjoy our coffee and kids together for a few more minutes.
  2. No payments– We have enjoyed payment free cars for several years prior to our accident and had even entertained the idea of converting to a single car. After totaling my Rendezvous and purchasing the Trailblazer, Ron decided that he would sell his truck to pay the difference for the new purchase and therefore leave us with no payment. This is one of the examples of servant leadership that I so admire about my husband and saw modeled in my dad prior to marriage. Dad drove an old Chevrolet pickup for years so that mom, my sister, and I could ride in a newer reliable mode of transportation.
  3. Less maintenance– With only one car we have one to maintain including tires, oil-changes, and, as our luck has gone this year, minor fender-benders (one where an ambulance backed into us at a red light and another where a pickup truck busted my back taillight).
  4. The clean factor– Ron has the car on certain days of the week and I know this means he will more than likely being transporting coworkers at lunch. Therefore, I try my best to have the car clear of trash and most toys. This means we start our days with a clean car.
  5. Shared bedtime duties– As I mentioned earlier, on church days in the past I would arrive home before Ron and have the added responsibility of lunch or dinner preparation plus bedtime routines for both kids. Now since we arrive home together my work load on those days has been reduced by half. What a blessing!
  6. Community-With only one car this makes for carpooling with friends on a regular basis for Ron and occasionally for me. Anytime we spend with others develops relationships and furthers the bonds of community.  It is both humbling and encouraging to find that so many are willing to extend a helping hand to us. In fact, this week as I visit my family with the kids, a generous friend has loaned his second car to Ron for two weeks. We are so thankful for this act of brotherly love.
  7. Rising to a challenge-I have to admit contemplating the transition from one car to two and actually doing it are two different things. The reality is that an accident kindly forced our hand. While some have jested, “Why don’t you just buy another car?” We have found that though planning is required the truth is that one car makes life a bit simpler than two. We can actually do without the “more” we believe we require. Thankfully, rising to this challenge has required planning not pains.
  8. Added margin– Owning one car requires that we simply stay at home more. We find that there are certain days that play dates and outings can occur. This is good for me because otherwise the laundry would be neglected all the more and the toys we have at home would be played with all the less.
  9. A steady rhythm to our days – I love Jamie Martin of Steady Mom. She wrote the wonderful book Steady Days that speaks of having a rhythm to the schedule of our days. Being a one-car family has definitely enforced a rhythm into the dynamics of our life.
  10. At least one bicycle is used– Yes, this last point may be pathetic, but it is true. If Ron were not forced to ride his bicycle to work on Sunday’s it most likely would sit next to mine rusting in the sunshine. However, I am going to lean into the curves and bike our county’s trail if it is one of the only things I do in the next two months!

What about you? Do you think you could share the car with your spouse for a day or two? Maybe even a week? If you do, let me know your experience. Perhaps you too would find that the benefits outweigh the inconveniences.

Shotgun!

 

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