Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Change Me

[what's brewing: I'll have tea...not!...I'm still Coffeegirl, that will never change]

Last week’s post about the winds of change that have been blowing in my life went out with some anxiety on my part, and your gracious and encouraging responses have been much appreciated in light of that. Change is hard, and not just when it’s the result of difficult circumstances. Changes that result from desirable circumstances – like ministry growth and even the arrival of little “coffee beans” (loved that phrase from last week!) – can still be hard to go through, which is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

Changes in roles and responsibilities are often accompanied by a sense of loss of identity.

I often construct my sense of identity out of the roles I fill or the activities I’m involved with; so when those basic elements are changed, I feel unsettled and insecure. I feel like a child wanting to cling to a security blanket that will reassure me of who I am despite my changing circumstances. I know that many of the roles and responsibilities that I take on are the result of God-given abilities. I also know that my reliance upon them can quickly cross the line and move into the prideful realm of self-reliance.

Isn't it far too easy to go beyond the God-intended parameters of understanding our gifts and abilities as extensions of our true identity in Him and to instead see our roles and responsibilities as the lone source of our identity?

Grief and loss over changes in our lives are healthy and necessary processes. I have experienced the consequence of stifling or ignoring the significance of change in my life. So with the acknowledgement of the importance of grieving the losses that result from change, I would also suggest that a good litmus test of where I am drawing my identity from is the degree of distress that results from having my role or responsibilities stripped away from me. On some level, the values of this world have led me to equate value with capacity and identity with accomplishments.

Do I really believe myself to be just as valuable, just as loved and just as useful to the Lord when I am only capable being with Him as when I am able to accomplish, attain and achieve masses of work for Him?

By extension, can I confidently say that I value the lives of the incapacitated beggars on the streets as much as the efficient and productive leaders of society? It’s the same influence that kept the devoted Jews waiting for a valiant messiah when the King of Glory was instead born in a humble stable and laid into a manger. The true identity of the Messiah was clouded by the role he assumed.

So my prayer as I have been blown about by the winds of change on many fronts over the past few months has been that I would not just endure these changes, but that I would be changed by them. I want to be changed by the experience of laying certain things down and opening new doors of possibility. I want to reaffirm my true identity above any other role or responsibility that I have carried up until now.

Missionary, counselor, director, leader, teacher, writer, wife and mother are simply roles that I fill.

Redeemed child of the Creator is my identity. I long for that to be the ultimate satisfaction of my being.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Winds of Change

[what's brewing: I'm gonna change it up]

I’ve been thinking a lot about change lately. If there is one element of life that seems to remain constant, it is the continually changing nature of things. Ironic, isn’t it? Just when I start to feel settled, or at least comfortable, in one area of life, things start to shift in another.

As the winds of change have been blowing in my life, I’ve had to sit and reevaluate many things. I feel a bit like Mary Poppins, actually – sensing a shift in the winds that are blowing through my life and knowing that change is looming in the air. It was the West Wind that eventually carried Mary Poppins away to new and unknown places. For me, it is the swiftly approaching due date of our first child, combined with the cumulative effect of changes in a number of different aspects of our life, that is carrying me away.

Ms. Poppins exuded much more confidence in the face of impending change than I have, but honestly I always found her matter-of-fact departure to be a bit insensitive—I don’t mind the emotional impact that change has on me. So yes, despite my confidence that the changing circumstances in my life are rightly carrying me away from this role, it is still difficult to tell you, my readers and trusted companions, that Coffeegirl Confessions is coming to a close.

After a year and a half of confiding in you many of my experiences, dilemmas, dismays and delights in this cross-cultural adventure, my chest tightens and my throat begins to ache when I consider the size of the canyon that will be left when our weekly coffee chats come to an end.

But I am also reminded that as a result of this year and a half of my weekly confessions and the dialogue they have created, the expanse before us looks very different now than it did when we began. Slowly but surely we have bonded together as a community of bloggers (in fact, several new Coffeegirl Regulars have just joined us in the past week or two, and their enthusiasm created pangs of guilt for me as this change has been pending…).

We have learned from one another and we have connected on shared common experiences that run deeper than denominations or global localities. There are now 66 of you on the Blog Roll who have opened the doors for other readers to step into your world and walk alongside you. As I step back from my work as Coffeegirl and begin to navigate the waters of motherhood, I know I will continue to benefit from the writing you all do on your personal blogs as I click in to see what you’re saying and learn from your insights and experiences.

And it is my hope and prayer that you all will do the same – that the words of “Who’s Coffeegirl?” (see blog sidebar) will ring true and you’ll see that there is a piece of Coffeegirl Confessions in every woman who has served outside her home culture. There is so much we can learn, so much we can gain, and so much we can give to one another beyond the confines of this blog, for you all are the ones who have given this blog life.

This isn’t goodbye just yet – it’s just another confession. I’m being carried away by the winds of change, but you won’t be left on your own. The winds of change are blowing at Women of the Harvest too, so keep coming back to hear more about what’s coming next…

[Editor’s note: Coffeegirl’s last column will be posted on November 3…sniff, sniff]

Monday, October 12, 2009

Coffeegirl Challenge #6 - Tribute to Seasons

[what's brewing: a global perspective]

As the seasons are shifting around the globe, 5 Coffeegirl readers have given us a glimpse of the scenery in their part of the world.

So pour yourself a cup of coffee in true Coffeegirl fashion,
enjoy the global variety represented in their photographs,
leave a comment telling us about the scenery in your part of the world,
and be sure to VOTE for your favorite photograph before jumping into the reality that awaits you!

The poll closes next Monday, October 19 at 9am Mountain Standard Time (2 hours behind Eastern Time) so tell your friends and family to get out and vote before then. The winner will be announced next Tuesday, and I'm sure she'll be eager to claim her gift card to Amazon, iTunes or Shutterfly - wouldn't you be too?! And now...

A Tribute to Seasons Around the World:

Tribute #1 - Harvest Festival in the desert in western Mongolia
by Michelle

Tribute #2 - An afternoon of flower planting to celebrate the arrival of spring!
by Lisa B., Peru

Tribute #3 - Pecan Tree: pecans are in season as fall arrives...this state produces 70% of Mexico's entire pecan crop!
by Becky A., Mexico

Tribute #4 - The rice harvest in the city
by MCS, Sendai, Japan

Tribute #5 - Australian Wattle
by Wendy M., on home assignment from Japan

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Coffeegirl Challenge #6

[what's brewing: depends where you are...]

It's that time of year again when my internal clock resounds with the fullness of fall. As the calendar turns over to the autumn months, my seasonal sensations kick in and I start to crave the quintessential elements of fall. Choosing my favorite fall element would be an impossible task (apple cider? pumpkin patches? candy corn?), but certainly one of my all time favorites has to be the crunching of leaves after they've changed color, fallen to the ground, and been blown about on the sidewalks. Ooh, I just love that feeling.

Knowing that those of us who convene here at Coffeegirl Confessions are presently scattered throughout different hemispheres, climates, cultures and countries, we certainly aren't all in a place where we can enjoy a taste of fall. On several blogs I've seen creative efforts being put forth to create a sense of fall where it is nowhere to be found, and I've seen others who are embracing their chance at spring while those in the north are slipping into autumn. And there are others who are indeed experiencing fall, but in a different way in a different land than they are used to.

I love the diversity that is represented among us in so many different ways and I thought this would be a good time to celebrate that diversity...

Coffeegirl Challenge #6: a tribute to seasons around the world!

Your task: Take an artistic photograph that captures the current season where you are living, be it hot, cold, fall or spring - or something in between - and submit it as an entry into Coffeegirl's Celebration of Seasons photo contest. All photos will be displayed next week, October 13th, and readers will vote for their favorite entry to determine our winner. (If you submit a photograph, be sure to let your friends and family members know so that they can turn out and vote for you!)

As a reminder, by asking for an artistic photograph I mean nothing against your kids, teammates or home decorations...but leave them out of it, indulge your creative side and give us a taste of the culture you're living in. Remember this definition from our Field Day event?

Artistic Photograph: photography that is…done to express the artist's perceptions and emotions and to share them with others.

The stakes: The winner will receive their choice of a $20 gift card to iTunes, Amazon.com, or Shutterfly.

Details, details: Photos should be submitted to coffeegirlconfessions@yahoo.com by Monday, October 12 at 9:00am Mountain Standard Time (2 hours behind East Coast Time). Please specify which details you would like to have posted with your photo, i.e. name, Blogger name, or initials; country of service, etc.

Need some inspiration? Check out the last batch of artistic photographs that were submitted for our Field Day event back in June!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...