Wrapped in Love

Yesterday we said goodbye to our church family.  Bittersweet.

In just 3 days we pile into the Suburban and drive off.  It seems strange to leave this place because it embodies to me the definition of home.  I feel like I have a split personality when I talk about where home is. Growing up, getting married and having children in Colorado makes Colorado my home state and with so much family there it feels so much more like home than Washington…yet…I have never been more invested in a place and in so many people than I have here.  I would say that here, at Chapel Hill, is where I have really “grown up.”  I have a greater sense of self, have grown to be at peace with who I am, and a new and expanding awareness of the God that loves me.

I think I “came into myself” during this season in Gig Harbor.

The numerous…countless…and at times undefinable ways in which God has added to me is profound.  The obvious: becoming a missionary and being sent to Swaziland, but in truth the things that have developed in me here are so intimate and personal and deep…there is no adequate description.  I came, depressed, insecure, alone.  I leave filled with hope and joy, confident, having purpose, and a bounty of friends.  I am, well…. happy.  And when things in my world aren’t going my way I still experience joy and have a super-natural ability to “let it go.”  Super natural…you say?  I attribute all of this to the God of the universe who loves me.

There is something quite selfish and self-centered about being depressed, alone and insecure.  I get it, there are those who really do suffer from a form of depression that is just as much physical as it is emotional.  I am not referring to the disease of depression.  If you suffer with that, this is not about you.

In my insecurities I am worried about me.  In sadness I am sad because of me.  In my loneliness I am alone…with me.  Me.  Me.  Me.  I am concerned about what people think of me, I wonder if their actions (that look on their face, the forgotten phone call…) are aimed at me.  The countless ways I was wrapped up in me is rather nauseating.

The antidote? Worship.  The venue? Church life, bible study and service to others for the cause of Christ, surrounded by the Body of Christ.

I’ll tell you what…if you want to get outside of yourself and your self-pity, it is time to do something for someone else.  I am a “pull-em-up-by-the-boot-straps” kind of girl, is it obvious?

I am all wrapped up in love.

My dear, sweet friend finished this quilt for me and gave it to our family as we pack up and ship out.  It just says it all, doesn’t it?  I’m feeling the love.

To note, I began this quilt a long time ago.  Way back when Matthew was 2 years old, I thought it would be cool to make a quilt for his bed.  I have an attention deficit disorder when it comes to craft projects; I am all gung-ho in the beginning, full of inspiration, and then somewhere midstream I loose all interest and never finish.  I have since determined that hand crafts are not my “gift.”

I have had the quilt top to this blanket in a box since then…even managed to drag it here from Colorado.  You can imagine my thoughts when I opened the box while sorting stuff to get ready for Swaziland.  I’ll just insert here that my thoughts weren’t all that becoming.

But then I thought of my very talented quilting friend, Su.  Not because of the unbecoming thoughts, but because she is gifted.  My handiwork does not even have tickets to the ballpark where Su plays, but I thought she would enjoy having the fabric and perhaps could make use of it.

The next time I saw the thing was at our sending reception at the church.  It was complete.  It was beautiful.  It had handwritten messages of love from our dear church family.  WOW.  What a special gift!

Now that I have had time to digest the enormity of the gift Su presented us, (she also made quilts for Matt and Luke with messages from all of their friends) I realized how the quilt is a perfect word picture for my life here at Chapel Hill.  Just like the quilt, I came to this place unfinished and unused.  Neatly stored in a box, free from dust and harm, yet not being put to use as its creator intended…. Hmmm… sounds like my own experience.

Spiritually dry, not being used as my Creator intended.  Stored well, protected and put away…isolated even….and with so much potential.  How wonderful is this analogy.  Thank you Su.  Your quilt has reminded me of just how much the church has “sewn” in good teaching, the discipline to study, and an understanding of the calling for which I was built.  Thanks Su, for giving us this quilt to keep us mindful of just how much this church we call home has wrapped us up in love.  And seriously Su…thank you for investing in our kids’ lives, and I mean really investing.

Thank you Chapel Hill, for investing in us.

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2 thoughts on “Wrapped in Love

  1. Wow. It’s seems like I blinked and your family is off to Swaziland! I’m sad that especially Will and his soulmate, Eric, didn’t get that last playdate, where we both know they’d have likely gotten into amazing mischief and had an awesome time making huge messes! I’m also sad because you and I didn’t get to have a last in-depth conversation. I’ll always pray and feel a special connectedness to you, maybe for our last names and/or for our Colorado roots, maybe for the fact our kids have much in common, but likely it’s all of that plus our sisterhood in Christ!
    I could really relate to your farewell blog – the self pity, insecurities, fears, etc. I appreciated and could really “amen sister” you on your acknowledgement of it being all me-oriented, with then limited room for operating in the Spirit, furthering God’s kingdom. These last 3 months I’ve gone through that valley of the shadow of death, self pity drew on hurt, and I found myself very introspective, frankly even unable to function for weeks. But, like you wrote, in that suffering, I really met our Savior, and the focus has begun to shift from me, myself, and I to others. I say all of this to build up to my apology to you for pulling back from you (and all my friends) since this fall. You are precious and I am sorry I missed out on time together; however, with growth in Jesus cones more love, faith, and joy, and in the Spirit, I will lift you all up in prayer, hoping for you in Christ as you endeavor to fight the good fight and lose yourselves only to gain your lives, spreading the Good News that Jesus saves!
    Blessings and love, my friend. Safe passage and covering over you!
    Love,
    Nancy

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    • Hi Nancy,

      What a beautifully written note…I appreciate every word. Thank you. Yes, I agree, we have a special connectedness. For whatever reason, we seem to go straight to the heart of the matter…consistently getting to deep conversations quick. Probably built on a certain understanding of each other, you nailed it, something only possible as sisters in Christ.

      My heart breaks for you…carrying such sadness…even more so for the fact that you seem to be navigating deep sorrow alone. (I may be wrong, but…) The reasons for sharing our pain and sorrow with others is one of those “Peace-that-surpasses-understanding” moments because in the moment we don’t see the value for sharing yet it brings us such peace to walk it with others who can pray, guide, discern, and cry you.

      Would love to be one of those folks to you Nancy, always have. Of course that isn’t so easy now that we are headed to swaziland, but you can pour out in an email and I will pray. I’m sure the women in your immediate circle are desperate to walk this with you as well. Sounds like you are already doing this, but its worth saying again and again…Let them in.

      Thank you for your supportive prayers. We need it as much as anybody! Let me know how things are going so I can pray and follow us….

      Love, Jennifer

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