As a arrive to the fire I notice that it’s quiet still but I know many are still coming. I pull up a chair and start chatting with our friendly hostess. I’ve got a story to share with her and we talk and then she invites me to share with the rest as they start filtering in.
Hi all, I’m glad to be here and honored to be asked to share. I published this original post on my blog site about one week ago and wrote it about one week before that. Since the writing my husband and I have worked through initial adjustments of him being home and also enjoyed a 5 day trip to Jamaica, just the 2 of us.
So what’s my connection here? I am Beth’s (oldest?) niece.
My dad and her husband Tom are brothers. I am her daughter Allie’s sponsor in baptism, I dabble in some Mary Kay and she and I both graduated from River Forest as Directors of Christian Education. We get together and can easily talk for hours. But it’s Beth. You all know as well as I that she is a stranger to no one. She changed my life when she started dating the fun uncle who was always playing around with us kids. Because of her I was inspired to look into the DCE ministry, which it turns out is a great fit for me and my gifts.
Thanks for having me and I hope you enjoy learning a bit about the Brinkmann clan; specifically our big life challenge this past year.
She is exactly the friend you want to join you at your backyard fire. Her warmth, kindness and infectious laugh bring joy to any situation. She creates a safe space to share and has wisdom that causes you to pause to listen. I never get enough sleep when I spend time with Jaime – there is just too much life to unfold with this beautiful and genuine soul. Welcome to the fire Jaime…. so glad you’re here. Beth
” They sold the house.” came the text over my phone.
“What?” I reply.
“They didn’t want to wait until our Michigan house sold, they had other offers. They sold it.” Toms response.
A sweet yet demanding woman’s voice then breaks into my thoughts – “Please put all electronics on airplane mode, buckle your seat belts, we are ready for take off. “
I had just finished four days at a business conference that always leaves me inspired and exhausted at the same time. This year the fatigue was intensified due to the fact that days before our family had just packed up our home , children and pets of 17 years and moved across the country. We were in temporary housing for what we thought would be a few weeks, maybe a month or 2. And by temporary I mean a one bedroom apartment for Tom and I and dorm rooms for Jonah and Brooke. Allie was now in Michigan 10 hours away. We had a house, or so we thought, until the text showed up on my phone just minutes before takeoff. To say I was disappointed is a gigantic understatement.
I immediately wanted to know WHO BOUGHT OUR HOUSE. ( now it never really, technically, literally, all the for real things, was our house..)
but it was OUR HOUSE…
in my mind –
which is the most powerful place to hold ownership.
When I learned their names I discovered they had children that would attend our high school. The location was perfect for them since they wanted to be involved in school…. Yes, Yes, and YES!!! ALL of the reasons WE wanted the house!!! IT WAS PERFECT.
Well, immediately I wasn’t too fond of this family. I was frustrated that now my life would be put on hold. I was already dealing with the unexpected move that I DID NOT ASK FOR and now I would be living from boxes ( no I wouldn’t- they would be in STORAGE) I would be living from suitcases for an unknown amount of time.
I didn’t like the situation and
I didn’t like these people.
Nope – Not one bit.
Have you ever not liked someone before you met them? because of something you heard?
Have you ever not liked someone that you know but their life seems a bit too happy compared to your current situation?
Have you ever not liked someone that you once did but then they reveal their humanness by saying something stupid or acting out of character?
Have you ever not liked someone who’s children got what yours wanted?
I bet you have because I know I have.
And it shows up in my thumbs. My thumbs that scroll through social media and somedays I’m all “Likes” and “Hearts” and Encouragement. My thumbs that can’t stop the love sharing.
And then there are the days where they hover and stay mid air and their pause reveals my heart. A heart that says…
I just don’t like them today.
Their success seems to magnify my failure, or my children’s. (Can we just be honest mommas.) And the frozen thumbs display a frozen heart that has forgotten the reason we love has nothing to do with what people do but what God has done for us.
When I start to withhold love, I start believing the lie that I have a limited amount to give. The scarcity thinking that my love will run out, that to share it will empty my already dry cup.
I hate this part of me, the part that sits in a gym of parents and thinks my life is the hardest. The part that looks around the sanctuary and believes no one would understand the pain of my past. It’s just yucky and when I linger there ….
no one benefits.
Over the past year I have prayed long and hard about this part of me, the frozen heart part. And just like God, he hasn’t just come in and fixed me, he has asked me to do some work.
The idea for this collaborative blog came from a conversation with my amazing sister in law. The idea was to create a space for many people we love to share their gift of writing.
I was so excited…
and then I wasn’t.
You see there were many times I would see the blog posts of these people that I LOVE and my heart would go cold.
It would feel jealous that they had the great thoughts of the day, that they were getting the affirmation and positive feedback… and not me.
It’s. The. Truth.
So when I prayed about God softening my heart he gave me a very specific answer.
“You invite each and every one to contribute to this blog. I will give you the ideas but this is a community space for ALL”
And I did. Just last night.
I messaged every single beautiful, amazing, gifted, lights to the world and said..
” Would you join me?”
and they said
And my frozen heart began to melt. I began to feel a happiness that I hadn’t felt in MONTHS. NO JOKE.
I told them I stopped believing the lies that there were TOO MANY blogs, and I didn’t have any original ideas and that I certainly couldn’t share space.
And when TRUTH was spoken, hearts were warmed… and I just liked everyone all over again… including myself… and most importantly my Savior. He so patiently listened to my cry for a softer heart and courageously showed me the way, and blessed me beyond …with a Joy that comes from following HIS lead.
And the result…?
Well… I believe.. if you chose to stay with us around our fire.. . that You will be blessed beyond …
The women and men that will share their stories and gifts in a very special and unique way can make you better and me better — I’m so completely confident of that. So pull up a chair and load up your roasting stick. I’m honored to introduce you to my friends. That I Love….
and really, genuinely like.
ps. So the house. No – we didn’t get our first choice but we did get the best.
Its ironically located 1 block east of choice number one. And the people that bought us out? They’re some of the most amazing people on the planet. I could dedicate an entire blog showcasing their generosity and love that they have shown to so many , our family included.
Thank you Lord for not loving me the way I love others. Thank you for giving me so much more than I deserve. Keep my heart soft.
Welcome to my campfire. Pull up a seat, grab a roasting stick and load it up with as many marshmallows as your heart desires. Settle in to listen or lean in to share. I believe there is something both magical and important that happens when we gather together with the purpose of pause and connection. I’m so glad you’ve joined me for a minute or some moments and maybe a marshmallow or two.