It was a year or so into marriage that we got on a plane, bags packed, a life left behind, with a call to rebuild our lives, not as two, but as one. One of the things we quickly discovered when we married was that we were committed to was cultivating the truest and best version of ourselves, individually and now as a couple, a family. We have had to fight fear, and risk to get there, but we believe in the beauty and reward of risk, of bravery when it comes to living true. For us, we knew Father God was inviting us to embark on an adventure where we would recover heart, but to do that we had to leave our ‘Egypt’s’.
We needed to make space, needed to slow down from activity, breathe deeper and in sync with each other, with the Trinity. We needed to ask new, bolder, sometimes scary questions, and dare to listen and linger for the answers, we needed to renew our perspective and look with more appreciation at our story, each other and all it, and we could be, if we dared to wholeheartedly say yes, yes to unknowns. For us there was a leaving behind to take on, upon ourselves and into ourselves, a whole new way of being us, but a true ‘us’, individually and as one. We learnt, began to learn, our hearts and in doing so, began to grow and learn to be whole and alive. We didn’t know we weren’t there until we were there, to be wholeheartedly alive is to live with worth, acceptance, somethings we had to first receive; to embrace and engage in life from a place of worthiness, to live connected, present in love, belonging and intimacy. To willingly be vulnerable to and in life and the narrative God reads in and over us. To come alive was, is, to live with courage, to be true, and extending the compassion for ourselves to learn and grow and through it all stay connected. It’s been and still is our epic, and part of this has been finding our values, our essence; knowing not just who we are but what makes us ‘alive’, what’s essential to us, for us to be true. Recovering what integrity looks like for us, in us, our character, nature, and purpose, our essence as His children on earth.
We had to let a lot of things go, we had to learn new depths of integrity, of heart, and we also had to say yes when we might have rather said no, because it's been wisdom, because we choose courage over what’s comfortable and faith over what’s fear.
We have learnt to pursue, and admit that the story hasn’t always turned out how we anticipated, we aren’t always where we thought or dreamt we’d be, but in it we have and still are learning, growing and have learnt to find more light, use new colours and find stronger priorities, to grow, adapt and operate differently. Along the way, year by year, season by season, we’ve found, and are finding, the essentials of me, us and how to appreciate being and cultivating that, whatever season we find ourselves standing in.
And well, if 2020 has been anything so far it's been another great thrusting into learning. Learning authenticity, a lot of self compassion, building resilience, and cultivating gratitude and joy, intuition and faith when there is chasms of unknowns. We dare to rise again, embracing the mysteries and finding the peace in them, anchoring into what we do know and are confident of, letting go of comparison, and what others find essential to embrace our essential where we can find creativity, play, rest and calm, stillness, selah, and here we keep learning, learning own our purpose and allowing truth to loose us from self doubt, and fear. Here we recover and find heart, and here we get to choose abandonment and wonder, for, for us these are essential in the journey.
Our essentials and values, our true and alive-ness, express differently, yet they fuse together to make our story and our journey complete, we add to each other and in being true, offering and bringing our whole selves along we recover more heart. This is our greatest privilege and adventure, recovery of heart, that individually and together we look, sound and move more true, more like the one who dreamt and fashioned us.
For me one of my essentials is learning, learning through fashioning and forming, creating, problem solving with my hands ‘on the ground’, in a sense, I live to build and create as I am inspired. I thrive in the challenge to fashion and to form, to call out beauty to reveal treasures. In every way these are essential expressions of me, and what I need to thrive, whether that’s in a forgotten garden, a stranger I meet, the restoring of an old chair, the recovery of something neglected, the heart and potential of friends. It is this narrative of heart lived out I am most me. I love to learn and fashion because I also love to grow, I love self growth, I love nurturing growth, I’ve loved (mostly) the years and more recently getting to homeschool Oskari, I love the process and journey of learning and growth entwined. As I sit now in my garden, a garden I took from neglect and weeds, and have been tending to for 6 years now, I am excited about seeing saplings grow into strong plants, trees take on branches and height, I marvel at the process and narrative of growth, of learning in the environment, adapting to thrive; the challenge in shaping a ‘land’ to thrive. This narrative has called so much out of me personally as it echoes something of purpose within. I love the demand of it, it welcomes me, needs my hands, what I have to offer, and I also love that it thrives despite me, because it’s been nurtured to so so, it reveals its own beauty and life, despite anything I do. The divine order of things deems it so. I love that leaning into the essence of what I love, learning, growth, fashioning, nurturing and creating has a outward expression and releases life. This is one aspect, essence of being true that I have recovered as I leant into our epic.
For Norman his essentials include such things as adventure, meaningful shared experiences and creating. These are, have become, in the recovery of his heart, something of his essence. He is captured by the narratives of epic films and novels, the story of a protagonist who sees beyond the 'normal' of life and embarks on a journey of great daring and adventure to ultimately enable others to see what he sees. To find, explore and fight for promised lands. To believe that there is always more to find. These narratives echo what is written within him, they don't just call to his heart but awaken it also, express and reveal him. His heart is made alive by breaking free from constraint, breaking free from conventions (def. an inherited or established way of thinking, feeling, or doing) by entering new places, whether new places with God, new geography, new projects in our beautiful home or a new realms of business. His natural enthusiasm has often made it harder for him to find rest in fallow seasons of waiting but certainly these seasons have brought him even greater experience and alive-ness as Father God has lovingly brought rest to those broken places which previously may have been a source of striving and anxious activity. Without these things that he has found essential to who he is, he cannot truly express the integrity of being who he truly is.
For us both, part of our essentials are wonder, joy and the adventure, pursuing wildness and rest, together wholeheartedly, one, in God, who is that essential place of abiding for us, our being, whatever season and to whatever we are putting our energies, times and hands to. And this for us is a much about living true and fully present connected and alive now, as it is about legacy. As we learn to give ourselves permission to be all that we are made to be, to recover wholeness, freedom and heart. As we choose this journey and give ourselves grace and permission to be where we are on it, and reveal ourselves in each season, our ‘essentials’/ essence, values, our story and sound then we believe we are also choosing legacy. That in living so we give permission to others to do the same, how we reveal our authentic selves, the life and beauty, the goodness, and essence of what makes us, us. We invite and awaken others and hearts are recovered along the way. This to us is how we are learning to reveal His glory, His heart, His goodness, His eternal invitation to all. Life and life abundant, whole and fully connected.