05 May 2009

hOmE : a pLacE oF VuLnErAbiLiTy aNd gRaCe...


some thoughts that have been crossing my mind today...Home and family...I have many dear friends, people I do admire and appreciate, and I have loads of people I know... and probably even more people who know about me...But feeling totally at home or having a family is something very precious and more seldom to have...

I noticed that throughout my pilgrimage I've been receiving the gift of different families and homes... as if in seasons... I'm really thankful for those...My relationship with my natural family has been always a bit odd... I've always been quiet and introvert... I never learned how to speak or share my heart... as speaking and sharing important things of the heart has never been a common thing in my family... we all go along fine, but my feeling was that we never really got to know one another... conversations were often superficial, or task orientated, or around the TV... (yes, that might be one of the main problems why most of families today don't know how to speak with one another anymore)...
So I learnt to be superficial as well ... "hi, how are you?", "fine, and you?", "fine". End of conversation...
It is a hard learning process, to know how to speak...
Another reason may be because most of people are not really willing to listen... most of people love to speak... sometimes to avoid more "serious" conversations... so we speak about the weather, the dogs, the cats, the children, politics, Tv, etc... always trying to avoid speaking about ourselves and what really matters in our lives...
I remember when I first learnt how to speak and share my heart... And for the first time I felt at home in a family... This was 12 years ago (I was 22 then... a bit late to learn how to speak hey?)... I was in Angola in a missionary community of about 30 people at that stage... people wanted to know me, they wanted to hear my stories, they would ask lots of questions... and I realised I didn't know how to express myself very well... I've always been a thinker, so I never needed to explain myself to... myself...
I would write lots, but I would never share as well...
Anyway, I don't want to go too much out of track here...
What I wanted to say was that it was here that I first found a place I could share my heart... first because I knew there was LOVE... and because of Love, there was Grace... they would all understand this concept as they were for me real followers of Jesus, and so, they knew Grace in their personal lives... we know Grace when we realise our own failures and know we are forgiven and loved despite all... that's when we are able to minister Grace to others too... so there I was in a place I could be vulnerable... I shared the worst of things I did and thought in my life, I was listened, I was understood, people were compassionate and showed me grace and acceptance as I never felt before...
This is still for me the thing that I found most impacting in Jesus Christ... and in those who really follow Him (yes, cuz we can look at the "church" and see nothing of this...but this is for me what church is about...)...

But years passed by, I came to Portugal, communication with that family faded and physical distance made it hard to keep up being the same... I kept communicating, and I still keep in contact with some...most of them I keep in my heart in a very special place...
In Portugal I was some years in another community but it was not really the same, even though I became really close with few people... Then I moved out and became part of another family... Some I referred to in some of my posts... specially the Borden's, Ben and Jasmin... There were others, but these are the ones I could share my heart with again... another place of vulnerability and Grace...

But again I moved... and again communication started to fade... by the way, I'm not moving around for any bad reasons, only because God leads me into new places and seasons... actually, those times to move out of family have been the most painful in my life... but when The Wind blows, I follow... Maybe that's why Jesus said something like this to His disciples: "if you leave your home and family because of me and my Kingdom...I will give you a hundred times more homes and families..."

And again I'm experiencing this to be true... This time is a bit different, as I am at the land for 2 and a half years now...  here it's very seasonal, and people come and go more often... I'm the only one staying in a more permanent basis...But during all this time, and even before that, God was preparing a family for me :-)... I shared a bit about them in this post
It all started in 2005 when I made my 6 month trip in Europe... I met Emma in UK (since then we had become best friends and prayer partners) , then Juran in Germany, then Hanne, Jonathan and Mathias in Freakstock and then Hernhut ... Another nice post about it here ...
To these, God joined Lyna whom we all met in Israel/Palestine and was living here in the land last year to give birth to her child Nolan... by the natural way, the family is extending, by birth and marriage ... Mathias got married with Nora and Juran with Ulli... :-)
Of course this family has many others with whom we relate with in our local communities and network of relationships... but these are the ones I know I can be vulnerable with and share all of my heart... And I'll add here Andy and Vony who I met recently but immediately became family (this happens too)... and of course Marcia, who just arrived from her 6 month trip in Mexico and I can't wait to be with...Edna, my natural sister is becoming more and more part of my family too :-)...

With all these I've shared the most precious of moments... laughing, crying, confessing my craps, praying and being prayed for, forgiving and asking forgiveness, confronting and being confronted, travelling with, working with, having fun, dreaming about future, sharing...

Anyway, just wanted to share my thoughts for today... about family... about the importance of having a group of friends (don't need to be many) with whom we can be vulnerable and find the most precious of gifts, GRACE ... ones who accept you just the way you are, no matter which state you're in at the moment... ones to journey with and grow spiritually into maturity...
Sometimes, family is close... but that doesn't always happen... family is in the heart, and it's spiritual...

I'm really grateful for all sorts of ways of communicating that able me to be in touch with this spread family... e.mails, skype, and mostly the many opportunities we've been having to meet in all sorts of places to be together in the last 4 years... I'm thankful for the constant prayers and encouraging words on the right times...

This is true richness !!!

I'm grateful to God for all those who have become family for me in every different season... I'm grateful for God's faithfulness and care, which became real to me through all these beautiful brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers...
Thank you all...

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Ba,

thanks for sharing...thanks for every moment the word "family" has become true...family is kingdom. A place in spirit where Love and Grace kiss each other...plenty and rightousness spring from its very ground. Thanks to you all sisters and brothers.

May His spirit forever dwelleth in you:)

Anonymous said...

Dear friends,

Agradeço de todo o coração os dias em que tudo partilharam comigo.
Foi Deus que conduziu meus passos e tornou possível esta experiência tão purificante.

Conhecer-vos foi obra e graça do Senhor.
Uma família very special.

Que Deus esteja sempre convosco.

Neno

Rui Rodrigues said...

Bom dia a todos, olá Barbara...

Realmente muito raramente acontece nascermos no seio da nossa verdadeira família. Como muito bem explicaste são os ventos que nos levam ... e quando nos soltam parecem ter a preocupação de o fazer junto dos nossos verdadeiros irmãos... tudo é como tem de ser.

È verdade, aí se vê a graça do Senhor.

Cumprimentos cordiais,
RR

PS: preferirias que os comentarios fossem escritos em ingles de forma a que também sejam partilhados por toda essa familia global??

Luz said...

É um previlégio fazer parte da tua família!
Também me sinto assim, tenho família espalhada por muitos lugares, agora até no méxico! Mas poder sentir essa aceitação e graça tem mudado a minha vida e tem afastado os meus medos...

gaffycowan said...

Only reading this post this morning I feel blessed to be part of the family of God, and so grateful to share the journey with you and others. Yesterday I was with two groups of people.

One was a girle gathering for a long brunch and sharing time. I was able to share my heart and find words and tears for the things that im finding hard- like my current relationship with my own parents. I realised I had been carrying a responsibility for their happiness, and not seeking God in the midst of the difficulty. Being able to talk with people who have walked the journey before was so helpful- its all part of maturing and finding our own unique way of being in the world.

Later i met with some of the Jesus Freaks. They came over to my house, we drank beer, smoked and talked about what God is putting on our hearts. Again a great sense that we are being lead in similar paths. The Freaks got a word that in the next season there was a call to reach out again to single parents, foreigners and those in same sex relationships. I felt moved as we talked about how Jeus welcomes us all, without prejudice and in love to walk with one another through hard and good times.

I felt that my Sunday was a refreshment to my soul and my spirit- i share about it as I felt that as the body of christ, we all can bless one another in sharing from the heart, our questions, our fears and leave space for God to speak in the midst of our questions.

I love the family! I received a letter via the Freak movement from Brother Clemens- it reminded me how God has been building the house across nations, languages for the purpose of encouraging us and blessing one another.

So thanks again for being honest and inspiring us all to keep seeking out places to be vulnerable and true to ourselves.

emx

andarilho-monge said...

Cheguei de Assis...
vim aqui visitar-te só para deixar um abraço forte na tua alma..
Fica com Ele que tudo pode e ama...

Anonymous said...

Well I’ll keep with the English although my mother language is the Portuguese. Recently i got to know your community and since the beginning I was kind of caught. But lately I have so much work and I just saved the link on my computer. This week some friend told me that he have been there for one weekend, we didn´t talk much but it showed me that it wasn´t just a site. It’s a real world. Just sharing this because sometimes we are so trapped on our own world that in fact we forget good things can exist. Today it happened to open the link and read the first post and take a look on the rest. You really caught my attention and I was kind of feeling your words. I am studying abroad for my 3rd year and many things came to me and taught me about “living”. Well I keep going to Portugal after my exams but I always take some more experience with me. As you said about how you use to be, I still am a better listener than a speaker. And has time passed its hard to express myself and this I would like to change. Not sure if it is a coincidence but today I wrote this on some friends blog, its in Portuguese but I guess you understand : “as vezes gostava de ter o poder da palavra e fazer belíssimos discursos. Fazer grandes dissertações, mesmo que retóricas. Que se fizessem chegar pela audição ou pela visão. Infelizmente não detenho esse poder. Poder? Será esse um verdadeiro poder? Acho que me fico pela expressão corporal, pelas acções. Será esta arte uma arte usada somente pelos tolos que querem esconder ignorância ou será uma arte refinada que não descansa na simples dicção de palavras? Porque afinal, palavras leva-as o vento. No final de contas se colocarmos no prato da balança, uma palavra faz-te pensar e uma acção faz-te sentir, podendo haver uma inter-relação entre todas, mas no fundo é isto. Que achas tu deste meu comportamento? Quero a tua opinião. (e sem ser muitos, muitos sou quando te escrevo. no entanto sou só eu)”
I am curious about your world, I am always curious about new worlds. When I say this I am not taking you or your community as something apart but I do think each person is a world and as a world can give a lot. Do you think I can appear some day and stay over or around?
Sorry for some incoherent sentences or for some mistake, but just felt like writing here
By the way my name is filipe.

andarilho-monge said...

a alma mais pacificada... e algumas andarilhanças por terras de Assis podem ver alguma luz... abraço-te a alma andorinha do Pai...

l said...

Great blog!

andarilho said...

Andorinha do Pai... ao trabalhar no meu blog fiz asneira e apaguei..consegui salvar as mensagens.. perdoa-me..d.eixo aqui o novo link para o novo blog...

http://searadetrigo.blogspot.com/