Just 2.5 weeks before WHO Koinonia Spring 2015 began, we lost our third consecutive baby. Still in our grieving phase, it was time to begin preparing for the Koinonia event. I knew because of the state we were in how very important preparation would be.
Preparing My Marriage
Going into a long weekend takes some thinking ahead. Matt is an introvert. He recharges in quiet alone time, then brings his energy into gatherings. As a truck driver with the same daily route, I also know he needs his sleep (at least 7 hours) to be safe on the roads. I have learned to guard his time and obligations before and after such gatherings, and also to clearly communicate as much of what I know may or will happen. He knows if he’s hit his limits without the recharge time to just tell me. With all that in mind, a bag of snacks, and a hug – we’re set.
It’s taken us a few years to get this far, but he is able to step in and handle all the same things that I do for the live broadcast portion. It has not always been easy to communicate details with him, like how to move the camera smoothly, what shots I want to send, or other details. For me, it’s like teaching someone how to drive a car… a task that just happens in my head without much thinking… but carries such an importance to do correctly nearly all the time. For him, it’s like handing him a guitar with no musical background and saying – here… lead us. It takes time to get the hang of it all combined. But – he has endured and even taken his own interest in what I do. He can handle the same things I do, and can communicate that vision and direction to others as needed or float between tasks. I am so very thankful to have him at my side through every area of life. I’d never be able to handle this all otherwise. We are one.
Preparing the Tech
Details with the tech needed to be sorted out. Wires were a mess, ideas for how to combine video & scripture on the screen needed organized and implemented, and testing for bringing someone in remotely over our livestream needed to be tested.
Can I tell you how thankful I am to have the support and help of the a/v crew? I shared the goals, helped a little, crawled home late one night in exhaustion, and woke up to a message saying that not only had they done what I asked but also added in a way for camera operators to see what video was live at the time. That’s an added gift right there. My mind works sequential in some areas. All things related to a/v, I approach linearly. I ask for this thing, then the next…. and can only really prepare for one thing at a time. And suddenly – most of the requests were done.
Travis and Matt F made this happen, and I am so thankful for our team’s heart, growth, and unified vision. It is a fun learning process. I’ve known these guys since I think before any of us could drive. I drifted away from them while away at college… the wonders of life before Facebook and cell phones. But, for the past month we’ve been closer than ever as we each play a part to get ready for this past even. We are learning each other’s rhythm again.
I am reminded at how we were in our youth. Dumb little things come up – but we move on. I was lacking all grace on a few instances around them both. I kept tripping over my own flip flops while standing on the sanctuary floor. Really by now I should be capable of walking… but no…. right in front of others for absolutely no good reason… I trip. eh – whatever. Then in worship, I come bounding up the stairs to the booth in a hurry. My last step sounded like – an elephant. I heard laughing..at my lack of grace. It didn’t matter… I wasn’t taking it as a personal thing laughing at my weight or grace. I was hurrying, taking steps 2 at a time. So what if I am foolish around these guys? They have been like brothers to me in our youth, and again now. I was a goof… they laugh… it’s fine. That same freedom carried me on through the weekend as I let go and worshipped. That same zeal and enthusiasm… the highest highs and lowest lows… that was our every Sunday night at Mars Hill. Let the good of that era come out in my daily life today.
Then there was the time I mishandled something on Saturday. It started out so insignificantly – but had bigger consequences. I had to humble myself, and quickly handle matters because I will not let anything negatively and permanently impact what is happening now. In retrospect, I failed to communicate vision. I communicated how-to’s, but not the further details about culture, timing, and more. I am learning… and I thought I was just quickly sharing details in my head before I forgot them (it was a busy weekend). In hindsight, it came of all wrong and I had to make matters right during our gathering. I am thankful that we’ve moved on and to have learned through that experience.
I am so thankful too for the work that Wes and Brian did with the cameras on fairly short notice. For that, we had a person able to get shots and angles that wouldn’t be possible without an operator. And I am thankful for the ongoing steadfast always prepared ways that Lamar and Trayer handle their areas.
Preparing the Garden
The garden was also on the list to prepare. Spring is here, and some tasks simply cannot wait. Just a week after WHOKoinona, we will be working on getting woodchips into the garden. The forecast, energy, and schedule aren’t in our favor after such an event, so planning ahead matters. We aspire to grow as much of our own food here on our property. It’s a commitment that takes work. We incur an initial expense and a lot of labor. But the reward is homegrown organic fruits and veggies.
Some things are planted with an expectation that I’ll reap a reward in less than 2 months (like lettuce – such a staple food) but other things are going to take years to get a good harvest, like my mini-orchard of apples. Anything that comes in now from those trees will be too sour to enjoy. There are things that I planted last season that will be ready this harvest – like onions. They grow through the winter – who knew? Also making progress are last year’s potatoes and strawberries.
For the berries and fruit trees – that’s a whole lot of digging. The best time to plant fruit trees is said to be 10 years ago, but the next best time is now… not next year. The sooner fruit can be planted, the sooner the harvest can happen. It matters when these things take years to happen.
For the veggie garden, preparation looks a bit different. Before any harvest can happen, a season of growth must take place during the heat of summer. Before the growth is the covering (we put in woodchips to retain moisture and deliver vital nutrients to the plants that we benefit from when we eat them).
Before the covering is the burning. We had vines from last season still lingering. While last year was a great harvest, that is now in the past and not useful for this coming season.
Before the burning was the rearranging. We shouldn’t plant precisely in the same exact location. Shuffling the pallet trellis even a few inches will help the old soil rest and be restored while the new soil brings forth life.
Before the trellises could be moved, we had to weed. Thanks to woodchip gardening, this was not terribly difficult. Because of this groundcovering, the soil beneath is black, rich with earthworms, and the covering keeps the weeds away. Only areas that didn’t have much covering were full of these weeds and the lawn was trying to encroach again. So – the soil is ready, the pallets are ready, the seedlings started months ago under grow lights are ready… it’s just about time.
Do you see Him in this? Some things we planted and forgot about in previous seasons come to harvest now. Some things we must learn to wait for the good fruit. Some things take a lot of thinking ahead to get things to work right. Some things are planted and harvested at different times and harvest can be staggered out. Having some cover will help keep the junk away. Shuffling where we sow matters to get a healthy crop.
Preparing Our Home
In a very practical sense, I wanted every detail at home to be prepared before the event consumed my every moment. I do this not because I had anyone coming to impress, but because I was thinking about the rest we would need later.
I don’t rest well when the laundry is piled high and Matt’s work clothes are still dirty on Sunday evening. I don’t enjoy my kitchen with the scent of dirty dishes that are 4 days old. I don’t like walking across my kitchen floor feeling the crumbs from an epic baking marathon (to feed the a/v crew some moderately healthy snacks) and wondering if the ants will return to help clean.
I hustled on Thursday to get the home ready. On Sunday, after the final details of the yard were done and ready, we came inside, cleaned ourselves up, and collapsed.
Preparing for Friday Night
As this team builds, no longer do Matt and I have to do everything. We can be free to have one session off together. This was a rare treat.
I came in to Friday knowing that the experience I would have would to some extent be determined by what I would make of it. If I came expecting to need a warm up before breaking free in worship, I would miss my chance. I only had coverage for Friday night, not for Saturday. I wanted to run things on Saturday night as well.
I worshipped with all my might that night. I didn’t care if anyone else was… I just needed to release a lot of things by dancing before Him alone. It’s been years since that was normal for me. It used to be how most Sunday mornings were at World Harvest Outreach, or how every Sunday night at Mars Hill was personally and for others. I had told another to not worry about however God wanted to be revealed through him and to be free to just worship with his everything. I then realized… that was for me too. It’s been a season of calling forth the youthful past in what I listen to, in picking up my instruments again, and in how I show up during a worship gathering. It matters little how others see me, and more how much I give of myself to Him in that time. So – I danced… I grieved… I was hugged and held… I faceplanted the carpet. I was all in.. and so glad that I gave Him my all. That must be a current and ongoing revelation. I must also keep that younger me alive and awake.
So I came into Friday with every preparation I could make done… and brought my heart. I brought everything in me into that moment. I say this not to make a scene of myself. I say this because it took me a lot of work to come prepared. Today, my body aches in places where my daughter was resting just a few weeks ago. I am still in the healing process and I had every opportunity to just not go all in for this past weekend. But – I needed to stand up and reveal what’s been inside all along. I brought my everything. I will continue daily to bring it all. Stay sensitive before Him and let what He has in you out for all to experience. We need you to bring your everything.