Wake Up

We sat down one evening, a few weeks ago, to have what has become our traditional “Dream Talk.” Over the years it’s been fun to see what dreams have been birthed through these conversations and how the One who gave us the dreams brought them to fruition.

When we arrived in Austin to rest, it seemed like we were at a cross roads. After three years of traveling and converting our bus, the bus was finished (although, there is always more to do). At the same time, our daughter began turning a corner towards adulthood and much attention was and is still being given to that process.

We floundered for a bit, wondering if we were going to move forward as “The Hollands!” or was there a new vision or dream? We tried to be open, paying attention to anything we might be holding to tightly, as we explored an inkling of desire to travel globally. Then there were stirrings in our hearts to continue to offer our merrymaking, in whatever form, to those who would listen. We were especially drawn towards stories of those who have lost everything and wandered through foreign lands as refugees. We spent a bit of our practical time in Austin sharing our music and selves with the homeless, as well as, young adults who we would meet out and about, who had homes but longed for a deeper sense of community.

Our minds stirred with ideas of starting a new musical project, a community, new business, and there was even talk, well maybe whispers, of potentially staying even longer. The closer the new year came, the more restless we became, as we still had no clarity or direction for our future. And, the calendar was certainly empty. However, as we moved into the mystery of the unknown, our conversation shifted from our future to remembering. We started at the beginning. Remembering the betrayal and reconciliation that God brought us through and how the freedom that came through that process led us to the vision to bring that reconciliation and joy to those we’d meet along the way. We remembered the launch in our bus and how we had no idea what was to lie ahead, only that we must continue to move forward. We remember how God wove us together as a family, healing many wounds and giving us a new song. We remembered how our needs practically were always met whether through a friend offering a helping hand, or a stranger blessing us at just the right time.

I once heard that if you have been giving a task, vision or direction, that you continue on in that until you hear something different. We realized that although somethings seem to be shifting, that our call and our vision was still the same. “We are The Hollands! We are a Mother, Father, Sister and Brother. Bound by blood and vision to travel about this earth, spreading a message of reconciliation through LOVE. We make our way sharing the gifts and talents given us; Music, Craftsmanship, Mentorship and Instruction, Merrymaking and Community building. Our desire is still to connect with those we find along the way and encourage community and growth in relationship.”

We did some practical dreaming, like where did we feel a leading to go after Austin, but the reality of this season was more about moving deeper past the dreams and desires to the core of our faith. After three years on the road, we see that this rest was needed to offer our bodies a chance to recharge, as well as, put emotions and memories back into working order and heal in areas we didn’t even know were wounds.

IMG_0937And then, our friend, Billy Hollis, gave us these words of encouragement. He said, “you guys are like a river – a river that flows from a great source (ocean – God’s love) and as the river flows it changes the ecosystem of everything around it – it changes the land… a metaphor for your travels together, but now it’s time to make a damn and let the river fill up so you can enjoy it and just rest.” He said that he saw a deep lake that was created for the purpose of drawing from. (We just happened to be resting on Lake Austin, which is on the Colorado River!) He said, that as we began to travel again, we would have these waters to tend to us during difficult times and drought. Then he shared these beautiful words from Hosea about a place where the Lords speaks tenderly and restores.

But once she has nothing, I’ll be able to get through to her.
        I’ll entice her and lead her out into the wilderness where we can be alone,
        and I’ll speak right to her heart and try to win her back.

We’re beginning to rouse from our rest in Austin, TX. It feels like the early morning hours of waking, as we stretch our limbs, and slowly open our eyes to the twinkling of dimly lit lights. We reflect and remember. Knowing that the Lord is faithful and knows the plans waiting for us. There is hope on the horizon. There is purpose. And in that remembrance, when the time is right, we will move forward with this promise from the ancient text of Isaiah.

The Eternal One will never leave you;
    He will lead you in the way that you should go.
When you feel dried up and worthless,
    God will nourish you and give you strength.
And you will grow like a garden lovingly tended;
    you will be like a spring whose water never runs out.

IMG_1083 Merry Christmas!!

Sea Pens

Have you heard of Sea Pens? They offer a fascinating analogy of community!!

A sea pen looks and acts like a single organism but it’s actually a colony of tiny animals called polyps with a bulbous foot at it’s base–the bulb anchors the sea pen in the muddy or sandy bottom. The primary polyp loses its tentacles and becomes the stalk of the sea pen. The various secondary polyps form the sea pen’s “branches” and have specialized functions from trapping food, reproducing to channeling water in and out of the colony. Others make slime that glows in the dark…

Oh! what a longing we have to be apart of something that fantastic! We believe that we are connected to the stalk/foot but what if the other polyps don’t respond or they withhold from us because we don’t have the right marketing or enough credibility or what if we are judged and ignored? Do we need the other polyps? Well, sure we do, it’s not a sea pen otherwise.

…But, this is the hard part, trusting that everyone is working in one accord.

We aren’t the only ones to acknowledge this issue of trust in community. One of the founding fathers of “tilling and traveling” wrote of the same dilemma. His name was, Paul, formerly Saul. He had a remarkable revelation one day and turned full circle from his life of high society and religious piety. He became “all things to all people” by making himself available to go where ever the door opened. His soul desire was to spread a gospel of revolutionary magnitude. A gospel that suggested we could actually experience real reconciliation and freedom in our lives. Paul was convinced that like the sea pen we were made individually but meant to come together as a whole, clinging to the stalk that was connected to the foot. Folks seemed pretty excited about his passion until he started going into parts of society that they deemed unexceptionable and his support dwindled if not ceased. He responded with a push back to those who called themselves believers, to those who claimed to be his family. He shared his pain and disappointment but not for his own gain. No, he understood the heart condition and knew that if his “family” had treated him this way, they were probably treating others, who were doing a good work, the same way.

Paul admonished them to take a look in the mirror. To realize that their perspective was off and they have forgotten where they came from. Then he encouraged them to remember. He warned them of their past and the danger markers in their history book. He said, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!  And, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can.” And later he says, “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.”

And, so we remember the pit that we have been pulled out of. We remember the pain and discord of our rebellion. We remember how quickly our pride can lead the way. We remember the faithfulness, mercy and compassion granted us when we deserved a good slap in the ass. We remember the refining process thus far and we refocus our perspective on not only living well but living to serve. We remember that it is not up to us to know the “how” only to be available and continue to be all things to all people.

We are like the polyps who are connected to the stalk and channel water in and out. We have to trust that those who are suppose to light our way, will do so with their glow in the dark slim.

Learning to trust, becoming trustworthy and remembering; that sounds like a good way to start 2012. We look joyward to putting this into practice. with. you.