Here, you are wanted.

Blog, I’m so sorry. I’ve been woefully neglectful of you recently.

I have no excuses – just a bit of busy and a bit of preoccupied and a bit of changing seasons and priorities.

But there’s something I love about putting my thoughts and my heart onto metaphorical-paper and so even if I become a little less frequent in these musings, I promise they’ll still appear from time to time.

My fiancé (that’s still the most awesome thing ever for me to write) and his best friend/best business partner opened a new guesthouse recently (if you are ever in Sapporo, come and stay for sure!) It meant that for the best part of 10 weeks we, and any friends and family who happened to be in the vicinity for that 10 week period, lived, breathed and were renovation. We pulled late-nighters, all-nighters and early mornings. It took every ounce of energy we had and then kept taking. It took blood, sweat and tears. With a whole lot of laughter as well.

And at the end of this 10 week season, having made the self-set deadline by a matter of hours, we sat around the dining table that we had made, opposite the staircase we had crafted, under the ceiling we had built, stared at the pictures that we had painted, and just felt the immensity of what had been achieved.

The weight of having finished something completely worth-it and entirely worth-while.

Every time we do any kind of renovation, it brings me back to this idea of community, and this idea of the community that God suggests we should be a part of. Because when it’s 1am and you’re surrounded by your immensely hard-working best friends, even though everyone is shattered and has full time jobs the next day, there’s something in the realness of everything and love of servanthood and the unity of action that displays community better than anything else.

You know, in a renovation, there are no masks. People are tired and grouchy sometimes. People say too much and say too little at the end of a hard day. And people keep showing up regardless. People have the highest highs and the most frustrating frustrations. And it’s totally real.

It’s that kind of community that I long to live in. Not because we’re doing a permanent physical renovation (although I’m sure we’ve got a few more projects in us), but because we are all, always, as people, undergoing a permanent spiritual renovation. And as Christians, wherever we are at on our journey that should means that there are no masks. That when we’re tired and grouchy and say too much and say too little and have our highest highs and our most frustrating frustrations, we keep showing up regardless.

We show up. We get real. We become known to each other and to God in a deeper way.

Man, I want to live in this kind of community. Not just on a Sunday morning, but in my actual, real life. Because the church isn’t about events, and it was never meant to be about programs, but it is really about connecting and these connections between us and God, and us and each other, and us and the world. About bridge-building. And about how cooking together and cleaning together and doing life together in this intimate and yet daily level is so incredibly important. The unforced rhythm of praying together around food and before decisions and in the fabric of the everyday. The worship of God in the corporate meeting, but also in the secret place and in the everyday.

It’s tough right? I mean look at Jesus and his disciples. Look at the Israelite people. Look at the early church. It takes late-nighters, all-nighters and early mornings. It takes every ounce of energy you have and then keeps taking. It takes blood, sweat and tears. With a whole lot of laughter as well.

But that’s my dream. That we could create a community like that.

A community where the outsider is welcomed close, and where kindness surpasses fear. Where we give open-handedly and without restraint of all that we have, trusting that it is God who calls us to love without restraint. Where we follow Jesus and throw the doors wide open. Where there is always a way home and where all are carried to the table.

I read this poem recently, and I decided that it sums up in a beautiful way, the vision that me and my fiancé believe God has given us for our future.

It’s my prayer.

If I have

anything to do with it

my very life

will be a Shelter

for every weary

wanderer.

It will feel like a

well-worn sweater,

smell like

fresh-baked bread,

and it will sound like

the one thing we

become wayfarers only to hear:

here, you are wanted.

welcome home.

(this is by Torri Horness and you can follow her Instagram at notesontheway – she writes beautiful stuff).

Hostel living is a beautiful thing.

And here are a few pictures of our favourite self-made dining table and our engagement ceremony! (Photos taken by the epic Tre McKee!)

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