In Remembrance: Sharing of Memories related to Janie Blake

My thoughts have been many since Janie Blake started her new day and left us behind. It has been hard to focus and write anything, yet there is much to write and process. It is though time to start putting down words that are on my heart. The best place to start is sharing a bit of the impact that Janie Blake had on my life and in the life of others. Yet, for me the sharing of the memories that is the story of Janie Blake and how she touched my life is not easy. See, Janie Blake in my life from the start is a mix of pain and hurt along with blessing and healing. The two really go hand in hand and are hard to separate. The elements of pain are not appropriate to write about as there are other people involved and they need to be considered and honored. So, my sharing of memories publicly is limited. However, the limit is on me being able to share the fact that God did use her in people’s lives to build them up and help them grow in love and truth by sharing love and truth.

Ultimately, the core of my relationship with Janie Blake can be summed up as a mutual sharing of love and truth. No matter what was going on with each of us being who we are, there was love and truth in operation. And honestly, most of the time, most of the memories are just us being who we are, together. This was whether sharing meals, playing games, or just having conversation. There are stark differences in our personality despite sharing that core of interacting in truth and love. Her personality was more active. She would find a way to be involved. She had to be part of the “action.” If there was something going on, rest assured Janie wanted to be a part of it. Now, my personality is one that is more observant, watchful. I want to be where action is but will often be at the edge, watching what is going on, always looking to grow and understand. Recently saw a picture from during my sophomore year on college, it was me as always on the edge, watching & observing. My nature is to meet people where they are and come along side.

Janie’s nature is that of going after someone and pulls them in. It is because of Janie that have met and cared for several people that otherwise would not have. It is even in her active pursuit that the healing, blessing, and growth that occurred in time, happened. She actively pursued with love and grace. Part of the healing pertains to my dear wife. We had a period where she ran from God in response to deep pain and disappointment. One related to a young man dying of brain cancer, the other a disappointment over a hope for job situation. Janie loved her, spoke truth, and pursued her with not knowing anything more than my wife was hurting and angry. She provided an accurate reflection of God’s pursuit, for ultimately God pursued my wife through Janie and others until she returned back to God. Janie was consistent in her pursuit and building up of others, reaching out with love and truth. She was faithful to God’s call on her life and produced much fruit. She lived who she was before God and man. She let her light shine in her actions and deeds and brought Glory to God the Father.

I hope folks take the time to share memories of Janie there are many places to do so. There is the comments section here on this blog article. There is here Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=828554733. There is my father’s Facebook page as well: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/profile.php?id=1128826601. There is also Janie Blake’s caring bridge site: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/janieblake. There is also the option to share thoughts at the online obituary at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/startribune/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=147504299. You also may have own resources, but please do share. I may add folks thoughts to comment sections as run across, so please subscribe to the comments in this article. I know there are many folks who have prayed for Janie and did not know her, by sharing others can know and the harvest and impact will continue.

The four elements of effective preparation

Preparation: A word that really describes my current life phase as well as the phase that New Joy Church is in. Preparation is what occurs in the spring to get fields ready for planting and harvest. If you think about the steps to preparing a field there are really four key elements: cleansing, nourishment, establishing structures, and initiating engagement. Let us take a brief look at the purpose of each element in making preparation.

Cleansing: This is really about getting rid of the old and the garbage. It is about dealing with the debris of both the good and the bad. It can even involve making decision of what can stay and what can go. For example, sometimes there is tilling of old plants remains into the soil. However, if the old remains have bugs and insects or other problems it can damage the whole field. It is a necessity to sort out what is helpful and useful. In the same way, when in a time of preparation, we need to sort through our lives and separate what is useful and beneficial from that which can be harmful. Another part of cleaning is refreshing the tools, bringing anything in disrepair back to functioning. Some things are beyond repair though and need discarding. There are also often things that happened over the course of the year that caused damage that result in needed removal and repair. Really, the actions of cleansing encompass sorting, repairing, and removing that which remains from the previous year. When in a time of preparation we need to take same attitude in our lives and spend time sorting, repairing, and removing in relation to whatever is undergoing a season of preparation. We need to figure out what is helpful for the next season and what is not. We need to fix what is broken. We need to remove that which is not helpful or useful for the season ahead. The way those activities vary in terms of what it looks like but the actions are essential to preparation.

Nourishment: In Spring, tasks involved are adding both fertilizer and amendments to a field. It is essentially preparing the soil with the proper nutrients to be yield a successful harvest. When in a season of preparation time needs to focus on that which builds up and nourished. In the Christian life, nourishment comes from aspects of living as a disciple. They include studying and meditating on God’s word, time in prayer, and time in fellowship with other believers. If you lack nourishment, a fruitful harvest is unlikely.

Establishing Structure: This element relates to things such as tilling the fields and setting into place any needed support structure needed. In order to establish the appropriate structures and prepare the field adequately a plan and a vision needs to be established which can establish the direction. A productive harvest comes from planful preparation that includes establishing the appropriate structure. So when in a phase of preparation there is need to identify the vision and begin setting the proper structures in place. In each instance that will look different, but the element is the same.

Initiating Engagement: Everything a season of preparation is about culminates in initiating engagement. Another description of this element is the common concept of sowing seeds. It is the last step of preparation and is about planting the seeds identify in accordance with the prepared fields in accordance with the set structures. It is very easy to focus on where to sow seeds and the potential harvest. It is even easy to get lost in trying to make sure all resources are in place to handle the hoped for harvest. Focusing on these things ahead can easily distract from the work of preparation needed in the moment. It is taking an active step and engaging in dispersing and setting into motion that which can bring forth life and harvest.

Now regardless of whether efficacy of each step of preparation, any harvest is dependent upon the Creator, the master of the universe. Any good harvest is cooperation between man and God. Without that dynamic relationship, a person can prepare for a harvest that does not fit the conditions or climate. Ultimately, God allows and brings forth any good harvest. Our steps of preparation are getting ready to respond and be in line with what God will do. If out of alignment, the harvest is doomed. Falter in preparation or take short cuts and the harvest is flowed. God will bring forth what He will bring forth out of obedient response and preparation to His leading.