Friday, April 25, 2014

Just Show Up...

I have a friend named Michelle that I met when our oldest kids entered Kindergarten.  She's fun and thoughtful and kind.  But best of all, Michelle shows up.  You have a need?  Michelle shows up.  You are in a jam?  Michelle shows up.  I recently had 2 babies throwing up at the same exact minute and a husband who wasn't home.  Michelle showed up at my doorstep with Starbucks, a muffin and 3 bananas.  :)  Michelle's dear friend has a husband in the hospital at UCLA with Leukemia.  Michelle drives there at least once a week, whether she's invited or not.  Her motto?  Just Show Up.  She offers to grocery shop or babysit or pour a glass of wine.  :)  She doesn't wait to be invited or for her visit to be approved.  She just comes and serves.

I remember my dear friend Jen showing up when Jon was admitted to the hospital.  I told her not to come.  What could she possibly do?  There was nothing to do.  But she came.  And I look back and realize I could not have done it without her.

My dad was at the hospital (driving from SD) before I even got there after jetting home to gather Jon's things.

I remember my dear friends Brian and Yvonne showing up.  Driving from Fresno with no warning and appearing in Jon's room in ICU.  Their presence screamed of their love for us.

Two weeks ago, I got a text from a long time friend who lives up near Sacramento.  My friend Rissa asked if there was an evening this week that she and her hubby Ryan could take us out to dinner.  I was SO excited that apparently they were going to be in our area for the week and were able to carve out a night to spend with us.  We settled on Thursday night at 6pm.  Thursday afternoon, I texted Riss to tell her I was literally counting the minutes until I got to see her.  She texted back that she was so excited too, and said something about LA traffic etc..  Well that's fun, I thought.  I knew they were staying at a hotel in south Orange County, so I figured they must have driven into LA for the day to do something fun.  When I asked her where they were, she said they had driven from Oakdale all day.  What!??  I was so confused.  These are the texts that followed:

My heart about stopped.  I got emotional.  Jon and I are so not worthy of someone making a drive like that JUST for dinner.  We are so not worthy of them having to farm out their 4 kids for 2 days on our behalf.  I could not believe it.

When they arrived at our home, they shared with us how their extended family had covered their expenses and sent them down with the task of treating us to a nice dinner out.  We were floored.  At the end of the night, as it was pushing midnight, my heart was full.  Fuller than full.  Overflowing.  Their presence was such a gift.  We are known by them.  Like, newlywed, 24 year old, pre-kids, hang out every day of the week kind of "known" by them.  So spending time with them is like a refreshing drink of cool water.  It is warm and fuzzy.  The conversation is real and heavy and hilarious and full of All the Good ingredients.  At the end of the night as we hugged the longest of hugs, Rissa said, "We didn't know if you still thought of us as Your People.  We know you have people.  We haven't seen you in so many years.  But we just had to come."

That statement SO resonated with me.  I often hold back from "showing up," out of fear that maybe I'm not someone's "people."  I fear that they have others that they are closer to.  Others that should be there instead of me.  Will they think it's weird that I'm here?  Will they think it's random that I'm emailing? That I'm calling?  That I drove this far?  Fear.  Insecurity.  Etc. Etc. Etc.

Ryan and Rissa showed up.  They ARE our people.  Of course.  But over the past 6 months, we have had so many people, near and far, who have loved on us.  Who have shown up.  Who have been extravagant in their expression of "showing up."  People who we know very well. And people we had never even previously met.  Strangers have prayed for us, strangers have made our kids blankets.  Friends from long ago have sent cards and gifts.  College friend's kids are praying for us every night.  Church staffs we've never even been a part of are praying.  People have dropped off a meal, while introducing themselves for the first time.  Other friends we see regularly and have not grown weary in showing up.  My community group just recently started back up providing a couple of meals a week.  They didn't ask permission.  They just began serving when our stress level began to rise again.

I have lived too much of my life playing it "relationally safe."  Am I invited?  Do they want me?  I would love to surprise them with a coffee/treat/gift, but what if it's the wrong kind?  What if they think it's lame?  Fear and insecurity hold me back.  That's so embarrassing.  I desire to serve others with freedom.

Serve.  The key word through this all is "Serve."  Ryan and Rissa didn't come and dominate our lives and our time for the evening with their agenda.  They graciously kept saying that they can give us a quick hug or they can hang out all night.  They didn't want to intrude.  When Jen came to the hospital, she did all the "lame" stuff.  She shlepped our bags from ICU to the Stroke Ward.  She ran errands.  My friend Lindsey has taken our kids on several occasions.  Talk about a labor love.  So often, I want to show up and get involved how I want to.  I want to help out in the ways that are easy and fun and convenient.  However, the beauty is found when we come and serve where the need is.  When we show up to fill in the gaps.  Whatever those may be.  My Mother-in-Law has been the most beautiful expression of this. She comes and babysits for doctors appointments and everything in between.  She doesn't look for the most glamorous role.  She looks for the most needed one.

I gotta be honest.  This post is more for me than it is for you.  I just have been so struck by the selflessness of people.  I've been so struck by the sacrificial giving.  I've been so struck by the gift of people serving us.  Still.

This is a Call to myself.  To remember.  To identify.  And to act.
To not second guess.  To not be insecure.  But just to love.  And love extravagantly.
And in the words of my friend Michelle, to Just Show Up.


  1. We wept reading this. The conversation Ryan and I had this morning at breakfast (while weeping) was about how God-stories are binding. Your story became a piece of us last night because you let us look at your eyes and because you spoke the (hard, messy) truth and because you asked the important, tricky questions. And God writes that stuff onto our souls.WE are the blessed ones.

  2. I cried too. That you would think you are undeserving... (aren't we all) but what I remember from college is how you and Jon shared Jesus to everyone, all of us, underserving that we are. You didn't seem to hesitate to share your savior! And the stories I've heard since... whether you know it or not, you and Jon are contagious. You touch people and infect them with Jesus. EVEN through THIS or ESPECIALLY through this!

    Deanna, thank you for living out loud.
    Jon, thank you for living out loud.

  3. I have felt the exact same way as you in the time of need. Mainly that I don't want to "intrude." Well sister, never again. This brought tears to my eyes and clearly God has shown me through this post that I need to show up where He calls me to go. Not where I think I need to go. Thank you Deanna, I will now listen and show up. You are such a gift!