There’s a line of a T. Swift song that says: All I know since yesterday is everything has changed. That pretty much sums this up. Definitely feeling out of my element and sorta like the new kid at school. The new kid who is the minority. Something I’ve never experienced before now.
I am a pretty self conscious person. That sounds so negative and like, “poor thing. She’s so sad on herself,” but it’s not like that. I am just very aware of how others respond to me. I’m not so concerned with everyone liking me, then again, maybe I am, but it’s mainly that I want to come across correctly and want my intentions and thoughts to always be clear and well received. Something that is not really possible right now.
In every person that I see or meet in our new neighborhood, I feel like people must be wondering why we are here and must think it’s weird. We stick out. We just do. And as I wrestle with doubts, I start wondering, “Wait, why are we here?” And as I think on this, it would be good for me to write some of the things that led us to this point.
I read back over a previous blog post, and I feel like I pretty much wrote-I saw a homeless person, and now we’re moving. Confusing! So I wanted to write for a second about our calling to this place.
I feel that this can be a complicated, sort of mystical topic, and I do not claim to know all the workings of God and all the different ways that He makes Himself clear to people. But I do know how He has worked in us, and I think it worth mentioning.
Last fall, our pastor (at our old church) preached a series on calling, and then each week we would gather with our small group and further study the topic and passages related. It was an incredibly powerful time. And there was one line from the study that I don’t think I will ever ever forget. It is a quote from Frederick Buechner that says, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
I marinated on that for days. I started to think about things that brought me deep gladness. My husband and my children. I am of course, beyond a doubt, called to them. Called to love and care for them first and foremost. But I knew it didn’t stop there. The world is big and full of lost, hurting people. And the gospel and love of Jesus must go beyond our families.
So then, I started thinking about things I enjoyed and felt gifted to do. Working with children and teaching came to mind first. And I thought, “Well, that must be it. Maybe one day I will tutor or teach or something in an underserved area.” And then as the study continued, I realized something else. Each week our small group would come to our house to meet. We had that unique house-sitting situation and therefore had tons of space to host. And what I noticed each week was that I absolutely loved having people into our home. Even the cleaning and preparing of the house was enjoyable to me when I knew others were coming over. I wanted to make a space where people felt welcome and comfortable and fed and included. Deep gladness.
And that’s when things really got interesting in my brain. I started wishing I could host and feed people who might desperately need a friend or a meal or Jesus. I love my friends and our small group dearly, but I also knew that they would always have food and friendships and most importantly, already knew Jesus. And I started thinking on the second piece of the quote, “the world’s deep hunger.” That’s when I was flat-on-my-face convicted. I realized I didn’t know hurting people. Like physically, spiritually, truly poor people. And this started to rub me the wrong way. Each week, as I got ready to host our small group, I wished that I could also invite people who needed to know Jesus and His love and His hope.
That’s when I started praying that the Lord would show me how to change course. How to take this joy that I had in showing hospitality and use it how He saw fit. That is when I started making contacts at the homeless shelter and doing some meals there, while at the same time Rob was reading a book called Generous Justice that talks alot about restoring true peace in hurting places. And that is what eventually led us to our new church, neighborhood, and home.
The Holy Spirit was working in both of our hearts separately, and then brought our conversations to this place of one unified calling for our family. Through much reading, talking, and prayer, we arrived at the decision to strategically relocate our family to a place where we could put into practice this calling that we felt. To open our hearts and our doors and to live in community with “the world’s deep hunger.”
We don’t know the details of what the Lord wants to do with our time here. And sometimes that feels odd. Sometimes it makes me unsure and confused. But I am so thankful for the ways He so obviously called Rob and me to this move. I am thankful that we are so in sync about it. That has maybe been one of the biggest clues that we are walking the right direction.
And as I feel very much like a fish out of water right now, I am leaning into the strength that Jesus promises. I am looking back on His faithfulness to gently guide us to today. And I am asking for His peace and His grace to lead us into tomorrow.