How we got to the ‘hood

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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.

5 thoughts on “How we got to the ‘hood

  1. Beautiful – even despite my obvious bias. It is great to reflect on this blog and realize again all the ways the Lord has called our family to where we are now. The few parts that you wrote about feel like a really long time ago! I like the last line, and I bet that the tomorrow you refer to will be a bright one.

  2. I am so proud of you two. You’ve got lots of guts – guts to embrace ambiguity, guts to enter in to the day-to-day of another way of life, guts to face deep seated fears, guts to follow without knowing where you’re going. Or maybe Jesus has the guts and he is sharing them with you?…

  3. I know you didn’t post this so people could respond and say “wow! y’all are so amazing!” but really… WOW! GOD is truly amazing and it is humbling as I sit complaining about my broken computer, the dryer that takes 2 times to dry anything and the fact that my children will not nap in the same room. The small stuff!

    I know your intention isn’t to humble me, but rather humble yourselves to God but let me tell you I have quickly become a prayer worrier for you and your sweet family! Your safety, your endurance, your connection to the people God is drawing you nearer to. In more ways than one, I pray you and your family are lights, and “fishers of men” (i hope I’m saying that right). You are brave, and true, and I only wish (for the millionth time) that we’ve been closer friends while we were in the same city. Your LOVE is contagious!

    Your constant and prayerful friend in Christ!
    Lili

    • Lili,

      Thank you so much for your prayers and encouragement!! It really means more to me than you even know. We are really excited about this new path, and it helps so much for me to process all of it via the blog, so thanks for following along! The Lord has been so good and gracious already, as He promises to do. I have experienced His peace in a new way.

      I hope you and your sweet family are well!! I love seeing your adventures on your blog as well!!

      And to answer your other questions:
      -The curtains are from Ikea. Love that place!
      -Ev does not nap anymore 😦 So she has room time in my room while W naps. Bedtime has been trickier. Some nights it’s fine and they go right to sleep. But other nights they keep each other up, and I have to pull Ev out tip W is asleep, and then have her sneak into her bed.
      -Your comment about “consequences” cracks me up. I guess I use that word, because different actions have different results. Some things merit a time out, some things merit a loss of a toy, and some things merit a spank 😦 So alot of times I say “consequence” and she knows something is coming that she won’t like. That’s probably not helpful. But that’s hilarious about the “club.”
      L,
      Allison

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