We’re having second thoughts about moving.
In fact, we’re pretty sure we’re probably going to be staying here a little (or a lot) longer.
Although we feel that God has “released” us from this place and would bless us if we decide to leave, through prayer, conversations and reading we’re starting to realize that we still belong here.
Four years ago we had a dream to be good neighbors in a not so good neighborhood. To put others first, to love them and to create community with them.
So much of our lives these past four years has been focused on house renovations, learning how to raise children, and trying to once again attain our revised version of the American Dream. We’ve traded our original ideas of being poor and living with the poor for embarrassment over the state of our house and judgment of the actions of our neighbors.
I cringe when I think about the opportunities we’ve missed. The people we’ve scowled at instead of smiled and those to whom we’ve given money instead of an hour of listening.
We’ve been taking the easy way out, the less radical, more safe way. I so strongly desire inside of me to love our neighbors. To become one with them and for them to see that Jesus was poor just like them.
It’s hard to let go of my dreams of a nice country life working an acre of land. There’s no doubt there will be difficult times ahead of us despite the peace autumn has brought to our street. I get overwhelmed when I think about what we’ll face but we are taking steps to surround ourselves with support. From the beginning we had very specific ideas of community that we wanted to implement in this house but perhaps we need to care less about our visions and more about just loving people just like they are and finding community where we can.
We’re probably crazy but I want our family to know what it truly means to love others and we have not yet scratched the surface of that.
This past year we shared our Easter dinner with our neighbors and their four children. I was terrified about how our families would react to these strangers showing up to share our ham. But it was incredible and it felt right. It felt like something Jesus would have done. Just a couple of months later these same neighbors fell into a deep downward spiral and it broke my heart because I had let them into my life. Instead of moving closer to them, I pushed them away. I let my own feelings come first and I harbored anger and bitterness toward what she was doing to herself, her children and what she brought so close to our home.
They have since moved away and I still have such mixed feelings toward what happened. But when I really think back to those first months that they moved in, to the Saturday mornings that I accompanied her to the food pantry and to taco salad we ate in their kitchen, I know that these things are what make the kingdom of God here on earth. Our lives were very, very different but it didn’t really matter because right then we were together trying to make it through this hard life.
I want more of these beautiful, loving experiences. I want to dance, sing and cry with those around us. This means we are also inviting more pain into our lives however I cannot imagine what kind of safe and comfortable life we could live after seeing so much sadness and poverty right before our very eyes.
It is no joke that the devil is trying to win over neighborhoods just like ours. Ones that our full of vulnerable children and impoverished dreams. We need an army of love to conquer the evil that lurks in places like this. We need prayer warriors and people who are willing to take the time to listen and smile. We need to convince the poor that there are people who truly love them and that the love Jesus has for them surpasses everything.
We need a revolution.
If any of these words sparked a flame in your heart, please consider reading An Irresistble Revolution with me. It’s changing my heart and for that I am thankful.