It’s been five years this month since we loaded up the truck, said our tearful goodbyes, and moved many states away. For me, it was moving to the Promised Land reversed. Sometimes God asks you to leave the land flowing with milk and honey and go where others are still enslaved by the prejudices of others …marginalized by many …under-resourced from what many of us take for granted.
“But God, what am I supposed to do here?”
This message filtered through the uncertainties … “Be available and make your house a hub,”
Here we are five years later doing just that. Oh, I still dream of that “promised land” and the “land flowing with milk and honey,” but I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be even though the land flowing with milk and honey looks more like the land flowing with sweet tea and biscuits and gravy.
Some days I want to be here. Some days I don’t. It’s beautiful and messy. Soul filling as well as emotionally draining at times. It’s one of the poorest neighborhoods in our area and yet we are incredibly rich because of the community of people here that we have come to know and love.
Some stories break your heart while others make you laugh. Every story matters. Every person matters. We’re not very different at our core. We all want to love and be loved. Feel secure. Find purpose.
Sometimes it just takes opening a new window to see a whole new world. I’ve had some “words in waiting” that I hope will be that open window into the richness of life experienced in unexpected places.
Stories from our front porch …
The seed thought of this post started very differently. My thoughts were scattered out on a screen but I wasn’t sure what it would look like. I’ve learned to wait…wait on the Holy Spirit to create what He has purposed in His time. Otherwise, it’s like pulling up a carrot plant every day to see if a carrot has miraculously developed under the soil overnight. There’s no point in trying to force the seed to mature.
It’s a process and it’s best to wait on the growth to take place …in me! It’s only in abiding in Jesus that real fruit is produced …fruit that will last.
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.” (words of Jesus in John 15 NLT)
In my time of waiting, God often knocks on our door –giving reality to the truth of His word. My scattered words needed the real-life-story to reveal the understanding…to show what was really growing in this soil.
There was a knock on the door after dark. As I opened the door, my eyes met a middle-aged lady …worn by years and suffering. A cup of milk is all she asked for…something was wreaking havoc on her stomach. Milk brought relief …for a little while, she said.
And front porches can become a holy place of comfort …
Stepping out on the porch, I took her by the hand and asked if I could pray with her. Weakened, she sat down and gladly reached out for my hands in prayer. As tears flowed, she prayed along with me, hugging for a long time. She already knew Jesus well and wanted heaven over this hell she was going through.
And then I listened …listened as she told of her children–all grown up yet her heart had never outgrown love for them. Then there were pictures of grandbabies she loved with a longing to hold them in her own arms … grandbabies who can’t come to Grandma’s house to play in the back yard or eat at her table because the roof over her head might be a nearby bridge or the wide open sky.
And there we both were …all messed up …each with different things wreaking havoc on our insides.
And if you want to put a definition on what Christianity is supposed to look like in the middle of all this, I’m not sure I can do any better than this quote from the Methodist pastor, D. T. Niles— “Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where he found bread.” *
Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.
*Read more quotes at http://www.notable-quotes.com/c/christianity_quotes.html