Changing churches was a a bit of a struggle for me (my dear husband would probably call that an understatement). I began my relationship with Christ in that sanctuary and it is where my new life began. I was involved and connected. It was never about not wanting to go to Imago, it was just hard to leave everything that I knew and loved.
What God called us to however is greater than the sentiments of that old sanctuary. We became involved in a church plant whose mission is to reach out to the community. What attracted us the most is that it’s community is close to downtown. While many of the local churches are moving outside of the city, this church plant is moving in.
As we got to know the heart and mission of the church and it’s flock, we felt more and more challenged and convicted to ourselves become a part of the inner city community. Through Young Life, we already work with youth in the downtown neighborhoods and we began to toss around the idea of “moving into the hood”.
Our pastor introduced us to a guy who owns some property right off of First Ave and it didn’t take long to decide that the three story fixer-upper on the corner of one of the most “lively” streets around would be a most perfect location.
We began to share our vision and excitement, and while many were supportive, some… not so much. Several asked “why?” and others flat out told us that we are going end up shot. We were even told that moving to “the ghetto” is a bad parenting decision because it isn’t a safe environment for our kids. The comments and warnings began to get to me and I started to wonder if we were really making the right choice.
At one point, we were told about the truck that pulled up right outside of our house. An older, grey-headed man was driving, and out of the passenger side stumbled a short younger gal. She spit and sputtered blood onto the sidewalk as she pulled her hoodie over her bowed head and walked around the corner. The man simply drove away. Can you imagine everything that ran through my mind!
My biggest concern became about the kids. Would they really be safe? What if something does happen? What if one of them gets hurt? What if one of them gets killed? In my heart I knew where God was calling us, but could I really trust Him?
I was never quite able to say that I didn’t want to move. In my heart, I knew that we would and that we should. I did cry some (or a lot), and I was angry for a while. It was Stephen who helped me to find peace. He reminded me that if it is in God’s plan that one of our kids should join Him sooner than we might want, it isn’t going to matter where we are living.
Along with my concerns for safety I thought a lot about the ways that life would change. At the old place we could leave our doors unlocked. In the summertime I would jog around the block alone (OK, not regularly). The kids could play outside unattended. And we could leave our cars running, or leave the kids asleep in the car (come on, you’ve never done that?). In our new neighborhood however, all of that (and more) would change. And, the house really is a fixer-upper; not exactly my dream home. What would our friends think… would they even come down here at all?
The safety and comforts of suburbia were calling me.
In the end, I realized that there is no reason great enough not to trust God. And there is no comfort important enough not to follow God’s calling. I choose to trust God. To trust my husband. To walk in faith. And with excitement (and a little nervousness) we packed our belongings, stepped out of the boat, and moved into the hood.