it has now been over a month since we’ve moved in to our new home in lincoln heights and let me just say…its been really nice. we were supposed to move “down” but it seems we have moved “up”. since my wife and i have decided to move into the inner city God’s unexpected blessings have been dropping down into our laps. We were preparing ourselves to “slum it” a little and were open to wherever he opened the door in terms of housing. but in our secret heart we had little things we wanted but aren’t necessarily things we need. yet, this is the wonder of our God…he graces us with the little details we were afraid to even ask for.
on the FIRST day we had a little tour of the neighborhood by our new pastor, we found our new home. that day we were just thinking, “hey, we’re here so might as well look around.” we saw this house for rent and the landlady really took a liking to us…she kept the place for us even when there were people willing to pay more and move in sooner than us! the house is beautifully done, has two porches, has big rooms, has a wide living area, has a big kitchen, has fixtures for a washer / dryer (what a blessing!), and has a front and back yard…all for just a little more rent than we were paying for at our old apartment! if we didn’t know already we are super blessed to have found a place like this…as many people who are already in the community have let us know.
its on a nice quiet block of a street that, just a couple blocks north, is also home to one of the most notorious drug gangs in the community…the difference of just a few blocks. i water my lawn with roses and exchange friendly greetings with my neighbors…its so strange…and wonderful. things God didn’t HAVE to give us…but He did.
with such a blessing we know we have a responsibility now to share that grace with members of the community. God has provided us a home to invite others in to.
now a building itself does not make a home. a home should be a place where you can relax and be free to be yourself. now a person can be home alone and experience these things to a limited degree but an abode with no one else in it can not respond or share back with you. so a home is also made up of the people in it. through my recent readings of various words of mother teresa this is where we start with love. indeed the early church fathers remind us that if people are not first ministering to those inside their house they are not fit to minister outside of their house.
God has truly blessed me with a home inside of my house in the person of my wife. she sees and experiences the good and bad of me and still receives me. this is not to say that she does not challenge me to be a better man, but that she gives me the safety and favor to work things out. ultimately, she is on my team. there are times when we will misunderstand one another and be unkind to one another but we are committed to working it out and grow as one. in this relationship that makes this house a home, i find restoration and feedback.
Yet, there is this sneaking suspicion that even this home falls short sometimes…this whisper that still longs for something more. when we are sober minded and good to one another this place can be so restorative but when we are self minded and ungracious to one another this place can be poisonous. in the busyness of life and all the worries of this world…sometimes the heart has no place to go and find rest. still it looks for it.
when this place is nowhere to be found….and often we must be stripped of all options before we go there…we are forced to surrender to God – the only place we have left. God has brought me there a couple times in the past month. God in his love has worn me out to be still. in this stillness, and only in this stillness, have i found the fullness of HIM to stop my searching…the unshakable peace. Home.