Wednesday, March 10, 2010

change of plans

When we bought our current home 4 years ago, Blake and I thought that we were finally planting roots. We fell in love with our home right away. It was perfect. It is on a cul-de-sac in the safest city in the country (per the FBI). The schools are award winning and within walking distance. It is comfortable enough to fit our always growing family, but still keep us in close quarters. We moved in with a 4 year old, 2 year old, and 4 month old. We brought our 4th child home to this house. Riley quickly found a best friend in our next door neighbor and I imagined them going to high school together. Brady and our 4 year old neighbor stand at the fence separating our yards and talk to each other when they can't play together. I have come to rely on my next door neighbor for everything from an egg to medicine to child care to a listening ear. Our kids play outside with their friends almost every single day. It has been perfect.

At the same time as we have been enjoying our perfect home and situation, God has been opening our eyes to the poverty of our world. I have posted before on how little the rest of the world has. We have also seen it with our own eyes with trips to Mexico, Guatemala, and inner city LA. Some people would say that we are blessed. I completely disagree with this. I do not believe that God's blessings come in monetary, comfortable, safe forms. When I have felt blessed, truly blessed, it has been when I am among the poorest of the poor. It was in an orphanage and in the slums of Guatemala. It was when I have served alongside my daughter in a soup kitchen.

As I have experienced the true blessings of God and seen the true need of our world, I have also begun to become suffocated by my own privilege. Suddenly, the house that I felt so comfortable in became a burden. We realized that the American Dream that we had been chasing was not giving us life. I read somewhere recently that Christians tend to mix up the American Dream with the Gospel. We sure did. We never lived in excess by American standards and we loved to pat ourselves on the back for that one. But the American standard of "normal" spending is crap. Normal in America is cable. Owning a home where everyone has their own room. Two cars. Using heat and air conditioning. Eating out. iPhones. Christmas. Hair cuts. Target. Pantries and grocery stores full of food. Running water.

Unfortunately, what we, in America, do not realize is that THIS IS NOT NORMAL. This is excess. Slowly, God is showing Blake and I another way of life where our main concern is no longer taking care of ourselves and making ourselves comfortable. Because, let's be honest, that life never gave us Life anyway.

Part of this new path that we are on has included the stripping away of our excess living. I cannot even begin to describe how absolutely suffocating it is to me to hold onto our money now. I am so sick of making sure that I get what I want and that I am comfortable. I cannot do it anymore. I can't sit around in my 2200 square foot home while others live in a house the size of my dining room. So, we are moving.

We are going to move into a low income neighborhood. We are downsizing while also knowing that we will be expanding our family soon. We will not be in a "safe" neighborhood with an amazing school. We will have more money to give away and we will be blessed by that. Not by having a large home.

The times that we have served those in poverty together as a family have been the most amazing experiences we have ever had. We no longer want those experiences to be once a month or once a year. We want to serve together daily. We have found that to know Jesus is to be amongst the vulnerable and marginalized. Our encounters with that group have left us hungry for more because it has brought us closer to God in ways that we never imagined.

We have no plan yet other than to move into a low income neighborhood. We are not going to pretend to know what those living in poverty need. How could we know? We have been living our comfortable suburbia life. We will move in. We will be their neighbors and their friends. We will let them show us how we can bless them and I know that they will bless us also.

We will fall in love with our new home. It will be perfect. It will be the safest place for us to be because it is where God wants us. The schools will be amazing because our kids will learn that kids of a different economic background are the same as them. We will learn to live in even closer quarters and to share. We will bring our next child home to this house. Our kids will find best friends. Our kids will play outside. We will be able to give money away on things much more important then having more square feet in our home. Our lives will be enriched and blessed.

7 comments:

Breanne said...

not gonna lie, i have a few tears right now... because i'm SO STINKIN' PROUD of you guys. and crazy excited for what he has in store for you and your kids. can't wait to see how the bigger story unfolds.

LOVE YOU!

Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} said...

We wanna come!

The Trone's: James, Misty, and Bella Grace said...

wow.

Lindsay Mizell said...

love you guys: your wisdom and mercy, your obedience, your doing scary stuff b/c it is right. we're praying!

Eric Ra said...

it was great coming to hang out today! i am so encouraged by your act of faith to God's calling. it's not about being radical but living the way we were created--it's radical for not living this way (good old francis chan in crazy love). prayin' for ya. i will join yall soon!

stinaleewilson@gmail.com said...

Wow. You guys inspire me. I pray that God will work in my heart to the extend he has in you two.

Kimi said...

I have tears too, although I cry easily- but still, your words touched me so much....I'm so glad we get to be a part of your lives as you walk this out...