It is Day 19 in our new home. We had kept our move quiet until this past Sunday. It felt like a private thing.
Day 1 brought tears, heart wrenching, from the deep places of the gut, tears and wailing. It caused this mama to question every decision she has contemplated over the last two plus years. I didn't set out to hurt my own family when John and I set out to become inner city landlords. I never even considered moving to the inner city myself until one of our friends misunderstood our looking at the house next door to his and thought we were looking for our own family. The seed was planted in our hearts in that moment and over the next eighteen months, God moved us gently towards the idea of our taking up residence among the souls we had come to know and love through the ministry we shared in at the little blue house. And then, like Jonah, we ran away from that radical idea for nearly two years. We made excuses, found renters, suffered through what came from renters in a 100 year old house, made more excuses. Finally, nineteen long days ago, we began our move. The first three nights, only John and I (and our littlest dog) resided at our new home. I returned to the suburban home the first two days for school with my senior. And then day four brought our two youngest sons and our two biggest dogs to the city to live.
There have been many complaints- the kitchen is too small, you are trying to bring too much of your "junk" into a house that is too small, I want to go home.
There has been sickness: strep throat, a sinus infection, then an allergic reaction to the antibiotic used to treat the strep requiring an ER trip. So for the first nearly three weeks of living in our new home, I have hunkered down and concentrated on our family. We have spent time doing school, unpacking boxes, making trips back and forth between the new and old houses. I moved here to be an intentional neighbor, to bring the light of Jesus to those around me. It seems my time walking the sidewalks is spent teaching only the canines in my life that the bathroom is outside while attached to a leash. (They were used to having a backyard to go directly into to do their business and to access the neighbor's dogs and argue with them.) The fence we have up at our new house isn't very secure and we have only let them run around out back one day while they were closely supervised by a person.)
We are SLOWLY adjusting to bright lights right outside our bedroom window all night long, sirens close by all hours of the day and night, the sound of gunfire on a regular basis (and knowing it's not our former neighbor, the gunsmith.)
Yesterday, one of my friends asked me if I had heard the gunfire the night before around midnight. I replied that I had not but that I did hear multiple sirens just after that and that my neighbor's dogs had howled and barked for one to two hours after that. She had heard that there had possibly been drive-by shooters about a block away from our house. When I left her at her door, she told me to be safe and I told her the same.
I am trusting that I will pull "us" together and we will begin reaching out to our friends we have already made and our neighbors that are not friends yet and we will begin to make new friends and share the love of Jesus in tangible ways with those around us.
For now, I am trusting God with us and the decisions we have made and to know He is working all these things for our good. His promises have never let me down and I know He won't forsake me now.