Eric and I have recently been really discouraged about not being surrounded by a community of people who are willing to make themselves uncomfortable in order to walk in obedience to Jesus. Being a foster parent, for example, can be truly isolating. Sometimes it feels like literally no one understands you or the heart behind what you are doing. In my experience, people automatically put me up on a pedestal as some sort of saint or super hero mom as soon as they meet me and say that sad little phrase, "Wow, I could never do that."
But the truth is, they probably can. They just would have to forgo some false views of comfort and security to do it. And kick that selfishness goodbye too.
(And, disclaimer: my kids can testify daily to the fact that I am no where CLOSE to being a saint or even remotely saint-like. Didn't all the saints have to be dead before they were even called Saints anyways? So no go on saint. But sometimes, the super hero does get some moments to shine.)
I have been a Christ follower for the majority of my life. I have met a lot of Believers, church goers, do-gooders, you name it. But in my adult life, I haven't often met a lot of people who are willing to give up their comfort in order to truly live out the words that Jesus spoke. Like literally, I probably only know a handful of these people. People who are willing to trade in a relatively easy, comfortable American Christian life in order to "do scary things" for the Gospel. To be brave enough, and take that scary step to serve out of the comfort zone. To serve, not the already blessed, but the least of these. The troubled. The hurting. The underprivileged. The underserved. The poor. The little girl with PTSD who's parent is in jail. The twelve year old boy who keeps running away trying to find a home that he was never lucky enough to have. The three-year-old bully who has an affectionate heart, but has only ever seen hate instead of love. The baby abandoned in the hospital. The middle aged woman on the corner holding up a cardboard sign.
A few days after Eric and I put into words the loneliness that we have been feeling for some time, an interesting thing happened.
Maybe it's my perspective that has changed, but maybe it's also the people. But in these past two weeks, I have seen a community start to rise up around us. People who are tired of the church small group self feed, everything unto themselves. People who actually want to stop talking and are closing their mouths and rising up and doing something. People who truly want to love their neighbors, even the poor ones (especially the poor ones), and love them well. People who's hearts are burning within them to be the voice for the voiceless, to be a Father to the fatherless, to feed the hungry bellies, and to clothe those who have none.
My friends, some near and some far, out of the blue are becoming foster parents. People I love are adopting children, both locally and internationally. My friend and her son regularly make lunches for a homeless shelter and pass them out in person. The women in my moms group go out of their way to provide a monthly meal for a group of teen moms in my neighborhood. Several other women and I have the awesome privilege to walk alongside these young women as mentors and share Jesus and friendship with them as they raise their kids while still navigating high school. Refugee families just arriving to the city are being housed and clothed and befriended by my friends. Parents from my kids park district preschool are coming up to me asking me for information on how to become a foster parent. Couples are sitting at our dining room table late into the night, sharing how God is moving them to make a change and love the undesirable.
I am in awe.
Friends, God is moving.
And I am so honored and overwhelmed and totally amazed that I am right in the thick of it.
So carry on, Saints. Carry on.