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Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Mansion in the Ghetto

 Perhaps you noticed that I did a book review on a book entitled Quiet a week ago. This book is about the positive attributes of introversion. Maybe this let our secret out of the bag. My husband and I are introverts. We love quiet to recharge. Most people do not notice this because we love friendliness and Southern hospitality. It is true, however. I always laugh at how God uses people. He takes two introverts and gets them to open a respite and uses them to change the atmosphere around them. Irony. As I was reading the book, I really noticed how God had used the way He formed our brains to do the task He set before us. Who better than two people who love tranquility to set up a quiet place to be alone with Him. Did you know the introverted brain is designed to pick up on things the extroverted brain will never see unless pointed out to them? God designed us to see hurts in people that most people don't see or care about. Isn't that interesting. In the womb, God was causing our brains to fire in a certain way that we might do the thing we are called to do. God fascinates me.

We have people stop by our house almost every day to see what we are doing. To be completely honest with you (and I hope I am not being offensive), we bought a run down mansion in the ghetto. There are nice homes and nice people here, but it is largely comprised of dilapidated homes and drug addicts. I say this so you know how much our house stands out. It's three stories high amidst fallen in one story homes and trailer houses. Everything we do here is noticed. People driving through stop by and talk to us. History buffs come by. People in our neighborhood thank us and tell us that the work we are doing is like a beacon of light. Often I find myself immensely humbled that God chose raggedy, old us to show grace and hope to others. It's one of those "if God could use me, He could use anybody" stories. 

I think we feel like we are doing this for everyone around here. We want to paint and put up window boxes and plant trees and gardens so that others can have hope. We are making a place for those hurt or languishing to remember that Christ has deep, abiding affection for them, no matter how they feel. We are doing this so that even you in our cyber world can see the lengths God goes to in order to love and restore His people. I hope you see it. You, beloved, are dear to our creator. You are instrumental in our journey.
 One of my goals in life is to have 2 acres of produce. We have started off small because we are working on our house consistently. This savagely hungry caterpillar tried to take out my grape vines. About 40 of them had to be relocated. They are a black spotted moth. 

If any of you are compelled to come make some raised beds for us, we would welcome your help. It is on our agenda to have enough garden produce to help sustain the cost to run Gomer.
 Our first Pomegranate tree going in the ground.
 Look at the little, tiny pomegranate. She is lovely.
 I love how flowers bring joy to the landscape.
 I love irises. They are low maintenance and can survive out Texas summers. They also make me yearn for a more simple time and yearn to be with my grandmother. 
 So, we made a discovery here recently. You see, most molding in homes is miter cut so it angles together at the corners. We discovered that ours is not. It is all a straight cut. This has a glorious meaning. We can simply take the boards off and flip them over. We have been removing the paint. Now, we see we don't have to finish this. The only things we have to take the paint off of are the moulding and windows. What joy this brings. You can see I stained a piece of the moulding we flipped to the left of the buffet. Here is the buffet. I get to put a coat on every few days. I think I am almost done and then the top coat cometh. I'll add the doors when they are done and the hardware comes. A table will be made and food will be had to the glory of the Lord. Can you picture it?

I wish I could share with you all the things that God is doing here. One woman I recently began to counsel has stopped drinking after 8 years. I cried when she told me that she decided to quit. People are being fed. Meals are being given. Ladies are coming to a Bible study at our house. It is amazing to me to see what God is doing. 

Yesterday I was reading James 1:17 about every good and perfect gift coming down from the Father of Lights. Next to this verse I had written a note about a time when a man we had met once gave us ten thousand dollars. This is the amount that I am praying for now and so I whispered, "Do it again, Lord." Within two hours a man came to our house and gave us a small check that I believe will be the beginning of this. We had never met him before. He simply felt compelled to stop. We are praying for a fence to help put a buffer between the street and our children. We want to paint our house to bring further joy to our neighborhood and we want to finish the kitchen because it is such a testimony of the goodness of God. 

2 comments:

Jennifer said...

Your blog posts so encourage me and reaffirm what He is teaching me. It thrills my soul to read how God is providing and working miracles, small and large, in order to restore the house and restore people... all around. Thank you for your transparency and your honesty and your passionate pursuit of Jesus. You encourage me.

You know, Justin is quite an introvert himself. He would gladly live his days, without speaking, in the quiet of his own thoughts, fishing somewhere forever, maybe. ha! He has always found it particularly comical of God that He called him to ministry.... and church planting at that! Growing up Justin was shy and timid and fearful of large groups of people. When we were in Hewitt, he would throw-up almost every time before he would speak to the youth on wednesday nights. Seeing God use him and mold him from what he thought was his greatest weakness has been incredible!

I would gladly come help build raised beds and prepare them for growing wonderful food. If only I could! My hands love to be digging, covered in earth. (one tip about raised beds... no need to dig the grass out before hand, just lay cardboard down and throw the dirt, compost, and peat moss on top and you are good to go! We did that last year and they worked perfectly!)

Stephanie Cherry said...

I learned that being shy and being introverted are two different things. One is our physical make-up and one is brought on by fear and an effect of environment. Isn't that interesting? I love that God is using Justin to do something that seems so contrary to his nature. It's perfect for the deeply contemplative person.

Ironically, we have cardboard where our beds our going. We had some awesome beds of poison ivy when we first moved it. I read that the only safe way to completely get rid of that was to smother it. I want to do all rain water irrigation too. I've been reading a lot about urban farming. I'd love to have enough to sustain others and not just ourselves. I always love reading about your veggies and soap making adventures. xo