Before getting on with the update though I must exhort you, if you are married and in a similar situation, to be on guard for how the Enemy of your soul can attack your marriage. By God's grace, our trial was not long but it was scary. William and I never argue. Well... rarely. So last Sunday after our quiet times with the Lord found us feeling terribly , terribly alone and distant. Why? Satan truly wanted to divide us. We were struggling with hopelessness (William) and caring too heavy a burden (me).
Yet, in the midst of our sin and struggle, one of us encouraged the other we needed to be at church and the other made certain we found a pastor to speak with. We KNEW we needed the help of the Body.
Ever been there? Urgh. Going to church when in conflict... But, praise God, He so gives grace to the humble! Thankfully, our struggle only lasted a few hours. One of the most helpful things our pastor reminded us of was our marriage covenant, the WE were in fact ONE flesh.
That said, here's the rest of my report! (And if you are just tuning in, go the end of THIS post to be filled in.)
~ The kids (at least 2 or 3 times a week) yell, "301 Fifth Street!" over and over till I come to the door and send Joshua out to pick up all the trash they have gathered.
~ I baked cookies and was preparing to give them to the middle school kids (even though in my heart I didn't want to because they actually turned out real good!) but only one girl was at the bus stop. I wrapped one up in a paper towel and sent Joshua (yes, our fear-fighting Joshua) out to deliver it.
~ The following week they were repaving the concrete sidewalks and I KNEW that would be a terrible time of temptation for the kids as soon as school let out. And so I became Psycho lady on the corner yelling out my window... again. But the walks look good!
~ The girl we gave the cookie to asked me as she was handing me trash one day, "You got any more of those cookies?" I told her I'd have something on Friday. Well, my week didn't go as planned and more struggles emerged (these on the lines of self-condemnation and failure feelings - I'll post about that another time, maybe). The only thing I had ready on Friday were these muffins that I wouldn't even eat. They were very nutritious but... HEAVY and weird. Anyway, I saw it was raining so I yelled out the window (my trademark by now) that they could stand on the porch as they waited for the bus.
I had the kids at the dining room table coloring and writing with markers and Paloma was down for an unusually long nap. Could THIS be my opportunity? I had to seize it.
I went out on the porch with the kids, who by now squeezed their large bodies in to my kiddos little chairs which tempted me, and I said, "I don't have any cookies but I do have some muffins you are more than welcome to but do not taste good. The only thing is this. You cannot throw them away here. Understand?" By this time the crowd was about 4 girls and 1 guy. I got some paper towels and the muffins and passed them out.
As they were eating I could not think of anything to ask them other than, "So how are you guys doing in school?" This led to them asking me if I "played school" with my children (they were peeking through the window at our Schoolroom), how many bedrooms do we have, are they all my kids, am I married, does my husband live with me, etc. God was kind to keep the conversation flowing. I asked if they went to church and then that led to the Holy Spirit having me say, "That is THE most important thing! Knowing Jesus!" I told them I wanted my kids to learn and become good readers simply so they could read God's Word for themselves and know Him. The one guy, Marcus, is a bit afraid of me, I think. He won't give me any eye contact and he has been the one I've yelled at the most. I made certain to tell him, as the sole male representative, he was to look after the young ladies.
Then I felt God prompting me to go back inside to my kiddos and let them finish on my porch alone.
~ I have had not very good contact with the police in our city previously but saw an opportunity on Saturday. William took us all to the Fall Festival down the street and one of the 1st booths we came to was for the City Police! What to say? What to ask? Just as we were about to stroll off I turned to the 2 officers and said, "I've got a weird question for you. We live in an... active neighborhood." They interrupted and asked where. When I told them the female police officer turned to the male officer and said, "That's your area!" HALLELUJAH! Only God would have that be the case! Anyway, he immediately knew where we lived and, in fact, even called out the house number of one of the 2 homes in which we're suspecting illegal activity. So, we got a little info, a big confirmation, encouragement, and a NAME in the department! What a difference a name can make!
Better stop there. It's late/early and I should be sleeping.