Joshua wet the bed last night (not a big deal at this point as one of the bigger three ALWAYS seem to wake us up with news of "I'm wet!" each night)... wait... that wasn't last night. It was just an hour ago. Anyway, I'm awake now! I just put a load in the dryer and another load in the wash and thought... it's quiet. Why not blog? And that's when I saw the number... 35.
I'm now 35 weeks pregnant. But I'm also only 35 days away from Baby #5 arriving. (And I have yet to hit a due date.) And I'll be 35... soon.
It may be weird but I love my birthday and don't mind sharing my age. I think it's just another testimony to God's great transforming power. My life should be so different. But, He's so kind and merciful. And slow to anger. And abounding in steadfast love. O how He doesn't treat me as my sins deserve...
But I am still aware of 35... time is MOVING!
Not only have I been occupied (or is it preoccupied?) with preparations for Baby #5 arriving, there's a few other things that the Spirit has placed on me (and I know William would say him too) in growing proportions. Last week William finished reading the book of James and his summary was good, I thought, "Let's get to work."
Well, as I see 35... that's what I'm thinking. I need to get on with doing what the Holy Spirit is clearly telling me.
What is that? (Are you ready for a really long blog post?)
Be bold for Jesus. Open your mouth. Step out in faith. Let's get to work!
Our neighborhood, where has sovereignly placed us, is in need of the Gospel. At church on Sunday we sang a song with the line, "by grace I'll preach Your gospel till my dying breath." May that song be true for me, Lord! Help my unbelief, Savior. Grant me the grace to love others by seeing them as I was... and am: sinners in need of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We've got some illegal activity going on between 2 homes right out our window. One guy in particular I've nicknamed "Bulldog." He's ALWAYS on his porch and walks back and forth between the other house constantly. There's got to be drug activity. But I don't know for certain. What I have been convicted of is my wicked heart toward him. A couple weeks back I felt the Lord prompting me to bring him some fresh tomatoes from our garden. Well, last week God provided an opportunity. Now I know his name, Javier, and I cannot call him "Bulldog." I see him and my heart hurt as I see him running to Hell. But hope fills me because until the age of 22, that was me! Anyway, his "brother" (or who I call his brother because I don't know his name) was arrested last night just around dinner time. (Joshua saw the paddywagon and asked if he was going to jail.) That just confirms some of my suspicions but it still shows greater how they need Christ!
The 2nd neighborhood happening is because we're on a corner and popular bus stop, I suppose, we get the middle school kids from down the street to wait after school at our house. Not a biggie, right? Well, as I am trying to be faithful in home schooling this has posed a new challenge as I and the kids get very distracted by their presence. The kids are LOUD, curse, pull on the trees in the parkway, throw their trash, and more and all outside the two windows in the room where I home school. The sin in my heart was welling up as one of the girls decided to bounce her body on our fence so hard that the pickets would all move. Urgh!
What to do? What to do?
The kids are just taking it all in, running from window to window to watch them more and more. Fear in me getting bigger and bigger. Thoughts of, "What if I say something to them and they come back and spray paint all over our fence?!" kept coming to mind. When they decided to go in to the church's garden and trample all over it, I had enough and KNEW the Holy Spirit was saying, "GO!"
Quickly crying outloud to God, "Help me, Lord! Help me, Lord!" I opened the door and went outside. And you know what, it wasn't terrible! They responded to my plea. Oh- I basically said, "You know, this is our neighborhood. Let us treat our neighborhood better than this. That tree you're messing with is not mine but it is in my neighborhood. How you're treating it is not helpful. Messing up the church garden? Don't do that! That's not kind. You guys are here everyday and my kids are watching you and you just throw your trash on the ground. I live here. I don't mind throwing your trash away. Knock on my door. You know who cleans this corner up? We do."
Without any instruction they ALL (and I'm talking a group of maybe 10-15 kids) picked up their trash and handed it to me.
Last night I felt God telling me that I need to bake some cookies or something and be outside on Thursdays or Fridays and to interact with them. We'll see how the day goes and whether I get a shower in before 3:10pm when they arrive!
FINALLY... the pastor-neighbor next door asked me to come outside the other day to show me something. (She often calls at night when she leaves late so that William can escort her to her car.) She wanted me to be aware of a man who attends her church and who is a convicted sex offender. Then last night she called me and this hopelessness just seemed to hover over her words. Then I realized I had a gospel-opportunity. She is a pastor but does not believe in sin or the Word of God. This was a moment to speak Truth. And to remind her of God's sovereignty and great power.
Oh Lord, our neighborhood... needs You! 35 days till this next baby is due and I'll be locked up inside running between blow-outs, teaching school, baking bread, training kids not to choke their sibling, and wiping up potty-accidents. Help me to care about the people You are sovereignly placing outside my door, literally. Grant more opportunities for me to step out in faith (and wisdom, of course!) and share Your great love. May this witness to our kids how You care about souls. Use us in this neighborhood!