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It is hard to believe that nearly two weeks have passed since we moved into our apartment in Crown Heights.
The transition did not come without its share of emotional challenges. We left friends and colleagues to step into the unknowns of incarnational living in an urban context.
There are other significant shifts that played into the emotional state during our first few days. We needed to begin to learn to fall asleep to a new set of sounds and noises that were not the quiet calm ones we’d been accustomed to. Rather than driving into a gated community where parking was ample, we drive around looking for where to park our car on our 1-way street. Instead of a more-than-ample near-1600 square foot apartment, we downsized and squeezed into 800 square feet of Brooklyn apartment.
Joined with the impending realities of trusting God for job provision, these things added up to fairly constant state of emotional mush.
I remember moving the belongings into the apartment with some of the members of our new church community and being overwhelmed with emotions to the state of tears. I didn’t know why I was crying. I only knew that this change was taking it out on me and it was only the second day. I needed to trust God.
Erica and I have both had some of these moments. We have cried and realized our brokenness. We have begun to grief.
But in the midst of the pain, we have found the comfort of God’s Holy Spirit as well as the embrace of newfound friends with whom we live in community with.
For our Georgia friends, picture the bulk of the church community living within 3 or 4 neighboring subdivisions.
We live within 8 blocks of at least 7 or 8 of the current church families. The very school we meet at is 1 1/2 blocks from here. The geographic realities of doing “community” in an urban context are quickly providing us a different taste of city life than what we’d previously been apprehensive to consider.
… yet here we are… a group of families who have been called by God to live in this neighborhood and love the people God desires to redeem.
It is a neighborhood that has built a reputation which would often deter outsiders from stepping in. I, myself, have been sometimes surprised by the ways in which those whom would stereotypically be “thugs” or “the bad ones” are the very ones who have begun to embrace our family as new members of their community.
Sure there are challenges we’re already facing with living in the city. Loud neighbors, no parking, normal hustle-and-bustle, and the traffic… all part of living in New York City.
There are things that are simply out of our control. Living in Crown Heights, I can assure you there will be many more things out of our control.
But God didn’t bring us here so that we could control things. He brought us here to be part of the family of God in this neighborhood…. He brought us here to be living examples of the Kingdom that Jesus came to establish…. A kingdom that will require daily dying to self….
So Lord…. build Your kingdom here…. in us.