Monday, October 01, 2012

shootings and stillness

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Monday morning feels so good after this weekend. It was a very slow weekend for sure, but it was also a very heavy one for me. 

Saturday night we were sitting in the living room, when a series of loud noises interrupted our weekend movie:

Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom.

Gunshots.

We peered out the side door to see what happened... there were no screams... nothing...just eerie silence through our normally busy {especially at midnight} neighborhood. 

Thirty minutes later the squealing ambulance takes away the shooter's victim, and the street running beside our house is lined with police.

Just three houses down, our neighbor's yard is surrounded by police tape.

The next morning we find out the shooter is unknown and on the loose, and the victim {a young guy} is in intensive care but stable.

More details emerge that make me feel a little better: the shooter came through the front door, and the police don't think it was random. Most likely, everyone says, it was a drug deal gone bad.

Comforting, no?

It was the first time I've ever heard someone being shot {or city gunfire at all}. But it wasn't the first violent crime that happened around us in the past 2.5 years. 

One night we came home to the police tape and cars next door. One of our next door neighbors had been shot in the chest by a "friend." 

And then there was that Saturday morning the police came to our house to find out if we saw/heard the man escaping after he'd severely beaten and robbed a woman in the house that overlooks our back yard. No, we didn't see him, though I walked to my car to leave for the gym at that very time of day.

We know we were called to be here for a reason. We felt like if we couldn't be missionaries on the less- than-good {not even the worst} side of our safe little town, we certainly couldn't go anywhere else and do it.

But I won't lie, this weekend I felt like this whole thing was kind of getting old. 

Strangely, I am not afraid of us getting attacked.  I'm really not fearful for our safety. God is in control of what happens to us, and I don't doubt He knows what He is doing.

I was just struggling this weekend with the why part. We have had neighborhood Bible studies, walked the streets handing out cookies, we have helped neighbors, spent time with them, we have met so many people here. We've worked on our house, we've hosted parties, and family get-togethers. Good things.

But, I kept thinking, this is America, Lord, and there are lots of safer places than this. I need you to strengthen my purpose or show me the way, because I honestly want to pack it up and go somewhere else. This just doesn't make sense. 

Honestly, I felt angry that God would want us here.

Maybe you have been through something like this too? 

Like I said, it wasn't fear, it was more of frustration. God, why do you want us here? What's the point of being in what feels like an unsafe place?

I went to my car before the end of church and just cried and prayed. And vented. I didn't get an answer of why or what is next, but He reminded me of this:

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And then as steady as the quiet rain falling on the windshield, He whispered to my soul:

"Be still and know that I am God."

Oh, how much I had longed for His voice. "Yes, Lord," my heart answered.

My body became as still as my soul.

Be still.

Wait on me.

I didn't get an answer, but the frustration left me. 

I don't know His plans. I don't know when it's time to move, or time to start a new Bible study, or if we should go out more in the neighborhood and try to reach people or if that's dangerous... I have no idea. 

My husband reminded me our pastor said yesterday, when you ask the question "what should I do?" the answer is always to seek the Holy Spirit.

I laughed when I heard it.

Of course. I know this. :D

So that's what I'm doing. And I'm feeling rather like I'm a blind person.

Seeking the Holy Spirit to lead me. Waiting. Trusting. Sitting still.

I don't understand, but I don't have to right now. And I may never. It may just be another time that God teaches me to stop thinking I know what's going on. 

My husband isn't worried about the incident at all, so that's comforting right now {it wasn't so much to me this weekend... ;)}. And we've never had anything scary happen to us here, either. It's going to be okay.

No matter what happens, would you pray for us? That God would continue to protect us, and to open our eyes more to the needs of the people here- most of whom are probably afraid that they will be the next victim. Please pray that we see clearly what God has in store for us, and that we will follow Him even when we don't.

And will you pray for the victim and the shooter too, while you're at it? 

{p.s. I am so, so thankful for you guys. Every single one of you. I read every one of your comments, and I can't tell you how many times the Spirit has encouraged me through you. I love y'all and am so thankful for you all!! and thank you so much for praying!!}
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