Tuesday, February 28, 2017

old life, new life...

It's become apparent to Marc and I in recent months that we're in a transition phase in our journey right now.

(By the way, I'm so thankful that he and I are united in this.  I don't think I could stay sane right now if we weren't on the same page!)

Through a great deal of soul searching and some really helpful counseling, we've been able to understand ourselves and our family's needs and desires more clearly.

We've been through alot of change since moving to Lynchburg 8 years ago.

Who we used to be is not exactly the same as who we are now.   Life molds you and shapes you, you know?  Different experiences, different environments and different relationships bring new perspectives.

So we're finding ourselves to be a little caught between our old life and our new.

(I suppose I should probably clarify for those who we haven't seen in a long time, we haven't gone off the deep end in any way.  We're still very much the same Marc and Amy, ha ha!)

But we're Marc and Amy that God is leading on a journey into some new places that we've never ventured before.  We've realized we need some things to change (not just for the sake of change) in order for our family to thrive.  I run the gamut of emotions about this- everything from fear to sadness to excitement to follow where He's going to guide us.

The other day I was finding myself completely overwhelmed, crying to Marc on the couch about our situation.  As he listened to my fears, he picked up the nearest crayon and a paper and scribbled out this picture to help me see our situation:

"This is our old life, Amy.  And these were the things that our heart was attached to in that life.

We lived across town in a suburban, homogeneous neighborhood.
We had one child.
That child went to this school.
We went to this church.

And now, we are entering into a new life.

We live downtown in a very diverse neighborhood, both racially and economically.
We have two children, who both have different needs and challenges.
We don't think the old school will be the best fit for our family anymore.
We don't think our church will be the best fit for our family long-term.

And Amy, we're in a hard transition process of cutting those ties in the old life and replacing them to fit the new life.

First we adopted Jameson.
Then we moved downtown.
(And now we're working to move again to the River House, just a block away.)
We're looking to change schools next fall.
And we're dreaming of bringing a multi-ethnic PCA church plant to downtown Lynchburg.

Whew!  Same town, but a very different "new life."

Crown and Joy Presbyterian Church (Richmond, VA)
The elders at our church were so gracious to give me a month off of my job as worship director.  (I've led worship for 15 years now, so it's a welcome short break!)

And each Sunday, we've been visiting different PCA multi-ethnic churches in our region.  (Washington DC, Richmond, Charlotte, etc.)

Similar to our experience in St. Louis, these multi-ethnic churches have been so life-giving to us.  It just feels like it "fits" us on so many levels.  We love our current church dearly, but you guys, my son calls it the "white church."  He doesn't have a mirror there, someone that looks like him and knows his realities in life, someone that he could look up to and model after.  I love that there's a growing network of multi-ethnic churches in our denomination (as well as homogenous culture churches who are recognizing their unintentional biases and are working to transition towards becoming more diverse), and I've come to understand that in order for us to thrive, our family needs to have a supportive, diverse church body in our city.  

So we've begun that process!  We're praying for God to do this while we're active about doing it.  (I used to be apart of the "just wait on God" crowd as I sat around and waited for things to fall in my lap, but now I see the kingdom so differently... how does God work?  Through his people praying and being faithful and active to GO and do.)  

We're networking, we're making calls.  
We're praying.  We're building relationships.  
We're telling people and our presbytery about our hope for our city.  

(sorry I can't figure out how to rotate the photo)
I've also gathered some friends from different churches and different ethnicities around town and we've begun a small discussion group called "Be the Bridge to Racial Unity." (I posted the Week 2 questions above, but here's their website if any of you are interested.)  It's an easy 8 week curriculum for churches that we're using and meeting every other week.  

I just felt like we needed a place to begin these much-needed conversations in our city.  I'm learning what a loooong, slow road racial reconciliation is, but I've already seen small glimpses of God slowly opening eyes just as He did mine, and that is SO exciting.   

This group has been a safe place for people to share their hurtful experiences with race as well as a safe place for others to listen and ask questions in order to learn, too.  

I'm excited to see what God will do in and through this group, but for me personally, it's been another piece of the puzzle in the "new life."  

River House
I guess what I'm learning is that we are much like the River House right now.  
God has laid a great foundation and structure.  
He's given us a beautiful family.  
And He's continuing to work and "frame in" the places in our life He wants to restore.  

Just like the River House, I can acutely feel in my soul how we're in the process of taking the old life and rehabilitating it into a new one.  

He's working towards one day making it a beautiful finished product.  

We just can't see His plans.

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