To Stay

It felt a lot later then it was when I woke up in the dark last night. It was only silent for about 10 seconds before the quick succession of 6 gunshots rang out in the street out front of our home. Everyone else around me slept; a mirace I don’t take for granted.

I prayed in the tense moments afterwards, waiting for sirens while I asked for silence, knowing that the quiet would mean no one was hurt.
The only sounds in the aftermath were the wind chimes carried on the breeze below our window and one of my 4 murmuring in their sleep.
I’ve been asked often in the days since the shooting if there is a for rent sign in our yard; if this was the wake up call we needed to move us on and get us out.
But I know where the real battle lies.
Yes, there is very real danger here.
Tony and I were gifted with a few hours alone this morning and sat across from one another while we talked over summer plans and I shared how I had hoped to have a niece come and stay with us for several weeks and how I wanted to assure her mama that we would never place her in a dangerous situation.
He looked at me with the most tender smile and said, Kimberley, I think we need to admit to ourselves that where we live is dangerous. We can’t change that or call it anything different.

So yes, here, right here in the street in front of me and the neighbourhood all around me, we face danger that is real and present.

But the danger I have been most aware of and the most affected by in the days since the stray bullets and the dented fence posts has been one that Peter warns about: Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8

I have felt it and known it in these last few days, as though choosing to not run and instead trust Christ has put a target on my back. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). The temptation has not been to give in to fear, but instead to allow the Enemy ground. Instead of abiding in Christ and being in prayer, to be distracted by mindless and mind numbing things.
There was a quiet turn around in the heat of the afternoon, as we pulled up to the little community garden we have joined and I began to turn over the dirt and get it ready for the tiny seeds. As my restlessness began to slow and little hands opened up and held potential life hidden within packets before dropping them into the dark of the earth.  As I turned on the water and sprayed it over the marked out mounds I realized that even this, this claiming this box and planting it and watering it and having my kids run all around the rows is an act of defiant worship. By planting life into a desperate area, we are mirroring what Jesus has done in our lives. What He is still doing and will continue to do in our lives until He calls us home.

What Satan sets out to destroy, Jesus instead brings beauty and life through the submitted lives of His own children. What an amazing privilege and honor to be a part of His plan.
I curled up on my comfy green chair when we got home this evening and pulled out my bible and sat down to read. That blonde curl of Zeruiah’s still clinging to the armrest  from the nap she took here just a day or so ago, and it was these words that I turned to:

We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry…but as servants of God, we commend ourselves in every way; by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left… 2 Corinthians 6:3, 6-7

It’s right there, can you see it? We do all things for God’s glory by His power alone. He is the One Who keeps my fear at bay, the One Who gives me peace and gives me all I need for righteousness in my right hand and in my left. 
This evening, in the fading light, a girl just a little older than Lyla called across the street to me and asked if she and her little sister could come over and play. While their laughter filled our yard and I rocked in his dad’s chair on our porch, a gang leader came riding up on his bike and leaned against the fence talking with Tony and giving Elias a high-five.

We have been given a holy privilege to serve Jesus here, to be a safe place, if even for an hour or so for those who desperately need it. Yes, it is dangerous here, the risks are great and the cost could be high. But He is worth it in all ways, always.
So I’ll turn out my light and lay down on our bed and know that through the night, no matter what may happen outside of these walls or within, the One Who holds this spinning globe and names each star surrounds our home with His Presence, and we are held in peace. 

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