Yesterday Mer and I got to visit families that we have both grown to love over the past several years. There is something magical about showing up at a family's door and getting smothered with hugs, kisses, dance moves, and stories. Love can break down all kinds of walls. When we left the last house I looked at Mer and said, "God is growing roots." I'm not really sure what I meant by that. But there was something "rooty" about that day. There is something rooty about swinging by a house unannounced and getting met with a reception fit for royalty. There is something rooty about an invitation to stay for dinner in a home where there is often not enough for those living there. There is something rooty about becoming less and less of an outsider and more and more apart of families. It was a day that solidified that this is worth it. You know how in the Old Testament God led His people with a pillar of cloud? Yesterday I felt the security of that cloud envelop me in the hugs of His children.
Then there was today.
We've been celebrating God's provision of the building at 43rd and Jackson for months. And for months the process of actually procuring it has drug on and on and on. I would bore you with the details, but quite frankly I have no idea why things have taken so long. But they have, and now we are 27 days away from the first day of school and still don't have a closing date set. And then word came today that the city is going to take at least 10 weeks to approve some changes to the zoning issues that exist on the property. Sigh. We don't have 10 weeks. So we begin this awkward dance of what to do next. It's still possible we can be in and rolling in 27 days. But conventional wisdom says that won't happen. We have some back up plans, places we can relocate to temporarily, but it's far from ideal. So Mer and I ate lunch in silence. That strange silence that exists around bad news. You want to say things, but there is something more comforting and honest about the silence. And in the silence I tried to remember my last blog post..."Watch." I tried to listen for the faint whisper, I tried to remember that God is faithful, that His plans are bigger and better than my plans. I tried.
But if I'm honest there was a cloud of doubt that hung over my day. Doubt that God is really on our team. Doubt that we're doing the right thing. Doubt that I'm the right person to be on this adventure.
So I went back to the streets that had brought me so much hope the day before to try to remember what seemed so obvious yesterday. I drove to the neighborhood where the building is and kept an eager eye out to see kids. But there were no kids to be found. I drove to every park I knew of, literally not a soul to be found. I drove up and down block after block after block. Nada. I finally saw some kids on a porch in the distance so I parked my car down the block, armed myself with flyers and applications and headed up the street. I prayed that God would remind me that He is the cloud that goes before me not this ugly one of doubt. I found five families outside as I walked up the street. Three of the five families have kids going into kindergarten. I got some great high-fives, a few small concerts, and got to see some pretty sweet scooter tricks as I handed out flyers to potential future baby Voyagers. God was faithful.
So I walked back to my car and drove on. The streets again were empty. And with each empty block doubt crept in closer and closer. I finally pulled over and audibly said, "God you can make kids literally pop out of these houses, just help me believe that...please, just help me believe that you're in this." And as I said those words, out popped a little boy from a truck parked on the curb with a man getting out close behind. I drove up to them and from the window asked if they knew anyone going into kindergarten next year. And almost as if I was an answer to his prayer the man looked at me with bright eyes, pointed to the little boy and said, "He is! I'm his grandpa and we're looking to get him enrolled in school." My eyes got hot with tears. I was real thankful for my sunglasses. I quickly gave him the 10 second rundown, handed him the flyers and told him to give me a call if they were interested. I drove away and the only prayer I could manage was in laughter, "you've got to be kidding me, God!"
The tears flowed out and the laughter did too. So I pulled over to celebrate and as I pulled into the parking lot of the park, a grown man ran to my window with tears rolling from his eyes too. He said, "I'm sorry if this is a bad time, but I don't mean no harm..." He went on for a couple minutes about this and that explaining why he needed my help. His family had just moved to KC and they needed all kinds of things but his monologue ended with, "baby girl I don't even know where to send my kids to school." I felt the tears come back. In the midst of my celebration of God's faithfulness He sent another person to remind me that He is up to something. I gave the man a flyer and he thanked me a billion times over before he walked away and shouted back over his shoulder, "pray for my family, please, just pray for my family."
Ahhh...God is so unbelievable. I get that my faith must be rooted in something deeper than my emotions, but I am so thankful for a God who dares to be present in the midst of them. My doubt doesn't scare Him away, in fact I believe it gave Him a venue to show off. I am keenly aware of my limited ability to control this situation. If you know me well at all you'll know that is a hard pill to swallow yet somehow God has reminded me time and time again that my smallness is one of my greatest assets because it reminds me of my dependence on the real hero.
So all of this to say, God is faithful. We need your prayers that God would, in His relentless grace, continue to give us the courage and the faith to believe that. Pray for wisdom in the days leading up to August 20th as we discern how to lay a strong foundation for students in the midst of seemingly wavering circumstances. Pray for the families I met tonight. Pray that our applications would land in the right homes and that they would begin planting the seeds of the hope of our Savior. Pray that the next 27 days would be filled with productivity. Pray that in all things God’s name and renown would be the desire of our heart and that His Kingdom would advance mightily in Kansas City. Thanks for joining the adventure through your prayers, your generosity and your faithful encouragement. Team UCA rocks and I for one am glad to be on it!