“And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?”
Almost two years ago now, Michael and I felt really led to pour into the city of Aurora. (See our initial thoughts) Now here we are, two years later, right smack dab in the middle of where we felt God’s leading. And I have had times of uncertainty where I needed God to remind me of His calling.
Fear can be a sneaky little thing. It can rob you of your joy, it can mislead and deceive. If I am not regularly seeking God’s voice, I easily slip away from what I know God has shown Michael and me. I begin to let fear and the desire to be “like everyone else” overtake me. When “everyone else” goes one way, it makes it so much harder to go the opposite.
I realize that God has a different journey for each family, but very steadily and very clearly God has directed my thinking again, and brought me back to His heart for our family.
I love Aurora. I love the diversity, I love the unique community, but most of all I love it because it has become the unlovable. So many times Michael and I have heard things like “stay away from Aurora, the gangs are there”, or “go anywhere but Aurora for schools, the ratings are terrible”, or “it’s so dirty there”. Instead of fleeing shaking our hands, shouldn’t we go to this place deemed unworthy and make it better? Embrace it? Love it? “Be the change we want to see in the world”?
Not fear Aurora, but LOVE it.
“And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:17-18
As this has been stirring in my heart, I have been doing Isaiah lessons that I missed during the year while on maternity leave. The FIRST one I did, God filled my heart with His presence.
In Isaiah 36 (and 2 Kings 18:1-16) during Hezekiah’s reign, Assyria had attacked and captured the cities of Judah. Assyria’s field commander sent the people of Judah a boastful, threatening message basically saying that God cannot save them and Hezekiah was deciving them in thinking so. He taunts them repeating over and over not to listen to Hezekiah, that God cannot deliver them and their trust in Him in worthless. He goes on to promise plentiful food and drink, and bountiful land if they surrender and turn their backs on their god.
Hezekiah’s people had a choice: to trust God would do as He said He would and deliver them, or to go with the Assyrians willingly and abandon their calling.
This was exactly where I was.
Was I going to trust God would carry my family, or was I going to willingly surrender to the taunting and let fear dictate my path?
For me, the hardest taunting is when it has to do with my kids. The dreaded “low scoring Aurora schools” issue. But you know what? I’m okay with the low ratings. When I think about my grown sons going out into the world, the number one thing I desire for them is that they know Christ and bring Him glory. Michael and I are intelligent -for the most part :) – and involved parents, who look for ways to come alongside our children on a daily basis to foster their growth and learning. But their intellect and academic excellence is NOT is what drives my heart for them. I want them to love people- all people, not just people “like” them- and to embrace diversity. And that I believe is the heartbeat of Aurora.
Later that day as I was letting God’s words flood my heart, I read this blog post by someone I have come to highly respect and be encouraged by through her blog, besozo.wordpress.com: Betchya your kid is smarter than my kid
I could not have said it better! God used Bre’anna’s writing to be an incredible encouragement to my soul and confirmation to what He has called our family to do. Academics are great, but morality and character development are so much more…
The cry of my heart is for my children to fall so deeply in love with the Lord that everything they do displays His splendor. In Aurora and beyond.