Hello, Culture Connoisseur fans! I feel very honored to be able to share a little about my and my husband's heart and story here on Hannah's blog. My husband, Parker, and I just recently celebrated our nine month wedding anniversary, and we live in Memphis, TN. First and foremost, we are lovers of Jesus Christ. Our deepest desire is for our lives to be a picture of the gospel to those around us, through our marriage, our friendships, and the way we live. What I am about to share with you is our story. This is not to say that this is the only way to follow Christ, but it is the way He has called us for our current season of life.
|SOS (Taken by Wes Kitten)|
A few years ago, Parker and I both worked at a ministry for a summer in Memphis, Tennessee called Service Over Self. We made the decision to work there with absolutely no knowledge about it beforehand. It was pretty scary! All we knew was that it was a home repair ministry in an urban neighborhood called Binghampton. We had no idea that God would use that summer to radically transform both of our lives. Through the course of that summer, we learned a TON about discipleship, authentic Christian community, incarnational living, and radically living lives that put Christ on display. These were things that we had never heard with such clarity. And you just don't walk away from something like that unchanged. We were in college at this point, so the incarnational living part was not immediate, but we knew that it was probably in our future.
|Kids on Our Street|
In the year before we got married, we both moved into Binghampton, each of us living with roommates. (Let me pause here and say that we are by far NOT the only people who have intentionally moved into our neighborhood. There have been many before us, and they are probably the main reason we feel more comfortable than we would otherwise.) But we really didn't feel like we settled in until we got married. Since then, we've lived on a street where we are the minority racially and socio-economically. As with a lot of things in life though, we have learned far more from those we thought we were coming to "help" than we probably actually helped them. For one thing, immersing yourself in another's culture is life-changing. It causes you to totally rethink everything you're used to, from your clothes, to your food, to your house, to your way of speaking. And this incarnational nature of living is just about the only way to relate to and reach the people on our street. So we've chosen to live simply (partly because we half to, living off of one small income for now), but also because we want to be a part of our neighborhood, and we are trying to not stand out more than we already do because of our skin color. There have been many, many joys, and confirmations from the Lord that this is where He wants us for now.
There have also been trials, as we expected. And we expect them throughout our entire lives, because Jesus never promised that living radically in His name would be easy and trouble-free. Just recently, there was an accident in our yard with our tire swing that involved one of the kids on our street that we've gotten to know very well falling and breaking her nose. Parker happened to be pushing her on the swing, plus it was in our yard, so the natural reaction of the child's mother is to blame us, and since then, she has spread rumors about our intentions that have caused us to be the brunt of some hateful words and looks. The main reason this was so upsetting was because we wanted to defend our own names (self-centered as that may be), but more importantly, we felt that because people know we are living here to try to love them like Jesus loves us, God's name is being defamed. It's brought a lot of racism to the forefront. And so we've had to be patient and trust. Trust that God is very, very in control, and that this is so small compared to the power that He has. And we trust that because we are living in His will, He will provide and be faithful.
Binghampton is where God has us for now. Who knows where we'll be and what we'll be doing in 5 years? All we can bank on and plan for is that whatever we're doing, we are living radically, sacrificially, and missionally. That is what Christ calls us to, and that is what Christ calls everyone who claims to be His disciple to. We are far from perfect, but God promises that He can use us broken vessels to accomplish His work here on the earth.
Feel free to email me if you have any questions: email@example.com.