I live on a street called Avent in a small town called Rocky Mount.
My neighborhood runs right alongside the railroad tracks and right through downtown and ribbons right through all the things that make the dirty south the dirty south. Poverty runs deep and wide and racism spews from both sides of the tracks and we love Jesus when He looks and talks and acts like us.
We are a people long on church and short on the Gospel.
And this place, this city called Rocky Mount, is the place where I was reared and the very place I escaped right after college.
And it’s the very place God’s seen fit to plant me now, 15 years later.
I live in a hundred year old home with drafty windows and door knobs that come off in your hand and a yard that boasts of patchy landscaping. My warehouse managing man and I are in the thick of planting a Fellowship Bible church, while our small tribe of 6 makes a ruckus all over our house and up and down our street.
We live what we call the ghetto fabulous life on Avent street.
Our kids speak ebonics with a Southern drawl. Our yard is consistently littered with trash and beer bottles. Poverty knocks on our door and frequently sleeps on our front porch swing. Mamas push their babies down the street with friends who are pregnant, both babies the offspring of the same man. Drug deals go down four doors down and pit bulls are chained to porches and boys practice gang initiations on unsuspecting neighbors. Cars rattle under the weight of suped up sound systems and men throw punches on the sidewalk for the affection of one woman.
Most days I look at our kids and wonder what we’re doing to them, living out here on Avent, in a place that feels like it has forgotten to move forward in time.
But then there are other days, when I see glimmers of wild hope through the stark white smiles on dark faces and I think this life is fabulous.
And I think it’s fabulous because I didn’t set out to make this life for myself. God did.
I’m guest posting over at A Simple Haven today. Jen is launching her eBook, The Homemaker’s Manifesto, and she has graciously invited me to share about how I live out hospitality in my neighborhood. I love her no nonsense approach to making a home and her book is a little treasure trove of I-can-do-that’s. Her heart for her place and her people is really beautiful. Hope you’ll follow me there.