I live in the south, right next to the wrong side of the railroad tracks, where poverty runs deep and racism even deeper. My neighbors live in dilapidated homes with sparse pantries and drafty windows, hustling to make ends meet.
Under dressed children get lost in oversized sweatshirts and they roam the neighborhood with nowhere to go, their parents lost in the frayed edges of their tattered lives. Dogs are chained to trees, cars rest on blocks, and litter rolls across yards when the wind blows.
Life is brutal in my zip code.
But it’s also beautiful.
The Man and I have lived on Avent street with our six children for three years now. We moved in armed with rosy colored glasses, Jesus, and the desire to plant a church among the poor.
We just had no idea that the poor would worm their way into the fiber of our life, weaving their bare threads among our sturdier ones making the fabric of our days rich beyond measure. We didn’t know that the poor would become our neighbors. And we were shell-shocked when God began to shift our hearts from the focus of planting a church to intentionally loving our neighbors in the name of Jesus, leaving the business of building a church to the only One who can do that.
And as we began to love our neighbors, we began to seek their welfare in tangible ways.