Yellow City and a Black Hole

Be Salty is a place where we can share our stories of redemption right where we are. This is my friend Beth. She is a few years younger than me, and she is positive proof that age has nothing to do with wisdom. I am discipled when I sit at her feet and hear her words.  Blog Series Button

I live in the Black Hole. The one my friends have all managed to escape. I find myself with the picket fence, the house, the dogs, the husband and kids that I never knew I always wanted. I am the stay at home mom in the sweats and the mom-bun that I always shuddered to think of. I remember grocery shopping when I was in elementary school, playing volleyball in junior high, and housekeeping for extra cash in high school within a stone’s throw of my front door. I live where my roots go generations deep. I live where every street corner houses a memory. I live where heartbreak, happiness, family and friends coalesce to make “Home.” I live where I have been too afraid to leave. I live where I have been brave enough to stay. I live where wind and sun beat down and bake and storms and rain rage and cleanse. I live where you can see for miles. I live in the buckle of the Bible Belt where everyone has received the vaccination of the Gospel and few have caught the disease of the Gospel.

I have wondered where God is in this place. My affection for the city in which I live has been buried down deep underneath wanderlust and covetousness. I have always longed for adventure. The workings of God have seemed, to my human mind, to be afar off. He would not come to this city, I reason, because I would not. He would definitely want to work somewhere more exciting. He would want to meet people in a more beautiful setting. He would want a people honest and hungry for the down and dirty hard and beautiful truth of the Gospel that can change them. He would want a people willing to clasp hands with those not-alike and do the work of the Kingdom. Would the God who became flesh, son to a teenage mother, come to one of the teen pregnancy capitals of Texas? Would the Husbandman God come to this barren land desperate for soil amendment? Would the Bread of Life visit these people starving but not hungry? Can the God Who Sees bear to look upon this city, famous for sexually violent crimes and prostitution? Will the Holy Spirit visit the windiest city in America with the gale-force of life-changing Love?

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If I look close, listen to the whisper in my heart, I can hear a drum beat loud and strong running under the current of everyday life like the aquifer running miles under my feet. He is here. Despite all my desire to be anywhere else, He is here. His heart longs to break through barriers of the Church’s apathy and program, to make them strong in doctrine and fearless in faith. He desires to find the teen mother, the deadbeat dad, the wasted drug addict, the regular Joe, the cowboy, the hipster, the Liberal and the Conservative and surprise a world watching as He turns hardened-heart clay into vessels assigned to Holy Purpose. He sees a people whose children struggle against poverty, hunger, and homelessness. He calls a Church here, to this Bomb City, to explode with the Kingdom of the Son of His Love.

That Kingdom starts small. It’s a little leaven that leavens the whole loaf. It’s micro becoming macro. A mustard seed that grows into something birds nest in. It starts with me. It starts where I live. It starts when I move across the street and meet my neighbor. It starts when I choose to do more and not less. It starts when I choose to disciple my sons. It starts when I take the basket off and be the city on a hill. It starts, not when I give up on my dream of leaving this place, but when I give into the truth that God is here. And God is there. And no matter where I live, God will be there and I will have a plow to put my hand on and dig in.

I live in the Yellow City. We have a Nuclear weapons store next door to a Peace Farm. We have a church on every corner and kids selling drugs at school. We have Cadillacs buried in the earth. We live along the Main Street of America. I live where I have always lived. I live where I would never choose to live. I live in a place where God has a vision and the only way to really LIVE here is to catch that vision.

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If you have a story to tell please email me at kayliehodges@gmail.com