When we moved into the neighborhood, we had ideas about the people we might meet.
I'd rather not even talk about the ways we got it all wrong.
But what would be the fun of that?
Vulnerability grows vulnerability. And if we ever hope to be free, we've got to first be willing to bare our guts.
Though I know most of them would be regular people like us, trying their best, I thought others would be broken. I imagined some with junk on their porches and track marks on their forearms. I thought there might be criminals, parents who didn't love their kids enough, or didn't know how.
I assumed they'd need Jesus.
Only because of God's great love, He nudged us along, calling us down to the humble place of understanding that all of our worst assumptions...were right.
Then he slowly turned that mirror around until all we saw was our own monstrous need, the ways we piled junk up around us and chased the wrong thing. We were them, and they were us. The only way out was to circle up and let God's glory bounce around in the space between us.
That's when I realized my faith, and any hope I had to offer boiled down to two questions. Who is God? How does He love us?
Those two questions form the bulk of my personal discipleship, these days. They're the very keys to holding on, our only hope for really loving one other.
I pray it for my neighbors and I pray it for me.
Show us. Just let us see for ourselves.
And He does. Every day, I'm looking out for signs left in my path.
Yesterday, I found a couple on our hard drive.
This is who God is.
This is how He loves us.