Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Being Present

In the beginning of any new ministry sometimes just being present is what is needed. I have been thinking about this frequently in these early days of our work here in the city of Chicago.
Chicago Skyline 

Sometimes the tasks of getting the family settled....finding schools, sports and other extra activities...praying for good friends for them ....just learning where to shop for food, clothes etc...can be so consuming.

This past year I have been nannying for a friend. I have spent a lot of time sitting in comfy chair by the window cuddling and loving on this little infant.  I have often found myself staring out the window watching people pass by on the street.
My comfy prayer chair

This is also the same chair I sit in to have my quiet times in the morning. As the days and months have passed there are familiar faces that I see.  Two women, a middle age one and an elderly women walk together every morning. I imagine it is a mother and daughter. They speak to each other in an eastern European language. Even though I can not understand what they are saying it seems in a tone of friendly gossip or news sharing. As they past I prayer for them....God bless these women, bring good to them, draw them closer to you.

We live next door to some kind of half way house for women who have been in prison who are either pregnant or have given birth. Occasionally, they are out side and I can hear them yelling at their children. This is when I pray the most for these little ones and their mothers. Maybe this was the only examples of parenting they have experienced. How can I show God's heart to these women and children?

We also have immigrate children that love to run and play through the neighborhood. Mostly their sounds are joyful but there are rare moments when I can hear them arguing. Are they happy to be somewhere where they feel safe to run and play? Is America all they had hoped for? Is is hard for them to see their parents stressed trying to make it in this new land?

God, how can we help these families? How can we show them your love?

There are also a lot of Jewish families in our neighborhood. We have a Orthodox Boy's School just behind our apartment. There is a lot of laughter and joy that comes from the play ground. I find myself thinking about Jesus as a boy --did he learn some of the same things these boys are learning? I pray for these boys to find a relationship with the true Messiah. How can God use us in this Jewish community? Where are the open doors in such a tight knit community?

When I take my little boy that I watch for walks I have seen so many faces of people who are angry, sad, confuse and lonely.  How can God use me to bring his love to my neighbors? I do not feel called to stand on my street corner and preach but I do feel called to be present.  To be light in this darkness. To be ready like a soldier waiting to be called up when the commander needs me. God help me live intentionally. Knowing whose I am and help me be present in this community where you have placed me.

My neighborhood