Unexepected Lessons #FromBostonToLA

FromBostonToLA

We’re finally here! We made it #FromBostontoLA.  It took us eleven days to visit nine cities and deliver three love bombs.  Phew! It’s a month later and I still can’t believe we did it.

When TC was offered the associate pastor position at New City Church of Los Angeles, we planned this trip with two goals in mind:

1: Have a much family time, making as many as possible
and
2: To do as much good for other as possible.

Initially, we were going to do a service project in every city, but when planning and coordinating became an issue, I dropped the crazy down a notch and decided to meet up with three people/organizations doing good for their cities.

When I started this blog, “Shalom in the City”, I wanted to create a space where we can explore intentionally living lives that reflect the love of Jesus to the needy or oppressed in our cities, even if we don’t live in the urban core.  I think so many of us have hearts to address the brokenness in our communities but have no idea where to start or we’re paralyzed by unnecessary expectations that tells us in order to authentically care about issues of injustice in our cities we have to move there or have a platform or be called specifically to be urban missionaries.  Sure, there was a time my husband and I were urban missionaries and,  for a season, urban church planters, but that’s not my life now.  Now, I’m a mama in the suburbs with a heart for the poor both in my city and globally and sometimes it’s hard to stay on mission.  Sometimes, I wish I could go back to those early days of urban ministry where we moved right into the neighborhood.  It was so easy to show the love of Jesus to my drug-addicted neighbor when she was literally right next door.  Now, my biggest temptation is to skip with the twenty minutes drive it takes to get into LA to go to a birthday party for homeless kids- the same way I struggled with driving across the Charles river from my Cambridge townhouse to go worship every Sunday at an urban church plant.

But, since I can’t shake God’s own admission that he cares about our great cities, I have to  keep wrestling with how to do both- live in the suburbs (because city-dwelling is impractical for us in this season) and practice loving our closet major city (n this case, Los Angeles,) well.

Seeking the shalom- God’s dream of wholeness, harmony, and prosperity- for our cities when we’re not living in their cores is hard- not impossible-but hard and definitely requires intentionality.  This intentional living isn’t easy and I want this space to be where we come together to cheer each other on to love mercy, walk humbly and seek justice!

It’s this intentionality to seek the peace of the city that we wanted to model for our kids with our road trip with a purpose.
In our ten plus years of doing urban ministry, TC and I noticed that there are five major cries or needs of the city.

The city cries out because:
1: Poverty
2: Mass Incarceration
3: Disease
4: Loneliness
5: Violence

All seek to undermine God’s wholeness for her residents.
So. in our love bombs we wanted to encourage those who are work to comfort those in the city broken by one of these five injustices.  And in part, we did just that.  But three very different posts that I expected to write for the #FromBostontoLA series rose out of those eleven days on the road.   I really wanted to produce three great posts on seeking the shalom of the cities along out way that would inspire you to seek the shalom of your closest city.  I wanted to help you identify the specific cries of the city that stirs your heart and give you resources to engage thoughtfully.  But, God had other plans in mind. In fact, at every love bomb delivery He showed me something new about motherhood and raising compassionate kids that I’m so excited to share with you. These lessons have given me grace and a new perspective on missional motherhood.

Someday, I hope to write a series of posts on the five cries of the city, but in this series of posts, I’m going to show you the changes of heart, that, I as a mother,  had on the road.

When my son was vomiting for hours from food sickness on the way to delivering our first love bomb and I just wanted to give up the whole love bomb mission, I learned to lean into my weakness because God’s grace is sufficient and that I could choose to not grow weary in doing good.

When the kids and I toured a non-profit that provides clean needles to women addicted to drugs in an effort to prevent the spread of HIV, I learned that loving the broken right where they are is completely scandalous and completely Christ-like.

When we visited a foster mama in a gorgeous suburban neighborhood and I felt wholly inadequate and a little bit jealous of her amazing life, I learned that Christ’s power rests on the humble, that we run the race we’re in, and I was reminded (again) that geography does not indicate fidelity.  

Starting Monday, I’m going to tell you about each love bomb and the “aha” moments God dropped on me as we delivered gifts to three incredible Shalom practitioners.

I hope you’ll come back to “Shalom in the City” on Monday or follow the blog by putting your email in the field to the right.  I can’t wait to share more of my journey with you, but I’ve got to go check on the kids in the pool.  It’s 90 degrees in LA today, a far cry from the rainy 49 degrees back in my beloved Boston. And I’ve got the get the kids ready to go to a birthday party at Worthy of Love.  It’s our first and I’m so, so, so excited1

Practicing Shalom in our new home: Los Angeles,
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