Friday, October 30, 2015

Loneliness Beckons Us Into Discovery - Ella's Story

"Sometimes God shows you something and then He grows you into it." -Nathan Edwardson
Ella is in her mid-fifties and lives in a major metropolitan city. After her child went away to college she and her husband felt called to move from suburbia into the city to an older, established neighborhood. Being accomplished in photography and music, Ella knew that artists lived in this neighborhood and she had expectations of a greater companionship with those who share her passion for the arts.

One of the first things that happened was the realization that living in the city meant an increase in crime. They had to put up a fence (common in her neighborhood) which immediately made the process of interacting with neighbors more challenging.

It is also a “transitional” neighborhood. Long time residents are feeling displaced and overtaken by those who are tearing down old homes and building newer and more costly ones for their new families or for those who are close to retirement, like Ella. Most people require two incomes to live in this neighborhood. Thus, many women are working during the day. And then, on the other side, the shacks and old run down homes just a few blocks away teem with families struggling to survive. The white people do not greet the black people: FEAR. The black people do not look into the eyes of the white people: DISTRUST. 

Ella goes on to say:

"I know my husband and I are supposed to be here. But, I have had to change my 'suburban' mindset. My mornings are no longer spent meeting moms for coffee to discuss the SAT test or a homework assignment. Instead, I feel that now I am meeting life that is real. I have had to adjust my “judgment meter.” I am learning to listen more. I am meeting people who have a radically different worldview than I. I have become compassionate to those who do not believe like I do, realizing, as Jesus said, that he did not come to condemn the world but to save it."

Ella hasn't been to church much in the past year. She is longing to find one that will be able to connect with the people that surround her and is also true to the Bible. She spends time reading her Bible each day and prays that God will birth something new in this neighborhood. She feels God wants her to pray for women to one day get together for a study called, Who Is Jesus...And He’s Not The Guy You Often Meet At Church.
Ella says, "So, even though I am lonely, I know I have a purpose. My first purpose is to draw my heart close to God and to hear Him. The second is to be obedient and love. I am realizing it is much more important to me to be purposeful than to have friends."

"Our weakness, our story of struggle, even the truth about the cost of our choice to follow God — these are the greatest gifts we have to give to others in their journey." - Rick Richardson

This post is part of a continuing series dealing with calling and vocational loneliness. You can read the previous post in this series by clicking here.

Cityscape - Image: 16661911 kwest
Butterfly - Image: 191699 William Sarver

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