Two years ago I didn’t know a majority of the people in these photos.
I was floundering. I didn’t have much of a community and I was very unsure about Los Angeles and especially about my place within it. I knew I was called here, but why? In what capacity?
This week I’m reminded of the growth I’ve gone through in this city in the past four years and it’s kind of crazy to think about. My family is in town from Texas and last night I hosted party at my apartment so the people in my life – the people who make up my new home – could meet my family.
I had the opportunity to fully revel in the magnificence of this moment – these worlds colliding. As I stood there in the center of my own apartment living room looking around at the conversations taking place around me in awe, I realized again that a community like this is a rare thing. And I realized something else,
My heart was full. My heart was happy.
This feeling has been happening a lot lately and it always catches me off guard. It’s such a stark contrast to the overwhelming gloom that had settled over my life a few years back.
I had so much animosity, bitterness, fear and anger for this town a few years back. But God woke me up one night and told me to get settled in because he has plans for me here in THIS city. Basically, I knew I’d have to buck up and buckle down. I had to accept this city and all it’s flaws and brokenness. The broken artists that live here and the cloud of confusion and spiritual warfare that has settled here are the very things that initially drew me here. There is a history of warfare in this city that is palpable – one that suggests it will never be over. But He was saying I didn’t have to fight alone.
I didn’t want to recognize that I didn’t have to fight battles alone in this city. That would mean I would have to reach out – to be vulnerable in order to gain community. Real community that would accept me as my family does. I would have to let people really see me. To step out into the light.
So I made a decision to stay a while. To appreciate the things I actually enjoy about Los Angeles. To celebrate the challenges and risks this city provides. To embrace the unknown. And to take a chance on community.
And you know what?
It was the best decision I could have made. I’ve been blown away by these people and their kindness and love for God. Their open ears and willingness to love me past my flaws. They have become an extended family. So to see my ACTUAL family meeting and connecting with this new family – this was just incredible.
Sometimes I get wrapped up in all the bad happening in the world and I forget to celebrate moments like this.
So this is my celebration and my moment of thanks.
I am richly blessed to have the incredibly selfless family I have. They love Jesus and his teachings and they model their lives after him. I don’t know if I believe humans are capable of unconditional love, but they make it seem that way. Love comes naturally to them and it was a great reminder for me – a reminder of the home I grew up in.
Selfless family. Intentional community. These are the things I take for granted.
A lot can happen in two years.
As I said before, I didn’t know most of these people. I knew I was called here, but why? In what capacity?
Sometimes I still wonder the same things, but having these remarkable people in my life has made these questions bearable, and the journey of figuring it out way more fun.