That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. – Philippians 3:10
Returning to North Minneapolis was a family decision. Our four oldest were all born in the Twin Cities. Each had a general awareness of the adjustments we would experience in the move. They all expressed concerns to Heather and me regarding safety, sustainability, and the timing of the move. They were all unsure how the move would impact their two youngest brothers, Judah and Silas. They knew Judah and Silas enjoyed the idyllic life of suburban kids who could run outside and play with their friends for hours at a time without giving us any reason for concern. They knew it was time to return for supper when they heard one of us ring a bell from outside our front door. I wonder what the neighbors thought of that bell. 😊
But the truth was, each of the oldest four was already experiencing a major adjustment in her/his life regardless of where Mom and Dad chose to live. Our oldest daughter, Heidi, was enjoying year two of marriage to Jonathan Clater when we made the move. Jonathan is the pastoral assistant at Palmetto Baptist Church and a hardworking seminary student at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Heidi is a nanny/house manager. She has always been gifted with providing compassionate and creative care for kids. I guess that is what comes with being the oldest of six. God in His grace has already allowed them to purchase their first home and Honey-Bee, their first dog.
Our second oldest, Maddy, married her man, Travis Tumlin, just two weeks before we moved to Minneapolis. God in His plan opened a door for Travis to work at Voss Lighting in the Twin Cities. We are so happy to have them serving with us at Family Baptist Church! The Tumlin’s help lead our worship services, teach Children’s Sunday school and have redesigned the church website. We are praying for four more couples like the Tumlin’s to join us in the ministry at Family Baptist by the end of 2021.
Our third oldest, Isabelle, is a sophomore at Bob Jones University. She is studying to become a social worker. We are hoping to talk her into moving to Minneapolis when she graduates to serve as a social worker in the Twin Cities. 😊 God in His faithful provision provided a full scholarship from BJU to cover the cost of her remaining three years of study! Izzy is working hard as a barista at Starbucks and is actively involved in the college ministry of Palmetto Baptist Church. We consider Izzy our family evangelist. God has used her to lead several children in the Rose Hill neighborhood (our old neighborhood) to Jesus. We were so thrilled to hear about one of these precious converts deciding to take the important step of getting baptized!
Our fourth oldest, Elijah, started his freshman year at Concordia University in St. Paul. God in His kindness provided him a full ride scholarship to play basketball for the Concordia Bears. We are so grateful to have “Big E” only 20 minutes away. It is fun having him pop home with a group of his teammates from time to time to enjoy some home cooking… and wash his clothes. We can’t wait to watch him play ball. FYI: His first collegiate game is against the University of Minnesota Gophers at the Barn on November 1st, Go Bears! Elijah is pursuing a major in Management and Leadership. He has a unique ability to connect with people. We look forward to watching God mold him into an influencer.
Which brings me back to Judah and Silas… they have both handled the transition with grace! They are learning to adjust to a context where it is not safe to roam the neighborhood for hours on end and look for kids their age to shoot hoops and ride bikes. The average driver in North Minneapolis seems to ignore stop signs and red lights. I find myself pausing a second or two when stopped at an intersection with the light changing just to be safe. The boys have become accustomed to the sounds of gun shots, emergency vehicles and a good amount of yelling from the house across the street. Silas was thrilled to find his own bullet shell in the parking lot of the church earlier this week. Judah on the other hand, was not so excited about Silas’ discovery.
But I don’t want to overly dramatize our situation. Yes. Life in the city has its challenges. But it also has its benefits. We are blessed to live in a house that is sitting on a hill, surrounded by a brand-new six-foot wooden privacy fence and connected to the church building. Heather created a wonderful atmosphere in the backyard complete with hanging lights and fresh landscaping. We have a table outside which has become the home for several rounds of Monopoly Deal with the boys. We also have a gymnasium in our “basement” (technically, the FBC gymnasium). How many young boys can play in a gym whenever they want to?
In addition to the haven that we call home, we decided to expand the homeschool options for the boys by purchasing annual memberships at Sea Life (the aquarium in the Mall of America) and Urban Air (a trampoline park in Plymouth, MN). Judah and Silas are enjoying these new and creative outlets! We are grateful for their flexibility and openness to our new living arrangements. We are also very aware of the need to pray for God’s protection. Yes. We want God to protect them physically, but we also want God to protect them spiritually. Please join us in praying for Judah and Silas to grow in their love for God and confidence in His sovereignty.
God calls all of us to make adjustments in our lives. Some adjustments are natural (transitioning to college, getting married, starting a new job). Some are exciting (memberships to aquariums and trampoline parks). Most, if we are honest, can be terrifying (Will that driver obey the laws? Will I hear another gunshot tonight? Will I ever be able to walk around my neighborhood without looking over my shoulder?) Ultimately, God wants us to enjoy a relationship with Him that is real and personal. The adjustments in our lives open doors for us to experience the grace of God, the leadership of God, the faithfulness of God, the kindness of God and the sovereignty of God. What is God revealing to you about Himself through the adjustments you are facing today?