Tuesday, November 4, 2014

An Incredible Change - Part 4/8

For the next 4 days, we are going to tell our faithful readers a story.  If you missed part 1, click here.  For part 2, click here.  For part 3, click here.   

It's our story.
It's the story that has slowly emerged in our lives over the last 11 months.
We hope you are encouraged by it.

If you don't want to wait for 4 more days….you can listen to this podcast (33 minutes) of us telling our story to our church congregation.

Part 4 – An Incredible Change

Over the next three weeks (in the month of April), what happened next was nothing short of a miracle. I watched God change a human heart right in front of my eyes. Every morning at breakfast, every evening at dinner, and on the pillow before bed, I listened as Heidi confessed her heart to the Lord. She said things like, “Father, forgive me of my pride” and “Jesus, give me the same kind of heart you had for Jerusalem, the city you loved.” She said things like, “God, you forsook the Beverly Hills of heaven for a zipcode in Nazareth – your trajectory has always been downward mobility.” It was during these weeks of confession and repentance that God slowly gave her a new set of eyes to see and a new heart to love Fresno. Because for most, Fresno is perceived as “California’s armpit”, the city that makes every “worst” list – the nation’s worst air, worst concentrated poverty, and America’s “drunkest city.” The endless jokes about Fresno don’t tell the real story. Here is the real story – Fresno is a city with disabilities but has never lost hope and is not to be pitied. You wouldn’t pity the blindness of Stevie Wonder, right? Fresno keeps producing amazing things: the nation’s vegetables and fruits, wildly diverse neighborhoods, the possibility of great university education (FSU, FPU), an incredibly large and diverse network of civic, non-profit, and religious institutions together seeking the renewal of Fresno, and a belief that Fresno is a great city to raise your kids. Ask any Fresnan why they’ve stayed there.

God had renovated Heidi’s cynicism and by grace had now given her a new way to speak about Fresno. I watched Heidi begin to speak about Fresno with reverence and respect, the way she used to before leaving for university in Long Beach. God reminded her of the love she had for the poor and her desire in her college years to use her teaching credential in an under resourced school. God had truly given her a new heart, and had placed His desire in her to be a change agent: a person of peace seeking the peace of the city.

But none of this meant we were moving to Fresno. All it meant was that Heidi’s heart had changed towards Fresno. God still had to call us.

Part 5 (tomorrow) – Lord, is that you? A Phone Call.

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