Thanks, Mark! Thanks, God! Thanks, CBS6!

I can no other answer make,                                         but, thanks, and thanks. 

~William Shakespeare

Wow.  I’m rather speechless, which doesn’t happen too often.  I am overwhelmed by and grateful for the positive response to a blog post I wrote on Monday called Heart Breaking. Soul Weeping. Mind Reeling. Knees Bending.  Only a handful of people actually follow my blogs Miss Marti’s House and …into the neighborhood on a regular basis.  So, I was quite surprised when this post started receiving 100s of hits!  Miss Marti’s House started 2 years ago by telling the story of how I ended up living in Southern Barton Heights, how I met and married the ‘other half of my pair’, Louis Williams, and our life here.  …into the neighborhood is a more recent development, somewhat of an experiment, a direct response from questions we get a lot.  It’s meant to be a resource to individuals, families and churches who want to live more neighborly, incarnationally or missionally.  We get regular requests to speak or consult with people and churches, so we thought we would create an online tool to talk about it.  It will also showcase people, ministries , etc living it out and how God is being glorified throughout our city, country and in the nations.   I have 2 great stories in the works.  One from a friend living in a remote village in the country of Columbia.  The other being my aunts in Oregon.  Coming SOON!  Stay posted!  Go ahead and subscribe if you want to stay up-to-date.

Mark Holmberg from WTVR CBS 6 contacted me quite unexpectedly yesterday afternoon, because he had seen that post.  (Thank goodness I had just gotten my roots touched up!!!  LOL) He wanted to interview us about what and why we do what we do.  Of course, it also involved one of the young men accused of First Degree Murder.  He was a welcomed friend, almost a son, in our home on a regular basis.  You know what?  He and his family are still welcome!  Kids make bad, sometimes even horrific, choices or decisions.  It doesn’t mean we give-up on them. Don’t get me wrong.  I still believe that people should pay the consequences of their personal decision, choice or reaction. As much as the public wants to make this a race issue or a urban/suburban issue, it is not that simple.  I wish it were.  All our youth need us.  I’m still hopeful.  Emily said it perfectly in one of the responses to the post…

…they do need us and we all need to stick together (near or far), continue to impact, never give up hope, and pass the message that all children are reachable teachable lovable and savable….

Amen, Emily!

You can find Mark’s story here…  Miss Marti Brings Message of Peace and Love.  That peace and love is rooted in none-other-than, Jesus Christ.  He is my Savior.  I can’t save each and every youth or adult I encounter.  But, Jesus can.  I am but one tool that He uses.  Thanks, Mark and CBS6 for allowing the hope of Jesus Christ to be in the middle of this story.  I know it wasn’t want you intended.  But, you know what?  God did.  To God only be the glory!

My heart still grieves for the devastating loss in our city, within the many impacted families and network of friends. Words can not explain, nor can they alone comfort the grief felt.  My prayers continue to be with those who grieve and our city.  May God’s Spirit comfort us and bring peace.

Psalm 23  NIV

A psalm of David.

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD


Psalm 23

2 -3      ….He leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul….

In the first few months of the 2007, KK’s mom had passed, the spare car windows were shot out, Marcellous was in the hospital, then the spare car was stolen, one of the kids decided to steal and misuse my credit card, my company announced it was closing the Richmond offices and were moving them ½ way across the country.  It seemed like it was one thing right after the other.

Before KK left for NJ, I had an emergency appendectomy and was in the hospital for a few days.  Poor KK…didn’t understand WHAT was going on.  First his mom was in the hospital…she died.  Then, his dad…a few weeks later…ended up in the hospital, the beginning of one complication after another.  Then, I (the only other “family” he has in Richmond) end up there!  Thankfully, it was only for a few days.  It was yet another one of Satan’s attacks. But, it was a perfect time for God to get my undivided attention.  For several weeks, I spent time reading the Bible, praying, meditating, spending time on the front porch.  God was definitely doing a work in me.  During those weeks, He led me by still waters…and restored my soul.  It was a time of rest after a couple of crazy months.  It was just me…and God.  It was refreshing.

Earlier in the year, I had been restless in my job.  It wasn’t challenging to me anymore.  So, when the firm announced the move…it was time for me to really reflect on what God wanted from me next in my career.  During this time, a lot was stirring in me in regards to my community.  Is this the time to make a move?  God spoke to me through a number of people independently… “Remain open.” was the consistent message.  So, I practiced at remaining open, making no decisions.  Why would God lead me to this community and my kids…to my home, only to take me to Missouri?  Why would God provide me with a great job, only to have me leave it?  My finances provide for me…and for some family members.

Every day, I go to work with what most would call the ‘wealthy’.  I came home every day to what some would call ‘the least of these”.  There are so many similarities between these 2 groups.

The Lord brought people in my life who were making 6-7 digits a year trying to decide what latest gadget they wanted next, what prep school to send their child, upgrading their house, car, or phone, how to make the next dollar…trying to find happiness.

Then, there are those who have to decide between paying the light bill, providing food for the table, clothes for their children because they outgrew last year’s or buying Christmas gifts.  Afraid to introduce the kids to Santa…in fear that their hopes would get too high.

What I had come to learn….is that we ALL are the ‘least of the these’ if we don’t know the Lord.  It doesn’t matter what color we are, what socioeconomic group we are in, or where we live.  There’s financially poor…then there is spiritually poor.  What does the Bible say about the Needle’s Eye?  That it is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than it is for a camel to go through the needle’s eye?  So…would I rather be poor and have an easier time getting into heaven or rich and a harder time?  That is a tough question. Can I be some where in the middle?

But…a question that I will have to ponder in the near future as we face my job elimination.  Regardless, we will be richer than MOST of the world….with a roof over our head, food on the table and clean water to drink.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” has a whole new meaning to me as I think about what the future holds.  One thing I know…God is in control!

Me and KK...the early morning I took him to Greyhound to stay with his Aunt and sister in NJ

KK...being silly. How can you NOT love this kid?