Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Going to the Margins (Day 16)

I'm currently sitting on my unmade bed drinking coffee, a pumpkin candle lit beside me, and sunshine streaming onto my bare toes, fresh from my first uninterrupted shower in who-knows-how-long. Sigh. Life feels more manageable in this moment, when my kids are safe with my husband, but far away from me right now. I read and re-read all of your sweet and life-giving comments from my post yesterday. Seriously, y'all have no idea how encouraged I am by your kindness and support and love.

There is work to be done (lots of it!) but sometimes I need to empty my soul, order my thoughts and untangle my insides, before I can be most productive. Right?

I've been reading about Sabbath this morning and pondering rest and rhythm and WHY exactly we need to create margin in our lives. Margin is important to Jesus, I think. And not just because we need space to meet with Him. Rather, I think it's because He cares so deeply and desperately about the poor and marginalized. And until we have margin in our lives, we find ourselves unavailable to GO to the margins.

When people hear about our lives, about where we live and what we do, the question I am inevitably asked again and again is this: how did you know? How did you hear God calling you to this? How did you decide to actually move into the city, to go to the marginalized and live with them?

The truth is that God was gentle with our hearts in this process. He tip-toed and baby-stepped us towards the margins until, before we knew it, we had bought a house there. And now He is reminding me that unless I respect margins and space for His continued voice and movement in my own life, I will miss the next steps He is leading me to take, the next places He is asking us to go.

On our last morning of vacation in St. Simons, we walked on the boardwalk overlooking the ocean, and ventured down the pier to watch the fisherman pull in nets full of silvery, flopping fish. I spent the majority of my time chasing the children and trying not to have a heart-attack at the thought of them walking (and/or climbing) off the edge of the pier. Adam pushed the stroller while I sipped iced coffee, relishing the feeling of sun warming my shoulders. 
While we walked, hundreds of butterflies fluttered around us, their orange wings pausing just long enough to rest on grass blades or flower petals before resuming flight. Jayci ran around in delight, pointing out each butterfly tirelessly. I raised my ever-present-camera to frame them, trying to capture their sheer numbers as their tiny shadows kept flitting across our path.

What in the world? I asked, turning to Adam in amazement, certain he would know the reason behind all-the-butterflies (he always knows these sorts of things).  

They're migrating to Mexico he answered nonchalantly.

Wait, what?  I was amazed and slightly disbelieving. These beautiful creatures could scarcely fly in a straight line, how could they possibly fly in staggering, zig-zagging paths all the way to Mexico? It seemed ludicrous, absurd even.

Adam patiently explained that they migrate to Mexico for the winter, headed for warmer weather and more abundant food sources. I argue that I would just stay, clearly that is ridiculous and entirely too far to fly.

Well then, he replies matter-of-factly, you would die.
Here's what I know: You will never GO until you believe that staying is far more dangerous.

So we go to the margins, certain that meeting God there in the poor and marginalized means LIFE. Certain that our fragile wings must belie an extraordinary strength. We stop to pause on petals, to drink nectar and strengthen ourselves for our journey, but then we go. And we dont stop until we are in Mexico. Because it might seem crazy, absurd even, for us to go. For us to move into the inner-city. For us to move to Africa, to join believers in Haiti or China, or to start a church in Idaho. I dont know where you are going. I dont know where God is calling you, to what marginalized folks He is taking you. But I do know this: He created you for the journey. So trust your wings, and follow Him with the knowledge that He is leading you to life, and that NOT going means death.

This is post 16 in a series of 31 posts (one for every day this month) on margin. Read all the posts here. And visit The Nester to see all the 31 Day link-ups (but be warned, you could literally read for days and never read all the good stuff linked up there!)


  1. love the connection between margin and the marginalized. thank you. will let this percolate for awhile :)

  2. Great post! Glad you found some time for you my friend!

  3. Oh my lands, this is good. I've read that last paragraph twice and you can bet I'll read it again.

    Keep going, girl. He's got you.

  4. This is a pure meat and potatoes kind of a post. Love it and love you friend!! Xoxo :)

  5. Margin, marginalized. Wow. I've never even given much thought to the word "marginalized." Pushed to the outside, not given priority, made unimportant. Holy cow.

    And the butterflies?? I so want to fly to our Mexico. Waiting for God to convince my better half (again).

    Love you. Love the way your mind and heart work.


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