September was a month of new beginnings for the Stockbridge Boiler Room. Four lovely young adults from different walks of life, became a part of the Boiler Room residence. Ready to press into a season of discipleship and service: Rebecca aka “Becks” (18 yrs old), Dan (22 yrs old) , “Eddie Spaghetti Get Ready” ( 21 yrs old) and myself, Renee or “Nay” (25 yrs old) officially began the 2015 SBR Internship.
"...there is no semblance of glamorous ministry here, but something far better, something raw and real."
You may have noticed that one of these age numbers is not like the others. Maybe I'm a late bloomer in the eyes of some, but to me, my age is one of the many reminders of how the lord has walked with me through a beautiful struggle in His perfect time. Let me give you a little back story of this process for me.
In the last year, I've had a growing hunger and conviction to establish roots and to really engage in kingdom family-life. Most of my adult years, however, I’ve been all about the whole being “a pilgrim on this earth” with “no place to lay my head” gig. I've genuinely connected at a deep heart level but uprooting time and time again made it difficult to really go deep in relationships. And unfortunately, beautiful truths can sometime be used to mask imbalanced thinking or cover up a broken heart as was the case for me.
"I've had a growing hunger and conviction to establish roots and to really engage in kingdom family-life."
In my early stages of this journey, in which my paradigm began to shift into the deeper realities of His kingdom, I decided with youthful zeal that I needed a tangible testament to symbolize how God was marking my heart. So I got a tattoo. The word “Abide”, pledged in ink on my right forearm, still stands as a reminder of this time that I began to understand this journey of remaining in Him (Just a fun fact, it was also the time I first sensed a pull towards the Boiler Room family). This is when I began to submit to His authority and leadership, to trust in His goodness, to believe His word as faithful and true, to wait expectantly for Him to fulfill promise, and to struggle with Him rather than to run away.
Then came a season of new lessons. God was revealing Himself as One who longs for a resting place, a sanctuary to dwell amongst His people. It was during this time that I grew much more aware of the Kingdom of God being released here on Earth. I started imagining what it would be like for my heavenly home to actually come down. To experience home in the here and now.
So, present day, here we are and here I am, being stretched far beyond all the other lessons prior. I so get that it's God's deep desire to reestablish time and space for togetherness with Him but also with His family. I get that He will invest all the time in the world needed to make room for this, for the settlement of community and for establishing roots in this humble abode.
"For far too long this has been a neighborhood where hope and beauty have been roughed up and beaten down."
All of this seems to take a vast amount of surrender and trust, and it's kinda terrifying. Maybe you can relate or maybe not but, the idea of family for me has been tinged by dysfunction and pain. It's hard to face but sweetly and graciously the Lord continually reaffirms that this is the very thing that He is committed to redeeming and restoring, here on planet Earth. It is what we were created to long for, and to enjoy. And I believe Him.
I believe that not only will this beautiful reality be unleashed in me but also the whole of the West Side of Grand Rapids. For far too long this has been a neighborhood where hope and beauty have been roughed up and beaten down. Neighbors have gone through hardship and heartache, completely comprehending what it looks like and what it feels like to see family tearing at the seams. And there is no semblance of glamorous ministry here, but something far better, something raw and real. Courageous embers glimmer all around the Westside as glimpses of what God has for this neighborhood. My desire in any small way, be a part of fanning of these embers , for the future to be so brilliantly lit with love. I know this cannot be initiated by man's might nor power but only by the Spirit of the living God. Only then will it be a fire that doesn’t burn out. I believe each one of us in this community and in this internship has been brought to the Stockbridge Boiler Room by the perfect will of the Father. And we are here to simply and humbly abide and abode; to create space for family, to commit to the Father and to commit to each other as we grow in grace.
He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
Please join me in prayer for the journey! I look forward to sharing more as the internship progresses throughout the year.
:: Renee ::