The Bell Family

Random ponderings on God, life, and the humor all around us

Family Update


We moved to Indy eighteen months ago, and it seems as though we’ve all but been on radio silence since. There are many of you who still shoot us notes now and then to let us know you’re praying for us, so here’s a bit of an update on what’s going on so you know how to pray more specifically.

We bought a house on the near north side of Indy in February. It’s crazy close to the Children’s Museum, so if we find out you came up here to go there and didn’t tell us, expect a FB unfriending soon…

Our house looks nice, but our neighborhood doesn’t. It’s broken–physically, relationally, spiritually, and emotionally. And it’s one of the most beautiful places I’ve known. People are real. They have no reason to hide their problems. They feel comfortable with who they are. That also means they’re comfortable knocking on your door at any time to just hang out or ask for a favor. This I love.

We recently decided to begin a weekly neighborhood Bible study. We’ve had three different families on our street now interested in what we’re doing here, but the concept of a church meeting in a home is pretty foreign. Bible studies feel more comfortable to them. So we’re taking time for “official” discipling and fellowship along with the organic times that are happening most days.

image Once a month we’re also getting together with some other families around the city who are meeting in their own homes so we can encourage one another. God brought these peeps to us around May. They’re theological studs and studettes who get the gospel and get what it means to love on those around them. They have become our Jonathan/David and Elizabeth/Mary friendships.

I’m not gonna lie. I’m ready to throw in the towel every other day. It’s everything I wanted plus so much more, and it’s hard. Like way harder than anything else I’ve done. I love routines, schedules, organization–things that have no place here. I’ve had to learn to trust God’s providence in a way I’ve never known. There’s no prediction to when someone will knock on the door, when I’ll need to set out extra plates or scrounge up more food last minute. Crohn’s disease leaves me feeling fatigued most days. For many reasons, there are frequent financial needs somewhere, finances we don’t have but give away anyway in faith.

We’re also lonely. Our church is small and spread, and it’s difficult to find time to get together with others who will offer the encouragement we need to get through.

Through all this, though, I’ve learned a couple of surprising things. I realized for the first time ever that God controls everything, not me. Who knew?! Yes, yes, I’ve said that to others a gajillion times, but I’ve only begun to really learn this in Indy. The thing I haven’t yet figured out is how to trust him in all this without throwing a toddler-type temper tantrum, sticking out my bottom lip because things aren’t going my way.

I’ve also learned that I need the church. As in they’re more important than air. The fact isn’t new, just the realization. I’ve been part of churches whom I’ve craved seeing when the time comes, but I’ve never needed our church as I do now. I’m forced almost daily to give up my wants at all the times I would normally just serve me. In the past, seeing my church was simply another way to fulfill my self-serving agenda. Now, I CANNOT do this work without someone encouraging me to keep my eye on the prize, to fight the good fight, to remind me of the gospel and what’s been done for me. I can’t do this without someone pointing my sins toward the cross or giving me some practical advice on what I should/shouldn’t be doing. Without them, I would stop fighting.

We’re in a hard season. Not the hardest it could be by any means. We enjoy our children, all of whom are happy and healthy. Bill’s job continues to blow us away with blessings. We have good friends. God’s shown us favor in our neighborhood. But our souls are being stripped of all our preconceived notions of who God is and how he works. Perhaps that’s why we’ve been on radio silence. We aren’t quite sure what to say yet. So we ask you to pray, church. And we’ll write when we can and pray the Spirit speaks on our behalf.

5 thoughts on “Family Update

  1. Praying for you to feel Hi comfort and encouragement. Thank you for sharing and we hope to get up to Indy sometime to see you guys.

  2. Thank you so much for the update!! I love each and everyone in your family. I will continue to pray for your precious family. I love you guys so much!

  3. So, so good to read this. Praise God for this work in your lives and the lives of those around you. Oh, how good and gracious He is in the big, the small, the “good”, the “bad”. I am encouraged to press on. Thank you for sharing, sweet friends.

  4. Oh man…we can relate to much of this…it is beautiful what God is doing. As our pastor says, God is “reweaving” the gospel into the fabric of the city through His people. I love your life and am praying for you tonight!

  5. Ministry is hard. Always. Even for those whom God has called to serve within our traditional idea of “church”. It’s hard for those whom God has called to serve in countries outside the U.S. And it’s hard for those whom He has called to minister to people who have grown up in our own nation, but whose cultures seem foreign to us. Actually, it isn’t hard. It’s impossible. That’s why any successes one achieves always point to Him, not to us.

    He doesn’t call us because of our abilities, but exactly because we can’t do it. Just can’t. We are weak and fallible and broken and so, so needy ourselves. But He still calls us. And so we trust and we plunge in and we fail and we get up and do it over again. Sometimes over and over again. Sometimes without our ever seeing any results. But the glorious thing is, the results aren’t up to us. We are just called to be faithful, and God will perform what He could have done without us, but graciously allowed us to be part of.

    If He allows us to see success. Wow!!!! And if He doesn’t, we join very good company. Think of all the Old Testament prophets whom God assigned to very difficult tasks; usually He warned them up front that no one would listen. I almost certainly would have thrown up my hands and asked, “Why bother?” Some of them (i.e. Jonah) DID give up at first, and then obeyed only while grumbling all the way. But we bother because we follow the One Who knows what He’s doing.

    I rejoice that several families are joining you for Bible study. What a sweet way to encourage each other and to learn from each other. One of the most encouraging statements I read from your posting is, “our souls are being stripped of all our preconceived notions of who God is and how he works”. Would that we all got to that point!!!

    Praying for you and for your precious neighbors.

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