The Bell Family

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


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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.