This blogging journey coming to an end…..and a new one beginning.

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The early days of inner city ministry

It started out as a place for a young mom doing full time inner city ministry alongside her husband to process and document the things they were doing and learning. It trickled, died, resurrected, morphed and followed this family as we welcomed moves, pregnancies, children, changes of plan, struggles and victories into our lives…. all under the gracious Hand of God, ever drawing us closer to Himself through the process.

Eight years this place has acted as an ebenezer of sorts…a place I return to, to reread and remember what a merciful God teaches through the gentle (and sometimes not so gentle) promptings of the Holy Spirit. It has been a place where others are allowed “into” to ponder, mourn, and celebrate along with us. My earnest prayer has not been for outsiders to look “in” and compare, or contrast their own lives with ours, but rather for them to catch glimpses of God’s goodness, guidance, and faithfulness to his promises in our family life, and then to take Him at His Word in their own.

With some sorrow and nostalgia,

this eight year journey is coming to a close…

…but not without the embarking of a new one.

If you are interested in the next phase of this Jesus-seeking, church-planting, Kingdom-laboring family’s journey, join us over at

www.journeytoshalom.com

as we document together the journey to discover and display Shalom in our hearts, lives, home and community in an underprivileged neighborhood of downtown Atlanta….all places desperate for the Prince of Peace to visit.

Embarking on a new sort of inner city ministry...with six of our own kids involved.

Embarking on a new sort of inner city ministry…with six of our own kids involved.

**If you are currently a subscriber to lovingtheleastofthese.com, then please be sure to subscribe to JourneytoShalom.  Although this blog will remain up, all of the current adventures will be posted to JourneytoShalom, and there will be no more notifications coming through this site. The lovingtheleastofthese archive has travelled with us to our new spot, but our subscribers haven’t, and we don’t want to lose you in the journey!

 

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Three months and no words? Where have the Iversons been all summer?

 

Where have the Iversons been all summer?!?©KathrynMcCraryPhotographyAtlantaPhotographer-150

Three full months, and no words?

No blog posts?

No adventures to recount?

No thoughts or impressions from the Lord?

No musings from the Living Word of God?

Oh, they have been there.

They have been mulled over while scrubbing pots and pans.

They have been formulated while setting up chairs for the large number of houseguests coming over for dinner.

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extra bodies and mouths start to gather for dinner

They have been pieced together in nights spent rocking sleepless babes.

The kid that smiles big during the day, but sleeps little during the night

The kid that smiles big during the day, but sleeps little during the night

They have been composed while sitting in traffic, driving home from multiple doctor appointments for an eight year old’s broken arm.

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wounded, but cheerful little broken-armed girl

They have been half typed, at wee hours in the morning, but always interrupted by a coughing child, or a bad dream or a wet bed.

They have been there…but so have the setbacks…broken arms, bashed mouths with teethe getting knocked out.  A baby’s bad fall. Bloody battles (literally and spiritually)

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This is the “rated G” picture…be glad his lips are covering what the inside of his mouth looks like. Two teeth completely gone, and another just dangling

The adventures have been had, the sightings of God’s mighty work has been seen, abundant answers to prayers for ministry partners have been witnessed, but Oh, for the time to be able to sit and record them…to have the time to do as Isaiah 63:7 states

I will recount the gracious deeds of the Lord, the praiseworthy acts of the Lord, because of all that the Lord has done for us, and the great favor to the house of Israel that he has shown them according to his mercy, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

 

I know the Lord wants us to recount these deeds He has done. The homeless family that is learning how to be a family again, without the throws of dysfunctional relationships and drug addiction.  The little baby born to homeless parents who should have died at delivery two weeks ago but is now ventilator free and ready to come home from the hospital, despite her blindness and multiple health issues. The way the single mom was thrilled at the Bible study we held in the home, declaring “I’ve never heard the Bible taught like this. This is exactly what I have been needing.”  The way that the young man who was about to convert to a very deceptive religion, ran up to Danny the other night and said, “I don’t want to be a part of that other stuff! I want to be baptized.”  The way the doors of this Shalom home have opened to four different homeless people who needed to be a part of a family’s rhythms, as rocky as they might be,  so they could learn what being  covenant family is all about.  The way that the boy, all rough and tough and angry, melted in tears last week at church with us.  The way that God has answered my prayer that He raise up an older black lady to be my prayer partner…and He brought her into my life in the most creative of ways. The way teachers from our kids public charter school want to come over for dinner to learn more about what this church plant is all about. The way we have been praying that God would take all these buildings that have been abandoned by business owners and put new businesses in them…and God sent a Christian Korean couple to start one .3 miles from our house, with them declaring, “We kept trying to avoid the call, but the Spirit of God kept telling us to open this Wings and Philly place right here…and we couldn’t figure out why.”

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Kids time, during house church

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Bible study and prayer! We are all soaking it up.

There are so so many other stories….stories of God answering specific prayers laid out MONTHS ago before the Throne of the One who reigns on High and is more passionate about this church plant than we are.  And OH, for the time to recount them.

Would you join me in prayer that this would come about?  That God grant the windows of time to work on the new blog, and the new ministry website which recently got hacked, crashed, and now has to be rebuilt before we have a new place to declare the faithful deeds of the God we serve?

Would you pray for a mother, busy with the life of running a household of eight+ all the people staying with us, to be granted the windows of time needed to type, and pray, and record, and write these posts and finish that book that was started two years ago now?

The enemy of our souls, wants the stories silenced. But I believe our God wants His glorious goodness to be put on display.

His Church is being built.  His Kingdom is advancing. His saints are praying and seeing miraculous answers.

And these stories will not be silenced.

 

**stay tuned for information about JourneytoShalom;the journey towards wholistic peace and flourishing in an under privileged community of the inner city: launching soon, Lord-willing**

 

 

 

 

Where did November go?!?

I am too busy being present in my life, to blog about it these days.

That hit when, yesterday, I clicked on my blog link and realized I hadn’t blogged since October!  How could that be?! I started pondering…what on earth have I been doing, that I haven’t had time to blog for that long…I started to ransack my weakened-by-pregnancies memory, and it all started coming back to me…

Fall Baking Fest with the kids:

(Mind you, I dragged five children into two different grocery stores looking for canned pumpkin and they didn’t have it.  At the second one, I declared “I’m not leaving this store without pumpkin!” So we bought two small real pumpkins and took them home to bake them down and puree them.)

Our cousins are back from Southeast Asia!!

We played with them as often as possible, because their time back in the States is short.  Our desires is that these little cousins will be the best of friends and future partners in the Gospel.

Outreach Dinner (no pictures, because I was too busy hosting and forgot to take them)

We partnered with some good friends of ours to host a “Dinner and Discussion” night in our home.  Each family invited friends and neighbors who don’t know the Lord to come over for dinner and to have discussion about spiritual things.  We had about 25 people total (including the kiddos) and had a great dinner together.  Then we watched a Francis Chan video, Stop and Think, and had a great time of discussing and then prayer.  Every single person who came was interested in be part of a beginners Bible Study that we are starting in January.  People who would feel intimidated by going to church, loved the evening in a relaxed atmosphere and said they learned so much and thought about things they don’t normally think about.   Praise the Lord.

Danny turns..ehhem…35

We had a “pre-Thanksgiving” feast and had 25 people over the following weekend to celebrate Danny’s life.  Again, no pictures because I was too busy hosting. And no, I didn’t cook everything…A bunch of people brought sides, to complement the meal. Guests hung words of encouragement on 35 different slips of paper all throughout the house, we had sweet fellowship, prayer for Danny’s life, and hilarious games….Laughing is good for the soul.

Daniel Josiah turns SEVEN!!!

And by request, we had a Ninjago party, complete with Ninja headbands, Sensaii appearance by Danny who led them in Ninja training, and fighting skills practice on a pinata (plus snacks and Ninjago cake and ice cream).  Super low budget, but everyone had such a great time. And most importantly, the birthday boy said it was the best birthday party ever.

My family comes into town!!!

What a sweet, sweet time.  I am so privileged to have such an amazing father, brother(s) and sister, AND honored that they made the trek south to spend the (almost) week with us. We played outside, went “hiking” (hiking is a relative term in Florida), stayed up late talking and laughing, and even did some shopping.

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Thanksgiving

We hosted an eclectic spread of people for Thanksgiving dinner-a neighborhood family who is having a hard time, people from the nursing home that we work with, an older gentleman from our church who doesn’t have any family nearby, and two guys from Egypt. After two straight days of cooking for the feast, I declared I wasn’t cooking again for a week! (and I didn’t, thanks to leftovers….) I was so thankful for my family who helped occupy children and straighten the house while I was busy in the kitchen. Some of our guests, for whom I had cooked for two days straight, are rather senile and didn’t have much of a clue what was going on, as long as they got fed.  It was such a good reminder of the Gospel to me- I often don’t have a clue all that God has done for me, yet I am still welcomed at the Feast of Life, simply because the Bridegroom has invited me. Also, the guys from Egypt were so encouraging to talk to.  Particularly, one who is a Christian, and who has witnessed firsthand the persecution from Muslims for his faith.  He had challenging words for us and really encouraged us in our vigilance in the faith. (I could, and hopefully will eventually write a whole blog post on our conversation.) My favorite part of the evening was going around and sharing what we were thankful for, meditating on Psalms of thanks, and having a worship time afterwards.

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Putting up the Christmas Tree!

We invited our housemate from Libya, Nader, to be part of this fun family tradition.  The kids were so ecstatic, you would have thought it was Christmas day!  It was great to share our Christmas traditions, sing carols around the tree, and then have a late night conversation with Nader about life, God, and cultures.

First of our Christmas Clubs!

I’ve recruited two other Christian moms to help me put on a series of four Christmas clubs to help teach kids the real meaning of Christmas.  We invited other students from the public school where Daniel Josiah goes and we had 16 kids come, with more who are interested in coming in the future.   It was a full, energetic house, but everyone had a great time, as we had snack, did a Christmas lesson, craft and outdoor games.  Its a great way to get to know other moms also. Again, I only snapped a quick photo at the tail end when we were playing games outside.  (its hard to teach and take pictures at the same time)

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And, THAT, folks, is where November went….

No Blog Post

Cyberspace’s most inconsistent blogger signing in here. Last night, I really did intend to record all the amusing things that Katy-Grace has said in the past several weeks.  The kids were in bed at a decent hour (remarkable!) and I had just moved downstairs to get better internet connection.  I wasn’t half-way through the first sentence, when Nader (our Libyan housemate) came home, sat down at the table and said,

“I didn’t go to sleep until 5 am this morning”

“Oh, no! Why?”

“I was thinking about those questions you asked me at dinner last night.”

The previous night we were all eating in our typically rambunctious manner (its a wonder, he’s willing to join us at our crowded, loud, be-careful-Benjamin’s-dinner-might-land-on-you dinner table each night) and I just felt led to ask him.

“Why are you Muslim?”

It was this question that kept him up all night, thinking, researching, and investigating for himself why he believes what he does.

He started pulling up different things he had seen on the internet.

I knew there would be no blog post written that night.

We had a lot to discuss, questions to be answered. Nader is honestly seeking things out, not to prove that “he’s right, and we’re wrong” but honestly wanting to understand and investigate a faith that has never gone questioned in his life.   We had such a good discussion, no heated arguments, no getting emotional about it, but honest questions and discussions. I came away with research to do on my part, always on a journey to know the Truth. I also came away with a deep respect for him and his desire to know the Truth.  And we shall see where this journey to know the Truth shall lead us. I have an inkling as to where it might lead. His call is irresistible.

And in the meantime, I’ll try to get to that blog post.

Blog Idolatry on the Altar

Here I make some confessions, very humbling ones, that expose the twistedness of my heart….the other night I spent three hours (into the wee hours of the morning) working on putting another blog post up and then perusing a bunch of other people’s blogs…that was three hours compared the the groggy 30 minutes that I spent reading God’s Word at 6 am that morning. Now, I’ve only been back at this blogging thing for a couple of weeks now, and it is alarming how easily blog idolotry has crept into my heart.  The whole reason I started blogging again was because I felt the Lord leading me to….but look how quickly I have started to find my identity in a stupid online “journal” and the responses I get from people concerning it. I have checked out and compared myself to other bloggers, belittling myself when I know I will not be able to keep up with how diligent others blog, or what beautiful pictures they post of living overseas or the deep insights they have about parenting, or the cool features they have on their blogs like music playing and high tech links.  After that three hour session I got on my knees and confessed it to the Lord.  I have quickly let my heart look to a “blog presence” to find an identity, when the most wonderful identity has been purchased for me by the REAL blood (not cyberspace) of Christ.  I refuse to let this happen. I refuse to try to gain glory for myself, or build an identity for myself because God has already told me that the Lord is on high and He looks upon the lowly, but the proud he knows from afar.” (Psalm 138:6) I am not willing to be known from afar by the Only One who is worth knowing.  I refuse to indulge the thought that I might have something to share that would help or challenge someone.  I am an aweful, twisted, vain person.  No, don’t read this blog, shut your computer and go spend time at the feet of Jesus.  He is the only One worthy of listening to.  He wrote a blog called the Bible and its ALIVE and ACTIVE and its SHARP and it will cut you to the heart, and then Kimberly Iverson can’t take a lick of credit for challenging you.  It will all be Him and He’ll get the glory that is due His name.

As I prayed about what I should do, I didn’t feel like the Lord was telling me to quit blogging all together (although I would if He led me to). The legalistic part of me wanted to not ever post a blog entry on Facebook ever again (Danny said he didn’t think I should do that, either). But what I can do is cry out to the Holy Spirit to keep my heart in check (and get Danny to help me) and I can just quietly write for the audience of ONE.  (and maybe my sister..and dad… and my grandma… IF she can figure out how to get to my blog).  And that is it.  I would rather humble myself before the Lord than have to BE HUMBLED by Him, which He promises to do (Pr 3:34)  The wedge that pride and vain-glory creates in intimate fellowship with THE WORTHY ONE is just too high of a price.  

My prayer is that of A.W Tozer’s in The Pursuit of God

O God, Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee even if, as a result, I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream.  Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my health, and even my life itself. Let me sink that Thou mayest rise above.  Ride forth upon me as Thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humbles little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, “HOSANNA IN THE HIGHEST”.  Amen.

My Blog has Resurrected!! (3 years and a couple babies later)

After several years, a couple of babies, and a move to Florida, my blog is finally being resurrected.  Jesus was in the grave three days, well, my blog was in the grave for three years.  But just as the Lord can restore what has been lost, hopefully my blog will be restored for good.

I had originally started blogging in Newark, NJ, while we were laboring and ministering to the poor, broken, and marginalized of the city (which is basically ALL of the city)**.  I started it to chronicle some of our CRAZY adventures, and to give me a place to sort through the immense suffering, pain, and brokenness that I experienced and witnessed on a daily basis.

Now we live in suburBLAHia. Not too many crazy adventures here, folks…

BUT, God has definitely called us to this season, and He has purposes for us here and maybe, just maybe, they might be worth chronicling.

If, for nothing else, I can chronicle the lives of my children and our family life…because I know that one of the reasons that the Lord removed us from the craziness of inner city life was so that I could really “get down to business” in raising them and having them be my number one ministry.

I also realized, being the intelligent person that I am, that trying to keep up with four children’s baby books is slightly absurd. (It was an epiphany I had when I had returned from a four hour baby book camp out at Starbucks and Danny asked, “So are you all caught up?” and I said “Yes!! Well at least up to October…” and it was February) I treasure my baby book that my mother made for me, so I had been determined to keep up with them for my children…but if we have as many children as we hope God gives us, there comes a point when you’ve just gotta streamline. Work smarter not harder.  So, kiddos, consider these chronicles your baby books all wrapped up into one..always accessible, via the world wide web. Sorry, Benjamin…

**note-most of my older posts don’t have pictures now because when my old blog died, we were only able to save the writings, not the pictures… at least we were able to salvage something…