Today I reread “God Called Me to Move to the Trailer Park.” It’s an article about Kim Dougherty, an amazing woman who chose a life of risk and adventure serving a forgotten corner of her small town–a mobile home community called Woodland Village. Part of Kim’s story is that she recently completed a residency with Forge Chicago. The training and coaching she received through Forge helped shape her life, mission, and community in her town and in the trailer park.
When I first read the article in March, I didn’t know that, come May, I’d be working for Forge America. But I did know that I loved her story and her heart. Today I’m helping to collect Forge stories for an upcoming book, and so I revisited Kim’s journey, and this passage stood out to me:
[content_box_light_blue width="75%"]She was on a tidy Christian ministry career track until 2002, when she learned she was pregnant for the first time in her 11-year marriage. In a span of four months, she experienced a miscarriage, the unraveling of her marriage, and the death of her mother. “I lost my church, my home, my baby, my husband and my mother,” she said…
As she served and worked through her losses with friends at school and church, she began to heal. Acts of practical service reconnected her with the desire she had as a young woman to live a missional life. She discovered that the very experiences that may have disqualified her from institutional ministry leadership in some settings are what gave her credibility and authority among those she now served, including her new neighbors at Woodland.[/content_box_light_blue]
Man I just love that paragraph. I love that what Satan uses to accuse us and to “disqualify” us, God uses for good. That through the rough parts of our stories we are sharpened and readied and become, in fact, more effective. I love that rather than giving up her calling, Kim gave up being “qualified” for church, and just became the church to a nearly forgotten demographic in her city.
I think that we all need to take a page from her book. We need to recognize that God uses every part of our story and that we are not discarded.
How wonderful and beautiful is that?