My best friend Melissa was in a crisis, and she and her 3 teenagers moved in with us. Immediately God started working to prepare me for Joshua marrying Melissa. Plural marriage had never been in any of our plans, and believe me when I say I had a long way to go.
One day, not long after Melissa had moved in with us, these hoodlums started walking past our house on a regular basis. We lived near a skate park, and it was usual for teenagers to walk past our house. But there was something different about these teenagers.
For one thing, they were coming past during school hours. Why aren’t they in school? I wondered. I thought about calling the truancy officer at the local high school, but I didn’t want to be that nosy neighborhood lady, always worrying about everyone else and never looking hard enough at her own life.
They were also dressed in a rough manner. Wearing hoodies even in the beautiful April weather. The classic baggy pants down around their knees. Baseball caps worn backwards. The sorts of things that bother nosy neighbor ladies.
There wasn’t any destination nearby except for the skate park; none of these hoodlums was headed to work or school.
It wouldn’t have bothered me as much if there was just one teenager going past, to meet his friends at the park. It was the sense of a gang: several hoodlums roaming the neighborhood made me nervous.
Sometimes I watched them saunter past our house. We lived on the corner and it seemed like they were always turning that corner and heading up the hill, going past both our front and back yards. I never saw them go into a house.
I was secure from them, inside my locked house, spying on them, but I had three small children, and I liked to let them play outside. The neighborhood always felt safe enough, until those hoodlums showed up and started going past the house what seemed like several times a day.
This went on for a week or two and was really starting to bother me. I didn’t know how to handle it and I started praying, asking Father in Heaven for help, asking Him to send away the hoodlums, asking him what I should do about this problem, telling Him I wanted my babies kept safe and I want to live in a place that would allow us to continue our lives without fear of hoodlums.
While I was praying, the answer that came to me was shocking: “I will get rid of the hoodlums after you get rid of the hoodlum in your heart.”
What??? Get rid of the hoodlum in my heart? Do I have a hoodlum in my heart?
I got really honest and looked deep into my heart and realized that, indeed, there was a hoodlum in my heart. I hadn’t realized it, but there was a rebellious piece of my heart that didn’t want to share my husband with another woman. I thought I was willing, I thought I was happy to do it, I thought I was ready. But it turned out that wasn’t thorough enough, and I had to repent on a deeper level.
Once the hoodlum in my heart was spotted, it was up to me to get rid of it. I repented. I got rid of the hoodlum in my heart. And then… God got rid of the hoodlums in my neighborhood.
Those teenagers who had been going past my house multiple times every day stopped coming. I never saw them again.