Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Miracle of Meeting my Neighbors

Meet our neighbors????  How can we find any space for another task?  The last thing we want to encounter is another "to-do" for us to fill when our own needs are pretty over-powering.

The truth is, when we take the time & energy to reach out to people, God uses the seeds we sow to grow something beautiful for US, and very often fill a need in our own lives. We sometimes forget that God asks us to bless others - not only for them, but often, its more for us.  

For the past six months, there have been tremendous changes & growing pains in my own life & family.  The REEEEALY painful ones - like having teeth pulled without numbing medicine kind of pain. You know - the changes that ache, contort, stretch, and have made the life I knew unrecognizable.

I'm an extrovert by nature, and thrive seeing people come together - community. I'm forever looking for creative ways I can spread the gospel of Jesus to people and through people.  But I've surprised even myself because in this time of heartbreak, I have just wanted to crawl into a cave, be by myself & lick my wounds.  

In the past, I have facilitated many neighborhood barbecues so people can meet those in their community, but this time, I didn't have it in me.  We moved to a new neighborhood, and of course it was brought up - "When's the BBQ???"  Not now.  I'm tired.  I don't have the energy.

But God...lovingly nudged the issue.  So I took a step forward and started the process - kinda hoping people would turn their nose up & not want the event.  But they did want it, so the planning went underway.

Through JUST the planning & invitation process, I met people, people met people, and some of our own family's deep silent needs/prayers were answered - and I heard numerous testimonies from others that I'm not alone in feeling the healing of our community coming together.  Why?  Because God uses people.  He often connects people to answer prayers, & meet needs.  

I believe with my whole heart that's why the enemy works sooo hard to bombard us with stress.  The result?  We feel bogged down, busy, overwhelmed, and we close off from people.  We are the loneliest busiest society.  We work so hard to accomplish our goals, but forget often God uses communities to build the beautiful places that healing & peace dwell.  We don't need to do it on our own, in our own strength, we weren't created to do it alone.

We are stronger, sharper, and HAPPIER as the body of Christ 
when we work together.

A beautiful time it was, & lots of new friendships forged. (For the privacy of our neighbors, I'm not posting pics of the participants) I saw numbers exchanged, laughter and conversations had, and community formed.  I KNOW more events will come for this area, and I'm super excited to see what God will do with it all.

During the BBQ I was approached by someone with the idea of cooking & delivering door to door Thanksgiving dinners to those in our neighborhood who have no family to share the holiday with and are physically unable to "go" to an event... NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!

I passionately love the church and all it gives out to people - but I'm committed to spreading the word that we are to BE the church (outside the walls) so much more than ATTEND the church. We need to look for opportunities - even if it's just a simple smile with compassion towards people no matter where we go.  Jesus is not a Sunday hobby, He's a healing lifestyle. I know so many of us are willing, but just not sure what our part is.  Let's start next door. 

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