So I TOTALLY get it! You are crazy busy! Some of you work an 8 hour day (maybe more!), get home, get right to the stove, and do dinner, homework, baths and then prep for the next day and then Repeat.
And weekends are all about catching up on housework and spending quality family time.
I so get that me suggesting adding anything else to your plate will probably make you want to smack me in the face!
But...listen up ladies- I have learned something SO crucial this year-
YOU NEED COMMUNITY and YOUR COMMUNITY NEEDS YOU.
YOU CANNOT DO LIFE ALONE.
And of course I am talking about your connections with church and the body of Christ but there is MORE...
...and this MORE is not time-sucking, energy-draining, stressful stuff- this MORE is life-giving and will be SURE to lift you up. What am I talking about?
Neighborhood ministry and connections.
You know...you are RIGHT WHERE GOD WANTS YOU TO BE IN YOUR COMMUNITY! There are people to your left, to your right, across the street and all around who NEED YOU and you NEED THEM.
The neighbors you have...they may be VERY different from you, they may not even seem remotely like anyone you'd feel drawn to connect with- but if you make an effort, you WILL BE BLESSED.
How do I know this?
Because a few months ago-I started reading a book by Amy Lively called- How to Love Your Neighbor and I started simply with praying for them and making a list of the ones I knew and asking God to connect me and guess what?
He TOTALLY did!!!
The next month we had a community yard sale and for the first time in a few years, I was crossing the street and walking next door.
I brought over some muffins to a neighbor that I had had a difficult time with in the past year.
SHE THEN BROUGHT ME OVER A BIBLE COVER SHE HAD CROCHETED FOR ME! WHAT?
This woman is not a Christian- from what I can gather, and WHAT?
She crocheted a Bible cover for me?
My neighbor next door- she and I chatted and I asked her if she'd like to hang out sometime and she said SHE DID!
Several families came by who spoke Spanish and my little three year old who is learning Spanish said a few words and I connected with some people whom I may never have before.
One gentleman works as a cook at a local restaurant and I gave his daughters some of my old jewelry at no cost and he said to me- "My name is Alberto. Anytime you come by- ask for me. I will come and greet your family."
A neighbor across the street had a Memorial day party- my son wanted to say- "Hi" to them- so we crossed the street and then they invited us over.
I was so nervous- I had just come back from a long trip, looked a hot mess, but I sat, played games, helped my neighbor cut some cake and before I knew it we were leaving with tadpoles that our other neighbor had given to her that she had found in the swimming pool.
One last thing- I really REALLY don't like to cook. So on Thursdays I give myself a break and typically order pizza or make something SUPER easy and I have been inviting a friend over from church. My house is a wreck by then, my kids are super crazy but we have a BLAST. I am thinking about hosting a Thursday dinner/play-date and asking some other ladies to come- pray for me! It will probably me once/month- but I will have water balloons, chalk, some games out back and probably pizza and I am hoping to continue to connect.
So- did I have to make any special arrangements or put in any extra effort for these things to happen? No! God worked it all out. And I was ENERGIZED, ENCOURAGED AND EXCITED afterwards.
Neighborhood Ministry- it's not just for the stay at home Mama ladies! Amy will be guest blogging here on 6/26 and I cannot wait for you to hear from her. But even more- you have got to check out her book. It has blessed me so much and I am only on Chapter three!
Also- check out her website and look around- she has some awesome free resources you can use even now. One that I love is the Neighborhood Commitment Prayers- it is something you can start with, like I did.
“Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full,”
Jesus said in Luke 14:23.
How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird helps you overcome fears about getting to know your neighbors and sharing your faith. You’ll learn simple, practical ways to get to know your neighbors, using your God-given personality. As you venture out of the comfort of your living room and into the lives of your neighbors, you’ll form authentic friendships, create a safer community, and find fulfillment in obeying Christ’s #2 command.