Love Your Neighbor

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Deal With the Messiness - Jeff Goins

We went to the park yesterday. The chidlren and two friends piled in the car and headed out for an adventure.

The weather was sticky and with a breeze, it felt wonderful….as we sat in the park where I met the three strangers.  The park seems a little different now, not quite the same….and I know it is not the park, it is me.

Holding Hands

As we walked down the sidewalk, I noticed her…..sitting at a table under the pavillion seeking refuge from the heat.  Her head was down and her arms over her head.

a soul in torment.

I watched her….and watched the children.  I felt a stir in my heart, an almost silent whisper asking when I was going to begin walking the walk in front of my children….stop being afraid and step out…even one tiny step to embrace the world around me.

To live a life that is wrecked.

As I sat and listened to this voice, the sound of children’s laughter was echoing….and I asked for guidance.  I not only had my children, but a friend’s children.

“How can I help and maintain their safety? How can I step out, be the hands and show them “Doing the right thing is hard?”

The cool breeze that had been blowing….vanished.  The air was still and oppressive and the woman with her head down walked out from under the pavilion and sat at a table closer to us…out from under the shelter, out into the light.

With the shifting of the wind (rather the loss of the breeze) the children left their play and came to me….asking for water and perhaps a reprieve from the dense air around us.

Walking

As we all began to walk away, my heart was beating and my head was screaming….and my feet did not follow what my head was saying. They walked straight toward the woman and as I approached, I prayed….not for me, but for her, for my children (little eyes are always watching, waiting to see what example we will set for them)

I prayed so many different prayers….and I asked if she needed help.

Her response was confusing and her actions were, too.  I realized I was ill-equipped to help at that moment…at least me, personally.  I had no money, no food,  and the car was full.

But, I could offer her love and a prayer…..

As I walked away, I felt defeated.  I felt that I had not done enough.

And I made a call…. a call to someone I thought could help.  The children asked me about the woman, the choices I made and how to help others.

I realized in that moment….taking that first step,that step out of being fearful of wanting to help but not knowing how God can use you. The fear of not knowing the outcome….the fear of failure, the fear of not being enough….

Wrecked Wordle

those fears are lies.

We can not save the world, but we can follow the words of our savior:

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40  On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

Yesterday, I was given a chance to be wrecked…to do the hard thing….to be the hands and feet and to set that example for my children.  Was my example perfect and did it remedy the situation?

No

Am I going to hang my head down? NO WAY – because I took that first step and I want my children to do the same.  I want them to see past this physical world and into the spiritual.  I want to do my part and step back and know that God – He is in control….

The children and I continue to read through the Old Testament chronologically.  It’s become a fun part of our day. We are now in the book of 1 Samuel….and- what a blessing it is!

 What would you have done?

 

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Comments

  1. I’m so proud of you for stopping! What a great example for your children – and for her, to know that someone noticed and cared to ask.

  2. Beautiful. Messy. Wrecked. Way to step out momma!

  3. I don’t know what I’d have done, but I think you did the best thing you could. Having been the lady in the park before, I know that just having someone ask if you need help is often the saving moment of your life. That realization that you’re not invisible, and that someone might care enough to at least approach you…well, believe me when I say that there’s nothing material that you can do that will go farther than those few kind words. You definitely did the right thing, and may have made more of an impact than you think.

    • You, my friend have a story to tell…a book to write and lives to impact. You bless me….and yes, just knowing can make a world of difference!

    • Denise, yes…the simple….that’s where God meets me the most….it’s what my children truly desire the most and what I desire….just simple, true, honest love.

  4. Wow!!
    …and what Cindy said!
    Just to know that someone notices speaks volumes!

    • Yes, you are right…we all want to know someone notices, right? I wonder…do we put more emphasis on people noticing for our gain or for the glory of God?

  5. I think when opportunities present themselves, as they did to you, it is scary to step out in faith. And we hope that our reaching out will have a fairy tale ending, that we will actually be able to help. And I think that is not true very often. Yet the simple act of stepping out of our comfort zone, of extending a hand in God’s love, really is enough in God’s eyes. He knows our weaknesses and our vulnerability. Just making that effort means a lot, to Him and to the person we try to help. You are so brave, and were a wonderful example to your children. I hope your experience inspires us all to trust the Holy Spirit’s voice in our heads when confronted with similar “opportunities”. God bless you and your children!

    • Yes, this! You’re right. We do expect that fairy tale ending and when it doesn’t happen, we have this tendency to thing that we failed or that we weren’t used by God, but you’re right — making ourselves willing and open to be used by Him is what He’s called us to do. We don’t have to fix everything, we just have to be willing to be used by Him. Thanks for pointing that out.

    • Lisa, yes…..that is so true. We believe we can be the one to save someone and when faced with the reality that we can’t….we think we have failed. Yet, by seeing the opportunities, taking that step and being obedient….shares His love and gives Him an opportunity to take us to that next step. Baby steps…moving from milk to meat….it’s beautiful, frightening at times, but beautiful!

  6. Good for you for stepping out of your comfort zone! I’m sure, in whatever way, big or small, God will use what you were willing to do.

  7. God has been dealing with me on this a LOT lately — as in, unceasingly. It’s as if He’s banging on my head saying, “Do you hear Me? Are you getting this?”

    We’ve been working on memorizing the same verse you quoted and there is a blog post that’s been brewing in my mind over what God has been showing me. Good for you for being brave enough to take those first steps out of your comfort zone. I pray that I will have the courage I need when the opportunity presents itself.

    • Kris, I believe He gives us opportunities daily to reach out and help others…. It sounds like God is pulling your heart to make some choices, decisions….that will bring some amazing growth into your life. I can’t wait to see what exciting stories He provides you to write about.

  8. “, I know that just having someone ask if you need help is often the saving moment of your life. That realization that you’re not invisible, and that someone might care enough to at least approach you…”

    My thoughts mirrored Cindy’s, completely. When I was 10, my grandfather died. He was the first of my grandparents to pass and it was VERY traumatizing for me (seeing my dad cry for the first time; seeing the seriousness of my mom as she rounded us kids up to “tell you something very important; seeing my grandmother distraught as she recalled the details of the night he died from a heart attack at home; watching my dad, his sisters, and my grandmother say goodbye as I was ushered out of the room at the funeral home.) As I stood in a second room at the funeral home, waiting for my parents, confused, very emotionally devastated and crying, my aunt came out of nowhere and hugged me close. I will never EVER forget that she saw a child in pain and responded; that she was there for me. That was a defining moment for me in my life; that it matters if we notice and matters even more if we respond. Thanks for sharing this beautiful reminder with us.

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