convictions, neighbors

Why live in a neighborhood ?

I probably shouldn’t write this post. I often think about this topic and want to share about it… but there is a fear attached because neighbors may read it and take it wrong. People who don’t get me… who I am. Where my heart is… will consider my words as harsh, judgemental and miss the purpose. Yet… here I am, writing. Writing is something I use to do a whole lot more of… yet stopped after a situation at a church that got ugly… and a church member actually tried to use a blog post I wrote many years ago against our family. I don’t think I considered how hurt I was… and just pushed aside my love for writing and justified my reason. That I needed to be silent. That my words weren’t worth hearing. That my words were foolish and not important… but my post was not wrong… my words weren’t meant for harm… and I am learning no matter how “careful” we are… no matter how good our intentions may be. SOMEONE will always be offended… and someone will forever and always take it wrong. Misjudge our motive and misunderstand our heart. Its the world we live in and I am learning to be ok with the possible risk.

This morning a family is heavy on my heart. Not one I knew greatly… but one that I got to know briefly for a little over a year. This family lost their dad/husband this week in a very tragic way and I am just grieved for them. He leaves behind 4 lovely children (who I photographed a year ago for our home school co-op) and a incredibly kind and sweet wife who loves Jesus and her family.

I never have the right words for these times and often find myself silent. Unsure what to say.

Another family this week, their grandmother was in a head on car crash… She is not out of the woods yet… and has a lot of hurdles to come. She almost died that night… and she still has many surgeries to come.

Then there was the shooting in TX…. where over half of that small baptist church, was killed… countless children….

So much grief…

All these events bring lots of emotions to the surface… and lots of thoughts… but one of them that I keep coming back to is how important true community is…

How I hate that we are so busy in our own lives that we seem to have a disconnect between each other.

We pop on facebook. Scroll instagram…and feel connected, yet there is a lack there.

I remember back in Georgia. We moved into a neighborhood for the 1st time ever in our married life. We had never lived that close to other people and the whole “neighborhood” experience was new for us. When we pulled in our moving truck to this neighborhood in Georgia, the neighbor directly beside our home there was outside, kids in one arm, waiting. She was present and there from day one.

ED9A9169Her and her husband became dear friends of ours and we trusted them completely.

Amazing family.

They showed us how truly wonderful it is to be close to neighbors.

How it takes being intentional and present. Actually physically spending time together… and getting to know each other.

Jessie would often knock on my door and offer to watch Owen who was 2 at the time. She baby sat that little knot more than I can count. So much so that one time Owen threw up on Jessie and yet she still offered to help us haha.

Id take her husband sweets (as I love to bake) and he’d often joke about how I was going to make him fat. The time I gave him black bean brownies will forever be funny. (he loved them haha but black bean brownies have side effects HAH!)

We use to spend easters together, thanksgivings and of course every birthday.

That experience and those times with that family made me realize how community should be.

How a neighborhood should feel.

Yet, let me be honest here… all I ever see our neighborhood talk about on the “facebook” page, is about how so and so is speeding, how someones dog took a dump in so and so’s yard… and whatever else someone else did to offended so and so.

It is like we have forgotten how to just communicate with each other. How to be kind. Showing grace.

This isn’t a “bashing my own hood” post either… cause I love many of my neighbors.

I see this in MANY circles. Not just one neighrborhood.

This whole topic could apply to the church.

It could apply to those with a large family…. and the bickering, disconnect and assumptions/hurt feelings that cripple many families and create unbreakable walls, that some may never over come. Robbing so many of such blessing.

I’m not sure where this post can really end.

Just sharing my heart.

Sharing where I am… and how I wish we were just LESS BUSY & more available just to be.

Wishing we would strive to connect in person rather than with a “like” or “double tap.

So to end… invite someone over.

When those neighbors hit hardship, will they find comfort in the care of their neighbors. Will that even be there? I don’t live close to any of the victims in TX. I can pray… but I can’t love them like a close knit community or neighbor could. Our friends in GA who’s grandmother was in the car crash live to far for us to go take them a meal… or sit with them at the hospital…help baby sit their kids, etc… I know those in GA have great connections with their neighbors though (in fact our old neighbor Jessie is one of them, so I know they’ll be loved and cared for during this time). I am not super close with the family locally who just lost their dad…. and I wish I was so I could do more… I can take a meal… but I can’t be there in the same way that a close neighbor could. Someone trusted who does life with the person. Taking a meal does help though… so even if that is all you can do, do it.

One time in Georgia I took a stranger a meal. A young mom who had cancer. 3 young kids about the same age as my children. I didn’t know her from the stranger beside me in traffic… yet I took them a meal because there was a need. Who knew she’d become a close friend of mine who I will forever care for. She btw is cancer free now! Im so thankful I took that meal that day and got to know her and be her friend for the few years we had in Georgia.

When your kids play, sit outside at the end of your driveway with a chair and hope someone comes and sits with you. Our boys play outside A LOT and I clearly can’t sit with them every second of every day while they play… but why not sit for some. Be present and available. Who knows, it may need to start with you. Be ok with being the initiator... sometimes it takes that person to start.

One thing I will never forget is a friend telling me that I had the gift of being the one to start…. and that she was always thankful I took the effort to call and invite…. I didn’t think that was a gift… and often times found myself frustrated I always had to do the inviting… and was never the one invited. It made me feel unimportant and that I was the only one who cared.

Don’t assume that the other doesn’t long for that too.

and…. finally. Don’t pass judgement on anothers motive… thoughts or words… nothing good ever came from assumption.

The only assumptions that ever yielded good, was the assumption of positive thoughts… and assuming the best.

Less offense….

and more love.

4 Comments on “Why live in a neighborhood ?

  1. I relate to so much of this! My 90 yr old neighbor died last week. I had gotten slack on visiting tgem bc im so “busy” with house/kids. It was on my mind for the last 2 weeks to visit, and i kept putting it off. Similarly, my husband was deployed all year, leaving me with 3 kids… no one frim church reached out or checked on me. No one sent any mail to my husband. We are all in our own little bubbles. I also am usually the one initiating get-togethers. Never thought of it as a gift, that’s a great perspective. I tend to have a pity party and wonder why i am always inviting and no one ever invites me. Great post Andrea.

  2. I’m so glad you wrote this… so many truths. I miss your blog and it was good to hear your voice again. There are so many things going on these days… but love your heart and love the encouragement that you shared. Thanks so much! You have a gift and it was a blessing to read this tonight.

  3. What a great post!! Thanks for being brave and sharing a glimpse of your heart. You’re an inspiration and what you said should be shared and spread around! ?

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