Nov 032015

“The second is this:  Love your neighbor as yourself”.  Mark 12:31

I took the phrase “Howdy neighbor” and embraced it to a new level today.  (I am also embracing and caressing my first cup of coffee with pumpkin pie creamer as I write this.  Oh.  Yes.  Feel the love.)

I haven’t been as diligent to take regular walks during this pregnancy.  But today I was making “the walk” a priority.  As I set out my front door I was thankful the rain train was not heading full speed ahead like it had been the past week.  I was surrounded by brilliant fall trees.  My husbands oversized sweatshirt (about the only clothing which would fit).  And a street full of neighbors (which were seemingly gone and busy- as was typical to how they and we rolled most days).

One step.  Two steps.  Three steps.  But no more.  I spotted our neighbor in the midst of “Goodwilling it”, adding a bed to their truck and felt led to atleast give a friendly “Howdy neighbor” to her.  But then felt led to linger a little longer.  We exchanged pleasantries.  She encouraged me that it “wouldn’t be long now” due to my oversized belly (which was impossible now for others NOT to comment on).  This was the beginning of what would be a 30 minute neighbor to neighbor conversation in the road.  It was unexpected and unplanned.  But God ordained.  And therefore the walk was postponed.

But let me tell you.  This conversation was life giving to me.  I got the opportunity to partner with the Spirit to encourage a Mom who needed it.  I do not know exactly where she is spiritually, but I know she was seeking counsel.  With tears in her eyes as we ended our conversation she said, “I asked God for help and He sent you to go on a walk so you could encourage and help me.”

Wow.  Humbling beyond belief.  God’s grace beyond measure.  A blessing beyond blessing to start my day.  And to think my agenda and the thought of “lost time” could have squelched me of this moment.

After this interaction I amazingly still had sufficient time for a walk.  (or actually waddle would be more corrrect as I am due in a couple weeks).  I enjoyed breathing in nature and God’s presence with each step.  I felt compelled to go a little shorter distance than I typically had done earlier in my pregnancy.  Almost home I prayed God would give me more “God ordained” moments like the one I had just experienced with my neighbor.  One step.  Two steps.  No more.  I saw a Mom getting out of the car with her baby girl.  The “howdy neighbor” urge came on strong again.  And although we had never talked before, she was my literal neighbor.  And we began a conversation, not so unlike the one moments earlier (including pleasantries and my oversized belly).  We talked loudly as we were a distance apart but as the conversation progressed, we moved closer.  I came to find out she is an unbeliever.  But we shared many things in common.  And the conversation was full of laughter and yet sharing of life’s challenges.  She may not have accepted Jesus with me right there in that moment, but I know a seed was planted.  I got to share my story (which always includes Gods grace and love) and show her the love of Jesus.

Wow.  Humbling beyond belief.  God’s grace beyond measure.  A blessing beyond blessing to start my day.  And to think my agenda and the thought of “lost time” could have squelched me of this moment.

Some would say it was unfortunate that I had lost time talking when I was supposed to have been walking.  But if there has been one thing that I have found to be true 100% of the time in my life, it is when God nudges, time doesn’t matter.  Too often have I allowed my “time intensive/perfected” schedule to override the “God ordained” interaction beckoning me.  Too often have I allowed my priorities to trump His.  And too often have I missed out on the life giving moments the Spirit offered but I selfishly put my present needs above another’s.  But there has not been one time in which I have followed that quickening of my Spirit to speak or act and my scheduled time/activity/schedule/work hasn’t also gotten done.  It may not be done in the exact time frame I was expecting, but our God is good and gracious to reshift our priorities to His.  And I have had more than I can count instances in which He actually extended my time and productivity so I never “lost time”.  Time is NEVER “lost” when responding to the Spirit rather than our own schedule.  Time is only GAINED.  For.  His glory.  And our righteousness.  Joy.  And peace.  Which equals abundant life!

My daughter’s new song she plays on repeat night and day is fitting for me today and maybe will encourage you when making decisions today as to where you will spend your time:

“There’s more to this life.  Than living and dying.  More than just trying to make it through the day.  More to this life.  More than these eyes alone can see.  And there’s more.  Than this life alone can be.”

I thanked God for the opportunity to literally “Love my neighbor as myself”.  To “look after” someone else in love.  This 2nd greatest commandment in the bible I have always thought of in regards to ALL people, (which it is) but today it didn’t include the ALL of  a family member, teacher at my girls’ school, friend, church acquaintance, co-worker, or stranger at the grocery store.  Today God nudged me to love on two women within two blocks of where I live.

How can you give a “Howdy neighbor” today?

Will you trust God with your time and lay down your current priorities/scheduled activities?

Will you ask God to give you more opportunities to love other’s/have “God ordained” moments in your days?




© 2012 Standing on Peace