Thursday, March 14, 2013

In My Neighborhood

A few nights ago while sharing dinner around our dining room table capped off with Bill's favorite cake--German Chocolate, Jen looked at me and asked, “So has your contribution in ministry always revolved around Bill's?” They are celebrating their first anniversary later this month; she and her husband work full-time; he for a Christian ministry; she as a surgical nurse. Naturally they have friends, a full life, and lots of questions.

Her inquiry caused me to reminisce.

It was one of those beautiful spring days in Illinois. The Tulips were blooming; the cloudless sky invited me outside for a walk with our new son. So I got David secured in the stroller and started through our neighborhood. As I walked I prayed for the people living there. A few blocks away I spied a portable infant swing in the front window of one home. A beginning; a connection. With David in my arms, I rang the door bell. When my neighbor answered, my first words were, “I have a baby too”. (Obviously, I’m an extrovert.) That began a friendship with Linda that eventually led to our reading the Bible together; a new path for both of us on our faith journeys was forged.

Ginny (another neighbor, in another state, on another spring day) and I were enjoying lunch at a local restaurant. I was about to excuse myself and go on to my next thing when her tears started to flow. I returned to the present. She shared about her mom who had recently died. Our conversation dived below the surface and a friendship was born. We too started reading the Bible together. Several months later sitting on her deck with iced-tea and our Bibles between us, she told me that she was using her mother’s well-marked Bible. On her death bed, her mom encouraged her to get into a Bible study. So when I posed my invitation to read John together, her response was an immediate yes. Now, besides sharing about our spiritual journeys we share grandbaby pictures too.

“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.” Colossians 1:28, italics mine. I memorized that scripture years ago and was recently reviewing it. I pondered Paul’s words and began to pray, “Lord, who is my everyone?”  The answer is coming. My everyones are those with whom I naturally relate: my neighbors, the women in my knitting group, our extended family; those I go to church with.

“God will give you a place to inhabit, which means that you get to become attentive to what is there where you are.” These words from the book Sensing Jesus by Zack Eswine challenge me, encourage me, and affirm the answer I am hearing.

Back to Jen's question--Bill and I have the same vision. Sometimes we minister together; dinner last week was one of thos times; sometimes we teach together. Other times our gifts, and unique contributions lead us down different pathways--like when God opens a door for me to read the Bible with neighbor ladies.

“…And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
Esther 4:14


  1. Sue, you bless me with your encourage me....and you challenge me.
    I thank God for you and the journey he has taken you on to make you more and more like his Son....

  2. Hey Darnly,
    I am honored to have you as a friend. Your journey to is a blessing to me. Thanks for partnering with me on the Tea. Your strengths glorified God and honored many.