Thursday, August 2, 2012

Open Heart, Open Home...

 If someone had told me four years ago that I would be sitting here today with an ache in my heart because in two weeks I have to say goodbye to my neighbor's daughter I wouldn't have believed them! Yet it's true.  We have enjoyed her summer visit very much and every time she walks through our back door my husband says, "There's my third daughter"! We now begin to feel that ache that comes from knowing she's not technically ours and we must say goodbye soon.  So how is it that one comes to feel so much love for a child that isn't technically hers?  I will tell you.

Four years ago I was content with my little slice of life.  I didn't mind that I didn't know my neighbors.  I enjoyed the quiet and I was happy to keep to myself.  God had other plans.  He brought the neighbors to me.  He sent them directly across my back yard. 

Our friendship began hesitantly on my part because I didn't want to get involved.  Before I knew it I had no choice.  She kept showing up on my doorstep.  Her mom kept stopping in for coffee.  Casual conversation turned into caring.  Caring about them turned into prayers for them.  Prayers turned into opportunities to share Christ.  Our friendship grew and the little girl was here so often we affectionately called her our third daughter.  I soon became her mom's only close friend.   We went through exhausting and dark times together.  I sowed the seeds God gave me to plant in their lives with tears. Then mother and daughter moved to Florida .

The girl is home for the summer with her dad.  He is trying to sell the house and find a job where she  and her mom live.  She has shown up on my back doorstep pretty regularly this summer and often stays overnight while her dad works night shift.  God is using her to speak truth into my oldest daughter's life.  She is able to say things that I have already said.  The difference is she gets away with it and God is using her words to change my oldest girl's heart.  This is the joy I am reaping so many years later...

God brought this child and her family into our lives.  What choice did we have but to love them, open our hearts to them, and open our home?  By doing this they felt safe and comfortable with us.  That security is what allows this child to fearlessly speak what needs to be spoken into my daughter's life.  She knows that at the end of the day she is loved no matter what, welcome always, and wanted.  My only regret is that God had to literally bring them to my doorstep because I didn't want to be bothered.  I thought my little slice of life was just fine, enjoyable, hassle free, neat and boxed up.  In a way it was.  It was somewhat risk free. If I didn't get involved then I wasn't taking a risk.  After all relationships with anyone can be messy and if you do grow to genuinely love them you risk hurt at some point. Yet I know it's worth it.

 I sit here on the couch thinking about how much I would have missed if God had left me be and not sent that little girl across my back yard.  Even though my heart aches with our visit drawing to a close, I welcome it. I welcome the ache because it is God's doing.  It's His handiwork. The ache is a product of the love and friendship He built between us as we shared life together.  I am no longer content to stay in my own little bubble.  I believe that we miss so much when we keep to ourselves.  We waste the blessings and the lessons learned that God wants us to share with others.  We were made to share life with others not to isolate ourselves from getting involved!

So who is God sending into your back yard?  What is your excuse for not opening your heart and home to them?  What do you have to lose?  Privacy? Peace?   Better yet, what do you have to gain?  Friendship? Love?  Take the risk.  Open your heart and your home to that person God keeps bringing your way.  You may find that a few years later you're sitting where I am... in awe of what God has done and how much you can love someone whose not technically your own! The ache is nothing compared to the joy of sharing life.

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