You Don’t Need to Walk Alone

In a daily devotional on “The Impact of Right Relationships,” Dr. Charles F. Stanley wrote: “A group of people rightly connected can do so much more than a man or woman acting alone.”

I am happy to say that for the first time in my adult life, I am living in a neighborhood where people do this thing called connecting. Specifically, it is the people in my cul-de-sac that I have become friends with; however, Bart and I are branching out and getting to know some of our other neighbors as well. We have lived in other places where the people around us didn’t really seem to care about knowing the people who lived right next door to them. That’s just sad.

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In our cul-de-sac, we don’t all have all things in common, but each of us connects to several of the others in different ways, and we are learning how to look out for one another through various circumstances. It’s nice to know that if I ever need anything, like a ride to the store or a couple of potatoes for my pot roast, I can call or text them and someone always comes through. We’ve had a Bible study, a fall block party, and numerous chats across the yards (when weather has permitted). We have just started making plans for a spring block party, which I am really looking forward to.

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And when something more serious occurred, like the recent tragic death of one of our neighbors, we found even more ways to connect with, support, lift up, and love one another through the following days. At first, many of us were concerned about intruding; we didn’t want to appear nosy and insensitive. But it turns out that the most sensitive thing we could do was to reach out and lend a hand. It reminded me of this post that Lysa Terkeurst shared a couple days ago:

“My friend’s husband passed away after a long illness and when I asked her about some of the lessons she learned through those tough years, she said something that will stick with me forever. She said, ‘When people are going through hard life circumstances, don’t say “Well if there’s anything you need just let me know.”’

My friend said most days she couldn’t process how she was going to get through the next ten minutes, much less be able to ask others for help. I was challenged by this and wondered how I could help someone in need without being asked.

I could deliver dinner. Gas up their car. Mow their lawn. Pick up an extra gallon of milk or some pet food from the grocery store. Whatever it is, I’ll think I’ll just do it and I won’t wait to be asked.”

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This is what we did and this is the type of stuff I hope we will continue to be able to do for one another. Especially when you live in an area without any of your own family around, it is so wonderful to be able to build and experience a new “family.” If you don’t have that type of community—if your neighbors don’t really seem to be connecting—maybe YOU can be the one to get something started. Have a cookout and invite everyone over—even if you’ve never spoken to some of them before; host a pot luck in your home or create a space for one outdoors (that’s what our fall party was); set up an event for all the kids to get together and play. Maybe everyone else is just waiting for someone to make the first move. That someone could be you.

As enjoyable as it is to share good times with your neighbors, it’s also nice to know that once you have connected, it’s easier to share the everyday moments as well. When Bart was out of town a couple months ago, a few of my neighbors checked on me. One family even invited me over for dinner one night, which was super sweet (and very enjoyable). Just this past weekend, I was sick with an ear infection and a cold. I got calls and texts from different neighbors asking me if I needed anything. It’s bad enough when you feel sick and miserable, but how wonderful to not also feel alone and forgotten. And you know what, it’s okay to need others.

DSC02083The Faith Barista posted this just today: “Following his beating, it’s likely Jesus could not physically carry the cross all the way to Calvary. Jesus needed someone. In that moment, a man whose journey somehow crossed his path was pulled in to help him. We don’t know if Simon even knew who Jesus was. … All we know is that an ordinary person helped the Savior. Through one simple, understated act, became part of the journey with Jesus. And I’m reminded. It’s okay to need someone. When the cross is too heavy to carry, but we still want to be faithful to see the journey through, needing someone isn’t a shameful. … needing is good because it creates space for God to enter in. And love us through others.”

In a blog post on friendship, Lysa TerKeurst says, “Loving someone else is one of the most God-honoring things we can do today. After all, we’re reminded in Scripture that all the commandments can be summed up and fulfilled if we will love others.”

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“Let no debt remain outstanding,
except the continuing debt to love one another,
for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law. …
“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor.
Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law.”

Romans 13:8–10

So, my advice, my encouragement, for you today is to remember that you do not have to walk through life alone. Reach out, connect, walk beside someone else; you can start with the people next door. What a blessing it is to build bonds with our neighbors.

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9 thoughts on “You Don’t Need to Walk Alone

  1. What a blessing that your neighbors are there for each other! We live in a condo, and we are grateful for having neighbors that watch out for each other. However, it’s much easier for me to give support than to open my heart to tell others I need their support, but I’m working on it in this online community. As you say – “Remember that you do not have to walk through life alone.” I’m trying to remember… Thank you, Nina.

    • Nina says:

      I’m like you Trudy. It’s much easier for me to be the giver than receiver. Like when I was sick, I wouldn’t have minded if someone had brought me a bowl of soup, but I didn’t NEED it so did not ask for it even when others asked if I needed anything. 🙂

  2. Renee says:

    I enjoyed your stories about neighbors and the insights on how to help someone who is grieving. We have had major water issues this year on our cul-de-sac and it has been so great to see neighbors pulling together to help each other. We have supplied water to neighbors with frozen pipes and when ours froze someone told us to run a hose from their house to ours and we had water again! We all need someone sometimes and it is a blessing…really the way God made us~ to have relationships with Him and others.. Great post!

    • Nina says:

      Neighbors helping neighbors. That is so awesome. Some people might think “What’s so unusual about that?” Those people are lucky. There are many neighborhoods out there where it’s every man for himself. You are so right. We ARE meant to be in relationship. Thanks so much Renee.

  3. vicki cash says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. You also give many good ideas for things to do. Love Mom Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2014 19:13:56 +0000 To: sisotigerlily@hotmail.com

  4. Angela Loomis says:

    I am glad that you have found “family” where you are. We have a few neighbors like that in our area. I hope that we can have that in our new neighborhood.

    • Nina says:

      Just remember that sometimes you have to play a part in making it happen. Wishing you lots of success (fun and happiness) in your new neighborhood.

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