Tag Archives: loving others

....."Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.  The second one is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself'  There is no commandment greater than these."     -Mark 12:30,31

The first commandment is impossible to keep without paying mind to the second one.

We can love God through prayer.

We can love God in song.

We can love God by reading the Bible.

We can love God and be inside those church walls every time the door is opened.

But when verse 3o says with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, he's saying -Love me with all that you say, with all you do, with all that you have, with all that you are. Our saying and doing involves people, like our neighbors.  So just who are our neighbors?

Every teacher could answer this question.  When I was teaching and had the children seated I would sometimes pose a question. "Why do you think it is helpful for lizards to change their color?-Discuss this with your neighbor."  Walking to lunch or PE I would remind the children before walking down the hall, "No talking to your neighbor".  And at lunchtime, "You may whisper to your neighbor". You can have neighbors that you keep, but neighbors change too. A person's neighbor is whoever is near.

It's hard to tangibly love God when we can't see him or touch him.  That's why I think it's brilliant that he calls us to love him through loving others; our neighbors.  With this being the case, we have opportunity to love him in the most tangible of ways.

I think there are two kinds of neighbors.

1.Heart Neighbors

2.Geographic Neighbors

Heart Neighbors are those like my Kenyan girls I mentioned in yesterday's post, "Sharing Shoes, Sharing Life".  Though I spent little time with them, they will always be near and dear to my heart.  Jason and I have moved farther from family and old friends with each move. We still communicate with these heart neighbors; we visit them now and then, we pray for them and have lovely memories which keep them close to our heart.  I have three little heart neighbors in the rooms surrounding my bedroom walls.  I hope to be able to make heart neighbors someday with someone on the other side of this screen; someone who is willing to share their experiences. Many heart neighbors stay with us throughout our lives.

Geographic Neighbors are constantly changing. You can go crazy with this.  A geographic neighbor could be the person in the lane beside you in their car.  How do you love that neighbor?  By not honking at them or by not being in such a hurry that you cut them off.  I learned from a geographic neighbor last week, a cashier at Wal-Mart, that she has five children and is going to night school in addition to her full-time job.  I learned this by simply asking how her day was going.  Giving high fives to children, smiling in passing, taking cookies to someone across the street, sitting with someone having a rough time, and sharing a word of encouragement to those we come into contact with are some of the most beautiful ways to love God.

A Geographic Neighbor could be the most unlikely neighbor, love them anyway.  It's the unlikely ones that often become heart neighbors.

"Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to me."-Matthew 25:40

It's time to start a world-sized block party.  -So many people to love.  Smile at your neighbor.  Strike up a conversation. Don't be shy. Let's get out there

-There's so much of God to love.











This week the kids and I are on a whirlwind Texas tour visiting grandparents, other family and old friends.  I am putting up an old post in hopes that with my incessant begging, someone will decide that they have something they should share on "A Thursday for Your Thoughts".  I personally have been blessed by Jaime and Cindy in the last two weeks.  There are a couple of ladies that will be highlighted the next few Thursdays that will encourage you as well.  My time in Kenya is a persistent and beautiful reminder of the joy that comes from sharing and giving of ourselves.  I don't mind sharing those memories more than once.

Sharing shoes to many,  may sound like fighting words.  I had two sisters to share clothes with.  Our exchange usually had an ugly ending. Someone wouldn't  return, or even worse wouldn't ask to wear the other's shirt.  I remember borrowing my younger sister's suede vest and accidentally burning a hole in it. Hallie recently borrowed a gray sweater of mine.  I couldn't find it.  Being without my gray sweater imperfected my look on the outside and made some ugly stuff escape my lips too.  No, in my experience sharing hasn't always turned out pretty.

  I had the unbelievable opportunity a couple of years ago to spend some time at a girls' orphanage in Kenya. There were about a hundred girls there ranging from the ages of five to fifteen. Several men including Jason went, with plans to build a playground. I spent hours preparing for the trip, writing letters of the alphabet on lima beans placing them in order into a compartmentalized plastic box.  Being a teacher I would have plenty of games to aid them in an educational quest. I placed pictures of my family in an envelope to give the girls insight into my life... Armed with gifts and games I went on a mission to share knowledge and to share life.  

 As I spent time with the girls I was delighted to observe a colorful pile of flip-flops while the girls played barefoot in the sand. I, myself am a girl who loves her flip-flops.  I remember watching as they approached the shoe pile,

            finding a pair

                       - inching their their toes between the strap.

 Usually they scooted away with mismatched shoes. 

 Just like sisters, they went about; outfitted in someone elses belongings.  I never heard them complain though. 

They fixed each other's hair and fixed mine too.  They grabbed mine and my friends' sunglasses quickly passing them from one face to another.  They didn't ask; they just shared.  My friends and I showed pictures of our families to the girls which were also quickly snatched and distributed. 

Maybe most impressive were the earrings, Obama bubblegum and rubber-band bracelets given to me.  Each girl at the orphanage had a small trunk in which her every possession fit, with much room to spare, and yet they gave freely. And they smiled as they received.  Sharing life, that's what they were doing.

You would think that having so few possessions would cause them to cling to what little they had.  They did, in fact, cling to what little they had, but it wasn't the things.  I watched as motherless, fatherless children clinged to each other.  And I clinged to them.  I played like I'd never played before.  We played jump rope with a broken water hose and some pieces of nylon rope the men had left over.  We sang and we danced fitting our hands together like a beautiful tapestry.

There wasn't a care that someone was wearing someone else's flip-flop.

I would guess that the lima beans that I painstakingly lettered and ordered are probably gone now.  Possessions, after all didn't seem to mean too much.  I have a trunk now full of letters, bead and rubber-band bracelets and other trinkets from the two trips to the orphanage. I'd give them all up just to spend another day with those girls.

Funny how I had my plan; a plan to give gifts and share knowledge and life. 

-But it was me who learned about sharing shoes and sharing life.

 A Thursday for Your Thoughts. 

Each Thursday I would love to highlight someone different.

I have mentioned before that I have a prayer for this website.  I pray that we as women would have a place to share; and that as we share, we are certain there are faces on the other side of the screen that are laughing, crying and just plain nodding their head in understanding.  I pray that we would grow together.

But more than anything, I pray that this space would bring much-deserved glory to our God who is with us.