Life can be so complicated and unpredictable. Today has been one of those days for me. My day started off with three MRIs: one for my brain, one for my neck and one for my back. My dear sweet husband took the morning off from work to hold my hand, comfort me, and pray for me because he knows that I am claustrophobic and that MRIs cause me great anxiety! Today was one of those days when I just needed my husband’s presence. As I went further into the MRI tube, he held my leg, and just knowing he was there brought me tremendous comfort. While sitting in the waiting room before my MRI and filling out my paperwork, I realized that today is February 13, my mom’s birthday. If my mom were still alive today, she would have turned 77!
We think we have to do something, but presence is a powerful action of its own. – Sarah Beckman
I have been thinking a lot about my mom lately. She died a few years ago after she was taken off of life support just days after Christmas. Family relations and emotions were all running high. Many friends called, texted and offered support. Whenever anyone offered to help I would simply ask for prayer. I would say that I was alright when in reality I wasn’t.
In trying times, people tend to say they are okay and don’t need anything, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! I will never forget the loving kindness of a friend who offered to stop by the hospital to bring food, and she would not take no for an answer. Not only did she bring me food, but she also took the time to listen to me. We prayed, we sang, and she sat with me as the Lord called my mom home. Her presence at that moment in my life was powerful and it is a gift that I will forever cherish.
How do we walk alongside someone in the midst of trying circumstances?
There’s a unique opportunity to love our neighbor when they experience a time of trial in their life. – Sarah Beckman
We all experience difficult trials in life, and we know people close to us that suffer hardships. How do we love and care for others well in their crisis? The answer to this question is the purpose of Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving your Neighbor in their Time of Trial. This must-read book is an invaluable resource for walking alongside those in need.
This book is filled with questions to consider. It offers practical ways to love people through the storms of life and will help you figure out the best way to respond to the individual’s needs. You will learn to know your place in relationship to the person in need, and what you should do accordingly. It will also give a good understanding of possible needs and how people may be feeling, including general guidelines to consider and questions to help prepare for the journey ahead.
Part 2 of the book is dedicated to taking action. Know when to go, and when to pray. When I went to the hospital to give birth to my son whose heart had stopped beating in my womb, my sweet friends wanted to come to the hospital. While having my friends at the hospital that day was a kind gesture, what I needed most was time to grieve alone with my family. There is a chapter dedicated to respecting the person’s journey and includes information on privacy and dignity, and other chapters offer specific help, including being present, showing love through food, listening well and much more.
Finally, the book concludes with chapters on special circumstances, including: messy situations, when faith isn’t shared, when you’ve been there, when someone is aging, and terminal illness. In the appendix, there are scriptures for loving your neighbor which are divided into categories and a list of websites, books, and other helpful resources like meal coordination and online fundraising.
For more information visit Sarah Beckman’s website.
A special thank you to The Blog About Network, The Blythe Daniel Agency and publishers for providing a copy of this book for review and one to giveaway.
I have one autographed copy of Alongside: A Practical Guide for Loving your Neighbor in their Time of Trial to give away!
From now until February 28th, leave a comment below with either a way that you have come alongside someone in need or how someone has blessed you in a difficult time, to be eligible to win. Also, if you enjoyed reading this blog post please share with a friend.
Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a fantastic week!
This week’s Linkups:
I hope you enjoyed my latest posts on preparing your home for the holidays. Stayed tuned, because there is more where that came from. I love this time of year, and I am excited that I get to share it with you! If you missed them, you can check them out here Holiday Preparation and Inspiration! and here Our Home – A Sanctuary.
Today, I am excited to share some wisdom from my friend, author Michelle S. Lazurek and tell you about her beautiful new book on hospitality. She is going to share Jesus’ command to love your neighbors. I am blessed with the best neighbors! When it comes to neighbors, we won the lottery, and they make it easy to love them. But in the crazy busy world we live in, how can we follow Jesus’ command to truly love our neighbors? Michelle gives us a couple of great ideas.
Three Ways to Fulfill Jesus’ Command to Love Your Neighbors -Michelle S. Lazurek
Amy Lively, author of How to love your Neighbor (Without Being Weird) says, “I had every excuse for not loving my neighbor, and a few I’m sure God had ever heard before– but I couldn’t find an asterisk or exception to get me off the hook. After months of arguing with God, I finally knocked on my neighbors’ door and invited her over for coffee. When it was my neighbor’s turn to knock on my door I found they were just as nervous as I was. We learned each other’s names, we laughed, we talked, we shared, and these neighbors walked out of my door as friends.”
But in this overextended, overstressed, independent world, how do we initiate relationships with our neighbors?
Here are a few ways you can fulfill God’s most important command without tacking it onto an already overscheduled life:
Write a note– In this day and age, people are more suspicious than ever about what might be lurking inside a welcome basket. Gone are the days when a neighbor could give a basket brimming with luscious fruits or candies without resisting the urge to split each goodie in half to look for mysterious materials. Sometimes a quick note and gift card can suffice. A simple note stating you are happy to have them in the neighborhood and giving them a night off can speak volumes in your love for them. This may pave the way for a neighbor to knock on your door to express their gratitude—and for you to open the door to a new relationship.
Start a Facebook group– Conduct a simple search on Facebook to see if our neighbors utilize the social media site. Create a group of neighbors and discuss topics on how to improve your neighborhood, put out the feelers for interest in get- togethers and discuss pop culture topics as a way to get to know your neighbors’ likes and dislikes. This gives you something to talk about when you bump into your neighbors on your nightly walk or an opportunity to roll down your window when you see them going to their car. Every conversation matters and brings you one step closer to a new friendship.
Crafters Unite– I’m not terribly crafty, but even I love an excuse to get out my adult coloring books and crayons and relax. Do any of your neighbors paint, draw, read or scrapbook? Ask to meet to create together, rather than separately. If you don’t participate in these hobbies, is there one you have always wanted to explore? Meeting a neighbor is the best reason ever to learn a new skill or indulge your crafting side on a regular basis.
We are all called to love our neighbors as ourselves. Now you have a reason to merge beloved skills with a desire to fulfill Jesus’ greatest commandment.
Michelle is the author of An Invitation to the Table – Embracing the Gift of Hospitality.
Jesus spent a chunk of his ministry eating and drinking with the “”sinners and tax collectors”” of the world. If we strive to be more like Jesus, shouldnt we do more of what he did?
Hospitality involves more than the domesticated event we have grown accustomed to practicing. It is an embodiment of all the Christian life stands for: a gesture of love, opening up our hearts and lives, and sacrificing luxury and security for the chance to display Gods glory. To receive hospitality from others is an invitation to receive Gods transformative power to work in their lives.
Readers will ask themselves these questions:
- What is hospitality?
- Is it something I am, or something I do?
- How do I offer my life as a gesture of hospitality?
- What are some practical ways for me to display and receive hospitality?
For more from Michelle, visit www.michellelazurek.com
An Invitation To The Table: Embracing the Gift of Hospitality is available on Amazon now!
Do you have other ideas about how we can love our neighbors? How do you plan to open your home for hospitality this season. I would love to hear from you!