We’re called to love our neighbors. But that isn’t always easy. What if we don’t know our neighbors, or we’re not sure how to start? Who are our neighbors, and how do we love well? (in)courage exists as an online community committed to making safe spaces for women to connect over topics just like this one. Every Wednesday this month we’ll be sharing some of our stories about discovering how to love our neighbors. We hope you’ll read along and then join us in a weekly Community Challenge geared toward discovering who God is calling us to love and some practical steps we can do together.
Week 1: Missing Casserole
It’s that contagious time of year again.
Our little family got ‘it’ and endured two visits to the ER within a 36-hour period. Our sweet 20-month-old daughter and IVs are not a fun combination, but necessary to avoid dehydration. My mom came to help, and she joined in our misery. We endured for nine days.
I’m glad that’s over.
But once I started to turn the corner and looked at the literal mountains of puke laundry, the filth of the house, and a nearly empty fridge, I started to complain. Not just about the work in front of me, but how I didn’t feel like anyone really cared.
If you’re a real life friend of mine, please don’t get me wrong. I appreciated all the Facebook messages and texts to check on our progress. And I completely understand not wanting to come over and do my 50+ loads of laundry or scrub my bathroom floor. I wouldn’t dare ask you to do that nor would I EVER let you.
I was missing the ways of the old church. The ones I can only imagine before social media, smart phones, 70-hour work weeks, suburbia sprawl, and calendar coordination.
I wanted a casserole. Desperately.
Maybe not a literal casserole since I was still just a touch nauseated. But I wanted someone to show up on my doorstep with tangible love that would feed my soul. I wanted to know that a friend went out of their way to make me feel loved in my time of brief desperation.
You may be great at receiving help, but I am not the best. Even when someone says, “Hey, I heard you’re not feeling well. Can I get you anything?” I always buck up and say I’m fine. I might not really be and would love some chicken noodle soup or a chocolate milkshake, but I wouldn’t want to put you out. I’m sure you’re busy.
And we all are, aren’t we? Busy.
Life is different than it was for the generations before us. But the needs are the same. We all desperately want to be loved. And to know how to truly love others.
I had said my peace and finished my complaining when just a few hours later a friend texted me to say she was bringing us a meal from our favorite restaurant. No questions asked. And she wasn’t going to take no for an answer. She told me to call in our order and the time she we would bring dinner by.
I smiled BIG. And I let her love on me.
God had heard my cries. He knew my heart needed encouragement. He wanted me to experience what He would ask me to share with others later.
God was sending me a casserole that looked like takeout containers full of my favorite salad. And I couldn’t have been more thankful.
As I read the handwritten note my friend had tucked in the sack, the Spirit brought to mind others who could use some loved dropped on their doorstep. Why hadn’t I ‘forced’ help on my friends and family who probably weren’t great at accepting love either?
I wanted to remember this moment. Of how it felt to find the missing casserole so I could share it with the next person who needed a hot mocha after a long night with a sick child, balloons tied to a car door handle of a friend that had a terrible not-so-good day at work, or a family member who was just diagnosed with the flu who could really use the best chicken noodle soup from her favorite Mexican restaurant left her on her doorstep.
Let’s all remember the everyday struggles and how important it is not just to recognize the moments with a ‘Praying for you’ note, but to recognize the opportunity to help them feel tangibly loved through it.
Will you open your eyes and ears to see who God wants you to actively love on with a ‘casserole’? Yours may not fit in a dish. It might even be delivered by FedEx, or something as simple as a note to a friend. Our God is creative and specific to each need, so I’m sure your moment of active love will look different than ours.
Would you share with us what you did and how the recipient responded?
Let’s spread some love as we try not to spread any more germs.