We’ve moved across state and country lines three times over the past six years, and with each move I’ve dreaded the exhaustion of making new friends. Women can be so nice and welcoming and awesome. And women can also be terrifying.
After our second major move, we began the search for a new church. We liked the idea of attending church in our own neighborhood, so we decided to visit the one across the street from our apartment complex.
It was a smaller church, with around forty people attending that day, and when the service was over, it took at least forty-five minutes to exit the building. People wanted to know where we were from and where we’d been and if we preferred the Chicago White Socks or the Cubs. Albeit tiring, I was glad these complete strangers were making an effort to get to know us.
And then someone took it to the next level.
A woman named Beth came up to me again and asked if my daughter and I would like to come over for a play date at her place sometime that week.
If my jaw didn’t physically drop right then and there, it hit the floor metaphorically. She had only met me ten minutes ago, yet she didn’t hesitate to welcome my child and I into her daily life.
I thought protocol was that you had to commit to a church before the people in that church would be willing to commit to you. And yet, Beth welcomed us in – no strings attached. Not worrying if our presence would mess up the groove of the friendships she had already established.
As the newbie in town, I was so grateful for the generous welcome God provided in what would eventually become our church home and the source of many life-giving friendships. And as the one feeling awkward and lonely, I was so grateful Beth didn’t let fear hold her back from both saying hello and, “Would you like to come over?”
May we all be the same beacon of welcome to the people in our everyday lives – to those in our homes, in our churches, and in our neighborhoods.
Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:3
Lord, one of the greatest gifts that You gave us was the church. I pray that You will provide life-giving friendships for those of us who feel lonely. And I pray that You will help us recognize ways we can invite others into our daily lives – no strings attached. Amen.
About Kendra Broekhuis:
Kendra is the author of Here Goes Nothing: An Introvert’s Reckless Attempt to Love Her Neighbor. The book highlights her 30 Day journey to recognize the Lord’s “I love you’s” in her daily life, as well as her somewhat awkward attempts to be the Lord’s “I love you’s” to her neighbors. For her day job, Kendra stays home with two of their children, Jocelyn and Levi. She and her family live in Milwaukee. Kendra’s love language is Dove chocolate.
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Beautifully written and a great encouragement to not only watch for GOD’s “I love yous” but to be one of HIS “I love yous”.
I have been reading your posts for some months now, but I must admit that I read them via e-mail and do not take time to circle around and comment. But, today’s post just hit the nail square on the head. I have been looking to love God and other’s more this year, and this just spoke to me. Thank you for also having the link for the book. What an encouragement this post (Kendra) and your blog (Kelly) has been to me.
I do think that is a good idea, many people are pressured to join a church. And many times i was volunteering for things I know wasn’t God’s assignment for me.
We have been into so many churches and been rejected. Here we are again. Joined last year. The only people we have contact with are the Pastor and his wife. We are there in SHEER obedience. “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together especially as you see the Day drawing close” but hey! It’s not easy. So many tares and so few wheat.