I couldn’t believe it when our offer was accepted on a property that felt like God’s sweet gift to me to make my dreams come true. But a move meant a lot of change that left my stomach a little knotty. We were leaving behind a neighborhood (and cul-de-sac) where our daughters could play with other kids, plus all the neighbors we had invested in. But I felt hopeful about our new neighbors based on my observations of their properties: large vegetable gardens, a pool with a slide, fruit trees and beautiful flowering plants. Surely these were my people.
Immediately after closing, my husband and I went to the new house to clean the 20-year-old carpets. There was a knock on the door that Friday night. It was our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Leigh, coming to introduce themselves and bring us some fresh tomatoes from their garden. I was full of gratitude to be received with such kindness from this couple who had lived next door for 40 years and had been good friends with the previous owners.
The next time we were at the house our neighbor on the other side stopped by with some household supplies which included cleaning wipes (just what we needed for This Old House). She shared a bit of her story with us including how her husband had passed five years prior. Also, during the last three years she had been recovering from an injury that kept her from caring for her large property. “Surely part of why God brought us here is to be a help to her,” I thought to myself. However, later that month she invited us over to enjoy her pool, and our three daughters quickly made themselves at home in the water.
Mr. Leigh mowed our lawn or let us borrow his lawn mower a number of times before we had the chance to invest in our own riding mower. Most recently our neighbors have shared extra seedling sprouts when they have more than they need. Our two-doors-down neighbors have a playset (for their grandkids) that is apparently much better than ours, and those neighbors have generously opened it up to our girls anytime they want.
I often feel that I should be the one being generous to my neighbors (it is my job after all), but my focus is usually tied up in taking care of my family. Then I remember that neighboring is two-sided; there can be no giving without receiving. So I receive with gratitude the Lord’s blessings through my neighbors, and I open my heart to respond with generosity as the Lord leads me in His timing.
NBS2GO would like to thank Lydia for this personal story. Isn’t it incredible to be on the receiving end of a neighbor’s kindness? Have you experienced this? Share with us your ideas if you have at email@example.com.
If you would like ideas on how to connect with new neighbors check out this.