This past week, the kids and I walked around the neighborhood and passed out jars of homemade applesauce to our neighbors, some we know and some we don’t. It was a simple gesture of kindness, but one that sparked conversations in the sweetest of ways.
About a year ago, Nate and I had discussed the possibility of selling our home. We felt cramped in our cozy 900 square feet with the arrival of our second child and could not see past the minimal amount of space. We knew we wanted more children and the walls felt as if they were caving in.
But, just as in times past, we couldn’t agree on the decision to move. We had made the commitment prior to being married that we would wait to make a decision until both of us were completely convinced that it was the right thing. And this time, I was the roadblock. I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so hesitant because all of our reasoning made sense, but my heart wasn’t convinced.
In April of this year, my pastor began to share his burden for the lost. Everyone in the church received a “My List” card, that had ten spots waiting to be filled with names of those you’d like to see come to know Jesus; my heart was stirred in a huge way. As I sat and prayed about whose names I should include, a few neighbors entered my mind.
Nate and I have lived in our home for seven years, and in that amount of time, we have only met a handful of neighbors. My heart ached that day, knowing precious years had been wasted in the busyness of our jobs, to-do lists, and driving here & there, ignoring opportune moments to create lasting friendships. I hurriedly scribbled the names of those neighbors on my card and determined I would find opportunities to love on them in tangible ways.
Since that Sunday in April, I’ve prayed for my neighbors regularly, asking God to give me creative ways to show them kindness. And yesterday, while I finished putting my applesauce in jars, I felt a tugging to give it away. So we did!!
Strong and I decorated some cards with traces of his hands + feet and some scribbles with a simple note that said, “With love from your neighbors, The Ward Family.” We tied them around the jars, and set off in the stroller to deliver some fresh, pink applesauce around the neighborhood.
Every person was delighted to see us standing at the door; we met neighbors that we’ve been seeing for years but have never spoken to. And we even snuck some in mailboxes and the occasional counter top. After we returned home, I was struck with some observations:
-The look on Strong’s face as he got to deliver the jars of applesauce to the homes of our neighbors was pure joy. He saw, firsthand, that excitement can come from giving rather than receiving. What a beautiful lesson he’s learning even at the age of two!
-This small token of love provided me with more conversations with my neighbors in one day than I had had in months. What a gift!
-By holding loosely to something as dear to our family as homemade applesauce, I was able to show my kids what generosity looks like.
-God revealed his faithfulness, once again, by answering my prayers for creative ways to show kindness.
While this is just one step on a journey of many, I feel encouraged today, knowing I was able to touch some hearts simply by saying “yes” to that small urging. Pastor always says that everyone is just one friend away from knowing Jesus. And while there could be more reasons than one as to why I never felt right about moving from our home, maybe it was for this very thing. Maybe we are that “one friend” our neighbors need. And if so, that’s reason enough to stay.