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love them anyway

Hey guys! I’m actually at a legit coffee shop just down the street and around the corner from my house! Yes, all by myself! I have a little time before my counseling client, so I am definitely taking advantage of this writing opportunity. I am sipping a pumpkin spice - iced, though because we have record-setting high temperatures today!

So I have been challenged from many different places recently to share Jesus with neighbors. Create relationships, be kind, and know people around. For you who may be in school still, it’s the people in classes each day, college students have opportunities to reach those on campus and who live in the dorms. Apartment dwellers can reach people in their buildings. I know it takes a conscious effort and I have been really thinking how to make reaching people a reality.

As a staff family, we attended church all the time, of course, so it was easy to invite a teenager to our student ministry or their parents to a service. It naturally came up in conversation. Now that my husband works for Chick-fil-A, ministry has changed. I think NOT working in a church setting has its advantages to reaching people as well. Sometimes “pastor family” will annoy people or cause them to feel inadequate. Chick-fil-A has open doors for conversation, because, really, who does not love a waffle fry or chicken sandwich?

Since moving as a Chick-fil-A, we have had new opportunities in the middle Tennessee area to greet new neighbors with a chicken mini tray. If someone brought me a tray, I would definitely be their bestie. We have taken a gallon of sweet tea to sick neighbors and delivered a meal to a family with a new baby. Really, though, chicken speaks and the Lord can use it to begin relationships all around. I have tried to make an effort to get to know the neighbors on my street and show kindness since we moved a year and a half ago. I want to have friends, but also I want and need to show the love of Jesus too.

I am also realizing that to reach people, I must truly care. I need to have an authentic relationship with them to be able to make the most of opportunities that arise. God is giving me the ability to see people as people with a story who need Him or maybe encouragement from a friend. I want to love like He loves. I want to see other people instead of focusing on just what goes on in my house and in my life. The enemy would like us to stay focused on ourselves instead of noticing the needs of others.

For college girls out there, relationships look a little different but you still have an incredible opportunity to share Jesus. Dorm room pizza parties are my favorite! Getting to know a person who ends up in all your classes related to your common major is great! Sports teams and music classes provide opportunities too. My friends and I had some pretty meaningful conversations on the mats during college cheerleading practice. When we pray for and look for a way to share His Name, He provides it!

I realize it’s not always easy. We have had some, well, difficult neighbors before, and it is tough to love…but we love them anyway (Luke 23:34). It is hard to love someone who complains about my three-legged German Shepherd girl who might wander into her yard, but that’s another story for another day! Love is incredibly arduous at times, but we can do it!

How have you found ways to reach out to those around you for Jesus? I would love to hear them and incorporate them into my own life! I am praying for you friends!



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