Playdates with God: A New Place


He came down from Baltimore and (his daughter says) took a wrong turn. That’s how he ended up here. Now he’s living in a halfway house trying to figure things out. I listened to his story, glad to be trusted with it.
“Sometimes, when you’re making a new start, it’s good to be in a new place,” I offered to him, as we stood side-by side beneath the dome-roofed courtyard.
“I don’t know what to think,” he said.
I came to help a small group of churches treat the residents here and local homeless folk to a picnic. There were hotdogs and hamburgers, pasta salad, chips and homemade cookies. Over a hundred people came and waited in line as their plates were piled high. I stood behind the drink table, watching. That’s when I noticed it.
We were all standing behind the serving tables. Except for a few brave souls who know some of these folks, all us “church people” let those tables create a boundary. I scanned the hungry faces and thought about how, for weeks now, I’ve been preaching to our congregation about stepping out of our comfort zones; about stepping into the lives of someone whose life might look a little different than our own.  And then I thought about what my friend Lisa might do.
And I stepped out from behind the table and let myself get swept into a new place. 
Over at The High Calling today, Shawn Smucker is talking about how he and his wife shared about the birds and the bees with their two oldest children. It’s part of our book discussion on  The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler. There are some good resources shared. Would you join us?
How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

The Playdates button:

Comments

  1. bluecottonmemory says

    You are so right – sometimes we use those tables as a security blanket – but God calls us out from behind them. So glad you did!

  2. says

    Yes! Lisa inspires me that way too. And you seem like the type who stretches your comfort zone daily as well, Laura. Thanks for reminding all of us of the need to step out. I’m going to look for opportunities today! Thanks for hosting, my friend!

  3. Kim Adams Morgan says

    I believe they reach deep in our souls and heal us just as much as we help them at times. Thank you, Laura for pushing us.

  4. says

    It seems wrong to see my name here, Laura, because the little efforts I’ve made in our homeless community in my town seem so small. But I’m grateful the Lord uses even tiny things to inspire us amongst each other. I’m honored.

    And I still understand those barriers that get in our way. They can take the forms of tables, doors, clothing choices, scents, … Thank you for your courage to break through. It encourages me to continue trying to as well.

  5. says

    Our church puts on a weekly church service at a homeless shelter. It’s called the Refuge. I have volunteered there off and on, but there is a group of about 20 folks who serve there weekly and have built relationships with those who attend. I am quite in awe of them, really. Whenever I am there for a Sunday morning service under a tent in the parking lot, I think about how Jesus would probably choose this church to attend if he had the choice. I see Him there — sitting in a folding chair talking to a new found friend.

  6. says

    Good for you for stepping out! I know just what you mean about the unspoken way our behavior communicates us/them even when our intentions are otherwise.

    Lisa’s example challenges me, too.

    You are a good steward of the stories entrusted to you, friend. Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus.

  7. Mia says

    Dear Laura
    I oftentimes wonder when I look at these dear people whom we sometimes think of as welfare projects, if we really see that even more important than food, is their need for love and acceptance. Our Lord sees with other eyes than we do and it breaks my heart to admit that I can sometimes learn more from these people than what I can give to them.
    Blessings XX
    Mia

  8. OutnumberedMom says

    New places are good…but they can be a bit scary. I’m experiencing a bit of the excitement mixed with the fear as I step over a new threshold next week…

  9. says

    Thank you, Lisa. I wish it was more natural for this introvert. I’d much rather hang back and watch everyone else mingle. But that’s not where it’s at, is it? It was a memorable evening.

  10. says

    That is it exactly, isn’t it, Mia? I keep praying that I will open my hands to receive the blessings God wants to give through them. Too often I stand with them clenched at my side.

  11. says

    You are much too modest, Lisa. The stories you’ve shared have stayed with me. We’ll keep trying, both of us. Thank you for giving me courage with your example 🙂

  12. says

    Lisa’s heart is just stunning, isn’t it? I’m learning how to step out of the comfort zone, Beth. I’m finding it’s worth the effort it takes, aren’t you? Hugs to you, lady!

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