Better A Neighbor Nearby

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I’m a mom of three. I love to watch my kids in their activities. I frequent dance and vocal recitals, as well as music and worship nights. I do have a sense of pride and joy in my heart when I see them express their love for God through their gifts. When I watch Jaden Stanley lead worship, I feel the same way. When I see a friend’s kid dance and lead across the stage with joy in their heart—and I know their heart—I feel the same way. Yet I know so many mothers that do not have that same kind of love for anyone else’s kids or grandkids but their own. I don’t understand it.

I think that having the same love for other people that you have for your own natural-born children is the love found in the spirit of adoption. How can you not celebrate every life? God does. I think that we sometimes elevate the bloodline family so high that we miss the bloodline of Jesus’ family. We don’t step into roles that we need to because there might be a missing link. We don’t step into the roles where we truly love each other. John 13:35 says, “And the world will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” It’s by the way we love each other in the body of Christ. Not the way we love our own family. Not the way we love strangers. Not the way we love lost people. Not the way we serve the homeless. Not the way we love whatever else. It’s the way we take care of the body of Christ.

My kids have been without a grandma for almost twenty years. One year, a friend’s mom stepped in and blessed them with the voice of a grandma in their life. She met once a week with a little group of girls just to pour the Word into them. It was so precious. I loved her so much for doing that. I have also had an aunt step in who never forgets a birthday. She always remembers them. They feel dearly loved by her.

Sometimes I have so many friends who could step in and I just ask the Lord why someone hasn’t. Why hasn’t someone nearby stepped in?

“Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you— better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away,“ says Proverbs 27:10. I believe that our family is supposed to be nearby, but it’s the family of God who fills those shoes while our family is away. When our family is together, we can take on the roles that we were naturally born into. When we are far apart, it seems we should fill those places with spiritual roles. I should be a spiritual mother to somebody when their natural mother is not present. Someone should be a spiritual grandmother to my children because their natural grandmother is not present.

I think life is just too busy. We’re too busy. It’s too easy to travel and fill those roles on a periodic basis rather than filling them where you are. I went through a season where I really grieved that loss for my family. It has made me realize that if something ever happened to me, I would pray to God that someone would fill that spiritual role of mother in my kids’ lives.

I wonder today if you have in your heart that love—that spirit of adoption—you need to give away to someone. Do you need to step into a spiritual family role and be a love-bug to someone in your life?

When I was a little girl, I had a home with a mom and a stepdad. But I went to church all by myself for years. I went alone from the time I was ten until I was seventeen. I just wonder why no one ever really adopted me and had the spirit of adoption to bring me into their family. Why didn’t anyone ever pick me up and take me to dinner? Or get me off of the church bus and start inviting me over for lunch? Why didn’t they start investing in me and teaching me the word of God? The only conclusion that I can draw is that they didn’t have the love in their heart to give away.

That is why we don’t step into that role. We don’t have the love in our heart or we don’t have the time. The enemy will do anything to keep us busy, to keep us from demonstrating the love Christ put in us to show the world, “Hey, look how the family of God takes care of one another. Isn’t it awesome how this family cares for these children?” 

As long as the enemy can keep us busy—too busy to love—the love of God will not be on display. It’s easy to love your own family, but it’s hard to find time to love others. I encourage you to look around in your life and see how you can truly love others this day.

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