Welcome the Stranger – Leviticus 19:34

We didn’t know anyone in our new community when we moved into our country home. Both my husband and I had lived in Eugene since elementary school, not realizing how deep our roots had grown—or how important they were.

We’d stayed in the same school district for decades, taking part in athletic competitions, after school clubs, community events, and church activities with our neighbors and peers, so it was astonishing when we found ourselves viewed with suspicion by so many.

We were overlooked

I approached the line in front of the neighborhood church with my children in tow, hoping to register them for the week-long Vacation Bible School.

Several glanced my way, sizing me up, but didn’t hold my gaze long. I encouraged and played with my kids, but we stood alone, not included in others’ conversations.

It was a rude awakening, but insightful. They behaved much like I did in the same situation. I place a higher value on relationships now, having a greater appreciation for the friendships I’ve already developed and being more willing to invest in new ones.

Love your neighbor as yourself

“But the stranger who resides with you shall be to you like someone native-born among you; and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God” (Leviticus 19:34 AMP).

As the sun beat down on the top of my head, I noticed a woman making her way down the line greeting people. She managed to animate the crowd with her friendliness, laughter erupting wherever she stopped. She didn’t bypass me. Instead she introduced herself, asked questions about my family, listened intently.

In the next few weeks our sons became friends at school. I entertained the notion that Friendly Woman was my new best friend exclusively. Then I remembered it appeared she made everyone feel that way.

Let’s not forget how it feels to be unnoticed, or how the kindness of one person can make our day.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Help Comes from God – Psalm 121:1-4

We were sick with the flu last week. Both of us. At the same time.

In one of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House” books there’s a story about Laura being delirious with fever and her mother spooning drops of water into her mouth. As her disease progressed Laura realized her mother’s care had stopped. When she could manage to lift her head, she saw why; both her parents were sick in bed.

He is near

Laura debated trying to slide onto the floor and crawl to the water bucket for a drink, she was so thirsty. She knew she’d have to take lots of rest stops along the way, maybe even suffer with cold on the hard floor. Thankfully, a neighbor discovered their need and brought help.

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep” (Psalm 121:1-4 NIV).

God sends help

Jerry and I are doing much better. Our dear daughter picked up what we needed at the store and made meals for us. However, during the long night when I lay awake wrestling with my sickness, it was the One Who Doesn’t Sleep who stayed with me and sustained my soul. I’m so glad he doesn’t have down time.

Whether he commands an army to cross mountains to defend us, or sends a kind hand to bring soup for our comfort, the Maker of heaven and earth is never far away.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

God Shows His Delight in Us – Zephaniah 3:16-17

My grandchildren have great radar, and it’s not because I carry candy in my purse. They are genuinely delighted to see me when I walk into church. Nothing is sweeter than hearing them holler “Grandma!” and come running to wrap their arms around me.

children-hugging-pexels-free-pixabay

We should call out to God like that

Some people don’t have the kind of family relationships they desire. There may be geographic or emotional distance, or other things that cause them pain.

We know how that feels, too.

When I think of this, I remember the foster child who lives in my grandchildren’s home. He’s right there with them, calling “Grandma!” and holding on to me. Though traumatized and separated from his birth family, he joins in, knowing I’ll hear and embrace him.

“Yea, you’re here!”

“Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:16-17 NIV).

God doesn’t just care deeply, he is “greatly delighted” with us. He’s with us. There’s rejoicing and singing. Everything’s going to be OK.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis