Today is the kick-off of the "Ladies of Grace" blog carnival at WalkAMile! We're encouraged to look back over the week and recognize a moment when our hearts were opened, or warmed - or a time when we noticed our hearts closed, or hardened. It's an experiment in awareness - awareness of the grace that God offers us, and the grace that we can offer to others. When we take a moment to notice our reactions to the world around us, we can experience God's grace in new ways. If you'd like to share an experience you have had recently, feel free to link up to Beth's blog!
My experience for this week happened last night. My pastor and I were invited to the National Night Out block party that was taking place in our church's neighborhood. Both of us being shy introverts, we were pretty nervous and a little intimidated by the idea of walking into a neighborhood party without really knowing anyone. I have to admit, I started out with a somewhat closed heart...
We arrived (after driving around the block several times, due to the party getting going much later than we were told!) to a crowd of people who were obviously friends, and not the friendliest to the new visitors at first. We introduced ourselves to a couple of people... Only to have them say "hi" and turn back to the person they were talking to. My heart continued to harden. I felt so unwelcomed, and as though I was intruding... I wondered, how often do people enter my church and feel this way? (Lesson #1.)
Finally, after a half hour or so, a few more people began to talk to us - and once they did, they really opened up about who they were and what was going on in their lives. We talked about some fascinating careers and hobbies, some who had lost jobs recently (a few, actually), one person who's husband had a horrific accident last winter... My heart began to warm as these people saw us as caring friends in the neighborhood and shared their burdens.
I even finally got to meet the mom that I wave at several days a week when her little girls are riding their bikes on our street or in our church parking lot, as she protectively looks on.
It's amazing how resistant you can be to an experience - whether it's out of shyness or skepticism... and how a situation can unfold in such a positive way. (Lesson #2.) I hope this has been the first step to a relationship between our neighbors and the church - a sense of community where we can all experience God's grace!
So where has your heart been warmed or hardened this week? How is God's grace working in your life? I'd love to read your stories!
Today I am thankful for:
1. Excedrin. Ugh. Headache all day.
2. Madison, a little girl at VBS, running out to greet me when I arrived. Nice to feel wanted!
3. A fairly low-key day at VBS today.
4. Being able to come home early today. Nice to work and rest at home... I miss that!
5. Going to the "Cottage House" antique market with the hubby this afternoon. Got a couple of fun decorations - a HUGE black bowl (it might get painted... we'll see), and a pretty barn-red and yellow wall bucket thingy... Fun fun fun.
6. A funny response to my "Ladies of Grace" story - a man who wrote a book about introverts in the church emailed me to tell me about the book! LOL I'll have to check it out! Thanks, Adam!
7. The hubby helping me make treats for VBS tomorrow - he's so much better at certain things!
8. A beautiful night for a walk - gorgeous sunset!
9. Offers to do cool giveaways and product reviews on the blog. Kind of fun!
10. This picture of my goddaughter, Elly, and me swimming and making fishy faces!