to live it out

What does it mean to live out connection? You've seen it in Tamarah's recent post here . She inspired me to write about a connected-community in the form of a Block Party.

We often think about connection in terms of needing more from other people. But the truth is that they don't need to give more, but we need to give up our hearts. When we are generous with our time and our openness with people, they will blossom.

Our love, given without reservation, will return oodles and oodles of love back.

How do we expand our connection beyond our homes, and into our communities? This has been a GIANT focus for me. And it changed me from trying to find the perfect church or perfect neighborhood, into creating connection within both my church and neighborhood. Instead of waiting for our block to become perfect, we can make it great!

I hear a lot about people not liking their neighbors, but maybe we just need to reach out and realize they are just like us in so many ways. We can extend grace to the hard things about living so close to others.

My heart and passion has always been uniting others. I long to do this kind of work until the day I am with Jesus. I strive to be a bridge-builder of relationship.

Tamarah wrote me very early on about this. She said "You are like a bridge. You help others across the things that are in their way. It's effortless because you carry life." I don't share this to say that I am great or anything. I share this because we all have gifts. And when someone speaks them over you, it shoots straight into your heart and creates this 'uh-ha' moment! You know have firm ground to stand on. Because you've always known this about yourself, but now it's truth because you've heard it spoken. And now you cannot help but act on it.

This thing that I was told, it is often in my mind, and it has created a confidence in me. I love people, all people. I want to know their stories, I want to share life. It's like I have this cavern and it longs for story upon story upon story to fill it. Fill me with your heartbreak, your redemption, your love, and let me show you that it's okay, there is no judgement here. And I ask nothing else from you.

So when I say that I want to create connection, I do it in every small way I can find. Writing a note to a friend, telling someone I love them the moment it pops into my head, saying a prayer over our school or community, sharing a day with our neighbors in the form of a block party.

When you gather together with food something happens. It's a nourishment of your soul. It's eye contact, and a touch of hands, it's a hug, or a happy birthday. It's life shared and connection made. It opens the door to a neighborhood 'hello', and creates a protection around your little ones. They know they are safe here, that they belong. They know the people around them, and they know where to go if they need help.

We are all in this together. It's as simple as a once a year gathering and it can be as great as a fullness of forever love. We took a day together and gathered for pancakes, but we stayed all day. I know this will be spoken of for years to come, I know the kids on our block will treasure these memories. I am so grateful for our neighbors, for their humanness and their grace over our mistakes.