The story of a friendship

Remember the kids who were ringing my doorbell and running? They kept doing it.

I talked to them about it again, as kindly and calmly as possible, and yet they kept at it, usually waking up my children and shattering my free time in the process. I’d been trying not to bring it up with their parents/guardians since I know that some of them have complicated situations at home, and I didn’t want to add any stress there. But a few weeks ago I’d exhausted all ability to be charitable, and I was just mad. In an example of how even a little bit of sin can open the floodgates for a lot more sin, I allowed myself to indulge in some self-pitying thoughts one afternoon; a few days later, I had a grand conspiracy theory all worked out in my head, had firmly labeled myself “VICTIM,” and was delighted by thoughts of revenge. I no longer wanted to talk to their parents to simply put an end to the pranks, but to get back at them.

One Wednesday afternoon I found myself staring out the window, watching them run away after yet another incident. As I heard a couple of my children beginning to fuss upstairs, I was consumed with rage. In a last-ditch effort to control my temper before I did a reverse-address lookup to get their home phone numbers and start leaving nasty messages on their parents’ answering machines, I prayed. Through clenched teeth, my feeble attempt at prayer went something like this:

Lord, I am about to be on seriously bad terms with some of my neighbors. I don’t want it to be that way, but I am beyond my ability to be charitable here. I need help. NOW.

In a highly unusual moment, I actually sensed an immediate, very clear answer to my prayer: I suddenly knew that it would all work out somehow, and my angry urge to go yell on their parents’ voicemail dissipated. But I also got a clear feeling that God was putting these children in my path for a reason, and would continue to send them to my doorstep, so to speak, until I welcomed them.

So I disconnected the doorbell.

I know, that sounds ridiculous: I prayed, received an answer, and then went ahead and did my own thing anyway since the answer wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I all but thought, “That’ll teach the Holy Spirit to boss me around!” as I unwrapped the last wire from the doorbell box.

I was smugly proud of myself for my great idea to get rid of the annoyance these kids had caused. And yet, that feeling wouldn’t go away. The strong sense that I was meant to have some kind of contact with them continued. And then, two days after I said the prayer, I found an injured bird on my driveway. I was so frustrated because it was hard to tend to this bird with a three-year-old, a 21-month-old and a nine-month-old in tow. I was overwhelmed. I was upset. I needed help. I looked up in desperation to flag down the first person I saw…and the four doorbell-ringers were standing just a few feet away, shuffling around in the neighbor’s driveway.

I had planned for my next interaction with them to be one filled with threats and lectures. Instead, I found myself asking, “Can you help me?”

To make a long story short, the girls eagerly helped me tend to the little bird, and in the process we struck up a conversation. We ended up chatting in my driveway for more than an hour. After getting to know them a bit, I felt terrible for my previous feelings of anger towards them: for one thing, they’re a lot younger than I thought they were, their ages ranging from eight to ten. I also got the sense that they were just bored; typical kids looking for ways to fill the free time after school.

We said our goodbyes at the end of the evening. The next day, just as I was settling in to enjoy some precious down time, they knocked on my door again. Only this time, they didn’t run. They’d ostensibly come to see about the bird’s progress, yet after I gave them an update, they didn’t leave. I hinted a few times to wrap up our conversation, but they didn’t take the bait.

Finally, one of them said softly, “You seem like a nice person, and I could really use someone to talk to. Do you think we could come in?”

“Sorry,” I replied. “You kids need to get out of here so that I can go write a blog post about being selfless.”

Kidding.

Wondering how on earth I would avoid mental collapse without any time to myself, I silently said a little prayer for strength, and replied, “Sure. I’d love for you to join me.” Inspired by Meredith’s example of hospitality, I got out my wedding china in honor of my special guests, brewed some sweet orange tea, dumped a big bag of pretzels into a bowl, and found some extra chairs to make room for us all around my kitchen table.

In that moment, a friendship was born.

For some people, this would be a pretty normal scene, sitting around your table with a group of elementary school children from the neighborhood. There are people out there who are naturally good with kids, perhaps who have experience babysitting or volunteering with youth groups, who have a knack for rapping with young people on their level. I am not one of those people.

I was perfectly content to be the mysterious crank nextdoor, a shadowy figure whose existence was suspected only from an occasional chink in the blinds, behind which you could a voice holler, “You kids!” To have a kitchen full of eight- and ten-year-olds is about as unlikely a situation as it gets for me. I would only be slightly more surprised if a UFO crashed in my back yard and I ended up sipping tea with green aliens with antennae coming out of their heads. I could not be more out of my element.

And yet, the fingerprints of God are all over this situation. The peace of the Holy Spirit is palpable.

This is what I mean by the Christian life being an exciting life. Had it not been for that feeling I got through prayer and the belief that God gives us the strength we need to do his will, I would have never put myself in this situation. I’m spread so thin as it is, I would have never thought I could survive if I gave one more minute of my time to anyone else. But when I see the girls excitedly waving their hands, so eager to share that they actually jump out of their chairs and exclaim, “Miss Jennifer, pick me! Pick me!” as they try not to talk over one another, I know that God is guiding this situation, and that he will give me the help I need.

Yesterday, as the girls passed out gooey fresh-from-the-oven cookies they’d baked in my kitchen, I was marveling once again at the incredible unlikeliness of this scene. I have no idea where God is going with this, why he sent them my way, or where it’s going from here. But when one of the girls looked around with wide eyes and exclaimed, “Miss Jennifer, I just love it that we’re all best friends!” I knew one thing for sure: this is exactly where I need to be.

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Enter the Conversation...

133 Responses to “The story of a friendship”
  1. Tausign says:

    Now this is why I love this blog! Such encounters are transformative to Christ and his ways. You simply yielded to Christian instincts and allowed a small ‘miracle’ to take place.

    Of course none of this could have been scripted ahead of time. That’s a testimony of how giving over control of a bad situation to God can change everything. I love how you described being in the situation with acute awareness of what was happening. These encounters cement conviction of spiritual life.

    Warning: If you get in the habit of doing such things you’ll find your desire to ‘control’ all events seriously waning.

    P.S. Don’t feel bad about unwiring the doorbell. I would have connected the wires to a metal plate under their feet.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for being Christ to these girls. I will be praying for you!

  3. SteveG says:

    Simply…utterly…beautiful.

    Thank you for posting this.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This is just SO cool!

  5. kcmarie122 says:

    Wow, that is a really awesome story! I love how God works so clearly sometimes! Good for you for listening to His gentle nudge!

    Thanks for sharing that! It was a nice reminder of God’s faithfulness even when things aren’t going the way we planned!

  6. SuburbanCorrespondent says:

    Great post – as usual. But I would have disconnected the doorbell wires also. I used to cry if the mailman or someone else knocked on our door just when I had gotten everyone to sleep…just reading this brought back that feeling of utter desperation, that hopeless yearning for a minute of peace and quiet…

  7. Melora says:

    What a great story! (And I think unwiring the doorbell was a fine idea — you still don’t want your napping babies disturbed, even though the girls are now friends.)

  8. Anna says:

    Eight to ten might be a little young for formal babysitting by themselves, but if they end up spending a lot of time at your house, they might be able to help you with your kids some. That might spread you a little less thin, and feeling like they can do something useful is important for kids.

    God bless,
    Anna

  9. Anne Marie says:

    I’m reminded about your two of your posts when I read this. First the one about the kids hanging out in packs with out adult supervision at the malls, and the second about you not really knowing your neighbors well. Perhaps these girls are little emissaries of community, building the bonds of community in the neighborhood by way of ding dong ditch so as to not end up in a pack in the mall, or maybe they’re just passing through for an afternoon or two. Either way I’m thinking time spent interacting with an adult is probably a good thing.

  10. PFMommy says:

    Thanks for sharing this today. I needed to read it, as I’ve been sitting here frustrated with the parade of neighborhood children roaming through my house. They are all out of school now, and ours tends to be the house where they end up a lot of times!

    I need to be better at letting my light shine.

    Thanks!

  11. Joe says:

    What a wonderful story!

    I sure hope you are involved in RCIA in your parish!

  12. Barb says:

    Jennifer, this is so cool. This may be the only “church” these kids ever see. You have the makings of a true community. If I may say….just remember – it is not yours to organize or control. Jesus is doing all of that for you…just do tomorrow what he tells you. No Guilt for not being able to do more. Just freedom to respond.

  13. The Koala Bear Writer says:

    Wow, what an opportunity for you, and how lucky those kids are!

  14. Anonymous says:

    Jen, when we first moved in here, the two youngest kids from next door kept coming over EVERY DAY and bugging me (they were, I think, 5 and 6 at the time). I was really exasperated at having MORE kids in my house, in addition to my own, but you know what? They became like extra siblings, and they would amuse my kids (who were 1 and 3 at the time) for long periods of time! When my third one came along, I am convinced the only reason I was able to remain sane with three children in four-and-one-half years was because the neighbor kids would come over every day and create a diversion. They really were a blessing and I don’t begrudge them one bit all the food they ate while they were here!

  15. Patience says:

    What a beautiful post. It’s like something out of a magazine or a young mother’s dream.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Let’s see: little children who need and long for an adult/family presence in their lives begin ringing your doorbell. Unsure of the response they will get, they run–’it’s just a prank.’ But they keep coming back. Again and again, ringing and ringing.
    And God knows (I mean, He knows) your transformation has reached the point you are the kind of person He can safely send little lost sheep toward. Someone who might read The Hobbit with them. Or about finding baby Moses in the river. Who might …show them how you teach a one of your little ones to pray. Show them who Mary is, a Mother for all the living. Who might become, gently, gently a little center point of light in the neighborhood….

    Thanks for writing about this. Jen, you are such a ‘gospelizable’ person.

    Jim McCullough

  17. SuburbanCorrespondent says:

    What Anna said occurred to me also – these girls may grow into fantastic mother’s helpers and/or babysitters! And it would do them good to help you care for the babies…

  18. Kelly @ Love Well says:

    That has God fingerprints all over it. Can’t wait to see what develops. My heart thrills at His work.

  19. The Reads says:

    I found your blog from Shannon and I just had to tell you Thank You for posting that. What you are doing is so beautiful for these girls! Thanks for being the example of Christ.

  20. Amy says:

    This post has encouraged me so much. I am a full-time mother to 6 children aged 3 to 11 and we’ve been regularly having 4 neighbor children in our yard in the evenings and weekends. I’ve been trying to have a good attitude towards the neighbor kids, but this is an area I struggle in since I can hardly keep tabs on my own six! I need to remember that whatever I do for them (and my own children), I do for Christ.

  21. The Vincents says:

    Good for you. These are the kind of encounters that I wish I would have but maybe the problem is that I’m not allowing myself to have them. I’m a social worker by profession and have worked with lots of latch-key kids and can say that having a welcoming, safe environment with a caring adult there during the times they were previously alone to wander is HUGE for them. You will be blessed!
    ~Abby
    http://www.jillofall.wordpress.com

  22. Wani says:

    wow… God is so amazing. Thank you for listening to His guiding and for sharing it with all of us.

  23. Jenn says:

    I just love how God works. It reminds me of my baby when she oh so needs a nap and fights it so hard. I love that God truly does know what we need and we fight so hard but in the end are so blessed.

  24. Heather says:

    Beautiful–isn’t it wonderful how God gets us where He wants us?

  25. Jordan (MamaBlogga) says:

    What an amazing story! I’ve been going through similar feelings (though without convenient scapegoats/new friends, as my son just won’t nap lately).

    The thing that impresses me the most is what an incredible influence you could be in these girls’ lives. It sounds like you’re becoming their de facto mother. What an incredible trust. What an incredible opportunity for good.

    Even if you don’t end up sharing the gospel with them explicitly, and even if they’re growing up in Christian homes, what a powerful reinforcement of good morals and standards you could be for these girls, and at such a critical time in their lives.

    But if nothing else, this could serve as good experience for when your children are these ages.

    (Here via Rocks in My Dryer)

  26. Blessed says:

    Awesome story, glad you are developing a friendship with these kids – I’d leave the doorbell disconnected though, a child getting woke up from a nap can be quite cranky!

  27. Anonymous says:

    “This is what I mean by the Christian life being an exciting life. Had it not been for that feeling I got through prayer and the belief that God gives us the strength we need to do his will, I would have never put myself in this situation.”

    not trying to be a sticky tuesday on your blog here, but i can’t help commenting on the obvious disconnect from logic and intrinsic human decency you’re practicing. while the gesture was beautiful and kind, and i in no way mean to play down the good deed, but you are misplacing the due credit.

    do you honestly believe you wouldn’t know how to act this way without the watchful eye of one of the most vile, selfish, vengeful creatures man has imagined (Yahweh)?
    quick little quote that hope will spark debate and not name calling:

    “is god willing to prevent evil, but not able?
    then he is not omnipotent.
    is he able, but not willing?
    then he is malevolent.
    is he both able, and willing?
    then whence cometh evil?
    is he neither able nor willing?
    then way call him god.”

    food for thought. we are all amazing, beautiful human beings with the tremendous capacity for kindness and love we all know very well. why cheapen it with talk of the supernatural? surely you don’t blame all the bad things in this world on god not coming through for you, right?

    • Malakh says:

      um, hi… for answers about “vile evil Yahweh”… and this OVERSAID OVERUSED AND OVERBORING quote… please refer to a genius called C.S. Lewis who answered this question a looooong time ago. Please read Mere Christianity… it answers your question… and YES…. without this vile evil Yahweh”, many, and I do say MANY horrible things would have been done by me… that is, if I were to follow the “atheism so-called-freedom”…

  28. Maria says:

    That is _so awesome_!!

    I’m really glad for those girls.

    Yay for you, Jen. May this be the beginning of many good things for all of you:).

  29. The Powell Family says:

    precious!

  30. Chaotic Joy says:

    AMAZING post. I honestly think I would have told them I was busy when they asked if they could come in. Thank you for a fresh perspective on what God can do if you are open to where the Holy Spirit wants to lead you.

    Even if you did disconnect your doorbell. :)

  31. Lysa TerKeurst says:

    Beautiful… simply beautiful!

    Thanks for sharing and inspiring us with this post.

  32. La gallina says:

    You mean, as Christians we have to be nice to neighborhood kids too??!! I never thought of that. I’m usually grumbling about how lazy kids are these days, and trying to figure out how to keep all but my own out of my house. I suppose I could change my attitude. Thanks, Jen, for being such an inspiration.

  33. Momma Mary says:

    Thank you.

  34. Amy says:

    Beautiful!

    I’ll tell you a little secret. 8 and 10 year olds aren’t old enough to babysit, but they are OUTSTANDING at distracting little ones so that their Mommy can get some work done around the house. My house is always cleaner after the 3 big kids down the street come to play.

    Maybe God heard your call for help, and sent you free babyminders who need you as much as you need them.

    Hugs,
    Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

  35. allyouwhohope says:

    That story is AMAZING! Wow. To read it slowly unfolding over several posts was fascinating. So tonight as I was hanging onto every word I was like, ‘She is going to befriend them! Oh my goodness!’

    What a great reminder for us all to be Christ to others. As a reader, it all came together so beautifully, but when it’s our own lives it’s often not so obvious. I wonder how many times I missed an opportunity like that.

  36. Connie says:

    God is awesome! Those girls are blessed to have you as a friend! And I can’t wait to see what He has planned!!! I’ll be praying for all of you…Connie

  37. BundyMum says:

    Woah, that is a very cool story. God brought some people right to your door cause he wanted to work in their lives! awesome. Often he just gives us nudges when we are out and about. I am going to be more on the lookout to see what God is doing so I can join him in my community. Thanks!

  38. Faerylandmom says:

    A perfect example of Proverbs 3:5-7a

    “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and he will direct your paths. Be not wise in you own eyes…”

    You trust God, and He shows you the next step. Beautiful. Those girls are seeing Jesus in you. And that is probably the reason they are in your life. :-)

  39. Kathy says:

    I remember being one of the very few stay at home moms in our new neighborhood in VA. There weren’t a lot of little kids around during the school day, but there were lots of very young nannies from the Midwest. They were lonesome and bored as they only had the 4 walls of the house to look at (lots of parents had notions about not taking the babies or children for walks or to the store.) Anyway, I got to be good friends with them, one in particular. Meanwhile, I was sure that I was being totally useless to the Lord! Hindsight is always 20/20!
    BTW, I second the notion of the girls helping with the little ones, after you give them some education!

  40. Lex says:

    This is my first time visiting your blog and how thankful I am that I did! I just love it when I hear how God is working in the world because it comes just when I have the doubts creeping in.

    I’m off to dive into your archives.

  41. franticallysimple says:

    Thanks so much, that is just what I needed. I’m having a similar situation and I needed the strength your post just offered.

  42. Dustmite says:

    This is what it means to be “God” to those around us. The healing power of Christ’s touch to those hurting is sometimes no farther than what you inviting those girls into your home. Sometimes the simplest act is the hardest and yet the most fulfilling.

    I have been toying with making a blog post along these lines myself (being God to those around us) and reading your post has given me a nudge. Maybe I should stop procrastinating.

    Good post Jennifer!

  43. chickadee says:

    oh that’s awesome!

  44. April says:

    Jennifer… Your story makes me miss and yearn and pray for my Lil friend (and her sister) down the street. They moved out of my neighborhood a few months ago, but I still pray for another person such as yourself to come and water their lives with the love of Jesus. I cannot believe the irony of how similar our stories are – even the ages of the girls are identical. I only blogged about our encounters the first few times, but so much has happened since – meals provided and birthday parties given when their parents forgot, Christmas, cookies, brownies…etc… Wow. Thank you so much for posting this. Oh how my heart aches now for SOMEone to reach them where they are now. The blessing you are to the girls…. oh, the Jesus they must see through you. They will NEVER forget you.

    The Links:
    http://tinyurl.com/5pzczm
    http://tinyurl.com/6et496
    http://tinyurl.com/5bkr6v
    http://tinyurl.com/5bh5s2

  45. Barb @ getupandplay says:

    What an incredible post!

  46. TRS says:

    Awesome.
    You disconnect the doorbell – God lands a dead bird in your drive!!

    Talk about signs you can’t ignore!

    You are a beautiful person for recognizing opportunity. Thanks for being an example.

    And BTW – schools out for summer. Better to make friends of and good use out of these kids than to banish them away like cranky Mr. Wilson!
    Good for you!

  47. JanMary says:

    Wonderful post – thanks for encouraging and inspiring.

  48. Lomagirl says:

    I love that you got out your china for them. That was so special. Wow. One of the other commenters said something like this too, but here’s my bit- God didn’t just send them to you for them- they are there for you, too.
    (And I would have trouble finding the grace to give up my precious time, too.)

  49. Phillip Platz says:

    A post I’m reminded of is your tow truck driver story. Maybe you’re yet again being the delayed person in the car for the children (tow truck drivers). It’s great that you’re able to be Christ for them! Maybe some of them don’t know Him?

    For me, every good thing I do seems to be negated by the ten more times I fall in correspondence.

    Nonetheless, I pray that this example can really help you (as it seems to have!) in growing closer to God and your call to holiness!

  50. Robin says:

    Beautiful incarnation of Christ…to Him be the glory :).

  51. Suzy says:

    This story hit home with me. In a huge way. Thankyou for writing it.

  52. Jenny says:

    What a great example! You never know what an impact you will have. Another blog I read is a lady that had a friend as a child like you! Her homelife was a little (maybe alot) unstable and it was a safe place for her. She still is in touch with the family, and says if not for them she would have been alot worse off.

    Jen

  53. Beth/Mom2TwoVikings says:

    First time visitor…and my first thought: ripples in a pond. Keep on following the leading of the Lord. You can’t imagine where the ripples of your kindness will reach!

  54. minnesotamom says:

    God has just used you to inspire me in more ways than you know. Thank you for being a vessel, poured out in His honor.

  55. Stephanie@AHighandNobleCalling says:

    Oh goodness, here it is at 7am and I am sitting here with tears running down my face.

    Praise God! I pray that your time would them would be effective for His glory, and that it would be an effect that lasts a lifetime!

  56. Nomadic says:

    As a former neighborhood kid, let me say thank you. I was one of those kids whose mom was always working and didn’t have much time to spend with us, and most of that was negative and abusive. I also had two younger siblings in tow most of the time.

    There was that one neighbor who always had time for us and who made the difference for me. Because of that one lady, I broke the cycle with my kids. She showed me a better way. Perhaps your example will do the same for your young guests.

    I, too, came through Shannon to read your lovely post today.

    Melissa in FL

  57. Elaine A. says:

    I wonder if those girls were thinking, “Geez, how many times are we going to have to ring her bell before she gets the message that we really do NEED her!” ; )

    Thanks for sharing this story…

  58. LifeatTheCircus says:

    That is so wonderful that you followed the prompting of the Holy Spirit (even if it took awhile) and are letting Him use you to minister to these girls in your neighborhood. I admire they way you are giving of yourself even when you feel you have nothing left to give and I am confident He will continue to fill your cup so you can pour out to your family and neighbors. Way to be a light! Thanks for the encouragement!

  59. Erin says:

    I just want to encourage you in your serving and thank you for being obedient to God in the lives of these young girls. You may not ever exactly know what God is using this time for, but you can be sure that it will impact the lives of each girl in a major way. I was one of those girls at almost that exact same age, and I can still remember every other women who was there to encourage, smile, and love on me. This was a time of my parents’ divorce and lots of trouble between my mom and myself, so God used other women/moms to impact me and love me when my mom wasn’t doing such a great job of it. It makes me tear up to think of you obeying God’s call to do the same for these girls. Bless you!

  60. Kim says:

    Denial of self allowed for such a beautiful revelation! I love His ways :)

    Thank you for sharing so beautifully.

  61. Cindy-Still His Girl says:

    First time here and I’m blown away. You go, girl!

    Yesterday I was watching my girls playing with two neighbor kids (one of whom annoys me to no end) and I kept praying that my heart would thrill to it more; that my house WOULD be the one kids want to be at because they are loved.

    But she still annoys me.

  62. Threeundertwo says:

    Your story made my day. Thank you for writing it so beautifully. I’ll be thinking about you today.

  63. Kim says:

    I suspect He may be using you to change eternity. Thanks for allowing Him to minister to these lonely young ladies through you.

    I teach kiddos like your girls. They are good kids who need guidance and someone to love and mentor them. For whatever reason, their parents aren’t able/willing. Thank you for standing in the gap for these girls. Not only do I teach kids like this…I was one of them.

  64. Memarie Lane says:

    I go through the exact same thing with my neighbors. Except when I disconnected the doorbell, they started banging on the windows instead. And if I try to be nice to them they tell me to F off.

  65. zoom says:

    This was a wonderful post and edified my spirit. The Holy Spirit leads us in the most marvelous ways.

    There was a comment from another person that I wanted to respectively address. They referred to God as vile, selfish and vengeful, and humans as being kind and selfless.

    I work in a job in which I deal with the public. I deal with all races, all income levels, all ages, all political leanings, all manners of folks large and small.

    People by nature are difficult, rude, selfish, fearful, and less than honest. I include myself in that group. Only through the workings of the Holy Spirit are humans actually able to live beyond themselves and live a noble existence.

    From my experience, God doesn’t allow evil- we do.

  66. Kristine says:

    What a great example. Thanks for your honesty and willingness to follow His leading!

  67. Dev says:

    wow… God is definitely at work in your life! your story is very inspiring.
    i admit, i don’t know that i would have been that patient. actually, i think i may have dressed up as a shrub and scared ‘em straight after the second time they doorbell-ditched me!
    it would have left me praying, true, but praying for FORGIVENESS. your way was much better!

  68. Katie says:

    Wow, that’s amazing! Shames me a bit, I have a neighbor kid I can’t stand ><

  69. Lindsey says:

    What a touching post! You never know a person’s influence….you are truly being a blessing to those children. Sometimes God gives us a different ending. Thank you for sharing:)

  70. Kimberly says:

    Thanks for sharing this– I found this through Shannon’s blog Though I am stretched thin too, it reminded me to let God stay in charge, as opposed to my sad efforts to be the one in charge. A wonderful post!

  71. Runningamuck says:

    Just love this post. Thanks for all the amazing reminders in it. So much to process and apply to my own life. Have a bunch of my own annoying little neighbors… only they are in their teens and boys. My first thought is, I could handle them if they were younger. I could accept them and show kindness. I don’t know the first step in dealing with teen boys! But I can hear God’s still small voice telling me I don’t have to. If I open my heart for Him to work, He’ll lead me. He’s already working on my heart attitude after reading your post.

    Thanks! And keep up the good work. You are providing them with a great role model, and they will never forget the kindness you have shown them. And who knows? Those girls just might be future babysitters for you… =0

  72. Wade's World says:

    This is my first visit to your blog, but it won’t be my last. Thanks for sharing your story. It also made me open my eyes about a few of the kids in my neighborhood. I may be getting out the good china soon myself…

  73. April says:

    I always ridicule those people who cry at Hallmark commercials, but here I am fighting back tears! What a beautiful story of obedience–and thank you for your honesty! You could have left out all the parts about how you were really feeling and what you wanted to do to these girls, but showing your obedience to the Spirit in spite of your own feelings has really inspired and strengthened me today. Thank you!

  74. Jill says:

    I came here from Rocks in My Dryer. I love this post of yours! (I didn’t read the other comments) God is definitely wanting to use you in these girls lives. I have a thought? What if you did some sort of group study with them? I have a friend who did that with girls in her neighborhood. You could do something sort of pre-evangelistic with them. I could ask my friend what material she used, if you would like. Just e-mail me.
    Let me just tell you, this is huge! WE just had a teenage neighbor that died of a drug overdose last week. I so wish that I had a relationship with him and could’ve possibly spoken truth into his life. So sad!

  75. Kevin says:

    “Knock and it will be opened for you.”

    Thanks for being the instrument through which God answered these little girls’ prayers.

  76. A&EMom says:

    I love your blog and this story! I feel compelled to mention a quick note or call to the parents to introduce yourself since you’ve invited their children into your home.

  77. 'Becca says:

    How wonderful! I hope both you and the girls gain many benefits from your friendship.

    We have a 7-year-old neighbor who is often at loose ends; she lives with her semi-disabled grandma. At first I found her kind of a pest. She was always curious about what we were doing, running up to us whenever we came outside or returned home, asking a zillion questions. Her ethics and habits are not the ones I want modeled for my 3-year-old son. But he adores her and wants to play with her a lot. One day last fall, I was scrambling to get the house ready for guests, my partner was out all day and hadn’t done the chores he’d said he would, and my kid was clamoring to play with this neighbor. Grudgingly, I allowed him to invite her in…and I learned that SHE LOVES TO CLEAN!! She loves to help and feel useful! Now, when my son is reluctant to run errands with me, I invite this girl to come along. She jumps at the opportunity to go places grandma can’t take her, and she’s learning my ethics and habits by asking questions about what I buy and watching what I do.

    Anonymous asked:
    is he able, but not willing?
    then he is malevolent.
    is he both able, and willing?
    then whence cometh evil?

    You’re assuming that a good God would never let anything bad happen to us. I believe God allows us to experience bad things so that we can learn and grow.

    When I see my child running and sliding on his socks on the hardwood floor, I am able to stop him. If I am not willing, it is not because I’m malevolent (enjoy his pain, hope he’ll suffer) but because I want him to understand the consequences of his actions. If I let him keep sliding until he falls, he learns that that can happen and that it hurts. I don’t LIKE to see him hurt; his cries of anguish tear my heart; I will rush to hold and comfort him…but I am willing to let it happen, because if I prevent it he will continue to insist that he would NOT have fallen and that sliding is NOT dangerous. His pain is sad, but it is not evil.

    we are all amazing, beautiful human beings with the tremendous capacity for kindness and love we all know very well. why cheapen it with talk of the supernatural?

    That’s not cheapening it. That’s elevating it. Our amazingness, beauty, kindness, and love all are part of a larger thing that is all of us put together and even more. Connecting to and acknowledging that does not make us cheaper or lesser; it expands our potential beyond our individual limits.

    It sounds to me like you are frightened by the idea that there might be Something bigger or smarter than you.

  78. boomama says:

    Beautiful. And completely inspiring.

  79. Dawn says:

    A wonderful story and encouragement/poke in the side to me. I find it so much easier in my sinful self to keep my family in our yard and not have to deal with any of ‘those’ kids on the street. Partly I am just such a homebody and don’t like change. And yes, partly, I just don’t know how to properly respond with God’s love to other children playing with my kids. I want them to see an example of a Christian home, and yet my kids are such copycats that they repeat every bad word and phrase they hear around the neighborhood. There must be a balance somehow between those things…

  80. Mamaslearning says:

    Very touching. I’m sharing it on my blog so my family and friends can also be inspired.

  81. Anonymous says:

    This is the first time I have read your blog, so I scrounged around a bit and got to know you slightly, so to speak. It is apparent that you have been gifted beyond your understanding.
    It is refreshing to read that you heard and responded to the Holy Spirit, and then responded again in obedience. Too many people ignore these promptings.

    Having been a doorbell ringer myself, in my previous life :), I applaud your sensitivity to the kids who apparently needed something, they just didn’t know how to ask.
    Hmmm…Isn’t that true of most of us at one point or another? We only know to ring the doorbell.

  82. razzler says:

    Wow, this is so amazing! Brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful testimony.

  83. Miche says:

    Wow-this is an amazing, lovely post! I hope you don’t mind, but I am going to link to you for readers of my blog to read your post (let me know if you mind). What a great message you shared with everyone today!

  84. Anonymous says:

    My heart aches at this post. One, that the girl said she could use someone to talk to, and you – a total stranger – were the person she picked, because you showed her simple kindness. It makes me think that there is much loneliness in her life and I am sad to think of an 8 year old with that kind of emptiness.
    Secondly, I am one of those awful working mothers who doesn’t get home till 7:30, like those mommas you mentioned in the post. It pierces me through the heart that my own kids could end up as these kids, resorting to pranks to desperately get some attention. Your post made me cry.

  85. GiBee says:

    This was a wonderful post… have you ever stopped by Sandy’s blog? http://www.reluctantentertainer.com/ She blogs mostly about practicing hospitality, but she has an entire section devoted to something she calls “Balcony Girls” — she does similar things for girls the same age as the ones that rang your door bell.

    Isn’t it funny the way God works? And I’m thinking Green Tea would be delightfully appropriate with the aliens.

  86. Silvana says:

    What a blessing! Thanks for sharing.

  87. The (Almost) Amazing Mammarino says:

    Precious, just precious. Just think of how differently this would turn out if you’d left the angry messages. Their parents would have gotten mad at them (or maybe they wouldn’t care, which would also be sad) and yelled at or did who knows what to them.

    I love your blog! I’ve read several posts here and there, but this is it – I’m adding you to my blogroll right this instant!

  88. Melanie B says:

    Jen, such a beautiful story. I hope they are an unexpected answer to your prayers and will turn out to be a great help with your little ones. You might even find that by giving up some of your personal time to these needy girls, you may eventually get back much more time. In any case you will be richly rewarded.

  89. Overwhelmed! says:

    What a beautiful post. I’m so glad you took the time to get to know your little neighbor girls!

    What a blessing for all of you.

  90. Jan/lost-strayed-or-stolen.blogspot.com says:

    Entertaining angels unawares….

  91. Literacy-chic says:

    Wow. This is the kind of thing that just doesn’t happen any more. I don’t know if I would have had it in me. Although, I’m usually less cranky & suspicious when I get to know people! Then I do things like send (another) blogger who was moving to Texas a funny song about Texas through iTunes and worry that she thinks I’m a stalker…

  92. Lisa says:

    What a wonderful story. Those girls will be blessed by the time you spend with them.

    Praise the Lord for His wonderful and mysterious ways!

  93. Melanie says:

    I havee a feeling that you will be blessed more than they will. Thank you for opening that door. Praise God.

  94. Beth says:

    Simply a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing it!

  95. Becoming Me says:

    Wow. Isn’t our God amazing. How richly your life and the lives of those kids will be blessed. Such a beautiful story.

  96. jskell911 says:

    Thank you for sharing the story and opening up about all of your feelings. It was wonderful!

  97. A Stone Gatherer says:

    Just stopped over from “Rocks on my Dryer”. What a wonderful post! God is using you to show these girls that they are valued! Thanks for allowing him to use you!

  98. planetnomad says:

    Love this story! And maybe, in God’s providence, your new friends will end up helping you so much with your own little ones that you won’t feel stretched so thin. He always works everything for our good and his glory.

  99. Susan says:

    God is SO GOOD! I love this!
    Such a beautiful post… thank you so much for sharing it. It was good for me.

  100. Mary Margaret says:

    I guess it is actually true, God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform. Jennifer, I have been reading your blog for a long time, and rarely comment. This time, however, I am so moved that I have to say that you are not only a very impressive writer (with a fine comedic timing), but that you are a truly amazing person. I am humbled, as a Catholic, to read a story such as this. May God bless and keep those little girls in His heart and in yours. (Whatsoever you do, etc.)

    You truly rock, Miss Jennifer!

  101. CityStreams says:

    Wow! I am so impressed with your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. And you told it in such a real, down-to-earth way. Great post!

    I must say that I’m a little concerned that their parents aren’t more protective of them. What if their daughters were spending time with pedophiles or serial killers in the afternoons?

  102. My Ice Cream Diary says:

    This reminds me of an episode of Arthur (a cartoon on PBS) where Francine pranks her neighbor over and over until she finally meets her and they become best friends. I love how this ended, and I think what you are doing is wonderful.

  103. HisBeloved says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. Some times I forget just how much I can do for my neighbors just by being there.

    Blessings!

  104. Janel says:

    That is an absolutely beautiful post.
    Thank you for sharing this story.

    Unwiring the doorbell – so smart!

  105. eally says:

    Beautiful post! There are so many neglected children these days yearning for attention…praise God for people like you who listen to His gentle whispers and are willing to step out of their comfort zones.

  106. Stacy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. And thank you also for being their Light in the Storm.

    God Bless you as you work with them.

  107. onionboy says:

    An encouraging word to be sure.
    ::thrive! (and, you are!)

  108. Anonymous says:

    This is so sweet. You lifted me up after a hard day. Thank you.

  109. JP says:

    What a remarkable post and great example you are.

    I need to take notes.

    By the way, long time visitor of your blog, 1st time poster.

    Love visiting your blog daily.

  110. Marcy - The Glamorous Life! says:

    Inspiring.
    That God- he is so crafty….always has a plan now doesn’t he!?….

    Remember this- pretty darn soon they will be baby sitting age too!

    But seriously- who knows what amazing amount of good you are doing for them…just showing them attention…which is all they wanted in the first place.

    Man I love life. It is good. ALL GOOD

  111. Amy says:

    came across from a link at rocks in my dryer- I loved this story…Isn’t it amazing how the Lord makes room in our hearts for things we don’t think will fit? Thanks for sharing this- I know I can definitely relate. Feeling like my time is spread so thin and something or someone comes along and you think “this isn’t really the time to serve” and then I get that reminder that this indead is the time to serve, and for some reason it doesn’t seem to come at the convenient times. I guess that’s why it’s service. Anyways- thanks for sharing, I’m wishing I had a friendship like that.

  112. Jerralea says:

    What a beautiful story! I came over to read this from Rocks In My Dryer. I really enjoyed it and I’ll be back.

  113. AmyDe says:

    Thank you. Both for listening to God’s guidance and for posting about it.

    I am reminded to be a more patient parent and person as like you – aliens might have been easier for me to entertain.

  114. Kenzie says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post. I am always wondering if there are still good kids out there, and this reassures me that there are. And if I once thought they were hoodlums that maybe I just needed to open my eyes a little bigger to see the real picture. Thank you for your grace and wisdom.

  115. Julie Stiles Mills says:

    The words “standing in the gap” just FLEW into my head. God bless you.

  116. SuzyQ says:

    A very special post!
    Blessings:)

  117. Domestic Accident says:

    Reading that literally changed my evening. Thank you so much.

  118. Tracey says:

    Thank you…I have a very “difficult” neighbor and I think I need to rethink how I deal with her!!! God Bless

  119. The Downtown Boutique says:

    What a wonderful story! I don’t even want to know how often I ignore the nudges from God. You may be the only Bible these girls see. You may be the only Jesus they see. It’s not always easy to obey the Holy Spirit, but it’s definitely always worth it, isn’t it?

    Angie

  120. Isle Dance says:

    This is SO beautiful. I am so glad you are doing this.

  121. yeu@nn says:

    Wow! It’s really very heartwarming. Thank God for your realness, sis, and for your prayer… i know what you mean by a prayer through clenched teeth… hahaha! love your writing skills too – use it for His glory! Soli Deo Gloria!

  122. Meghan says:

    That was the perfect way to start my day. I just love how a blog post from spring of last year can hit me right where I need it today!

  123. Anonymous says:

    I think God just gave you a bunch of mother's helpers!

  124. Gabrielle LeBlanc says:

    Weren't you looking for an affordable daycare solution?!? 8 to 10 year girls make EXCELLENT babysitters!! They need an adult present, but they can mind the kids while you rest or write or take care of other business around the house. And in a couple of years, you'll be able to leave the kids alone with them!!

  125. Judy says:

    I have had the same type of thoughts, of being unable to tolerate one more uncrhistianlike thing that has been done to me or my family of late. I need prayers. I am living in an area where people are so self-absorbed and in love with money.

  126. KELLYOneal says:

    Some time ago, I did need to buy a car for my corporation but I did not earn enough money and couldn’t buy anything. Thank God my friend suggested to get the loans at reliable creditors. So, I acted so and was satisfied with my short term loan.

  127. Its actually really very touching story, I hope everyone is well, loved each other true friends, and help each other hard and difficult times in their school life.

  128. Mark says:

    It’s amazing how things can pan out in the most unlikeliest of circumstances. You could have easily, and somewhat unwittingly, made your life a real misery had you alienated your neighbours and these girls. These are the small tests that are thrown your way to see how you deal with. Great post! (New reader to your blog)

  129. roland says:

    Yeah its definitely a nice story and heart warming, yeah Oh I get chills when I read the final part of this story.

  130. Bonnie says:

    I’ve been reading some of your older posts and just got to this one, so I’m rather late to the game but I still wanted to add something to the comments. I was just thinking, can you imagine these girls all grown up and saying to each other, “Do you remember that lady Miss Jennifer who asked us to help her with that hurt bird one day, and then we used to go over her house and she’d put out the best china and serve us tea and bake cookies with us?” And the other one will say, “Yeah. ” with a far away look in her eyes and a slight smile on her face as they both silently remember what they received in their hearts from those times. Near the end of It’s A Wonderful Life, Clarence the angel tells George, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives. When he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” I think these kinds of situations are the very heart of our Christian life. To a non-Christian it just looks like a lady being nice to some neighborhood kids. But to a Christian, it looks the the spirit of God’ visitation.

  131. Bonnie says:

    One more comment that occurred to me after I went offline:
    “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”

  132. Peter says:

    My Catholic friend keeps sending me your link and this time I got engrossed in your blog. Thanks for sharing such sensitive stuff. Your love for Jesus is so clear.