Friday, March 4, 2011

Garage Door Openers

Last week, I received an awesome devotion from one of my St. Louis friends. Karen Tripp was the leader of our Beth Moore bible studies at my home church there, and she is the author of several books, including "God is Bigger Than Your Cancer" and 'God is Bigger Than Your Grief". This devotion really touched on the struggles I am having now, and I wanted to share it with all of you, so here it is:

God is Bigger Than... a Garage Door Opener

Garage door openers are great. With the push of the button, I drive my car out of the blazing sun, away from the freezing cold and into the sanctuary of my garage. Just steps away is the comfort of my climate controlled home. No scraping windows for me in the winter or red hot upholstery seats in the summer. My garage door opener helps to keep me tucked nicely away from any unpleasantness. Unfortunately, I've discovered that it also keeps me tucked away from pleasant things like people. Tucked inside my garage I miss the casual interaction with my neighbors. Life, these days, seems to be designed so isolation comes easy; but interactions require special effort.

This newly designed isolated life is not just the result of garage door openers. What about clothes lines? Remember hanging the sheets out on the line and chatting with your neighbor? And somebody has moved all the front porches. Instead of hanging out after supper on the porch with everyone else in the neighborhood, we now adjourn to the back deck. And maybe your deck has been designed with privacy fences and hedges to keep contact with others to a minimum. I suppose I sound a bit outdated. After all, if you want to make friends, you can easily get on your cell phone, laptop or iPad and connect with just about anyone you want. But it seems our hectic lives are designed to decrease casual contacts with friends and increase isolation. Have we craved privacy, safety and convenience so much that we've created an invisible wall of isolation?

The early Christians had a different idea. In Acts 2:46 it says the early Church continued "daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." This doesn't sound like isolation to me; this sounds like community. And I don't mean just on Sundays. These folks saw each other every day. It seems today there's an unspoken rule that we should be independent and stand on our own two feet. But I think God placed something deep inside of each of us that hungers to reach out and share our lives with others.
Every once in a while, you'll see people breaking this independence rule. There's moms talking at the school bus stop long after the bus has picked up their kids. Men bumping into friends at the grocery store and catching up on what's going on. We need friends. Studies show that regardless of family relationships, people with more friends lived 22% longer than people with fewer friends. Friends are good for your health.

In case you're concerned, I'm not suggesting we all throw away our garage door openers. We received 6 inches of snow yesterday and I am definitely keeping mine. But why not examine the flow of your life? Does your lifestyle help you maintain connections or isolation? Friends can help you stay healthy, happy and wise. Don't close the garage door on them.

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Mary Rose here. I'm sure that some of you military wives can relate to this one. (Marsha, I don't know how you survived all of those moves....I'm praying for you, too, sister!) Folks, we need to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world. We need to open our homes and open our hearts to new people who need to feel the connection and fellowship of believers.

I'm challenging all of you today. When was the last time you invited a new friend to lunch? When did you have a new friend over for coffee? When did you ask a new person to sit with you in that pew or bible study? Maybe you're comfortable with the friends and family you have around you right now. But Christ did not call us to be comfortable. He called us to go and make disciples of all nations. We need to practice hospitality. Who knows? Maybe we will entertain angels in the process.

Today's card was sent to me from Lynn from Michigan. Isn't this beautiful? She used one of my new favorite stamp sets from the SU Occasions mini, Nature Walk.

Happy Friday, friends!


  1. Great post Mary Rose! I am working diligently to make those day at a time. There is nothing finer than fellowship with other believers--on this side anyway! Praying for you too dear :0)

  2. BTW...GORGEOUS card! I may have to case that one ;0)

  3. Amen sister! (That's the second time I've said that in two days...ha-ha Tina) AND I'm gonna take on that challenge...I will report back! Funny, I had been toying with a similar idea on New Years...Front Porch Living...I was hoping to blog my concept.You beat me to it!

  4. Sisterly thought here, whether you're my sister or not...don't wait to be invited by someone. Be the one to invite. Get off your front porch and out into the big wide world. I think isolation is becoming an epidemic. Great concept Mary Rose. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Front porch living...meaning stepping out...not staying on the porch! Ha ha

  6. Oh, don't worry, sisters. I wouldn't preach it if I wasn't practicing it. I invited a friend/co-worker out to lunch last week, and I'm opening my home to a dozen Bunko babes this Tuesday. Like Marsha said, one day at a time!

  7. Thanks for sharing those thoughts. It is because of the example of the early church that we have groups that meet in eachother's homes at least once a week if not more so that we can build those relationships. I wouldn't give those times up for anything! Not even stamping!