October 23, 2016

The Invitation by Lynn J Simpson

                         The second is this; Love you neighbour as yourself. 
                          There is no commandment greater than these. Mark 12:31

Where are you in relationship with others?

That was one question asked to us by 
author and speaker Rosemary Flaaten at a Women's Breakfast I was attending. There is no doubt that we are made for relationship. But how willing are you to connect at a deeper level? Do you have relationships that go beyond your front door? Or do they stop at the kitchen and never see the garden?

I loved how Rosemary described relationships levels by how far we invite others into our homes.

First is Street Level. These relationships are like the people whose homes you pass by in your neighbourhood and take a peek through their windows to gawk at their television or the cat in their window.

Second is the Front Door. These people have a reason to be at your home. Maybe they are the carpet cleaner boys, the UPS men, or the girls selling girl guide cookies.

Third is the Living Room. These relationships are those we invite in beyond our front door but only into our living rooms where they see us in our best light. No messiness, no dust.

Fourth is our Kitchen. In the kitchen is where we do life, where stuff gets a bit messy, where mistakes happen and, importantly, where we nourish each other.

Then last is the Garden. The garden is pretty place but it also where lies our soil , our roots, even our compost,  the scraps of our life. Those we invite into our garden we also invite in to see beyond what is on the surface. There is no judgement, just acceptance and love. These people we allow to see the heart of who we are. And for most of us that may be one or two, or maybe three confidants. It is the deepest level of relationship, the most rewarding, yet the hardest door to open.

What keeps people out of our hearts?

Our attitudes can lock the doors, those locking  attitudes of anger, envy, and judgement.

The scariest part of inviting others into our garden is our assumption that they will judge us.

But an attitude of grace erases judgement. It accepts others and ourselves for who we are, and opens the door to forgiveness. 

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, 
bearing with one another in love. Ephesians 4:2

Above all, love each other deeply, 
because love covers over a multiple of sins. 1 Peter 4:8

Who is in your garden today? Or are there relationships in your kitchen waiting to be invited into your garden?

Love does no harm to a neighbour.
 Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:10


  1. Wow! What a profound analogy, Lynn. This really spoke to me.

  2. A beautiful picture! Thank you.


  3. This picture makes it easy to remember that I need to let people see my garden, share from its fruits, but also let them see the dirt under my nails and the mud on my shoes, especially if I want to grow in relationship. Thank you for sharing!
    Pam M.

  4. Thanks, Lynn, for sharing this thought-provoking message, which is timely for me. Blessings.


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