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  • janetmchenry

Cheek Turning

How long have you lived in your house?

This year will mark FORTY years that we’ve lived in our home. Can you believe that? It seems unreal to me. How can that be?

The last year Craig was serving in the Army, we took a risk in buying three lots in our little town in the Sierra Valley and hired a contractor to frame our home and separate garage. He was a slow-moving vehicle, so it wasn’t until a year after we’d actually moved back to California from Kansas that we could move into our home.

Only in our 20s, we became our own contractors and hired out plumbing, heating, electrical work, and sheetrock guys. We did all the finish work, including tile and trim work and painting. (I’ve painted the interior numerous times.)

Less than two years after moving into our home, the nearby creek flooded over and came within an inch of getting into our house. A year later it did. We weren’t even home at the time, but friends of ours rescued our dog out of the garage, helped pull up and dry wet carpeting, and moved furniture up onto blocks.

The powers-that-be never informed us of flooding history in our area–from a seemingly tame little creek more than a block away. But because we wanted to be good neighbors, so we just dealt with the issues at hand.

My very capable husband arranged to have our two-year-old home raised four and a half feet and our entire lot essentially raised three feet with fill dirt. We now sit on a little mound up above our neighbors. And we haven’t flooded since.

While we could have gotten pretty angry and bitter about local government or our realtor or seller telling us about the flood zone issue (not identified with recorded documents either), we chose to let it go and live here as good neighbors. Was that easy? No. Was that expensive? Oh yeah. Was that complicated? For sure. For weeks we climbed up a ladder to get into our home, which was up on virtual stilts in the raising process. But good neighbors helped us in our time of need, so we decided to be good neighbors too–despite what they do or don’t do.

Being Jesus to other people means turning the cheek. It means not putting yourself first. It means letting stuff go. We live in a small town, so that’s important. But every neighborhood is essentially a small town. And Jesus can live in every neighborhood when we choose to turn from that which could divide and work to create common bonds.

Janet McHenry is a speaker and author of 24 books–six on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. She would love to be neighbors with you and invites you to connect with her on social media or through her website:

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