Let’s have a play date – intentional living in my backyard

phone numberOne of the things about being the backyard missionary is doing things on purpose.

I shop at the same places, eat at the same places, get my hair done, and drop off my husband’s shirts at the same places each time, all in order to connect with the people who work there and be a familiar and friendly face.

I want people in my community to know I support them, their businesses and their lives. God cares about those details, and because I want them to see Him in me, I want them to know that I care, too.

And I do. Very much.

A couple of years ago, I did a strengths test and discovered that connectedness is one of my top strengths.

I just connect with people on a soul level. It’s how I’m made. And I believe that we are all here at this exact season of time, in the geographical places we are in and intersecting with the specific people we see, meet and do life with for a reason.

no coincidencesThere are no coincidences.

It’s bigger than us and our shirts and our haircuts and favorite tacos.

As in, God’s got a plan.

So this week, after several months of frequenting a particular place on purpose, just to connect with the friendly woman behind the counter, part of that plan for the two of us was unexpectedly revealed.

Something about her stood out to me from the first time we met, I just didn’t know what. She was friendly to me and my 3-year-old so that drew me in. We discovered that we’re both adoptive moms of pre-schoolers, so that became an easy conversation piece.

But there was more, I just knew it.

And today, the ‘more’ came out of nowhere and hit me with a full-on A-HA!.

storiesThis woman, whose name I purposely memorized, who I purposely carved five extra minutes in my crazy schedule for each time I went in, shared big time about herself, her passions and her story.

I don’t even know what started this conversation, but it was incredible how much we have in common.

Like, my story could be hers and her story could be mine.

We’re both writers. Get this, she’s about to publish a fourth book! And she works behind the counter of an everyday, average-Joe kind of business.

I would never have guessed.

Even more than that, though, it’s what her latest book is about that connects us.

Turns out, we share some deep wounds.

We have similar scars.

She’s someone whose story I can hear and say with all sincerity and empathy, ‘Me too, honey. Me too.’

In the span of about 8 minutes we discovered SO many connections, including the fact that we live quite close to each other.

We exchanged numbers and decided it was time for our preschoolers to have a play date and get to know each other while we do the same.

I know we could spend hours and days talking each other and still not be done talking.

We share MUCH in common.

And as I was leaving, her phone number scratched on a receipt, she said something that stopped me right now. Like, a pause, hold on, absorb this, kind of thing.

friends“I don’t have friends, I’m so excited!”

“I don’t have friends.”

Oh yes. You.

I know you.

I know you.

It was just the smallest of sentences and you wouldn’t have known that I noticed it. But I did. I always do.

It just so happens that the day after this exchange was her birthday and she wasn’t going to have anything to do.

We made excited plans to have a pre-school playdate during my older son’s football practice.

And it was SO FUN. I brought her a birthday card and a bag of chocolates. Nothing much, just a little ‘you matter’ kind of thing, something all us girls need on our birthdays.

The kids had a great time and so did the mommies.

And much to my delight, she brought her latest manuscript for me to peek at. If you know writers at all, that’s a BIG deal.

After hearing more about my story, my work and what I do with one particular ministry, Celebrate Recovery, she was brave enough to admit something out loud to me that she had never told another soul.

Something important.

And she had been searching for a way to deal with that something and wants to come check our ministry out.

God always connects us with the people we need.

Later that night, I got this text.

present“Thank you so much. Getting to know you has been the best present!”


So who knows. Who knows the deepest ‘why’ of why we are intersecting and what God’s going to do with all of this.

But it’s something.

And much like the rest of the story, I’m sure it’s something I never would have guessed.

Thanks for letting me share.

About Melissa Smith



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