Strawberries in water. A comfortable and warm bed to sleep in. Soul conversations. Laughter. Open doors. Delicious meals. Simple hospitality. All of these experiences simply say, “You are welcome!” It is a wonderful feeling to be welcomed into someone’s home and life. It warms your heart and releases your anxiety. It feels you with peace that can only come from God.
Some of my favorite memories of hospitality took place around someone’s table. My conversations with my grandfather (and best friend) always took place at a table with a bowl of strawberries and sugar. All teenage worries disappear with strawberries and sugar. My grandmother’s table would often be decorated with a beautiful holiday arrangement and she would offer me a quick sandwich. Challenges about the future seemed to feel smaller at her table. Coffee, while sitting at my mother’s table looking at the hummingbirds, always tastes better and replenishes my soul. The back porch of my in-laws home always makes me thankful to be a part of a loving and supportive family. An afternoon cup of hot tea ,with a friend traveling the same parenting roads that I am on, gives me time to pause and be thankful for the children God has placed into my care for a short time. Strawberries and water with a nice lunch after a super stressful morning reminds me why friends are important. And a key to the front door of a friends home makes me grateful for friendships that are deeper than I can even understand. All of these moments simply say, “You are welcome.”
I imagine God’s eternal home is similar. It is a place where all feel at home. A place where stress falls away and laughter grows. A place of community that replenishes our souls. A place where pain does not exist. A place where love is deeper than we can even understand. No matter if we sit at the kitchen table or on the back porch of God’s house, we know that we are welcome.
Until we personally experience God’s home, we each have the opportunity to open our homes and our hearts in a way that simply communicates, “You are welcome!” We each have an opportunity to provide a glimpse into eternal life through our hospitality to others. Just like God is always ready and available to hear our thoughts and prayers, we too need to be available to have meaningful conversations with others and welcome them into our home and lives. Your small, thoughtful acts of love and kindness will be remembered in the years to come.
You are always welcome in our home!
Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2
Let me introduce you to Gloria. A little over two weeks ago, my family received a call and we were told we would soon be moving our tent. Not just the new indoor tent we are enjoying, but our bigger tent. We were all a little taken back by the news. But to calm our initial thoughts, we decided to go and spy…tip toe spying.
When we arrived at our new location, we stopped to have lunch at the Collin Street Bakery. With sunglasses on and hats pulled low, we entered the welcoming eatery. The first things we saw were cakes, pies, cookies and of course fruit cakes. Our first reaction, this is going to turn our just fine. Yummy!
Then we met Gloria (aka God). Gloria was a beautiful woman and her spirit shined. She brought us our food and quickly observed that we did not receive any chips to go with our sandwiches. She talked to both of our daughters and said, “Little mommas…come with me, you need some chips.” They soon returned with smiles and four packages of chips. They were so excited explaining how they were free, really free. Later when Gloria (aka God) checked on our spy table, she observed that we did not have one cookie on our table. Once again, she recruited our daughters to correct this problem because she recognizes good help when she sees it and said, “Little mommas…come with me, you need some cookies.” They returned with bigger smiles and a plate full of twelve cookies.
Our spying skills seemed to slip under the table as laughter and smiles filled our hearts. When we left we looked for Gloria (aka God) to thank her and could not find her. Then we knew she really was God!
We are on a new adventure, but we know that God is there too!
It happened this week. In the midst of an ice storm and no school for our children, we found the time to officially put our tent up in our home. For weeks, I have been sewing pieces together (and tearing pieces apart) and sewing more pieces together. I have wondered many times if this is even a good idea or a waste of time. I have walked by the tent project on my dining room table looking at the project as I went by just wondering if it was worth finishing. Even after I finished it, I waited weeks to (well…my husband actually did the following items) buy the poles, drill the holes, attach the rope and slip the tent over the top to see the finished project. For a few minutes (well actually 60 minutes because my husband had to drive through the ice storm back to Home Depot to return the first poles he bought in exchange for the right ones…has anyone ever made just one trip to Home Depot?) my whole family gathered together to see the final product. My whole family was anticipating this event…almost like a new baby was joining our family.
And then it went up. Together we put it up. Our tent. Our God space in our home. A place where we can spend time with God together or separate. There were giggles, ohhh’s and awww’s. And the we entered together and enjoyed our first family meeting inside our tent. I would like to say is was just like I imagined it would be…fun, peaceful, perfect. But what I quickly saw that we bring ourselves into the tent just as we are. Some of us were quickly impatient, all of us were a little nervous and none of us really knew what to do at first.
Soon we found our groove. We experienced our first “cross conversation”, gave our first offering, shared our joy and concerns. Most of all we connected. We connected with each other and with God in a new way.
The best part was the next morning. Before school, my daughter came to eat breakfast. I asked where she had been right before and she shared that she had been in the tent writing what she was thankful for that morning. At that moment, I knew each stitch, trip to the fabric store, trip to Home Depot, each minute spend working on the tent was worth it…very worth it. I can’t wait to hear about your first tent experience.