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Perhaps there is no area that God has used more than Hospitality in the ongoing work in my heart to make me more a Christ-like Homemaker. Yesterday, Andrea at Right-Thinker, (click on the link) posted on “Hospitality or Home Wrecking Havoc?” dealing with the issue of extended-stay visitors in our home and she shared some of her frustrations and questions. Having just bid goodbye to my brother and nephew, who were here for a shorter-than-usual annual visit–12 days this time–this subject is especially fresh in my heart and mind.
The subject of Hospitality is so near and dear to my heart, though, that this post prompted a new sub-series beginning today on Faith’s Firm Foundation. I know that you all have had to, or will have to, at one time or another, deal with the questions raised by Andrea, of how much of ourselves to give to guests. How long should we allow them to stay. Should we let our home life be turned upside down? I think that Andrea expresses her feelings very well–please read her words for yourself. (I’ve written a lot on the subject of Hospitality–please also click on the link to read more of my thoughts, if you’re interested in the subject.)
I have many thoughts after reading Andrea’s post. God has had to deal with my heart so often on this.
First, a story. I remember when we bought our present home and the unfinished basement was empty. I dreamed of finishing it, and making it really nice. I’d never built my own home, but loved decorating, loved showing hospitality, and this space would be perfect! I had big dreams. I prayed, planned and dreamed for years. Small changes were made, but there was no money for this project, so I waited. We continued to use the space, unfinished.
Finally, the time came, and I chose the carpet carefully, but didn’t realize just how light the color was, (almost white) until it was down. Yet, it was beautiful, and I was so happy with the results. Every time we used the lower level of our home, I rejoiced at answered prayer, with gratitude to the Lord.
My heart was not only grateful, I treasured my finished basement, and had come to think of it as “mine.” I was proud of how my home was beginning to look, and loved to clean it and stand back and admire the results. (It wasn’t house beautiful, but I loved it.) Oh, sure, I used it for the Lord, but it had become too dear to me, and the Lord knew it. I didn’t. But He was about to show me my heart.
About once every 6 weeks, we moved all the furniture out of the large open area of our walkout basement and set up a podium and folding chairs in rows, in order to host about 30-35 people including small children at “Home Church,” as we referred to it. This was a part of the larger church we attended, so the other weeks we were together with the whole group. Home Church Sunday became a real trial for me. I was agonizing, frequently in tears, really stressed, and praying hard. I had no idea why I was going through these feelings. This went on for a while, until one Sunday I came before the Lord with my heart.
“Lord, what is going on here? Take a look at my heart (I said with my heart in my hand). I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but I’m a wreck! I’m so nervous, and crying, and fearful. Lord, please don’t let anyone spill grape juice on our light carpet during communion!”
Now, you might be laughing at this point, or maybe you’re thinking, “I would never ever allow a group with small children to have grape juice in my carpeted room, much less in one with light-colored carpet!”
This was very, very serious to me. I realized that I had not committed this new basement to God–given Him ownership of it–and I was cracking under my inability to protect it from damage!
God will always find and draw out areas in a Christian’s life that have not been fully submitted to Him. He had certainly found one of mine. What matters most to Him is our hearts–in the area of Hospitality or in anything else.
Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of Hospitality: “How Much and How Long, Lord?”
This post is linked up with the Homemaking Linkup. Go there to read others’ hearts on “Homemaking.”
Also, the photo is not of my home:)
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