Ever feel like your house is a constant mess, your priorities are way out of whack, and you’re terrified to let people into the chaos of your life? We need to learn not to sweat the small stuff in order to truly experience the big stuff.
My husband Isaac comes from a large family of seven children. Now, five of them are married, three have children (totaling seven beautiful nieces and nephews), one is engaged, and the youngest is away at college. We drove out to D.C. over Labor Day weekend to spend some relaxed, quality time with his oldest brother and his family, which we do not do enough. Their kids are ages seven, five, and three, and each one is so uniquely individual and wildly fun.
Since we are separated by 800 miles of highway, it has taken me some years to really get to know my sister-in-law, Brooke. She is a complex person in the most positive sense of the word. She homeschools her kids (saint worthy), is a gifted musician who plays on her church worship team, is artistic, and kind. That being said, she is also one of the most hospitable people I have come to know. The whole weekend we stayed in their home, toys flooded the beautifully decorated formal living room, dirty dishes stayed in the sink until far past dinner time, and a four-month-old puppy clumsily frolicked among the free-spirited children who seemed to be in their underwear or swimsuits more often than “appropriate” clothing. And we were all perfectly content.
I truly believe that the host of the house sets the tone for anyone who enters his/her home. In addition to her hospitality, Brooke holds incredible wisdom that deserves proper attention. One thing she said over our weekend together really stuck with me:
“A home should be an experience for anyone who enters it.”
After pondering that idea for a while, I reflected back on all of the experiences I was able to walk away with after our visit with them. Their house wasn’t pristine, their children weren’t perfectly behaved, their dog wasn’t fully trained; but the food was delicious and abundant, the people were present, friendly and at times a great comic relief, and the house overflowed with love.
Every parent - whether you're a mom who seem like she can never catch up on their to-do list, or a dad who constantly comes home stressed and overwhelmed - let this be an encouraging reminder to you. A house doesn’t need to be clean to be welcoming, your kids don’t need to act or dress a certain way to be loved and Biblically disciplined, and there will never be a perfect time to invite someone over for coffee or dinner, but that shouldn’t stop you! Now is the time to make memories with your children, read God’s word to them, spend time with family and friends, and have some fun. You deserve it. After all, God himself says:
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:8-10 (NIV)