I was taking a walk through beautiful fall colors, reflecting on the last few days when a new thought entered my mind – but first, let me back up a few steps. When we moved to our new hometown of Walla Walla, I was mentally and emotionally prepared to down size to a smaller house. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy as the house we were in was not large by any stretch of the imagination, but I wanted to be ready to simplify and live with less. In my mind, it meant I was giving more. Much to my surprise, God totally provided a beautiful home at a beautiful price that was BIGGER than our previous house, and did it in such a way that there was no doubt that it was His work. I was surprised, but happily accepted God’s good gift. What I’ve realized though, is that I’ve now transferred the idea of a smaller, simpler house to our future. The idea that once our kids start leaving for college, we’ll probably down size so that we can free up more resources for kingdom work.
This brings me to my walk, and to the rub. As I’m being refreshed by the fall air, I’m thinking about the past week (and the weeks even leading up to last week) as well as our upcoming schedule, and realizing that we have “extra” people – often times many – far more days and evening than we are without. This past week we hosted a party with at least 40 people with the intention of giving them a warm and safe place to hang out, to feel loved and blessed, and for our neighbors to meet our church family. We’ve had a young teenage mom, her boyfriend, and infant at our house for the day, and then hosted 14 out of town guests for the weekend. I think there were some additional relatives in there, and a couple football parties too. And I often found myself thinking, “I wish we had more space so we could invite more people . . . so-and-so would love to be here.”
I do realize that God has given me and my family the gift of hospitality. I love to cook, and cook in BIG quantities, seeing how God can stretch my dollar and still produce culinary delights! I love to see people comfortably sprawled out on my couch knowing they’re welcome here, I love making people feel special and cared for – and I’m not the only one, God has gifted my family with the same hospitable hearts. So . . how am I expecting to love people in the way God has called me to if I keep trying to down size?! I think I’ve minimized the power of having people into my home that God has filled with love and joy (and mess and chaos) by this thought that I need to think smaller. That some how I can serve and love and bless better outside my home than around my kitchen table – which hasn’t been the case for the past umpteen years, and I don’t think is going to be the case any time soon.
I’m still open and willing to follow God into a smaller space, but I realized today that I also need to be open and willing to follow Him to whatever space He wants to use even IF it is a castle! He is a good God after all, who loves to give good gifts to His kids!!