Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Keeper of the Home

I actually started this post on Monday but for some reason (a husband to care for, 4 kiddos, & a home to keep in some kind of order) I am a little behind in getting my thoughts put together and posting.

My thoughts have been swimming around in my head & there are so many things God is showing me & reminding me. I honestly don't know why I am typing this out. Maybe it is for me. Maybe someone else needs some encouragement. I don't know.

My thoughts keep coming back to my home. I have been thinking about what type of place it is to my family, friends, neighbors, or anyone that just stops by. I guess it started Monday when I went to return some dishes to a friend who had brought my family a meal when I was sick last week. Chris always teases me that I have "social anxiety disorder" (SAD). It is very hard for me to talk to people, especially people I don't know or know that well. This is totally opposite of my husband who could talk to a brick wall (I'm serious). Well, I actually drove past my friends house thinking "Oh my goodness. What if she thinks I'm weird for just stopping by." "What if I should have called first." However, I pushed past my fears (after Christopher pointed out that the lights were on & she was home) and stopped by anyway. This friend was totally opposite & I knew she would be. She was very welcoming & sweet & acted as if it were no big deal. I'm just silly that way. I laugh at myself & how I think. Maybe I do have "SAD."

It brought me back to a Bible study that I have taken three times. It is called "Keepers of the Home." It was written by a lady who lives in Edmond, OK. It is probably one of the best Bible studies I have been a part of. I am all about "practical". I want to be able to put into practice everything I learn or what use is it, right? Anywho, this study is based off of Titus 2 :3 -5.

Titus 2:3 - 5 - "Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensitive, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their husbands, so that the Word of God will not be dishonored."

This Bible study was so great for me & I learned so much about caring for my home, not just the physical aspects of it but spiritual as well. But the one thing I keep coming back to is "hospitality." Romans 12:13 says, "Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." And Ephesians 4:29 & 32 says, "No rotten talk should come from your mouth, but only what is good for the building up of someone in need. In order to give grace to those who hear...Be kind and compassionate to one another...." My home should be a place to encourage others...not just family but anyone who enters our home. There is a quote by Joseph Fort Newton which I love. It says, "share your life, and find the finest joy man can know. Don't be stingy with your heart. Get out of yourself into the lives of others, and a new life will flow into you. Share & share alike." I think of my heart. What do I want others to know...God's love, peace, encouragement, comfort. I desire my home to be a picture of what Heaven will be like as opposed to what the world is life...selfishness, anger, pride, hurtful, etc.

These are other verses that encourage me in the area of hospitality...

Matthew 20:28 - "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to SERVE, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

I Timothy 6:17 - 19 - "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to DO GOOD , to be rich in GOOD DEEDS , and to be GENEROUS and WILLING to share. In this way, they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

Not once do these verses talk about convenience or it being easy...it is a matter of my heart.

Looking back over the past couple of years I believe that I have grown some in this area of hospitality...although I also know I have a lot to learn. I have made many mistakes but have grown...this godly life is a process, right?

A few years ago when we lived in our old home we had some neighbors who moved here from Ohio (the woman had met the man on the internet & moved her three children here to live with him - just a little background). It was not uncommon to be sitting down for dinner & looking out our window & seeing Daniel looking in at us. We became friends with he & his sister Kaitlynn. There were weeks where they would eat with us 2 & 3 times. At the beginning I was so frustrated because this was our "family time"...a time for just us to be together. The Lord reminded me of prayers I prayed when Chris & I were first married that our home would be a place ANYONE would feel welcome. After getting my heart right I just always prepared extra just in case they stopped by. Was this easy? No. Did I always have a "happy heart"? No. It did begin to prepare me for now. Generally when I fix dinner, I always fix extra just in case someone come over. In the past we have at random times have called people to come over & earlier this year we had a different family over each week. It has just been fun. God has showed me that this life is NOT ABOUT ME but being generous and sharing with everyone...friends & family.

Earlier this year we had the opportunity to have Chris's parents live with us for a month while his Dad was off & Mom was going to physical therapy from an injury she got at work. I can honestly say it was fun even though we gained so much weight. I'm not kidding. His Mom can cook up a storm. Was it easy for both of us? NO. Was it convenient? No. They slept on an air up mattress every night and put it away every morning. They had no privacy or quietness (not possible w/4 kids). I never heard them complain. They were grateful & helpful & our family was blessed by them being here. But I truly learned alot this time about helping those in need whether it was convenient for me or not. I was blessed in that month that they were here & I am glad we were able to help them. That is what families do. They would have done the same for us if we were in their situation. I pray that we were a blessing to them as well.

My prayer for our home is that ANYONE will feel welcome at ANY time. That is what God has called me to do. My family/my home is my mission field. Not just to the people who we have planned to come over but to ANYONE who enters. I want it to be a place of encouragement, peace, blessing & a refuge from the grossness (is that a word) of this world. One of the greatest compliments I have received about our home is that it is a place where our friends could just come relax & feel like they are at home.

Matthew 25: 35, 40 says, "For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in...The king will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of the brothers of mine, you did for me."

God is so good at reminding me of things when I need it the most. I pray today that my home will be the kind that points others to Christ.


Amy said...

Amen! Amen! that is a very encouraging word! Exactly why I think you would be great to lead a bible study about being a wife and mother that please the Lord. you have much wisdom my friend! Don't worry about the words you posted today. I think they are straight from the Lord.

The Anderson Zoo said...

You are a good friend Amy. Thanks for seeing the best in me!!!!!!!!!!

JG said...

What a great reminder of what home-building is all about. Thank you for your transparency!

The Merrell's said...

Thanks so much Keli for sharing...you have no idea how encouraging it was to me and how I could not have read it on a more perfect day! Thank you for letting the Lord use you! I have to add that I completely understand your "SAD" :) Johnny says I have the same thing and he just doesn't understand, him and Chris are exactly alike in that they can talk to ANYONE for any amount of time. Me...I just panic if Johnny isn't around! But your home and your family are very welcoming and such a great example for me! THANK YOU! You do an incredible job!

Lori said...

Great post! I feel that way too that I want anyone to feel comfortable and welcome in my house at any time. I enjoyed reading your verses and I really need to do that Bible study!