Browsed by
Month: October 2015

Becoming Hospitable: WEEK 3

Becoming Hospitable: WEEK 3

Dinner time…. it comes every day and sometimes it still catches me off guard!  Maybe it has been a really busy day or maybe it is just because I have a lack of planning when it comes to meals.  Either way, I find myself scrounging in the cupboards looking for something to make!  As much as I would love to be a consistent meal planner, so often I am not and instead I rely on what is in my pantry to give me an idea!

When it comes to hosting people in our homes, it is a wise idea to not let dinner take us off guard!

Now that we have come full circle, learning that our homes do not have to be perfect in order to be hospitable and that God wants us to be hospitable to more than just those within our close circle of friends and family, where do we go from here?

I simply want to share with you a game plan so the next time we sense the Holy Spirit prompting us to open our door and welcome in new people, we will not be tempted to say no!

First, make an attempt to keep the house somewhat picked up and clean on a regular basis Okay, don’t panic!  I have a two year old in my house, I know a tidy home is not always possible!  I have had unplanned company arrive at my doorstep and they have seen the toys on the floor, the counter tops covered in crumbs from lunch time, and dust on my bookshelf!  However, I have found that if I try to keep my home clean on a regular basis, it won’t be quite so overwhelming when company is coming!  I won’t feel like I have to clean the entire house top to bottom and run a white glove over my surfaces.  When company is coming, a light cleaning does the trick and if I don’t get to those dusty surfaces, it’s really going to be okay!  Dust is just a part of life.

Second, plan a meal you have already made previously and know is delicious and even family friendly.  The night company comes is not the night to try a new dinner or Exterior shot of an open Wooden Front Doordessert idea you found on Pinterest!  Cobblers and I do not go together well.  I remember one evening as a young bride I tried my hand at a peach cobbler to serve for dessert with my in-laws.  Something went very very wrong with that cobbler.  It looked so pretty, and I served it to my new husband and his parents and as I sat down and stuck my fork into my own helping, oh it was awful! It was worse than awful, it was downright horrible!  My charming husband gracefully took bite after bite in an effort to spare my feelings, and my in-laws were so very gracious.  Not one unkind comment was made, but I was mortified!  My beautiful cobbler tasted like glue!  I quickly learned my lesson!  When having company, stick with a tried and true recipe that you know how to fix.  It will spare much potential embarrassment!

Third, simply enjoy your company. We shouldn’t be more consumed with having a perfect home and a five star meal than we are sharing God’s love with those around our table.  Let the cares of the day fall to the floor and ask God to use you to minister to those in your home.  Life can be tough sometimes, our days can be stressful, our schedules tight, but taking the time to enjoy the company of others is often so needed.  We need each each others encouragement and fellowship and if we overwhelm ourselves with things that don’t really matter much anyway, we will miss out on wonderful blessing of getting to know others!

As we wrap up this series, let’s make a commitment to become more hospitable to others.  The next time the opportunity presents itself to be hospitable, let’s accept it with open arms!  Let’s not stress out about the condition of our home, let’s step outside of our comfort zones, and enjoy the fellowship!

Proverbs 3:27-28 says, “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and tomorrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”

God has blessed us with so much, let’s seek to be a blessing to others!

Many Blessings,

Wendy

If you have been encouraged by this post, please feel free to like and share it with others!

Images courtesy of this website.

Becoming Hospitable: Week 2

Becoming Hospitable: Week 2

We were newly married and living in a shoe box of a home and we got this hair-brained idea to entertain!  One of the first people {aside from family} we entertained in our home was a missionary couple.  My husband and I had only been married a few short months but we were excited {and slightly terrified!}!  My husband had known this couple from before we had even met, but I had not yet met them.  I was a shy, nervous, bride but I really wanted to be hospitable!  I can count on one finger the amount of times we had people in our home growing up.  It just was not something my family did, however my husband had grown up in a home that was the complete opposite!  His parents had people in their home frequently.

I do not even remember what it was I had fixed for dinner, but I remember fixing a mousse for dessert because this couple were missionaries to France and mousse sounded so French.  My mind ran wild before they arrived with thoughts of, what was I going to say?  What if I burned the meal?  Praise the Lord things went off without a hitch and the mousse was absolutely luscious!

In the previous post we mentioned how we often put pressure on ourselves to have a perfect home before we welcome others in, but we learned that an inviting home has more to do with our attitude than it does our clean floors and counter tops.

So now that we have taken the pressure off of ourselves to have everything perfect before becoming hospitable, what do we do?  Well, I am so glad you asked!

The second step is, being hospitable does not just mean we open our homes to only those we know.  Though having family and friends over is wonderful and enjoyable and is something we often love doing, the essence of hospitality does not end with having only friends and family gather.  It also means to entertain those we may not know very well or even at all!

This can seem so intimidating right?  Having people in our home that we do not know can seem a bit frightening even!  Friends, can I be honest and share with you, I am as shy as shy can be!  One of the scariest things for me is walking up to complete strangers {such as new visitors to our church} and putting myself out there in an attempt to make them feel welcome.  I like my back row in the church and I would sit there quietly without disturbing a soul thank.you.very.much.  Isn’t it funny that my comfort zone is completely opposite of what God has called me as a Christian and also Pastors wife to do?  Walking up to the newcomers and making conversation, being warm and welcoming.  The more I do it though, the easier it has become.  I have found I care more about making people who enter our church doors to feel welcomed and loved than I do about my own comfort zone.

The same can be said about opening up our homes to those we may not know well.  The more we do it, the better we become at it and the more we will find ourselves wanting to be hospitable!

My mother in-law is amazing at this.  She and my father in-law have had countless people through their home and they love having them in!  My mother in-law makes everyone feel right at home and is quite possibly the most hospitable person I know!  A guest speaker comes to town? She has them in for dinner!  A traveling college ensemble?  They are bunking in her spare rooms or on the living room floor!  Everyone from family to complete strangers have sat at her dining table and she welcomes each one with open arms.  I want hospitalityto be just like that!

When we choose to stay within our comfort zones and only entertain people we are comfortable with, we can miss out on tremendous blessings!  Hebrews 13:2 states, Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” 

God desires for His children to be hospitable.  He blesses us so that we can be a blessing to others.  Let’s see what Romans 12:9-13, “Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.”  

The best way to become hospitable is to simply take the first step!  Invite someone in!  Remember, our homes do not have to be perfect, we just need to be welcoming!

Maybe you are like me, you are shy or more introverted, and the thought of having strangers in your home terrifies you as it did me the first several times we had people in our home!  I want to let you in on a little secret I have that will help.  Before we have anyone in our home, I pray!  I ask the Lord to help the conversation to flow smoothly and help us to think of things to converse about!  It may seem silly, but sometimes I just have no idea what to say to people!  Praying has helped tremendously!

We have learned that our home does not have to be perfect to be inviting and we have also seen that God wants us to be hospitable to more than just our family and friends.  To come out of our comfort zones in order to be a blessing to others.

Join me in the coming days as we learn to practically apply the two steps we have learned.

Be encouraged!

Wendy

Please LIKE and SHARE this post so others can be encouraged as well!

Image courtesy of this website.

Becoming Hospitable: WEEK 1

Becoming Hospitable: WEEK 1

Friends, I have a confession.  I love HGTV. No way, you do too?!  Thank goodness I am not alone!  I have a particular interest in interior design, though it is something I still have much to learn about!  Beautifully decorated homes, especially those decked out for the holidays, makes me swoon!  There is just something about those twinkly lights, the garland, the red cranberries, oh man, it gets me every time!  Makes me feel so warm and cozy like I could curl up next to an inviting fire, which of course has a perfectly decorated mantel above it and drink hot cocoa while reading a book.  So picturesque, isn’t it?
images.duckduckgo.com
Then I have a reality check and I look across my house….. which is terribly far from perfect.  Please, no pictures!  My house on any given day and at any given moment, can resemble that of the aftermath of a tornado, or even a hurricane depending on if my toddler is using a “big girl” cup, i.e. a cup without a lid.  Now, this is not because I loathe cleaning, because as crazy as it may sound, I actually love to clean my house!  I am so weird, I know!  However, I do live in my home, as do my husband and three precious children, therefore it is never ever perfect, except for the hours between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m.

With that being said, sometimes the thought of opening my home up to guests makes me feel a bit antsy.  I mean, I love to have people in my home, we love having company, but then there is that perfectionist side of me that wants to make sure every.single.thing. is perfectly in it’s place {and clean!} before I open my door to others.  When I feel that way though, I am wrong.  There is nothing wrong with wanting a clean home, but putting the pressure of “perfect” on myself and my family before we are willing to serve others and welcome them in, that is wrong because I have forgotten what hospitality really is all about.

Being hospitable is not about me, or my house, or the crumbs under my table.  It is an attitude of our heart, wanting to serve and invite others into the home God has blessed us with.  It is about welcoming people in, making them feel at home, and sharing with them the grace and love God has lavished on us.  Do any of us really feel at home in a picture perfect setting?  Oh heavens, I do not!  Especially since I have a toddler!  When we walk into a beautiful, picturesque place my instant thought is, hang onto the baby and to the little boy as well!  My imagination runs wild over what could potentially happen!

Making people feel at home means they see we are just people, living our lives like they do, and if a glass of milk spills across the table or crumbs find their way to the floor, it really is alright.  We will clean it up and keep going because life and crumbs, well, they just happen!  We have to keep the right perspective on what is more important.  Making our guests feel comfortable in our home breaks down barriers as we break bread and have sweet fellowship across the table.

The first thing I would love to share with you about becoming more hospitable is this, our home does not have to be perfect to be inviting.  1 Peter 4:9 states, “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.”  Two thoughts come to my mind about this verse.  First, is that God does not say “if you feel like being hospitable”, no He just jumps right in and says “Use hospitality”, which makes me believe that He wants us to be hospitable.  Second, the words “without grudging” in this verse could also be stated without complaining!  Opening our door to others should be done because we love the Lord and we love people!  It should not be something we dread doing, especially because of the pressure we put on ourselves to get the house perfectly tidy.  Our home will be inviting if our attitude is inviting.

God wants us to be hospitable people.  He wants us to share generously what He has entrusted us with.  A home to live in, a table to eat at, warm food to share, and time to be invested in others and eternity.  The house does not have to be perfect for us to be hospitable.  We are the ones that make our home inviting, not the cleanliness of our floors and counter tops.

Join me next week as we talk about who we should be hospitable to!

Be encouraged!

Wendy

I always love to hear from my readers!  What have you learned about becoming hospitable?

Please LIKE and SHARE this post so others can be encouraged as well!

Images courtesy of this website.

Encouragement From the Right Source

Encouragement From the Right Source

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. 1 Samuel 30:6

 I have been a blog reader for quite some time now and I have a few that I follow on a regular basis.  Some of them have marriage and parenting advice and then there are those with helpful tips and tricks.  Blogs can be such a great asset, right?  There are so many blogs out there and we can find advice and encouragement from other women who are or have been in our shoes!   Pick a topic, any topic!  There’s a blog for that!

It can be easy to allow encouragement and advice we need to be found in social media or the blogging world.

Friends, can I share one simple truth with you today?

Look, I am a blog reader myself and I love some of them out there!  However, I encourage you today to remember one thing.  Let’s not let our main source of encouragement, wisdom, counsel, and everything else we need in life to come through blogs, websites, or any other social media!  Though they can be great tools and used for wonderful things, let’s remember to ultimately get our encouragement from Christ and His Word first!

In the passage above, David and his men had returned from war and discovered that their women and children had been taken.  To make matters worse, the men were angry with David because of it and wanted to stone him!  His circumstances were dire and he did not have access to the internet!  He could not hop on google and find a three step plan in overcoming being stoned!  Though he was instantly broken and discouraged over what had happened (and what could still take place!), David had already learned Who to turn to for everything he needed.  I love that his first instinct was to turn to God for encouragement and you know what? God supplied David with just the encouragement he needed to keep going.

God wants to do the same for us!  In the midst of life He wants His children to have the same first instinct that David did, to turn to Him first for what we need without a moments hesitation.  Not as a last resort, not after we have called everyone else or googled online for advice and help.  No, He longs for us to turn to Him first for what we need to get through life.

Blogs are great!  They can be informative and helpful, they can brighten our day and make us laugh, but let’s remember, they ought not be our ultimate “go-to” for life.  Let’s find our encouragement and everything else we need through life in Christ first and let everything else be secondary.  Let Christ be the One to fill us up, not social media.

Be encouraged! You are loved by and Amazing God!

Wendy

If you have been encouraged by this post, please feel free to pass it on! 

Trials Turned Into Blessings

Trials Turned Into Blessings

When I was a little girl, my passion for writing began.  I would scribble out book reports on a piece of notebook paper clipped to my small plastic lap desk.  Not because I had to, but because I really wanted to write.  As I grew I picked up my poetic pen and wrote poem after poem in a journal I had, writing was in my blood!

I remember the first time my dad ever told me that if I worked hard, really hard, I could probably one day publish some of my writings.  That is when the dream began. The dream to one day become a writer!

Years and years have gone by, my life has changed drastically, my dad has since passed away, and writing has not always been something I have had time for. Along with being a wife and home schooling Mama, ministry has often needed my attention.   When I did have the time I was not always sure what to write about and if people would actually want to read it!  I have had times of sitting in front of my computer, the glow of the screen on my face, and I felt like Winnie the Pooh as he would say to himself, “Think, think, think!” I had nothing!

Then one day, God gave me a story to write.  A story I never thought would be mine, but there it was as real as could be.  Throughout the next couple of years He would help me write and click away at the computer keys.  Pouring my heart and soul out on paper, eventually for all the world to see.

The story I found myself sharing came from trials my husband and I had not anticipated when planning out our happily ever after.  Through it all though, God kept bringing me back to one verse.  This one verse has clung to me and given me purpose for writing.   2 Corinthians 1:4 states, “Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”   I believe that God sometimes allows us to go through trials, not only grow us in our walk with Christ, but also to later on help comfort and encourage others who are going through trials of their own.

That is exactly why I have written this book, Made Only for Heaven.  God has brought my husband and I through the greatest pain of our lives and now He has opened up the opportunity to help us comfort others as they go through deep pain of their own.

After miscarrying our very first baby, I told my husband I did not want this life to have been in vain.  With each baby we lost that desire grew deeper and stronger.  I wanted the Lord to use this story He so delicately has written for our lives, to comfort and encourage others.  A story I would not be able to write had we not been through those trials

So what is my point?  Where am I going with this?

Friend, where do you find yourself today?  Are you the one going through the trial that needs the encouragement?  Or are you finding yourself on the other side of a trial and God is beckoning to use you to minister to someone in theirs?  Sometimes the only way to effectively minister to others is to have been through the trenches ourselves. To be able to say, “I understand, I made it through and you will also!”  God does not allow us to go through times of testing without a purpose.  Sometimes it is to stretch and grow our faith, and others it is to prepare us to comfort and help someone else going through their own hard time.

If you find yourself in the midst of a trial, cling to Christ and allow Him to encourage your heart like only He can. If you find yourself on the other side of one, pray and ask the Lord to help you use the lessons you learned through it, to help someone else through theirs.

 No matter which situation we find ourselves in, let’s make it our goal to encourage and lift each other up!

Be encouraged!

Wendy

If you have been encouraged by this post, please feel free to pass it along to others!