Wouldn’t Trade It

I’ve written before about our hope to keep our home an “open” home. Open meaning, we really value having people living with us, eating meals with us, feeling that they are welcome to be here with us when they want to be. We are not perfect at this. Neither Ben or I have the gift of hospitality per-say, but it’s a high value in our lives.

We have been privileged to be on the receiving end of families who have opened their homes and lives to us, and it has really blessed us. The meals, the conversations, the feeling of shared struggle, the prayers, the laughs… I know I’m probably speaking to the choir here, but can I just encourage you, reader, to open up your home and lives to an even greater extent to those around you. It will bless you in ways you can’t imagine.

Here are some simple ways to begin to crack open you home to your community.

1. Ask and Listen. It’s amazing how surprised some of our neighbors have been by our desire to know simple things about them, like where they met each other if they are married, what they studied in school, how they came to have the dog they have – just their stories. It’s unlikely that very many people are asking your neighbors for their stories, and it’s a blessing for them to have a listening ear every now and again.

2. Food. Food. Food. It doesn’t have to be fancy. At my house, it’s always simple and sometimes not even that great, but it’s offered, and that’s what counts. What a relief for a family with young kids to not have to cook and clean up the kitchen. What a blessing for an older couple to enjoy a large meal with all the sides, when they are usually just cooking for two and not making anything fancy. What a treat for a college student to enjoy dinner banter with young kids.

3. Offer. Invite. Offer. Invite. Again and again. In order for a person to feel comfortable calling you up for a favor, sometimes you have to offer 15 times! Don’t assume the invitation stands. Keep asking and offering, until that neighbor takes you up on something.

4. Follow your heart. Do you harbor a secret soft spot for old men? (I do!) Are you intrigued by your international neighbor’s culture and heritage? Are you concerned about a single mom in the neighborhood? Start there.

It’s not always easy to keep the door open, and sometimes it is right to close up shop and restore your own heart, soul, or concentrate on a family member. But, again, the blessings your family will reap from sowing the seeds of love, interest, compassion, provision, and support are 100 fold!!

3 thoughts on “Wouldn’t Trade It

  1. I love having people over. I think even one time many moons ago doing a ‘spirirual gifts’ study and I actually hospitality as one of mine (or something close to that)….but we live on base right now and that is one of the things I have missed, being able to just have company whenever. Not everyone can get on base easily, so it is a challenge. I am looking forward to having a ‘regular’ house again someday! Thanks for sharing (I like the 15 times part…especially since I am sometimes hesistant to ask for help when hubby is deployed).

  2. I needed this encouragement, Jess! Due to my immediate circumstances (insanity at my husband’s workplace and the fact that he’s traveling more than usual, typical strong-will issues with my nearly-4-year-old daughter, and the fact that my 8-month-old has suddenly refused to eat solid food and is back to exclusive nursing) I’ve been feeling like closing shop… But I do love to have people over. I have been slowly getting to know a few other young moms in my neighborhood as our kids play in the courtyard. I especially need to remember your conversation starters on the days I’m exhausted and would rather keep to myself.

  3. susq says:

    thanks for always welcoming us, jess 🙂 Oh, and thanks for the sweet gift from last week! I bet you’re happy to have the hunky hub and H5 home again!! hope your Easter was great!

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