Everyday Struggle; Being a Hospitable Mom

Several weeks ago one of my favorite friends and I attended the FPEA Home school Convention in Orlando. It was the single most inspiring girls weekend I’ve ever had. I learned so much from so many Godly women who had spent their lives homeschooling their kids. They shared their passions, their struggles, their marriages. It was obvious that each speaker genuinely wanted to motivate and encourage fellow home school families. I came home with new purpose. Not only for our home school journey but for my children’s hearts. One of my favorite speakers talked about how she taught her children to disciple other kids. Her theory is that witnessing to people is one of the most difficult things for a christian to do. Why not train our children to do it at the earliest age possible so that by the time they are grown and enter the adult world it will be old hat to them? They will speak with confidence. They won’t waiver from their faith and they will effectively share it with others. That hit home to me. I immediately began to pray for God to send my boys someone to disciple. Someone to pour their love for Christ into. I prayed diligently… until things got busy here and I forgot about my request. Life happened…

We recently moved into a new house. It’s an exciting time as the kiddos now each have their own rooms, we have two separate living spaces so that we can actually spread out a bit. We also have a school room and a play room for Liv on the main floor. Not to mention the community pool, bike path, basketball courts and so on and so on… We’ve been looking forward to all of these things for months. Driving to the new house almost daily to see the progress. The kids picked their rooms, then repicked, then traded a hundred times before we actually moved in! It’s been a huge family process!

One thing I didn’t anticipate was neighbors. I know that sounds ridiculous but hear me out. In our old neighborhood  we had neighbors of course, but they were elderly. They were fabulous people who loved our children. They enjoyed watching them grow, chatting with us in the back yard and the occasional house visit. For 13 years we had an elderly couple as our closest neighbors. Any moms out there that know what that means? Ding Ding Ding… we had no kids ringing our doorbell, asking to play, or to spend the night or for, heaven forbid, our kids to spend the night with them! No awkward phone calls, no door bells during nap time, no explanations of any kind. It was bliss.

Enter the new neighborhood… there are kids everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Our door bell rings every day, smack dab in the middle of nap time. Even though I’ve explained to the kids that nap time is our quiet time and that they aren’t to come over until after 3. Their excited, summer filled brains don’t process that information.

I really want to be the hospitable mom. You know, the cool mom who welcomes droves of kids in with open arms and warm cookies. Unfortunately for me (and for the kids in this neighborhood) cool mom doesn’t live in me. Yesterday, I tried to muster up what little bit of cool mom I had and I invited 2 kids who live near by to come and play. They are a brother and sister who are the same ages as our boys. They are both sweet, well behaved kids and our boys enjoyed having kids their own age to play with. The little girl spent a good bit of time in Liv’s playroom with her having a tea party. It was actually a great play date!

As the time was winding down I mentioned to the little girl that our church was hosting a VBS in a few weeks and I asked if she would like to attend. “I don’t think my mom will let me” she said. I was a bit surprised but I just offered to send the information to her mother, and they could talk about it. The little girl seemed ok with that.

I rounded up the kids and told them we enjoyed the playdate but that it was time to go home as we had some things to do. The kids hugged their new friends and they trotted through the back yard towards home. Sweet kids.

While it was fresh on my mind I decided to email their mother and invite them. She responded quickly and told me that her kids had never been to church. They live a busy lifestyle and, except for an occasional holiday, they have never been. She asked me not to look down on her for that, It broke my heart that she thought I would. She and I have talked a few times and she is a very sweet woman. A beautiful mother who dotes on her kids. They have a busy life, just like we do. I messaged her back and told her that I would never look down on her for that and I offered to let her kids ride with us to VBS if she was comfortable with it. I wasn’t sure if she’d be ok with them riding with us since we had only just met but she was so we got her kids registered and made a plan! I told the boys that they’d be going with us and they were so excited!

And then God…

The Holy Spirit whispered to my heart “disciple” and immediately my prayer came back to me. “God, please send my boys someone that they can disciple. Someone they can pour their love for Jesus into.”  Here they were, two sweet kids who don’t know Jesus. I was so excited that I couldn’t contain myself. I called John, and then my girlfriend, and then anyone else I could think to tell! I love how when God moves He moves in such a way that it overwhelms us with joy. There is no other explanation than Him. There are no coincidences, just blessings.

Knowing that God has placed these kids in our path for a purpose helps me to remember why being hospitable is so close to God’s heart. If we do not open our lives and our homes up to people we will never see their need. We will miss countless opportunities to disciple, to grow and to honor God.

So I leave you with what I learned from this experience…

1. Sometimes the Devil will try to convince you that the people in your path are inconveniences when they are actually appointments from God.

2. Nothing is more important than the spiritual well being of children. All children.

3. God answers prayer. Every time. If you ask to grow He will grow you. If you ask to serve He will find a place. Be prepared to bend when He does.