A Life that says, “Welcome!”

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“Welcome” greets each weary traveler as they drag heavy suitcases awkwardly up our little entry steps. Candles flicker, music softly wafts through the air and chocolate almonds, tiny wrapped gouda cheeses all say, “you are a valued person and we want you to find rest and peace as you enter our home.”

The past few weeks, giggles, tears, antics and life-stories amuse the walls of our home, as countless friends have filed into this Clarkson homestead. ┬áBible studies, dinners for students visiting at a local ministry, a leadership intensive, sweet friends coming for a “cuppa” and a few minutes shared rocking on the front porch, sweet children home for limited days, and a friendship talk. all mark the occasions of a visit.

Always there is endless eating; and hearts wanting to be loved and encouraged. Sanctuary has been on my mind the past few months as I have sought to understand the importance of having a home where all can expect to come for life, beauty and peace–and to feel the touch of Him in a tangible way through our words, hands, and embraces.

Godly women shape their homes into sanctuaries where the love of God, the comfort of Jesus, the celebration of joy sings through the very oxygen of the cracks and corners of her home and brings just what each one needs as they enter there.

“We view the ministry of hospitality in our home as God’s tool for us to train our children in graciousness. When someone comes to our home, our children know that we expect them to be gracious and quick to serve. That means welcoming adult guests properly, asking if there is something they can get for them, taking their coat, or whatever is appropriate to the visit. (Hospitality drills are a helpful way to train them in this area).

Our children know that being well-mannered and gracious is more than just a cultural formality…it is the way we show respect to another person, affirm their value as a person made in God’s image, and strengthen our testimony to them not only as a Christian family but also as a homeschooling family.

It is the practical expression of treating others the way you want to be treated, regarding others as more important than yourself, and looking out for the interests of others. Even when we go to someone else’s house, we will still practice hospitality. We rehearse with the kids before they leave the car how to be gracious guests who are polite, respectful, and helpful.”
-Educating the Wholehearted Child

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Even though my children are now young adults, they still help me every time we welcome anyone into our home. Joy will be bustling around, setting up for tea time, and before I know it, another child has already cleaned up the entire kitchen. The dishes will be washed, the counters tidied, and each guest is sure to have been welcomed and served.

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This desire to serve, help, and host does not appear out of thin air. In order for your family to be a team that works together as a unit when you have guests over, your children must have TMI (no-not “too much information.”)

-Training:
Train in grace behavior (manners). Value and pursue priority relationships. Train your children how to pray.

-Modeling:
Moms-set the example. Be gracious and kind to family members. Show grace and love to strangers.

-Instruction:
About our relationship with God. About the power of the Holy Spirit–lived out through real people to real people.

Proverbs 22:6 states:

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

It is absolutely crucial that we train our children in the ways of graciousness. This also means that you must have patience and grace with your children as they learn how to serve others.

Start practicing by assigning your children different ways they can help the next time you have friends or family over for dinner. If you remember TMI, your little ones will flourish into adults who are loving, gracious, polite, and respectful.

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Comments

  1. Cheryl Anne says

    Wonderful! So many of these gifts, attitudes, ways of serving are becoming lost. It is wonderful to have your lovely teaching and encouragements, reminders on the gifts that serving in your home and creating a peacefilled, loving place for others to come to and be restored. Lovely. Thank you. Why do you think the gift of hospitality seems to be disappearing from much of our culture?

  2. says

    I felt like the Lord was leading me to really concentrate on ‘homemaking’ this year. So, I have been filling my mind with books (some of which are yours! Along with writings from Edith Schaeffer, etc).

    I’ve been mentored in this through page! I was never really shown how to tend a home, cook, bake, entertain – so your words, and the words of other wise ladies…..have taught me MUCH.

    And it’s changing everything.

    A million thank yous,
    Kate :)

  3. says

    ack! I love this! My heart for this summer…to create the habit of hospitability…so far, we’ve had a young adult group here and 2 families! Can’t wait to do more! You and Edith Schaeffer are my inspiration, Sally! ;) Bless you!!! I’m so glad I’ve finally put my hand to the plow and started this! I’ve been blessed MYSELF way more than I thought I could be!! :D God is so good.

  4. Cathy says

    Great post! I was wondering if you had any specific suggestions for hosting guests with small unruly children? It seems like so many don’t keep their children in line when visiting and it really makes the visits unpleasant and dreaded to the point where we don’t have people over as much as I’d like.

  5. Keri Brown says

    This is wonderful, Sally! God has used the past two years to teach me so much about hospitality, often through your books and blog. He has nudged me to open my home more to friends and family as a starting point, and I have a feeling that He’s going to add the category of “strangers” to my list before too long, which will stretch me even more! :-) I’m doing my best to teach my children along the way, involving them and explaining to them why I do certain things in preparation, focusing on serving our guests and being the hands and feet to Jesus to them while they’re in our home.

    Like you, I’m an introvert, so reading about how God has created such a generous hostess out of you gives me the hope that He can do the same for me despite my natural desire to be alone (or with my immediate family). Thank you for showing me what/who I can be some day, with the Lords’ help!

  6. Shari says

    Immediately L’Abri came to mind as I read this post!!! Apparently others thought of Mrs. Schaeffer, as well!!

    How do you prepare for so many people in your home? Do you serve the same foods? Are you nervous before people come? Are all of y’all exhausted when people leave?

    I am fueled by people around people. However, after 14 1/2 years of being married to someone scared to death to have people in the home (he grew up in a horribly dirty house- never had friends over it was so bad!!!), I’m not so good as hostessing anymore!! The “during” part is fine with me, but do you or your children have any “before” tips? About preparations??

    His,
    Shari

  7. Gina says

    Thank you for another thought-provoking post, Sally! i want to chime in with the other comments with questions regarding the practical aspects of hosting and being hospitable. i’d love to know if you have any ‘go-to’s’ for various gatherings. Are there any specifics that you always try to have in a guest room or bathroom? Also, do you have any go-to’s for bringing a meal to a family (dealing with death, illness, or new babies)?

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