Our family had a busy spring break from school. One of my cousins and her 7-year old son came to visit during the first weekend of Spring Break. My cousin was born when I was a teenager and we lived in the same city. Our families would see each other often. We moved out of state about a year after she graduated from high school, and we were only able to see each other whenever we would go back to visit my parents. She moved to another state about three years ago, so our visits home have not always matched up. After seeing each other at my dad's memorial service a couple months ago, we made plans for her to come visit us at our home. We actually followed through with those plans!
Our kids got along really well. There were a few arguments between the kids, but everyone still liked each other by the end of the day. I was able to connect with my younger cousin as an adult more than ever before. When Brian and I got married, she was in high school. We always invited her to our church, but she was attending another local church with her friends. We never wanted to steal her from that. We were just happy that she was learning the Word. It was nice to see her at events that involved multiple youth groups from around the area. It was just a really good visit, even though she had laryngitis for most of the weekend. (Lemon tea and honey can do wonders for that!)
During the week, the boys went to work with me in the mornings. They were really looking forward to sleeping in everyday, but we couldn't allow that. Instead, we made them get dressed and had them bring pillows and blankets to the church. They took morning naps on the couches and chairs in the youth room. In the afternoons, when I had to go back to the office, the boys were allowed to play outside with their neighborhood friends. On Friday, our new set of guests arrived. The father preached at our church this Sunday. He has been a good friend of my husband since they met four years ago at a teaching-and-preaching conference. His son is a thirteen year old that we had not met before, but were grateful that he spent the time with us on his own Spring Break from school. Again, all of the boys got along pretty well. We even had several of the neighborhood kids come play.
With our second set of guests, we were able to visit with even more people. Our children's music teacher was still at our house when they arrived. She was able to visit for a few minutes before leaving. While the children were playing on Friday night inside and out, my husband and I were able to get to know our neighbors even more. We often only have kids visit our house, so it was a little different to have grown-ups too! Since we decided to just order pizza that night, I was not overwhelmed with cooking. The kids and adults were all fed, and we had very little to clean up.
I enjoyed sharing life together with different people all week. Proverbs 27:17 (Christian Standard Bible) says "Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens another." As much as I love my local congregation, we are not the only Christians around. To spend time with these other believers, it just confirmed that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, no matter our parents. We should be able to fellowship with any other Christian. . The two boys that were visiting us because of their parents still wanted to come back another time. "When are we coming back?" That, to me, sounds like they felt welcomed and loved while they were with us.
About two year ago, we opened our home by hosting students from a certain seminary to do life with us on the weekends. We have never been able to do anything really spectacular, but I hope that we have been more than just be hospitable. I hope that we have shown our daily lives can be a struggle, but also a joyful experience. I hope that we showed we have the love of Christ in all that we do. As God gives us more opportunities to open our home to others, planned visits or not, I hope to grow in those experiences too. I definitely do not have everything figured out, but I may have some things. My children and husband are in no way perfect, either. Our imperfect family just wants to do what we are called to do: Love God and love others.
Acts 2:42 (ESV)
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
1 John 1:6-7 (ESV)
6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
1 Peter 4:9 (ESV)
9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
Matthew 22:37-39 (ESV)
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.38 This is the great and first commandment.39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.