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God Changes Lives When We Open Doors

GoodMorningGirls

We may not all be called to serve in foreign lands, volunteer in prison ministries or even start our own ministry for that matter, but we can all be hospitable with the homes God has blessed us with.

Don’t let the term “Hospitality” cause you to break out into hives and run the other direction. Get the “Martha Stewart” type of hospitality out of your mind and just breath for a second. We aren’t aiming for perfection here but rather a heart of serving and loving those who enter our homes. I’m sure it’s not an accident that hospitality and hospital come from the same Latin word meaning healing. When we open our homes and hearts to those who are hurting, God uses our act of service to begin healing hurting souls.

Who can you open your home to today? What about the single mom down the street who is needing adult conversations and for someone to look her in the eyes and ask, “How are you really doing?”, or what about the widow whose husband recently passed away from your church? Maybe it’s the co-worker who needs to hear that they matter to God, or the kid from your son’s soccer team who needs a little attention and a warm meal.

You see I think as Christians we have bought into this big lie that satan is selling us.  (and yes, I have purposely typed a lowercase “s”) We think God only wants us to do BIG things for Him. That only the BIG things count. Big things like becoming missionaries and moving overseas, adopting 100 children, selling all our belongings or going into full time Christian ministry. You know, the BIG things.

But what if He’s not telling many of us to do those things? What if that isn’t His plan for many of our lives? What if His plan is even better than that?

What if His plan is actually to multiply our reach by each of us individually becoming intentional and purposefully, using the homes He has already blessed us with to reach those people He has sent us… by opening our doors and hearts to them?

What if we are just called to help those who are lonely feel welcomed by offering a simple meal and an open seat at a well-worn kitchen table?

There is power in extending invitations. Don’t believe me? Allow me to share a personal story. Lives can be changed by the invitations we extend.

Freshman year of college my family was suddenly transferred to Texas for my dad’s job. The girl who decided to stay home and not go away to college suddenly found herself very far from her family. The distance from Ohio to Texas took more than one tank of gas and this college girl was broke, even though she was working her way through. That’s when Joanie stepped in. She honestly didn’t know me that well. Her family and my family had attended the same church before my parents had to move, but for her to offer her home to me on the weekends was incredible. Joanie is one of those rare jewels of a woman who not only loves her Lord deeply, but she puts her faith into action in her life. She saw a girl in need; heartbroken over her family’s sudden move and she stepped into the hurt and offered her home. She was crazy to offer it and I was crazy to accept it. Over the course of 4 years I feel in love with each member of Joanie’s endearing family to the point that Joanie is now considered a grandma to my 3 girls who call her JoJo.

Just like God, He took the brokenness and pain that I felt for my personal family having to move across the country and blessed me with yet another family to love and be loved by. Those 4 years were met with many hard ups and downs, twists and turns so it was always a blessing to walk through the open doors of Joanie’s home, sit at her table and just be loved on like I was one of her own.

Because of how God used Joanie and her hospitality in my life, I am passionate in passing that gift on and extending invitations of hospitality in my own life. I know the value of opening our homes to those outside our families. For the past 4 years I have opened my home almost every Tuesday night to 4 special girls who are my Discipleship Girls. I have been honored to watch them grow and mature from 7th graders to now sophomores in high school and just so you know, having them in my home has blessed me a thousand times over. Not to mention been really handy when I’ve needed a babysitter!

I remember Joanie always saying how it was such a blessing to her to have me live with them. I always thought that was sweet of her to say, but just figured she was saying that to be nice. Now that I’m in the role of opening my home, and my heart to these girls I can honestly say…..I truly am the one blessed. Joanie was right.

dg girls

 (Photo taken last night after our session! Truly LOVE these girls and am so honored to serve them this way!)

God is amazing like that, you know. When we reach out to bless others, to open our doors and place an extra plate at the table, many times we end up being the one who is blessed.

So what if? What if we dream together and think about the possibilities of change God can do in our homes as we embrace our call to be hospitable? What if we push aside the temptations of perfection, the unrealistic expectations and instead offer real homes, simple meals and loving hearts? How can God move through these simple acts of obedience?

God has used men and women in their homes to change countries before, and I believe He will again. He used Nehemiah and fellow Jews to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem. Nehemiah encouraged everyone to rebuild the section of the wall near his or her home. With each family focused on rebuilding right where God had already planted them, in the homes, on the streets, in the neighborhoods, He was able to get the wall rebuilt in record time, fifty-two days to be exact. What people tried to do in a number of years, God was able to do in a number of days.

What could this mean for our countries if we really took this call to be hospitable seriously?

I can only imagine…and pray that we will!

Let’s talk: How are you doing Jen’s weekly challenge this week? I’d LOVE to hear your ideas so please share them with our amazing community!

{Week 7} Challenge

This week let’s pray that God would lay on our hearts some people whom we can minister to. Then think of some practical ways that we can bless them.  This will take many of us out of our comfort zone and that is good. We grow when we are stretched.

 

Love God Greatly!

Angela- Good Morning Girls

 

If you happened to miss our very special Monday video, click here to watch it! I promise you’ll be glad you did!

Would you like to hear more from Jen’s husband, Joe? You can here!

You can also follow Jen’s personal blog here!

 

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Comments

  1. I’m feeling compelled to start a bible study. I’ve never even been to a bible study so I don’t feel as I’d I can lead one, but I really want to share my thoughts and discuss things with my friends. And it would be easier if we were all studying the same stuff. If this is what God wants from me…I can do it.

    • That is wonderful! Praying God gives you courage, strength and peace in this much needed area!

    • Ohhh you can totally do it, Karla! We actually have a leadership group you can join as a leader to help answer questions and provide support if you need it. :) Leading a group can be as simple or involved as you’d like it to be. :) Just inviting a few friends to join you to discuss the verses is a great place to start!!:)

  2. Wonderful post today, Ms. Angela, thanks for blessing my soul and for opening your heart to God’s calling on your life.

    I have always been a private person and feel very insecure around people. I am praying that God will place in my heart what He would have me do to show His love and kindness to others.

    Peace to you.

    • Elissa,
      Thank you for sharing! I can talk to strangers in the grocery store but put me in a setting like a conference or gathering and I find a quiet seat and sit there watching everyone around me. Praying for you to follow God’s lead.
      Blessings, Martha
      {Leadership Encourager}

  3. Beautifully written, encouraging, and uplifting. God has placed a special friend of mine on my heart this week who was expressed, to me, her feelings of inadaquacies. I’ve been praying for her and felt lead to send her a special gift of encouragement. I pray it blesses her heart and lifts her soul. I love to see God drive in my life. I’m believing and praying for more opportunities to show His love in my daily life, to impact, love on someone, and help heal their soul. Thank you for your precious Bible studies. I cherish them and am growing in my faith, because of your ministry. Thank you!
    Ashley
    //
    http://Www.laughingwithashley.blogspot.com

  4. One more thing, I love to learn the Greek meaning of words. It’s so powerful and allows the scripture to become so transparent.

    What resource do you use for looking up the Greek meaning?

    I love the hospital and hospitality meaning of healing.
    Ashley
    http://Www.laughingwithashley.blogspot.com

  5. I love that verse 10 says she is DEVOTING to good works…continual, assertive, proactive…all SORTS of good works. My husband’s work employs college kids, and I’ve had the privilege to get to know some of the girls. They’ve become like little sisters. Once a month or so, more if I can manage, I cook dinner and we watch BBC movies together… giggling over Jane Austen or Downton Abbey. As a mom of littles…it took me a while to embrace that ministry looks different for me than it did when I was single but you are so right…they bless ME! I found this blog after Mom heart Dallas. Such a blessing…Thank you!

  6. Awesome post Angela.

  7. Yesterday I had opportunity to practice hospitality with the two young men that are doing the remodel of the bathroom. One of them grew up just two houses down from us and we have had the pleasure of watching him grow into a fine young man. For the past couple days they have remarked at how good my cooking smells. So, I fixed a big pot of soup and invited them to have lunch with us. It took all of about 3 seconds for him to enthusiastically say YES! This is not an unusual occurrence for me. God has given me the gift of hospitality and it comes easy. It gives me great opportunity to share our faith, our journey and love.

  8. This reminds me of my grandma and my prayers for her to move here so we can take care of her. Our SOAP verse sums up all she has done in her life. I am continuing to pray for God to mover her here and plan to call her today. As far as the challenge goes, I have been texting or calling my best friend daily to see how she is. I offered my home to her and believe she may be coming the first week of April to get away from things for a while. I plan to do a ‘blessing shower’ for her to help her financially but she is fighting me on it right now. Guess I’m gonna have to do it in secret.

  9. My dear friend, Anne Williamson Cox started a Sunday school class at our church 8-10 years ago called, Cooking for Christ. She incorporates the weekly lesson with cooking for someone in need. Maybe a surgery, death in the family, life challenge, or as a friendly gesture. The children in her class learn to give of themselves and do for others while learning Gods love. I have proudly helped her for several years and it is such a wonderful experience for all.

  10. Thank you for sharing this entry right when I needed it. Tragedy struck our community 4 months ago and I have been doing whatever I can to help the effected family cope. I have given all that I can and in the beginning did so with a humble and gracious heart. But I have found myself recently feeling tired of it, giving grudgingly, maybe feeling overextended. I have been wondering what I can do to get back to a place where my heart happily gives, and this has reminded me to pray hard on it. To have God place in my heart that desire to help in HIS name, not because I feel obligated but because he has called me to.

  11. Hey girls :)
    This is actually my first time to react to a post @ goodmorninggirls, but I really feel I have to. I did the Proverbs 31 study, and now I join with this one.

    Anyway, I need some prayer.. Every.single.time I pray about who God wants me to show hospitality and love to, He gently points me toward my next-door neighbour. And every time I just force that feeling back. Everyone Lord, but not her. Please, not. She’s an alcoholic, her son is a drugs dealer who abuses her. She clings to me every time I see her. I don’t want her to touch my children (imagine her holding my baby?).. I know it sounds SO harsh, but I can’t help feeling that way.. Oh I just DON’T want it. I try to love her, and yes, the Lord did change me. I used to be so scared of her, now I can honestly say that I’ve compassion on her. I bring her some cake and stuff over every now and then.. But I know it’s not enough. He wants me to show her REAL hospitality, to open up my safe haven.
    I feel so stupid, ’cause I allways am like “Whatever You want, Lord”, but then that silly voice in my head adds “…but NOT that..”.
    She allways says ‘I’m a christian, just like you!’. So that’s why she brings me flowers, rings at my door every time.. She needs someone, I’m aware of that, but it’s so hard.. I tried to talk to her about God, but I don’t think she even gets it, because her brain really is totally damaged by the alcohol.

    So.. Well I think you get the point.. There’s a war raging in my mind. A HUGE one. And I hope you’ll pray that I do the right thing at the right time, that God changes my heart..

    By the way. :) I thank God SO much for the studies here, it really changed my life. That I even came this far, that I know God speaks to me, is a true miracle. :)

    With lots of love, Esther (from the Netherlands)

  12. Loretta says:

    The Lord has been working on me in recent weeks. So I’ve been cooking yummy treats, for the lady I meet fortnightly for homeschool met group she is not a Christian, the Muslim lady down the road who’s father just past, the very very pregnant lady at church. I’m asking God who in the church I can invite to come and eat at my house. It is more about my pride, my house is not clean enough I don’t have enough chairs only got 2 it doesn’t bother my family where we sit but what will others think. I know this is all coming from pride so I pray Lord to help to kill this in me so I can love others and obey your word as it commands me to.

  13. harmony says:

    This is something that has struck home for me today. My brother in law has got a job 5 hours away and doesn’t want to move his 11 year old son away till after the school year. So he has asked us to have his son in our home the week he will be gone to the job, and then his son will be with him the week he is back home until school lets out. So that means about 6 weeks or more of having another child in our home. It will be an adjustment but I know that God is watching over us during this time. I’m asking for prayers not only for our family but for our nephew who will have to be in a new school and make new friends when he is moved permanently away from the only home he’s known. Thank you!

  14. Cheyanne says:

    Esther, I will be praying for you. You will never regret showing Gods love and kindness! :) thinking of you, cheyanne

  15. Tuesday evenings are a popular night to host friends for dinner, it seems! I asked our Senior-aged neighbor over for spaghetti the Tuesday night after his wife passed away…that was over 7 years ago, and John still joins our family for dinner every Tuesday night!! He has definitely blessed our family WAY more than I can ever repay!! God is working miracles daily in our lives, if we will just LISTEN to HIS little nudges!! :)

  16. I love your story about how Joanie took you in to her family. Sometimes you will never know how your kindness and hospitality will affect others. As a teacher, that is a reality that I have to accept, and just hope that the effects are for the good. Occasionally years later I hear from students about how something we did in class really made an impression on a student’s life.

    Over the past fourteen years my husband and I have hosted ten beautiful young ladies (foreign exchange students) in our home. Angela, I truly understand what you mean when you say you have been blessed to open your home and love on the girls. Our girls have changed my life. We do not have children of our own so it has allowed me to be a mom and watch these girls grow up so much during the year they are here to learn about the U.S. culture. They have also taught us about their cultures and has shown us although we are different we are also very much alike, therefore allowing us to embrace diversity in our world. A prayer of mine is that more loving Christian families would open their homes to theses exchange experiences, because I have heard some awful stories from some of my girl’s friends and siblings that are exchanges students as well.

  17. Cindy cox says:

    what a great post!! I love giving hospitality to kids of all ages, I am so blessed by this post. thank you so much.

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Trackbacks

  1. […]  First, Angela at Good Morning Girls told a sweet story about a family who took her in.  She said, “there is power in extending […]

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