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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!

 

{Giveaway} Special guest: Karen Ehman on hospitality

This week we see that the Proverbs 31 woman is kind….she opens her arms to the poor and hands to the needy…..I believe this woman knows the value of practicing hospitality and does it regularly! She opens her arms as she opens the door to her home, welcoming in her guest and loving on them the moment they arrive!

Today I have a very special guest on Good Morning Girls- Karen Ehman! Karen is the Director of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team and is a contributor to Focus on the Family’s magazine Thriving Family. You can find her blogging at http://karenehman.com.

{GIVEAWAY}

Karen has written a book called A Life That Says Welcome….a wonderful book filled with tips and ideas on how to practice hospitality and today I’m offering it as a giveaway on GMG!

 

The thought of hosting a dinner party or even having a friend over for coffee is enough to give some women flashbacks of lopsided cakes or doomed casseroles from home economics class. But opening up your home to others doesn’t have to be fancy or frightening or cost a fortune, says Karen Ehman.

In A Life That Says Welcome, she offers a practical, painless (no crafting or cooking aptitude required) course on hospitality. It helps busy women open up their hearts in order to open up their homes. Full of tips, ideas, recipes, to-dos, and how-tos, A Life That Says Welcome shows readers that opening up their homes is less scary and less work than they might think.

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“Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:13 (NIV)

“It’s okay, slugger. Keep trying. Remember, ‘Practice makes perfect.’”

The Little League baseball coach attempted to encourage my son who’d just struck out at the plate. Coach Mike wasn’t the only adult to utter that phrase to one of my kids during their young life. My daughter’s violin teacher spurred her students on to more hours of rehearsal by voicing the same phrase. And the kids’ Bible-quizzing coaches ascribed to the truth of the old expression.

Teachers urge students to practice their penmanship. Bosses advise employees to practice their duties until they’ve sharpened their skills. And what former piano student can’t still hear their teacher’s voice echoing, “Practice, practice, practice”?

But is it true that practice always makes perfect?

Tucked away in the New Testament book of Romans, God seems to send us a quick text message by way of a simple two-word sentence: “Practice hospitality” but there is no mention of perfect.

However, the very word hospitality can evoke a feeling of panic and expectations of perfect. Images come to mind of magazine-like décor, gourmet-style fancy foods, spotless surroundings and stunning homes.

But do you, or your home or food, have to be perfect in order to practice hospitality?

I find it interesting when studying Bible verses, to not just look at what the verse says but also at what it doesn’t say. Romans 12:13 does not say many things. It does not say, “Now those of you who have roomy, gorgeous homes, offer hospitality.” Or “You culinary-savvy gals who can give Rachael Ray a run for her money, have people over for supper.”

No reference to the cleanliness of our homes, the décor on our walls or our spatula-wielding expertise in the kitchen (or lack thereof). We are simply told to practice.

The verb “practice” is defined as “to perform an activity repeatedly or regularly in order to improve one’s proficiency.” It doesn’t state we will ever gain perfection, only that we will see progress.

I’m thankful I was encouraged as a young woman to practice hospitality with the goal of getting better, not obtaining perfection. My starting point was near zero, knowing only how to boil water and make “slice and bake” cookies. Thankfully, God wasn’t looking for perfection in this area for He would not have found it. Instead of looking at the condition of my home, He was more often looking at the condition of my heart.

So, over twenty years ago, I swallowed hard, whispered a prayer and began to open both my home and my heart. My practice has made progress. I have learned tips for decorating, methods for cleaning and gained an arsenal of easy, delicious dishes to offer guests.

However, I have also served burnt chicken, had company spy cobwebs on my light fixtures and moved piles of unfolded laundry off the couch so they could find a place to sit. Planned company may give us time to tidy up and whip up something yummy. But spontaneous hospitality means we need to be willing to welcome others into our lived-in homes and serve frozen pizzas and ice cream sandwiches with a smile.

Practicing hospitality is one of God’s ways of encouraging us to bless others, but often we end up blessed instead. Will you join me in this venture as we make room in our hearts and our homes? Even with practice our houses, cuisine, and us may not be perfect, but we’ll be connecting hearts and touching lives as we seek to serve those whom God puts in our path. Put the kettle on. Company’s coming!

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Karen Ehman

Through her daily blog, writing ventures and many speaking events, Karen’s passion is to provide women with creative inspiration and doable ideas to help them live their priorities and love their lives. She is the Director of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team and is a contributor to Focus on the Family’s magazine Thriving Family.

A popular presenter at Hearts at Home moms’ conferences, Karen is also the author of five books including The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized, A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others and the recently released best-selling ebook Untangling Christmas: Your Go-To Guide for a Hassle-Free Holiday.

She has been a guest on national media shows including The 700 Club, At Home Live, Engaging Women, The Harvest Show, Moody Midday Connection and Focus on the Family. The mother of three, she and her college sweetheart Todd just celebrated their silver anniversary. You can find her blogging at http://www.karenehman.com

 

 

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

I have a very special gift for you…..

I have a very special gift for you today…

Today I’m talking about hospitality and sharing a special family recipe….

A recipe that is super easy, yet will make your guests ask for more…

Join me as I share the recipe to this pie…….it’s my husband’s FAVORITE…..I have a feeling it might be yours too!

Today I’m guest posting at Karen Ehman’s blog:  http://www.karenehman.com
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A Little About Karen

Through her daily blog, writing ventures and many speaking events, Karen’s passion is to provide women with creative inspiration and doable ideas to help them live their priorities and love their lives. She is the Director of the Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker team and is a contributor to Focus on the Family’s magazine Thriving Family.

A popular presenter at Hearts at Home moms’ conferences, Karen is also the author of five books including The Complete Guide to Getting and Staying Organized, A Life That Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart and Home to Others and the recently released best-selling ebook Untangling Christmas: Your Go-To Guide for a Hassle-Free Holiday.

She has been a guest on national media shows including The 700 Club, At Home Live, Engaging Women, The Harvest Show, Moody Midday Connection and Focus on the Family. The mother of three, she and her college sweetheart Todd just celebrated their silver anniversary.

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Join me today, enter her giveaway and get a new recipe to use this coming Easter……your family and friends will be glad you did!!!

 

Love God Greatly!

 

 

 

 

Looking for the Ministry of Motherhood book giveaway? Click here and enter today!

 

 

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