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Hospitality Really Does Mater

My sister Kathi is the ultimate in a hostess.  While she is thoughtful in preparing for guests every time someone visits, one visit in particular remains with me.

Many years ago my family traveled to spend a week with her family.  With many children between the two couples, privacy is a luxury; and yet, Kathi assured that my husband and I had a bedroom respite to ourselves.

Not only were there fresh flowers in our room and chocolates on our pillows, but she’d placed lamps and candles to assure her oldest child’s bedroom felt like an oasis.

Kathi had chosen meals she knew we, in particular, would love and had special ordered the most decadent cake for me as we were there over my birthday.

Kathi certainly believes that Hospitality Really Does Matter and her loving care for others challenges me.  I’m challenged this week in particular, in light of political questions over refugees and the homeless in America.


I love to do life with friends and family.  Even through a renovation with sections of sheetrock missing and subfloors exposed, we enjoy having loved ones over for dinner and hosting our small group.  That kind of hospitality is easy for me.

Upping the hospitality ante a bit, my family has considered fostering.  I think our family would willingly share our things with and open our hearts to children in need.  I think post-renovation it’s a real possibility for us.

Upping the hospitality ante even more would be opening our home to a family in need that we did not know.

I love that as I’ve been wrestling a bit with these ideas our morning Bible studies this past week have dug deep regarding hospitality and those who had the privilege of hosting Jesus.

It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around Jesus, The Messiah, being homeless.  I wonder if my hospitality would extend to Him in the context of Americana today.

If Jesus, weary and dirty from the road, knocked on my door, or I noticed Him in the street in front of my home in the cold wind we’ve had this week, would I readily open my door and invite Him in?  Or would I worry about my possessions or the safety of my family?

I don’t think I’d hesitate to give Him food, a blanket, gently used clothing, and a few dollars, but would I swing wide my door and sincerely say, “Come in and stay a while.”  Would I offer my oldest child’s room to Him, make sure He had fresh flowers and chocolates on His nightstand, and order a decadent dessert for Him?

A book I read this week offers even more to chew on.  I read about Holland’s National Socialist Bond (NSB).  This group helped the Nazis control Holland and had quite literally been accomplices in the arrests of Corrie ten Boom’s family, the deaths of her father and sister, and Corrie’s abuse in Ravensbruck, a German concentration camp.

After the liberation of Holland, the members of the NSB were thrown out of their homes and were themselves abused by the majority who wanted retribution.

Knowing of the need, Corrie ten Boom gave her family home, the historic Beje and site of the ten Boom “Angel’s Den,” to men and women of the National Socialist Bond as a sanctuary.

Wow.  Wow, wow, wow.  I know that I wouldn’t walk away from my family’s home and give the keys to a group of people who had, three years prior, sent me to my death without hesitation.  And I don’t know that I believe we should, but I am challenged to love those in need better than I currently do with Christ-like compassion.

As the recipient of lots of love and generosity through the years I know the blessing it is to receive.  I hope you’ll join me in thinking through how to love in tangible ways, showing hospitality to those you love and those in need.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Sisters Really Do Matter

Two of our nieces spent some time with us a couple weeks ago.  Naomi and Hannah are the youngest two of my twin brother’s four children.  The eldest of the four is the only boy.  Elizabeth is second in line and the oldest girl. 

My sister-in-law shared, when she brought them to me, that Naomi was a little nervous about their trip away from the rest of the family.  Naomi’s apprehension was not as much about being away from her parents as it was that she would not, for the first time in her life, be with Elizabeth.

Naomi was the first to cry and as Alison expected it was because Naomi wanted Beth.  Elizabeth is 11.  She is a loving, kind playmate and helper for her little sisters.  The girls share a room and bedtime was just not the same.  It wasn’t long before Hannah joined in.  It was certainly very obvious to me that Sisters Really Do Matter.


Unlike my niece Elizabeth, I was not a great big sister.  I was five years older and my sisters were twins.  I remember being kind to them when I was much younger but by the time I was 10 I was “too cool” for little tag-alongs.   If I could have a “do over” I would certainly be more generous with my time and attention.

The Lord has been very good to my twin sisters and me.  He restored our relationships and I, for the last 15 years at least, have considered my sisters (the two I was raised with and my sister-in-law) to be some of my very best friends.  I value their opinions and advice and I know they truly love me and hope the very best for my family.  I know they’re praying for me and can be trusted as confidants.

Our only daughter is smack dab in-between our boys who are 10 years apart in age.  In reality, they all function as only children.  Emma has rarely had to share her things, has never had to share her space, and has had little responsibility in helping with younger siblings.  

Praise The Lord for sisters in Christ!  I pray that she (we all) finds women who will love her (us) enough to truly walk with us as “sisters”.  I’m fortunate to have many women who “do life” with me; younger women who allow me to share my experience, women walking very similar paths with me who cry with me and support me in my struggles, and older women who’ve raised children, served in ministry, and (or) have years of business experience who share their successes and failures so freely to encourage me.

If you don’t have “sisters”, I encourage you to intentionally seek out Christian women who will love, encourage, and strengthen you – as iron sharpens iron.  The kind of “sisters” I hope we surround ourselves with will speak the truth in love, even if it stings for a moment, because they truly want to be invested in our lives and want The Lord’s best for us!  

Looking to connect with “sisters”?  Check out local Bible studies, community service organizations, and small groups at church.  Don’t shy away, carve out some time, introduce yourself, be open, honest, and interested and see what becomes of a genuine “hello!”

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For more from Marea, check out Me and Thee Studios’ faith based leveled readers for 1st-2nd graders at http://www.meandtheestudios.com/early-reader-collection.html