myMISSION Mom Blog

Creating Space: Christ and Hospitality

Creating space for others—it’s what I think of when I focus on hospitality. And as mothers, we know a thing or two about creating space for other people. I would imagine a few of you have some little person invading your space even as you read this.

A long, wooden table filled a spread worthy of Pinterest with fresh bread, decorations for the season, chicken spiced and cooked well, and vegetables straight from the garden—this is what I believe our culture wants us to think of hospitality.

Oftentimes, we get caught up in the external features of hospitality and forget the internal characteristics of what it means to be hospitable people. However, as we look at Scripture and the example Christ set for us, we find a hospitality focusing much more on the relationship between the guest and the host rather than the presentation.

Christ welcomed the least of these.

Teaching Preschoolers the Gospel through Storying

  • Who are you?
  • Where do you come from?
  • Why do you exist?
  • Where are you going?
  • How will you get there?

Stories connect us—across cultures, generations, and communities. Stories are meant to be shared and passed on.

Who first told you about Christ? Who first shared His story with you, connecting His story to your story? For me, it was my grandmother. She shared Christ faithfully with me each time she kept my brother and me.

From the time I was around 3 or 4, I can remember her telling us Bible stories. And if anyone were qualified to teach children the Bible, it was my grandmother. She had taught the 4- and 5-year-old class at her church for years, even before I was born.

Single Moms and the Gospel

We were pushing our strollers through our neighborhood that beautiful, sunny day. We had an immediate friendship since our babies were just a few months apart and we were both home during the day. We found ourselves escaping from our houses around the same time in the afternoon with two fussy, sleepy babies as two moms who could use a walk and adult conversation.

This day was like any other, except we began to talk about spirituality. Then the subject of church came up.

She said, “They told me I was wrong to raise my baby alone. They said I needed to have a husband if I wanted to be a good mom. They didn’t know his dad was the one who left us. But their words still hurt. You and your husband seem so different when you talk about God. You say how God loves me and my son; and He isn’t mad at me. I’ve never heard that before. You talk like He’s real.”

I cannot even remember what I said in return. All I could remember was that she needed to hear that Christ loves her and her son, He sees her, and they are welcome in the body of Christ as they are.

Just Listen: 3 Ways to Connect Your Family to People Groups

We fell in love with South Asians. Maybe it was the warm milk tea, the curried food, the bells and loud music, or the welcoming smiles (OK, sometimes stares), but South Asians stole our hearts. Since moving to a rural area of Alabama, we wanted to look for ways our family could meet South Asians in our area. At first, we were told there weren’t many South Asians in this area. As we began to seek internationals in our area, we found that many families from South Asia reside in our town, and we wanted to get to know them.

A dinner, an English class, a Thanksgiving celebration—whatever could be used as a way to build relationships—we wanted to connect. We had a successful first get-together. Then for a couple months afterward, we tried to establish something else. And for months, this “something else” never quite worked out. The relationships were there just not the events.

What were we doing wrong? We weren’t listening—to God, to the people we were trying to reach, or to our family’s missional gifts.

The following are a few ways we’ve learned to connect to a people group through listening:

Three Ways We Invest Our Time as a Family

We moved from a South Asian city back to an American city. In South Asia, relationships trump tasks. You may begin to leave your house to run errands, but if a neighbor shows up, you stay and serve them chai. Relationships come before tasks.

Moving back to the United States made me question how I would spend my time. Add in being a new momma (and, for the first time, a stay-at-home mom), being a pastor’s wife, and living in a new town; I had many avenues where I could invest my time.

Love God. Love my family. Love my neighbor.

These three things have become themes in our family. Here are some ways we choose to invest our time as a family each day:

Perfect Love Drives Out Fear

What’s your biggest fear? Is it spiders? Snakes? Speaking in public? Loneliness? Rejection? We tend to think of the “easy” fears first, like animals or insects, but when we get deeper, it gets uncomfortable. I’ll just be honest. I am afraid to fail. I love to do the right thing and get it just perfect, but sometimes I don’t let myself do something because I am afraid I will totally botch it up.

I’ve shared a little bit about my 20-month-old, Brady, and the fact that I’m due any day now with my little girl, Sophie. I’d be lying if I said the fact that my children will be this close together doesn’t make me more than slightly nervous. For starters, Brady and I are BFFs. I know that a lot of moms love their babies, but I’m serious, y’all—I laugh real live adult laughs at this child. The idea that I might miss one single thing that he does terrifies me and also makes me really sad. I love watching him learn about the world and show off all of his new skills.

Seek Out the Best

It’s January! Have you kept up your New Year’s resolution so far? A lot of people see the new year as the perfect time to turn over a new leaf, give up an old habit, or start a new one. According to my Internet searching, 25 percent of resolutions don’t make it the first week! Anybody been there? *Raises hand while drinking that caffeinated beverage* Some of the most popular resolutions last year were to lose weight, to quit smoking, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to get organized. I love that third one—enjoy life to the fullest!

But how exactly do you know if you’re enjoying life to the absolute fullness of its vast potential? What does that look like for each of us? For a lot of Christians, we may choose things that are better than other things, but we don’t necessarily choose what’s best for ourselves or for our relationship with Christ.

The Love in Us

In recent years, I think a lot of us have become increasingly aware of the world around us. I believe that’s because the world has been coming to us more and more. In years past, we had to step on a plane to encounter a large majority of the cultures in this world, but now we can simply step onto the sidewalk of our own neighborhoods. It’s really a beautiful thing.

It’s not always easy to see things from someone else’s perspective, but I think that is truly how we can become more aware of the world around us. That means actually getting out and talking to people who don’t look or think or act like you! As a mother, I can definitely say that I have not gone certain places when I was uncomfortable, and I’ve used my son as my excuse for not facing those fears. (I believe I read “perfect love drives out fear,” right?!)

Christ was all about unity and love throughout his ministry on earth. First John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us” (NIV).

Stay Connected

A lot of reasons seem pretty valid for disconnecting with someone these days. With the ever-growing use of social media, it’s fairly easy to get offended by some thought your classmate from kindergarten posted that you never would have known if she hadn’t been awake at 3 a.m. with no one to talk to. A lot of Christians may choose to stay away from social media for this very reason. Not this girl.

I am absolutely grateful for such unique ways to connect with people. Here I am, approximately 909 miles away from my parents on a daily basis, but I can still see anything that is going on in their lives that they want me to see! When I turn FaceTime on, no matter who I’m calling, my son now says, “Memaw? Memaw!” because he knows that usually his Memaw’s face is going to pop up. He’s going to get to grow up knowing her face, just because of technology like this! We can share videos, pictures, posts, deep thoughts, and even the thoughts that come across our mind that generations before us would never have dreamed of sharing!

Called

Last month I broached the topic of my calling. This is one of those topics that remains popular in the Christian world.

But what happens when you have no clue what your “calling” is? As I mentioned last month, we as Christians are all called to share the love of God with all people, but what about you specifically? How will that calling take shape in your life, especially as a mom?

I was recently at our Arkansas WMU Annual Meeting and heard a missionary say, “God gave you the talents and hobbies that you have so that He could use them to share His love.” That’s something I think I sort of knew in the back of my mind but never really took to heart. Are you a baker? Do you absolutely love fitness? What about reading? How can you use those fun things about yourself to glorify God? (Can somebody say book club?!)

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