Who might need your haven? You’ll never know … until you invite others to your home.
I needed a haven. I knew it. After writing about haven creation for years, I forgot that settling into a new house could be a long process. And as I packed up my family’s old haven and moved into a different house last summer, I never realized it would take a while before it became a haven.
Sure, I was thrilled to finally live in a home that felt comfy. Within the first couple days in our new house, I sensed a difference:
- I felt at peace, even in the middle of stacks and stacks of cardboard boxes that needed unpacked.
- I loved the way the natural light flooded rooms that were new to us.
- As I deep cleaned rooms and tried to settle into unique spaces, it just felt right.
Yet even with all the good vibes in our house, life still felt like chaos. I didn’t know where anything was, and instead of just going with the flow, daily I faced the reminder that my family counted on me to settle in and make this new house a home.
Even though they didn’t ask, I knew I was the one who needed to transform our home into a haven.
What I never imagined was how God would use my new home as a haven for others even before I felt like it was presentable.
Come On Over
Last spring when my husband and I shopped for a new house, one of our highest priorities was finding a place where we could welcome others. And when we moved in to our 1950s bungalow, we prayed the Lord would use it to bless others.
We had no idea how quickly He would answer our prayers.
Within days of moving in, our son begged us to plan a party for the upcoming Fourth of July. “Our house won’t be a home unless we have other people over,” he reasoned.
And he was right.
So with rooms barely settled and a garage filled floor to ceiling with boxes that still needed unpacked, we hosted a big party on the Fourth of July. And even with the chaos, just as our son knew so well, our house started feeling more like a home. Making memories with our guests made all the difference.
As much as my husband and I knew we needed to invite people to our home – whether or not it felt settled or like a haven yet – we weren’t quite prepared for the Lord to start sending people to our home. Yet later in the summer, it was obvious He would do exactly that.
An International Surprise
Through Home to a Haven, I’ve gotten to know a lot of my e-mail subscribers. (Want to become a subscriber, too? Sign up here!) Four years ago, I started getting to know Domoina, one of my subscribers from Madagascar. I loved getting Domoina’s e-mails and learning more about her home, family, and challenges in Madagascar.
Shortly after my Fourth of July party last summer, Domoina e-mailed me to say that she was planning her first trip to the United States. In fact, she was coming to Ohio.
I was surprised because I live in Ohio.
Excited that I might be able to arrange a visit with her, I asked when and where she was coming. Her response absolutely floored me.
In September she was coming to my town to stay for a week.
I don’t live in a big city like Columbus, Cleveland, or Cincinnati, so the fact that she was coming all the way from Madagascar to stay just a few minutes down the road from my home was absolutely mind boggling.
Arrangements were made and Domoina and her husband – indigenous missionaries in their home of Madagascar – came to my home on a sunny Friday night to have dinner with me and my family.
I’ll never forget welcoming Domoina and N’jaka into our home with so much joy and astonishment. Truly, I couldn’t believe that it was the first time I hosted one of my dear readers in my own home – and she came from halfway across the world.
When they arrived, we hugged, laughed in amazement about the fact that they really were at my home, and then talked non-stop for the next two hours.
That evening, my family learned how God has moved in our guests’ lives and how Jesus drew each of them to Himself. We learned about how they met, what their family is like, and how they minister to Malagasy athletes. And we learned more about Madagascar, an island country we knew so very little about.
What’s Accomplished When You Open Your Home
While I don’t think I’ll ever realize or understand exactly why God orchestrated an international meeting in our home, I’m forever grateful for the opportunity.
And I’ll never forget the important lesson: as haven creators, we need to be willing to open our homes for the Lord to use them.
He knows His plans. And He’s looking for willing partners to help bring hospitality to a hungry world.
Since our Malagasy friends returned home, we’ve welcomed many other families and friends into our home. And we’ve enjoyed hours of deep conversations, laughter, and even a few tears.
You may not know or understand who needs your haven, but the Lord does. And people certainly do need your haven. Everyone loves to feel known and loved. By opening your home, it’s a simple yet thoughtful way to show kindness and concern.
Your welcome doesn’t have to be fancy. In fact, it doesn’t matter so much what’s served or how clean your home is. (Feeling like your house is a wreck? Focus on cleaning your kitchen and bathroom and don’t sweat the rest.)
What does matter is that you’re opening up your schedule as you open your home. You’re focusing on being available for someone else. And that availability speaks volumes.
Who Needs Your Haven?
As believers, hospitality can and should become a regular part of life. Christ followers are tasked with two important roles: Reach out in love to both fellow believers and non-believers. As Galatians 6:10 says,
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Aside from opening your home to brothers and sisters in Christ, inviting non-believers into your home is a fantastic way to offer a real, everyday glimpse into the life of a believer. And it’s a fantastic way to show concern and live a life of love.
Regardless of who you welcome into your home, the best way to create a haven for others is to care about them as you care for them. Ask questions and take a genuine interest in your guests. Learn more about what makes them tick. Forget about passing judgment and simply love them for who they are.
As you work at transforming your home into a haven, initially you may think that your attempts only impact you – or the people living in your home.
But you never know who might truly need your haven.
You never know who God might bring into your haven to be seen, known, and loved. And you never know whose life might be impacted because you chose to make a simple invitation and open your home.
Who are some people who could really use your haven? Who do you need to invite into your home?
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All images courtesy of Deposit Photos.