Home Held Hospitality

Dearest Joyful HomeKeeper :)

Our dear Father has provided writing time tonight as an offer of grace. This
is a gift to me that I don't deserve but cherish when it is given.

The week end is closing and a promising new week is shining ahead. I am
tired tonight but I have such hope in God's goodness as I find it never
ending. Each new week and every new day is His chance for me to make it
better, enjoy it more, serve in greater faithfulness, and to grow more in
love with HIM.

It was a process to get here to my keyboard tonight and I can smile as I
reflect on the past few days events:) The Lord sent many to us and called me
out to show beautiful hospitality to each one. In some ways... I did well in
my service. In other ways... I was found lacking. Instead of doing as I've
always done and feeling despaired over my failures... I am basking in the
truth that I didn't give up in spite of my shortcomings. Praise God! He
knows that I am human and He knew exactly what I'd do before He gently led
so many to my doorway! He allowed each thing I did or didn't do for reasons
we might not know for a long time.

Through the course of the week end, we had 18 people (including our family
of 7) here to eat, drink carafes of coffee, and more. The adults all went
home during the day and we had four children from Friday night until this
evening. What an adventure we had! God doesn't let us become bored or
stagnant, does He? <smile>

Our "little guests" were my nieces and nephew ages 11, 10, almost 4, and
almost 3:) Three of these children have birthdays in this month and in
The older girls played as they always do with my daughter and the rest of us
took care of the younger nephew and niece. . . it took all of us!:)
My husband and older sons were so wonderful and made it possible for me to
clean the kitchen up 1,234 times, wash 98 loads of laundry, and tidy the
living room 430 times. I won't lie... those figures aren't exact;) but it
did seem to be so!

I tried to stay on top of things by keeping up with my basic routines and
following some simple rules. Even though the kitchen took me a little over
30 minutes to pull back together and the living room will need another 10
minutes or so... we did pretty good! There was a time when this would have
taken weeks to recover from!

Every one who came over here asked the same thing: "HOW are you doing this?
HOW are you so calm? HOW did you get THAT mess cleaned up so fast?"
It would have been fun to brag and act like it just came natural:) but I
must tell the truth and this means admitting that it has little to do with

At one point, all I had worked so hard for on the house came falling down
around me. The messes were piling up, the chaos was getting strong, and my
peace was fighting hard to fly out the window! I remember thinking... "Lord,
WHY did I so quickly say yes to so many?" ... "Lord, my home is already a
mess and there is SO much to DO that I don't know how to keep up!" His
reassuring voice seem to come from within me as He reminded me that "this
home" is not a showhouse but a foundation for a ministry in His Name. These
people were sent by Him and they were here for a reason. HE would take care
of the rest.

HE... did.

Only HE could have gotten through my scurried thoughts to say: "Remember to
just do what you can. Something is better than nothing. Lose the
perfectionism." Many of us have read these from Flylady, haven't we? Well, I
swallowed the honey of these words and they did not turn bitter but
sweetened my spirit!

I kept to my routines as well as I could. I made my bed, dressed down to
shoes, showered quickly, brushed and flossed, did my facial routine
(clean/tone/moisturize), wiped down the bathroom sink, swished the toilet,
and took clothes out when I left.

The baby's schedule was thrown totally off bec/ he was excited with the new
noises, sounds, and faces, so I worked around it. Sometimes... this meant
holding him while doing other basics like laundry, dishes, and so on... but
I managed by the grace of God.

The older kids were given 15 minute time increments to help with a little
one and this kept them from being overwhelmed and freed me to prepare meals.

When the kitchen had so many that it started getting out of control... I
set the timer for 15 minutes and worked what I could. I stopped when it rang
and went to check on everyone else.

This allowed plenty of time to talk with those visiting, keep fresh coffee
and clean coffee pots filled and flowing:) and more.

These things wouldn't have been done had God not guided me to the routines.
I have a lot on tomorrow's "to do list" but I'm actually looking forward to
it! I realize that God will equip me to do what HE knows is best and
necessary. If I fill my list with more than He purposes... He'll show me. If
I am not doing enough or my time is becoming idle... He'll reveal it!

Tomorrow, I plan to tidy my pantry, clean out the fridge, scrub the linoleum
clean, finish our office de-cluttering, and scrub the bathroom clean. My
daily routines will hopefully dance with the weekly chores to make for a
sparkling home blessing time! I'll commit that list to Jesus first thing in
the morning and we'll go from there...

I hope your week spills miracles everywhere and that your heart is a
waterfall of feeling the love of the Lord. Let your life be a shining beam
to all of God's goodness!


2004Sandy Willoughby



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