Visible Faith in Open Homes

Visible FaithRight when prompt came up for this week’s Five-minute Friday, I logged onto Facebook to let my blogging buddy know the prompt this week would be “Open.” Much to my surprise, I saw I had a direct message from the mother of one of my daughter’s friends and so I opened it, only to find that she had written in another language—Portuguese.

Spanish, I know. Portuguese, not so much. But I figured since they have the same Latin base, I might be able to figure it out. I think I did. And her sweet message brought tears to my eyes.

You see, my daughter has been scheming ways to improve her Portuguese (she went to Argentina last year to improve her Spanish and ended up learning a lot of Portuguese from her Brazilian friends) this summer. She wants to study through her university’s foreign language acquisition program for a month, and then she cooked up a plan with a friend to live with his family for another month once he returns to school.

Tonight, his mother wrote to me to introduce herself and to let me know that even though they live a simple life, they would love to have Sarah stay with them and would treat her with great care and affection.

When I think about it, I’m so touched that complete strangers to me would reach out—even knowing that there’s a language barrier—to let us know that their home is open to our daughter: a girl they have only met once.

How often do I worry and fret about whether or not I should open my home to others, invite them in to my life—because I think my house isn’t tidy enough or I regret that I have no sofa for people to sit on?

And yet this lovely woman has invited Sarah into her home for a month—simply because she has a big heart full of Christian love.

It’s not what’s in my home that matters—it’s what’s in my heart that counts. #fmfparty #hospitality Click To Tweet

I needed this reminder that I need to stay open to new friends and new adventures in hospitality. After all, John says in 3 John 1:5 “Dear friend, when you extend hospitality to Christian brothers and sisters, even when they are strangers, you make the faith visible.”

When was the last time you made your faith visible?  I’m ashamed to confess that it’s been awhile for me.

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a 'recovering cancer caregiver' who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • I struggle with hospitality. We don’t have a large home and the carpet is stained. Our furniture doesn’t match. I worry that people will judge. So thank you for this reminder: “It’s not what’s in my home that matters—it’s what’s in my heart that counts.”
    Marie recently posted…Five Minute Friday: OpenMy Profile

  • Amen! It’s not what’s in my home that matters -it’s what’s in my heart that counts. That is a big truth that we all need to embrace as we try to be more open to what really matters and to what God wants. Love this!

    I tried to tweet above but it only showed one word-“It”. Have a good night! Hugs!
    Mary Geisen recently posted…Five Minute Friday-OpenMy Profile

    • Thanks for the head’s up about the tweet–I think I fixed it :/. Technology.

  • Awe, that’s a good mamma! Knowing that another mamma needs to hear or read in whatever language that her babe will be loved and cared for-because love crosses all language barriers. Such an exciting time for your girl. I’ll be praying for her and for you!! And I LOVE your graphic! Holy Hannah Amen!

    • Yes, I really appreciated it! I wrote her back (in Spanish–I really don’t speak Portuguese) to let her know that any of her family members are always welcome to come and stay with us, too :).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Visible Faith in Open HomesMy Profile

  • This reminds me of sweet friends we made. A new to the U.S. lady married the man next door and her daughter came to stay with her two children for a visit and to help her mother acclimate since she spoke no English. When the daughter left for home, she asked me to look after her mother.
    Sometimes it took us a while to understand each other but sometimes we were so on the same page. My son asked, “How do girls DO that?”
    The lady moved away and I miss her very much. We may have had a language barrier, but we ate, cried, and laughed together.
    Donna recently posted…Open |Five Minute FridayMy Profile

  • Oh I love this!!!
    ~Karrilee~ recently posted…An Invitation to Live Life Wide OPEN – A Five Minute Friday PostMy Profile

  • Love what you said, “It’s not what’s in my home that matters—it’s what’s in my heart that counts.” Amen!!
    Shannon Bibby recently posted…Open My Heart ‘oh LordMy Profile

  • This is beautiful: “It’s not what’s in my home that matters -it’s what’s in my heart that counts.” Anita, what an inspiring message here.And what a beautiful woman that lady must be to open her home for a month! I often stress over dinner guests, weekend guest. But one month is a long time. 🙂 (I tried to tweet your tweetable, but it wasn’t working, just to give you the heads up.)
    Betsy de Cruz recently posted…Opening the Door to More Jesus in our EverydayMy Profile

    • :). I know, right? A month is a long time! (and thanks for the head’s up on the tweet. I couldn’t make it work so I just decided to download a different plug in).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Visible Faith in Open HomesMy Profile

  • Umm…anyone’s welcome, but we have 22 dogs in the house. Big ‘uns, little ‘uns, loud ‘uns, and…well, no quiet ‘uns.

    Makes conversation a bit hard. And new visitors are routinely flattened by the exuberance of their welcome.

    They’re all rescues, too ill or too emotionally scarred to be adopted out again, so this is their forever home. It is a happy place.

    So come on in, wear old clothes…and maybe earplugs.
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser recently posted…Open-Heart Marriage {Five Minute Friday}My Profile

    • Have you read “Go, Dog, Go!” lately ;). I’m glad your home is welcome and that the four-legged people like to join in the hospitality :).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Visible Faith in Open HomesMy Profile

  • Yes…I would really like the ease of mind when inviting people over. It sometimes seems that everything has to be perfect first! The best visits I’ve had is when people come over unexpectedly!
    Verona recently posted…Lessons Learned by Being OpenMy Profile

    • Isn’t that the truth! I think we all see ourselves as being a gracious guest if we show up unexpectedly, but have a difficult time realizing that everyone else will be a gracious guest as well!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Visible Faith in Open HomesMy Profile

  • Beautiful thoughts! And such a great example of faith and hospitality! Often it doesn’t take much and things like that are a kick in the butt for me to do more of them…:) Happy Friday!
    Katha recently posted…[Five Minute Friday] OpenMy Profile

  • i loved this post anita. it reminded me why i’m trying to clear out my apartment! so i can enjoy being more hospitable. as long as the house is overflowing with stuff, there isn’t room to have people over…and that’s no way to live!

    a word of encouragement to those who mentioned how inadequate their homes were, etc. i have been amazed to find that those who really need the hospitality don’t seem to notice if the house isn’t spotless.

    We had college/singles over after church for a couple of years (once a month) and found they loved eating and having a home to be in to be with families. they didn’t care/notice if the floors were clean. i think the same goes for the lonely, new in town, single moms, etc. it’s always nice to have an invite to someones home. the meal doesn’t even need to be fancy.
    martha brady recently posted…OPEN HANDS…My Profile

    • Amen! Great advice, Martha (to both clear out the junk AND realize that most people aren’t critical–they’re crying out for relationships!).
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Visible Faith in Open HomesMy Profile

  • This can be a scary time with your children but God is preparing the way. Having an open heart to his will is the key and you are demonstrating that not only through your blog, but most importantly, to your daughter. A beautiful example for many, Anita.
    Debby recently posted…Five-Minute Friday {open}My Profile

    • Those kids! I feel like a yo-yo sometimes with all her rapid-fire decisions and plan changes ;). But as long as she’s always moving forward in her relationship with God, I can sit on my mouth and try to be a good listener and encourager!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Visible Faith in Open HomesMy Profile

  • Oh how I struggle with being open to new friends or opening my home. It isn’t that I don’t want to but I begin to wonder if my home is good enough. I question if I can live up to my own expectations so I need up doing nothing. Thank you for the reminder that “it’s not what’s in my home that matters—it’s what’s in my heart that counts.”
    Amy P Boyd recently posted…Open My HeartMy Profile

    • You have a heart of gold, Amy. I appreciate your friendship and I understand how you struggle (I’m an introvert, so while I love people, I just have a problem with being around them for too long 😉 ). Reaching out in cyberspace counts as reaching out–and I have definitely felt ‘reached out to’ by you this year!
      Anita Ojeda recently posted…Visible Faith in Open HomesMy Profile

  • I have learned that the secret of hospitality is that no one really cares if your furniture is dusted or if your chairs match. Most of the time, people just want to spend time with you, not your house. This is a great post, Anita. We can all learn to be more open to hospitality. Thank you.

    Melinda recently posted…FMF – OpenMy Profile

  • Wow. A big full heart of love. A taste for a new adventure. The willingness to go there.

    Love this, Anita.

    And I realize once again how much our kids teach us. No matter how old they are.
    Linda@Creekside recently posted…The Little Black Bag * Party Giveaway #3My Profile

  • What a wonderful experience! When our son went to Germany for a summer to study the language, his host family really ran a “business” – and each bedroom was rented out to others. If you didn’t pay for food, you didn’t get any food. There was no hospitality, no cultural connection, no sitting across the table making real life connections. We ended up paying the language school extra to take our son on excursions with other students. I don’t think he realized the experience should have been different. We, however, are much more savvy now and realize we need to be hands on when planning this things, even if it is through a university. So wish my son had stayed with people like you describe.

  • How precious of her to do that. It’s hard to send our kids to another country but so much easier that someone will be looking out for them and welcoming them. Great post, Anita!
    Holly Barrett recently posted…OpenMy Profile