HGTV, Pinterest, and the Things That Really Matter {Link-up}

hgtv and things that matter

I have a love-hate relationship with HGTV. And Pinterest. And all of those fixer-upper shows.

My husband and I moved into a fixer-upper several years ago, and while we’ve done a lot of cosmetic upgrades, there are still things I’d like to change. But life doesn’t stop for remodels and the kids don’t stop needing new shoes, so for now we pushed the pause button.

Most days I’m perfectly happy having friends over to eat in my 70’s kitchen. But every now and then, I hear those voices saying what I have to offer isn’t good enough.

It’s a dismal truth, but it’s there.

Those voices interrupted my thoughts several weeks ago when I was having a dear friend fly in to speak at our local MOPS group. She was staying overnight, and in the weeks leading up to her arrival we made some preparations to ensure she was as comfortable as possible.

I was excited to have her visit and for the chance to connect in person, since she lives several states away. That is, until I visited her home. A couple of weeks before her visit, I joined some friends at her house for a weekend retreat.

Her place was beautiful, and looked like a spread straight out of a Good Housekeeping magazine. Since her kids are grown, her floors weren’t perpetually sticky. Her windows weren’t smudged with fingerprints or dog slobber.

It short, it was perfect.

When she came north a few weeks later, her welcome was anything but perfect. As I was speeding down the highway to pick her up, the GPS drained my battery and my phone died.

I had forgotten my charger.

After finding her at the airport, I could not locate my car. We circled the parking garage on foot several times before discovering an airport car finding service.

I wish I was kidding. And yes, the service does exist.

It was like we were living an episode of Seinfeld, except I wasn’t laughing. I was worrying about my cell phone, getting home to pick up my son and making it to our MOPS meeting.

When we finally got back to my house, I realized we didn’t have time to eat the meal I had been so careful to put in the crockpot before leaving.

And in the midst of all the running around and the chaos, my friend didn’t complain. She was gracious and patient, and when we finally arrived at MOPS I realized something.

Her message was about making the most of the time we have with our kids, but the message God had for me was different.

As I sat there listening, I realized time is all we really have in this life.

home

We can spend it worrying about the age of our kitchen appliances or we can open our kitchens with love.

We can spend it stressing about having the perfect, Pinterest-worthy treats or we can savor the sweetness of each bite.

Yes, the details make a difference. I love a beautiful plate of food. But don’t let the details keep you from looking your guests in the eye. Don’t let them keep you from sitting down and having a conversation.

The perks of a magazine-worthy home can never replace the warmth felt within it.

I’m reminded of a poor widow the Lord asked to feed his prophet, Elijah. She and her son were about to eat their last meal, but at the word of God, she gave everything.

She gave what she had, and the Lord blessed her for it. (1 Kings 17:8-16)

God can take what we have and multiply it into much more than we could ask, think or imagine.

When I visited my friend’s home down south, it wasn’t the décor that left an impression on my heart. It was the welcome. It was the love. It was the what’s-mine-is-yours hospitality.

Those modern appliances? Well, I won’t tell you they don’t make you happy.

But I also know joy comes from a deeper place. A soul-level place. A belly laugh, strolls at sunset, tears over coffee type of place.

That’s the place I want to keep my eyes fixed on. It’s place I try to remember when the weight of this life tries to drown me in forgetfulness.

 

#RaRaLinkup Time!

1. Link up your inspiring & motivating post with the blue frog button below. (it will direct you to the linkup page)
2. Grab the Kelly Balarie & Friends button to display on your blog or just link back.
3. LEAVE A COMMENT ON THE POST LINKED UP RIGHT BEFORE YOURS. Visit others & be encouraged. 

*Note: We will conclude our Rays in the Storm Series on Thursday. Thanks so much to all who have read, commented and contributed to a Spirit-filled series. You rock!

The Day I Learned the True Definition of Hospitality

hospitality

The stain on the seat cushion glared at me. This house would never be clean enough for guests. Who was I kidding? Why had I agreed to host a Bible study in the first place?

My perfectionist nature kicked into overdrive. I convinced myself it was a mistake to open our home. After all, I’d never made a Pinterest worthy treat in my life.

When I hosted a Fourth of July party for MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) my Pinterest inspired key lime cheesecake turned into a gloppy mess. No one told me you were supposed to wait until serving time to add the whipped cream.

These are things a person gifted in hospitality should know, right?

I settled on a spinach dip with three ingredients and brownies for the first Bible study, figuring it would be impossible to mess up such simple treats. I didn’t anticipate my two-year-old’s resolve to eat all of the brownies before any of the guests arrived.

To add to my stress, his new favorite pastime was undoing everything I set out to do. I made the bed. He unmade it. I cleaned up a pile of toys. He decided he wanted to play with them again.

In the midst of my frustration, I looked into my son’s eyes and saw one thing: the desire for more of me. My love, my attention, my undivided self. I jumped on the bed and threw my exasperation out the window, along with my resolve for a perfect house.

As we giggled and rolled around the bed, God sent a gentle reminder that hospitality is not about having a Martha Stewart ready living room or immaculately crafted hors d’oeuvres. All these things are wonderful, but the heart of hospitality lies in the heart of the host.

Our guests enter our homes with the same desire as my two-year-old: the desire for love. A spotless kitchen floor can never replace that.

We often fool ourselves into thinking our homes are too small or cluttered, our kitchens too 70’s inspired instead of HGTV inspired, and we miss out on an opportunity to be Christ’s hands and feet.

But God does not call us to strive for perfection only he can attain. He simply calls us to open our doors.

When we answer his call to love and open our doors, we not only take in those who are knocking. We open the door to Christ as well.

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 NIV

When our church family poured into our house that night, the only one who noticed the stained cushion was me. We shared stories and laughed. We strengthened the bonds of friendship which started within the church walls.

As I watched my friends make themselves at home and graciously accepted compliments on my three-ingredient dip, I realized what true hospitality was. It was simply saying, “yes” to God’s invitation. The invitation he gives us every day to reach a little further outside of ourselves, love a little deeper, and give a little more.

The invitation is the same every day, as sure as the morning sun. Will you answer it?