“Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.” – Isaiah 58:10
How is it that the Lord instilled in me a life of hospitality? It started many years ago…
Dirt and Sticks
I remember hearing stories from my mom of how her parents taught people who lived in a remote village in Africa how to take their spoken dialect and write, leading to translating the Bible into their dialect, planting churches, and hosting bible studies in their humble home. They first began to transcribe this spoken dialect through writing out sounds in the dirt with a stick. It was a painstaking journey for them, there were hardships. But they endured and used their gift of hospitality to serve as missionaries in Chad Africa.
Scrambled Eggs and a Tool Belt
My father ran a small construction business when I was a child. He made it his mission to hire men who were rough around the edges and needing work. Through the years, they built homes and churches throughout Chicagoland. It was typical for me to come down the stairs and see my dad and his crew sitting around our kitchen table eating a hearty breakfast before heading into a day of work. He filled their stomachs, taught them skills, and gave them a purpose. I like to think that what they learned from my dad stuck with them for years to come.
My Expression of Hospitality
This whole hospitality way of life idea looks different for everybody. I have not served as a missionary overseas and you certainly don’t want me to build your house. But I did learn to use my natural abilities to create a space for people to belong. And it has been a journey with lots of twists and turns.
I spent over 20 years working in the field of foster care. My mission was trying to reunite families after terrible things have happened and great harm had come to a child. And since foster care cannot intervene until after children have been harmed, reunification was too infrequent of an outcome. Leaving a child not only with the challenge of healing from the abuse they had sustained, but also the profound lifelong loss they suffer from losing their parent.
Delivering Hospitality Through Safe Families for Children
I knew I was on the right path, but something wasn’t sitting right with me. Is foster care really where God wanted me? For a season…yes. But I believe He was preparing me for something more.
In 2012, the Lord lead me to Safe Families for Children. Eventually my husband and I became an approved Host Family. It provided that missing piece to settle that unrest I felt in foster care work. Safe Families gives me the chance to help children prior to them being harmed, a way to exercise the gift of hospitality I had been yearning to use.
My grandparents and my parents used their giftings to serve in hospitable ways and now I found mine! On a daily basis I get to see the positive impact families and churches can have when they extend ourselves on behalf of children and their struggling parents.
Maybe you’re called to this movement of biblical hospitality. I was invited to join the Safe Families staff. Perhaps someone invited you. And we get to share this invitation with our friends, families, and churches. At Safe Families, we’re building a movement that calls people of faith into a sustained lifestyle of caring for the most vulnerable among us.
This movement has turned me from being someone who can be forgetful about God into a person who prays often, has a stronger belief in God, and a greater desire to see His will done. I have seen time and again when we plant seeds we can be confident that He will water them. That God does not call the equipped but He most certainly does equip those He calls.
My Prayer for You
Hospitality is a way of life, far beyond inviting friends over for Friday night pizza. My prayer for you, a member of our Safe Families community, is that you would continue to find a way in this world to make a difference. With Safe Families, there are so many opportunities to serve. Hosting, being a Family Friend, a Resource Friend, a Volunteer Family Coach, helping in our Intake office, hosting a Home Gathering to spread the word, or talking to your church about becoming a Safe Families church. Ultimately, we pray that God brings clarity to your life in how to use your giftings to provide a way for others to belong, where even strangers can enter and become a friend.
Thank you for opening up your homes and hearts to the most vulnerable and giving these children a place to belong, and giving their struggling parents space where change can happen. Thank you for tuning in to the Lord’s prompting in your life and for being hospitable.
Make Hospitality a Way of Life