Haven and Hospitality

When we got married we quickly established that our home was to be a welcoming and calm space. It’s so comforting to come home to a made bed and an inviting living room. Obviously, we live here, so it definitely has its messes from time to time and piles of laundry that will never fully be conquered. I might get stir-crazy on occasion but there’s a peace about this place that I cherish.

We also desired hospitality and generosity to come from this household. What that means may vary, but right now it means being open to couchsurfers. It gives us joy to host people for a few nights while stretching us beyond our comfort. In the moments of learning about others traveling through, I learn a little more about myself.

In my home, I am an introvert. I’ve questioned my designation between being an extrovert and an introvert for years, but at home I love the calm, quiet space alone. Having that space allows me to be an extrovert outside of the house. It’s my retreat and safe haven, my place to think and ponder. Without it, I might be more introverted after all.

Bringing someone else into that haven is a risk. It’s as if I have these two goals: having a peaceful, calm home and an open-to-anyone, hospitable space, but they may seem mutually exclusive. I can’t decide which goal should supersede the other, but I can’t give up either one. It’s another of life’s many contradictions hanging in the balance. That struggle between the two illuminates beauty and deeper understanding as we seek the proper balance.

Something about the Ocean

Yesterday we hit the beach. Despite a house full of boxes and a long to-do list, I’m so glad we went. I’m not sure that I can ever get tired of going to be by the ocean. There’s something about it that releases my worries for a moment and gives an incredible calm.

There’s something about the ocean that is supreme. All around it feels like a celebration with brightly colored umbrellas and children screaming with glee. Yet at the same time, there is a surpassing peace as the waves tumble back and forth. There is power in those waves, yet floating among them grants a sense of comfort and contented ease. While it may be noisy surrounded by all of that unbridled joy, the waves still overcome and quiet the sound.

It reminds me of God and all of His glory. He’s here, powerful as ever, yet a comfortable place of peace. I know his strength cannot be matched but I am able to find rest. There is so much to celebrate and praise Him for, but no song of worship or shout of joy can ever compare to the magnitude of His love and what He’s done for us.

In Time

There’s a timeline that’s beyond me. It might not be linear or even understandable, but it’s happening. In the times of confusion and frustration, I find it easy to be impatient for what’s to come. But it always seems to happen in due time. Not my time. His time. I know it to be true. This peace can only come from a creator that has it all under control.

It’s how I know this whole mess of a job situation is going to get figured out when it’s supposed to. The job that’s next for me will be here before I know it, and the timing will be right, whatever that may mean. Sometimes I can forget the blessings I’ve been given. I freak out and worry, when only days beforehand I explained all of His mercies we’ve received with this move. Reading Exodus in the Old Testament, it always seemed so silly to me that the Israelites could so quickly forget their deliverance out of Egypt and the Lord’s continued provisions for them. But let’s face it, I do that more than I realize. Thankfully, we serve a loving and persistent God.

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today…” Exodus 14:13 

The Story

“I bet God has done something in your life that would make our hair stand on end if you told us about it. I bet the story God has written in your life and your home gives voice and breath and arms and legs to the gospel every bit as much as a church sermon ever did.”

God has done something. I don’t even know what it is in its entirety, but I can feel that it’s him. Yesterday, I wrote that “today is the day” and then went to church to hear a sermon specifically about trusting God today. The final song was “Today Is the Day” and it confirmed the thoughts and feelings I wrote about before church without any knowledge of what the message or songs would be.

I’ve been reading the book Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist lately and have found quite a few moments that have challenged and inspired me as I read. In the final chapter she talks about our stories. Her story, my story, your story. A few snippets of what she said (in italics above and below) has given me a deeper understanding of why sharing the next part (as well as the rest) of this journey matters.

“…There’s nothing small or inconsequential about our stories. There is, in fact, nothing bigger. And when we tell the truth about our lives – the broken parts, the secret parts, the beautiful parts – then the gospel comes to life, an actual story about redemption, instead of abstraction and theory and things you learn in Sunday School.”

Last week, my workplace got a tweet from someone none of us had ever met asking if we were hiring. Well, we weren’t. But within a day or two, we had her resume and decided that taking on a part-time receptionist wouldn’t be the worst idea after all. Thanks to some internet stalking abilities, I quickly came to find that she had just picked up and moved with her husband. Just like that. Sold all of their things, quit their jobs and prayed hard. They left their home in California and drove halfway across the country for a change and were living with relatives until they found jobs and a place to live. Hmmm, sound familiar?

When this came about, I thought it would be great to bring up later when I was giving my notice as a person to contact and potentially hire to cover some of my workload. (For the record, I’m not a receptionist. As a project manager though, my work can involve a fair amount of administrative duties that could/should be passed on to someone else in the downtime between project managers.) In my head, this was an awesome solution to the inevitable problem I was about to present to my boss a week later. Suddenly, this girl is in the shop and the owners are walking out with her for an interview and ask if I want to come. What? Is this real? Am I about to help interview for someone who could help with parts of my job unbeknownst to everyone else there? At the end of the interview, the guys offered her the job. She accepted that night.

This is an answer to my prayers, only I wasn’t praying for such a possibility. I couldn’t even begin to imagine it would work out like this. By no means will she be able to pick up where I left off, but it’s a start. Even if none of my work goes her way, there’s still someone else added to the team to contribute and help out around the shop. Not only do I feel more at peace about leaving my job, but I feel more at peace about finding a job. She found one within two weeks of a move and will work with a really great group of people. God provides. He provided for her and he will provide for us. And that is the (somewhat long) story of the latest way God has shown his provisions and power to me.