Sunday, January 20, 2008

TLC: Jesus Style

So we had this really cool experience. It started when one of the families in our fellowship called and said they wanted to make our home their headquarters for a Saturday. They told me that Bryan and I needed to make arrangements for some alone time and be out of the house for six hours.

This family is a family of six -- big kids and little kids and one itty bitty kid. They'd been praying for awhile about stepping outside the threshold of their home to share their giftings. And we were the family the Lord placed on their hearts.

This was more than just a casual "free" babysitting day for Bryan and me, this was more about them and what they were offering to Jesus through service. Each of the family members used their gift in our home that day.

The wife loves to clean and decorate. That was her gift.
The husband loves to cook. Being chef was his gift.
The kids each decided on their own what their offering would be.
One loves playing. One loves reading. One loves coloring.

As the wife is describing to me what God's "Plan A" is (which is for them to do this for us in our home, now or at a later date), I am amazed. I am humbled. I am blown away, really. It made me think that I'd wished I'd thought of it myself to do for another family! But that's how the Lord works -- He always always always has the best ideas. He's always at work, all He needs are willing hands and feet. And Plan A involved our family, but yet if we weren't willing to let them "give" in this way, God would provide another Plan A -- a different family.

Thankfully, I was caught up a bit more than usual on housework, so I was willing to let this family come in and see the underbelly of my home. It's a humbling thing to let someone clean the soap scum out of your shower!

But I knew that this was one of the ways the Lord was filling my "prescription" from December's OB appointment.

Jesus is creative in His provision and this is far more personal than a regular ol' housekeeper stopping by for a couple hours to spruce up. And don't think that I didn't give the wife an earful of disclaimers about what to ignore (carpet spills) and what to forgive (probability of flies in window sills) and even what to enjoy (playing Trading Spaces while she's here) because it was a list a mile long.

How would you do with someone coming into your home and spending several hours there deep cleaning? Would you allow yourself to be vulnerable like that? One of the priorities we wives have is managing and caring for the home. What would your thoughts be? "Oh, my house has never been as clean as hers." "She'll be completely grossed out by my bathrooms and will faint from the 3 gallons of Tilex it'll take to make it sparkle." "My house isn't 'done' yet, there's so many projects and so much clutter." "She'll wonder 'What was she thinking when she hung that there?'" Aaaaaaggghhhh!

So rather than let my silly insecurities outweigh the benefits of coming home to a clean house after a relaxing day with my husband, I had to realize that having this family in this house doing what they love doing, really had less to do with me and my list of overdue household chores not being done by the time they got here and more to do with the experience Jesus was providing for THEIR family.

How could I refuse a gift like this? We've all heard that it's more of a blessing to give than to receive. There's such satisfaction in wrapping up that gift that we've searched all over the web for and know that it is absolutely something your child will enjoy over and over again. The joy is in giving that gift and watching your child open it and dance around excitedly and set to work playing with it as soon as all the packaging has been removed. Imagine the joy of the Lord as His kids share with His other kids the gifts He Himself hand-selected!

So for this family it was about the giving. It was about the giftings and talents and loves that Jesus placed within them and sharing them with someone else. In doing that, they were giving them back to the Lord. Their giving had nothing to do with writing out a check to help a charity and everything to do with obeying the prompting of the Spirit to give their time and bless others in the ways they bless each other inside the four walls of their home.

Bryan and I spent the day watching the Packers game and did a little window shopping -- I even took a 2 hour nap (which is always a treat). It was restful and quiet and just easy. It was nice to have a break from the daily routine. Even when we're all home together, there's a lot of getting up to deliver on requests made by the children. Socks need to find their mates, towels need folded, the floor needs swept a minimum of five times a day, bottoms need wiped, toys need found before one can fall asleep at naptime, tummies need filled, thirsty throats needs quenched. And for Bryan and I to just be able to sit and watch a whole game without getting off the couch was a huge treat!

When we walked through our front door at 6:30 that night... it was like watching the door swing open on Extreme Makeover Home Edition! Candles lit, fresh vacuum lines in the carpet, wall decor hung, Mommy's pretties rearranged creatively, a feast waiting on the table! Wow! And how?! The family quickly put the finishing touches on dinner and swept up their kids and made a quick departure so we could enjoy the reunion with our babes and tour our home that was cared for so tenderly that day.

My bedroom and bath are so often what I leave at the bottom of the to-do list, since it's not one of the main living areas. And we opened our bedroom door and walked into a... sanctuary, a restful retreat and a bed with my new linens (that have been waiting for their debut) and a bathroom so sparkly. It was like a Luxury Suite!

I could list everything that was done, every space that was blessed, every thoughtful task I know that was done with love. But I won't. Jesus is in the details... He shows up in unexpected but practical ways and it was like that in our home. Our kids were so blessed by all the one-on-one time with the "big kids" and keeps asking to see them again. And the dinner was perfection... we had the privilege of selecting from the "Spiritual Banquet" menu that the Chef customized just for us (so awesome). We dined on Caesar Salad, Chicken Parmesan (the best ever that my Chicken Parm connoiseur husband has EVER eaten), Steamed Broccoli, Sparkling Guava, and two mountainous pieces of Choclate Thunder Cake. All six of us (yes, that includes even the Trenkle in the Tummy) devoured every bite.

Oh, it was so fun. This was such a cool way for the Lord to show up and provide for us. Our budget doesn't yet allow for a housekeeper to come in twice weekly or for us to have a babysitter once a week or to take our family out to a Five-Star restaurant. But see how God's accounting works differently? He's more concerned about our hearts and our willingness to step out in faith than He is concerned about the balance in our pocketbooks.

And as much as we were blessed (indescribably and exponentially), I know that this family is reaping the fruits of their labor of love. All because they were willing to give of themselves and spend a day together, six people, working as one to bring glory to The One who deserves all the praise for such an awesome experience.

It was like Extreme Makeover Home Edition: Jesus Style. He cared for our home and children through the hands and feet of this family. And He cared for our hearts in which He makes His home.

May He ALWAYS be welcome across the threshold of the heart! Sometimes it just takes a little bit of vulnerability and a little bit of humility and a willingness to be... made-over.

And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
Matthew 25:40

What is your offering? What gifts has God placed within you to share with others? Is your heart a Home for the Lord?


Sheila said...

How wonderful it is, how pleasant, when brothers live together in harmony! (Psalm 133:1)

Oh for us to function more in this harmonious interdependence as it brings such glory to our Father. Lord help us to use what You've given us to build Your kids up!

God is so good!

simmie flock said...

Wow...sharing at church, sharing on your site, sharing with each gracious and grateful you guys have been!

I LOVE the way Jesus calls people to do things in His name, and the blessings from it just keep giving and grows. Six hours worth of stepping out FOR HIM turns into days, and weeks, and months...and a deeper love for Him. He really IS a miracle worker! :)

It doesn't get any better than being part of His family!

Loving and loving AND LOVING Jesus with you guys!


mommymelb said...

Hi Kellie! I love your post. It was very inspiring. I feel the urge to take this project on with my family and do it for another. Thank-you for sharing it and for being willing to let someone do it for you. I might have turned someone away!

Its been fun to find you out here in bloggerland...