Family Organic Outreach (ch. 10): The Spirit & Atmosphere of Your Home

This week is chapter 10 with "Lighthouse Homes".  FirstCover's Mark and Krista Majerus reflect and break down each of their barriers when it comes to inviting neighbors into their home, along with what it truly takes to overcome these obstacles, in this summer’s Book & Blog series in “Organic Outreach for Families: Turning Your Home into a Lighthouse.” Each week we read a chapter and hear from various FirstCov’ers. Join us and leave a comment or question below!

There's No Place Like Home

When we were searching to buy our house five years ago, what were we looking for?

Yes, we wanted a certain number of bedrooms, yard space for our kids, and an updated kitchen. Underlying those checklist items lived a desire to have a home that would be welcoming to those outside of our family.

But What Does a Welcoming Home Really Require?

There’s no denying that home improvement shows like HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” are entertaining and even inspiring. Their popularity seems to grow with each new show and through the years we’ve enjoyed watching them too.

And while these shows are not inherently bad, it is easy to fall into the thinking that one’s home needs to be perfectly maintained and updated in order to welcome others in.

As young parents, we often found the thought of welcoming others into our home a rather daunting task. Surely it would require lots of cleaning, organizing and certainly preparing homemade food to serve. But as we thought about that idea more, we’d like to suggest that people don’t long for our homes to be places of perfection, what they really long for is to feel welcomed and loved.

There are times when we feel anxious about others’ perception of us and our home and we are tempted to only let people in if we can show perfection both externally and internally.

The irony is that many people will relate to us better if we allow them to know that we are imperfect.

They will get to know our God when they hear and realize that He is not only the answer to our brokenness but to theirs too.

Gaining God's Strength When we Get to the End of Ourselves

In chapter 10, Kevin tells a story about a neighbor asking Sherry for some parenting advice. Rather than giving her neighbor “The Top 5 Parenting Secrets” Sherry revealed that every parent comes to the end of their abilities and that she turns to God for help and wisdom in how to respond.

As we read that story, we were struck by Sherry’s understanding of her own need for Jesus. This models that when it comes to loving broken people (and inviting them into our homes) we, too, are broken people.

This caused us to ask:

  • Will we allow others to know our brokenness so they can know our Savior?
  • Will we allow ourselves to get to know others enough to know their brokenness?

And,

  • What makes this so difficult?

What follows are several challenges for us:

  1. Wanting to Look Good: It is way harder to hold up the “We’re an awesome family” mask  if people get in the house and see messes, children whining, undusted furniture and who knows what else.
  2. Our Love of Comfort: At times, we’ve been unwilling to let others in with their brokenness because we weren’t sure how to manage that along with the craziness of young kids (and the parents that go with them). Questions like: “What will happen if the kids throw fits?” or “There’s no way we could have a quality conversation?” causes us to remove the possibility of welcoming others.
  3. Straight-up Laziness: For several years we intended to do a Christmas open house at our home for our neighbors but we just didn’t do it. To be fair, it was part laziness and part a lack of prioritization. Anyway, after a few years of not doing it, we finally did it and it was a good time, where people met each other and the neighborhood felt a little smaller in the end. All of that, only to be followed up by us not following through on our intentions to do it the next year.
  4. The Overdone Schedule: Too often we’ve struggled with saying too many yeses. Work opportunities, extended family commitments, kids activities, even (dare I say) church and ministry all provide ample opportunity for us to extend ourselves beyond what we can bear. What’s crazy is that with a little reflection many of these yeses we realize come from a prideful heart (“This will make others think better of me.” Or “That ministry needs me.”) All of this results in a lack of time and energy for us to invite others into our home.

We don’t have to berate ourselves over these weaknesses, but we also don’t have to accept them. Some represent bad habits, others sin, but either way we can go once again to the Savior, who has set us free.

We can walk with Him as He continues his work in our lives. Jesus is our hope and He is what we ultimately have to offer.

What about you?

 

Enjoy chapter 10 this week! (Catch other posts in this series here.)

We all need ideas. We would love to hear how you bring the gospel to your home, specific stories, or even where it fell flat. We are in it together!

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