I woke up on Saturday morning, liberated that it was not a work or school day, but chained to the fact that I HAD to clean the house. My mom would have told me, "Courtney. The health inspector is going to condemn you." She would have been exaggerating, but not by much.
After I spent the whole day cleaning and grocery shopping, I was sprinting the finish line to have the house ready by the time guests arrived for the Saturday afternoon get-together.
I always love entertaining people. I really love it and I'd do it every weekend but as JD always reminds me, there's a full day and a half of preparation, especially when you're me. I assured him that we were having only hotdogs and Stouffer's macaroni and cheese but before I knew it, I had 3 different appetizers, two different kinds of hotdogs, macaroni and cheese and three different desserts. Even though I didn't cook most of it, it all took very specific dishes to be presented properly.
My heart filled with joy as everyone arrived and all the kids flooded through the house. It was full of noise, joy and blankets as we split from going inside to by the fire outside. Just the kind of night I love. Everyone talking, enjoying, eating and watching football.
This was exactly what I love and yearned for. Providing a warm, fun place for people to truly connect to one another and it was already blessing me to be able to offer our
home as that place.
Finally, after most of the folks had fixed their plates, I stepped up to grab a chili dog and sat down at the deserted dinner table. It was so nice to sit down and watch everyone squishing into the living room. After all, I needed to monitor the kitchen and the table was the perfect place to do it from, even if it meant sitting by myself for a few.
Two bites into my hotdog, I saw a little one making her way to me. Her plate was full of cut-up hotdog, ketchup and mac 'n cheese. She also was trying to balance a plastic fork, a drink and a napkin. It was taking all of her concentration not to spill her plate of food on the floor. She scooted behind me and pulled herself up into the chair next to me and started eating, not saying a word. Finally I turned around, curious, and said, "Hey munchkin. Whatchya doing over here?"
"You were sitting by yourself and you can't be lonely. So here's what I did today."
Off she went into telling me about her trips to Target, her little sister and all of her friends at school. As I sat there, listening intently between her mouthfuls of hotdog, I realized the depth of what she had done. She left the crowded living room with three other children her age to come sit with me, perceiving that I was lonely. She, at the ripe age of 5, didn't think twice to care for me.
Thank God for the church.
Thank God for great parents.
Thank God that we can gather together and let children teach us some of the most important lessons.
Thank God that children love us so well.
And thank God I cleaned the house today.
So do what it takes. Clean the house, buy the groceries and take the chance. Invite folks over to your home and be blessed. If you're like us, your house may not be big enough so that half of the people need to sit on the floor and the best you can afford is hotdogs, but I promise that it is worth it. God calls us to live together and that's why. So that others show us love as we sacrificially show them love.
On October 26th, we sang:
"10,000 Reasons" by Matt Redman
"Desert Song" by Hillsong
"Not for a Moment" by Meredith Andrews
and "Your Presence is Heaven to Me" by Darlene Zschech
On November 2nd, we sang:
"Holy Spirit" by Bryan and Katie Torwalt
"Savior's Here" by Kari Jobe
"At the Cross (Love Ran Red)" by Chris Tomlin
"Great I Am" by New Life Worship
and "Build Your Kingdom Here" by Rend Collective Experiement
On November 9th, we sang:
"This is Amazing Grace" by Phil Wickham
"Holy (Wedding Day)" by The City Harmonic
"How Great Thou Art"
and "My Sweet Lord" by Crowder feat. Emmylou Harris