This one year, I wanted to do something different. I formulated a rough draft of The Home Making Project where I wanted to live intentionally and simply for my family. Homecooked meals eaten together around the table. Consistently clean (cleanish) house. Homeschooling with more heart. More involved relationships with each other and others. I read great books that I have listed in other posts about simple living and gracious entertaining. I prayed for the ability to host others at my home and for chances to minister to other people. In my mind, that meant hosting other homeschooling moms and children once a month or so. Never once did my imaginings involve daily encounters one little girl I’ll call Lily.
Lily lives behind us in a house with no yard–just a deck. From that deck, she calls my kids out to play. Every day. Sweet and naive, she mainly plays with Lemon who is 3 years her junior. The two are inseparable. One night’s invitation to dinner has evolved to always setting the table for six. (Lemon now tells me almost daily, “She checked with her Mom. It’s okay for her to eat lunch and dinner with us.”) One night’s invitation to stay after dinner has evolved into her leaving our home begrudgingly every night at 10pm. At first, I was annoyed. Always having a guest for every single dinner was hard for me. Some nights, I didn’t have quite enough dinner supplies to go around. But, there was always either enough or something else I could add to stretch the meal.
I remembered Elijah and the story of the widow and the cruse of oil in I Kings 17. Elijah asked a widow for some water and a piece of bread:
“As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain on the land.’”
It must have taken incredible faith to bake that cake for Elijah knowing it was her last meal. But, she did it. I would love to say that I have faith like that, but I don’t. I would love to say that I always set that sixth plate out with love in my heart, but I don’t. But, things are changing. I look forward to hearing that little voice calling my kids and seeing her happy little face. Sometimes God’s plans don’t look like the ones that I create in my mind. Yet I see His hand in the way things work out. The ideas about learning to get over my shyness and perfectionism to invite others into my home may be for the benefit of just one little girl.
Matthew 10:42 “And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.”
Matthew 25:34-40 “Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 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.’
Oh Lord, help me to have faith to give like the jars and jugs will never be empty!