Welcomed

 

“Well hello, Asa. Nice to meet you. Welcome to my home.”

Her voice radiated joy from the front porch where she welcomed her guests. It spilled over onto the street where I was walking. Joy does that. When a heart is filled to overflow, it spills over into the lives of those close enough to catch it, even the unintended. I wasn’t on her guest list that afternoon; still and yet, I felt her warm embrace as she hugged young Asa, wrapping him up in loving arms and holding him close to her bosom. I smiled, looked in her direction, and caught her eye. For a moment, I thought I might make the guest list; she seemed the type of person to take a risk on loving a total stranger. Instead, we exchanged waves, and I felt richly blessed for having been privy to this front-porch welcome.

It’s good to be welcomed, to be celebrated on the front porch of a heart and invited in for a look around. It’s a gift we give to one another, a grace we live with one another. Life is sweetest when life is shared. Those who give it best—those who throw doors and hearts wide-open to welcome new guests—are those who’ve known it the most, a long history of being welcomed by others.

I’ve spent a lifetime on the move. Really. Spaces and places too numerous to count. Settings and groups and small collections of strangers and friends that, on paper, don’t mesh with any regularity. I’ve stood on a lot of front porches, knocked on a lot of front doors, and had (for the most part) the rich privilege of stepping into a lot of different living rooms . . . a great many hearts. Certainly, I’ve had the door slammed in my face on a few occasions. Front porches aren’t always welcoming places. But regardless of the doors that remain shut to me, I’ll keep knocking, keep hoping for an invitation. Why?

Because when it happens—when another soul swings wide-open and allows me a chair around the table—I feel the welcome of heaven. I hear the whispers of home. I touch the heart of my Father. His welcome gets personal when he welcomes through his children.

A front porch welcome. This is love concrete. This is love tangible. This is love actual.

It’s a way we can love today, a way to bring a little heaven down to earth, bridging the gap between what is not yet seen and what is seen every day. People, strangers and friends, waiting … longing for the welcome of heaven. Why would we neglect to give it to them? Why would we keep such treasure to ourselves? Why not, instead, fling the doors wide-open, step across the threshold of our hearts, and shout to those walking by,

“Hello! Nice to meet you. Welcome to my home.”

Oh to live like this! To give like this! To love like this!

To welcome and to be welcomed. This is our kingdom work. This is our kingdom to come.

Keep to it, sojourners in grace. My door is open, and my love for you is certain. Welcome to my home. Won’t you come in and sit with me a while? As always . . .

Peace for the journey,

 

22 Responses to Welcomed

  1. Oh my Elaine, I cried reading this. Struck me in deep places and I loved it! Thank you for sharing.

    I can see another 3 posts or more written from a portion of a sentence, “It’s a way we can love today…”

    My heart and home is wide open to you friend and to anyone else who desires to enter and to be loved on. It’s what you’ll get over here. 🙂

    Love you and your heart.

  2. LOVED this. I can’t wait to welcome you into our home. How much longer do I need to wait? How much longer until I step on your front porch?

    What a SWEET day that will be!

    • Sweet, indeed, and sweet tea to go with! I still remember your reaction to our first SS conference where we dined on sweet tea, even though we didn’t do so together. Next time.

      Love you.

  3. Ahhhhhhhhh! My door is open, too! Did you ever read Karen Main’s book (an old one) “Open Heart, Open Home”? It was one that influenced me early and lastingly…

    I, too, have stood a stranger on many front porches and been the recipient of many, many welcomes. As a result, I hope I have cultivated a welcoming heart myself ♥

    • Your life is a gracious doorway into the heart of the Father, Rebecca. His hospitality lives lastingly in you! Thank you for always welcoming me in. And no, I haven’t read this book. I’ll check into it.

  4. Oh how I loved this post! It’s just soo true of course. How our hearts all long for that love and acceptance and welcome don’t they? Mine does for sure. So if I can extend that encouragement or love to others as well then my door is flung wide open too. Harder for me to remember to do to those I don’t know, or to those who seem so unlovable. But those are the ones who need it most sometimes huh? Your heart is always overflowing Elaine, and it’s wonderful to witness.

  5. Beautiful, Elaine. And thank you for welcoming me into your heart. That’s all I want to say right now. Still relishing the words I have just read. I don’t want to spoil the moment by saying too much.

    Love
    Lidia

  6. As I am ministering to college age young adults these days, I always tell them that the first time they are in my home, they are a guest. After that, they are family. I want my heart and my home to be welcoming places for those on the road of life. Lovely post, dear friend. I could almost feel the fire in the fireplace and smell the coffeecake welcoming me in.

  7. Oh Elaine, I really loved this. It’s been too long since I stood on your front porch….that woman on that porch reminded me of my Mom, and she would have waved too and maybe even invited you in for coffee 🙂

  8. Precious post. And yes, Elaine, I have always enjoyed *coming in your front door* and sitting a spell with you. Know that my door is always open to you, too.

    Isn’t it interesting (and sad, too) that in this increasingly fast-paced world we have somehow lost the art of hospitality? May we find ways to welcome people into our homes, and into our hearts.

    GOD BLESS!

  9. Beautiful words sweet pea. I would describe you as one with a hefty dose of “welcome” for anyone in your path. I love that about you.

  10. Oh the power of acceptance. Don’t you just want to be real with people that make warmth & transparency their hallmark? I always feel that way at your door; and pray you feel likewise at mine.

    • And don’t you always know when it’s genuine? That’s the way I felt that day when I heard this woman’s joy. So real; it made my heart smile. Of course, I’ve felt you certain welcome all these many years, Sassy. You were one of the first to open your door to me.

  11. You are welcome, night or day, on my doorstep! And I always sense the same warm welcome when I come here Elaine. Cozy… 🙂

  12. Elaine, I love your heart….truly I do! I so wish that we lived closer together. And someday we will. Our addresses will both be on the same golden street where the river as pure as crystal flows! I long for that time more and more the older I get!

  13. Thanks so much for the welcome you always offer here, Elaine. Wouldn’t it be fun if one day we could welcome one another in person? If not here, we’ll always have heaven, right? Love you.

  14. wifeforthejourney:

    It has been too long since I’ve crossed the thresh-hold of your blog to leave a comment. Though not a day has gone by (in a long time) without my seeing your face during the day, I know that in many ways peaceforthejourney.com is your “front porch.” I’m glad for the chance to review the comments of others that have stopped by for a visit, and love the familiarity of being among their number.

    Everyone longs for a place that they belong, and you have never been shy about reaching out to others even as you invite family, friends and strangers to make themselves at home with you. Hospitality is as much a ministry as preaching or teaching and you are a fine example of what “all of the above” can look like if we have willing hearts. Thanks for reminding us all of the invitation the Lord makes, not just to visit, but to come and stay.

    I love you,

    ~ Billy

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