Encouragement, Foster Parenting, Make a Difference MondaysApr. 10, 2017

Make a Difference Monday | What My Foster Son Taught Me About Hospitality

When He first came to us, the house was a mess and dinner wasn’t ready. We didn’t have much time to roll out the welcome mat, and only Anna and I were here to greet him. But of all the guests I’ve had in my house, this little one has taught me the most about offering our home to others.

He’s taught me that the mess doesn’t matter. He could care less if the toys are put away and the fact that I haven’t deep cleaned the fridge in months doesn’t bother him in the least. He is at home here because we want him here, not because the house is tidy and well kept. Laughing and playing and loving happen despite the disorder around us. And when the focus is on the people in the house, rather than the looks of the house, magical things happen.

He’s taught me that fancy isn’t needed. Seasonal decor and perfectly kept furnishings are not necessary for him to be blessed by his time here. In fact, his crib is borrowed and the toys he enjoys have been well loved on before. The table where he dines has scratches and nicks, but the company he keeps while he eats loves the stew out of him. Plain things don’t hinder the show of affection. We offer what we have, mainly ourselves, and that is enough for him. 

He’s taught me that letting go of the ideal is important. Ideally, he would have his own room. Ideally we would have extra space to store the wall-to-wall baby gear. Ideally we would have had everything in order before he came to us. But if we had allowed what was “ideal” to rule the day when we were deciding about inviting him in, we probably wouldn’t have taken him. But we would have missed out on the supreme blessing of loving and being loved by him.

He’s taught me that showing true hospitality is worth the effort. Having him here definitely requires more work. Everyone in our family has had to pitch in and give of themselves to make this thing happen. There is more to clean, more to cook, more work to do! But in that work a marvelous process is taking place; a little boy is finding his place in a family. And that family is discovering that life isn’t solely about taking care of their own.

He’s taught me that when God asks us to share, He gives us everything we need to do it. When we first learned that he would be joining us we had 36 hours to prepare, and exactly one thing ready for him; a crib. Within 6 hours, God delivered mounds of baby gear and clothes. And in the last 6 months, He’s kept up a steady stream of deliveries. Through faithful friends and perfect strangers, God has provided what is needed to care for this little one. He’s the best dressed and most fully equipped little darling in the area!

One little fellow has taught my family loads about inviting others into our home. We’ve learned that it’s not so much about how the house looks or what’s on the menu. Because of him, we now understand that offering ourselves and sharing what we have is the essence of true hospitality.

Beth Lawrence

Beth is Mama Bird to the four chicks in her nest–two bio children, one adoptive daughter, and one foster son–and Wife Supreme to one good-looking pastor. She’s quick to say that nothing in life has ever refined or challenged her more than fostering, and is passionate about sharing what she is learning with others. She loves writing at www.justbethlawrence.com.

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