"Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."--Hebrews 13:2 In adding another room to our home, we also are adding a luxury that we have always wanted but did not have the space to have: a guest room. The last time we had a guest room was when we were living in Portland. From the beginning of our marriage, I have always wanted to have a room dedicated to housing guests, but since 1996, we have not had an extra room for that purpose. However, the Lord has been gracious (and so have our guests!) and we have shared our room, or they have been willing to sleep on the fold-out sleeper in our couch or on the floor. I didn't like this arrangement but it worked.
I think that this is one of the most important things I have learned about hospitality: it is not about the size of your home, but the size of your heart that matters. Not that I am the best hostess in the world or the epitomy of graciousness, but I can easily get sucked into the belief that I need to have a full suite for my guests before I can welcome them in.
The Lord has showed me this is not so. There is always room to shelter someone, even if it is a sleeping bag on the floor. We have had our parents and siblings and their families here. We have had old college friends come to visit when they are in town. We have had college students hold their summer planning retreats here. It did get cozy and we were running into each other, but there was always room. I hope and pray that my children will catch this from us, just as I have caught it from my parents.
But now, after many years of waiting, the Lord has granted us an extra room. Our goal is to find a comfortable futon (is there such a thing?) for the room, clear out the closet in the room and to create a desk to work on. The more I am thinking of it however, we may need to do some serious downsizing...of my stuff. I can't imagine all of it fitting in that little room.
The priority items in that room are going to be the futon and desk. If I can find an alternative for the books and games, that can possibly eliminate the big bookcases, which can take up the whole room! If we had the wall space, this framed game board might be an option...and a piece of wall art as well!
I have also read about storing games as you would books on a shelf. This makes it a lot easier to pull out one game instead of taking out every box to get to one. We put our card games in a plastic shoebox, which keeps them from getting lost. But those bigger boxes are what is tripping me up. With kids in a variety of age ranges, I cannot quite get rid of CandyLand yet! Besides, I am trying to keep some of the kid classics so that if we should have little guests, we can still pull out a game to play with them. My other task is going to be to figure out what to do with all my craft stuff. I think the first big thing to do is just to get rid of a lot of it. Sigh. But now that I have written it down, I hope it will be easier to do. I am notorious for dabbling in all kinds of crafts, but the only one that has stuck is paper crafting and scrapbooking, and even that may be done digitally now.
Still, I like to play with paper and the feel of cutting and gluing is very therapeutic. Ideally, I'd like to turn my stash into something that I can either sell, give away or gift. Finding time to do that may be the next challenge. I need to get rid of the unused things, the outdated patterns, and the things I no longer have an interest in. Instead of trying to find storage solutions for things I will never use, I need to find storage only for the things I want to keep and get rid of the rest.
Bottom line: I am realizing I will need to streamline more, really know what I want above all else. That is the hard part. But when I keep in mind that the simpler the room, the more relaxing and enjoyable it will be, not just for me for but our guests as well. That's worth a little hardship!
Heavenly Father, thank You for blessing us with an extra room. May it be a place of rest and refreshment for weary travelers, or even a place for creativity and rest for a weary mom. You are a God who delights in giving us good gifts. Use me to create that space in our home for those who need Your rest in the journey of life. In Jesus' name, Amen.