[bl]E[/bl]leven years ago today, I welcomed a child into our home, into our family. It’s all the years that followed that are teaching me how to receive life. This learning how to let someone take from me, and trusting that God will fill me. At the heart of hospitality is exhaustion. Emptiness. Because receiving life means giving yours. Which is why, more than anything else, children have prepared me for a life of hospitality — a heart that welcomes, a spirit that invites, and a life that is interruptible. For these children, they enter. They take. They interrupt. And there are days it feels like they are literally consuming me. I’m still learning how to be hospitable for them, for others.
Motherhood — It’s the hardest responsibility I’ll ever have. It requires greatness. Sacrifice. Few personal boundaries. Lots of resources. And this giving of my life, in order to prepare them for theirs, is exhausting. And it leaves me empty. And I am only truly filled again by the spirit of the One who fills, blesses, encourages and satisfies. This motherhood keeps me on my knees. Keeps me looking to my Father to give me what I need to endure, to provide for me what I need to provide for others.
Receiving life – any life is the same way. Whether it’s a child, a neighbor or stranger. Whether you’re growing a garden or protecting the earth. Whether you’re speaking life and truth into a situation or relationship, or you are providing for those in need – all these life giving, life receiving acts require greatness and sacrifice. They require much of you, of me.
But here’s the beauty: When you receive life, as in welcome God’s creation to share in you, and you in them — you will literally receive life in return. New life that glorifies God and brings you hope. So I remind myself today, and I also urge you, to be open to giving, and don’t be afraid of being empty. For we have the promise that God will restore us, fill us. That our cup will overflow when we live by his Spirit.