Delighting in God’s Welcome

by Jeannie Waters

Required: a foot stool, a pillow, one glass of ice-cold lemonade, a plate of homemade oatmeal cookies, and a hug 


My precious mother believed these items were required to help guests feel like family in her country home. Refusing a foot stool was futile as she thought, “You must be tired.” And the pillow? “Why, you’d be much more comfortable with a pillow at your back,” she would insist.


Crossing her threshold comforted the hearts of all who entered. Visitors experienced a sense of coming home, of stepping out of a hurry-scurry world where fighting for acceptance was commonplace. At Sadie’s, they felt instant love and appreciation.


When guests arrived, my mom’s brown eyes sparkled like lightning bugs on a summer evening. The sound of her cheery, love-filled voice coupled with a hug and kiss on the cheek enveloped visitors with a sense of welcome. This sweet Southern lady served healthy helpings of hospitality and acceptance in her home, her church, and in the small town’s shops. God’s love for her overflowed to those she met.          


Mom’s glassed-in porch was a haven to family and friends. Sitting on the upholstered glider revealed a gently sloping yard populated with pines and oak trees. Beyond the trees, the sun glistened on the water of her one-acre pond surrounded by cattails and tall grasses. The scene in a word? Comfort.


As guests munched on cookies, the perfect hostess would point out blooming flowers, “Mrs. Wren’s” nest, and an occasional deer. She’d inquire about the interests of guests and cheer on their endeavors. The lemonade and conversation flowed. The experience in a word? Welcome.


Although God is holy, He welcomes sinners into a relationship with Him when they repent and invite Jesus into their hearts. Man could never achieve the holiness of God on his own. Therefore, because God loved us, He sent His Son to pay for our sin and to offer an eternal relationship with Him (John 3:16). But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God” (John 1:12 RSV). Jesus is the door through which the Father accepts and welcomes us into His family. Jesus tells us, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NIV).


Each time I entered my mom’s home, I felt welcomed, not as a stranger, but as a beloved child. I didn’t worry about my appearance, how I’d behaved, or what I would say. I simply enjoyed being with her. God welcomes us into His presence as His children and awaits our praise and thanksgiving. He listens patiently as we pour out our hearts, seeking wisdom in childlike faith. “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God” (1 John 3:1 RSV). For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!'” (Romans 8:15 NASB). As a joyful child, we can figuratively “run into God’s throne room” in prayer, addressing Him as “Abba,” a term of endearment in an intimate relationship. We can speak freely to the Father who loves, accepts, and welcomes us into His presence unconditionally. This facet of our God delights me!


When Jesus welcomed my mom into her heavenly home, countless people shared stories of her loving heart. From the well spring of love Jesus placed in her heart, she touched the lives of others. Upon leaving her home, family and friends took precious packages with them. Their hands may have been empty, but comfort and acceptance were tucked into their hearts along with the assurance that they had been welcomed into Sadie’s heart as family. What causes you to experience and enjoy fellowship with God?


My mom’s legacy encourages me to delight in the way God welcomes me into His presence and to offer His love and acceptance to those I meet. Is there someone you could welcome in Jesus’s name this week either in your home or in another location? A smile can penetrate a shell of rejection surrounding a hurting soul. An invitation to join a group or participate in a church function can serve as a welcome mat to a person wondering if God cares. A kind word or deed can demonstrate the love of Jesus.


When do you feel welcomed by God? How can we extend His acceptance to other people? Please share a comment.


“Welcome one another,
therefore, as Christ has welcomed you,
for the glory of God.”
Romans 15:7 RSV

 

© Copyright 2017 by Jeannie Waters

 

Jeannie enjoys meeting people and finding ways to encourage them. She is a wife, mom, and grandmother who adores family gatherings, nature walks, and the Georgia Bulldogs. A retired teacher, she currently teaches English as a Second Language part-time at a local college.

Jeannie is a regular contributor to Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and has contributed to the following compilations: The Wonders of Nature (Worthy Inspired), Breaking the Chains (Lighthouse Bible Studies), and Just Breathe (Ellie Claire).

 

 

This post is a part of our Delighting in God’s Goodness series. Check out our other posts:

1.                  Delighting in God’s Goodness: A New Series

2.                  Delighting in God’s Constant Presence

3.                  Delighting in God’s Unsurpassable Gift by Del Bates

4.                  Delighting in God’s Training by Lauren Craft

5.                  Delighting in God’s “Eye”

6.                  When Your Birthday Wish Comes True

7.                  Is God Still Good When Life Hurts? by Denise Roberts

8.                  The Almighty: A Poem Based on Psalm 18

9.                  Unexpected Ribbons by Adria Wilkins

10.              Overcoming the Impossible: God’s Strategies for Victory

11.              Just Because by Becky Hitchcock

 

 

Subscribers, comment here.

God’s family, love, the character of God, Delighting in God’s Welcome, Delighting in God’s Goodness series, Jeannie Waters, Katy Kauffman, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Comments (18)

  • anon

    Jeannie
    Thank you for an encouraging story.  I enjoyed reading it on this summer afternoon.  It reminds me of friends and family in Kentucky during some of my visits.
    You have some great memories of your mom and she touched many people's hearts and lives.

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Adria,
    I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and that you have sweet memories, too.
     

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Right off the bat--- I love your mother.
    I was blessed by the way you described our ability to figuratively joyfully run into the throne room calling our Heavenly Father, "Abba."  What a beautiful word picture.
    I enjoyed your entire post. Thanks, Jeannie.
    BTW - Our son and family are big Bulldog fans too. He and his wife met in pharmacy school there. Funny that they grew up about an hour away from each other here in southwestern Virginia.

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Connie,
    I'm happy to know we have the GA Bulldog connection, and it's great to know your son met his wife while in "Bulldog Country." The throne room analogy helps me because at times in the past, I felt unworthy to approach God when burdened by sin. He taught me that I can boldly approach His throne because in addition to being Almighty God, He is Abba Father. I'm glad the word picture blessed you, too.

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Jeannine, your mother reminds me of my own mother. My friends often referred to her as "Mrs. Claus." Her welcoming spirit represented Christ holding a plate of cookies. I love this image of our Savior. 
    Thanks for taking me down memory lane!
    Beautiful post. I bet our mothers would have been pals.

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Jeannie,
    What a beautiful devotional highlighted Sadie's life.  I can honestly say this is how I always felt when I entered her home.  Peace, acceptance, love, and joy always abided whereever Sadie happened to be.  She left a beautiful legacy to all of us.  Entering her home was just like feeling the arms of Jesus wrap around me and hearing His whisper of I am here.  Thanks so much for sharing this and reminding us of how we are so loved and welcomed at all times into His presence.  

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Karen,
    Thank you for putting icing on the cake of my mom's legacy by remembering her with love. 
     

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Beckie, yes, I agree that our mothers would have been pals. I love your statement that reads, "Her welcoming spirit represented Christ holding a plate of cookies." The fact that He always welcomes us is a blessing!
     

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Thanks for sharing your gift of writing with us. You have a special way of touching the reader's heart.

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Kimberly,
    I'm thankful you were touched by the post. I'm thankful for the welcome of Christ.

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you for your post, Jeannie.
    Welcome is a great word to ponder. The word thrills me. It brings comforting images like the ones you have described. It communicates value and affection. It says we belong.
    What a blessing that your Momma not only taught you about hospitality, but showed you how to offer it in such a way that you can write so beautifully about it.  Please continue! 
     
     

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Becky,
    I considered the aspects of God that mean the most to me. He is always welcoming, isn't He? Thank you for your comments.
     

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Jeannie, I wish I could have gotten one of your mom's hugs. She sounds like such a wonderful lady. I bet you take after her!

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    She does, Josie! I told her that. My great-grandmother Barbara also had a porch where family could come and fellowship and sleep in on summer nights. My mom told me about falling asleep to the chirping of crickets and awakening to whippoorwills. I think Barbara and Jeannie's mom would have been kindred spirits. 
     

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Katy,
    Thank you for your kind words. What a beautiful memory your mom has of sleeping on her grandmother's porch! I agree Barbara and Sadie would have been fast friends. I'm thankful for memories of welcome that remind us of God's love for us.

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Josie,
    I wish you could have known her and that she could have met you. God gave her the gifts of welcome and love for sure. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Jeannie, what a legacy. I can't tell you how important it was to me to have people around who had this gift of welcome. I really believe it's a supernatural gift. When you are hugged by one of these blessings-with-skin-on, the love of God pours in, enabling you to believe it's real. I'll bet you inherited some of this from her.

    Aug 03, 2017
  • anon

    Terry,
    You described the blessing of welcome so well! To have the gifts of welcome and acceptance from God and His people is a true blessing. Thank you for your observations.

    Aug 03, 2017

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A Blog by Katy Kauffman

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