One evening after the late-night company had departed, we climbed the stairs to make our regular bed check. All four beds were empty—even the toddler’s crib! Conducting a household body hunt, we finally located the four soundly asleep beneath the large round table in the living room, hidden by its long cloth. They had crept downstairs and, unseen by any of the guests, crawled behind the benches and curtains to this covert, each trailing a pillow along! There, lulled by laughter and muted tones, they drifted into dreams, still feeling they were a part of the comfort of our circle.
Still deeper effects have been worked in their lives by our hospitality to people in need, I have often been asked how our children have been influenced by the fact that David and I do so much counseling in our home with people in distress and that we have even invited some to live with us for a while. My answer is that the influences seem to be only positive.
It’s nothing to grab a child as he scoots through the hall and send him off for a box of tissues for someone’s tears. They are learning not to be afraid of people’s problems, but are realizing that human suffering is a part of living. They seem not to be surprised upon encountering it. In fact, I think they are better for knowing we can help one another despite the tears.
We are continually complimented (and this is one of the rich payoffs to parenting—other people’s evaluations) on the children’s maturity. I’m sure much of this is due to their being comfortable with adults. But, I think much of it must be attributed to the fact that they are becoming sensitized to others’ suffering.
Teachers often comment that one of the children has a heightened sense of justice, an awareness of what is right, which is coupled with a compassion displayed in the classroom or on the playground. Our children are richer for living in an open home. Hopefully, it will prepare them to face their own griefs in the days ahead and to share in the pains of the world around them.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen Mains serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
Karen has long had an interest in Christian hospitality and is the author of the best-selling book, Open Heart, Open Home.
An award-winning author of several other books, Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. The are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and churches at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.