Cara’s journey is a beautiful example of how God redeems even our darkest times. After battling illness, Cara took what she learned about how food played a key role in her health and turned it into an opportunity to share with others. Cara writes at The Nourished Body and Soul about paleo cooking, her faith, and hospitality. I’m so excited to share with you today Cara’s words on hositality in unexpected places. As a military wife, her story touches a special place in my heart and reminds me to keep my eyes wide open to what God has for me.
Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:9-10
My heart hurt for her when she told me what she was going through.
My daughter and I had been given the gift of a day at the spa and as we sat in the common area waiting for our treatment, I started talking with a beautiful, older woman. The sun that floated in through the large window in the lounge room seemed to glisten off the soft gray highlights of her hair. When she opened her mouth, I was immediately drawn in by her rich South African accent and I was overwhelmed with sympathy for her as her blue eyes began to glisten as the tears welled up.
She told me that her sister had sent her to the spa to give her a day off from taking care of her husband who was very sick with cancer. My heart definitely felt for her and I said some nice things to encourage her, but I knew the Spirit was urging me to pray for her. For some reason, I kept putting it off and then someone came into the room and called my name.
I hoped I would see her later in the day, but I never did. It was too late; I had waited so long into our conversation that I missed my opportunity to do what I knew the Father wanted me to do. I prayed for her all day long, but I missed the chance to pray with her. I went to bed that night with more of a heartache than I’d had all day long because I realized I missed the chance my Father had given me to be hospitable.
So often we think of hospitality as an action, such as inviting someone over for coffee or taking a meal to a family in crisis. But hospitality isn’t just an event on our calendar; it’s a lifestyle of constantly seeking to act like Jesus to the world around us. And if I am truly seeking to live like Christ, my life and everything I do should reflect hospitality.
Let us not love only in word or tongue, but in deed & truth. 1 John 3:18
My love towards others can’t be an abstract theory. It has to be demonstrated through my way of life, which should be lived in loving actions.
Therefore, be imitators of God, dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us & given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma. Ephesian 5:1-2
I couldn’t shake the feeling of missing this opportunity for several days. So I asked God to forgive me for getting caught up in my own head of waiting for the right time or wondering if it would seem awkward to pray for this stranger and missing the chance to be His hands and feet to a hurting stranger.My love towards others can’t be an abstract theory. It has to be demonstrated through my way of life, which should be lived in loving actions. Click To Tweet
Just two weeks later, I was on a flight back home from a conference. I saw a girl walking down the aisle of the plane who was crying and from the look of the red splotches all over her face, she had been for a while. I was a little bit taken back when she got to my row and motioned that the seat next to me belonged to her. It was, after all, late and I was tired from the previous three days of meetings. She was wearing a blue t-shirt and denim shorts, so I didn’t realize until she took off her backpack & took her seat, that she had a military issued bag.
It all made sense.
She was leaving the people she loved. I leaned over and quietly said, “I’m here for the next 3 hours if you need me.”
She nodded but spoke no words, as I’m sure the lump in her throat wouldn’t let them come out. She quickly put some earphones in and drifted to a different right next to me.
The next 3 hours we sat side by side. She never said anything, but occasionally she would softly cry a little more. My mind wouldn’t stop for the whole plane ride back home and I began to pray that the Lord would let me minister to this young girl in some way.
As we began our descent to land, I knew I would have to seize my moment, or it would never happen. So I tapped her on the shoulder and she took out her earphones. I asked her name and where she was going. Her response, “I’ve got a connection in Dallas tomorrow and then I’ll go over the pond.” It was her way of letting me know she was being deployed. She told me it was her 5th time to go overseas and that it never got easier to leave her people.
Then I asked her if I could pray for her.
She responded so quickly, “yes please” that the words sounded like I had thrown a lifeline to her soul. I took her hands and prayed for her and then she hugged me as though we had known each other for years. It was all I could do to slightly ease her pain, but I knew if I could give her Jesus for a moment, His peace could offer a reprieve from her current sadness.It’s not just a tangible, physical act that shows hospitality. Holding a door, a kind word and a hug are hospitality too. Click To Tweet
We got off the plane & went separate ways, but two things happened that night. I knew God, in all of His graciousness, had redeemed my previous disobedience. Just like he did for Peter after he denied Christ 3 times, Jesus had shown me that He still loved me and the guilt I heaped on myself for messing up, wasn’t from Him.
Second, He taught me that it’s not just a tangible, physical act that shows hospitality. Holding a door, a kind word and a hug are hospitality too. Praying is a hospitable action, even though often the result of it may not be immediately seen the way a meal or a coffee invite might be. It’s still a way of bringing Him into a situation that shows the world that Jesus is the Way, the Truth & the Life.
The care of the people around us and our own ability to walk in our God-given freedom depends on our faith to act where and how he leads us, not our ability to schedule an event on our calendar.
The “little” acts of hospitality that He calls us to do for His kingdom build a greater faith that will carry us to victory in everything He calls us to do.
Remembering to follow the lead of the Holy Spirit is the beginning of being hospitable.
We don’t have to have things fully planned and figured out. He will tell us how to move and He won’t let us look like failures in the process.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
Where is God inviting you to be hospitable today?
The way we show the world the love of Jesus is by releasing His power through our daily life. So hold a door, pray for someone or make a meal. Any way the Spirit leads is the way you should go.
Be sure to check out more from Cara at The Nourished Body and Soul.
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