Welcome Home: this ain’t the luxury inn

Infrequently, I like to take a bubble bath. I say infrequently because I really only enjoy baths if it’s quiet, which rarely ever happens around here. But, tonight was a night I was laying in my mock claw foot bathtub, and as I frequently do, I let my mind wander. It wandered to a luxury resort on a white sandy beach deserted by everything, but me, a book, and a tropical drink of some sort. Then my mind wanderings eventually ventured into the dream house. You know the one where the master suite is a shabby chic vintage meets slightly modern so it barely escapes being called your grandma’s bedroom. The warm Italian meets European style kitchen that beckons for all cooking to behold some sort of culinary masterpiece. The whole things envelops your senses with the smell of…the smell of…oh my gosh what is the smell? And my daydreams have a rude awakening.

A few moments and a quick look in the bathroom, and I realize that my 4 year old burdened with his incredibly difficult chore of taking things to the garbage has brought a poopy diaper graciously in the bathroom garbage. Surely, thoughts of dream houses and luxury suites cannot compete with dirty diapers. Upon the exit, removal of the garbage, and re-entrance to the bathtub, a few babies (seems weird I can say that) begin to cry and it becomes painstakingly obvious that baths for moms are not happening.

I love that daydream, I really do. But, daydreams are for the dreaming, and they aren’t reality. My reality is that while I love my house, it’s hard occasionally to ignore the facts. Facts: there’s a stain on our stair-landing where the dirty dog slept for 2 years that refuses to come clean, my curtains in the dining room have a foot long shred going down (from the same dog that we no longer have jumping up to see who was in the driveway), there’s some plaster throughout the house that needs patching, the lawn needs mowing, the shed is falling down, the place where the carpet meets tile in the bathroom is shredding, and most days my bedroom seems to have a sign on it that reads, “if you don’t know where to put it, it goes here”

My house is far from a magazine and even further from a luxury suite on a sandy beach. My house is just a house filled with loveable, used and worn thrift store finds and a few craigslist pieces of furniture. But, it’s a different sort of house. Our house has a mission, it really does.

Jesus, after being dismissed in his home town, gave instructions to his disciples.

He said, “Don’t think you need a lot of extra equipment for this. You are the equipment. No special appeals for funds. Keep it simple. And no luxury inns. Get a modest place and be content there until you leave. If you’re not welcomed, not listened to, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way.”

Then they were on the road. They preached with joyful urgency that life can be radically different. (Mark 6:6-12a, The Message).

My husband, Cole and I decided two years ago when moving into our house, that it wouldn’t be a luxury inn, but would be home. It would be a modest place with loved-on objects, but more so that it would be a place where people feel welcomed. They would come into our front door and this would be a place where they felt they could kick up their feet and be themselves: messy, unkempt, not together, the person they are with those they feel most comfortable with. So that they may know that life can be different with Christ even while they aren’t perfect.

I won’t lie, it’s not always easy. It’s hard to allow people to see the reality of our home. It’s hard not to be prideful but to be transparent. It’s not normal, people think it’s weird. But then again normal isn’t fun. Normal doesn’t change me, normal doesn’t give people hope.

Stop by sometime, see if we’re on mission, hold us accountable, listen carefully to us answering the door. Hopefully we will say, “WELCOME HOME” and invite you in. Then please come in and please ignore the funny smells, the worn spots, the unmowed yards, and feel free to be you.

Response (these aren’t rhetorical, I really want to know):

What is your household mission? How does it play out in the reality of your life?



7 thoughts on “Welcome Home: this ain’t the luxury inn

  1. I used to be so crazy about an always clean kept home. And SO embarresed If someone saw a dirty dish and dirty laundry or DUST (gasp). But now with 2 kids and another one the way. I’ve come to the terms that I’d rather spend time playing with my kids and holding them than constantly freaking out about misplaced item! Great blog ash!

    • Britt, I could clean from morning til night nonstop and the mess I cleaned up at 9:30pm is the same mess I cleaned up at 6 am. I’d literally have to stay awake all night while my kids slept to enjoy a really “clean” house 🙂 ANd, frankly, I just like my sleep a little too much for that. Making time for our kids is just way too precious and necessary if they are going to be anything productive beside anxiety ridden worriers and clean freaks, because we model for them.

  2. I had to cry this time.
    I know first hand, your “welcome”. I feel your hospitality and the fact that I really can make myself at home. I miss you guys. I love hearing about your day on facebook, but Im long over due time to kick my feet up and know its okay to be me at the chambers house.
    By the way, I love your thrift store finds. Im still first in line if you decide to sell right?
    Love you

  3. Even though you’re my sister and I never feel anything but home when I’m with you, your house is my other home. I so frequently walk into peoples homes and feel like I need to stand at the door the whole time in fear of messing something up… I’d prefer mess over stress. I love you ash…and your messy/comfortable home.

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