Make Your Heart and Home a Place of Grace

True welcome and nurturing homes seem like a thing of the past. Our homes no longer hang signs of “Welcome,” instead they communicate, “No Soliciting.” I often tell my family before any get-together, “Leave the drama at the door” for fear of tension, confrontation or unpleasantness. When did I start avoiding messiness?

Our culture seems to encourage self-preservation as opposed to taking chances, risking and investing in others. But Jesus said, “Love each other as I have loved you.” Instead of avoiding the hard, we need to take the risk, make messes and love each other with no conditions. 
This holiday season, we have the opportunity—a gift—to incarnate the heart of God to our families, our neighbors and even strangers. We (I’m talking to myself here too) can open our doors and instead of saying, “Leave the drama at the door,” we need to open our hearts and honestly say, “No judgment here. Just like me, you’re covered in grace.”
I admit it. Sometimes it just seems impossible to love my family. After all, they know how to bring out the worst in me. Yet, I know they bring out the best in me too. I can glorify God especially if I stay focused in serving and loving those I find unlovely. I can challenge myself to love the way God does—unconditionally.
Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Some [people] are like the sun going down in the west; they will be gone soon. Serve them, dear brethren. You that are in health and vigour, comfort them, strengthen them, and help them all you can. Be a joy…”
I don’t know about you, but in my mind, family and joy don’t mix. I often find myself stressed, anxious, tense, hurried and fearful of what others will think about my home, what I prepared and how I look. Joy seldom appears in those moments.
Yet, true hospitality focuses on others not on myself. It sacrifices, proves uncomfortable and does not seek to impress others. It allows for us to provide for the needs of others by the giving up ourselves. It outpours mercy and grace without expecting anything in return. It honors God. See Rom. 12:12–13; Prov. 14:31; 1 Pet. 4:8–10; Heb. 13:1–2; Prov. 19:17.
As believers we once received a most generous “Welcome” into the love of Christ. I don’t recall anything about leaving drama at the door, no soliciting or no messes allowed. Instead those of us who “…received him—those who believe in his name—He has given the right to become God’s children” (John 1:12).
Our homes should permeate hospitality, grace and God’s love. When we share our homes with others, we share our hearts and the reason for the love we extend. And just like God accepted us into His family with no conditions, we can do the same and offer others a place of grace, safety and healing. 
Dreading Thanksgiving and Christmas? How can you prepare your heart for the gift in serving your loved ones this holiday season? Start where I did, pray.

Raquel Wroten (MAMC, Dallas Theological Seminary) was born in McAllen, Texas but has lived in the Dallas/Fort Worth area most of her life. Raised by a single mother, Raquel grew up knowing the meaning of diversity, creativity, and chaos through her four brothers and three sisters. The greatest gift she ever received came from her mother who taught her that living as a believer doesn’t mean perfection, it means grace. Raquel met her husband Rick at a church retreat in Oklahoma on a cold November weekend. They dated for a year and got married in June 1992. A couple of years later, Rick graduated with his ThM, and they welcomed Joshua. . .then Abby. . .and surprise, it’s Anna! Intermixing their cultures, the Wrotens have established a variety of traditions along with interesting combinations of food. Raquel believes that ministry begins at home so she finds new ways of serving those she calls her own. Raquel serves as editor of DTS Magazine and enjoys writing (in English, Spanish and Spanglish), cooking, coffee, education and serving up a feast for her friends and family.