Out of Control

I just watched my youngest son almost get into an accident.  It is an overcast, rainy afternoon and Carl was driving behind me.  I glanced in the rearview mirror to check on him and, to my horror, he was no longer on the road.  Carl hydroplaned while pulling out onto the street and lost control of the car.  When I saw him, he was on the sidewalk on the far side of the road about to hit a pole.  He swerved out of the way which threw him back into the street.  For the longest half minute of my life, I watched Carl try to right the car as he jerkily swerved back and forth from one lane to the other.  There was traffic both ways and I thought, “My baby is going to die.”  I heard myself screaming, “Caaaaarl!”

My hands are still shaking as I type this.  I apologize for the drama of this post, but I wanted to write while the feelings are still fresh.  Thankfully, all traffic was able to move off the road to avoid hitting Carl.  Thankfully, he was able to finally gain control and pull over into a parking lot.  I have never felt more helpless than I did as I watched my “baby” fight for his life.

So now I’m overwhelmed with fear.  I never ever, never ever (NEVER) want Carl to drive again.  How am I supposed to keep from replaying that scene in my mind the next time he gets behind the wheel?

Somehow my guys aren’t nearly as shaken up.  I drove straight to Neal’s office and sobbed on his shoulder.  I said, “Carl could’ve been killed!”  Neal said, “But he wasn’t.”  I told Carl I had just finished praying for God to keep him safe when I saw him lose control of the car.  He said, “And He did.”  While I was shaking from head to toe and imagining what could have happened, Carl said, “I’m glad Dad’s car is okay!”

The truth of the matter is that it was probably a good thing ultimately.  Carl just gained some valuable experience with driving, rain, hydroplaning, and overcorrecting.  He’ll be better prepared if he’s ever in that kind of situation again.  My mind knows that but my heart is protesting.

Honestly, this has been the hardest part of parenting for me.  Losing control.  My sons are grown and nearly grown.  I’m watching them make decisions, make mistakes, sin, or flounder around as they try to figure out their own lives.  What I want to do is have complete control again. They could get hurt!  But I know they’re growing and gaining valuable experience.  I know that they are capable and good.  I also know that while they will never stop being my sons, they really belong to their heavenly Father.  And He is always in perfect control.

“I know that You can do everything,

and that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You” (Job 42:2).

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Photo cred: Carl Pollard (I look like my grandpa in this pic)

Getting Back to Hospitality

If getting back to homey hospitality is a desire of yours, then I understand how you feel.  When it comes to relationships, nothing compares to having someone in your home.  Yes, we can go out to eat and still get to know one another, but there’s something special about being in someone’s home.  Your smile is a little wider and warmer the next time you see each other.

So what’s the hangup?  We’re just busy, busy, busy.  Even “stay-at-home” moms are starting to feel like real time at home is a luxury.  How can we get back to the joys of hospitality?

Make It a Priority

We’re always trying to squeeze in oooooone more thing– exercise, a Bible study with someone, a child’s extracurricular activity.  But just like anything else, if hospitality is important to us, we’ll make it work.  If our life is too busy to have anyone over, perhaps it’s time to reevaluate our schedule.  Is there anything we’re doing that hospitality should take a priority over?  Some say they don’t want to take away from family time, but being hospitable can be a very good family activity.

Drop the Excuses

They’re easy to come up with.  It’s been a rough week.  We need some down time.  The house is a wreck.  I could name some women whose homes are always open to visitors, guest preachers, members, friends, and students.  Is it because they’re not as busy as I am?  Ha…most are even busier!  One family is experiencing painful hardships yet still opens their hearts by opening their home.  Excuses may make us feel better temporarily but the blessings of hospitality have a much longer and happier impact.

Remember What Hospitality Is

A beautifully set table and a home cooked meal are lovely, but hospitality is so much more than that.  It’s about serving others by making them feel loved.  It’s about building relationships by talking, laughing, and praying together.  It’s about being a good steward by using your home to bless others.  These goals of hospitality can be accomplished with simple sandwiches or a store bought pie and coffee.

Moms, being hospitable to your children’s friends counts.

Be Prepared

Regret comes when I know I should offer my home for a meal or a bed but I don’t because I’m just not ready.  With some forethought and a little effort, we can be prepared to seize opportunities to show Christ’s love.

  • Keep easy meals on hand, like spaghetti and sauce, cookie dough, etc.
  • Some clean sheets/ blankets nearby make it easy to offer a warm bed.
  • Store convenient cleaning wipes in the bathroom to shine things up real quick.
  • Pray for a heart that is willing to be inconvenienced.

Don’t Wait for a More Convenient Time

Just begin.  Here are some ideas.  See if any of them seem worth trying:

  • When your next gospel meeting, lectureship, ladies’ day, or whatever comes up, let the ones in charge know you’re willing to house speakers or visitors.
  • Commit one night every other week to having people over for dessert and coffee.
  • Invite different families over on Sunday nights for sandwiches and singing.
  • Challenge yourself to have enough food prepared for Sunday lunch so you can invite others to join you. What a thrill to be able to look around and find someone to invite into your home on Sunday!  It just enhances the idea that the very first day of the week is the Lord’s day.
  • Look through your church directory and see if there’s a demographic you don’t know as well (singles, elderly, young people, etc.).  If you’re having close friends over, invite others as well.
  • Be sure to include people that don’t like you, people that you’re having a hard time liking, or people with whom you have unpleasant history.  God can work wonders through hospitality and humility.
  • Don’t forget your neighbors and co-workers.

“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling” (1 Pet. 4:9).  “Be kindly affectionate to one another in brother love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord…distributing to the needs of the saints, giving to hospitality” (Rom. 12:10-13).  It’s possible to get into the habit of hospitality!

Image credit:  Michael Hite

Image credit: Michael Hite