By Rachel, Contributing Writer
What you say to others is an extension of the atmosphere of your home. As wives seeking to honor God with our homemaking and especially hospitality, words matter. From the actual words used to the method of delivery – electronic, spoken, written – to the tone in which they’re conveyed…words make a huge impact in our day-to-day lives. Most of us have unfortunately felt the pain that words can bring but hopefully each of us can attest to times when words have encouraged and strengthened us. Words are, after all, one of the most tangible ways God tells us He loves us…the Bible is a perfect example of how written text can change your life. What an example to us as wives to find ways to use words on a page to make life better for those around us!
Here are a few practical ways – and guiding thoughts and Scriptures – to foster a welcoming home through correspondence.
1) Thank you cards
having an attitude of gratitude
We opened our wedding presents with family and friends the day after the big shindig…which meant there were a lot of thank you cards to write all at once. What a terrible predicament, I know. ;) I truly was grateful for the wonderfully soft bath towels and the place settings we’ll be using to eat our meals with for years to come and I wanted the givers of those gifts to know just how much they had blessed my new husband and me.
But having an attitude of gratitude and sitting down to write a thank you note goes beyond traditional occasions like a wedding or birthday. Is there a friend you’ve been thanking God for in your prayers? Has someone done something for you that could merit a quick “thanks so much for ___” text but would be so much more thoughtful (and surprising!) if it came by way of a card in the mail? Paul writes to the Ephesians about remembering them in his prayers and not ceasing in giving thanks for them…what if we acted on that like Paul did and sit down and write it out to tell them?
2) Just because notes
encouraging and building one another up
I can tell right away if I will enjoy hanging out at someone’s house based on what comes out of the mouth in a social situation or conversation. Why not remind your friends and family how much you are willing to welcome them to share life in your home and with your family by dropping them a note “just because”?
1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to, “encourage one another and build one another up.” There doesn’t have to be a reason…God lays people on our hearts for no reason at all, or so we think. That perception and willingness to listen when God prompts us to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ is just one way that we can be Christ to the world around us.
3) Congratulations and condolences
rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep
This verse from Romans reminds us how important it is to share life and be in community with one another. We weren’t meant to go through this life on our own and we can both celebrate the highs and share in sorrow through the lows with thoughtful correspondence.
In Colossians 3, Paul talks about singing hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness. Though not everyone’s love language is words of affirmation, I haven’t met a single person who’s joys weren’t further increased by a card that acknowledged the accomplishment or blessing. Come alongside and thank God with them – you’re not only communing with our great Lord together, you’re also letting them know that you’re interested in their life and deem their journey to be important to you.
As for sharing in the sorrows of our friends and family, the written word lets people know they’re not alone in their suffering. In the Beattitudes, Jesus states that those who mourn are blessed for they shall be comforted. We are His hands and feet on this earth…can’t we also be His words to those hurting around us? If you don’t know what God would want you to say, turn to His Word and let Him show you what words your sorrowful friend needs to hear. Not only is this an amazing exercise in being sensitive to whatever the difficult situation is, it is also an opportunity for you grow in your heeding of Jesus’ speaking in your own life.
4) Birthdays, anniversaries, births, new house, new job…
celebrating the little [or big!] things
Our time in this world is short. God exhorts us to make the most of every opportunity so what is our excuse for not taking time to join in the joys of the moment? And who doesn’t like a birthday card, especially one that you took the time to write more in than just your name at the bottom? Or a nod to the new job they posted about on Facebook to let them know you’re praying for them in this new venture? Or something to put on the kitchen counter of the house they just moved into to remind them how happy you are God blessed them with a home?
Why take the time?
We live in a fast-paced world. My heart is tiring of what seems increasingly meaningless conversations via electronic means (which isn’t to say it’s not possible – it’s just harder) so a few days before my birthday, I posted the following status update on my Facebook wall:
My birthday is Sunday. However, THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT: PLEASE DO NOT FILL UP MY WALL with “Happy Birthday,” “Hope it’s a great one,” etc. Consider this my preemptive strike to combat the customary wall blitz as it doesn’t necessarily warm my heart (as it does many which is totally fine but it just isn’t what I want for my birthday). Should you still desire to wish me a happy birthday (and it’s totally fine if you don’t!), please DIRECT MESSAGE me, TEXT me, EMAIL me (though I don’t even know how to get to the facebook address so you’d need my real one I guess), or CALL me. I am learning more and more as I get older the power of well-timed and well-said words. I’m sorry I sound like a kill-joy but it would mean more to me to have a blank Facebook wall on my birthday and a few short messages than a full wall and not much of substance. Yours, Rachel
You don’t need fancy cards, pretty handwriting, or eloquent words. You just need the desire to extend the hospitality you want to foster in your home. Exercising your hand and fingers will lead to exercising your heart, perception, and heeding of God’s voice, leading you to following Him in who you can serve with a simple note. Drop it in the mail and that stamp will be the best $0.46 you’ve spent in a while. P.S. Have you seen how pretty stamps are these days? :)
How have you exercised Biblical homemaking with correspondence?
Who has encouraged you through the written word with a “just because” note or something marking an occasion?