I attended a friend's wedding shower last autumn at her parent's house. This was my first time visiting their home; it was stunning from the outside. A large, Victorian-style house, its wrap-around front porch lit up the night with strings of shining clear lights. The atmosphere inside was even more beautiful than my impression from the curb.
Elizabeth's mother and sister prepared a wonderful evening for their friends to honor her and celebrate her upcoming marriage. From the food, to the prayers, to a few games, and even a song at the end (led by Elizabeth's grandma on the piano), it was clear that this family cherished each other. "Warmth" is definitely the description I would use for their cheer and hospitality.
Before I left that evening, I had a chance to visit with Elizabeth's mom, Mrs. McDaniel. When I complimented her on their beautiful home, and she told me she did not even see it before they purchased it! Her family was relocating to Michigan from Florida, so her daughters and husband came up north and bought the house ahead of time. She said they have moved many times before, and they know her taste.
Clearly, the focus of this family was not in their material belongings. I talked about how my husband and I are expecting a second child, and how I need to adjust my schedule to accommodate this major life change. Mrs Mc. Daniel nodded knowingly and said, "Start at home. That's what we always said...if things aren't right here, then we have no business going out to minister to other people." Those words have resonated with me since then.
"Start at home." The McDaniels are active in ministry (Elizabeth's father is the sporting team chaplain for a state university, their daughters have ministries of music and dance, etc.). However, they do not lose sight of their first responsibility of serving each other. I love to be busy traveling, visiting, performing. I hope my activities shed some light into the lives of those I meet. But none of it holds much depth if I am not giving my best to the people I have committed my life to loving.
I will be taking an extended time off from performing music this spring and summer. Our daughter is due to arrive at the end of April. I look forward to being a "stay at home" mom for a few months! When I am ready to start performing again, I pray that I return with renewed passion and gentleness. When people look at me, I hope they see beyond the busyness to the inner peace that flows through our home.
All the best,