I start to get a little sad when we get into the “late of summer”…..it has been a great summer considering…I still miss my mother terribly and I think I always will. God has been so faithful to orchestrate this summer to include 2 of our 3 kids being at home, less travel for competitive golf, and many house guests…which I really love from…my dad coming (twice), to our oldest coming with his friends, to Collins’ boyfriend Mike. We’ve also had many young people who have bunked with us for golf tournaments or for summer classes or just hometown friends who are home from college and stay over for fellowship.
I now look at our home as a sort of “bed and breakfast” in the summer months. Last night I counted 8 cars in the driveway…not counting any Bradshaw cars. I loved walking in and seeing “young people” all over our house….really making themselves at home. 🙂 Side note: if you ever stay in our home once….you are never treated like a guest again…LOL…you are adopted!
I really believe having people in our home is one of my most favorite things to do….the young people who come are SO MUCH FUN! I love their enthusiasm for life. I love hearing about their dreams and goals. I even love hearing about their struggles. Not so much that misery loves company, but if I can get these young people to open up to me, especially in front of their peers, something special happens……”bonding, encouragement, fellowship, and at some points healing!”
Yep….I am not known for small talk or random…”nothing talk!” I like to go deep quickly and find out “what is going on in their hearts, minds and souls!” Almost 100% of the time they will openly and freely share but only if they feel loved, secure, and supported! Just this summer…..guests have shared things like–having their nose broken by their dad when they were young and their road to healing; getting “hit” by their college coach and the process of transferring; or the pain of their parents divorcing. Some have contemplated suicide mostly due to verbal abuse and lack of acceptance.
If your mind is spinning right now…let me just say there is a whole lot more that has been shared underneath our roof…but I can say that all these people are ordinary…their circumstances are not uncommon. The difference is they are willing to be vulnerable with others whom they have come to trust!
What I have seen my kids learn is this….WOW….others have real struggles too…I am not a “lone ranger.” The openness that has been generated in our home over and over this summer has demonstrated to me for sure: there is not a human drawing a breath who does not have things they have to overcome, walk through, walk around or face head on. Most of the time…those things are NOT the subject of conversations….in group settings. “People’s pain” just isn’t shared, but in the right setting it can be powerful. An opportunity for others to thoughtfully listen, learn, encourage and, if needed, to reach over and hug and pray with someone.
The older I get the more I realize…how busy our culture is…how fast everything goes from drive thru’s and eating in our car on our way to the next thing …to having a car readily available at your toe tips through a reservation on your “Uber” app!
Stopping and shutting the door to the world and having a relaxed group setting within our home this summer has given me, Bill and our kids a chance to see….the hurts and trials of others. I am confident it has also shown our visitors our “warts” and our dust and dirt. God has been gracious to help us see that we do live in a fallen world with sinners, of which I am the biggest. I wholeheartedly agree with the writer of I Timothy 1:15, “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” We are desperately in need of a Savior, Jesus, who can direct us into forgiveness of our sins and extending forgiveness to others.
We may have scars from our pain but there is a God…who wants to provide His healing and provide others to encourage, nourish and even hug us when needed. 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” Who do you know that needs a hug today? Or maybe a listening ear? Maybe it is time to slow down a little and listen.