You might have noticed this on the new front page of my blog. But glancing back I couldn’t see where I’d talked about this. If I have, then feel free to disregard this. If not, then let me explain.
It seems a fairly simple and straightforward statement of welcome. But words have power, even when we forget that they do. And these words have power over me in particular. It is one thing to welcome someone into your home – in the past I’ve been known to welcome people into my home grudgingly and have regretted it. I have allowed people into my home who did not honor the sanctity of my home or mine and my husband’s place as hosts and our sovereignty within our home. I guess I should give a brief explanation of what I mean by “sovereignty” before you worry that I mean “bow down and proclaim me your queen or deity”. Sovereignty means having status, power, or authority. And, having authority means more than being the person who makes the rules, it means being the person who takes the brunt of responsibility for those under their authority – or in our case, under their roof.
When someone is a guest in our home, it our responsibility to see that they receive what they need – food and comfort, of course, but also seeing that no harm befalls them while they are here to the extent of our power to control. Because we take this responsibility upon ourselves, we may make and enforce rules – such as in our home, you don’t play on the stairs because they are very tall and rather steep and if you fell, you could do yourself much harm. We cannot defy gravity, so the stairs are only for walking up to the second floor. Sure, that might be a simplistic and silly explanation and it is a rule mostly applied to children (though we know adults also like to play on the stairs…but that’s another story from a time that I was less cognizant of my role as host and sovereign of our home). But it explains the very basic idea behind the sovereignty of home.
In the past, people have come into my home and believed that we should behave by the rules of their home. Usually this happens with older relatives – parents, grandparents, or aunts and uncles – who come into your home and behave as if you are still a child and they the adult in charge. This is most often seen in adults who cannot transition from having an adult/child relationship to and adult/adult relationship with adult children/grandchildren/nieces/nephews. We’ve had it happen a few times, though there is only one person I have allowed back into my home after behaving that way, and I’ve spoken before about the struggles I’ve had with my relationship with my father. Because I am an adult, living in my own home. The only person who has authority over me is my husband, and only because I give him that authority. I’m quite lucky in that my Momma (and my aunt, though, unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to make a return trip, yet) has been able to make the transition from that adult/child relationship to adult/adult child relationship with me.
But what does that have to do with the above statement? I have spoken before about the command laid upon our hearts to be of service to our community. Which might, at some point, include welcoming people into our home. And when people are welcomed into our home, I will do so with love and joy. If I cannot welcome someone with love and joy – because of something that they have done or some recurring behavior of theirs – then we need to resolve those issues before they are welcomed into my home. Because guests in my home deserve more than stilted welcome and my home is my safe place and, to those who are welcomed with love and joy, a safe place to others who need to claim it. But more, it is a command to myself to hold these things in the forefront of my mind when welcoming people. To be proactive in welcoming people into my home.
I want no one to feel like an awkward stranger for long in my home – because I’ve been there and because I’ve always done my best to make my home a place of comfort for all who find themselves here. And its place on my blog? Well, my blog is my online home, so to speak. When you come here, if you come in love and joy, then be welcomed in love and joy. If you come in fear, then be welcomed in love and joy. If you come here in hate? Then know that I’ll stand against you on behalf of any that take refuge here, even briefly. Luckily, I haven’t received hate here. But I want all who come to have the opportunity to be welcomed.