Friday, December 2, 2011

Room in My Inn

Last Christmas a mother robin built her nest on our front porch, tucked away in the limbs of a little artificial pine tree we keep lit there during the holidays. I loved seeing Mama Bird swoop down and watch over her precious blue eggs. I loved hearing her sing to them in the mornings. But most of all I loved that she saw our home—our porch—as a safe place, a sheltering space.

I’ve been giving a lot of thought to making space these days. In just a couple of weeks my younger sister and her family will be landing at our house for a night or two as she prepares to give birth to their sixth child, a baby boy. I love the idea of making space for them, making space for extended family, making space for the delivery of a newborn...especially at this time of year!
That same sister is contemplating making room herself. Not room in the inn, mind you, but room in the van! Their van seats seven...and baby makes eight. This is weighing heavily on me. I know they don’t have the means to purchase another car, no matter how used. Yet they have the faith to bring another child into the world. I’m racking my brain for any way I can think of to help them. I wish I could just give them my Honda Pilot. But life’s not that simple.
I have a particular affinity for this youngest sister. She is a hero in every sense of the word. She has overcome the most daunting of obstacles...smiling. She has born the most unbearable burdens...laughing. She has brought people together...remembering. She has created a beautiful home, a beautiful family, and a beautiful marriage...out of the shambles! She is amazing.

So the innkeeping I’m contemplating is this joyful expectation, this anticipation...and I’m grateful that we have enough room. And that we have wonderful people coming, in all shapes and sizes, to join us and fill our space.
I’m thinking about other spaces too. My inn these days is crowded—both with people and activity—most of the time. So is my car—both with people and junk, typically. But the most noticeably crowded space, and perhaps the one that matters most, is my time. One of my heroes declared, “In family relationships love is really spelled t-i-m-e.” I am convinced that today’s metaphorical inn-where-there’s-no-room is not our homes or our hearts but our schedules. Another of my heroes stated:your sacrifice could be setting aside the time in your busy lives....” Making room involves a sacrifice.
I’m pledging today—on this first day of the last month, as we wait for miracles, and long for fulness, and anticipate gifts—to make room. Make room to worship, make room to ponder, make room to listen, make room to love, make room to pause, make room to forgive, make room to serve. Make room for Him. In the most crowded space in my life. So I can be filled.

“The Holy Ghost ‘satisfies and fills up every longing of the human heart, and fills up every vacuum. When I am filled with that Spirit, … my soul is satisfied.” 
Eliza R. Snow
Please chime in and tell me how you’re making room for Him this month.
—And if you have any ideas on how to make more room in my sister’s car, I’d love to hear that too!

Congratulations to Lara, who won my Book-for-Every-Person-on-your-Gift-List Giveaway! A box of ten books will be on its way to her shortly. (How fitting that I announce her win on this post about making room, since the name of her blog is Overstuffed!)  :)

And thank you—wonderful, generous, bloggers—for helping us meet and exceed our goal, raising over $10,000 (5.7 scholarships) for single parents last month. This will change lives. I promise.

Also, don't miss Luisa Perkins' excellent and unsolicited review of What Think Ye of Christmas, here.

And finally, I'm linking up with wonderful Heather of the EO who somehow keeps me writing with her Just Write series.


Lara said...

Thank you thank you thank you! I know you can't actually hear me squealing with joy, but believe me when I say that I am. :)

I LOVED this post. It is one of my biggest weaknesses to overschedule myself and not leave enough time for what truly matters. I really appreciate your thoughts on have given me a lot to think about it.

Becca said...

J- this is so perfect. I love it. And I so agree. We have a mini-tradition that we steal from my MIL about giving a gift to the Saviour for Christmas, and it is generally a gift of time : I will serve ____ every ____, I will give _____ more _____; like that. And it's a good way to remember that we all have the same 24 to work with every day.

Shannon said...

Lovely post! What an honor to host a home birth! Babies are such a wonderful blessing. I'll pray for your sis's car delimma to be solved.

Brooke said...

Lovely post. Your sister does sound amazing. Congrats on the coming baby. The Lord is so faithful. Prayer journaling each night helps me be sure I get time with my Savior.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

Beautiful. I think I need to really sit with this for a while. Just when I think I'm making lots of room I realize I've filled it up with other things. I want it all for Him, I really do.


jubilee said...

I find it's easier and easier to get busy with the busyness and forget to really enjoy the moments. *sigh*
Thanks for the reminder.

L.T. Elliot said...

I wish I could give your sister my car, too. And what does this say about your sister, that someone so inherently good, so unfathomably kind thinks so highly of her? She must be an incredible person.

I've done a poor job at making room this year--for anything, truly. But I'm taking you up on this post and making a little more "t-i-m-e" for the things that really matter.

Merry Christmas, Jana. All my heartfelt love I send to you and your family.

Luisa Perkins said...

I know how you write consistently wonderful, inspiring posts. You are consistently wonderful and inspiring in your daily, hourly life.

I have also decided to make room for the important by stripping away the unessential. Thank you for reinforcing my desire and motivation.

DeNae said...

If you haven't done so already, you need to tell the rest of the 'car' story.

Gunfighter said...

You see... this is what happens when I fail to read the blogs I love the most. Since I quit blogging I haven't been reading them, and I missed this. (see sad face)

I agree with your sister about love being equated with time, since I have so little of it... and I believe in making time for serving Him, which makes me more able to see clearly how my time should be distributed.

It is good to read you again, my friend. (Did I ever thank you for the Christmas card?)