I’ve been reflecting on what it means to love. What it looks like, how it feels, and how to live it out. Nine months of journaling and blogging, focusing on God’s redemptive love for me and my family. Looking at the way Jesus loved and served and allowing the stripping away the Lord wants to do to open my heart to the life and the love He has for me.
And then all at once , He puts a complete stranger on my path to show how she’s living out Jesus’ command to love her neighbor.
“It’s a treehouse in Oregon,” my husband shares. “It sounds awesome,” he continues, turning the computer screen my way so I can see the images he has been examining for the last several minutes.
After I take a moment to catch up, I have to admit, the idea of bringing our girls to a treehouse for a couple of days and escaping our day to day routine, sounds adventurous and wonderful. I imagine leisurely naps among the trees, exciting excursions through the woods, and meaningful family connection time.
“Oh, but wait! Are there beds? What about a coffeemaker? Refrigerator? Oh, and a bathroom?” I blurt out my barrage of questions before any more daydreaming.
“Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.” My husband reassuringly answers.
“Okay, so we aren’t really roughing it. Let’s do it!”
The day of our adventure arrives. The car is loaded with games, snacks, cozy blankets, and comfortable clothes. We head to Tigard, Oregon for the “House in the Trees.”
Driving way too long in our cramped car with two talkative, energetic kids finally brings us to our destination. Stepping out of the car, we are engulfed in lush green vegetation.. Tall, full, leafy trees hanging overhead. And, then I see our home for the next couple of days. Our house in the trees is awaiting us with all it’s charm and character.
Hearing a door creak behind us, I turn to see a lovely woman walking towards us. The rest of the family seems to scatter to explore our surroundings, while I have the pleasure of talking with our host, the stranger sent to illustrate love. Within what seems like seconds we were beyond talking traffic and weather and down to things that truly matter.
Her eyes spilled over with tears as she boldly and lovingly shared about her family and the community building the treehouse for her son when he was battling cancer. She shared about the trial they had gone through; the ups and downs and how it had forever changed them.
The masks I have been noticing so many of us wear, didn’t seem to exist for her. She openly shared her heart. (Laying Down Our Masks)
Not only that, but she and her family openly shared their home, their life. In a day and age where people have multiple locks, security systems and cameras, our host family leaves their door unlocked to allow their guests into their home. We could come and go as we needed. No guard up, keeping people away. No guard around their hearts or home.
Our weekend in the trees, alongside such a loving, gracious family has me thinking about Jesus; about His love, goodness, hospitality, and generosity.
Jesus longs for all those He invites to come. To come to Him unhindered. There is no guard up. He is safe. We can lay down our masks and walls and just go to Him when He calls. And, all are invited.
Just as our host didn’t only allow family to be their guest and enter their home, Jesus allows all to come to Him.
In Matthew 22, Jesus tells about a king hosting a banquet. “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.”
Our treehouse host, the stranger exemplifying love for us, did just that. She gathered us at her home, shared her story of the Father’s love in her life, and distributed that love to us.
What about you? Are you sensing His call? In the quiet, are you drawn to Him? He’s drawn to you. The gracious host longs for you to enter His presence with confidence. He’s longing to lavish His love on you, to share life with you, and lead you in the ways you should go.