Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. Luke 9:58

Jet-lagged from my trip back to Houston, I lumbered my squeaky suitcase up to the large wooden door. The adrenaline that had pulsed through my veins over the last several weeks of life-changing mission trips was now muted by the apprehension of finding a new job and a new home now that my parents were relocated back to Oklahoma. The relief of a friend’s invitation to stay with her for a couple of nights bought me time to consider my options and sort out logistics. I hoped I wasn’t imposing as I gently knocked on the door.

The door and my heart swung wide with Mary’s genuine welcome and friendly embrace. We chattered excitedly as we walked into the kitchen. I glanced into the living room, remembering all the times my ministry comrade, Ty and I would pray with Mary in that room about anything and everything on our hearts. I smiled at the espresso machine I had helped myself to countless times, fuel for hours of life-giving conversation and laughter around the kitchen table.

We ended the evening catching up like old times. Her enthused interest in my trip drew out of me stories I didn’t know I had the energy to tell. The tension in my shoulders melted in the timeless space of heart exchange. I must have looked funny with a smile plastered across my sleepy face. But I didn’t care. I felt wanted and loved.

Knowing I was tired, Mary led me to the guest room where I’d stay. The room was beautiful, no doubt, but it was more than that. Bowls of dried apricots and raw almonds sat neatly on the night stand. Thoughtfulness was laced through the rich colors, the placement of furniture, and the soft sheets. Tears spilled from my bloodshot eyes as I closed the door behind me. I felt kissed by God and eager to extend that same kind of welcome one day.

15 years later, God pulled this story from the pages of my heart to consider in a new light. God is with me and in me, but I’m suddenly aware of how much I desire to host His presence like I would the most honored of guests and the closest of friends. It is true: God is omnipresent. He is here. Fully present, not like the notorious family member who’s physically present,  but somewhere else in every other way. This means everything. He is the balm for the troubled relationship, the comfort in our trial, our power in the face of impossibility, our joy in the mundane and lonely, and the Friend of friends in every season of the soul. This truth won’t let me sit in the familiar pool of knowing He’s there. I want to voyage to the depths of friendship that wait for us in the heart of our vast and Holy God.

How amazing is it that our homes can be dining room of fellowship with the Living God? I’ll never see hospitality the same. None of us invite someone in our home, say hello and forget their presence as we go about our day. We would not bring someone to our table, ask them questions and then fail to listen and engage with their responses. When someone who is close to us frequents our home, they know they can grab a drink or search for the missing toilet paper under the bathroom sink. They don’t need our permission. Our relationship is the permission.

Oh, that we would give Jesus the long-forgotten keys to places in our hearts that haven’t seen the light of day for years. He is here, and He wants to speak. He is present, but He desires to fill. He’s a dreamer of dreams over our families and He wants to share them with us. This is our daily honor, opening our hearts wide like an unabashed laugh to fellowship with Him and craft our homes with His heart at the forefront. And while this friendship is largely nurtured in hiddenness, I think we’ll find on the other side of eternity that this sacred fellowship became the loaves and fishes multiplied into countless redemption stories, spreading ripples from our hearts and homes into a world so thirsty to know He’s true.

I’d love to hear from you. What does God’s presence mean to you and your home?