Shop the fall collection ➔

I am not a part of the class of women who, for generations, like their mothers before them, are homemakers. I initially resisted this but my husband was quite insistent. He pushed and persuaded and eventually, I gave in. I left the house-making plans behind, and I attempted to make a home.

A few weeks after Hubby and I started dating, I knew I was madly in love. It caught me suddenly. We were hanging out with a church group – sitting around, making small talk. There was a young man who was mentally impaired. He was hard to talk to. He was kind and everyone was polite but he was excruciatingly detailed in everything he said. If you asked about his day, you needed to prepare for a 15 minute play by play. I tried to go out of my way to be kind, but often, I could only muster up a question or two.

On this particular evening, Hubby met this man and we sat and talked with him. For two hours. As I watched the evening unfold, I knew I wanted to marry this man who loves people and was willing to pour into their lives.

Flash-forward to our wedding and move to Hawaii. I was eager to set-up house. I began hanging pictures and setting up my display of china tea cups. I imagined lovely little tea parties with cute little sandwiches and intricate cookies.

Our first guest, single young men in the military, stayed several hours later than I anticipated. So did the next ones. Pretty soon, people were just “popping by” unannounced and staying for dinner. Sometimes they brought friends. It was more than I could handle. People were welcome in our house, but I wanted them to come in nice little, two-hour dinner boxes. Not for hours on end.

“The door to our home is always open.”

That was the refrain my husband kept echoing. But I resisted. I wanted my things to be separate. Our three bedroom house was ours. Eagerly, I grasped for control over every inch of it.

Ignoring the loneliness and missing family dinners and gatherings, I persisted in my control.

But our house, Hubby wanted to make it a home. And he recognized what I didn’t – that the difference between a house and home is the sharing. So share we did.

Playing the begrudging hostess soon blossomed into true fellowship. Choosing to listen to this wisdom and opening the door to our home was one of the wisest decisions I ever made. It cost me time, energy, and emotion, but in return, the love was overwhelming.

Love was living life and opening our doors and hearts and letting others into it. It looks like a full table and riveting conversation. It looks like people stopping by to take out the trash and change my car oil when Hubby was deployed. The comfort and joy of having rooms that we empty, filled with people and memories.

A good friend stopped me in my tracks last year when she reminded me that, at the final judgement, Jesus will not ask if the laundry was done.

“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.” – Matthew 25:35-36, ESV

Opening our home is one of the most Christian things we have ever done. It’s been sacrificial. It’s taken time and energy. People knock when we want just sit and watch TV, so we invite them in to join us and make popcorn.

Bailey Suzio

Bailey Suzio’s journey started out in Michigan, where she grew up as the oldest of 10 (yes, ten) children, and has led her to Hawaii with her husband and their two dogs. She has greatly enjoyed this opportunity to explore the history and culture of the Hawaiian islands. In addition to her love for the Lord and her family, her great passions are coffee and collecting an exorbitant amount of books. Bailey has spent the last few years teaching and working with a local church. She writes at http://thethinplace.net/ about her life, faith, and infertility journey.

Take Courage

In: Faith, Living
Woman hiking with arms wide

My sophomore English teacher kicked off the school year by reading Anne Sexton on the first day of school, a poem called Courage. Fifteen-year-old me did not care much for poetry or even English class. Poetry has grown on me over the years, but I don’t miss memorizing Shakespeare or taking standardized tests or my huge literature book that took up most of the real estate in my maroon JanSport backpack. I wrapped my book carefully with a brown grocery sack that by the end of the year was covered in markers, drawings, and scratch-outs of boys’ names. Before I...

Keep Reading

The Best Marriage Advice We Ever Got: Touch Feet Every Night

In: Faith, Marriage
Couple touching feet in bed

Twenty-six years ago this summer, I got a tiny piece of advice on my wedding day that has kept me from making a huge mistake time and time again. A wise woman told me, “When you climb in bed each night with your husband, make sure that your feet touch under the covers. It’s hard to be mad at someone and touch feet.”  I had no idea, all those years ago, how impactful this piece of advice would be and how many times in our marriage this would be the small act that kept us united. This simple act of...

Keep Reading

Faith is a Verb, So We Go to Church

In: Faith, Motherhood
Woman and teen daughter in church pew

Every Sunday morning we rush out the door bribing, coaxing, and threatening our kids to just “Get into the van!” Luckily, we live remotely rural so we don’t have neighbors to witness our often un-Christlike eye rolls and harsh sighs as we buckle each other up. We’ve always lived within a five-minute drive to a chapel, and yet we are usually there not two minutes before the service starts. Once sitting in our seats, we’re on high alert for noise control and sibling altercations for the next hour of what is supposed to be a peaceful, sacred, spirit-filled service. Which...

Keep Reading

3 Simple Ways to Be a More Confident Mother

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and young child smiling outside

Do you ever ask yourself why you can’t be more like that mom or why can’t your kids be like those kids? The comparison trap is an easy one to fall into if we aren’t careful. At the click of our fingers, we see Pinterest-worthy motherhood in every category. From the mom with the black-belt kids to the mom with Marie Kondo organizing skills—it’s easy to look at their lives and feel like we’ve fallen short. Even worse, is when we start to strive to become something we aren’t or prod our kids to become something they aren’t.  Comparison makes...

Keep Reading

Grief Is Persistent But God Is Faithful

In: Faith, Grief, Loss
Woman praying by ocean

The loss of a parent doesn’t just sting, it leaves you with an irreplaceable hole in your heart. It’s been two years since my loving daddy went home to be with Jesus, and the loss I feel is still unimaginable.  I know in my heart he’s in a better place that is absent of pain and distress. However, his physical presence and wisdom are so dearly missed here on this earth.  He left behind an army of a family who adored him and looked to him for solid guidance. No matter how hard I try to look to the bright...

Keep Reading

I Gave up on God but He Never Gave up on Me

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother hugging son, color photo

I grew up in a religious house. We went to church every Sunday. My mom taught Sunday school, and we participated as a family in most church events. We believed in the power of prayer, hope, faith, love, and forgiveness. As a little girl, I watched my dad kneel at the side of the bed every night and say his prayers. In the last six years, my faith has not been what it should have been. It has plummeted into the depths of nothingness, buried deep below the darkness. I have felt angry and abandoned by God. In response, I...

Keep Reading

I Count My Blessings Every Day

In: Faith
Mom and child by beach

I remember being jealous of my classmates often. I would look at the girls at my school who seemed to be living such a carefree life. They would do well in school effortlessly and go home to their moms, dads, and siblings, to a house they’d grown up in. I wanted that so much for myself! I wanted my mom and dad to be together, and if it wasn’t too much to ask, a sibling or two. I wanted us to live in a house where I could have my own room, but I wouldn’t mind sharing if I had...

Keep Reading

Dear Lord, Make Me a Grace Hunter

In: Faith
Woman with crutches looking out window, black-and-white photo

I want to be known as a grace hunter. Every day, I pray I would be given eyes to see the world in which we live through a lens of grace—a lens that causes me to marvel at the ways of my God and be constantly filled with wonder. I am thankful I have no choice but to live life at a slower pace. I pray for the ability to see the beauty and God’s grace in the seemingly small and insignificant things. RELATED: In the Midst of Grief, There is Grace I pray for eyes to see His grace even...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Follow Your Beautiful Heart

In: Faith, Kids
Mother and daughter smiling

When I held you in my arms for the first time, it was like time stopped. As you looked up at me with innocence and new life, I was struck by the reality that my main role in your life would be to guide and direct you on the right path. I hoped I would do the best job possible. As I watched you grow, I basked in your joy of putting on your pretty dresses, adorned with layers of costume jewelry, parading around the house for your father and me to see. I dreamed often of what path you...

Keep Reading

So God Made Midnight

In: Faith, Motherhood
Mother and newborn

When God created a mother, He created her to love and serve in every moment. He knew the constant need would sometimes overwhelm her and she would have no choice but to rely on His strength and grace. He knew she would feel like there weren’t enough hours in the day . . . so God made midnight. He knew a mama’s days with a newborn would be busy and sometimes chaotic. He knew she would be distracted by meeting needs and attempting to find balance—that sneaking in a hot shower would become almost a luxury . . . so...

Keep Reading