Hospitality to Children

 

IMG_3008God’s little Princesses…

 

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

-Matthew 19:14

 

Can you even envision how excited children were to see Jesus? I can only imagine that their encounter with Him stayed in their memory banks the rest of their lives…

 

There isn’t a typical day that goes by I don’t have an extra child in my home. I remember after we had our third child, people would ask if we were going to have a fourth-my response was, ” I think I’ll just borrow, there are always people willing to lend a child”.

IMG_0818Fun with our neighbors!

IMG_1491A break from the Summer heat!

In all seriousness, my heart longs to be with children. Not as a career, but as a personal ministry. Being a part of someone’s childhood is an honor and a blessing. I love hearing their conversations, making them cookies, playing games with them, tucking them in next to my own children at night and praying with them…. I could go on and on. I just love children. My home feels very empty if there aren’t pitter patters and laughter of little ones. 

 

After I took this photo I was asked: Ms. Nelle, why do you always have us kids over at your house? My answer,” Because I like kids, I used to be one you know”

 

I remember what it was like to be a child. I also remember the adults, other than my parents, who offered to be a part of my life. Their time and effort was voluntarily woven into my life song…not because they had to be there, but because they wanted to be there.

 Aunt Patti and Uncle Roger made a special effort to shower me with love and attention. Oh, those memories are priceless. They made me feel so loved, accepted, and safe. We’d go to Chuck e Cheese, play Old Maid and Yatzee on the living room floor. Aunt Patti would even let me make brownies …all by myself. Uncle Roger would let me paint mini masterpieces in his hobby garage, we’d go swimming, eat jell-o with fruit in it, sled ride down their driveway, and climb trees. I could tell they loved being with me…I wasn’t an inconvenience. I wasn’t a niece they had to babysit. They loved me and I knew it. They even let me sleep “in the middle” when I would spend the night.

 When children feel love, it’s a big deal. I can’t think of a better way for children to gain confidence and be able to love others than for them to receive love first.  I think the reason I love children so much now is because I remember being loved and how much it meant to me.

 As I got older, my grandparents took on the huge responsibility of taking in my mom and I. My parents divorced and both were emotionally drained. My Grandma Ruth was a safe haven for me. If I was with her, I felt like everything was going to be okay. Her home was always immaculate, she did the “warsh” like nobody’s business, and her cooking…well you know all about that. Having order in a very chaotic time in my life gave me a sense of security. I am indebted.

 As I approached my senior year of High School, my mom remarried a wonderful man who had such a welcoming family. I can’t imagine how difficult it was for Jeff at 40, who was never married nor had any children, to take on a woman and her 17-year-old daughter. But, he did. He did not serve as a replacement for my dad and made sure to let me know that he wasn’t my dad. But, he would take on “Step-dad” as seriously as he could. He, in turn, would introduce me as his daughter. My life became as normal as a child who went through a divorce could be because of him. Now, he is my children’s “Stampa”…but he introduces them as his grandchildren. His love and playfulness with my children are a gift.

What about you? How do you extend love and hospitality to the little ones in your life? Were there any special grown-ups that helped shape who you are other than your parents?

And some extra shots…lol, I’m the one behind the camera ;) 

IMG_8635Our backyard and pond have given so many kiddos great memories. 

IMG_3669Oh, how I love cooking with them- they are so fascinated and so willing to learn. 

IMG_3659Playing games!

IMG_1180Making crafts in the garage…

IMG_2246Going out to the ballgame…

I can only pray that I have made the children in my life feel loved, accepted, and pointed toward Jesus. That’s what it’s all about! 

 

 

  

Signature

Comments

  1. Oh Janelle, I love this! I SO get this! Amen!

  2. Sweet Janelle, this post is the post that has me in tears. You got me girl! Oh, if I could sit over a glass of iced tea with you and just talk… What beauty is in your heart! I have been so guilty of the very opposite, but like I have been talking through with the Lord since I emailed you, I have been working on reminding myself to turn inward towards my home and the ministry God has blessed me right here with my hubby and 4 kids. Thank you for posting the truth!! I need it!

    • Aww, I’d love to have tea with you :) Don’t feel guilty-does not do a body good. Realize that you are so special to your family and you can and will bring a very unique love to your children and your home!

  3. Janelle,
    I’m certain that your prayers are answered! The photos tell me so! But besides that, You have made ME feel loved, accepted and desirous to seek more of Jesus! Me, a stranger who is learning about meal ministry and the love of Christ b/c I’m a reader of your blog! I was able recently, b/c of reading about your exploits, to say yes! when a family (strangers to me) needed meals for a few days while mom stayed at the hospital with a younger sibling. I KNOW ME! I would never had had the confidence (and perhaps even the desire) had I not spent the last couple of years intrigued by your love of serving! These children are blessed by your love and affection!! ~dj

    • Ohhh that is so wonderful DJ- what an encouragement your message has been to me! Thank you so much for sharing that and for taking the torch! That’s AWESOME!!! If you ever have any questions about faith or serving e-mail me JMNehrenz@me.com

  4. Charlotte Moore says:

    Loved reading your post. I am sure your children and the children that visit your home are filled with the love your project.

    BLESSINGS!!!

Speak Your Mind

*