Welcome to our happy place where God’s grace and love covers every square inch!
Tim and I have been married for almost five years and one of our mutual missions fields is our home. We both saw our home as a shared commodity for God’s Kingdom–for the people living inside and for all who would gather under its roof. Our home is a unique extension of us, but also a place where we can be agents of God’s love, joy and restoration.
Whether you live in an apartment with roommates or on a ranch with six kids…you can make any space, on any budget a place where people are welcome to “come as they are” but leave them restored to who they were made to be. So, how do you create a space with a hospitable perspective?
It all began when Tim and I met and realized we had a shared passion for bringing people together. I am the classic party-planner who thinks of cheesy themes and sends out the group texts. Tim is a social butterfly and genuinely loves connecting with others. The way he brings new people into the folds of our community amazes me.
When we got married and started nesting in our first home, we made intentional efforts to create an environment that made people feel celebrated, fed and welcomed. But a few years later our house felt a bit cramped. Our weekly small group was growing exponentially and our vision for loving our neighbors was outgrowing our home (plus we had our first baby and we couldn’t even watch TV on a volume louder than six). Instead of taking a step back from our original vision, we decided to find a new home that could hold our growing dreams and growing community.
Our realtor thought we were crazy as she showed us potential home after home and we would comment, “The living room isn’t big enough to hold all our friends.” We told her we wanted something specific: bright natural light that made people feel warm, open space to make it easy to draw people into conversation, and a few quiet sanctuaries for meeting with God.
A few months later, God answered our prayer and we moved March 2017.
So why put so much energy and thought into your home?
A home is more than the decor, the furniture and the things. Home is the foundation from which we go out into the world. Our ability to love and serve others begins with a safe place to grow and learn. Designing spaces that inspire conversation about God and welcomes us to know Him better is an amazing privilege.
Here is a mini tour of our home with photos from over the years to give you a visual of the finished product of our hospitable hopes and wishes.
I recently read that the reason people navigate towards the kitchen is not only for the food but also a natural inclination for people to create a smaller space to connect. So if you can imagine a typical Wednesday night at the Hurley Homestead, there are usually fifteen people squeezing into the kitchen space when they could easily move into the living room. Now I look over and smile because I know people are physically creating smaller space between one another to emotionally bridge the gaps for more intimacy.
One of my favorite things about having open shelves is that guests can easily help themselves to a glass of water or make a pot of coffee without asking where to find the cream and sugar. Over the years, our community has also become comfortable with cleaning up and washing their dishes themselves. We leave these items out so friends can find what they need when they need it.
We could go real deep on the power of food, but I will keep it simple and say the table is where everything stops. To sit down with your family or friends is an intentional act to fill our bodies’ need for nourishment and our hearts’ need for fellowship. I pray that we learn to make each person at our table known by slowing down and giving them our best attention.
Tip: Need a quick meal idea? Try a Podcast and Pizza Party! Or, have a couples honeymoon dinner where each guest brings a dish inspired by where they traveled on their honeymoon (we also played the “not so” newlywed game and had a blast).
Kid Tip: If you’re choosing furniture, find things that can get dirty. When shopping, folks encouraged us to get fabric dining chairs but, we opted for metal because you can easily wipe off messes. We also chose not to put a rug under our dining table for our season of life because there is always food on the floor after every meal. I would not have it in me to vacuum every day.
Our goal in the living room was creating as many seats as possible while still keeping things cozy. We purchased two fabric benches that sit under the windows in the living room. These benches are storage for toys and extra seating we can push into the circle when we need it. To make an inviting space, the benches give us the appearance of a tidy but stylish space.
I love that our life happens in these three open spaces: kitchen, dining and living. It gives us the ability to be engaged with others, no matter what we’re doing. If you are washing dishes, you can still listen in on conversation happening on the couch. If we need more chairs, we can easily pull them over from the dining area. Kids can play in the living room, while adults finish up their meal at the table and still safely watch the kids.
This is the mot unique room in the house. We did not put any technology (no clock, television, speakers) in this room because we didn’t want anything to distract us from conversation with God and others. This is where we do our bible study, read, pray with hurting friends and escape the noise of the other room. Every home should have a quiet place that makes them smile.
I want your home to be a place that brings you joy, not stress. A unique taste of the things you love and the people you love, not a museum of nice artifacts. Your intentional hospitality and the memories you make is what makes your home a meaningful space. So, how are you creating a home that inspires trust and vulnerability? How are you finding quiet space for you and your community to feel safe to ask tough questions? Most importantly, is God calling you to open up your doors and invites others in to share life together?
God has welcomed and received you as you are. His love is transformative–growing your heart for a greater capacity to welcome and receive others. May God’s hospitality towards you overflow into the vision and the life of your home.
Want a devotional resource on the topic of heart and home?? You can buy “Creating Space to Connect” work guide for only $4!