One of my love languages is giving of my time.
I’ve known this for a long time, but I was reminded of this this past week as I prepared for the return of one of my roommates.
I’ve lived with my friend Kat for the past three and a half years. We met long, long ago on a dark September morning when she could hardly speak English and I hadn’t even started my nursing education yet.
She recently went home for Christmas break and was set to come back last night, after three and a half weeks away.
I was so excited. The house didn’t feel the same without her, and I had been looking forward to her arrival for about a week.
In preparation, I cleaned the house, top to bottom, including the kitchen, all the floors, the bathroom (I must really love her…), and a little bit in her room.
I took out the garbage, threw out some nasties from the fridge, and lit a candle to make the house smell fresher.
I wrote a “welcome home” note on the whiteboard in our entry.
I washed her sheets, folded her laundry, and aired out her room.
I stocked the fridge, and baked one of her favourite desserts to have ready for her.
Finally, I set out her Christmas gift, ready for her to see and open once she returned home.
My purpose in all these preparations was that after an 18 hour flight she would be able to walk in the door and feel at home.
The whole time I prepared all these things, I was wondering what her reaction would be. And, since I know her pretty well after being roommates for so long, I was pretty sure that the sparkling ceramic in the bathroom and some warm banana bread on the counter would make her day.
She got home this morning, when I wasn’t at home. When I saw her a little bit later, I was thrilled to welcome her home with a big hug and hear all about her trip. We got the chance to just sit together, chatting and catching up.
It was awesome… It’s so good to have her home again.
Pause for a second.
This past week, I was also challenged by a young adults bible study I attend to focus my mornings on Jesus and really invest some time with Him right when I wake up.
One of the ways I did that was by reading my bible as soon as I awoke. I happened to be reading through Hebrews this week, and a couple mornings ago, this is the verse I read.
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home not yet to come.” – Hebrews 13:14 (NLT)
As I scrubbed sinks, stirred batter, and swiffed floors to prepare for my roommate’s arrival, this verse kept running through my head, along with a couple other things I know.
One is that Jesus went to prepare a place for us, a place with more than enough room for all of us, and will return for us when it is ready (John 14:1-4).
The other is that if we know how to give good gifts to each other, how much more our Father knows how to give good gifts to us (Matthew 7:9-11).
This got me thinking.
I know how to give good gifts to my roommate (even in the form of a clean floor, a miniature coffee percolator, and a loaf of banana bread), as I prepare for her arrival (long-awaited, even though she was only away for three and a half weeks) to our home (even as humble as it is).
I eagerly anticipated her arrival, planning and preparing, and hoping that what I did would make her feel loved, rested, and at home.
How much more does our Father eagerly anticipate our arrival home?
How much more does our Father prepare His home for us?
Knowing the effort that I put in to preparing for Kat to come home, and the joy that it brought me at the prospect of bringing joy into her life,
I am sure that the Father is preparing a perfect place for us, and that it brings him joy to do so. That He cannot wait for us to arrive, greet us with great joy, and welcome us home.