I shared this on Facebook as we approached our first Christmas without Wayne.

We’re at the four-month mark today. The boys and I are doing OK…probably because we’re stuffing down our emotions just to get through each day. I’m grateful for friends who continue to send messages or offer quick hugs. It’s a good reminder of the amazing community supporting us.

Wayne was ALL about building community. Last night, I went to a “Favorite Things” party. And to honor his memory, I gifted large serving platters with Act 2:46 written on the back. I shared with the group how Wayne loved to host people. It’s a quality a lot of men don’t have. But he knew when you invite someone into your home, an immediate bond is created and a deepening of relationships occurs.

From his days as a poor missionary in Russia where he hosted people in his drafty apartment and served homemade tortillas while jamming out to American music (supposedly his Garth Brooks CD collection was a big hit!), to when we were first married and he was a Young Adult Singles Pastor and we would cram 30 leaders into our little starter home for group meetings, and for the last 10 years, leading a couple’s small group and establishing regular, no-frills “crappy dinners” where friends would just show up with whatever food they had on-hand or pulled out of the fridge, these special times strengthened and deepened friendships. Wayne understood and appreciated the huge value of simply doing life together.

I encourage you to invite people into your home. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got clutter on the dining room table or a basket of laundry in the middle of the floor. What DOES matter is the impact you can have on people when you put aside the thoughts that say, “Everything has to look perfect, I need to plan something special, we need to get it on the calendar weeks in advance….” Guess what???? Perfection never comes! We can always find an excuse — too tired, too busy, house too messy. Instead, look for the reasons WHY — encouragement of friends, discovering commonalities, building your community.

These last few months would’ve been completely different if I wasn’t surrounded by the people Wayne and I had taken the time to invest in over the years. I pray you never have to go through something like this. But if you do, I hope you have people in your life who know you, understand you and will walk beside you.

“They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.” ~ Act 2:46

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