Women of Reverence welcomes Susanne Sivewright as a guest blogger.
Susanne a wife to Tony Sivewright and together they have 3 adult children. We are blessed with one son in love (law) and a daughter in love (law). God has blessed us with a grandson, granddaughters and one new grandchild on the way!
Tony and I are privileged to lead Fourways Community Church and serve in NCMI Global Apostolic Team.
I am passionate about all things home and Danish 'hygge' style.
Quite a few years ago now, Tony and I were invited to Dubai to spend some time in a newly planted church, City Lights with Dan and Starla Webster. Tony is generally the person that does ALL the talking when we visit Churches but on this particular occasion Starla had asked me to share at her Glow ladies meeting. I was asked to share around, what Starla felt was my strength...hospitality. WHAT...hospitality...YIKES!!!!
Yes I do a lot of hosting and being a pastors wife, half the time I feel forced into having people over. In the early days of our church plant my house was like a railway station, everything seemed to happen at my house, prayer meetings, leaders meetings, baptisms, youth 'hang-outs', cell group and even our Sunday morning meeting started up in our home. My home wasn't my own. Most of the time I just graciously 'sucked it up' when another kid would break one of my children's favorite toys or a kid that kept ripping at my well cared for pot plant that I actually quite treasured or a kid that insisted on throwing my garden pebbles into the pool or that adult that kept kicking my newly painted coffee table...okay I need to stop, I'm getting myself irritated...I'm sure you get the picture!!!
To be perfectly honest having people over and hosting people and guests seemed like jolly hard work at times and wasn't much fun for me...so if that was what hospitality meant, well I just didn't have that gift and at the same time I knew that to be a leader in God’s church I had to practice it.
Hospitality for many means stress, cleaning, cooking, general agitation, everything perfect and ofcourse setting beautiful tables. You see we often confuse ‘hospitality’ and ‘entertainment’. Entertaining guests is limited to a few who are good at it, with the right possessions and talents. True biblical hospitality has absolutely nothing to do with what possessions you have or your gourmet skills in the kitchen INSTEAD it’s taking what little (or a lot) you have and pouring it out in service to God and others.
This is not always easy but always rewarding. Many times I would have to put on my 'happy face' and very graciously welcome people into my home and pour out what felt like at times was the very last dregs of oil left in my jar. Feeling like I was really running on empty already with nothing left to give...but surprisingly just like the widow in 1 Kings 17, who gave the last of her oil to bake for the hungry prophet Elijah as he passed through her village, so at times I found that as I gave of my 'last' bits of energy and for what felt like the 100th time I moved my daughter out of her bedroom and magically turn it into an amazing guest room to host a visiting pastor....the oil never ran out. I've often wondered why God told Elijah to look for food and shelter (hospitality) at a widows home. She was a single mom with nothing, helpless...BUT...the blessing she receives from giving of her last far outweighs any cost she had to pay...go ahead read the story, it's amazing!!!!
The word hospitality is from the Latin root word 'hospital' and 'hospice' that implies care, shelter, sustenance, peace...now that I KNOW I can do!!! True biblical hospitality is an attitude of service, not running around like a mad women trying to make everything perfect...been there, done that!!!
In Denmark and being a Dane myself, they have a word called 'hygge', it’s actually become quite a trendy word today. Loosely translated it means "cozy ambiance" but it is really much more than that. Hygge is about relaxing, slowing down and enjoying time spent together with friends and loved ones. It is about bringing light and warmth to a dark night, sipping hot drinks and creating a cheerful, peaceful, welcoming mood at home. And the beautiful thing about a ‘hygge home’ is that it depends much more on the care you take than the cash you put into it.
The moment you step into a hygge home, you know it. Imagine walking through the door and being greeted by a warm hug, the scent of something delicious baking in the kitchen and a comfortable place where you can sit, oh and ALWAYS a candle lit.
So often it's the small things that make the biggest difference. Don't you agree? More than having the "right" sofa or a perfectly coordinated rug and throw pillows, coziness comes from the sense that someone is caring for you. Think a small vase of fresh flowers and coffee brewing...filled with warm, caring, loving conversations...now that's hospitality and THAT comes naturally to me and some others of you...some need to learn this art, but to be a Christian we must ALL practice it!!!
Your home is a gift to be used not a showpiece to be admired.
Eating together is soooo much more than food, so relax and make what you are comfortable making.
The most memorable meals are often when food is incidental.
There’s a huge difference between a house and a home. A home makes room for people.
Do one thing well, don’t over complicate things. I love to bake so I always focus on that ❤️