We have a small home — a split-level condo with two bedrooms and a galley kitchen that never seems to have enough counter space. I know that in most places in the world, our home size would be considered normal, or perhaps even large. But here in affluent suburbia where we live, our square footage is, comparatively, on the compact end of things.
Any time we have more than a handful of people over — such as this last weekend for my daughter’s first birthday party — we run out of seating quickly. Often, guests start spilling onto the stairs, sitting on steps when the couches and chairs are full.
My tendency, in the past, was to worry about the lack of space, to try and fix things by giving up my seat or finding another stool. Because when I saw people sitting on the stairs, my hospitality button got pushed: I didn’t feel like I could provide what my guests needed. I never want anyone to feel uncomfortable in my home — physically or socially — and I was concerned that our small home would make people feel cramped and unwelcome.
But my husband is a pastor, and having people over is the name of the game in ministry. We often host small groups, even when the groups aren’t actually “small,” and a couple of years ago we had a small group that kept growing — to nearly thirty people. Before we were able to raise up new leaders for the group and split it into two, I remember praying that God would literally make physical space for every person that came into our house — because I didn’t know if we would have room for everyone to stand, let alone sit, in our home.
And God did. Yes, things were tight. Each stair doubled as a seat, and many people sat on the floor. It was hot, even when the air conditioning was blowing as high as we could set it. And there was no real sense of personal space. But we read the Bible together and we sang together and we prayed together, and people kept coming back — and bringing friends.
And you know what? No one mentioned that our house was too small. No one complained about having to sit on a stair rather than on a couch. No one told us that they thought our home was hindering what God was doing.
And that’s when I got over apologizing for our home. That’s when I stopped letting my hospitality button get pushed by what we didn’t have and what I couldn’t control. I realized that if God could fit thirty people into our little house and that those squished people could encounter His truth and His goodness when we were together, the size of our home wasn’t holding Him back.
So until God moves us, this home is the one we have and I will be grateful for it. When people sat on the stairs at Ella’s birthday party last weekend, I didn’t cringe. I passed the cake and I joined them and I looked at our little home, full to bursting with people who loved us. They might have been a little cramped, but they took the cake gladly and they sang with us and we celebrated God’s kindness to our family through our daughter’s life. And I looked around at the friends sitting on the floor and the family members standing in the galley kitchen, and I was deeply thankful for all that we had been given — small home included.