Lori Harris Pinable

It’s the witching hour when he swings by our house. I hardly recognize him.

“Hey, is Thad here?” he asks. “I really need to see him.”

I walk to the edge of the porch as he makes his way up the stairs. “It’s Kevin, right?” I ask.

He nods. “She done kicked me out. Took my kids and the last time I saw her she had hickeys all over her neck. I’m tore up. I been loving her forever and everything I been doing to keep her happy ain’t made her happy.”

I meet him on the top step, my baby at my heels. “I’m sorry, Kevin. I know you’ve been working hard. I bet you are hurt,” I say. He’s not here for me to fix his woman problems. He’s here because he needs someone to see him and hear him.

My youngest boy meets us on the porch and Kevin recognizes him. “How you doing, champ? You doing good in school?”

Isaac smiles shyly and looks at me before responding. “I guess I am. Reading is hard,” he says.

Kevin grins back at him. His smile is broadening and I can see his guard falling.

“Come on in,” I say. “Where are you staying now? Do you have a number I can give Thad?”

“Well, I’m at the shelter and I’m on house arrest for that thing I did back then,” he says. “I’m over here because I got community service to do and your house is on the way back to the shelter. “

He follows me into the front room where toys are scattered and babies are milling about, needing their diapers changed. The house is unruly and loud and no place for small talk. But Kevin, oblivious to the chaos swirling around him, is talking a blue streak and there is no stopping him.

So I do the only thing I can do.

I let him talk and I listen.

Jesus has seen fit to order my life in such a way that all of my days are spent rarely leaving my home.

There are kids to get out the door and kids to get in the door and the chores required in making a home and keeping a house are daunting. And they are endless.

I lead ministries from the front porch swing and scribble words on paper when words choose to come. I dream things for the people in my city when my arms are elbow deep in the sink and early in the morning and late in the evening, when the rest of my house sleeps, I get face time with the folks who are running their races alongside me.

And in all the in-between times, the times between diaper changes and crying and meals, there are neighbors knocking on the front door needing a sliver of something.

Ann Voskamp says that every interruption of my day is a manifestation of Jesus. I am coming to know that to be true.

Each knock on the door is an invitation to come and see the image of Jesus manifest in the faces of people who take on all sorts of shapes and sizes and colors.  Each interruption is an invitation to reach out and meet Jesus in the brokenhearted and hungry and lost. Each pause in the cycle of crazy is an invitation to bravely open my home, pull out an extra chair, and let someone bring their hurt into my safe place.

Each moment, each person who knocks at my door, is a tangible reminder that Jesus has come near, that His kingdom comes not in pomp and circumstance, but in every small movement that I make towards my neighbor.

And at the core, this is what hospitality should look like. 

Hospitality is not something I simply offer my neighbors. It is the posture I assume when my neighbors offer themselves to me.

It is the bending low, the inviting in, the seeing of all the lovely parts in another person’s presence.

It is the saying yes to an interruption, the coming near to a neighbor in need.

It is the manifestation of Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.

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Lori Harris / Posts / Blog
Lori Harris is a Southern born, Texas-missing girl, who is rearing her six kids in a neighborhood some would call the ‘hood. She and her bi-vocational husband have planted Fellowship Bible Church Rocky Mount on the wrong side of the railroad tracks where poverty runs deep and racism even deeper. She coordinates a city-wide MOPS group, passes out PBJs to the neighborhood kids, and brews coffee just to make the house smell like Jesus. She writes at loriharris.me.
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    Flower Patch Farmgirl

    I will carry this with me, especially when I hear that knock on my door and want to hide in the closet. Great post, friend.

    November 12th, 2014 12:33
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      And every time I want to hide, I’ll imagine you flinging wide open your door. xo

      November 12th, 2014 13:21
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    Shelly Miller
    http://redemptionsbeauty.com/

    You inspire Lori. Your words bring with them much needed perspective. Instead of fear and imposition may we see interruption as the presence of Jesus.

    November 12th, 2014 12:40
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      I have to be pray for fresh eyes, daily, Shelly. Thank you for being a faithful encouragement to me.

      November 12th, 2014 13:20
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    Kris Camealy
    http://kriscamealy.com/

    Lori, I have read this post many times between when you submitted it, and now…it continues to stir things in me. I am so grateful for how you live, and how your example encourages me to love better.

    November 12th, 2014 12:56
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      The feelings are likewise, Kris. You love so well.

      November 12th, 2014 13:19
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    Sarah

    Love this story, Lori. This is my favorite part: “But Kevin, oblivious to the chaos swirling around him, is talking a blue streak and there is no stopping him.”

    When we’re hurting and need someone to offer us hope, all of the surface level stuff (like messes and chaos) flies right out the window, doesn’t it? Praying I can remember this and meet Jesus right in the middle of someone’s need today.

    November 12th, 2014 13:39
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      Hello there Sarah~ It’s true. I’ve learned that when someone knocks on the door, I can rest assured they will not care the state of my house, my children, or my appearance. They simply want to be seen and heard. So thankful you were encouraged to pause and see someone today.

      November 12th, 2014 17:50
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    Pat S.

    Wow! Great job, Lori. You have inspired me and pointed me to Jesus, yet again. Thank you.

    “Hospitality is not something I simply offer my neighbors. It is the posture I assume when my neighbors offer themselves to me.”

    November 12th, 2014 13:45
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      You’re welcome, Pat. Thanks for being faithful. Your faithfulness encourages my heart.

      November 12th, 2014 17:49
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    Crystal
    http://crystalstine.me/

    I adore your heart, your welcoming spirit, how you invite us all in, all the time. Thanks for teaching me to love by listening.

    November 12th, 2014 14:28
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      Crystal- you model the way so very well. Thank you~

      November 12th, 2014 17:48
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    Kamille Scellick
    http://www.redeemingthetable.com/

    Lori–this is really beautiful. It’s like the story of the Samaritan taking time when it wasn’t “his job;” but, he saw his neighbor. It’s how Jesus sees us. It’s hard to do this, and I know I fail at it at times, while other times loving well. Thank you for giving me a glimpse into your home and your heart of hospitality.

    November 12th, 2014 14:31
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      Thanks Kamille. I love that you referenced the good Samaritan- I’ve not considered him in light of my circumstances, but his story fits. It absolutely does.

      November 12th, 2014 17:47
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    Joy B. Rudolph
    http://joybrudolph.com/

    Love you, Lori.

    November 12th, 2014 15:47
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    Dana Butler
    http://momentsandinvitations.com/

    This post is so YOU, Lori. It moves my deep places, resonates with what Jesus has been teaching me. Saying yes to Him with you, however He chooses to come to me… by His grace. Love you, friend.

    November 12th, 2014 19:11
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      It is me, isn’t it? I’m in a season of forgetting who I am and this place, this table of grace, is reminding me of who I am. And it’s reminding me of Whose I am. Love to you, Dana. You are a faithful soul.

      November 13th, 2014 2:48
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    ro elliott
    http://tuningmyhearttopraise.blogspot.com/

    There is so much kingdom beauty here… Living love right from your front porch… Allowing God to bring those Holy moments of interruptions… Where people are not projects…but someone to come along side and give and receive with…He invites us to live in His upside down Kingdom… Where the hidden places and secret places have a richness that can surpass the spot light… Where a cup of cold water has great value… A place that is filled with all His Goodness!!!
    Blessings and grace~

    November 12th, 2014 20:07
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      Ro~ The upside down kingdom is still upside down to me and yet, I’m trying so hard to settle in to this upside down way of living. It’s an absolute JOY to get to live this life. Thank you for encouraging my heart.

      November 13th, 2014 2:47
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    Leah Adams
    http://www.leahadams.org/

    Wow, what a stunning post. There is so much here that is soooo good. It may take me a few readings to digest this, but thank you so much for it.

    November 13th, 2014 1:09
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      You are quite welcome, Leah. It is my everyday life and I forget how beautiful it really is. Thank you for reminding me.

      November 13th, 2014 2:44
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    JViola79
    http://daysnthoughts.com

    Lori. thank you for reminding me that hospitality is not always convenient. It’s not always a scheduled or planned visit. The best and most heartfelt hospitality just happens on its own time.

    November 13th, 2014 5:35
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      And you know what, Joanne? You may be one of the hospitable people I’ve never met. Doesn’t that just mess with our in the box definition of hospitality??

      November 13th, 2014 15:09
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        JViola79
        http://daysnthoughts.com

        Friend, God has a way of messing with our boxes for sure. You have reduced me to tears for the 2nd time today 🙂 May God continue to have His way in & through our lives.

        November 13th, 2014 16:35
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    Lisha Epperson

    I’ve never handled uninvited guests well. I’m more awkward and impatient than gracious and welcoming. Lately there’s been a lot of interruptions like this..friends in need, showing up – and God asking me, again and again, to be a friend in deed. I’m working on it. Thank you for modeling it so gracefully. I’m watching you and I’m learning.

    November 13th, 2014 6:02
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      Lisha, I’m awkward with a capital A! I’m also type A and loathe to be interrupted. I’m just beginning to roll with it.
      Loving serving alongside you. We have much to learn from one another.

      November 13th, 2014 15:06
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    Traci Rhoades
    http://www.tracesoffaith.com/

    Lori, I too have been called home. I do so much communicating from here. With people and with Him. I think the alone time quiets us so we are prepared to be the neighbor that is needed when the time comes. Such a good post. Keep serving.

    November 13th, 2014 14:41
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      Sometimes, when we’re called home, it’s hard to find our spot of service outside of the ministry to our family. It wasn’t until I began to see the kingdom coming in small ways did I realize that it was because I was at home, that I got to participate with Jesus in this work. So grateful you’re saying yes to the small!

      November 13th, 2014 15:04
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    PeggyS
    http://whisperings-peggy.blogspot.com

    Lori, I am beginning to see this in my life. Thank you for putting words to the slow awakening. We have a SMALL home, 2 bedrooms and small living areas. But the neighbor kids are beginning to come over when my ggirl is here. Pray we (hubby and I) can figure out where the kids can be when they are here, and what to do. I love having them but get closterphobic (msp) with all the chaos. As always, praying for ‘ya all. (My Nebraska stab at Southern-being.)

    November 13th, 2014 16:29
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      Peggy- How exciting!!! Isn’t it great how children open wide the door to relationship building??! I will pray for you guys. Just keeping do the small things- they matter.

      November 14th, 2014 1:39
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    Sarah Knepper

    I recently took part in the She Reads Truth study on hospitality and am writing a post about everything I learned. Growing up we welcomed people in our home whether it was messy or not. I got so excited when I heard a knock at one of our back doors because it meant someone I knew was stopping by. I still love having people over and listening to their stories. Such a great thing God has blessed us with… Those that feel comfortable enough to share with us. Great post Lori!

    November 13th, 2014 18:00
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      Lori Harris
      http://loriharris.me/

      That study is on my list of ones to do, Sarah! I’ve heard it was so great. I’m still not to the point of being thrilled when someone knocks on the door,but since I love having all the blinds open, I can’t hide when they do! Hoping that over time my actions change my heart. So grateful you stopped by!

      November 14th, 2014 1:38
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    Linda Fitzpatrick McClellan

    That really touched my heart. My husband is a recovering drug addict with 12 years clean and always goes WAY out of his way to listen, encourage and do anything he can to reach out to his fellow NA members. I wish I could say people come to my door for comfort or coffee or just to visit but they don’t. I too stay mostly at home because of my last back surgery that is hampering me from doing the things I want to do. I will try and find ways I can help, I know the Lord is with me and I pray He sends me opportunities to share my time with others.

    November 16th, 2014 21:21
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