Open Doors, Unzipped Hearts and the Gift of Your Friendship

July 23, 2012 | 41 comments

I stood in the doorway of my family’s new guest-room this morning, and I thought about you, friend.


Real friends open doors for each other. And that’s precisely what we’ve done, you and I. We’ve opened doors. I’ve invited you into this home, this life. And you’ve invited me into your in-boxes and hearts.

When people cross thresholds like that, they’re linked. There’s no turning back.

It’s true, we are more than pixels, more than typed letters on a screen. We are actual friends, with hitched hearts.


That’s what I was thinking as I stood there in the doorway of that room, which we’ve transformed into sleeping quarters for overnight guests. We put a white quilt on the bed, decorated the gray walls with ancestor’s photographs and great-grandma’s hats. We brought in an antique buffet and an old typewriter. Granny T’s hymnal is open to a favorite song: “I Love to Tell the Story.”

I stepped inside the room this morning, sat on the bed, smoothed out the quilt and thought about you, my guest. I’m so grateful for you, friend.


be still and know

This week marks the fourth year of my blogging. I spent a lot of years chasing front-page news stories, but these days I’m chasing after the redemptive story of Christ.  I still love to tell the story.

I’m in the process of writing my first book, with the fine folks at Tyndale, and you’ve made me know that it’s OK to unzip my heart. That even though real is scary, it’s better than the alternative.

You’ve been the guest, yes. But you’ve also been the most gracious host a writer could ask for … letting me enter your in-boxes and homes to talk about God’s still-amazing grace, His faithfulness and His unrelenting love for sinners.

So I sat there, in that room, all gussied-up for overnight guests. And I thanked God for you, friend.

Today, I just wanted you to know that…
“Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart.”

Philippians 1:3-4 (The Message)


by | July 23, 2012 | 41 comments

41 Comments

  1. Sandra Heska King

    I’m thinking I’d like to see that guest room up close and personal. Love having hitched hearts with you while hooked up to Him.

    Reply
    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Sandra … The idea of having you here as an overnight guest makes me smile in a big way. We could make that happen; I just know it!

      So I saw your corn Looking much better! The sky here looks like it wants to rain. We’re praying it will do that this week! We’re still very dry.

      Reply
  2. Jillie

    Good Monday morning to you Jennifer! What a lovely post to begin the week. And what a lovely guest room! Wish I could come for a sleepover. 😀 The older I get, the more I appreciate older things–using your Granny’s cherished things is a wonderful idea for decorating. And I hope you know I feel the same way about you. You have become my friend through your transparency and honesty in your writing. I am learning that, with people, there is more that binds us together than separates. People are really ‘just people’ no matter what. We all want the same things deep down in the heart. Bless you my Friend.

    Reply
    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Good morning, Jillie! Happy Monday to you.

      A sleepover would be such fun, wouldn’t it? I can’t wait for our first guests in the new guest room here. We had our guest room in the basement, but felt this was a room better suited for grandparents and others who may not want to trudge up and down the steps.

      I’m grateful for your friendship, Jillie. People are people are people, indeed. Love to you, friend.

      Reply
    • Lynn Morrissey

      Jillie, as I think I have told you, I love to call God, our Divine Networker! I thank Him for connecting you, our Canadian sister, over the miles of cyberspace w/ your American friends. You have a precious, God-honoring heart. But if you would permit me a correction….in my day they were called pajama parties! But my dauther would agree w/ you re: sleepovers!!

      Reply
  3. Lynn Morrissey

    Jennifer, congratulations on four years of blogging! I’m a recent reader to your blog, your home away from home, and indeed I do feel like a welcomed guest. When hosts share their hearts like you do, it’s then that guests truly feel at home–in fact, they feel more like family. Keep telling the old, old story, because each time you do, it grows “more wonderfully sweet.” I love that you say you are writing your first book, implying (to me) that there will be more! I hope you will place them on a desk in that new guest room. What a welcome that would be to guests who want to linger long into the night with stories of Jesus! All the best and God’s richest blessings on your life, your witness, and your writing!

    Reply
    • Jennifer@GDWJ

      Oh Lynn … You’ve been such a gift to me — in the comment box, and in the mailbox! I treasure your words and prayers and love. You are such a generous spirit.

      I appreciate your encouragement through this book-writing process. I have times of nervousness and anxiety and great uncertainty. God keeps reminding me to “be still” and wait on Him.

      Reply
      • Lynn Morrissey

        How very kind of you to say. Bless you, Jennifer. Yes, it can feel a bit unnerving to write a book, but the Lord will give you *His* plan (in writing w/ His hand upon you, as He did for David when He showed him how to plan for the temple). As you wait on Him in prayer, He’ll give you fresh inspiration as you pick up your pen (touch that keyboard)! He will give you His message, His way, in your words, and before you know it, you will be holdling your first book in your hands and, happily, so will we! I can’t wait!

        Reply
  4. Jillie

    Oh…And keep telling the old,old Story!!!

    Reply
  5. Nancy

    I love this: “It’s true, we are more than pixels, more than typed letters on a screen. We are actual friends, with hitched hearts.” There was a time when I didn’t think this could be true…hearts could not connect deeply “on-line”. But I have experienced it – it is true… for now and eternity.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Yes, you certainly have experience that, Nancy. So grateful for the ways you’ve been blessed by online friends who take up residence in your very real life.

      Reply
  6. Lisa L Keck

    What a lovely room and lovely post. When Orion Bebermyer wasn’t leading the singing, then Grandpa McKinney was and that was his favorite song. Even when he wasn’t leading, I could hear his voice above the rest of the congregation. Oh, and thanks, thinking of him just sparked thoughts for my own blog post today.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Lisa, I’m glad this brought back a memory of your Grandpa. I’ll be over to your place to read more.

      Reply
  7. ro.ellott

    we entered the blog world the same month…years apart…I have loved being welcomed here into you sweet home here…even though I am fairly new to your wonderful guest room…I feel comfortable and able to rest here too. Blessings as you write..pour out your heart…sacrificial love. happy blog celebration.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      I feel like we’ve been old friends for years! Thank you for the gift of ((you)). Love you.

      Reply
  8. Elizabeth

    Beautiful guest room, just like your beautiful heart which yes is some how tethered to me through writing here and through CHRIST. And I thank Him for you too.

    Happy Bloggy Birthday to you, Jennifer.

    Thanks for sharing truth in love and for your warm and wonderful ways. You are Hospitality, to me. And for that I am grateful.

    Reply
    • dukeslee

      Reading this comment from you, Elizabeth, I think of the verses that talk about a cord of three strands being “not easily broken.” So grateful that our hearts can entwine, even if our actual arms and hands can’t. HOWEVER … I would really like to meet you IRL someday. xo 🙂

      Reply
  9. Duane Scott

    I’m thinking that guest room looks like the perfect writer’s retreat, with the typewriter and the hymnal…

    Thank you for being a part of my life, Jennifer.

    Reply
  10. Jody Lee Collins

    Jennifer–HERE is joy….knowing you and being welcomed by YOU into this land of writing our hearts out for one another.
    I’ve only been ‘here’ since January this year, but seems like longer, what with all the kind friends, and you among them.

    I’ve been praying that Philippians prayer myself this month…LOVE it in the Message.

    I’m with Duane–that looks like a writers retreat room. (Hey, there’s an idea 🙂

    Bless you!

    Reply
  11. SimplyDarlene

    wow. our guest room is a sleeping bag in the horse trailer overhang or a cot in the garage-ish room. as you might imagine, folks are lined up at the door, anxiously awaiting to be let in. i’ll send the overflow your way, miss JDL.

    congrats on your 4 years!

    (i found you just a day after your accident by way of AV)

    blessings.

    Reply
  12. Dea

    Jennifer I feel like I have been a lot of rooms in your house! You taken me out to barn and out to the fields. You let me peek over the fence to the place you have worshipped with good and faithful folks in the place in the world that you never thought you’d live. You have sat me in the floor with your little girls and taken me to Sunday School with them and to first communions. You have taken me to Haiti with you and allowed me to join your journey there in prayer. Today I say thank you for all that…and for being a mentor to me without knowing it. Thank you for encouraging me when I left my blog silent until He says “yes” to write there again. (???) You light the world in this place…thank you friend.

    Reply
  13. Deidra

    I do the same thing. I fix up the guest room and sit on the bed and smooth out the covers. And I pray for the people who will spend time there. Your guest room is fancy, my friend. Like you.

    Reply
  14. Linda

    How appropriate this is for me today Jennifer. I’ve been away for quite a while, and I’ve missed this community. I’ve missed you. Thank you for the gift of your love and friendship. You are so precious to me.

    Reply
  15. Gramma T

    I love a guest room and I love old things, but most of all I love the way you can welcome us in with your words. Our guest room seems to have a revolving door this summer. Love it and those that enter in. We are for sure having angels heads on our flamingo sheets and pillowcases!!

    Reply
  16. Beth

    This is a beautiful room with beautiful thoughts behind it. This blogging community–some members we both know and love–has definitely been a ‘God Send’ to me. It has helped me beyond words.
    I too have learned to open up in my writing and have found acceptance and encouragement.
    Wonderful post.

    Reply
  17. Thelma

    You are this kind of host we love… Unapologetic, honest, beautiful. Thank you for daily making space for us in your life.

    Reply
  18. Susan

    Gorgeous, Jennifer. So glad the Lord crossed our paths this year!

    Reply
  19. Rona

    I love the old typewriter. I remember my mother’s being extremely heavy.

    Reply
  20. Kay

    Jennifer, Thank you so much for making room for me in your life. It’s been an honor to make your acquaintance, and I look forward to many more years of friendship. I hope we even one day meet face to face, toe to toe. I may never rest my head on the pillow in your lovely guest room, but I’ve definitely rested my weary heart on the screen of your hospitable blog many, many times 🙂

    Reply
  21. floyd

    I’m honored to call you my sister and your husband my brother… We are more than just words on a screen, we are real souls of our Father touching lives miles apart… Our God is that omnipotent…

    Reply
  22. Monica Sharman

    This is amazing.

    Praying for you and for the dear ones who will dwell in this excellent room. Conversations and blessed times that will resonate in eternity…

    Reply
  23. Cheryl Smith

    I love the room (pinned it) and I love the way you’ve opened your heart here, on this screen. Can’t wait to the read it on pages (or in an ebook or both) too.

    Reply
  24. Shaunie Friday

    Such a beautiful room sprung from the beautiful heart of beautiful YOU!! Thank you for drawing each of us close–you have a very special way of making each reader feel cherished. You are a gift!

    Reply
  25. Betty Draper

    Beautiful post, felt like I was sitting in the room with you. Look forward to your book. Blessings

    Reply
  26. Diane Bailey

    Love it! Just the kind of place I’d love to write in. Happy Anniversary telling the Story!

    Reply
  27. Christina

    I have my great grandmothers hats too:) Blogging is like letting people into your home, isn’t it? I’m so glad to visit yours:) Blessings!

    Reply
  28. Christina

    I have my great grandmothers hats too:) Blogging is like letting people into your home, isn’t it? I’m so glad to visit yours:) Thanks for being such a generous hostess. Blessings!

    Reply
  29. Stephani

    The room is beautiful and inviting and so are the words. Thanks for sharing! Congratulations on your first book to come! I would love to write a book. I love writing, and I love sharing what God teaches me, but I don’t know the first thing about writing a book or even how to get started. I’m praying that God will help me and open doors if that’s what he wants me to do.

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest