It’s difficult to believe that our family has lived in our home for over twenty-nine years. The precious memories we have created are priceless. Not only did we raise our five children there, we received our five “in-loves” into our family in our beloved home and now we have 13 grandchildren running through “Nana and Papa’s” house.
I will never forget the first night we spent in our home. We stood as a family as my husband dedicated our “new house” to the Lord as a haven of hospitality. We have kept that promise for that house has now become a “loving home”. From the time we moved in, we have opened its doors to an average of over 1,000 guests a year and have cherished every moment. We have entertained and fed political leaders, country music singers, movie producers, foreign exchange students, fellow ministers and missionaries, youth groups and basketball teams, friends and church members but the most memorable are the family gatherings celebrating holidays, birthdays, graduations, weddings, births and reunions.
One of our most treasured memories was a Hagee family reunion where we hosted Pastor’s father and mother, four of Grandpa Hagee’s nine brothers, one sister and a myriad of extended family. Pastor Hagee is a fifth generation minister and the 47th descendent in the Hagee family to preach the Gospel since they immigrated to America from Germany in the 1700’s. We often recollect the fourth generation siblings standing around the piano singing old hymns with Grandma and Grandpa Hagee while their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren sat on our staircase listening to eye-opening stories of their childhood. The elder Hagees have all moved to heaven since that precious reunion so our memories of time together in our home are invaluable.
Pastor Hagee and I had several house rules as we were raising our “fabulous five” as their Daddy calls them, and one of the most important was that our children had to be home for dinner every evening. Since their guests were always welcomed, the question that was asked every night as our children set the kitchen table was, “How many are coming to dinner?” It was a joy to listen to them visit and laugh with their friends during our mealtime as they answered their father’s nightly question, “What happened in your life today?” What we learned about our children and their friends was most enlightening!
Our family doesn’t need a reason to gather at our home and celebrate. We come together often and always around a meal. I am from a Mexican family that loves to cook so sharing special recipes with the next generation has become a tradition... our slogan is “the more... the merrier!”
One of the most exciting dinner gatherings in our home happened when we hosted the Prime Minister of Israel. The orthodox rabbi supervised the preparation and cooking in our home so we could serve a kosher meal to our guests. We invited two hundred guests and had more than three hundred come to dinner... it was a great night!
We are now showing our grandchildren how to prepare meals, set a table and how to extend hospitality, all-the-while teaching them to be thankful for the Lord’s many provisions. My husband and children have inherited the gift of singing from their grandparents. As most of you know, they have recorded several music projects and as we listen to our grandchildren sing at the top of their lungs while having a “sleepover” in our home, we smile at each other for we are confident that the Hagee family singing traditions will continue.
We briefly thought about downsizing our home after our youngest child married. However, since then we have raised three additional children and have yet to experience the empty nest–which is just fine with us. Now that our grandchildren have become accustomed to our home being the family gathering place, I am confident that we will live in it for many, many more years to come and as I said before---that is just fine with us for the best is yet to be!
Valentine’s Day marks a time when we express our love to friends and family. My question is, “Why dedicate just one day to express our love for each other? Why not show our love daily and why not within a loving home?”
When Pastor and I walk into our home we can feel the presence and love of the Lord; this did not happen by accident. We made a conscious effort to have the Lord rule our household. There were days when we fell short of that goal but after extending unconditional love and forgiveness to each other we were back on the right path.
Today’s society offers so many different types of love and one of those is to appreciate the value of something. We need to place great value on the love our home can offer those we care for. When you allow the presence of God to saturate your home then you also allow His blessings to abide there as well. The size, location or worth of your home does not matter for the true value of that home is measured by the expressions of love that take place within its walls.
A Godly home may be a rental apartment, a condo, a farm or a hi-rise and it may be occupied by one person, a couple or a family. What really matters is that the love of God is allowed to reside there. When anyone walks into a home filled with God’s love they feel accepted and not rejected; protected and not threatened... welcomed and not tolerated.
It is a sanctuary of peace and safety where children are raised in an environment of divine love that mirrors the love that Christ has for each and every one of His children.
The greatest gift you can give your friends and family this Valentine’s Day is the love of God and that expression of pure love should begin in the home!