About the Author

Sarah values relationships, reverence, rules, and chai lattes. She prioritizes early morning conversations with the Lord. Listening to the voice of God directs everything, making her a joyful servant of obedience. This led her to writing her first book and opening her own Christian publishing company.

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Comments

  1. Sarah,
    I love your friend’s Caboose Ministry. If only we all would adopt that attitude in everything we do – not just hospitality. The first shall be last and the last shall be first. God loves a humble and contrite heart and inviting someone into our mess (whether it’s our messy house or our messy heart) is an act of humility. Anyone can appear to be perfect, but it takes real guts to be real. Good for your friend in leading the way. One of my favorite stories as a child was “The Little Red Caboose”…..maybe now I know why 🙂 Awesome post!
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Bev, So well put … It’s not just about the condition of our house, but also what we’re willing to open up and share from our heart. All of us are in perfect – All of us are loved! Glad that you now have a new spiritual connection with “The Little Red Caboose.”

        • Made me smile – I had to re-read your reply, Sarah, to find the spelling mistake! My mind read the correct spelling! That made me think about this post – how so often we worry about what’s wrong but forget what’s important, to just open.the.door!! Love the thought of the caboose – so fitting.

          • Eda,
            This reply box is getting smaller and smaller!!!
            Glad that you too got a smile out of “in perfection” and related it to the message. When we let down our guard of trying to get it all “right”, there is more room for growth and giggles:)

  2. I love your friend’s availability to God, and I’m encouraged in my own thinking about my home: it’s not a fortress where I can hide. We are continuously in the process of “finishing” our house, and if I had waited for the perfect setting before having guests into my home . . . I’d still be waiting! We miss so much when we let our pride get in the way of simply being available.
    Blessings to you, Sarah!

    • Michele,
      I love the phrase you used… My home is not a fortress where I can hide. Hopefully, when we knock down our protected walls of pride, our home can become a welcoming place of respite instead. Blessings to you as well!!!

  3. I love this “Caboose Ministry”. I cringe at all the lost opportunities I’ve missed because of my “messes” in life. Thank you so much for sharing and God Bless You!

    • Tricia,
      I know that I have also missed MANY opportunities in my past (and truthfully some days in the present), but I am now conditioned to stop and think about The “Caboose Ministry” perspective. When I am at the crossroads of extending an invitation, the thought of Erin’s brave heart, and the example that she taught me, usually leads to an open door:)
      God bless you too!

  4. Sarah,
    Thanks for the reminder of what is the most important!! God’s Blessings to you.
    ❤️
    Diane

    • Diane, you are very welcome! It was a hard lesson for me to learn, but thankfully my friend showed me what was truly important. Leaders go first—the caboose was already in holy reverse action that day! Blessings to you as well

  5. Wow. My kids are grown and gone now,but I’m shaking my head in agreement with others’ comments, that I truly missed out when they were younger. I never wanted to volunteer my messy house. I had 3 under 3 yrs old and chaos ruled in my house for that season. I very much wish I had just relaxed a little and let the messes go…wonderful words of wisdom today for young moms!

    • Melinda,
      3 under 3 . . . I can’t imagine anyone passing judgment on the condition of your home in that season of life!
      Currently I have two elementary aged children. Often my mother tries to make me feel better by telling me that it will be easier to keep a clean house when they are older. My husband and I laugh and shake our heads in disagreement. Because we know that our less than perfect housekeeping skills existed before kids… and it will probably continue to be this way long after they are grown! We are pretty sure that our house will never look immaculate—even when the kids move out! Who says people need an excuse of messy kids to live out the caboose ministry? I will probably always have (at least on some days) a mess to present;)

  6. Great post, Sarah!! I needed to hear it today. My home doesn’t have to be perfectly cleaned or decorated – I just need to have a heart for Jesus and His children, welcoming them into our home in His name. Thanks, Sarah!

    Praise God from Whom all Blessings flow! <

  7. Truer words were never spoken!!!
    Oh that we might all take this to heart, no matter the season of life we are in.
    Blessings to you!!

    • Joan,
      YES! No matter what season of life: single or married, kids or no kids, tidy or messy . . . May we always remember that it’s about the heart and love of God – not the condition of our house or circumstances ❤️ Blessings to you as well:)

  8. Sarah,
    This was one of those sweet aww moments. Thank-you so much for sharing the beauty of being the caboose.
    Have a blessed day all,
    Penny

    • Penny,
      I was definitely in awe that day. I continue to cherish sweet memories, and now have a friendship that has lasted beyond the pre-school playground days. There’s beauty and benefit to being real with others!!! Only now it’s not just the condition of our homes that we are willing to share—Erin and I have developed an authentic sister-in-Christ bond. As our children are growing up, our families have stayed connected and we continue to grow spiritually together. Sometimes these fruitful conversations take place while sitting in messy minivans now, instead of the house:)

  9. “A holy reverse.” Love that. I seem to pretty much love anything with the word “holy” in front of it, haha. 🙂 What a fun, freeing concept this “caboose ministry” is. Thank you, Sarah, for sharing Erin’s heart with us. And, your three year old was right, wasn’t he? Love how littles don’t let their eyes catch on the superficial, but see straight through to what matters. Sometimes I wonder if we think people will like us more if we have immaculate homes? Also, who has an immaculate home? Does she even exist…this immaculate home girl? There is freedom in living with authenticity. And, that’s sort of a “holy reverse” too, when you think about it, because we find the freedom when we offer it to others. A cyclical offering it is…what we need comes back to us by way of us extending it to others. So much of Christian living works that way, dosn’t it? 🙂 ♥

    • Brenda,
      How right you are! Cyclical offering—love it❤️ Maybe my son did not see the mess because he was already used to it in our house;) The conditions were normal for him, so nothing stood out as different. This allowed him to focus on fun with his friends, instead of what many of us adults zero in on—the focus of failure and not good enough.
      P.S. If the immaculate home girl does exist, she is welcome to come take a break over at my place;)

  10. What a beautiful example of sharing God’s love. How many times have I been to exhausted to share His love with others because I am too wrapped up in getting it right??? A caboose ministry is so much better!

    • Donna,
      Yes, a beautiful example indeed! Hopefully we can all learn from Erin’s wisdom and keep the Caboose Ministry going . . . Who knew that one rainy play date could turn into a ministry message to many?!?! God is so amazing ❤️

  11. Oh did I ever need this today. I felt put down last night by 2 people, and I am experimenting with NOT telling all my friends about it, and by keeping it to myself and forgiving quickly, as a gesture of humility. I know God will honor me and my spiritual growth by me doing this – it’s a spiritual law. It doesn’t feel as good in the moment but will reap rewards and quick spiritual acceleration. I have spent too long being a victim! Judge not lest ye be judged, and I see it happen again and again – God just showed me how I have judged both these people in the recent past – I guess it was coming back to roost as his word promised it would. So funny when God’s word turns out to be true, huh? 😉

    • Dear sweet Agnes,
      I am sorry that you felt put down. Praying that the love of God lifts you up❤️❤️❤️
      Humility, forgiveness, spiritual growth . . . all praiseworthy progress—generated by a difficult situation. Sending a high five, (hug), and smile your way sister:)

  12. Beyond awesome!! Thanks for sharing this. So real and honest. There’s such a need for us to be perfect, not to show weakness, because that invites criticism and judgment from many. May all of us embrace a Caboose ministry.

    • Tonya,
      Thank you for your sweet words❤️
      Instead of expressing criticism and judgment—I gained respect and appreciation for my friend! Hopefully this message inspires others to do the same . . . I wonder how many other authentic friendships will develop through putting the Caboose Ministry into practice:)

  13. Thank you Sarah for reminding me to put the most important things into perspective rather than focus on all my imperfections. It’s all about being real all the time and not hiding away who we truly are. It’s about being used as a blessing to others despite our imperfections and mess. God doesn’t choose the perfect to do His work, but uses our weaknesses for His glory.
    Awesome post!!

    Blessings

    Susannah

    • Susannah,
      “It’s all about being used as a blessing to others despite our imperfections and mess.” YES!!! So good sister❤️
      We GET to be used by Jesus to BE a BLESSING to others! Our mess and imperfections help to create room for love and authenticity.

  14. My dear sweet Sarah, i could of used this advise a long time ago…I struggled with this most of your childhood I was a”clean house want ta be”, but that was permanently squelched when your brother was born with Downs Syndrome. As you recall, he was not your more typical complacent DS child and life became the never ending game of catch-up. God has a sense of humor because that cured my OCD. To be honest I still struggle with the guilt of failure. As I sit at the airport anxiously awaiting coming to see you…your house better not be immaculate and better yet I hope it’s messy. Too soon old and too late smart as they say! Just can’t wait to give all of you a hug❣️

    • Hi mom!
      I promise, there are still dishes in the sink, bathrooms that have not been disinfected yet, and your guest bed still needs sheets put on it (currently they are sitting in a HUGE pile of clean laundry by the washing machine). Our house may not look ready to greet you, but our hearts are overflowing with excitement—knowing that we will get to welcome and see you in just a few hours!!!
      I’d like to think you did me a favor by not passing along compulsive tendencies and unrealistic house expectations. When I reflect back on my childhood, I don’t measure your love in clean carpets or sparkling windows . . . Instead I remember your precious hugs and uplifting words. Thank you!!!
      You were leading a “Caboose Ministry” before I ever heard the term from Erin;) LOVE you MOM ❤️❤️❤️

  15. What a beautiful story! I know I am guilty of this very thing. Afraid to invite anyone over without prior notification so that I can at least clean up a little bit. We get so invested into the notion of a perfect house, perfect life, perfect kids and so forth. We don’t need to worry so much on these things. We have a perfect God who loves us despite our messy heart. Let us remember to welcome everyone into our home, invited or not, clean or not. We never know who we are encouraging when we allow others to see the imperfect human that we are.

    • May lee,
      You said it sister . . . Only God is described by perfection! And yes, we never know who we are encouraging when we allow others to see our mess!!! ❤️

  16. I saw a sign that said
    “Good moms have sticky floors, messy kitchens, laundry piles, dirty ovens, and happy kids.
    I hung it on the fridge at my daughters house, (single mom, 4 kids)
    It’s there to remind us both of what is important. Time with them, time with others. 🙂
    Thank you for your post! Love it!!!

  17. Oh my… I LOVE this post!! Thank you, Sarah. I’ve been to homes where I feel it’s like a museum, like I don’t dare touch anything or sit on the “wrong” couch or chair. And I’ve been to homes like your friend’s, so beautifully imperfect, the things of life. I can BREATHE in a home like that! I want to let go of all my worrying about things being tidy and perfect (HA! Never going to happen) and focus more on loving God and people…what a freedom. Thank you again, and blessings to you!

  18. Sarah,

    Loved this post! Also loved the idea of a caboose ministry. This world screams for perfection. We all feel we can’t let people into our mess & see the chaos in our lives-both in real life & our hearts. Even at church we pretend to be happy & in control of everything. Sharing our mess with others allows them to know that they are not alone. Jesus always walked into messy lives of everyone He met. He would rather spend time with you than have you worry about cleaning/cooking. Think of Martha & Mary. Spend time with others. We need to be more loving, humble & hospitable. Go ahead & show the world you messy chaotic life. We all love you & want the opportunity to pray for you.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Beth,
      Great insight — “Jesus always walked into messy lives of everyone he met.” Well said!
      Blessings to you as well❤️

  19. I love the heart of her ministry, and the idea by going first (being the first to step up and do the hard inviting) we show ourselves to be God’s caboose.