About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. A life lab! Yes!
    This post is such an encouragement to me in this season of the revolving door, when I feel as if I need to take attendance every morning before setting the table for breakfast. Who’s home from college? Who’s away for the weekend? Isn’t there a simpler equation for counting plates?
    We give them strong roots and wings, and then they fly, but how wonderful when they come back to the nest because they love it here!

    • Yes, isn’t it?

      And even in the midst of their poor choices, we love them like crazy so they still want to come home. 🙂

    • You are so welcome. I pray it’s an encouragement to them through the beautiful and hard times.

    • Thank you, Jas, but it’s ALL Him through the good, bad and even uglier moments. 🙂

  2. Jen,

    Our children learn from what we do & show them. Modeling how to love others well is a legacy worth leaving. You all raise Godly children & then send them out of the nest to fly. They want some independence. Deep down they love the home & family life more. Life with children or aging parents can be a life lab of experiments. Trying & showing them different things. Working to see how to make their lives better. Thanks for leaving a great legacy for you children.

    Blessings 🙂

  3. I so agree with you on how those we disciple or our children learn hospitality by watching and doing, Jen! That’s how I experience Jesus as a little girl growing up in a broken family – I didn’t have that experience you’re describing in my family of origin – but each time I went to my Sunday School or youth leaders house for meetings or dinners or get togehthers, I *experienced* missional living – filled with welcome, joy and love. And so, now that I’m a mom myself, I’m raising my kids to experiemce love, hospitality by offering to them what I received from my spiritual aunties, uncles, spiritual big sisters – and love on them the way God intended. And esp. my high school youth leaders and from my 20’s. and that’s why I became a youth missionary in my 20’s. And now, as a mom in my 40’s and to other women, I am doing the same, opening my home and my stories – so that they can share yours. I will always remember your hospitality when I cried during the (in) retreat that year in 2013 and you were the one person that reached out to hug me and pray for me – and that was hospitality – true hospitality of the heart reaching out to love me with God’s hands and heart. I can’t WAIT to hug you in just a little bit at the (in)courage retreat and enjoy your company this week, CAn you believe it will be 10 years since we started blogging together for (in)courage, friend! 🙂 with love, Bonnie