Since starting my new job, I have found very little time or energy to write or read.  At the end of the day, I am spent.  All I want to do is plop down in my writing nook and plug into Netflix to continue whatever marathon I happen to be enjoying.  Currently, I am in the middle of Call the Midwife for the second time.Call The Midwife

Seriously, y’all that this an outstanding show!  I have learned more about ministry and true sacrificial service from this T.V. series than I have from any other sermon, book, or college class.

It is an adaptation from the memoirs of Jennifer Worth about a group of nuns and midwives serving the poverty stricken East End of London in the late 1950’s.  The lead character in the show, Jenny Lee, came from a family of considerable wealth and privilege which she gave up to pursue a career as a nurse under the mentorship of the nuns of the Nonnatus House.

As Jenny reflects on her experiences of serving the women of the East End, you begin to watch a heart being softened by love. The love is a result of her service.  The more she pours into the women, the more she loves them.

In speaking to one of the sisters at the Nonnatus House, we see her understanding of true love unfolding:

“Was it love of people?’ I asked her.
‘Of course no,’ she snapped sharply. ‘How can you love ignorant, brutish people whom you don’t even know? Can anyone love filth and squalor? Or lice and rats? Who can love aching weariness, and carry on working, in spite of it? One cannot love these things. One can only love God, and through His grace come to love His people.”

One lesson I have been learning goes hand-in-hand with the journey that Jenny Lee walks through.  The Father is teaching me to love and the true meaning of hospitality.   The Greek word for hospitality is “philoxenos”  which literally means “brotherly love of strangers.” He has been opening my eyes to see those around me (strangers) who He wants me to extend His love to.

A few weeks ago, I packed my bags and headed out the door to a new coffee shop because if I went to my regular place I would end up talking to everyone. I was resolved to squeeze out a blog post.  I ordered, found the only open table, and plugged in my earbuds.  Much to my dismay, I could not get on the Wi-Fi, so I started to journal.

Out of the corner of my eye, I kept catching my neighbor to my right trying to make eye contact.  He was an elderly man who was alone.  Finally, I gave in.  I took my earbuds out and made a comment about the weather. He spent the next thirty minutes telling me about his life story flavoring it with coarse language.  He told me all about his wife of fifty-four years and how he had lost her three years ago.  There was no huge life altering exchange of words.  I simply listened to a lonely man, and I loved him.

During these few months as I can’t quite find the time, the energy, or the words to share my heart in this place, the LORD is speaking deeply into my heart about my true love for His children.  He pursues me in the quiet and speaks over me with encouragement that I am doing what He requires, which is “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8)  He continues to call me to the small life…to simply walk out a faith that is centered in Him and to forget about my big plans that I have made for His kingdom.

This quiet time of service is strengthening my faith and deepening my love for Him just as it did for my friend, Jenny Lee.

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#TheSmallLife

Cup 5 of the #52lattes series

Linking up with Holly BarrettKelly Balarie, Meredith Bernard, Jennifer Dukes Lee, The Weekend Brew,  Three Word Wednesday.  and Holley Gerth.

32 comments on “Love and Hospitality: Lessons Learned from Call the Midwife

  1. Abby

    Jen, I love your heart in this post. I have an elderly widowed neighbor and we used to bring him dinner quite often. Like your guy at the coffee shop, he would often talk my ear off. 😉 Your post has inspired me to pay him another visit. I’ve never heard much about that show but I will check it out! Glad to be your neighbor at Meredith’s today.

    1. Jennifer Mullen Post author

      Abby,
      It warms my heart to think of you visiting your neighbor. Let me know what you think about the show when you check it out.

  2. yperry123

    Just beautiful Jen! I love it! And I must say…what a comeback Girlfriend!

    Now allow me to speak life to your gift of writing. You are called to this, and nothing has the ability to block it. The next time that feeling of block comes over you…grab your writing tool (whatever it is) and bulldoze right on through it. The world has need of what God wants to speak through Y-O-U!!!

    1. Jennifer Mullen Post author

      Yolanda,

      I will hide these words of encouragement in my heart and remind myself of them when I need them.
      Jen

  3. Sabra Penley

    Oh, Jen, God has just used you to once more speak to my heart about loving my neighbors–everyone around me. As I have connected more online I’ve found myself connecting less face-to-face. And God is reeling me in–or out, as the case may be. I’m praying about living in community with my apartment neighbors and the “turquoise table” of Kristin Schell is my inspiration. I’m still not sure how it will all play out, but I am so excited for the stirring in my heart to get to know and love the people around me. I’ll have to look up this “Midwife” series. Sounds interesting. Thanks, Jen!

    1. Jennifer Mullen Post author

      I am so excited about where God is leading you. I can’t wait to hear of the adventures He has for you.

  4. Trudy Den Hoed

    Hi Jennifer. You are my neighbor at both Holley’s and Jennifer’s link-ups. 🙂

    I have never heard of that show, but what lessons of love are in it. Thank you for the reminder “to simply walk out a faith that is centered in Him.” Not to center on our big plans. To be willing to take time for someone God Himself puts in our path. I’m sure the man at the coffee shop walked with a lighter step just to be able to unburden himself to you.

  5. Carmen Horne

    So inspiring Jennifer. Reminding me that it’s not about ME! Thank you. ~visiting from Testimony Tuesday

  6. Jennifer M. Frisbie

    I don’t know whether I just found this incredibly profound or whether it just struck a cord due to my own similar place where He has me, but every word gave me goosebumps. This was just beautifully written, Jen, and I am grateful to have visited here today. Sometimes this place of “where He has me” can get lonely. All of these heart changes I’ve been going through about how to love people differently and new directions on embracing how that can happen is a bit frightening. It’s almost like it happened over night and I’m just not the same person. It’s not that it makes it any easier, but I love knowing it’s not just me. You know?

    “During these few months as I can’t quite find the time, the energy, or the words to share my heart in this place, the LORD is speaking deeply into my heart about my true love for His children. He pursues me in the quiet and speaks over me with encouragement that I am doing what He requires, which is “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) Yes. This.

    Blessings to you!

    1. Jennifer Mullen Post author

      Jennifer,
      I have had writer’s block for awhile. I even considered pulling the plug on the blog. Your response gave me new resolve to continue writing. I am touched that the LORD could use me to touch your heart. Thank you for taking time to comment. Blessings to you, sweet friend!

  7. Mom

    Jennifer, that was beautifully written. You have a kind heart and a unique talent of writing. I am so proud to be your mom. In the future, I will try to be more supportive of your writing goals. You do need more quiet time to write.

  8. Kristin Hill Taylor

    I love how God shows up and teaches us important things in the midst of our everyday life. Good stuff here, Jen! Thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday.

  9. Anne Moyer

    Great reminder about the opportunities for service and LOVE in our days’ ordinary moments!

  10. Faith Like Dirty Diapers

    I often have blinders on and might not have seen the man in need. This was a beautiful reminder of the value in being receptive to doors that God is showing us! Writing is good, relationships are even better! We can do both at God’s direction! 🙂 He will lead us!

  11. Angela Martin

    I could easily comment on every sentence you wrote. Call of the Midwife ministers to me. It demonstrates being the hands and feet of Jesus and always brings tears to my eyes. And do you know – you are the only other person I remember pointing out the full Greek definition of hospitality. We always think of it as dealing with friends. It seemed so…radical when I first taught that as an absolute directive!
    To boil it down though, this piece made me, well, like you. I so get this. And if you’re ever my way, let me know. I am a firm believer in coffee and community.

  12. Lisa Brittain

    Jennifer! I stopped to read your post because I saw the word HOSPITALITY. Everything in my life right now from the serious to the ridiculous, from work to social to church keeps pointing back to this one word…HOSPITALITY!!
    Your post was so encouraging to me because you are a sister in the Kingdom, I don’t know you, but our Father has carved out this time in our lives to call us to sit quiet, to listen and enjoy the small things of our world. He’s asked us in this time to give up our big dreams and surrender to His plan…at least that is what I glean from your post here.

    Thank you for the encouragement and for the Greek word for hospitality!!

  13. Meredith Bernard

    We are so much alike, Jen. I have started going to a coffee shop on Monday mornings during the only four hours of the week I have without children…and trying to write. Sometimes successfully, sometimes not. But the conversations I’ve had instead of writing, have been fulfilling. And certainly ordained, as was your time with that man. You are so right…we are called to love. And what seems small to us can be used for big in God’s economy…because His economy is so different than our own. Love you!

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  15. Mary Geisen

    What a blessing you were to that gentleman! The gift of time is something we hold onto so tight that when we give it away, I have no doubt that we have please God as well as someone else in the process. Thank you for linking up to The Weekend Brew.

  16. Barbie

    I LOVE Call The Midwife and actually just finished watching all seasons. Whatever will I do? I love how God shows up in the ordinary places of our life and speaks to our hearts. So glad to see you at The Weekend Brew!

  17. katharinetrauger

    Never heard of “Call the Midwife”, but would love to access it. Thanks so much for this post! It is so true. We must disassociate ourselves from humanitarianisms of all sorts, and cling to God, each of us do His will as He presents it to us daily, or we go mad.
    I simply am not enough. But He is plenty.

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