More Than Cookies

I was cleaning the kitchen and discovered
this picture of the band from an article in our local paper several years ago.
Our son Joe is the third one from the left.
A Closing Skyline "disbanded" several years ago but the memories linger on.
Memories of head banging music and pictures dancing off the walls.
Memories of teens running up and down the steps to grab one more handful of cookies.
Memories of our kitchen becoming a safe place for teens to share their hearts, their hurts and their dreams.
When we agreed to host the band I had no idea our home would become the gathering place for physically and spiritually hungry teens.

All the boys are now young men now and busy pursuing college degrees and or careers.
There aren't any teens in our home anymore,
our basement is quiet and all of the band equipment has been removed.
That was an exciting and noisy time in the life of our family but I remember it with a grateful heart.
Thank you my sweet Jesus
for providing me the opportunity to feed the band
more than cookies.
Read the Proverbs 31 devotional Monday March 24 for
the "rest of the story"
I would treasure your stories of opportunity as you minister to your children and their friends.

More than cookies
Zoë Elmore

“And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”
Matthew 10:42 (NIV)
While our youngest son was in high school he started a band and they practiced in our basement twice a week for three years. I spent those late afternoons baking cookie dough from five pound tubs and pouring gallons of milk for hungry teenagers (are there any other kind?) to the rhythm of the music. The music was loud, make that very loud and teenagers came out of the woodwork. Our home was quickly transformed into the gathering place and I knew I needed to take this opportunity to offer these teens more than just a sugar high. It didn’t take long before I became known as “the band mom” and I soon learned an important truth in accepting the name; if you feed them they will arrive at your doorstep; and if you love them they will return.

At the end of every practice a few band member and regular fans would slip upstairs for just one more hot cookie and as I poured the milk they soon began to pour out their problems and concerns with family and friends. Many days I felt like our home was an emergency room for broken hearts, broken dreams and broken teens and I was the nurse handing out sweet treats in order to make the boo-boo feel better. As the Lord provided opportunities to pray for and with these hungry teenagers I was amazed at His faithfulness of grace in these young lives.

One afternoon my son mentioned that the newest band member would be arriving for rehearsal and asked me to send him to the basement. When the door bell rang and I saw all the tattoos and body piercings they did give me pause before opening the door but I heard the Lord whisper to my heart, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” The young man entered and politely introduced himself; he shook my hand, thanked me for hosting the rehearsal then made his way to the basement. When band practice ended and the teens began to scatter; our son and this “colorful” young man ran into the kitchen to polish off the remaining cookies. When the last crumb had been consumed the young man had an interesting request. “Mrs. Elmore, could I have a hug before I leave today?” “Of course” I answered and granted his request. “That was wonderful.” he said “He took a breath and then quietly whispered “My mom abandoned us several years ago and I haven’t been hugged by a mom in such a long time.” My heart sank and it was all I could not to let this young man see my tears.

From that day forward I made sure I was available for hugs and it wasn’t long before Tom and I became a sounding board for this young man and a safe place to share his heart, his hurts and his dreams. There were times when the young man would pop in unannounced for some cookies and conversation. Throughout the next two years there were opportunities to pray with him and to share the gospel. Although Tom and I never heard this young man profess a personal relationship with Christ we know that we had fed more than his physical hunger as we offered him spiritual food from God’s word.

In thinking back on my tenure as “the band mom” I’m reminded to pray for all those hungry teens that came and went from our home. I pray they would become or remain hungry for the spiritual truths held in God’s word. I pray for the Lord to put godly men and women in their pathways that would feed their spirits and I pray that my heart would remain sensitive to the fact that I should offer everyone in our home spiritual as well as physical hospitality.

Now you may not be a band mom but I’m guessing that at times you have a house full of noisy and colorful pre-schoolers or teenagers. I want to encourage you to be available for some cookies and conversation and to offer them both physical and spiritual hospitality.

Dear Lord, help me to be a woman of physical and spiritual hospitality. Show me ways to be available to my children’s friends and to everyone you bring to into our home. Instruct me on making You known through grace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Do You Know Him?

Application Steps:
If the Lord is asking you to rethink your idea of hospitality; will you trust and obey or make the excuse that hospitality is not your gift.

How can you prepare your heart and your home to be a spiritual hostess?

Do you spend more time cleaning and decorating your home or being available to those who enter your home?

Power Verses:
2 Thessalonians 3:4, “… May the Master take you by the hand and lead you along the path of God's love and Christ's endurance.” (MSG)

Acts 10:4, “Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.” (NIV)

Philippians 3:8-9, “...I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him...”


Blogger Joyful said...

Zoe, I want to thank you for sharing that memory. My teenage son has a "studio" in our basement and there are many days I wish we had a soundproof room for him. Music is playing all the time - arrangements, orchestrations - as he is composing and recording. Some times I just wish for a moments peace. Thank you for reminding me that all too soon I will be longing for just one note to be played again. My son's presence in our home really is music to my ears.
A thankful Mom,

Blogger Marie said...


Thank you for the gentle reminder that those that appear to be so different from us are truly hurting in many of the same ways.


Blogger Unknown said...

You brought tears to my eyes.....our two oldest boys are now in college and although we still have three at home, the sounds and events of years past still ring in my ears! Thanks for nudging me on to make the next chapter of life just as exciting for our children who are still at home...Blessings and Love, Tammy

Blogger Mary Beth said...

What a wonderful word this morning. Thanks so much.

In our first church as the Lead Pastors, the LORD began bringing in Bikers...we had never been around Bikers before.

This weekend, we were reminiscing about Easter Sunday, 1999 when we had 45 people come to Jesus... 35 of them Bikers who came to see their friend, who had given his life to Jesus a few months earlier, play Jesus in our Easter outreach.

As our "Jesus" was preparing in Dress Rehearsal, my husband found him in the bathroom weeping. He asked him, Rodney, why the tears? Rodney replied, "How can I be Jesus with all these tattoos on my body.?" My husband hugged him and said, "The ones who are coming through these door tomorrow need to see a Jesus with tattoos."

And truly... what a transformation of lives the LORD performed that Sunday. AND they ALL stayed... became an intregal part of our church family... and some of our best friends... tatoos, leathers, and all. Oh, how the LORD used our Bikers to change and transform us and our perspectives as well.

Thank you so much for reminding all of us that GOD does not look on the outward appearance, but at the Heart.

Hi Zoe! Just came over from your devotional. I was so moved by it. I pray that our home will be one our girls (7,8,9,11 now) will want to bring their friends to when they are teens. Your devotion today inspired me in many ways. Thanks!!

Blogger Van said...

Love those stories that surface the memories of the boys and their antics in our basements, garages, and yards. Thanks for warming my heart today. I miss the happy faces and outstretched hands. The memories will always be available for me to conjure up, though.

Blogger Missy said...

thank you for such a wonderful reminder! my husband and i need to remember that when the house is full of kids of all ages and stages :)

blessings to you,

Blogger Vickie Musni said...

Zoe, thank you so much for sharing this. That is exactly how I want my house to be when my kids are teens! Even though we didn't have a band, I see many parallels to my own home growing up. (In our case it often involved moving the white couches to make room for a ping pong table in the living room!) My kids are still young now (8, 7, 2 & 1) but as soon as we no longer have mandatory nap time for the little ones I hope our house becomes the after school hang-out!

Blogger Charlene Kidd said...

I remember talking about this on the airplane going to Florida. I do not have a member of a band, but we are the place for all the dirt bikes in the neighborhood. I have started having cookies available. Thanks for the inspiration.

Blogger Runner Mom said...

Zoe, thanks so much for the reminder that we need to feed our friends spiritually as well as physically! Kids could care less as to whether or not the bathroom is cleaned, countertops cleared, and floors mopped! Come to think of it, it doesn't bother me if I go to a friend's house to talk and hers isn't clean. I just need the fellowship--not a sparkling sink! I need to be more of a "Mary" rather than a "Martha" when it comes to hospitality. Have a blessed day, my friend!

Blogger "K" said...

Our son's friends think that his mom and dad are so cool. I am a hugger and each one of his friends knows that when they see me they are going to get hugged, asked how they are doing and how school is going. Before my son could drive I carried him and picked him up from all sporting practices. There was always some child needing a ride, and regardless where that child lived I would carry them home. I am always concerned about all my children(thats what I call them.)My son drives now so i don't get the delivery job any more, but I still go to practice some times just to check up on the kids to see how they are doing. since some of the boys are ethnic and I usually keep a tan they call me their pecan-tan momma. When I tell you I ask them how school is going I also ask about their grades. They know to tell me the truth because they found out that I can find out what there grades are in any class. I have lots of connections at the school. I pray for these boys also remind them that they are important to me and I expect the very best of them. some of these boys just need to know that someone cares.

Blogger B. said...

Thank you for this devotion. I do not have children- but I like to hear how I can still be a mom to someone who needs a loving hug, or a cookie, or some spiritual hospitality.

Blogger Unknown said...

What an awesome devotional today. I almost started crying. Thank you for opening my heart to the fact that hospitality is more than opening our home. I praise the Lord that you are such a willing vessel to reach our hearts. God bless you!

Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger Stephanie said...

I was touched by your devotion yesterday. I pray that my home will be welcoming to my girls' friends and that I will be as open as you in being available for God to use me in lives that need Him.

Blogger Jodie Wolfe said...

Hi Zoe,
I could use your help. If you have a few minutes, I would love your input on my blog in regards to the ten struggles that Christian women face. Thank you!

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