the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers

I have had an epiphany of sorts recently. And you guessed it, it has to do with hospitality. But before I share about my new-found revelation, let me tell you a story of a 19 y.o. new bride and her dread of opening her home.

That young bride was me. I went from mom and dad’s house right into my marriage and my own home. I was fresh out of nursing school with a new full time job in a doctor’s office. All of a sudden I was responsible for a lot of big girl things!

I was also a new follower of Jesus and “fellowship” was the norm in the church we were attending. Potlucks, small groups, holiday parties, etc. So on top of learning to be an adult, manage a home, adjust to a new hubby, I had been dropped into a lifestyle of entertaining people in our tiny home, something that was foreign to me. That sent this performance-oriented gal into a panic! What if my house wasn’t clean enough? What if I didn’t cook the right thing or what if it flopped? What if we didn’t have enough room? On and on my fears ran away with me. I would become such a bundle of nerves that marital fights were a guarantee right before having guests into our home. Wasn’t that a lovely atmosphere for guests to enter into? Plus, I did what one should never do….I compared myself to other women. Comparison is always a stealer-of-joy and a dark, lonely descent into discontentment and jealousy….emotions that are life-suckers and deadly.

My husband is an extrovert and I’m an introvert. He thrived on having people over and I wanted to run away! He grew up in a home where fellowship was a way of life and there was always a dessert on the kitchen counter. He was mystified by my crazy behavior and the overreaction having guests created in me. He became so weary of the fighting that he gave up wanting to have anyone over. It wasn’t worth the drama.

That was decades ago…..and I have grown into being able to host people in our home and not worry about whether my house is “clean enough”. Our friends have come to know that one bathroom is off limits…my husband’s underwear have been discovered more than once on the floor as he hurried to get ready for their arrival. If a new recipe fails…there is always pizza! I have come to the realization that friends and family are coming to see US….not to inspect corners with a magnifying glass.

HOSPITAL-ITY….have you ever noticed that before? I hadn’t until I typed my blog title. Here is where my epiphany begins. I thoroughly enjoy having coffee with friends, sharing meals, and sweet conversation…{quite the change from my wanting-to-run-away days isn’t it?} and we almost always meet in a restaurant setting. One day I asked myself, “why”? Why was I not inviting people to our cozy little home instead of a restaurant? From that one question a passion has blossomed for our home to be a place of healing, rest, peace, acceptance, encouragement, and welcoming….a hospital-for-the-soul.

I yearn for uninterrupted, honest conversation. I long for hearts to be knit together in love over a cup of coffee. I desire for the peace of Jesus to be the air that people breathe as they find a little respite from their normal life sitting around our table.

So….let’s have coffee at my house! I can whip up a salad and we can chat over your lunch hour! Come for supper and enjoy a warm fire in the wood-burning stove and savor a bowl of warm soup for your tummy. You see….I’ve learned the secret to hospitality….it’s about our hearts….your heart and mine taking the time to do life together.

Romans 12:9-13 The Passion Translation

9 Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another, and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask. Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous.

10 Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another.

11 Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.

12 Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble,[a] but commune with God at all times.

13 Take a constant interest in the needs of God’s beloved people and respond by helping them. And eagerly welcome people as guests into your home.