Hospitality hasn’t always been a big thing for me. It’s not that I was against or anything. I just wasn’t used to it. I spent my entire childhood watching my grandparents and my mom welcome people into their home. There are so many pictures of me and my sister playing around while my mom and dad had gatherings. It was like a weekly thing. At least it seemed to be a weekly thing. My parents loved to have friends over, and my mom still to this day. Now, having people in your homes isn’t the only way you can be hospitable, but it’s the area I would like to speak about today.
I don’t know what changed in me. I don’t know what happened over the years, but at some point I just kind of drew into myself. I didn’t really want to hang out with many people. I was still nice to people and very welcoming with conversation, but I just didn’t want too many people over my house.
Early on in my marriage to Darron we had friends that lived across the street from us. They are two of the kindest people I have ever met. I mean so welcoming. They opened up their home to us on many occasions. It was the weirdest thing for me because I didn’t know people my age were doing that. It just seemed like something older people did, not newly married couples. Anyway, I don’t think I ever expressed to my friend, how much she inspired me in that area. Fast forward 10 years and I still battled with welcoming people in my home. The thing that changed was now I had the desire to. So what was holding me back? Well…me of course. I kept telling people, “yeah, I’ll have to have you over some time.” With no intention of doing it. It just wasn’t something I was used to doing. I think for me, I felt like maybe I wouldn’t be able to carry a conversation well enough. I grew up in a fun-ish household. There wasn’t much laughter in my home. I don’t say that for you to feel bad for me, please don’t. It wasn’t like that. It’s just my mom took herself seriously. She didn’t tell jokes or play pranks. Which is why I take myself seriously a lot too. Anyway, that being said, it’s the reason I thought people may not have had a lot of fun with me. So I used that as an excuse to not invite people over. In fact, I used every excuse. My apartment is too small. I don’t have a real dining table. What will the kids do? What if no one enjoys the food I cook? I had them all down and playing on repeat in my mind. So what happened?
God began to place the burden on my heart for other people who may have felt the same way. The stretching process began when we first moved into our new house. Before we had been in our house even a month, we had friends come over. Guess what? It was awesome. It was my first time officially hosting and I was so nervous. I had no living room furniture, two brand new dogs, and no idea what to do when they arrived. What I did have though was some bomb enchiladas and a husband who knew how to have fun. More than that? I had a group of friends who could care less what my house looked like at the time because they just wanted to hang out with me (us). That’s when it hit me. It wasn’t about welcoming people over to a perfect home or showing off what I had. It was about welcoming people over to a loving home with a heart postured towards service. When you do that, people can tell. They enjoy themselves more and you get to continually build on that relationship. Let me tell you what I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect to have people over to our home weekly, but it somehow happened. I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s the part of my week I look forward to the most. I mean…that and naps. I really look forward to naps.