I love to open my home to others. I always have enjoyed the idea of hospitality, but I haven’t always known how to practice it with grace.

I have gone through many awkward seasons of hospitality! I remember so well the years where entertaining was quite stressfultrying to prepare a delicious and memorable meal, create the perfect ambiance, clean a spic and span party-ready house, organize all the closets (because you never know when someone might unexpectedly look in your closet), and of course, wanting to show off well-behaved children.

However, my expectations of juggling perfection set me up for failure. I was too self-conscious to invite people over when my house was looking ‘lived in.’ I made excuses for the effort it would require to extend an invitation to a neighbor. I apologized to guests for overcooked vegetables and crunchy rice or for an imperfectly decorated room. I was mortified as my child threw a tantrum at people’s feet under the dinner table. I failed countless times to have the laundry done and my party dress on before the first guest rang the doorbell.

I wanted to be gracious and witty and welcoming and instead I felt awkward and self-conscious. I failed at my own expectations for gracious hospitality. Yet through every excuse, failure and mistake, God was gently whispering over my shoulder, quietly asking me to consider what hospitality means to Him…

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