About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. Jen,
    As always, great ideas! Root beer float party takes me back to when I was a kid – how fun! I find that I calm down about showing hospitality when I take the “I” and “Me” out of it. “I” am not a good cook. What are they going to think of “My” house. What if what “I” serve is a flop? Shifting the focus from me turns entertaining into hospitality. Hospitality says, “Come on in…how are “You” doing? What can I get for “You”. Fill me in on what’s going on in “Your” life. I find that someone can serve me a PB&J sandwich, but if it’s served up with love and a genuine interest in making me feel welcome and comfortable, then that’s the heart of hospitality. Thanks for taking the fear out of welcoming others to our home.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    • Yes, it’s all about switching that narrative isn’t it? That’s been a powerful understanding for women as they read JOTD. Instead of the “Here I am” host, we becoming the “There YOU are” one that sees their needs.

      Anytime I make it about me, I remember that very switch. IT changes everything.

  2. One of my favorite “open the door” times is during strawberry season. There’s nothing like strawberry shortcake made with fresh biscuits and PLENTY of whipped cream. We’ve done this for so many friends and family, and it’s minimal work–maximum fun!

  3. Jen,

    My motto is “Martha Stewart doesn’t live here”. You won’t find perfection , but plenty of love. Hospitality Jesus style isn’t about us & our homes. It’s about showing kindness & care to others. My pastor’s wife has holiday get togethers with friends & people form church alone on holiday. It is a potluck. Everyone makes a dish or two & we all gather around the table & share life. It is a great time, plus we all can take some home. We need to get the focus off us & onto others. So many people want friendships. Yet they aren’t willing to take that first step. Get out of our comfort zone, quite looking at Pinterest & just be yourself. Heck you could easily start by having one friend over for a drink & small chit chat. It can go from there. When Jesus was at the home of Mary & Martha He wasn’t worried about all the cooking/meal planning. He was more interested in having them sit by Him & listen. He never wanted fancy, elaborate meals. Just time with people. That’s the spirit of hospitality!

    Blessings 🙂

    • You are so right. Initially, Martha Steward would definitely not be a fan of most of my hospitality, but I think as she hung around, she might relax and really begin to enjoy herself. 🙂

  4. I am convicted this morning that I need to keep it simple in so many areas of my life that I have been fretting about lately, and not just how to do hospitality, although this is a very important one. It is a great stress saving guideline today, thank you! I am going to work on keeping it simple today.

  5. December 2018 I invited my Hearts and Hands craft for community group to my house. I had 2 crock pots of soup ready…..vegetable and potato. I provided the greens and dressing for a salad bar and the ladies brought toppings for the salads. It was so easy and so much fun!

  6. Great post! I have often said “if they are coming to inspect the house, they are not true friends”. By all means we need to get the focus off of “US” and focus on “HIM” and Others!!! Start small and simple and grow from there.

  7. Jennifer, I love this and found that God helped me do just that the other day (despite myself)! Spontaneously, my kids wanted to invite friends over. I’ve been praying for good friends for my kids for so long I knew I couldn’t stand in the way of God answering my prayer just because I felt it was inconvenient timing. Long story short, the house could not have looked worse! A huge fort took up half one room, pieces of games were strewn everywhere, dirty dishes were piled sky high, the floor was a disaster, and the whole place looked like we’d been robbed. But the kids had a great time, and the cups of water the mom and I shared were sweet over a genuine getting-to-know-you conversation. I’m grateful for gracious guests! But how do you deal with guests who come with unrealistic expectations? Like, I’ve actually scoured my home top to bottom and bent over backwards to do the best I can with food but it’s still never enough? I’ve been struggling with this…

    • Pearl –

      First, I am cheering you on as you open your home to your kids’s friends. Honestly, that has been our family’s biggest source of kingdom work through hospitality is offering a safe place that points kids to Him. Many don’t have that modeled at home. And they never care.

      Second, expectations. I call those my “sandpaper” type of guests. They refine me and make me more like Jesus and honestly, I realize that there are typically deeper issues going on with them that I don’t know about (or at least I tell myself that.) So struggle away because I’ve been there too. They are my “uncomfortable yes” so I open the door, but depending on the background story and whether or not they are believers, it may not necessarily be often or even again.