Tuesday, September 15, 2009

On Offering (and Accepting) Hospitality...(and a Giveaway!)

**Update 9/24/09--the winner of the Karen Ehman book was comment number 23: Suzi.
Suzi, I have no way to contact you. I need you to send me an email at cherylannhackett@yahoo.com by Monday, Sept. 28, or I will draw another winner.

"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others..." -- 1 Peter 4:9

Over the weekend, my husband, children and I were blessed to spend some time visiting with Laura of Heavenly Homemakers and her family on our way back home from our cross-country trip. Through our correspondence, she had generously invited us to her home as we traveled through their area. A really rough day of traveling, however, looked like it would prevent the visit from taking place. All the series of unfortunate events gave new meaning to me of the verse, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12). The bad day left us discouraged and about ready to throw in the towel on accepting their offer of hospitality. Almost, but not quite. Despite the circumstances, we went anyway.

When we arrived, Laura joked that we were about to "quench the Spirit by not accepting their offer of hospitality."  She couldn't have said it better. Fellowshipping with her family was such a blessing to our family; a short visit shone redeeming light through the entire day. God's mercyAnd I was a mom in need of it.

(left to right, Laura's son Elias, my sons Gannet and Xavier, me, my baby Jack, Laura's son Asa, Justus, Malachi and Laura)
Laura's exuberant hospitality inspired me to be better about offering hospitality to others. Yet too often it's easy to "grumble" about it, as 1 Peter chides us against. We can grumble about the inconveniences of having guests over--cooking for more people, cleaning a little a lot more than usual, and the like.  I tend to grumble not so much about the practice of hospitality as I do about the condition of my home. For one, it's often messier than I would like. Two, many parts of our 100-year old home need repair. Three, our furniture is quite old and worn. Four, our kitchen table lacks adequate chairs (they don't match, some are broken, and there are not enough for company). I can be embarrassed about all these things, or I can follow God's command to practice hospitality despite my misgivings about my home and what people will think. With the former, I "quench the Spirit" and miss out on sweet fellowship; with the latter, God can use my hospitality--as He did Laura's--to richly encourage others. We are not asked, or even expected, to have perfect homes; but rather, to use what we do have to welcome others into our lives and into our homes.

On the flip side, there can also be reasons why we don't accept hospitality. Perhaps we are too shy, or feel awkward going to someone's home that we don't know that well; maybe we don't want to inconvenience the hosts; or we hesitate because caring for our children, especially when they're small, is enough work at our own house, much less anyone else's! Yet, when we forget all those "grumblings" and accept an offer of hospitality, the hosts are blessed in the offering, and we are blessed in the receiving, so it's a win-win for everyone!

In honor of Laura's (and others) heavenly hospitality, I would like to offer a free autographed copy of A Life that Says Welcome: Simple Ways to Open Your Heart & Home to Others by Karen Ehman (which Karen has generously donated to one lucky reader). I loved this book and found it offered many practical suggestions to step up the practice of hospitality. To enter, just leave a comment, and I will draw a winner next Tuesday!



  1. Boy, do I need this. I am actually posting about this very thing tomorrow. Wow, does God work in sweet ways.

    Thanks for your post. I came over from Heavenly Homemakers.


  2. What an awesome post at just the right time! Thank you!

  3. My husband and I host bible study at our home every other week and it is so stressful for me! I'm always worried about how the house looks (it's a mess), if we have enough chairs (we usually do, but not always), is it too hot or too cold, are the kids okay, do I have enough clean drinking glasses, etc., etc. I told my husband I wanted to quit hosting the study because it's too stressful for me. He refused! Can you believe it? I mean, it's all about me, right? Shouldn't somebody else take over because I'm not comfortable in my own home and therefore I don't think anyone else is? Wait a minute - am I being selfish? Hmm, maybe this is God's way of giving me a little smack in the head. Thank goodness my husband doesn't let the silly things override rational thinking. And yes, I'll still be fretting, but opening our home is such a privilege and a blessing (even if every speck of dirt isn't swept up).

    Tammy C.

  4. I just came over from Laura's, so I'm a new reader. I've enjoyed your insight, and would love to hear more from the book. I also look forward to exploring more of your blog!

  5. I struggle with many of the same issues you do regarding hospitality, but the Holy Spirit has been showing me the importance of that for our family and others. I'm new to your blog, but am enjoying what I've read so far....thanks!

  6. Am new to your post and the book sounds wonderful!

  7. Wow Cheryl -- look what happens to your comments when you offer something free. Ha Ha. How cool to see that an online chat became a real meeting. Very cool. Oh... the joys and struggles of hospitality. I love having people over and am learning new ways all the time to keep it simple but fun. We even invited friends over that rooted for the Packers against the Bears...of all things :).

    Are you back yet? We missed you at Bible Study. Call me and I can bring you up to speed.

  8. Found your blog through Heavenly Homemaker. Truly love your mission in raising children---being a godly mother. Would love to with this book, because my heart is to live a life that says welcome to all with whom I come into contact (at home, at the store, at church, etc.).

  9. Came to your blog from Karen's great post. Thanks for the chance to win Karen's book.

    Kim W

  10. Thanks so much for sharing that! I'm at the point of wanting to offer hospitality, but back away for the very reasons you listed (small kids, old furniture, not enough seating, messes...). So good to know that God accepts us (and our homes) as we are - and blesses us as we share ourselves (and our homes)! (visiting from Heavenly Homemakers - enjoying your blog!)

  11. Oh boy, I've had a table with mismatched chairs for a few years now. It does sometimes embarass me, but I refuse to let it prevent me from opening my home to family and friends. See what matters is my welcome with open arms. I'm tickled I'm not the only one able to admit I have mismatched chairs! HA!

    Visiting from Karen's blog, and bookmarked yours now.

  12. Thank you for offering a chance to win this book. It looks wonderful.

  13. Thanks for sharing this post. I have been encouraged to offer hospitality.

  14. Love the post! I have found it hard ever since we moved here, so I have tried to be more hospitable. We moved here 4 1/2 years ago, but it feels like a year ago. It's hard sometimes, and yes, our home is not the largest, and we always seem to have a project going, something ripped up. Right now part of the wall missing (nolan intentionally took out :0) ) is very evident in our living room. Are you guys home yet? I had a question for ya! I keep missing you, and lost your new number again. haha. Give me a call if you get a second.

  15. I came to your site from Heavenly Homemaker...you have some great stuff up here! Thanks for doing this giveaway; I could really use the help in this area :)

  16. I came to your site from Karen Ehman's blog. What a wonderful post to remind us of the importance of focusing on hospitality and not the state of your home.
    The book sounds great - I would love it!

  17. What a great giveaway.
    What a blessing for your grandfather to have a visit too.


  18. I would love this book. Thanks for the post. I love your blog.

  19. I saw this on Karen Ehman's site. I am a pastor's wife and always love to hear new ways to host people and become a better hostess. Also with my daughter starting to reach that age to have friends over all the time, I would like to have ideas on how I can reach their parents too. This sounds like an awesome book. I would love to share about it on my blog.

  20. I found this site through Karen Ehman's site as well and as a mom in need of mercy , I could so relate to your posts. Thank you for your wonderful insights and suggestions. I would love to learn how to reach out and open our home to others in hospitality but I confess as a traveling homeschool mom of 4, I still suffer from what we jokingly refer to as
    CHAOS : Cant Have Anyone Over Syndrome
    Yet I dont want to "quench the spirit" as you so accurately described and miss out on an opportunity to encourage others. Thanks for being so honest.
    Your suggestions on organizing the housekeeping is an idea I haven't visited in a long time. Looking forward to learning more on your blog.

  21. I love your blog! I was visiting from Karens,If you like sea creatures, check out my sons blog http://mikenlarae.blogspot.com

  22. Will you post how to buy this book?;Since only one of us will win it!

  23. I would be honored to be the recipient of this book and could use it. Some things came up this week and I grumbled about all the prep work involved. May the Lord continue to mold me and make me all I am to be.

    Blessings to you, Caroline

  24. what a great giveaway. I know I would love it!

  25. AnonymousMay 05, 2010

    I hope to win this give away.