Rome was not built in a day...
We moved into a fixer upper that needed a lot of fixing up. Walls needed to be taken out, the kitchen was a disaster and our grand plans also came with an extended time plan. Rome was not built in a day and my home renovations would not be either. I knew this would push my impatient heart because I loved hosting. Welcoming people in for birthdays, holidays and every impulsively planned barbecue.
Hosting with holes in the drywall and a blue 1970’s bathroom? How could I? Our budget did not allow for a Joanna Gaines insta-remodel, but my selfish heart whispered that no one would want to gather together in this fixer upper house. Hospitality is not subway tiles and granite countertops. When we welcome and invite others into community it is because of a larger principle: love God, love His will and point others to His glory
"Do not neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2
Finding community is hard work and I knew the love that God gave all of us should not stop at my front door because of my fixer upper house. In fact, aren’t we all fixer uppers at heart? Not a soul on this earth can boast perfection, in fact we reside in a broken world. The best I could do is offer up some chairs to sit in and some food to share
place of servanthood...
Biblical hospitality offers our best to God first, understanding that our best to others will rightfully follow. Approaching hospitality without selfish motivation was purely about connection and the guests who stepped into my home. Biblical hospitality comes from a place of servant hood rather than status-seeking.
“When we use our lives exactly as they are, desiring only to create a sacred space for our guests, mixing it with the counter-cultural truth of loving Jesus and loving others, we turn entertaining upside down, and it becomes radical hospitality.” -Jen Schmidt
Here I was cleaning my blue bathroom and setting paper plates out in my half demolished kitchen preparing for a group of friends to come over. The guests I invited over that night did not care about the toys in my house, the renovations in the kitchen or my mismatched rugs in the entry hall. They all expressed a relief for the opportunity to gather and just share some time together.
It would have been so much easier to say no, to reschedule or even wait until “the house was ready.” Yet, who knows when the right time would have actually come. God was pressing on our hearts to find people to live in community with and show His love and good news with - and here I was blaming my house that was too small. When truly, that was just me making it about myself. It is a beautiful thing to see my house packed with guests, kids laughing and running room to room just having a space to enjoy coming together.
There will not be a perfect time, a perfect space or a perfect day. I could always blame my schedule, say I was not in the mood or worry about who to invite. You can start small and even invite someone along with you to church, to the park or to a cup of tea on a Saturday morning. It is with an open heart that we walk into the opportunity to share God’s grace and glory.
We started a life group at our house and when we did it, we felt like crazy people. With six young kids and a farm, chaos feels like it reverberates through the walls of our home at times. We answered the push that God placed on our hearts just to invite people over. We grabbed the sugary juice boxes, paper plates and pizza and just went for it.
I could not feel more thankful for the opportunity that we had to do so. We gather in chairs filling the house and talk about how God is moving in our lives and where we need support and guidance to grow in relationship and faith. That community grew. It just needed an open door and a starting place.
It is so incredibly simple to fall into the trap that hospitality is a magnifying glass on ourselves. When truly, hospitality is loving God with all of your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself. We are called to be faithful and steadfast. The opportunity that we are given to be hospitable to others is such a gift that should not be dismissed or passed over so easily just because it does not feel perfect.
Alyssa writes to us from a small family homestead located near the "thumb" of Michigan. She has been married to her husband for nearly 18 years. Together they cherish the joys of raising their six children, all under the age of 10. Immersed in nature, Alyssa finds joy in witnessing the beauty of God's creation as it blossoms, flourishes, and invites her to explore its wonders.
Photography by Cate Autumn Photography. Headshot by Alyssa Tangney.