My husband and I moved into a fixer-upper several years ago, and while we’ve done a lot of cosmetic upgrades, there are still things I’d like to change. But life doesn’t stop for remodels, and the kids don’t stop needing new shoes, so for now we pushed the pause button.
Most days I’m perfectly happy having friends over to eat in my 70s’ kitchen. But every now and then, I hear those voices saying what I have to offer isn’t good enough.
It’s a dismal truth, but it’s there.
Those voices interrupted my thoughts several weeks ago when I was having a dear friend fly in to speak at our local MOPS group. She was staying overnight, and in the weeks leading up to her arrival we made some preparations to ensure she was as comfortable as possible.
I was excited to have her visit and for the chance to connect in person since she lives several states away. That is, until I visited her home. A couple of weeks before her visit, I joined some friends at her house for a weekend retreat.
Her place was beautiful and looked like a spread straight out of a Good Housekeeping magazine. Since her kids are grown, her floors weren’t perpetually sticky. Her windows weren’t smudged with fingerprints or dog slobber.
It short, it was perfect.
When she came north a few weeks later, her welcome was anything but perfect. As I was speeding down the highway to pick her up, the GPS drained my battery and my phone died.
I had forgotten my charger.
After finding her at the airport, I could not locate my car. We circled the parking garage on foot several times before discovering an airport car finding service.
I wish I was kidding. And yes, the service does exist.
It was like we were living an episode of Seinfeld, except I wasn’t laughing. I was worrying about my cell phone, getting home to pick up my son, and making it to our MOPS meeting.
When we finally got back to my house, I realized we didn’t have time to eat the meal I had been so careful to put in the crockpot before leaving.
In the midst of all the running around and the chaos, my friend didn’t complain. She was gracious and patient, and when we finally arrived at MOPS I realized something.
Her message was about making the most of the time we have with our kids, but the message God had for me was different.
As I sat there listening, I realized time is all we really have in this life.
We can spend it worrying about the age of our kitchen appliances or we can open our kitchens with love.
We can spend it stressing about having the perfect, Pinterest-worthy treats, or we can savor the sweetness of each bite.
Yes, the details make a difference. I love a beautiful plate of food. But don’t let the details keep you from looking your guests in the eye. Don’t let them keep you from sitting down and having a conversation.
The perks of a magazine-worthy home can never replace the warmth felt within it.
I’m reminded of a poor widow the Lord asked to feed his prophet, Elijah. She and her son were about to eat their last meal, but at the word of God, she gave everything.
She gave what she had, and the Lord blessed her for it. (1 Kings 17:8-16)
God can take what we have and multiply it into much more than we could ask, think, or imagine.
When I visited my friend’s home down south, it wasn’t the décor that left an impression on my heart. It was the welcome. It was the love. It was the what’s-mine-is-yours hospitality.
Those modern appliances? Well, I won’t tell you they don’t make you happy.
But I also know joy comes from a deeper place. A soul-level place. A belly laugh, strolls at sunset, tears-over-coffee type of place.
That’s the place I want to keep my eyes fixed on. It’s the place I try to remember when the weight of this life tries to drown me in forgetfulness.
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13, NIV)
Prayer: Lord, help me to remember it’s not the size of my home or the age of my appliances that shows hospitality. It’s how well I love those who walk through my doors. May others see the love You have shown toward me when they enter and not my anxiety over the small things.
Author: Abby McDonald