As a young wife and mom struggling with agoraphobia many years ago, my innerand outerlives were in disarray. But as the Lord dealt with my depression and anxiety, he showed me I needed to get my exterior in order as he worked on my interior.
I'm grateful that when life started coming together for me, I was able to begin extending hospitality. But it took a long time for me to open my home to others because I thought everything had to look the way it did in books or in other people's homes.
Then a friend told me, "Patsy, one time a young couple invited my husband and me over to their place, and all they had to offer us was hot chocolate and popcorn." Then she added, "That memory's never left me because we had such a wonderful, fun time. And we would have been cheated out of it if they'd felt they couldn't begin where they were at."
Unfortunately, when we think of hospitality, usually it's in narrow terms. We think of someone who can cook or decorate like Martha Stewart. But true hospitality isn't limited to the home. Think about a time when someone showed you she cared that you were struggling and reached out. Or spent time with you when you were hurting. Or perhaps an absolute stranger extended an unexpected courtesy in the middle of an abrupt world that could care less! That's true hospitalitykindness that makes you feel special, loved, cared for, heard.
When my friend, Vella, was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she told me, "Oh, Patsy, if I could only do some things over again, I'd care a lot more about people and a lot less about things."1