A Come As You Are Hospitality
It’s a joy to welcome Faith Gibson as our guest blogger this week. We hope you enjoy her heartfelt words as she shares a story of learning about authentic hospitality, a come-as-you-are openness to embrace others as they are that we too can bring graciously into our lives and leadership.
It had been a hard day in so many ways when my new friend, Christine, called and said, “Just come over.” As a young wife and new mom, I was hesitant at first. I accepted her invitation anyway, outwardly hoping my very active baby would behave while inwardly hoping I’d leave feeling refreshed.
Not even a half hour later, Christine welcomed me into her home with a warm smile and a much-needed hug, wearing a peanut butter smeared shirt. I felt right at home.
As I walked into the living room, I could plainly see that her house and three kids were all sorts of a sticky mess, but really, so was I. The chaotic and messy environment of her home didn’t make me think any less of her, nor did I feel uncomfortable by it in any way. In fact, it made me feel all the more comfortable, reminding me of the truth that no one’s life is ever perfect or mess-free, although sometimes we like to pretend it is.
As the kids began playing, Christine graciously placed a warm cup of coffee in my hands then cleared off the large pile of unfolded laundry sitting on the couch to make room so I could sit down. I didn’t think twice about the laundry. I had my own unfolded mountain currently sitting stagnant on my own couch. All I needed was a friend.
We sat down together and she asked how I was doing, most sincerely and attentively. And her honest demeanor invited my own self-awareness to let down its guard, making me feel safe and welcomed, like I belonged just the way that I am, thus, refreshing my soul in a most profound way.
This truly is Jesus-Hospitality. Come as you are.
Have you ever not invited someone into your home simply because it was a mess? Or maybe you or your children being the stickier mess, the truer reason why you kept the door shut? I know I have. More than once.
But when we do that, we miss out on letting people into our lives revealing our truest selves and inviting them to do the same. This is where authentic friendship is birthed. For when we only present a surface level of ourselves we then cannot be surprised or saddened when we eventually discover only surface-level relationships built with those around us. Yet, when we offer the gift of depth and authenticity, it is there we find greater satisfaction and meaning in our relationships.
Christine unknowingly taught me such a valuable lesson on that day she invited me into her home. She taught me that authentic hospitality is not just welcoming people into our homes, it’s about welcoming people into our lives. And of so much more value than a clean house or perfect meal or even presentable appearance—all good and desirable things—Christine offered me herself, entirely and authentically. Since then, over the years, I’ve tried to follow her example by keeping both my heart and door open at all times.
My family and I just recently made a big move from one side of the country all the way over to the other, leaving many dear friends behind, Christine, being one of them. Yet, I am thankful to say that God has placed a few “Christine’s” in my life already, who have welcomed me into their homes with the same kind of authentic hospitality that she first showed me on that very hard day, almost five years ago now. It’s been humbling and beautiful all at the same time.
I remind my children often, “The way we make a friend is by first being a friend.” It’s really no secret. Be a friend, make a friend. Show love, be loved. Refresh others, and there we’ll find true refreshment for our own souls.
So dear sisters, let’s all be Christine’s, who live hospitality like it’s a verb rather than a noun. Let’s choose to give ourselves fully to those around us, just the way we are and by loving them just the way they are. For you may never know how your authentic hospitality will impact someone else’s life, like Christine’s did mine.
“For I have derived much joy and comfort from your love, my brother,
because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you.”
Philemon 1:7 ESV
Faith Gibson is a wife, mother, and writer who enjoys good coffee, books, and conversation. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her very patient husband and two adventurous children. Her heart is to encourage others to live intentionally, to never stop learning, and to pursue true abundant life by intimately knowing Christ. You can read more of her writings at faithkgibson.com