With my husband being in the military for the last 19 years, we haven’t had the chance to live near family. And as our own family grows, it has become more and more challenging to visit our family as often as we would like. Thankfully, the Lord has always blessed us with friends that have become as close as family. Our family has been through many trials over the years — births, illnesses, miscarriage, and many moves — and through it all we have had loving friends by our sides.
One of the reasons our friendships have developed so deeply is due to hospitality. Honestly, I feel like we have been on the receiving end of most of the hospitality. I have learned so much from so many wonderful families who have opened up their homes and their hearts to my family in times of need. Most of what I will share with you are ways that others have shown us hospitality. What a blessing they have been to us!
Hospitality doesn’t always mean having people over in your home for a meal. Hospitality can can take on many forms. I like to think of hospitality as “loving thy neighbor as thyself”. If you desire to become more hospitable, pray that the Lord would open up doors for this to happen.
Some ideas for hospitality include:
~bringing a meal to a family
This has probably been the biggest blessing to our family over the years. There have been so many times that I have not been able to cook and others have stepped in and brought meals to us. Bringing a meal to someone can be as simple as picking up a rotisserie chicken, a bagged salad, and a loaf of French bread. Or you can add a personal touch and make your favorite casserole (many of my recipes come from other women who brought us delicious dinners).
~watching a family’s children
We don’t leave our children with others very often (and now we have older children to help), but there have been times when it was necessary. Several years ago my husband was hospitalized with a serious staph infection. He needed me by his side, but my children were young and couldn’t spend long hours at the hospital. My sweet friend took my children, watched them, fed them, and played with them like they were her own. This can really take a burden off of someone’s shoulders, especially if they are not accustomed to leaving their children with others.
~offering your services to a family (mowing lawns, cleaning the house, helping to move)
Oh boy, do we know how hard a move can be. There are so many things to think of and plan for. It never fails that we are cleaning stoves and edging lawns right up until the last minute of every move. It is a wonderful help to have others take care of some of the chores for you. Sometimes it might mean moving heaving furniture and boxes, other times it might mean helping a family get organized.
Don’t overlook serving elderly people as well. There are many widows and widowers who may need a handiman 0r woman to help then around the house. Things as simple (to most of us) as changing light bulbs can be a real challenge to older people.
I remember after one move all our things were packed up and a friend brought over sheets and towels, something I had forgot to leave out. It is little things like this that really bless a person!
And let’s face it, most of us are not overflowing with money. We need to be frugal and willing to share what the Lord has blessed us with. I once had a friend (who was the epitome of hospitality) that was constantly offering anything that others needed, and I mean anything. If she had left over party invitations and goodie bags, she was finding someone that needed them. If she knew that a friend was attending a wedding, she was digging through closets finding dresses to lend them so that they didn’t need to go buy new ones.
And not only did she give, she gave her best. She didn’t pull things out of a “going to the thrift store” pile. She went to her closets and pantries and looked for the best she could offer. That is true hospitality!
~and of course, having families over
It has been a while since we have had families over for dinner. After being displaced for almost a year, then getting settled into our new home, I am slowly feeling the “urge” to have others over. This is something I really need to work on, so this section is more for me than anyone.
I love having others over, especially the fellowship. I just get this overwhelming feeling in my chest when I think about making sure the house is clean, preparing the perfect menu, and then making sure our guest are comfortable.
So here are some reminders to myself…
1. The other families aren’t going wearing white gloves and checking for a speck of dirt. Besides, if the house is too clean, it may make them feel uncomfortable about their own homes. Reality check: most of don’t live day to day in a spic-n-span home. Especially if we have children at home!
2. When it comes to meals, keep it simple. A few weeks ago we were invited over to a family’s house for hot dogs. We had such a relaxing time…I loved it! The kids roasted hot dogs on the fire outside, while the adults sat around the fire chatting. I thought to myself, “this is true hospitality, true fellowship with other believers”.
3. As far as being comfortable, others are comfortable when we are. So relax and enjoy the fellowship!
I am looking forward to getting some ideas from the other moms this week!
Brandy at The Marathon Mom
Keri Mae at The Happy Home
Stacy at A Delightful Home
Andie at Happy Andersons