God tells us in I Peter 4:9 to “show hospitality to one another without grumbling.” If you’re like me, you want to obey the Lord and practice hospitality, and we as homeschooling moms know how much we desperately need relationships with other moms. We also know that our kids need healthy, strong friendships, and that all of these relationships are built through the practice of hospitality. We bless others and are blessed abundantly when we offer the gift of hospitality.
But how can we open our days to more people when our homes are already always filled up with children? I tend to feel overwhelmed on a lot of days with completing school and keeping our household running, and it’s not easy for me to be willing to welcome more people into our days. Do you feel this way, too?
One summer evening, my mom invited our family to her home for a gathering that she called Favorite Pie Party. On that night, she showed the love of Christ through simple hospitality, and it really got me thinking about how I could incorporate some of these practices in simple ways.
I wrote all about that evening and what I learned about simple hospitality in my family’s upcoming book The Gathering Table (Revell, October 2020). This is what I wrote:
“Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!”
After experiencing hospitality from my mom during the favorite pie party and thinking about what the Bible has to say about opening up our hearts to show love, I got to thinking about some practical ways we can bring hospitality into our already full lives. I’m often one to measure things in volume—food, budget, laundry—so I tend to think I have to do something huge to be hospitable. But I’ve learned it doesn’t have to be big. Guests are actually relieved when it’s quite simple, because it means they don’t have to do something big either. See how good this is for all of us? I take the pressure off you—you take the pressure off me!
There are many ideas you can easily incorporate into your life to offer this type of hospitality.
“I’m so glad you’re coming! Just wear your comfiest clothes.”
Keep It Simple
I was recently invited to a book club by a new friend. The hostess texted me the day of the gathering to say, “I’m so glad you’re coming! Just wear your comfiest clothes.” That text relieved my anxieties about going to a new group. My friend let me know that it was important I was coming and that she was more concerned about the true me than a perfect outfit. When I arrived, I was greeted with a warm hug and a “Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!” She proceeded to offer me a cup of coffee and a treat from a plate full of . . . Oreos!
Those Oreos and the fact that the other ladies were wearing favorite yoga pants and hanging out together on the couch made the evening comfortable and low-key. The relaxed atmosphere took the attention off of food, clothes, or home decor and instead helped us to focus on each other and some great conversation. This “come as you are and be yourself” attitude exhibited the love of Christ to me.
In what ways can you show hospitality in a similar, comfortable way?
● Meet at a park and bring a picnic to share. When my kids were little, I invited friends to meet at a community center that had a play structure. We’d visit over a cup of coffee while keeping an eye on the kids. No one will feel any less “loved” because you aren’t meeting at your home.
● Be spontaneous and casually invite people over. Last-minute often works better for some folks than weeks of planning. Intentionally focus more on the people rather than the food and preparations.
● Host a “leisure club,” “informal book group,” or other gathering around a purpose and serve foods you can pick up at the grocery store. When your friends see that you didn’t stress, they’ll feel more at ease and open to conversation.
● Like my friend did, text your guests before arriving to say, “I’m glad you’re coming. Just wear your comfiest clothes!” Your text might also say, “Don’t worry about childcare—come with your kids!” or “Come when you can!” Use texts as an encouraging way to show others you value them and their presence at your gathering.
● Have some light, casual music playing in the background. Music sets the tone for the environment and helps guests (and hosts) feel more at ease.
Most importantly, just ask the Lord for help and ideas to obey him in simple, doable ways. He knows you’re homeschooling, he sees your efforts everyday, and he wants to help you obey and show his love through hospitality.
Annie Boyd is the wife of Shane, her high school sweetheart. She is the mother of five gregarious and adventurous children, whom she homeschools. She loves traveling, spending time outside, reading, and baking bread. Annie received her BA in elementary education and biblical studies from the University of Northwestern, St. Paul. She accepted Christ as a young girl and hopes to invite others to know about his love, faithfulness, and forgiveness.
The Gingham Apron – We are five women from one Iowa farm family who love to find new ways to celebrate everyday life together. Join us as we plan family gatherings, try new recipes, take care of our homes, and educate our kids. We cherish our beautiful family farm, our time spent with our family, and most of all- our faith in Jesus Christ.
Excerpt and pictures used with permission.