By Sue Donaldson
Maybe you’re feeling hesitant about being able to offer hospitality. Maybe you’ve thought about it, but then decided NOT to think about it.
“Why bother?” you tell yourself, then list a few reasons why you’re not qualified:
- Too hard.
- Too much prep.
- Too many details.
- Let someone else take the lead.
Those excuses were my “go-to’s” when faced with a reason to open my door and share my table. They were also for me a mild form of self-pity. My focus on all I felt I was lacking didn’t leave much room to properly welcome guests at my table. And self-pity seemed to make my sense of loneliness grow, too. It was a vicious circle that kept me from opening my home to others.
So, like David, I’m learning to pray: “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.” (Psalm 25:16) When I turn to the Lord and ask for his help, I discover that it becomes easier to make time for others. It’s doesn’t become magically easy for me – but it does become easier.
When I ask God to guide me, I’m prepared to receive and execute simple ideas like making a double batch of spaghetti sauce, starting a loaf of French Bread in the bread machine, and setting another place or two at the table.
A commitment to hospitality challenges me to hold my plans loosely. My wise friend Susan said, “God’s intention for me to host someone isn’t so my time is wasted and my day gets messed up. Instead, He wants to bless me and bless the one who comes my way.”
To help me continue to grow in this area, I’m trying an experiment with God. It’s a “Help Yourself” experiment. I am practicing praying, “Lord, help Yourself to my life today.” I am opening the door and welcoming him into my life. As I do, I am finding that it is becoming easier to offer hospitality to others.
For example, after praying my offering prayer one morning, I came across a woman on Facebook who lives in my town. She is a fairly recent widow and I’d seen her at church on occasion.I messaged her: “Hey! Are you free Sunday evening for chili and cornbread?”
She answered right away: “You bet! What can I bring?” She works part-time at a florist, and brought the most beautiful bouquet in a blue pitcher. A stranger, now a friend, all because of a short prayer at the beginning of my day. That prayer is helping me learn to open the door more and more often these days.
Below you’ll find two of my simple recipes designed to provide a warm welcome at my table.
Cornbread with Blueberries
- 2 boxes Jiffy cornbread mix
- 1 egg per box
- 1 -15 oz can creamed corn
- 1 1/2 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)
Mix the mixes with the eggs and creamed corn. Stir vigorously to break up the dry mix. Gently stir in blueberries. Scoop into 9×9 or cupcake tins. Bake according to package directions
Great for brunch, lunch or dinner.
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French Honey Bread for Bread Machine
- 1 1/8 c. water
- 1 T. oil (I use olive oil but any kind is okay)
- 1 T. honey
- 1 t. sugar
- 1 t. salt
- 3 c. flour
- 2 1/2 t. yeast
Put all ingredients in this order into your bread machine. Hit Dough cycle. My machine takes 2 hours for dough cycle, but it depends on the machine. When it beeps, put Pam or flour on your hands and scoop out the dough. Place, divided on your sprayed pan to make two loaves – any shape. Cover lightly with a clean tea towel and allow to rise for 30 minutes.
Remove towel, Preheat oven to 350 and bake til brown and crusty – about 25 to 30 min. Voila! One loaf for your family and one to share!
Sue Donaldson and her husband, Mark, live in San Luis Obispo, California. They have raised 3 semi-adult daughters who keep them at the bank and on their knees. Sue blogs at www.welcomeheart.com and has been speaking for women’s retreats and conferences for the over 20 years with long pauses for babies, diapers and soccer pasta parties – her speaking topics can be found here. Follow Sue on instagram: https://www.instagram.com/