I mentioned last week that I’ve been in the hospital and on bed rest the past couple of weeks. After I’m released from bed rest, I’ll still have to cut back or limit activities and I’m working on what that will look like for the next eight weeks or so. Meanwhile, I have asked for help.
Yes, you read that right. And yes, it was hard.
It’s hard to admit that we just can’t handle things, that things were already kind of hanging by a thread before I got sick. It’s humbling to admit that you’re not just “doing great, thanks!” when you’re dealing with unemployment and hospitalization on top of regular household tasks and homeschooling and a bunch of other stuff.
But it sort of dawned on me, as I sat in the hospital trying not to listen too closely to the heart rate monitor so I wouldn’t freak myself out, in commanding us to show hospitality, God implies that we sometimes need to accept it too.
Like most people, I have tended to see hospitality as sort of sanctified entertaining. I have made a lot of meals for other people, but never really connected that to hospitality. I’m grateful that while I was in the hospital I read 31 Days to a Heart of Hospitality, which describes hospitality as so much more than dinner parties, and instead as a way to build community and comfort and encourage each other.
So although it was uncomfortable and humbling for me, I accepted my mother’s offer to come stay with us, I accepted meals from our church family and other friends, I took a friend up on an offer to make some gluten-free baked goods for Sarah, and another friend’s offer to come over and clean our bathrooms. I’m not going to lie to you, I had to fight my pride on these things. I wanted so badly to say “never mind, I will handle it myself!” But seeing that deeper definition of hospitality also opened my eyes to the fact that we are blessed to have family and friends who are willing to offer us the heart of hospitality–to come alongside us when things are falling apart and pray for us and offer us help and encourage us with tangible comfort.
The privilege of accepting the gift of hospitality has opened my eyes to ways that I can offer hospitality to others in the future. Yes, I need to open my home for meals and visitors, but also I need to use the margin I’m carving out now out of necessity to be ready to creatively serve others when they need help or encouragement later. I’m so grateful for the hospitality others have shown us, and I’m looking forward to finding ways to offer that comfort and encouragement with a true heart of hospitality.
Sheila and Elizabeth won the giveaway copies of 31 Days to a Heart of Hospitality! If you didn’t win, don’t despair! You can still get your own copy of 31 Days to Heart of Hospitality. If you read the book, come back and let us know what you learn from it!
Have you ever found yourself desperately needing hospitality? Was it hard to ask for help? What did you learn from it?
Many thanks to Edie from Life in Grace for offering this giveaway!