Thursday, July 10, 2008


I am not hospitable. If you only knew how it pains me to admit it! But, I do like having people over. Sound strange? The results of a spiritual-gifts inventory taken years ago revealed that I'm weak in these gifts: helps, mercy, and hospitality. It was done before I became a mother, so I daresay I would come out higher now on the helps and mercy. Motherhood develops both those gifts, thank the Lord.

Good news! No matter how long you've been a mother, you're better than you were. Sure, the skin on your stomach is looser. Maybe your breasts have gone a bit south (from pregnancy, not from nursing). Maybe your sanity's taken a hit - or two or three. But even if you gave birth to your first just last week, you're already better than you were. Chaos notwithstanding, it simply isn't possible to become a mother and not, at the same time, become a better, more well-rounded, more self-sacrificing, more merciful, more loving person. In fact, one of the greatest, and perhaps most unexpected gifts of motherhood, is this deepening and softening of self. Amen to that!

But still, after 6.5 years of motherhood, I am not hospitable. That hasn't changed. When I read the results some eight years ago, I exclaimed to the pastor, "But I love having people over!" He explained that the gift of hospitality means that one is willing to have anyone over at any time, regardless of what the house looks like, regardless of what's in the fridge, regardless of the sweats you're wearing.

Now, I've been to houses that were somewhat dirty or disheveled. I didn't care in the least. It never stopped me from having a good time. Admiration, in fact, is all I felt for the host or hostess. The fact that they didn't care about their mess was, to me, enviable. Sadly, I can't seem to reach that ideal. When guests are expected, I go into a big tizzy - making cleaning lists and shopping lists and perusing cookbooks for a foolproof meal. By the time my guests arrive, I'm exhausted.

Guess who called and is coming for a brief visit next Thursday evening at 7:00 p.m.? The pastor of our new church, along with his wife! They make a habit of visiting new families, lest they have any questions. People, I am already stressing. My dilemma is that, although I clean a few parts of the house everyday, unless Don takes the kids somewhere for about four hours, I can never manage to make it look company-ready.

Once again, I am lamenting about this unfortunate part of my personality. I wish I could move beyond it. Sigh. I will start my to-do list tomorrow.

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