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How I Learned The Sacred Art of Hospitality

The gift of being truly welcomed into someone's home is one that has the power to change is from deep within. While we love being welcomed, the work of welcoming others is often one we struggle with. Whether fear or shame or business plague us, we can be hindered from opening our hearts and homes to others. Bailey has experienced being welcomed and doing the welcoming and she is sharing her story of transformation as God renewed her heart and mind and showed her the impact of Gospel-centered hospitality. It's an honor to have Bailey share her story.


I overestimated my ability as a young woman. Pinterest and registering for wedding presents left me planning a perfect house with elaborate meals spread across beautifully spread tables. This hosting would lead to deep, heart-probing conversation and a deeper love for God. Mostly, though, if you dug deep into my heart, you would have seen a desire to be the perfect wife and hostess. I would be the Pinterest woman.

Being a military spouse, my husband works with many single guys, and he opened our home to them. It caused fights like I never anticipated. He would arrive home from work with a smile on his face, letting me know that a friend would be joining us for dinner. If the house wasn’t clean, I’d frantically implore him to start working harder and to delay or cancel if possible. Then bitterly, once he had insisted that he would not cancel, I would chop more chicken and peppers to add to the fajitas I was making. Nasty comments would pepper my speech, then the doorbell would ring and I would smile.


FaithHome

I’d smile and be annoyed if someone didn’t leave within the appropriate window after dinner. I wanted friends in neat little sections that I could control. It wasn’t enough to have my house and meal the way I wanted it, I also wanted to control the behavior. I set up tea cups intending for lovely conversations, but marines often brought beer and ignored the tea. I hated it. My heart was twisted in frustration and anger.

I didn’t realize how quickly it had spiraled. I cried over unexpected guests and cried over missing old friends. My heart was breaking as I grasped more tightly for control over my space. I didn’t want anyone to come over unless I had time to clean. I lamented not having friends who I felt could just pop by and sit with me.



Thankfully, God is good. Despite my shortcoming and, Jesus called me to His feet and reminded me that what I do unto others, I do unto Him.
My husband continued to open the doors and God started to open my heart.

One night, I was boxed into a corner. My husband woke up with debilitating pain and, after hours in the emergency room, was in the operating room having his appendix removed. With family an ocean away. I was confused and worried. I sat by his side and called one of the friends who my husband had constantly opened and door to and asked if they could let our puppy out.

Grace amazes me. Despite my protests, these friends insisted on staying overnight with the dog and brought me a backpack full of snacks and hospital supplies. Another friend called the next day and insisted on bringing dinner. I was being hosted in my own home.


This was my turning point.

I still protested occasionally and fretted over the state of the house, but God taught me that is wasn’t the state of my floor but the state of heart that mattered.

When someone came through my door hungry, I fed them. When they were crying, I stopped and made tea. When they needed a laugh, we pulled out a game or turned on TV. But in everything, I poured out myself. Because that is the Gospel.

It is easy to give when we are full, but when we pour out our empty selves, that is when we see the goodness of God. At the end of myself, I am filled with Him. But this grace is not given to be hoarded and kept, but to be lavished upon all as God daily provides manna to sustain us and to share with the world.



Bailey Suzio’s journey started out in Michigan, where she grew up as the oldest of 10 (yes, ten) children, and has led her to Hawaii with her husband and their two dogs. She has greatly enjoyed this opportunity to explore the history and culture of the Hawaiian islands. In addition to her love for the Lord and her family, her great passions are coffee and collecting an exorbitant amount of books. Bailey has spent the last few years teaching and working with a local church. She writes over at The Thin Place about her life, faith, and infertility journey. 

15 comments

  1. Love, love, LOVE this! Thank you for sharing from your experience. I can relate to wanting to be the perfect Pinterest woman. I relate to the tea cups and the freaking out and the ugly comments when the situation didn't work out as I liked.

    But God is SO good to us! He has also been working on my heart in this aspect of life. Since I spent 9 weeks in a hospital for bedrest and 4 months in the NICU I've been learning all sorts of great things about being hosted and served and loved well by others.

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Frannie, what an awesome story of hospitality! I'm so sorry you had to spend so much time in the hospital but I'm thrilled to hear how people loved you well!

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  2. A beautiful story! I think we are challenged by society to "do it all" on our own and we often forget that we were created for community! Never, ever feel bad for reaching out to your circle!

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    1. I love that! "We were created for community!" yes! Widen the circle!

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  3. I absolutely love this story of how your heart changed! I grew up in a family that always had open doors, that always had food for one more at the dinner table, and I've really tried to maintain that tradition in my own family. My husband and I got married fairly young, so all of our friends were single--as the only guy in the group of friends with a wife to cook meals, our home became the gathering place for everyone and I loved that. However, our meals were definitely NOT Pinterest-worthy, lol! (actually...there was no Pinterest when I got married...maybe that was a good thing!) :)

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    1. That's amazing, Rachel! I love that your table is so full of those you love.

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  4. "But in everything, I poured out myself. Because that is the Gospel." Amen! Thank you for this- I definitely struggle with being the 'pinterest wife' and need to remember what hospitality is really about.

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    1. That's such a great take-away, Holly! Take the pressure off-live out the Gospel! That's all we are called to do.

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  5. Wonderful! Thank you for sharing!

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  6. "I still protested occasionally and fretted over the state of the house, but God taught me that is wasn’t the state of my floor but the state of heart that mattered" This is absolutely beautiful. Bailey, I enjoyed this so much. Thank you for sharing!

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  7. Wow! This post really made me think. I love hosting people in our home, but have often found that my desire to have it all "perfect" can take away from the true purpose of hosting!

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  8. I love this so much! It's so hard to fight that "things must be perfect" feeling!

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  9. I ADORE this sentiment. We are in a constant state of renovation and clutter, so I always hesitate to have people over. We've missed out on a lot of connections over the years because of it, I'm sure.

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  10. It makess me so happy to read truly transparent stories about hospitality. There is sometimes quite a learning curve, and we are ALL capable of making people welcome. You rock!

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  11. This is such a beautiful story, and resounds in my heart, where I am always struggling with generosity and hospitality. Thank you for writing!

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