Hospitality Starts with Your Heart

The first feel of fall is finally in the air. The chilly weather on the way makes me think back to a time several years ago when snowflakes unexpectedly began to drift down from the sky. As I wrapped up a wonderful weekend with some of the girls from the God-sized Dream team, my eyes turned anxiously to the road home. I would need to drive about one hundred miles to get there.

Elise Daly Parker slid into the passenger seat and asked what she could do to help ease my mind. “Tell me your life story so I stay calm,” I replied. So she did. And I discovered even more to love about this woman I already considered a friend and fellow writer.

Three hours later we pulled into my driveway and I got out to hug my relieved husband. Thank you, Jesus. I grew up in Texas and snow-driving is not one of my skills. It’s right up there with my ability to do algebra. Yes, ma’am. Elise checked her flight and discovered it was cancelled so rather than heading to the airport, she’d be bunking with us.

That evening we had breakfast for dinner and watched Austenland and talked about words. And that extra time became one of the most treasured parts of the weekend for me. 

What Elise may not have realized is how hospitality has scared me silly for most of my life. If I’d known we would be having a guest, I would have probably cleaned the house, made a menu and planned what we would do. But none of that was an option. And you know what? It was wonderful to skip all of it and simply say, “Come in. You are always welcome here.” 

I’ve finally realized this secret:

Hospitality is just opening your home the same way you open your heart. 

The day after Elise flew home another friend called me out of the blue. She asked if she could come over right away to talk. Without a bit of hesitation, I said “Of course.” I made Italian quesadillas {yes, I invented those because I hadn’t been able to get to the grocery store yet.} We made a beautiful mess in my craft area as we art journaled. We went to TJ Maxx and I hadn’t showered or done my hair. And it was just lovely. 

I always thought I had to make my house perfect to invite people into it. I kinda thought I had to make myself perfect too. But I’m discovering more and more that’s simply not true. Proverbs says, “Love covers every wrong” {10:12}. It even covers stains in the carpet, not having much food in the cupboards, unwashed hair, unmade beds, and messy hearts.

We are made to be together. Not just in the moments when our homes and our hearts are exactly how we’d like them to be. We’re meant to be together as we are. That’s how we live grace.

I walked past the guest room this morning and I missed Elise. And I walked past my still-messy craft table and I missed my friend too. I’m so grateful for that snow. I’m so grateful for that phone call. I’m so grateful for the God of grace.

In many ways, this online space we share is like a home to me too. And I want to say to you again, you’re always welcome here…just as you are.


Holley Gerth

About Holley

About Holley

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author and Life Coach

I like humans, words, and good coffee. And I’d love to help you beat what’s holding you back, become all you’re created to be, and kick butt for the greater good.

Cheering you on,


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