Spiritual Formation

When Hospitality Hurts

I’ve been silent here over the past couple of weeks. Not because I haven’t been writing. But because I’ve had to use my writing time to focus on a few other exciting projects. I hope to share more about all of them in the near future.

But today I get to tell you about one. It’s an invitation I received to write a guest blog for my friend and colleague Jamie Janosz.

In February Jamie’s first book was released. When Others Shuddered: Eight Women Who Refused to Give Up. In the book, Jamie chronicles the stories of eight turn-of-the-century women who served God in daring ways. I encourage you to give it a read!

A few weeks ago Jamie asked me and several other writers to respond to one of the discussion questions from the book. I find each of these women inspiring for different reasons. And I found so many of Jamie’s discussion prompts compelling and convicting. It was hard to pick just one. But in the end, I wrote a little piece in reaction to the story of Sarah Dunn Clarke, who–along with her husband–founded the Pacific Garden Mission which still operates in Chicago.

Jamie’s discussion question is as follows:

Sarah Dunn Clarke was struck by God speaking to her, asking, โ€œWhat are you doing to decorate your heavenly home?โ€ In our culture, it is not uncommon for women to become obsessed with home dรฉcor and cooking. We exchange recipes and crafting ideas on Pinterest and other social media sites. How might our domestic obsessions limit our impact for God? Or can we use them for Him?


“When Hospitality Hurts: Perfection and Frozen Pot Pies”

I made my foray into the world of interior design when I was about four. My mom opened wide the wallpaper book, and I picked a pattern for my room. Pink and blue Holly Hobby dolls for three walls. A coordinating stripe for the fourth. I chose a blue carpet remnant to cover the floor and complete the effect. I was hooked.

My taste, of course, has evolved over the years.

In junior high, I persuaded my mom to buy gold plaid furniture for the family room. It was the 80s. Then I discovered a kerosene lamp and some framed photos of our ancestors in the attic. I placed the lamp on a secretary desk. Hung the pictures above it on the wall. And fell in love with all things antique.

Read the rest of the essay here

2 thoughts on “When Hospitality Hurts

  1. This was wonderful, Kelli! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Frozen pot pies were a favorite in my family’s kitchen. When we grew hungrier than a single pie, it was time to cook rice and dump the pie, upside down, on the fluffy, white pile. Mash and stir with a fork, and it was all the rage. You can imagine, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ An aside: I married into a family that *loves* rice. I have been abusing it all my life, apparently. Pot pie topping for dinner. Smothered in butter and brown sugar for a dessert. Always too much soy sauce on plain rice. I love rice, too, just differently. (Okay, that was all random.)

    Before I got sidetracked, I was just going to say the hospitality piece touches my heart. I have always had a little trouble with inviting people into my home. I’m a bit culinarily challenged, and things always seem to be on the list of quick fixes, repairs, or “Jerrys” to be rigged.

    I’m reminded by a good friend often: No one comes to see my home. They come to see ME. And, I want to offer a safe, welcoming place (which has precious little to do with my house, I imagine). ๐Ÿ˜‰ Things to ponder…


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