The phone rang, and I just knew it was someone calling about the party.
My stomach sank, and I got that nervous tummy feeling. You know that one that happens when you just aren’t sure what you are going to say to someone? The one when multiple conversations play over in your head at breakneck speed, while you try and think through each outcome? Yes, that nervous tummy feeling.
I debated letting the answering machine pick it up, but I knew it was delaying the inevitable.
I glanced at my kitchen and great room. With Christmas boxes everywhere, loads of laundry on the sofa, and three fully packed suitcases waiting by the stairs, my home didn’t scream, “Welcome, I’m so glad you’re here.”
It was obvious that I needed to cancel the Christmas party set to be held at our home later that evening.
Having been called out of town unexpectedly the previous days, I knew these ladies would understand. I wasn’t ready for them, and my house surely wasn’t “Christmas party ready.”
“Jen, I deleted the email. What time does the ladies night out start tonight?”
I paused. It was the moment of truth. How should I respond? I knew how I wanted to respond.
The Martha Stewart side of me taunted, “Just cancel. They will completely understand. You’re not really going to invite them in when your tree isn’t even trimmed, are you? I mean look around. One can only get so much done in five hours, and even I can’t touch this mess.”
But then I heard that still small voice whisper. Truthfully, it sounded more like a scream, and it shouted, “Jen, is your definition of hospitality always supposed to be convenient and comfortable? Do you remember the verse you often reference from 1 Peter 4:9: ‘Show hospitality to one another without grumbling,’ or what about Romans 12:13, ‘Seek to show hospitality or Practice hospitality.’ Do you mean it? Why would you cancel? These women are looking forward to a night out together at your home.”
It’s as if I could hear the words from my very own “Welcome Home Hospitality” workshop speaking right at me, and honestly, I needed a bit of a finger wave right in the face at that moment.
Do I invite others into my home only when it’s on my terms? Do I? I think I might.
What’s my purpose in hosting friends? Is it to cultivate a spirit of welcome and minister to others or is it self serving in any way?
I picked up the phone.
“Hey there. It starts at 7:00, but just get here when ever you can. I can’t wait to see you.”
The clean laundry repositioned itself from the down stairs sofa to my upstairs bedroom sofa. The suitcases were tucked away in a closet. Five large Rubbermaid containers sat patiently in a corner, giving a whole new meaning to interesting party decor, and I quickly prepared an easy, but delicious, cheeseball, as well as my famous Sour Cream Banana Cake (shh, it starts with cake mix, but no one will ever know when you bake them in cute, little pans.) When asked what they could bring, I decided to let them help. Sweet or salty. Whatever is easiest.
White lights sparkled on the tree, but not one ornament adorned its branches. It was OK. I was OK.
A few hours later, women poured into my home, and that tight knot that I’d been feeling all day disappeared.
If you need more encouragement on embracing imperfection for the right reasons, you’ll see why this ties in perfectly with my month of Good Enough Things.