About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. Yea for inviting international guests!! It is the easiest way to be a light to the nations! (plus, I’ll tell you a secret: they don’t know or care how exactly that turkey should be roasted at thanksgiving and don’t know that those lumps aren’t supposed to be in the gravy!!) I would remind folks, though, that if you are serving ham or other pork products, your Muslim guest won’t be able to eat it; try to make sure your meat was butchered kosher–then you are ready for anyone! Last week, my friend told me of a very simple Thanksgiving that she’d invited an international couple to, including dinner and a leisurely walk together afterwards. The invited wife said to her, “This has been the best day I’ve had since we moved to America.” They had been here for years! YOU can give someone their best day, and maybe even the Truth of eternal life!!

    • Oh Tami –

      It’s so true. We’ve had the most unbelievable international celebrations with people from all over the world and they are so very appreciative for every little bit offered. But even if they weren’t, it still matters. 🙂

  2. You’ve issued a real challenge here! Hospitality is one area I struggle with, and I love your ideas to simplify it and make it more doable. I don’t have too many excuses left!

  3. I’ ve stepped out of my comfort zone this Easter and into the faith zone. I have a blended family of nine children. Most of them are adults now. One of our adult daughters has a husband out of state for training, compliments of the US Army. Her mom, aka my husbands ex, is staying with her to help her for two weeks. I called her and invited them to our family Easter dinner and egg hunt. Of course I cleared it with my husband first…but I did it. I don’t know if they will make it, but they were very appreciative of the offer, and one of my 14 year old daughters looked at me and said, “mom, that was the right thing to do.” I’m looking forward to a wonderful celebration.

    • OH Donna – that brings tears to my eyes.
      Thank you for making room for one more, and wow, what a one it is.

      I can’t even imagine how difficult it was for you, but look at what that ONE invite modeled for your daughter. You have planted something into your 14 year old daughter’s heart that will grow throughout a life time.

      Have a blessed Easter Sunday.

  4. Thank you for writing this post.

    I’m very much like the girl you mentioned in your post. I still haven’t found a place where i can belong and grow in Christ. It’s a blessing to have someone like you to invite others, even outside your friendship zone, to join you.

  5. We make a special point to do this on Christmas Eve. What a blessing it has been to host folks around our table on what can be a very lonely night. You are so right that sometimes they say “No.”, but it is the invitation that means the world!

  6. I love this post – an want to encourage everyone to say yes, if you happen to be the ONE MORE! It’s uncomfortable to be on that side, too!

  7. Yay!! Although my family growing up were not believers, we always had room for one more. I have passed it on to our kids, and included an array of folks from many walks in life!
    My favorite so far: Thanksgiving with international students!! Most have never eaten turkey before, and it’s an easy day to infuse our thankfulness to God!!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  8. Yay!!
    My favorite so far: Thanksgiving with international students!! Most have never eaten turkey before, and it’s an easy day to infuse our thankfulness to God!!
    Thanks for sharing!!

  9. After being the girl who didn’t fit in, its one of the things I first look for in the room – whoever is by themselves. It was such a relief when I found authentic community that loved and accepted me as I was, and it compels me now to extend that to other people. Thank you for the awesome reminder of making room for one more!

  10. A few years ago I invited a family that I had never met face to face to dinner. Her husband was deployed, and she was new to the area. It was loud, but I have six kids so it is always loud, it was fun.

    I’ve gotten away from having parties and get-togethers because life gets in the way (college, trying to keep the house clean, obligations), but I need to remember that in a house of 8 people, 3 cats, and 2 dogs there is always room for more.

  11. Years ago, a friend & I ventured to a bigger church for a ladies function open to the community. They had decorated tables with themes for the names of God. My friend & I laughed as we sat at what we called “The Lonely Horn of Salvation” table…but the sad part was that no one even ventured over to greet us from the big church! The blessing was that the speaker came over and sat with us since we had plenty of seats available, so we enjoyed that thoroughly! And I remember that experience any time I talk to my daughter about being aware of others and friendly toward others! We don’t have to be become best friends, but we can be friends, and who knows when it might spark a wonderful friendship! Thanks for your wonderful blog full of all sorts of timeless stories & ideas!

  12. I took a co-worker out to lunch. I don’t know her well, but God put it on me to pay for her meal. We came back talked and had a good time.

    My hubby and I don’t enterain much, we try to help others out as much as possible and show Christ to the world!!

  13. I love this post! Even on a tight budget, it is easy to include others. For Valentine’s Day, I used the Starbucks gift card I was given at Christmas (I’m not a big Starbucks drinker) and brought coffee to the women at work who are single. One of our most talked about “family” (meaning anyone and everyone who has nowhere else to go) dinners was the breakfast for dinner feast at Christmas time.

  14. I, too, am always on the lookout for the lonely person in the room, the one who isn’t making eye contact or smiling or talking to anyone. God called us into His family, so I have no reason to not do the same with the folks around me.

    I just love the quote about doing life together. I invited everyone I knew to a Bible study at my house that starts next week, and I have about 8 ladies from all walks of life that will be doing life together through this study of God’s Word. I can’t wait to see how the Lord will use our time together. =)

  15. I love this! We have often lived far away from our family, so during the times (usually holidays) that families typically gather we have invited others to join us at our home. Oh, how rich it has been and what a wonderful way to deepen relationships.

  16. This is something that really spoke to me as I really struggled in the past with being a hostess. So much so that my mother-in-law, my husband’s aunt, and my husband all expressed to me after my husband left me last year that even his family did not feel welcome in our home. It’s never been that I’ve left A person out, I left EVERYONE out. Now I’m in a better place and am willing to welcome others into my home but I’ve not had much of an opportunity to because I pushed a lot of people away over the years. Even with apologies and invitations most of them stay away (unless it’s Christmas or my children’s birthday). This post made me realize that I may need to look beyond the obvious people and start to welcome those that I wouldn’t normally reach out to to begin with. I’m looking forward to, and believing in, the day that I can welcome my husband back home and others into our home as well!