Lisa Appelo
About the Author

Lisa is a single mom to 7 and young widow who found God her Rock when her world was rocked. One of her delights is teaching women every Sunday morning at her church, FBC Jacksonville. She writes and speaks on faith in the hard and God’s healing hope.

(in)side DaySpring: things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
(in)side DaySpring:
things we love
& you will too!
Find more at
Recent Posts

Reader Interactions


  1. Lisa,
    Isn’t it amazing how God will sometimes force us to regain something we’ve lost – in your case it was the gift of hospitality. Oh how the enemy sneaks in there and whispers, “Your place is not enough. You are not enough.” He wants us to feel like we have nothing to offer in God’s earthly kingdom. Also, though I hate to admit it, pride keeps me from welcoming people into my home. I want to present a certain image (usually one that says that I totally have my act together – as if that’s possible??). Jesus didn’t ask for a palace in which to be born…..He came to a lowly stable. He will come to our hearts and homes….just as they are. Great lesson on what you learned through this experience!! I’m taking it to heart….
    Bev xx

    • I echo Bev’s Thoughts exactly! I have become more and more reluctant to have people over due to shame about the house, the unfinished renovations due to me studying a Masters and my husbands lack of time, but upon reflection their all blessings really. I crave connection yet don’t make the effort enough. What a wonderful example you are and have shared it’s in the giving and opening of ourselves to community that really matters not the state of our abode. Lesson received my friend, I’m going to try to be more open thanks for sharing x

      • Interesting, Jas, what we hold ourselves to when we don’t for others, isn’t it? Your full life will overflow beautifully into others. Preaching that to myself this morning.

      • Jas,
        I can’t imagine someone not loving to sit down with you to have a cup of coffee or tea. You have a caring and gracious heart and when you do…the undusted furniture in your home has a way of disappearing!
        Bev xx

        • Your too kind Bev! And an inspiration to many so glad to benefit from your advice and kind words here x

    • So true, Bev. It was a good wake-up call and honestly felt good to clean out more yuck in my own heart. And you are spot on, King Jesus lived humbly and simply. What a good reminder.

  2. When we bought our fixer-upper almost 24 years ago, our mantra was, “If we wait until it’s perfect before we have company, we’ll never invite a soul.” So we’ve persevered in having the world (literally, as missionaries are regulars here!) at our dining room table, and it’s one of the best decisions we ever made.
    And Lisa, whenever I read your words, I’m inspired by your courage for this unexpected turn your life has taken.

  3. Lisa, what a beautiful story and a beautiful lesson. You are so right…hospitality isn’t an event (a cook-out or a dinner party)…it is a condition of the heart.

    This is a timely reminder to me as I’m hosting my first large gathering in awhile, and have been getting caught up in the inconsequential details. Time to refocus on welcoming the people attending.

  4. Lisa,
    What you’ve overcome is remarkable, and yet you opened up and became a gift to others. Thank-you for sharing with us.

    (My home, and I are not perfect, and that’s okay.)
    blessings to all,

  5. Thank-you for your honesty about this. I think that most people (except for the few who actually like cleaning, hire cleaning ladies, or know how to be more efficient with their house-cleaning), are “hiding” stuff each time people come over. I’m not advocating a dirty home or leaving all our junk out without a care when having people over, but I am agreeing with you that the most important aspect when we have visitors is the atmosphere we create and the state of our hearts.

    I’ve been in this place often. It seems that one of the bi-products of a “perfectionist” personality is actually having a lot of imperfectness around us, as we are generally not good at doing things quickly and letting stuff be “good enough”. I’ve been learning that for years.

    I have felt this especially this year, as early in the year I cut my finger which resulted in tendon repair surgery and losing a lot of time due to my recovery. Then most recently my husband had to have bypass surgery, and now the holidays are upon us.

    I have come far in realizing what’s truly important in our home, but admit that it’s still an area in which I need to grow. I desire to learn how to keep a more simple, less cluttered home, and also to remember the priorities of love and relationships when things aren’t at their best.

    Although I believe a clean, neat home can help to foster a peaceful atmosphere, I also know that most people feel better knowing that we are “normal”, and that we are willing to share of ourselves despite the imperfections. It shows an emphasis on putting others needs above our desire to look good and like we have it together.

    Good for you for making this wise choice and discovery, and for enlisting the help of your family.

  6. Thank you Lisa, I have found your web page and your writings about grief. I have read posts and plan to go back. As I am recently widowed, after 42 years of marriage, your posts have spoken to me!

    • Barbara, I’m so sorry for your loss….42 years is a lot of loss to process. I am praying for you now as I write this, that you will feel God’s tender care all through this Christmas season.

  7. Lisa,
    What a beautiful and strong soul you are !
    Thanks for sharing this , for myself , once I was no longer able to work and living with multiple life threatening illnesses , this became my new norm ! I’m in my early 40s , so it’s not I don’t want folks over , I fear as you say as my house is imperfect . I was always a people person and loved entertaining and hanging with friends and family . I use to be a clean freak and the few that do see it now says it’s clean , but it’s a hott mess as I am most days . I stay in my pjs often , unless I have appointments or a burst of energy to just get dressed .

    Hope you and your kids have a blessed holiday season and know you are one strong and very courageous woman!

    • Jen, pj girls unite! First thing I change into after a long Sunday morning at church. But truly, sending you a hug for pressing through the hard and finding God faithful in the imperfect.

  8. Lisa, I know you don’t need or want my admiration, but, regardless—you have it. So impressed by the way you’ve allowed your broken story to meet others in their own brokenness. Thank you for your vulnerability. — And, thanks for the reminder that hospitality is of the heart, not the home. ((Hug))

    • You are an encourager, Brenda. I so appreciate your encouraging heart. It’s mostly that I want God and following Him means we get some needed scrubbing of the unsightly stuff in our hearts.

  9. Thank you for your post – how you gain strength from the Lord to deal with such a loss in your family situation.

    Because our first house needed more outside repairs than the inside (don’t judge a book by its cover! 🙂 ), when they saw the inside, they were pleasantly surprised. We were sometimes reluctant over the years to have people over because of not-so-nice comments that generally came from the men – friend or family – “when are you going to fix that? when are you going to paint your house, etc. etc.?” And I would cringe and grit my teeth. Does anyone else gets comments like that? Our second home now is in the same state on the outside. We don’t have the finances to redo the siding and windows or the skills to do it ourselves. I do love to entertain and the inside of our home always looks nice compared to the outside. And we always get compliments on the interior. And our yard always looks neat and tidy. But in the past, it was embarrassing to have people over. I didn’t want to hear the negative comments/questions.

    I hope you have a great Christmas holiday with your family. Thank you again for revealing your innermost thoughts on your grief and family situation. XO

    • Linda, you are so wise to open your home and invest in those around you. Hospitality in the process of making and re-making our homes is a needed gift.

  10. Oh, I love this, Lisa. And how I can relate! Putting your “real” out there encourages all of us to do the same. Now, if I will simply choose to unpry the fingers and simply release it to Him…

  11. I too suffered for a while from ‘imperfect heart ‘ syndrome…job loss, marriage struggles & other life adjustments closed my hospitality door & I hid away for a while…till God spoke through a friend who said ‘you need to know when to WHOA & when to GO’ she challenged me to ask God about my slow down, my need for reflective study & returning to the life & purpose He had in store. During my study time I came across an article about why we return compliments with doubts & negativity instead of gratitude & joy for those offering praise…it changed how I respond now to guest compliments. You have my heart & prayers for the journey you’re on & my praise for the courage to share your story. Blessings!

  12. Feeling like our homes are imperfect sounds like a common thread here. I felt our last house was too small to host gatherings and so I never hosted anything. I was embarrassed and now I wonder how much relationship and community I might have missed. Now I have embraced the imperfect and it is so freeing. I love having friends over for dinner or hosting bonfires in our backyard. There is so much joy in the connection that happens in homes. Praying over your journey as you continue to learn how to navigate your story, thanks for sharing!

    • That’s just it. We miss out! I know that’s happened here. There are times to pull in (to heal for instance) but times to open ourselves back up as well. Thank you, Jen.

  13. That is such a great point. God has brought you to this point when He knew you were ready. Life changing events in our lives, change our lives. When raising my children as a single mother, the kids friends were much more financially sound and materialistic as well. Funny thing is their friends always wanted to come to our house because they felt at home and comfortable. They saw the love and care we had. I am so thankful for that. Praying for you as changes come your way. Thank you for sharing your heart to help others for the cause of Christ!!

    • Linda, what encouragement you’ve given me that you can look back on the hard days of single parenting and see God’s good hand. thank you for that this morning.

  14. Lisa, so beautiful how God held your hand to open “your home” but to really open your heart. Nothing is so pure than that. And so true, we are craving community is a world of fast-paced technology-screen filled world. Human touch and interaction.
    I am happy all is well and safe, hurricanes are very frightening, I lived through Andrew.

  15. Lisa,

    You have a heart of gold like me. God has given you a servant’s heart to help people. The devil makes us believe we can’t or shouldn’t host people, do this, that. He would have us believe that we aren’t enough. I feel like you do. I always want to help out in situations. My first thought is usually can I make a meal, go visit, etc. In this rush fast paced world of ours we don’t make time for community. Our pride gets in the way of being the hands & feet of Jesus. I am grateful you opened up your home to your family. You are an inspiration to me. How you handle seven kids, with all regular stuff & yet make room for family in an emergency! May God bless you richly!!!


  16. This is lovely. A wonderful reminder of hospitality. When someone invites me to their home, I don’t pick apart imperfections in it – I’m just happy to be there. Why would I think people are critiquing me?