On any given day of the week, I can guarantee you'll find a tube of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls in my refrigerator. Who doesn't love something that’s so easy to pop in the oven while you multitask? MOM LIFE. And that icing…. you better believe I make it last to cover ever single square inch of the cinnamon rolls. The twins have had these so much that for a while they called anything that resembled a piece of bread a cinnamon roll.
The first year of the twins’ lives, I couldn't hide the fact that I didn't have it all together. I just wanted someone to sit with me and say..."Me too. I know how that feels." With every ‘perfect’ monthly photo flashed on social media, I could barely catch my breath from the constant ups and downs of this beautiful but messy thing called motherhood.
I use to be able to whip up something in an instant, visit a friend on any given day, or show up for my people at the drop of a hat. When the twins came along, my priorities had to shift and their needs became our first priority. We tried so hard, but could barely handle the pressure of getting to church on time without a disaster or meltdown happening before we arrived. And to top it off, we were always late. We didn't get out much; in fact, we hardly got out at all.
In 2017, I took on the role as women’s ministry leader at our former church. It was such a good outlet for me to separate myself from the role as a stay at home mom. During that time, I got a front row seat to what happens when we let God shape a ministry into His own. Taking the time to get to know these women and pray for them was an experience that shaped me for the better. Even though many of us had different backgrounds or upbringings, I felt the need to allow them to feel equally special which always opened the door for so many to let down their guard and be real.
"Intimately attuned to His own physical surroundings, Christ’s model for discipleship often began not with instructions to hold up and study more, but with a call to greater awareness." -Shannan Martin, The Ministry of Ordinary Places
Recently, my grandfather passed away, and I watched countless people provide meals for my mom and family. We never had to worry about lunch or dinner for over a week after his passing. I know for a fact that several of these people had just as much going on in their lives. However, they took the time and showed up. This act of hospitality was such a true testament of what the Church was always meant to be... a place for broken people to come together and hold each other up and keep the faith during difficult seasons this side of Heaven.
A dear friend came over this past month, and I decided to throw her a little birthday brunch. I found a french toast casserole recipe that could be prepared the night before and cooked in the morning. Jackpot! And you know what? It was a PILLSBURY DOUGH BOY RECIPE. Friends, they get it. There’s nothing like two mamas getting to sit back and connect over food. The kids ran around us as we blocked out the screams and piles of toys stacking up. We cried, we laughed, and every problem we had seemed to take a back seat to the joy of just getting to be together.
What a blessing! It's not because I prepared a pretty display for her or cooked a fun meal. It's what happens when take the time to sit down and listen to each other. It's what happens when we go past the surface level conversations with the girl you know the Lord has called you to build a relationship with. It's about meeting people in the midst of heartache, and showing up when it's not easy. I know she could not have cared less about what food I had to offer to her that day. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple, "Me too...I know how that feels."
Ordinary people, this is a ministry unseen. Jesus didn’t have to let a flashy Facebook show He was a good person or He served with open arms. He met with people in the darkest places. Where poverty, humility, and suffering thrived, there He was. And I’ll be honest with you, that is where I feel most comfortable. When I have to constantly wrestle with God about what the next step should be, He loves it. Our senses open up to His presence as we look for His goodness in all things.
Hospitality is as simple as holding the door open for a mom who just needs one person to notice her. It’s smiling at the cashier or holding a conversation with a sweet neighbor you need to get to know better. Plant the seed. You’re not responsible for making sure it grows.
Is God calling you to connect and share your story? Is there someone you need to open your home to or get to know better? Pop open a tube of cinnamon rolls, lean in, and listen. The heart of hospitality thrives off of a faithful servant of God.