hospitality_imageIn her book Lifegiving, Tammy Maltby wrote, “The world wants us to believe that life is all about appearances. While the outer expressions of beauty and hospitality and friendship can and should have a wonderful appearance, true beauty is more than what the physical eye can perceive. It is not a façade covering over hurt, pain, and anger. Lifegiving is not done with an expectation for accolades. The motivations of the lifegiving woman are fueled by the inner life she is cultivating in the secret place with Christ Himself, the ultimate Lifegiver.”

I’ve been blessed in my married life to be around some of the most amazing women gifted in hospitality—true lifegivers! Out of their love for serving others they have shown me creativity, sense of style, magnificent recipes, and most of all, their joy of the Lord! It’s because of them that I work at discovering how to use a little ingenuity and creativity to share my love of colors, textures, and taste sensations with others. For me, the best part of hospitality is creating a moment to remember for those on the receiving end—a “life-giving moment,” if you will, that puts a spark of sunshine in someone’s day. My desire, first and foremost, is to be a blessing to others!

It is my belief that true hospitality begins in the heart. When I am asked to serve in some form of hospitality, I begin by asking myself: what is my motivation for taking on this task? If I am driven by my need for approval, then I will refuse until my heart is set right with Him. If, after a time of reflection, I am led to view it as an opportunity to serve others with joy and gladness in my heart, then I will accept. My desire is that, through my service, others will feel loved and richly blessed!

Be it known, I really do enjoy hospitality! Serving others brings my heart joy. 🙂

There are three “F” words I think about when I begin planning for an event or a home dinner party–Flowers, Fabric & Food! Many times I get inspiration simply from the fabric department! Colors, patterns, and textures will send my mind reeling with images of what food would carry out a particular theme, or what serving platters would most compliment the colors within the fabric. Also, I think about the season, and plan the menu accordingly, when possible. The next step is visualizing the dishes. How can I plate/serve these dishes in the most beautiful way possible to bring a smile to someone’s face? Sometimes I even lay in bed at night imagining how the table can be set up, platters laid out, and food arranged.

Designing a table setting, for me, is a playful time! Not a time of dressing a table to impress, but rather dress to bless! For a table design I start looking for interesting items that may be lurking around the home or barn. From colorful collections such as toys (Hot Wheels, buttons, and marbles), to beautiful antiques, glassware, or the use of natural elements…I love it all! New and antique, simple or busy—It’s all beautiful in different ways.

For me, this verse describes true hospitality:
Romans 12:9a-11 “Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them. ..Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy in your work, but serve the Lord enthusiastically.”

**Hospitality is about welcoming others, and showing them that they are valuable. What are some of the ways that you show honor and bring value to those in your life? What are some ways that you extend to them a welcome, and show that they are loved?

This post was written by Cristie Harrell. To read more about Cristie, click here.

P.S. For more amazing book recommendations on being a life-giving woman, check out our Bookshelf tab (or click here).