White walls and a 80s multicolored afghan were all that greeted me in my new bedroom offered to me by virtual strangers. It had been two months since my parents had kicked me out of their home, leaving me stranded with nothing but a bunch of trash bags filled with my childhood stuffed animals and the fifty dollar check I had gotten from my job I worked at once a week.

I was depressed and distraught, but I was not alone.

After hearing of my plight, a couple from my church offered for me to live with them for free in exchange for watching their children. I walked down the blue carpet lined staircase until I reached the aroma of freshly made breakfast in the dining room. On the shiny brown wooden table sat a bowl with steaming hot biscuits. Soon my friend from church came out of the kitchen, her hands full with two bone white plates filled with fluffy scrambled eggs. “Come on, sit down,” Laura said with a smile, pulling out a chair to her table.

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The situation for me was extremely awkward. Growing up, we never had people over our house. But on Sunday nights, I would walk next door to my Nana’s house where she would make Sunday night dinner for my family and I. I would help set the table while Nana worked, mashing potatoes by hand or adding carrots to the pot roast she made in the oven. After dinner, when everyone left, I’d help my Nana dry the dishes, wiping each piece of silverware with care and placing it in her silverware drawer next to the sink, careful to make sure her antique pieces were safe and sound. Every now and again when her back was turned, I’d look at my reflection in those newly washed pieces making funny faces at the person staring back at me.

Hospitality to me meant sharing a meal with family, the people who had a hand in watching me grow up. But now, sitting at a stranger’s table was a painful reminder of all I had lost. Becoming a born again Christian at the age of eighteen became a source of contention and strife between my family and I, culminating in their declaration I was no longer a part of their family before throwing me out.

But that morning, I gained a new family. When Laura pushed out her dining room chair in a gesture of hospitality, she was extending me a chance to become a part of their family. Her husband and two children treated me not as a boarder, but as a sister, filling my belly with physical food and my soul with kindness and an invitation to know my Savior a little bit better.

Pushing a chair and offering a friend a seat at your table doesn’t just fill your stomach, it fills your soul, too. Whether it’s devouring a large pizza over TV or getting out the fine china and linen napkins for a fancy home cooked meal, both provide the gateway for friends to become family.

***

invitationtotable3dGIVEAWAY

Michelle has graciously offered to give away one copy of her brand new book, An Invitation To The Table: Embracing the Gift of Hospitality. To be considered for this giveaway, please leave a comment below. Want more chances to win? Simply share this post on social media and tag @Grace_Table or use the hashtag #gracetable. Leave a comment for every additional share. 

Michelle Lazurek
Michelle Lazurek / Posts / Blog

Michelle Lazurek is an award winning author, speaker, pastor’s wife and mother who loves to help people reach their potential. She has been published on websites such as Christianity Today’s Gifted For Leadership and Incourage.me. A member of the Advanced Speakers and Writers Association, she teaches at writer’s conferences such as the Montrose Christian Writers conference. Please visit her website at www.michellelazurek.com.

  • Michele J

    Feeding people is my first love, but I’m incredibly bad at extending the invitation to my incredibly messy home. I need to remind myself to go beyond my family and invite others to my table.

    September 19th, 2016 8:08
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    • Michelle S. Lazurek
      Michelle S. Lazurek

      Extending hospitality to others is not easy. But in the end, it benefits not only you but the guest as well.

      September 21st, 2016 13:44
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      02
  • Lisa adams

    Hospitality is hard for me. My introverted perfectionist would rather be by myself. When we invite others over, it’s always fun. My juxtaposition.

    September 19th, 2016 9:11
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    • Michelle S. Lazurek
      Michelle S. Lazurek

      agreed. I’m the same way. Hospitality pushes me out of my comfort zone. I hope it does for me too.

      September 21st, 2016 13:42
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      04
  • Tammy

    Love this. A simple thing such as a meal can bring hope.

    September 19th, 2016 9:13
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    05
  • Helen g.
    http://helenscornerblog.blogspot.com

    This has been on my heart for the last few months. How can I open my home, extend a hand and openly welcome people to my table. What a great reminder that hospitality is the channel through which we show God’s love to those around us, whether they’re family or not. As a pastor’s wife, hospitality doesn’t come naturally to me, and I often feel “guilty” for having a poor attitude towards it. But the Lord has been softening my heart and I’m making it a priority. I would LOVE to check out this book!

    September 19th, 2016 9:21
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  • Pam

    Without a recipe, I’m not the best cook but I love it when something I make blesses the receiver. Hospitality in my home among the people I serve everyday is one of my biggest challenges. Thank you for the opportunity to receive your book.

    September 19th, 2016 9:38
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  • Tracey

    We go through seasons of regularly inviting people to our table and we are currently emerging from a long season of not having anyone over to share a meal.

    September 19th, 2016 9:59
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    09
  • Cherish

    It is very hard for me to relinquish control over my life and personal space to invite people in. I want and desperately need more of this in my life. Every time I read something encouraging from grace table it really does help me cast aside my anxiety and brave the beautiful world of genuine hospitality.

    September 19th, 2016 10:10
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  • Katrina

    Shared this on FB

    September 19th, 2016 10:20
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  • Leah Adams
    http://www.leahadams.org

    You are so right….providing food accomplishes more than filling the tummy. It fills the soul. Blessings to you for your beautiful transparency.

    September 19th, 2016 10:37
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  • Laura

    I loved this. So simple and true, but the influence of an invitation to your table can have such a profound impact on someone. Thank you for this post and the chance to win your book!

    September 19th, 2016 10:39
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    13
  • Katrina

    What a beautiful testimony about how much it can change a life to be welcomed in and included and loved.

    September 19th, 2016 10:56
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  • Becky J

    My heart jumped at the words that expressed your belly was filled with physical food, while your spirit was filled as well by their kindnesses…what a challenge to my heart and hearth as I welcome others in, in Jesus’ dear name! Thanks so much for the giveaway…hospitality is my heart’s cry!

    September 19th, 2016 11:08
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    15
  • Corena Hall

    Michelle
    I am sorry for your family. I pray that forgiveness and compassion abounds in you for that hurt. I’m sorry for the young girl who was probably devastated by her family’s treatment. But God is good always. He is mercy and strength.
    I am an introvert. But I love to serve others. I just prefer to do it quietly or on the sidelines. I’ve changed. I used to be an extrovert but as my life’s circumstances changed and I was alone more and more I discovered the art of being alone,yet never lonely.
    My strength is giving and serving and intercession.
    I am happy to do that in the world at large but I enjoy my solitude at home. It’s hospitality of a different kind. When we had a large home my doors were open more easily now that is not possible.
    Thank you for your hospitality.

    September 19th, 2016 11:20
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  • Vickie

    Food is a connection to others – right now it’s usually kids and grands but occasionally other people, too. What an opening to care for others in our homes. Thanks for sharing your hard and the kindness of friends for opening their hearts and home.

    September 19th, 2016 11:35
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  • Jerralea
    http://jerralea.blogspot.com

    Feeding people means so much more than just the food. Bless this family for making such an impact on you! May we all do the same in the opportunities that come our way.

    September 19th, 2016 11:48
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    18
  • Vicki

    My hubs loves people but when it comes to our home-that is his “sanctuary “. He prefers we meet others elsewhere. Makes me sad.

    September 19th, 2016 12:18
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    19
  • Libby Simcic

    I love how Jesus makes us family with people who aren’t blood because He is our common denominator. Food and family are such a blessing to the soul ❤️

    September 19th, 2016 12:26
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    20
  • Kim Raley

    We’ve recently accepted a young lady into our lives and made her part of the family. It’s been wonderful to see her heart open up and to watch her grow as she learns she is loved and accepted. Last night it was cheap pizza, and choosing names as a FAMILY for Christmas gift giving. I know there will always be pain and hurt over the scars from her birth family, but our desire is to help her know and see that others truly do care about her. Thank you for sharing this sweet story.

    September 19th, 2016 13:11
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  • Michele Morin
    http://michelemorin.wordpress.com

    What a blessing to hear this part of your story — and to be reminded that the biscuits and the bowl of soup, the plate of cookies and the cup of cocoa offered in Jesus name is truly ministry from the heart.

    September 19th, 2016 14:13
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    22
  • Heather Caliri
    http://heathercaliri.com

    While I lived abroad, a family took me in under less dire circumstances. I am still astonished by their generosity–and it’s so transformative when we open our homes this way.

    September 19th, 2016 16:34
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    23
  • Christa s sterken
    http://www.christasterken.com

    How I wish there was MORE talk about hospitality. I’ve wanted to write a book on hospitality for years, but then stuffed it aside, unsure of people’s desire. I am thrilled for you, God bless you richly in this journey

    September 19th, 2016 17:36
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  • Shannon

    I used to worry my house wasn’t spotless..I have 4 children… I have discovered people don’t care about a spotless house..they like to fellowship..and in the end that is what will matter most!

    September 19th, 2016 19:59
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  • Theresa
    http://www.theresaboedeker.com/

    Loved this post and how this family took you in and welcomed you as part of their family. I agree with your statement, “Pushing a chair and offering a friend a seat at your table doesn’t just fill your stomach, it fills your soul, too.” Just this weekend we had two different families over on two different days. So soul connecting and refreshing. For a few hours it feels like time stops and all the worries and concerns melt away to the edges and life becomes all about connecting and relationships.

    September 19th, 2016 22:52
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  • Susan G

    Thanks for this Michelle. Life can be so hard… So glad you had these wonderful people to show you more of Jesus at this time in your life. These biscuits look so yummy!
    Bless you!

    September 20th, 2016 4:06
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  • Carissa
    http://carissajoy.com

    I had a similar experience when I lived with my best friend’s family for a year while in college. There was something special about the way they shared a family meal together and included me in those meals that made me become part of the family.

    September 20th, 2016 10:43
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    28
  • Keri M.
    http://teetee-keri.blogspot.com

    I love feeding the people in my life and welcoming them into my home. This was a beautiful story and I’d love to read more.

    September 20th, 2016 12:00
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    29
  • Mrs. K

    This is beautiful and I am thankful that someone was there for you when you needed it most, and they “fed” you in more ways than one. I pray that your family has seen Christ in you and have come to know Him as well.

    September 20th, 2016 23:21
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    30
  • Joanna
    http://www.achoate.blogspot.com

    Timely to read this on a morning where we had an unexpected guest drop in before eight o’clock and stay for breakfast! So grateful for this website and the encouragement/conviction it offers 🙂

    September 24th, 2016 19:57
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  • Destiny

    I used to open my home to friends all the time. I was the hospitality queen. Then I got married and had a baby. It’s so much harder now than before. My husband and I keep talking about inviting people to our table regularly, but are having problems actually doing it!

    I look forward reading your book. It might be the push I need to get back at it.

    September 27th, 2016 7:05
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    32
  • SimplyDarlene
    SimplyDarlene
    http://www.simplydarlene.com

    There’s so much beauty in this story, but this bit is especially grand:

    “…treated me not as a boarder, but as a sister, filling my belly with physical food and my soul with kindness and an invitation to know my Savior a little bit better.”

    Blessings.

    October 11th, 2016 10:29
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    33
  • lynn
    http://madhatterpoetry.com

    God is teaching me that hospitality may be a gift i didn’t think i had 😉 Anyway, i would love to read your book, Michelle!

    November 16th, 2016 23:23
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    34
  • Bethany

    Thanks so much for a piece of your story! Would love to read what you have to share and share it with others!

    October 20th, 2017 13:07
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