My friend Liz sent me one of her encouraging texts and at the end of her message she asked, “May I bring a dinner on Thursday?”  

First of of all, what’s this “may I” business?  We’ve been friends since our daughters became best friends in second grade so what’s with that?

Second of all – no.  I’m doing really well and we truly don’t need help with dinner.

Third of all – I had  a much better idea.  I invited myself, my daughter, and her daughter over to her house and gave her the option to choose which day might work best for her. (Who would ever want to be my friend?)

Fourth of all – (the phrasing here is getting worse by the minute) This has become a regular habit of mine – in the month of December – for maybe the past four years?  However,  I must give myself some credit because  this year I cut her a little slack and provided a guest list of just 2 instead of my usual 4-8.  (not including her daughter because I figure that shouldn’t count)

There are so many things wrong with this picture…I know. But let me give you a little more background to the story and tell you a little more about my friend.

A number of years ago was the first time I invited a group of people to Liz’s house in December.  I don’t remember what spurred on that ridiculous notion of mine – but I remember being at Liz’s house with her dazzling Christmas lights and the warmth of her home.

Over and over she told me what a great idea I had because her home was already decorated and prepared for guests – so it was the absolute perfect time for a gathering. She made me feel like she was the lucky one, because I had asked.

Just like this year – when I held up my annual tradition of rudely inviting myself to her home, she answered my text with, “Jackie this is perfect – I look forward to seeing you.”

Perfect?  She’s something else.  Liz has the gift of hospitality.

”True hospitality consists of giving the best of yourself to your guests.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

When our daughters were in highschool, Liz’s home had a steady stream of kids coming and going.  When you enter Liz’s home she is all in and it’s all about you. She wants to know about your life and how your family is doing and she makes you feel like an honored guest.  

You can hang out in jeans and put your feet on the couch; you can come late and you are free to over-stay your welcome. (Which I have done more times than I care to admit)

And the next day you will hear from Liz saying, “It was so goood to see you…thanks so much for coming!”

Thank me?  No – thank YOU.  And especially when I very well may have invited myself in the first place.

A long time ago I took a spiritual gifts test.  You can be sure that hospitality was not one of my gifts and as much as I searched high and low – I could not find the spiritual gift of being an uninvited guest.  Nope – it wasn’t there.

I think spiritual gifts are a really cool thing.  They are natural gifts that God blessed us with so that we could build up and contribute to His Kingdom.  Click on this link and take a look –  Spiritual Gifts  . God has uniquely gifted each of us and it’s so cool to think that He actually counts on us to do our part.

I used to think that I had pretty dumb gifts (which is really an insult to God because He decided which gifts were important and He gifted us each accordingly)  Each of us has a few.

My number 1 gift is “encouraging”.  I thought it was a dumb gift because it’s like running around waving my pom-poms saying – yay you!

”Our spiritual gifts aren’t based on how much God loves us.  Each gift is hand-picked with love to fit the calling He has for us.”  – Renee Swope 

Lately I have been blogging mostly to record my journey and to also share how God has been holding me up.  It turns out that it has encouraged some of you, and what has happened is that you have encouraged me back in ways that I could never have imagined.  How amazing is that?

It makes me wonder – maybe an encourager feels especially loved by being encouraged?  Maybe someone who has the gift of service feels blessed by someone who brings them a meal?  Maybe someone who has a strong gift for prayer is especially touched when someone  stands in the gap and prays faithfully for them?  I don’t know….I was just thinking about that.

I also know that I am incredibly blessed by people who have gifts that I do not have.  When someone has the gift for administration or hospitality I’m like – yay!  You GO GIRL!!”  I will wave my pom poms and cheer for you!

Either way…I was thinking about advent which I have not been intentional about…and I was thinking about the gifts that God has gifted me with. As we close out the year of 2019, I’m going ask God to show me where I might contribute to the good of someone else. I’ve spent a lot of time taking care of me lately and its time to get outside of myself and think of others more.

Oh, but before I go –

Liz!  I will bring dessert and some major meatballs!  See you soon!

“God has given each of us a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts.  Use them well to serve one another.”  

– 1 Peter 4:10

Until next time,