9 ways to show hospitality when hospitality is hard

9 Ways to Show Hospitality When Hospitality is Hard

9 ways to show hospitality even when hospitality is hard. You can step into someone’s shoes and go looking for ways to serve.
By contributing writer, Amy

When I think of hospitality, I picture our dining room table packed with extra chairs, extra people, and extra-good food. I imagine kids running circles around the house while grown-ups drink coffee and laugh over funny stories.

The thought makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

But sometimes, that kind of hospitality doesn’t come quite as easily as the picture appears in my head.

There are seasons when the kids are going through a rough stage, the house is in the middle of a makeover, or the hubby’s job doesn’t leave time or money for entertaining.

Or, maybe having others into your home doesn’t come naturally to you or your husband. Perhaps it throws you way out of your comfort zone to open up your house and share family life with others. It could even be a source of contention between the two of you as you try to figure out how to be part of the body of Christ without having an anxiety attack.

When hospitality is a challenge, it’s tempting to either get annoyed with whatever (or whoever) is standing in the way, or just give up the notion all together.

If we can’t serve in the typical have-a-family-over-for-dinner way, we don’t reach out at all.

We may even become embarrassed or bitter because real life doesn’t fit the vision of hospitality that’s dancing in our head.

9 ways to show hospitality when hospitality is hard!

When Hospitality is Hard

I’ll admit that the topic of hospitality often makes me cringe. My husband works odd hours, so we don’t live the normal Monday through Friday, nine to five lifestyle.

And even if we did, I think our family still would struggle to reach out to other families in the ways that seems so comfortable to many in the church.

Because of this, I’ve allowed myself to sit on the hospitality-sidelines for far too long.

I’ve made excuses and ignored the God-given desire to reach out to others.

To be honest, I’ve been living in denial and rebellion in this area.

But a couple of weeks ago, I had a lightbulb moment. I gathered my courage and offered to take dinner to a sweet young family my daughter was working for as a mother’s helper.

Everything changed for me.

I suddenly realized that I can show love and hospitality even if my entire family isn’t involved.

I can minister to the needs of others, without the help of sign-up sheets and organized planning.

I can step into someone else’s shoes and go looking for ways to serve.

Since then, I’ve been brainstorming ways to show hospitality and reach out to those in my neighborhood and church.

Some of these ideas require time and planning, but many can be done in spite of busy schedules.

And all of them can be done individually or with the kids in tow.

9 ways to show hospitality when hospitality is hard

9 Ways to Show Hospitality

Give cookies or baked goods.

The next time you’re doing some baking, double the recipe and give away the extras.

A plate of cookies will encourage just about anyone, and my recipe for Banana Bread {using frozen bananas} makes a pretty little gift when wrapped with a piece of parchment paper and tied with some simple twine.

Drop off a treat only a mother would love.

You probably know that motherhood can be pretty lonely sometimes. Help a young mommy feel especially cared for by bringing her a fancy coffee drink mid-morning or a special salad for lunch.

You could also throw in a little something yummy to keep chubby hands from begging for the mommy-only treat.

Deliver muffins for breakfast.

Just imagine how nice it would be to start the day without having to fix breakfast for all those little birdies begging to be fed. The night before, drop off some Strawberry Chia Muffins if it’s summer, Pumpkin Muffins in the fall, or these Nutty Blueberry Muffins anytime!

Take dinner.

There’s no reason to wait for someone to have a baby or to be in the hospital in order to serve them a meal they don’t have to cook for themselves.

One of my favorite meals to take is Baked Rigatoni and a loaf of Homemade French Bread. They can heat it in the oven when they’re ready for dinner, and there might even be enough for leftovers another day in the week.

Offer to babysit.

Give a mom the time to get her hair cut, go to the grocery store, or take her husband out to lunch. Don’t wait for her to ask for babysitting help. Offer even when there isn’t a specific need, just because it will be a blessing and be a simple way to show hospitality.

Take the kids on an outing.

The next time you’re heading to the park or the library, take a couple extra kids along. An hour of kid-free time to work or relax can be a breath of fresh air to a mommy who is having one of those days.

Make busy bags.

There are also ways you can keep your friend’s kids entertained without the time investment of babysitting. Drop off some busy bags or pick up a box of crayons and a coloring book.

It’s amazing how long a little one can be entertained (and a mom can be given some free time) with a new activity or some art supplies.

Talk to (and listen to) a widow.

Give your ear to someone who needs conversation and fellowship. After my dad passed away, I realized how very quiet the house was for my mom as a widow. Be on the lookout for neighbors or women at church who simply want to chat.  You might gain some needed encouragement and wisdom yourself, too!

9 Ways to Show Hospitality {When Hospitality is Hard} | Do you struggle to show hospitality as a family? Try these ideas for serving others. | IntentionalByGrace.com


Probably the kindest act you can do for a young woman, overwhelmed mom, or lonely widow is to pray for her. Put yourself in her shoes and pray over the issues she may be facing.

Then, go the extra mile and send her a card or email so she knows someone cared enough to take her needs before the throne of grace.

What ideas do you have for showing hospitality, even when it’s hard?  What are some ways others have reached out to you?

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  1. Loved these tips, Amy! When I was a kid, we had a neighbor who used to bring over coffee cake and other goodies all the time and sit and visit with Mom. We loved it when she came over. Stuff like that really is a blessing.

  2. I have an edible garden in my front yard and invite my neighbors to come by and pick when they want to. Sometimes I hand over extra veggies to them over the fence when they’re in the backyard.