The (Im)perfect hostess

I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer, I sobbed quietly in the kitchen as my husband, put our children to bed. We’d just moved from San Antonio to Denver and decided the smart thing would be to move into a rental until knowing the area and what neighborhood we wanted to purchase a home in.

Searching Craigslist from a state away, we rented the house sight unseen. Well, almost unseen…my husband’s new boss and wife toured through and said it was “rough.” And friends, in this case rough actually meant disgusting. The family who lived there prior to us were filthy, unkempt people.


But it was under our budget and only minutes from the school we wanted the kids in. And it was only for a year, while we looked to buy. I could live anywhere for a year, I told myself.

But as I cleaned years of sticky grime from the outside of the kitchen cabinets, and mildewey mold from between the tiles, the realization of it hit me: We would be here for a YEAR.

We did what we could to make it better. We cleaned and painted, we scrubbed the carpets, and even changed out a few fixtures. We made do, and I tried desperately to not think about how out-dated and not-me it all was.


It was awhile before I began to invite ladies over. I tried convincing myself it was because it took time to make new friends, but the truth of it is I was embarrassed about our surroundings, as hard as I’d tried to make it pretty and clean.


I wish I’d heard of Myquillyn (the Nester and author of The Nesting Place) back then because I needed to take on her mantra, “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.” And I missed out on so much because I thought it needed to be.

Now we live in a home a few doors down from that rental. Three houses away, to be exact. The house was deemed, “uninhabitable” by the bank and we have put in more than a little elbow-grease tearing down walls and gutting rooms, putting beauty back into it.

It’s still not finished and probably won’t be for a good long time. But truly, is any house ever done? And so I’ve gotten over it. We invite over old friends, new friends, and work associates. We set the table for the kids teachers and coaches and anyone else we can convince to come our way.

This morning while doing my devotions, I came across a couple verses at the very end of Acts:

“For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 28:30-31

Yes!! Oh Lord, that we can all take this to heart! Paul opened his home as it was, likely not perfectly decorated and newly renovated. It wasn’t even his house, it was a rental! Yet what did he do? He welcomed everyone boldly and without hindrance. He spoke the Truth into their lives and lived Jesus as he told about Him.

The Message version ends with “His door was always open.” Isn’t that what we want, friends? To have a house where people feel comfortable in? One where they know they’ll be welcomed and loved and cared for?

I doubt people come to my house expecting it to be perfect, because their houses aren’t perfect.


I don’t want to be Martha running around preparing all the time, ultimately missing the best part. And what is the best part? It’s the conversations and relationships, it’s learning more about Him through community. It’s speaking Truth and wisdom to each other as we do life together.

So let us be like Paul and open our doors boldly and without hindrance. A life full of community in an imperfect home is way better than an empty and quiet one full of perfection….don’t you think?



About the Author

familyTeresa Anderson

A wife to Ben, mother of six (2 biological & 4 from Ethiopia), Teresa‘s life is the opposite of what she’d planned. Never {ever} wanting kids, she realized in her early 20’s that she was living the plans she wanted for her life, rather than the perfect plans He had created her for. After praying and completely laying everything down at Christ’s feet, He soon placed a new dream upon her heart: Africa. Caring for the uncared for. Loving the unloved. Now, she lives in a {very!} busy household and blogs over at Hugs & Punches, striving to see the beauty and choosing to have inexpressible joy amongst all the craziness, loudness, silliness, and mess that is her life with a house full of beautiful kids.


  • Alyssa Martin

    Teresa, I LOVE this post and can totally relate. I feel like a failure if I pull out the plastic, ugly pitcher instead of the beautiful white pitcher that takes forever to clean! I’ve had to become MUCH more practical since becoming a pastor’s wife… we have people in our home weekly and let’s face it… I just can’t make it perfect every time! I recently read this passage in Acts and actually commented to my husband that the thing that stuck out to me was Paul’s hospitality! I’m kicking my perfectionist attitude out the window!! :) Thanks for sharing!

  • katie

    so true! great article