The Deep Welcome of Friendship

Across the miles they drove, journeying four hours north on washboard roads until they reached this country hill.

“We want to talk about the conference,” they had said on the phone.  “We can fill you in on the details in person.  The more you know about us, the easier it will be for you to prepare.”

I heard their words, but I was deaf to their hearts, because as the date of their visit approached, the puddle of panic around me grew deeper and murkier.  The faithless ponderings multiplied:

They’ll be sorry they traveled all this way to meet someone so ordinary.
Will they want to quiz me on my theology?
I’m sure they’ll take one look at my tiny kitchen and my beat up wooden floors and decide that I’m a mess, too.

This, for me, has been the challenge of the Christian life:  to boldly welcome others into the mess that is me, and then to trust – to trust that God will build a bridge between our hearts, and to trust that others will respond with acceptance and love.

As it happens, my new friends arrived a few minutes late – G.P.S.’s aren’t much help out here!  More important, though, when they showed up in my driveway, they did not arrive bearing an impossible yardstick or hearts of judgment.  They were not expecting me to look or to sound like a conference speaker or to live in a museum of Pinterest perfection.

We exchanged warm hugs and settled down to business.

And may I invite you to join us?
{I would love for you to continue reading with me over at (in)courage . . .}

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50 thoughts on “The Deep Welcome of Friendship”

  1. Michele,
    Such honesty and vulnerability expressed in this inspirational piece! And I, being the sinful “it’s all about me” human that I am, was feeling inadequate in meeting with you! This is a great reminder to all…we are all in this together! Praise Jesus for showing us the way!
    Visiting your cozy home on that vibrant October day is a cherished memory I reflect on often. 💖
    Much love… Always,


    1. So happy that you have recognized your sweet self in this post, Vicky! I have such warm memories of that day, and they came bubbling out when (in)courage was looking for posts on this theme. Looking forward to our next meeting! Very soon!


  2. Aww, such sweet vulnerability here, Michele. I’m so glad you pushed away those fears but in the meantime shared them with us, because we all struggle in this way. I hope all goes well (or did go well) for your conference. What a great privilege and honor to share your heart with others!


  3. I couldn’t comment there at (in)Courage: Beautiful writing. A beautiful story. A beautiful message. Thank you, Michele. I can so relate to hesitating to allow others into my mess, but oh how God is glorified when we do that!


  4. “boldly welcome others into the mess that is me” – What great words to contemplate. Not to worry about comparison, but to be welcoming and loving in Jesus Name! Thanks


  5. I think we sometimes feel inadequate because we’re aware of our imperfections and the critics could still get to us.

    That’s why faith is so important. It is our shield and our assurance.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Good gracious! That was good and a breathe of fresh air as I got to the end of the article.
    Left a comment there too 😉
    Bear Hugs, Michele.


  7. Speaking directly to my heart today! I loved this: “This, for me, has been the challenge of the Christian life: to boldly welcome others into the mess that is me, and then to trust – to trust that God will build a bridge between our hearts, and to trust that others will respond with acceptance and love.” LOVE IT!

    Heading to (in)courage to


  8. Michele, I was so thrilled to see this yesterday on (in)courage. What a blessing you are to me and to this community of writers. Thank you for being you! ((xoxo))


  9. It’s funny, Michele, how the things we worry about are the very things that connect us. Because they reveal the real us, the un Pinterest perfected ones. Thank you for sharing your heart, sweet friend. ((Hugs))


  10. ahhhh — you so drew me in – of course I have to hop over to finish reading at incourage and will do so after leaving you this comment. 🙂 It’s funny how we build things up in our minds and the enemy causes our hearts to fear and some of the greatest most impactful moments of our lives. I am so excited to go finish reading. Blessings to you dear Michele

    I am so grateful to have you linking up with me at #TuneInThursday and I look forward to what you will share with us all next week.


  11. This is so true: “This, for me, has been the challenge of the Christian life: to boldly welcome others into the mess that is me, and then to trust”. I feel that with every article i publish, with every blog post I write…it would be easy to put up a more “together” front, but it would be less truthful and therefore less impacting. Thanks for putting this on the #Sundaythoughts link up.


    1. Thank you for pointing out the role that hospitality plays in our writing homes as well. Wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone thought we were “Martha Stewart Marvelous” in all the nooks and crannies of our lives — but then, our opportunity to speak into the pain and disappointment of our sisters would be lost. Blessed by you!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Michele,

    I thought I had commented on this post, but if I am re-commenting… it is because I love the way that you have welcomed into your space of grace every single time you write. I have had those moments where I just don’t think my home, my kids, or myself are enough…just not enough. It keeps me from being hospitable. I realized how much I love to make food for people, to feed them and love on them. And that is what I need to practice more. 🙂

    Thanks for that reminder.
    Bless you!


    1. It’s sad when we believe the myth of “not enough” and live according to that lie. And your word: “practice.” I believe that it is a practice, and it’s some thing that we practice and practice — never perfect, but always trusting for grace to be and to do all that we’ve been given. Thanks, Dawn, for the blessing!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. “The mess that is me…” that pretty much sums it up. This made me think of all the parts of me I have held back because they were not the side I wanted to present. Then I realize all the times it came out anyway and I felt ashamed and embarrassed for it. The “boldly welcoming” part is where the courage and ownership lie. Hopefully someday I will get there. Thanks putting words to these feelings.


  14. Dear Michele,
    I loved your story, and I love the way that you make everyone who visits here feel so at Home! You have been a great encouragement to me along the way! Thanks for opening your heart and pointing to Jesus. Blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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