I don't recognize my own body

This is the cost of hospitality.

I shouldn't be surprised. After three pregnancies and years of intermittent exercise routines, the body I see when I look in the mirror is not the body I "see" when I close my eyes. In my mind's eye, I will probably always think of myself in the body I had before babies stretched me... in all the ways one can be stretched.

This is the cost of hospitality.

Now, I struggle to find clothes in my closet that fit and look flattering. I wonder why my back and neck and feet ache; and then I remember that my poor body is still out of balance. I'm only 6 weeks post-partum. I have to remind myself that it will probably take longer this time to recover than it did before. That's ok. I'm not ashamed of my size or uncomfortable with how I look. I just don't recognize my body.... yet.

My beautiful Mom-bod has been the home for three children. I say that with overwhelming gratitude, to the point of tears. I have walked with so many friends through miscarriage and infant loss and infertility.... the reality of my three miracles is not lost on me. My body shows the impact of that hospitality. Things don't fit. Muscles and skin are stretched, and never will return to what they were like before. I have been permanently marked by the hospitality.

Hospitality was one of the marks of the Early Church. Because it adopted orphans and took in widows, the Church was known for a kind of hospitality that was shocking to the predominant Greco-Roman culture. I think this is a gift that has the evangelical church in the US has lost, or at least misinterpreted. True hospitality is not just a warm smile and a form to fill out so we can follow up with you later. It's not even inviting someone over for dinner and serving them out of the good dishes.

Hospitality is supposed to cost us something... something more than just time and money.

I wonder what would happen if the Church in the US set aside it's idolatry of individuality and personal liberty and instead took up the cross of hospitality.... a hospitality that made a mark in the body, a visible difference. What if the Church was hospitable to everyone? What if every person and family that walked through the doors of the church felt at home? 

The lesbian couple with their 3 kids?

The trans woman?

The autistic teen?

The girl in a wheelchair? (can she even get to the sanctuary?)

What would it take for the church to be home? It would probably take some stretching.... and she might not look the same ever again. I would be ok with that.

This is the cost of hospitality.


  1. I love seeing this physical change as a marker of hospitality. We should be hospitable to ourselves as women also, in all our broken glory. I often think of the Ficks when I think of hospitality- Charles' parents opened their doors to so many. Congratulations on your new baby!


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