About the Author

Jen encourages women to embrace both the beauty and bedlam of their everyday lives at BeautyandBedlam.com. A popular speaker, worship leader, and author of Just Open the Door: How One Invitation Can Change a Generation, Jen lives in North Carolina with her husband, five children, and a sofa for anyone...

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  1. This is what the Gospel is all about! It would have been so much easier to walk on by, but God provided that opportunity and your mom embraced it!

    • Such a beautiful story. Jesus is all about taking in the lonely, the unlovable, the downtrodden. Bless your mom and your precious family. You opened my eyes.

      • So glad, Karen. If we are to model our lives like Jesus, He does this often. My prayer is that I continually get better at seeing this need.

    • You’re so welcome, Kathi. We had Mary over again last week. I need more Marys in my life to keep my spirit sensitive to all the simple invites I’m walking right on by.

  2. Thank you for sharing. That really spoke to my heart. My parents, who have both graduated to heaven, opened our home to all kinds of people. It brought back many memories. Thanks again.

    • Nida – I’m sorry to hear your without your parents this Christmas, but so thankful to hear the impact they left on not just you but probably so many as they opened their door to those around them.. blessings this week. xoxo

  3. That really spoke to my heart. My parents, who have both graduated to heaven, opened our home to all kinds of people. It brought back many memories. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I am in awe of what you wrote, Jennifer! It is eye-opening, heart-rending and . . . inspirational. Thank you. And blessings to you and your family this holy Christmas season.

    • You’re so kind, Sharon. It’s not just my story but just an example of how we all can have those kind of interactions when we are walking a road of welcome in our everyday lives. My hearts desire is to be sensitive to more of these conversations in the future.

      Merry Christmas to your family as well. Blessings this week. 🙂

  5. Simply beautiful, encouraging & challenging all at once. Thank you for sharing & spurring us on! Merry CHRISTmas!

    • As I wrote this and remembered our time together, it spurred me on as well because I’m continually in awe of how the Lord will use simple invitations to make such a difference and all we have to say is we are available. 🙂

      Have a wonderful week, Ruth.

  6. Jen, it really is so simple. Being intentional to see the person in front of us. Bravely welcoming them into what you’re already doing. Yes. This is how we experience and express the love of Jesus. So grateful for your story and encouragement, friend.

    • Becky, being intentional to see the person in front of us will give us more opportunities and yes, fun. My husband says I talk to everyone. My “mission field” is the grocery store where I know many of the employees by name and their stories. A half-hearted response to my question, “How are you today?” led to the produce man telling me he had to take down an agressive customer and through that got HIV from the blood exchanged. I told him I would pray for him during his treatment. Weeks later I asked how he was doing and with a big smile he told me that the initial lab report was a false positive. PTL.

      • I love hearing your story, Elsa. We have no idea how rhythms of kindness and taking our welcoming spirit “on the road” can impact so many. Thank you for remembering to ask how his treatment went. It means so much.
        Merry Christmas.

    • Thank you, sweet friend. I had Mary over again this week and the Lord continually uses these simple invitations to remind me of just what you said above. The more time I spend with her, the harder I realize her story is. She is absolutely all alone in the world. There are so many similar stories out there and we can be that difference. xoxox.

      Much love to you and your sweet family this week. xoxo

  7. Jen,

    My pastor & his wife invite people over for holiday meals. Each holiday brings a conglomeration of people from couples to singles & those whose spouse is working (like me). We make it a potluck with everyone bringing a dish or two. There is good conversation & laughter. We all share in the leftovers. It is nice to have some place to go & spend the day with those you love. I thoroughly enjoy talking with & getting to know these people better. I, personally, am not good at hospitality. But I find ways to love on others. Usually cooking food so they can relax or help others. Just my way of shining Jesus’ light & love on them.

    Blessings 🙂

    • Yes, Beth. So many unique ways to bring love and welcome to others. Thank you for sharing just a few of yours (and your pastors.) 🙂

  8. Well. I’m bawling. Thank you for sharing this holy ground. Surely “He sets the lonely in families.” We’ve been the ones adopting others in… and recently we’ve found ourselves being adopted. I’m so grateful for God’s good design of community and family.

    • Oh Danita – Yes, He sets the lonely in families and now I want to hear more about your adopting others and now you being adopted story. It’s a busy week so you may not have the time to answer now, but those are the kind of comments where I wished you all lived next door and I’d put the coffee on so I could hear the rest. 🙂

      Merry Christmas to you and yours.
      – Jen

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