Everyone called her “Mom Steel,” though the only ones in our group who could really claim to be her descendants were Matt, Shannah, Ruth, and John Mark. The rest of us were college kids excited to have a home-cooked meal and a place to fellowship on Sunday nights. Mrs. Steel’s motto was, “All are welcome. I can always add another cup of water to the soup to make it stretch farther.” And, although I never recall actually eating soup at her house, her actions and attitude showed that she was willing and ready to accommodate any strays who showed up at her house without advance warning on a Sunday night.
As a new bride, I was excited for the opportunity to show hospitality to others, as Mrs. Steel had, but I worried about the details. I wanted to make my very best meal each time. I wanted the house to be spotless. I felt like I had to plan entertainment. I worried about mismatched serving dishes. I fretted that my furniture didn’t seem nice enough. And as a result, I don’t think my guests felt entirely comfortable in my home. My anxiety over wanting everything to be perfect translated into guests and a hostess who weren’t entirely at ease. I wanted to be a good hostess, but I just didn’t understand what I was doing wrong.