Skip to content

Throw Open the Door: Sneak Preview From Shauna Niequist’s “Bread & Wine”

March 18, 2013

This week I’m expecting a house guest, and I’ll be honest, I’m nervous. She’s from out of state, across the country, and while we’ve spent a great deal of time conversing over email, I really don’t know her. We met through our mutual love of words, and writing, and Jesus. We met…online! Which is so strange and modern and mysterious, really. How could two women from opposite ends of the country found a friendship through…Facebook? Facebook is supposed to be killing friendships, not forging them! What could possibly have orchestrated a kinship so random but…God?

But the bottom line remains. Christi McGuire, writer, speaker, and girl-mom, from Sarasota, Florida, doesn’t really know me. She’s never met my kids. She’s never seen me without my makeup on. She hasn’t seen me at my best, or my worst. There is no frame of reference for her, yet.

When my friend Susan comes over, I don’t stress as much because she’s been to my house when it was in top notch form, all candlelight and sparkling party-perfection. She’s also come over when there was cereal on the floor where I dropped it,  and me, unshowered, injured and vomiting from a migraine. I don’t think it gets much worse than that. So when Susan comes over, and the boys have left dirty socks on the couch and dust bunnies are crawling out from under the buffet in the dining room, well, it’s still an improvement over THAT day.

What will someone who’s  never even been to California THINK of me? My house isn’t anything exciting. Our kitchen and bathrooms are original to the house, which means old and a little cracked in spots, and clean grout doesn’t always equal “white” anymore. There’s that spot in the kitchen that I missed when we were painting, and never got around to fixing. And the cat hair. The cat hair that, despite my best efforts and a Roomba, just manages to lay in tufts on the white carpet.(How they shed in clumps is beyond me.) There’s always the detritus of boys – LEGOS and Lincoln Logs and crayons and the ever-present dirty socks EVERYWHERE.


I’ve had the pleasure to receive a preview copy of Shauna Niequist’s newest book Bread & Wine I’ve long been a Shauna-fan, and I’ve eagerly awaited this new title. I’ll be blogging about it a few times, but for today, the chapter called “Open the Door” addresses the very issue I struggle with so often. I guess I’m not alone.

What [your guests] are craving isn’t perfection. People aren’t longing to be impressed; they’re longing to feel like they’re home. If you create a space full of love and character and creativity and soul, they’ll take off their shoes and curl up with gratitude and rest, no matter how small, no matter how undone, no matter how odd.

It’s easy to talk about it, and really, really hard sometimes to practice it.

This is why the door stays closed for so many of us, literally and figuratively. One friend promises she’ll start having people over when they finally have money to remodel …. But it isn’t about perfection, and it isn’t about performance. You’ll miss the riches moments in life – the sacred moments when we feel God’s grace and presence through the actual faces and hands of the people we love – if you’re too scared to open the door. I know it’s scary, but throw open the door anyway…

And so I will. It won’t be perfect, but it’ll be comfy, and friendly, and we’ll sit up late with a glass of wine and finally talk face to face about life and mothering and writing and it will be one of those sacred moments that could never have happened were it not for the handiwork of an amazing God.


About Shauna Niequist:

Shauna Niequist is the author of Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet, and Bread & Wine. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French Literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. She is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron & Shauna live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac. Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life–friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 18, 2013 8:10 am

    Considering that I met one of my dearest friends IN A CHAT ROOM many years ago, I’d say you’re at the start of a beautiful friendship! 😉

  2. March 18, 2013 10:15 am

    Ahhh! Soooo funny!!! I am nervous– not because of your dust balls or scattered legos. Those are at my house, too, so I’ll feel right at home! (So please, don’t even think about cleaning!) I’m nervous b/c I feel like a little girl going to summer camp for the first time! I’m looking VERY forward to “meeting” you in person, having a glass of wine, and staying up late giggling and talking! 🙂 P.S. I hope you like me!

  3. Kristy permalink
    March 18, 2013 5:48 pm

    Adelle, you will LOVE Christi! She is one of my dearest friends and I’m jealous you get to spend so much time with her! She is loving, warm and will embrace your family as if she’s known you all her whole life! I know she treasures your friendship, I can’t wait to hear about all of your adventures!!!! God bless!!!

    • March 18, 2013 7:34 pm

      I love it! Christi has a fan club! I know it will be wonderful! Thank you for taking the time to stop by!

  4. March 18, 2013 11:25 pm

    Adelle—I’m with you. I know Facebook can be used badly, but I have met and made so many women who have become real friends. So happy you’ll get to meet, and of course you’ll meet one another in your imperfections and among unremodeled bathrooms and ubiquitous dirty socks (me too! They’re everywhere!) But you’ll meet. And words will become flesh—and you’ll be on your way to a deeper friendship. Thanks for sharing your own “dirty house secrets!”

    • March 19, 2013 7:54 am

      Oh, there’s lots more where those “dirty house secrets” came from! Thanks for taking the time to reply, Leslie!

I love comments! Go ahead. Give me a piece of your mind.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: