This morning I received the gift of waking up in my own bed to the sound of Caprice crying, "Mama Mama!" Pulling her up and being able to nurse her still after days apart, and having Ben right next to me. Drinking an Americano with a splash of heavy whipping cream to saying "Good Morning sweetie!" to my V & Tay.
My time away gave me room. It provided me to cry through confusion and come out the other side with clarity. There were wonderful friends to reconnect with and new friends made. More than anything, God reaffirmed who he created me to be. These things I'll share later; but, in the meantime, I want to affirm you.
I want to thank you for coming to the table with me, for sitting down and sharing life. I am thankful and awestruck that you would want to know me. **hint: I want to know you as well.** I sense God reaffirming this wild notion that where we find ourselves in the day to day, you know our homes, our work, our community, is where we find the real table.
Whether you are a single mama trying to simply get by or a woman who spends your days in a cubicle with a solitary table to come home to--that place is for you. Whether you have a bazillion kids (actually it's more like three but feels like a bazillion) and the whole neighborhood seems to keep knocking at your door--that is your table. Or, whether you are simply trying to make it through this day, and you read story after story of "out there," because surely, out there is where the "real work" is being done and accolades are built---NO, it's "right here" where the real work at your table is the altar.
Maybe you like me, wrestle in the between seeing the privilege my children have as they do not know the suffering or the inhumanity of death, starvation, etc, etc. And with that, maybe you like me, then build my own tower of Babel to get to heaven lifting my family there. All the while, it's right here where Heaven meets Earth and it's in this physical table where I get to show them the cross of Jesus by me dying to myself.
V interviews me for her family tree school project asking, "What do you do to help our family at home?"
I rattle off the concrete, tangibles in my head:
- Cook meals
- Launder clothes
- Pick up kiddos from school or the bus
- Clean the house
- Make costumes
Yet, I felt the Spirit saying something more. Those hidden things. I reply, "I make sure everyone is well and connected."
"What does connected mean Mama?," V inquires.
"Hmm, it's kinda of a hidden. Ya know the cooking meals and doing laundry? Well, you can see those things. You know I do them. But, when I connect our family, well, it's not easy to see it. It's watching and seeing that when V keeps whining about little things I think, 'maybe she needs a hug.' Or Papa is not happy, 'Maybe he needs me to give him a kiss and tell him I appreciate him.' Caprice is crying and inconsolable and she needs a mama to hold her. Tay is grumpy and she needs reassurance that her feelings are real and she is loved," I reply.
You get to be the giver of the hidden things.
You are doing the work and the offering of the hidden things. Don't let the lies that sharing the table is more in the concrete and tangibles. It has nothing to do with what big, extravagant show you can muster. No, it's in the careful observation of how to feed the soul of God's Palace Temple.
Your child, your neighbor, your friend, the people you encounter every single day are starving for something they may not know how to communicate. And you get to use the excuse of giving them a warm drink or a meal, which somehow supernaturally loosens the hidden thing within their soul. You feed their belly by feeding their soul and this work of our present tables is nothing to be done in vain.
So recognize your worth. Recognize that sitting down to popcorn with your child is as equally holy as holding an orphan in Mozambique. Where you are is where your table is. And that my friend, is a fragrant aroma of meat simmering into rich bone broth with root vegetables to provide comfort from the Autumn storm.