one of the greatest lessons i have learned in my short three months of marriage is that there is power in a meal. so much power. not only to make Eric happy and full, but also to facilitate conversation and warmly invite people into your home with no strings attached. my ever so wise and honest mother-in-law told me shortly after we got married that food was truly one of E’s love languages (i would say that that is true of most people, honestly–they may not know it but food joins people in ways nothing else can) and my response was that i was learning that cooking was one of the best ways i had learned to show love to others. it isn’t always easy. our apartment doesn’t have a/c so it is H.O.T. which often means my already sweaty self has no desire to add to the heat issue by turning on our oven or stove. in those cases, going to a restaurant with a/c and already prepared food sounds far better. but meals at our table are truly something to be valued.
a few weeks ago, that same mother-in-law sent me a link to apply for a book launch team. it was a charming blogger that i had somehow never heard of. and her book was titled Come and Eat. funny, huh? as i did some research and read some posts, i found that this was truly a women that i would sit and talk with for hours upon hours over cold coffee if God would ever allow our paths to cross. Bri McKoy is incredibly wise and now as a member of her book launch team, i am diving into the stories and challenges that her own table has presented her with. it is incredible what i have found to be true of myself in her delicately written pages.
you see, E and i have this desperate desire and tug on our hearts to minister to friends and strangers alike. we want to share our home with them, our table with them, our stories and our lives with them. but you and i both know that inviting people to your table–especially those we don’t know can be so very intimidating. we can come up with so many reasons to take the gathering elsewhere. maybe we should go out, maybe we’ll just have a game night, let’s not invite people that could judge us into a very intimate spot in our home. what if i don’t know what they like to eat? what if our table isn’t big enough? what if our house is too hot? (my personal favorite excuse) what if they don’t like our house? what if we don’t have anything to talk about? what if what if what if?
but friends, as i have dove deeper and deeper into this book, the Lord has called me deeper and deeper into myself. and i am finding that this fear of judgement is stopping me from extending to others the one thing we all desire–an invitation. Bri has taught me in her pages that in order to be more like Jesus, we must be willing to do the things Jesus did to the best of our human ability. and if you think about, the entire essence of the Gospel is a Savior that is continually and always extending an invitation.
so as i crawl my way to the halfway mark in this read i am finding myself challenged and setting goals. before this table can be the heart of ministry in home, we need to give it a more sacred place in our marriage. our ministry builds from there. i have decided that my table with no longer be fancy and ornate–dressed to impress, if you will. my table will be normal. flowers when they’re on sale at Aldi sometimes? i am striving to pull away from my human desire to be approved and validated by the people that come into my home because i am already approved and validated by the One that gave me this home. and now it is up to me to use the table in a way that glorifies Him and shares His love with our friends and families and neighbors. i am challenging myself to pray for this table to tell this table what it is going to be: a safe place for people to laugh and cry and talk about death or just the weather. it will cultivate friendship and soul-wrenching connection. it will help me to love better and more like Jesus. i will make food to the best of my ability, within my budget to feed instead of impress.
Bri has a tactful way of gently challenging me to search out the deep, dark insecurities that are stopping me from doing the Lord’s work (can i get a “DANG”?) and challenges me to look past them for His glory and to reach the full potential of the mission field He has put in front of my fridge.
“But what I would come to learn is that sharing a meal at the table isn’t so much another thing to check off my list as it is an invitation from God to see his goodness and rejoice in his work before surrendering to the night.” -Bri McKoy