Monday, April 22, 2013

Welcome at My Table ...

It's hard to believe it's been over 12 years. Jerry and I spent long nights and weekends visiting mobile home dealers.Then, we considered building our own home. This added to our nights and weekends. Researching. Talking. Talking more. Disagreeing. Agreeing. Big decisions. We were ready to buy our first home. Making a decision that would last for years to come ... that was difficult. But, exciting. All that time finally ended with us picking a 'lot model' double wide. This saved us money. The lot model was being discontinued. The dealer needed to sell it to make room for new models. And, it was exactly what we wanted. We signed the dotted lines and ... started picking furniture. Making more decisions. These were big decisions too. These pieces of furniture would be a part of our new home. We wanted to make good choices. Purchase furniture that would withstand time and wear.

Among other things, I remember shopping for the kitchen table and chairs. Jerry and I picked something with 4 chairs. At that time, our family was a family of 3 and 4 chairs would be sufficient. We brought the boxes of unassembled pieces home. My dad and I spent several hours constructing the table and then 4 chairs.

Little did we know, God would soon bless us with 2 more children. At the time, I didn't really consider how we would all fit around that table. There were highchairs around our table for several years after. And, then ... the highchairs were gone and we needed more seats for our growing family and friends. With three children and a struggling economy, we made the choice not to replace the table and not to purchase more chairs. We simply pulled several of our dining room chairs in to the kitchen table. They weren't the same and were old. Antiques in fact. My home is filled with both ... new pieces and antiques. I love the character in nostalgic pieces. I see the beauty in their age. Those dining room chairs were a gift. My dad refinished them and gave the set to us along with a table and buffet. Not long after those chairs became a part of my kitchen, I pulled another chair out of my bedroom. A chair I had used to sit at my desk. Soon, all our chairs started to show their age and wear. Again, my dad came to the rescue and took each chair to his garage. He brought them back, restored. They were still different, but you could sit on them without the fear of falling to the floor.

This weekend, I was cleaning my kitchen and started thinking over my oldest son's approaching graduation. I thought of all the people that will come in and out of our home for his open house. As I put dishes away and wiped down the table, I looked at those chairs the way I feared some of our guests might look at them ... old, mismatched, worn. This is one of my faults, I think too much about outward appearances. This is an area I struggle to handle. I whispered a prayer ... "God, please forgive me for my ungrateful attitude and for my concern over appearances. Thank You for a table and chairs where my family can sit and share meals."

I finished cleaning my kitchen. Still talking to Him about this flaw in my character and asking Him to help me through it ... keep working on me. Don't give up on me. Restore me. I turned to find a brilliant sunshine spilling across that table and six very different chairs. The sun hit each piece from a different angle, enhancing the differences. Showing the grain and color in each chair. None of them look the same and only 3 of them come close to matching my table. When family, friends and new people sit in those chairs, it's no different. Each person, each face ... each life is very different. Some are older, a little worn. They show their age and ... they show character. Some are smaller than others. Some look newer. Others ... they might be falling apart. Some may feel like they've been pulled from one spot to another ... never feeling like they are part of where they've been placed. But, they are each welcome at my table.

My prayer has always been that each person who takes a seat at my kitchen table will feel welcome. That they would feel free to share and show their differences. That they would know ... I accept them just as they are ... young or old. Spiritually whole or falling apart. In need of Restoration. I want to sit at that table and pray with them. Share a meal with them. A meal I've prepared with those special people in mind.

And, after seeing my table in a different Light ... I pray the people who sit in those mismatched chairs will be touched by The Son. I won't be replacing those chairs any time soon. I like the reminder they give me. The reminder that He made each of us exactly as we are ... He puts us through trials and then He repairs our hearts. He doesn't replace us when we start to show our flaws. Our need of Restoration. He puts us in a place where our differences are needed. And, He sees those differences as ... beauty. Welcome at His table.

1st Peter 3:3 "Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God."

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