For the past several weeks, I have been blessed to be part of a weekly Beth Moore bible study entitled “The Law of Love; Lessons from the Pages of Deuteronomy”. If you are wondering how the book of Deuteronomy could make for an exciting study, I too wondered the same thing. But I have done several Beth Moore studies and have come to trust that God will speak through this woman in incredibly profound, life changing ways.
What I did not know is just how deep an impact this study would have on me.
Have you ever had one of those moments in church when the sermon begins and the words coming from your pastor seem to be aimed straight at you. Squirm in your seat, how did he know – right at you? “Wow, I feel like he is talking just to me.” He is. No, not he, your pastor; He, He is talking to you. Exactly what you needed to hear. Just when you needed to hear it.
I heard Him yesterday, through Beth Moore’s teaching, as if the entire day’s lesson was written just for me. The understanding and affirmation I have been so desperate for.
I have been struggling lately. Struggling with comparison and uncertainty and I have been praying for clarity and for direction. Yesterday, He answered me. Doubts laid to rest. Uncertainty lovingly reassured. The debilitating whisper of untruth silenced. Affirmation. And I left that bible study feeling like I could burst out of my skin. Freedom.
Even my sweet friend Kristin, who I am just beginning to get to know better, heard how God was talking to me. She may not have realized it but she did because as I walked out the door she shouted “oh, my gosh, I thought about you the WHOLE time today!” Affirmation.
I have been struggling in my purpose. Not with motherhood or my role as a wife and homemaker but with what I need to be doing beyond that. Particularly with blogging. I love blogging and I love writing about food, sharing recipes and family stories. I feel such peace, joy and fulfillment in doing it. As if it were exactly what I am supposed to do at this point in my life. And while it isn’t always easy, it is effortless because it feels so right.
Sounds great doesn’t it? And yet, I have been struggling.
I struggle with the nagging doubt in the back of my head that tells me I am wasting my time. I am wasting God’s time. How can spending so much time and effort on food possibly make a difference in this desperate, hurting world. Should this be what I am putting my heart into when authors like Lysa TerKeurst, Anne Voskamp and Jen Hatmaker are changing the world and women’s lives in profound, soul saving ways?
There it is. comparison. A deadly trap.
I am not Lysa TerKeurst, I am not Jen Hatmaker, I am not Anne Voskamp. I am REALLY not Anne Voskamp; she is so deep and soul wrenchingly poetic. I am sarcastic. Yeah, really, really not Anne Voskamp.
While I am not gifted in the same way these women are, I do share a passion and a heart for women’s ministry and for strengthening families, just as they do. I read the words these women write and I am moved beyond imagination. I want to do that. I want to help like that. I want to change lives like that. Well, I don’t want to speak in front of people – can you imagine? – but I want to make a difference for women for wives for mothers.
With all my heart.
You know this Lord. And you also know that this is what I think about …
Mmmm, what is that extra little bit of spice I’m tasting? That cookie is the wrong consistency, what do I do to adjust it? Oh, my this is good, _____________ would love it, I need to make it for her. We haven’t seen ______________ for a while, we need to have them over for dinner.
Lord, why is this stuff rattling around in my brain? I want you to use me. I am here. Use me. If this is not what you have for me, please Lord, take it from me. Your words. Your will. Not my own. Prayed in earnest and still …
- What should I serve for dinner tonight?
- Which family recipe should I try and then share on my blog this week?
- Should I do a series of posts next week on summer salads?
- Oh and easy, nutritious dinners for busy moms. I need to start working on that.
- _________________ is coming over this weekend, I need to get that menu and grocery list planned.
Yup, these are things I think about, with joy and excitement and purpose and guilt. How can this matter. With all the work to be done all the hurt to be healed. How can what’s for dinner matter.
But it does. And He filled my heart with that conviction just yesterday.
Our mission field isn’t always what we imagined it would be. While we are all called to help the poor, the needy and the hurting and to ease suffering, we are not all called to fly half-way around the world to do it; bless o’ Lord those who are. We may be at some point but our current mission field is just that, ours – and it matters.
And yes, some of us are simply called to the table. Yesterday, Beth reminded me that “there is something sacred that takes place at the table” and it is food that brings us together around it.
She referenced a book in her lesson called “Table Life; Savoring the Hospitality of Jesus in Your Home” by Joanne Thompson. Let me just tell you that what she shared from that book was enough to have me on Amazon ordering a copy the very minute I was able to get to my laptop.
As women, particularly women in America, we have ongoing battles with food. We have demonized it, misunderstood and misused it and now, we fear it. We have forgotten that food is a blessing “neither to be feared or abused.” We have forgotten our way to the table and need to remember that we aren’t just there to eat. No, food isn’t just about eating. Food brings us together and when we come together around the table, we aren’t just saying “I need food” we are saying “I need you”.
The table is sacred.
“Every time we are sitting down at a table, we are sitting at one of the most sacred symbols we have. And we are eating before the Lord. The table is not sinful. It is sacred. It is what we’re driving through and eating on the way that is killing us. Everything sitting on that table is a gift from God.”
While these words from Beth Moore were not all said together as I have quoted them, they are the message I heard loud and clear yesterday.
Food matters to you because I have made it so. Because the table is sacred.
“There is something sacred that takes place at the table. The main course at the table is not meat, it is memory.”
It is memory. It is connection. My family comes to the table together every day. EVERY day without fail. I share my home and my table openly and with joy with family and friends; new and old. That is the point, that is why food matters to me; that time around the table, our table. Our table is sacred. “I don’t just need food. I need you.”
He has called me to the table for a purpose. Not for guilt or comparison or pride but for a purpose. He has given me a calling, a passion, a gifting and I have faith in Him to know that He will use it. He has reminded me that nothing is insignificant in His hands.
“Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart. Audacious longings, burning songs, daring thoughts, an impulse overwhelming the heart, usurping the mind – these are all a drive towards serving Him who rings our hearts like a bell.” Abraham Joshua Heschel
“Anywhere the Holy Spirit lands on you is your Canaan” (your promised land). Anywhere.
The Holy Spirit has landed in my kitchen. At my table.
Where has the Holy Spirit landed on you? How does He ring your heart. What passion has He given you? What gift? No matter how insignificant you might think it, especially compared to the gifting of others, it is not insignificant to Him. Ask Him how He wants you to use it. He will put our gifts and passions to use in ways we could never have dreamed, if we seek His will in them and offer them up to Him. Not for our glory but His.
So instead of comparison and doubt, I choose to gratefully accept that right now, at this particular season, the table and food is my mission field. He can use even my simple blog to His glory and it is not a waste of my time or His. He might even be able to bring people out of the McDonald’s drive-thru and back into the kitchen and more importantly back to the table – miracles still happen, you know.
Incidentally, I popped over to Lysa TerKeurst’s site this morning and you wanna’ know what her most recent post was about? Healthy Summer Recipes. Yup, food. Can I get an Amen!
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.” Deuteronomy 8:7-10 (ESV)
Danielle, perhaps it is not you who is to achieve the public eye (and platform) as Anne Voskamp. What if is one of your children….or those that sit at your table…or someone you ‘feed’ via your blog? You are solely placed in the wonderful position of writing Welcome Company. God placed you here to share the ‘table’ with you, and the rest of His family. ; )
Absolutely! So nice to hear from you Cindy, I was just thinking of you the other day and hoping your move went smoothly. Believe me, the public eye is not my aim, the comparison to those public women was only in my admiration for their incredible work for His kingdom. I am so thankful for Welcome Company and am just feeling incredibly blessed that He has done away with my doubts as to whether or not I was walking in His will. It is my greatest desire as you said so wonderfully that even one person might be “fed” through my blog. And I will go on happily feeding people in the literal sense. 🙂
I wish you all the very best on your journey of discovery.
Thank you Rebecca and thank you so much for the wisdom and though proviking ideas you share on your blog, they are a blessing to me. Thanks for your encouragement on the journey.
I am enjoying our conversation and look forward to the exchange of ideas as we go forward on our blogging journey. You have created a remarkable place that truly “Welcomes Company.”
Thank you, Rebecca that means a lot to me. Especially coming from you. I too look forward to our continued journey!
I think you have found your calling, feeding doesn’t always mean food. Bringing families to the table is very important and something that is often forgotten with our busy lives. If just one family see’s one of your recipes, makes it and sits down together and enjoys not just a meal but conversation you have helped to make this possible.
Your encouragement is so appreciated. It has been a big week for me in terms of some soul searching and answered prayer. It would mean the world to me to think that even one family was able to connect over a recipe I might have inspired. I am definitely affirmed to keep “feeding” people. 🙂
Girl, if you only knew how many times I wished had your gifting and not mine….
Thank you, my friend! Your gifting is incredible and He uses us all in such unique ways. To have your heart for study and theology – wow! Cooking is so much easier. 😉
This blog is a ministry to me! Your food posts are a blessing! You are the Christian Contessa
Big fat smile on my face! I love it, the Christian Contessa – perfect!
Danielle– I have been asking some of the very same questions over the last months– but am still uncertain of God’s call on my time and energy. It seems there are things more worthwhile than typing up recipes and, as you say, always having new cooking plans rattling around in my head. I sure wish we could sit and talk this through… Thank you, thank you for all you wrote. I’ll be reading it over for help. thanks.
Rhonda, it would be so wonderful to be able to sit down and talk through this – know I will be praying for you. He will put the answer on your heart. Spend some quiet time with Him and ask Him for clarity and direction, you know it will come. The recipes we share are a part of ourselves and our blogs give us the opportunity to reach out and connect with others in a unique and valuable way. I have a friend that told me my blog is a blessing to her and is a “safe” place for her to go on the internet. That meant the world to me. Your blog is a blessing to me and I so ejoy your message of thankfulness and family and the wonderful recipes you share. Be blessed in your search for His will for you my friend.
Thank you. Danielle…