Tag Archives: Ann Voskamp

The Sacred Table

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)

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She’s in France Celebrating her Six Month Blog-iversary!

Today is my 6 month Blog-iversary. Do you think the term Blog-iversary will ever make it into the dictionary? Ginormous has if you didn’t know. Anything’s possible.

Six months. Already.

I feel like I have been blogging forever but at the same time I can’t believe six months has passed since I clicked the “publish” button for the very first time. Boy was that an equally thrilling and terrifying mouse click. Anyone?

And yet click I did; despite the uncertainty, doubt and nagging little voice saying “what are you thinking?” Thankfully, I’ve gotten pretty good at discerning the voice of truth and ignoring the other one because as it turns out, Welcome Company is exactly what I needed.

Six months of writing, stretching my limits, finding me again. So much to be thankful for.

Pansy

I told you a while back, in a post titled What is Love, about a book I had started but had been unable to finish.  A book about giving thanks and finding joy in all aspects of life; “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp.  A journey of writing down one thousand things I am thankful for and in the process, learning to pay attention to all of the ways God shows me everyday that He sees me, that I matter to Him as a unique individual creation, “all the ways He whispers, ‘I love you.'”

“He who is grateful for little is given much laughter … an it’s counting the ways He loves, this is what multiplies joy.” – Ann Voskamp

I know I have a lot to be thankful for and I am thankful for a lot. Big stuff. A God who loves and sustains me. My husband. My children. My home. My health. Their health. We have been through some tough stuff (Beauty from Ashes), desperate heartbreak and difficult battles. But we are a season away now and there is so much laughter and joy. So much and yet still, I am so often stressed, tired, irritable, anxious, edgy, self-pitying. In need of escape.

Why? One of the ongoing jokes around here is that whenever a kid is yelling “mommy, mommmmy, mooooommmmmy … where are youuuuu?!!” The answer is quite often “France.”

She’s in France.

About ten years ago, my husband and I went to France and I fell completely, utterly and hopelessly in love. The food, the wine, the landscape, the history, most of the people. You name it. I love it. Vive La France! So, we joke that whenever the stresses of everyday life become too much, I go to France. Closing my eyes and escaping to cook and hike and shop in the open markets, study at the Le Cordon Bleu Paris, drink a good burgundy on a picnic blanket in a lavender field, restore a provincial farmhouse. Free from the mundane, the routine, the demands.

Don’t worry, by escaping I don’t mean that I am actually going to abandon my life and run for the airport. I am really not trying to be dramatic. I love my life. My husband. My kids. I am blessed. But I am also honest. And yes, in the midst of sassy back-talk, pre-teen door slams, housework, laundry, homework battles, endless kid fights over you name it and a mounting list of all that demands my attention, France sounds pretty good sometimes. And besides, my passport is expired.

A mom can get lost. Lose herself in the day to day. In the mundane, the routine, the demands. Before she knows it. Just ask one. Any mom. Ask her. Your heart can be filled with love to bursting. You can know that every sacrifice is worth it. But you can still feel lost.

But what if I didn’t have to escape.

What if I chose to write about all in my life that I have to be thankful for? All that I have to offer. To further explore and expound upon my gifts, my heart, my joy. To create a place that is me. A place to share this unique person God made. To find her again. Not an escape but an outward extension of who I am beyond the blessed role of wife and mommy. I am wife and mommy and I love being her, she is who I was born to be but she is not all that I am.

When I am lost, I am caught up in the stress of the moment, of the day, of the world. I have dropped my focus from the one who offers me peace. The one who reminds me who I am in Him. The one who’s whisper says don’t listen, you have a voice, a story – I have given it to you … click the mouse.

And as I write, and photograph, and create I find so much to be thankful for. There will always be stress but nestled among the challenges and frustrations, I find His blessings just waiting for me to see them. Right in my own backyard. No escape needed.

And I begin to notice. And write them down starting with one, heading to one thousand.

Red-Geraniums-1

1. A bright red geranium.

Orange-Marmalade-1

2. Orange marmalade.

3.Black coffee.

4. Breakfast on the patio.

Gracie

5. My furry child. My son’s best friend.

Love-Birds-1

Love-Birds

6. Noisy, colorful Peach-faced Love Birds who visit to dine on the seed block.

Fountain-1

Fountain-2

7. A broken fountain filled with fresh herbs.

Quail-EggsQuail-Eggs-2

8. A clutch of quail eggs laid under the lawn mower.

Rock-Trough

9. An old rock water trough on the back of the property just waiting to be filled with flowers.

Peaches

10. Peaches growing, ripening.

Sunrise-2

11. The Arizona Sky.

Sunrise-3

As the sun rises over the mountains and peeks between the branches of the mesquite.

Arizona-Sky-2And as it sets, lighting the sky ablaze with color.

Arizona-Sky-1

The most beautiful sky in the world. Right in my own backyard. No escape needed.

I am so thankful.

In six months, I have published 73 posts, watched my readership grow and been overwhelmed by the encouragement and support I have received and the friendship and connection I have found in the blogging community. I really love you guys. I have been so inspired by your work and look forward to your visits and comments more than you could ever know. You are incredible.

I love this blog and the creative outlet it has given me. I love that I am compiling a story for my kids to look back on and that I am preserving precious family history. I love that I am finding me again and I would write even if it was only my mom who was reading. That being said, I am blessed by all of you – each and every one – who have graciously followed along, who read regularly or even just visit once in a while. I am so thankful for you.

Ginormously thankful.

“As long as thanks is possible, then joy is always possible. Joy is always possible.” – Ann Voskamp