The morning stillness brings an awe and a wonder that take my breath away. There is a passing in the moments where the newly awakened soul hovers and exists in the launch that always precedes the promising, “what if?”.
What if ‘s can totally handicap us if we purpose to stay in the moment they provide to think. They can ruin our day before we even emerge from the cocoon of our slumber.
But what if… we ask this of God first instead of ourselves?
I was reminded of this recently when sitting in a room of seekers who long to ask, “What if God…?” And to be honest, the resulting answer was not what I expected.
Our own limitations should never inhibit our expectation of God…but they do…and there is a lesson in the telling of the stories we have shared. A lesson of simplicity; a lesson that is loaded with grace.
From His fullness we have all received grace upon grace. James 1:16
I sit at this table of wood, polished recently by loving and capable hands to a sheen and a glow that restored it to a former glory. It was an act of service, a gift intended to remind me of how I am loved and valued by someone who knows my heart connection here.
Wood and nails together form a sturdy piece where gathering occurs. I’ve written about this table before, of a scarring and a soaking that taught me to choose grace first. And while it is just a table, it is the focal point of the room and it is where we welcome guests most often.
It is where I live out hospitality, most easily, most comfortably. Grace flows like the water that sits atop the table, and the food that rests waiting to be consumed and life meets across the planed wood, leaving many a mark of the messes that converge upon the sturdy stained lumber.
Even in the mess grace becomes a beautiful reminder of love in action.
While I was soaking up graces at the If:Gathering, my husband cleaned and polished my table. And friends, the significance of this is astounding because I have been laying down a call to invite others to this table for too long. This place in my heart that He has molded to fit a dream, it has been pregnant with an idea that didn’t belong to me, but it was given to me. I have left it fallow in the dust of the shielded chambers of my heart because I felt like stepping into it would be choosing rejection.
No matter how far we come in with Christ, He asks us to continue to step out further in our faith…to trust Him with our fears and release them all into His hands as we choose obedience.
Do you ever find yourself afraid of the fearful ,”no”, instead of jumping headlong into the obedient, “yes”?
While I was dreaming of a table to gather around, connecting hearts with His Word, my husband was preparing it for the obedience I was called to. This table was meant to witness the linked hands and bowed heads, hold porcelain with wheat and broth to fill the body. The seats were meant to hold seeking souls as the Living Word would meet the hearts prepared for grace. And while I was wondering if it was worthwhile to plan and prepare, the Lord had gone ahead of me prepared the way.
What if we decided to say yes to God and set aside our fears, questions, and not enough’s?
Because friend, the purpose and the passion He has given you is not based on your qualifications. It is all His doing, His handiwork, His gifting, and His completing.
Being confident of this very thing, that he which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
He has called each of us right into the middle of His will. He has beckoned us to come and to gather close… messy and unguarded, perfect and held in, hurting and weary, broken and bruised, righteous and prideful, unloved and unlovable, empty and misused, lost and misguided, quiet and introverted, loud and unfiltered….
When He is our head, when Christ is our Lord, when we seek that which was spilled, when we accept the gift of grace… we find a place at the table. Who we were, we are no more. Becoming His changes our status, it gives us entrance to a feast where our seat is reserved at His table.
And they shall come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit down (feast at table) in the Kingdom of God. Luke 13:29
And if this is His passion, to prepare a supper for the broken whom He loves… to prepare a resting place to gather and settle the weary in the hopes of refreshment and rest… then I want to follow the same path.
When the invitation is risky, there are inevitable rewards.
Inviting others is dangerous risky stuff, friends. What if’s always fill my hesitated response. As if I would expose myself, to obey meant I’d have to I ‘get my stuff together’. Yet that is not a truth we should submit to. He asks us to prepare, but not in the way that brings strife. We are preparing for a harvest because we are called to be the laborers.
Open the gates that the righteous nation which keeps her faith and her troth with God enter in. You will guard him and keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he commits himself to you, leans on you, and hopes confidently in you. -Isaiah 26:2-3
He is asking us to throw wide open the doors of our heart to take in what He has planned, what He has established, what He has redeemed. He is asking us to be gate-keepers that unlock doors of hospitality in order to usher in grace.
And that is the secret to being able to say yes… if they are waiting to be the invited, then there is no risk involved.
When we invite with the purpose of sharing God, we are offering an immeasurable gift. We doesn’t have to worry about our resources because He meets us in our lack and fills in all the empty spaces…even if they are the seats at our tale.
Lift up your heads, O you gates; and be lifted up you age-abiding doors that the King of Glory may come in. – Psalm 24:7
I have to be real and tell you that, I have ignored His gentle, but firm, nudge far too long. I am tired of sitting idly by when the call to congregate hearts has been burned on my own. I have a table, a place already prepared to break bread and share grace. It is that simple.
My, “yes”, isn’t necessary for God to fulfill His plan, but it is necessary for me to step into that place He has prepared for me. My yes isn’t just about serving others but about being served by the very One who bends low and washed my dirty feet so I could come to the supper table of the Lamb.
Have you been ignoring His nudge, friend? 2016 is the year of release for me and this is one stronghold I want to let go of, the fear of rejection. Inviting people to the table may just be the avenue that He is using to break this bond and usher freedom into the gates of my heart.
Praying for your gathering places.
Blog Announcements: New Link Up Starting March 10th!
In March I will be hosting a new link up here at Journeys In Grace every Thursday. I am super excited to share this with you and hope you will join me here linking up your encouraging and inspirit posts about the grace moments in your life. I will be sharing a lot about this table of grace He is building here and I can’t wait to hear your own stories of grace.
Sharing with friends for the Journey:
Grace and Truth Link Up, Missional Women, Faith n Friends Blog Hop, Dance with Jesus, Essential Thing Fridays,Weekend Whispers, Give Me Grace, #RaRaLink Up, #TellHisStory, Three Word Wednesday, Coffee For Your Heart
Beautiful post, Dawn. I, too, struggle with the fear of rejection & have been more aware of it. The more we reject the fear of rejection, the smaller its hold on our lives will be. Thank you for this encouraging post today!
Hi, dawn – I was at IF too – via satellite and I love everything hospitality and tables (and tablecloths) – so fun to visit you today next to you at (I can’t remember where…) and would love to be reminded of your Thursday link up party when it opens! Please come visit my blog when you have a moment and we can share God’s Hospitality stories – (chocolate on mondays is when I do – on welcomeheart.com)
lovely meeting you,
oh, on purposeful faith, maybe?
yes, rejection is hard but puts us in good company – Jesus was often rejected so that’s a bonus.
Beautiful verses and beautiful thoughts, Dawn. How like God to prompt your husband to prepare your actual table even while He was working on your heart about IF:Table. I attended IF at my church, and like you, I felt some definite nudges about a calling I’ve been procrastinating about due to all the “what ifs.” I pray that God would free you from the fear of rejection as you heed His call to invite others to your freshly polished table! I’m so glad to be your neighbor at Missional Women today!
Dawn I love the table concept. It’s where we have made lots of family memories and friend memories. I, too have been nudged by God to start a neighborhood ministry at my table and I haven’t followed thru because I can’t seem to get a day on my schedule. Beautiful post and beautiful table. I wish I knew how to make mine shine like that.
When we lived in the city… we had prayer at our house every Friday with tea involved. It was such a special time. We moved to the country and for the first year still continued to have prayer at our house once a month. I also had bible studies at my house with two of my neighbors. I wanted to meet my neighbors and so I actually knocked at their doors and told them that I’m starting a bible study and would like them to join. To my surprise two of them agreed and we have formed a strong bond. When you homeschool, stay home, and are away from friends and family, you have to step out of your doors and love on your neighbors. It is so easy to get to know those who live by you. Not everyone said yes but I was not discouraged because God had given me two godly women. Thanks for reminding me how beautiful it is when Christians gather together to pray and read the word of God. I’m planning our next monthly prayer. 🙂
I loved this. “He has called each of us right into the middle of His will. He has beckoned us to come and to gather close… messy and unguarded, perfect and held in, hurting and weary, broken and bruised, righteous and prideful, unloved and unlovable, empty and misused, lost and misguided, quiet and introverted, loud and unfiltered….” Thank you for sharing your encouraging words. Visiting from #GiveMeGrace