“The Kitchen Table” (talk, sing and post)

Posted by on Feb 22, 2013 in A Plan, A Story, A Tool, Blog | 0 comments

I just made a list in my journal of the things I would love to accomplish today. There are too many and not enough time – I find this is the story of my life, but I greet the “undone” better than ever and just look to prioritize and choose well! So, I choose “The Kitchen Table.” I have words brewing in my heart and mind on the topic, and I must make sense of them through this medium of words. I often say that our kitchen table is the most important piece of furniture in our home, and once again, I celebrate this truth. Dinner last night and breakfast this morning were nothing short of miraculous, and I take a step from the crazy and mark the truth of the greater story we are living each day.

There is the story that we can see made up of errands to Whole Foods and the tax lady, a phone call to return to my mom, laundry to put away or just to stare at because I told the girls to put it away last night, first soccer practice to attend on a new team, keys locked in a running car, a great cup of coffee in the quiet of my home, a meeting to be figured about our trip to Haiti, dishes to put away so that I can get the pile of other ones from my sink, etc. BUT in the midst of these details, there is more!

Ron and I have decided, we want the “more.” We choose to live in the “more.” We want the promises Father offers to us in his Word. And I guess I should note, we believe his Word. The Bible for us is truth. We receive our story from it and our vision for the days ahead. And we have come to know the main character and have received his invitation of life. Because of that, we create priorities that surround that belief, and our vision is lifted from the reality of the details to the possibility of a conversation he wants to have. So our desire to know Father God and what is on his mind is important to us. It causes me to look, ask questions. What are you trying to say? How do we find the meaningful in the events of the day? And how do we transfer all of this to our babes that you have given to us – Maya, Ada and Carson. How do we teach this truth and belief to these little people with the same last name? How does it permeate their own life so that they begin their own conversation with a Father God that loves and pursues them? And last night and today, he brought me answers to these questions – at our kitchen table.

The table – rustic and real. Big black legs and oak top. I never stained it, still on my list of things to do, so the spilled milk sinks through and makes puddles on the floor. There is painted memories of pictures and a Sharpie gone awry. There are crackers and breadcrumbs and who knows what else stuck in the crevices. There is always a sticky spot somewhere and my elbow always seems to find it. Our table shows the life that we live but always welcomes us back to our places. My table is becoming an old friend. I have fed babies at this table, shared late night glasses of wine with my love, prayed with my journal and Bible in tow, watched the birds tell their own story out the window, but, most importantly, shared meals and words with the family Father has given to me – Ron, Maya, Ada and Carson. This table is recording the story.

As I was stirring the taco meat last night, making sure the tortillas didn’t get too hard in the warmer and grating the cheese, I was chatting with Father and just said to him: “I can’t wait to get to the table. I can’t wait to hear what you have taught us all today. I want the table to be our meeting place after a day of adventure. Where did we go? What did we do? What battles did we fight? How did we play out our beliefs? What went right? Father make this table a landing ground for us, a safe place from the wreckage, a moment to adjust the view.” This table is the opportunity for “the more” to be worked out. Father and I had a great moment in the preparation of fiesta night to prepare my mind and heart for the greater story to be had while we fed our tummies full!

About half way through the dinner, I said to everyone the question that I knew would get it all started – the magnificent moment of greater revelation from the details of our day. I said: “guys, I have a really important question to ask you, one that I was talking to Father about while I was making dinner, and I couldn’t wait to get here to the table with you to talk about it. Are you ready?” I can always get their attention with such a beginning – get excited, and your excitement will be contagious. If only for thirty seconds, I am still grateful. I continue. “I want to know what Father taught you today. What happened today?” Blank stares, one armpit fart, one last grab at the sprinkle cheese, and nothing. Silence. So, I continue: “I know something that I saw today. Perseverance. I saw perseverance in you today, guys. You finished well with your school today. You worked hard, you got done early. Carson, I asked you to read to page 8 in your leveled reader, and you read to page 9. Ada, you read your chapter in Little House and even moved locations to the living room when Maya and Carson were making too much noise. You had to read that chapter alone; it was a natural consequence of some choices last week, remember. And you did it. I am proud of you guys.” Nods come, smiles. And then, Carson said with a crooked smile: “I was just about to say that. Yea, our school today!” Now more silence. My eyes of help meet Ron’s eyes of knowing what I am not saying, and he quickly joins in. That’s what 19 years of marriage and almost 30 years of knowing each other will do for you! He says . . . hmmmmm. I have no idea what he said. Can’t remember now. I do know he kept the conversation going, validated my desire for meaning and showed them a man of integrity working it out in his business relationships day in and day out. But I must admit, the armpit fart still lingered, the blank stares seared, the lie that they aren’t getting it and the silliness of yet another dinner rang louder than the moment I had hoped for. Sigh.

We met again for breakfast this morning at this same table. Eyes a bit sleepy, hair mostly combed, cereal bowls full of granola and cold whole milk except for my unconventional Maya that prefers cheese and crackers as her breakfast of choice. Nonetheless, there we all were, same places, different food. And then it happened. Ada says: “I’m scared.” There is silence again, but it is different this time. It is an engaged silence – we all listen, even the culprit of the armpit fart. “I don’t want to go to soccer practice today. What if they are mean to me?” Ada begins today a new soccer team, an older team that is going to push her in her skills and her maturity. But she is right – what if? I simply say: “tell us more about what is going on inside. What are you hearing? What are the sentences that are racing in your head?” She gets it and says: “What if I am not good enough? What if I mess up? I don’t want to go. They all know each other, and they are older than me. I am going to do something wrong.” We give her feelings a place at the table, some time to linger before we speak. We have learned this is important. However undone and messy, give the risky words a place at the table. Ada is scared. Then, Ron and I begin to interpret. “Ada, that is the enemy telling you those lies. He wants you wrapped up in the ‘what if.’ That keeps you weak and unable to run. Father God has different things to say about you. What is truth?” Ron reminds her that she is a good soccer player. He reminds her of her 7 past seasons of play and her leadership on the field. Her eyes for the game, her ability to see where the ball is going. He reminds her that Father God has given her an identity of strength and not weakness. I tell Ada a story of a time that I felt trapped. “It was a night full of tears with your Daddy beside me. He began praying over me, but I could still hear the enemy’s voice louder telling me all that was wrong. I told Daddy to pray the Word and when he got back to our bedside and just opened the book, the enemy and his cohorts left the scene. It was a powerful silence. Your Daddy reading the Bible over me scared away the ‘what if.’ I can’t entirely explain it, but for me, on a day that I felt overwhelmed and scared, we prayed, and we prayed the words in our Bible, and it helped me.” So, then I ask: “What verses could you say today when you start hearing the questions?” Maya quickly begins singing from the Seeds CD: “Do not fear, for I am with you.” Carson joins in: “Isaiah 41:10.” I direct Ada to that same verse on the family board right behind her head. Written in her own handwriting in pink marker, it reads from The Message version:

Isaiah 41:10

I’ve picked you. I haven’t

drooed (dropped) you. Don’t panic. I’m

whith you. there’s no need to

fear for I’m your God.

And then Ron brings up a verse that we all taught to the 2 year old class at Grace Community 2 summers ago: “My help comes from the Lord.” Psalm 121:2 Granted he says it in the voice of the 2 year old named Jose that we had. It is priceless and a verse that has a story in our home! And then the laughter comes amidst the truth! Ada breathes a deep breath, and we all look forward. Forward to a day of details while catching glimpses of the greater story. I say to her: “Ada today, those words of fear are going to come up again. The enemy will do his best to distract you and get you believing his lies. But do battle today with these verses. Say them back to the ‘what if’ and be who you are. You win.”

So, the “failed” dinner of last night ushered in moments of greatness this morning. And I realize it all works together. Even the armpit fart plays a part in the greater story. And we keep moving forward, doing the next right thing. Listening for the bigger questions. Validating the feelings. Providing time and space at the kitchen table to work it out, a safe place where big questions are asked, risky feelings are heard, and everyone wins. There is more than just a soccer practice at 5:30 today. There is fear and anxiety and “what if.” There are answers from the verses of Isaiah 41 and Psalm 121, stories from a mother working it out herself, reminders from a Daddy of what he has seen in you before, and there is more!

And so you say, now what? What should I do with these words?

  1. Rest in them. Rest in the milk puddles and mess. Rest in the armpit farts and blank stares. Rest in the promises of more. Rest in Father’s help spoken in his Word.
  2. Choose Father’s story and the next right thing. Work it out. Read the Bible and ask 2 questions: who are you? and what do you want me to do?
  3. Pray for a vision beyond the details and share words at your kitchen table.

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