The other day I had a bit of a revelation in that I realised that one of the things I feel most passionate about, one of the subjects that excites me and makes me come alive most, one of my greatest heart’s desires is also something that brings with it pain and disappointment and that that pain and disappointment stop me really embracing it. And that made me feel sad.
I love the concept of home, of family and of tables but for so long my family has felt incomplete, my home not quite a real home and my table not as full as I would choose.
I love my home, especially when it is clean and tidy (big joy for the cleaner starting next week!!) – my home is my safe space, its my comfort, and so often when I am tired and have had enough of people it is my place to come and hide away. My little house has been a place of healing and rebuilding. It has been a gift. It has come with wonderful neighbours. But often it feels empty, it reminds me when its other occupant is in bed that I am alone in ways I never expected or wanted. It is not as full and busy as I had dreamed it would be. Yes most of the time it is calm and peaceful but often I crave noise and chaos.
I love my child, I love her more than anything else, she is more than enough – we are each other’s family and we have a lot of fun, there is always music and often dancing and we share a lot of love but that family is definitely not what I hoped for. I read articles and books on raising children, on building a family and it hurts my heart because I am not raising my family in the way I would want. My family is so much smaller than I would like.
I love nothing more than sitting round a table with people, sharing life, eating food, laughing, talking, maybe even a few tears. Proper and real connection. Vulnerability, authenticity and courage – sharing stories, sharing memories.
A while back I read the following and it resonated so deeply in me:
“Tables have the potential to break down walls, open hearts and mend bridges. They nourish and give, but they also need and receive. I would wager a guess that most wars we’ve seen throughout our ragged history started around tables. But I know redemption starts there too. Healing. Mending. Peace. Sometimes wisdom isn’t found in governments, intelligence, science labs and even religious institutions, but in more simple and intimate places, the every day and ordinary, around human tables set to give and receive.” (DVO app)
I think I have pulled away from inviting people to sit round my table making excuses that my house is too small, I am not a great cook, cooking stresses me out, that working full time makes it difficult when actually the truth is I don’t feel like my family looks quite right.
I realised these last few days that because my picture didn’t look quite look like I thought it should or would want it to it had been stopping me embracing the things that I really love in life, because my home, my family and my table didn’t feel like quite enough.
My heart is for love, it is something I try to do and want to do better that love which transforms, that brings safety and acceptance, that gives comfort, that tells people they are enough. That love that always points people towards Jesus. I am not always very good at it, I get it wrong but as long as I have breath in my body I am going to try with all I am to love well. It is that love that excites me more than many other things, the potential that loving well and intentionally brings with it – redemption, restoration, healing, mending, change.
I want my home to be a place of that love and not simply for the people who sleep there but for all those that come through its doors. So I made a decision – my home, my family and my table are the ones I have been given, the gifts God has given me for this season and I am going to learn embrace them, celebrate them and share them. I am going to be braver in inviting people in. I am going to be intentional about that. I want to love better and I want my home to be a place of life, of love, of people and I have a choice I can fill it full of those things or I can shut the door and keep wondering what could have been.
Its choosing to believe all over again that my family, all 2 of us, is a family God put together and so it is more than enough. And that family, if I let it, can still bless others, can still give, can still love – so here and now I make a choice to not let disappointment and pain stop me taking hold of the things I love, to stop letting comparison or expectation dictate what it looks like. We are enough.
You are enough, whatever your home, your family and your table looks like. God has plans and purposes for each of us, for each of our families, our homes and our tables, the question is will we embrace and celebrate what we have been given rather than fight against it and wish things were different?
So my table is going to be set much more often, the food may be simple but there will be more of it, more people squashed in and a door that will always be open.