Be Inspired. Be Honest. Be You.

SMC Women's Ministry

Be inspired. Be honest. Be You.

Posts tagged rest
The Table

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"This is how the world changes–little by little, table by table, meal by meal, hour by hour. This is how we chip away at isolation, loneliness, fear. This is how we connect, in big and small ways–we do it around the table." - Shauna Niequist

It is dark and stormy outside of my kitchen window as I sit at the table and type these words. There are echoes of thunder and stiff breezes, but even though it is a Monday morning, the wetness and breezes are welcomed after one long hot humid summer!

The seasons are beginning to change as we face the autumn equinox in a few days. Day are noticeably shorter and if you stand real still you can catch a slight nip in the early morning hours! Fall is upon us.

In the church year, fall is always the start of the new…classes, studies, youth groups. After a summer of travel and rest, fall is the season to gather and settle in.

Table is a word that has been pressed upon my heart for many years and been echoing in recent months.

The kitchen table I work on was hand crafted by a dear, kind friend many years ago. It bears water rings, and dents and even some marker that just will not be washed off.

It is the witness to stories, and tall tales, and much laughter, and many tears. Some of its patina is from problems and worries that have been sorted out, spoken out loud, and dissected and sometimes left laying.

The table is part of the heart of this home.

The table is a sacred place, a sanctuary, a retreat, a place to be gathered in, accepted, and “heard”.

In her book, Bread and Wine, Shauna Niequist writes:

The table is where time stops. It’s where we look people in the eye, where we tell the truth about how hard it is, where we make space to listen to the whole story, not the textable sound bite.

The table is a sacred space, a space where we intentionally talk about God in our lives and our lives with God, not in the parameters of a Bible Study, but a normal meal, or coffee, or dessert.

It is a place to ask questions, “Where do you find value or meaning in your life?” “What are you currently dreaming about?” “What can I do to care for you?”

Everyone has a story and I believe that deep inside us all, we want people to know us, to know our story, to say “you too? I thought I was the only one.”

“What good thing are you doing in your life that is making you weary?”

“How might God be using your weariness to redirect His plans for your life?”

In Bread and Wine, it is explained,

We don’t come to the table to fight or to defend. We don’t come to prove or to conquer, to draw lines in the sand or to stir up trouble. We come to the table because our hunger brings us there. We come with a need, with fragility, with an admission of our humanity. The table is the great equalizer, the level playing field many of us have been looking everywhere for. The table is the place where the doing stops, the trying stops, the masks are removed, and we allow ourselves to be nourished, like children. We allow someone else to meet our need. In a world that prides people on not having needs, on going longer and faster, on going without, on powering through, the table is place of safety and rest and humanity, where we are allowed to be as fragile as we feel. If the home is a body, the table is the heart, the beating center, the sustainer of life and health.

Come to the table.

I want a table. I want a table where all are invited, a community table.

I am not sure how this will play out, where the table will be located, on what day of the week, or time of the day, but The Table will exist with an open invitation to just come.

*I promise more information will be coming!

Sigh

IMG_2421 Sometimes I just need to sigh.  Bob says I sigh a whole lot, and asks me “why do you sigh?” and I don’t ever have a ready answer.

It feels like I have something inside me that needs to be exhaled.

Webster’s defines a sigh: emit a long, deep, audible breath expressing sadness, relief, tiredness, or a similar feeling.

It is that “similar feeling” that I need to exhale.  My soul needs to breathe and to make room for that breath I need to exhale.

In a study done at University of Leuven, it was suggested that, indeed, sighing acts as a physical—and mental—reset. When breathing in one state for too long, … the lungs become stiffer and less efficient in gas exchange. Intermittently adding a sigh to the normal pattern, then, stretches the lung’s air sacs (alveoli). This feeling may give one a sense of relief.

That’s it!  A sense of relief, as I am resetting my breath.  When life begins crowding in and there seems not a moment to stop and just “be”, I sigh.  I reset not only my breath, but I reset my ordinary daily life and I make room in my soul.

I have been immersed in a Emily Freeman book, Simply Tuesday, where she talks about the need to create space for our souls to breathe.

My sighing is that relief that comes from creating space in my soul to breathe, allowing my soul to see into the ordinary.

In a culture that preaches hurry, importance, comparison, Emily has been inviting me to slow down, become aware, notice the importance of smallness, and to take the time to fill my soul in the stillness.

Sitting in stillness reminds me to release the temptation to control outcomes and to be loved in the presence of God and to breathe in His goodness.

It reminds me to weave in the practice of paying attention, to orient my mind to things that are, instead of only moving towards things that should be.

Sighing creates room for my soul to breathe, to reset my thoughts, to remind me to invite Jesus into the ordinary and into the moments.

Most of life happens not in the brightness nor the darkness, but in the medium light of an ordinary day.

Embracing the ordinary is what makes a faithful life.  Sighing creates space in my soul to breathe in the ordinary.  Christ said that the kingdom of God is already here, we simply don’t see it most of the time.  Paying attention is hard when we fall prey to the world’s tempting “more, better, faster, greater” culture.

So I sigh.  A sigh that opens my soul to take the deep breath of love found in the normal, a deep breath of grace found in the ordinary and a breath of mercy found in stillness.

*Sigh*

Susan

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