Pull up a Chair
The scripture tells us in Psalm 23:5 Our great Shepherd is preparing a table before us up in heaven. He is preparing a great marriage feast when we get home! A table where even our enemies will feel comfortable being there.
Growing up, how many of you had a kitchen table where everyone gathered for a meal? A safe place where things could be talked about freely? I know for my immediate family (my kids) growing up we had a HUGE table in our kitchen area. When we only had seven children we had a normal sized table but when God decided to add three more to the number of places at the table, we built a huge picnic style table with benches on both sides and a chair at each end that stretched all the way across our kitchen eating area. Soon another plate was needed at the table and then three more were added. I bought an old restaurant booth at a garage sale that I had upholstered in lime green Naugahyde and I made a table top that would fit the booth. It was U shaped and filled our kitchen area. You could sit 14 kids and two adults very easily and that was our kitchen table for many years. That table was a place where more barriers were torn down and more decisions were made than any other room in the house. We had many, many family discussions around that table after an evening meal. We talked about everything from politics to homework that hadn’t been turned in, to squabbles that needed to be settled, to issues with friends, to money matters, to planning vacations, to sexual issues. It was a safe place where anyone could feel safe to share their feelings without any condemnation and where the Word of God was taught. There were rules at the table. Putdowns were not allowed and everyone was treated with the utmost respect and not criticized for their opinions. Eventually there were foster kids that were added to that table and then as the older ones moved out there were the grandkids that celebrated their birthdays at the family table. It was nothing to have 14 to 16 at the table at every meal.
Many games were played around that old booth where we laughed until we cried and many crafts were created there. Birthdays were celebrated with family and friends and it also served as a great place for homework to be done.
The booth is no longer there now but there is a big dining room table where everyone still gathers when they come home to visit or need to talk. I can’t tell you how many times we all end up at the kitchen table when the kids come home!
I am saddened to think that many families don’t even own a kitchen table and never gather around it to eat or play. Somehow maybe, just maybe, this would be a great time to re-instate family meals around the kitchen tables. Where kids have to put down their electronic devices and learn to communicate with family. Where parents take the time to inspect homework and engage in conversations with their children about topics that kids just look up on YouTube now instead of getting parental input. Maybe now is the time to get out the game boards and the dice and old maid cards and have some great family time around the kitchen table. A time where family devotions could take place. I’m afraid we live in a society that is more and more drawn to the virtual reality of the electronic devices that are held in their hands in the bedrooms or the living room and we experience less and less of the face to face real life time where lively and much needed discussions around the family table could take place.
Could it be that more barriers in families could be broken down around the kitchen table than in a counseling room with a counselor that really doesn’t know your family as well as you do? I would love to see more families returning the family table to its rightful place as the center of our homes where families could enjoy a good home cooked meal and then discuss the events of the day and begin the opportunity for that table talk that could draw our families in and heal their hearts and help the ones that are floundering. Where God could be the healing agent.
When I think back, and if you were to ask my children, some of our best memories were the ones made around that old lime green booth. Where we had supper together and everyone was home and we passed around the mashed potatoes and green beans. Where everyone was talking at once and laughing together. Supper was love and acceptance and a place where you could say what was on your heart. Even now as my children are all grown up with families of their own we still enjoy the family dinners or BBQ’s where everyone gathers and eats and laughs together. The topics may or may not be different as those days when they were younger but it’s still a place where they can come and open their hearts and know they are loved! I find it interesting that some of the topics are the same just different characters in the story!
At my home everyone is welcome at our table. There is always food aplenty and we can easily squeeze in a few more chairs. But beware… you never know what topics might be discussed!
Love you all,
Notes from the Staff @The Woods