Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kids' Table

Did you ever sit at the kids’ table during Thanksgiving? It was usually a flimsy card table with someone’s turkey they made in school perched in a nest of fake autumn leaves in the table’s center. The paper plates were lively autumn colors, with matching cups and napkins. The cutlery was plastic, with knives that could spread butter but couldn’t cut turkey.

We either had our plates filled for us, with stuff we really didn’t want or we’d serve ourselves and balance a turkey leg, a pound of mashed taters and a flood of gravy that dripped onto the paper tablecloth. Cranberries, green beans and that mystery casserole never saw our table. Then there was always some clown at the table and who'd put olives on every finger tip.

What was really embarrassing was if one of our moms would come and cut our turkey for us. Can we get an eye roll and heavy sigh? Yeah…there was never enough room under the table to hide. And when we did get some of that mystery casserole, the family dog was our best defense. It slid off the paper plate, onto the floor in one easy plop. And the dog made short work of it. He wasn’t going to tell either. (Let’s face it, some are still stuck at the kids’ table simply because of their manners.)

Sometimes we’d sneak and get dessert first. Ah…there’s nothing like a slice of pumpkin pie and enough kool whip to disguise it as a mound of taters. But watch out for that distracted helpful mom who cuts everyone’s meat…in all the confusion you just might get a douse of gravy on that disguised pie.

So why the stroll down memory lane? Well, I was thinking about how funny we’d look if we were still stuck at the kids table. We wouldn’t be very comfortable, all elbows and knees. Or trying to use cutlery that bends under pressure and trying to enjoy food dished up for us. Thankfully we’ve moved on to the grownup table…with dishes, cutlery and serving ourselves and passing the bread and butter to the next person, then having pie if we dare…sigh.

Something to think about while you enjoy your seat at the grownup table this year: how many of us are still stuck at the kids’ table spiritually? Do you go every Sunday and sit because that’s what you were raised to do? Do you feast on what is served up to you every week, never daring to serve yourself on Tuesday or Friday from God’s Word, the Bible? Do you feel too awkward to even darken the door of a church, all elbows and knees—not sure what the protocol or manners are?

Let me tell you dear reader, there is room at this table and you are all invited. God has prepared a feast for all of us. "He has brought me to {his} banquet hall, And his banner over me is love. Song of Solomon 2:4

Time to push away from the kids' table, dust off the crumbs and find your seat. There's more than enough room and there's even your own namecard holding your spot.

Will you dine with me on this day of thanks? Do not rely simply on what is served up for you by someone else. It’s time you seek the Truth for yourself and find out what you’ve been missing. Time to pull out that Bible and see where He takes you. It could be Genesis, or John or Romans.

It’s an amazing banquet, and it is all you can eat for an eternity. Be blessed, be loved and be thankful.

O taste and see that the LORD is good Psalms 34:8a

Saturday, November 15, 2008

About Daphne

Today I’m driving to a Memorial service for a special lady. You see, my friend Daphne passed away to glory on Nov 4th after a long illness. She was so stubborn that the doctors and nurses were pretty amazed at her stamina. But then they didn’t know Daphne until she got sick. I’ve known her for over 25 years.

I remember first meeting Daphne. It was dinner and a card game at her house with Joe. The kids were little, stealing shoes and hiding them so we couldn’t go home until they were found. This lady who couldn’t shuffle cards at all had an infectious giggle and kind brown eyes. Well, they were kind until her husband Joe would tease her. He knew to duck when she’d yell, “Joseph!”

There was something there that told me I would be very good friends for a very long time.

And we were. You see, Daphne became my guardian angel on earth. She knew something was wrong in my house. And when things fell apart, she was there. We would go to the ocean and sit and let the waves wash away my pain.

She loved her family so. When she moved away to another state and times got tough, she sold her beloved teacup collection for grocery money to get by, and never regretted it. Sharing tea and cucumber sandwiches with her at different local tea houses became our favorite outing.

When I couldn’t have kids she counseled me…helped me get through that hard stuff. And when I brought a little red-headed boy home, she loved him like a grandchild. And we rejoiced. She cared for him until I could afford daycare. She saw his first steps…

When I was invited to a local Christian singles' group, she encouraged me to go. And when I found my Prince Charming, she rejoiced with me. She helped me plan the wedding and kept me organized. She was my Matron of Honor and stood by my side.

And when we moved away, she understood I would not be seeing her very much. You see, when we told her we needed to move closer to Tom’s kids, she understood. She loved her kids so much, she knew what it cost to love your children unconditionally.

My faith grew because of her gentle encouragement with hand written prayer journals and quiet conversation. She was no Bible thumper, she was the fragrance of Christ. She showed me unconditional love and told me about the magnitude of His love—Agape Love—that she experienced. Her faith was not a religion, it was a relationship and she lived it out every day.

In her garden, planting the backyard with vegetables and the front yard with flowers, she saw the miracle of growing things. While crafting things, she felt the pain of creating—a feathered angel wing placed just so with hot glue that would blister her fingertips. At the ocean’s edge, she saw the awesomeness of His forgiveness—a never ending washing away of sins. In her church, the love for worship extended to her life in music and fascination with Christmas.

It was that unconditional love that she showed to her family, friends and church that is a gift to us all. To love with no strings attached is what Jesus was all about to her. She loved, because she knew she was loved—unconditionally.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39