I am on season 2 of the Turquoise Table gatherings at my home. I don’t feel like I have experienced everything yet, but I have learned a few things along the way.
This week held a Turquoise Table first.
No one came.
Here’s the table from this week. But this isn’t where I was supposed to be.
My first thoughts are inward “Should I have sent more reminders? I hate bugging people.”
My next thoughts are for my kids “They are so disappointed. They had plans to hang out with their friends today.”
My final thoughts are “What is God trying to teach me through this?”
My heart swelled when I walked outside and all three kids were carrying things in without being asked!
And that is when a blog post appears! Like I said, I’m no expert. But the Turquoise Table came to me when I needed a simple way to invite others in and a way to reach out tangibly. And in this short time, I have learned so many valuable life lessons.
1. Making it about you is prideful.
If I sat there that morning and pitied myself or felt sad for my kids… what good would that have done? You know what I did? I got up and left the house and found others to pour into. I had an incredible conversation with someone because I left the house. That would not have happened the way it did if I stayed home. If your ministry is about you doing things only in the way you want to… if your ministry focuses on you … is it a ministry?
2. It can feel lonely, and that’s okay.
I’ve been in this season of rest lately. I’ve been learning what sabbath truly means. I can absolutely pour into people when my cup is full. But, that also means I’m alone in it sometimes. When you invite people in, you might be the only one at the table. But you are being obedient. It’s not that your fellow table-dwellers aren’t obeying, but they are either otherwise occupied – potentially with their own ministries, or they don’t feel the same calling. Which is perfect! Because if God made us all with the same calling, then what would the point be?
3. Worrying is the thief of joy.
Every week Adelynn asks me who is coming. I always tell her what I know – which is usually that I don’t know! Sometimes I can give her one or two names, but I can never fully answer her question, and it leads to wonderful surprises when friends show up unexpectedly. What if I worried because I couldn’t answer her questions? What if you worry you’re not a good host, or your space isn’t big or fancy enough, or clean enough? Well, all that needs to be enough is your heart. Not everyone who hosts lives in a million dollar home with HOA and lawn care. (I’m raising my hand, here. My weeds prove I pay no one to pull them!)
4. You don’t have to have it all together.
I once was invited to a friend’s house and she literally gave me her family’s refrigerated leftovers for lunch. I cannot tell you how much that warmed my heart. Seriously! That was years ago and she would die of embarrassment knowing I said that. But what that really said to me was that I was enough. She didn’t have to impress me. She knew that.
I use mismatched and leftover paper products at the Turquoise Table every week. We used our leftover wedding napkins last season! Currently it’s Thomas cups, Circus plates, and 80’s napkins! (Guess our kids’ birthday party themes from 2019!) I don’t think anyone feels like I don’t care about them because I don’t buy matching paper products. I think it’s quite the opposite. I think they know I want to offer what I have. I do clean my bathroom each week for them, but this week I definitely left the dump trucks in the corner of the bathroom instead of hiding them in the shower! In addition to all of that, I think God dwells in the ordinary. In fact, I think He likes it.
5. The enemy does not want community. It’s a spiritual battle.
“For where two or three gather in my name, I am there with them.” – Matthew 18:20
I believe the enemy also puts worries in our heads about our ability to lead or to gather, even. He lies. He’s a liar. It’s what he does. I believe he attempts to take out those gatherings. He will tell you no one likes you. He will tell you what you have isn’t good enough. The truth?
If you are called, you are qualified.
You are worthy, because He has given us every good and perfect gift.
You are chosen, because all authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to us.
You are enough, because of the cross.
You also have authority over those lies and can speak it out!
6. God is doing in the undoing.
When you become transparent, when you lay your life, your mess, your worries, your junk, your potentially stale food, and your random reject Band-Aids to kids who fall, you might feel like a clumsy mess of a woman who is unqualified, undignified, and embarrassed of some of the cobwebs in her life. But that’s where Jesus shines. That’s where you come undone, and Jesus mends the broken pieces. When you lay it out there – verbally, or physically – that you are just as broken as everyone else, that’s when people want to be around you.
If you met that one amazing celebrity you follow on Insta, in real life, you know, the one that has perfect pictures and filters, and children, and vacations… you might be star struck. But would you have a relationship with her? Would you tell her how you washed a disposable diaper and pulled all the pieces out of the washer? Would you tell the story of that one time you left your kid at Target? Are you allowed to have faults around people who seemingly don’t have them? Nope. And that’s what community is for. That’s why God gave us authentic relationships. We get to be messy and broken and ultimately healed together. That’s why we gather and we bring our leftovers. Sometimes, our leftovers are all we have to offer. And that’s always enough.