How often am I too caught up in my own world to see others around me who are hurting too? How often do I rush from one doctor to another and miss those around me who are hurting? Am I actually making myself available to be the hands and feet of Jesus or just going through the motions?
These questions bounced around in my mind as I drove through the countryside on the way to my son’s preseason track meet.
Am I using the gifts that God gave me?
As I continued down the road, the questions turned into a prayer.
“Lord, search my heart and show me the places in my life that I need to change. Where are you calling me, but I am not being available? Where do I need to change? Lord, am I using the gifts you’ve blessed me with, or am I holding onto them too closely?”
Over the course of several days, the answers started to unfold. God was speaking to me through scripture, songs and journaling.
“Make room at your table, Brianna”.
The last few years have been difficult. The world came to a screeching halt, including dining together and enjoying fellowship. It was hard, and I have only recently reemerged into the world (my reemergence is still limited due to my chronic illnesses).
“It’s time to open your home and heart up to others and share your food and fellowship.”
When you share a meal with someone and when the conversation is uplifting and positive, you are nourishing not only their physical body, but also their soul. We feel closer to people when they are with us.
Jesus dined with all kinds of people - women, outcasts, tax collectors, the sick and the hurting. He didn’t allow age, economic status, success, or nationality to stop him from including all people at His table. We should go and do likewise.
“Pay attention to the people that I put in your life”.
God had placed a whole flock of teenagers from my son’s track and field team right in front of me. Early in the season, I began praying over each one.
I brought snacks to the meets and by the end of the season, I was their second mom with the cooler full of sandwiches. My hungry kiddos knew it too.
God blessed me with the strength and hope to meet the needs of these kids. That morning, being able to make their lunches and write sticky notes of encouragement on each sub sandwich while praying over them brought me more joy and purpose than I’d had in years.
Opening up my table to those teenagers, even though it wasn’t a literal table as they were mostly crowded around the open hatch of my SUV, brought security and comfort to them. They were fed physically and spiritually.
This group of kids came from all walks of life but found a seat at my table. They knew that I would help and provide whatever they needed that day, be it a listening ear, a ride home, an encouraging cheer, or a snack. God answered my prayer for opening my heart and table and helped me show Jesus to a whole host of kids.
With chronic illnesses we never know what the day will hold for us physically. Will it be a day where you feel pretty good or is it a day that you’ll need more rest to save some energy for tomorrow? When my heart has been pricked by the Holy Spirit to bless others, I always seem to have the strength and energy to fulfil the calling that God has placed before me that day.
Chronic illnesses can make us feel alone, and at times invisible. So many people are like King David in Psalm 142:4, hiding in their caves of life, crying out "I look for someone to come and help me, but no one gives me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me.” (Psalms 142:4 NLT).
Have you ever felt like that? Thinking that no one sees you? That no one is going to help you? If you are like me, you have. There are people all around us every day saying the exact same things. Had I not stopped to listen to God’s instruction to open my table, I would have missed an opportunity to minister to these kids.
When Jesus is the host of the table, He offers hope, peace, joy, healing and love. He grants us freedom from our sins and grants us salvation. When we are at His table, we don’t have shame and pride. We are transformed.
Today, may we be present where our feet are. May we see the people in our lives for who they truly are and love them where they are. May we open our doors and hearts to allow others a seat at our table (even if your table is like mine and you have a host of teenagers eating out of the back of your car!)
You can connect with Brianna on her website or over on IG
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