The Cure for the Empty Table

Feb 20, 2013Find joy today


I’ve seen it happen over the past seven years. It’s hard for me to even write that number, seven. Has it really been that long since we lived in France and breathed the Mediterranean air?

There on French soil, in the land of c’est la vie, we engaged. We hosted. We prayed. We connected. We loved. Our table was full, loud, messy. We threw ourselves into ministry wholeheartedly. When you jump whole-spirited into relationships like that, you risk falling deeper than you’d ever fallen. And so we did.

I was maligned, disbelieved, betrayed. But that is not an uncommon thing on this earth. I’m not the only one who walked through this, I know. The problem with me is that I’ve allowed this pain to keep me from jumping back in to people’s messy lives (and exposing them to my mess too). I let my table remain quiet.

I’ve stayed cocooned in my home, hidden behind a keyboard, afraid of the cure. For our entire married life, we’ve had an open door, welcoming many, hundreds of people around our table. But these past seven years? Wound licking. An empty table. A safe life.

I do have good relationships. I have many friends. But our home hasn’t been the welcoming place it’s been in the past. I want that to change. I don’t want to live in fear that if someone enters my home, it means they will hurt me. I don’t want to live scared. I don’t want to live arms-length-away from the hurting. I want to engage.

Enter a book:


Bestill my safety-loving heart. Thank you, John Burke, for writing Mud and the Masterpiece. We had the privilege of talking on a webinar this week. I couldn’t wait to chat with him because the book had such a positive impact in my life at precisely the time Jesus had been wooing me from the safety nest.

He writes about living messy, about embracing folks where they are, about Jesus and His ways of winsome irresistibility.  He tells lots of stories, and since I learn best through story, this book deeply resonated with me. It made me remember the good parts of France, what we did right. And it made me long to be that girl again, the risking one, the invitational friend.

I don’t want to live walled off from others. I don’t want to hold strangers at a distance. I want to open my arms and heart again, to reinstate the revolving door of hospitality. My husband does too.

So we’re taking steps. We’re resting in the healing God has already accomplished. We’re trying to trust. And we’re hoping to grow more, experience Jesus more, and see the Kingdom of God grow more as a result.

Q4u: How about you? What prevents you from really engaging with others? When have you most been hospitable? Who exemplifies this kind of irresistible life?

One small thing that might help you venture into full-tabled-living is my latest book, The Irresistible Table. Click here to read all about it and receive three of my novels free if you buy it by the end of the month.