Soul Food

July 28, 2009 | 16 comments

Pull up a chair, friend.

Gather ’round this table, where guests “get down” to Truth.

I realized this morning that this week marks my one-year blogging anniversary. This table has never been empty, for a place has always been set here for Jesus.

But there were times when it was just the two of us: me and the Guest of Honor. He fed my soul, and I wrote it down as an offering of thanks. Only a few others dropped in from time to time to see what we were doing, my Best Friend and I.

And then something happened: Guests began to dine with us. Community grew. Those who dined here began to leave comments before they left, and in turn, invited me to dine with them around their own tables.

All in all, it was a Feast for Souls.

But sometimes, my appetite for the “company” grew more quickly than my interest in the Guest of Honor. I hurried to set up more chairs for more guests. I worked hard to cook up something gourmet — so that you’d leave feeling satisfied and want to come again.

I got overly concerned with the “guest list.” Had it grown since the last time we dined? (I track it, you know, from a little meter in the corner.) And after the party was over, I would look around to see if more comments were left at the table this month, compared to the last.

And I would wonder: Do they leave here feeling fed, and will they come back?

And in my wondering and pondering and pleasing and primping, I sometimes lost sight of the Guest of Honor. I had relegated Him to a folding chair in the corner — even though He was the reason I began serving this Soul Food in the first place.

And on days like those, I wondered if I had pimped out my God. I wondered if I’d used the Honored Guest as blog fodder to draw a bigger crowd to the table.

And I thought about closing the door — keeping a table set for two.

But, then, the Honored Guest pulled His chair in closer to mine and beckoned me:

Come. Sit.

He reminded the Martha inside of this body that the Mary could “choose the wiser.” And so I sat at His feet, and He stilled my soul.

And He reminded me that I was meant to live in community,
and that it’s OK to invite you here, too.
And that somewhere in these stories we share,
someone else might see Him at this table, too.
That when I falter in this walk
And when I lay bare my stumbles,
someone here
might see that it was He who picked me up,
And that He could pick them up, too …
This One who I had put in the corner
(But this One who was still very much in the center.)

***

“How can I ever let God’s grace fully work in my life unless I live in a community of people who can affirm it, deepen it and strengthen it?”
— Henri Nouwen

And that’s what you’ve done, dear friend. You’ve strengthened me and affirmed me and deepened what it means to live in community — as we grope through life listening for His voice.

You’ve done sacred and holy work in a comment box,
at my table,
and then at your own.

You feed souls. You’ve fed mine.

Shall we rest now at His feet?

***

In recent weeks, I have added “Soul Food” to the left-hand rail of my blog — links to devotionals, news stories and posts (many by some of you), who have brought flavor to this table. Thank you.

***
And for you, Lord Jesus:

Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
— Psalm 64:3-5

by | July 28, 2009 | 16 comments

16 Comments

  1. jasonS

    Very nicely put. It's a struggle, but we have to make sure we don't major on the minors and keep Him central. Great thoughts.

    Reply
  2. Runner Mom

    Jennifer, this was amazing! You do set a feast for your blog community to grow from His Word and teaching. I'm glad that you've invited us to pull up a chair and stay for awhile! Congrats on your one-year anniversary!!

    Hugs!
    Susan

    Reply
  3. Warren Baldwin

    I like this line: "He reminded me that I was meant to live in community." God exists in community (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) and created us in community with himself. We enter into this world as part of a community (mother, father, child). The church is a community. Every aspect of our lives is community based. Even the decision to put on Christ generally occurs with the teaching and encouragement of other members of our family or church.

    Good post.

    Reply
  4. Tabitha@ichoosebliss

    Congratulations on your one year blog anniversary! I find great peace when I visit here. I definitely see who sits in the center of it all.

    Blessings

    Reply
  5. Kee

    Thank you for this Jenn. Tears started to fall before I was halfway through your post. I too have recently put God in the corner in my own life. Days like today when I'm not feeling well and it takes every bit of my strength to make it through the day with the kids, my illness seems to get the best of me and I push God to the side.

    He should be the center of my life always and thanks for reminding me of that.

    You are a beautiful writer, I think I say that every comment. But it is so very true.
    Thank you for inviting me to your table and for coming to mine.

    Reply
  6. Lyla Lindquist

    I'm with Jason – it's a tightrope we walk between numbers and comments as a barometer of whether we're doing something that brings Him glory, pushes the kingdom forward and touches people versus inflating our already adequately sized heads (mine anyway).

    I do love the soul food and banquet picture. It's way cooler than the one I usually have in my head, where it's me in the school lunchroom and a comment means I got to sit at the cool kids' table for a day.

    Happy birthday, GDWJ. God's blessings on another year. Thanks for letting me sit at your table now and then.

    Reply
  7. Laura

    Happy anniversary! I, for one, am so glad you invited us into this sweet place. I always leave here with my soul fed, heart inspired.

    If sharing gifts creates community (we're learning this in our book club on HCB) then I feel welcomed here. Thanks for sharing your gifts, Jennifer.

    Reply
  8. elaine @ peace for the journey

    Thanks for the invitation. It's been my pleasure to come and dine with you and Jesus at the table of grace on several occasions. I only wish we could do this face to face.

    Someday.

    Lots of love and peace and congrats to you on making it a year with the likes of us!

    ~elaine

    Reply
  9. Julie

    Thank you for allowing me to sit at God and your table. I always leave feeling nourished and full.

    God and you are doing amazing things in the kitchen to prepare that table. I feel blessed to be allowed to sit here now and then.

    Anyone stopping by can see who sits at the head of your table, Jennifer.

    Thank you and congrats on your birthday! Looking forward to see what the Lord and you have in store this next year!

    Sweet Blessings!

    Thank you for

    Reply
  10. RCUBEs

    I am so blessed to be a part of this feast, what more with the Special Guest right on the center!

    My appetite is satisfied every time I come here at this table…God bless and Happy 1st!

    P.S.
    Let us not forget to be the "salt"…so the best flavor can come out from all foods on the table.

    Reply
  11. Jennifer

    Beautiful. I've had the same struggle to wonder if I'm accomplishing anything through my blog. But whenever I question whether I'm making a difference, God sends someone to let me know I'm doing what He wants. And He's reaffirmed that obedience is all He asks. Putting the words in front of the right people–that's His job. I congratulate you on your one year blogaversary; you're an inspiration to me as one who stumbles quite often.

    Reply
  12. Pttyann

    How wonderful Jennifer,yes very well done! Thanks for inviting us to "feast at your table"!
    Love ya

    Reply
  13. Epiphany

    Great "soul food" for thought there.

    I do want to add though, that there may be more like me that follow through something like Google Reader, and then you won't have hits showing up on your actual blog page. But I'm still reading every post!!!

    Blessings, and thank you for letting me dine with you.

    Revelation 3:20
    Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

    Reply
  14. Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus

    Thank you, all.

    Again, you've fed this soul.

    Warren — I appreciate those thoughts about community. Surely, we weren't meant to do this alone, when He called us to be the BODY of Christ.

    Kee — Yes! I do the same, putting God in the corner, not just in the blog but in other areas of life. We're called to the narrow path, but I continue to touch my toes onto the wide one, where pride rules. Why does this happen? Confessing it, though, is good and right. And then following through by keeping Him front and center … Thanks for sharing.

    Lyla — Cool kid table. Love it. -smile-

    Thank you again, for the birthday/blogaversary wishes. (And for inspiring hearts in this comment box.)

    Reply
  15. *~* Jenni *~*

    Congratulations on your blog anniversary! I'm so glad I found your blog, because you have truly inspired me! I look forward to your posts showing up in my Google Reader, because I can't wait to hear what you have to say!

    Reply
  16. Tea With Tiffany

    I continue to be amazed at the community hungry for soul food. Thank you for offering your table for feasting. I love it that you are part of our family.

    I understand every word you wrote. I feel each sentence deep in my heart. I echo your passion. Jesus.

    Reply

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