Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A smaller table

We have this amazing table at our house.  It has the capacity to go from super small to super large with just addition of a few leaves.  Oh, you have that too?  pretty neat, huh?

When Will and I were first married and after we counted up the money from wedding gifts, the very first (big)  purchase we made was that great big table.  We envisioned cramming it with little ones, guests, saved and unsaved and everyone in between.

We still have that table.  And for about three years, it was bursting to the brim with guests and friends and family--several days a week.  When the guests left, my husband seemed to enjoy the smaller table version of the table.  He just liked the intimacy of "just us" and the cozy group of our immediate family.

But lately I've noticed something.  The table has been smaller--more often than not.  Even with the few straggling guests here and there--the table is smaller.

Of course, our family members are traveling.  Joanna is in Hawaii. Jamie is in Michigan.  That's two kids out and about.  And some our guests who have logged frequent flyer miles at our table have new interests. Not bad interests.. just interests that do not involve us.

And for those of you who serve in ministry, answer this question for me.   Why does it hurt so much?

We want those with whom we serve to move on, don't we?  We want them to outgrow us and find their wings, don't we? We want them to become their own people and have their own ministries and start their own families and do all the things that God has for them.

Whether it is our own children or someone else's, they leave.  And they are doing all that God has for them.  And you are so happy for them.  But you are not happy.

And then you fear that if they saw your emotions at all that it would inhibit them from doing all that God has for them.  So you hide your emotions for fear of being manipulative or getting in the way of God's plan.  And you try to grow up and let God.

And you sit at the smaller table.  And you wonder at the complexities of the human heart.  It is truly possible to rejoice and hurt at the same time?  And we realize how small God's table is at times.

Is this way of God?  Is this the way of love?  No expectations.  Just giving. 


Bernadette Veenstra said...

In my very little experience...it does hurt when people move on. When they don't need us anymore. Sometimes it is a matter of my pride getting in the way. Sometimes it is just nostalgia.

RogersUIO said...

I once heard that having children is like having your heart walking around outside of your body. I think I feel that way with most people who spend time at my table too. Maybe that's why it hurts?

Laura Santos said...

I was just thinking about this, the complexities of the human heart. We are having marriage problems, but the kids and I have so much hope which brings peace. At the same time, hope deferred maketh the heart sick. Sigh.

Jena Webber said...

Bernadette-- I'm way beyond nostaglia. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love deeply and do not look back. Every person is special to me, and I'm that person who can't carry on superficial relationships. It's never been in me. Nikki-- yes, the heart is on the outside. You've got that right.
Laura-- So sorry about your marriage. How do you get by day to day? I'd collapse. So glad for the strength God is giving you.

sara said...

Jena, I'm not sure what to say - this is beautifully written and so ...sad? I'd like to sit at your table one day.

Jena Webber said...

Sara--there's always room for one more. I won't stop serving, loving or reaching out. I'm constantly reassured that heaven is not a place of good-byes. It's not a place of insecurities or changes. He is our constant companion and our true joy.

Herding Grasshoppers said...

Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief. Proverbs 14:13

God is so realistic. He knows that we're dust. He knows our thoughts, our hearts and our feelings.

It does hurt! Lean into it. Choose joy. Make new friends (I know that's inevitable for you!) Still, it's not easy. My little (little?!) fledglings are getting close to leaving the nest and I'm not sure I'm ready! Wish you could sit at my table,


Jena Webber said...

You know it was so therapeutic to write this, that I'm better now. seriously. that's how it works. Thanks for all of your kind words. Life changes. God is always the same!

jody gifford said...

Jena life leaves us in a lonely place much more often than most of us admit.I!be been where you are now and want you to know this too shall pass. GOD in HIS infinite glory sends us others to love and care for. Be on the lookout,and keep smiling your wonderful smile. HE above all knows our hearts. Jody G.