My husband gave in about 3 years ago and let me commission a handmade table from a local woodworker. It is easily my most precious possession, material-wise. The top is pine, so the wood is very soft. You can see all the imprints from many tutoring sessions and grocery list making and little boys learning to write their name. It's got gaps in between the boards where food and crumbs get stuck, and for a long time, it had splinters (but those are long gone now). It has marker and paint and pen marks. There is even a spot a kid picked at the wood through the stain.
It's our whole life pressed into the wood.
And it is always sticky.
But all are always welcome to sit and fellowship at my sticky table.
Whether you need an ear to bend, a shoulder to cry on, want to talk about your marriage, your relationships, your friendships? Want to rage about your children, gush about your children, cry over your children? Need help with homework, talk about Game of Thrones or the latest Marvel movie? You want to play a board game? You want to sit quietly and not say a word?
These are all things that are welcome at my table.
Oh, you know I'll feed you if you want.
But you have to be ok with the mess; my mess. Because my mess is my ministry. I don't serve from a place setting of perfection. I serve from where I am with what I have, and that is this sticky table.
I'm not a theologian, I'm not a scholar, I don't know everything or have everything. But I have this wooden table that has seen and heard and held lots of sorrow, joy, trouble, and praise. And a chair for you.
Do you desire to seat people at your table, but can't get past showing them your grime?
Do you want to host and serve, but struggle to invite people into your mess? Do you want to sit at the table, but are afraid of the sticky? Do you want to feed, but don't feel chef enough to offer good bread, or time, or truth?
Sister, open the door.
Swipe the legos onto the floor.
Push the dolls under the cabinets.
Make a path to your sticky table and welcome people to sit. It's not about pretty, or perfect. It's about being willing.
Find a tribe, bring them home, sit them at your sticky table, and start knitting hearts together.
If you fear that you won't find people, open up. Be willing to sit in the sticky, be available, be honest, be vulnerable; and Sister, He'll bring you people.
Maybe even someone that will grab a rag, and wipe the table.