Building Relationships Around a TABLE

How did I end up saying “Yes” to hosting a Chets Women: TABLE? I’d love to share with you!

My name is Rachael and I am a wife and mother of three. I love spending time with my family, getting away for a weekend, and I “worry work” myself whenever I have a free moment.

In the past couple of years my life has really changed. Throughout my adult life, I was a caregiver for my dad and grandmother until they both recently passed away. With this loss, I felt a huge responsibility to fill the time I would normally be taking care of them with something positive and productive. I needed help finding my place. I needed to find my place to serve, to give, and to love. That was when I signed up for a study called Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker. The words of the introduction to the book resonated in my heart:

“Our hope is that through our story you might identify where God is leading you. We hope you read something that helps you overcome what is holding you back. And we give you permission to chase after it.”

Around the same time, I started reading The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. This book taught me that baby steps are OK! I felt such a release from the pressure to have everything perfect! I learned to make choices that fit into the goals for my life and family, something the author called direction.

“Our decisions aren’t just isolated choices. Our decisions point our lives in the directions we’re about to head. Show me a decision and I’ll show you a direction.”

When Kelley Hastings rolled out Chets Women: TABLE at our church, I was looking forward to attending. It involves gathering 6 women to discuss 4 questions for 2 hours around a table. In fact, I felt very comfortable attending. But when Kelley gave me that kind, gentle look silently suggesting that I should host a TABLE, I was scared. I was flooded with insecurities. I am very unqualified to be any sort of spiritual leader. I have a huge fear of rejection (I get nervous that my own family won’t show up for Christmas). I make excuses for other people to not hang out with me even before I invite them. In the midst of these fears, God did that stirring in my heart that I had been praying for and chasing after. I used the decision checklist that I learned from Lysa in The Best Yes and I remembered Jen Hatmaker’s quote “Until we are obedient in word and deed we’re just here pretending to be there.” Honestly, there was no excuse holding me back from hosting a TABLE: I had a house, I had the date open, small environments are my favorite, and I felt it in my heart. I pressed through and said yes!

I ended up inviting the girls from my neighborhood. Some went to Chets Creek and others didn’t. A few were good friends and others I barely knew. I invited them on a Thursday night to my house for cheese and dessert. I prepared the TABLE, grabbed the four questions and welcomed these wonderful women into my home. We had a great time. We talked through things, we shared, we got way off subject, we cried, and we encouraged each other. We all loved the camaraderie and being able to talk through things with Godly women. We didn’t want it to be a one-time thing. So, we gathered around a table again, and then we did it again and again.

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This TABLE of women has been such a blessing to me. They accepted my invitation with a “Yes.” We show up in yoga pants and messy hair. But we show up for the same reason, to say Yes. To say Yes to Godly friendship, to say Yes to stopping our busy lives to focus on Him, and to say Yes to baby steps that lead us to serve and be closer to an amazing God.

As with most things, it wasn’t the event itself that changed me the most. It was the confidence that came from overcoming excuses and insecurities in order to serve Him. My TABLE wasn’t perfect. Everyone I invited did not come. I felt the sting of rejection. But, I knew God was working in me. I knew if I only had one person, it would be worth it. I knew that God was doing something bigger than just calling me out of my comfort zone. He was leading me into something and I desperately wanted to chase after it. God had a plan and it involved transforming me. So, when I received that kind gentle request from Kelley to serve with her on the Chets Women Connect Team I easily said yes. I knew it would be a challenge worth chasing after and I am excited to see how God can use me.

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As we approach another Chets Women: TABLE event, I encourage you to ask yourself, “Is this a baby step I should take?” If you feel that desire or stirring, just say Yes. Reach out to those around that you wouldn’t normally “church” with. Invite them over for 2 hours, 4 questions, and 6 women. God will not let you down!

How do you plan on setting your TABLE?


Women will gather around a TABLE all over Jacksonville during the weekend of October 7 at various times and locations. You can sign up to host or attend a TABLE in the atrium on Sunday 9/18 and 9/25. Questions? Contact Rachael Calzada at RachaelO@msn.com. 

 

 

Into the Light

Sometimes being in the dark can be good, sometimes not. As a teacher, I find sitting in my classroom with the lights dimmed after a busy day so calming. In the mornings when I get ready I like to keep the lights dimmed for a different reason. When it’s darker, I don’t have to see all of my flaws in the mirror. As women, we tend to want to stay in the “darkness” or at least keep the lights dimmed in our lives to avoid seeing all of our imperfections. However, God wants us to turn on His light to show us where He wants us to grow and change.

Priscilla Shirer writes in The Armor of God study,

“Our deceiver operates in the darkness. And he hopes we will, too. As long as we’re stumbling around shrouded in darkness – not really sure what’s true and what’s not – we’ll never be able to see him for who he really is and detect the underlying intentions of his plans. What we need is a spotlight that pierces the darkness and lays bare all his evil schemes, systems, and illusions. The truth of God’s Word is that light.”

Priscilla’s words left a deep impression on me this summer. She shared how absolutely critical it is to know all of God’s Word. Not just a basic surface knowledge, but a deep intimate knowledge. It is easy to be deceived by Satan’s lies in our culture and in our own hearts and minds, but as women of God we can choose to not be deceived any longer. We can choose to be immersed in God’s Word each day and allow His light to shine into every part of our lives.

In the past, I’ve tried to read through the entire Bible on my own, but became easily sidetracked or confused. I started thinking that other Chets women might have had the same struggles. This gave me the idea for the upcoming study, Chets Women: READ THE BIBLE. Over the next nine months we will be using resources created by The Bible Project as we read God’s Word together. With the help of a daily reading plan, once a month meetings, and videos that explain each book of the Bible, we will learn HOW to read the Bible for ourselves and keep each other ENCOURAGED every step of the way. What a powerful gift for each of us.

The goal of this study is to read God’s Word, His spotlight of truth, and know it so deeply that it changes our hearts for our good and ultimately for God’s glory. Even as Joshua was about to enter the Promised Land, the Lord expressed how important His Word is. God tells Joshua in Joshua 1:8, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Please join me as we read the Bible together. It won’t be easy, but it will be so worth it!!

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.” Jeremiah 15:16

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(( Register here for Chets Women: READ THE BIBLE ))


FullSizeRender (1){This post was written by Kelly Miller. Kelly is a wife to Ben, mommy to a sweet daughter, and a 2nd grade teacher at Providence. She is an active member of the Stevens Lifegroup. She enjoys studying God’s Word and loves to encourage others in their relationship with the Lord. Some of her favorite things include playdates with friends, massages, and iced coffees.}