“You set a table before me in front of my enemies.”Psalm 23:5
From a young age, I felt that God the Father had welcomed me into His embrace. Born into the Catholic faith, I was taught early on that God created me to “know, love and serve Him.” As I grew in my faith, I came to value my little chats with the Lord on my bed. Pouring my heart out, He loved me when I didn’t feel lovable.
I remember many nights laying on my bed as a young girl, begging the Lord to come down and hold me. There were days when my little girlfriends were mean, and I felt left out. There were the awkward stages of pimples and inappropriate boy humor. I was struggling to find myself and know how to react in school. I was a good little girl who needed a lot more attention than I was getting.
I was a great student, super friendly, great personality, and many things came easy for me. I wasn’t the “squeaky wheel” so I didn’t get too much negative attention. The second oldest of four, I was very independent, always excelling, always exceeding, never seeming to need any help. I would often put on a brave face, and convince myself that maybe I was just “too much” for some people.
As a child, that didn’t stop me from desiring affection and love. My parents assumed that telling me how proud they were was enough, but my true love language was physical touch. A hug or cuddling on the couch meant way more to me than a verbal complement. However, I didn’t have the kind of parents that thought that way. I couldn’t just crawl up in my dad’s lap and feel strong arms around me. He was a good man but was not affectionate. I would often fall asleep at night imagining myself crawling up in the lap of God the Father. This image would bring me peace for years.
As time went on, every time I would be in the middle of a storm, affliction or time of struggle, I would call out to my heavenly father again, “Lord, help me.” So many different times in my life, I found myself again wrapped in the arms of His comfort. Allowing Him alone to know the true depths of my pain, my hurt, and my need for His love. When my grandfather passed away, I crawled up. When my boyfriend of two years broke up with me, I found myself again in His arms. He never failed me. Even as the tears of struggle fell through my husband’s encephalitis, and the yearlong recovery that ensued, He kept me close.
As I grew older, His goodness beckoned me to the table of gratitude and grace. I sat with Him, on many occasions, at the banquet table of his goodness. This summer, I will celebrate 19 years of marriage to my best friend. We have five beautiful children who fill our home with laughter, music, and joy. He placed a banquet before me, and I wanted for nothing.
Through hard work, my husband worked tirelessly in the sales industry until finally securing a job working from home. His travel is very limited and with homeschooling our children, we spend every day together. God continues to provide for me, and my husband and children.
Our days are filled with the blessing of an amazing extended family (my husband is one of 12) and an abundance of friendships. Our children are growing up with cousins as their best friends and with the fullness of the faith being passed to them. Blessing after blessing, I sat and He prepared “a table in the sight of my enemies.”
This past fall as I sat in Mass with my family, the Lord spoke specific words directly into my heart. I have often, in my life, come to the Lord questioning scripture that I didn’t understand or concepts that couldn’t penetrate my mind. I had been pondering the parable of the Prodigal Son. It was one of the scriptures that didn’t resonate with me. I had never left my “Father’s land.” I had never left my faith in search of something else. I had always recognized the truth of who God was in my life. Could I be the prodigal son?
However, the concept of being the older brother didn’t sit well with me either. “Lord, please help me with this. Who am I?” As I sat in Mass that morning, quieting my mind, preparing to listen to the priest’s homily, the Lord spoke these words, “You are the older brother.”
They were not accusatory. They were simply a fact. In the way that only a loving Father can help you unfold truth, the explanation came pretty quickly thereafter. “You have always eaten at my banquet table. Everything I have is yours. You have received so many blessings and graces.”
“Daughter, you must love so deeply that you wish others to receive those same blessings. Fill my banquet table.”god
It all made sense. I was the older brother and as much as I didn’t want to own the jealousy or the arrogance of the older brother, the Lord was asking me to own the fact that I had never welcomed my prodigal brother home either. I had never gone out searching for those whom He loved. The call to evangelization was what He was placing on my heart. I had never felt such a call to action as I did that day.
What did he want? He was giving me a mission. It was a greater call to love. He wanted me to cultivate a love that seeks to draw others to His heart. How was I supposed to do this? The Lord continues to show me on a daily basis what he wants. Do I have a strong game plan? No….I’m learning every day to lean into the Holy Spirit.
I’m learning to share my heart. I’m learning to pray for wisdom and allow the Lord to use me to bless others. He is teaching me that there are no “coincidences” when He is at work. He needs me to be His eyes, His ears, and His hands to those around me.
Through Instagram posts, daily interactions, text messages, and phone calls, I am able to share the goodness of God with others. Every time I speak, I can speak life or I can spread negativity and defeat. I chose life. I chose walking in His mission. A mission that provides grace, peace, and fulfillment to those willing to work for His Kingdom. I accept this mission…..to make my very life an invitation for everyone to the same banquet table in which I sit.