The Table

I don’t remember what I was reaching across the table for, exactly.

But my arm brushed over cracker crumbs and the tears sprung up immediately.

I haven’t served enough meals to them here. What will they remember of this table?

I’ve never told the kids the story of how we got it.

One day I will.

It started about 12 years ago.

We met at the store at 3 pm after my classes. I remember the time, because he was late and I felt like he didn’t care about our wedding registry. He confirmed that suspicion as we trolled through the store, wide-eyed and staring at our future with a zapper gun in hand. He held my hand, but he wasn’t emotionally moved by the napkins and serving bowls. Truth be told, I think he realized that our grown-up life was about to start, and that’s scary.

I felt it too, but I never said a word. I just kept shooting the gun and praying that the right silverware would help it all make sense.

“What about this, Ang?”

It was the first four-word sentence I remember him saying, so I turned around with the eagerness of a child, ready to point my weapon at whatever made him want to have life with me.

And I loved it immediately.

Weathered wood. Four chairs. Rustic. Simple.

I smiled. Because I wanted to see our children there.

We received notice a few weeks later that the president of his record label (Mike Curb…thank you, Mr. Curb!) had purchased the entire set for us as a wedding gift.

It was our first real furniture, and it promised we would be a family.

We were married in August.

In September I was home alone, sipping coffee before work. I remember that Natalie Grant was doing an interview on the radio and then the towers fell. He was in Washington. I begged the Lord to let him come home to the tiny apartment with the sliding glass door and shiny black pleather couches (classy). And he did.

For our first Christmas, we had to move the table diagonally in our tiny little apartment, because we couldn’t fit our Christmas tree around it otherwise. Todd came up the stairs and knocked on the door. When I opened it, he stood with a tree that was at least a foot higher than our ceilings. Hot chocolate didn’t seem too trite, and we sat, buried under pine needles and laughter.

His parents came for supper at one point, and he asked me to make the meal. I cried, but he never knew. I didn’t know how to make supper. I went to the grocery store and found an index card with a recipe on it, purchased all of the items, and made “homemade” beef stroganoff. When his parents knocked, the table was set with our wedding dishes. They were pumpkin orange and I lit two candles and wore an apron. I remember.

He answered the door and I invited them in. We sat at our little table, four chairs filled, and I jumped up to get drinks because I realized I had forgotten them. It wasn’t perfect, and I was disappointed.

My mother in law is a fantastic cook, but more than that, she’s a fantastic mother in law. So she ate like she had never tasted anything like it and she praised me. When they left, I cried again because I was so happy about my stroganoff. This time he knew.

I don’t remember the date, but I set the pregnancy test in front of him while he read at the wooden table. He was shocked. So was I. We cried because we felt like we were back in the store again, pointing at what we wanted but not really understanding how it would all come together to make life beautiful.

We lost the baby. He wasn’t home when it happened and I was angry. I sat at the table and yelled at him when he came back. He didn’t mean to. It wasn’t him. I know that now. Just like I know I shouldn’t have called him what I did, months later, when I scooped up my dishes angrily, threw them in the sink and stormed out the door.

He came after me. He always did.

And we sat at the table and we tried to make it make sense.

The girls?

They don’t know any of it.

They don’t know that we moved into a beautiful house while Abby was still in the hospital. That I wanted to be their mommy so badly and when she came home, sleepless nights spilled into morning and I told him I wanted to sew. I felt like it would make it look right, and, well-I don’t know. I can’t cook.

So he surprised me.

Came home early one day with a sewing machine in his hand and I jumped up and down. I had no idea how to wind the bobbin, but I knew he loved me and wanted me to be happy. And that was enough.

For years I sewed at our little table. One day when it rained, I sat with a pen in hand and started writing. I hadn’t done it in years, but it brought the life out of me.

It’s crevices are filled with more than crumbs. They hold the memories of 11 years of misunderstandings, overreactions, victories, burnt dinners and the purest joy we can have here in this life. It’s also covered in crayon marks and knife marks, with invisible fist marks, misunderstandings, and wounded pride. And so many other things I wish looked differently.

He didn’t know I saw him that day, but I did. I was watching through the glass doors as he sat with the twins and read them Scripture. Later, on the same table, he decided to make the entire solar system out of clay with them (to scale). I fussed that night because there was glitter everywhere, and I’m so sorry I did.

One of my most constant life-themes is missing the point.

Abby and Ellie sat under it one day while I was crying over Audrey. They played Barbies and discussed the fact that I was basically losing my mind. I found them there but I couldn’t say a word. I just waited for him and he made it better.

He always did.

It’s weathered, this wood.

I can almost see it in my mind’s eye, the way it would look if the camera always sat watching it and life moved around in fast-forward and we could see all the stories and tears, watch our children outgrow their booster seats and refuse spinach.

I’ve made crafts with them, talked to them, prayed over them, sewn their dresses and their lives there.

And yet today, the tears came because I felt inadequate. I want to serve them everything they need here on this wood and I wonder if I have.

I cry to the Lord because I know He sees my pain.

He whispers to me…

Your love is enough. And when it isn’t, Mine is.

But still I doubt.

When you love people like this, it never seems like enough.

And so another day closes, another sponge pushes the memories onto the floor, and it will all be swept up soon.

Swept away into life, and soon they will be as well.

I wish they could see the way I prayed for them here. I pray they will know I desired the best, and even when my flesh failed, His power equipped them in spite of me.

I pray they will grow to be strong women in the Lord, believing in Him the way they have seen me believing.

They’ve seen my hands raised to Him when the words wouldn’t come.

And God, if it’s Your will…could they make a better stroganoff than their mama?

It’s a simple piece of wood, and I know that.

But I’ve been building so long.

My hands are tired and some days my heart breaks over what I didn’t serve here. Not just meals, but true food.

Lord, I beg You to make my offering enough…

And I will continue to serve everything I have in the meantime.

 


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  • Valerie

    Powerful, amazing post. Made me cry and mourn for the “lost” years too. I cook, but I don’t sew. So when he bought me a sewing machine for Christmas one year, I looked at him like he had lost his mind (wince…wish I could take back that look that I gave him then. He might not remember it, but I do). Thank you for writing this today. One of my favorites so far. This one will go into my WOW category. 

  • Nlmcmeen

    You’re an amazing mom and they LOVE and ADORE you:)  we LOVED the homemade pizza last week and homemade sauce:)   you are a good cook!!! that is quite a story for that table I shall never look at it the same ….Thanks for sharing your heart!

     LOVE YA , MI COLE COLE =) 

  • Emily

    beautiful! :)

  • Cheryl

    Truly beautiful!  This story about a “table” is about SO much more.  It filled my heart with a joy & understanding I can’t put into words.  Thanks for sharing this piece of yourself!!!  ♥Cheryl

  • Lisa C

    Angie, I’m a first time commenter. I have been married just over a year and your words…..well your words touched me very deeply. “When you love people like this, it just never seems enough.” Thanks for giving words to the thoughts of my heart as I figure out how to be a wife.

  • Sandy

    I am crying.  What a beautiful story.

  • http://www.taylor-elaine.blogspot.com Taylor

    Your words always speak straight to my soul and are exactly what I need to hear at the exact moment that I need to hear it. I am truly thankful for you and for our Savior speaking through you. I just adore your heart and your words.

  • CrysHouse

    I love this, Angie.  When I read it, the words of Nichole Nordeman’s “We Build” kept playing in my head. 

    In a few months, my husband and I will be purchasing a kitchen table for our new house.  And all I can hope is that every time I look at it, I remember the things that have happened there.  The things that will happen there.

  • Hoffman Anna27

    My strongest memories of being a child are of my Mom’s kitchen table. Your daughters will know, maybe not the memories the table holds for you, but the memories the table holds for them. And when they have grown, left home, and are sitting at their own tables I’m sure they will close their eyes and for a minute pretend it’s your table below their hands and it will comfort them. 

  • Katielramsey

    I think that this might be one of the best blog posts I have ever read… because I can’t even think of the words right now. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  • http://www.differentparent.com/ Wick Anderson

    Great reminders of the stories an everyday object can hold, and the importance of telling them to the generations that come after us.  Also reminds me of why it hurt so much to sell Hermes (my old car) when he no longer functioned.  Now I want to go home and figure out the stories within our furniture. :)

  • Janmary

    I often read your blog, but lurk and rarely comment. I love how you have shared how this table has witnessed all aspects of your family life. Thanks for sharing……beautiful.

  • Melissa Anderson

    Wonderfully written, but…I kinda want to see this table :)

  • Coby

    You put into words things I often think or feel – I so often feel inadequate for my boys and my husband; at the end of every day I think, “I didn’t give enough.  Lord, please let me have tomorrow with them so that I can give more.”  But there’s not much grace or mercy in that, is there?  And it’s not really trusting in the Lord to make up the difference for where I fail.  Thank you for the reminder that His love is enough!

    And oh!  The stories – the history of me, my marriage, my kids – that some of my furniture could tell!  Good thing that table in my living room can’t talk. ;-)

  • http://passingitontoyou.blogspot.com/ Sarah

    After a rough day I went onto my blog roll looking for encouragement and insight…and I found it in these words:

    “Your love is enough. And when it isn’t, Mine is.”

    Thank you, Angie…..so deeply!

  • Brandi_alan_smith

    This is awesome! I, too, wanna see this table…

  • Pshowell4

    Wonderful words, precious memories. Reminds me of the table we had built for this house 12 years ago. My oldest started K at this table and she begins her Sr year. Now you have me crying! Thanks for the words

  • Tracy L Ralph

    This is such a beautiful post, and yet the word beautiful, doesn’t seem to capture it fully. Thank you for sharing all of this with us…

  • Michelle

    Beautiful, beautiful post. Brought tears to my eyes. If only these walls could talk…

  • Elizabeth

    What incredible words  – I am amazed at how you can speak right to the heart.  I needed to hear this today, this week, this month……  Just today I sat by our kitchen table, head bowed with hands raised – no words, only unspoken cries to the One who loves more than we can imagine.  Thank you for being real, sharing the parts that we prefer to hide. 

  • Just Me

    Angie, that is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read.  I worked with geriatric patients as an OT for many years and learned that there nearly always is something that reminds a couple of their interactions over many years.  So often I’ve heard “I don’t care if the wheelchair can’t get through, my husband put that table/cabinet/shelf there 60 years ago.  The most poignant was a woman I asked to make her bed so I could see her balance and safety.  All went as expected until she came to the side where her husband had slept and removed his carefully folded pajamas from under the pillow.  After the bed was made she smoothed them out and told me she had been doing it that way for many years and just couldn’t stop.  So for 6 years she had carefully kept things waiting for her beloved husband.

  • http://www.mytwobeautifulblessings.blogspot.com/ Meg

    This! Was! Beautiful!  Pulled at my heart strings.  Made my eyes well up, tears spilling over.  Lord make our offering enough…

  • http://www.inthelittle.com/ Cathy

    Angie! Wow. Just wow. Thank you.

  • Tracy Burton

    How beautiful!  Thank you.  These words really meant so much to me.

  • Karen Golden

    This is beautiful, Angie!

  • emily

    one of my favorite blogs is from the mother of katherine wolff, (hopeheals.com) anyway.. her mother wrote this today, and it seems to parallel in some ways what you’re saying here.. here is the link: http://www.margeryraveson.com/2012/07/when-dreams-are-dashed.html  and i guess the quote that stuck me is where she talks about the sacrificial heart of a mother.. i am not a mother yet, but i hope to be one day.. anyway, for some reason i felt y’all were coming from similar places today.

  • http://www.sweetlifeunderthesavior.blogspot.in/ Jean Marie

    Beautiful. It’s in those “remembering what the Lord has carried us through” writings that get me every time. Right in the part of my heart that had forgotten how much He LOVES us. 

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  • Aishavandy

    I am speechless! You make me look at things in a different way, and I thank you for that! Beautiful blog!

  • Debbie

    Beautiful… thank you again for sharing x

  • Amanda K

    I don’t have the words to express how beautiful and powerful these words.  Praise God for working so mightily through you.

  • Ann

    Wow.  What my own heart can’t articulate, you have.  May God bless your table and those who are blessed to sit around it.

  • Kuntz Karen

    Angie…..I too have had those feeling of “Did I do enough for my kids when they were growing up?”  But we do the best we can with what we have.  Let your kids read this when they are older.  They will know then for sure how much you love them.  (Although i’m sure they already know that!!).
    Love ya–see ya in Des Moines soon!
    karen k

  • Terri Cote

    That is so beautifully written and so emotional. I love how you put things into words. I feel so much like you about my own children and our table. I feel like I don’t do enough for them. Not enough meals at the table. Not enough Bible time. I always want to be more than I am for Him.

  • Andrea Shirey

    Your gift of words and ability to articulate what your heart feels is amazing. I am so grateful you choose to use your gifts to move others and challenge them. Thank you for your raw honesty and transparency, always. You were prayed over today. 

  • Kasey Krawiec

    “…and even when my flesh failed, His power equipped them in spite of me.” – I can’t tell you the depths that this statement encouraged me this morning. I have so much in my heart for my son, yet fall so short of all of my intentions (daily!) and the thought/reminder that even when my flesh fails, God’s power equips him in spite of me is SO freeing. Thank you once again for ministering to my heart through yours.

  • Lydia Geisendorfer

    Angie, Your way with words, moves me. Its so real and so transparent. You speak things that my heart doesn’t have the words to say. Thank you for allowing the Lord to speak through you and for sharing life with the rest of us out here. Your blog is a blessing in my life.

  • http://educatinglaytons.com/ steflayton

    We have one – his father bought it after we got married and hubs spent a week staining the thing with his hands.  

    But this post – Angie, in a sea of blogs that are gimmick driven about following and pageviews … thanks for just being a Luke 6:38 writer.  Because you put it out there to glorify Him.  I appreciate that!

    • P Vasanthababu

       hi good sound

  • http://lovehopedwell.blogspot.com/ Carrie

    Beautiful. Thank you for allowing Him to use you…to resonate with my heart’s wonderings and struggles. Thankful He fills the cracks with His grace and love.

  • Oz1216

    How inspiring!
    Thank you for pouring your heart out, is a blessing!

  • Sharon O

    SO beautiful… wow.

  • Sarah

    Beautiful.

  • http://www.lifegoeson-mylife.blogspot.com/ Sara

    So, so beautiful.

  • Cat Moore

    I loved this so much, I came back to read it for a second time tonight.  Thank you for sharing your heart.  You’re so real and I love that about you.  You  know, in our 9 years of marriage I’ve only cooked dinner MAYBE twice.  I know, unreal.  JT LOVES to cook and he’s so good at it.  It’s his hobby and he enjoys it so much.  I used to get so upset because I thought I wasn’t a good wife if I didn’t have a great meal cooked when he got home from work.  It took me years to figure out that is what made JT feel loved — to do that for me and now I enjoy it.  ;)   Plus, qualtiy time is his love language and he loves for me to just hang out with him while he cooks.  He says he likes for me to “sit there and look pretty”.  Recently, I was at small group at this BEAUTIFUL house and we had a guest speaker who works with PAULA DEAN.  (yea, I know) and all the women in my small group were exchanging recipes, etc. and talking about they cook things.  I just sunk down in my seat and I was so ashamed.  I didn’t want anyone there to know I didn’t cook.  And couldn’t cook!  All those feelings came back and I knew it was satan trying to attack me, wanting me to feel like a failure in front of those women.  Love you, Ang!  You are such a wonderful writer.  So inspiring!

  • Jen

    Amazing words again, Angie. Just what I needed to hear as I struggle to feel like my offering is enough. 

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  • Andrea A

    “It’s weathered this wood”…when I read this line Angie, I thought of the cross. How He laid everything He had on it so that when we fall short, He stretches our offerings and makes it enough. 

  • http://missindeedy.com/ Missy

    The imagery you use here, how the table represents the one tangible thing that you come back to over and over with all manner of emotion? It is beautiful.  As a new reader, I’m so very glad you did pick up that pen and start writing again.  I’ve certainly been blessed by your gift.

  • http://anextraordinaryday.net/ Diane | An Extraordinary Day

    Angie, you spoke your heart so beautifully.  The best and worst of life happens around the table.  And always.  God is good.  Thanks.

  • Melissamayhoneybee

    Will it make you chuckle to know that just seconds after I read the words “burnt dinners” I started to smell a just about burnt lunch?  Got there in time to save it I think… Funny though.  That was the first time I’ve ever smelled something I was reading about!  : )  Seriously though, thanks for your words. I think all of us since Eve can relate, can’t we? Makes me fall back on His grace and mercy just to think about it.  

  • erinnmarie

    LOVED this.

  • http://www.cookingupfaith.com/ Cooking Up Faith

    Hi Angie,
    Your kitchen table is beautiful and simple. I met you when you spoke at our church a few weeks ago, and you were so gracious and kind. :) It’s fun to read your writings here.

    http://www.cookingupfaith.com/2012/07/the-simple-mother.html

    Cooking Up Faith

  • Jean

    Wow – you spoke right into my soul.  Thanks for sharing all of that!  

  • Sea Stone Journal

    You are a terrific writer, I had tears in my eyes at one point. Please keep writing for the rest of us.

    E x

    http://Www.seastonejournal.blogspot.com.au

  • Kristin

    Now this one…?  This one made me cry.  Thank you.

  • P_d_ogren

    That was. B. E. A. U. T. Y. F. U. L. L !!!!!!

  • takemetomaui

    Amazing.  Thank you for writing this.  You have captured the cries of my heart so vividly.

  • Lindsey

    http://www.babyrabies.com/2012/07/a-letter-to-my-51-year-old-self/

    This link will take u to post that popped in my head after reading your blog today about the table. I can see that your love for God and your children and all is enough and you do an amazing job. I have been touched by you’re words for a few year now. However, many days I feel like I need to do more or I haven’t been enough… This link was uplifting so I wanted to share! :) Lindsey

  • Martha

    This was just what I needed for today. It’s amazing how the Lord can take someone’s offering of a blog post and use to speak to so many different women in so many different ways. Thank you for letting the Lord use you.

  • Mitzic72

    Angie, you truly have a gift for writing.  These words, your phrasing… incredible!  I was moved to tears, as I am often reading your posts.  (But, in a good way!)  What I took away was also incredible.  Our God, knowing my love of reading and words… sends me 2 blog posts to read today.  Both of which remind me that He will make me enough… His grace is sufficient and I don’t have to be enough.  Thank you, Lord, and Angie for allowing yourself to be used by Him!  (The other was by Amber Haines at incourage.)

  • Thehandynanny

    I remember my first or second week with you guys….watching Todd so excited making the solar system with the girls. And Yes…there was glitter EVERYWHERE….it was still there when we moved that table out and into your new house.   So many sweet memories. Thanks for sharing with us Ang. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rena-Robinson-Gunther-s/634772889 Rena Robinson Gunther ܤ

    I read your words here today–on my 43rd birthday and feel them deep within me. I get them. Three daughters–the oldest 22 in just six days {on the day I leave for my first mission trip ever}, the middle daughter 19 1/2, the youngest almost six. I share that cry deep within my spirit to love them well.

    Today–on my birthday, ‘for’ my birthday, my middle daughter posts on my blog. Her words astound me. I know it’s only because of Him. ONLY BECAUSE OF HIM! But I see how He so amazingly works in us, imperfect women that we are, imperfect mamas. I see the beauty that rises in spite of our weakness because it is all HIM! And I’m overjoyed. 

    And today, I hope that you can grasp a little of that. Though you can’t see down the road, maybe this will encourage your heart. He makes everything beautiful in His time. You have sown in tears and in due season, Sister, you shall surely reap!!! Much love to you today! So grateful to share our hearts together.

  • Abby Willis

    Your words always pierce my heart, Angie. Thank you for being such a Godly woman and for the love you have for ALL of your children and your husband. I can assure you that they are each so mightily blessed!

  • http://www.differentparent.com/ Wick Anderson

    Okay, so after checking…it doesn’t seem we have many pieces of furniture that we’ve kept through so many important parts of our journey together.  But our toaster could sure tell some stories….:)  I’ll have to scrapbook it somehow…

  • Rose Collins

    Poetry…

  • Kaylee

    I’m sitting at my kitchen table with tears in my eyes!  Thank you for sharing!  That same cry is in my heart for my children.  Thank you!

  • http://3peasinapod-suz.blogspot.com/ Sue

    I haven’t visited your blog in a very long time.  I love your words.  You have a true gift.  Thank you for sharing.

  • http://livelifeartfully.blogspot.com/ Jennifer

    Angie, this takes me breath away and brings tears to my eyes. I wish I could tell you all the ways it resonates with me right now, but please just know it does, and that your writing is a gift.

    Thank you.

  • Smile7ar

    Your writing is amazing and such an encouragement.  Thank you for your openness and honesty.  I’m thankful I’m not the only one that feels the same way you do.  I, too, often ‘miss the point’.  My heart rings the same desires for my children as yours do.  As we work here in Turkey where the Lord has called us, I, too, ‘pray they will know I desired the best, and even when my flesh failed (which is SO much more often than what I’d like), His power equipped them in spite of me.’.  I needed this today, and everyday.  Thank you for sharing.  God bless you! :)  

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  • Amber Spiker

    Dear, dear Angie. You don’t know how you reached down deep into my soul this morning with this post. Thank you.
     

  • Cynthia Swenson

    So blessed to read here as Ann suggested today. I am just so thankful to Jesus because His offering of Himself makes our offering to God of our heavily flawed selves perfect. God always looks at us with love because we are covered by the blood of His dear Son. It makes us clean & pure in His sight. Amazing! Love your heart Angie, knowing it is reflecting our precious Savior! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

  • Diane Tolley

    Beautiful, beautiful post. I needed to know today that when my love isn’t enough, His is. Thank you for this perfect message  Bless you!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=570351614 Melissa Douthart

    This made me weep Angie. Oh the love you poured out with your words. God BLESS you.

  • They call me mom

    I don’t usually leave comments but I have to say I love, Love, LOVE this post. It’s definitely up there with the picture post (where you mentally take a snapshot of specific moments in time) and Audrey’s birth day video post. You are an amazing woman and are doing an excellent job raising the girls. I pray our boys will someday marry women as faithful and God-loving as your girls. Keep it up, Angie! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/laura.e.hamon Laura Elizabeth Hamon

    How in the world have I just NOW stumbled on these and YOU. Thank you for your obedience. You have stirred within me a writer who has long been asleep.