God's blessings are dispensed according to the riches of his grace, not according to the depth of our faith.
- Max Lucado
I’m standing in line at the store when I get a text from my friend. There’s a picture of her patio set. “Took the table out today,” she said.
I know that the table is fresh from the shed. Pulled to the patio after a long winter of being stored. Seeing it makes me smile. The bushes around her patio are still winter-bare. My friend hasn’t opened the sun umbrella yet and flowerpots are still a hope. Warm weather has been slow in coming, and it’s barely nice enough to eat outside.
But a simple picture of this table brings joy.
Teresa and I haven’t been friends for all that long, but the Lord has connected our hearts deep. And last summer her table became a sweet place of fellowship. We gathered with our small group and celebrated the Fourth of July. We shared food and fun when dear friends visited from Colorado. Teresa called a couple of times and she and I had breakfast at that table when the hour wasn’t much past dawn. And when I went through an unexpected family trauma, the table was a place I could safely share my heart.
There’s been laughter and tears around that table. Prayers and praises. Hurt and healing.
All flowing from the hospitality of a friend.
It’s my time to check out and I hand my items to the cashier. But when my hands are free, before I pay for my purchase, I send a quick text back.
“Wonderful,” I say. “Save me a seat.”
And I feel blessed as I leave the store.
Because I know she will.
Thank you, Lord, for the simple and strong gifts of friendship and hospitality. They bring such goodness to life! Help me to freely give and freely receive. Amen.
Shawnelle Eliasen and her husband Lonny have been married for twenty-five years. They have five sons and raise their bevy of boys in an old Victorian near the Illinois banks of the Mississippi River. Their sons, Logan, Grant, Samuel, Gabriel, and Isaiah, range in age from twenty-one to six with Shawnelle home teaching the youngest three.
Shawnelle has been writing for six years, contributing regularly to Guideposts magazine, Daily Guideposts devotional and other inspirational publications. She would say that life with her men moves faithfully, on fast forward. But it’s her heart’s desire, her passionate prayer, to see God’s goodness and glory in the fullness of her days. She longs to see Him in the unexpected moments, unexpected places, changing the ordinary to extraordinary and bringing quiet, sustaining grace.