When I asked Nicole to share about a time at her table, she laughed and replied, “I don’t cook.” I said, “God doesn’t require cooking–just hosting. You are not alone.” And then God did this: a beautiful story from a beautiful heart. –Sue
God has a sense of humor. My friend, Sue, asked me to write a little something for her “Every Table Tells a Story” series. Here’s why that’s funny. I don’t invite people to my table, I invite them to my couch.
When people come to my table, they get sick. Like the time two of my husband’s basketball players ended up in the bathroom for three days following a Christmas meal.
Or they get confused. Like the time I made lasagna and forgot to put in the lasagna noodles. Actually that happened twice. Both times, my husband began dishing it out and proudly declared, “Chili!” He was sent to bed with no supper.
Or they get hysterical. Like the time my Easter guests had tears rolling down their faces when I proudly presented them with mashed potatoes I had prepared in the blender. Did you know you can’t make mashed potatoes in a blender? We had to eat them with spoons out of a soup bowl.
So no, Sue. Sorry, no blog post from me. I don’t invite people to my table.
And then last night happened.
I was sitting at an afternoon ball game, talking to a woman with two boys the same age as mine when I got a great idea.
“Wanna come over for pizza tonight?”
I had no ulterior motive. My husband was out of town and I thought it would be fun to hang out with a new friend. I didn’t even clean the house.
While the kids ran all over the place like a herd of small hyenas, my friend and I visited. She lost her husband to cancer several years ago and while she’s slowly finding her groove, she was still reeling in a lot of different ways.
My heart hurt for her.
But then the conversation turned to me. When she asked about a difficult trial my family has been dealing with, I knew I had to be honest. I told her how on one particular day the previous year, I crawled into my minivan and began bawling. I screamed out to God,
“Help us! Won’t you please help us?”
I told my friend how I heard these words: I AM.
At that moment in the minivan, I felt peace. I was able to remember that I can’t see what God can see. I don’t know the end of the story, but He does.
My friend gave me a funny look. Not quite an eye-roll, but almost.
I wasn’t offended, but it did make me realize that I had no idea where she stood on the subject of God. So I asked her.
“Are you mad at God?” I asked.
“What? Um, no,” she replied.
“Because if God took my husband, I think I might be a little mad at Him,” I continued.
And that’s when God pulled up a chair right there in my kitchen.
My friend told me how she got chills when she heard my story, but that it was hard to believe He was really in control because she couldn’t understand His plan. She told me how her husband was a believer and before he died he asked her to try and find her faith. He knew he was going to Heaven and he wanted her to be there, too.
With tears in her eyes, my friend told me she wanted to believe, but she just couldn’t. Not yet.
I told her I would pray and believe enough for the both of us until she found her own way. Maybe that’s sort of how it worked way back in the day for Paul when he wrote to the Philippians, “I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” Philippians 1:9 (NLT)
I now pray for a woman I barely even knew before last night’s pizza party. She shared her story and I was able to share mine. And His.
- Summer sausage
- Block cheese of your choice
- Local Pizzaria
- Slice sausage and cheese
- Arrange on plate
- Open crackers
- Arrange on plate
- Cut pizza
No cooking required. Thank God.
Open summer sausage and cheese packages. Cut 10-20 pieces each. Serve with crackers.
Nicole Phillips is a champion for using kindness to overcome all of life’s difficulties, including her own battle with breast cancer. She spreads the message of the healing power of kindness through her public speaking and weekly column, “Kindness is Contagious” which runs in newspapers in North Dakota and Minnesota. She is also the author of the recently released book, Kindness is Contagious: 100 Stories to Remind You God is Good and So are Most People. Nicole lives in Athens, Ohio, has three children and is married to Ohio University Men’s Basketball Coach, Saul Phillips. Nicole says: I’d love to connect! Let’s Tweet or hang out on Facebook.
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