You Never Know What Someone is Going Through

When I was a little kid, I spent a lot of time with my Granny. I would spend the night at her house, run errands with her and help her at work. One thing that always struck me was just how kind and thoughtful she was to everyone around her.

Back in those days, our small town grocery store didn’t have the little electronic reader that scanned the bar code on an item. Each individual item had a price sticker on it and the checker would have to manually type the price of each item into the register. When we would go to the store together, she would have me put the items on the little conveyer belt so the price stickers were facing the clerk so it was easier for them to ring us up.

In high school, she worked at a diner as a waitress. Every time we would eat at a restaurant, she would always have us stack our dirty dishes nicely so it was easier for the person clearing the table. And she would always tip well.

She would spend countless hours baking and cooking so she could have food on hand for our family “just in case someone stops by and is hungry.” She taught me how to cook and bake. She didn’t just let me pour stuff in. She would stand back and watch me make a gigantic mess and talk me through how to do it. She never got frustrated when I dropped an egg on the floor or tipped over the entire tin containing 10lbs of flour.

Even to this day, my Granny goes out of her way to show kindness to others.  She drives the “old ladies” in her small town to their doctor appointments (even though my Granny is in her 70s herself), she is the first to refill a drink glass at the dinner table for someone and she is always willing to help someone in need. She serves her community and her family well with little regard to herself. Even when people were rude or short with her, she rarely let it effect how she treated them.

I asked her once a long time ago why she was so kind to others. She said, “You never know what someone is going through. They could be having the worst day and you being nice or helpful might make a huge difference.”

Her answer has always stuck with me. To me, she is the living epidemy of Philippians 2:3
“Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves.”

My Grandpa and Granny

So many times we are more concerned about how others are effecting us that we rarely consider how we are effecting them. We are focused on ourselves in the here and now. It is all about ME! I get caught up in me all the time…
When I’m in a hurry and the person driving in front of me is going ten under the speed limit…
When my husband says he “just cleaned the kitchen” and I find a sink full of dirty dishes and food smeared down the front of the stove…
When I’m exhausted and my daughter demands I “watch this real quick!” for the 10 millionth time…
When someone is rude and I would like to give them a piece of my mind..
The list could go on and on and on…

But when I catch myself begin full of myself, I often think of my Granny and her reasoning…I never know what those people are going through…
Maybe that person driving too slow is someone’s grandfather or a teen just learning to drive…
Maybe my husband is exhausted from working all day and he didn’t even notice the spill…
Maybe my daughter just needs to know I care enough to pay attention…
Maybe that person is being rude because they have had to deal with rude people all day…
What could my one tiny act of kindness mean to them? How could God reveal Himself to them in that moment? How could it be a seed that is planted that there s a God who created them, loves them and has a purpose for them?

Does there need to be boundaries and accountability? Absolutely! But that is a different topic. I’m talking about the little tiny moments when I look less link Jesus and more like a Karen. Those are the moments that I must choose kindness because you never know what someone is going through and my attitude could make a huge difference in their day!

Put the shoe on the other foot for a second. When was a time you were having just a crap day and one person’s moment of kindness was monumental to you. How did that make you feel? Loved, seen, heard, cared for? God wanted you to feel that and He wants others to feel that too! And who wouldn’t want to be a part of that!

Amanda Turnbull

Worshiping the Things of God is Not Worshiping God

I began to recognize that most of my conversations were about what I am doing and less about what God is doing. How I am serving and how I do things. How I think everything should go and how my way, my plan, and my ideas are right because after all I am following God. Right?

I mean really, God called me to this ministry, right? He gifted me for such a time as this, right? I’m the one doing all the work, right? This is my life and I’m following Jesus, right?

When Eve was in the garden of Eden there is a crafty and sneaky little shift that occurs in her interaction with the enemy.

Genesis 3:1–6 (ESV):
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.

Did you catch it? The conversation starts out about God and what He said but, the serpent very sneakily shifts the conversation to be all about Eve.

 “You won’t die…Your eyes will be opened…You will be like God.” And Eve saw that she would be satisfied.
When the serpent said You will not die, Eve saw the tree was good for food.
When the serpent said Your eyes will be opened, Eve saw that it was a delight to the eyes.
When the serpent said You will be like God, Eve saw that the tree was to be desired to make one wise.

What I find most interesting about this interaction between the serpent and Eve is that the very thing that deceived Eve is the very thing that caused the enemy to be cast out of Haven. 

Ezekiel 28:17 says:
“Your Heart became proud on account of your beauty and you corrupted your wisdom because of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I exposed you before kings, to feast their eyes on you.”

Ezekiel 28 speaks of the enemy as the signet of perfection, full of wisdom, perfect in beauty, blameless from the moment he was created, blameless until unrighteousness was found in him.  Satan exchanged his worship of God for the thing created by God. HIMSELF. Eve exchanged her worship of God for the thing created by God. HERSELF. She chose her survival, her desires, and her authority over the sovereignty of God.

When I came to recognize that I had been so craftily and sneakily misguided in my thinking about my life and my ministry work, I realized how proud I had become on account of my efforts.  I also realized that I am not alone. The conversations and attitudes that I was experiencing are becoming increasingly pungent in Christian circles.  We have exchanged “what God is doing” for “what I can do for God.” Our worship has turned from “Who God is” to “who I am and how do I worship.”  We shop churches as if they are a commodity and we serve those who construct our ladder of success. Except for a slapped-on bible verse or an “I’m doing it for Jesus” slogan, there is very little difference between the evidence of a Christian walk and the walk of the world.

Sister, it’s time to re-evaluate. Denying yourself is hard when everything around you is feeding your self-worth.  Pride is being fueled daily by crafty, sneaky devices and we justify ourselves continually as we forge ahead running our race.  May we throw away the desire to fulfill self and truly be fed and filled only through Christ.

Melissa Weber

Moving Past “All About Me”

It is SO easy to make things “all about me.” Especially in today’s world.  We are being bombarded with messages that it is all about us, we should all be doing what is best for us and we should never have to be in difficult situations.

After the depression, wars and the baby boom, parents have slowly – with each generation – tried to keep their children from experiencing the hardships that they had to endure. Yes, we hope our children have a better life, but if we keep them from all hardship, how will they ever grow, persevere and understand their need for a savior?

THAT is the reality of the American church today – we don’t understand our need for a savior.  We like the idea of a God that loves us unconditionally, has a beautiful paradise prepared for us in Heaven and tells us things like “I have plans to prosper you” and “ask for whatever you wish and it will be given” but we don’t want a God that tells us how to live, holds us accountable or wants us to want Him more than we want our own needs.

Judges 21:25 says, “In those days, there was no king in Israel, everyone did whatever seemed right to Him.”  Sound familiar?

So we can sit here and complain how the younger generations are lazy, entitled and rude and we can continue to blame the schools, the government or the internet…or we can do something about it. 

You have a circle of influence.  The family in your home, the people at work, the barista at the coffee shop, the cashier at the store, the person in the car next to you on the interstate.

Are you living, speaking, behaving (and FB posting) in a way that they see the love of Christ in you? Or are you more concerned about your agenda or your timeline?

 Are you teaching your kids to think of others above themselves and to consider that everyone’s actions and words are an outpouring of their current situation or are you fine with your kids thinking they are better and more important than others? 

Does kindness really matter or is it just a fun hashtag we add to what we post on Insta?

Being “ME-centric” is a world wide infection that not a single person is immune to.  We are born infected with it. Ever watch a couple 1yr-olds fight over a sippy cup? We all, no matter how spiritual we feel we are, are all subject to being selfish at any given moment of any given day. This is the world we live in. So how do we move past it?

We can try, we can pray, we can ask for accountability.  All good things, but eventually we will fail.  We will try hard but get frustrated when someone cuts us off in traffic and will honk, yell and give hand gestures.  We will pray, but then we will grow lazy or distracted. We will have accountability, but eventually we will get frustrated with that person and then start pointing out all the things they do wrong in their life.

We have to change our thinking. Last month, my pastor gave a sermon about being ambassadors.  Did you know that US ambassadors are not elected, they’re chosen?  Have you ever voted for the US ambassador to Kenya or Norway? No.  They are chosen by the leaders of the United States to go and represent America on foreign soil.  They go and live in a foreign land, amongst the foreigners for one reason – to do all they can to represent the United Stated of America, support their foreign relations and protect their US citizens in that land. They don’t get to promote their own personal agendas or live like they’re on vacation.

We are ambassadors for Christ.  We were not elected by the pastors of our churches to be saved by Jesus.  We were chosen and adopted into the family of Christ. We are not citizens of this world.  We are here to live in this foreign broken land, do all we can to represent Christ, build relationships with those who are not in the Kingdom in the hopes of them seeing Christ in us and accepting what He did for them personally and make Him the Lord of their lives and we must encourage, support and cheer on the believers around us. We need to put our own agendas and emotions aside and stop living like we’re on vacation.

Amanda Turnbull

Confidence is a Funny Thing

Confidence is a funny thing. If you’re quiet, shy or timid, you are told to have more confidence. If you’re loud, bold or determined, you’re told you’re prideful. We tend to label someone as cocky or shy based off of how much they talk. We’ve confused confidence with being outspoken.

I have never been accused of being quiet. I come from a loud family, so I am naturally loud. I was raised to speak directly and to speak up or be left behind. That doesn’t mean I’m confident in myself. The problem with all of this is we misunderstand what God calls us to because of the labels that the world puts on personality quirks.

Scripture encourages us to be bold, courageous or confident twice as much as it warns us against pride. Why? Pride comes when we are full of ourselves…I can do it better, I know better, I know more. Confidence comes when we are full of Christ…I can do nothing apart from Him, He is my rock, He directs my path. It is far more important for us to fill ourselves with Christ than it is to be full of ourselves.

If God has told you something, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If God has called you to something, don’t compromise for anything else. If God has promised you something, don’t settle for anything less. I would be foolish if I didn’t warn you that this level of confidence can also a double edge sward though. Be careful not to get full of yourself, refuse to allow the enemy to fool you into justifying your sin and use caution if you throw around phrases like “God told me.”

It took me a long time to develop confidence in Christ because I spent years worrying I would offend someone or I would come across as prideful. Here is what I have learned over the years, what I pray all of you come to know for yourselves and what drives me to be authentic with you all at Come to the Table:

  • God can talk to you wherever you are. You don’t have to reach a certain level of Christianity to unlock the hearing form God power. Cry out to Him, He is there!
  • You have spiritual gifts. There is nothing prideful about knowing what they are and how God has called you to use them. There’s also nothing wrong with not knowing what they are. God will reveal them to you in His timing.
  • You can understand scripture. It doesn’t take a certain amount of education or experience. You only need to find how He connects with you. I’m a history buff. I was able to connect with and understand scripture once I realized it was just one huge history book.
  • You don’t have to change your personality to fit a certain mold. Proverbs 31 was never meant to be the hard standard we hold all Christian women to. God made you who you are for a reason. If you’re loud, maybe God wants you to use your gifts to speak boldly. If you’re more shy, maybe God gifted you with a more compassionate heart to listen better.
  • You will never be able to connect with everyone. No matter how God created you, you’re going to rub people the wrong way. Don’t dwell on it, dust your feet and move on. Don’t sin in it, but don’t dwell on it. Never stop being kind or loving.
Amanda Turnbull

Refuse to Settle

If God is who He says he is, and He is; refuse to settle for anything less.  Yet far too often in the thick of life we limit God exchanging Him for our limited beliefs about Him.  My goal is to encourage woman to refuse to settle for anything less than Who God is and for His Truth. I want to encourage woman to seek out real encounters with the one true God and refuse to settle for anything less.

Today I want to encourage you to fill in the blanks and begin breaking the cycle of settling?

I refuse to settle for _________________ when God has promised me __________________________.

Melissa Weber

Why Me?

As I take a moment to pause and reflect on God’s goodness, I often ask, “Why me? Why would you, gracious God, choose me to be an ambassador for you?”

Like Moses, I can find more than one reason to challenge God’s decision to use the talents He has given me to reach out to you. There is nothing especially good about me. In fact, you would not have to look hard in my history to find something the enemy could use to deter me from God’s plan in my life.

That is precisely why I am here. I love Him because He loved me first! And I love you because He loves you! I want nothing more than for you to experience the transforming love of Jesus Christ.

When I think of you, I am so thankful for you! When I pray for you, I am inspired by the hope I have for you through our Savior! I want to wrap my arms around you and tell you, “Everything is going to be okay. God loves you and he has a mighty plan for you. He has accounted for ALL things. You are not unforgiveable! You are not disposable! You belong to the Creator of the universe and He calls you by name! You are precious to Him!”

I am called to this ministry for those of you who need to hear those words. I needed to hear those words so desperately at one time in my life and God showed me He was not finished with me. He who began a good work in me will bring it to completion.

Come to the Table has nothing to do with me and EVERYTHING to do with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit! Thank you for joining in this journey and remember – You are loved!

Areena Simonetti

Our Mission and Commitment to You in Season 2

This spring, we took a weekend away to plan for Season 2 of Come to the Table. While this was partially to serve as a retreat where we could connect and recharge, we also wanted to seek God’s vision for this new season of our podcast.

Season One was, quite frankly, a weird montage of us trying to figure out what this all looked like as we went. We started off in a church as an extension of their Women’s Ministry, but God quickly showed us that was not the platform He intended for us. Now that we have a much more clear understanding, we are now ready to seek God in the finer details instead of just the execution of the big picture.

We want to share with you what God showed us, not only so you know where we are coming from, but also prayerfully help someone else who may be seeking God’s guidance in a new adventure.

What is our Mission?

Simply put, our mission is what we are doing. Our mission is our tagline…

A podcast where real women have real conversation with and about a real God.

We want to offer authentic and transparent ladies having honest conversations about God, scripture and our daily Christian lives.

What is our Vision?

Too many times we take the word “vision” and try to make it something way more supernatural than it needs to be. A vision is just why do you want to accomplish your mission?

We exist to help real women, no matter their walk, know that God is real and wants a real and meaningful relationship with them.

Life is messy. It can be full of excitement and happiness or it can just flat out suck. We all know this, so why do we try to cover it up and pretend like our life is perfect and we all have it figured out. There’s a TON of freedom that comes from acknowledging where you are in your walk with God, owning it and striving to walk closer with Him.

What is our Strategy?

Strategy is the how we accomplish our mission. We decided to make a list of things that are “non-negotiables” when it comes to our podcast. We check all the boxes, we are successfully executing our strategy.

  • No clichés – too often in Christian circles, we slap empty words onto situations to try to make them better or make us seem more spiritual. They don’t help and they don’t serve a purpose. On Come to the Table, you won’t hear us throw around empty words.
  • Use His Word as our foundation – we all have opinions and ideas of God, but the whole Bible is the whole Truth. His Word MUST be our foundation.
  • Be honest and transparent – when you listen to us, you get us. We want you to feel as though if you ran into us in a coffee shop and sat with us for a bit, you would get the same women and the same conversations we have on the podcast. We aren’t going to try to make ourselves seem better or farther along than we are.
  • Real and relevant topics – we aren’t worth listening to if we aren’t talking about the things that interest you.
  • Multiple viewpoints – we are a podcast for women. Not just moms or married women or women who work full time. We strive to bring you multiple viewpoints because 1) God made us all unique and you deserve to have yourself represented and 2) God calls women to different seasons and callings all the time. If you are only listing to one viewpoint, you will miss opportunities to grow in humility, empathy and kindness.
  • Honoring and accepting the diversity in ourselves and others – we can disagree with one another without forgoing love for one another.
  • Holding each other accountable – If one of us is off base, not meeting commitment or blatantly sinning, we have to be able to call one another out. Know that we take the privilege of speaking to you very seriously and we strive to hold one another to a high moral, spiritual and ethic standard.
  • Committed prayer for the women we are ministering to – we firmly believe that we have no right to speak to you if we aren’t committed to caring about your spiritual well being. Whether we see your name in a comment or like or if you are a number we see as total listeners, you are being prayed for!
  • Committed to being authentic with one another – As an extension of holding one another accountable, we are committed to being authentic with one another. Within our group there is no hiding a struggle or brushing things under the rug. We don’t need to give one anther the down and dirty details, but we need to at the very least be honest with one another about where we are in live and with God.

YOU are the reason we have a mission, a vision and a strategy!

As we grew in our walks with the Lord, we realized each of us were a little bit of the “black sheep” of the Women’s Ministry. We weren’t all hearts and flowers, we were raw, loud and a bit too honest for some. If you feel like to you just don’t quite fit in the cookie cutter mold of the “ideal Christian woman,” YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Each of us have our own personal convictions that drive each of us individually to do what we do. Over the next few weeks, we will each be sharing with you our own convictions.

If you have any questions about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it or just about a Christian walk in general, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Areena,

Brandi,

Amanda

& Melissa

S.O.A.P Study Method

A lot of times we can fall into a rut in our quiet time where we aren’t really getting anything from the reading. Or we can be overwhelmed with the idea of a quiet time and not do it at all.

When my kids were little, I felt like I was being a bad Christian because I wasn’t doing my quiet time first thing in the morning. I just didn’t have the energy to wake up at 5am to do quiet time before my kids woke up, so I found time during nap times or after I had put the kids to bed for the night. What God showed me in that time was it isn’t about when or where (no where in scripture does Jesus command “thou shalt do a quiet time before thy day begins!”) it was all about connecting with God throughout the say and being in the Word.

I tried this method once and absolutely fell in love with it! The best part is you can apply this method to anything that you use for quiet time. I am using the daily readings from The Scribes Portion, but you can use any readings from a devotional or just the Bible itself!

I invite you to join me! If you’re interested in The Scribes Portion reading plan, I’ve included the reading for April below. But use the sign up on our home page to subscribe to our newsletter if you would like each month’s reading sent right to your inbox!


Amanda Turnbull