I love a themed social.
A blush and gold tea party; bright hats and bright chats; Ladies Come Dine With Me; War Room movie night – just give it a theme and I am all over it! Having done events planning during my career my organisational skills and my table-scaping game are puh-retty good if I do say so myself. I delight in taking the time to prepare for guests. Even if it’s just one friend coming over for a cuppa, I might whip out the cutesy floral teacups or my duck-egg-ish blue tea set. Who would’ve known that purchase of just a few pounds at our local church’s car boot sale, would feature as a simple and favourite centerpiece so often? I set a few pretty cupcakes (shop bought of course, as I cannot bake at all for which my thighs are eternally thankful) on my golden cake stand that was purchased especially for our wedding (and was way too small for our cake) but now makes a useful table prop to very simply beautify small gatherings.
Sometimes, a tray of biscuits for dunking to compliment is a must (and, yes, I firmly believe that biscuits should be dunked – all my fellow dunkers give me a ‘whoop whoop!’ for good moist biscuits). A fruit bowl for the healthy balanced-living approach is always a simple option. I’m not a huge coffee drinker and I don’t take sugar, but I always pop out to pick some up along with a few herbal teas in case my friend fancies it. If my girl is coming straight from work or university I might prepare her a hot meal. Most of the time it’s something home-made. As a big foodie and an ex-Slimming World consultant I’m OK in the kitchen; and when I’m really busy or when hospitality is a bit more spontaneous, a pre-prepared Morrison’s oven meal goes down a treat.
Before my guests arrive I always seek out the best matching crockery and cutlery sets in my kitchen, as I live in a house with teenagers and a husband who are all highly skilled at making cutlery and crockery magically disappear! Now, there, just a few lit candles, air freshener, and the replenishment of flowers and the ambiance for a good time of food and fellowship is set.
For me, these are some of my best moments. Taking time out to catch up with present friends, reconnecting with old friends and makes new ones over a spread at the table. At this communal place, with family and friends, we often share what’s happening in our lives. Most of the time it is all laughter and encouragement… occasionally it’s tears and encouragement. We have Bible chats, we learn new truths and wisdom, we listen to testimonies about Jesus. Ah… that’s the ultimate goal, right? The moments when our friends and family, along with ourselves, encounter Jesus’ presence.
When I know that I am having company, I can prepare, I can be expectant, and I can block out that time in my plans to spend and devote myself uninterrupted. While my friends will tell you that I am Martha through and through, when it comes to my guests, my Mary hat must go on and I must see your time as a precious gift I don’t just want to be in the room I want to be ‘present’. I want to give you my best. Even if I don’t feel up to being the hostess, we can always get a table at one of our favourite cafés in town. They serve lush fresh food, which arrives hot and swiftly at our table served by the loveliest hosts and hostesses. I go there because they give their best. Their best ingredients, atmosphere, and service.
Someone gave their very best for you and for me.
God gave His very best for you and me.
Even when we were far from Him and sinking in sin, He was preparing a table for us, a banquet table, so that we could be seated with Him at the table. There, He serves only the finest of the finest: hope, love, grace, peace, patience, mercy, kindness, healing, son and daughter-ship, identity, and a whole lot of wonderfulness. There, God serves the best of the best. Bread no human hands can make. The bread of life.
Just ask Zacchaeus. In Luke 19 he climbed the sycamore tree so he could get a clear glimpse of Jesus. Jesus looked up to him and I think he thought ‘that’s not enough. I don’t want to see you from a distance. Come down so that I can come to your house and spend quality time with you.’ And that’s exactly what God wants with us. Just ask the guys on the road to Emmaus in the book of Luke. The Bible says that Jesus walked with them, but they didn’t recognise Him. He had walked with them and talked with them explaining the things of God’s kingdom. The men then decided to stop over at one their homes for a meal. And as Jesus reclined at the table to break bread and share it with them, it was at that very moment, in the moment of fellowship and the breaking of bread, when they realised who He was. It was Him. The risen Jesus Christ in their very presence. At that very table, He showed them He was alive. In that time of fellowship, they saw God’s promise come to life and they were reminded of the hope they had in Christ. Today we have that same hope. Welcome to The Hope’s table.
The Hope Table is about gathering together and extending an invitation of friendship, sisterhood, accountability, collaboration, oneness, and inclusivity – always pointing and encouraging one another towards Christ. Where we commit to daily devotion and intimacy with Him through word, worship, and prayer. A place where we invite others to a seat at the table, and not just our friends and family, but our neighbours, those in need and whoever God leads us to, so the world can also taste and see that God is good. If the table gets full we create room and draw up another chair. There’s room for everyone at God’s table.
Recently, after speaking at a mothers’ prayer brunch, a few of the ladies and I were not ready to say our goodbyes when the event finished, so we decided to go to a coffee shop to continue the gathering. This spontaneity led to the girls who arrived at the small coffee shop first, asking other customers if we could borrow empty chairs from their table, so we could put them around the last empty table in the corner of the café so we could all gather. We didn’t want anyone left out. It wasn’t long before everyone we expected had arrived and, oh my goodness, it was such an anointed time! We talked, we laughed, we cried. There were words of knowledge and words of encouragement given and received. Those who had a arrived with heavy hearts left with hearts were enlightened by the presence of the Holy Spirit, and each lady left the table with her heart’s cup fuller than when she arrived; full of hope. We all agreed that we had been getting so busy doing our own things in life that we were not seeing each other often enough and we were all going through things in silence. We needed each other. We needed community and so we promised to meet more often.
Hebrews 10:23-25 The Passion Translation (TPT)
“23 So now we must cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps his promises! 24 Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. 25 This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning”.
The Hope Table exists to encourage Women to be in Community first with God by consistently spending time with Him and reading the word of God daily, community with our families, with each other, our local communities and the world.
We exist to see women live crowned with Gods beauty and rooted firmly in His love. To grow in the abundance of all He has called them to be, to see the vision and make it come to life. We are here to create simple beautiful reminders that point you to Christ. We are community of women with Jesus at the Centre.
Faith without action is dead. So here’s the Action plan:
The Hope Table is here to help women:
- Get into the word of God daily by providing biblical resources
- Show biblical hospitality by opening our hearts and lives to those that need it
- Use their skills and expertise to serve in the Kingdom by being all God called us to be
So, what’s next? Well, you can:
- Hang out here with your cuppa and enjoy a blog post
- Join our bible believing community group on Facebook where we build each other up
- Follow The Hope Table on Instagram for regular Jesus filled squares of hope and all things pretty
- Connect with Shovorne the Founder, CEO & hostess at the Hope Table for snippets of Gods grace in action on Instagram
Come on fellow Hope Dealer, lets win the world for Christ