My little 2-hour retreat last Thursday was a bit short. I went to one well-known coffee place and it was basically the worst idea I ever had. So I went to another slightly less beloved place that serves coffee and it was better. But not much. My brain likes to listen to other people’s conversations. I kept catching snippets of “my friend is going to see the new Twilight movie, and I was like, ‘you are not going to get a seat,'” and “I’m really good at designing dresses, I drew one in my math book….” what? Focus, Jen. Focus!
My dear friend Julie invited me to go to a conference at Gordon-Conwell a couple of weeks ago. It was wonderful. A day of learning away from the nursling! And an opportunity to wear something a little prettier that would definitely not get spit up on. Mostly the first thing…
I’d love to write more about the conference as I continue to process the day and all the notes I took. The subject was spiritual friendship, and it was very applicable to my life right now. There was a lot of discussion around the need to creating space for the Holy Spirit to work in your life and in your relationships, and a lot of that “space” is made by simply being open. I thought our family could start in the physical area of our home where we spend many happy minutes, maybe hours together, on a daily basis: our table.
First of all, those who are reading this probably know that eating is very important to this Bourckel family. We love our food; eating it, talking about it, (sometimes) preparing it. It makes us do happy dances as it goes into our bellies (even Peter has started doing the Food Happy Dance- so cute!). So, it makes sense that a change would start there. Second of all, the table is where we spend time as a family. Peter just got his own chair so he can sit with us at the table, now that he’s eating solid food. We want to invite the Holy Spirit into this space, where we read scripture over breakfast in the morning and debrief over dinner at night. We started by clearing off the table of things that were not food or Jesus related- haha! That mostly means mail and keys. And purses. And water bottles. Basically, everything that we take inside from the car when we get home gets dumped on the table, and we’re trying very hard not to do that anymore. Then last week, Peter and I went to Appleton Farm to gather some branches for the table. I’d like to make it look a little more beauteous, but the main purpose was to assemble a sort of “tree” we can use to do the Jesse Tree Advent devotional from Ann Voskamp’s blog.
It’s just a little start. I’d also like to add candles to signify Christ, who is our Light, present with us. I’m also going to start leaving our Bible open on the table all day. I asked one of the speakers at the conference during a break how this slightly overwhelmed, slightly lonely, and slightly disorganized new mom (me) could very practically feed her soul and water her dry spiritual life. This lovely woman (who is a mom herself) told me to just read a small passage over and over again throughout the day, letting it sink in between feedings, washing dishes, naps. I can do that! So, I’m leaving the Bible open on the table.
If you’re still reading, thanks for listening to me process! I’m thankful for the opportunity to put this on the internet, thus holding me somewhat accountable for trying to make these changes permanent in our home. Having a baby has made Patrick and I much more aware of the traditions and habits (good ones!) we want to establish for our family. We’re so excited to be entering the holiday season with Peter for the first time, and can’t wait to post adorable pictures of him in a roasting pan (Patrick HATES this idea, but I don’t care. I think it’s funny.), being mesmerized by Christmas lights, and opening presents. I don’t know what’s going on in his little brain, but I know that God is already at work in his little heart, and I pray that he has some awareness of how very loved he is. Oh, this boy! What a gift.