A Place at the Table: Everyday Doxology

As much of a social butterfly as I consider myself to be, one social situation sends my heart racing – and not from excitement. I turn into a bundle of nerves when I have to find a seat at a table, especially in a public place. What if there’s not a seat for me? What if I sit in someone else’s place? I’ve come to discover that those fears reflect some fears I didn’t realize I had about the Kingdom of God. I’ve learned though, sitting around tables across the world, that there is always room at His table. Hopefully you’ll find some encouragement in these stories shared around my table.


Everyday Doxology

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.
Psalm 9:1-2

As crazy as it may seem to some, I had never heard the word Doxology until I was in college. Twenty-four hours after a tornado ripped through my college town, I found myself in the backyard of a pastor’s home with 50 college students singing these four lines:

MondayPraise God from whom all blessings flow,

Praise Him all creatures here below,

Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts,

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost,


The only thing that made sense to us in a season of destruction and rebuilding was to praise God. For weeks after the tornado, we would gather in a pastor’s backyard for dinner and sing the Doxology together. Those nights helped those four lines sink into my bones and take root, to a point where I find myself still breathing out those words habitually throughout the day.

It’s easy to repeat the Doxology after a day when the sun is shining and everything is going your way. It’s easy to stand and sing praises when your life is an adventure and the hand of God is evident in every day. But sometimes a tornado sweeps through your life, literally or figuratively, and you’re stuck figuring out which way is up again.

The Doxology is a piece of quiet comfort to me. It’s a simple song full of strength, and one that can almost be finished in one breath. It’s a song for times when we’re not eloquent or put together, for when all we know to do is to acknowledge that God is with us.

When we find our place at the table of God surrounded by the people of God, praise should be pouring off our lips. Our Creator delights in us every day, in every moment. This should lead us to delight in Him in the same way, to live and breathe that Doxology every day and in every moment. The good and the bad, the happy and the sad—whether the sun is shining or a tornado is coming.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.


The Stench and The Stars

“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” NIV
Matthew 2:10

The Stench and The Stars


beamTwo small yet significant memories of my world mission tour are finding a special place in my heart as I draw closer to Christmas. Each in its own way has drawn me closer to Jesus.

First, in Thailand, my team was heading home from a house church meeting and had to drive half an hour through rice fields. We were laughing and singing in the truck bed. My precious Thai sister grabbed my arm mid-song and pointed to the sky. As I looked around and above, the blanket of stars covering us overwhelmed us. Worship bubbled out of us for the rest of our drive through the stars.

When I think back to letting the stars envelope me in Thailand, I imagine the shepherds and the wise men chasing the star that led them to Jesus. I wonder if the glory of the night sent shivers of anticipation through their souls. I wonder if, with every step taken, they felt the presence of God grow stronger.

Second, the animals I was lucky enough to share living space with. Chickens. Cows. Goats. Pigs. Sheep. They’ve poked their heads in the window to wake me up in the morning, they’ve sung me to sleep, and they’ve greeted me in the kitchen at every meal. One thing is for certain: livestock smell. No matter how clean you keep them, they will never have a good-smelling home. They’re dirty. No one wants to live in a pig sty.

When I remember the smells that came with carrying straw bales into the pig sty, I think of Mary and Joseph welcoming a new baby into their lives – a baby that would save their lives. I think of the animals around them and the messiness and the noise having a baby in a stable would create.

For thousands of years, people were stuck in their own filth and brokenness, praying for a salvation that many said would never come. And then one night, the stars changed. Hope showed up in the stables in the form of a newborn baby. God decided the best place to enter the world is in the middle of the stench.

Suddenly, this Good News becomes GREAT news because it shows us that God isn’t put off by our messes. He doesn’t shy away from the stench of our sins. Instead, He inserts himself into the middle of the mess and begins to change the story.

So, here’s to a Christmas of trusting in a hope that meets us in the smelly stables of our lives. Here’s to letting the way God changes the stars lead us to worship at His feet. And here’s to trusting God as He changes the mess into something beautiful.