I was friends with Kristin’s mother Vicki for many years before we were introduced. When her mother found out I blog, she connected us through our web addresses. Mothers are good at carving paths for laying down some tread, yes? And the minute I met Kristin at Laity Lodge two years ago, she made me feel like we’d been girlfriends forever. She makes everyone feel welcome, that is Kristin’s gift to whatever room she walks into. Most of my Sabbath meals are recipes I discovered at The Schell Cafe, I’m not even kidding. Do yourself a favor, check out the goodness and sign up for The Turquoise Table. Your family will thank you.
An email slipped into our overflowing inboxes: Hi Kristin and Tony, I hope you had a great summer. I couldn’t read further on my iPhone without clicking to open. I scrolled to the next email assuming my husband would respond for us. The email, from friends who run a non-profit, was surely a request for a donation.
“Did you read the email from Carol and Jack?” I asked casually over supper a night or two later.
“Not yet, I’m buried at work. I don’t know when I’m ever going to catch up,” he sighed heavily which was my cue to handle the response.
The next morning I opened the email and swallowed hard as I read the request. Even though it wasn’t in the budget, writing a check would have been easier than what our friends were asking of us:
We know the huge demands on your time and energy, but we would like you to consider mentoring a young, single dad and his three children.
Romans 12:13 quickened in my heart: Take every opportunity to open up your life and home to others. But, I didn’t respond with a YES! to God. I responded with a lukewarm how?
I’m ashamed to admit we didn’t immediately jump on the opportunity. Tony and I deliberated for two weeks indecisively squirming with selfishness and fear. Overwhelmed with chaos in our lives, we tabled the decision for the following Monday.
That weekend before our commitment was due, we rested. As a family we feasted on BBQ sandwiches at the University of Texas Longhorn football game. We watched our favorite TV shows. I took a long walk with the children. Tony and I took luxurious naps. We played all weekend and on Sunday we worshipped together. We experienced a near-perfect Sabbath. We ceased the whirlwind of individual activities and collectively our family rested, played, shared meals, and worshipped. The Lord was in our midst.
“Giving and Sabbath are primary ingredients of hospitality.” Matthew Sleeth, 24/6, pg 137
It’s not a coincidence that we are reading 24/6 together, friends. Nor is it happenstance that I was reading chapter 10 the weekend Tony and I made our decision.
Dr. Sleeth begins his chapter, The Sermon on the Amount, with a story of regret. It’s a powerful story. Dr. Sleeth stands in a checkout line while the woman in front of him struggles to pay for her groceries with a check that didn’t clear. He admits the shame he felt for not acting first and thinking later about helping the woman pay for her groceries. I could feel Dr. Sleeth kicking himself in the shins because I’ve stood in that same checkout line and offered the same response—nothing.
We didn’t wait until Monday to make our decision to accept the opportunity to become a mentor family with The Dream Come True Foundation. By Sunday evening an unexpected joy and peace permeated the still space in our hearts created by our Sabbath.
“Sabbath leads to giving, and giving leads to hospitality. The Sabbath makes way for joy and contemplation, and that allows us to hear God”. Matthew Sleeth, 24/6, pg 140
In hindsight the decision to open our lives and home to this young man and his family was a no-brainer. But, our hearts and minds were too cluttered to see the obvious on our own. We would have missed this opportunity were it not for the encouragement we heard from the Lord. We were able to hear because we rested and we worshiped. In the sacred space of Sabbath God became greater than our fears, selfishness, and worries.
Thanks to the encouragement found in The Sabbath Society, the wisdom of Dr. Sleeth, and the gift of Sabbath, our family shared our first Sunday supper with our new friends. The evening was filled with glimpses of God’s exquisite handiwork.
Tony and I finished up the last of the dishes, each of us quietly processing the beauty of the evening. He spoke first, “I think that went really well, honey. I’m looking forward to this, what about you?”
At a loss for words I stole Humphrey Bogart’s, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
How has Sabbath-keeping or times of stillness informed your choices and big decisions?
Leave your answer to Kristin’s question in the comments and then join us for more discussion at Redemptions Beauty Book Club, where we are delving into 24/6: A Prescription for a Healthier, Happier Life by Matthew Sleeth every Wednesday in September. This week, Sabbath Society peep, Terri Lynne Underwood is helping me lead our final conversation on Part 4.
Deep in the heart of Texas, there’s a turquoise table where life not only happens, it overflows. Known for her outrageous hospitality, Kristin Schell cooks, teaches, and loves those who gather ‘round her table. Wife to Tony and mama to their four Littles, Kristin juggles the every day blessings of life, mostly with a contagious smile. She is a writer, speaker, and passionate fly-fisher.