Gathered around a simple table with family, friends and acquaintances. There is a small loaf of bread and a single cup of wine on the table. Around the room, heads are bowed, pages are turning and the small shuffling sounds of people getting settled, quietly rustle.

I close my eyes and my mind gradually begins to still.

I bow my head and peace seeps in to fill my heart.

“Thank You” is my first conscious thought. Thank You for instilling in me a desire to be here. Thank You for being so real to me that I want to spend “my” time with You.

As I think the words ‘thank You’ in my head, my heart raises up a murmur; “hurt, judgement, rejection, loneliness, worthlessness, insult…”.

On reading those words, it would make sense that my heart was reminding me of all of the things that Jesus suffered on my behalf, but the truth is, from the depth of me, my heart was dredging up the hurts and emotions that all too often told me that I didn’t want to go to church.

In a remarkable, unfathomable and overwhelming gift of grace, all of those painful stumbling blocks were overcome and I had a peace that was all encompassing. The things that tied me up in lack were completely covered by a love that is beyond all comprehension.

During a season of spectacular heartbreak, I was struggling to bring myself to gather with the saints. Our whole family was hurting, but I felt crushed. One of my almost grown children sat down with me, one day, and wisely counselled me. “Mum, we don’t go to church for them or what they think of us, we go because God told us to go. It’s not about them, it’s about Him.” Oh the wisdom out of the mouths of babes.

As I learn to let go of what I think other’s expectations of me are, I am much more free to focus on being the woman God created me to be; a woman who loves Him and serves Him with an undivided heart. What a precious thing to live in the grace of His value.

1 Corinthians 15:49

And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from Heaven.

I have spent so many years constrained by feelings of worthlessness or of not measuring up, yet when I really understand

Ephesians 2: 6-10

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, i n order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of His grace, expressed in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I am finally free to sit at the feet of Jesus, not trying to justify my place at His table, but instead, rejoicing that not only has He welcomed me, but He has actually prepared a place for me so that I can abide with Him through eternity.

John 14:2-3

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