You Will Always Eat at My Table

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Am I pretty enough? Handsome enough? Hip enough? Spiritual enough? Even for God? To find the best answer, my good friend Michele Cushatt tackled these questions after a brutal bout with tongue cancer led her to search for her value–resulting in her newest best-selling book, I Am. From that journey, she shares below one priceless life lesson about YOUR value, too.

By Michele Cushatt, Guest Writer

The trip was to be a reunion of sorts, a gathering of peers from around the country to meet at a well-known conference. I’d planned the trip for months and counted down the days. I dreamed of heartfelt conversations with old friends and exciting connections with new ones. I needed this.

Ready, I boarded the plane.

One day into the conference, and I knew I’d been mistaken. Instead of a soul-filling getaway, it turned out to be a soul-sucking experience watching my confidence drain. In a place filled with the sounds of relationship, I was invisible. A dozen or more women whose names I knew and who knew my own laughed and cried and savored the gift of time shared. Only they did it with each other and without me.

I ricocheted from person to person, trying to find a place at their tables, attempting to squeeze into their conversations.

It didn’t work. The more I tried, the tighter they circled. While they held on to each other, I sat alone.

What’s wrong with me? This was the question that plagued me throughout the conference. These were beautiful women, full of faith and wisdom and life. I ached to be part of their lifegiving circle, but there seemed to be no room in it for me. After a couple of days, my self-esteem was in shreds.

After the conference ended, I returned to the airport, bruised and disappointed. My flight couldn’t leave fast enough. But something changed once the plane was in the air. Conviction replaced rejection. During the conference, I’d spent my best self working to be seen and accepted, trying to hide my flaws and be good enough.

But as I strained to find my seat at old friends’ tables, I ignored countless others looking for a seat of their own.

Beyond the small group I tried to infiltrate, hundreds more gathered at the conference. Rather than see their faces, I remained consumed by my own. In the end, I left frustrated that I was unable to build friendships with those I already knew, but convicted that I was also unwilling to spark a connection with those I didn’t.

Embarrassed, I suspected the latter was a far greater tragedy.

The desire to feel accepted isn’t unique to me. There’s a story in the Old Testament about a boy who couldn’t find his place.

Although born a prince, the son of King David’s best friend, Jonathan, Mephibosheth endured a crippling accident that left him in isolation.

Until Kind David started looking for the one he missed, the son of his friend. Rather than having eyes only for the popular, King David searched for someone lost who needed to be found. And when he found him, he did something about it: “Mephibosheth . . . will always eat at my table” (2 Sam. 9:10).

The words of a king to the heart of an outcast. Just like that, Mephibosheth found his place. We all want to be accepted by those we admire. Anxious to fit in, we move from one circle to another, trying to find our place and searching for an empty chair. But there’s a problem: it’s the wrong chair.

The King already has a place with your name on it. And one with mine. He doesn’t have eyes for the popular. Instead, He looks for the lost needing to be found. And when He finds you and me, He says, You will always eat at My table.

Michele Cushatt, a fellow author and good friend, takes these words from her latest book, I Am: A 60-day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is. It was written during her long and grueling recovery from a third diagnosis of tongue cancer, during which she was permanently altered physically, emotionally and spiritually. In it, she speaks with raw honesty and hard-earned insight about personal doubts and why our best self-help and self-esteem tools aren’t enough to heal our deepest wounds. But God is.

ENTER MY BOOK GIVEAWAY OF I AM!

I’m honored to partner with Michele Cushatt in this Book Bundle Giveaway to the first person to share in the Comments section below how Michele’s wisdom inspired you today. The gift consists of the I Am Book and 60 beautiful verse cards designed to coincide with each day of the book. The set comes with an easel to display each 5×7 card for a gorgeous daily reminder of who you are. Learn more about “I Am” at (www.iambook.net).

(Michele and her husband, Troy, live in the mountains of Colorado with their six children, ages 9 to 24. She enjoys a good novel, a long walk, and a kitchen table filled with people. Learn more about Michele @ michelecushatt.com.)


Patricia Raybon is an award-winning author of books and essays on mountain-moving faith.

To travel along on Patricia’s faith Journey, click here and sign up!

Top photo: iStockphoto

24 thoughts on “You Will Always Eat at My Table

  1. Oh let me count the times I have been similarly lost in my own selfishness to feel this way. It’s not about me it’s about Him. How I long to cultivate so much more of a servant’s heart at times like you have described. Instead of thinking of myself I need to learn ask of our Lord who needs me, rather than who wants me? Who can I seek to serve rather than looking for those to serve my selfish wants. How much richer my life will be when I can get myself out of the way and seek to have a heart like Jesus.

    1. So agree, Susan Wimmer! When we get out of out own way, we serve with “a heart like Jesus.” Beautiful wisdom. And you’re a winner! As the first to comment on Michele’s wonderful post, you win the “I Am Book Bundle.” If you’ll go to my contact page and send me your mailing address, I’ll connect with Michele and get your gift in the mail pronto. Thanks for sharing and many blessings!

  2. Thank you for touching the deepest part of my heart’s struggles with your words. As with many others I’m sure, I have struggled to suppress my desire and longing to belong, to be a pretty girl, to find my niche, to be smart, etc. Thank you for showing me that no matter how lost I feel within myself or among others, I am always found … in Him. And whether I win the prize or not I have already been gifted by your words of inspiration, hope and truth. Enjoy the gift of today, helen

    1. Oh, wonderful Helen. What a beautiful response. In Him, we are always found–and we always have a seat at His table. What a joyful promise. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Another person commented first, and will receive the Book Bundle, but your comments are a still a winning reply. (It’s also great to reconnect with you today!) Peace and love!

  3. Oh my goodness! This just left my mouth open. It is so fitting for this season in my life. As I enter into this season of my life searching for my place in a career, my place in starting a business, my place in ministry, these words are a comforting reminder that I belong to God and I will always have a place. A place in his heart, in the world and at the table.
    For years I’ve tried to fit in with other women at my church and a sister-friend told me that I’m not made to fit in because I can flow from the babies to the Seniors. I took a different perspective and realized that God didn’t make a box for me and I’m happy to be able to flow. Currently, I’m working part time and not able to find a position for my degree. I Am reminds me of the great I Am and also reminds me whose I am.

    1. Margie, what beautiful insights. “I Am reminds me of the great I Am and also reminds me whose I am.” So well said. I especially appreciate this thought: “I will always have a place” in His heart, in the world and at the table.Thank you for reading and sharing.

      1. Thank you Michele. I appreciate it. I’ve come a long way with a way to go but now I know who to lean on during the journey. 😉

  4. I serve such a mighty loving God. How this blessed me, I had been praying an hour or so before I found this in my email; and I had been telling the Lord how I felt so worthless and wondered why I had been born. I feel like I am of no good to him and that I haven’t done anything for him. Then I opened my email to this and it made me feel like I might be able to do something for him. I have always had a desire to write about being sure of God’s will in finding the right mate to marry but don’t know how to start. God bless you both.

    1. Lynda Jackson, you will ALWAYS eat at GOD’S table! Thanks so much for this feedback. I’m grateful to God this post arrived to touch your soul–at just the right moment. Glory to God. Thank you so much for sharing AND believing!

  5. Michele, your physical impairment must be a hindrance in so many ways. I’m reminded of my best friend in Jr. High and High School. Karen was hearing and speech impaired, having lost her hearing at the age of 3 from a setback of measles followed by a fall which caused damage to her upper palate. I witnessed her pain as so many of our classmates treated her as a freak, calling her ‘retarded’ behind her back. I protected her as much as possible, but she always seemed to know who belittled her behind her back. I moved away from our small town for 8 years and when I returned back with my daughter to live with my parents, I tried reconnecting with Karen. However, time and distance had changed us both, and I could no longer understand her, and she could no longer read my lips.
    As a result of date rape, my life changed entirely – I often think the old me was erased like on a blackboard, and self-confidence went out the window. I began writing poetry in 1999 and am very active in several state and one national organizations, entering a lot of contests every year, and winning a few. When my ‘dark days’ take over, those days when the memories of rape overwhelm me, I often write poems about the rape, to help
    ease the pain. I often forget how much God loves me, and I’m not alone. When I’m in public, I literally wear a mask, attempting to hide my lack of self-confidence. My husband prefers that persona, but I have problems recognizing the real me. I feel utterly selfish at times, but know God gave me a caring heart. I will pray for you, Michelle, and also give thanks for you, Patricia for your outreaching ministry. God bless you both.

    1. Dear Von, your caring heart shines through in your words and, I’m certain, in your life. Your own hurt hasn’t dimmed your concern for others, and I’m sure you have blessed many over the years and along the way–allowing God to create beauty from ashes. The same can be said for my amazing friend Michele. Her giving spirit is simply extraordinary. So thank you, Von, for reaching out to her today and for your kind words for both of us. I’m deeply blessed by your sharing here.

  6. I just joined today but should have months before. I have been reading the blogs and enjoy hearing other spiritual women’s comments. God bless all of you. And thanks for your blog, Patricia.

    1. Welcome aboard, Kathy! Delighted you’re enjoying the journey. Many blessings and warmest thanks for your participation and feedback. You’re an inspiration, indeed. Peace and joy, Patricia

  7. Dear Pat,
    It’s Sunday 9:18 a.m. so I am assuming you and Alana are still in Seattle. Surely, your experiences this weekend have been a blessing to you individually and as a team. That is my prayer. What you had to look forward to sounded very rich and rewarding.
    Sorry I am just getting to you. This week has been very challenging for both Nelson and me. We made it and are on the up-swing.
    May God continue to bless and keep you safe.
    Murial

    1. Thank you, dear Murial. Our Seattle visit was wonderful! God is FAITHFUL and we were blessed in uplifting and helpful ways. Thanks for your support. Blessings, meantime, on you and Nelson!

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