Dinner Conversations Podcast Launch Party
Recently my coworker and I were invited to a launch party for a new podcast featuring Mark Lowry and Andrew Greer titled, "Dinner Conversations." The tagline of the show is, "Turning on the lights one question at a time." As their incredible producer Celeste Winstead explained more about to show to me, I KNEW I was going to love this new podcast. A very real part of my story is that during my college years I lost my faith and was very ashamed to ask questions. It wasn't until several families chose to love me well in the midst of my uncertainty that I chose to follow the Lord again. The freedom to ask questions means so much to me. I'm not sure if that's because of my personality type or if it's just because I have a hard time trusting people, but where questions are welcomed ... freedom thrives unhindered.
As my coworker, Steven, and I walked through the door we were greeted by a few people who work with the show's sponsor, Project Beautiful. Project Beautiful is in the ministry of intercepting girls and women before they get into sex trafficking. The people who work with Project Beautiful will actually go to airports and they're trained for what to look for so that they can intercept these ladies before they ever walk into the hands of the enemy. How amazing that they not ONLY dedicated rescuing those trapped, but also preventing the industry from growing one beautiful life at a time! If you want to partner with Project Beautiful financially, here's a link that will let you do just that!
Our fabulous friend and the show's producer, Celeste, did an ABSOLUTELY incredible job of planning this event. She thought of everything! With the podcast centered around the dinner table, Celeste and the team thought it would be an incredible idea to have some of the ladies from Andrew's church cater their special family recipes. What I loved about that detail is that while there were over 50 people present that definitely were not all previously acquainted, it felt like we were all just coming home to a homecooked meal and the conversation in the room proved that to be true.
Throughout the evening, Mark and Andrew hosted several of the show guests for those present and the thousands of people who tuned into the Facebook Live event! Guests like Chonda Pierce, Nicole C. Mullen, Patsy Clairmont, Point of Grace, and Russ and Tori Taff (just to name a few) were among those present that evening and what a treat it was to get to see the beautiful communion between those long-term friends.
This crew was absolutely incredible. I can't say enough about how intentional they all were about truly communing together. The night had already ended, most everyone was gone and I glanced over to a sofa in the room to see Nicole C. Mullen and Patsy Clairmont in the sweetest embrace. It was like they hadn't seen each other in forever and didn't want to let go. The friendships and connections between the whole crew were so tender and real and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was only because they had ACTUALLY spent time long before this night in real, deep, true conversations with each other. Conversations that weren't superficial or fake, but the kind of conversations that feel a little bit like minor surgery ... only had between patient and caregiver. They were the kind of conversations that can sadly become a lost art in our "social" media age. The kind of conversations that allow us to be held in the arms of love, even if just for a moment. In the arms of a lasting love that pursues you, even when it's fully aware of all your dark spots. ... Oh, to be wanted and cherished when you feel like you have nothing to offer. It's the gospel with skin on.
I learned so much from being there that night. I'm an outgoing, somewhat extroverted person but all I could do that night was marvel at the gold mine of relational intimacy I had stumbled upon. It made me believe even more in the heart behind the Dinner Conversations podcast. It encouraged me to just be real with where my heart is, and to know that no matter what questions I had they were welcome at the table of the Church. Housefires sings a song called "The Way" and in the song they sing, "It's a new horizon and I'm set on You, And You meet me here today with mercies that are new, All my fears and doubts, they can all come too, Because they can't stay long when I'm here with You." This night felt like an embodiment of those precious words.
Our questions and doubts are welcome in heaven, friends. God isn't afraid of you or your questions. He longs to commune with you and that's why He made a way and paid the debt you couldn't pay by sending Jesus to cross the cosmos and put on flesh. He lived among us, communed with us, cooked His boys some breakfast by the sea right after He rose from the grave, and in His ascension He sent His Spirit to us so we would never have to be without Him. He wanted nearness, He wanted intimacy, He wanted our hearts ... so He came to us. When I think about the beautiful God we serve, I'm overwhelmed by His precious kindness. Let's do ourselves a favor and commune with our precious Maker, and with His friends. Freedom begins at the same table we bring our mess to. It's a beautiful exchange.