invitation of a lifetime...

This past August, my husband and I received the invitation of a lifetime - to participate in our church's Prophetic Presbytery. Don't worry if you don't know that is, we didn't either until recent years. A quick explanation of a Prophetic Presbytery is when trusted men and women (oftentimes pastors) seek the Lord's wisdom on behalf of another believer, and then those words of encouragement and prophetic insights are shared with the church. Our church does the presbytery in a way that the candidates are simply assigned a number, and the propheters are not given names or identifying information outside of "married couple" or "single female."

I won't lie, I was hesitant going into this. I had seen a miraculous work take place in our congregation at the previous year's presbytery. The words that were spoken about our church family were just so spot on! There was no doubt in my mind that these pastors could hear from the Lord - and there was no doubt in my mind that the Lord had given them these words share. Too many details were just too accurate for it to be coincidental or made-up fluff. But feeling this way about others didn't take away the doubts in my mind. I stepped up on stage assuming "nice" and encouraging things would be spoken over us, but that it would be generalizations and not really specific to my husband and I.

Boy was I wrong. Holy Spirit knew my doubts, and squashed them with the first sentence spoken over us. The experience was liberating and I have never felt more seen in all of my life. While I have so many thoughts and questions to unpack from the prophetic words spoken over us (and perhaps will do that in later posts), one particular word stuck out to me. Pastor John Prominski looked me dead in the eyes and said, "You love to entertain by making a good meal. You believe issues and problems can be resolved at the table over a good meal."

Insert an old piece of writing published in the Summer 2020 Issue of By Design Journal...

come to the table...

My most favorite piece of furniture in my house is an oversized dining room table. My husband made it for me out of rough sawn cherry that had been stored in his father’s woodshop for decades. The construction of it became a family project - our son, just a tot at the time, handing daddy nails and screws, my father-in-law sharing his expertise in woodworking, and my sister-in-law helping to wordsmith the perfect little poem that was engraved into the corner of the table along with our wedding date. 

When I asked him to make me a table I had one request: I want it big. I dreamed of it being a gathering place - a spot in our home where we could connect every day with each other, and go deeper with friends. In the years I’ve had the table, it has done exactly that.

It is where business deals and godly partnerships have been created. It is where sins were confessed and we prayed over friends as they battled to save their marriage. It is where we have taught our children manners, but also racial injustice, how to respond in love and how important faith is. It is where we have had breakfast with single friends longing for a family,  Bible study brunches, lunches erupting the laughter of little ones and dinners of all kinds with all different people from different walks of life. It is where we have sipped wine once the kids are tucked into bed and dreamed about the years to come. It is where play doh cakes have been made, and so many “happy birthdays” have been sung. When I think about doing life with people, I think about inviting them to my table, feeding their bellies and learning about their souls.

a prominent piece...

I love that Father God spoke to Pastor Prominski about my love for the table and a good meal. One year, many years ago now, we made it our goal to invite a new family over for dinner each month - it was our way of getting to know new families in our church and in our community. Daily, our table is used to talk about our days, teach our kids scripture, and has become our safe place for big family conversations. In this season of life, as I see the Lord shifting and tugging on my heart in new and different ways, I see this table being a prominent piece of that. "I see God using you tremendously to restore; hospitality and acts of service are aspects of your ministry. If not known yet, it certainly will be," he went on to say.

Whatever is in store next, you can all rest assured knowing that there will always be room at the table, and a hot bowl of soup will be ready to be served.

"Sit down and be set free, come to the table"

Sidewalk Prophets

alison stoner

Alison is the Founder & Editor in Chief of By Design Journal. She and her husband, Matt, are raising their four children in southern Michigan. Alison is passionate about women's ministry, in particular, the freedom and healing that comes from women sharing their testimony with others. A hot cup of coffee and a beautiful bouquet of flowers will always brighten her day. For more from Alison, follow on Instagram @alisonrosestoner.

Photos by Alexa Irvine.

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