I was going into 11th grade outside of Chicago as our family started over again in a new city, new schools, new house. We’d moved to the DC suburbs just two years prior and moved houses between my freshman and sophomore years, as well. When I overheard my parents say the move to Illinois was definite, I excused myself from a dinner banquet to throw up in the bathroom. I never did feel really at home in our Illinois town, and I left for college after two years anyway.

But family was home, and within the walls of every house, duplex and apartment, my parents created a space that made everyone who crossed the threshhold feel like family.

Welcome_Gracetable

Doors were left unlocked, and high school and college students could count on free haircuts, grilled cheese sandwiches, a listening ear, a place on the couch to watch TV, and big hugs from my tiny mama. It was her brand of hospitality that inspired these lyrics:

Here’s a key to my front door
Got a pillow if you lost yours
You’ve got a seat at my table
You’ve got a home
Here’s somebody who believes you
Let truth remind you
You’ve always got a place to go to
You’ve got a home

I don’t have my parents’ gifts, my hugs aren’t quite as magical, but music has become a way for me to set a table and invite others to grab a chair and share life together.

The table isn’t out on the lawn, but here inside with unfinished walls and mismatched socks in view. Vulnerability is crucial to hospitality. People are most at home in spaces where we recognize ourselves.

We don’t come to connect with trendy rugs and furniture; we come to connect with fellow humans. We don’t love the couch; we love the way the couch makes us feel. We don’t replay a song because it is perfectly crafted but because it makes us feel something, believe something.

songwriting_gracetable

Growing in my parents’ house, I understood that being truly seen can change the entire trajectory of a person’s life.

“I love you” can keep a person alive for one more day.

The marvelous truth is that God made humans touchable through something we can only hear. Intangible sound waves tethered to lyrics that peer into our sacred spaces are rooms with unlocked doors. They reflect our very souls back to us.

A great song pulls you in like an old friend and serves you a cup of something both brand new and strangely familiar. You drink it down and believe you aren’t completely solitary after all.

The artist arranges the furniture, lights a candle, pours a drink and opens the door.

Come in, friend!

Talk. Rest. Dance like a kid, or get on your knees and weep. Come and go and come again.

Mi casa, su casa.

giveaway

Christa Wells is graciously offering one reader an album of their choice. <— click here to select your album. To enter, simply leave a comment below. Giveaway closed Friday, Oct. 2 (U.S. residents only, please) 

 

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Christa Wells / Posts / Blog
Award-winning singer-songwriter Christa Wells writes deep-reaching, piano-driven alt-pop songs about family, home, grief, and hope. Feed Your Soul, released in 2013, was recorded at Zodlounge Music in Nashville and represents a departure from her past records. From the title track’s horn lines to the driving kick drum and rhythmic hits on “The Way That You Love Me,” it’s bigger & sassier, even as it maintains Wells’ recognizable introspective lyricism. In 2006, Christa was named Songwriter of the Year by the Gospel Music Association for Natalie Grant’s recording of “Held.”Since then, she has performed 30-50 dates a year (varying by season), frequently with collaborator Nicole Witt, while continuing to write for other artists. Christa has written for and with a number of recording artists, such as Plumb, Selah, Sara Groves, Nicol Sponberg, and Point of Grace. Christa currently lives with her family in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • Debra Boucher
    http://cascadinglife.org

    This captures the heart of what I want to create in my home. Here, you find home. As a child, I longed for a safe place to be. I became a student of home, learning how to create space for love and safety. As a wife and mother I created the space I longed for. Thank you.

    September 28th, 2015 8:06
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  • Lori Harris
    http://loriharris.me/

    Welcome to the table Christa! You’re so right- people absolutely long to simply connect with other people. We forget the miracle of human connection is often the way that Jesus chooses to make Himself known to us. {also- I’m a super fan. <3}

    September 28th, 2015 8:17
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  • Katrina S

    What a true and lovely post, thank you.
    I was so excited to see Christa’s name as the writer!
    I “found” her through the Escape to the Lake EP, and was blown away and drawn in (can one be both?) by the depth of the lyrics.

    September 28th, 2015 10:02
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  • Sally Tempro

    This speaks to my heart on so many levels. And yes…”I love you” can keep you alive for one more day.

    September 28th, 2015 10:05
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  • Curt Snow

    Well said, Christa! We also moved around a lot when we were kids, so I can relate to you “leaving the table to throw up in the bathroom”. But we also had a lot of love in our home when we were kids.

    And my wife and I did our best to also create an atmosphere in our home where people always feel welcome and at ease, with no need for putting their guard up when they walk in the door. I wasn’t raised in a Christian home, but now, as Christians, we work hard to create an atmosphere where God’s peace flows easily.

    Thank you for the awesome music and lyrics you write. They speak to so many, including me 🙂

    September 28th, 2015 13:38
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  • K Bumgardaner

    I love your thoughts on hospitality. Thanks for sharing.

    September 28th, 2015 14:50
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  • Leah Adams
    http://www.leahadams.org/

    How beautiful! So much of this post resonates deeply with me. I have not moved around a lot, but I regularly open my home to folks who do and I know what you say is true. They find home and love and food as they come through my doors. Love this post!

    September 28th, 2015 19:23
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  • Jenaya Newhouse

    Love this.”People are most at home in spaces where we recognize ourselves.” I’ve been writing some poems about this lately. ….your metaphors hit home.

    September 28th, 2015 20:29
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  • SimplyDarlene
    SimplyDarlene
    http://www.simplydarlene.com

    That bit about hair cuts and grilled cheese sandwhiches really is the best.

    Christa, your music indeed serves up something new, yet familiar… it’s a peace and hands reaching for the sky sorta joy. Truth with rhythm. Grace for the livingroom and kitchen table and car and yard. 🙂

    October 1st, 2015 11:21
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