Throughout all of their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out until the day that it was taken up (Exodus 40:36-37).

I think it’s fair to say that hearing from God is not often easy. Not because God isn’t speaking, but because His voice is most often quiet, subtle, barely more than a hushed thought that drifts through our mind, or a strange flutter in our belly when we read a certain passage of scripture, or hear a certain word spoken in such a way that without prompting or effort it embeds itself into our heart.

Hearing from God isn’t a science. There’s no formula or prescription we can follow, no rubric by which to gauge our effort. Hearing from God requires a measure of faith. It requires active listening. It requires paying attention.

I’ve often read this passage from Exodus with a bit of wonder. At face value, it appears that for the Israelites, God made following Him simple: Follow the cloud. Stay when it stays, move when it moves. I’m often envious of this kind of clear guidance. The cloud never vanished from their sight.  The chapter closes by stating that whether day or night, the glory of the Lord was visible to all of the house of Israel throughout all of their journeys (Exodus 40:38).

This particular space, GraceTable, is one over which I have had innumerable conversations with God. From its inception, I have prayed a particular prayer, month after month, committing to carry it only as long as God asked of me, while remaining willing to set it aside, when and if that day came. The dream of GraceTable didn’t come with much instruction. Mostly, God’s presence has been felt in His provision. In the community. In the breaking of bread through stories and the occasional recipe. As much as I’ve wished for such a clear hand of guidance from God, the steps of my own journey have been a practice in listening, and then stepping in faith that I’ve heard correctly.

********

A couple of weeks ago, as I prayed the same prayer I have prayed for years about this space, something was different. The cloud- God- moved. I would have been tempted to doubt my own sensing of it except for the near-immediate confirmation that settled into my heart.

When I reached out to GraceTable’s managing editor, Grace, to share my thoughts with her, she confirmed what I’d heard in prayer.

God was clear.

After nearly 4 years of running this community, the GraceTable “kitchen” is closing indefinitely.

I can’t fully express the strangeness of being told to set something so good down, when there is no obvious reason to step away. But as I lean into this with an effort towards obedience, I have total peace about this decision. For now, I am sure, it’s time for this space to rest. 

There are so many dreams I still carry for this space. So many good ideas. But I know that to remain, when God has clearly said to move, would be a mistake. It doesn’t matter how good the thing in your hands looks if God is telling you to put it down. This is what it means to say, “Thy will be done.” This is what it means to surrender.

From the moment the first story was published here, you have come around again and again to encourage us and share your own beautiful stories of hospitality. You have made every effort here worthwhile, and it has been a humbling joy and honor to sit with you at this table. I close this space for now with the deepest gratitude for you, dear readers and friends. 

What now

For now, GraceTable will remain “live,” but we will not be publishing new posts. Feel free to re-read your favorite articles or search the recipes. Our email list will close as well. We will not be accepting any new subscribers at this time. 

I hope you’ll take the time to follow the writers here at GraceTable on their own blogs, buy their books, and hear them speak whenever the opportunities arise. We are all still active in our various other writing endeavors, ministries and activities. Our hearts are still so much for this important conversation about what it looks like to welcome others and extend hospitality even when it’s hard.

As I close, I want to encourage you to watch and listen for God’s movement in your own life, and when it’s time to go forward into the next thing, or into some territory yet revealed, go with faith, trusting that God leads us on for His glory and our own good, whether we know it or not.

I also want to encourage you that even when it’s hard, even when there is a cost (because there always is),  to keep inviting others into your life and around your table. Keep engaging in conversations that stretch and grow you. Keep your arms open. 

Thank you for the ways you have always welcomed GraceTable into your hearts, into your inboxes, and into your daily feeds. You have been so kind to us. I am grateful beyond words. 


Photo by Erick Lee Hodge on Unsplash
Kris / Posts / Blog
Kris is a writer and artist living in the middle of Ohio. She loves Jesus, people, and words. She is most often found in her tiny kitchen, where she plays with her food. Having recently mastered the art of preparing perfectly crisp dino-nuggets--she is her children's hero.
  • Dea
    http://www.deamoore.com

    Thank you, Kris, for leading by following Jesus. His ways are not our ways. The greatest spiritual growth in my life came when I obeyed the Spirit’s leading to lay down that which was good. I am expectant with you and for you. Go with God.

    February 28th, 2018 9:24
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  • SimplyDarlene
    SimplyDarlene
    http://www.simplydarlene.com

    Ah, Kris –

    What a blessing this site is, and will continue to be, with the stories and insights shared and kept around this cyberTable. Personally, the words and people here have helped fill a gap in my life. And, I’m thankful to have written a piece.

    May He bless you as you continue to shine His light!

    February 28th, 2018 10:02
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  • Shelly Miller
    http://shellymillerwriter.com

    It’s been a privilege to be a writer here from inception of the dream to closing the door. And an honor to be led by your generous heart Kris. You have done a good, good thing here among us and I’m thankful for all your thoughtful work and spirit led guidance.You are a perfect host!

    February 28th, 2018 10:37
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    • Lynn D. Morrissey

      Shelly, I have so loved every delicious (and sustaining) morsel you have served up here. You have been one of the greatest feast-bringers to Grace Table. Thank you for your faithfulness.
      Love
      Lynn

      February 28th, 2018 11:45
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  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Kris, I will admit that this is such sad news to me. I have always left filled from this place, so to say I am sad is a great compliment to you and your grace-filled authors. I’m also sad, because you welcomed a story from me, which I’d written, but I missed the “season” for submitting something which had a timeliness to it (you’d not imposed a deadline, but it was a seasonal piece). There is also another midlife group for which I wrote, which too is ending next month, which greatly saddens me, because I love the leader, and her vision was fulfilling a heretofore important and unmet need in cyberspace. Again, I stress, that my sadness (and likely others who will be when they read your words here) is the uttermost compliment to you. What a feast you have offered up here… none of that oft-Christian-pabulum-saturated dribble. Thank you soooo much! And please let me say by strong word of encouragement, you are doing the right thing, the only thing you can and should do as a devoted Christ-follower. When I left a full-time career (very, very difficult) at 40 out of obedience to God to raise my daughter, surprisingly, He led me to a very fulfilling part-time church job. I gave lots of time to Sheridan, and yet, loved ministering to teachers in the church. I felt very fulfilled. Then, just two years in, one cold February morning over tea w/ God, I read a very similar passage to the one you cited, in Numbers. A cold wave of premonition rushed through me, and I sensed that God was using that passage in a very personal way to speak to me about His “cloud” moving on for me from St. Paul’s Church. I began to pray that way, asking if this is what He meant for me. And mind you, that thought had been the furthest thing from my mind that morning. And lo . . . as I prayed over the next several months, God did indeed confirm His leading, His cloud moved, and I moved with it. I came home full-time to our daughter. There is no question that God (inexplicably) removed me from a loved and highly fruitful ministry. It made no sense. Still, mine was not to equivocate, but to obey. In retrospect, I could tell you many reasons why I believe God did move His cloud for me, which I’ll not enumerate here. But I am so proud of you for putting aside what you love for the ONE whom you love more than His gifts. Thank you for your pure heart, tireless effort, and gracious gifts. I have feasted here, and I have loved getting to know you. (And of course any friend of Christin Lazo is a friend of mine)! 🙂

    Will you be writing elsewhere? Forgive my “sieve” brain, but I can’t recall now if you have your own blog. I’ve generally followed you here. THANK YOU, THANK YOU W/ ALL MY HEART!!! Press on. And thanks for leaving the fruits here of which to partake, according to our individual hunger. That is a real comfort!
    Love
    Lynn

    February 28th, 2018 11:44
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  • Jody Collins
    Jody Collins
    https://jodyleecollins.com/

    Hmmmmm….. I thought this might be your announcement today. The Grace Table journey (and yours in this space) has been a joy and inspiration to watch, Kris. I love the way you model obedience and humility.
    Thank you for letting me share my taco story here…. you never know what God might do with the rest of the stories here as the Table stays ‘live’ in the days ahead.
    I, too, sensed God speaking about stepping down and stepping away from some endeavors at the beginning of this year, but it is always so that He can bring something new.
    Cheering for you.

    February 28th, 2018 11:49
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  • Leah Adams
    http://www.leahadams.org

    Grace Table has been a blessing to me over the past 4 years, yet when God asks us to lay something aside there is purpose in it. I know, without a doubt, He has something in mind…a plan…a good plan that will be a blessing to you and to all associated with GraceTable. So, may God’s blessing fall heavily upon you for your obedience, Kris. Pax…..

    February 28th, 2018 12:00
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  • Sally Tempro

    This makes me so sad, as Grace Table has been a place of inspiration, a place where I can find “realness” and hope. It’s also been a blessing to be able to share this blog with others. Surrender is hard, but oh…so necessary. Thank you for your heart in this space, and for inviting others in to sit at the table. Blessings to you!

    February 28th, 2018 12:10
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  • Elizabeth W. Marshall
    http://www.elizabethwmarshall.com

    Dearest Kris, Grace Table Readers, and Grace Table Contributors,

    What an amazing community this has been. As a contributor, I am deeply grateful to have witnessed Kris’ strong leadership qualities, visionary skills, and consistent obedience in stewarding the gift and vision God has given to her. She is a kind and tender community leader and a cherished friend. Thank you Kris. Your passion and energy are simply amazing.

    Grace Table subscribers, readers, and friends… what an honor and a privilege to be in community with each one of you. Thank you for embracing me, journeying with us, and gathering with us around the table which is this sacred shared space. God bless you. I know many of us will stay in touch and for that I am extremely grateful. You honor me with each comment you have left and each time you have read and shared my posts. I am certain the other contributors share that sentiment. We love this space and the people that gather here. Thank you for walking with me. You are each a gift. God’s peace and grace to you today and always, Elizabeth

    February 28th, 2018 14:43
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    • Lynn D. Morrissey

      Your offerings have been deeply moving, Elizabeth. Thank you! God bless you as you journey forth in your beautiful writing.
      Love
      Lynn

      February 28th, 2018 22:08
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  • Amy A. Bruch
    http://Amy%20A.%20Bruch

    I had only just joined this site…but I am sad to hear this news. I will look at the site and read past posts as long as they are available. Blessings on your way.
    Amy

    February 28th, 2018 14:57
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    • Amy A. Bruch

      Oops….sorry my website name was incorrect. It’s spiritandfirepottery.com.

      February 28th, 2018 15:01
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  • Virginia Hanslien
    http://Liliesfromheaven.weebly.com

    This has been a source of inspiration, comfort, and, of course, community. I know God calls us to move on to other things, but I will miss this place and all that it had to offer.

    Love from one faithful reader is South Korea,
    Virginia

    February 28th, 2018 17:24
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  • Sarah

    Nothing but love for you, Kris! So honored to have been a part of this beautiful space. xoxo

    February 28th, 2018 20:11
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  • Katrina

    This has been the only blog I consistently read… I will miss the new content so lovingly offered, but am thankful that past articles and writings will still be available (at least for a time). Thanks for sharing this space, and thanks for being sensitive to the Lord’s leading with all this.

    February 28th, 2018 21:45
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  • Alia Joy
    http://aliajoy.com

    It has been an honor and a privilege to write among and for so many beautiful friends. This place has been a gift to me to relinquish the stories God’s given me to tell and to read the ones of others who walk this similar journey of pausing to hear from God, and moving forward in our tender faith to invite others to come sit a while, share a meal, break bread, and taste and know that the Lord is good. So thankful. So blessed. So full.

    February 28th, 2018 23:46
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  • Martha Barnett
    http://Martha%20Barnett

    This has been a delightful and inspiring blog site. Through Grace Table I have discovered beautiful people with wisdom for my heart and soul. Thank you! God bless you in your journey with Him!

    March 1st, 2018 9:38
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  • Sandra Heska King
    http://sandraheskaking.com

    It was an honor to sit with you at this table for a season and share from my meager larder of words. My prayer is that God will fill you up as you follow that cloud into unknown territory. I’m still following you as you follow Him. 🙂

    I love you big, my friend.

    March 1st, 2018 17:34
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  • Katie

    Kris, Grace, and the whole team of writers at Grace Table,
    Please know that this table has fed my heart, mind, and soul. Thank you for sharing from His Table and your lives. May Jesus continue to use you for His Kingdom and His Glory.
    Gratefully,
    Katie

    March 5th, 2018 14:30
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  • Edna Davidsen
    https://OurChristianBook.com

    Hi Kris,

    You did a great job in this blog post “On Obedience, Goodbyes and Walking in Faith”.

    Here’s my comment.

    I loved your point in the opening paragraph:

    “I think it’s fair to say that hearing from God is not often easy. Not because God isn’t speaking, but because His voice is most often quiet . . .”

    My first thought when reading this was also that there’s so much noise surrounding us these days that it’s difficult to hear anything from anyone today.

    I agree with you when you say one of the most vital aspects of hearing God’s voice is active listening.

    The best place I know of to do this active listening is in the church.

    That’s the place where we meet with people who come there for the same reason we do, and it’s a place filled with spirit and love.

    Blogs are also great because they’re based on the written word, just as you refer to GraceTable as a place you’ve used a lot for listening to God’s voice.

    Leaving in-depth blog post comments is one of the best ways to reflect on a blog post because it forces us actually to read the whole blog post.

    I’ve also found much inspiration and encouragement here on GraceTable.

    It’s a great blog, and what I especially like about it is its clean design.

    Many blogs are filled with ads, and that’s not suitable for Christian blogs in my opinion.

    There’s a time for everything.

    Thank you to the team here on GraceTable for what you guys have done so far.

    God bless!
    Edna Davidsen

    March 18th, 2018 8:33
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  • Sue Donaldson
    http://Sue%20Donaldson

    I loved what you said about it seemed so much simpler in the OT: see cloud, walk, or not. Neverthelesss, God calls and leads individually to show us that we are an individually loved child of His. So. That’s what you’ve done. Goodbye’s for me, are always tinged with a little sadness (even when I’m ready for the company to be gone!) so I’ll pray comfort, peace and new joy in the new journey. Thank you for your excellent work. Sue

    April 23rd, 2018 17:26
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  • NumbersSot
    http://topratinglist.com

    Ciao!
    Behold is
    a good
    offering for you.

    http://topratinglist.com

    October 22nd, 2018 5:16
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