Around the Table
In March, when things were feeling pretty low, I saw a status update on Facebook by a friend. She had posted a picture of the food she planned to serve "her girls" that Friday night. My friend's name is Lisa and she started opening up her home to teen moms on the east side of Grand Rapids. Her posts were intriguing and I felt this pull to go see her. I messaged her and asked if I could come for 24 hours to see how she spends her time on a Friday night.
We made a plan for July and in March that seemed so far away! This date kept me looking forward to something I could do on my own. Some place I could come and observe and participate with no other attachments. I arrived at Lisa's home at 4:15 on Friday afternoon and we immediately set to work making dinner. We made pancakes, sausage and bacon. Lisa set out fruit and some cookies all the while we chattered a mile a minute.
The oddness of this meeting is that Lisa and I have never spent time alone together. We had many mutual friends that we both loved but we had never had the opportunity to connect. Here we were sharing our hearts and preparing a meal to love some people who would be arriving in just a couple of hours. It was incredible, peaceful and fun!
Our first guest arrived, who was young, pregnant and toting a son no older than two. She was lovely and shy and looked at the ground whenever I looked her way. Her boyfriend had abused her earlier that week and she is to go to court on Monday to testify. My heart was breaking for her soon to be two children and her, a child herself. Soon after a group of ladies arrived with their children. This was a different crowd than Lisa was used but she welcomed everyone like they came over every day. Shortly after Lisa prayed and we began to eat.
My dinner mates to my left and right were quite special. I had Jeannine on my right who was going into second grade. Come to found out her teacher was really "mean" and she was glad to be rid of her. Jeaninne loved sausage and even though it was a bit overcooked she ate at least ten of them!
On my left was Kamal who couldn't fathom why I wasn't using syrup on my pancakes. I told him this is because I prefer salty to sweet and I really hate being sticky. He laughed at me while he stuck his sticky hand on my arm which made me laugh. He was so curious and wanted to talk about where things came from and wondered why things were the way they were in the room. He told me that pancakes come from China and that peas came from Mexico. Who knew?!
Lisa easily related to the people "around the table" and she had this way of asking questions to get them thinking and gently correcting them when she saw what could help them improve. Lisa has named this time "Around the Table" which really depicts the time of sharing. We listed what we were grateful for and shared what was bothering us and needed prayer.
Afterwards we went into the vegetable garden Lisa had planted so that I could take pictures of the families that came. The kids went crazy! Not only do they love having their picture taken but they were so excited to pick the vegetables. It was so adorable how they would take a HUGE zuchinni and just take a big bite out of it like it was candy. Soon the bus would be nearby to pick up our friends so we ended our time with a porch picture and a promise for them to come again soon.
The needs that were seen Friday night are many. Lisa opens her doors every Friday night and I am now praying for people to donate their time to prepare the meal, to donate the meal, to donate diapers and formula to give away, to help these girls with rides and filling out application and the list goes on! Lisa is working on a day that she can use her time to serve these teens full time. She cannot do this alone. I don't know who God has prepared to help her but I do feel the need to share with my friends in case they want to or they know someone who may be interested.
I used to feel guilty that I couldn't help everyone and do everything. Now I realize we all have different gifts and callings so I'm tell you this. If this isn't for you, no biggie. If you pray and happen to think of Lisa, please pray! However, if you are good at marketing, donating, serving, etc and this sounds exciting to you please contact me so that I can connect you to Lisa.