Around the Table

For months I prayed over this day...

The day had come, it was the Grace's Table Christmas Celebration.

Volunteers gathered and we prayed that Jesus would be known and that the girls would walk away from this night knowing more about their value, and we left it in His hands.

We took family pictures and checked little ones into childcare, and then the mamas gathered in front of a special door. A door that led to a fine dining experience and so much more.

The door was opened, and there were squeals of delight, gasps for air, and hands flung to cover their faces, because it really was a site to behold. And then she asked...

"Is this really for us?"

Yes, sweet girl, this is all for you. 

And the tone for the evening was set. From family pictures and amazing childcare, to a 4-course meals that is still being talked about, to a portion of the night where we affirmed value - these mamas know they are loved!

Later in the evening each of the girls were given a gift of a mirror. Ms. Karla, one of our volunteers shares the following...

"My favorite part was when we gave each girl, one-by-one, a mirror to look into and then told them all the magnificent things about them and their unlimited potential."

Many of the words they heard that night had been shared by their peers. We collected them and added some affirmations and then had the privilege of speaking truth into their lives.

How did the moms feel about this? One mama shares...

“I’ve never felt so loved and appreciated before in my life until last night”

Thank you to our Christmas Angels, Partners, Sponsors, and Volunteers. You made this night possible and our hearts are filled with gratitude!

Merry Christmas!

Lisa E. Anderson
Founder of Grace's Table

P.S. If you are celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas with us - You have helped us raise One Partridge in a Pear Tree, Two Turtle Doves, and Three French Hens. THANK YOU! Today is Four Calling Birds ($600), almost the equivalent of a month of Life Skills Courses. Grab some friends and see if you can help us reach today's goal.

Sometimes you just have to praise Him...

We took our picture on the front steps and I could see a bit of hesitation in her eyes. As everyone hugged and said our goodbyes she asked, "Lisa, will you pray for baby J? He failed both of his hearing tests and it will be one month before we retest." I asked Baby J's Mama if it was okay for some of us to lay hands on him and pray right then and there. She welcomed that and myself, my Mom, and another young Mama began to pray over this little stinker that has stolen our hearts in just a few short weeks. 

You see this space that you all have helped us cultivate, the one where mamas from all over Kent County come to by foot, car, and bus. It is this space that you have and continue to help transform into a safe haven with loving and caring adults where mamas know they can share life, ask questions and ask for prayer. 

This space is open to anyone of any belief who is a teen mom between the ages of 13-24 who is seeks community. We do pray over our meals, and each week I make an offer to the mamas that goes like this,  "If you would like me to pray for you in the week to come please let me know and I will gladly do just that".  This is simply an offer, we do not push anything on anyone. There is just an invitation.

Not everyone in this space is a Jesus follower and I love that! I do not want to only surround myself with people of my own beliefs. I want my life, words, and home to shine and reflect Jesus to all. It is not only through the adults that Jesus shines here, but through mamas who will pray for mamas and those who give good report. It makes an impact when adults share of His goodness, but when another mama is the one to share of His goodness...WHOAAA! Brace yourself! 

Now back to the story. Fast forward one month...Last night as I asked if I could pray for anyone in the week to come this mama said, "Well, I have a praise! Baby J passed his hearing test!" Come on you guys! Talk about the power of Jesus. The mamas all celebrated together and it was a great way to start off that part of the evening. My soul is blessed by these sweet families!

It is with sincerest gratitude that I thank you for partnering with us to make Grace's Table happen each week ❤️

 

It Takes A Village

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If you would have been in this space tonight you would have heard and seen so much and I am convinced your heart would have burst from the beauty. It's impossible to contain the joy and love and sadness and joy that all exist within this space. 

The sounds alone are incredible. The squealing delight of little girls that is so high pitched your ears might just bleed a little. Or the cooing of a two month old little boy who has so much to say he can't possibly get it all out. A mama speaking in Spanish to her son and he responds and their conversation is seriously music to my ears, but then it is what I see that moves me to tears. 

A mama who gets down on her daughter's level to provide guidance and when she doesn't listen she redirects her out of the room to sit in another room and take a break. Not only did this mama do this one time, but three times and when patience was wearing thin, this mama chose to walk away because she needed a break and what happened next is more than I could have asked for. 

A mama follows the mama to encourage her and cheer her on. Another mama steps in to take over where one had left off and every mama in this house shifted to a new space. The space where she now needed to be. It was like everyone knew exactly what their part was in this village. In this tribe where mamas love one another and each other's children. Where nobody was threatened by anyone else helping them or their children. This was a beautiful picture of not just community, but FAMILY. 

Where encouragement amongst mamas ended in prayers for strength right there on the porch and love and community was not only sensed, but experienced. This is what we are about. This space is a foundation in the lives of many. This place represents stability. This space is love. 

 

Because of you

Last week during dinner a young lady began sharing her story of becoming a mama at fifteen and what that journey has looked like over the past four years.

You see our table presented a safe space for this precious mama to begin sharing about the tragedies, traumas, and deep wounds she carries with her each and every day. This table where meals are shared was a place that she felt free to exhale. This family she has said yes to was a place where she could begin sharing her story. A place where she chose vulnerability and offered us her sacred story in exchange for being known and I believe the hope of healing to begin taking place. 

Each week families come through our doors searching for something to connect to, something to call their own, a safe place in the midst of the chaos where the noise can be dimmed and they can experience peace and love in a family environment. 

This is possible because of you. The meals that you lovingly prepare, the donations gifted and connections you have helped us forge are the things that make it possible for us to gather our family together into community and we want to say THANK YOU!! Thank you for helping us create the space to love families well. We are truly bursting with gratitude for each of you.

This is about family

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This is about family, a tribe, a little band of people who walk through it all together, up close and in the mess, real time and unvarnished.

And it all started around the table...
— Shauna Niequist

 

In December 2013, we began gathering for dinner and we called these gatherings Around the Table. It was in this space that we would break bread and share life with teen mothers. These words taken from Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist perfectly describe what is happening Around the Table in Grand Rapids. ‪