Family

You are Enough! a mentor's reflection (Part 1)

I have this thing for words.

Often I'm too quick to speak them & I repeatedly misuse them. I cheapen them with excess and anger and spill the phrase, "I love you" far too regularly. 

There are times though, when a word or a phrase that I didn't expect to hear catches me so off guard I find myself thinking about it, meditating on it without ceasing.  Often times they are everyday words, words used in grocery stores when speaking of broccoli or chips. While other words are weighted with such significance that they are worthy of being stitched together with photography or a story for our children. 

So in the midst of our evening of gift giving, meal consuming, child caring, photo taking, conversation making I heard such a word is a miracle. Yet, there they were, two young moms, speaking truth to one another, "Girl, you are enough."

Girl, you are enough.

And girl, you are.

You are enough for people to honor and observe.

You are enough, just as you are, to be celebrated through a soul nourishing meal.

You are enough to be photographed, acknowledged, given significance through the lens that captures you just as you are, with all your beauty and scars.

You are enough for your tinies, those little ones that call you mom, who exhaust your mind but cultivate the depths of your heart.

You are enough and yes, this evening is all for you. You are worthy of celebration.

You are enough, you are adequately prepared for your life, you are sufficient for the purpose of mothering and growing and being loved.

In less than 30 days, we will be gathering together to celebrate Christmas 2016 and reflect on a year of journeying life together. Some of the journey has been celebrated on the mountain tops, some in the struggle of the everyday, and some has been wept over in the depths of the valley.

One thing remains true...

YOU ARE ENOUGH!

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.

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. 

 

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. ‪

Something Holy

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This morning a friend posted a blog entry from A Holy Experience and the words on family gripped my heart. Somehow they put pen to paper and described my heartbeat for this family we are building Around the Table. 

And we aren’t merely born into families, families are born out of our reaching out and holding on and serving anyways and giving always. Giving always.

That’s what family means: People love you & keep on holding on to you especially when you’re not lovable.

It’s not only the blood in our veins that make us family — it’s the blood and sacrifice in our days that makes us a family.

Every time we make time for each other, we make family.

Family is a verb. Family is not just what we are, it’s something that we actively keep on making.

Something holy is happening in this space at 835. Family is being built and when we talk about putting other's needs before our own it is happening: you to teen mom, me to you, teen mom to teen mom, and teen mom to me. This beautiful family is learning what it means to be family. It is not easy, it is not always fun, but oh to be known and come home to a space where you know your family is waiting for you and welcoming you with great anticipation. I pray that you would know this love, this family that breaks our heart and also makes it beat strong. There is so much beauty here.