Last August, I was in a job transition. I was stepping down from full-time ministry which had me traveling about 40% of the year. While the role was fulfilling and the team was incredible, I have two little people at home that were needing more of their mom. I took a role with a company that kept me home and more present with my family. I was gaining margin in the absence of a long commute and travel.
In that transition, however, I was losing frequent contact with young women who I had spent a lot of time investing in as a manager and friend. The disappointment of one of these young women in response to my announcement kept me up one night. I was trading in this ministry for the ministry of my family and felt that I had to give up one for the other. But God, in His kindness, nudged me with this answer, “You don’t have to give that up. You can have both.”
And truly out of character for me, I stayed up through that night downloading from God the divine idea of “Around the Table”.
He brought to mind women from every corner of my life, from work and church, from babysitters we frequently used, to friends’ little sisters, and girls I went to the gym with. And they all had something in common – they were primarily transplants to my city, moving here for a job, and were all between the ages of 22 and 28, younger, and a few seasons behind me.
God showed me something about Himself that I have always known to be true. Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in families,” and He wanted me to show them, family. I did not know how I would make space for this amongst my other responsibilities as a mom, a wife, and an employee, but I trusted God and His time.
I asked God to fill my margin, and He was faithful to do it.
I sent invites and gathered the women for a simple premise: come and sit around my table. I catered a nice dinner, brought out the fancy plates and glasses, made place cards, and used napkin rings. I did not ask anything of them except to show up and be known. I made a place and prayed earnestly that community could be built and walls could be brought down around the table, where full bellies could be the catalyst for open hearts.
So, I want to encourage you to do the same.
- Ask God to open your eyes to the women around you, the women younger than you that you can pour into. Jesus’ last command to us was “Therefore go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). While some may be called to go to the nations, you may be called to go to your neighborhood, your job, your gym, or your church. Discipleship is inviting someone into your life, not necessarily adding something to your calendar.
- It is our responsibility to share with those younger than us all the things God has done in our lives. Psalm 145.4 says: “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”
If none comes to mind, ask God to put you in the places where you can steward your influence for good outside of your home. Ask for the margin and He, as the author of time, will give it. God can multiply everything out of nothing. Just think about the boy with the fish and loaves for lunch.
- Start simple. You don’t have to get out the fancy plates and cater a meal. Host a potluck, or after dinner time desserts with cookies from the grocery store. Everyone wants to feel invited and seen, and we are often called to do the inviting and the seeing. Take the first vulnerable step.
- Don’t wait to have it all together. One way the enemy will prevent you from making disciples is by telling you the lie that you don’t know enough, and haven’t seen enough. I am often encouraged in reading the gospels, that the disciples, Jesus’ closest friends, frequently didn’t know what they were doing.
You don’t have to know it all, because you’ve got the Holy Spirit, and James 1:5 promises, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.”
Tory Vore is a writer, communicator, and small group leader with a passion for discipleship and the local church. She writes about motherhood, womanhood, and friendship, with God and others. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband James and two children. You can read more of her occasional writing at toryvore.com.