20150807-Stuckey-Table2[1]

I stood, eight years old, at my mom’s elbow as she stirred spaghetti sauce. It bubbled and sputtered all over the stove as she tasted, seasoned, and tasted again. She taught me both how to stretch a recipe, and how to laugh off the burned-black cookies. Weeknight dinner or Sunday lunch — our family was always together, passing our plates and teasing each other between bites. It was loud and beautiful.

Beyond stirring, mixing, and chopping at the family table — I learned there is always enough room.

Our table’s heavy wooden leaf sat comfortably in the corner of the room, ready to make space. Space for more of us and our friends who were always welcome. Not one time do I recall my mother saying there wasn’t enough to share.

One of my tall, tan brothers would often cruise through the kitchen, clink the lid of the cookie jar and mention that guy-from-school’s parents were out of town and — could he join us? Sure, she’d say, as she reached in the cabinet for one more can of tomatoes. The answer was always yes. The sauce was stirred, the leaf added to the table, and another plate pulled from the cabinet. I grew up having my arm graze the one next to me. Elbow room was a non-issue compared to reaching out and making space for others.

Now I’m the mom stirring the sauce, and I think of that table often.

I wonder if we are making enough space at our own table, scraping chairs over hardwoods and nestling in extra place settings. What’s more, I wonder if we are making enough space in other areas. Our churches. Our playdates. Our small groups. The internet. I wonder if we are always making room for more or simply saying, us four and no more.

In Acts 9, we meet a disciple named Ananias. Jesus told him to find Saul, who was well-known for hating Christ followers, and to care for him. Not merely be polite to him, offer a smile, and a “God Bless” but to hands-on care for him. The result of Ananias’ obedience was nothing short of amazing. Saul was God’s chosen instrument, the catalyst for the spread of Christianity throughout the Roman Empire. {See Acts 9:15}

What would happen if we had that kind of crazy open door obedience?

To seek out those who look, act, and think differently than we do.
To entreat those who are anything but fine and to care for them with the hands and feet of Jesus.

What if we continued to make space at the table?

Oh, friends. That is one table where I need to be.
The one that keeps growing and including, adding leaves and mismatched chairs.
I want to be the one who scoots over and then scoots over again to make room.
I want to be at the table that is in the main business of making space.

May we never mind rubbing elbows and sharing ourselves with one another.

We are the body of Christ — made up of all our different, broken, and mended parts. Not only do we need each other, we are made far better by being together.

And when we make space for one another, we may just find a lot more room for God Himself to be in our midst.

Related: Gift this inspiring art print to encourage a friend and remind her that you’re in this together, always.

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  • KristinHillTaylor

    I love every bit of this. I have a picture near our table that says, “Come on in … There is always room at the table for you.” It’s a paraphrase of Rev. 3:20 and it’s the perfect reminder of making room for others. We have a big square table and I love when it’s full and an extra person is squeezed on the side with the bench. It’s so fun to see you with these words here today! xoxo

    • http://www.happygostuckey.com/ Cynthia Stuckey

      I have a picture like that too, Kristin! It’s a beautiful reminder. Would love to visit your big square table– especially to see when you have one more little face there soon, right? Anticipating with you!

      • KristinHillTaylor

        Is it from Gracelaced? :) Oh how I’d love a lingering conversation with you in person too! And, yes! One more face is due to arrive around Sept. 28. She’s going to be here soon! Ah!

        • http://www.happygostuckey.com/ Cynthia Stuckey

          YES! I picked it up at Allume last year. :) Love Ruth and her art. September 28th is SO soon! Can’t wait to hear the news!

  • Meredith Bernard

    Cynthia, this right here is good stuff! As good as your mama’s spaghetti and my Granny’s chicken pastry. <3 Reading this brought back so many fond memories of eating around my Grandmother’s table…always with the leaf added and always an extra body that became family for a day, if they weren’t blood kin already. So much to be reminded of here, so much to embrace in day-to-day life. I’m with you, friend. Ready to make more space for others and let God in, in the process. Love this. Love you. <3

    • http://www.happygostuckey.com/ Cynthia Stuckey

      Meredith! Sounds like we had the same childhood. :) Yes– I completely agree, it’s a day to day thing– that’s actually more what I need to work on more. It can be easy to invite in for “big” events, but to always have our door open– that’s a bit more tough. Glad we can hold the door open together, friend and so thankful for you! <3

  • Karrilee Aggett

    Oh I love this friend, and I love seeing your words here in this space!

    • http://www.happygostuckey.com/ Cynthia Stuckey

      Thank you Karrilee! Glad to see your face as well!

  • http://martysmoosetracks.blogspot.com/ Marty

    Love this! Thank you so much for this reminder. :)

    • http://www.happygostuckey.com/ Cynthia Stuckey

      Thank you Marty! I’m happy you stopped by.

  • Beth Williams

    Cynthia,
    I love this idea of one more. Reminds me of the song “Room at The Cross”. “There’s Room at the cross for you…There’s room at the cross for you…Thou millions have come there’s still room for one…There’s room at the cross for you.” God is always looking for one more person to come to Heaven and we can be His guiding light. We can and should include one more in all our groups.
    Blessings :)