I attend a tea party in the fellowship hall of a small town church about an hour from my home. This is where my parents had their wedding reception, where my grandparents had their fiftieth anniversary party, where my great-grandparents held hands in the pews.
Today the tables are covered in white linen and each place setting includes a vintage china cup, the kind that tempts you to stick your pinky out when you drink from it. The hostesses of this gathering are the lovely members of my grandma’s Sunday School class, most of whom are now in their eighties.
There is one guest who is a distinct exception to this age range. My granddaughter, Ellie, is here with her Mama and me. She’s wearing a pink bow and charming everyone. At some point I realize five generations of my family are represented; this is beautiful to me.
For the Lord is good, and his faithful love endures forever; his faithfulness, through all generations. (Psalm 100:5)
A couple weeks later I find myself in a room full of diverse ages again. My friend Jennifer Watson, a local pastor’s wife, youth director, and soon-to-be-author had noticed how we tend to silo ourselves according to age and had organized a night for women across seasons and decades to come together.
The women who gathered were not family in the physical sense (but then neither is mine—our daughter became ours when she was twenty-one), but we’re all connected by a different kind of blood. We are sisters and daughters and mamas in Jesus.
Jennifer starts with a word to the senior sisters among us. “We need you,” she says, “You still have so much to offer. It’s never too late for God to use you.” I echo that wholeheartedly—please know we long for your presence and hard-won wisdom. It’s so much harder to walk well without someone going before us.
To those of us in the middle I’d say, “Let’s not miss the divine hidden among the mundane and ordinary. We can touch a life whether we’re holding a microphone or warming up mac-and-cheese in the microwave. Let’s show up where we are, as we are, steadily and faithfully. What’s visible isn’t more valuable.”
To those younger I’d declare, “It’s never too early for God to use you either. Don’t wait to feel ready. We need your optimism and energy, your fresh perspective and your daring. If you received something yesterday—even five minutes ago—then you have something to give to someone else.”
I’m falling in love in a new way with the idea of generations—with the beauty and strength we have when we link arms and stand side-by-side like a glorious timeline of God’s love. Together we can look back with gratefulness for what God has done and look forward with anticipation for what He has yet to do. And we can each choose to make a difference where we are now, in the season we’re living today, in the kitchen, the boardroom, or at a tea party.
This is what my heart understands better each year, what I want to pass on, what I believe: We all have something to offer. We all have something to receive. We are better together.