Over dinner

Last night I couldn’t quite get dinner on the table at the right time. Poor Dan and Liam choked down some quite “al dente” rice as they rushed out the door to soccer practice.

I was grumpy as I banged food onto the table, and barked orders at the kids to get their hands washed and reminded them that “if they weren’t at the table by the time we prayed they didn’t get to eat dinner”. I’m not sure this is a Biblical principle, I don’t at all recommend using this one, friends.

Taye asked to pray, and defeated, I let him. He droned on for about 3 minutes about whatever he could spot as he looked around the room until I finally cut in to cue him with “and thank you for our food…in Jesus’ name…Amen”

I started cutting pork into pieces on plates, portioning out peas, buttering banana bread, and squirting BBQ sauce onto plates while sneaking the smallest amounts of rice onto the plates of tiny upturned noses around the table. I was hungry and I liked the fall meal, so I tucked in and let the conversation roll.

I finally got sick of the girls talking loudly and incessantly only to each other while Taye’s frustration level that he couldn’t get a word in edgewise escalated to moans, whines, theatrics, and a fork-flinging-peas incident. <insert mom implosion here> I drill-seargently ordered the girls to take a bite and not speak for one minute and that while they were chewing they were to think of a question to ask Taye so he could be included in the conversation.

After a minute, the girls started pummeling him with questions. One of them ended up being about what verse Taye was learning in his class this week. He couldn’t remember, but that part isn’t important.

What is important, is that somehow talking about a Bible verse launched us into a really deep discussion about faith. Taye asked how we could become bad, and I told him we were not going to become bad because Jesus has asked us to try to be good people and make good decisions.

I must have inhaled for one second, because Ellison, my preacher girl, jumped in.

She talked about how Jesus had to die on the cross because of how bad we were. And then she went on to share her salvation story–even repeating word for word her prayer when she asked Jesus into her heart one night.

Addi did the same.

Having never heard the girls so overtly talk about being saved, I started asking them questions about how they knew Jesus was in their hearts, and how their lives are changed, and what they are responsible to do or not do now that they have Jesus in their hearts. Their answers just blew me away as I was expecting to be answering a lot of the questions I was asking.

They are not too far off–I think that for their age and stage, their head knowledge and a pretty decent foundation is there. Now, do I see them living it out…well, they’re kids and they make a lot of mistakes. But I would have to say that yes, I see glimpses of fruit and moments of faith happening in their lives.

After my barrage of subtle questions, the conversation turned elsewhere and I let it. I sat there chewing, but certainly trying to take it all in and remember every word so I could tell it to Dan later.

I can’t remember every word, but I definitely remember the moment and the discussion.

Earlier in the day I had been listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast where Susan Miller was sharing about “Navigating the Challenges of Moving” and shared a statistic about families who ate dinner together. That statistic made so much sense in that moment after moving through a big faith milestone in my own family. Listening to my little girls share their testimonies and practically witnessing to their little brother at the dinner table is something I will never forget.

It just made me more aware of the fact that despite my terrible mood and attitude leading up to dinner, despite the quality of the food in front of us, despite a few family members being missing, God still showed up and redeemed the moment.

Yesterday I took a closer look at some men in the Bible who were tasked with great things that only required faith in God and showing up. And I felt like I got a little glimpse of that over pork chops and rice last night.

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4 thoughts on “Over dinner”

  1. Practically witnessing? They were! This is a great story. I love how you just let it roll and unfold…and also how you paused to realize God redeeming your evening. We’ve all been there…barking orders, throwing plates on the table, being offended our food was turning up noses…and I’m sure also being touched by God as well. Sometimes I hate family dinners, by that time of day, I am spent and cant stand the incessant chatter. And other days, like this one for you, I love it, for it’s results. It is one part of our day that we regained probably three more nights than usual after moving here. I am so thankful for that.

    1. It was definitely stream-of-consciousness writing, Luanne. I am so glad to hear I am not the only one who sometimes hates family dinners–especially when the food I’ve worked so hard to prepare to nourish my family is ill-received, and the noise, noise, noise, noise gets to me really quickly. BUT, sometimes there’s a nugget of greatness that happens around the table, and those are the moments that keep me encouraged to keep it up.

  2. Okay…so your story moved me to tears! Keep encouraging the atmosphere for talking about Jesus…may it never ever stop!!!

    1. It was so not me. I threw up a silent “hail Mary” kind of “save this meal, Jesus” prayer as I sat down, and look at what He did. Humbling.

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