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Hope Around the Table

I’m a part of an amazing community group at my church – the Young Women’s Supper Club.  Our congregation meets in a high school, we experience the sermon via video technology on a huge screen, all of the staff are under thirty-five years old, our worship leader is a legitimate rock star on the side, and by God’s grace, we have a generationally diverse congregation. The latter is one of my favorite things about our precious community.  We are trying new things and pressing into new territory with a wealth of well-worn wisdom in our midst.
On the first Friday night of every month the Young Women’s Supper Club meets at the home of a more “seasoned” woman in our congregation.  She provides the main dish; we bring all of the sides and desserts.  The evening is full of laughter, clicking glasses and forks, women squeezed around a table shoulder-to-shoulder, and lots of chatter.  We each answer a thought-provoking dinner question that reveals something about us…and how we’ve been experiencing God. Then we fill coffee cups and scoop out some delectable desserts on our way to the living room for the highlight of the evening.
Our beautiful hostess, who has lived a little more life…gained a few more testimonies of God’s faithfulness…raised children…been married for a few decades… shares her story with us.  We’ve heard from a woman God delivered from legalism and healed by grace, a widow experiencing the fullness of Christ’s sustaining, ever-present goodness, a woman who has seen God heal her marriage from a horribly difficult season, a woman who had a sad, demeaning upbringing and is now walking in the confidence of Christ, a woman whom God rescued out of Mormonism, and on and on.  Our evening together honors the women who have gone before us and widens and stretches and strengthens our perspective of God.
As Shauna Niequist so poignantly states in her book Bread and Wine, “The heart of hospitality is about creating space for someone to feel seen and heard and loved. It’s about declaring your table a safe zone, a place of warmth and nourishment.”  And that’s exactly what’s happened for our crew – these precious, wiser women have created a safe zone for us.  There is something about being in the warmth and intimacy of someone’s home.   Perhaps we have only exchanged pleasantries on the Sunday morning prior to this gathering, but something happens in a relationship after gathering around the hostess’ table, opening every drawer in her kitchen until a serving spoon is found, sitting in comfort on her couch between picture frames containing her loved ones, and hearing her heart while holding one of her coffee mugs.  There is a quick measure of familiarity, of closeness, of fellowship that is wrought.
Perhaps the most refreshing thing about this Supper Club is that it has become an authentic, safe place for young women to land.  The honesty with which our hostesses communicate their brokenness and the confidence with which they proclaim the redeeming, cleansing, transforming power of God, has set parameters of safety and hope.  Young women are able to come as they are, share authentically, and drink deeply of God’s steadfast love.
So ‘thank you’ to the more seasoned women of Reynolda Church at Union Cross – thank you for commending the works of God to my generation and for declaring His mighty acts (Ps. 145:4).  You are leaving a legacy of faith.
Ashlee Johnson

Ashlee is the wife of a pastor, mom of two busy little ones, and a graduate of Gordon-Conwell Seminary. She is passionate about communicating the truths of Scripture to women and magnifying Jesus as the All-Satisfying Treasure and Almighty Redeemer. She has lived in North Carolina for most of her life and loves making the most of the sidewalks and parks in her 1940s neighborhood. Ashlee enjoys healthy eating and exercising, but finds it nearly impossible to resist homemade cookies!

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