Some people make an impression the first time you meet them. I first met Lucy Shaw when she was a freshman at McNary High School in Keizer, Oregon. From day one it was obvious that Lucy lived life "on purpose", and loved with great purpose. She is still doing that today as a wife and mom to three boys. The way "Team Shaw" does family life has inspired "Team Williams" to live with even more purpose around the table. Enjoy Lucy's post my friends, I trust you will be as encouraged as I have been. As I set the dinner table for my family of five, I look down to notice three dime-sized divots carved out of the beautiful dark wood. My three boys and husband make their way to the table and I say,
“Take a look at this you guys! I think a rat has been here, chewing on our family table!” My five year-old, Teak, immediately replies, “I DID NOT do that with my fork!”
That farmhouse table with the divots in it has become a sacred place for my family.
Much like my five year olds ambiguous confession, that table is a place where our vulnerabilities and truths unfold.
Our table is the space where we intentionally make connections with one another.
With three boys at differing stages of development Ty (10), Teak (5), and Beau (19 mos.), it can be challenging for our family to find consistent ways to connect.
Our oldest son wants to play a board game, our middle son cannot sit still for the duration of the game, and our youngest son wants to chew on the game pieces. Maybe you can relate?
One intentional move that has worked for our family to connect, has been to gather around our dinner table and each reveal a “Woo” and a “Wow” from the day.
The “Woo” represents the low point of our day, and the “Wow” highlights the best part.
This simple prompting has been a way for Chris and me to connect with the day-to-day events of our children’s lives, and ultimately to connect more deeply to their hearts. We recently added another question to the “Woo and Wow” routine:
“How did you see or experience God today?”
It absolutely floors Chris and I to hear how our children translate their experience of God in the simplest places of life.
Sometimes it is in the beautiful clouds, a kind smile, an answered prayer, or even laughter at recess.
My oldest son Ty, recently gave an answer to the “God” question that stopped me in my tracks. He thoughtfully responded,
“I saw God today when I was out in the naturescape at school. I was building a little birdhouse. It occurred to me that God paid attention to every detail when He made me, just like I was giving thought to exactly how I wanted my bird house to be.”
Ty’s answer was definitely my “WOW” of the day!
Not every day is a “WOW” day and sometimes we report that we did not see or experience God at all that particular day. Do you ever feel that way?
Maybe It is the unanswered prayer that you have prayed for years. Maybe it is the exhaustion you feel at the end of the day when the “to do list” is still unfinished. Maybe the grind of your job leaves you feeling worn-out and dry. Maybe you are experiencing deep hurt over a relationship that won’t heal.
It’s on those days that our family has been encouraged by a visual picture that I borrowed from the pastor and founder of Axis Ministries, David Pritchard.
Through a family tragedy of his own, David wrote, “…Regardless of how much of the moon we can see, even if the moon is completely covered by clouds; we know the moon is always round. In the same way, God is always God no matter what.”
The farmhouse table for my family of five is a sweet spot in our lives where we connect with each other, connect with God, and allow vulnerability to dance.
We celebrate the WOWS together, sometimes even claiming the day as a “Wow-Wow” day. We also love each other through the “Woos.”
Hebrews 10:25 says, “Let us not give up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another…”
It is in our connecting time around the table that we can boldly claim through the “Wows” and the “Woos” that “the moon is always round and God is always God.”
1) Do you have a consistent connecting place for your family or roommates? Do you have traditions that shape your opportunities to connect with each other and connect with God?
2) How can you and your family intentionally be on the lookout for God?
3) When there is no other task left at the end of the day but to enjoy the people you love the most, gather around your table and be brave enough to share the real deal.
- A special thanks to my friend, Morgan Tyler, for teaching me the ways of the “woos” and the “wows!”