There she was, sitting in a corner by herself.
As she aimlessly ruffled the pages of her science folder, her sweet face turned downward showing no expression. My heart tightened as I glanced around the room.
Everywhere I looked girls giggled, moms chatted, and boys gobbled the remainders of pizza left over from our home school group’s party.
But she sat.
I scurried to her trying to make up for lost time, yet I knew that as the leader of her group and not a peer; it wasn’t quite the same.
Just last week, her mom shared with me that her daughter didn’t feel like she fit in, and yesterday, the evidence smacked of it.
We all have that young girl bottled up somewhere in us, and personally being involved with women’s ministry, I’m struck again and again how we wrestle with those feelings.
It makes me wonder what would happen if we purposed in our heart to attack this very issue?
Just how much could we change our culture if we would all make room for one more?
Let’s expand this further and include our families.
Imagine the ripple effect that would occur if we modeled the “Make Room for One More” philosophy to our children, our extended family, and even our co-workers.
What if each one of us who reads this post, looks with intention over the course of the next three days and pinpoints one person to invite out for lunch, coffee, or even Easter dinner. Not someone we already know well, or have been meaning to get together with, but someone outside of our comfort zone of friends.
An invitation that only gives, not an invitation where we hope to receive. (Luke 14:12-14)
Over the last few years, our extended family has evoked the “Make Room for One More” philosophy at all our holiday gatherings. We’ve hosted international students, refugees, a remarkable woman without a home, a displaced single dad, and even many Islamic guests.
What wonderful memories we’ve shared with new friends of so many varying cultures, world views and philosophies, all because we encouraged each other to make room for one more.
Initially, when we began this tradition, my knee jerk reaction turned inward. My desire to share the holidays with just our special family, and not strangers, skewed my thinking. It was about my comfort, my traditions, and my idea of intimate hospitality. Oh, I am so glad the Holy Spirit convicted me of that selfishness or my family would have missed out on so much.
Last year, I shared this in a post. “Community isn’t about just being together, it’s about doing LIFE together.”
Often, I’m at a conference with hundreds of people, yet feel completely alone. Community isn’t about just being around people, that can be awfully lonely, it’s about doing Life intimately with people, or at least opening that door.
It’s found in these little moments, these life giving opportunities such as making room for one more, even when you don’t want to (1 Peter 4:9), when true community occurs.
You may not know it then. You may not ever know the long-term outcome from your invitation. They may even say, “No,” but it matters. The invitation matters. A lot!
I can already hear you wrestling with this challenge.
My home isn’t big enough.
Our finances are tight.
I’m already swamped trying to do the Easter meal for my own family.
No home is too small that one more can not be invited. Cozy is the new grand.
If anyone can speak to hospitality on a budget, it’s me. I realized during our one year of unemployment, that making room for one more doesn’t have to cost a lot. One of my most memorable moments of Spontaneous Hospitality was a root beer float party. Yep, that’s all we served and we had a delightfully, delicious time.
Not only can you entertain well on a budget, but the best part of spontaneous hospitality, which definitely fits into inviting someone for Easter dinner category, is that your guests understand it’s last minute and everyone’s expectations are lowered. The pressure is off.
If you are already fretting about preparing an over the top meal for your family, and just issuing this challenge brings more guilt, you may possibly be over-complicating your menu.
At 10 Minute Dinners, I have a wealth of easy dinner ideas, but it’s at my lifestyle blog where you’ll find answers for Easter meal planning. By just adding a few more eggs to this Easy Elegant Egg Bake, which mixes up in five minutes, you can make room for an entire family, not just one more. Add my favorite Copy Cat Cracker Barrel Hashbrown Casserole to the menu, along with a fruit salad, topped with a quick and easy dessert idea,and you are set to extend not just hospitality, but a wonderful meal.
(For more ideas, traditions and meal plans, check right here at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.)
Will you join me? Will you make room for one more?
Someone that you will encounter this week is lonely. Someone doesn’t have a place to go for Easter.
Honestly, it may be you, but you just might be the very conduit to which someone else meets Jesus for the first time.
Take this opportunity to practice biblical hospitality and begin with that one invitation. It just takes one to create that ripple effect.
(This hangs as a reminder to embrace it all.)
Do Life together.
Do it well. Do it messy. Do it often, but Do the hard thing and Make Room for One More.
It’s possible that this girl doesn’t enjoy small talk and a party atmosphere. If that is the case, her differences should be respected. I think extroverts have a hard time understanding that introverts have different requirements. Certainly people should be friendly to her but they should not try to force her into joining the activities. Just as an extrovert would not want hours of alone time; an introvert would probably not want party time. Maybe out of that group there was another introvert who would have appreciated someone to sit with while the extroverts did their thing.
@Nana, Oh Nana – if that was the case, absolutely, but she’s not an introvert. She retreated out of not finding a group to include her. Fortunately, I went to some moms and they made their daughters aware of the situation and they came and sat with her.
Often, it’s just being aware of those around us and looking out for those that might feel left out.
Cant wait to read more! I never realized how much we have in common… your blog feels like home! 🙂
Oh my God – how this speaks to me, a woman who continually waits for someone, anyone!, to realize there IS a Bible verse about how God puts the solitary into families!!! Looking forward to reading more …
JEannee – I am so humbled that even a portion of it spoke to you. Loneliness is a hard spot to be and even in the midst of it, sometimes the best place to be is by looking to make room for that one more person, and hopefully, someone will do the same for us.
My daughter is struggling with the same thing. She is 11, is home-schooled (which can translate to “weird” to some of her peers), and has ADD, so her approach to life and social situations is often different. She has recently come to me with a lot of hurt over some church kids (sad but true) who are either leaving her out or openly teasing her. I remember that time in my life being a difficult one socially too. Girls at that age can be so obsessed with achieving coolness and can be downright mean in their attempt to gain it. We need to teach our young ladies to always be accepting and to be looking for opportunities to make a new friend.
OH Erin, my momma heart tugs for your daughter. We home school too, so I know that even more having that one good friend is so important. Thanks for sharing. I will keep her in my prayers as I pray for my own daughters with this issue as well.
What a powerful post. I think it is amazing that you have the insight to be able to notice when someone feels left out. Not everyone has this gift and it is so inspiring that you have learned how to use it. “Make Room for One More” is definitely something I want to incorporate back into my life. Thank you for the convicting challenge to notice people and love on them.
This post just reminds me that for the long haul you write thoughtful great posts! Thank you so much for this reminder about doing life. I’m going to continue to work on this. We are planning to have neighbors over for homemade ice creams soon. Cheap and fun. 🙂