Sunday Dinners


A close family doesn't just happen. Karen Waddles encourages you to be intentional by recounting what God has done in her own family.

“Karinne and Wesley, stop running through the kitchen! Memaw’s trying to get dinner ready.” Rarely does a Sunday go by without one of our children warning the grandchildren about charging through the kitchen. They run from one room to the next, giggling and chasing each other–completely oblivious to the fact that important things like food preparation and table setting are going on.

And I absolutely love it!

It has become a family ritual for us every Sunday. All the children and grandchildren that live in the area come over for dinner after church. The meal prep begins Saturday evening, cleaning the greens, getting the smoked meats ready, mixing up the macaroni and cheese, peeling the sweet potatoes, and preparing the roast, hams, or baked chicken so they can be slipped into the oven early Sunday morning. And while everything is finishing up on Sunday one of the girls is fixing tossed salad and iced tea to complete the meal.

As we join hands around the table it’s usually Papa’s job to lead in prayer, but this particular Sunday our grandson, Wesley, asked if he could give the blessing. Tears welled up in my eyes to hear him pray.

We sat around the table enjoying one another’s company, and I thought back to my husband’s words many years ago to our children as we sat around the dinner table: “Always remember family. You have to be deliberate about staying close as a family. It doesn’t just happen. Someone has to take responsibility to keep reaching out and keeping everyone in touch.”

A generation later, each of our children has their own family, but those words still call us back together every Sunday. It has become a family tradition, and though it takes a bit of effort, it’s worth every minute of preparation to see how God is growing up the next generation of faithful followers.

It would have been easy in the early years, when our family was under a heavy assault from the enemy, to walk away from it all. What we didn’t know then was that moments like these were what God had in store for us if we continued to trust Him. We had no clue that if we continued to stick it out—one day after the next, trusting Him—that it could or would ever be this wonderful. We have weathered the storm, only because our God is faithful.

Be encouraged today that our God is awesome and faithful. “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6). Your family is a “good work,” and He will give you strength to persevere. Maybe you don’t feel like you have enough strength to muster up the effort to keep moving forward . . . oh, what comfort it is to know that His strength is magnified in our weakness!

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

How do the Apostle Paul’s words encourage you today for your own family? And what family traditions do you observe that are especially meaningful?

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