My in-laws have a supernatural gift for gathering people and throwing a party. The pinnacle of this gifting is displayed weekly on Saturdays at home games for Texas A&M. Leigh Ann, my mother-in-law, cooks all week and organizes her friends who are contributing that week as well. Hayden, my brother-in-law, often has to camp outside on Thursday nights to reserve the perfect location. Then, in the wee hours of the night, Rob and Leigh Ann load the pick up truck and drive the 1.5 hours to College Station. Along with a few other volunteers, the Smiths set up their tailgate complete with food, beverages, grills, chairs, and two televisions to watch the game. They’ve been known to serve over 200 people on a given Saturday and were runners-up for the HEB tailgate of the year (a title they were robbed of in my opinion). They host because they love people. They love to know them, they love to care for them, and maybe best of all, they love to feed them. Any friend of a friend is welcome at their tailgate, or their home, at any time. This tailgate may be the only reason my Longhorn heart begins to soften towards the Aggies.
JR and I made it down to one tailgate this past season and the day was wonderfully exhausting. After a day full of conversations, sweat, and football, we began the painful process of cleaning up. During this time, JR took a phone call from one of his Young Life students. Watching his face, I could tell that something was wrong on the other end of the line. When they hung up, JR explained that one of his boys needed to leave his home and was trying to figure out where to live. He had found a safe place for the night but he was going to need some help in the long-term.
At that point in the day, I was exhausted. I’d been on my feet, I was hungry again, and we were working hard to clean up. But I’d seen generosity all day long. I’d seen the way my family welcomed others and provided for them out of love. I thought of the generosity I had experienced from Telicia and the way my life was forever changed because of that gift. Therefore, without hesitation and without being asked, I said “Well obviously he’ll live with us.” JR smiled because yet again, he was thinking the exact same thing.
4 months into marriage, 4 weeks into the Boyers living with us, Donte moved in. We were out of bedrooms, but our 9 foot sofa fit 6-foot 8-in Donte just right. We didn’t make a life-long commitment to Donte (we’re not fit to be parents yet) but we made a commitment to stand in the gap until we could find the perfect home and forever family for him.
Jesus stands in the gap for me. He meets the needs that I can’t meet myself. He provides for me. He loves me. He makes a way for me to be in God’s family forever. God gave us an opportunity to show a young man these truths by living them out in front of him. Well obviously he’ll live with us.