| from Suzanne Phillips |


“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2

My heart is full.  The label read, “Thank y’all for letting us crash the wedding. Nolan, Ramann, John and Ashton.”


Back story: Two weeks before my daughter Ansley’s wedding and after seriously injuring my knee I hopped on a plane and gimped my way to Ft. Worth, Texas, for parents’ weekend. I split my time between sitting alone on a sofa with my knee iced and prepping for a family get together with Ward, several of his friends, and their families. We had a wonderful time meeting people from all over the country and hearing how they ended up in “The Fort.”


Toward the end of the evening Ward’s crew began to joke around about coming to a party in Georgia, a wedding to be specific. I laughed and joked and played along. A few days later Ward asked “So mom, what do you think about the wedding?”


“What do you mean?” l replied.


“About the guys coming to the wedding?“


“Ward…….were they serious? I thought they were kidding.”


“No, they are ready to buy plane tickets. Don’t worry, if it doesn’t work it’s fine. But it’s fall break and they would love to come home with me.”


Where would they stay? How would they get around? How could I host? Is this crazy? We are about to have a wedding with 250 people….why am I even pondering the thought?


We had a few RSVP’s decline last minute so there was room. Am I crazy?
Then I asked myself…..why would I say no? And, I couldn’t really find a great answer. If they were ok with me not being the “fall break hostess with the mostest” and I could find them a place to stay then there was a place at the table and they were welcomed to take it. I had officially agreed to “wedding crashers” as they so lovingly referred to themselves.


Here’s what I have learned and leaned on over the years: If your children want to spend time with you, say yes. And, if your children’s friends want to spend time with your family, say yes!! Don’t just spend time, make time! Invite your children and their friends into your space and your place, your heart and your life.

There is one thing God has given us that allows us to know our children and that is TIME. The primary sacrifice of discipleship is time. Time is how you influence and impress, it’s how you mold and make memories. And, as your children grow into adults, spending time with their friends is a sneak peek into who they are spending their time with, making their memories with, who they are molding, and who is molding them. As they grow up and begin to launch, there are fewer and fewer opportunities to know the intimate details of their lives so when you are faced with an invitation to a front row seat……say yes!

So the “wedding crashers” came. They had a place at the table and on the dance floor. One of them met Ansley for the first time. And then…….they stayed to pack up the trucks, they unloaded the trucks at midnight when we were too tired to think, they thanked us over and over, they wrote notes to us about how meaningful and impactful the ceremony was to them and then this……a box on the side of the house from Harry and David. The label: ”Thank y’all for letting us crash the wedding. Nolan, Ramann, John and Ashton.” 

The 20-year-old wedding crashers from California, Alabama, Oklahoma, and Texas sent us a gift box from college. Yep. I smiled as I opened the box of pears and goodies and thanked God for the opportunity to know them and to know my son better. I had a chance to experience who Ward is drawn to and who he spends time with…..it appears by all accounts and by the time I spent, he is choosing well.

There is always a place at your table…..even at the wedding banquet. Is there a place at yours? The holidays can be a time to protect “family time” or a time to open your doors and expand your table. Who may want to spend time with your family? Who may need to? Do your children have someone they want to invite into your life. There may just be a blessing wrapped up in the unexpected. Don’t let logic and perfect planning rob you of life and making memories! Time is short and oh so valuable….don’t just spend it, make it!


Suzanne is a storyteller with a desire for connection, a teacher with a heart for transformation, and a visionary with a commitment to the family and discipleship. A season of trauma and the loss of a child led Suzanne to a radical conversion and a passionate pursuit of truth. 

Suzanne is the co-founder of Ignite the Family, a ministry with a mission to help families live out God’s design for the family. She is also a  co-founder of Legacy Community Academy in Atlanta, GA, a unique hybrid academy and model of education with a vision to launch mission-minded student leaders who shape culture. Suzanne is wife to Lane, mama to Ansley, Ward, and Lilly, and mom-in-love to Will.  At any given time you will find Suzanne with a book in her hand, people at her table, an idea on her mind, and family in her heart. She is motivated by seeing others live out their unique calling and loves serving as an associate for Celebrate Kids.