Remember this eavesdropping story that took place in a North Carolina café?
“Our generation needs women like you to pour into us.”
These words, from the lips of an eighteen-year-old woman, continue to flow through my mind as smoothly as the coffee tasted that morning.
Several weeks following my cafe encounter, Brian and I hosted our first small group from our new church. We were told ahead of time that the majority of the group consisted of college students.
I felt a rush of excitement over the opportunity to meet these young women but it didn’t take long for insecurities to rise and take their place. You didn’t attend college, so what could you possibly offer these young women? Why would they care what you have to say? Why are you in this group anyway?
All this while trying to rescue a dozen chocolate chip cookies from our gas-fired oven. But before they had time to cool, the college students, mostly female, began filing through our back door, two-by-two.
And I did what any good southerner would do—I hugged the puddin’ out of them.
We ate, drank hot tea, laughed, shared, studied and prayed that night. My insecurities fell like scales from my eyes. Like Saul, I was able to see—really see. The connection between “the girls” and I had nothing to do with me, my strengths, and especially my weaknesses.
I put my insecurities back in their place⏤at the foot of the cross.
It’s not about what I have or don’t have to offer. It’s about what God has to offer through me.
A few weeks after our first meeting, I asked the girls if they might be interested in coming over for a little tea party. “Will there be sugar cubes?” one asked. Why oh my, yes!
Because Valentine’s Day was right around the corner, it soon evolved into a bona fide Valentine’s Day Tea Party.
Because I was expecting twelve and my great-aunt’s Apple Blossom china plates only counted to eight, I ordered a stack of ornately trimmed plates decked out in peachy-pink from Amazon. They come in an array of gorgeous colors and they were the perfect fit for both the table and my budget.
The love of my great-aunt, who purchased a piece of this china with every paycheck, was present through the use of these treasured teacups and saucers. (Did I mention she purchased these pieces for me even though I was a baby at the time?)
I found these individual cupcake holders in the Target dollar bin, along with the larger pedestal platter that held vanilla doozies wrapped in sprinkles. On each pedestal, a light pink gauzy ribbon was attached, even though they’re barely visible in the picture.
After we munched on scones and sandwiches between sips of tea, I passed around this heart-shaped basket. Inside were hearts, one side gold, and the other paper, with a handwritten verse about God’s love.
We closed out our evening together by taking turns lighting hand-held candles. After each candle caught flame, the gold heart was flipped over and the verse was read aloud. It was a sweet time of worship.
My girls. Beautiful, inside and out.
Before leaving, they picked up this little bag filled with a Starbucks gift card, colorful gumballs individually wrapped, and chocolate kisses dressed in Valentine colors.
Looking back, I believe God began preparing my heart that morning in the North Carolina cafe. I could’ve never known that within a few months, the road would lead to my celebrating God’s love with a group of young women who’ve stolen my heart.
Like all stories penned by God, beauty unravels at every turn.
Is there some area in life where you’re holding back because of your insecurities? I’d love to pray for you. Private message, email, or leave your request in the comment section.
Which part of the tea party is your favorite? Do share!
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Cathy, I’m sure Aunt Nell was smiling down at your tea with pride.
I hope so. 🙂 Love you!
Cathy, Your tea party looks amazing. I am sure each girl felt loved. Blessings!
Thank so much, Maureen. That was my prayer. Blessings!
My favorite part of the Valentine’s Day Tea Party was the lighting of candles and the reading of God’s love for us. I can’t help but wonder where someone like you existed when I needed such sweet intervention, friend. Your girls will remember God’s message through you, Cathy. I am grateful you didn’t allow our Enemy to squash your party before it started 🙂
Me too, Charla. 🙂 God is good! The lighting of the candles was my favorite too. The only thing that would’ve made it better was having you join us around the farm table.
I love the tea party (I think I always say “I love…” every time I comment on your posts. :)The cupcakes look soooo good. It makes we want to gobble one up!The last pic of the girls with their candles lit and all their sweet faces — love that too!
Aww, thanks Connie. Seeing the girls faces surrounding my table is a memory I won’t soon forget. Thank you for taking the time to share. 🙂
My favorite part is your finding the little cupcake pedestals in the dollar bins at Target, such a providential provision. <3 I'm delighted to learn these young women are sitting under your gracious influence by the Father's grace.
You’re so right, Sandra! I love how God provides for even the smallest of things. Thank you for sharing. 🙂
I loved every part of your story! You are an inspiration to me and many others! I would like to have something similar for friends and family as an Open Greenhouse and Afternoon Tea. May I borrow some of your ideas? Thank you! And may God bless you with more Lady Teas as you share your life.
Absolutely, Sheri! I know your friends and family will be blessed by your tea. 🙂 Thank you for the kind words.
I loved every aspect of the Tea and your detailed description of the party with your girls. Sounds like a fun time and you truly are a Godly example for these young ladies. Blessings.
You’re so sweet, Louise. Thank you for your kind words. It was a special time for sure.
Looks like a great tea time for the young ladies with an amazing hospitlatiy hostess serving their soul, spirit, and senses. You’ve made a life time memory for the girls.
I imagine the Lord saying to His Father, “There’s our good and faithful servant practicing hospitality with our young lambs.”
Uplifting blessings to you too, Cathy.
They fed my soul and spirit as well, Carolyn. Isn’t that the beauty of biblical community? Blessings to you too my friend and fellow tea pourer.
What a beautiful setup and blessing to these young ladies! It is wonderful that you are involved and care so much to make these gals feel special. You probably don’t realized the impact you have upon them.
And you had an aunt named Nell? That was my mom’s name : )
I sure did! She was the professional one of the two spinsters with a Pooh-like voice and quick wit. Thank you for the kind words. I hope they felt special because they are. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to share, Cynthia.
Hi Cathy, what a sweet treat your words are. It is an amazing privilege to he used by Him in such a way you receive the blessing of knowing His love touched others. In Christ, Julie
Hi Julie! Thank you for the *sweet* words. It only takes one visit to your site to know you write about this amazing privilege from experience. You are a blessing to many, my friend.