Tea Party

 

 

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.

Valentine Tea table setting

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?)

Valentine Tea Cupcakes

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.

Valentine Tea Gold Hearts

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.

Valentine Tea Candles

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.

Valentine Tea group

My girls. Beautiful, inside and out.

Valentine Tea Gift Bag

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!

 

 

Pauses for the Vacationing Soul

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