Tea and Cookies

A neighbor invited us to have tea. This was not on the list of things that needed to be done this particular day if we had written a list. (Remember this.)

A few years ago my oldest daughter was serving in youth ministry. She felt God put it on her heart to invite the women of the congregation to a tea party and the youth groups (middle and high school) would serve them dinner. She felt moved to help bring the older generation into conversation with the younger generation. Perhaps we can choose not to make some of the same mistakes if we will listen to each other’s past. Every age has some important wisdom to share.

We had been to a ladies’ event at another church building where they served several delicious salads. We were praying for these salad recipes. These wonderful recipes would serve many people for a low cost and seemed to be just the right food for this Christmas tea party. Every time we tried to get them we were not able to. The church office was closed, or the people who had the recipes weren’t returning the phone calls, or we couldn’t get to the right connections, or we ran into other problems. It just wasn’t happening. (Remember this.)

We had so many things to do to get ready for this dinner. Stopping for tea seemed maybe not the best choice in the middle of this mission. It didn’t make sense to do this when there were only a few days left to get this work done.

But we prayed again and left the prayer there; in God’s mailbox.

At the same time this was going on…

My youngest daughter loves getting to choose what she will study. We have been in public school many years, a couple years in private school, and now she’s been homeschooling for a few years. Since she learned how to speak she’s always been interested in criminology and forensics. When she was a little girl I would ask what she wanted to be and her answer was that she’s “a brave, strong knight.” When she played on the playground she would find other kids who would spend the recess time creating a team of private investigators to help others solve their problems.

Before we had left Texas when she was twelve she had called the police station and asked for a field trip. She got to go into the police forensic lab and learn how fingerprinting was done. We were praying for how God will lead her to learn more about this kind of work she’s always been interested in since she was a little girl. (Remember this.)

We prayed about answers for her school work and left it in God’s mailbox.

(A little background: We had traveled from Texas and in God’s timing we will serve in Alaska. I’ve had many visions and dreams about this. When we got to the edge of Canada I knew in my spirit it was important to stop in Washington for a while. So here we are. We pray asking God what He wants us to do each day. He’s been teaching us a lot every day. As we wait in faith we stay in prayer.)

The time came to go have tea with the neighbor.

There were so many things that seemed to need done but this felt kind of important also. Though it wasn’t getting any work done for the ladies’ dinner (but it does count as Social Studies for homeschooling,) we stepped into the life of these new friends for some tea and cookies.

The neighbor was very kind and her husband was sharing in the conversation. Even though the prayers were hanging as if on pause in the back of our minds, we were present in the dining room while we shared about waiting on The Lord to open doors for this homeless youth place God has placed on our hearts. And the neighbors shared some about their lives.

God hears and He also answers.

– After talking a little while my oldest daughter mentioned about the ladies’ event she’d been praying over. The woman of the house said her daughter-in-law is the one who had been in charge of these salad recipes for the event we had recently attended.

AND (as if that’s not enough of an answer to prayer…)

– Her son is a police officer in the area and she invited my younger daughter to speak with him to learn about a group of young people called the Police Explorers where youth get to learn about police work.

Having tea and cookies in that dining room with this couple was exactly where we were suppose to be this day. Even if it didn’t make sense that it should turn out to be something so important we did what God had laid on our hearts to do anyway.

BOTH of our questions got answered when we stopped leaning on our own understanding and did what we felt led to do through prayer.

God was in the middle of it all. We just had to stop long enough to hear Him.

We just went where we felt we were suppose to be for the day. It’s pretty simple.

When I took time to think about it I realized through the past several years there are over a dozen times we got jobs, received answers, and were led exactly to the people we needed to talk to when we prayed and then waited and went about life just serving and being wherever we felt God was leading us through each day.

Are you praying and waiting, listening for answers?

Are you just doing whatever and making your own schedule?
Is your heart satisfied with how life is going?

It may seem like your story goes all over the place but maybe that’s just how it goes when it all comes together to make some kind of sense. If we could see the intricate tapestry God is weaving in our lives how much more content would we be to listen to The Holy Spirit’s prompting every hour?

Where are you supposed to be today?

Maybe you need to stop for some tea.

She said, “You mean today?”

She said her family may as well be as far away as Mars. I asked what she was doing for Christmas dinner. If she didn’t have any plans she could hang out with us, play board games, eat dinner, and watch a movie.

We saw her a couple more times before Christmas.

We asked her once more and gave her our phone number. We didn’t want her to feel like she HAD to come to dinner so we didn’t bug her about it again.

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Dinner was almost done and it was around 5pm. We hadn’t heard from her yet. I whispered something like, “Okay, God, I’m not sure what to do. If You want her here, please show us. If not, then okay.”

I called her number. No answer. I left a quick message; something like, “Hey, we’d love for you to still come to dinner if you want to. It’s almost ready to eat. Please let us know. We can come pick you up if you need a ride.”

Within minutes she called saying she was at a nearby store (which was closed for Christmas) and would love to hang out.

She was only a few minutes away from our house. After she was in the car, I told her I could have driven to her house to pick her up. I didn’t mind at all. “Where do you live?”

She said, “You mean today?”

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Our family has known for a long time that we are to help take care of homeless people.

Knowing this, we’ve tried to get involved in local homeless shelters and every year we’re told they have enough help.

~~> What we’ve learned is that people don’t have to ask other people how they can help. Ask God how He wants you to help. He’ll show the way. <~~

He brought a homeless woman to our door for Christmas dinner.

God will make a way when there looks like there is none.

That tug on your heart is there for a reason. Ask God what He wants you to do. He’ll lead you – even in the little things.

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He also leads in the bigger God-sized things.

God put it on our hearts (about one year ago) that He’s moving us to Alaska to open and care for homeless teen center. He makes a way where we cannot see a way.

Prayers always welcome here.

We don’t know everything about how to do this God-sized job but we can look back and see how God has been preparing us for this for over 35 years.  We’ll keep following as He opens doors.

This is all about God and His Power. We are just His hands and feet.

I don’t know how they got homeless.

Guest post by Chloe Liv.
Written on her 14th birthday.

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“This is going to be the BEST Christmas ever! I actually have soap to shower!”

Her words stopped me in my tracks, as a tear ran down my cheek. Her clothes were torn and dirty. Her hair looked like it hadn’t been brushed or washed in a week. She was missing some of her teeth and the ones she still had needed a toothbrush badly. I don’t know where she slept last night, and she probably doesn’t know where she’ll sleep tonight.

And to think I was upset about not getting an ipod for Christmas this year…

I recently went with a church on a mission trip and was homeless for 3 days and nights.

Now I feel guilty that I just got done throwing my fit about not getting a big Christmas, and this woman was crying tears of joy over getting… soap.

My hair is clean. I showered today in a clean shower with hot water. My teeth are brushed. And when I go home I have a nice, soft, cozy bed to sleep in.

I ate dinner tonight. I knew when I woke up this morning that I would eat dinner tonight. And I might have leftovers that would get thrown away.

For my birthday this year and maybe next year and the next, I am collecting things from anyone who will give stuff for all these people we met.

I don’t know how they got homeless, and I don’t know how to get them a home, but I’m going to do what I can to love on them because maybe they just need to know somebody cares.