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.

Hey teenagers and pre-teens, we are proud of you.

Teens, and pre-teens, since I know there are a few of you guys here online, I just wanted to tell you I am SO proud of how you stand up and share your faith!  This is a REALLY tough time to be a kid. I am proud of your modesty and how you stand up and speak out when friends are talking you into and making not great choices. It’s really tough. You have GREAT courage!! I just wanted to be a voice thanking you for standing out instead of trying to fit in. You guys are making a difference.

That being said, PLEASE Please talk to us (parents and grown ups) when you do mess up. We will love you through mistakes. Yes, we may be sad and a little disappointed just as you may be when we mess up as grown ups, but we ARE here for you and we DO get that life is really tough as a teenager in 2014. We do not expect you to be perfect and I apologize to anyone who feels like you are held to a “perfect” standard. We mess up as parents and we know you guys mess up as kids, too. I love you. And I just wanted to tell you that you DO have people to talk to when life gets you down.

Just maybe

My prayer tonight is for the grade school kids and middle school kids to be included in service for the community and church because when they are told they’re “too young” for so long; too young to help, too young to serve, only ages 15 and up can help with cleaning up someone’s yard etc. maybe we’re missing something.

I believe it’s damaging to young spirits to keep hearing they are too young to DO SOMETHING great.

When they are young and want to serve but are not given jobs (and I’m talking about jobs they are very able to do; like pick up in the auditorium, pick up someone’s yard, maybe lead a Sunday morning class FOR 3rd graders BY 3rd graders…) by the time they are “old enough” by church or community standards, they are many times not even interested anymore.

Then we’ve heard churches ask, “What happened to the 19 to 30 year olds? Where are they?”

They were given a Senior graduation celebration, moved away from their parents and everything they knew, went out into the world (many times to college) came back to visit their “home” church congregation only to find they are no longer welcome in their own youth group because they are now “too old” for the “youth group” and don’t feel there is a welcoming place they fit anymore. “Yay! You’re a Senior! Feel loved? Good because when you come back there is another surprise!”

We have an idea.

What if we include them when they’re young and WANT to help and maybe when they’re older they’ll STILL want to help?

What if we create a class where college age kids (and older) are welcome to come and go as they grow up? What if it was a place they knew they were welcome ANY time they were in town? What if they KNEW when they came “home” they’d have a welcoming place instead of feeling “out of place?!” What if that place was a place they could unload all their worries and concerns they’re having out in the world instead of it only being a class where they don’t feel welcome to speak what’s really on their minds?

I don’t begin to know all the answers but I know some.

And when I’m married to a guy
who is a preacher’s kid (just like the kids sitting in Bible class)
who messed up,
who went to prison,
who served God and asked God to grow his faith WHILE he was in prison,
who now lives a life of faith,
and has been equipped with eyes and a heart for the kid who feels alone and may be heading down the same kind of path,
and knows how to help teens be included,
but yet he’s shut out because he has a criminal record but did NOTHING against a child…
I can’t help but think MAYBE he’s part of the solution but nobody opens their eyes to see the treasure God has placed right in front of them.

Maybe…

JUST MAYBE he’s the VERY RIGHT person the teens and parents should hear from.