Saturday, October 31, 2015

If Teacups Could Talk

I had the privilege of serving tea to Mrs. Janet Huckabee, wife of Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas and currently a presidential candidate. The Tea was held at the home of Cliff and Gloria Bryant and sponsored by the Republican Women of Anderson County.

When Gloria called and asked if I would help I was so excited. My brain went into overdrive. Even though a large group was expected, I asked if we could use real teacups. She agreed immediately.

Most of my cups needed to be hand washed so I filled the sink with hot, soapy water a couple of days before the event. It also gave me the chance to polish my tea table and cart. As I gently washed each cup a story came to mind associated with the purchase of, or the giver of the cup. I realized my life history could be told through my teacups.

I'm a collector of things. I love beautiful things. Most women do. I love china patterns, old and new. When I travel, teacups or thimbles are my "go to" souvenirs.

They are so much more than a physical object of beauty though. For me, they've come to represent a way of life. I believe we are a people who have lost our way. We don't know how to stop and take time for the important things like having a cup of tea with a friend.

If my cups could talk and tell my story, I'd want them to say she took time for people and she loved. When I told one of my girlfriends I was using my cups, she said, "aren't you afraid a cup will get broken?" I told her what's the use in having them if they're not used.

As my mind traveled down memory lane, the cup from England reminded me of when our family went to Europe with the T.L. Hanna High School soccer team. We visited five countries and I got to see places this girl from a small town in West Virginia never thought she'd ever see.

Who would've thought I'd have to go to a Russian church to find a teacup. That's a true story. It's also a reminder every time I look at my beautiful blue cup that God answers prayers. Many prayers were said for Ksyu(Sue) and her salvation. It's also a reminder of the great spiritual needs of the Russian people.

Two of the cups used at the Tea have a matching teapot I purchased at a tearoom in Greenville, South Carolina. The Ragamuffin Tea everyone was raving about originated from that tearoom.

Me, Janet Huckabee, Gloria Bryant
One of the beautiful teapots I used, Crown Gold by Wedgwood, reminds me that a middle class girl can grow up and serve tea to a presidential candidate's wife. We're all just ordinary people being used by an extra-ordinary God.

The cup I wanted Mrs. Huckabee to have her tea in was a special cup for me. I love history and all things about George Washington's home, Mount Vernon and Arlington. One of the cups in my collection is from Mount Vernon with the original thirteen colonies imprinted on it.

I believe Governor Huckabee stands for the values our country was founded upon. He is bold in his faith and doesn't waiver in his belief in God. He is vocal in his approach with the media and his style and charisma have gained him many followers. I thought it appropriate for her to drink from such a cup.

Mrs. Huckabee spoke to us about the values they hold dear and the great divide of where we are and where we need to be.

In biblical times, God told His people to build an altar to mark a place where He did something in their lives. It was for their remembrance, not to worship, but to recall His activity in their life.

What are the teacups in your life? What are those things you can say are the "altars" that tell a story of God's love for you and activity in your life?

Many things will stand out to me about the Tea. I loved meeting like minded ladies. I received so much joy sharing my teacups, tea, and the beauty of hospitality. But one thing stood out above the rest that I have overlooked in the past. There is a man who could lead our country..."one nation under God, with liberty and justice for all."

 God bless America
 and God bless 
Governor and Mrs. Huckabee

Monday, October 5, 2015

Beauty in the Broken

I love old furniture. Let me rephrase that statement. I love furniture in general, but I particularly love traipsing around antique stores looking for pieces that need new life. Tiger oak is my favorite kind of wood and you can find it in all variations of furniture and degrees of decay. You must look past the grit, grime, and scratches, as well as the junk surrounding it in the store to what it could be.

I drove to a neighboring town last week to pick up a table. Since I had a truck I decided to stop at another antique store down the street. There might be a treasure awaiting me, and my table wouldn't be lonely. I was almost ready to leave (actually I was out of time) when my eyes locked on a dresser in a back booth. It was covered with a black, sticky gunk, but I could see tiger oak peeking through in a few places. The long mirror captured my entire reflection and reminded me of a dresser at my Ma Bailey's house. There are some pieces that make a heart connection, and this was one of them. I looked at the price tag and it was reasonable. Then I noticed a 20% off sign on the wall and that made it even better.

My table was not alone.

I began work on the dresser. Filthy doesn't even come close. The drawers were filled with bugs and cobwebs. I washed and rinsed and washed and rinsed. When I started sanding the top I thought it would be easy. I was wrong. The layers of black seemed to go on and on. At first, I thought I'm not sure this is worth it. I don't see anything beautiful emerging. But, I kept sanding and the black grit crumbled away little by little.

She was a broken woman, shunned by all who knew her. Men had used her and thrown her away. The Pharisees were ready to stone her for her sin. But Jesus. He saw her heart. His eyes of love pierced through her brokenness, the lies, the shame, and the guilt. He saw her potential. He told her what she could be if the blackness of her life was removed. She could live and breathe in the beauty of His holiness. John 8:1-8

A life repurposed.

It's never too late for God to turn junk into a treasure. What one has tossed aside can be another's path to a new life.

There is life on the other side of brokenness. The process of getting there isn't easy but it's worth the sanding and the pain in the waiting. In time, it will be beautiful, and ready for service in His kingdom.

If you're broken, there's beauty in the brokenness. Don't give up on yourself. Let God remake you from the inside out. His specialty is looking for the ones who are hurting. He is tender and merciful and wants to meet your every need. You must turn to Him and acknowledge your need for Him.

You will seek me and find me 
when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

For those of you who may be the Pharisee, try to look past the outward appearance. There is a beating heart inside every person you meet. There is a life story they carry, burdens they bear you know nothing about. Give grace where needed. Love unconditionally, expecting nothing in return.

I'm still working on my dresser and it's turning out more beautiful than I expected. I'm so thankful I didn't give up on it. It's been worth much more than the money I invested. It's a treasure I think I'll keep for myself, a visible reminder of my worth in broken places.

His death and resurrection are a visible reminder of your worth in His eyes. You are beautiful to Him, scratches and all. Let Him use the healing balm of His love to sand away the pain of your broken life. I promise He will do it. He did it for me.