I never acquired the taste for coffee. I know this sounds like insanity to all my joyfully caffeinated friends. In fact, a few may have stopped reading after that first sentence.
Because I am not a coffee drinker, I don’t have a single hot beverage on most days. This is why Thursday was so unique. I had not just one, but three cups of tea, none of which was prepared or purchased by me.
By the end of the day I realized how special each cup had really been.
1. A cup of Service:
I had asked my neighbor if I could pick her brain about how to care for our church’s team members. She, like so many others, understands what it is to need a long break from serving at a church.
Not only did she agree to share with me, she opened her home and gathered several other women who are active in service. These women were each from a different church and a different denomination.
In this small Thursday morning gathering, a cup of chocolate mint tea was brewed, and I drank deeply of the sweet mixture.
These women from various religious backgrounds shared input on how to care for the people of Redemption Church. Their presence and open hearts were an inspiration and reminder of our need to reach out to each other.
We want Redemption Church to do all it can to prevent people from being hurt, undervalued, or burned out. We are humans working with other humans, and there will be failures. However, we are seeking to reflect God to the best of our ability as we come together and pour ourselves out.
2. A cup of Restoration
Life has been a little extra stressful recently as we are finalizing our preparations to launch the church (only 23 days left!). There are a million details to juggle, and so much is depending on us getting them right. This is on top of the normal day to day demands of running a home, caring for a family, and teaching.
I was holding it together really well…. until our finances hit the very bottom. The savings ran out months ago, and the credit card just maxed out with our second set of unexpected major car repairs.
Although I knew God would provide as he has again and again, I was beginning to crumble. When my phone screen broke without explanation, I just didn’t know where the money would come from.
On Wednesday, I went straight from work to the repair kiosk I had been at only two weeks prior. They refused to repair it without charging not only the full repair price but an additional fee to replace the battery they claim was the cause of the breakage. I left without repairing the phone. It was the proverbial straw breaking the camels back.
I came home, changed out of my work clothes, and, 15 minutes later, welcomed 12 friends from church into my home. When they asked how I was, my first response had been, “Fine.” Then, I looked at these people I know and love and gave the real answer.
Thursday afternoon, one of them came to our home to help match receipts to the chart of accounts. She brought me a chai tea and shared her story with me.
I had needed a reprieve from the stresses I was allowing to clutter my mind. Her presence and her authenticity were the connection I needed to remind me of why I am in this journey. It was restoration for my soul as she shared her life and warmth with me.
3. A cup of Gratitude.
Thursday evening, I grabbed a stack of papers to grade on my way out the door to take my daughter to ballet. On the way, we picked up my daughter’s friend. She came to the car with a to go cup of mint tea for me.
Her mother is a friend of mine, and she was showing gratitude for sharing in the task of pick up and drop off. She didn’t have to do a thing. Their home is on the way to the studio, and we often take turns getting the girls to and from dance.
As I sipped this extra token of gratitude, I realized it was my third cup of tea that day. I was suddenly the one full of gratitude.
These cups of tea were unique and simple reminders that I am so far from alone in this life.
I am blessed to be surrounded by people who will do life with me. I can share my hopes for the future, my concerns of the moment, and the daily tasks of living.
Our circumstance haven’t improved a whole lot. In fact, they have gotten worse. We still have a mountain of debt, the million details continue to depend largely on us, my husband’s grandfather just passed away, and, ironically, my phone (which could only function through Siri) was stolen by one of the students yesterday.
Yet, I feel the warmth and support of three cups of tea. God has us surrounded, and we can hold fast to his love and grace.
I pray that as you enjoy your coffee, tea, or hot cocoa today, you will remember you are never alone.