This weekend our Women's Ministry Team hosted a Mother/Daughter May Day Tea Party in the Fellowship hall at Maranatha. I know it sounds like a sunny first-day-of May thing to do, but our guests arrived in a rainstorm and two hours later, picked up their umbrellas to dodge an even heavier down-pour as they scurried to their cars. But the time in between was pure sunshine! We, as women, really want to be known and it is a rare gift when someone gets to know us well and keeps on loving us anyway! In Psalm 139 David writes that God is one who has such understanding: "O LORD, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways." So we opened our time together with a prayer, thanking God for knowing and loving us so well.
It was the Women's Ministry Team's desire to give each woman and her guest a unique experience. We all have special people in our lives but rarely do we say the words that express our feelings about them. So I invited our daughter, Hannah White, to join me in modeling the answering of several conversation questions.
What are some things I have learned from you?
How have you made me feel loved?
How have we been open and inviting to each other?
As each question was discussed by us, then the women were encouraged to talk through that same question with their guest. Watching and listening as a quiet buzz swarmed around the room, we saw women and their mothers or grandmothers or mothers-in-law or their daughters, granddaughters, daughters-in-law or friends of daughters or special friends carefully begin to engage in meaningful conversation. We love and we know we are loved but to sit face to face and say, "This is how you have made me feel loved," is something that is not often done. The room was alive with quiet affirmation, gentle laughing, attentive listening and even a few tears.
Our theme for this year in Women's Ministry has been "Come to the Table." Each of our four events have centered around becoming welcoming people. All year we have been speaking out: Let's welcome those newer women on Sunday mornings! Let's invite our friends into a deeper friendship through intentional conversation! Let's be aware of how to welcome strangers into our circles or not be afraid of those in need!
This day we remembered that God sent Jesus as an invitation for us to know Him. He opened and invited us into relationship with him. Can we not do that for others? Can we refuse to spend our time protecting ourselves from each other by comparing, hiding or pretending? Let's be open and inviting women.
Proverbs 11:16 states, "a kindhearted woman gains respect." Another word for kindhearted is "gracious." This woman acts from the point of view of grace, not law. This kind of woman who gains the respect of her daughter-or mother-or friend, is open and inviting. She speaks well with a good listening ear and a servant's heart.
Lisa Terkeurst has written:
"Truth without grace is mean.
Grace without truth is meaningless.
But truth and grace is medicine."
Eating delicious food, making a May Day basket, decorating a journal cover, illustrating a card for someone special or being silly at a photo booth were all part of the fun.Here are a sampling of the beautiful women who joined us:
Thank you, Maranatha women, for coming to our Mother/Daughter May Day Tea Party. It was fun to serve all eighty of you and to see you engage in meaningful dialogue. Hopefully this opened up a new way for all of us to seek deeper and better relationships with those we invite to "come to the table."