Over a week ago, I got an order from Bianca for sandwiches and desserts for a Tea Party for 300 women. Her sister, Patty, told me the theme of this tea party would be “God’s Design for the Family.” Soon I also got an order from Ellen. How do I style a tea party buffet table for CCF with such a theme? I asked God to help me.
For the following days, in between cooking, checking on guests, preparing menu proposals, running around, assembling care packages for my sons when my friend, Mylene, volunteered to take them with her, I dreamed up flowers and pretty teacups, lace…
Here’s how God helped me put together the tablescape:
Wrought Iron Crown.
This reminds me of Jesus being King of Kings and Lord of Lords. When He goes beyond being Savior-who-died-for-me to being my Lord-and-Master (which is like an everyday struggle because I lean towards being selfish and prideful and I kind of want to be the head. Then I remember that He is all-knowing (and I’m not), all-loving, all-holy and has the heart to bless me with His will, so I figuratively snap my fingers right to my face—- Snap! Snap! Snap! Hey!!!— He’s the Boss of me), then His will is done on earth as it is in heaven. It can become like heaven down here on earth when what would normally cause World War is a reason for me to lay down that pride like a red carpet (yes, dear self, die to your selfishness, crucify that flesh,walk on it, and let Jesus take over!)
God’s Word to speak His will, direction, encouragement, showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
This reminds me to journal how God has spoken, what He has done to remind me that He is alive and how He has been faithful.
Jeremiah 30:2 “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you.
I also find writing to be a tool to communicate with family members. Sometimes, writing it down thoughtfully is better able to convey a message instead of letting the mouth run ahead. Sorry, Lord, for the times I just set my mouth free— in complaints, in grumbling, in words that do not edify— well, even those fingers of mine they need to repent too as they run free without submitting to You but the grand champion who needs to repent most is my heart. Please give me a new clean heart!
A reminder to remain in Him…“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV
Love with Red Roses.
The family, the marriage ought to be a reflection of God’s (unconditional, forgiving, sacrificial, giving) love for us. What is impossible with man is made possible through Jesus Christ (sometimes referred to as the Rose of Sharon) when we receive this unfailing type of love from Him and allow ourselves to be channels of His love. Lord, help!
Even if we are growing at a slower speed than the slow boat to China, God is in the business of making us new daily, to be more and more like Him.
2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.
This reminds me of the cup of suffering that was too much for Jesus, that He asked the Father (Luke 22:42) “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” As the world and the flesh promote the pursuit of happiness instead of holiness, the choice of Jesus to go with God’s will even if it was difficult serves as a powerful reminder when faced with situations that call for giving up what would be so gratifying.
But that same cup is also a reminder that even though sometimes we face difficult situations, Jesus, is faithful to deliver us from distress, give peace, comfort, joy. Our Good Shepherd makes our cup overflow with blessings.
Psalm 23:5 You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings.
The umbrella reminds me of the lesson on submission. When a wife submits to her own husband as unto the Lord (or when a son or daughter submits to his or her parent), she is submitting to God and He is in charge of the results. In the words of Gina Rodriguez, “It’s a faith issue that if you do your part, God will do His part… I guess that’s the power of going under His cover (submitting under God’s authority trusting that He has you covered), when you submit to Him and leave the consequences to Him.”
This reminds me of the lesson on the fruit of the Holy Spirit (of love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal 5:22-23). It has many pieces but it’s still just one fruit. Lord, would You please help me bear those fruit; help me grow in those areas where I’m falling short.
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. God uses others to sharpen us. It won’t feel good all the time but it’s what’s needed to accomplish His good, holy purposes for us.
Sometimes, all that’s left of people who have gone before us is their photographs or their letters by ink on paper or the love letters flowing from their hearts through their words, actions, examples, or how they lived their lives. This makes me ask myself what is my life legacy.
Photographs are a witness to events and milestones. Sometimes we don’t get to capture everything on camera but God sees and remembers everything. I imagine God has His own version of an indelible photo album. Hagar called Him The God who sees.
Malachi 3:16 Then those who feared the Lord talked with each other, and the Lord listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the Lord and honored his name.
This particular cream-colored birdcage serves not as a prison for beautiful birds but as a candle holder… a light bearer. This reminds me of the apostle, Paul, who called himself a prisoner of the Lord Jesus. He said, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” In effect, he was saying that he was not living to please himself but to please Christ. But even when he was literally in chains, physically imprisoned, he was the one serving as light, encouraging believers to rejoice in the Lord always (not in the passing circumstances).
And the ubiquitous story of God’s Amazing Grace:
Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness to help me in my work. From the moment I got the order, You gave me joy in planning and putting together what might delight the ladies who would come to the event. Whereas I love to go back to sleep and catch more zzz’s before I start my ZoomZoom day, You revved me up from dawn excited to assemble this all, not minding ironing the creased white tablecloths on site at Tiendesitas even if after every five strokes the plug came off the wall… again… even Your last minute nudge before leaving the house to grab the iron just in case! And it was needed! Thank You for the precious and beautiful team You’ve given me to do this!
CCF Main (Tiendesitas) Version:
Thank You Lord for the gift when You allow Your children to enjoy our work.