Don’t you love the look of candles in the darkness? Especially when they light the way to a new friend and a much-needed time of renewal. Patsy takes us behind the scenes at a recent gathering of the BELONG Team, where her experience may inspire you to go light some candles of your own.
It was evening and a team from the BELONG Tour made our way between two houses in a Dallas neighborhood. We knew we were going to dinner at the home of a friend of Shauna Niequist, but we were not prepared for the impact the experience would have on us. As we turned to walk around the back of the house we were stopped in our footfalls by the sight of a farm table lit in fireflies. As we inched closer we realized the fireflies were candles that danced and darted in the night air. Above the table were chandeliers hanging from tree branches that added enchantment. The beauty and warmth of the table invited us even closer where we saw our names in script guiding us to our individual places.
Honestly, there was something so invitational, so personal, about the discovery of light in the darkness, we could not resist its joyful embrace. And just when we thought it couldn’t be more beautiful or intriguing the hostess stepped into our group. Sarah was luminous. She greeted us in a garb of gentleness that was disarming to our exhaustion. She welcomed us, affirmed us, and led us through the history of her neighborhood table that kept us spellbound with the wonder of God and grateful that we could be there.
Sometimes in our war-torn world, with its daily brutality, hardships, and loss, we forget how much we need gracious lamplighters bearing peace, until one appears.
Sarah told us that a man from her church once told her that she had the “gift of gathering,” and that he didn’t know how God was going to use it, but he was sure he would. That thought nested inside her until it grew wings with the idea of providing a table where people could gather for a word of prayer and a plate of food. Sarah’s home was too small to hold very many and that’s when she asked her dad to build her farm tables and benches. And she took flight.
This was not a wealthy woman in a fancy estate showing off her finery. This was a single woman who worked hard for a living and had a small backyard that she illuminated to refresh the hearts of the weary, the wayward, and the lonely, as well as wedding/shower gatherings. Her kitchen is the size of a minute, but that does not diminish the size of Sarah’s heart or the quality of her cuisine…which is simple, yet scrumptious. And often she calls on a local market to assist her offerings. Sarah has a friend who calligraphies her place cards. And others when available help serve. She’s not trying to win hostess of the year, she’s trying to offer a space of grace for friends, neighbors, and strangers to meet and feel included, and a way for her to use her calling.
Sarah reminded me of the point in Moses life where God asked him, “What’s in your hand?” Which is an invitation to us to give up waiting for the matching china, an expansive dining room, or a gourmet chef. He will bless the little or much we have when it’s offered in love.
Your gift might be baking, singing, photography, teaching, writing, etc. I believe when we pinpoint our gifts, we find our calling, and the best version of ourselves.
Lean in to your calling . . . go light your world.