I love creating the setting for family and friend gatherings – the table, the food – to create a memory worth keeping.
I’ve learned a few things about my boys. The outdoor gatherings, where we eat outdoors, with some cornhole, maybe croquet, a soccer ball – when it’s outside they’re more likely to stay longer, laugh more, let the relationships steep a little more than if we’re all inside.
The fewer expectations I have besides setting the table, literally and figuratively, the sweeter the memories, the longer they stay.
I am not a puppeteer pulling the strings for a group of marionettes to get the outcomes I want. When I try that, the results are dismal and not worth storing away in my heart.
When I let these boys be who they are, in their own ways, bringing their love and laughter in their God-designed ways – priceless things happen. While they’re doing that, I trust God will take care of my heart.
When I opened the porch door to let Sadie, our golden out, I stepped into a porch decorated with pink and white balloons, a birthday banner and confetti!
One boy stopped one morning, sitting long, talking much – giving me a real hug, sharing chocolates from a trip to northern Michigan, asking, “Can you figure out how to make these?” The gift? A hug. Trust and Belief that I can. . . and the gift of a baking mission.
Another walked through the kitchen door with pink and white flowers and chocolates that needed sharing. Hugs, cheeky conversation with him and his sweet girl!
A third one walked in after work with a yellow bouquet of yellow button mums.
We couldn’t all get together at one time until Saturday.
“It’s going to rain,” the boys kept saying. They’d said that at the family June birthdays. I remember looking at one son, saying, “I rebuke that in the name of Jesus.” That June day the rain didn’t come, and we had the sweetest evening. I was hoping for a similar outcome. The rain Saturday didn’t want to give up coming to my party. We waited until an hour before to set up.
The boys, though doubtful, carried on carrying the tables outside – and the chairs, and the cornhole. Their sweet girls helped carry the plates, the dishes, hung the pink and white rag banner I’d made for my second son’s wedding weekend festivities five years ago.
They were all long-suffering but so very kind, humoring me along. The forecast kept saying 40%, then 60%, then 30%. God knew my heart’s desire, but if He had different plans than mine, plans that would send us inside to eat , we would go inside to God’s plans. I wouldn’t just leave my plans outside if that happened. I would give them up and embrace God’s plans because His plans would just be that much better.
One son’s sweet girl showed me her weather map – we were surrounded by rain clouds – but none were at our house. It looked like we were in a bubble but all the water was outside the bubble. We looked at that bubble, amazed and assured.
We finally sat down to eat Saturday night – a sit long, talk much, let’s look at the clouds, do-you-feel-a-rain-drop dining experience.
Suddenly, someone said, “Look at the rain coming.”
I looked north of the table, between the big oak tree and the garden. sure enough greyness in the distance fell from the clouds to the ground.
I kept looking, seeing if I could see rain sheets moving. “Maybe it’s just our mountain mist,” I suggested, doubting yet hopeful. It didn’t move like rain skirting and swaying in a downpour. It felt like a dare. Who was going to move first. Would I give up the ground I held?
My friends, my family – we all paused. The grey mass started coming across the field, and all at once, a group of us started reaching for the cakes my sweet daughter-in-law made because she didn’t think I should make my own birthday cake. She even used my recipe. I wasn’t about to let her hard work get ruined because I wouldn’t see rain coming.
My husband’s calm voice stayed our hands, “Look! It’s just the fog from the heat and the rain.”
Sure enough, a cloud had fallen on our mountain and was spilling across the field, down the road, to the boundaries of my back yard. We set the cakes and plates back on the table, settled back into our chairs, ready for dessert.
That same daughter-in-law handed me a gift from all the boys – and their girls. It was a stack of hand-made cards: Author Bios for me written one by each son and their sweet girls. She’d organized it all. She’s the big sister they all never had. She makes our family so much more!
God gave me time to read each author bio out loud, amidst much laughter and, oh, my! My heart, friends! They brought who they are to write about who they see I am. It was grace, it was laughter, it was thoughtful kindness. . . . it was an unexpected, priceless gift.
No! There weren’t foot races. The corn hole was a bust. There was plenty of time to put the tables and chairs away, to carry in all the dishes . All hands helped – all these years without girls – and all the girls met me in the yard, in the kitchen – and, suddenly, I was a mom surrounded by girls – brought home by these boys.
Once I’d given up the yard, the rain moved in to water the grass and garden. The rain seemed somewhat deflated that it hadn’t been able to bully us out of the yard.
Yeah! I set the table – and plan the menu. . . I invite them to come as they are, be who they are right now, and wait in expectation of God’s plans for my heart.
“That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.”
~ Romans 8:28, The Message
Remember Me Monday: #48 & Linky
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!