Friday, November 21, 2014

Girl To Girl

On our recent vacation we stayed with our friends Tom and JJ in Tennessee and Bryan and Peggy in Georgia.

Late October is the perfect time to visit Tennessee and northern Georgia and the colors of the trees were outstanding.  But more outstanding was the time we spent with these dear friends.  I found myself learning some great lessons on this vacation.

Tom and William Webb

We have known Tom for over twenty years, and came to know JJ when she and Tom were courting.  She is perhaps one of the sweetest people I have ever known.  I had the great joy, honor and pleasure of taking care of them for the birth of their first child, William.

(You can read the story of that day on the blog Your Labor Room.)

In spite of having two young children, ages 11 and 8, and homeschooling them, JJ was the epitome of hospitality and graciousness.  There was nothing I might have needed -- or wanted -- that she had not already provided, or was jumping up to get before I even thought I wanted it.

Me, JJ and Erin
I remember the morning we left for our section hike on Mt. LeConte and the Appalachian Trail, she had boiled several eggs for me.  I thought kindly of her graciousness as I ate them on the side of the trail that day.  Her humble, servant spirit taught me much of the gift of caring for others.

At only eight, you might think there wasn't much I could learn from Erin, but you would be wrong.  On our first evening there she came up to both me and Glen and asked what our favorite colors were.  This was because she was going to make us each a rubber-band friendship bracelet.  Once she gave us both our bracelets we told her we would pray for her each time we saw them.  We wore them until they broke and now they will become a part of my very unusual Christmas Tree.

When I looked at her collection of colorful rubber bands, I told her it would be something my granddaughter would like and that I would have to buy her some.

"Oh, no!" was the eight-year-old's response, "I have more than enough.  Let me give you some for her." Then she filled a ziplock bag full of colorful rubber bands for Emma.

"Tell her to go on YouTube and see how to do it with her fingers," she continued, making sure Emma would have the instruction she would need to make her bracelets.  I was so impressed, not only by her overflowing generosity, but by the fact she wanted to make sure Emma would know how to make the bracelets as well.

The night before we were to leave, I was packing in our room and Erin came in to chat.  She climbed up on the bed and we talked about this and that.  Suddenly, she raised up and said, "Oh, am I keeping you from anything?"

The maturity of that question coming from an eight-year-old astounded me.  There are many adults who don't have the courtesy or maturity to ask that question.  I could not reply in any other way except, "No, all I have to do is sit and chat with you."

Erin and JJ were great teachers even when they didn't mean to be.  Their sweet hearts and thoughts toward the Lord helped make them wonderful vehicles for His love, grace and tenderness.

After our time with Tom and JJ, we traveled to northern Georgia and stayed with Bryan and Peggy.  Once again, the hospitality and welcome shown to us was incredible.  Since Bryan had to work while we were there, we spent most of our time with Peggy.   We walked around her neighborhood and she graciously came with us while we ran some errands.  We chatted with her as she cooked delicious meals for us, and we then demanded the recipes.

I watched Peggy as she greeted people both in her neighborhood and around the general public.  Her response was always the same, a huge smile and a voice and tone that resonated genuine caring.  She was a model to me of thoughtfulness and caring to those around her.  She didn't just save that beautiful, big smile for her friends and neighbors, she showered it abundantly upon everyone she met.

Me and Peggy
Peggy made me feel welcome from the very first second.  It was as if we were sisters who had been separated from birth.  At one point, I felt so much at home, I just got down on the floor with their dog Sheba and loved on her, since our beagle Sparrow was back at home.  It didn't matter to me that I was sprawled out on the floor of the foyer or that I was becoming covered with tan dog hair. (That reminds me of a sign a saw in a store once, "Dog hair, the perfect fashion accessory.")

There is so much more I could write of how these women (and girl) impressed me, encouraged me and challenged me during our visit. (Tom, William and Bryan were also this way, but this post is all about girls!)

It is truly a blessing to fellowship with other women who love the Lord, strive to serve and please Him in all they do and live an example of that to all those around them.

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, 
Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, 
For you fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; 
Being confident of this very thing, 
that He which hath begun a good work in you 
will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ."  
Philippians 1: 3-6

No comments: