Monday, August 15, 2016

Faith in a Field

Last week, I hosted a Back to School Feast for the
 young women in my congregation.
We had 40 in attendance, 32 girls and 8 leaders.
I chose to have our dinner in a little area of our neighborhood, 
which is owned by a man named Henry, so I called it "Henry's Field."
The field also happens to be behind my parent's backyard which
 was really helpful as I let Lottie wander around their backyard-
(picking the carrots in my dad's garden) while I set up.
Clane and I worked from 10:00 until the 6:00 setting up.
I don't know what I would have done without them.

We blew up hundreds of balloons and set up tables, chairs,
 set places with plates, silverware, 
cups, napkins, name places, and garland crowns for each girl.
I wanted to decorate with as much white as possible. 
The other leaders and I made sure we had enough 
white dishes for all 40 of our guests.

I used my white linen tablecloths and napkins for our gathering, 
along with repurposed jam jars as cups. 
As centerpieces, I placed seven of my white cake plates, 
I'm glad I have SEVEN cake plates...(I'm such a sucker)
each adorned with luscious purple and green grapes.
 The setup process with my girls went smoothly that morning, 
the weather was ideal - slightly overcast but with comfortable cloud coverage - 
while we arranged the tables and chairs.
As the afternoon slipped into early evening, I was feeling worried.
The wind began to pick up, and loud rumblings off in the distance had me on edge.
I couldn't believe after all the hard work we had put in, 
it was going to rain on us!
As the girls and I finished putting the last touches on the table,
and the rain began to lightly sprinkle.
 I rushed home and grabbed plastic to cover the tables.
After Clane and I covered the tables, we huddled beneath a wild
pear tree next to the table we had just set.
 The wind blew, and tiny raindrops dripped.
We folded our arms, and I humbly asked the 
Lord to please not let it rain on this event.  
The girls were looking forward to this night, and 
we had put in a lot of work preparing for it to be perfect for them.
After we said our amens, we looked at each other and smiled. We had faith.
On the way home in the car, about 45 minutes before the dinner began,
the light rain turned into large drops, and soon enough, it was pouring.
My heart sank, and I began considering a plan B.

I remember the prayer the girls and I had offered minutes before,
 and I still had faith.
I also knew that thousands in our town were praying for rain.
Our city hadn't had rain in weeks, and we needed it badly.
Why would God listen to me when so many of
 His other children were saying prayers that contradicted mine?
I didn't know, but knew He was God, and I still had faith.
I knew everything would work out. Oddly enough, I felt peaceful.
Soon, I began getting text after text from other leaders and parents,
  wondering what the plan was.
I typed back:
"Say your prayers, and arrive at the dinner as planned.
I have faith."
As the girls and I drove down our driveway, I could see the 
clouds had started to part, and the sun was shining over Henry's field.
  It was a miracle.
At the field, we wiped down wet chairs and
 removed the plastic coverings from the tables.
 I played Etta James "At Last" on my record player as the beautiful girls
began showing up dressed in their fresh white dresses.
It was a miracle.
If you're curious about the existence of God or whether He cares about you, 
I can assure you that He does. He listens and cares deeply, even for something  
seemingly unimportant as a dinner. 
As a loving parent, His desire is for His children, 
especially His cherished daughters, to experience joy and happiness.

 Mr. Nielson and I will celebrate our children with our own
family Back to School Feast! This will be our 8th dinner!!
If you are hosting a BTS feast in your home and sharing it on social media, 
please use #backtoschoolfeast so we can all see what you have done!

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