Butterfly Sparks Designs

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

No Ordinary Brunch.

My Italian roots have bred in me an innate need to feed people. I can thank my Mom and maternal ancestors (and a few of my Dad’s, too) for that genetic wiring! From a very young age, I observed my Mom doing this. Creating a beautiful and warm home from simple things, and creating beautiful dishes for all to enjoy was and is something that she loves to do. I love to cook, but even more than that, the experience of bringing people together in a warm environment for great conversation and fellowship makes my heart sing. I love to connect with people and equally cherish seeing others connect with one another.

I first realized my passion for entertaining and hospitality when I was traveling through Europe on one of many overseas trips I took in my twenties. I was with a group of friends backpacking from Geneva, Switzerland into the quaint rural towns of the Swiss countryside. I laugh when I realize how carefree and adventurous I was back then…not a worry in the world that I was the only one in our group who spoke French or that we had no idea where we were going. As we traveled, we encountered small-town European families who lavishly welcomed us into their homes for wonderful meals, conversation, and shelter. I absolutely melted in that, and it was then that I realized despite my late-teen and early-twenties years of rebellion toward my Mom, that I was much more like her than I thought!

So here we are, twenty years later, and the passion is still here, even more prevalent than all those years ago. But still very different. In my years apart from God, it was just a fun thing to do. Now, and for some time now, my heart-view of this wiring inside of me is that is can be a form of ministry.

This past holiday season was a rough one. It was early December, and I was sitting at my dining room table, choosing a date to invite women to my home for a special Christmas brunch. I was exhausted. The year prior had been a rollercoaster of emotions…joy, falling in love, engagement...and then wounds. And only a few days before this morning at my table, I had said goodbye. I was broken, puffy-eyed, exhausted, with nothing left to give to anyone.  But the press to host this brunch was hard and unrelenting. Truly, it was a God thing. He was calling me to do ministry. You have got to be kidding, God.

“God, no…not now. I can’t host a party.
You know I’m in pain, broken, scared, empty. I can’t do ministry right now.”

“Melissa, I can still use you. I love you, and I am with you.
Do this in my name. Walk in obedience, and trust me.”

With a heart resembling a two year old throwing a tantrum, I forced myself to go through the motions of planning the menu, writing out names, and creating the e-vite, all at the pace of an inchworm. I finally realized that with Christmas fast approaching, dates were limited. It was only about a week from the only day that was feasible to host these women, so I figured no one would come. So, I doubled the guest list, thinking that if I invited 20 people, maybe about 6 would actually show and it would be worth the effort of cleaning my house, setting the table, and cooking a full brunch. My finger hovered over the “send” button for what felt like 30 minutes…but it may have been longer! And I’m pretty sure I actually prayed for no one to be able to come.

Not more than ten minutes after I sent the e-vite, Cyndi, our worship leader’s wife called me. “Melissa, do you mind if I bring someone? Her name is Stephanie.  She and her family recently moved from California, and I was just on the phone with her when your email came. Stephanie was crying, homesick, missing her friends and family, asking me to pray for comfort for her. She was grieving over not having been to one single Christmas party this year. I couldn’t believe it when I saw your email right at that moment.”

Oh my goodness. My entire perspective changed in that moment. “Yes, yes, bring her!”

In that moment, I understood why He was calling.  For her.  For me. For Him.  The tears are flowing as I write this several months later, because of the powerful way He revealed Himself that day in the midst of pain, brokenness, and bewilderment.  In the following 24 hours, 6 more women would call me with personal stories of how much they needed this time of retreat as a gift to themselves. I couldn’t believe the heart-heavy stories they were telling me! This was no ordinary brunch.

I know that God doesn’t “need” us.  He fulfills His purpose whether we respond “yes” or not. But I am so glad that I said “yes” and received blessings beyond measure. Yet for this time I said “yes”, there are so many times that I resist and say “no”. I hate to think about the opportunities and blessings I have missed, and have caused others to miss.  It's also pretty important to note that if Cyndi hadn't been obedient to God's nudge on her heart to invite her, this would not have happened! 

Stephanie showed up that morning with a big smile…along with 18 others!!! I opened the door and saw her beautiful face enter my home, and I’m pretty sure she had a great time. She lights up a room with His light, and it has been a privilege to get to know her more since then and to serve with her in our church.

That time with those beautiful, strong, women of God that morning was a precious gift.  And I thank God for using them as instruments of His love and peace in my life every day.

My friends, if you feel that urge to serve, say “yes”. Receive His healing as you serve others. Read the verse at the top of this blog. His power is made perfect in our weakness.

Your Stephanie is out there.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm one of Stephanie's California Friends... thank you for inviting her in your home and for taking her under your wing. We prayed she would find friends like you in Georgia who would love her as much as we do! God is so faithful! Thanks for sharing your wonderful blessing and reminder. I've been deeply moved and encouraged!
Signed,
Stef's friend (a stranger to you, but I might be able to meet you when I visit GA.)
-Mindi

Melissa Driggers said...

Mindi,

Thanks for your sweet comment. Yes, He is faithful!!! I do hope we can meet one day.

Be blessed!

Melissa

Megan said...

Hi! I too want to thank you for saying yes to the Holy Spirit's prompting. It's something I am trying to be arware of and then obedient even when it seems wierd or uncomfortable. Reading your words about my friend Stef and knowing that she is out there meeting people like you, makes me smile and miss her!

Natalie Schmeichel said...

I am so so so proud to be your niece.

Carrie said...

Well, darn it, Melissa! You went and made me cry! I love Stef dearly and miss her like crazy. I am so glad you're getting to know her. She's an amazing woman and you'll only love her more the more time you spend with her. Hug her for me, OK? God is good.

Julie said...

Melissa,
Again, this was a beautiful display of your heart.

It has also encouraged me to go back to that place that I so loved once... hospitality..... It's gotten lost in the shuffle of the restructuring of my life.

It is something I loved....

The biggest struggle... in the small town (which I moved to 3 years ago) I don't seem to find many people who want to gather together.... it holds me back, I know. Looks like I have something to talk to Jesus about now.

Great post. I look forward to getting to know you!