Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Tea Ladies Say Goodbye

This past Friday I was honored to be invited to a very special book group meeting. This group of ladies--some of them have been friends for nearly twenty years--is an amazing, precious example of how Christian women should treat one another.

Their name is The Tantalizing Ladies' Tea--A Christian Book Club Coterie. Isn't that divine? They get together for tea and books and laughter and prayer and crafts and great food and lots of fun. They have shouldered each others' burdens, celebrated milestones, loved on and cared for each other in ways that make God's heart smile.

I am blessed that they have opened their arms to me and made me an honorary member.

The meeting on Friday was bittersweet indeed as the group had to say goodbye to one of their founding members. Sweet Kelly, crafting maven, bright spot, and hilarious tender-heart, is moving to Kansas where her husband is starting a new job.

Here are some pictures of the event:

Kristine Klein is a wonderful hostess. She sets a lovely table. Each lady chooses her own teacup and saucer from Kristine's extensive collection, and each one is more beautiful than the last. 

Becky, Kelly, Kristine, and Judy, sweethearts every one!

Kelly opening her going-away gifts. There was much laughter and tears.

Judy, Kristine, Tiffany (with awesome hair, BTW) Becky, and Kelly. Kelly is holding a book by Michelle Griep, another honorary Tea Lady and author. 
The lovely Sherri (I didn't get a picture of her! Rats!) read a beautiful story that had all of us in tears, and I wanted to share it with you here:

“Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.” ~ Jeremiah 18:6


There was a couple who used to go to England to shop in the beautiful stores. They both liked antiques and pottery and especially teacups. This was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. One day in this beautiful shop they saw a beautiful teacup. They said, "May we see that? We've never seen one quite so beautiful."
As the lady handed it to them, suddenly the teacup spoke. "You don't understand," it said. "I haven't always been a teacup. There was a time when I was red and I was clay. My master took me and rolled me and patted me over and over and I yelled out, 'Let me alone', but he only smiled, 'Not yet.'"
"Then I was placed on a spinning wheel," the teacup said, "and suddenly I was spun around and around and around. 'Stop it! I'm getting dizzy!' I screamed. But the master only nodded and said, 'Not yet.'"
"Then he put me in the oven. I never felt such heat. I wondered why he wanted to burn me, and I yelled and knocked at the door. I could see him through the opening and I could read his lips as he shook his head, 'Not yet.'"
"Finally the door opened, he put me on the shelf, and I began to cool. 'There, that's better', I said. And he brushed and painted me all over. The fumes were horrible. I thought I would gag. 'Stop it, stop it!' I cried. He only nodded, 'Not yet.'"
"Then suddenly he put me back into the oven, not like the first one. This was twice as hot and I knew I would suffocate. I begged. I pleaded. I screamed. I cried. All the time I could see him through the opening nodding his head saying, 'Not yet.'"
Then I knew there wasn't any hope. I would never make it. I was ready to give up. But the door opened and he took me out and placed me on the shelf. One hour later he handed me a mirror and I couldn't believe it was me. 'It's beautiful. I'm beautiful.'"
"'I want you to remember, then,' he said, 'I know it hurts to be rolled and patted, but if I had left you alone, you would have dried up. I know it made you dizzy to spin around on the wheel, but if I had stopped, you would have crumbled. I knew it hurt and was hot and disagreeable in the oven, but if I hadn't put you there, you would have cracked. I know the fumes were bad when I brushed and painted you all over, but if I hadn't done that, you never would have hardened; you would not have had any color in your life. And if I hadn't put you back in that second oven, you wouldn't survive for very long because the hardness would not have held. Now you are a finished product. You are what I had in mind when I first began with you.'"


The bonds that tie these ladies together are much stronger than just food and books. They are bound by faith and trial and triumph, memories and experiences, and most of all they are bound by love. No distance can sever those ties. Kelly, we wish you all the best in your new location, and we pray that you find some new friends to share your love and your gifts with...but in the words of the incomparable Bev S. "Not too good."


16 comments:

  1. Thanks for giving us a peek into this group and wonderful tea party. I loved the tea cup story. :) Makes me want to get a teacup collection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! I think that every time I see Kristine's beautiful collection of cups.

      Delete
  2. You just made me cry all over again, Erica!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least I have good company. I made myself cry.

      Delete
  3. The story reminds me of the song "Refiner's Fire". God sometimes puts us through extreme trials only to make us better, stronger, and to give us a wonderful testimony of His love. He is always with us through the good but especially the bad!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God is good, all the time. I'm grateful for reminders like this that God refines us through difficulties, and He is faithful to complete the work He has begun in us.

      Delete
  4. I'm a blubbery mess. Wow.

    And prayers for Kelly, I know how she feels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, thank you for praying for Kelly. I remember when I moved away from Kansas how much I missed it and how strange Minnesota felt...she's experiencing just the opposite leaving MN for KS.

      Delete
  5. Replies
    1. Ladonna, welcome to Coffee Cups! I hope you'll feel encouraged here.

      Delete
  6. We're always thrilled when you join us, Erica. I'm grateful God has put these women in my life. Wouldn't want to do life without them.
    And just a hint for authors who read your blog -- if you are in the Minneapolis area, we'd love to have you come to tea.
    Blessings, Erica! We love you and your books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bev, thank you so much for introducing me to these lovely women. You are a model of grace.

      Delete
  7. Thank you for this beautiful post, Erica!! And what a special experience you had!!

    There's nothing I love more than books, tea parties and fellowship with friends!! I would have loved this gathering - they surely are true tea party connoisseurs!! I love the idea of everyone picking a different teacup and the story is beautiful!! As with Gail H. - it reminds me of God's refining of us, His followers!!

    My prayers and best wishes to Kelly - this group is a special group of ladies!!

    Shared post!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for sharing this, Bonnie. :)

      They are a special group of ladies, and they for sure know their tea! I've had a different variety every time I've attended, and each one is better than the last.

      I love that their friendships are so deep and forged by God to help them through these harder times.

      Delete
  8. Oh how special! So sweet to wish her a goodbye that way. The story was indeed meaningful. Thank you for sharing. :)
    And I spy a Trim Healthy Mama book sitting on that table! WOOHA! Best book I ever found.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan! Thanks so much for your comment, and I'm glad that it connected with you.

      I've heard good things about Trim Healthy Mama. Gonna have to look into it!

      Delete

Hey friend! Please leave a comment, no lurking allowed ;)