by Tabitha Taylor, email@example.com
I’m an epic worrier. I know I shouldn’t be. I know I need to give all my worries to God but since I’m human… I worry on! I realize there are many “small things” in life I should not spin my wheels worrying about, but after a recent event, I found myself realizing there actually are times to sweat the small stuff.
I was privileged, along with several other ladies, to host a Transitions Ceremony for four graduates at The Next Door (TND). TND provides services for women and their families impacted by addiction, mental illness, trauma and/or incarceration. They equip women in crisis to develop lives of wholeness and hope. Once the women have completed a six-month program, a ceremony takes place both honoring their dedication and praising God for the work He has done in their lives as they prepare to transition back into the “real world.”
As the hostess team sponsoring the event, we were asked to provide a plastic, white tablecloth and a plain, white sheet cake to feed 100. While there is nothing wrong with these items, my friend Trish and I, got worried. We worried the women would not feel celebrated, we worried about the décor and we worried about the women feeling empowered and encouraged as they transitioned out of this amazing program. There was prep to be done!
As ceremony attendees began to arrive, 80 of which still live at TND, their response to our welcoming smiles was beyond comprehension. What really captured my heart was when the women noticed the refreshment table. I’ve never seen so many people take pictures of cupcakes! While we had worried about the details of the night, we didn’t realize what impact the results of our small worry would make. When the women saw towering tiers of personalized, scripture-inspired cupcakes, they were shocked! One of the future graduates approached me with a tear rolling down her face and said, “You know, my graduation is next. Please don’t forget about me. I want beautiful cupcakes and people who care enough about the ‘small things’ to make my day special too!”
As the ceremony began, I opened the room in prayer. It was one of those moments when you knew the Lord was present. The room was still as both the graduates and audience latched onto every word of encouragement and drop of hope we could pour into them. What happened next, brings me to tears even as I type. After I spoke, my friend Jessica delivered an amazing speech on hope. She then told the graduates they had a gift from me. You see, I had also worried they, while transitioning, may not have the strength and encouragement they had been receiving daily while living at TND. We knew they could get all the encouragement they needed from the Lord – but what would hold them accountable?
I presented them with a very special Bible. The Bibles had been prayed over and, as a team, we stuck post-it notes in them, marking our favorite verses on hope and encouragement. The next thing I said came as another emotional moment I will never forget. Upon telling them their names were inscribed on the front cover, there was a collective gasp from everyone in the room. They couldn’t believe it! Why would a group of complete strangers love and care about them enough to take time to worry about something so small?
Their roads have been tough – they each have heavy burdens, scars and memories they will spend the rest of their lives trying to shake. I can’t even begin to comprehend where they have been. But in that one moment, I know they were honored. You could tell by their tears of gratitude and big smiles how special they felt. That was all we wanted! We wanted them to know how much the Lord loves them and we do too!
Psalm 37:23 tells us “…He delights in every detail of their lives.” If God delights in the details, shouldn’t we? Sometimes those details may be the “small stuff” many of us neglect spending time worrying about. It may seem silly, but worrying about a plastic white tablecloth and a plain white sheet cake brought me to a life-changing moment. What an honor to serve and an even greater honor to witness God’s transforming power in the lives of the women we met! What we did wasn’t monumental. It didn’t take much from us – some time and a few dollars, but it was a MASSIVE example of love to them. They felt like celebrities, and rightfully so. They deserved to be honored for all they have accomplished!
Has there been a time in your life when maybe you didn’t worry about something or someone as much as you should have? When you didn’t act on that little nudge God was giving you to step in and do something? Pay attention for those moments. I feel certain He will give us all something “small” to worry about for his glory. In our case, it started with a cupcake!