Tag Archives: Tabitha Taylor

A garden salad will not fill you like a Biblical buffet

by Trey Campbell, treycampbell1010@gmail.com

don't order a garden salad and then eat my food

My friend and co-worker, Tabitha Taylor, is famous for saying around the office, “There’s a Friends episode for everything!”  I tend to believe her.  In almost anything we say or do, or anything that takes place in the office, we can find a moment in a Friends episode that can relate.

Joey no shareIn the episode pictured above, Joey is on a date.  His date ordered a garden salad and then did the unthinkable in Joey’s world… she ate off his plate.  If you know anything about Friends, Joey loves food and picking off his plate is a no-no.  “Joey doesn’t share food!”

It made me think…

Sometimes, we live our life like Joey’s date.  We order the garden salad, but it’s not enough for us.  So we end up picking off other’s plates to sustain ourselves.  This is a terrible approach!  We can’t rely on getting what we need off the plates of others.  It may fill us temporarily, but is only short-term.

The better approach is to turn to the Bible for daily nourishment.  It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet that never stops fueling you.  You can never overeat or get bloated!  You don’t even need elastic pants!  Plus you don’t get yelled at by those whose plate you poach!

But don’t forget!  It is completely possible to under-eat.  When provided a buffet-bonanza of spirituality, don’t order the salad.  Go for the meat and potatoes! Go for multiple plates and stack them high!

Everything you are looking for is between those two covers.  Do yourself a favor and explore God’s Word.  It actually has more content relevant to your everyday life than Joey, Monica, Chandler, Ross, Rachel and Phoebe can pack into the ten seasons of Friends.

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Green beans & Jesus

by Tabitha Taylor, ttaylor@southwestern.com

My grandparents live in the middle of nowhere. Their home and land casts some of the most incredible scenery I’ve ever seen.  My family and I have grown up knowing this Tennessee hollow (pronounced “haller”) as “God’s country.”  When you are there, time seems to stand still and it’s impossible to not relish in the beauty that surrounds – the beauty God made.

PawPaw & Me
Pawpaw & Me

Last weekend, I dropped by to see my wonderful Nannie and Pawpaw, but with a gazillion things on my to-do list for the day, I had mentally prepared myself for a one-hour visit. When I called Pawpaw to let him know I was on the way, his response was “we have a mess of beans to pick, get here quick.” I knew then, my one-hour visit had just become a full day. I would not turn down the opportunity to spend quality time with the people I admire so much and crave to learn from.

When I arrived, my 84-year-young Pawpaw was working diligently to put up a fence. I got out of the car and he handed me a bucket letting me know which row of green beans had my name on them. I joined two of my cousins in the massive pile of dirt and rocks that encompassed these beautiful green plants, for what seemed like miles and miles. As I began at the end of the row and worked my way towards the middle, I felt pretty accomplished. I was tearing through each plant grabbing every bean I could, but then, something happened… God met me there, right in the garden.

As I inched closer to the middle of the row, I realized the plants were growing thicker and thicker. The ones that were not spaced out, it seemed, had flourished four-times greater than the ones I had already picked. I felt like every time I picked a bean, five more appeared!

Part of the day's harvest
Part of the day’s harvest

Then I realized… these plants are abundant because they have so many strong plants surrounding them. Their stability and growth were dependent on those encompassing their immediate circle. In the thick of the garden, I had one of those “ah-ha” moments. I felt like God said to me (or at least He had these thoughts cross my mind), “These plants are like people. You need to have strong Christians around you. People that strive to walk and talk the way you do so they can help you grow and make you stronger in your faith.”

Wow! I took a deep breath, sighed, and smiled thinking about just how good God is. How much He delights in the tiny things. I thought about how He had given me my own real life parable. That’s how many stories in the Bible are anyway. When we don’t understand what Jesus was trying to say, He gave us stories that were easy to understand and share with others. Oh man, what an awesome story teller He was! He used real life situations to teach.

While this lesson may not be as profound as the Good Samaritan, the Rich Young Ruler, or the Mustard Seed, I knew in this moment, in God’s country, He was speaking directly to me. This is one of those kind of moments that will stick with me forever and will be a story I get to share with those who are not ready to talk about Jesus just yet.

I now have my own little personal parable about the time Jesus met me in the garden when I was picking green beans!  Have you ever stopped to think about what parables Jesus has written into your life?  Share them here!

“Don’t sweat the small stuff”…but what if the small stuff is a cupcake?

by Tabitha Taylor, ttaylor@southwestern.com 

Tab Cupcakes 2I’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 Tab table displaycupcakes!  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?

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetTheir 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!