It is an exciting week here in Oak Harbor. Our church is hosting “A Night to Shine” with the Tim Tebow Foundation. It is large undertaking–needing many volunteers to put on this special “Prom Night” for those with special needs in our community and surrounding area.
Sometime in October I received a phone call asking if I would help co-lead the kitchen team under our church’s office assistant. I had just hung up thirty seconds before, receiving news that my sister had cancer. She was so gracious–she told me not to worry about it, I could talk to her about it later. All I could think of, was, I could do this. I did not ask for a clear job description, but just said “sure, I will do it.” That was back in October.
The event is this Friday night. We have been planning, prepping and cooking for about 400 meals. It is the largest “feed” I have ever done. I am basically functioning as the chef for the event. Over my head? Yep! But due to this focus the last few weeks on weakness, I am actually handling it fairly well. I am learning to lean on Him even more. Keeping that perspective has helped me release my faith for God to supply every need we are going to encounter. So many people are praying for this event and the people who are leading the various teams. It has given me the courage to step up and do my best, because it is not about me.
During my devotions today I read for I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. Saying yes to Jesus and His assignments is not really about ourselves. It is about those we serve in His Name. I do not know if I would have agreed to it if I had really thought it out–too many “I am not able’s, “I do not know how” etc might have prevented me from saying yes. But by His mercy and grace I said yes, and so have over three hundred other volunteers! We are privileged to watch God answer prayer. I see that the Holy Spirit schooling me about weakness has actually strengthened me to do this task. A couple of days ago I woke up in the night with the realization that I forgot to purchase Bisquick. This led to a conversation with the Lord about perfection and wanting to do things “right”, which of course is good–but also not really attainable. Another weak area exposed, but it also showed me how to alter my expectations to doing my best, and letting God’s grace and mercy cover the rest.
We have a great team. Teleia (our head) asked my friend Bonnie to co-lead as well. Bonnie is a quiet, behind the scenes but amazing get it done kind of gal. She is “thought full”…in all the amazing ways we need. The chef from last year, met with us and helped us with how much food we will need, cooking times and shared hints, tips and ideas on how to make it work. We were able to ask him questions and they became the strength in our weak areas. God’s Word encourages us to learn from those who have gone before. Pride can make us feel like we have to re-invent everything…so tiring.
To be part of the team, not only do you need a background check, but you are also required to attend one of two training sessions. During these training times we discovered God sent us people with skills neither Teleia, Bonnie or I have. I can see how the Holy Spirit has allowed this meditation on weakness, humility and dependency to prepare me to not only trust Him for directions, but to ask others for their help. Much prayer has gone into this time. So many teams of people who have never worked together before are willing to serve with strangers with and for a purpose.
The whole event is bigger than anyone person. For me, personally, I am stretched to trust the Lord for wisdom, grace and insight as we help lead this team. After praying, I felt to encourage each one to bring their favorite knives or tools so they would feel comfortable with them. One gal shyly smiled and later admitted she had some serious knife skills! (We have a lot of fruit and vegetables to prepare!) Another man shared he had been a chef at a restaurant. He can’t come for all the prepping, but shared some helpful hints as well. Bonnie and I prayed that we will be a team in the kitchen, having fun and enjoying each other. I am looking forward to meeting new people, learning about them and working toward a purpose bigger than ourselves. All our guests had such a great time last year. It is our prayer that they are touched again by God’s love and grace, their caregivers are refreshed and encouraged and the volunteers work together in unity.
So, dear friends, do not be afraid to say yes. Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zones. As I was praying the other day, the Lord said, “This is really not about Night To Shine”, it is something I am using to stretch you and give you confidence for something up the road. Trust me.” He has given me insight and understanding of how to coordinate the prep work, the plating and the serving. I still have some blank areas that I am not sure how to do it, but I don’t need to know them yet. If God is leading you to do something, do it, even if your weakness looms in your face. Do not be afraid of saying yes to Him.
Part of me hadn’t planned on sharing this before the event, but it seemed to be the right time. Please pray for, not only Life Church, but for every venue this event is taking place== 16 different countries! I’ll let you know next week how it went!